I confess that I didn’t listen to Dumbya speech yesterday. It’s always so very hard to find those few fragments of wheat among all that chaff. It’s so much less aggravating to wait until FactCheck comes out with its assessment. Which they just did.
This is their summary, but you should hop over and read the whole thing:
President Bush’s sobering address to the nation laid out his plan to rescue Iraq by sending in more troops at a time when polls show the American people want just the opposite. Is his approach a significant change of course? Will it work? We leave that to others to chew over. What we can say is that he was right on the facts he cited, although there were some notable omissions. While he highlighted the planned distribution of oil revenues to the Iraqi people and a new commitment of reconstruction funds by the Iraqi government, he didn’t say a word about how the U.S. or Iraq would deal with rampant corruption that threatens to undermine both.
I think it’s worth repeating here FactCheck’s take on the “corruption” angle:
Bush: To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs.
The missing word here is “corruption,” perhaps the most glaring omission in the President’s address. If the $10 billion in reconstruction money is to be effective, the Iraqi government will have to do something about the rampant corruption noted by the Iraq Study Group, the Government Accountability Office and numerous news accounts. Bush didn’t use the word “corruption” once in his speech, nor was it mentioned by either of the “senior administration officials” who briefed White House reporters just prior to the speech on the condition that their names not be used. By contrast, “corruption” is mentioned 15 times in the ISG report, which lists it as one of the major reasons for the Iraqi government’s inability to provide basic services like water and electricity on an
ISG Report: [C]orruption is rampant. One senior Iraqi official estimated that official corruption costs $5–7 billion per year.
ISG Report: Economic development is hobbled by insecurity, corruption, lack of investment, dilapidated infrastructure and uncertainty.
ISG Report: One senior official told us that corruption is more responsible than insurgents for breakdowns in the oil sector.
In July 2006, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) reported a poll that found a third of Iraqis said they had paid bribes for goods or services that year. In a September 2006 news report by the United Nations’ Integrated Regional Information Networks, Judge Radhi al-Radhi, head of the Commission for Public Integrity (CPI) in Iraq, estimated that $4 billion “has been pilfered from state coffers and no one is taking responsibility.”
Transparency International, a non-partisan international watchdog group, has listed as the second most corrupt government in the world, with only Haiti edging it out of first place. The GAO reported that the lack of an effective banking system in , ambiguous procurement systems, and inadequate anti-corruption training have hampered attempts to reduce foul play. The GAO also reported that between January 2005 and August 2006, 56 Iraqi officials were found guilty of corruption or had arrest warrants issued against them, but apparently the arrests and prosecutions aren’t having much of a deterrent effect.
We are a world warped by greed.