September 27, 2007

Bill Maher: Stop Saying Iraq is Another Vietnam, it’s Another Enron

Filed under: Opinion — Volt @ 4:40 pm

Bill Maher, The Huffington Post, September 27, 2007

Iraq is Enron, and President Bush is Ken Lay. He’s fighting a war with phony accounting tricks. The Bush administration fudged the numbers to get us into Iraq, and cooked the books to keep us there. “The surge” is simply another in a long series of inflated stock quotes. This past weekend Marcel Marceau passed away at age 84. Doctors say he went quietly. Thus proving that evil thrives when good men stay silent. And just like with Enron, the good men and women who are blowing the whistle on Iraq contractor fraud are being vilified, fired, demoted, and those are the lucky ones.

Last Friday morning the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing entitled “The Mistreatment of Iraq Contracting Whistleblowers,” just in time to make the Friday news dump. According to the committee more than $10 billion dollars in Iraq reconstruction and military support contracts is unaccounted for. In other words, for every six dollars spent in Iraq one dollar is in question. And folks, it’s a war-zone, you’re dealing with a culture known for its haggling skills, so you’ve got factor in a little skimming, but this is ridiculous. If you stole that much money from the Mafia you’d be dead.

Vicente Fox may have called President Bush a “windshield cowboy,” but Bush has certainly turned Iraq into a wild, wild, west. And here’s another one from the War in Iraq’s this-is going-to-make-you-vomit file. Some Iraq contract whistleblowers have been vilified and fired, others have been detained by the US military and subjected to harsh interrogation techniques.

Donald Vance, a Navy veteran, was working for an Iraqi-owned outfit called the Shield Group Security Company. Vance said he witnessed Shield Group selling guns, land mines, and rocket-launchers to Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry workers. Vance described Shield Groups as “a Wal-Mart for guns.” Vance reported this to the FBI, and instead of a pat on the back, he got 97 days at Camp Cropper, a military prison outside of Baghdad. In fact, Saddam’s Hussein’s old crib. Vance was placed in solitary confinement, subjected to head-banging music blaring from dawn to dusk, and interrogators screaming the same questions over and over again in his face.

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