I ask again. Why are American troops fighting and dying to defend a hopelessly corrupt Iraq government? Someone should ask George Bush this question:
Electricity is still in short supply, medicines are available mainly through the black market, and there are long lines for fuel in a country that has the third largest oil reserves in the world. One of the biggest problems is corruption, which is robust even by Middle Eastern standards. According to U.S. and Iraqi officials, bribery and outright theft are flourishing in virtually every Iraqi ministry, and some of those ill-gotten gains are being used to kill American troops.
[...]This story begins 18 months ago, in the fall of 2006, when correspondent Steve Kroft first reported that more than a billion dollars from the previous Iraqi Defense Ministry had been wasted, stolen or misappropriated. The money was supposed to supply the new Iraqi army with desperately-needed equipment to fight the growing insurgency. But according to audits conducted by the Iraqi government, and to Judge Radhi al Radhi, Iraq's top anti-corruption official, millions were misspent on old and antiquated equipment and the rest simply disappeared.
Judge Radhi told Kroft that he estimated that "more than half" of the $1.3 billion had been stolen. "As we hear from some friends abroad, that they never heard of such corruption and embezzlement to such a degree," he said.
Radhi, who was imprisoned and tortured under Saddam Hussein, obtained arrest warrants for the former minister of defense and his top aides, who all fled the country. As Iraq's commissioner of public integrity, Radhi had one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. He launched investigations against 20 current and former ministers, alienating the political establishment to the point that parliament tried to fire him. He had 30 body guards and received constant death threats.
To the remark that lots of people would like to see him dead, Radhi told Kroft, "I don't care. That's their problem."
That was in 2006.
Today he's living with his extended family living in a small apartment with donated furniture in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. The most public figure in Iraq's battle against corruption had finally been driven out of his job and his country and is now a refugee seeking asylum in the United States.
[...]Mattil says shortly after the unclassified report was leaked to the press last summer, the State Department decided to make it classified.
Asked for what reason it was classified, Mattil said, "The embarrassment factor, I would think."
But the State Department's decision to try and bury the report didn't change the facts in Iraq. In some cases, Mattil says the corruption involves outright theft of government funds, or bribery, with some of the money finding its way into the hands of insurgents or Iraqi militias.
"In other cases, it is the militias and insurgents themselves who control some of the ministries, who are involved in the corruption and funding their activities through these actions," Mattil said.
Asked if this is known and condoned by Prime Minister Maliki, Mattil said, "It's known and tolerated by the prime minister and other officials within the government."
Read the entire transcript of the broadcast...