Friday, May 23, 2008

Continued Pentagon MisManagement Remains Bill Clinton's Fault

After a Pentagon study revealed virtually all of $8.2 billion in Iraq contracts failed to meet U.S. rules intended to prevent fraud, Anthony Cordesman blamed the five year problem on the 1990's peace dividend, a time when President Bill Clinton farmed out large chunks of military operations to private companies. The think tank head said:

“This report is further documentation of the fact that the United States had absolutely no preparation to use contracting on the scale that it needed either at the military or aid level in going to war in Iraq,” said Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

“We had really allowed ourselves to become more and more dependent on contractors in peacetime,” said Mr. Cordesman, who spoke in a telephone interview on Thursday. “We were unprepared to use contractors in wartime, and all of this had an immense impact.”

So the ramp up in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2003 didn't prepare the Pentagon for what was coming in Iraq? What about the first year in Iraq, did the Defense Department get a clue then? Apparently not as the problem was marked throughout the study period which ended in 2006. So America sits in 2008 with a political hack blaming the problem on a President out of office for over seven years? I don't buy it. Another news report on the breakup of KBR's Iraq work amongst three companies shows this administration clearly bears responsibility. The NYT reported:

Critics also say they doubt that the new contract will result in significant cost savings or better services for soldiers in Iraq. The Army has built into the deal the potential for larger profits for the contractors than existed under the prior contract, and it plans to outsource much of the management and oversight of the contractors to yet another company, Serco Inc., for $59 million.

“This new contract sounds good, they are splitting it up, but there are serious flaws, including what looks like outsourcing oversight,” said Dina Rasor, an investigator and co-author of a book about contracting in Iraq.

Outsourcing oversight, there lies the problem and after nearly eight years in office, it's all Bill Clinton's fault. Bull Hockey! But the line does open the door for Dov Zakheim, the CFO of the Defense Department from 2001-2004, to join the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan and not look like the fox guarding the Bush chicken ranch.