With all the breaking stories exposing KBR's policies of corruption, abuse and fraud leading up to Tuesday's Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing on the misuse of taxpayer money in Iraq, the findings of KBR's gross mishandling of funds should come as no surprise. We already knew about KBR's use of a judicial loophole to avoid prosecution in an alleged rape case, and about their scheme to avoid paying taxes on employee salaries. And yet, when sifting through the details of KBR's scheming practices and lining them up one by one, it is astounding that our leadership has not taken an aggressive role to hold these contractors accountable for the unending list of ways they have taken advantage of the American public and have pocketed from this war.
Highlights from the hearing included findings of ridiculous tactics used by KBR to take advantage of their “cost-plus” contracts, including using taxpayer money to individually stamp their logo onto towels supplied to troops. Also revealed was the U.S. Government's ineptitude (or perhaps unwillingness) in accounting for contractor activity: “Administration efforts to prosecute individuals responsible for the waste or theft of billions of taxpayer dollars have been grossly insufficient.” Finally, the most imploring piece of testimony taken from the hearing resport is that, “the most effective way to fight al-Qaeda and other insurgents in Iraq is to cut off their funding by implementing strict accountability measures over all monies.”
It cannot be stated in any clearer terms that the administration's lack of oversight over the funding of this costly war is damaging any chance we have of protecting the American public from the threat of terrorism. We cannot allow our tax dollars to be funneled to this machine of corruption and ineptitude any longer, especially with the knowledge that it undermines our security at home. Progressive Future is a new organizing group that is working on reshaping the American political consciousness around the idea of Progressive Values, and we believe that this means redefining "security" to include accountability for actions that represent the United States overseas and cleaning up our international reputation. Click here to help us call for consequences for Iraq. contractors.