Sunday, December 04, 2005


Fraud Cultures

Sen. Larry Craig, a Republican, told his home state constituents "Fraud is in the culture of Iraqis. I believe that is true in the state of Louisiana as well.” Craig was quoted as saying Thursday (October 13, 2005) in the Lewiston (Idaho) Morning Tribune.

But why bring the Iraqis into this? Why such a slur on the people Americans are dying to liberate?

I realize that the point he was trying to make was the need to have good accountability and oversight of the spending to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. That is certainly true, and not just because of the risk of *local* graft. Was it 90 000 tons of ice that crisscrossed the country and ended up in warehouses, under FEMA's management? How were the cruise ship leases negotiated again? And the house trailers? How often, how many times will the federal government pay to rebuild in areas that never should have been built? Will the Army Corps of Engineers get the specs for the levees right this time, and supervise the work?

Anyway, I certainly hope the Iraqi fraud culture isn't contagious, although there are some signs it may have corrupted a few Americans in Iraq. It would be horrible if all those Americans managing the billions of dollars for rebuilding in Iraq caught it and started diverting funds or taking kick-backs for awarding contracts. That there have been reports of poor accounting, poor (or no) negotiation, and nine billion dollars has gone missing (probably just forgot to ask for a few receipts?), is bad enough!

Now, if the Iraqis would only stop denying their WMD stocks and hand them over they would be taking a big step toward overcoming their fraud culture, wouldn't they?

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