The Iraq War - There's No Tellin' Where the Money Went
June 13, 2011 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Today's Los Angeles Times reports on over six Billion dollars that can not be accounted for during the Iraq war and is now believed to have been stolen.

Billions of dollars of cash was sent to the new U.S. sponsored regime during the Bush administration, not by international bank transfer or other accountable means, but rather by loading pallets of 100 dollar bills into C-130s and airifting it over.

Although this was reported by several sources several years ago, it never made the front pages of any major newspaper that I can recall nor was there any general outcry about it. This week the Defense department admits the money is missing.

As a point of comparison the amount of money stolen is equal to almost the Bush administration's entire proposed 2007 budget for the Environmental Protection Agency
posted by Poet_Lariat (140 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
*sigh* Guilty...
posted by spinifex23 at 9:45 PM on June 13, 2011


They loaded cash onto pallets and physically transported it.

They loaded cash onto pallets and physically transported it.

They loaded cash onto pallets and physically transported it.
posted by Electrius at 9:49 PM on June 13, 2011 [57 favorites]


I remember reading, I think it was in the Project: Censored 2009 edition, that private defense contractors hired by the US Government in Iraq would play football with $100 million shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills.
posted by MattMangels at 9:51 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is why we should seek reimbursement from the Iraq for liberating their ass. Duh.
posted by blargerz at 9:52 PM on June 13, 2011


Six billion would pay for twelve 9/11s. And it's about a tenth of what Afghanistan clears annually in heroin trade.

And I'm guessing the lack of accounting was a feature, not a bug.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:55 PM on June 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


Would it not just be quicker to report on the parts of the Iraq invasion that weren't fucked up?
posted by pompomtom at 9:59 PM on June 13, 2011 [31 favorites]


Wait, I'm pretty sure I saw this episode of NCIS already...
posted by mstokes650 at 10:00 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Somehow this is Obama's fault, I'm sure of it.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:00 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Iraq was not a war--it was a business transaction. This is the true story about some crumbs that fell off the table.
posted by Camofrog at 10:02 PM on June 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


Actually, it's mostly my fault. Sorry guys. I fucked up.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:02 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Millions of dollars were stuffed in gunnysacks and hauled on pickups to Iraqi agencies or contractors, officials have testified.


This is astonishing.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear at 10:02 PM on June 13, 2011


Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills.

Sure, but how much cocaine?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:03 PM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hold on, I'll check the cracks of my couch... Nope. Not here. Too bad - I could have used it to put a down payment on a tank of gas.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:03 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Would it not just be quicker to report on the parts of the Iraq invasion that weren't fucked up?

Much, of course zero content news has yet to make a big splash.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:04 PM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Huh, exactly the amount of money Google offered to buy Groupon for...
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:04 PM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Simple solution: make the DoD pay it back or axe $6.6 billion from their budget.
posted by grounded at 10:04 PM on June 13, 2011 [54 favorites]


Six billion would pay for twelve 9/11s.

What the hell is that even supposed to mean?
posted by Drama Penguin at 10:04 PM on June 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


Six billion? Gotta be more than that.

Dude was worse than Buchanan. Did one good thing his entire administration.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:05 PM on June 13, 2011


What the hell is that even supposed to mean?

I'm still trying to parse the original comment. Does he mean the planning/execution of the 9/11 attacks, or the cost of the clean up?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:07 PM on June 13, 2011


Did one good thing his entire administration.

Choked on a pretzel?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:07 PM on June 13, 2011 [15 favorites]


I remember reading, I think it was in the Project: Censored 2009 edition, that private defense contractors hired by the US Government in Iraq would play football with $100 million shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills.

Yeah, DynCorp pretty much yoinked $1,200,000,000.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:07 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did one good thing his entire administration.

Choked on a pretzel?


The bailout. Like it or not, he did the right thing. We got the vast majority of that money back without a 40% stock market crash.

Plus, it set up McCain's downfall with the cheesy "suspension" of the campaign.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:11 PM on June 13, 2011


a friend of mine was a Marine reservist stationed at an airbase in Iraq and he'd tell us about how he'd watch these C-130s fly in and just unload pallets of 100's that would then be divvied up into various up-armored SUVs and driven off to God knows where. His crew would do the math and figure on, easily, 10 million dollars sitting inside each plane.

Those stories would also be mixed in with other tall tales of freelancer Ukrainians who'd fly in on aging old cargo planes held together with duct tape ansd spit -- the modern day mercenary equivalent of doing the Kessel Run except the Millenium Falcon was a Tupolev paid for with vodka and French pornography, and Chewbacca is a gruff Uzbek who lost the tips of two fingers in Afghanistan back in the 80s.

Somewhere inside of him is a movie script with one of those C-130s going down in the middle of a dust-storm and kicking off a 100 million dollar treasure hunt between a bunch of mujahideen, Baathists, CIA, Iraqi policemen, South African security consultants, and a few "in over their head" National Guardsmen ... all vying for a little slice of American fat.
posted by bl1nk at 10:14 PM on June 13, 2011 [51 favorites]


Look, sometimes you're one of the guys in the back of the plane with the $2.4 billion in unmarked, untraceable bills and you're bored or whatever, it's a long flight, and you figure you'll take home a block or two of hundreds, just shove them down the bottom of your backpack, kind of souvenirs of war. People do it from time to time, we know people do it, we've all known someone who's done it, our grandfathers used to do it, they'd bring back a Luger or a Jap flag or a bunch of teeth or whatever. Hell I knew a guy in the 'Nam who smuggled back a whole VC in his duffel bag, he wasn't married, had him do his ironing back in the States. But when it's suddenly five guys, a dozen, a whole squadron of guys all with bricks of hundreds down their pants, then pretty soon it becomes a problem, you know? I guess what I'm saying is when a C-130 that took off from the US carrying $2.4 billion dollars in hundred dollars bills lands in Iraq and it's empty apart from a platoon of contractors with their helmets sitting up real high up off their heads, you need to start asking some delicate fuckin' questions.
posted by tumid dahlia at 10:14 PM on June 13, 2011 [113 favorites]


IOKIYAR!
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:14 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Vanity Fair had a pretty good article about this back in 2007. Wish I could've been there to see the expression on the forklift drivers' faces when the pilots told them where they were going.
posted by Lukenlogs at 10:20 PM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


But when it's suddenly five guys, a dozen, a whole squadron of guys all with bricks of hundreds down their pants, then pretty soon it becomes a problem

I really liked your post :) but were I to place my bets on where a lot of that money wound up, I'd place them less on average Joe soldiers and a whole lot more on people who end up sitting on boards of directors of many largish corporations. Them, and more than a few (American) politicians I'd wager. I'm sure that more than a few Iraqi warlords got payoffs but whatever they got was probably chump change compared to what is sitting in the accounts of some Morgan-Chase (for example) principals.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:22 PM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


A shipping container full of dollars meant for Iraq is the MacGuffin in William Gibson's Spook Country. Somebody needs to make a website that lists everything Gibson got right about the world. Though I suppose a shorter list would be what he got wrong (basically, The Soviet Union and cell phones).
posted by Kattullus at 10:25 PM on June 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


> Somehow this is Obama's fault, I'm sure of it.

The fact that it happened? Bush's fault. The fact that given all of this obvious graft here, and in other places the torture, the screw-ups up and down, and that no one went to jail or even lost their jobs? That, unfortunately, must be put at the feet of Mr. Barack "We must look forward, not back" Obama.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:27 PM on June 13, 2011 [16 favorites]


I'd place them less on average Joe soldiers and a whole lot more on people who end up sitting on boards of directors of many largish corporations. Them, and more than a few (American) politicians I'd wager. I'm sure that more than a few Iraqi warlords got payoffs but whatever they got was probably chump change compared to what is sitting in the accounts of some Morgan-Chase (for example) principals.

Facepalm.jpg
posted by blargerz at 10:28 PM on June 13, 2011


That, unfortunately, must be put at the feet of Mr. Barack "We must look forward, not back" Obama.

I'm not sure the U.S. has the maturity, or the political institutions, necessary to take the "truth and reconciliation" route.
posted by Rumple at 10:34 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


IvoShandor: "zero content news has yet to make a big splash."

You don't actually have a TV do you?
posted by klanawa at 10:34 PM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I know that everybody thinks Bush was a moron, but don't let that fool you. There's a reason he's always clearing all that brush out on the ranch. He's got a couple dozen shipping containers sunk out in the Texas desert.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:36 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


No no. Don't let yourself be distracted from seeing the REAL government waste: this website. And Biden is already on it. So no need to pay attention to this story about twenty-one lost planeloads of cash.
posted by salvia at 10:38 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


He's got a couple dozen shipping containers sunk out in the Texas desert.

Let's make this heist movie!
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:38 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just imagined a picture of a bunch of $100 bills on the side of a milk carton: "Have you seen me?"
posted by MattMangels at 10:38 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Previously : Donald Rumsfeld , Bush administration Secretary of State, admits that the Pentagon can not account for 2.3 TRILLION dollars back in 2001
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:40 PM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


So are teachers somehow to blame for this money being lost? Someone tell me what scapegoat group I need to spout my unresearched, ignorant bullshit on.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:41 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm going to get really pissed off if we don't see 1,000 Steve Austins pretty soon.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:42 PM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


You don't actually have a TV do you?

I do but it rarely leaves PBS, I don't have cable and I certainly don't get my news from the television. Regardless, it isn't zero content, no matter how you cut it, even if your snarky point can't be made without that assumption, it's just wrong.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:42 PM on June 13, 2011


I would also like to point out that if some teenager in Brooklyn can carry out and track transactions electronically after selling handmade shoulder bags on Etsy, guess who has no goddamned excuse whatsoever for shipping planefuls of cash to the desert.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:45 PM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


> I'm not sure the U.S. has the maturity, or the political institutions, necessary to take the "truth and reconciliation" route.

I hear similar arguments all the time. They baffle me. $6 billion is gone and we all stand around with our mouths open and we're told that the system is so broken that it's no use even discussing doing anything about it.

Surely then people will just loot until there's nothing left?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:51 PM on June 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


Yeah, you guys work on that $500M 9/11 thingy(did al Qaeda buy the planes they used?), I want this one;

And it's about a tenth of what Afghanistan clears annually in heroin trade.


Not even close;

Although less than 4 percent of arable land in Afghanistan was used for opium poppy cultivation in 2006, revenue from the harvest brought in over $3 billion—more than 35 percent of the country's total gross national product (GNP).

So $6B is actually two years of opium revenue, not 10% of one year's opium revenue.

Only off by a factor of 20.

And I'm surprised to be hearing about this missing money again. I figured that the reports that came out the first time meant the money was already gone forever.
posted by dglynn at 10:53 PM on June 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


What's the issue? Everyone in Iraq who mattered did well; contractors got cash, officers got kickbacks/possibly sacks of money, even insurgents got paid by Iran, Saudi or even (on occasion) the US.

The only people who lost out were civilian anyhow.
posted by jaduncan at 10:56 PM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Surely then people will just loot until there's nothing left?

lupus - I'm agreeing with you, except that to actually get an investigation into this in the American system there would have to be strong bipartisan support coupled to a strong desire to actually get to the bottom of the corruption around the war. The first condition will not be met, and Obama is part of this problem but not the entirety of it. The second is more nebulous. I think the last time you could see hearings or an investigation of the scale/painfulness needed would be Watergate, but there it was both houses against the President, which makes things a lot easier.

So yeah, until these basic conditions are met then people will just loot, as we can see.
posted by Rumple at 11:13 PM on June 13, 2011



The mystery is a growing embarrassment to the Pentagon, and an irritant to Washington's relations with Baghdad. Iraqi officials are threatening to go to court to reclaim the money, which came from Iraqi oil sales, seized Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the United Nations' oil-for-food program.
.....
Pentagon officials have contended for the last six years that they could account for the money if given enough time to track down the records. But repeated attempts to find the documentation, or better yet the cash, were fruitless.

Iraqi officials argue that the U.S. government was supposed to safeguard the stash under a 2004 legal agreement it signed with Iraq. That makes Washington responsible, they say.


It was Iraqi money that went missing.
I don't blame them for being pissed off.
posted by dougzilla at 11:20 PM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Those stories would also be mixed in with other tall tales of freelancer Ukrainians who'd fly in on aging old cargo planes held together with duct tape ansd spit -- the modern day mercenary equivalent of doing the Kessel Run except the Millenium Falcon was a Tupolev paid for with vodka and French pornography, and Chewbacca is a gruff Uzbek who lost the tips of two fingers in Afghanistan back in the 80s.

God, pure genius.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:24 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


This only hints at an even greater scandal. Think of the size of the couch they must have constructed using our tax dollars!
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:24 PM on June 13, 2011


It was all stolen.
posted by CarlRossi at 11:26 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was Iraqi money but it sounds like it would have to be paid back if we cannot "find" it.
posted by salvia at 11:27 PM on June 13, 2011


> Somehow this is Obama's fault, I'm sure of it.

The fact that it happened? Bush's fault. The fact that given all of this obvious graft here, and in other places the torture, the screw-ups up and down, and that no one went to jail or even lost their jobs? That, unfortunately, must be put at the feet of Mr. Barack "We must look forward, not back" Obama.


Obviously, it is important that we get rid of Obama, because Mitt "double Gitmo" is the guy who will finally make the bad guys pay. Because satisfying the Chomskyite wing of the Green Party is the right move for Obama. In 500 years, his act of falling on his sword will be appreciated by the last three disciples of St. Lebiowitz wandering the radioactive deserts created by President Bachmann.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:31 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ironmouth: what kind of further investigation, if any, should there be into this missing money, and who should instigate it?
posted by Rumple at 11:33 PM on June 13, 2011


Because satisfying the Chomskyite wing of the Green Party is the right move for Obama.

So you are suggesting that government waste and corruption is "just the cost of doing business" and you would have to be some sort of "Chomskyite" (whatever that is but I bet it has something to do with socialist) to worry about such things.

OK. Good to know where you stand.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:38 PM on June 13, 2011 [15 favorites]


holy shit thats alot a beer money.
posted by clavdivs at 11:38 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sobering thing: if this wasn't an issue of owing it to the Iraqis, we wouldn't even still have this in the news cycle.
posted by jaduncan at 11:41 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Because satisfying the Chomskyite wing of the Green Party is the right move for Obama.

Punch a hippy, save a Democrat!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:48 PM on June 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


They should launch an FBI investigation and hold congressional hearings right up until the day of the election. That's about the only good that could possibly come of it.
posted by Brian B. at 11:54 PM on June 13, 2011


It's astonishing that we've reached the level that "tracking down $6 billion stolen from the government" is the same as "satisfying the Chomskyite wing of the Green Party".

That would be depressing enough - coming from a lawyer, someone who's supposed to respect the law, is worse.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:59 PM on June 13, 2011 [16 favorites]


Given that the total cost of the Iraq war is estimated to be over 700 billion dollars, 6 billion is barely over the level of a rounding error. The Pentagon could easily take care of this if they wanted to.
posted by happyroach at 12:04 AM on June 14, 2011


Given that the total cost of the Iraq war is estimated to be over 700 billion dollars, 6 billion is barely over the level of a rounding error.

Your accounting system is shit.
posted by pompomtom at 12:06 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


blagerz: This is why we should seek reimbursement from the Iraq for liberating their ass. Duh.

From the article:
Iraqi officials are threatening to go to court to reclaim the money, which came from Iraqi oil sales, seized Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the United Nations' oil-for-food program...
The money was transferred from Iraq into US accounts, then converted to cash, then stolen.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:11 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


> This is why we should seek reimbursement from the Iraq for liberating their ass. Duh.

The Distinguished Gentleman from California agrees with you.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:14 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is why we should seek reimbursement from the Iraq for liberating their ass. Duh.

US: We confiscated all teh Iraqi moneys, Iraq is evil!
US: We haz teh moneys. :)
Iraq: I am not evil. I can haz moneys back?
US: We flew all teh moneys into the desert, and other people has the moneys now.
Iraq: What people did you give it to? I can haz mah moneys?
US: Seriously, we'll find it.
Iraq: I can haz moneys?
US: ...
Iraq: :/
US: We can't find it.
Iraq: :/ ... :( ... FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
posted by jaduncan at 12:17 AM on June 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


That Vanity Fair article is crazy.

$40,000 in hundreds is one pound.

A single load described in that article was 15 pallets, totaling 30 TONS(!!!!).

One million dollars weighs 25 pounds, and the shipment was 60,000 pounds.

That is surreal.
posted by dglynn at 12:22 AM on June 14, 2011


It was a heist movie.

The problem is how do you shoot the devil in the back?
posted by fullerine at 12:28 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's No Tellin' Where the Money Went
I'd start by asking Ahmed Chalabi
posted by adamvasco at 12:40 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


...also Feb 2007 UK Guardian; maybe your American news media neglected to keep you informed.. What a surprise.
posted by adamvasco at 12:43 AM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


nice link adamvasco:
Bremer's financial adviser, retired Admiral David Oliver, is even more direct. The memorandum quotes an interview with the BBC World Service. Asked what had happened to the $8.8bn he replied: "I have no idea. I can't tell you whether or not the money went to the right things or didn't - nor do I actually think it's important."

Q: "But the fact is billions of dollars have disappeared without trace."

Oliver: "Of their money. Billions of dollars of their money, yeah I understand. I'm saying what difference does it make?"
Fuck
posted by crayz at 12:51 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, so is everyone just pretending that they don't know what went down here? Governments transport cash because they don't want it to be traced. They spent it on bribes that furthered the mission and other nefarious deeds "in the national interest." Some of it probably went to middle men, some of it went to Iraqi politicians, some of it went to tribal leaders, and some of it went to very bad people.

They don't, however, have any politically viable or legal way of acknowledging this or accounting for said cash, so they claim that is was stolen. This is how the world actually works.
posted by snottydick at 12:59 AM on June 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


They spent it on bribes that furthered the mission and other nefarious deeds "in the national interest."

Hilarious. No, the correct answer is "we don't know where the money went". Unless you were there unloading the plane and then took the money somewhere yourself? It could have been loaded onto trucks and driven to another airport, taken BACK to the US and buried in the desert. We don't know, because the money wasn't accounted for, and saying it "furthered the mission" is only true insofar as it furthered somebody's mission somewhere.
posted by dubold at 1:09 AM on June 14, 2011


They loaded cash onto pallets and physically transported it.

Well, this is the country where bank transfers involve one bank printing out a cheque and physically mailing it to the other bank (instead of some automatic computer communication stuff), so somehow I'm not surprised this is the method they used.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:28 AM on June 14, 2011


So are teachers somehow to blame for this money being lost?

Yes. Math teachers. If the government accountants had just learned to count money like entrepreneurs and not like "math people" they would have managed to hide all the missing money much more effectively.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:31 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Financial Cost of the Iraq War : As of February 2010, around $704 billion has been spent based on estimates of current expenditure rates, which range from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) estimate of $2 billion per week to $12 billion a month, an estimate by economist Joseph Stiglitz.

If you ask me, every goddamn penny of that was stolen from the American people.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:37 AM on June 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


"Punch a hippy, save a Democrat!"

A rhetorical stratagem so persuasive and nuanced it simply demanded being used not once, not twice, but six different times by you alone. (A lot more here!)

Political threads don't have to be Lincoln-Douglas debates, but let's try to at least keep discussion above the dumb, lazy, twice-thrice-recycled sound-bite level, please.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:53 AM on June 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


If you ask me, every goddamn penny of that was stolen from the American people.

The American people were in favour of the war, as were their elected politicians. The American people deserve to suffer long and hard for what they've allowed to happen. If you went to prison for not paying income taxes, you get to be exempted. (Sorry going on a protest march wearing stilts and playing with puppets doesn't count)
posted by atrazine at 1:59 AM on June 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Stop talking guys. Some asshole is going to take these comments and turn them into "National Treasure 3".
posted by hal_c_on at 2:01 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


let's try to at least keep discussion above the dumb, lazy, twice-thrice-recycled sound-bite level, please

I'm sorry, but you should really speak those who continually and repeatedly dismiss strawmen like "Chomskyites", members of the Green Party, and — above all else — anyone vaguely left of Obama's right-wing sympathies.

As I mentioned to you here, the last time that you joined in with Ironmouth in dismissing dissenting views, if you want a better level of discourse, it really starts with your long history of comments in these threads:

Every time we have a thread about Wikileaks — every single time, without fail — someone launches a snide comment (say, accusations of "casual disinformation") about how President Obama is completely blame-free for the human rights violations that WL's journalism has exposed, and that any criticisms of his policies as they relate to said human rights violations — even those that are legitimate — will lead to some other candidate getting elected in 2012.

Last time around, I think, it was Sarah Palin. This time it is Romney.

I'm completely fed up with being spoken to like a child, bullied into compliance with every one of Obama's decisions, just because of some nutty Republican bogeyman.

If you want to talk about a lazy substitute for a good argument, it is your scare tactics, every fracking time, that bug me more than anything else. Continuing George W. Bush's regime of fear in this way is lazy. It's lazy. What you and Ironmouth do in every thread like this is lazy. I'm sick of reading how my concerns mean that some right-wing lunatic is going to get voted in. I'm done getting bullied.

If you're tired of the hippy-punching comments, then stop polluting these threads like this.


Obama will win or lose regardless of your campaign of dismissing people who don't share your particular political agenda.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:08 AM on June 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


private defense contractors hired by the US Government in Iraq would play football with $100 million shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills.

A hundred thousand dollar bricks, maybe.

(It would take some serious mechacontractors to throw $100 million bricks around. That's a large truck.)
posted by rokusan at 2:25 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Previously on Metafilter...

Some further interesting links there.
posted by asok at 2:37 AM on June 14, 2011


(It would take some serious mechacontractors to throw $100 million bricks around. That's a large truck.)

Correct. A $100 bill weighs one gram, so one million of them would weigh 1,000 kilograms or 2,200 lbs.
posted by fairmettle at 2:41 AM on June 14, 2011


Blazecock Pileon: "the last time that you joined in with Ironmouth in dismissing dissenting views"

Blazecock Pileon: "Obama will win or lose regardless of your campaign of dismissing people who don't share your particular political agenda."

My last comment was my first post in this thread; I haven't joined anyone in doing anything here. I didn't ask you, then or now, to stop slagging on Democrats -- I asked you to stop doing it with lame, recycled catchphrases. There are more intelligent ways to express your misgivings than "Hippy punching! Punch a hippy! Lots of hippies being punched in this thread, LOL!" It's the kind of bad habit that makes browsing right-leaning sites such a headache, when commenters are seemingly in a competition to make the most references to teleprompters and/or czars.

I'd say the same thing to Ironmouth if he (and others) habitually dropped comments like "There's no pleasing the Chomskyite wing of the Green Party! Those Green Party Chomskyites will be the death of us! There's a Green Party in this thread's pants, and Chomsky's invited!" in half a dozen threads, but his comments are generally more considered than that.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:45 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks asok.
Where has all the money gone - LRB May 2005
posted by adamvasco at 2:56 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe it was spent on Steve Austin.

Inflation and all.
posted by bwg at 2:59 AM on June 14, 2011


If you ask me, every goddamn penny of that was stolen from the American people.

Except those pennies that were stolen from the Iraqi people.
posted by knapah at 3:08 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somebody needs to make a website that lists everything Gibson got right about the world. Though I suppose a shorter list would be what he got wrong (basically, The Soviet Union and cell phones).

And the future of popular music being based on reggae.
posted by acb at 3:15 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


S...
posted by fungible at 4:38 AM on June 14, 2011


Did one good thing his entire administration.

Choked on a pretzel?


Nah, he didn't even manage to do that right.
posted by Skeptic at 4:43 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Love the "may have been".
posted by IndigoJones at 4:46 AM on June 14, 2011


Because satisfying the Chomskyite wing of the Green Party is the right move for Obama.

What an absurd thing to drop into this thread. Equating the notion that some of the folks involved in the blatant graft/torture/lies of the Iraq/Terror wars should have been confronted with, you know, maybe a couple of legal consequences for their actions with "satisfying the Chomskyite wing of the Green Party" is the worst kind of degraded political rhetoric. That Rhaomi focuses only on BP while ignoring that is also instructive.
posted by mediareport at 5:10 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


and just like with Watergate and BCCI, the recent mortgage crisis etc if everyone involved - down to the lowliest intern - don't do serious time in jail they will just come back to government in a different form years later and steal even more money. Why shouldn't they? Everyone forgets that scumbag Karl Rove worked for Nixon. It was my contention then and it's my contention now - that every single person who was involved in criminal acts for the Bush administration should be put on trial, if for no other reason than to have people think twice about them when they are nominated for positions in future more criminally brazen Republican administrations.
posted by any major dude at 5:22 AM on June 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is yet another reason why it gets harder and harder to tell my 10 year old son about the importance of empathy and responsibility and integrity. Because, truly, they aren't important at the top of our system.

Nobody accepts any responsibility. Nobody accepts any blame. Nobody of any significance suffers any meaningful consequence. It's disgusting and shameful.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:24 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Three Kings 2: ROTK
posted by rahnefan at 5:27 AM on June 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


Is this really that big of a deal? I mean, haven't we all lost a billion or two in our couch cushions during the year? That kind of money is easy to go missing.
posted by bengalsfan1 at 5:28 AM on June 14, 2011


Everyone forgets that scumbag Karl Rove worked for Nixon.

Don't forget Rumsfeld and Cheney were there, too.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:28 AM on June 14, 2011


[At the point at which you are dragging in arguments from other threads you need to take this to email or metatalk. No further griefing or personal attacks here, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:29 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


They loaded cash onto pallets and physically transported it.
It comes from the Mint on pallets, so they didn't have to do the loading part.

private defense contractors hired by the US Government in Iraq would play football with $100 million shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills.
...each weighing 2204 pounds. (On preview- already mentioned)

His crew would do the math and figure on, easily, 10 million dollars sitting inside each plane.
The first time I saw a pallet of $100 bills it really freaked me out. It was the first time I saw 'enough' money- I wouldn't need any more. I calculated it as around $20 million. I guess the plane carried 1/2 a pallet.
posted by MtDewd at 5:40 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


“The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered, and assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome become bankrupt.”
posted by nickrussell at 5:54 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"A single Northstar employee will reportedly use spreadsheets, not accounting software, to track the $20 billion that the CPA will spend on Iraq’s behalf between April 2003 and June 28, 2004. Of that amount, $12 billion is in cash." "The firm is so small that it operates out of a private home near San Diego."

It's good to be reminded regularly why the Bush presidency was the most fucking incompetent and corrupt administration in history.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:13 AM on June 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Watergate was a historical aberration, the Iran-Contra coverup is the norm. The intense political polarization is a feature, not a bug. It makes reform not just impossible, but inconceivable.
posted by warbaby at 6:28 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting this. How do we have money for vast expenditures on the military-industrial machine, money to fund contractors, literal bales of cash to ship to a war zone, and not enough money for health care. This outrage, it's bad for my blood pressure. and this wanton disregard for the American people is bad for my country.
posted by theora55 at 6:46 AM on June 14, 2011


My bad. We were working late, so I borrowed a pallet from petty cash to get some kebabs and I forgot to get the change.
posted by snofoam at 6:51 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


How do we have money for vast expenditures on the military-industrial machine, money to fund contractors, literal bales of cash to ship to a war zone, and not enough money for health care.

Joe Biden Loves $125,000,000,000 Lost War, Mocks $125 Tortoise Website

(Naturally I have posted this because I want Mitt Romney to be president.)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:05 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


In all seriousness, this morning I had a slight Bush nostalgia. I despised his policies and how he framed them, but it was pretty easy to know where he stood on issues, versus reading the tea leaves with President Obama. Then along comes something like this and I'm fully cured of what little kindness I had to say about the Bush presidency.
posted by dgran at 7:06 AM on June 14, 2011


The fact that given all of this obvious graft here, and in other places the torture, the screw-ups up and down, and that no one went to jail or even lost their jobs? That, unfortunately, must be put at the feet of Mr. Barack "We must look forward, not back" Obama.

Well, it's not directly related, but there may still be some hope of progress in that direction, too, though it's happening slowly and less publicly than some of us might like:
Feds Calling Witnesses Before Secret Grand Jury Probing CIA Abuses: Federal prosecutor John Durham has begun calling witnesses to testify before a secret grand jury probing the 2003 death of a man in CIA custody and other abuses at the agency, Adam Zagorin reported for Time.
My own suspicion on the missing cash is that this comment gets it right. The counter-insurgency component of "the surge" involved spreading lots of cash around to "grease the wheels," as the saying goes. Some of that money surely never reached its target and ended up only enriching some of the middle men along the way, but its intended use was always of a dubious nature, so it had to disappear one way or another. Even if all that cash was spent exactly as intended, it would still have to be unaccountable because it was intended to be spent bribing community leaders and mercenary fighters, which isn't the kind of thing officials ever admit to doing even in the face of irrefutable evidence.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:09 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is yet another reason why it gets harder and harder to tell my 10 year old son about the importance of empathy and responsibility and integrity. Because, truly, they aren't important at the top of our system.

"There is no rule of law in America"
posted by Trurl at 7:35 AM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm completely fed up with being spoken to like a child, bullied into compliance with every one of Obama's decisions, just because of some nutty Republican bogeyman.

The sad thing is 98% of us in here criticizing Obama will still go hold our nose and vote for him over the boogeyman next November because we're not stupid. We're just sick to death of being told all we can talk about is the boogeyman and this cartoonishly oversimplified us vs. them narrative. We can never try to understand American politics or society except through by looking these cheap blue and red glasses

Yeah, fuck that noise
posted by crayz at 7:49 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whenever this story pops up (and I've been hearing about it since 2005) I now think of the red money conspiracy. Six billion dollars missing, likely circulating and inflating.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:02 AM on June 14, 2011


And here I am, with my checking account displayed in another tab right now, figuring out is there is going to be too much month left at the end of the money. . .*sigh*
posted by Danf at 8:10 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


> The intense political polarization is a feature, not a bug. It makes reform not just impossible, but inconceivable.

How one can make such a huge, sweeping statement and not come up with a single argument or fact to back it up?

First, if you look at reform Presidents, they seem universally to appear during times of great political polarization: "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred." (FDR)

Going for broke on important issues, as Roosevelt did, implies large electoral wins, or large losses, which makes for powerful executives who really do have a "mandate" for change.

(Pause again to berate Mr. Obama - we gave you a huge mandate - how could you piss it all away without scoring us one big point!? :-( )

Second, the trouble with today's parties is precisely the lack of polarization. Sure, the two parties talk as though they hate each other - in theory - but in practice, they are to a man pro-security, pro-war, anti-tax, pro-Big Business. They battle on symbolic issues where they won't actually change anything, precisely because they won't change anything - that's why reproductive rights and climate change are so popular, because both sides talk passionately about them but don't in fact make any changes.

The reason for the hoopla marking the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell - which when it comes down to it had the exact net effect of making it possible for the military to recruit from a wider pool - was that this was again something that cost no money, directly affected a tiny number of Americans, and didn't have the slightest effect on the systematic looting of the country. It was billed as important, precisely because it was so unimportant.

We need MORE polarization. We needed the Democrats to filibuster the Iraq War! We needed the Republicans to filibuster the health bill - because if there had been rational, confident opposition instead of a lot of screaming by people who really expected to accomplish nothing, we might have discovered that the bill wasn't severable, and thus stands a good chance of being declared un-Constitutional and automatically struck down in its entirety.

Or perhaps that's a pipe-dream, but if the Republicans had shut down the government to block a real Universal Health Care, it would have forced people to actually put up or shut up - not drift into this bogus Health Care bill that, even if it isn't successfully challenged (and I personally believe it is NOT Constitutional), does not address the elephant in the room, the fact that the US health care system delivers increasingly poor quality results for your average American and yet is the most expensive in the world.

The three important questions of our age are the looting of the economy and the Treasury by the a tiny number of ultra-rich psychopaths, the eternal war state, and a world depending on ever-increasing consumption of resources whose limits we see staring us in the face. As long as we have two parties who agree completely that these are non-issues, we're going to continue racing toward the collapse.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:10 AM on June 14, 2011 [16 favorites]


A billion here, a billion there... Sooner or later, we're talking about real money!
posted by entropicamericana at 8:12 AM on June 14, 2011


This only hints at an even greater scandal. Think of the size of the couch they must have constructed using our tax dollars!

Leo Gallagher wanted for 'questioning' by authorities.
posted by Herodios at 8:15 AM on June 14, 2011


As a point of comparison the amount of money stolen is equal to almost the Bush administration's entire proposed 2007 budget for the Environmental Protection Agency

"We've taken the EPA's budget and dumped it in the Iraqi desert as a payoff to warlords and American contractors."

I can't really think of a better phrase to characterize the Republican party of the last ten years.
posted by quin at 8:22 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


coming from a lawyer, someone who's supposed to respect the law

Dude, police lawyer.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:23 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


coming from a lawyer, someone who's supposed to respect the law

HAHAHAHA *snort*

Oh, you were serious?!
posted by entropicamericana at 8:24 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The reason for the hoopla marking the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell - which when it comes down to it had the exact net effect of making it possible for the military to recruit from a wider pool - was that this was again something that cost no money, directly affected a tiny number of Americans, and didn't have the slightest effect on the systematic looting of the country.

And it's worth nothing that end required Dan Choi chaining himself to the White House fence, contributors heckling Obama at fundraisers, and similar actions from people not willing to be silenced by fear of the GOP bogeyperson du jour.
posted by Trurl at 8:54 AM on June 14, 2011


Your accounting system is shit.

My personal accounting system has a 1.5% overage amount, for unanticipated expenses, fees and errors in estimating costs. For my account that comes out to maybe $300.00 a year. For the Iraq war that would come out to 10.5 billion.

This is notable mostly because of the sheer scale of the expenses involved- the waste is impressive on a personal scale. On the scale the Pentagon operates on, compensating the Iraq government should be a minor accounting trick.

The real question is why the problem hasn't been dealt with; in who's interest is it to make a fuss over it?
posted by happyroach at 9:52 AM on June 14, 2011


> And it's worth nothing that end required Dan Choi chaining himself to the White House fence, contributors heckling Obama at fundraisers, and similar actions from people not willing to be silenced by fear of the GOP bogeyperson du jour.

("worth noting", yes?)

Unfortunately, yes.

As I've said before, I'm very queer-friendly and so was happy there was a rule preventing them from joining the US military. That a few gay men and women are so eager to go out and participate in these three overt and countless covert bullshit wars that are destroying this nation that they are willing chain themselves to fences and heckle the President does not make me happy.

The future history of this nation will mention gay rights in passing: "During these years, non-traditional genders slowly but mostly uneventfully became universally accepted in society except for a tiny number of increasingly isolated religious fundamentalists."

The meat of these future history books will either be the dramatic collapse of the United States military and economic empire, and much of what will be called "the Modern Economic System", or, let us hope, the miraculous recovery from the brink of the various human, economic and ecological disasters that stare us in the face and yet our leaders now won't even discuss.

Queer rights in the US, while they might be personally important, just aren't a fart in a windstorm compared to these great events, events that will change the lives of billions.

Let's face it - around where we live, we won. (While I'm personally hetero, for many reasons I personally identify with queer rights.) Yes, there are lots of awful countries to live where it's worth your life to be gay, but in Canada, Europe, and many other places, you have complete freedom to be pretty well as queer as you like and it's protected by law - the US is a little slow but let's get real here, they put out gay male actors in children's movies and no on thinks anything of it, Elton John plays Rush's wedding, in 20 years people will struggle to remember that there was a problem - that is, if we aren't all clad in rotting Wal-mart t-shirts and hunting for rats in the ruins of civilization using the shard of AOL disks as weapons...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:02 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


As I've said before, I'm very queer-friendly and so was happy there was a rule preventing them from joining the US military.

(While I'm personally hetero, for many reasons I personally identify with queer rights.)


While I understand the sentiment--hey, if they're not in the military, they're not dying for a lie, so they should be grateful they're not allowed to choose what they do with their own bodies--I'm not quite sure you fully grok the concept of "rights."
posted by Sys Rq at 10:16 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


warbaby: The intense political polarization is a feature, not a bug. It makes reform not just impossible, but inconceivable.


Inigo Montoya: I do not think that word means what you think it means.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:22 AM on June 14, 2011


"worth noting", yes?

Yes.

these three overt and countless covert bullshit wars

Yemen appears to be transitioning from the latter to the former.
posted by Trurl at 10:24 AM on June 14, 2011


> My personal accounting system has a 1.5% overage amount, for unanticipated expenses, fees and errors in estimating costs. For my account that comes out to maybe $300.00 a year. For the Iraq war that would come out to 10.5 billion.

The $6.6 billion lost isn't "over the entire Iraq war, we lost track of $6.6 billion." It's "In this single event, we sent $12 billion in cash to Iraq, and $6.6 billion was stolen."

That "1.5% overage" is deeply misleading - what we're talking about is 55% wastage or an astonishing 122% "overage" - because $5.4 billion got to its intended targets and $6.6 billion was wasted.

We have no idea what the overall wastage of the Iraq war is - but based on this small sample, I'd assume it's unbelievably huge. Since there will never be an accounting, we'll never know for sure.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:26 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have a lot to contribute on this topic but most of it comes out as angrish.
Some magnificent cuss poetry, but I'll avoid the pollution.

The problem is how do you shoot the devil in the back?

Switch to full auto and compensate for muzzle rise. If you miss, reload & repeat.
The devil can only kill you or make you like him. Die well.

was that this was again something that cost no money, directly affected a tiny number of Americans...It was billed as important, precisely because it was so unimportant.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. One man, ten or one million. As it is, historically in the U.S., the military has worked as an instrument of social equality. Repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell was crucial. And wouldn't have happened under McCain. Although Mark Kirk (R-IL) voted in favor of it so pressure works. Nixon was pushed into creating the EPA.

The sad thing is 98% of us in here criticizing Obama will still go hold our nose and vote for him...We're just sick to death of being told all we can talk about is the boogeyman and this cartoonishly oversimplified us vs. them narrative.

Well a lot of y'all are democrats. Which is bizarre when one criticizes Obama given how much crap the party has handed him when he's tried to head in a given direction.
In terms of the boogeyman thing, the choice isn't - or wasn't last presidential election - Coke vs. Pepsi (in terms of candidate) it was Coke vs. Cyanide.
We do need a viable third party. Or radical change in our parties...

We need MORE polarization.

I couldn't agree more. I might disagree with the efficacy of certain kinds of methods to achieve certain ends but I do agree 100% with this.
I've heard the Dems are more liberal now than they have been in the past. I really don't know. But I don't see any party putting what's right before what's acceptable. And that's with an understanding of what may be necessary for political strategy.
Look at Weiner (who was a hard charger and did seem like he was doing something about 'looting of the treasury' type issues). His own party members (Obama, Nancy Pelosi, et.al) pushed him to step down. And he's going into treatment? WTF? (I'm pretty straitlaced but flirting and sending racy pictures online isn't f'ing 'sex addition.') Reminds me of Soviet Russia, political deviation was a mental illness so you got institutionalized.

So yeah, who might have an interest in kicking this particular hornets nest? Particularly when their own party might stab their back in any number of ways. Energy and Commerce? Nah, not a lot of power and influence there. Should be easy to go after someone who's got $6 billion liquid, yeah?
There's no question it would be hard.
What's goofy is that this IS acceptable. That the political power of duly elected representatives and the power delegated to law enforcement agencies (EPA enforces laws too) is subordinate - and considered inferior - to economic power and concerns.

Whether it's more efficient or not we really do need public officials held accountable to the public rather than the morass we have now. I'm concerned less about the $6 billion itself than I am the "go fuck yourself" the public gets when we ask for accountability.
Or worse than that, just silence and unintelligible nonsense from the raggles on the fringe.

The worst of which is the intimation that only lower class people steal money. Some grunt might grab a double handful of bills, but Paul Bremer's the one who could steal it by the airshipment.

And that's just a drop in the bucket compared to the CPA's orders on unlimited repatriation of profit, criminal and civil immunity for contractors (say, good luck with that lawsuit guys), massive tax cuts for corporations operating in the war zone and tariff suspension, immunity from oversight of the Development Fund for Iraq (which blew through $19 billion in what, under a year?) by the Government Accountability Office etc. etc. etc. - hell if anything the $6 billion was blown just to cover the REAL heist.
Ah, don't get me started.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:37 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth: what kind of further investigation, if any, should there be into this missing money, and who should instigate it?

I think there should be an investigation into the missing money. But demanding the head of Bush and Cheney on a pole will only help their disciples get back into power.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:42 AM on June 14, 2011


The American people deserve to suffer long and hard for what they've allowed to happen.

Really? Even those of us who voted against Bush twice, protested the war, and supported (financially) every important organization that opposed the Bush Administration. Really?

If you went to prison for not paying income taxes, you get to be exempted.

Okay okay okay. I should have quit my job and dedicated my life to stopping the Iraq war. I would have run through all my savings, damaged my career, and possibly jeapordized my life. But it would be worth it, because I'd no longer have to meet the disapproving gaze of Atrazine of Metafilter. Right?

If you went to prison for not paying income taxes, you get to be exempted.

Okay, okay, you're right. If I had really cared, I would have gone over there personally and laid down in front of a tank. Then you'd be cool with me, right?

If you went to prison for not paying income taxes, you get to be exempted.

Oh shit, okay. Let's say I just set myself on fire in front of the Bush whitehouse to protest the war in Iraq. I would have given my life to create a daring (if cliched) media spectacle that surely would have stopped the war in its tracks. Then, finally, you would no longer hold me personally accountable for the actions of an administration that I voted against and actively despised, right?

If you went to prison for not paying income taxes, you get to be exempted.

Damn. Brother can't catch a break around here, can he?
posted by Afroblanco at 10:46 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


> But demanding the head of Bush and Cheney on a pole will only help their disciples get back into power.

Which comment here are you referring to?

I have to say, I have never understood this idea that if politicians and public servants are charged with and perhaps convicted of criminal acts it will somehow help their political parties.

If Bush were charged with crimes against humanity, and a lot of evidence exposed to public view, I don't think your average voter's response would be, "Let's vote Republican," even if Bush did get off somehow.

Americans don't like losers - and we're losing the Iraq war. If a legal case could really pin the failure of the Iraq War on Bush and Cheney, I think a lot of Americans on both sides might take it as a convenient out, disavow the war, and heap disdain on B&C - disdain they would of course have deeply deserved.

As far as most Americans are concerned, might makes right. If Bush and Cheney were perp-walked into a courtroom and then confronted with a mass of evidence, even a lot of Republicans would look at Mr. Obama with increased respect.

Not that I think this would ever happen!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:10 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is a horrible example of what is wrong with contemporary society. And imho this isn't singularly an American or two-party problem. Every politician, everywhere is chasing the swing-voters. That even goes for Middle-Eastern and Chinese dictators. No national politician is much concerned with his/her core voters. They'll hold their noses whatever happens, since in their view, the consequences of not voting are worse.

A huge amount of money has been lost/wasted in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Not only US money, but tax-payers' money from every single country involved. But no one will ever be held accountable. Obama is one among very few Democrats in a position to take on this issue. But since most of his allies in Congress have voted for the wars, for the aid and for just about every stupid decision after 9-11, he can't move an inch. And now he owns those two wars and the rebuilding of those two nations. Don't even get started on Pakistan, Yemen, Palestine etc. And it's the same everywhere (except Spain and Germany, but they have their own set of horrors).

The weird thing is, those swing voters probably don't care shit about those wars. Neither for nor against. This story has been around for 6-7 years, and no one noticed. I don't see any outrage building now. But they would care about a trial with Bush/Cheney, Blair, whoever on the bench. Because that would question their judgement. It wouldn't just be the ex-president or ex-PM on the bench, it would be every single person who voted for them. I'm not saying this can never happen - with Nixon it was close. Right now, Berlusconi is close. But voters need to be really, really angry before they will accept they have been cheated on, and act accordingly. It's human nature.
posted by mumimor at 11:20 AM on June 14, 2011


And thankfully, maybe I am wrong
posted by mumimor at 11:23 AM on June 14, 2011


Ironmouth: "Ironmouth: what kind of further investigation, if any, should there be into this missing money, and who should instigate it?

I think there should be an investigation into the missing money. But demanding the head of Bush and Cheney on a pole will only help their disciples get back into power."

I'm not demanding that, others may be. But to repeat, who should instigate it? Should Obama try to lead opinion on this, should he instigate an investigation through, say, the FBI, or should he ignore this on the basis of not looking backwards? Or something else? What is Obama's role in this, do you think, as an Obama supporter?
posted by Rumple at 11:25 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw pallets of cash once. A friend who works at a Federal Reserve office game me a tour. It was right after Y2K and the government had printed a bunch of extra cash, I guess in case the electronic banking system went down. He pointed out these huge pallets of cash they were now going to destroy since they didn't need it anymore.
posted by marxchivist at 11:30 AM on June 14, 2011


Somewhere inside of him is a movie script with one of those C-130s going down in the middle of a dust-storm and kicking off a 100 million dollar treasure hunt between a bunch of mujahideen, Baathists, CIA, Iraqi policemen, South African security consultants, and a few "in over their head" National Guardsmen

Holly effing crap! Kelley's Heroes meets the Iraq war .... thinking furiously...

Seriously , if anyone is interested in collaborating on the idea - memail me.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:59 PM on June 14, 2011


Kelley's Heroes meets the Iraq war

It's been done.
posted by mediareport at 4:56 PM on June 14, 2011


I like to think I'm an honest guy, but if I were a soldier escorting a few pallets of cash being flown to an Iraqi warlord I'd seriously consider saying "Hey guys, you know what we could do with this plane?"

And if those pallets were actually part of a major shipment ... well, would anybody in the chain of command admit that they were responsible for losing billions of dollars of physical currency? Far better to keep quiet and look wise if anyone questions it. Nobody's going to suspect that it was an accounting error or petty theft; everyone will think it has something to do with a secret operation.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:01 PM on June 14, 2011


Pentagon officials have contended for the last six years that they could account for the money if given enough time to track down the records. But repeated attempts to find the documentation, or better yet the cash, were fruitless.

Yes, it is completely impossible to retroactively trace the migration patterns of millions of sheets of uniquely numbered paper.
posted by benzenedream at 11:56 PM on June 14, 2011


trurl I think Tom Engelhardt just about nails it. It's nice to see this article about the "Post-Legal Society" has made it to Le Monde Diplomatique amongst many others. He puts together eloquently what so many of us think, and so many of us ignore. It would nice if someone gave voice to all this in the upcoming 2012 elections though I am not holding my breath as it is in both side's interest to uphold the status quo and both sides work for Wall St, though Matt Taibbi seems to be one of the few on the case after your too big to fail corporate elite.
posted by adamvasco at 2:37 AM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Post-Legal Society, isn't that the one which comes before Post-Headed Rich People?
posted by fullerine at 3:03 AM on June 15, 2011


The Secret History of Iraq’s Invisible War
posted by homunculus at 2:24 PM on June 15, 2011


Did the CIA spy on Iraq war critic Juan Cole? Former agency officer claims the Bush White House asked for personal information on antiwar blogger

Feinstein: Senate Intel Committee May Investigate CIA Targeting of Cole
posted by homunculus at 12:03 PM on June 19, 2011


Looking Back, Gates Says He’s Grown Wary of ‘Wars of Choice’
In the interview, Mr. Gates was asked to confirm reports of policy duels during the two years before Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney left office, a time in which he was said to have been successful in altering policies or blocking missions that might have escalated into another conflict.

“The only thing I guess I would say to that is: I hope I’ve prevented us from doing some dumb things over the past four and a half years — or maybe dumb is not the right word, but things that were not actually in our interest,” Mr. Gates said.

Pressed to offer more details, Mr. Gates smiled and said, “I will in my book.”

Some of the defense secretary’s confidants, however, confirmed that Mr. Gates prevented provocative, adventurist policies against Iran, in particular, that might have spun into war.
posted by homunculus at 12:08 PM on June 19, 2011


Missing Iraq cash 'as high as $18bn'
Iraq's parliament speaker tells Al Jazeera unaccounted reconstruction money is three times the reported $6.6bn.
posted by adamvasco at 12:53 PM on June 19, 2011


$2.7 Billion Later, the Army’s Intelligence-Sharing Computer System Still Doesn’t Work
posted by homunculus at 3:43 PM on July 5, 2011


« Older Think making beer at home is legal? Depends where ...  |  "Using pejorative terms like "... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments