For the LOLs:
…your company magically wins a contract from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to design and build the Baghdad Police College, a facility that’s supposed to house and train at least 4,000 police recruits. But two years and $72 million later, you deliver not a functioning police academy but one of the great engineering clusterfucks of all time, a practically useless pile of rubble so badly constructed that its walls and ceilings are literally caked in shit and piss, a result of subpar plumbing in the upper floors.
[W]hen auditors from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction visit the college in the summer of 2006, their report sounds like something out of one of the Saw movies: “We witnessed a light fixture so full of diluted urine and feces that it would not operate,” they write, adding that “the urine was so pervasive that it had permanently stained the ceiling tiles” and that “during our visit, a substance dripped from the ceiling onto an assessment team member’s shirt.” The final report helpfully includes a photo of a sloppy brown splotch on the outstretched arm of the unlucky auditor.
Every time they scratched their asses, they earned; there was so much money around for contractors, officials literally used $100,000 wads of cash as toys. “Yes – $100 bills in plastic wrap,” Frank Willis, a former CPA official, acknowledged in Senate testimony about Custer Battles. “We played football with the plastic-wrapped bricks for a little while.”
At the very outset of the occupation, when L. Paul Bremer was installed as head of the CPA, one of his first brilliant ideas for managing the country was to have $12 billion in cash flown into Baghdad on huge wooden pallets and stored in palaces and government buildings. To pay contractors, he’d have agents go to the various stashes – a pile of $200 million in one of Saddam’s former palaces was watched by a single soldier, who left the key to the vault in a backpack on his desk when he went out to lunch – withdraw the money, then crisscross the country to pay the bills.
[S]ome $8.8 billion of the $12 billion proved impossible to find. “Who in their right mind would send 360 tons of cash into a war zone?” asked Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight Committee. “But that’s exactly what our government did.”
Because contractors were paid on cost-plus arrangements, they had a powerful incentive to spend to the hilt. The undisputed master of milking the system is KBR, the former Halliburton subsidiary so ubiquitous in Iraq that soldiers even encounter its customer-survey sheets in outhouses. The company has been exposed by whistle-blowers in numerous Senate hearings for everything from double-charging taxpayers for $617,000 worth of sodas to overcharging the government 600 percent for fuel shipments. When things went wrong, KBR simply scrapped expensive gear: The company dumped 50,000 pounds of nails in the desert because they were too short, and left the Army no choice but to set fire to a supply truck that had a flat tire. “They did not have the proper wrench to change the tire,” an Iraq vet named Richard Murphy told investigators, “so the decision was made to torch the truck.”
In perhaps the ultimate example of military capitalism, KBR reportedly ran convoys of empty trucks back and forth across the insurgent-laden desert, pointlessly risking the lives of soldiers and drivers so the company could charge the taxpayer for its phantom deliveries. Truckers for KBR, knowing full well that the trips were bullshit, derisively referred to their cargo as “sailboat fuel.”
At this point I’m probably about halfway through the article. It JUST KEEPS GOING.
When you see waste and damage like that… all you can really do is say “fuck it - I’m not paying for it; and I can’t stop it”. It’s just so outrageous, so otherworldly, so futile, all you can do is laugh. We’ll be laughing about this in textbooks on mismanagement for years to come. This is the kind of comedy money can’t buy… well… Canadian money can’t buy this comedy. The US Taxpayer and under-trained contractors pay a pretty high price for these laughs.