Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bush Track Record of Poor Investigations and "Record Keeping" Continue

An investigation into the discrepancies between Pentagon testimony regarding 9/11 and their records revealed there is no evidence Defense Department officials intentionally misled the September 11th Commission. According to the Pentagon, the discrepancies resulted from poor investigation and record keeping.

Let me get this right, the administration conducted a poor initial investigation of the happenings on 9/11. This resulted in disturbing testimony according to the bi-partisan leaders of the Commission. Therefore, they referred it back to the group that botched the job to begin with? The Pentagon’s second investigation cited the poor quality of the initial investigation and the government’s own record keeping.

The 9/11 Commission co-chairs had this to say in reference to the disturbing testimony.

"Fog of war could explain why some people were confused on the day of 9/11, but it could not explain why all of the after-action reports, accident investigations and public testimony by FAA and NORAD officials advanced an account of 9/11 that was untrue."

Given the Bush administration track record why would anyone believe any one of their “investigations”? The Pentagon investigated the Haditha killings in Iraq at least five times. The latest investigation reveals evidence supports accusations that the Marines deliberately killed civilians, including women and children. Prosecutors will determine if criminal charges are filed.

The White House conducted the sorriest investigation I have seen to date on their actions post Hurricane Katrina. Did you know the hospital where 24 patients died did not warrant one mention in the Bush report? A nursing home with 6 or 7 patient deaths is mentioned, but not LifeCare Hospital’s facility in Memorial Hospital. LifeCare had been purchased by The Carlyle Group just weeks before Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. This investment house shares a Pennsylvania Avenue address with President Bush and has employed Bush Sr. to promote their investment opportunities in areas of the world where he remains popular.

A credible investigation states who was responsible, what happened, how those duties were performed (good and bad), and how to do better next time. The White House Lessons Learned report failed on most counts.

The rampant corruption in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq speaks to the administrations track record of poor “record keeping”. A Halliburton contractor, Eagle Global Logistics, paid the government $4 million for its fraudulent invoices. A Vice President Christopher Cahill inflated invoice over $1 million to justify the fraudulent surcharges.

Several Pentagon insiders are being sued for scheming with banned contractor Custer Battles LLC to form sham companies that sold illegal weapons on the black market. In March Custer Battles was found guilty in overcharging the Coalition Provisional Authority by as much as $50 million. One of the principals in Custer Battles LLC had his wife Jacqueline Battles take $2 million to Germany for deposit. A civil judgment requires the company pay the government and whistleblowers $10 million for their fraud. The attorney for Mr. Custer and Battles has no information on their whereabouts and the company’s phone number has been disconnected. The company hasn’t issued a press release since April 2005. Its track record in Iraq remains dubious.

The Special Inspector for Iraqi Reconstruction just released his analysis of the poor results in rebuilding Iraq. He blames the long history of corruption in the country. Huh? All the stories I have seen to date involve corruption by American companies, conducted by U.S. government officials or corporate officials. Phillip Bloom used over $1 million in cash, cars, jewelry and even sexual favors from women at his villa in Baghdad. In return, the officials steered millions of dollars in reconstruction contracts to Bloom's companies. What about the reconstruction decision makers, were they also American?

All these news stories ran the last day, except for the LifeCare Hospitals omission. That is yet to hit the mainstream press. What is one who keeps up with the news to think? Don’t trust the Bush administration to execute competently, comes to mind. Once they fail, don’t trust them to conduct a thorough investigation is Lesson #2.

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