Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bush Minions Can't Provide Oversight

From intelligence to wartime contracting, President Bush continues to appoint ex-insiders to key "oversight" positions. Earlier this year, George W. tapped ex-Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend and ex-Joint Chief of Staff General Peter Pace for his Presidential Intelligence Advisory Board.

This past week President Bush appointed Grant S. Green and Dov S. Zakheim to the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Which departments spent the most money in those countries since the various wars began? It's the State and Defense Departments, prior employers of both nominees. Grant served as Under Secretary of Management for State while Dov labored as Chief Financial Officer of the DoD.

The latest audit of Iraq spending revealed virtually all of $8.2 paid to private contractors between 2001 and 2006 did not meet U.S. rules for preventing fraud. Both Mr. Green and Dr. Zakheim served from 2001 to 2004, over half the study period. Under their management tutelage these potential abuses occurred.

But it's not the first time George W. Bush placed the fox in an oversight or an investigative position over the chicken ranch. He charged Fran Townsend with conducting a robust study of the White House response to Hurricane Katrina. Like Bush's guitar strumming while levee's failed, Fran's report came in off key.

How does one complete an investigation without any mention of the hospital with the largest number of patient deaths post-landfall? The White House Lessons Learned report was a bust for the general public. However, it garnered a huge sigh of relief by LifeCare Hospital of New Orleans' new corporate owners, The Carlyle Group. I expect similar work from Grant S. Green and Dov S. Zakheim on wartime contracting. Let the corporate protection begin!

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