The General Accountability Office, the DOD Inspector General, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction and numerous other government investigative agencies have told us over and over again in reports that Iraq contracting is a mess. In the past three years of investigating the fraud and waste in Iraq for my book, troops have told me over and over again how they are not getting the equipment that they need while KBR is spending money for soft serve ice cream at the big bases (where the top military brass are) and are billing the government up to a half a billion dollars a month.
We have heard it all before and most Americans are angry about the waste and fraud but just wring their hands because the Congress seems paralyzed to do anything about it. Well, the Senate has a chance to now step up to the plate. Senator James Webb, Senator Claire McCaskill and others have reintroduced the bill to make a Commission on Wartime Contracting, patterned after the very successful Truman Committee during World War II, to have this Congress investigate this war while it is still going on. I have been researching the original Truman Commission which went from 1941-1948 and it was amazingly successful. However, most of its effective investigations and changes happened while World War II was still going. After the war, it lost steam because the public wanted to get past the war and move on.
We are losing billions of dollars to waste in Iraq and this waste comes at the expense of our troops. We are spending two billion dollars a week with little oversight and controls and the war service industry companies are taking advantage of this desperate war situation. The DOD and the Army are just barely beginning to look into accountability and they have enormous institutional pressures to not expose their own shortcomings and waste. They will want to defend the current system and not admit to the ongoing procurement disaster in Iraq.
It will take the Congress to establish a commission to start peel back the layers of fraud, fat and waste in this war and find out why the troops are still not getting what they need. The Senate has the chance in the next few days to really make a difference here. The Commission on Wartime Contracting Act may come up as soon as today. Will the Senate turn a deaf ear to the lobbying efforts of the contractors and their apologists and vote for the oversight that is so desperately needed? Take a look at Senator Webb's bill and show some guts. The troops and the taxpayers need some relief here and this Senate could make some positive history. If you are weary of hearing about the waste and fraud, call your Senator and tell them to buck up and vote for this oversight bill. Tell them that the bill is supported by good government groups such as the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), Government Accountability Project (GAP), OMBWatch, and Taxpayers for Common Sense. It is also being supported by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, because the troops know that this waste and fraud is coming at their expense. Tell your Senator that this can be a vote that they can feel good about for years to come as the fraud scandals of this war begin to unfold.