"The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.
The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.
"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."Administration officials still emphasize how much they have achieved despite the chaos that followed the invasion and the escalating insurgency."Iraqis are taking control of their country, building a free nation that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself. And we're helping Iraqis succeed," President Bush said yesterday in his radio address.
(emphasis added)U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq
August 14, 2005As Bush was saying:
"Iraqi investigators have uncovered widespread fraud and waste in more than $1 billion worth of weapons deals arranged by middlemen who reneged or took huge kickbacks on contracts to arm Iraq's fledgling military, according to a confidential report and interviews with U.S. and Iraqi officials.
The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit, in a report reviewed by Knight Ridder, describes transactions suggesting that senior U.S.-appointed Iraqi officials in the Defense Ministry used three intermediary companies to hide the kickbacks they received from contracts involving unnecessary, overpriced or outdated equipment.
Knight Ridder reported last month that $300 million in defense funds had been lost. But the report indicates that the audit board uncovered a much larger scandal, with losses likely to exceed $500 million, that's roiling the ministry as it struggles to build up its armed forces. The episode deprives Iraq's military of essential gear that could help prepare the way for U.S. forces to withdraw. It also raises questions about the new government's ability to provide an effective defense against an entrenched insurgency and win broad acceptance among Iraqis.
.... Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, who oversees the U.S. military's training of Iraqi troops, conducts weekly briefings with the defense minister. Other Iraqi defense officials seldom are spotted without American civilian advisers nearby. The close relationship has raised questions as to how $500 million or more could vanish without U.S. intervention to stop the suspicious contracts that flowed for at least eight months.
"Ask them. I have the same question," al-Dulaimi said. "I blame those who posted them (the officials under investigation). And, by the way, the CPA posted them."
.... "Before me, there was another prime minister. His name was Bremer," Ayad Allawi, who served as interim premier when the corruption investigation began sometime last year, told Knight Ridder. "He ran this country, he had this ministry and a lot of the corruption started then. ... There was no auditing. Airplanes were flying in and the money was handed out in suitcases."
.... "The entire embassy was upside down over this," he said. "I swear to God the advisers didn't know everything going on over there. Where did they get their information? From the Iraqis. I can give you one budget that says this country is flourishing and another that tells you this country is going to s---. The Iraqis told us only what they wanted us to hear."
.... "This is not only the Defense Ministry's problem. It affects the image of the new Iraq," al-Dulaimi said. "If we really spent that money in the right way, maybe it would have given us more capabilities to face terrorists."
.... "It's chaos," al-Dulaimi said, visibly exasperated. "It's a result of all the chaos brought to Iraq."Audit: Iraq fraud drained $1 billion
August 11, 2005Does the Bush Administration only apply sun tan lotion to Bush while he vacations?Somebody should Talk to him about the first report above. Way to go Cindy Sheehan ..... You have already snarled him.