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 Ann Coulter Reply

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 November, 2007

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 Ann Coulter - Iraq: America's Money Pit

If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?
Will Rogers
Iraq: Americaís Money Pit

By Al Owens
According to the Joint Economic Committee, led by U.S. Senate Democrats, by the year 2017 the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost as much as $3.5 trillion.

Ok, Iíll admit the Democrats probably added a couple billion dollars here and a couple billions there to give their figures some added drama.

And of course the Republicans in congress claimed the Democrats cooked the books. Heck, with $3.5 trillion dollars they could move the entire country of Iraq to the east coast of the United States and convert into an amusement park.

Personally, Iím sticking with the $2.4 trillion estimate by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Officeís a few weeks back.

Whatever the cost, thereís still a lot of mishandling of your money going on over there. Both estimates rolled in the really curious cost of that new state-of-the-art mega U.S. Embassy currently being built in Baghdad.

That thing could end up with a billion dollar price tag. Itís already $144 million dollars over budget, and behind schedule. (I canít think of anything in history thatís ever been $144 million dollars over budget, can you?)

I guess nobody told the Bush administration that building an embassy in the heart of a war zone, could present those kinds of problems.

But when itís finally completed, weíll all be able to head for Baghdad, dodge IEDís and get our pictures taken at the front gate of a 21 building, 104 acre complex thatís as large as Vatican City.

Why itís so large Iíll never know, but the typical U.S. embassy only takes up 10 acres.

Understandably, some of those cost overruns have been attributed to fraud and waste. Thereís even the claim that the State Department was neglect in keeping a close eye on your money in that regard. Itís even been said that the very person in charge of the oversight, the State Departmentís inspector-general Howard "Cookie" Krongard, has tried to block investigations into alleged fraudulent activities.

Heís the same guy theyíre claiming hasnít exactly been forthright in allowing investigations into that merry band of security henchmen known as Blackwater Worldwide.

You remember Blackwater, donít you? Theyíre the hired security contractors whoíve been known to confuse the streets of Baghdad with firing ranges, and their inhabitants as walking bulls-eyes.

Well the other day, Krongard made a guest appearance in front of the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee. He hardly had enough to get comfortable in his chair, before the committeeís chair launched verbal fireballs in his direction. Californiaís Henry Waxman claimed Krongardís handling of the embassy matter was an example of ďreckless incompetence.Ē

Krongard should have known it would be all downhill from there. But he still stuck around for the equivalent of his own congressional necktie party.

It seems some of the committee members believe Krongardís lack of aggressiveness in getting to the bottom of the Blackwater scandal stemmed from the fact that Krongardís brother, A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, has had some kind of direct dealings with the company.

Most people call that a conflict of interest. The Bush administration calls that a potential no bid contract.

Krongard vehemently denied there had been any financial tie between Blackwater and his brother. He even claimed heíd asked his brother about the ďdirty rumorĒ that was going around, and his brother claimed no such relationship existed.

Well, that should have ended that round of questioning, but it didnít. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, just happened to have had a letter written by the chairman of Blackwater, Erik Prince, asking Krongardís brother to become a member of Blackwaterís advisory board. And if that wasnít enough, Cummings claimed Krongardís brother was at a Blackwater meeting ďas we speak.Ē

Oops.

The committee broke for a little recess, Krongard called his brother, and when he returned from the break he announced he was going to recuse himself from anything to do with the Blackwater investigations. (As if he hadnít already recused himself)

You simply canít make this stuff up.

You have a president who vetoed a $606 spending bill that had in it spending for education, health and labor programs, but he goes to the political mat to make sure his war continues to get funded - a war with a multi-trillion dollar price tag, and no end in sight.

Heís a president who is willing to spend a billion dollars for an embassy in Iraq, but who wants to draw the line on helping some of Americaís children to get needed health care.

I started this with Will Rogers, let me end it with him too. ďWhen ignorance gets started it knows no bounds.Ē