- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; annotated edition edition (August 29, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316166278
- ISBN-13: 978-0316166270
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,228,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq Hardcover – August 29, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Miller's collection of riveting, disheartening narratives chronicle the spendthrift methods of the coalition behind the Iraq invasion, featuring so many spurious entrepreneurs, opportunistic politicians and greedy contractors that it almost requires a pen and paper to keep track of them all. Beginning with the war itself, Miller demonstrates how the high hopes and genuine passion of those in the front lines paved the way for corruption, fraud and criminal negligence. Miller cites countless improbable, self-serving schemes, including Alaska Senator Ted Stevens's plan to get Iraq's cellular phone network built by Eskimos; the high-end children's hospital proposed and built by Bush family friends at the expense of Iraq's already-existing and badly in-need health facilities; and the work of Halliburton, whose unprecedented involvement makes for disturbing revelations: "From reveille to lights out, the American military depended on Halliburton for its existence." Miller's telling examples, covering everything from water and electricity restoration to security, health care and oil production, are at once depressing and compelling, and one gets the sense that Miller could've gone on ad infinitum relating unfinished and tarnished projects. Though Miller jumps from one sector of Iraq's infrastructure to another and shows little concern for chronology, the coalition's effort itself is too disorganized and the avaricious characters too plentiful to permit Miller to concoct a more unified and linear narrative. Despite this, Miller's important account fascinates throughout with the breadth and depth of the ongoing debacle.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The U.S. has expended dollars and lives in Iraq with little positive to show for it, according to investigative reporter Miller in this searing account of how the Bush administration has mismanaged the Iraq war and reconstruction. Miller focuses on the bungling of government spending and private contracts, some $30 billion committed to rebuilding Iraq, a greater sum than for the Marshall Plan. Miller follows the "motley assortment of retired Republican operatives, U.S. businessmen and Iraqi exiles with dubious histories and doubtful motives" who have been engaged in the rebuilding efforts. Detailing the lack of planning, as well as the greed and incompetence of contractors, Miller highlights the myriad ways that the Iraq reconstruction has failed: a former Transportation Department secretary who was fired after he negotiated to sell the state airline to a company involved in the oil for food scandal; a New York police commissioner hired to train a new Iraq police force who left when it was disclosed that he had a mistress and connections with the Mafia. Among the botched projects was the reconstruction of a pipeline at a site that proved unstable, and numerous failures to restore basic services. Readers interested in understanding the political and economic dynamics behind the faltering campaign in Iraq will appreciate this investigation. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
The book starts with a very useful timeline of events, and the opening premise that Paul Wolfowitz was wrong on virtually every promise and claim made to Congress.
The author's strategic view, threaded throughout the book, is that the U.S. effort in Iraq never had coherent "supreme commander" type leadership, that virtually all elements (U.S. Army and U.S. Marines excepted) lacked both intelligence and integrity, and that this was one of the most incompetent, ignorant occupations in the history of mankind. He does seem to avoid pointing out that Rumsfeld demanded complete military control of the country, relegated the diplomats to the back room, and did not even tell Bremer for a year that there was a diplomatic plan for nation-building. This is on Rumsfeld and Bremer. History will judge them harshly.
The author documents that the US Government knew in advance that there was no plan for the peace (the State Department efforts not-withstanding) and no way of creating an effective plan.
The author is powerful in showing that "shock and awe" warfare made the transition to peace virtually impossible. 17 out of 21 Ministry headquarters buildings were completely destroyed (and then the occupying force allowed for the looting of all offices, all museums, all universities, and all stockpiles of ammunition and explosives needed for the Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) that have killed so many of our troops. The oil infrastructure was not protected, was completely looted, and this lost the chance for paying anything with oil in the early years.
Immortal quote on page 40: "...a circus, a Looney Tunes version of government, hatched on the fly, delivered at random, and operating without instruction."
Reconstruction cost estimate: $2.4 billion. Actual cost: $30 billion and rising. Results after several years: less than 10% of the needed work. Money unaccounted for: $18 billion.
The author differs from those who supported sanctions in pointing out that the sanctions virtually destroyed Iraq's health system.
Psychologically, the author suggests that the months of lip service to freedom and reconstruction raised hopes that were then dashed. One is reminded of the Davies J-Curve from the 1970's--revolutions occur not among the oppressed, but among those who have been shown the prospect of freedom and prosperity, and then had it taken out of their grasp.
On contracting, one's stomach turns with every page. Cost plus, no incentive to save; U.S. companies doing for millions what Iraqi companies would do for tens of thousands; U.S. contractors earning $60K and more, foreign laborers imported for $3000 a year. The author specifically quotes contractors as saying they knew they could steal the process blind in the first year, which would be "open season."
I consider this book to be the eventual final nail in the coffin of the Private Military Contractors. The author documents how the military's very unwise reliance on private contractors for combat zone logistics led to a need for private contractors to provide security, to the point that 22% of the reconstruction dollars are going toward Private Military Corporations (PMC).
My global reading program suggests that the Bush-Cheney Administration will go down in history as having pulled off the most blatant program of planned lies to the public, Congress, and the United Nations, and the most blatant slight of hand in switching the burden from a properly staffed military command to a war-profiteering mélange of PMCs. There is no question in my mind but that we need to eliminate PMCs along with Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) in the future, and we need to properly fund four forces after next: big war force, small war and gendarme force, peace force, and homeland security force. The US military today is a Cadillac built for the superhighway, when we need 10 jeeps, 100 motorcycles, and 1000 bicycles.
The author condemns both the U.S. Government in all its parts, and the PMCs in all their parts, for issuing frantic and confused orders and never really getting their act together. This book is the obituary for Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Paul Bremmer, among others.
EDIT of 10 Dec 07: Since then war crimes of contractors have become an issue, see Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror and varied media stories.
This book offers the proof that this whole fiasco of a "war" was designed to rob the Treasury of the United States.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The crimes themselves are well known to readers of the Internet. There is nothing new here.Read more