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Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq Hardcover – August 29, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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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Product Details

  • 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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,370,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Halliburton is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Have you ever heard of Nuor, Bechtel, or SYColeman? They are merely chunks off an icy flotilla of the government's favored contractors.

Daily news reports are filled with hints of the abuse of taxpayer dollars. In Blood Money, Miller spells it out in sickening detail. The very people who the American public have entrusted to "take care of business" are doing just that, and lining their own pockets in the process. No project, or life, is too big next to pockets of green.

The Iraqi reconstruction process is plagued with poor planning, poor implementation, and misguided funding. Contractors are put in the line of fire in order to repair or rebuild infrastructure, and much of it falls apart after they leave due to the lack of training and/or necessary tools to keep it going. In some cases, the "reconstruction" efforts may have lasting negative effects on Iraqi citizens.

Especially alarming is the possibility that botched repairs of a water infusion plant by a highly-paid American contracting group may be contributing to permanent damage to Iraqi oil fields. In the desert, the lack of ground water affects the pressure needed to allow oil to seep up from the ground, and the infusion plant does just that: infuses water into the ground to increase that pressure. Making matters worse are the broken pipelines that cause oil backups at working wells, forcing well workers to pump it back into the ground.

Then there are the "expendable" third-world workers and blue-collar truck drivers brought in by some contractors to fill job orders - only to be mowed down by insurgent fire.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a definite five star piece of work that approaches our failures in Iraq from a different perspective, and hence should be read with, Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq. It goes beyond Squandered Victory, which creates outrage over incompetence, and actually turns one's stomach with disgust toward the end.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
An important and imperative work. Investigative journalisim at its best under trying circumstances. American at its core, in that it gets a tough and dirty job done. Not with the help of government, but despite it. In this Reagan era of privitizaton/trust the market place, we have a choice: trust Bush or the dollar. How could you lose? The book opens and closes with Col. Ted Westhusing, the definition of his alma mater, WEST POINT: DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY. Third in his class, plus a doctor of philosophy, and an exemplary record of war/peace service. Yet he met his nemesis: Iraq. For in Iraq he found a war of privitization that had nothing what so ever to do with DUTY, HONOR, or COUNTRY. It was simply about the money, or at best, cronyism. Whether it was murder or suicide, his last communication was in writing and I paraphrase, " I cannot support a mission that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. No more. I cannot support corrupt, money hungry contractors, nor work for commanders only intersested in themselves. I came to serve honorably and I feel dishonored. Why serve when you cannot accomplish the mission, when you no longer believe in the cause, when your every effort and breath is met with lies, lack of support and selfishness. Life needs trust". So what comes around goes around. When a government is "elected" that produces Iraqs and Katrinas then you get the government you deserve. Col. Ted Westhusing desevered better. We, the citizenry could count on him. But in the end, he could not count on us. This book needs to be read and passed on by word of mouth. I wouln't count on the privitized mainstream press. I think there are about a total of four papers left that still have a investigative journalism department. After all, it is all about the bottom line. The Money. Highly recommended!!!!!
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