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Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq Paperback – May 2, 2007
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This book offers the proof that this whole fiasco of a "war" was designed to rob the Treasury of the United States.
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.
The examples of political and corporate abuse are so abundant that even reading a few chapters will enrage people who oppose the war and worry supporters. It is clear that the Iraqis need reconstruction help, but there needs to be more accountability.
T. Christian Miller is the kind of investigative reporter who promises to walk in the shoes of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. His tireless efforts and thorough sourcing are to be highly commended, as it takes a brave person to speak up against the powerful people he takes on in this book.
Future journalism--and ethics--classes will do well to add this sad chapter to their lessons.
Reviewed by Christina Wantz Fixemer
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The crimes themselves are well known to readers of the Internet. There is nothing new here.Read more