Monday, November 20, 2006

Corruption Starts at the Top

"...violence may be the most obvious problem in Iraq, but there’s another…the problem is corruption…what makes it especially pervasive is that the corruption starts at the top....”

That's a promising start from Steve Inskeep on NPR this morning . So hopefully, we're going to hear from Jamie Tarabay how corruption in Iraq is the direct offspring of Paul Bremer and the CPA's "free fraud zone" and how the Bush administration refused to prosecute those responsible. Right?

Wrong. Instead of discussing the corrupt Iraqi Green Zone government in the context of its proud parents, NPR puts all the focus on corrupt Iraqis. We hear from Bush appointee, "Stuart Bowen...here to audit and investigate shoddy workmanship and possible fraud among US contractors, but he says there are problems with the Iraqis as well -- (his voiceover cutting in) 'corruption is endemic; it’s what I’ve heard Iraqi officials describe it to me...you know hundreds and hundreds of reports documenting concerns about corruption”

So the problem is those darned Iraqis. This is not a new trend; it seems to be a conscious plan of the administration to dump responsibility for its Iraq disaster on to the Iraqis - and NPR is willing to go along. As Tarabay states at the end of the piece: "The burden is now on the Iraqis."

Update: I had to add this great post on US led corruption which was noted by Informed Comment.

2 comments:

Porter Melmoth said...

Poor Jamie. I wouldn't be surprised if, due to the extreme limitations regarding safety for reporters in Iraq, she is obliged to take the word of her American protectors as gospel, as there seems to be a dwindling will to investigate on Tarabay's part. That's probably why she got this gig, as no one else wanted it.

Thing is, in increasing reports both stateside and netside, Bremer & Co. are starting to be hammered for not only making monumental blunders, but allowing corruption to assume modus operandi proportions in the scheme of things Iraqi. One still hears feeble 'good things have also been accomplished' statements here and there, but the fecal matter is starting to hit the fan, and neither a trembling youth reporter on the scene (yet shielded from it), nor a twit motormouth 'host' are reliable sources for a story this big.

In any case, ending a report, no matter how limited-access it was, with a banal 'the burden is now on the Iraqis' is nothing short of outrageous.

Kevan said...

That's would be funny if it weren't so sad. Bowen is there to ivestigate U.S. contractors, NPR says, then asks him about Iraqis. It seems an American trait to view almost all foreign governments as corrupt. Ours is often just as bad, though, admittedly the outright bribes that are the norm in many places are a relative rarity here. Perhaps we should start treating our government like the big joke it is and refuse to play along with it.