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Corruption is disabling fledgling Iraqi government
Concord Monitor ^ | October 19, 2007 | Arthur Brennan

Posted on 10/19/2007 9:28:24 AM PDT by BroncosFan

Corruption is disabling fledgling Iraqi government Efforts to stop graft minimal, ineffectual

By ARTHUR BRENNAN

For the Monitor

Oct 18, 2007

The U.S. Embassy Annex in the former imperial palace in Baghdad is a hub of activity. There are endless meetings, PowerPoint presentations and electronic and telephonic communications. Unfortunately, there is slim evidence that any of this activity has resulted in any substantial help to the Iraqi people in their efforts to build a responsible and accountable government. In fact, there is little reliable evidence about what is actually going on within the Iraqi government. All we know is what we see: The infrastructure is smashed, and hundreds of thousands of people are suffering.

I went to Iraq as a civilian because I am too old to be a soldier. I wanted to help out because I have friends and neighbors who have served and continue to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. My intent in working with the State Department was to help the people of Iraq and support our soldiers.

The personnel of the U.S. Embassy Office of Accountability and Transparency, which I directed for a short time last summer, served as advisers to Judge Radhi Hamza al Radhi, who ran the Commission for Public Integrity. The commission is roughly equivalent to our FBI. The American law enforcement officers who worked with Radhi referred to him as the Elliot Ness of Iraq. He and his investigators offered some hope for the new Iraqi government. As he recently testified before the U.S. House Oversight Committee, Radhi was forced to resign. He had survived several attempts on his life. His family had been threatened. Thirty-one of his investigators and two of their families had been murdered. And Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had sought regularly to have Radhi removed.

Driven from his job, Radhi and two of his colleagues and their families are now seeking asylum in the United States. The State Department has granted two of the families temporary humanitarian parole. Most likely, Radhi's departure means a significant reduction in anticorruption efforts within the Iraqi government.

He testified that he and his officers were investigating the Iraqi government when they and their families were threatened. President Bush and the State Department are using our soldiers to prop up that same government. In these circumstances, could any rational person believe that the remaining Iraqi investigators are going to investigate officials seriously and impartially?

Yet our State Department has shown little or no interest in openness and honesty in its own governmental activities or non-activities. When the administration's policies are questioned, either by the American people or by Congress, officials shamelessly raise the risk to our young soldiers and bury the facts by classifying the information.

There are situations when secrecy is necessary to save lives and win battles. The question of corruption within the government of Iraq is not one of them. In fact, the opposite is true: Knowing the truth will help save lives and win battles.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other policy-making officials should be ashamed of themselves for misrepresenting the focus and scale of U.S. embassy initiatives aimed at reducing corruption in the Iraqi government. The lack of money and personnel for the embassy anticorruption effort belies assertions that our government has shown a substantial interest in assisting the Iraqi people in combating corruption. Unless the United States takes a real interest, anticorruption efforts will continue to be a waste of time, life and money.

If the American people are given the opportunity to consider the truth about whether there is disabling corruption in the Iraqi government, that knowledge will help us solve problems and save both Iraqi and American lives. The American tradition of open government, together with a new policy aimed at finding the truth, telling the truth and working with the truth, will help us win the battle for decent government in Iraq.

Knowing that we pursue the truth, and act in accordance with the truth, will give even greater meaning to the sacrifices our soldiers and their families have made in the line of duty in Iraq.

(Arthur D. Brennan, formerly a New Hampshire superior court judge, lives in Weare. He spent July as director of the U.S. Embassy Office of Accountability and Transparency. He took emergency leave and ultimately resigned after his wife was diagnosed with cancer.)


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; US: New Hampshire
KEYWORDS: corruption; iraq; maliki; rice
Note: The Office of Accountability & Transparency, to which Judge Brennan refers, is staffed by two types of people - conservative Republicans and reactionary, conservative Republicans, which makes it quite unique for the Department of State.
1 posted on 10/19/2007 9:28:26 AM PDT by BroncosFan
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To: BroncosFan
Corruption is disabling fledgling Iraqi government

Who would've thought that there'd be thieves in Baghdad?

2 posted on 10/19/2007 9:33:24 AM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: BroncosFan

I thought everything was going great?


3 posted on 10/19/2007 9:45:21 AM PDT by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: snarks_when_bored

Could we maybe get this guy to focus his gaze on the well-established U.S. Government, in particular the House and the Senate? It might make the Iraqi version look pretty clean.


4 posted on 10/19/2007 9:45:25 AM PDT by DPMD
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To: BroncosFan

“Corruption is disabling fledgling Iraqi government”

Why should it be disabling? It works in America! /sarc


5 posted on 10/19/2007 9:50:45 AM PDT by Spok
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To: DPMD
Could we maybe get this guy to focus his gaze on the well-established U.S. Government, in particular the House and the Senate? It might make the Iraqi version look pretty clean.

I understand your joke -- there IS corruption in Washington and we're smart to keep that in mond. But honestly, the corruption in the thrid world is really nothing like what we have here.

6 posted on 10/19/2007 9:54:57 AM PDT by 68skylark
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To: DPMD; BroncosFan
Of course, corruption and thievery are part of the human condition...they're everywhere. Earlier this morning, I ran across this little gem about the Swedes (the Swedes, for chrissakes!):

95 percent of Swedes 'cheat the system'

Here's the first paragraph:

Nearly 95 percent of Swedes admit that they abuse the country's public services and benefits systems. Only 5 percent never bend the rules, according to a new study carried out by two senior economists.

Stories like this have to make one wonder what planet Hillary Rodham Clinton is living on if she thinks that any universal health plan is going to stay within manageable budgetary limits. Why doesn't she understand that, like Bill Clinton (her matrimonial ticket to power), almost everybody cheats?

7 posted on 10/19/2007 9:58:31 AM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored

Ultimately, this issue gets to the heart of whether maliki is the right man for the job. Thoughts?


8 posted on 10/19/2007 10:21:55 AM PDT by BroncosFan ("Now we grieve, 'cause now it's gone / But things were good when we were young.")
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To: snarks_when_bored

“Who would’ve thought that there’d be thieves in Baghdad?”

They learned from both (Dem and Rep) political organiziations’ playbook.

We have nothing but total crooks and perverts representing “we the people.”


9 posted on 10/19/2007 10:25:08 AM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: BroncosFan

Sounds like Mexico. Soon to be standard operating procedure within our own country with the continued onslaught of illegals overwhelming our systems.


10 posted on 10/19/2007 10:25:56 AM PDT by TruthConquers (Delendae sunt publici scholae)
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To: BroncosFan

In the Mideast, to get anything done (quicker) you must grease the palms of the local bureaucrat...fact of life...


11 posted on 10/19/2007 10:29:00 AM PDT by dakine
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To: BroncosFan

I don’t know enough about Maliki and company to say for sure whether they’re really up to the job. For now, they’re the ones who were elected. Of course, Saddam Hussein either murdered or forced into exile the best Iraqi minds and hearts of his generation, so this new Iraqi democracy project is starting out in a crippled condition. It may be a generation or two before it finds its legs (if it ever does)...


12 posted on 10/19/2007 10:47:39 AM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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