spread of democracy engulfed in violence, looting
this photo greeted me while reading up on today's violence in Iraq revolving around two undercover British soldiers who were stopped at a checkpoint and ended up shooting two Iraqi policemen. furious crowds in Basra attacked Britih soldiers resulting in the above picture. after the undercover soldiers were jailed, British forces stormed the jail with tanks to free the two men, alleged freeing up to 150 other prisoners in the process in what was called a ""barbaric, savage and irresponsible" act by Mohammed al-Waili, the governor of the province. British officials to this point refuse to even acknowledge how the soldiers were freed, though it doesn't seem like they'll be able to stonewall much longer. what the hell is going on over there?
on the non-violent corruption side of things, early indications are that the Iraq Defence Ministry has been robbed of over $1 billion - nearly 100% of the ministry's budget. this money was supposed to be providing the means for Iraqis to begin defending themselves, but instead was spent on 28 year-old helicopters from Poland that the manufacturers said should be scrapped after 25 years; knockoff guns worth about 1/20th what was paid for them; armored cars that could not stop bullets; and a Pentagon-style deal where 4 cent bullets went for 16 cents apiece. to quote from the article "The Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit says in a report to the Iraqi government that US-appointed Iraqi officials in the defence ministry allegedly presided over these dubious transactions." any chance that Halliburton is somehow involved in this down deep?
somehow, it gets even worse with reports that upwards of $500 million has also gone missing from the electricity, transport, interior and other ministries and that the grand total stolen may end up topping $2 billion.
news on the domestic front of Hurricane Katrina recovery is also littered with the abonimable policies of the Bush Administration. fortunately, Jim from Maine has the lowdown on that garbage (in brief: cronyism, no-bid contracts, elimination of quality work standards for rebuilding while reducing wages paid to construction workers, removal of preferences for small and minority-owned businesses). definitely worth a read if your rage quota remains unfilled for the day.