They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Thursday, September 29, 2005

How to become a billionaire - the Iraqi way

azzaman: And suddenly we hear of a new breed of Iraqi billionaires. Their billions are not the result of toil, hard work or audacious investments. They are the outcome of the new Iraqi way of how to become a billionaire in only six months.

A short cut to riches here in Iraq is to be a member of an interim government. The former one sat for six months and the incumbent's term is also six months.

You can rest assured that you will not be discovered so long as you serve your masters well. Even if you are discovered, you will never be prosecuted, because you work in a tightly woven net in which everybody knows how corrupt the other is.

If you are caught, you already have the evidence to bring the rest down with you.

In this domino effect battlefield, we are told that the former Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan had embezzled up to $1 billion.

But still no one, whether in the current or former government, has the courage to tell the truth about the doctored accounts.

They all know and have the evidence. But they cannot come forward because they themselves are implicated.

There are organized gangs in our country whose only aim is how to steal and not to serve. They do not work in isolation. They all dip their finger in the pie together.

If these gangs have one thing to agree upon is how to steal.

They were supposed to come and save the Iraqi people from tyranny and oppression but once they had the reins of power they changed tact and immersed in corruption.

Our country is being auctioned and stripped of everything that is worth selling.

Neither the current government nor the former one has come clean. They have not been transparent and hide behind walls of secrecy and conspiracy when it comes to corruption.

Both governments have no reliable figures on expenditures and oil revenues.

The Oil Minister was privately reported as saying that he himself has no idea about how much money our oil exports bring.

And everybody knows that exporting nearly 1.5 million barrels a day at current high prices of more than $65 a barrel brings real money.

Where does our money go? That was the question we used to ask when Saddam Hussein ruled us. It is unfortunate that we still have to raise the same question today. Link