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Corruption....on a truly grand scale

The West is, very often sanctimonious, about corruption in other countries.  This or that leader is corrupt, or the entire government is.   However,  not in "our" country!      

Ponder, then,  about the facts thrown up in this piece on TomDispatch.....

"Here’s an oddity: Americans recognize corruption as an endemic problem in much of the world, just not in our own.  And that’s strange.  After all, to take but one example, America’s twenty-first-century war zones have been notorious quagmires of corruption on a scale that should boggle the imagination.  In 2011, a final report from the congressionally mandated Commission on Wartime Contracting estimated that somewhere between $31 billion and $60 billion U.S. taxpayer dollars were lost to fraud and waste in the American “reconstruction” of Iraq and Afghanistan (which undoubtedly will, in the end, prove an underestimate).  U.S. taxpayer dollars were spent to build roads to nowhere; a gas station in the middle of nowhere; teacher-training centers and other structures that were never finished (but made oodles of money for lucky contractors); a chicken-plucking factory that never plucked a chicken (but plucked American taxpayers); and a lavish $25 million headquarters that no one ever needed or bothered to use.  Thanks to tens of billions of U.S. dollars, whole security forces were funded, trained, armed, and filled with “ghost” soldiers and police (while local commanders and other officials lined their pockets with completely unspectral “salaries”).  And so it went.

Of course, all that took place in another galaxy far, far away where corruption is the norm.  In the U.S.A. itself, corruption is considered un-American (though don’t tell that to the denizens of Ferguson, Missouri).  This is, of course, largely a matter of definition, as Thomas Frank made vividly clear at TomDispatch recently when he laid out the scope of the “influence” industry in Washington.  You know, the hordes of lobbyists who live the good life and offer tastes of it to government officials they would like to influence -- none of which is “corrupt.”  It’s completely legit, a thoroughly congenial way of operating among Washington’s power brokers."


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