Monday, September 26, 2005


No, SWAG in this case doesn't stand for "com" as in "com versus kind." It stands for "Sophisticated Wild Assed Guess:" (hat tip to YRHT)

The Washington Post reports today on a GAO report (.pdf) finding that the Pentagon can't count its money. Specifically, that it has "no accurate knowledge of the cost of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan or the fight against terrorism".

Oyster found in his archives a personal take on the matter.

Waste on a scale that makes King Midas look like a pauper is NOT being strong on defense. It's pissing money away that Intel Dump rightly notes could be put towards the public interest. Corruption ISN'T in the public good; neither is bungling.

However, corruption and bungling are the pillars of the so-called "security" administration (and calling them "security" minded is like calling Warren Harding a paragon of clean government). Oh--speaking of Harding, my source passed along Frank Rich's latest from the black hole known as Times Select--included the following:

[Tracy Henke]...ordered the highly regarded nonpartisan head of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Lawrence Greenfeld, to delete a reference to politically embarrassing data in a government press release for a report on racial profiling. When Mr. Greenfeld complained, he was demoted.

...Even as it fills its ranks with Abramoff golf-junket partners, political flunkies and underemployed relatives, the administration silences those who, like Sherron Watkins at Enron, might blow the whistle on any Kozlowski or Ebbers or Rigas fleecing or betraying the taxpayers. Three weeks before Mr. Safavian's arrest, the Army Corps of Engineers demoted another procurement official, Bunnatine Greenhouse, who was a 20-year veteran in her field. Her crime was not obstructing justice but pursuing it by vehemently questioning irregularities in the awarding of some $7 billion worth of no-bid contracts in Iraq to the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root.

Sounds like bungling is the junior partner.

For some twenty years, the public has been regaled with stories about welfare cheats. Turns out, the biggest frauds perpetrated seem to arise from the most sacred of sacred cows--the never to be questioned Pentagon budget. Duh. Even Willie Sutton knew where the money was.

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