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Friday, July 15, 2005

'If the Department of Defense were a business, they'd be out of business,"

GAO investigator rips Pentagon on Iraq war finances
Full accounting lacking, he says

By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff July 15, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The federal government's chief investigator yesterday blasted the Pentagon for its ''atrocious financial management," saying the Defense Department was not able to give federal oversight officials a full accounting of the $1 billion being spent each week on the war in Iraq.

'If the Department of Defense were a business, they'd be out of business," David Walker, comptroller general of the Government Accountability Office, said at a breakfast with reporters yesterday. ''They have absolutely atrocious financial management."

The GAO has been examining the Pentagon's Iraq expenses, and ''we're having extreme difficulty in getting the Department of Defense to provide a full accounting of what they're spending" there, Walker said. ''I can't understand how we're spending $1 billion a week."

Walker said the money the government is spending on homeland security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had little to do with what he called a looming budget crisis. But the Pentagon, whose work is monitored by the GAO, is not accounting for the money it is spending and is ''not doing an adequate job" of defining whether the money that is being spent is accomplishing what the government wants, he said.

The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment.

The Defense Department has come under fire for overpaying for reconstruction in Iraq. A recent internal Pentagon audit flagged $1.4 million in questionable expenses submitted by Halliburton Co. for services the company is providing in Iraq.

Walker said ''an increasing percentage of money is going for security" in Iraq, but it was not clear whether the money was being put to its best use there.

In a blunt, hourlong indictment of the country's overall fiscal policy, Walker also delivered a gloomy forecast of the country's long-term finances, describing a future of interminable debt due to the high cost of paying for the retirement and healthcare of the nation's aging population. Unless Congress and the White House institute some kind of healthcare reform, Walker said, the nation will run out of money to take care of the elderly.



Blogger Kangaroo Brisbane Australia said...

Well isnt that typical of Bushs business practices, havent they all gone Bankrupt, and daddy had to pull him out of each little adventure in the business community.

15/7/05 4:38 PM  

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