The Pentagon Takes Charge
by Frida Berrigan and Tom Engelhardt TomDispatch

Here are words to pin to the Bush years like a wilting corsage: "We don't know what we paid for." That's a quote from Mary Ugone, the Defense Department's deputy inspector general for auditing, concerning massive Pentagon payments made during the occupation and war in Iraq for which there is no existing (or grossly inadequate) documentation. In fact, according to the inspector general for the Defense Department, "the Pentagon cannot account for almost $15 billion worth of goods and services ranging from trucks, bottled water, and mattresses to rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that were bought from contractors in the Iraq reconstruction effort." An internal audit of $8 billion that the Pentagon paid out to U.S. and Iraqi private contractors found that "nearly every transaction failed to comply with federal laws or regulations aimed at preventing fraud, in some cases lacking even basic invoices explaining how the money was spent." read