03 October 2005

The "W" stands for "WTF?"

So wish I was joking.
New twist on aid for Iraq: U.S. seeks donations
By Cam Simpson Washington Bureau

Sun Sep 18, 9:40 AM ET From the Indian Ocean tsunami to the church around the corner, Americans have shown time and again they are willing to open their pocketbooks for charity, for a total of about $250 billion last year alone. But now, amid pleas for aid after Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration has launched an unusual effort to raise charitable contributions for another cause: the government's attempt to rebuild Iraq.

Although more than $30 billion in taxpayer funds have been appropriated for Iraqi reconstruction, the administration earlier this month launched an Internet-based fundraising effort that it says is aimed at giving Americans "a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq."

Contributors have no way of knowing who's getting the money or precisely where it's headed because the government says it must keep the details secret for security reasons. But taxpayers already finance the projects for which the administration is seeking charitable donations, such as providing water pumps for farmers. And officials say any contributions they receive will increase the scope of those efforts rather than relieve existing taxpayer burdens.
I honestly thought this was something out of The Onion, until I saw the header from the Chicago Tribune. By my figuring, the $30 billion they've already gotten are "donations" from the American people. And then to say that contributors can have no knowledge of "who's getting the money or precisely where it's headed," when they just discovered a billion dollars has vanished from the Iraqi defense ministry without a trace? It begs the question: are "security reasons" preventing an accounting of the donations, or is it the fact that the administration simply can't be bothered with keeping track of what they can only view as a bottomless piggy bank?
Forget Turdblossom, the Bugman, and the Rev. Frist, this administration is buckling under the sheer weight of the enormous brass balls they must have for even suggesting something like this.

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