Writing for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Peter Hardin has the story:
“Freshmen Democratic senators led by Jim Webb of Virginia asked Congress yesterday to set up an independent commission to investigate U.S. wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Virginia's Webb and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., introduced the bill out of concern, they said, over the government’s increasing reliance on civilian contractors to perform wartime functions, and to assess waste and mismanagement...”
Click here to read the rest of it.
Pursuing this strategy could unravel conspiracies and reveal what has been close to the heart of some of the darkest reasons for the both the invasion and occupation of Iraq. While there is nothing new about war-profiteering, I suspect what has gone on to do with the Bush’s administration’s War on Terror has been beyond the pale.
Maybe Webb is among those who suspect the same could be true.
Of course, just as it has with other probes, the Bush administration may try to stiff-arm an investigation of how private contractors were chosen, what their duties have been and how they have been monitored. But I doubt it will work so well in this situation. Investigating possible improprieties of this sort -- to do with how public funds have been spent and possible corruption on a large scale -- is one of the main duties of any Congress, in any year, and it always has been.
Claiming “executive privilege” in this sort of investigation will blow back in President George Bush’s face. If the White House tries to stop people from testifying on this matter it will surely throw plenty of new fuel on the impeachment fires that have begun to burn inside the beltway.
How many thousands of people are running around in Iraq, doing who knows what with our tax dollars? How many mercenaries are in Iraq, and to whom do they answer? These questions cry out for answers. Opponents of the war in the Senate should put their shoulders to this new effort to shine the light of day on the doings in the dark of private contractors.
The Democrats should forget about stunts and striking poses for effect. Instead, they should follow some good advice from the 1970s; it was the memorable catchphrase from “All the President’s Men” (1976). The character Deep Throat (played by Hal Holbrook) told investigative reporter Bob Woodward (played by Robert Redford), “Just... follow the money.”