MONEY AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT.

George Bush is asking the Congress for an additional 46 billion dollars for the Iraq war effort. The sum includes $3.6 billion more for the State Department. This is the same State Department which apparently does not know what happened to an earlier billion-dollar contract:

The State Department does not know specifically what it received for a billion-dollar contract with security firm DynCorp International to provide training services for Iraqi police, a U.S. watchdog agency said on Tuesday.

The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) said it was forced to suspend its audit of the DynCorp contract after administration officials told investigators they had no confidence in their own accounting records.

The inspector general said the agency had not validated the accuracy of invoices received before October 2006 and described bills and supporting documents as being in disarray.

Among the problems identified before the audit was suspended were duplicate payments, the purchase of a never-used $1.8 million X-ray scanner and payments of $387,000 to house DynCorp officials in hotels rather than other available accommodation.

I am trying to think how a conservative would criticize this combination of events. Based on my understanding of the relevant ideology and in the light of the recent SCHIP debates it might go something like this:

Should we really throw good money after bad? And what about the conservative principles of limited government expenditures and the idea of personal responsibility? It looks like the State Department made some bad choices in the past. Why should others pay for these choices now?

--J. Goodrich

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