2007 December 02 Sunday
Corruption Worsening In Iraq

Damien Cave of the New York Times reports on the worsening corruption in Iraq.

BAGHDAD, Dec. 1 — Jobless men pay $500 bribes to join the police. Families build houses illegally on government land, carwashes steal water from public pipes, and nearly everything the government buys or sells can now be found on the black market.

Painkillers for cancer (from the Ministry of Health) cost $80 for a few capsules; electricity meters (from the Ministry of Electricity) go for $200 each, and even third-grade textbooks (stolen from the Ministry of Education) must be bought at bookstores for three times what schools once charged.

“Everyone is stealing from the state,” said Adel Adel al-Subihawi, a prominent Shiite tribal leader in Sadr City, throwing up his hands in disgust. “It’s a very large meal, and everyone wants to eat.”

Transparency International rates 180 countries for corruption and finds only Somalia and Myanmar are worse. Iraqi and American officials say that as Iraq's level of violence has gone down the corruption has gotten worse. Why is that? Peace helps allow corrupt commerce to flourish?

Government jobs and promotions are sold for cash. This makes the government far less efficient and more predatory in its behavior toward the populace. When every police recruit bought his job (according to one police officer interviewed by the reporter) what sort of police force does that create?

Half-way colonialism is a recipe for disaster. If the US government directly controlled hiring it could make hiring and promotions based on merit and keep track of money and prevent most bribery and corrupt contracting. Instead we are enablers. The invasion of Iraq has been and continues to be a disaster. Bush and the neoconservatives have a lot to answer for.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 December 02 11:40 PM  MidEast Iraq New Regime Failures


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