Meeks Demands Hearings On Iraq
Congressman Gregory W. Meeks and hisfellow Democrats on the House International Relations Committee in the House of Representatives have demanded that the committee conduct responsible oversight of American actons in Iraq. That committee has called for hearings into charges of reconstruction waste, fraud and abuse.
In a letter to Republican Chairman Henry Hyde, International Relations Committee Democrats wrote, "Given the billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer funds now flowing to Iraq each year, it is imperative that the Congress conduct careful oversight over Iraq reconstruction funds to ensure that they are producing tangible results that benefit the Iraqi people and are being spent in an open and transparent manner.
The letter continued, "The corruption and incompetence surrounding the rebuilding of Iraq has badly damaged America's image, not just in Iraq, but throughout the world.
"Our nation's reputation for honesty, efficiency, and good government has been badly tarnished and respect for our power has been undermined." The Democrats pointed out that recent reports by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) cast grave doubts on the results and effectiveness of the United States reconstruction plan, including the failure to complete three-quarters of oil and gas reconstruction projects, half of the electricity projects, and about 40% of water and sanitation projects financed with U.S. support.
"Meeks, who voted against the 2002 resolution authorizing going to war in Iraq but supported subsequent bills providing funds for American troops and Iraq reconstruction, said, "Congress is failing miserably in its Constitutional responsibility to conductan aggressive and independent oversight of our rebuilding efforts in Iraq."
He noted that if the Inspector General's report and recent news stories are even remotely accurate, "hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars may have been misappropriated, misspent, misused or worse, stolen, over the last three years."
"The laxness of the Republican-controlled Congress has allowed a situation in which unaccountable friends of an unaccountable administration may have enriched themselves at the of both the Iraqi and the American people." he added.
"It is absolutely urgent that starting now this committee and this Congress impose the highest standards of accountability on the activity of the Administration, the Pentagon, and al of the U.S. contractors in Iraq who are now working in Iraq."
With a Republican in the committee chair, experts say, little will probably be done about the Democratic demands.