The Cost Of Reconstruction In Iraq

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

It's here!  It's here!  The new quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction (October 2008) has arrived! 

In the report, you'll find lots of PDFs and Excel spreadsheets explaining how your hard-earned tax dollars are being put to good use over there.

Smythe_disguise For example, the 15th Finance Battalion spent $35.80 on "disguises".  Because you know how those guys in the Fighting Fifteenth Finance are, right?  Cloak-and-dagger, all the way.

The boys at the 15th also spent $199.60 for eight laser pointers, because you can never have enough of those, right? 

And $1,134 on curtains, because the others ones clashed.

Contractor Brigade Quartermasters, LTD spent $803 on handcuff pouches, because (I'm guessing) their handcuffs were getting dusty or lost.  And you can't foster a growing democracy with smudgy or missing handcuffs.

Another contractor charged the U.S. government $1,800 for designing a web site, which seems like a lot.  But then again, it was 20 pages, so….

Clothing seemed to be an issue.  Maybe some of these contractors' employees forgot to pack before they went over there.  Highcom Security, for example, ordered 2,500 pairs of white socks, sizes 9-13 ($3,750). 

All_inone Another contractor ordered "THERMAL UNDERWEAR, BOTTOM, SIZE X-LARGE" this past fiscal quarter, because it gets really cold in Iraq during the summer, I guess.  That cost American taxpayers an incredible $10,779.45.  I can assume that this contractor ordered many x-large pairs; either that, or there is some contract employee in Iraq with a really big butt.

Contractor Advanced Technology Computers charged the government $3,282.54 for "Microsoft Office 2003 and Adobe Photoshop".  In the future, they could probably save some money by buying it from Circuit City.  Okay, maybe not Circuit City, but Best Buy. 

And as for the contractor who bought Microsoft Flight Simulator — another essential thing for the reconstruction of Iraq, I'm sure you'll agree — well, I'm not sure that was $679.50 well-spent.  Perhaps, he should check out Best Buy, too.  Or order from Amazon.

Rosenbauer America, LLC spent $2,224,434 to buy three firetrucks, which seems like a lot to me. Maybe they should have just taken a cue from the other guy and simply bought Microsoft Firetruck Simulator.

Okexpress-firetruck And Rosenbauer America also had to buy the manuals for the firetrucks separately (at a cost of $1,800).  You would think the manuals would come with the firetrucks for free.  Did they look in the glove compartment? 

Oh well.  What's done is done.  At least they know how to work them now.

In fact, manuals were a pretty hot ticket item.  One other contractor spent $500 for a manual for a "truck, cesspit".  That might sound like a lot of money for a manual about a truck and cesspool, but it was probably hand-calligraphied by monks, and bound in leather and goldleaf.  Nothing but the finest for our cesspool/truck operators in Iraq.

A contractor named "ESS" charged the government $18.9 million for "definitizing the basic contract".  I don't know what that means, but I think I'm going to quit my job and become a definitizer.  Sounds like good money.

My favorite entry comes from an unnamed contractor who conducted "S&A OBLIGATION FOR PR W915WE61298606".  I don't know what that job entailed, but you can't complain that he overcharged.  In fact, he charged the U.S. government $0.01 for his services.  And he earned every penny of that penny, because he actually got paid.