Well, if there was ever a wire service story to confirm ones worst nightmare of mismanagement and expediency in Iraq on the part of the Bush administration, it would run something like this:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve sent record payouts of more than $4 billion in cash to Baghdad on giant pallets aboard military planes shortly before the United States gave control back to Iraqis, lawmakers said on Tuesday.
The money, which had been held by the United States, came from Iraqi oil exports, surplus dollars from the U.N.-run oil-for-food program and frozen assets belonging to the ousted Saddam Hussein regime.
Bills weighing a total of 363 tons were loaded onto military aircraft in the largest cash shipments ever made by the Federal Reserve, said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
"Who in their right mind would send 363 tons of cash into a war zone? But that's exactly what our government did," the California Democrat said during a hearing reviewing possible waste, fraud and abuse of funds in Iraq.
This story is the first of many we may hear soon as oversight is applied retrospectively to the administration of public monies in Iraq.
Paul Bremer, who as the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority ran Iraq after initial combat operations ended, said the enormous shipments were done at the request of the Iraqi minister of finance.
A total of $8.8B of monies provided to the Iraqi government was described as 'unaccounted for.'
"We were in the middle of a war, working in very difficult conditions, and we had to move quickly to get this Iraqi money working for the Iraqi people," Bremer told lawmakers.
He said there was no banking system and it would have been impossible to apply modern accounting standards in the midst of a war."I acknowledge that I made mistakes and that, with the benefit of hindsight, I would have made some decisions differently," Bremer said.
I haven't checked the dates but assume the Finance Minister referred to was SCIRI leader Adel Abdul Mahdi who had been considered as an alternative to al-Maliki as Prime Minister.
Mahdi represents the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the largest party within a Shiite coalition that emerged as the strongest bloc in elections for an Iraqi parliament...
Mahdi's party, born and nurtured in Iran, guided by a Shiite cleric and backed by a feared militia, unnerves some secular and Sunni Iraqis who say they fear an Iranian-style government run by Islamic code.
During the 1970s and '80s, Mahdi visited Tehran often and joined forces with the Shiite Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir Hakim in the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
The Republicans are accusing Democrats of point scoring. "We are in a war against terrorists, to have a blame meeting isn't, in my opinion, constructive," said Rep. Dan Burton, an Indiana Republican.
This story potentially has the mythical, Guiness Book of World Records quality that captures the attention of the electorate.