"More evidence of wartime corruption is emerging, alas.
In exchange for a cash kickbacks and a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a U.S. Army reservist gave a contractor 'sensitive information' and 'fraudulently' awarded a contract to Raman International, a Cypress, Tex.-based firm, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Theresa Jeanne Baker faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
In another fraud case, Spartan Motors and its subsidiary, Spartan Chassis, of Charlotte, Mich., recently agreed to pay the United States $6 million in fines and penalties to resolve allegations that it paid kickbacks to an employee of Force Protection to receive a subcontract to make chassis for armored vehicles for the Army, Justice reported."
What’s most remarkable about the Times article, however, is how little stir it caused. When, in 1971, The Times got its hands on the Pentagon Papers, the internal federal history of the Vietnam disaster, the revelations caused a national uproar. But after eight years of battering by Bush, the nation has been rendered half-catatonic. The Iraq Pentagon Papers sank with barely a trace.
After all, next to big-ticket administration horrors like Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo and the politicized hiring and firing at Alberto Gonzales’s Justice Department, the wreckage of Iraq reconstruction is what Ralph Kramden of “The Honeymooners” would dismiss as “a mere bag of shells.” The $50 billion also pales next to other sums that remain unaccounted for in the Bush era, from the $345 billion in lost tax revenue due to unpoliced offshore corporate tax havens to the far-from-transparent disposition of some $350 billion in Wall Street bailout money. In the old Pat Moynihan phrase, the Bush years have “defined deviancy down” in terms of how low a standard of ethical behavior we now tolerate as the norm from public officials.
The Conservatives staked out themselves as protectors of American virtue from liberals. Now we have seen the truth. I suggest that the reason most people are not more aroused is that we just want the Conservatives to move out of the way. That we choose to ignore them like the intoxicated nutcase rambling and ranting on the street corner in rags and tatters while wondering when the cops will come to take him away. Time will come for retribution - first must come reconstruction.