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IN THE MAIL: Iraqi leaders must get message

ERSKINE, Minn. -- Three people testified before the Democratic Policy Committee on Affairs in Iraq recently on a televised segment. These three were all U.S. citizens working in Iraq for companies with defense contracts from the U.S. government.

ERSKINE, Minn. -- Three people testified before the Democratic Policy Committee on Affairs in Iraq recently on a televised segment. These three were all U.S. citizens working in Iraq for companies with defense contracts from the U.S. government.

If these people saw any wrongdoing in their place of employment, they were to report it to their superiors. When, in fact, some of them reported fraudulent practices and had proof of it, they were demoted, transferred or fired. They had not been given a grievance procedure to follow either.

Sound like a democracy?

One reported that laptops that cost $1,400 were billed out at $2,800 (quite a profit margin) and a host of other incidents that were very disturbing. All of those testifying said fraud was prevalent everywhere.

The members of the Democratic Policy Committee held these hearings to help them decide how they should be voting on a forthcoming bill for supplemental funding for the war effort. Of course, if some of the senators dared vote against the bill, even after being made aware of the rampant fraud and waste of taxpayer dollars, they'd probably be called unpatriotic.

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I hope the Senate doesn't pass that supplemental bill. Hundreds of billions of dollars have already been spent in Iraq and with no end in sight. I think the Iraqi leadership should be given a time line for the beginning of our troop withdrawal and told they'd better step up to the plate and take over their own security.

The U.S. has spent five years and $20 billion to train the Iraqi army so far. and if they're not prepared at this point to take over their own security, they probably never will be.

One more thing: Iraq's oil revenue should be spent in building Iraq back to pre-war status. The U.S. cannot afford to do this, and there's no reason why we should have to. This huge drain of finances is ruining our economy, and with the widespread fraud and mismanagement, this is really the "fleecing of America."

Jan Raaen

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