Headline, The New York Times, October 25, 2006:
Idle Contractors Add Millions to Iraq Rebuilding
According to the U.S. government's own inspectors, millions of dollars are being spent on [pause, inhale] nothing [exhale very slowly]. Oh how surprising. Another shocker: the biggest culprit is KBR Inc. formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root. The Halliburton subsidiary. That's Halliburton, spelled C-H-E-N-E-Y.
I guess that's what the Republicans mean by family values. Some family of values.
This all comes to us from a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, or SIGIR. Here's a link with a .pdf of the report, which contains this juicy officialese euphemism: "periods of limited direct project activity" = goofing off while cashing checks. By now, you can probably Google it and read it all. (Of course, Rush Limbaugh can always say the government auditors were faking it all as a result of their fake Parkinson's.)
It's a pretty cool deal if you can swing it: sign a contract, have a tall cool drink, smoke a cigarette, cash check, go to sleep, wake up, repeat the same, cash check. Apparently, these "mobilization" delays have lasted up to nine months. And the contractors get paid during those nine months. For doing nothing. Nine months. Some baby.
Auditors chalked up the delays not to security, oh no. Nope. They blamed mundane stuff like "poorly written contracts, ineffective or nonexistent oversight, needless project delays and egregiously poor construction practices."
Inspired by these core values, I'm thinking of embarking on the following campaign -- and fully expect to be paid or compensated otherwise in the interim (I used the word "compensated" to broaden the scope):
-- Start my work week on Thursday afternoon and finish by lunch on Friday (my detractors would say, what's the difference?)
-- Pay my taxes nine months late -- and charge the government for interest (note to IRS friends: this purports to be a humor column; humour in some parts of the planet)
-- Commence doing the dishes, laundry, trash removal, et al. 75% later than usual (yes, Dr. Andrew, arguably 75% of nothing is meaningless; Dr. Andrew; I am calmly awaiting your pie plate tossed at my face)
-- Reach the apex of sexual crescendo 75% later than usual -- and still expect the same payback (that's all in code, The Kokonuts Code, a soon-to-be-bestseller; even I don't know what it means; my fingers just typed it)