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Welch questions Bremer on mismanagement of Iraq reconstruction

February 5, 2007
Press Release

"Ambassador Bremer's job was to implement a plan by President Bush and
Donald Rumsfeld that frankly didn't exist."

Washington, DC -- Rep. Peter Welch issued the following statement on the Iraq reconstruction and the testimony of Ambassador Paul Bremer at today's hearing in the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Welch will be asking questions of the witnesses later this afternoon.

"It is an understatement to say that the cost of this war has been grave: in lives, in our standing in the world, in regional stability, and in financial burden. While we must do all that is in our power to end this war, today we can at least begin to address this war's fiscal costs and what has been a mismanaged and failed reconstruction effort.

"It is long overdue that we demand accountability and oversight for taxpayer spending in Iraq. It is long overdue that we demand a reconstruction plan that measures performance and allows for full oversight.

"This war was politicized from the beginning, with contracts going to those whose qualifications were based on political loyalty not job competence. We have seen gross incompetence in hiring practices, in no-bid contracts, and in the complete failure in performance. The waste, fraud and abuse that continue in Iraq must end and those who ripped off the American people must be held accountable.

"The fact is this Administration never had a post-war plan. They made it up as they went along. In fact, the more appropriate witnesses who should be here today are President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. Ambassador Bremer's job was to implement a reconstruction plan by President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld that frankly didn't exist."