Blood Money - T. Christian Miller
Miller's collection of riveting, disheartening narratives chronicle the spendthrift methods of the coalition behind the Iraq invasion, featuring so many spurious entrepreneurs, opportunistic politicians and greedy contractors that it almost requires a pen and paper to keep track of them all. Beginning with the war itself, Miller demonstrates how the high hopes and genuine passion of those in the front lines paved the way for corruption, fraud and criminal negligence. Miller cites countless improbable, self-serving schemes, including Alaska Senator Ted Stevens's plan to get Iraq's cellular phone network built by Eskimos; the high-end children's hospital proposed and built by Bush family friends at the expense of Iraq's already-existing and badly in-need health facilities; and the work of Halliburton, whose unprecedented involvement makes for disturbing revelations: "From reveille to lights out, the American military depended on Halliburton for its existence." Miller's telling examples, covering everything from water and electricity restoration to security, health care and oil production, are at once depressing and compelling, and one gets the sense that Miller could've gone on ad infinitum relating unfinished and tarnished projects. Though Miller jumps from one sector of Iraq's infrastructure to another and shows little concern for chronology, the coalition's effort itself is too disorganized and the avaricious characters too plentiful to permit Miller to concoct a more unified and linear narrative. Despite this, Miller's important account fascinates throughout with the breadth and depth of the ongoing debacle.