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As frustrated as anti-war activists in Missouri have been with McCaskill for her unwillingness to defund the war, and as angry as progressives have been about her FISA vote, some on the left are tempted to proclaim that we might as well have Jim Talent still in office.

That’s not so.  She’ll vote with the Democrats on SCHIP and many another issue.  And she’s taking the lead in screaming and hollering about contracting abuses in Iraq. 

Given the fact the United States has more taxpayer-backed private contractors in Iraq than combat troops, given the fact that cost-plus arrangements allow contractors to gain a greater return the more tax dollars they spend on a project, given the fact that billions of U.S. dollars and thousands of U.S. weapons remain unaccounted for in the war zone, folks might consider this as low-lying fruit.

But someone needs to pick it. Sen. McCaskill, with a prosecutor’s zeal and an auditor’s precision, seems the right person at the right time.


In April, three months after taking the oath of office, the Missouri Democrat flayed military officials for awarding $200 million in performance bonuses to KBR, Inc., even though the company had consistently overcharged the government in carrying out its $20 billion contract.

“As an auditor, I’m stunned; as a senator, I’m sick to my stomach; and as an American, I’m angry,” she said at a Senate committee hearing.

Last week, she sheperded three amendments into the funding bill for Iraq that would require more oversight in the spending there.  Yes, that’s the funding bill that so many progressives want to see shredded.  She’s not doing what we want about a war that is bankrupting our treasury and exacerbating world tensions. 

Exerting some control over the madness that is Iraq spending is insufficient.  Then again, it isn’t nothing.

In business, banking and the rest of the world of private commerce, these provisions would be called common sense. In auditing, they might seem standard procedure.

In the world of military contracting, they appear as foreign as Mars dust.

On the campaign trail, she promised to scream and holler about the abuses. The senator went to Washington as advertised.