Washington lawmakers have reacted with shock at the discovery that an obscure clause in a military spending bill will terminate the work of the auditor.
The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has embarrassed the US administration with its reports on corrupt practices.
Critics of the government claim this is what lies behind its sudden closure.
Listen, if we’re to believe that we’re going to stay in there until the job is done (which is highly unlikely), we need oversight of these contractors. I mean, come on…
Republicans are equally concerned at this turn of events…
Republican Senator Susan Collins told the New York Times she was mystified about how the termination clause had found its way into the bill. Senator John Warner, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the newspaper he would push for an extension of (Special Inspector General Stuart) Bowen’s charter.
Inspectors from other US government departments, such as the Pentagon, could take over some of the Iraq auditor’s responsibilities. But the strength of Mr Bowen’s operation lies in its strong presence on the ground in Iraq.
I hope they get to stay, but I’m not holding out hope.