Where Are the Advisors?

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There are days when I wish I had some special insight into goings-on in Iraq—what might be done, whether or not it’s all going to turn out okay—but most days it’s difficult to read the news and do anything other than echo Juan Cole’s line: “Sometimes you are just screwed.” Meanwhile, in more good news, Eric Umansky notices that the new Iraqi government is laying off workers—always a good way to add a few disgruntled unemployed Iraqis to the ranks of the insurgency—and is, ah, a tad behind in paying its special forces units. Also a bit of a problem.

Now I know that Iraq is supposed to be a sort-of kind-of sovereign country, and make decisions on its own, but aren’t there supposed to be American advisors around trying to warn against this sort of thing? No, apparently not; there hasn’t been an ambassador in Baghdad for six months. Of course, let’s not accuse the Bush administration of being slow on the draw. On matters of real urgency—like appointing an Ayn Rand acolyte to the SEC—the White House has no problem racing through the nomination process.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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