Irony is alive and well

By Mark Follman
Published October 23, 2004 5:30PM (EDT)

It was declared dead after the 9/11 attacks, but the name of the U.S. company behind the latest debacle in Iraq says otherwise. From the New York Times this morning:

"Managers of a security firm that won large contracts in Iraq warned their bosses in February of what they called a pattern of fraudulent billing practices, internal company memorandums suggest. The memorandums, written primarily by two company managers, charged that the security firm, Custer Battles, repeatedly billed the occupation authorities for nonexistent services or at grossly inflated prices."

Meanwhile, from the Department of Bizarre Editorial Decisions: Did the Times outsource its Saturday front page to the Onion?

"Crocodile Husbandry Is Really Hard, China Finds

"PANYU, China, Oct. 16 - Over the past decade, China has become an industrial colossus by mastering an extraordinary variety of commercial skills, from the manufacture of high-speed computer chips to the production of top-quality automotive steel. Learning to stimulate the sex drive of crocodiles has proved more difficult. ... "

Okay, it's an intriguing story, and it was below the fold, but come on: Just 10 days until the election and this gets a quarter of the paper's A1 real estate?

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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