Iraq? And that would be?

In the wake of a report that the Bush administration plan to collect charitable donations for Iraq has raised just $600, its Web site gets an extreme makeover.

Published September 26, 2005 8:56PM (EDT)

As we noted this morning, a British newspaper reported over the weekend that the Bush administration's Iraq Partnership -- a plan to solicit charitable donations for rebuilding Iraq -- has collected just $600 so far. In what we're sure is just a coincidence of timing, the Web site for the project has undergone some kind of extreme makeover since that rather embarrassing bit of news came out.

When we visited this morning, we saw a headline that said, "Iraq Partnership," a come-on that said, "Donate Now: Help the Iraqi People," and a big picture of what appeared to be an Iraqi schoolgirl looking plaintively at the camera. And you can still see that site if you look up the Google cache of it here. But if you go to right now, what you'll see is something very different: a headline that says, "Give direct. Change the world," a pitch for supporting schoolchildren around the world and a list of charitable relief projects in a variety of different countries. One word you won't see on the front page of right now? Iraq.

This isn't the first time this month that a Web site associated with the Bush administration has undergone a rather suspicious presto-chango routine. As we reported last week, the Food and Drug Administration seems to have scrubbed from its Web site any mention that an expert in veterinary science had been appointed to lead its Office of Women's Health. But the change is more dramatic than that: The entire design of the page is different, and there's no hint of the original, Iraq-centric theme that was there before. We don't know what it costs to do that sort of work on such short order, but we've got a guess. And we're guessing it's more than the $600 that is said to have raised for Iraq.

Update: Several readers have pointed out that the new version of isn't a redesign of that page but rather a redirect to a page hosted by Global Giving. If that's right, then it probably didn't cost $600 to make the switch -- although, with the federal government involved, we suppose that's not impossible. The larger question a redirect presents: If sends folks to Global Giving, what has become of the Iraq Partnership?

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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