War is not only hell, it's corrupt too.
Of the bottom ten countries on Transparency International's 2010 Corruption Perception Index, six have active wars, insurrections, or major civil disturbances.
Included are Burundi, Chad, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and bottom-dweller Somalia.
TI's Shantal Uwimana told VOA that conflict is a major contributing factor in the spread of corruption. "Countries where there is a level of political, social, and economic instability, corruption tends to find a fertile ground," he said.
An active-duty U.S. military officer wrote to us last year from a war zone, saying: "As readers of the FCPA Blog know, it is always unwise for governments to trample the rule of law. Because, as veterans of our recent overseas campaigns know, people without laws cannot be governed at all."
Some recent headlines from the DOJ confirm that conflict corruption infects not just local politicians but everyone in the vicinity:
October 8, 2010 - Army Major Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison for False Statements Charge Related to Attempt to Smuggle Currency from Iraq to the United States
September 24, 2010 - Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Pleads Guilty to Bribery in Afghanistan Fuel Theft Scheme
September 2, 2010 - Former Senior Employee With U.S. Military Contractor Pleads Guilty To Bribery Scheme Related To Contracts In Support Of Iraq War
Of 178 countries ranked by TI, peaceful Denmark, New Zealand, and Singapore scored best.
The survey doesn't measure actual corruption but perceptions of it.
It can be downloaded here.