Around $60 billion in U.S. tax dollars was wasted through fraud and lack of oversight in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade, according to a report release Wednesday by the Commission on Wartime Contracting. Contracting waste in Afghanistan alone ranged from 10% to 20%.
And it is by no means just about the money. Sixty-six Americans died in Afghanistan this month. In fact, August 2011 has been the deadliest month to date for U.S. troops fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom. More than 1,600 have now been lost since the initial engagement nearly ten years ago.
The Taliban has been dealt a major blow and Osama is dead.
At this point, with the Obama administration’s rules of engagement, I’m not sure the war in Afghanistan really constitutes a war any longer. There’s the new heroic restraint medal – the medal a soldier gets for doing nothing, obviously awarded posthumously.
And today in Afghanistan, the greatest military force in the world is helping build local schools and banks, and passing out wheat seed – yes, wheat seed. From the report:
The commission cited numerous examples of waste, including a $360 million U.S.-financed agricultural development program in Afghanistan. The effort began as a $60 million project in 2009 to distribute vouchers for wheat seed and fertilizer in drought-stricken areas of northern Afghanistan. The program expanded into the south and east. Soon the U.S. was spending a $1 million a day on the program, creating an environment ripe for waste and abuse, the commission said.
Thankfully, a gradual pullout of troops is underway. By the end of 2012, we will be back to pre-surge levels, but that will still leave 70,000 American troops in Afghanistan. Then what? Every major power to engage an all-out war in Afghanistan has had it’s ass handed to it. Will we be next? It took the Soviets nine years to figure out the rock-strewn hell-hole wasn’t worth it. We’ve now been there for ten.
In the 1950’s President Eisenhower sent aid to South Vietnam, but he said he “could not conceive of a greater tragedy” for America than getting heavily involved there.
History…are we doomed to repeat it?