Perry Glasser

WAR WASTE

In Economics, Economy, Finance, MILITARY, TAXES on September 1, 2011 at 10:27 am

Dollar$  urges readers to note that yesterday the bipartisan congressional Wartime Contracting Commission has released a 240 page report about widespread waste, fraud and abuse by the US Defense Department. It’s a good thing we don’t have a War Department, bcause everyone knows war is even more expensive than defense.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

The story has yet to be picked up by American media, probably because the War Between Weasels about airtime for speeches and whether the President of the United States dares piss off the NFL predominate American consciousness.

Though Dollar$ knows we will be debating whether caring for old people and educating youth is what is bankrupting America, he p[resent this material in hopes that Citizen might awaken.

Here are some passages from the Executive Summary:

At least $31 billion, and possibly as much as $60 billion, has been lost to contract waste and fraud in America’s contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Much more will turn into waste as attention to continuing operations wanes, as U.S. support for projects and programs in Iraq and Afghanistan declines, and as those efforts are revealed as unsustainable.

This sobering, but conservative, estimate flows from nearly three years’ work by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, an independent and bipartisan panel created by Congress in 2008 to examine waste, fraud, abuse, accountability, and other issues in contingency contracting, and to make recommendations for improvement. Much of the contingency-contract waste and fraud could have been avoided. Unless changes are made, continued waste and fraud will undercut the effectiveness of money spent in future operations, whether they involve hostile threats overseas or national emergencies here at home requiring military participation and interagency response. Responsibility for this state of affairs lies with Congress, the White House, federal departments, the military services, agency leadership, contractors, and individuals who abuse the system.

Criminal behavior and blatant corruption sap dollars from what could otherwise be successful project outcomes and, more disturbingly, contribute to a climate in which huge amounts of waste are accepted as the norm.

In Afghanistan, for instance, carrying out stabilization-and-reconstruction projects in insurgent-contested areas with contractor employees has led to deaths, delays, and waste.

The use of private security companies can present especially sensitive risks, because their armed employees can become involved in incidents that injure or endanger innocent civilians. In addition, their use for convoy security in parts of Afghanistan invites pay-for-protection extortion that diverts taxpayers’ funds to local warlords and insurgents.

The Commission’s conservative estimate of waste and fraud ranges from $31 billion to $60 billion based on contract spending from FY 2002 projected through the end of FY 2011.

 

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