JUNE 11, 2009
The U.S. government has released yet another scathing report detailing how the Department of Defense continues to misspend tens of billions of tax dollars for military operations in the Middle East.
This is hardly breaking news. The seemingly endless corruption and waste of valuable tax dollars for the wartime effort has been documented in publications by congressional investigative committees and inspector generals in the last few years, making this just one in a series.
Now a bipartisan legislative commission, established to study wartime contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, has reiterated what previous investigations revealed; that the Pentagon has failed miserably to mange the billions of dollars in contracts paid mainly to private companies supporting military operations in the two countries.
In a lengthy report (At What Cost? Contingency Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan) the commission determines that much of the $830 billion the U.S. has pumped into the wars have been and continue to be susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse. In fact, more than $13 billion in spending on food, buildings, equipment and other services has been questioned by federal auditors due to poor planning, bad record-keeping and outright corruption.
Among the examples of wasteful spending listed in the report are a new $30 million dining hall in Iraq, constructed just one year before U.S. troops are scheduled to withdraw from the country and a multi million-dollar housing project in Afghanistan that is not functional and yet to be completed.
Some of the report’s information had been previously released in the investigations of other government agencies. Last year alone, two separate entities—the Department of Defense Inspector General and the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction—issued separate publications listing the rampant fraud, corruption and waste in Iraq-related government contracts.
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