Pentagon can’t account for $8.57 billion in Iraqi funds

Published on Online Journal, by Jerry Mazza, August 6, 2010.

… A contrite DOD, attaching responses to the audit, agreed with the report’s recommendations for better guidelines. Big deal! Did any heads roll? Was this the first time they’ve handled huge amounts of money? Not on both counts. Can the DOD really be expected to change their ways? Good luck. And remember, they got about $700 billion of US taxpayer money this year. That’s your money they’re playing games with.

This problem bleeds too into Afghanistan where billions in reconstruction funds have been “mismanaged” (fraud), and hampered US-led efforts to “rebuild Afghanistan.” What a joke. We can’t even rebuild one of the felled twin towers at Ground Zero since 9/11/2001. The billions poured into that project are like the $60 billion poured into Afghanistan since 2001 to bring electricity, clean water, jobs, roads, and education to a crippled country. It hasn’t happened and it’s morally pathetic. 

Of course, all by itself the US threw in $51 billion to this project since 2001 (money needed for our own infrastructure, clean water, jobs, roads, and education to this crippled country). And we plan to up that number to $71 billion in the coming year, more than we’ve spent on reconstruction in Iraq since 2003. What are we spending in the US for a shopping list like the above one?

The overpromises of those Afghanistan efforts, in my mind, do more harm than good. They only highlight our corruption and broken promises. The percentage of Afghans with electricity has gone up from 6 percent in 2001 to about 10 percent today, way short of the original claim for power to 65 percent of urban and 25 percent of rural households by this year’s end. America remains in the dust and ruins of its own violence and corruption, abroad and at home.

A $100 million diesel-fueled power plant was built to deliver electric power to over 500,000 residents of the Afghan capital, Kabul. Not only did the plant’s costs triple, $305 million, but construction fell behind schedule. The plant sits idle now. Believe it or not, the Afghans themselves imported cheaper power from their neighbor Uzbekistan before the US plant came online.

The real shortage here is in any kind of ethical, moral, or systemic integrity in the Pentagon and in the US financial system itself. The DOD is a house of cards and mirrors, an amusement park for a bloated, jaded military jammed with agendas for personal enrichment at US taxpayer expense. And that goes for you, too, Dov, sitting at your little blogging computer, knocking Assange. Watch out we don’t send you to jail yet for the three trillion plus.

This gives we the people even more reason to shut down the war-making in Afghanistan and Pakistan and to put the Pentagon on an austerity budget, necessary for own people’s survival.

The money tit needs to be pulled from the mouths of the defense and oil industry (the latter the Pentagon’s best customer), and pulled from the mercenary armies, general corruptive bloat, and redirected to a US Marshal Plan, the rebuilding of America. This is the only real safeguard against rot, internal, systemic rot, the likes of which brought down Rome, the Soviet Union, the British Empire, and legions of others. Time to strengthen ourselves within without our blood or money pumped through a diseased desire for world hegemony. (full text).

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