As the federal and state governments continue to shutdown or curtail core educational, environmental, and scientific programs due to lack of money, the disclosures of unspeakable waste continue to mount in Afghanistan and Iraq with no appearance of accountability or abatement. Indeed, for years, the media has reported billions of lost or wasted funds, including money disappearing into the corrupt government circles of leaders in the countries. Yet, Congress would prefer to debate Planned Parenthood or global warming grants. Consider the latest outrage. The U.S. military spent $34 million to build a huge headquarters for the Marines in Afghanistan with a theater, special operations rooms and other amenities. The problem that various people including the Marine commander were saying that it was not needed and would not be used. Now it is likely to be demolished, unused and unoccupied. There was the bridge to nowhere and now we have the building for no one.
The building is larger than a football field and has state-of-the-art air conditioning and equipment. As usual, contractors made a mint on the building and people in the military made sure that its lack of need or likely use would not stop the money flowing to willing hands.
John F. Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, wrote about the building in a recent letter. The 64,000-square-foot facility in Camp Leatherneck has everyone, as usual, pointing fingers in every direction with the result that no one will be punished. Sopko wrote “The building will probably be demolished.”
The building continued despite a letter sent by the top commander at the base that the building would not be used and should not be built. Contract officers simply ignored the letter and kept the money and construction going.
Of course, the building is the perfect metaphor for our recent wars — throwing billions at operations and programs that showed little evidence of long-term impact. No one wanted to take responsibility to pull out of the wars so we just kept spending hundreds of billions and killing or wounding thousands of our personnel. The importance was the appearance that we remain firm and victorious like an empty building in the middle of the desert.
Yet the war was a tremendous success for contractors who have made these billions.
Source: Washington Post