We have yet another example of how we are wasting billions of dollars in Afghanistan where a combination of incompetence and corruption continues to drain the U.S. treasury. This week, SIGAR released two reports showing how, an inspection of the $7.8 million Shorandam Industrial Park in Kandahar is an utter failure and how the money to create a sustainable source of power for Kandahar City has left the city literally in the dark. Once again, there is no indication of any discipline or action taken against those who approve such projects and oversee such failures.
I have previously written about the waste of billions of dollars by the government without any significant discipline of government officials. We have become accustomed to reports of unimaginable corruption and waste in Afghanistan from bags of money delivered to officials to constructing huge buildings immediately torn down to buying aircraft that cannot be used to buildings that seem to “melt away”. Much like our useless campaign against poppy production where we continued to spend billions because no one had the courage to end or change the program.
In this latest case, SIGAR found only one active Afghan business at the park, which was designed to accommodate 48 businesses. Notably, SIGAR inspectors found that they could not full assess the site because there was a lack of electricity and the contract files were mysteriously missing — leaving them also both literally and figuratively in the dark.
The missing contract files are a signature for our contractors in Afghanistan. An inspection of USAID-funded facility at Gorimar Industrial Park in Balkh province also found the files missing.
25 thoughts on “U.S. Funded Industrial Park in Afghanistan Found With Only One Business and No Electricity . . . And Missing Records”
“‘The president says the war is over. The brief says the war isn’t over and will never be over.'”
I get your point as a practical matter. I was touching more on the notion of the rise of the fourth branch. Some of these institutions (the most powerful generally) existed long before current politicians came into office. The law gives agencies great discretion to interpret congressional statutes and does not interfere much with rule-making.
I agree that politicians are one of the main actors in this system. They just so happen to have every incentive to submit to the existing structures of administrative government. I’m not sure an election has ever been won honestly campaigning on the understanding of bureaucratic organizations and how to improve them. Politicians must have 1)broad inter-governmental coalitions 2)vast democratic following that engages on issues 3)political capital and 4)great courage.
Through the lens of the bureaucrat, why should they listen to what some politician says if they are more aware of the working conditions of the organization. Moreover, they generally have a specific job. I don’t think JT would want Speaker Boehner telling him how to write his brief when filing suit against the Obama Administration. And if Boehner did so, it would probably be wise for JT to heed his own understanding of the law.
Ultimately, the architects of power in the US take Huntington’s approach that power is best kept left in the dark. The administrative state has been an effective mechanism for nourishing this idea. Less transparency, less due process.
Could our elected officials please insulate us(the people) from the crap they do?
” But a federal agencies has great discretion when exercising its vast powers (some at least).”
How low in a federal agency do you think you need to go before a spending decision can be made without influence by an adviser or consultant?
In the DoD the limit for which an ordinary civil servant can make a purchasing decision is $3000.
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