Welcome To The Ghost Hotel: Kabul Hyatt Still Not Completed After 10 Years And $85 Million In Taxpayer Money

694940094001_5214588198001_kabul-ghost-hotel-shows-troubling-lack-of-oversightWe have yet another example of how our government has thrown away billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan without any discipline or repercussions for federal officials or contractors. The latest example is the “ghost hotel” of Kabul — a massive construction site for the Marriott Kabul that has never been completed but the taxpayer money has checked out without a trace. Just poof. It could be the perfect place for our ghost army to vacation at our ghost hotel.

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”. Then there was the unused business park. 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.

ht-afghanistan-03-as-161117_4x3_992The latest example concerns the project from December 2006 by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to build a 209-room, five-star hotel and an apartment building across the street from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. This was to be the highlight of the American reconstruction of Afghanistan. It is now just a crumbling unused structure where millions disappeared. Some $85 million disappeared into the ghost hotel according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) which found “troubling management practices and lax oversight” at the site of the project. Ok, then who was fired? Of course, no one was fired. The public is not entitled to accountability for massive waste or corruption.

Special Inspector General John Sopko summed it up: “The Marriott Hotel Kabul is emblematic of our reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Great ideas, tons of money, poor execution and no oversight create incredible opportunities for fraud.”

SIGAR inspectors found an abandoned worksite and structural cracks in the roof, damaged fireproofing on beams and columns, sections of walls that were demolished, uninstalled doors and windows and incomplete water and electrical systems: “As a result, the $85 million in loans is gone, the buildings were never completed and are uninhabitable, and the U.S. Embassy is now forced to provide security for the site at additional cost to U.S. taxpayers.”

Here is the Sigar letter and photos.

OPIC is standing by its most recent disaster in a statement to Fox News:

“In 2006 when OPIC started work on this project, the U.S. government was focused on economic development in Afghanistan to advance both its foreign policy and national security objectives. The hotel and residences projects were intended to host business leaders, foreign ministers and investors seeking to improve the long-term success of Afghanistan’s economy. The timing, location and purpose of this investment is fully consistent with OPIC’s mission. Since OPIC supports American investors operating in the world’s toughest markets, at times it must work with borrowers to navigate unique challenges. This project is no exception. OPIC continues to work to bring resolution to this project.”

It has been ten years and the work on the project is substandard. If that is “fully consistent with OPIC’s mission,” the problem is not the hotel.

In the meantime, the Eagles have a new version of their signature song:

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself
‘This could be heaven or this could be Hell
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor
I thought I heard them say

Welcome to the Hotel Kabul
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel Kabul
Any time of year (any time of year) you can find it here

91 thoughts on “Welcome To The Ghost Hotel: Kabul Hyatt Still Not Completed After 10 Years And $85 Million In Taxpayer Money”

  1. “five-star hotel and an apartment building across the street from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. This was to be the highlight of the American reconstruction of Afghanistan”

    “Special Inspector General John Sopko summed it up: “The Marriott Hotel Kabul is emblematic of our reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Great ideas, tons of money, poor execution and no oversight create incredible opportunities for fraud.”

    Great Ideas? Highlight of American reconstruction? Two of the dumbest statements ever!

    If we had any intent on winning hearts and minds and getting out a winner, then we would have tried to give Afghanis clean water, electricity and sewage. That’s a how you plan for some sort of exit strategy. But an effin 5 star hotel? What a crock! Those are built for war profiteers never intending to leave.

  2. So much government waste. To think of all the good that could be done with that money. Heck, give everyone a refund on taxes if you’re just going to throw it away like that.

    1. My point exactly. People need to realize what having that money right here in THIS COUNTRY can do for people’s lives. $85 million means nothing to the defense industry, it has far reaching effects in our economy if we direct it. Think of the all the “life stuff” that can be bought with that money here. Want to improve lives for Americans, let us keep our money so we can buy more stuff from other Americans.

  3. Somehow we will be hearing Trump soon say that he could have built the hotel for half the cost in half the time and with a casino which all would have failed and gone bankrupt, but, he would have made millions anyway even if the workers got screwed or as we now say, trumped.

    1. Issac: Obama’s unfairly criticized when he oversteps his authority? You mean like putting troops on the ground and bombing in Syria and bombing in Yemen?

      Of course he’s only trying to be humanitarian over there. Right? Help those cuddly Saudi royals, is it?

      Internalized Saudiphobia he’s trying to remedy?

  4. SWM, It’s probably better for you in a venue like this that Trump won. If Hillary won you would have to play defense, and it’s tough to get motivated defending someone you don’t like. I think you’re a better offensive player, and Lord knows you are motivated!

    1. http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/11/attorney_general_appointee_sen.html “The appointment of an anti-cannabis attorney general has some in the legal cannabis community concerned.

      “Sessions is the worst pick that Trump could have made for attorney general as it comes to the marijuana issues and this selection bodes very poorly for the Trump administration to adopt a marijuana friendly policy,” wrote Aaron Herzberg, a cannabis policy expert from California in an email Friday.” Curious as to how a pro Trump libertarian can defend this pick.

      1. Oh come on Swarthmoremom, the Sessions pick was brilliant. With more Supreme Court vacancies on the Horizon any nomination is likely to look moderate in comparison to Sessions. Think, that’s whats wrong with Democrats, all rhetoric no thinking..President Trump says “well you wanted a moderate for the Supreme Court.”

    2. This Trump team is reminding me of George Bush’s team on steroids .I do hope they can unite with the democrats and get some infrastructure spending going as McConnell is likely to oppose it.

      1. I don’t think people understand we have a bit of a 3-way standoff here. We’ll have to wait and see. Max Keiser had a Kansas City econ guy on the other day who had a good plan of how to fund infrastructure, without the pork. And it’s not the Thatcher plan.

  5. I see Ford is staying in Kentucky instead of moving to Mexico. I will be watching Trump w/ my usual skepticism. I know he needs some govt. people who know the swamp, and all the swamp creatures, if it is to be drained. I do like the Kentucky news as well as the stock market gains. Yellen will bust Trump’s balls in December as he did hers.

      1. SWM, Bill Ford[the name being key!] says a line of autos were being shipped to Mexico. Now they are staying here. I get it. Trump doesn’t do anything good and everything he does is stupid, racist, sexist, yada yada yada. I’ve read about a dozen reports. Forbes, NYT, etc. poo poo it. Straight reporting says he saved a line, not a plant. But, having lived near a GM plant that closed about 15 years ago, a line leaving is always the first step to closing the plant. This is good news for blue collar workers, the type people your party and ilk ridicule.

          1. Ford is well run and did not need corporate welfare like GM and Dodge. The reason Ford is more successful is they worked w/ unions, GM and Dodge just appeased and we hard working taxpayers paid for their incompetence. Unions that negotiate in good faith survive. There is a mutual interest, Ford UAW got it. And, of course, you got your facts wrong. But, keep linking and spinning, girl. I know it’s tough times.

            1. There is the whole production of GM vehicles in China that are to be, or are in route to here now. You know, the company we bailed out and let them welch on that last $10 billion.

              1. slohrss29: It’s troubling for sure. How about Apple, moving to Ireland for tax shelter and making its iPhones in China? Do we treat Apple as we would GM?

                My position is this: I really, really like my iPhone, but I don’t like it enough to support the outsourcing of our middle class. Apple, America’s true blue chipper is derelict in its duties, and I don’t think the cost of the iPhone would quadruple if it were produced here and were profit not the sole incentive.

                People talk of patriotism while checking to see who’s wearing flag pins on their lapel, but they’re the first to hedge against their public personae. Bill Clinton comes to mind.

                1. Steve Groen – I did read the other day that Apple was considering making its phones in the USA. Tech stocks took a nose dive after the election. They need all the good will they can get.

                2. Nick…
                  -Alan Mulally made a number of very smart strategic decisions at Ford to avoid the need for government bailout and/ or bankruptcy.
                  He was one of the most impressive CEOs in recent memory.
                  Except in areas of self-promotion, Mulally is head and shoulders above Lee Iacocca as an auto industry exec.

                3. I know what you mean Steve. My business revolves around Apple products. But I am not a shill. All of my apple products have failed except for my two iPhones. But my wife had an iPhone and it went bad too. I am actually typing this on a failing iMac (just have to find time to take it to an Apple store for my “onsite” warranty work…). I mentioned in another post about Max Keiser and a KC economist who feels pretty much the same way. He (and I hate to steal his thunder, but it’s the same deal I’ve always wanted to cut…) thinks we should cut a deal with Apple that requires them to build production facilities here. I think it’s a fairly easy argument to make to get industry back here. But I know we would have to go through partisan tit-for-tat, so that would be a problem too.
                  Yes, good call on the lapel pins…. they don’t give me the type of feeling anymore that they were meant to.

                  1. slohrss29 – my understanding is that Apple makes a profit of about $400 per unit. They could do some cost-cutting.

            2. Nick…
              -Alan Mulally made a number of very smart strategic decisions at Ford to avoid the need for government bailout and/ or bankruptcy.
              He was one of the most impressive CEOs in recent memory.
              Except in areas of self-promotion, Mulally is head and shoulders above Lee Iacocca as an auto industry exec.

        1. “Whatever happens in Louisville, it will not lose employment,” Jimmy Settles, a union official, told The Detroit Free Press. “They cannot make enough Escapes.”

          Now, thanks to Mr. Trump, the plant will make fewer Escapes — and more MKCs. Really no change…… Sure hope Trump can save that Carrier plant. That would be a big deal .People are counting on him.

          1. Gey over it. Your self-entitled candidate lost to quite possibly the worst candidate in US history, a buffoon, so what does that make her except the person who blames everybody except herself? Have you heard one apology from that ego on steroids?

            Next time around, take a closer look at your candidate’s flaws before placing your vote.

            1. Trump is president elect now so why make it about the electoral college loser. Criticism of the president elect’s appointments apparently does not meet with your approval but can you stop it?

              1. Why make it about the loser? Puhlease! Because you’re blaming everyone for the loss but the perpetrator and her husband, who singlehandedly gutted the middle class! Half of this country lives in poverty and your party offers us a crook who loses to an half-brained ape!

                And now we’ll see the economic consequences:

                1. Jimmy Dore places the blame on the democrats. Remember, those who electioneered their party’s primary. He mentions how unpopular she is and one of his sources is the unpopularity. I might add that Hillary’s alleged popularity was hollow. But what is not recognized is that Donald’s popularity among the republican voter was very high. Donald won despite sixteen other candidates. Hillary won due to sleaze and malfeasance within her party that elevated her to the top. Does that come as no surprise as to why she lost? The fact that she received more popular votes in the general election is irrelevant. She did not have the votes to carry enough states to win the college. If so many democrats had went to the polls to support her, she would have won the election. That they had not stayed home due to their dismay over what they believed to be a tarnished candidate the election result would have been obvious.

                  1. Darren: A LOT of Republicans voted for Trump while holding their noses. Even those in Congress took a long time to be persuaded, including the Speaker, who wouldn’t even endorse him.

                    The point is that her campaign was so far right, along with her lack of honesty, that she lost the progressive left.

                    1. I agree. I have no argument with you about that. She even lost Obama voters in Wisconsin.

                    2. You make a valid a point there about some of the republicans “holding their noses”.

                      A take away from this election is that while I disagree with some of Bernie’s approaches, though I suspect in the end we want essentially the same thing, (the betterment of the American public’s lives), I felt that his platform should have been brought to the public in the general election and let the electorate at large decide for itself the direction the majority wanted for America. If we actually had a full marketplace of ideas we could have a better discussion of our future and not be relegated to the rhetoric of only two duopoly candidates.

                      For this I felt a marketplace for ideas was thwarted by the DNC by disenfranchising so many democrat voters as well as disenfranchising Bernie and for that matter any other democrat contender for this office. At least the greens, the republicans, the libertarians, the socialist workers, and the other political parties had a legitimate process for selecting their nominee and the most popular candidate seems to have won in those incidents.

            2. At least I will be able to tell my grandkids that I did not vote for the KKK backed candidate.

              1. SW MOM
                -The head of the American Communist Party endorsed Hillary Clinton.
                It’s fashionable to being up the KKK support for Trump.
                Not as politically correct to mention the Communist Party backing Hillary.
                It seems to me that a non-issus, or a phony issue, should not be a factor in voting for or against a parti ular candidate.
                There were plenty of legitimate concerns about about both majof candidates without exaggerating non-issues.

                1. tnash: “The head of the American Communist Party endorsed Hillary Clinton. It’s fashionable to [be beating] up the KKK support for Trump. Not as politically correct to mention the Communist Party backing Hillary. . . .”

                  I agree that Trump isn’t responsible for those who vote for him. Just the same, he didn’t come out against the Klan, and Clinton likely wouldn’t have either.

                  I see your point in the above quote, but it’s a false equivalent. I don’t know that you realize that. The American Communist Party platform is one of socioeconomic policy, not racism. You’re treating such a differing socioeconomic policy as Joe McCarthy’s donors would have, as if it were a sin and one akin to the beliefs of the KKK. One can believe whatever one wants, but we all know (at least I hope we all learn in relief of the misgivings of our parents) that racism and closing one’s mind to alternative socioeconomic ideology are irrational and have to be thwarted with a conscious refusal to align with such barbarity.

                  1. The Very Reverend Green – the CPUSA is not overtly racist, in fact they helped with the Civil Right unrest. However, the Communist Party of the USSR is racist. Just look at the people they murdered to take over the country.

                    1. Paul, you’re doing the same thing. What does the American Communist Party have to do with the Soviet Union and Stalinism. It’s a socioeconomic theory. That’s it. Is there something authoritarian in its platform, while the US government in contrast is cataloging everything you and I say and do? It has nothing to do with physical or physiological distinctions in human beings.

                    2. I was one a religious … – the CPUSA during the Stalin and USSR years was broken into two groups. The above ground card-carrying members and the underground seditious members. Reading the Venona Papers would get you up-to-date. They were running underground until at least 1980.

                    3. Paul: Well, lucky for us then. On those credits, you’ll reject the Republican Party for Cheney and Rumsfeld’s open support of torture, misrepresentation to the public to initiate a war for financial gain, and the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

                      Obviously, many parties have radicals who condone violence, and I agree that those persons, as opposed to others in the party, should be rejected.

                      Potatoe.

                    4. Pastor Cecil Williams – Well… it is clear you have NOT read the Venona Papers. When you have, get back to me.

                  2. Rev
                    Green…
                    I don’t think that recognizing the shameful legacy of Communism is McCarthy-like, or “McCartyism”.

                    We saw several years of wild accusations by McCarthy & Co., followed by decades of phony claims of .McCarthyism”.

                    Those making those phony claims got a lot of mileage out of it

              2. No, just one of the architects of death and destruction focused primarily on one ethnic group. Just have to zoom out a little to see the argument, and it’s ugly. Probably over a million dead, including lots of children. Assuming you voted for Clinton, of course.

        2. Bill Clinton wanted the campaign to appeal more to working class voters and they shoved him aside Bannon saw an opening .Don’t think that will happen again.

          1. How much time did Bill have working on his wife’s campaign while he currently maintained his mistress, codenamed “Energy Bunny” by his SS detail? Maybe his wife didn’t want her husband and his mistress hanging out too much with her? They didn’t seem to be together all that much in the past 2 years.

            I will say that Wikileaks showed he thought Obamacare was crazy, with killing premiums and declining coverage, undoable for the middle class, all while Hillary proclaimed how wonderful it was.

            Maybe, instead of viewing working class people as votes, or a strategy, to get into the White House and then be forgotten, like African Americans are used and forgotten every year, it would be better to actually care about the middle class in general, and working blue collar people specifically. They tend to be sneered at as “those who were left behind by progress” like they’re candle workers who cannot accept that the world has changed. Rather, government policies seem to hit them hard. Their anger is from hardship. Middle class median income is still at 1996 levels, and homeownership is at a 50 year low, and Obamacare unsubsidized premiums for the middle class cost as much as a mortgage. But they were blown off, sneered at, and forgotten.

            Trump got into the White House by speaking to them without contempt. Now let’s see if he meant what he said, and can follow through.

  6. America was having trouble
    What a sad, sad story
    Needed a new leader to restore
    Its former glory
    Where, oh, where was he?
    Where could that man be?
    We looked around and then we found
    The man for you and me
    LEAD TENOR STORMTROOPER:
    And now it’s…
    Springtime for Trump and America!
    Deutschland is happy and gay!
    We’re marching to a faster pace
    Look out, here comes the master race!
    Springtime for Hitler and Germany
    Rhineland’s a fine land once more!
    Springtime for Hitler and Germany
    Watch out, Europe
    We’re going on tour!
    Springtime for Hitler and Germany…
    CHORUS:
    Look, it’s springtime
    LEAD TENOR STORMTROOPER:
    Winter for Poland and France
    CHORUS AND STORMTROOPER:
    Springtime for Hitler and Germany!
    CHORUS:
    Springtime! Springtime!
    Springtime! Springtime!
    Springtime! Springtime!
    Springtime! Springtime!
    STORMTROOPER:
    Come on, Germans
    Go into your dance!
    STORMTROOPER “ROLF”:
    I was born in Dusseldorf und that is why they call me Rolf.
    STORMTROOPER “MEL”:
    Don’t be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Nazi party!
    ULLA:
    The Fuhrer is coming, the Fuhrer is coming, the Fuhrer is coming!
    STORMTROOPER #1:
    Heil Hitler!
    STORMTROOPER #2:
    Heil Hitler!
    LEAD TENOR STORMTROOPER:
    Heil Hitler!
    Springtime for Hitler and Germany
    ALL:
    Heil Hitler!
    ROGER:
    Heil myself
    Heil to me
    I’m the kraut
    Who’s out to change our history
    Heil myself
    Raise your hand
    There’s no greater
    Dictator in the land!
    Everything I do, I do for you!
    CHORUS:
    Yes, you do!
    ROGER:
    If you’re looking for a war, here’s World War Two!
    Heil myself
    Raise your beer
    CHORUS:
    Jawohl!
    ROGER:
    Ev’ry hotsy-totsy Nazi stand and cheer
    CHORUS:
    Hooray!
    Ev’ry hotsy-totsy Nazi…

    image: http://static.urx.io/units/web/urx-unit-loader.gif

    ROGER:
    Heil myself!
    CHORUS:
    Ev’ry hotsy-totsy Nazi…
    ROGER:
    Heil myself!
    CHORUS:
    Ev’ry hotsy-totsy Nazi…
    ROGER:
    …stand and cheer!
    THE HEIL-LOs:
    The Fuhrer is causing a furor!
    He’s got those Russians on the run
    You gotta love that wacky hun!
    The Fuhrer is causing a furor
    They can’t say “no” to his demands
    They’re freaking out in foreign lands
    He’s got the whole world in his hands
    The Fuhrer is causing a furor!
    ROGER:
    I was just a paper hanger
    No one more obscurer
    Got a phone call from the Reichstag
    Told me I was Fuhrer
    Germany was blue
    What, oh, what to do?
    Hitched up my pants
    And conquered France
    Now Deutschland’s smiling through!
    But it wasn’t always so easy…
    It was 1932. Hindenburg was working the Big Room and I…
    I was playing the lounge. And then I got my big break.
    Somebody burned down the Reichstag. And, would you believe it?
    They made me Chancellor. Chancellor!
    It ain’t no myst’ry
    If it’s politics or hist’ry
    The thing you gotta know is
    Ev’rything is show biz
    Heil myself
    Watch my show
    I’m the German Ethel Merman
    Dontcha know
    We are crossing borders
    The new world order is here
    Make a great big smile
    Ev’ryone sieg heil to me
    Wonderful me!
    And now it’s…
    CHORUS:
    Springtime for Hitler and Germany
    Goose-step’s the new step today

    ROGER:
    Springtime!
    Goose-steps!
    CHORUS MEN:
    Bombs falling from the skies again
    CHORUS:
    Deutschland is on the rise again
    ROGER & CHORUS:
    Springtime for Hitler and Germany
    U-boats are sailing once more
    Springtime for Hitler and Germany
    ROGER:
    Means that…
    CHORUS:
    Soon we’ll be going…
    ROGER:
    We’ve got to be going…
    CHORUS:
    You know we’ll be going….
    ROGER:
    You bet we’ll be going…
    ROGER & CHORUS:
    You know we’ll be going to war!!
    Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/the-producers/springtime-for-hitler-lyrics/#71KuMiEuMZ85S36j.99

  7. Arizona is a right-to-work state. We can put up a building faster than any union state. We need to capture some of our illegals and send them over there to fix up the hotel.

  8. I’m shopping around for rare properties…. Fix & flip. Found 1 in Nekoma, North Dakota. An abandoned nuclear missile base. Cost billions to build & sells for $500K. I really like the pyramid & underground facilities.

      1. Nice! I remember that. Always great satire. Non of those shows anymore, as far as I know. The ones where you have to think, that is…

  9. You could call this waste by design. Whether a hotel in Kabul, a soccer stadium instead of housing in Haiti or the laundry service for servicemen stationed in the Middle East, defense spending is one enormous scam.

    American private contractors charge the government $100 to wash a bag of GI laundry. There are dozens of other jobs that once were done by uniformed soldiers that are now performed by private companies and there is no monitoring, no serious auditing and no accountability.

    Everyone in Washington knows that the Pentagon is one big public works project. Many of these are no-bid contracts and have clauses that say if costs go up for the company, the government simply pays more, whatever the increase might be. It’s an invitation for waste, greed and outright theft. The more I charge, the more you pay.

    We need more stories like this so that the public can become rightfully outraged. Instead we get speeches about increasing ‘defense’ spending. Washington is throughly and irredeemably corrupt.

    1. And yet, with the massive military budget, the Heritage Foundations reports our Army “weak,” and the rest “marginal.” I vote we cut spending to make it better. Slice and dice. Chop out 15 of the 16 government intelligence agencies (like the captain of the Dallas said in “The Hunt for Red October,” that is a contradiction in terms…). Cut, cut, cut…. then cut some more.

      Oh, yeah, take away the tax-exempt status from the Heritage Foundation and the rest of these NGOs.

      By the way, thought we would hear from some of the self-professed lefties that show up here… well??? Just like I thought, there ain’t be such an animal. There is no antiwar left, just spewing neoliberals. “Killing is just like a video game, as long as WE get to pick who gets killed…”

  10. Totally appalling. More oversight, shrinking government and eliminating whole departments might help. What would help the most is to get rid of the union for government workers. That way anyone, at any level, can be fired for not fulfilling their responsibilities. When a worker can be fired for calling in sick ten days out of every month, when a guy looks at porn all day on our dime, can be fired then a lot of corruption would be weeded out. Normal working joes have to DO their jobs, government people, not so much. This must end!

  11. This is an example as to why our foreign policy is so militarized. With the military behind these things, you can do anything! You have to wonder what the real core of our economy is now if you took out the military support and associated spending and contracts. That is probably why the gov officials are so quick to offer up a military solution, there’s probably nothing there if this sector of the economy goes away.

    Like last post. I need a tax cut.

    1. The military is in Afghanistan to protect the heroin business. The Hyatt was probably built as a place for CIA employees to stay while in Kabul on Company business (Heroin).

      1. Thanks Bill, I have read about that. I guess there are somethings I have blocked out of mind, this being one of them. I know the Taliban had the poppy trade pretty well wiped out, but it’s alive and well now. Guess it’s responsible for the crash in price of heroin on the street. It has been estimated that in my locality, 25% of the people under 25 are heroin addicts. Our rotting healthcare system (also being killed by administration costs) is being overwhelmed by caring for the nonstop cases of heroin ODs. And, evidently that drug used to counter the effects is responding to market demand by going higher quickly. Very, very sad.

        If he does anything, we’ll hope orange-utan will slice the funding for these parts of government. Quickly. We don’t need CIA-sponsored heroin problems, as well as the next blowback by a new group of idiots they are training with deadly knowledge.

        1. Even Hope and Change, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, decided he liked the special projects division of the CIA enough to maintain its existence. Whatever Congress might do to defund it – which I hardly expect in the near future because all three branches will clearly be to the far right – the CIA can still fund itself through arms and drugs.

          As for poppy production in Afghanistan, I don’t know that continuing an installed regime which makes poppy production illegal is the proper course. Opium is a viable and profitable crop for a very poor citizenry, and opium does have pharmaceutical application outside of Afghanistan.

          I also don’t know how much of Afghan opium actually finds its way underground to the US, but maybe it’s more than I might imagine. Rather than just dictate to foreign sovereigns, however, I think we should rethink what makes people addicts and make the stronger effort on that end of it.

          At the end of the day, it’s all interrelated in my opinion. The CIA is being used for empire-building, not defensive foreign intelligence under the facade of the best defense is a good offense. Empire vanishes if we stop believing in what is now being termed “predator capitalism.”

          1. Exactly. And it’s alarming how close the CIA is working with NGOs too. Yes, I would think it is too much to dream that the CIA would be knocked down the ladder about 50 rungs, but we can hope. I don’t think it’s our business to tell any country what to do, but it was interesting that there was a strange benefit in the middle of all the madness. From what has been explained to me, the heroin users carry on with that as an expected part of like. I’m afraid the way it will be dealt with is when that market totally self-destructs.

  12. Didn’t they use that money, $10 a head, as restitution for each civilian death, while David Patraeus and his ghost writer worked on his new book. The troops loved him, too.

    Rather than Hotel Kabul, how ’bout American Pie:

    ~The three men I admired most
    The father, son, and the holy ghost
    They caught the last train for the coast
    The day the music died~

    1. How about, Shriekback’s “The Underwater Boys”?

      We all know fata morgana
      She keeps herself to herself
      She likes the sound of explosions
      You know – some people need nothing else

      She has a volatile nature –
      Moves in a dangerous way
      All the creatures around her:
      They keep quiet, or she blows them away

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  13. Steve, The Obama administration has the highest % of people who have never worked in the private sector. This country often elects the opposite of the prior prez. Hopefully, Trump has the highest number of real world biz people in his administration.

        1. Patraeus is being interviewed for Secretary of State along with Jon Bolton. Some of Trump’s appointees have called for regime change in Iran.

          1. swm – one does not make some. Bolton has mentioned regime change in Iran, but that may or may not fly. Do you have others?

                1. Thus far, Trump has appointed a collection of warmonger and racist Washington insiders.

                  1. Glenn Greenwald Verified account
                    ‏@ggreenwald

                    There are GOP Senate factions that could/might impede Trump: Maine moderate types; Mormon group; Tea-Party/civil-liberties wing (Paul/Lee). Hope Greenwald is right.

          2. If Hillary was disqualified, Petraeus shouldn’t even be on the list. He should be in the brig!

      1. http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/2016/11/president-elect-trump-selects-senator-jeff-sessions-staunch-supporter-failed-drug-war-b

        Sessions Will Likely Bring Back Harsh Drug Sentences, Block State Marijuana Programs

        Drug Policy Alliance: This Man is a Threat to Everything We Stand for and Must be Opposed

        Several outlets reported this morning that Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has been selected by Donald Trump to be the next Attorney General.

        “Jeff Sessions is a drug war dinosaur, which is the last thing the nation needs now,” said Ethan Nadelmann. “Those who counted on Donald Trump’s reassurance that marijuana reforms ‘should be a state issue’ will be sorely disappointed. And not just Democrats but the many Republicans as well who favor rolling back the war on drugs had better resist this nomination.”

        Sessions, who once said that the Ku Klux Klan was, “OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana,” has a track record of opposition to marijuana reform. Earlier this year, Sessions spoke out against marijuana legalization in a Senate hearing, and urged the government to send the message to the public that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” He has also said in a separate hearing that marijuana cannot be safer than alcohol because, “Lady Gaga says she’s addicted to it and it is not harmless.” He is likely to use his power as Attorney General to close down state-legal marijuana and medical marijuana programs.

    1. The mess has been going on through many Presidencies. This mess started with Bush. Obama simply did not do a complete job of cleaning it up. There might be some blame focused on the Republican traitors like Mitch McConnell who flat out stated that regardless of whether or not it is good for America or the right thing to do, if Obama proposes it, the Republicans will oppose it. And, that’s what has been happening for the past six+ years. Of course when Obama over steps his executive positions in order to get something done, anything, he is the real bad guy. Well when you are perspectively challenged then you see what you want to see.

  14. A recent article on another site commented on an upscale hotel constructed in Haiti with similar goals. It was apparently completed but has reportedly low (if any) occupancy. While visitors are attracted to safe places, apparently they are not eager to visit places where instant death is common. First stop the violence, disease, natural disasters, and poverty. Then build the hotels.

  15. Many government officials have never had a career in the private sector, so they have no idea that there should be consequences for “lost” money.

    These people just shrug their shoulders and close the books with a “Good enough for government work” epitaph.

    Hope that Mr. Trump regards taxpayer money the same way that he regards his own (not sanguine though, Washington seems to induce fiscal carelessness in its denizens).

    1. Mr.Trump does favor bankruptcies and high debts loads. He is not known to be a fiscal conservative.

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