Posted 5 years ago on Oct. 21, 2012, 2:22 a.m. EST by TrevorMnemonic
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By John W. Whitehead, the Rutherford Institute, January 16, 2012
The Pentagon’s Central Command counts 225,000 contractors working in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
America’s troops may be returning home from Iraq, but contrary to President Obama’s assertion that “the tide of war is receding,” we’re far from done paying the costs of war. In fact, at the same time that Obama is reducing the number of troops in Iraq, he’s replacing them with military contractors at far greater expense to the taxpayer and redeploying American troops to other parts of the globe, including Africa, Australia and Israel. In this way, the war on terror is privatized, the American economy is bled dry, and the military-security industrial complex makes a killing—literally and figuratively speaking.
The war effort in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan has already cost taxpayers more than $2 trillion and could go as high as $4.4 trillion before it’s all over. At least $31 billion (and as much as $60 billion or more) of that $2 trillion was lost to waste and fraud by military contractors, who do everything from janitorial and food service work to construction, security and intelligence—jobs that used to be handled by the military. That translates to a loss of $12 million a day since the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan. To put it another way, the government is spending more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.
with the U.S. spending more than $2 billion a week in Afghanistan, these examples of ineptitude and waste represent only a fraction of what is being funded by American taxpayer dollars. (Investigative reports reveal that large amounts of cash derived from U.S. aid and logistics spending are being flown out of the country on a regular basis by Afghan officials, including $52 million by the Afghan vice president, who was allowed to keep the money.) Yet what most Americans fail to realize is that we’re funding the very individuals we claim to be fighting. The war effort has become so corrupt that U.S. taxpayers are not only being bilked by military contractors but are also being forced to indirectly fund insurgents and warlords in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Taliban, which receives money from military contractors in exchange for protection. This is rationalized away as a “cost of doing business” in those countries. As the Financial Times reports, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan “found that extortion of funds from US construction and transportation projects was the second-biggest funding source for insurgent groups.”
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