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Study: US wasted billions in Iraq, Afghanistan

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, February 24, 2011 17:41 EDT
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WASHINGTON – Corruption and waste has cost the US government billions of reconstruction dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an official study on wartime contracting released on Thursday.

The report found that “criminal behavior and blatant corruption” were responsible for much of the waste related to the nearly $200 billion spent since 2002 on US reconstruction and other projects in the two countries.

It did not give exact figures, but cited the Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report to Congress in January that found efforts were at clear risk because of poor planning and insufficient oversight.

Another estimate in the “Commission on Wartime Contracting” report found that losses to fraud alone in both war zones could be as high as $12 billion.

“When it comes to oversight of contingency contracting, we’ve been driving beyond the reach of our headlights. Reforms are badly needed,” said the report.

“For many years, the government has abdicated its contracting responsibilities — too often using contractors as the default mechanism — without consideration for the resources needed to manage them.”

The commission offers 32 recommendations to improve the situation in both Iraq and Afghanistan, where some 200,000 people are employed by subcontractors, including a decrease in dependence on private security and an increase in competition between subcontractors to lower prices.

It also called for a separate agency to oversee the different contractors currently overseen by the State Department, Pentagon and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The commission was established by Congress in 2008 under the model of the Truman Commission during World War II, which investigated US government spending during the conflict.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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  • Anonymous

    I wonder how much they paid for this study? If they would have called me I would have told them that for free!

    It ‘s bad enough, but to make matters worse after knowing the private contractors were crooked, they turned around and signed new contracts with the same old crooked contractors.

    But most of the people in the U.S. were oblivious to what was going on then, are oblivious to what is going on now and will be oblivious in the future.

  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    “The commission offered 32 recommendations for improving the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan” – Dude, I could take care of the whole thing in 2 recommendations. Pack up and go home.

  • Anonymous

    The eventual waste of money was painfully obvious before these tragic national blunders ever began.

    In addition we lost credibility, good will, many allies and security.

    The measure of a nation’s legitimacy can be considered how close its actions match its own proclaimed mission.

    This double fiasco has put us firmly at the bottom of any legitimacy ratings.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t need a study for this.

    Watch this thing rolling. i wish I could have just a few minutes of it:
    http://costofwar.com/en/

  • Guest

    Knock-Knock…Helllllo! They are STILL wasting billions and also lives. Study? Take a trip over there and watch the fun first hand!

  • Guest

    And in other news…water is wet!

  • parrots_abound

    Study finds that conducting studies about obvious wastes in obvious bogus wars is wasteful itself…..

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FPBFO6RC5R2HHIP3VXSFU2RZQA mjj

    So how long are we going to keep outsourcing construction security and who knows what else to private firms. Sure they get the lowest bid but they do it knowing full well there will be cost over runs that no one will investigate and then they make out like bandits. This is how the game is played and they know how to play very well.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

    Any fool would have know this would happen the day before we invaded. Imprison George Bush for life.

  • Anonymous

    I’m flabbergasted (whatever the hell that means) that this corruption has been found out – it’s only been as obvious as a giant wart on the nose for 7+ years.

  • Anonymous

    Plus, this is what will happen here when the repugs start privatizing everything.
    Expect the cost of water, power,
    infrastructure repair (sic), police, fire, education, prisons, SS,medicare/caid, etc. to all go up thru the roof
    and the middle class will get stuck with paying for it all.

  • realnewz

    Billions lost in these wars and the gop wants us to believe its the American Workers/Unions fault for this deficit!

    Give me a break!

  • Anonymous

    We put a Bush/Unocal guy in as president and corruption is a surprise? WTF?

  • Anonymous

    NO SHIT DICK TRACY! I mean you would have to be living under a god damn rock for this story to be news. What with “NO BID CONTRACTS”, Blackwater, Haliburton, KBR and all the rest of the Rethuglican Corporate pigs lined up at the trough. That is exactly why the Shrub started that damn thing was so he could make his rich friends wealthy and his wealthy friends even wealthier.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure glad this corruption is coming from the private contractors in the free market system! Can you imagine how much corruption there would have been if Rumsfedl hadn’t sought to privatize the military and as many military connected operations as possible, by hiring Halliburton for $billions and Blackwater for $billions more, so that a lot of this was no longer done by the military. I tremble to think about it! The private free market system is so much more honest and reliable than anything government workers would do! The only way to en cost overrun and fraud is to privatize with honest, reliable, responsible, and decent free market companies whose only concern is to ensure that value is delivered and every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely.

    Most ironic with this story is a photo of John McCain who never met a war or defense initiative he wouldn’t fund long past it’s shelf life, to the side with a caption “Sen. John McCain said it best “Absolutely disgraceful” Tell Congress: No New Pork.” Yet with a trillion dollar defense budget the cost cutting Republicans in the House couldn’t find a dollar more than Obama’s measly 7.8 billion a year reduction!

    I wonder when McCain is going to start cutting the defense budget and the budget for these private contractors or even reducing the payouts for those already found guilty of fraud and overcharging the government.

    Here’s a headline you’ll never see: “McCain Votes to Slash Defense Spending”

  • Anonymous

    Corruption and waste costing 200 billion. Hey St douche bag Ronnie Raygun. The problem isn’t goverment you shit eater of the rich man’s crap. You cost this country lifes, money and brought down hell because you didn’t have the balls to stand up for America.

    As for little Bush Jr. It’s hard not to think of him riding around on a tricycle claiming he roars at 150 on a harley. The little boy who brags his way through life hanging on daddy’s pants. This little twirp cost the the tax payers money and lives with his bullshit.

    Conservatives throughout history has always been: SNAFU

    To understand Conservative think of Sexual Transmitted Disease, Conservatism is like that and that’s what this country gets whenever they let a Conservative in office.

  • Anonymous

    To add a post script to my earlier post I’d like to add that I wouldn’t expect any other outcome from the shrub administration. But god damn it I would have expected Obama to correct some of the graft when he took over but NO! he’s carrying on with the same corrupt policies. That is what has disappointed me and a lot of other folks in my circle.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    ROFL! Did they actually have to do a study to know that?

    Either they do a study to find out how many studies are not needed because the results are obvious or the US better form a Department of the Obvious devoted to nothing but studies. Then, they can do a study to see how much money they’re wasting on it.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Oh, man! Every once in a while I bring that site up (for effect) so I can watch it roll by. You get the urge to kill yourself watching it.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Start privatizing everything? Don’t you mean finish privatizing everything? Last time I checked, we only had public education and SS to go.

  • Lincoln Paradox

    When you add the oil stolen from Southern Iraq, year-after-year, by American and British oil corps, this entire war begins to look like the greatest heist of the millennium.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    CONservatives = genital herpes

    I like it, I like it!

  • Anonymous

    We didn’t put him in. Five traitors on the The Supreme Court did. They deserve life in prison with no parole.

  • Mr. Neutron

    Yeah, why don’t more US Presidents have the guts to stand up to the Military and the CIA and tell them exactly who’s in charge, like John F. Kennedy did ?

  • Mr. Neutron

    What 2 wars ?

    You mean 2 occupations ?

  • Anonymous

    Well, that’s one way to reduce our deficit by $12 billion, go after the fraudsters and if the US company tries to blame their Afghan or Iraqi subcontractor, tough. The US company is responsible for the project, not their subcontractor. And while we’re at it, maybe some jail time for the CEO’s that haven’t fled to Bahrain and recovering triple damages might be a good idea for preventing this sort of thing in the future.

  • Anonymous

    It’s too late. The damage has been done. Maybe what could be done, though, is to send him a bill for the whole mess. Between him and Cheney with their henchmen thrown in for good measure, we can get a start on paying for the mess. The Bush family alone should be able to pay for a month or two of Iraq.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s hard not to think of him riding around on a tricycle claiming he roars at 150 on a harley.”

    That is just beautiful! Succinct and to the point. Oh, well done!

  • Anonymous

    So I wonder if President ASSHOLE will now just declare victory and order the military out and bring them home so this country can stop bleeding dollars on failures!

    What say you PRESIDENT ASSHOLE?

  • maritimer

    Billions wasted? No. Really?

  • Anonymous

    Will we ever really know why it was necessary to waste so much taxpayer money on the middle-east wars

  • Anonymous

    Wooptie poop ya think anyone is going to jail? Can we get our money back? will the guilty parties ever be identified? Noooooo so stop talking about it already.

  • mick

    America is going down…idiots in a commercial passenger plane hit your military head quarters …after flying around for an hour forty minutes …trillions of dollars spent on US military superiority…all beaten by the cost of four one way tickets to LA …LOL yes right !

  • Anonymous

    old news as a blind person would know how much was wasted if they bothered to read what the soldiers were saying. The Treasury was open to friends and the Congress gave Bush/Cheney a blank check with no questions asked. Any person dare question the Bush Administration would be fired or taken care of by Karl Rove. Cheney kept Law Makers in their place and the few that opened their mouth quickly get smacked down. Now people are acting like they didn’t know this and the Bush Administration is blaming others for what they did. At lease the Banks got the bailout for their big bonuses and Israel got their billions to build homes. Even Curve ball the man who Bush used his lie to invade Iraq is was paid well for his action. One Iraq business man said he made so much money telling the Americans what they wanted to hear, he is building to homes in England and is now very wealthy and will never return to Iraq as he said in this interview on BBC.

  • overdoneputaforkinit

    “US wasted billions” That’s the real goal. “Never let a disaster go to waste” means take advantage of the situation to quickly channel billions into the pockets of the industries. Wasteful and fraudulent war spending is safe from oversight and lost forever, harvested from the taxpayer to the private pockets of the favored industries.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if this includes the BILLIONS we paid the “enemy” to stop fighting us.

  • Anonymous

    No I think greatest heist in history goes to our mortgage and banking industry thay are still raking in billions as more people default on the bogus loans

  • Anonymous

    Really, why do you think that is?

  • Anonymous

    Duh! Every dollar spent in both countries was a waste. For 200 billion America could have had real high speed rail and that 200 billion was only for “reconstruction.” There should be 50 million outraged US citizens on the National Mall but they’re too involved in television, sports, and fast food.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ODHDTSN5TFE24TZS22LJWXHO6I Rash Lameballs

    And yet,the R’s blame the deficit on social security,teachers and collective bargaining.EDUCATE YOURSELVES PEOPLE!

    “The secret of freedom lies in educating people.whereas the secret of tryanny is in keeping them ignorant.”
    Maximilien Roperspierre

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ODHDTSN5TFE24TZS22LJWXHO6I Rash Lameballs

    +100

    The shock doctrine is alive and well in these United States of Amerikkka.
    Everyone should read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein

  • http://thejoesteelblog.blogspot.com/ Joe Steel

    What’s Obama good for? We already have plenty of Republicans.

  • enorceht

    and just think for 8 years under bu$h they weren’t even adding this money to the deficit, like if they didn’t talk about it it didn’t exist

  • Eyeball_Kid

    I don’t think that the “billions” in waste and lack of oversight includes the 8 BILLION dollars that were… uh… lost in Iraq. Eight billion dollars in cash. Lost. Disappeared. Gone. Eight billion in printed bills. No accounting procedures. Under Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney. They took our money out of the Treasury and gave it away.

  • Eyeball_Kid

    Another headline you’ll never see: McCain’s moral compass is shattered by money, glazed by dementia.

  • Eyeball_Kid

    Obama is standing on slippery ground when it comes to supporting protesters for collective bargaining rights. He’s doing a great middle-road Republican job, isn’t he?

  • Anonymous

    Nearly 200 BILLION WASTED????? Meanwhile – Schools are closing and downsizing, Millions lose thier jobs…..and Lose thier Health Ins…..this country has turned into a JOKe..a War Mongering Joke. Pathetic!!!! THINK of what that 200 BILLION would have done here in Americ?????????

  • Anonymous

    our wars are waged by for-profit-corporations.
    it’s good for the economy! it’s good for wall street!

    all funded by taxpayer dollars.

  • Anonymous

    and it’s still happening more than 2 years into Obama.

  • Anonymous

    only the latest scapegoat…before the election, it was all the illegal immigrants’ fault.

  • Anonymous

    Bob, it sounds like your circle is seeing things very clearly…many in mine, still have a wait and see attitude about the president….I guess they just prefer to not see the truth…it’s easier than thinking that their savior is somehow not.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/fierylocks FieryLocks

    WAR IS A RACKET

  • Anonymous

    This is probably just the tip of the corruption and waste iceberg. The wars have kept us safe though, just like my tinfoil hat has kept me safe from alien extraterrestrial mind probes and indoctrination, unlike the unfortunate Glenn Beck who won’t wear his.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QMPOO3PZFN7XV2XZKCGSXXR3WM Joe Somebody

    There is no waste in what’s going on over there. Things are going exactly as planned by the vile pricks that started these illegal invasions. Billions and billions are being taken from the tax payers and put directly in the hands of those that supported the War Crimes. It is no accident, it is not “unintended”, it is the POINT of this illegal invasion.. to enrich the few by stealing it from the many while killing the other as a pretext.

  • D.Crockett

    WAR has always been a economic builder for the U.S. Vietnam: Pres Johnson’s was connected to bell helicopter
    and got rich from them. Dick Cheney was connected to Halliburton co who made billions of the Iraq war. you can go on and on with government officials who got rich from war efforts. how long will the American people allow this bullshit to continue????????

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RT3XX4DFKZ2AD7JHO3D3PZ7G4M ChrisK

    THIS IS WHERE OUR TAX DOLLARS WENT.

  • D.Crockett

    WAR has always been a economic venue for the U.S. to stimulate the big machine Vietnam: Pres Johnson got rich from Bell helicopter. Iraq: Dick Cheney got rich from Halliburton you can go on and on with Government officials that get rich from WAR efforts. How long will the American people allow this bullshit to continue ?

  • Anonymous

    There was a recent Raw Story about Colin Powell’s infamous UN speech about going to war…locally, our Public Radio station kept broadcasting that UN meeting, and several UN members responded to Powell’s speech, eloquently saying exactly what would happen if the US went for it…endless casualties, endless insurgency, endless money pit. Did anyone hear that? It would be great to hear/read those “rebuttals” to Powell’s speech which were 100% right.

  • Anonymous

    This has to be Bill or Hillary Clinton’s fault. If you have any doubt, ask a Republican.

  • Anonymous

    This must be Bill or Hillary’s fault. If you have any doubts, ask a Republican.

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    That’s not true! They did not give it away,it went in their own pockets as a bonus for doing such a good job.

  • Anonymous

    Oh get real. EVERY PENNY spent on these stupid, illegal wars has been wasted. In fact, the entire W presidency was a waste. What do we have to show for ANY of it? Total disaster, from the get go, just like I thought it would be. And lots of the rest of us, too. GET US OUT, NOW!

  • Anonymous

    It wasn’t wasted.
    Many republican contributors received substantial contracts from these wars.
    You do the “math”.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J2BKVG44GLNRGIAYKD7UO4O27E Arthur Young

    Your point is truth, for every indictment of Dubya…..your line about this Administration should automatically appear, there is no excuse for our Country to be involved ….yet the President marches on.

  • AnzaSummer

    I think that is the real reason why we fighting these wars of agression. The point is not to win, but to direct tax-payer dollars into the hands of the 2%.

  • AnzaSummer

    Just think about that when you want to outsource government jobs to private corporations.

  • Anonymous

    As soon as there begins to be any momentum of people beginning to wake up there will be someone arrested with an explosive device in their pants or a new video from Osama, or if there are too many in the street maybe another building with collapse. What ever it might take to put us back in our holes with plastic sheeting and duck tape for our safety.

  • dk504

    For some reason Ike’s last warning was scoffed at: “Beware the Military Industrial Complex”. Now Ike would be considered a uber progressive and probably couldn’t get elected these days, despite EVERY THING he did for our country. the irony.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah – you know the writing is on the wall when essential services (best run as a govt controlled monopoly) are handed over to the profit makers (generally under the illusion of ‘efficiency’ LOL what a word). The USoA did that decades ago, alas Australia (and most of the world) followed :-(

  • Anonymous

    Yeah disappointed that none of the ‘order givers’ are in jail yet….means we will later have to jail members of the current adminstration for dereliction of duty. We going to have to legalise drugs just to make room in the prisons for them all, incl. the thousands with the ‘I was just following orders’ defence.

  • Anonymous

    Oh I forgot about those mouth pieces (would luv to see the pictures that stopped them doing their jobs) – our prisons are going to be sooooo full.

  • Anonymous

    …Dollars…
    __________

    ….Ideals….

  • Anonymous

    Another one: Something Changes!!

  • Anonymous

    Bang?

    I mean Bang Bang Bang!

  • Anonymous

    LOL

  • Anonymous

    Yeah that whole fiasco was probably much more expensive…(and much more profitable,for the select few).

  • Anonymous

    That would be nice – BUT who am to have a cuban over a whisky with at the social club if all the members are reduced to poverty or jail? ;-)

  • Anonymous

    “What you mean? I created change. The spin is totally different now.” ;-)

    *quietly cries*

  • Anonymous

    Yes – after the war crime tribunals.

    I expect them to start sometime after 2112.

  • Anonymous

    Oh they are identified.

    Just cannot do anything about them cause not only do they belong to my social club, but they have pictures of me that I would rather not have released….

  • Anonymous

    panem et circenses

  • Anonymous

    Its sad cause I was so optimistic.

    *whips himself for his delusions*

  • Anonymous

    “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.” – U.S. Marine Major General Smedley D. Butler.

    Wonder if the home schoolers even know the name…..

    Oh and remember this was said prior to ‘The War on Drugs’, Smedley rolled over in his grave the day that started.

  • Anonymous

    Bechtel would have lost its UBER harbour contract if Johnson hadnt gone ahead with it … a previous pres. lost his head over it :-(

    Bechtel –> Brown & Root –> KBR oh and our favourite Halliburton.

    PS – check out one of the JFK videos, look for a young future-head-of the-CIA in it…nothing changes.

  • Guest

    gee, with the three stooges, dubya, dick, and rummy running the show, and showing up in Iraq and Afghanistan handing out literally wheel barrows of cash to contractors what could possibly go wrong!

    “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” – H.L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)

  • Anonymous

    “Oh I know, lets give tax cuts to the richest 1% and lets get rid of the environmental controls which are limiting corporate profits. Only good will come from this decision.” – Bush & Co.

    (‘Co’ is this sense means Co Conspirators).

  • Anonymous

    < 1%.

    In fact I recon a handful.

    (Carlyle Group?).

  • Anonymous

    Oneday he will be revered as a Saint.

    Alas we will have to wait till after 2112.

  • Anonymous

    …. and in other breaking news , water is wet …. anyone not making $$ in these wars overseas knows that we should just get the hell out . There are better ways forward than throwing our blood and treasure down a rat-hole that benefits a few and slowly sucks the best from the rest of US . War is a Racket . The Pentagon Economic model has got to go away …. soon !

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LQ5ATIMLEM6RYWPXTTYVRIF5GQ WOLF

    Duuhhh! what a surprise! That’s why we are so deep in the financial quagmire, thanks to Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. We are missing those 200 Billion bucks those gents frittered away on two wars that cannot be won.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LQ5ATIMLEM6RYWPXTTYVRIF5GQ WOLF

    During one of his campaign speeches Obama stated that he would walk with union members to protect their rights. Well, this the time to put in an appearance, Mr. President, in Wisconsin. After that a re-election would be assured.
    Let the GOP continue bumbling along, they are digging the mass grave of the republican party. No union member will vote for a republican in two years time.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Efficiency, economy, intelligence… those are words that take a different meaning when it comes to the government.

  • Anonymous

    “Study: U.S. wasted Trillions in Iraq, Afghanistan.”

    There. Fixed it. The Iraq War should have NEVER been started, especially started by a bunch of insane and incompetent Republicans who DIDN’T even have a plan in place for handling post-war Iraq.And then these same crazed BushCo Republicans put L. Paul Bremer in charge of rebuilding Iraq, but instead Bremer tore the the country apart, driving a wedge between Sunni and Shiites, triggering all the sectarian violence, while Bremer was trying to establish a delusional Republican fantasy land based on delusional Republican policies (15 percent flat tax, no-bid contracts awarded to conservative foreign carpetbaggers, firing all public emplyees from the previous regime, selling off Iraqi assets to foreign interests, etc.). “Billions” doesn’t even come close to how costly Bush’s and Cheney’s Iraq War has been and will be for America, with Trillions closer to being the true cost.

    I know, I know, they’re talking about the lost billions due to shoddy oversight by the culture of corruption and cornyism Republicans in the Bush/Cheney administration, but the U.S. military and criminal contractors/subconstractors should never have been in Iraq in the first place.

  • Anonymous

    And now the middle class has to pay for it.
    The wealthy get to keep their tax cuts, part of the plan to destroy the U.S. government so billionaires can go wild.

  • Anonymous

    They actually had to do a STUDY to figure this out?

    I wonder how much money they wasted on this stupid study!!??

    Mind boggling.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure there were millions of Egyptians who thought that would happen to them as well.

  • Anonymous

    why arent we hanging some of these common criminals who start unjustified wars based on blatant lies
    and the contractors who bribed them to start them

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JETED5IFXLBHDCPATGS3JUS5HU Dip Stick

    I’m shocked, shocked I tell you. Who would have thunk it. Blowing shit up just to rebuild it is wasteful. What a radical notion. Killing people who aren’t even our enemy makes economic sense to these criminal “leaders”. You got to get you money’s worth for that bullet. A weapon unused is a useless weapon.

  • Anonymous

    Well if you’re Halliburton/KBR, you don’t make the lowest bid to get the contract. Halliburton and KBR didn’t even have to bid, they were awarded their contracts with no competition. Then if you will remember, they constructed shower facilities that actually electrocuted our soldiers to death. So please the problem is not special interests in our economy, it is the continuing effects of the Bush. Cheney regime

  • Anonymous

    The spin changed, but he’s still an ASSHOLE!

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