A report to the Commission on Wartime Contracting sees waste and fraud spreading from the Euphrates valley to the Hindu Kush. From an AP report:
Waste and corruption that marred Iraq's reconstruction will be repeated in Afghanistan unless the U.S. transforms the unwieldy bureaucracy managing tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects, government watchdogs warned Monday.
The U.S. has devoted more than $30 billion to rebuilding Afghanistan. Yet despite the hard lessons learned in Iraq, where the U.S. has spent nearly $51 billion on reconstruction, the effort in Afghanistan is headed down the same path, the watchdogs told a new panel investigating wartime contracts.
"Before we go pouring more money in, we really need to know what we're trying to accomplish (in Afghanistan)," said Ginger Cruz, deputy special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. "And at what point do you turn off the spigot so you're not pouring money into a black hole?"
…….Cruz, along with Stuart Bowen, the top U.S. official overseeing Iraq's reconstruction, delivered a grim report to the Commission on Wartime Contracting. Their assessment, along with testimony from Thomas Gimble of the Defense Department inspector general's office, laid out a history of poor planning, weak oversight and greed that soaked U.S. taxpayers and undermined American forces in Iraq.
……A 456-page study by Bowen's office, "Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience," reviews the problems in an effort the Bush administration initially thought would cost $2.4 billion.
The U.S. government "was neither prepared for nor able to respond quickly to the ever-changing demands" of stabilizing Iraq and then rebuilding it, said Bowen. "For the last six years we have been on a steep learning curve."
Overall, the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development have paid contractors more than $100 billion since 2003 for goods and services to support war operations and rebuilding projects in Iraq and Afghanistan…….
There are 154 open criminal investigations into allegations of bribery, conflicts of interest, defective products, bid rigging and theft in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, said Gimble, the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general.
Link via Rational Review.
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