Military

Military Wastes Millions on Headquarters Never To Be Used

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Credit:U.S. Army/wikimedia

The U.S. military has wasted $34 million on a vast new headquarters in Afghanistan which will most likely never be used by U.S. forces. The 64,000 square foot monument to government incompetence stands vacant at Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, Afghanistan.

The Washington Post:

The windowless, two-story structure, which is larger than a football field, was completed this year at a cost of $34 million. But the military has no plans to ever use it. Commanders in the area, who insisted three years ago that they did not need the building, now arein the process of withdrawing forces and see no reason to move into the new facility.

So what is to be the fate of the military's latest white elephant?

"The building will probably be demolished," said John F. Sopko, special inspector general for reconstruction in Afghanistan. "Unfortunately, it is unused, unoccupied, and presumably will never be used for its intended purpose."

Nor can the new facility be neatly handed to the Afghan government for use by its own military, as the base would need to be overhauled and converted to Afghan electrical configuration.

The structure is so lavishly built that a two star general said it was "better appointed than any Marine headquarters anywhere in the world." The general, speaking off the record said "What the hell were they thinking."One can only assume with such a mismanaged project that they weren't thinking at all.  

The inability to stop an unwanted and useless construction project after three years of requests to do so, encapsulates some of the worst aspects of military overspendingg. For those who crow about the possibility of cuts in the defence budget, it is projects such as this which serve as a reminder of the vast amount of waste in the defense budget. The new HQ is by no means the only expensive structure to be built by the military in Afghanistan later to be found unwanted. The Washington Post also reports of $80 million dollars spent on a building planned to be an American consulate. After all the expenditure, it was concluded that the facility was too vulnerable to attack, and so it remains unused.

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  1. Shovel ready jobs. Build it. Destroy it. Employment. Everybody wins!

    1. “I told you to get your dirt out of Boss Kean’s ditch, didn’t I?”

    2. “The construction order went to a British firm, AMEC Earth and Environment, which began work in November 2011”

      Follow that money!

    3. The windowless, two-story structure, which is larger than a football field, was completed this year at a cost of $34 million…

      “The building will probably be demolished,” said John F. Sopko

      STIMULUS!

      What was it Keynes said about digging ditches and filling them back up again?

  2. Commanders in the area, who insisted three years ago that they did not need the building, now arein the process of withdrawing forces and see no reason to move into the new facility.

    There’s nothing worse than when the people who are getting the stimulus, keep insisting they don’t need it, but get it anyway. And you know some planner got a promotion and an attaboy for pulling this behemoth of a structure off.

  3. *shakes head, goes back to surfing ‘pokies’ on Bing*

  4. “Nor can the new facility be neatly handed to the Afghan government for use by its own military, as the base would need to be overhauled and converted to Afghan electrical configuration.”

    I didn’t realize they have special electricity in Afghanistan. Seems they use 220/240v with European type sockets. Most electronics equipment is already dual voltage out of the box, so it’d work fine on a US-standard 120v system. Converters aren’t expensive either.

    1. Yeah talk about a flimsy excuse.

      The real reason is they don’t trust the Afghan army with the keys to the building.

    2. Its a shitty excuse – give the building to the Afghanis – let *them* foot the bill to modify the electrical system or demolish it.

    3. I am not even sure Afghanis use 220. Most of their street appliances are 120V.

    4. I didn’t realize they have special electricity in Afghanistan.

      Fixed.

  5. The general, speaking off the record said “What the hell were they thinking.

    Sounds on the record to me.

  6. If that headquarters hadn’t gotten built, the terrorists would have won.

  7. If that headquarters hadn’t gotten built, the terrorists would have won.

    1. Hmm…the squirrels usually spare me. How unusual.

      1. The NSA is currently underfunded, and if the NSA is underfunded, the squirrels win!

  8. “What the hell were they thinking.”

    That word- I do not think it means what you think it means.

    1. No one else has made the obvious joke, so here it comes:

      Military intelligence.

  9. OT: “I don’t want to mention names here. This transcends names. This is a phenomenon I’ve witnessed many times over the years. It’s the sweetie-pie libertarian syndrome.

    1. FUUUUUU-!

      1. You’re such a sweetie-pie

        1. I think it’s hilarious that the Rockwellians fawn over Ron Paul so much.

          1. We live to make people happy.

          2. Ron Paul is too much of a statist for my tastes, though.

            1. Can’t tell if serious…

              I just think it’s funny that people who are so anti-state/politicians will bend over backwards for Paul.

    2. He has a point, but he was too whiny for me to stand reading the whole thing.

      1. I just skimmed it, what was his point?

        1. There are libertarians that are upset over Jack Hunter’s past and Tom Woods thinks they’re making too big of a deal over it. He’s right that people are making too big of a deal over it, in my opinion; Jack Hunter says he’s changed his style and mind on some things, and I believe him. His positions and the way he writes today aren’t much like the older material that was cited.

          But that’s not enough for Tom Woods, he has to go into a snarky, whiny rant wherein all libertarians can be separated into two categories: “official libertarians”, or the titular “sweetie-pies”, who are good little lapdogs for the state, and the rest of the libertarians. If someone’s upset over Jack Hunter’s past, they’re no true Scotsman, inconsistent, liberal, Christianity-hating thought police who are desperately sucking up to the state.

          1. *His positions and the way he writes today aren’t much like the older material that was cited in some ways.

          2. A lot of the criticism of the situation from libertarians isn’t really about Hunter specifically, but rather Rand Paul giving his opponents an easy target. I don’t think most people really care all that much about Hunter, but whether Woods likes it or not, it is something that can be used against Paul in an election, and it was entirely avoidable.

      2. He writes whinily so that you won’t read it. It’s information for us Yokeltarians, only.

        1. You can get the gist in a couple of paragraphs. No need to read the entire whinefest.

        2. What the fuck is a Yokeltarian?

          Because it sounds about as fucking stupid a label as cosmotarian. If people spent more time reading and less time fucking sheep, we wouldn’t be overburdened with such stupidity.

          1. I’d expect a comment like this from a cosmokeltarian

    3. In every other country in our hemisphere in which slavery was abolished in the nineteenth century it was done peacefully

      Uh, what? I can think of several exceptions to this off the top of my head, including:

      Haiti (1804)
      Gran Colombia, i.e., Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador (1821)
      Mexico (1813-20)
      Cuba (1862)

      There are probably more that I’m not remembering, but those are the only ones I feel like looking up.

      And this guy is a historian?

      1. Cuba didn’t abolish slavery until the 1880s, where are you getting 1862 from?

        1. 1862 was the start of the 10 Years’ War which prompted the abolition of slavery, IIRC. (Either 1862 or 1863.)

          1. Oh jeez, I really messed that up. 1868! Oy…

          2. Ok. I’ll just add that 10 Years’ War was a war of independence that wasn’t just about slavery, although the failure of the Spanish Crown to enforce the ban on the slave trade definitely was a contributing factor.

            1. Sure, but that’s not the same thing as ending slavery “peacefully”, which is what the quote above says.

              1. True. Not quite like Haiti or the US, but nonetheless not entirely accurate to say it was ended peacefully

        2. Cuba didn’t abolish slavery until the 1880s…

          …and reinstated it in 1959.

          1. Yeah, but – BEST HEALTHCARE EVAR, soooo….

    4. The Lincoln legacy involves glorifying wars of nationalism and demonizing efforts at secession, wherever they may be and whatever the circumstances. To this day, Americans are taught to sympathize with central governments trying to keep territories from breaking away, and to look with disgust at smaller units seeking self-government.

      What. This guy is talking about the same US which presided over (in fact, insisted on) the post-WWII breakup of the European Empires, Austria-Hungary, the breakup of the USSR, and many, many other instances of just that very thing?

      1. He would have had a good point if he had made that comment strictly about the United States. Because whenever anyone these days in the US brings up the idea of secession (or even just nullification or the general idea of states rights), they are called a racist, segregationist, pro-slavery neo-Confederate. But you are correct in that politicians and he media don’t always apply this logic to foreign countries.

        1. The “wars of nationalism” thing is bizarre, as well. The South *was* fighting a war of nationalism against the Union; the union denied these national aspirations.

          How do you get nationalism out of the Union side of the war — centralizing tendencies I get, but nationalism? Get out of town.

          1. I can see that actually. The primary reason by far why the North fought was to preserve the Union. I think the notion that the United States is perpetual and indivisible is nationalistic. Not saying that the South wasn’t fighting a nationalistic war either.

    5. I’ve made a lot of those arguments against Lincoln and the civil war to a friend of mine.

      Unfortunately, to him, the war was all about slavery and Lincoln was all about abolition.

  10. We need to pay more money to demolish it because of the electrical system. Just walk away from the damn thing. I’m disgusted, as usual.

    1. B-b-but the terrorists might use it if we just walk away from it!

      1. How can the terrorists use it? What type of electricity do they use?

  11. Don’t worry. In a few months or years after we withdraw, we’ll hear about how oppressive the Afghan government is, and the brave freedom fighters battling the dictatorial regime. At that point I’m sure McCain will come out in favor of rebuilding the place so those valiant freedom fighters, who totally would never be hostile to us, can have a place to fight against the evil government from. Won’t that be nice?

    1. More than that, we will learn that Karzai is harboring chemical weapons, that he is trying to develop a nukular bomb, and that he used weapons against his own people. His sons rape and murder people, too.

      We have to go back in, if only for common decency.

  12. They must’ve expected the install’n to be permanent.

  13. Whatever happened to those portable Quonset Huts?

  14. Sometimes man you jsut have to roll with it.

    http://www.Privacy-Planet.com

  15. This article reminds me of this Vice doc about Afghanistan.

    It shows a lot of the consequences of the ineptitude of the leaders on the ground. A really good watch if you have the time.

  16. “better appointed than any Marine headquarters anywhere in the world.”

    That isn’t saying a whole lot unless they have dramatically improved since my time.

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