Massive waste in Afghanistan, $500/gallon for diesel, $200,000 for a thermostat?

art of war cc

War is often a waste. A waste of people and treasure and other things. This is a treasure story.

The “fog of war” extends to economics. Money is wasted and made and wasted again deep within the fog. Who makes what isn’t known to nearly anyone but nearly everyone is on the take. This includes our defense companies churning out weapons and gadgets and everything else. But it also includes the local contractors who have absolutely no qualms exploiting a situation they might see as illegitimate in the first place.

If the Yankees are here, might as well bleed them dry.

One of the books nearly every American military officer reads during his or her training is a collection of essays, really almost poems, written by the Chinese master of warfare Sun Tsu, The Art of War. In it Sun conveys time tested truths about warfare. In our ongoing wars (yes they continue) we have systematically violated almost every main tenet of the piece. Thus our failure.

One of the things Sun Tsu warns is that it is very hard to wage war over long distances. This is for a multitude of reasons, but primarily because of cost.

What did we do in Afghanistan? We fought an all out war in a land which was almost literally as far away from home as we could get. We shouldn’t be shocked that everyone and their brother took the American taxpayer for a ride. We’ were so far away, and there’s so much money being handed out.

(From The Week)

What have they discovered? To choose from only recent findings, the office reported last month that the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan — the group in charge of training and developing the Afghan security forces — couldn’t account for $230 million in spare parts it had ordered. Meanwhile, another $130 million parts were ordered without anyone knowing if the parts were on-hand or not. As it turns out, the Afghan National Army isn’t keeping accurate records of which parts it has in stock, and because the spigot in Washington blasts money as though it were through a fire hose, whenever they need a new part, they just order it and send you the bill.

Click here for the article.