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Thread: Afghan Nation-Building Amounts To $113 Billion Boondoggle

  1. #1

    Afghan Nation-Building Amounts To $113 Billion Boondoggle


    Foreign Aid: As a presidential candidate, George W. Bush in 2000 famously slammed Democrats for using the military in nation-building. But 9/11 forced his conversion. Failed Afghan efforts prove that he was right to deride it in the first place.

    Recent progress reports on Defense Department reconstruction projects in Afghanistan provide painful lessons about the costly fool’s errand that the U.S. undertook there.

    The department’s special inspector general for such projects reveals that the U.S. has spent a whopping $113.1 billion to rebuild Afghanistan — an amount that, adjusted for inflation, exceeds by $10 billion the total we committed to rebuilding post-WWII Europe.

    Yet in this case, most of the funds have been lost to waste, fraud, abuse and corruption. And unlike Europe, where we today enjoy lucrative export markets, benighted Afghanistan offers virtually zero return on our massive investment.

    In fact, the Afghan people have never used fully one-third of the completed reconstruction projects. And many of the other projects are effectively in the hands of the Taliban, which now controls more territory in the country than at any time since 2001. Several villages receiving U.S. development aid actually exhibited more support for the Taliban than they did previously.

    The military inspector general’s reports suggest that the entire nation-building exercise in Afghanistan has been a massive boondoggle. Consider the following findings:

    • Seven of the 21 projects recently inspected “had never been used.”
    • Sixteen of the projects have deficiencies so severe, “they threatened the structural integrity of the building” and endangered anybody who would occupy them.
    • “(The) risk of fraud, waste and abuse of reconstruction funds in Afghanistan is growing,” along with the “malign influence of corruption in Afghan society.”

    The reports also cite unqualified contractor personnel, inferior materials, poor workmanship and inadequate oversight as contributing to substandard facilities.

    Inspector General John F. Sopko noted that he couldn’t even access some project sites in the capital city, Kabul, due to deteriorating security conditions there. He said that he had little faith in the Afghan security forces’ ability to even operate facilities, let alone maintain and secure them.

    “It is unclear when the Afghan government will be able to take over operation and maintenance services at many facilities across the country,” his latest report warned. “Until it is able to do so, U.S. taxpayer funds will continue to be expended to sustain the facilities (that the Department of Defense) has built for the Afghans.”

    In other words, American taxpayers will continue to underwrite what is already a $113 billion foreign-aid boondoggle.

    As a nation, we must get over the notion that we can micromanage political and economic outcomes in countries like Afghanistan, where basic infrastructure, democratic institutions and educated workforces are lacking or completely missing.

    Frankly, we must cut our losses in trying to nation-build that forsaken Islamic country.

    Washington should withhold the remaining $11.5 billion allocated for further development there. The funds would be much better spent on counterterrorism operations in the region.

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  3. #2
    What would it cost to just buy Afghanistan? The Fed could just write a check for whatever it is and just do it. Might be much cheaper, in the long run.

    State # 51.

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