Cost of Afghan war: US money funding corrupt officials and insurgents

General David Petraeus

General David Petraeus

According to a recently completed Department of Defense investigation, the cost of the Afghan war to United States taxpayer also includes supplying money to corrupt Afghan officials—and to Taliban insurgents.  The investigation was ordered by General David Petraeus, the former commander in Afghanistan. 

Fox News reports:

A year-long military-led investigation has concluded that U.S. taxpayer money has been indirectly funneled to the Taliban under a $2.16 billion transportation contract that the United States has funded in part to promote Afghan businesses.

I posted about this when it first hit the news last year, and now the results are in: corruption and waste of US taxpayer money throughout Afghanistan while the guy in charge of the whole thing gets another promotion, this time to the CIA where he can spend all the money he wants with no accountability.  At least he’s had plenty of practice. 

Some of you may be tired of me bringing up the story of the missing 190,000 weapons under David Petraeus’ command while he was in charge of training and equipping the new Iraqi army and national police in 2004-2005.  But consider this: after Petraeus left Iraq the same thing happened in Afghanistan under his command.  In Iraq it was weapons.  Now in Afghanistan it’s money, with some of it used to buy weapons for the insurgency.  In both cases American soldiers have been killed as a result.  The common denominator is none other than General David Petraeus.  The Afghan problem was in a Washington Post story on July 24, 2001:

Asked for comment, Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan suggested the findings of the report were overblown. Lapan said the investigation was ordered by Gen. David Petraeus and showed some undetermined amount of money made its way to the insurgency due to corruption with the contract. 

“Record-keeping problems and difficulty following money from contractor to subcontractor led to the fraud,” Lapan said

Record keeping?  That’s interesting because it’s the same problem David Petraeus had when he lost the 190,000 AK-47’s and 9mm pistols in Iraq.  In another Washington Post story back in August 2007, the issue of accountability within David Petraeus’ command was mentioned too:

The United States has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the GAO said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment. But the GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq.

The Pentagon did not dispute the GAO findings, saying it has launched its own investigation and indicating it is working to improve tracking. Although controls have been tightened since 2005, the inability of the United States to track weapons with tools such as serial numbers makes it nearly impossible for the U.S. military to know whether it is battling an enemy equipped by American taxpayers.

One senior Pentagon official acknowledged that some of the weapons probably are being used against U.S. forces. He cited the Iraqi brigade created at Fallujah that quickly dissolved in September 2004 and turned its weapons against the Americans.

190,000 weapons purchased by the US (Petraeus) for issue to Iraqi recruits—with no serial numbers on them!  And David Petraeus is our modern day American Caesar? 

The GAO plans to look for similar problems in the training of Afghan security forces.

During the Bosnian conflict, the United States provided about $100 million in defense equipment to the Bosnian Federation Army, and the GAO found no problems in accounting for those weapons.

I don’t recall David Petraeus being the commander in Bosnia.  Maybe that’s why there weren’t any weapons accountability problems either.

There’s a pattern with David Petraeus since the day he married the daughter of the West Point Superintendent after he graduated, setting himself up in the Army as long as he stayed in.  He’s gotten the best assignments, one great job after the next with the help of retired 4-star General Jack Keane, he’s screwed up royally in both Iraq and Afghanistan (his counter-insurgency experiment flopped in Afghanistan), and then finishes it off by ordering an investigation of himself!  Looks like the investigation worked out OK.

Because he’s politically connected at the highest levels in the Pentagon, and now in Obama’s White House, David Petraeus can do no wrong.  He gets the huge jobs and all the glory, and leaves the details—like record keeping of money and weapons—to his minions.  Even if American soldiers in Iraq, and American soldiers in Afghanistan, have died as a result (direct or indirect) of his lousy command and control, David Petraeus won’t suffer the consequences.  On the contrary, he keeps moving upward. 

It sure must be a nice view at the top.       

Written by Michael M. O'Brien

Leave a Reply