The Watering Hole: Thursday, March 7, 2013, Report Shows Billions Wasted in Iraq & Afghanistan

Military Spending Waste: Up To $60 Billion In Iraq, Afghanistan War Funds Lost To Poor Planning, Oversight, Fraud

As much as $60 billion in U.S. funds has been lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade through lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and payoffs to warlords and insurgents, an independent panel investigating U.S. wartime spending estimates.

U.S. Wasted Billions Rebuilding Iraq

As the 10th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq approaches, the body charged with overseeing Iraq’s reconstruction has issued its final report, capping a tale of spending far too much money for very little results.

There is much more at the two links above.  The question is how will this all turn out to be President Obama’s fault?  George W. Bush stopped being responsible for anything the day President Obama was inaugurated in 2009 according to the GOP.

THIS IS TODAY’S OPEN THREAD.  GO AHEAD AND VENT.

53 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: Thursday, March 7, 2013, Report Shows Billions Wasted in Iraq & Afghanistan

  1. Seems to me that if we want to talk about dollars wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan, sixty billion is the equivalent of a fart in a tornado. How much did the entire of the two operations cost overall? A few trillion? That’s how much was WASTED. Maybe minus the cost of the Seal adventure that took out bin Laden. The rest? Total waste, for no reason of any substance whatsoever.

    This nation is dying, suffocating in and choking on its own puke. And that factoid does, indeed, sadden me, anger me.

  2. We wasted a lot of money and a lot of lives, and created a lot of new enemies in the process. I’m grumpy this morning, old women should not try sleep on the floor.

    • Why are you sleeping on the floor? Back problems?

      I sleep on a mattress, on top of plywood, no box springs. It is better than the waterbed the future-ex insisted upon when she was here.

  3. George W. Bush stopped being responsible when he ran for public office. Before that, his failures were absorbed by the private sector, to suck up to his father.

    • GWB responsible? From what I recall, he was irresponsible even as a child….firecracker frogs come to mind….

    • He’s a number of people’s prediction to be the next Pope. I hope he gets it just to outrage the racist fundies. Not that they don’t view the Catholics with suspicion already.

  4. I think that U.S. Senators need to find out the FAUX”News” isn’t news.

    “[O]ne senator told us that he learned, for the first time, the actual cuts that the president has put on the table. Leadership hadn’t shared that list with them before.”
    He called it “amazing” and then moved on.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2013/03/that_deep_in_the_bubble.php

    Does it come as any surprise that Mitch “My job is to make sure Obama is a one term President” McConnell is keeping his caucus in the dark?

    • I was just reading that on TPM. Not only does that particular member rely completely on McConnell for all information, it’s apparent that he doesn’t watch or read any news.

      Just the sort of nitwit we need in Congress.

      • It’s like the recent meltdowns by Bill0. If he admits to his worshipers that the President has offered anything that opens the possibility that they will think it’s a good idea. So Bill0 and his ilk are left to stubbornly insist that President Obama has offered nothing. GOP lawmakers are left in the same position. If they admit that proposals exist then they have to take a position on them.

        There was a recent story about a poll, I just can’t recall the source off hand, that stripped party labels from proposed legislation and Republicans expressed more agreement with progressive ideas than conservative ones. Even the stupidest GOP legislators would notice that so they will just keep saying “the President hasn’t put anything on the table” and depend on FAUX”News” to keep their constituents ill informed.

  5. Speaking of wasted money, does anyone recall what happened on 9/10/01? Donald Rumsfeld held a presser to announce that after an audit on the DoD’s finances, they could not account for $2 trillion (with a ‘t’). Then the next day came and that was the last time I remember hearing anything about it.

    • Yes I remember that that was initially reported and not followed-up on.

      Instead of trying to look for anything on that story that figuratively disappeared in the chaos of 9/11, we can still test for the likely veracity of Rumsfeld’s claim before we get all exercised about media negligence and government waste.

      So $2 trillion would have been four total annual DoD budgets ( about $500 billion a year, give or take, at that time).

      Was Rumsfeld claiming that the DoD budgets for the previous four years were completely unaccounted for?
      Obviously not as the entire US military was still extant and operational, and not living in a cardboard box under a freeway overpass, nor lounging around on a private island somewhere,
      So that unaccountable $2 trillion had to be determined from more than four total annual budgets.

      If we assume a stupendous 50% of DoD budgets being unaccounted for, then we are talking 8 to 10 years ($400B to $500B, a year) which would encompass the Bosnia-Serbia war and the 1991 Gulf War–to come up with $2 Trillion.

      You’d still think SOMEONE would have noticed and made at least a polite coughing sound about such lax book-keeping, so really the lack of accountability would logically and realistically have to be at a lower rate than 50%.

      Let’s say 25%—still an egregious rate and surely obvious rate of faking the accounts. That means 20-25 years, to reach $2 Trillion. in mystery money,: taking us back to about 1975-1980. THAT would encompass Reagan’s silly military adventures in Grenada, the limited thrashing around ineffectively in Lebanon, bombing Ghaddaffi, selling arms to Iran and equipping the Contras in Nicaragua, and of course the MX missile, the 747 with a frickin’ laser beam attached to its head and all the rest of the Star Wars nonsense. ( Jimmy Carter’s establishment of the Delta Force that met disaster in their first mission in Iran was a minor extra expense).

      (and let’s not forget the US was also spending money on decommissioning chunks its own nuclear arsenal as well as paying the post Soviet Union Russia and its former satellites to decommission and secure their nuclear weapons as well–oh and the fundinng and supply of Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war).

      SO at a still colossal but more ‘reasonable’ non-accounting rate of 25% of the average DoD annual budget over 20 to 25 years we can still come up with $2 trillion.

      NOW THEN, are we supposed to believe that Rumsfeld commissioned an audit of the Dod’s books over the previous 20-25 years, and that the accounting was completed in just 9 months? Really?

      Or let’s say the audit began before his tenure. Why then would he disclose such accounting malfeasance given that he couldn’t possibly claim that it was all restricted to Bill Clinton’s tenure ( that would be at the 50% rate). It wouldn’t stand five minutes of scrutiny.

      To be plausible, it would have to be the 25% rate–which would encompass Reagan and Bush41, as well as (Clinton) and of course Rumsfeld’s own first tenure as Sec Def under Reagan–the most profligate enactor of off-the books military adventures since the bombing of Cambodia.

      Was Rumsfeld such an advocate for the wise and properly accounted-for disbursements DoD money that he just HAD to blow the whistle—which would have meant blowing the whistle on his own incompetence as well as that of Saint Ronnie and Bush41—even if it might he could also lay some blame at Clinton’s feet?

      NO, obviously not.

      And let’s not forget that Rumsfeld’s ambition was to ‘reform’ the US military according to the trendy business model of doing more with less, by investing in high tech ate the expense of basics—and agenda demonstrated all too clearly by his fucked up Iraq invasion/occupation/reconstruction scheme “polo Step” that fit on ONE POWERPOINT SLIDE!; and by his ‘fuck off’ attitude towards the soldier who asked when he was going to get some new armor plating to help him and his mates from getting so killed to death all the time..

      I think its far more reasonable to consider that Rumsfeld’s $2Trillion claim was utter bullshit and an invented drama to give him the appearance of a fiscally responsible taxpayer friendly reformer of the military where the outrage of over such atrocious accounting would give him the political authority to execute his plans with no chance of blowback from the Generals and Chief’s of Staff etc.
      .
      In short the idea was to smear the entire DoD as a willful and irresponsible child that needed such a spanking as only HE could deliver, in order to nullify any opposition to his actual reform agenda.

      Luckily 9/11 happened and he got all the political clout and none of the backlash he was looking for.

      So what do you think? Reasonable conjecture on my part?

      • It is not unfounded. Rummy was looking to transform our national military into a “leaner, meaner, fighting machine.” He wanted to privatize as much of the military as possible. It could well be that he set up that press conference as a basis for justifying the (somehow) less expensive military fighting force.

        It reminds me of “Monty Python’s Meaning of Life” and the Machine That Goes ping. “Ah! The Machine That Goes Ping. This is my personal favorite. You see, we lease this back from the company we sold it to, and that way it comes under the monthly current budget and not the kept accounts.”

        There has to be some insane accounting logic that says privatizing military functions will save taxpayers money, when the company getting the money is guaranteed a profit.

        • He tried to run the Pentagon and his wars like a business, and that doesn’t friggin’ work. It pisses me off every time I think about it.

  6. Dear Senator Paul:
    It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.
    Sincerely,
    Eric H. Holder, Jr.

      • I’m kind of surprised, frankly, that a country which had/has basically zero remorse over the killing of a quarter million, mostly civilians, via two only bomb drops in August of 1945 will EVER have any legitimate remorse over disposing of a handful here or a handful over there via an unmanned drone. Or via a sniper, or a ten year war, or even another atomic bomb. There is no “due process” in acts of war; never has been, never will be. Shriveled souls are not interested in due process anyway. My guess is that Rand Paul’s only interest in the drone thing is that in it he found the opportunity to see his name in print all over the place, and his mug on TV shows everywhere. If he’s so f***ing outraged, why isn’t he leading the charge to get the hell out of Afghanistan NOW, and leading the charge to reduce the Pentagon’s annual budget by 90% per year?

        • I think his position *is* that the US shouldn’t be in Iraq or Af – at least his dad seemed to be in that mode from an old-style 1930s isolationist standpoint, but as for the defense budget, not seen anything either way on that from him.

    • Thom Hartmann just asked the question: What is ‘engaged in combat’?

      Is combat like Waco, Ruby Ridge, or the Dorner standoff?

        • When the task at hand is to kill, Drones, or any other murderous devise, will be viewed as “appropriate” and “legal” means of delivering the fatal blow. I think it’s in the bible, probably.

  7. James O’Keefe To Pay $100,000 To ACORN Employee

    James O’Keefe—the blonde bombshell who set the conservative world of hidden-camera YouTube movies ablaze—has just agreed to a $100,000 settlement to calm down the unjustly fired (and weirdly litigious about it) ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera.

    I think this is on the level, there’s a PDF at the bottom of a real court document.

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