Eight years later, fraud continues
After nearly eight years of war, you’d think we could get this right.
But no. Another year brings another report on how taxpayer money is being squandered and stolen in an extremely chaotic military contracting system.
In a report to Congress that will be released Wednesday, the Wartime Contracting Commission says tens of billions of dollars have been wasted since 2001.
The 111-page report, reported upon Monday by the Associated Press, highlights poor management, weak oversight and, most frustratingly, a seeming inability to learn from past mistakes.
There are now more than 240,000 private-sector employees supporting military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then there are thousands more working for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, according to the Associated Press.
Yet there is no single database of who is being paid for what, let alone how well they are performing.
The commission visited a compound in Kabul, which is intended to become the headquarters for U.S. forces. Members, according to the AP, saw cracks, broken and leaking pipes, sinking sidewalks and other defects.
In fact, the shoddy construction has even had deadly consequences. Twelve Americans have been electrocuted by improperly grounded showers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In other cases, schools and government buildings built by U.S. tax dollars have been abandoned because they were so poorly constructed.
For years now, Americans have been calling for the sort of “war profiteering” committee headed by Harry Truman during the early years of World War II.
Truman’s committee interviewed 1,798 witnesses, issued 51 reports and saved taxpayers about $15 billion in 1940s’ dollars.
Vice President Joe Biden seems like a man in need of a mission.
He’s forceful, knows Washington, has extensive foreign policy contacts and isn’t afraid of a fight.
Unfortunately, we seem to be in a perpetual state of war. There is no reason we need to be in a perpetual state of government waste and fraud.

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