Making a Profit from U.S. Fears in Afghanistan

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Highlighting the catastrophic failure of the U.S.’s rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Report (PDF) (page 38), shows that of $512.9 million allocated to Medical clinics from 2002-2008, only $94.7 million was disbursed. Ann Jones, a humanitarian aid worker in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2006, unequivocally condemns the Bush administration’s efforts there: “The Bush administration perpetrated a scam. It used the system it set up to dispense reconstruction aid to both the countries it ‘liberated,’ Afghanistan and Iraq, to transfer American taxpayer dollars from the national treasury directly into the pockets of private war profiteers. Think of Halliburton, Bechtel, and Blackwater in Iraq; Louis Berger Group, Bearing Point, and DynCorp International in Afghanistan. They're all in it together.” Jones explains a few iniquitous elements of U.S. foreign aid:

1.       The U.S. pledged $10.4 billion to Afghanistan between 2002 and 2008, but only delivered $5 billion through private for-profit contractors.
2.      47% of aid is spent on “technical assistance,” which amounts to handouts to often under-qualified “experts” who offer advice even when Afghans have no desire for it.  
3.      86 cents of every dollar designated for U.S. “foreign” aid anywhere in the world never leaves the U.S.A.
4.      70% of aid comes with preconditions, forcing its recipients to buy American products, and thus pushing local competitors out of the market. 
In addition to increasing U.S. troop levels, military strategists are pushing to rearm Afghan militias, even though hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent disarming them. Maj. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, deputy commander of American forces, justified this position to the New York Times: “We don't have enough police, [and] we don't have time to get the police ready.” Yet taxpayers paid DynCorp $1.4 billion between 2004 and 2006 to train 70,000 Afghan police. Perhaps unsurprisingly, an Inspector General Report found that only 30,000 Afghan Police had been trained (inadequately), and half of their equipment could not be located. DynCorp went on to win a no-bid contract to train Iraqi police.
The Afghan Scam (by Ann Jones, American Empire Project)
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (PDF) (Quarterly Report to the United States Congress, October 2008)
Afghanistan, Inc. (by Fariba Nawa, CorpWatch) (PDF)
Afghanistan (AllGov)


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