Worst Examples of Taxpayer Money Wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan

Thursday, September 08, 2011
Robert Dail
When the U.S. government wasted somewhere between $30 billion and $60 billion on contracts for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, it did so in a variety of ways.
For example, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in 2005 hired Supreme Foodservice of Switzerland to ship “vitally needed” food to bases in Afghanistan. Among the $4.2 billion billed to the Pentagon were hundreds of millions of dollars in possible overcharges for providing “premium airlift” of fresh fruits and vegetables from the United Arab Emirates, among other things. Still, the company got a two-year extension on its contract, while Robert Dail, the Army general who was in command of the DLA contract became president of the company’s U.S. division four months after he retired from the Army.
The Deloitte accounting firm received $92 million to train executives of the Afghanistan Central Bank, which oversaw the Kabul Bank, the nation’s largest private bank. Kabul Bank collapsed in 2010, so it’s unclear what kind of lessons Deloitte was teaching.
Perhaps the most egregious contracts were held by KBR, the one-time Halliburton subsidiary that produced numerous headlines for its questionable billing and decision-making while supporting the Iraq war.
While making more than $36 billion to support bases in Iraq, KBR allegedly earned another $700 million in kickbacks from the subcontractors it hired for projects. It also spent $5 million on 144 mechanics who worked as little as 43 minutes a month, on average. And to top it all off, KBR may have been involved in human trafficking of men and women from developing countries who were forced to live in “prisonlike” conditions in Iraq.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Transforming Wartime Contracting: Controlling Costs, Reducing Risks (pages 68-97) (Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan) (pdf)


Peter Van Buren 12 years ago
waste in iraq took many forms; the massive dollar binges spent on kbr and other large-scale projects, and smaller but perhaps more politically significant waste on reconstruction. i was deeply involved in the latter, spending a year leading two provincial reconstruction teams in iraq. we wasted part of the overall $63 billion spent on reconstruction. i have chronicled my work and exposed the falsehoods which undergrid the prt program in iraq in a new book, we meant well: how i helped lose the battle for the hearts and minds of the iraqi people. read more at http://www.wemeantwell.com

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