Afghanistan Money Pit -I Want A Rebate

It just wasn’t enough to spend $1 TRILLION on the Afghanistan war. We have to keep spending to put them back together again –  Humpty.

USAID, which claims they represent aid from the American people… know one asked me for my two cents on this spending spree, boasts that it has spent as follows: $338.2million for Democracy and governance, $344.8million for economic development, $162.5million for education and social services, $1.3million for environment, $81.5 for health, $54.8 for humanitarian assistance, $180.2 for peace and security, and $45.3 for program management.

I want my money back.

For those who are Math majors, that’s $1,153,800,000. That was in 2014 alone. In 2011, $2,229,600,000, in 2012 it was $2,137,500,000 and in 2013 it was $1,026,800,000. Grand total = $65,477,000,000.

But that’s not all.

Two years ago the military gave $486million worth of transport planes to Afghanistan, but they apparently didn’t work very well and were scrapped and sold by the Afghan government. The Pentagon claims to have no idea who bought them or where the money went. Sigh.

There was the $456,000 training facility that melted. Then $300million for police salaries that ‘disappeared’ – as in poof. Let’s not forget the $110 million for drug intervention programs… I’m sure that worked well. There was the $2billion spent to improve the lives of women in Afghanistan… Dr. Phil? And the newest to come to light – the $43million gas station that still is vacant (gas stations across the US for sale average about $150,000).

Who gets some of these very lucrative contracts? Dyncorp gets the majority at over 69%. But Dyncorp is a mess! In 2014 their CEO Gaffney jumped ship without explanation after four years, their replacement, Walsh, made it just three weeks before running out the door, and their next CEO, Bernardt left after a year – also without explanation.  Hmmm, something fishy downstream… Their profits are down, their governance is lackluster, their performance is in legal litigation and yet – we keep giving them contracts. Why?

Their newly appointed CEO as of June 2015 is Lewis Von Thaer who also serves on the Defense Science Board, a group of civilians who advise the US Department of Defense. No conflict of interest there… He is also on the board of the National Defense Industrial Association, an organization that “connects government officials and military officials with industry professionals”. In other words, he assures that the government use industries, like Dyncorp, as their subcontractor. Wonderful, since they are doing such a strappy job!

Dyncorp currently has posted 213 job and career opportunities in Afghanistan. They may be hard to fill since this past August three of their team members were killed in Afghanistan by a car bomb… Despite a long history of foibles and shoddy workmanship, failed contracts, collapsed buildings and sink holes, they continue to reap the rewards of Afghan contracts.

The answer may be in Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm whose name references the mythological three headed dog who guarded the gates of Hell. They own or have majority interest in Chrysler, GMAC, Spyglass Entertainment, Bushmaster firearms, Albertsons, kyo-ya, New Page, Georgia Pacific Corp., Bayer Plasma, and on and on with a total asset value of $30billion. Some of the employees at Cerberus include Dan Quayle, former US Secretary of Treasury, John Snow, former Federal Reserve employees, Goldman Sachs, Lehman, Morgan Stanley, and then there is Ronald Kravit, former Managing Director at George Soros Realty Advisors.

Their clout could be why Dyncorp continues to get the contracts despite its absolute poverty of professionalism. The second largest contractor is PAE Government Services. In 2014, their program managers pleaded guilty to defrauding the military in Afghanistan and sentenced to prison.

So far, it would appear that the State Department is not doing a very good job of filtering their awards, oh wait, these were done under the auspices of Hillary Clinton…

How is it going in Afghanistan? Well the Taliban is back in control of many areas, terrorism poses a threat to all neighboring countries, and ISIS may soon join forces. In fact, in the northern sections of Afghanistan the Taliban is stronger ‘than ever before’.  While the US admonishes, don’t worry, be happy…  ISIS has gained control of parts of Afghanistan and continues to grow stronger.  Still, their threat is nothing that we need to worry our pretty little heads about…China…Russia… they’ve killed, well, umm, never mind.