The US spent $146 billion in military and economic assistance to Afghanistan over 20 years, more than what the US spent on the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after WWII. The US Congress has appropriated $113 billion in less than 18 months in military and economic assistance to Ukraine, with most of that already spent. The Afghan War, and its sister war in Iraq, were glaring cesspools of corruption, fraud and waste that succeeded only in enriching corrupt officials, empowering warlords and profiting arms and development companies while building governments and armies that were nothing more than houses of cards. With Ukrainian aid, there has already been a $6 billion “accounting error”, unsurprisingly to the Department of Defense’s favor. Yet the US Senate overwhelmingly voted down an amendment to create oversight mechanisms for Ukrainian aid yesterday.
In my own experience, working on political and reconstruction efforts with the Department of Defense and State Department in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in Washington, DC, this firehose of money and material to a nation well recognized as consumed by corruption before Russia’s invasion, and now ensnared in the friction and fracture of war, is like throwing red meat to ravenous dogs. Not only does the recent history of the Afghan and Iraq Wars dictate the necessity of oversight, but simple common sense and sound business practices do as well. It beggars the limits of credulity that the US Congress is so willing to fling away tens and tens of billions of dollars while abdicating their constitutional oversight responsibilities and obligations, knowing full well the crimes that will occur and the role corruption will have on the outcome of the war. From this, we can only further understand the dangers of the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us of more than 60 years ago.
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