One In Six Dollars Has Been Wasted

Published 3:28 pm Thursday, September 29, 2011

More than $30 billion spent by American taxpayers for contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan has been utterly and entirely wasted, or one in six dollars during the past 10 years, according to the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

To put that figure into some kind of perspective, the Town of Farmville adopted a $17 million budget this summer-the $30 billion wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan would fund the Town of Farmville's budget for about 1,000 years.

The commission's co-chairs, Christopher Shays, former GOP congressman from Connecticut, and Michael Thibault, former deputy director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, wrote in an op-ed piece published in The Washington Post that the commission's final report “shows that the costs of contracting waste and fraud extend beyond the disservice to taxpayers. The costs include diminishing for U.S. military, diplomatic and development efforts; fostering corruption in host countries; and undermining U.S. standing and influence overseas.”

Farmville and Prince Edward County could well and truly use federal funds to construct a pipeline from the Sandy River Reservoir to assure this community a drought-proof source of water for a period so far into the future that we cannot even see it. Instead, $300 million was spent on a power plant in Kabul, Afghanistan that the Afghan government will never be able to operate and $40 million was spent on a prison that Iraq not only did not want but also has never been finished.

The bipartisan commission has recommended 15 strategies to avoid repeating such a vast waste of dollars. Why not test the effectiveness of those recommendations by spending a few million in funds on contracts for this community, just to see how the system works?