Saturday, April 5, 2008

Wasteful Spending in Iraq and Afghanistan

Two recent news accounts have confirmed for me again that the wars being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are for profit and greed, nothing else.
The first was in the Charlotte, N.C. paper the last week of March. It was an article by Jason Straziuso of the Associated Press that pointed out the absurdity of how funds are being spent. The main beneficiaries are five companies; KBR, the Louis Berber Group, Chemonics International, Bearing Point and Dynacorp International. The entire article was worthy of copying but the main point which stood out for me was the cost in high salaries, security and living arrangements. The average total is $250,000 each. The cost of an Afghan civil servant is $1,000. Wouldn’t it make sense to employ 250 Afghans instead of one foreign national? At least then money would be flowing into the local economy instead of lining the pockets of corporate chiefs here at home.
The second was in the 4/5/08 edition of the Arizona Daily Star. The Pentagon has just renewed the contract with Blackwater. They have received $1.25 billion in federal business since 2000. Their employees also receive very high salaries. Their cost is probably the same as reported above. With more security agents in Iraq than our armed forces, we are paying far in excess of what our troops receive. It has been reported that many troops when their enlistment ends hire on with this company. Who could blame them? They would still be in harms way but at least they could better provide for their families.
In my opinion we have squandered billions in the last six years. When we overthrew Saddam, the Iraqi military and government employees were dumped. Without jobs or purpose many resorted to terrorism as their response. Had they been kept on they might have been eager to restore their country to normalcy. We will never know. In the meantime we continue to pour our treasury in wasteful endeavors as mentioned above without a chance of resolving the conflicts that continue on between warlords, different Muslim sects and terrorists who have infiltrated into the country.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
April 5, 2008

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