Put aside the fact that the entire cost of the war in Iraq was a waste—in lives lost, in opportunity costs, in American prestige around the world—and that the diversion of that war turned Afghanistan into a quagmire, now there is a solid number attached to waste, fraud and abuse in the wars.
A bipartisan commission on wartime contracting pegs that number at more than $30 billion, one in every six dollars spent.
Those sobering but conservative numbers are a key finding of the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will submit its report to Congress on Wednesday. All eight commissioners agree that major changes in law and policy are needed to avoid confusion and waste in the next contingency, whether it involves armed struggle overseas or response to disasters at home.
Tens of billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted through poor planning, vague and shifting requirements, inadequate competition, substandard contract management and oversight, lax accountability, weak interagency coordination, and subpar performance or outright misconduct by some contractors and federal employees. Both government and contractors need to do better.
Our final report shows that the costs of contracting waste and fraud extend beyond the disservice to taxpayers. The costs include damage to the support for U.S. military, diplomatic and development efforts; fostering corruption in host countries; and undermining U.S. standing and influence overseas.
Um, we told you so? Seriously, the DFH bloggers knew this would be the outcome before the fucking Iraq war even started. The monetary cost doesn't even begin to touch on what America has lost through the adventures of the last decade. We hardly needed a blue ribbon commission to tell us that. But since it's all "bipartisan," maybe our fearless leaders in Washington will pay attention now, and prevent this from happening again.
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