Bankrolling the Taliban…
After reading Peter Richardson’s book review of Douglas A. Wissing’s book, “Funding the Enemy: How U.S. Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban“, I found myself, once again, furious with the U.S. policies toward Afghanistan. As the U.S. struggles to feed and clothe the homeless, provide health care for it’s citizens, and sees a rapidly diminishing infrastructure, I end up asking myself this question…How can the wealthiest country in the world have these problems? Well, you don’t have to look much further than Afghanistan to start. Your tax dollars are not being spent on the very pressing needs of our own country, but rather, they are being funneled into…the Taliban. From the review:
For a decade now, we’ve spent $120 billion annually to occupy a nation whose GDP was less than one-tenth of that figure. Much of the funding has supported the military, of course, but a great deal of it was allocated for roads, schools, dams and hospitals—the very projects Gregg wished to cut here. A substantial fraction of that money never made it to Afghanistan as such. Large firms won fat contracts and subcontracted them to smaller firms, which subcontracted them to lesser companies in a cascade of skim. What dollars did arrive in Afghanistan funded low-quality construction and no maintenance. The occupation’s other big winners were Afghan kleptocrats, warlords and drug barons, who were busily presiding over a resurgent opium trade.
“It’s the perfect war,” one U.S. intelligence officer told author Douglas A. Wissing. “Everyone is making money.”
Because of course, the end goal of every war is making money. Richardson notes in his review:
Drawing on a wide range of sources and adding his own firsthand reporting, Wissing describes how ousting the Taliban led to one of the most protracted and fruitless efforts in U.S. foreign policy history. If you’re wondering how $31 billion of U.S. taxpayer money could be lost to fraud and waste in Afghanistan and Iraq, this book is for you.
Outrageously, the Taliban itself has been a major beneficiary of our boodle. The shadow government was the only enemy in sight after al- Qaida evacuated in December 2001. A U.S. military office noted that 10 to 20 percent of funds from all international contracts in Afghanistan wound up with the Taliban. The Taliban even skims U.S. payments to families of Afghan civilians killed accidentally.
So as we continue to cut and privatize education, keep denying affordable health care, and ignoring our homeless problem, you can be rest assured that your tax dollars are being well spent by the Taliban.