Saturday, October 09, 2010

Medicare and Afghanistan

It is widely known and admitted by the government that there is massive Medicare fraud, to the tune of billions of dollars a year:

Bigger Than Madoff - Chris Edwards and Tad DeHaven - Cato Institute: Commentary

It is not admitted by the government -- because it has not been investigated like Medicare has, and there has not arisen any public outcry -- that there is massive fraud in the Military.

The military is sacrosanct. Criticism of the military is "unpatriotic." Accusing the military of systemic waste is not "supporting the troops."

We must not forget that the Military is a "big government program." Expect waste to be a structural problem -- not a cause for "reform," but for systematic abolition.


U.S. is lining the Taliban's pockets by spending millions of dollars on private security in Afghanistan 08 Oct 2010 Heavy US reliance on private security in Afghanistan has helped to line the pockets of the Taliban with millions of dollars. It also threatens the safety of coalition troops because contractors often do not vet local recruits and wind up hiring warlords and thugs, US Senate investigators said. The report by the Senate Armed Services Committee follows a separate congressional inquiry in June that concluded that trucking contractors pay tens of millions of dollars a year to local warlords for convoy protection.

Security contractors in Afghanistan 'fund Taliban' 07 Oct 2010 Heavy US reliance on private security in Afghanistan has helped to line the pockets of the Taliban, a US Senate report says. The study by the Senate Armed Services Committee says this is because contractors often fail to vet local recruits and end up hiring warlords. Some 26,000 private security personnel, mostly Afghans, operate in Afghanistan. Nine out of 10 of them work for the US government.

Inquiry Finds Guards at U.S. Bases Are Tied to Taliban 08 Oct 2010 Afghan private security forces with ties to the Taliban, criminal networks and Iranian intelligence have been hired to guard American military bases in Afghanistan, exposing United States soldiers to surprise attack and confounding the fight against insurgents, according to a Senate investigation. The Pentagon’s oversight of the Afghan guards is virtually nonexistent, allowing local security deals among American military commanders, Western contracting companies and Afghan warlords who are closely connected to the violent insurgency, according to the report by investigators on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Report: US Contractors Hired Taliban, Warlords to Guard US Troops In Afghanistan --Senate Investigators Say Chaotic Security Contracts Pose 'Grave Risk' to US Troops 07 Oct 2010 A scathing Senate report says US contractors in Afghanistan have hired warlords, "thugs," Taliban commanders and even Iranian spies to provide security at vulnerable US military outposts in Afghanistan. The report, published by the Senate Armed Services Committee, says lax oversight and "systemic failures" have led to "grave risks' to US forces, including instances where contractors have employed Afghan subcontractors who were "linked to murder, kidnapping and bribery, as well as Taliban and anti-coalition activities."

Part of the problem is a departure from the foreign policy of America's Founders:

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible."
— Washington, Farewell Address (1796) [Washington’s emphasis]

I deem [one of] the essential principles of our government, and consequently [one] which ought to shape its administration,…peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.
— Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (1801)

If we had a Defense Department instead of an Imperialism Department we could cut hundreds of billions of dollars a year from the defense budget just for starters:

Drop Pretension to Supremacy
Defense Cuts: Start Overseas
The Pentagon on Defense
The US Should Cut Military Spending in Half
U.S. Defense and the Four Percent Smokescreen (Part I)
Does Military Power Keep Us Safe? (Part II)
The New World Order (Part III)

The Democrats favor welfare for the poor. The Republicans favor welfare for the Military-Industrial Complex, from defense contractors to veterans. Obama naturally favors the former, and seems now to have been pressured to accept the latter.

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