Recently Read Books

  • A Delicate Truth- John Le Carre (fiction)
  • Perfect - Rachel Joyce (Fiction)
  • The Expats - Chris Pavone (Fiction)
  • An Event in Autumn - Henning Mankel (Fiction)
  • Winter in Madrid - C.J.Sansom (Fiction)
  • The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
  • LIfe Among Giants - Bill Roorbach (Novel)
  • Empty Mansions - Bill Dedman (non-fiction)
  • Woodrow Wilson (non fiction)
  • Lawrence in Arabia (Non-Fiction)
  • In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helpren (Fiction)
  • Lesson in French - Hilary Reyl (fiction)
  • Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand (Non-Fiction)
  • Venice, A New History- Thomas Madden - (Non- Fiction)
  • Life is a Gift - Tony Bennett Autobiography
  • The First Counsell - Brad Meltzer (Fiction)
  • Destiny of the Republic - President James Garfield non-fiction by Candice Millard
  • The Last Lion (volume III)- William Manchester and Paul Reid (non-fiction, Winston Churchill)
  • Yellowstone Autumn -W.D. Wetherell (non-fiction about turning 55 and fishing in Yellowstone)
  • Everybody was Young- (non-fiction Paris in the 1920's)
  • Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
  • Supreme Power - Jeff Shesol (non-fiction)
  • Zero day by David Baldacci ( I read all of Baldacci's Books)
  • Northwest Angle - William Kent Krueger (fiction - I have read 5 or 6 books by this author)
  • Camelot's Court-Insider the Kennedy Whitehouse- Robert Dallek
  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Cost of the Afghanistan War

I just read an article on the The Center for Strategic and International Studies website entitled

The US Cost of the Afghan War: FY2002-FY2013.  The Center for Strategic and International Studies is a bipartisan Washington, D.C., foreign policy think tank. The center conducts policy studies and strategic analyses on political, economic and security issues, focusing on technology, public policy, international trade and finance, and energy. According to its mission statement, "CSIS provides strategic insights and policy solutions to decision makers in government, international institutions, the private sector, and civil society”.

I found the following paragraphs from the article interesting:

 Not only did the money come far too late to prevent the rise of a major insurgency, when it did come, it came in areas where there were no effective overall planning, management, and contacting systems. No adequate fiscal controls, and no real measures of effectiveness. The system virtually invited waste, fraud, and abuse.  It is important to note that reforms have taken place in many areas of contracting, and there is now better auditing. The Afghan government has also promised important reforms in its control of spending and efforts to reduce corruption.

 The fact remains, however, that if the CRS and OMB figures for FY2001-FY2013 that follow are totaled for all direct spending on the war, they reach $641.7 billion, of which $198.2 billion – or over 30% – will be spent in FY2012 and FY2013.

This is an incredible amount of money to have spent with so few controls, so few plans, so little auditing, and almost no credible measures of effectiveness.

It is also clear that the end effect has been to sharply raise the threshold of corruption in Afghanistan, to make transition planning far more difficult, and raise the risk that sudden funding cuts will undermine the Afghan government’s ability to maintain a viable economy and effective security forces.

 So we have spent almost $650,000,000,000 in Afghanistan since 2002.  We are predicted to spend almost $90,000,000,000 this year.  Do you feel safer?  Do you think things in Afghanistan will change even if we stayed there for 20 more years or 30 more years or 50 more years? I personally doubt it. 
The costs referenced above do not include the Veteran's medical care and benefits costs for our brave troops that will arise over the next 50 years as we take care of their wounds, physical and emotional, they suffered in the war.

During the last month we have heard all of this disaster talk about the "Sequester". The Sequester deals with $85 billion in cuts to government spending.  This year alone we will spend more than $90 billion in Afghanistan.

Seems absolutely crazy to me.

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