An independent panel investigating spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has found that up to $60 billion has been lost to waste and fraud.
The Associated Press said it has obtained a copy of the report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting ahead of its Wednesday release to Congress.
The commission found that much of the money was lost to lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and payoffs to warlords and insurgents.
The report said it is difficult to figure out the exact amount, but it is at least $31 billion, possibly as high as $60 billion. Even those lofty figures are called "conservative."
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The AP wrote:
Much of the waste and fraud could have been avoided with better planning and more aggressive oversight, the commission said. To avoid repeating the mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan, government agencies should overhaul the way they award and manage contracts in war zones, the commission recommended.
The report said the government has spent $206 billion on private contractors. The government has depended on these contractors to build roads and other facilities in the war torn nations using taxpayer dollars. Obviously they are not guarding our money very closely.
The commission cited numerous examples of waste, including a $360 million U.S.-financed agricultural development program in Afghanistan. The effort began as a $60 million project in 2009 to distribute vouchers for wheat seed and fertilizer in drought-stricken areas of northern Afghanistan. The program expanded into the south and east. Soon the U.S. was spending a $1 million a day on the program, creating an environment ripe for waste and abuse, the commission said.
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This is also a dangerous business for these contractors. 2,429 contractors have been reported killed since the Afghan war started in October 2001.