Money Pit: The Monstrous Failure of US Aid to Afghanistan
- For $130,000, Afghan contractors built a large shower/bathroom facility “without holes in the walls or floors for plumbing and drains.” What’s more, the walls were constructed of “crumbling cinder blocks.” The report blamed insufficient oversight. That was most certainly true. But in addition, UNICEF statistics show that seventy percent of Afghans have no access to a toilet and may in fact never have seen one. How could they know what’s involved in installing them?
- Defense Department personnel told the GAO about “a dining facility in Afghanistan that was built without a kitchen,” once again because of absent oversight.
- A guard tower “at a forward operating base was poorly constructed and unsafe to occupy. The staircase was unstable and not strong enough” to climb. As usual, the problem wasn’t discovered until the tower was finished. “It had to be torn down.”
- “In another instance, an entire compound of five buildings was built in the wrong location.” It was supposed to be located within the military base’s security walls, but the contractors inexplicably built the compound just outside—for $2.4 million. No one noticed until the project was completed. “The buildings could not be used.”
How can an illiterate policeman read a license plate, the general asked. How can a soldier fill out a form, read an equipment manual, or “calculate trajectory for field artillery?”