Editorial

Heads should roll

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A few years ago, the United States military spent $34 million on a shining new command center in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, a center that will never be used. Spreading out over 64,000 square feet, the building was designed for maximum of 1,500 staff, and includes a war room, briefing theatre, and offices for senior military officers including a three-star general.

However, the building was completed after U.S. personnel dropped to a few hundred in the region. It would be too costly to operate and the Afghans don't want it for the same reason.

The Washington Post profiled the base in 2013, calling attention to the fact that nobody actually stationed in Helmand wanted the center to be constructed in the first place.

An observer might find it hard to imagine a construction project that could be a greater symbol of waste in our foreign military adventures but that symbol has been surpassed recently when a Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) audit revealed that the U.S. Department of Defense spent $43 million on a single gas station in Afghanistan.

"The DOD charged the American taxpayer $43 million for what is likely the world's most expensive gas station," Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko said recently.

He added, "There may be fraud. There may be corruption."

You think?