US wastes $34 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan

A river of the same name flows through Kabul. The same stream is the city’s main gutter. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov)
If you were opposed towards tax dollars going towards military operations overseas, here is something new to consider: The US has blew around $34 billion on private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan

Those billions are in addition to what the country is pumping into the armed forces already.

A new reported scheduled to be released in the coming weeks documents American spending on the private sector. Officially titled Commission on Wartime Contracting, the findings pull together the most compressive analysis ever on the spending of US funds on private sector contractors.

More than $200 billion has been spent on private contractors in the last decade, reports Reuters, with $34 billion of it going to waste. Out of that funding, more than 200,000 private workers were being added to the US payroll. That statistic is more than double the amount of troops that the US ever sent to Afghanistan.

The Commission on Wartime Contracting report will not officially be released until later this summer, but a person familiar with the study has spoken to Reuters on the condition on anonymity.

Last week, Stuart Bowen of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction spoke to Wired about the US transitioning towards a private army of civilians as 5,000 security agents are being prepared to go to Iraq as the American military readies withdrawal. Despite Bowen’s attempts at an audit of the State Department, he says that he has been unable to get assistance from the government and can’t tell how much that surge of private employees will cost taxpayers or under whose authority these private soldiers will work.

“That hard truth is holding up work on important programs and contracts at a critical moment in the Iraq transition,” said Bowen.