Editor’s note: This is a guest post contributed by an anonymous Soldier who has been involved in the War on Terror in Iraq. He are a few of his experiences, and his opinions on why the war in Iraq costs so much money.
The war in Iraq costs the American tax payers an estimated $12 billion a month [Washington Post]. But, it does not have to be that way. Our hard earned tax dollars are being wasted carelessly on unneeded luxuries in the combat zone.
In the 1980’s, there was a public out cry about contractors ripping off the government for expensive toilet seats and $100 nuts and bolts that you could by for pennies down at your local hardware store. The same irrational spending is going on in Iraq today.
- American generals drive around the infamous Green Zone in the Iraqi capital in $61,000 H2 Hummer SUVs
- Hundreds of acres of brand new SUVs and pickup trucks sit unused at a base just outside of Baghdad near the international airport (See picture below)
- Thousands of $150,000 up-armored Humvees are being sold to the Iraqi government for $10,000 a piece (See picture above)
What are those literally hundreds of unarmored SUVs and pickup trucks purpose you ask? They are used to shuttle U.S. military and State Department workers around America’s enormous, sprawling forward operating bases in Baghdad, Balad, and elsewhere. These vehicles never leave the safety of the bases. They are provided to people in order for them to drive to the PX (military’s version of Wal-Mart) and to drive to meetings around the bases despite already having military vehicles that are an imposition and not as comfortable to use as a brand new SUV.
When the United States kicked Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in 1991, the military had spent six months building up stockpiles of supplies, ammunition, building materials, etc. in Saudi Arabia and the surrounding areas. After all the combat troops left Desert Storm after 100 hours of fighting, it took an Army general and a huge staff of Soldiers over a year to ship all of the excess supplies home to the U.S. and to our allies in the region.
We have been stockpiling equipment and supplies in Iraq for over five years now. The American military and State Department infrastructure in the country are enormous. When we finally leave Iraq, how long will it take us to withdraw the millions of tons of supplies and equipment that we have built up in the country? Will we just leave hundreds of billions of dollars worth of equipment to the fledgling Iraqi government? These are just some of the examples of the reckless abandon in which the government has used our tax dollars during this war.
Editor’s Note #2. I have seen similar mishandling of funds in the War on Terror. I deployed to the Middle East several times and witnessed troops getting thousands of dollars worth of unnecessary equipment, tools, and more. In one unit in which I served, the supply troops ordered $200 special ops knives which were handed out to hundreds of troops, none of whom had a need for a specialized tool of this nature. This was not an isolated incident; many unnecessary items are routinely ordered and distributed.
I also witnessed a group of Guard officers filling a cargo pallet with air compressors, power tools, and other construction items designated for the war efforts. The officers were bragging about how much the items were worth and how they were going to use them when they got the items home. We brought it to the attention of our supervision, but we left the AOR before the Guard members left, and I don’t know whether they took these items home or not.