Congressman Ron Paul: Funding Corruption and Waste in Afghanistan

Funding corruption and waste in Afghanistan

By Ron Paul ⋅ July 12, 2010 ⋅

Last week, GOP chairman Michael Steele came under fire for daring to say what a lot of Americans already know – that our involvement in Afghanistan is an ill-advised quagmire with no end in sight. After nearly 10 years and approaching $1 trillion spent, the conflict is going nowhere because there is nowhere for it to go. After all, if victory is never really defined, defeat is inevitable.

With our economy at home in serious trouble, this wasteful occupation is something we clearly cannot afford. Each soldier costs us $1 million per year, and yet most in Washington are only considering how many more soldiers to send. Fuel costs an astonishing $400 per gallon for our military in Afghanistan! Yet somehow, many politicians feel it is acceptable to squeeze this money out of our taxpayers, who are truly struggling economically, to fund this non-war. Our economy here is not showing any real signs of improvement. Official unemployment is pushing 10nd getting worse. (Real unemployment is over 20ccording to the free-market economists) The growing debt and inflation used to fund this occupation only dooms us to more economic hardship for a long time to come. And – for what?

Where the money for Afghanistan comes from is one problem – where it goes is another. Recently, it has come to light that much of the aid money we send to Afghanistan is lost due to corruption. Billions of tax dollars from hardworking Americans are ending up lining the pockets of corrupt Afghan officials, and likely even filtering into the Taliban we are ostensibly fighting. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that curiously enough, billions more than the Afghan government collects in revenue is leaving the country in the form of cash on huge pallets and in suitcases and mostly ending up in Dubai, as well-connected Afghan officials buy up luxury homes and enrich their personal off-shore bank accounts. Investigations into corruption and graft have been blocked by the Karzai government, probably because Karzai’s own brother would have to be implicated. It is encouraging that the foreign aid appropriations subcommittee has attempted to block billions in aid as a response to these allegations, but this is likely temporary and may not even succeed.

The point is that sending aid money to Afghanistan is not making poor people over there better off. It is making poor people here worse off. Corruption is endemic to Afghanistan, with graft comprising about one fourth of their economy! Even though it is considered the second most corrupt nation in the world according to Transparency International, we still send the Afghan government billions of dollars in aid and are shocked to find it is not making its way out of the sticky fingers of the officials entrusted with it.

Robbing citizens here to fund corruption over there is not helping average citizens anywhere. We are sacrificing real economic opportunities at home for the opportunity to line corrupt pockets in Afghanistan. Not only that, but American soldiers are being killed and maimed. It is tragic and frustrating how much we have lost and wasted already. It is time to leave Afghanistan to the Afghans to sort out. I am glad more Americans are finally willing to face this reality.

About the Author

Ron Paul is a Congressman from the 14th district of Texas and enjoys a national reputation as the premier advocate for liberty in politics today.


Ron Paul: The War That’s Not a War

7 Responses to “Congressman Ron Paul: Funding Corruption and Waste in Afghanistan”

  • Patriot says:

    Obama silent on reporter’s question An unanswered moment in the wake of Gen. McChrystal’s ousting hints at the Afghan war’s troubles.

    Cutting to heart of Obama’s dilemma: ‘Can the war be won?’


    CFR’s Richard Haass against Afghan quagmire as well:

  • Patriot says:

    PNAC’s Khalizhad responds to C-SPAN Washington Journal call about why we are really in Afghan & Iraq quagmires

  • Patriot says:

    NATO not winning Afghan hearts and minds: poll
    By Adrian Croft
    Sat Jul 17, 1:01 am ET

    LONDON (Reuters) – NATO is failing to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan, according to a poll released on Friday showing most people in Taliban heartlands view foreign troops negatively and believe the Taliban should join the government.

    However, 55 percent of Afghans surveyed by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) think-tank believed NATO and the Afghan government were winning the war against Taliban insurgents.

    The survey was based on interviews last month with 552 Afghan men in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in southern Afghanistan, the scene of some of the most intense fighting.

    “We are … failing to explain ourselves or our objectives to the Afghan people. This provides clear opportunities for Taliban and al Qaeda propaganda against the West,” ICOS President Norine MacDonald said in a statement.

    The poll of Afghans in the two areas found:

    — 75 percent believe foreigners disrespect their religion and traditions

    — 74 percent believe working with foreign forces is wrong

    — 68 percent believe NATO forces do not protect them

    — 65 percent believe the Taliban and its leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, should join the Afghan government.

    Seventy percent said recent military actions in their area were bad for the Afghan people and 59 percent opposed a new military offensive being built up by NATO forces in Kandahar.

    Thousands of U.S., British and Afghan soldiers took part in an operation this year in the Marjah area of Helmand, a Taliban stronghold. NATO forces are now gearing up for a campaign to secure the Taliban’s spiritual home of Kandahar.

    Fifty-five percent of those polled believed that foreign troops were in Afghanistan for their own benefit, to destroy or occupy the country, or to destroy Islam.

    In a blow to NATO’s hopes of gradually transferring security responsibilities to Afghan forces, 71 percent believed the Taliban would return to areas cleared of insurgents if NATO departed leaving the Afghan government in charge.

    Sixty-one percent believed the number of Afghans joining the Taliban had increased in the past year and four-fifths said that if the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, al Qaeda would return to the country.

    Sixty-four percent believed government officials in their area were linked to the Taliban and large majorities thought both the Taliban and local government officials made money from drug-trafficking.

    The survey was released before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and dozens of other foreign ministers meet in Kabul next week to hear President Hamid Karzai’s plans to boost governance, security and economic opportunity.

    The war in Afghanistan has reached a critical stage despite the presence of about 140,000 foreign troops, with the Taliban at its strongest since the Islamist movement was overthrown in 2001 by the U.S.-led invasion.

    (Editing by Matthew Jones)

  • Patriot says:

    ‎4 more US troops killed in Afghan (quagmire)

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