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Published on Sep 2, 2011
DemocracyNow.org - As the war in Afghanistan approaches its 10th anniversary, a pair of new reports reveal how the Pentagon has squandered tens of billions of dollars while tripling the amount of no-bid contracts. The bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting concludes that between $31 billion and $60 billion spent on projects in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 10 years has been lost to waste and fraud. In Afghanistan, the commission found the United States is indirectly funding the Taliban as money diverted from U.S.-backed projects is paid out to militants to ensure safety. Meanwhile, the Pentagon's use of no-bid contracts has tripled since the United States was attacked on 9/11, in spite of promises to reform the controversial practice. A new investigative report from the Center for Public Integrity says no-bid spending has ballooned from $50 billion in 2003 to $140 billion in 2011.
Democracy Now! speaks with Charles Tiefer, a member of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan and a professor of government contracting at the University of Baltimore Law School; and with Sharon Weinberger of the Center for Public Integrity, author of the investigative series "Windfalls of War." "There are as many contractors in the war zone as there are soldiers. But we haven't adjusted our thinking for it, [and] we haven't adjusted our structure for it," Tiefer says.
For the complete transcript, to download the podcast, or for additional reports on Democracy Now! about the use of contractors in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, visit http://www.democracynow.org