by James Corbett
Global Research TV
1 September, 2011
An investigative committee released a report this week estimating that the US Government has lost as much as $60 billion to waste, fraud and corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade.
The report is the work of the Wartime Contracting Commission, established by Congress in 2008 to investigate funds and contracts in support of US military operation. Rather than advocating a reduction in a ballooning military budget that has nearly doubled since the false flag terrorist incident of 9/11, however, the report makes the case that budget cuts to the Department of Defense will actually increase the wastage and instead argues that massive increases in spending need to be maintained.
Touted as a team of “independent investigators,” the report is being hailed as a serious attempt to get a handle on the budget of the government agency most notorious for waste, fraud and corruption.
What is not being noted is that the commission includes such members as Dov Zakheim, the comptroller of the Pentagon under the first George W. Bush administration when a DOD Inspector General report established that the Pentagon was unable to account for over 2.3 trillion dollars in transactions.
Zakheim was a member of the neocon Project for a New American Century and a signatory to their 2000 document, Rebuiding America’s Defenses, which called for a “new Pearl Harbor” to justify a transformation of the US military.
Prior to taking over the Pentagon’s finances, Zakheim was an executive at System Planning Corporation, a defense contractor which specialized in advanced technologies, including systems for remotely controlling aircraft.
Earlier this summer, Zakheim wrote an op-ed in Foreign Policy lamenting proposed defense spending cuts and arguing that any such cuts should be made to veteran’s health benefits and pensions.
Despite the fact that the Pentagon has been unable to account for trillions of dollars, it has not been subject to an audit by the Government Accountability Office in the modern era.
Donald Rumsfeld was asked about the status of the Pentagon’s missing trillions for the first time this year, not by a newspaper or television reporter, but by a group of citizen journalists who post their videos to YouTube.
The new report on the wasted billions blames the problem on corruption, bribery and profiteering, amongst other factors, and comes out just as a new investigation from The Center for Public Integrity has revealed that defense spending on no-bid contracts has tripled in the last 10 years. The Pentagon now spends over $140 billion a year on no-bid contracts to private contractors like KBR, compared to $50 billion in 2001.
The modern era of military contracting began in 1992, when then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney offered Halliburton subsidiary KBR $9 million to conduct a study on the use of private companies to provide civil logistical support to the US military. KBR concluded that private contracting was in the US’ interest. Cheney awarded the first contract under the KBR study proposal to KBR itself, and three years later he became Halliburton’s CEO.
Cheney was also a signatory to the PNAC document calling for a new Pearl Harbor and was Vice President when that Pearl Harbor incident occurred on 9/11/2001. Subsequently, KBR was awarded 10s of billions of dollars in sweeping military contracts to provide civil logistics in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The US government is currently suing KBR for $100 million for fraud and overspending related to these contracts.