No, I'm not talking about the new surge, but about U.S. aid money. While I was driving home this afternoon, I happened to catch an NPR interview with retired General Arnold Fields, the U.S. chief inspector for Afghanistan reconstruction. (I don't have a link for the interview, but I just heard it about a half hour ago.) Fields said that although he isn't certain, best estimates are that only 25-30% of U.S. aid money actually goes toward projects for which it is earmarked. That's right, up to three quarters of U.S. aid for reconstruction isn't actually going where it is supposed to. So where does it go?
Fields said that maybe 10-15% of the money is used for security. Ok, that's a legitimate expense. But what about the remaining 50+%? The general couldn't answer the question. He has no idea exactly what happens to all that money. Keep in mind that this is the inspector general of the oversight organization for our reconstruction efforts. He can't answer a question about what happened to more than half of our aid money. When people talk about rampant corruption in Afghanistan, this is the massive scope they are talking about. It's so great that even the people supposedly monitoring it can't keep track. Unfortunately it involves our money.