Monday, September 26, 2011

Where did the money go?

From NPR:
The amount the U.S. military spends annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan: $20.2 billion, according to a former Pentagon official.
That's more than NASA's budget. It's more than BP has paid so far for damage from the Gulf oil spill. It's what the G-8 has pledged to help foster new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia.
"When you consider the cost to deliver the fuel to some of the most isolated places in the world — escorting, command and control, medevac support — when you throw all that infrastructure in, we're talking over $20 billion," Steven Anderson tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin.
From Dan Froomkin at Huffington Post:
With just over three months until the last U.S. troops are currently due to leave Iraq, the Department of Defense is engaged in a mad dash to give away things that cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars to buy and build....
The most colossal relics of the U.S. invasion of Iraq will be the outsize military bases the Bush administration began erecting not long after the invasion, under the never explicitly stated assumption that Iraq would become the long-term staging area for U.S. forces in the region...
Most of the $2.4 billion was spent building about a dozen huge outposts that, in addition to containing air strips and massive fortifications also have all the comforts of home. The Al-Asad Airfield in Anbar province, for example, covers 25 square miles -- about the size of Boulder, Colo. -- and is known as "Camp Cupcake" due to its amenities.

The 15-square-mile Joint Base Balad, as Whitney Terrell wrote earlier this year for Slate, is "home to three football-field-sized chow halls, a 25-meter swimming pool, a high dive, a football field, a softball field, two full-service gyms, a squash court, a movie theater, and the U.S. military's largest airfield in Iraq."
 Imagine, a whole new Boulder in Iraq!

Image:  Al-Asad Airfield in its glory days.

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