freedom isn't free!

U.S. Military As Good At Fraud As It Is Killing Random Brown People

Fighting for our Freedoms.Every single day of the last miserable decade, the U.S. Military has pissed away more than $16 million in fraudulent contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s $60 billion thrown away on wasteful handouts to Pentagon contractors during the wonderful War On Terror — $60 billion thrown away without even killing random goat farmers who committed “terror” by being born in an impoverished country that happened to be a good, out-of-the-way place to test robot death planes around the clock. And these numbers come not from some external objective accounting project, but from the U.S. government itself. So, the numbers are obviously lies, and are probably off by several hundred billion dollars. Let’s cut Social Security benefits from a program that’s fully funded from people’s paychecks, because “entitlements” are bankrupting the country!

The Senate’s “Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan” also left a little wiggle room in the numbers — the fraud was somewhere between $31 billion and $60 billion, it concluded. (Guess which end of the guesstimate Fox News chose for its headline.) Eh, send us an update when you’re talking about real money. (Haha, and it would be counterproductive for GE to pay taxes when it makes most of its money from making murder machines to sell to the U.S. government.)

Also, according to this commission, the Pentagon has spent $200 billion on private contractors over the course of the first 10 years of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But as the Pentagon itself sees no reason to keep track of anything financial, this number is also meaningless, in that it is certainly a fraction of the actual military spending, even if the number was anywhere close to the truth (which it’s not) — the CIA and NSA and State Department and FBI and probably NYPD operate their own overlapping wars and “intelligence networks,” all paid for with your tax dollars.

For example, the watchdog Citizens for Public Integrity just put out a report saying the Pentagon blows through $140 billion per year in payments to military contractors — that annual number has apparently tripled since the beginning of the Endless Wars, 10 years ago. Let’s shut down the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, at once! Because that $420 million annual federal grant is basically a rounding error to the endless billions spent to drop bombs on people all over the world, for freedom. [Center for Public Integrity/Kansas City Star]

About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

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93 comments

    1. zhubajie

      Erich Hobsbawm has said that this is the first time since the 17th century when private enterprise armies have been at all important.

  1. DaSandman

    Freedom isn't free bitches. It involves a lot of bribery and payoffs and shit.

    I dunno sir, maybe that 40 million just fell out of my pocket. Can't say for sure…

    1. themcwow

      My dad would say the same thing time after time, the morning after payday when my mom was asking for grocery money, "I lost it, don't remember how…maybe it fell out of my pocket."

    2. zhubajie

      Nothing worth having in the USA is free. If it's worthwhile, it's expensive. Even if it isn't worthwhile, sometimes it's expensive. (Cable tv for pro wrestling, for example.)

  2. HistGuy

    "Let’s cut Social Security benefits from a program that’s fully funded from people’s paychecks over the course of their working lives!"

    Duh. There's a clear difference between evil socialism and bombing brown people. Get with the program.

  3. freakishlywrong

    And those fucking contractors. Teabagging teabaggers. All of 'em. But don't try and tell them the Gubbmint pays their salary. No siree! Bechtel writes my check.

    1. genxr

      Complaining about how the government has too much power, while working to build more advanced weapons to give the government more power.

      Gotta love their thinking on that one.

  4. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    I cannot wait until Eric Cantor puts forward a bill to cut the Pentagon by $60 billion so that we can pay for disaster relief. I also expect that this will be the highlight of all FOX News shows for the next week or so.

  5. donner_froh

    I can see the Pentagon's point–why keep track of costs when you are going to blow up most of what you buy? Since all those missiles, bombs and bombs will have a value of zero as soon as they are used and since most of the airplanes, cannons and small arms don't work putting a price on them makes no sense.

    Freedumb comes as a cost. We just have no idea what it is.

    1. sati_demise

      yea, a couple trillion dollars unaccounted for at the Pentagon (according to the Donald Rumsfeld) BEFORE 9/11.

    2. karen

      A few weeks ago at work a man and his wife came through and were buying some garden shit. The wife was at the checkout, and I saw that the guy had on an Air Force Veteran hat. I asked him where we was and for how long he was in. He said he did communications during the Korean War and then for four years after it as well. Apparently, he helped build radio towers in Libya, Turkey and somewhere else to broadcast Radio Free Europe into the Iron Curtain. He said, "Then, about 7 years ago, we bombed those radio towers in Libya. Tax dollars to build it, half a century later, tax dollars to bomb it. It's something to see your hard work literally go up in smoke."

  6. PuckStopsHere

    Maybe that's why the rich are so dead set against higher taxes. Turns out they are pacifist, anti-war pussies.

    1. Nothingisamiss

      To be fair, of course, not all was blow. Hookers, strip clubs, and medical experimentation on brown people may well be in that estimation.

  7. Goonemeritus

    So between 15% and 30% went to fraud, that’s the kind of numbers that a third world dictator throws up when distributing aid to his own people. Sounds like we could save significant administration costs by handing today’s version of Pol Pot a C130 stuffed with $100 bills.

    1. OneDollarJuana

      Several analyses have shown that if we just paid the Afghans $1 million each to not fight us, we'd be ahead. Kinda like when we paid farmers to not grow alfalfa.

  8. Mahousu

    Back in the '50's, people took advantage of the Cold War to push through funding for completely unrelated things (like the National Defense School Lunch Act). Why not do the same thing now? Skim off a few billion for the PATRIOT High-Speed Rail Defense Network, the Anti-Terror Health Insurance Program, the America First! Solar Power Act, and so on.

    1. Nothingisamiss

      Seriously? I've wondered why the hell dems don't make this argument more.

      Wait…oh, yeah, they're nearly all defeated wimps…..yeah…that's my team….

  9. Mumbletypeg

    But but but… I thought wars were supposed to boost job growth and spread the opportunity for all productive citizens concerned, so everybody gets a share!

    1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder: "We're gonna come out of this war rich!"
    Yossarian: "You're gonna come out rich. We're gonna come out dead."

      1. OneDollarJuana

        I'm just re-reading Catch 22 now. It's amazing how vivid those characters are in my memory even after almost 40 years. And how war hasn't changed much except being more deadly. And expensive.

  10. charlesdegoal

    An that's just unimaginable sums of money. Now think about the time it takes you to earn what you give those guys every year (or month, or day). And how long it takes you to earn what it costs them to kill a single brown person. Or to clean their swimming pool.

  11. WhatTheHeck

    Ken, don’t get so worked up. We are only talking 60 billion to some corporations.
    Its the god-dammed wo/man in the street who really costs the government real money with their desire for health care an’ shit.

  12. coron4

    "… for freedom." Indeed; thank you for ending on a humourous note, Ken. I was starting to worry about you.

  13. Mojopo

    I'd be happy to blame everything on fraud. But I wonder what portion of the fraud money actually went to secret programs. You know, like the effects of using cocaine and marijuana in your Cinnamon Toast Crunch, instead of milk, when shopping for weapons.

  14. BaldarTFlagass

    As someone who helped dispense a couple hundred million of that in Afghanistan, I would like to assure you taxpayers that you did get some vertical construction out of that money. Mostly for Afghan military facilities, which I am sure that the Taliban will really enjoy, beginning shortly after we leave that country.

    1. coron4

      I rest assured. In the knowledge that there's verticality-begetting fraud, and then just plain old fraud fraud.

    1. Ken Layne

      Some people have all the luck.

      Then again, you don't need a 9/11 to make massive military fraud disappear from the news … it does that all on its own!

  15. comrad_darkness

    But if we cut of Xe/Blackwater from the gravy train and child sex slaves, but especially from the tax payer gravy train, they will foment a coup and overthrow the u.s. government, so of course we have to keep sending them our checks meant for grandma's water pills.

      1. zhubajie

        Mercenaries have been outsourced too. Nowadays they are mostly Columbian death squad members, Ugandans (maybe from the Lord's Resistance Army, that would fit in with the whole born-again thing!), etc.

  16. ManchuCandidate

    Yet nary a Teabagger would shit a brick.*

    *BTW, you know what is the single biggest cause of the US National Debt? War. The Cold war cost some 4 TRILLION dollars. Most of that was from R&D on supersonic jets, missiles and nuclear infrastructure such as radar sites, missile silos, satellites, submarines, etc, etc, etc. Throw in the money from uselessness of Iraqinam and you have a good chunk of US Debt. Add in the tax cuts to the rich and you got 3/4 of the US National Debt.

    The biggest welfare queens in the US America are defense contractors.

    1. Mumbletypeg

      But Teatard'ers justify anything labeled "military spending" cause they're only equipped for basic, Aesop-level platitudes like "Might Makes Right".. Since media-enabled nationalism parlays into cheap patriotism that's askance to the death tolls outpacing our balefully decorated war heroes who actually make it home in time for a dessert of PTSD debasement, then those things don't count as liabilities: they're well-executed somersaults in flip-side spending. (Thus sayeth the logic-goblin that's consuming Teabuggers' brains).

    2. KenLayIsAlive

      Yeah, but we're supposed to support them because it costs them $1.5 million to kill a member of the Taliban.

      When I hear people complain about inefficiency and waste in government, the DoD is the first fucking place my mind goes.

  17. mumbly_joe

    Wait, so the Pentagon was taking my money and then not even killing the hapless brown civilians that just happened to be living in "war zones" full of imaginary terrorists with it?

    I'm actually not sure which part is supposed to have me outraged. The point of the US military in the 21st century, or the fact that they're bilking us without giving even that dubious value on our tax dollars.

    1. coron4

      Yay! Fraud is better, 'cause wouldn't we rather build useless Mcmansions in Phoenix than more animatronic killing machines?

  18. mumbly_joe

    You know, it's kinda telling that while the magnitude Medicare fraud is roughly equivalent in size to military fraud, people point to Medicare fraud as a reason we need to end Medicare completely, and nobody points to military fraud as a reason we need to even audit the Pentagon.

    America, and her priorities.

  19. hagajim

    Can they please throw a couple of million in fraud my way? I promise I won't kill any brown people even.

  20. johnnyzhivago

    The best bet would be for the Northeast to secede from the US and then declare war on it. We would be rebuilt free of charge – and not have to follow any of their rules!

  21. OneDollarJuana

    If you think that the Military/Industrial/Political Complex hasn't taken us over yet, think again. It's gonna take serious public action to even get a couple of steps back from the brink of military dictatorship.

  22. owhatever

    Whoa up you librul pussies. Those money were spended by our honorable patriotic sojers, and nobody above the rank of private was responsible. You got something against privates? Commies.

  23. genxr

    Fucking contractors. Cuervo isn't good enough for them. They have to go and drink Patron out of each others' assholes.

  24. peaceocrap

    But look at what that money is buying us. We're winning wars all over the place! I know this because BushBama has been telling us we're winning for ten years. It's glorious the way we're always winning these wars. I hope they go on forever so we can continue to win!

  25. BlueStateLibel

    And in other news, General Petreus said in a lavish retirement ceremony yesterday that we BETTER NOT cut military funding. Take it out of those MS canisters at the 7-11, the hoards of cash at your local animal shelter, your local girl scout's piggy bank, etc. or the BOOGEYMAN will get you.

  26. SorosBot

    Is the money attained by fraud exactly when the companies that swindled the money from the government were aided and abetted by the President and Vice President of the United States?

  27. DoktorThompson

    Haha, bitches, when the contractors get caught for fraud all their C-level people can still float away on their golden parachutes, for freedom.

  28. Gorillionaire

    It's fun to remember that the great grandchild of the guy who sold the contract to make helmets for WWII soldiers has never worked a day in his life and is probably drilling his way through another sex slave on board his fabulous yacht in perfect weather right now, and your grandfather who fought actual Nazis and came back with the scars to prove it and died crazier than a bedbug in a dark VA hospital left your grandmother with a bill she could never pay.

  29. ttommyunger

    Billions lost and pissed away, no problem. Let a 0-3 Company Commander lose a pair of $400 Binoculars or some hapless Enlisted Fuck lose a Battery Pack and there will be Hell to pay, I promise you.

  30. sati_demise

    OK I tried to do the math but my calculator will not go that high:

    140 billion x10 years= true cost of contractors (not 200 billion total)

    Therefore:

    60 billion in fraud x 10 years = True cost of fraud.

  31. Jughead2130

    Sure send our poor over there to kill their poor while in the process making our rich fuckers and their rich fuckers richer. Richer rich and deader poor just like they want it.

  32. mavenmaven

    Let's be real, profiteering is the actual reason the Iraq war was launched. That's why Texas likes to send its croneyism loving politicians to Washington.

  33. widget2011

    If social security is an "entitlement", then quit taking money out of my goddamned paycheck, you fucking fucks! Oh sorry there Mr. Kock, I didn't realize that was YOUR money.

  34. zhubajie

    My favorite corruption story was about all those new Harvard MBAs working for Bremer in Baghdad, handing out garbage full of hundred dollar bills to contractors, without any attempt to record who got how much! No one would be tempted to "liberate" a couple bags, would they? Ha ha ha! And people say China is corrupt!

  35. Negropolis

    So much better, Ken! You didn't even mention Obama by name once in this screed!

    But, yeah, we are being eaten alive by the military-industral complex, no doubt. It's like a tick that never quite lets go and never quite has had enough. And, like a tick, even when you extract it, the head is still stuck in.

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