Nation-Building Continues with Ongoing Funding from American Taxpayers
The “reconstruction” of Afghanistan is a pet project of the Obama administration. It is important to note that it is not a reconstruction if the projects funded are for things that never existed; the projects are part of a grand plan to build an Afghanistan fancied by the Obama administration. One such reconstruction project is a Ministry of Defense (MOD) headquarters in Kabul.
Throughout his presidency Obama has droned on about the urgent need to ramp up federal spending on U.S. highways, bridges, and other infrastructure projects. Obama and his fellow liberals/progressives have proposed various tax hikes, including raising the gas tax and levying a $10-a-barrel federal tax on oil. These taxes will not be passed onto consumers, right? Obama and his comrades have also tried to secure an additional $478 billion in taxpayer money to fund infrastructure projects in the U.S. by proposing amendments to federal budgets, but Republicans blocked them. Where do you suppose the money will come from to fund U.S. infrastructure?
A couple of months ago, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released an inspection report of the MOD. The building is fraught with the usual problems related to all of the Afghanistan reconstruction projects, so it is unnecessary to spend a lot of time on the construction missteps. The real story is the never-ending wastefulness of the federal government on nation-building while U.S. infrastructure remains in disrepair.
The MOD is a five-story building that has a “national command center, administration space, dining facilities, bathrooms, secure garage, a 1,000-seat auditorium, a waste treatment plant, and a heating/cooling system.” The MOD building must be very nice. Construction on the MOD started in 2009 and ended on December 28, 2015. How much did American taxpayers spend on the project? Drum roll, please! The final cost as of now is $154.7 million.
According to SIGAR, on April 21, 2009, “the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) awarded a $48.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to Innovative Technical Solutions (ITS) to construct a Ministry of Defense headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan.” Innovative Technical Solutions, now Gilbane Federal, was supposed to complete the building by October 11, 2010. After numerous modifications to the contract, the cost of the building increased to $107.3 million before breaking ground. In November 2013, ITS requested an additional $24.7 million finish the project, but a lack of funds forced a halt to construction. However, the awarding of a second contract to Gilbane Federal (Gilbane acquired ITS) allowed construction to resume for an additional $47.4 million. The project was finally “completed” on December 28, 2015, five years overdue.
The Obama administration has wasted $109.7 billion on ill-conceived, doomed to fail projects dreamt up by Obama and his comrades as part of the Afghanistan reconstruction. Meanwhile, Obama complains the leviathan needs more money for U.S. infrastructure. Why not terminate the Afghanistan reconstruction and other fed gov projects/programs that waste the hard-earned money of American taxpayers to fund repairs and ongoing maintenance on highways and bridges in America?