$1,000,000 Per Year Per Soldier/$400 a Gallon Gas/Your Tax Dollars At Work In Dubai

You already might have heard that it costs the United States $1 million for each solider per year in Afghanistan, to cover the cost of the soldiers’ benefits, troop transports and other material. What you might not have heard is that your hard earned taxpayer dollars are also being used to buy well-connected Afghans posh villas in Dubai.

Der Spiegel remarks curtly, “Amid concerns that the money could be the result of corruption, American politicians have temporarily cut off aid to the Afghan government.” The German daily adds:

…Huge amounts of money [are] regularly being secreted out of Afghanistan by plane in boxes and suitcases. According to some estimates, since 2007, at least $3 billion (€2.4 billion) in cash has left the country in this way. The preferred destination for these funds is Dubai, the tax haven in the Persian Gulf. And, given the fact that Afghanistan’s total GDP amounts to the equivalent of $13.5 billion, there is no way that the funds involved in this exodus are merely the proceeds of legal business transactions…

It is clear that much more money is making its way out of Afghanistan through Kabul’s airport than is being officially declared and logged. For example, important politicians and businesspeople can often board planes from the airport’s special VIP area without being searched. And if customs officials do conduct a search and find a suitcase stuffed with millions of dollars in cash, people with powerful connections often step in to make sure that the luggage makes it out of the country with its owner — no questions asked. “A couple phone calls are made,” General Jabarkhel says with frustration in his voice, “and the person can carry on.”

To where does this generous US foreign aid travel?

A number of Afghan businesspeople have purchased expensive villas in Dubai, once only attractive as a golfer’s paradise. These include a brother and a cousin of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, one of Karzai’s former vice presidents and the brother of Mohammad Qasim Fahim, one of the country’s two current vice presidents. Asking prices for the stylish, Roman-style houses built along the beaches of the man-made island Palm Jumeirah, for example, start at $2 million. Until just a few years ago, many of their current inhabitants were far from wealthy.

As the Washington Post has discovered, these properties are often only registered under the names of the individuals issuing the loans, such as Sherkhan Farnood, the founder and chairman of Kabul Bank, Afghanistan’s largest private bank, who was also a key supporter of President Karzai during his 2009 re-election campaign. Like many of his clients, Farnood now spends the majority of his time in Dubai. And among the 16 shareholders in his bank are Mahmoud Karzai, the president’s business-minded older brother, and Haseen Fahim, the brother of Afghan Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim.

Most financial transactions in Afghanistan continue to be conducted through so-called “hawalas,” traditional Islamic money-transferring outfits based more on honor and good faith than receipts, a fact that makes it more or less impossible for Western corruption investigators to trace the flow of money.

US taxpayers are also footing an enormous bill for the Pentagon’s use of fuel in the landlocked nation. In 2008, the price of gasoline in the United States topped the $4 per gallon mark.

This year in Afghanistan, the price has topped $400.

The stunning revelation emerged in October 2009 in a report from the Pentagon to House officials. The information conveyed offers new insight into a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, which found that the US spends $1 million per year for each servicemember on the ground in Afghanistan.

Why so much? The cost includes shipping, which sometimes includes the pricetag of a helicopter flight. Sending fuel by helicopter is woefully inefficient, because it uses up almost as much fuel as it carries.

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17 thoughts on “$1,000,000 Per Year Per Soldier/$400 a Gallon Gas/Your Tax Dollars At Work In Dubai

  1. I had a picture and some links, but wordpress is having issues with my antique computer…..

  2. Thank you, Microdot for posting this important piece of information on this blog.

    …one of the country’s two current vice presidents. Asking prices for the stylish, Roman-style houses built along the beaches of the man-made island Palm Jumeirah, for example, start at $2 million.

    Does the mother or father of a GI or Marine fighting in Afghanistan know this stuff? Does the soldier’s wife? And what if, God forbid, the soldier returns home with a limb missing and/or severe PTSD?

    “What are we fighting for?” was a Vietnam era song lyric that is even more important to answer in this time.

    Did that young soldier or Marine ‘believe’ that, when he signed up, he was going to ‘save America’ from another 9-11 attack? Did he sign up out of a belief that we need to kill the Taliban and occupy Afghanistan so that his mother, wife and brother and sister will be ‘safe’ from al Qaeda?

    Who handed him that pile of crap? Which politician? Which radio talk-show host?

    Utter nonsense! And every person who helped convince that GI that this mission was ‘necessary for the safety of America’ is a co-conspirator and ought to be brought to justice for the lie and its consequences.

  3. So, it has always been in Afghanistan…from ancient times to now…
    goods from the Orient traveled overland, the famous silk route…as the goods passed from tribal boundary to the next every tribe had to be bought off for the traders to continue on to Europe. WTF, they have just found that Uncle Sam pays well…..

    You know whats interesting is the recent “news” that there is a trillions of dollars worth of minerals, ore, in the Afghani mountains. Hmmm, who better than United States companies to explore and mine those riches, and all under the protection of a so-called nation built and protected by Uncle Sam…After all, this non-script private military has to have something to do. Oh, and what was that I just heard, the Obama Administration has given new contracts to – gads I have a mental blank, lol-but you know that private militaristic organization that Bush contracted security out to in Iraq and killed all the Iraqi citizens- I want to say the Black Hand, but its not that…What is it again?

  4. M_R, in the comment of your post “Exposing the Crooks, Liars…”, don’t you think that you gave the reason to have term limits?

  5. “Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
    Hermann Göring(Nazi) 1946 Confessions (Nuremberg Diary)

    Isn’t this what you have been saying M_R? Why is Obama listening to the pro-war majority in Congress and in the White House?

  6. Why is Obama listening to the pro-war majority in Congress and in the White House?

    Beats the hell out of me, my friend. I have no idea why and it has moved him down two pegs in my appraisal of him. I was asked the other day by someone who knew that I supported Obama for president, “So what grade would you give him?” Without much thought I blurted, “C.” Two pegs down.

  7. The W. H. seems to be out of touch with political reality. People generally vote their “hip pocket”, and the W.H. doesn’t seem to be on top of it. Barney Frank the other night said that he has the votes for a six million job bill, but he can get no support from the W.H. As Chris Matthews would say, “the big number today is” 6,000,000
    jobs. This doesn’t seem to be “C” work; it’s at least a “D” if not a
    “F”. It’s as if the W.H. doesn’t want to create jobs…

    Speaking of which, I heard on one of the programs, like “the Daily Rundown” maybe, that the W.H. might like to have the House become Republican in November. The thinking, if you can call it that, is that the W.H. is more concerned with 2012 and this would
    give Obama the talking point in his re-election to blame the Republicans for non-action.

  8. I saw similar crap in Bosnia.
    We set up a camp and contractors came in and built wooden floors and frames for the tents…a 10×10 GP small tent cost 10 grand to build!
    A GP large frame cost 25 grand!
    20 of the small tents, and 6 big tents…were used for less than 5 months until we were told to dismantle the frames, pull out the nails and burn the brand new looking wood!
    Just one small example of utter wastefullness I came across there.

  9. Thanks for putting in the Dubai picture.
    I agree with Sepp that all military and related foreign aid operatuions are inherently wasteful and open to fraud, but the outright theft we are seeing in Afghanistan now is historic…oh well, no more historic than the billions in hard cash in briefcases that Brenner “lost” in Iraq…but that was under Bush…oh yah, most of the money lost in Afghanistan and in Dubai was under Bush as well, but perhaps Studly can find a way to pin the blame solely on Obama….
    UTF is correct in his views on any involvement in Afghanistan. Michael Steele was correct when he stuck his left foot up his ass and said that Afghanistan was the graveyard of empires. A fuckin’ peacenik, who wudda evah known!

    I believe that the administration is sincere in its desire to get out of Afghanistan, but in the cesspool of American politics, how does one do it with out flushing ones self down the terlet?

    Perhaps Studly would ellucidate or perhaps hallucinate a bit on this subject if he has time between appertements with all of his new Tea Bag Babes…The smell of hot silicon and diesel fumes…GARRRRRR! I have to go bike riding now….

  10. Hello Sepp,
    I know well of what you are speaking of as far as the waste in Bosnia during the time you were living, and I was serving duty there. I am glad for you that you did get out and make it here to live. If you are working for an employer who offers educational tuition reimbursement, it is a good idea to take advantage of this offering and concentrate your energies and efforts of investing in yourself by just taking one class per semester. The journey of 1000 miles starts with the first step. A Brother Mason, Ben Franklin said, “If you invest in yourself an education, that is wealth that no one can steal from you.”

    As many know that I have written about, I have been concerned with waste and uncontrolled spending, making our national debt dangerous since before Regan was elected. After I had voted for him twice because his campaign message was both times were to get control of our national debt, but reality was he made things worse by leading our country from the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation. Right after WWII, this country had a large debt that, relative speaking, equal to what we have today. The difference then as to now…then the debt was owned by U.S. citizens who bought War Bonds, U.S. Savings Bonds, etc. The debt today is owned by Communist China, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, etc. Because this debt is owned by foreign interest, our national foreign policy has been compromised.

    Then Daddy Bush, “Read My Lips…No New Taxes,” seeing that we were not even close to paying our national bills, raised taxes, and borrowed even more raising our national debt just to make payrolls.

    Bill Clinton, aside from his poor choice on marital indiscretions, cut spending and at least had a budget surplus along with paying down the national debt. Of course the right wing conservatives sounded the alarm that he was intentionally destroying our armed services with these cut backs and demanded an exponential spending increase purchasing new weapon systems.

    Along comes GW Bush and Dick Cheney who instantly opened the doors of the IRS writing a check to every citizen at the average tune of $500 that just pissed away our budget surplus being used to pay down this national debt. They instituted tax cuts to corporations never before seen in recent history but spent money, and I will quote John McCain, “spending money like a drunken sailor and my apologies to all drunken sailors because at least they are spending their own money.” This is when Dick Cheney during the 2004 reelection campaign was promoting the alarming national debt as, “As we all learned from the Regan years….defects don’t matter.”

    The CEO who brought the Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy in the early 1980s, Lee Iacocca can be quoted from his book, “Where Have All The Leaders Gone?” On speaking about the George W. Bush White House: “We have a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff.” He knew then as well as I and many others did, that the policies they were pushing were going to destroy this nation’s economy. I started preparing for this economic devastation back in 2000 and am in much better off than many of my social and educational stratification peers. This is how we got into this economic state we are dealing with today. Iacocca went onto say of Bush’s speeches, “We will stay the course?” Iacocca says, “You’ve got to be kidding! This is America not the damn Titanic.” Lee went onto say, “In 2000 I campaigned for George W. Bush, because I liked his father and I have nothing personal here. I soon regretted this because after the first year or so I thought he was over his head frankly.”

    Now this is a rhetorical question, but where was Fox Programming and the Teabaggers then?…..Oddly enough, nothing was to be heard then. The outrage and demonstrations are oddly enough directed at the first Black President. Facts for some introspection thoughts.

  11. …but in the cesspool of American politics,how does one do it with out flushing ones self down the terlet?

    How? By deciding that he will be a one-term president [as I have said many times on this blog]. If he would announce that as fact, as Johnson did in ’67, then he would be ‘free’ to do all of the things that politics inhibits a president from doing.

    Will he? I think not because, after all, he is human and power is a hard temptation to resist.

  12. note: for some unknown reason the last comments of Engineer and UptheFlag ended up in the “Spam” folder. I have no idea why that happened.

    My apologies.

  13. Hello Muddy,
    To speak with reference to President Johnson, he had a much more tolerant and amicable, Republican / Democratic Congress and Senate to work with then. The single voting block of the obstructionist Republican in Congress is a modern phenomenon that is doing much more harm than at any time before.

  14. EOK, I felt the same way Iococca did about Bush by mid 2002 (I’ve always been a big fan of Lee). After Bush’s first year in office, he went 180 degrees from platform and continued to disappoint / piss-off until the day he left.
    LoL, one of the big “open secrets” of Operation joint endeavor, were the troops stationed in Hungary who would drive down to Slavonski Brod and Bosanski Brod, cross the bridge for a few hours once a month and be allowed to collect hazardous duty pay, TDY and, other entitlements to be lumped into their next paycheck.
    I won’t even get started on how much fleecing I saw from Brown and Root!

    Muddy, I’ll have to disagree with you on the 1 term president theory. Obama’s ego is far too large for that and, regardless of how mediocre he performs, the GOP has nobody worth tossing into the ring other than the same old tired faces who carry Bush associations in their baggage which must be giving Obama some piece of mind when he’s considering job security.

  15. Sepp,
    Good point on Brown & Root. By the way, do you know that they are a sub-group of Halliburton? I have my own story about Brown & Root too.

    It was the spring of 2007 and I was called to report on an emergency job to a peeking generation site located just over the Maryland / Virginia boarder here on the Delmarva Peninsula. This site has seven generators that were driven by 747 jet engines. Four of them were running to supply electrical power to the grid on a hot day when the four that were running to generate the electrical power, lock up, twisted the armatures of the generators like a candy cane stripe, ripped out four 2 ½” bolts that anchored each coupler between the 747 jet engines and the generators and threw the couplers right through the wall of the housing units. These couplers are about the size of a VW bug and weighed about twice as much. When I got on the scene, the place was a damn mess.

    Well NRG scrambles to get new generators from anywhere they could to get them back up and running again because every kilowatt that they were not supplying electric that they had committed per contract to the power grid, they had to purchase from another generator at peek prices. Many Millions of Dollars!$!$! They found three generators in the U.S. from here on the east coast all the way to Texas and one was just being finish built still in England. They put it on a ship and unloaded it at Norfolk, VA. I made a lot of overtime that year because I was working about 16 hours a day making design changes to accept these new generators.

    These couplers have no mechanical bearings on the shafts; instead they use oil under high pressure to act as a bearing. Bottom line was Brown & Root had made a big mistake in there electrical schematics that when the “AC” power was lost providing the power to the oil pumps for bearing pressure, the control power “DC” that runs the computers and logic systems did not stop shutting down the system. So the 747 jet engines kept running and the shafts just ceased up from friction heat (the shafts just welded themselves to the coupler housings) destroying the four units that were running.

    NRG decided not the sue to try to recoup their losses because Brown & Root / Halliburton have such deep legal pockets, that it would cost NRG more in legal fees and filing that after it was all said and done, they would not even break even.

  16. They were Kelly – Brown and Root back in ’96…wastefull, expensive but, the only game in town for large scale logistics in hazardous areas and probably still are.
    I work with CTG’s and turbines too. Ours is also a high pressure oil system without bearings as are many of the pumps we utilize. Not long ago, I happened to be standing next to a pump that suffered a gland seal failure…it sounded like a train derailing next to me and I nearly shit a frisbee!

  17. Hello Sepp,
    I tried to reply yesterday but we were having a deluge of rain and it disrupted my up link. Plus I had to go to Annapolis to pull things together for my older daughter’s wedding later this month.

    I just wanted to say thanks for pass on the story of the pump’s gland seal failure. The “frisbee” aspect put a smile on my face. Thank you again.

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