Wednesday, 1 December 2010

HuffingtonPost: Funding Our Enemies


"Money is ammunition; don't put it in the wrong hands," Gen. David Petraeus famously said in an August guidance to NATO troops in Afghanistan. “And remember, we are who we fund.”

By that definition, however, we are our own worst enemies.

An October report from the Senate Armed Services Committee came to the startling conclusion that the military’s hired guns are fueling the very insurgency the military is there to fight:

The Committee's inquiry uncovered evidence of private security contractors funneling U.S. taxpayers dollars to Afghan warlords and strongmen linked to murder, kidnapping, bribery as well as Taliban and other anti-Coalition activities. It revealed squandered resources and dangerous failures in contractor performance, including untrained guards, insufficient and unserviceable weapons, unmanned posts, and other shortcomings that directly affect the safety of U.S. Military personnel.

The report highlighted two cases in particular, in which security contracting firms ArmorGroup and EOD Technology relied on personnel linked to the Taliban.

Among the report’s major conclusions:

• The proliferation of private security personnel in
Afghanistan is inconsistent with the counterinsurgency strategy

• Afghan warlords and strongmen operating as force providers to
private security contractors have acted against U.S. and Afghan
government interests

• U.S. government contracts for private security services are
undermining the Afghan government's ability to retain members of the
Afghan National Security Forces by recruiting men with Afghan National
Army and Afghan National Police experience and by offering higher pay

• Failures to adequately vet, train, and supervise armed security
personnel have been widespread among Department of Defense private
security contractors, posing grave risks to U.S. and coalition troops
as well as to Afghan civilians.

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