Afghanistan Weekly Reader: $80 Million Wasted on Poorly Planned Project

This week The Washington Post reported on another multi-million dollar boondoggle in U.S. aid to Afghanistan. The $80 million project, envisioned as the center of U.S. diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan, was cancelled due to significant security concerns that had been overlooked as officials pushed the project through.

This comes as no surprise; it’s just one of many failed reconstruction projects that have cost U.S. taxpayers millions. And this reckless spending seems likely to continue. The House of Representatives is on track to fully fund the Pentagon’s war budget request of $90 billion for 2012. Included in that request is billions for the Afghan security forces, ongoing U.S. military operations, and questionable Afghanistan infrastructure projects.

Poll: Support for Afghan war at new low
AP by Anne Gearan

Support for the war in Afghanistan has reached a new low, with only 27 percent of Americans saying they back the effort and about half of those who oppose the war saying the continued presence of American troops in Afghanistan is doing more harm than good.

Obama: End Afghanistan war, rebuild USA
USA Today by David Jackson

Pledging to have U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, President Obama said Saturday that money used to finance that long war can help rebuild the USA and pay down its debt.

Afghanistan commander: ‘My sound bite is, we’re being successful’
National Journal by Michael Hirsh

Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, on Monday rejected statements made by the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence committees that the Taliban has grown stronger since President Obama’s surge of additional U.S. troops, and he suggested that “sound bites” from Washington were not helping.

Why are we in Afghanistan for the long haul?
Washington Post by Eugene Robinson

The United States has agreed to support Afghanistan’s social and economic development and its security institutions through 2024. Does this sound like nation-building to you? Because that’s what it sounds like to me.

More questions than answers on Afghanistan
CNN by Richard Haass

Past sacrifice is a poor justification for continued sacrifice unless it is warranted. The truth is that while the United Sates still has interests in Afghanistan, none of them, other than opposing al-Qaeda, rises to the level of vital. And this vital interest can be addressed with a modest commitment of troops and dollars.

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