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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Afghanistan

I think most Americans would agree that the U.S. Government, in its current incarnation, has increased its foot print and level of intrusion into our lives, far beyond anything ever envisioned or intended by our Founding Fathers. The complexity of geopolitics, the need for heightened security and the ideology/policies spawned by both Republicans and Democrats, have all contributed to this massive expansion of government.

A short list of unsavory consequences that Americans must face every day that, in my opinion, can be directly attributed to a government on steroids is:

  • Continued involvement in a protracted war with ambiguous rules of engagement that restrict our troops
  • Businesses bound by stifling regulations conjured by one party and in many cases, tacitly accepted by the other
  • Passage of government run health care that is not only unpopular, but is proving more and more impossible to implement
  • Regular attempts to erode American freedoms and the rule of law, by circumvention of our Constitution
  • A diminution of our sovereignty by an administration that supports dubious U.N. treaties
  • A downgrade of our AAA credit rating
  • An economy that continues to languish
  • National debt approaching $17 Trillion

Any clear thinking and informed American could easily come up with a list of his/her own. I would also like to add the concept of fraud, waste and abuse to this report. Fraud, waste and abuse are running rampant in our government. The following examples of U.S. military/State Department construction in Afghanistan will help highlight the point:

Earlier this year, the U.S. military completed construction on a 64,000 square foot headquarters building in southwestern Afghanistan. By all accounts this structure is well built and leaves nothing to be desired. The price tag for this impressive edifice is $34 Million. One problem though, now that the building is complete, the military has no plans to ever use it. Some three years ago, military commanders in Afghanistan reported that there was no need for the new building, but it was erected anyway.

Because the building was constructed to U.S. standards (60 cycles/120 volts), it would be quite costly to convert it to Afghan standards (50 cycles/220 volts). Even if the building is refit, it is questionable as to whether the Afghans would even be able to properly operate and maintain it. If the refit option is not exercised, there is every possibility that this brand new building will be demolished without it ever being used!

Another project recently completed, this one costing $45 Million, is a facility that was to be used for repairing armored vehicles and other high tech equipment. Currently, the facility is being utilized as nothing more than a staging area for equipment that will soon be shipped out of the country.

And finally, the State Department spent $80 Million on a building it had intended to use as a consulate. To sweeten the deal, it also signed a 10-year lease. But last year, officials decided that the grounds were too vulnerable to enemy attack, so the plan was scrapped.

Many see the unused headquarters building as a stark example of Pentagon ineptitude, and even as American troops gear up to come home next year, U.S. funded contractors are still working on projects that are no longer needed.

A total of $159 Million tax payer dollars were grossly wasted on these projects! This is either a case of complete incompetence or a government grown so far beyond anything that might be considered reasonable; it no longer has even a modicum of control over its budget. It is actually a combination of both, but I tend to believe the latter is most culpable.

Not only will these losses further weaken our damaged economy, they will also telegraph to our enemies, both inside and outside America, that the U.S. government is being administered by politicians who are not keeping their eye on the ball, and can therefore be easily snookered.

It is not difficult to make the case that there is an inverse proportion between an ever expanding government and the inevitable loss of liberty that is a byproduct of that expansion. It is up to us as individuals to exercise due diligence in evaluating the performance of those we vote into office. This is neither a simple nor a pleasant task. It requires much thought and careful consideration. However, it is incumbent upon “We the People” to step forward and defend our Freedom and our Constitution, through the use of peaceful and prudent measures. Our Founding Fathers would expect and demand nothing less!

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Last week The New York Times reported that the CIA has been delivering large sums of cash to the Karzai led government of Afghanistan. The sum of the payments, which have been ongoing for the last ten years, is said to be in the tens of millions of dollars. The U.S. currency is packed in suitcases, plastic bags or backpacks and delivered to members of Karzai's administration on a regular basis.

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Two U.S. Special Forces members were killed by an individual clad in an Afghan police uniform on Monday. The tragic incident took place in the Jalrez District of Wardak Province, just outside of Kabul.

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Combat Outpost (COP) Keating is located in the wilderness of the Hindu Kush Mountains. More specifically, it can be found in the Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province of Afghanistan. Built by U.S. Army forces in the summer of 2006, COP Keating began life as a Provisional Reconstruction Team base (PRT).

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The 42nd Silver Star Medal earned by Marines fighting in OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) and/or OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) was presented to Sergeant Miguel Madrigal on January 31st 2013, at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. Sergeant Madrigal is a Warrior and a Patriot and I thank him for his service to our great Nation.

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On Wednesday December 5th, Dilip Joseph (an American working in Afghanistan) and two of his Afghan colleagues, were abducted by gunmen while returning from a rural medical clinic near the capitol city of Kabul. From there, the group was reportedly taken to an area approximately 50 miles from the Pakistan border.

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Late last year, Heckler & Koch Defense was awarded a military contract valued at $23 million.

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On August 17 2010, Lance Corporal Jeffrey Cole found himself embarking upon another patrol. Although not an unusual event for a Marine, this particular patrol would end up having a profound impact on his life and the lives of his fellow Marines. At the time, LCpl Cole was serving in Marjah, which is located in the Helmand Province area of Afghanistan.

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On May 18th, Sergeant Clifford Wooldridge was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during combat operations in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. The award was presented by Undersecretary of the Navy, Robert Work, during a ceremony held at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms CA.

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