Yes, We Still Give Federal Contracts to Companies That Screw Us:
One of the truly soul-sapping things about bathing every day in the latrine hole of American politics is how sadly predictable it all becomes. They came up with the sequester to force them to make a grand bargain to avoid the sequester and now we have the sequester? Yeah, sadly predictable. The Attorney General says that the President can drone murder Americans within the United States? Sadly predictable.
So the Rude Pundit read with interest the spanking new report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction about the titanic clusterfuck of fraud, abuse, and incompetence in "rebuilding" the nation we took from being a shitpile with a dictator to a shitpile with "freedom." Titled Learning From Iraq, it very specifically and clearly lays out all the things that we won't learn from Iraq, that we haven't learned from Iraq, and that we never will learn from Iraq. We're just damned to do the same thing in Afghanistan and await that report.
For instance, in 2007, the Defense Department awarded Anham, LLC, a contract worth $300 million "to operate and maintain two warehouse and distribution facilities" in Iraq. Anham describes itself as a "contracting company" that was created by a Saudi supply and trading corporation, a Jordan holding company, and a Virginia finance company. It strictly adheres, it says, to "business norms and regulations," which really ought to be the baseline for any business.
According to the SIGIR (Special Inspect...it's up there), Anham dicked over the U.S. government in pretty breathtaking ways. For instance, it charged the government "$900 for a control switch valued at $7.05 (a 12,666% markup)" and "$75 for a different piece of plumbing equipment also valued at $1.41 (a 5,219% markup," among other things. Out of that $300 million contract, the SIGIR found $113 million questionable.
Huh, the Rude Pundit thought upon reading this. "Surely, in the face of such obvious, blatant overcharging, with an insouciant taste of fraud in there, we would have, you know, learned from Iraq." But the report notes, "SIGIR questioned the entire contract and recommended that the U.S. military initiate a systematic review of billing practices on all Anham contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the time of SIGIR’s review in 2011, Anham held about $3.9 billion in U.S. government contracts. That number has since increased."
Indeed, right on the front of Anham's website is a press release trumpeting the news that "Anham awarded contract to support United States troops in Afghanistan." It may as well have said, "Suck on this, inspector." Yeah, in June, they were given the contract "to provide full-line food and non-food distribution and support to Department of Defense customers in Afghanistan." Can't wait for those $600 french fries.
And there's more, like a drainage system and a utilities infrastructure project in Bagram, awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers. That's okay, though. Because Anham also participates in events, like a gala for Hillary Clinton and the Kennedy Center gala. It's like the company is run by Gus Fring of Breaking Bad.
The Rude Pundit imagines he could go through the report and find example after example of the same thing: big contractors who fuck the American taxpayers over a rusty barrel and then get paid to do the same thing all over again. And he bets he could find out whose campaigns those contractors and corporations - or at least the American partners of the contractors and corporations - contributed to.
But, as he said, it's soul-sapping and sadly predictable. And just as predictable is how little will come from this report, which will be filed away under "Shit We Refuse To Learn From" like so many others.