Unaccountable Drug War Costs
How much money are we wasting on the drug war with little or nothing to show for it? And isn't it funny how the money we're pouring into this effort is mostly making five military-industrial complex companies rich?
The majority of U.S. counter-narcotics contracts are awarded to five companies: DynCorp, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, ITT and ARINC, according to the report for the contracting oversight subcommittee, part of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Among other jobs, the U.S. contractors train local police and investigators, provide logistical support to intelligence collection centers and fly airplanes and helicopters that spray herbicides to eradicate coca crops grown to produce cocaine.
The Department of Defense has spent $6.1 billion since 2005 to help detect planes and boats heading to the U.S. with drug payloads, as well as on surveillance and other intelligence operations.
Senate staff members described some of the expenses as "difficult to characterize." The Army spent $75,000 for paintball supplies for training exercises in 2007, for example, and $5,000 for what the military calls "rubber ducks." The ducks are rubber replicas of M-16 rifles that are used in training exercises, a Pentagon spokesman said.
The Defense Department described its own system for tracking those contracts as "error prone," according to the Senate report. The report also said the Defense Department doesn't have reliable data about how successful its efforts have been.
And isn't funny that we can waste money like this but have to "save" money by throwing people off Medicaid. I'm always amazed at how crappy our political decision-making has become with our increasingly privatized, increasingly corporatized government that has all the money in the world for junk, but asks ordinary Americans to sacrifice their well-being in the name of austerity.