WHOOPS

U.S. Misspent $34B in Iraq, Afghanistan

Brian Ferguson, U.S. Air Force / Getty Images

A congressional commission has finished its three-year evaluation of the U.S.'s contracting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it doesn't look good. The U.S. wasted or misspent $34 billion on contracts for wasteful or failed services during its decade in the battlefield. Some of that figure comes from projects that were poorly conceived, like an agricultural-development project that paid Afghan farmers to plow their own fields. Part of the figure also comes from funds diverted to insurgents, such as when a subcontractor pays 20 percent of a contract for “protection.” The report singles out private security guards as especially problematic, and calls for an overhaul of the way the U.S. employs them.