If Mattis Is Mad About $28 Million Wasted In Afghanistan, He Hasn't Been Paying Attention

DoD photo

On Monday, the Associated Press obtained a July 21 memo from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in which he chided the Pentagon for “cavalier” spending in Afghanistan. Specifically, he was angered that the Pentagon sunk $28 million over a decade into forest-print uniforms for Afghan soldiers — a camouflage pattern that makes little sense in the desertlike theater.

Mattis called the botched uniform buy “an example of ‘cavalier or casually acquiescent decisions’ that undermine the mission in Afghanistan and undercut public trust,” the Associated Press reported.

But the thing is, in the grand scheme of mismanaged money in Afghanistan, $28 million is nothing.

As far back as 2014, John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said that US efforts to fix the nation’s infrastructure have been “an abysmal failure.” The Afghan uniform issue is just the latest in a string of bad spending decisions made with regard to Afghanistan. In 2016, NBC News caught up with Sopko, who listed 12 different instances in which the Pentagon wasted money in the war.

These failures include a $34 million spend on a soybean program for a population that doesn't eat soybeans; $36 million on the “64K” command-and-control facility at Camp Leatherneck that officials deemed unnecessary (after it was built); $82 million on incinerators that were never used; and $335 million on a power plant that only produced 1% of its promised capacity.

Between 2001 and 2016, Sopko said that $113.1 billion has been poured into Afghan reconstruction — at least $10 billion more than the entire cost of post-World War II reconstruction. And we are nowhere near finished in Afghanistan.

“We have to remember why we are there in Afghanistan. We are there to kick the bad guys out and then to help create an Afghan government that will get the support of their people to keep the bad guys out,” Sopko told an interviewer in 2015.

But, he added, “You lose that support when you build things that fall down.”


With northeast Syria engulfed in the fog of war, the Turks, Russians, and Kurds have all launched their own propaganda campaigns to win the battle over information.

One of the biggest unknowns at the moment involves exactly how many ISIS fighters and their families previously captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces have managed to escape since Turkey invaded Kurdish-held Syria on Oct. 6, 2019.

But while Defense Secretary Mark Esper has blamed Turkey for catalyzing the release of "many dangerous ISIS detainees", a senior administration official was unable to say on Monday exactly how many ISIS prisoners may have escaped.

Based on open source reporting, about 850 women and children affiliated with ISIS are believed to have fled a detainee camp at Ayn Issa and another five ISIS prisoners escaped from a prison at Qamishli, said Caitlin Forrest, director of operations for the Institute for the Study of War think tank in Washington, D.C.

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That's the logic behind the so-called "Lightning Carrier" concept designed to turn those "Gator Navy" amphibs into ad hoc aircraft carriers — and the Corps appears to be moving slowly but surely into turning that concept into a new doctrine for the new era of great power competition.

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The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report into the fatal crash of a B-17 bomber crash in Connecticut earlier this month.

Shortly after takeoff at 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 2, the pilot of the vintage WWII-era plane signaled to air traffic control at Bradley International Airport that he sought to land.

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While America's forever wars continue to rage abroad, the streaming wars are starting to heat up at home.

On Monday, the Walt Disney Company announced that its brand new online streaming service, aptly titled Disney+, will launch an all-out assault on eyeballs around the world with an arsenal of your favorite content starting on November 12th. Marvel Cinematic Universe content! Star Wars content! Pixar content! Classic Disney animation content!

While the initial Disney+ content lineup looks like the most overpowered alliance since NATO, there's one addition of particular interest hidden in Disney's massive Twitter announcement, an elite strike force with a unique mission that stands ready to eliminate streaming enemies like Netflix and Hulu no matter where they may hide.

That's right, I'm talking about Operation Dumbo Drop — and no, I am not fucking around.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

On Monday, The New York Times reported that U.S. officials were considering plans to move the U.S. nuclear arsenal from Inçirlik Air Base in Turkey.

This move would be likely to further deteriorate the tense relationship between the U.S. and Turkey, which has rapidly devolved as Turkey invaded northeastern Syria in assault on the Kurdish forces that fought ISIS alongside the U.S.

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