How your money is being spent in Afghanistan
NPR's Melissa Block recently interviewed Inspector General Arnold Fields, whose job it is to make sure the U.S. taxpayer money we're spending on projects in Afghanistan (e.g., schools, military bases) gets to where it's supposed to go. You have to listen to the interview to decide whether you should feel confident that your tax dollars are being well spent. But here's one quick exchange:
BLOCK: You're well aware of the fact that the government in Afghanistan is widely seen as rampantly corrupt. Can you quantify in any sense what percentage of U.S. dollars spent on reconstruction end up not going where they're intended, end up being lost to waste or corruption?
Maj. Gen. FIELDS: Yes. Indications are - certainly there is some waste, fraud and abuse. As an inspector general, we avoid being conclusive on matters on which we have really not done all of the empirical work. And this happens to be one of them. But I have been told, I will tell you this, by members of the government of Afghanistan that from their vantage point, they see only about 25 percent to 30 percent of a dollar actually getting to the initiative or project towards which it was originally intended.
1) According to Maj. Gen. Fields, we don't really know.
2) So we rely on the Afghans themselves to tell us, and even they admit that only 25% to 30% of the money gets to where it's intended.