If you have ever wondered how America is capable of building up a nearly $18 trillion debt, here is an example to illustrate how such a feat is achieved. The Pentagon has spent nearly $43 million on a project in Afghanistan: building a single gas station. A comparable gas station usually costs around $500 thousand.
According to a report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the Defense Department did not cooperate fully with the investigation. In addition to the comically high example of overspending, investigators were unable to confirm whether the station was even operational.
“It’s hard to imagine a more outrageous waste of money than building an alternative fuel station in a war-torn country that costs 8,000 percent more than it should, and is too dangerous for a watchdog to verify whether it is even operational,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.
The gas station was intended to help Afghanistan curb its dependence on foreign petroleum products and take advantage of domestic energy. However, investigators found that Afghanistan does not have the natural gas transmission infrastructure to support a “viable market” for cars that used compressed natural gas.
There is nothing hyperbolic about saying corruption is all too common throughout our government. Outside contracting organizations, commonly run by people who have the political connections needed to acquire contracts in the first place, routinely overcharge our government – and the debt falls on the average tax payer. This is a perfect example of why we need more government oversight.