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Sixteen broken-down transport planes that cost U.S. taxpayers at least $486 million are languishing among the weeds, wooden cargo boxes and old tires at Kabul International Airport, waiting to be destroyed without ever being delivered to the Afghan Air Force.
The special inspector general for Afghanistan is investigating why the refurbished G222 turboprop aircraft from Finmeccanica SpA’s Alenia Aermacchi North America unit no longer can be flown after logging only 200 of 4,500 hours of U.S.-led training flights and missions required…because of persistent maintenance issues.
The unused transport planes are in addition to the billions of dollars in wasted U.S. funds documented by the inspector general’s office since American troops entered Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. They also compound the doubts about the Afghan Air Force’s capability to operate independently after U.S. forces withdraw by the end of next year…
“We need answers to this huge waste of U.S. taxpayer money,” John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said in an e-mailed statement. “Who made the decision to purchase these planes, and why? We need to get to the bottom of this, and that’s why we’re opening this inquiry…”
The G222 transports refurbished by the unit of Rome-based Finmeccanica were supposed to make up about 15 percent of the 105-aircraft Afghan Air Force, flying top Afghan civilian officials and combat troops and conducting medical evacuations.
Instead, six of the planes already have been cannibalized for spare parts, a separate audit by the Pentagon inspector general found. In addition to the 16 planes in Kabul, there are four in Germany.
Sopko’s investigation will review the decision to select the Alenia aircraft, determine the total spent to buy, sustain, and dispose of them and evaluate what procedures are in place to prevent similar failures with other purchases for the Afghan Air Force.
The inquiry was prompted by “the need to ensure that the U.S. government does not repeat the mistakes made throughout this nearly half-billion dollar program,” Sopko said in a Dec. 5 letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
RTFA. I imagine few of y’all will be surprised by Pentagon failures ranging from the decision to acquire these particular aircraft, deliver them to an Afghan Air Force [what?] – all the way back to the grand plans set in motion by the money-wasters who passed themselves off as political/military experts in the days of the Bush Administrations.
I guess we should say American taxpayers get what we deserve. After all, it’s only been 52 years since President Eisenhower warned us about the crooks in the military-industrial complex taking over the political economy of the United States. Way too short a time for the average American voter to comprehend.
True, half of the 2-party karaoke fest we dance through every 4 years is composed of idiots and thieves still trying to convince themselves – and us – that Herbert Hoover and his policies really were the best thing that ever happened to the United States. The Great Depression was just a mild hiccup along the Yellow Brick Road of trickle-down economics. The other half spend their time trying to stay unnoticed while the revolving door of elected service in Congress morphed into the next logical step in employment as lobbyists for the profits-before-people mafia.
Still, a couple of dedicated bureaucrats are trying like hell to get us to understand how we’re being taken for a ride – and a few folks at Bloomberg News have taken the time to put it into print for folks who care to read.