The Wages of Corruption


C.J. Chivers has a crackerjack piece of investigative reporting in The New York Times running under the weirdly low-key headline "Supplier Under Scrutiny for Aging Afghan Arms". The heart of the matter is that we're trying to stand up some Afghanistan security forces who can maintain some reasonable level of security and order in that country, but "to arm the Afghan forces that it hopes will lead this fight, the American military has relied since early last year on a fledgling company led by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur." And this doesn't turn out to be a heartwarming story where a fledgling company led by a 22 year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur do a bang-up job and we end the war. No.

On the contrary, "the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging . . . the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete . . . contractor has also worked with middlemen and a shell company on a federal list of entities suspected of illegal arms trafficking . . . tens of millions of the rifle and machine-gun cartridges were manufactured in China, making their procurement a possible violation of American law." I won't quote any more in the hopes that you'll click through and let the Times internalize some of the rewards for their reporting, but suffice it to say that there's even more scandalous stuff in there.

Just one more example of how dangerous it is to have the government led by people determined to prove that government is corrupt and incompetent.

U.S. Army photo by Col. Marin Lepper