Iraq Will Cost $1.27 Trillion and the Army Can’t Afford to Pay Its Electric Bills

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Here’s one to file under “If we’re the most powerful nation in the history of the world, then how come…?” AP reports that “a diversion of dollars to help fight the war in Iraq has helped create a $530 million shortfall for Army posts at home and abroad, leaving some unable to pay utility bills or even cut the grass.”

From which follows a sorry litany of deprivations, including these:

  • In San Antonio, Fort Sam Houston hasn’t been able to pay its $1.4 million monthly utility bill since March, prompting workers in many of the post’s administrative buildings to get automated disconnection notices.
  • Fort Bragg in North Carolina can’t afford to buy pens, paper or other office supplies until the new fiscal year starts in October.
  • And in Kentucky, Fort Knox had to close one of its eight dining halls for a month and lay off 133 contract workers.
  • Iraq sucking up disproportionate funds is not the whole problem, though. Also at work is good old-fashioned incompetence. “It makes me worry if the Pentagon can’t do its accounting well enough to find money for its electric bills,” [Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution] said. “It just boggles my mind a little bit.”

    (Oh, and per this piece in the The American Prospect, the Iraq war looks like it’ll end up costing $1.27 trillion.)

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