Bribing the Enemy
Forty-five years ago, on a very brief reporting stint in
Convoys were routinely halted en route by these "toll collectors" and paid off on the theory that the American effort required that arrangement. The discovery was the clincher for me that something was basically very wrong about our involvement in that misguided war.
Now, nearly half a century later in another increasingly misguided war, comes a congressional investigation report that alleges basically the same deal in
These truckers, the report says, provide the vehicles for more than 70 percent of the total goods and materiel distributed to U.S. troops in the field over hundreds of miles of highway controlled by the assorted warlords, police and private militias, who have hundreds of guards armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
In releasing the report, the chairman said these providers of "protection" appear "to risk undermining the U.S. strategy for achieving its goal" that could "require reconsideration of the overall strategic approach to our mission in
Tierney issued the warning on the day Gen.
The report is certain to intensify pressure from liberal Democrats on President Obama to reiterate his commitment to start taking U.S. troops out of
The expensive use of private contractors in
The report says local warlords have charged local subcontractors as much as
The warlords, the report says, "thrive on a vacuum of government authority and their interests are in fundamental conflict with U.S. aims to build a strong Afghan government."
When the private truckers have "self-reported to the military that they were being extorted by warlords for protection payments for safe passage and that their payments were funding the insurgency," the report says, "they were largely met with indifference and inaction."
According to the committee's report, the most powerful warlord known as Commander Ruhullah is "prototypical of a new class of warlord in
Here is just another headache awaiting Petraeus in taking over the
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Bribing the Enemy | Politics
(c) 2010 Jules Witcover