(WatchDogReport.org) – Not long after he was inaugurated, President Joe Biden unilaterally decided to change the terms of an agreement made between then-President Donald Trump and Taliban insurgents regarding the withdrawal of the United States and allied forces from Afghanistan. This led to the renewal of hostilities, and in short order, the terrorist group captured the capital in Kabul and isolated US troops at Bagram Air Force Base, from which a large part of Biden’s retreat was handled.
While most people correctly view the cost of such an operation as secondary to human life, it is important to understand where the large sums of money allocated to such a mission end up. As part of that, the office of the Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG) issued an audit dated December 19 of money spent that addresses “restoration costs to repair facilities ” that were used in support of the withdrawal.
According to the report, around 74,000 Afghan nationals were helped to escape from the country because they faced threats from the Taliban for providing assistance to American forces over 20 years of war. For Islamic terrorists aiding and abetting the enemy is one of the most serious offenses, and the lives of those who helped, their families, and even their close friends would be forfeit if captured.
The report covers two directives from Biden, Operation Allies Refuge (OAR), headed by the Department of State (DOS), and Operation Allies Welcome (OAW), led by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The auditing teams place the final restoration estimate (for the repair of infrastructure and buildings as well as the replacement of “consumables”) at $259.5 million. The original estimate was $362.6 million, but it was reduced because some of it was outside the scope of the authorizations. Put another way, there is more than $100 million that has to be paid out, but it will have to come from other parts of the DOD budget.
Military bases both inside and outside the borders of the United States were used in the relocation process, and many that housed refugees suffered significant damages at the hands of the guests. Of the $259.5 million number that the audit covered, slightly more than $238 million went towards facility repairs and only about $21.4 million towards “equipment/consumables.”
The hardest hit was Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, where a reported 12,706 refugees were housed. The estimate to repair it totaled $140.96 million, which represents almost 60% of the total to repair all facilities, while the total number of evacuees represented only 17.2% of the total. The areas that need repair/replacement include:
- Electrical systems
- HVAC systems
- Exterior siding
The report also notes that the audit teams requested some sort of paperwork corroborating the cost to repair each of the 213 damaged barracks buildings but were told that there wasn’t any to be had. Instead, they were provided a spreadsheet where the cost to prepare 212 of the structures miraculously came out to exactly $633,793 each, which raised questions in the minds of the auditors about the legitimacy of the claims.
The Rest of the Story
While the Inspector General’s report seems to question the Fort McCoy totals, one has to keep in mind the roughly $100 million that was removed from this particular piece of the military budget pie that had to be moved to another slice. For example, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL), New Jersey officials say damage to the water systems was caused by someone “forcing large items into pipes,” and it was so extensive they could not be repaired “with conventional plumbing tools.” However, because the refugees caused the breakage outside of “permitted areas,” and the Air Force began repairing them before the Pentagon put authorizations in place, just over $93 million will have to be accounted for somewhere else in their budget.
While accountants and auditors can look at the money and see how much each portion of the defense budget should bear the cost, some of the consequences of Biden’s decision to break the deal between the Taliban and the United States do not fit on an accounting ledger. For example, the 13 lives lost and dozens of injuries suffered when a suicide bomber attacked Bagram AFB in the final days of the evacuation, or the fear being experienced by tens of thousands of the Afghan helpers left behind, especially the women who are bearing the brunt of the imposition of sharia law by the terrorists in charge. There is no price tag on these events.
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