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Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:02 AM

Nation-building doesn't begin at home


A billion dollars from the federal government: that kind of money could go a long way toward revitalizing a country's aging infrastructure. It could provide housing or better water and sewer systems. It could enhance a transportation network or develop an urban waterfront. It could provide local jobs. It could do any or all of these things. And, in fact, it did. It just happened to be in the Middle East, not the United States.

The Pentagon awarded US$667.2 million in contracts in 2012 and more than $1 billion during Barack Obama's first term in office for construction projects in largely autocratic Middle Eastern nations, according to figures provided to TomDispatch by the US Army
Corps of Engineers Middle East District (USACE-MED). More than $178 million in similar funding is already anticipated for 2013. These contracts represent a mix of projects, including expanding and upgrading military bases used by US troops in the region, building facilities for indigenous security forces, and launching infrastructure projects meant to improve the lives of local populations.

The figures are telling, but far from complete. They do not, for example, cover any of the billions spent on work at the more than 1,000 US and coalition bases, outposts, and other facilities in Afghanistan or the thousands more manned by local forces. They also leave out construction projects undertaken in the region by other military services like the US Air Force, as well as money spent at an unspecified number of bases in the Middle East that the Corps of Engineers "has no involvement with", according to Joan Kibler, chief of the Middle East District's public affairs office.

How many of these projects are obscured by a thick veil of secrecy is unknown, with US Central Command (CENTCOM) refusing to name or even offer a full count of all US bases in the region. On the record, CENTCOM will acknowledge only 10 bases as in its area of operations outside of Afghanistan, even though there are more than two dozen, according to a CENTCOM official who spoke to TomDispatch on the condition of anonymity. Exactly how many more and just where all US construction work in the region is taking place continues to be kept under tight wraps. Still, Army Corps of Engineers data, other official documents, and publicly available contract information offer a baseline indication of the way the Pentagon is garrisoning the Greater Middle East and which countries are becoming ever more integral allies.

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Reply Nation-building doesn't begin at home (Original post)
xchrom Nov 2012 OP
Fumesucker Nov 2012 #1
unhappycamper Nov 2012 #2

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:07 AM

1. Have they lost any more palletized blocks of $100 bills yet?

Or maybe I meant "lost"..

Anyhow, I thought that was fucking awesome, entire cargo planes worth of $100 bills and they just disappear. Makes the whole Ocean's franchise just look like absolute pikers.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:11 AM

2. No - they are direct shipping the pallets to Goldman Sachs. n/t

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