Is Military Spending Exempt From Corruption?

DynCorp International, a company that contracts with the federal government, has taken in $2.8 billion from 2002 to 2013 for supposedly rebuilding Afghanistan.  This has accounted for 69.3% of the government’s spending on rebuilding projects during this time.

DynCorp is in business because of government, and in particular, because of government wars and interventions overseas.  About 96% of the company’s revenue comes from government contracts.

If this weren’t bad enough, much of the contract money has gone to train police and drug warriors in Afghanistan.  There are even accusations that money was used to hire “dancing boys” to perform for the contractors.

Of course, DynCorp isn’t the only one.  PAE Government Services, a former subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, saw one of its managers and his wife go to prison for fraud and kickbacks.

While these companies are referred to as defense companies, it is hard to see what any of this has to do with defense, especially when you start looking at the details.

While many conservatives are good at recognizing government waste and corruption, there are too many otherwise good conservatives who can’t seem to grasp that the same waste and corruption that politics inflicts everywhere else, also applies to the military and overseas spending.

Whenever politics and money are involved, there is always going to be abuse of power and corruption and waste.  Sometimes waste is preferable to the spending that just does further damage.

Politics plays just as much of a role in so-called defense contracts as it does anywhere else.  Eisenhower got it right when he referred to the military-industrial complex.

If a politician listens to lobbyists and special interests when it comes to welfare spending at home, why would anyone think it would be any different when it comes to overseas spending?  Why would these politicians all of a sudden become noble and well meaning when it comes to military spending or anything referred to as defense spending?

Government Contracts Does Not Mean Privatization

Some quasi-advocates of the free market make the mistake of thinking that when the government contracts out services to a for-profit business, that this a reflection of capitalism.  But this is really just fascism or cronyism.  When the government is spending money, even if to award contracts, this is not capitalism.

By this standard, you could say that Obamacare is capitalist because some of it is administered by private companies.

Sometimes contracting out services can be even worse than if the government just used its own employees.  When contracts such as these are awarded, there is little accountability and a lot of politics involved.  Lobbyists and special interests will actually just encourage even more spending and bigger contracts by returning favors and lining the pockets of the politicians who support them.

It doesn’t matter if it is food stamps, Obamacare, or rebuilding Afghanistan.  When politics and money mix, there is sure to be waste and corruption.  It doesn’t matter if it is 5 miles away or 5,000 miles away.