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


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.)

    One More Thing

    And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

    The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

    Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

    We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

    We Recommend

    Latest

    Sign up for our newsletters

    Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

    Get our award-winning magazine

    Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

    Subscribe

    Support our journalism

    Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

    Donate