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Misplaced priorities: American troops face quality of life cuts while DOD bureaucrats

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Unread 08.19.16, 03:28 AM
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Misplaced priorities: American troops face quality of life cuts while DOD bureaucrats

08.18.16 09:01 PM

It’s no secret that Afghanistan has become a bottomless pit for American tax dollars. A hefty chunk of the money spent there over the years went towards lavish housing for Department of Defense employees. Meanwhile, average soldiers face mounting cuts to military benefits.

The military blog War is Boring just released pictures of the lavish housing American taxpayers provided for the Department of Defense’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations employees in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2015.

And the $150 million digs were pretty impressive.

An unidentified former TFBSO employee told War is Boring: “The most common thread is that it was a dog-and-pony show. It was palatial … tapestries, ostentatious. It looked like Saddam’s palace. It was just ridiculous.”

See for yourself:

According to the blog, TFBSO officials pushed back at any attempts to relocate them at a lower cost to U.S. taxpayers.

Via War is Boring:
“No one wanted to go. Why leave a five-star hotel paid for by the [Defense Department] when everyone had their own giant room with a king-size bed and walk-in shower, security and you can do what you want?”

Across the street, “you had to put your laundry into a bag and you might be sharing rooms with an Italian and all the bathrooms were shared bathrooms,” the source explained. “The difference in living was night and day between the hotel and the base. Of course, nobody [moved].”

The employee told the blog that TFBSO employees got up to all kinds of shenanigans while staying in their Afghan palace, including: “binge-drinking until they vomited in front of crowds of people.”

The mission to make Afghanistan a better place, meanwhile, never really worked out. That’s despite more than $800 million in U.S. taxpayer spending.

If you aren’t familiar with the TFBSO’s massive Afghan failure, here are a few good stories:

As American infrastructure crumbles, taxpayers built $40 million gas station in Afghanistan

Watchdog accuses Pentagon of evading questions on $800 million Afghanistan program

The U.S. spent half a billion dollars on mining in Afghanistan with ‘limited progress’

Don’t let them fool you: Wasteful military spending is alive and well

Perhaps if the Pentagon hadn’t blown so much money in Afghanistan over the years, the federal government wouldn’t have to be putting the squeeze on U.S. soldiers today.

For example, lawmakers are looking to make changes to military housing allowances for U.S. soldiers which would make G.I.s do a far more thorough job documenting expenses that the TFBSO ever did.

Via Military Times:
Instead of the current Basic Allowance for Housing system, which assigns flat-rate stipends for zip codes across the country based on troops’ rank and family status, the new proposal would move closer to the military’s Overseas Housing Allowance. That system sets maximum payable stipends but awards troops only for their actual expenses, making recipients provide proof of what they pay in rent and utilities costs.

Dual military couples and service members who room with friends would not be able to game the system either. They’d see their individual stipend cut in half, adjusted to cover just their actual costs and nothing more.

Today, for example, an Army specialist living off-base near Fort Hood in Texas gets about $950 for rental costs. If he or she finds an apartment for $750, the soldier can use the remaining $200 to pay for water service, electric and phone bills — or spend it on other needs. If two specialists room together at an apartment that costs $1,500 a month, they can pool their separate stipends and use the leftover $400 for whatever they want.

Under the Senate proposal, that stipend flexibility would end. Troops would document exactly what their rent and utilities costs total and receive only that amount.

The post Misplaced priorities: American troops face quality of life cuts while DOD bureaucrats live large appeared first on Personal Liberty®.

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