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How to Blow $700 Billion and Lose Wars: A Guide to America's Exploding Defense Budget and Military Failure

September 1, 2018 in Blogs

By Lucian K. Truscott IV, Salon

Step 1: Buy the most expensive weapons in history. Step 2: Don’t use them, since they mostly don’t work


It was December of 2003, and I was in Tal Afar, Iraq with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division. The Brigade was based at an old Iraqi air force base just outside of the town. I had spent the last week in Rabihya, a small town on the border with Syria. When I say “on the border with Syria,” I mean it literally. The wall along the western side of the Army compound where I stayed was the actual border between Iraq and Syria. You could step up on a pile of sandbags just inside the wall of the compound and see into Syria, where a huge billboard-size photo of the recently deceased Syrian strongman Hafez al-Assad stared back at you. While I was there, they succeeded in erecting a matching billboard depicting the new strongman, Bashar al-Assad, next to the one of his father.

It was a noisy, dusty, primitive place. The Army’s compound was only a few yards from the border crossing, where all day and night, trucks, buses, taxis and private vehicles passed between the two countries. One night, I stood for several hours across the road from the makeshift “customs” shack and watched maybe a hundred tractor-trailer car carriers loaded with stolen cars pass through the border on their way to a roadside black market that had sprung up in Baghdad. They were waved through one after another, stopping only to wave their phony papers and pay off the border guards.

But the big action was along the border to the north and south of our outpost in Rabihya.  Every night, weapons destined for the insurgency in Iraq were smuggled from Syria across the berm of earth that stood as the only barrier between the two countries. Money was smuggled in the other direction. The upper-class Sunni gentry of Saddam’s Baath Party was eager to get its cash out of the country before the Shiite majority took charge in Iraq, so garbage bags …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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