Why the Pentagon has become a multi-trillion dollar fraud machine

Why the Pentagon has become a multi-trillion dollar fraud machine

The US Department of Defense has failed to audit its books for the sixth consecutive year. However, this will not stop the Pentagon from continuing to blatantly pour American taxpayers’ money into a black hole.

By Scott Ritter

Recently, the Pentagon was forced to admit that it could not account for trillions of dollars in American taxpayer money after failing to conduct a comprehensive annual audit of its books for the sixth consecutive year.

Why the Pentagon has become a multi-trillion dollar fraud machine

The annual review process consists of 29 sub-audits of the Defense Department’s various services, of which only seven could actually be reviewed this year. This does not represent significant progress over last year. Additionally, these annual reviews were only introduced in 2017, meaning the Pentagon has never been able to successfully complete a review. This year’s failure made some headlines, was briefly commented on by the mainstream media, and then just as quickly forgotten by an American society accustomed to pouring money into the black hole called the Department of Defense.

The United States defense budget is grotesquely high. Its $877 billion dwarfs the $849 billion spent by the next 10 nations combined in the defense budget rankings. Yet the Pentagon cannot fully account for the $3.8 trillion in assets and $4 trillion in liabilities it has spent at U.S. taxpayer expense — ostensibly to defend the United States and its allies.

While Joe Biden’s administration is targeting $886 billion for next year’s defense budget and the US Congress appears poised to increase that amount by another $80 billion, there is apparent indifference from the American collective – government, media and public – that almost a trillion US dollars should be spent on defense. This speaks volumes about the general bankruptcy of the American establishment.

When it comes to defense spending, Americans have become accustomed to seeing big numbers. And so they expect great things from their military. But the fact is that the reality of the US defense establishment is increasingly resembling the numbers in the books that an accountant tried to manipulate – nothing adds up.

Despite shelling out some $2.3 trillion for a two-decade-long military misadventure in Afghanistan, the American people witnessed a disgraceful retreat from this mountainous nation live on television in August 2021. The same thing happened with the $758 billion for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the subsequent decades-long occupation of that country. In 2011, the US was forced to withdraw from Iraq, only to return there in 2014 to hunt ISIS for another decade. This was again a reflection of the failure of the original undertaking of the Iraqi adventure. In total, the US has spent more than $1.8 trillion on its 20-year nightmare in Iraq and Syria.

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These numbers are incredibly high – so high that they become meaningless to the average person. The US Department of Defense has become so vastly bloated that conducting an audit of the books has become, quite literally, a mission impossible. While the American people may be willing to accept the occasional accounting error, the defense budget is synonymous with American military power and the ideas of “American exceptionalism.”

The fact is that the US’s cavalier approach to defense spending has resulted in a fraud of gigantic proportions: the American people have been sold a sham – a military capable of wielding power around the world to maintain the so-called “rules-based international order.” , on which the idea of ​​”American exceptionalism” is based. However, as it turns out, the US military is as useless as the numbers in the Pentagon’s books.

The American people have purchased an apparatus that is incapable of waging and winning a major war against a potential adversary. The US has not even succeeded in fighting Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban. And the US is unable to defeat China or Russia in a war, let alone regional powers like North Korea and Iran. And yet Americans will continue to invest in this machine unconditionally, seemingly without question, in the expectation that a system that fails a simple audit will magically produce a different result in the future than before, while the American people, does nothing to demand a different result.

In short, the defense budget is the equivalent of a “subscription model” in which the American people regularly pay the U.S. government to produce results necessary to maintain an inflated sense of self-worth. We Americans have become so accustomed to being the biggest, baddest tyrant in the world that we assume that simply by pouring money into a system that has produced desired results for over seventy years, keep the good times going. But when you pour money into a system that has been conditioned to function without accountability, you shouldn’t be surprised when that shiny castle on the hill you thought you bought turns out to be a house of cards.

From English.

Scott Ritter is a former U.S. Marine Corps reconnaissance officer and author. He served the USA in the Soviet Union as an inspector for the implementation of the requirements of the INF Treaty, during the Second Gulf War on the staff of General Norman Schwarzkopf and then worked as chief weapons inspector at the UN in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. Ritter currently writes on issues affecting international security, military affairs, Russia and the Middle East, and arms control and nonproliferation. You can follow him on Telegram and on X at @RealScottRitter consequences.

RT DE strives to provide a wide range of opinions. Guest contributions and opinion articles do not have to reflect the editorial team’s perspective.

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