The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

April 26, 2013

Other Views: Pertinent inquiry

Why hasn’t this issue come up before?

The inquiry is: “Show me evidence that the massive infrastructure spending supports our mission in Afghanistan.” The inquiry was by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., of the Show-Me State.

McCaskill is a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. It was during a committee hearing that she made that statement, and demanded that our top military leaders show evidence that “long-term, large-scale infrastructure projects in Afghanistan have contributed to our mission in that country.”

McCaskill asked for an analysis of how this large-scale infrastructure spending contributed to the success of our counterinsurgency efforts. She said billions of our dollars have been spent on these projects. She said if mistakes aren’t corrected now, “there will be a tendency in the next conflict to engage in these large projects.” McCaskill has been one of the most aggressive advocates of accountability in spending in our war efforts. Progress has been slow, but finally McCaskill’s efforts are beginning to draw attention.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel promised Sen. McCaskill that an analysis would be forthcoming and added that her remarks on accountability ... “are appropriate.”

It is sickening that we are spending billions of dollars in Afghanistan, and before that in Iraq, for infrastructure improvements to win friends in those countries. Yes, they may have been needed, but what about needs in our country? Our infrastructure in many states is in a poor state of repair, and we have to wait years for projects to be undertaken. Americans are growing tired of seeing projects in foreign lands being funded by our tax dollars while we have to wait, and wait, for improvements.

There is a strong doubt in the minds of many of us that this spending in Iraq and Afghanistan has contributed in a major way in our missions in those countries. We understand that it is difficult to ascertain the results. But we do know that what we have done, and are doing, is underappreciated. Some friends can be made by improving the infrastructure in those countries, but winning over a majority of the people isn’t going to happen. Many of the tribes could care less if we build roads, bridges and other infrastructure, from what we’ve read and heard.

It’s time to come home with infrastructure projects. We hope Sen. McCaskill keeps firing away at waste in our spending and the lack of accountability in what we are doing, not only overseas but at home also. It’s time to tend to America’s needs.

The Washington Missourian

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