State Dept. Has Known (and Done Nothing) about its Afghan Animal House
The world's shocked and appalled by news and photos that private security forces guarding the American embassy in Kabul, act like pre-teen cave men. Here's something that won't improve the situation: the government's known all along!
Following the Project on Government Oversight's report that the guards, who work for ArmorGroup, regularly run around naked, get drunk and act out juvenile homoerotic fantasies, Sen. Claire McCaskill has called on the State Department to launch a full-fledged investigation. The State Department, meanwhile, has called the allegations "very serious" and promised that they will talk to ArmorGroup about "addressing deficiencies in their performance." Nor will Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tolerate such antics.
That is, in a word, doubtful.
In fact, the State Department has been investigating ArmorGroup since the beginning of its contract, in July of 2007, when it was found to be "deficient" and the group was said to "gravely endangers performance of guard services."
A related Senate report also found problems, like the fact that the childlike contractors were abandoning posts. It went on to label the scenario as "a case study of how mismanagement and lack of oversight can result in poor performance." State Department spokesman Ian Kelly confirmed that yesterday at a press conference:
We've been investigating this organization for some time now. We understand that we have made some – we have pointed out to them some of the deficiencies. And I can't answer right now from this podium exactly what they have done in response to this letter.
The Department again raised concerns in 2008 and then, later, a Senate probe also found problems, like the fact that contractors were abandoning posts. Yet, despite these misgivings, the contract went on and was reaffirmed earlier this summer. Obviously the State Department isn't taking things too seriously.
Of course, the Department has very little choice, because, frankly, they need contractors like a junkie needs a fix.
As of March this year, contractors made up 57 percent of the Pentagon's force in Afghanistan, and if the figure is averaged over the past two years, it is 65 percent, according to the report by the Congressional Research Service.
Our military's so depleted and overstretched, the Department has come to rely on these contractors, even if they are man-beasts who get off on eating chips from one another's ass cracks. The Department relies so much on them, in fact, that it has yet again renewed its contract with Blackwater, which was previously banned from operating in Iraq, where its agents are, among other things, accused of killing 17 civilians.
At best, the men involved in the most recent contractor scandal will be dismissed, only to be replaced by more buffoons who will then find even more outlandish ways of entertaining themselves.