When a two-star general visited the new 64,000-square-foot US military headquarters building at Camp Leatherneck in southern Afghanistan, he was impressed. It's "better appointed than any Marine headquarters anywhere in the world," he tells the Washington Post, before adding, "What the hell were they thinking?" That disgust comes because the gigantic $34 million building sits pretty much unused, making it a giant, lavish, laughing stock for the troops, and perhaps the signature boondoggle of the war in Afghanistan.
A top Marine commander warned the Pentagon that the building was unnecessary three years ago, but his concerns were ignored. The building was originally commissioned for the 2009 surge, but by the time construction began that push was over, and with the US now withdrawing, commanders don't intend to move in. "This is an example of what is wrong with military construction in general," the special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction told Chuck Hagel in a letter this week. Indeed, the Post highlights several other boondoggles as well, like this waste of $80 million.