Since 2005, 115 U.S. service members have been convicted of crimes valued at more than $50 million in Iraq and Afghanistan, including stealing, rigging contracts, and taking bribes.
The U.S. military’s dependence on large cash transactions, its hasty contract award process, the absence of serious oversight, and a culture of local corruption helped lure U.S. service members to commit these crimes.
U.S. Inspectors General for Iraq and Afghanistan say that far more fraud has been committed by military personnel than has been prosecuted so far.
Several soldiers who participated in crimes say they saw colleagues doing it, and viewed the chances of getting caught as slim.
Investigators of these crimes say that their work has been stymied by the challenge of tracking down funds in foreign bank accounts, and that courts sometimes impose lighter penalties than they think the crimes deserve.