Who Got Rich Off The War In Afghanistan?


On August 15th, 2021. The Taliban entered Kabul after taking over the entire country of Afghanistan. The war ended as it had begun, with the Taliban in power once again. You can probably remember news footage from the Kabul airport, chaos erupted as Afghans tried to flee their country. 2.313 trillion Dollars were wasted on the war effort just for America to pack up its things after 20 years and leave. Now the real question: Why? Why did America spend trillions of dollars and waste thousands of American lives just to pack up their things and leave? Well, it’s a simple the answer: Money. I’ve established a list of some top 3 people who got “crazy stupid” rich off of the war in Afghanistan. Before we get to our list, we first must discuss an important term that you have probably heard thrown around a lot lately, “Government Contractor.” Instead of having the clunky old federal government take care of all things war, we hire a lot of private companies to do it for us. These are the companies that make our weapons, feed our soldiers, build our bases, fuel our tanks, and even fight our wars. Yes, we have private armies that we call security companies, who are soldiers for hire.

Usually when the government wants to get something done, these government contractor companies come together and bid on contracts. This allows the U.S. to pay the best price for what they want to be completed. Except, during wartime, this whole bidding process goes out of the window because it’s an “emergency.” The government pays whatever price the company asks for. And it’s this very process that allowed people to take advantage of a system, to let billions and billions of unaccounted for dollars be poured into private contractor companies.

First up on our list is Robert Stevens. He’s the former CEO of a company called Lockheed Martin. This company manufactures all different types of weapons and vehicles used in war. This company gets a lot of business from the Pentagon. In 2020 alone this company got $75 billion worth of government contacts. To put that number in perspective the entire budget of our foreign ministry is 44 billion dollars, and 90% of Lockheed’s revenue comes from the U.S. government. The core thing that keeps them afloat is war and security. Robert Steven’s annual salary jumps from $5 million in 2005 to $31 million in 2007.

The next guy on the list is Stephen Orenstein. He’s the owner of a company called Supreme Group BV. This guy’s company was chosen in 2005 to feed U.S. troops in Afghanistan, The U.S. government paid Orenstein company $5.5 billion to deliver food to troops in Afghanistan. Orenstein realized that he could charge absurd amounts of money. Since his company was providing for the troops, he knew the government was just throwing money at this war. Not only did Supreme Group BV charge an absurd amount of money for food, but they also started creating subcontracting companies and started to win contracts that were for nothing. Orebstein got super rich off of this, to the point he was put on the billionaire list. Eventually, Orenstein took this too far and got caught. The government paid nearly 100 million dollars just in transportation costs! To put this in perspective, this amount of money could pay for nearly 100 thousand children to have access to a head start program (an early education program in the U.S.). Instead, this taxpayer money went into Orienstien’s pocket. Orenstein’s punishment? A slap on the wrist for him, he had to pay 389 million dollars. 

Last but not least, we have our very own congress. If you’re in Congress you can buy stocks in defense companies, like Lockheed Martin and Supreme Group BV. At least 47 members of Congress and their spouses hold between $2.67 million worth of stocks in top defense companies. Of the 30 house members who hold stocks in military contracts, 20 are Republicans and 16 are a Democrats. Gary Peter Herns, a Democratic Senator from Michigan, is a member of the Arms Service Committee (authorizes the Pentagon’s budget). In July this guy’s committee voted to increase defense spending by 24 billion dollars which are more than what President Biden proposed. In direct terms, this guy is voting to put more money into his pockets. 

This is only the tip of the mountain of people who got rich off Afghanistan. There are so many more people who abused the system, who we will never know, because they never got caught. All of this money spent on these private corporations, out of the hands of everyday Americans, has no benefit. Twenty years later, America fell back to where it started in Afghanistan. Nowhere to be found.