A number with three commas in it is a big number, particularly when you’re talking about money. So when you hear that the US has spent $6,000,000,000 training the Afghan police force, you’d think we ought to be getting a pretty good return on that investment, and that the Afghans will be ready to oversee their own country when we start pulling out our troops in the summer of 2011.

You’d be wrong.

As ProPublica reporter T. Christian Miller explained to me on KTRS/St. Louis this morning, not only will the Afghans not be ready, they’re not even close. Those that aren’t inept are corrupt, often selling the the equipment we’ve given them to the Taliban (the enemy!), or committing other criminal acts. We also discussed the role of at least one defense contractor, DynCorp, in this continuing failed exercise, and the complete lack of oversight and auditing of its performance.

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Miller reported this story with Mark Hosenball and Ron Moreau of Newsweek.