Sorry, We Spent Your Unemployment Insurance on the Afghan Ambassador's Trump Tower Condo

12/01/2010 05:47 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

While unemployment insurance payments are running out for millions of Americans who lost jobs due to no fault of their own, the Afghan ambassador to the UN is living in a $4.2 million Manhattan condo on our dime.

While Americans are standing in line for the local food pantry, we're paying for this guy's mahogany kitchen cabinets.

It's outrageous, and it shows the warped priorities in Washington, D.C. Are our politicians really so out of touch that they don't realize how angry this kind of thing makes us? In case you folks inside the Beltway haven't noticed, we're falling apart out here. The last thing we need to be funding is this guy's access to "private Pilates and massage rooms." But hey, if we're going to be blowing taxpayer money on massages, I know several million people who could use a neck rub.

We are spending about $2 billion a week on the Afghanistan War, all without consideration of the bad effects on the economy and its effect on the federal budget, but when it comes time to extend unemployment insurance payments for people who lost their jobs, we get quotes like this:

"Things just got worse for the millions of Americans who have been unemployed for up to 99 weeks. At the stroke of midnight Tuesday, a short-term extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed expired. ...[Illinois Republican Senator Mark] Kirk took a stance most Republicans take: "If it's paid for by cutting other items in the budget, I will be a yes vote. If it's added to further debts of the United States, no."

So we can't go into debt to keep people from going hungry in the U.S., but we can go into debt to make sure Ambassador Zahir Tanin can live in a 3-bedroom Trump Tower corner suite with "'iconic views' of New York City through floor-to-ceiling windows with remote control curtains." Got it.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans are worried that the costs of the Afghanistan War will make it harder for the U.S. to address problems we face here at home. They're right, especially with the current crop of legislators in Congress. When you throw huge piles of money at the failed war in Afghanistan, you create debt and deficits that politicians like Kirk use as a cudgel to cut public structures here at home. So thanks to the war, we get ridiculous, broken priorities that have room for spending that stocks Ambassador Tanin's office suites with "expensive Scotch Whiskey and French wines," but no room to help people who lost their job when the economy tanked.

But let's assume for a second that we had all these resources to waste (which we absolutely do not). Just who are we getting for our money?

"Employees neither trust nor respect the ambassador, and claim he is an 'opportunist' unqualified and unwilling to properly carry out the duties of a representative of 25 million suffering Afghans who face daily bombings, kidnappings, and a decrepit infrastructure."

Ambassador Tanin is a poster child for the broken U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. We are spending huge amounts of money propping up corrupt warlords and petty criminals in the Kabul government. In return we're getting decreased security. That's why roughly 60 percent of us want our troops brought home.

We need to fix our priorities so we can spend our resources on getting people back to work instead of wasting them on Sex-in-the-City lifestyles for corrupt Afghan officials.

If you're fed up with wasting our resources on the failed Afghanistan War, join Rethink Afghanistan on Facebook and Twitter.