Friday, January 3, 2014

Keeping 'Em Honest


During my twenty two years of military service we had "the greatest generation" sitting back home but keeping an eye on the then "new" military.  Whenever an overcharge scandal erupted in the headlines we had those old World War II and Korean guys saying "we fought wars living on cold rations, ancient tanks and bailing wire aircraft!".  So when those thousand dollar toilets and five hundred dollar hammers were bought America had an army of "arm chair auditors" to tell them how ridiculous that was.

However, today, with the all volunteer force, with only 1 percent of America ever having served in the Armed Services, I worry a bit over who's going to keep the Department of Defense honest.  We are seeing huge cracks in the auditing of DOD projects.  Just a couple of months ago we learned that there is a 64,000 square feet building in Afghanistan that cost $80 million dollars to build, has never been occupied...and will never be occupied.  It seems after forking out all that money, DOD decided it was built in a highly dangerous and insecure area..and now will be abandoned.

Even more perverted was George W. Bush's forking over a billion dollars to build the new American Embassy in Baghdad's "Green Zone".  He spent at least that  much on other construction in the area.  What the hell was he thinking?  Did he think he would turn Baghdad into a cradle of democracy?  Did he believe that Muslim city would be blessed by people living in peace and harmony and all the bombings would simply dry up?  That construction, like the war itself, was a horrible waste of American treasure!  A trillion dollars down the drain in less than a decade!...and all for naught!

I write often about my disgust with the massive fraud, waste and abuse that exists in our social programs.  But I have also decried the waste I've seen throughout the Department of Defense, both during my active military career as well as what I've seen during retirement.  

Sadly, I'm not seeing the DOD improving much.  While they continue to shortchange our troops; in pay, in personnel support, and certainly in their post military career with an underfunded and inefficient VA program, the DOD continues to bleed the taxpayer's money on cost overrides to DOD contractors.
It seems every time Boeing or Raytheon begins to run into cost overruns it somehow becomes the government's job to throw more money into the procurement process.  Thus, unlike the free markets, when it comes to government contractors, any inefficiencies are born by the government and not the contracting company.  

So, as the millions of we Vietnam vets die off, the last batch of "citizen soldiers", I sure hope that small 1 percent of new veterans are able to sound the alarm and alert America to the foibles of the Department of Defense.

We don't need any more abandoned $80 million dollar buildings...we don't need any more billion dollar plus "green zones" and we can damn sure buy cheaper hammers and toilets!

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