Political Opportunism and Wasteful Wartime Spending
Editor's Note: There are a lot of people in the U.S. House and Senate who
are using the War on Terrorism as an opportunity to engage in pork barrel spending.
of U.S. War on Jihadists: $5.6 Trillion, 7,000 Deaths, 52,500 Injuries. The United States is expected to spend
nearly $6 trillion through 2018 on government-wide costs related to the wars waged in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria since
2001, reveals a study by Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. According to Brown
University's Cost of War project analysis, authored by Neta Crawford, the total estimated cost of U.S. wars between 2001 and
2018 amounts to about $23,386 per individual American taxpayer, which is more than three times the amount ($7,740) calculated
by the Pentagon. The Pentagon's study, dubbed the "Estimated Cost to Each Taxpayer for the Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq,
and Syria," places the total authorized war spending on those conflicts between 2001 and 2018 at $1.5 trillion.
taxpayers made millionaires out of Afghan gangsters, warlords and connected class. American taxpayers have spent more than $100 billion
rebuilding Afghanistan, creating schools, hospitals and roads while making millionaires out of a rogue's gallery of warlords, gangsters and corrupt
officials. A total of $114 billion, which does not include even more spent on the military effort to oust the Taliban and stabilize the
impoverished country, has been appropriated since 2002. While it has likely improved conditions in the country, corrupt builders, security
providers, mercenaries and even local bankers have all taken their cuts — and gotten rich in the process.
Paid for Fake 'Al Qaeda' Videos. The Pentagon gave a controversial UK PR firm over half a billion dollars to
run a top secret propaganda program in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal. Bell Pottinger's output
included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track
the people who watched them, according to a former employee.
The Editor says...
If it worked, I could almost applaud. Except for the part about half a billion dollars.
Guns, Butter and Budgetary Baloney. The
budgetary device called the Overseas Contingency Operations account, or "war fund," started off as a supplemental appropriation to fund the military response
after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But it quickly became a slush fund that allows policymakers to spend gobs of money with little
oversight and fatten the Pentagon's base budget when the spending caps are put into place, seeing as OCO funding is exempt.
offers no answers on $43 million price tag for Afghan gas station. The Defense Department spent $43 million on
a compressed natural gas fueling station in Afghanistan, while a similar project in Pakistan cost just $300,000 — and now
the Pentagon can't even account for who made the decisions behind the waste, according to an inspector general's report being released
Monday [11/1/2015]. John F. Sopko, the inspector general who oversees U.S. spending on Afghanistan reconstruction, called
the cost for the green energy project exorbitant and deemed the project ill-conceived.
An Affair of the
Mind. The controversy surrounding the F-35 is fundamentally an extension of the debate
over what a future fighter should be. Recently the aircraft made news when it was officially
announced that the airframe couldn't dogfight [adequately]. The standard riposte is that dogfighting
as a form of aerial combat, stopped being relevant a long time ago. Perhaps the best advocate for
dogfighting-is-dead point of view isn't a paper for the F-35 but a paper which argues that air combat is
fundamentally changing. Perhaps the F-35 is not the best tool for coming era, but neither is the
super-dogfighter many in the public seem to crave.
Staggering Cost Of A Largely Failed Fight Against ISIS. President Barack Obama has presided over billions
spent battling the Islamic State, despite, by his own admission, lacking a clear and complete strategy to defeat the terror
group. War against Islamic State has cost a total of $2.91 billion, averaging $9.2 million per day,
according to the Pentagon. More than 50 percent of the cost is directly tied to airstrikes, The Hill
reports. Republican Sen. John McCain has criticized the campaign against Islamic State as too weak, noting that
75 percent of airstrike missions return without firing a weapon.
Is Spending $500 Million On Training Fewer Than 100 Syrian Rebels To fight ISIS. We
don't have the money to do this first off. And training rebels has never worked. This is not going
to work and they know it. It strikes me that someone is getting rich once again over a faux military
program. Someone might want to check where the bulk of that $500 million is actually going.
Probably to terrorists. The military has trained less than 100 and 0 have graduated from the program.
Their goal is 3,000 by the year's end. That's laughable.
Watch. [For example,] An Afghan Contractor Builds Walls that Melt in the Rain
[$456,669]: In 2012, U.S. military authorities paid an Afghan construction firm nearly half a
million dollars to build a "dry fire range" (DFR) for the Afghan Special Police to use in training
exercises. "The DFR replicates a typical Afghan village and is used to conduct simulated police
search and clearance exercises," according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan
Reconstruction (SIGAR). The range is "dry fire," meaning it is not designed for use with live
ammunition. Only four months after completion, however, the walls of the DFR began to disintegrate.
Examples of Government Waste. [#11] The Department of Defense spent nearly $500 million to
purchase military transport planes for the Afghan Air Force, which have since been scrapped. The planes
did not meet operational requirements, and the maintenance of the planes was too expensive for the Afghan Air
Force. [#12] The Defense Department overpaid by $3.3 million for radios for the Afghan Army
because the Defense Department did not follow contracting procedures, which would have prevented overpayment.
captured 52 U.S.-made howitzers; artillery weapons cost 500K each. Sunni radicals with
the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) may have captured as many as 52 U.S.-made M198
howitzers in their march across Iraq in June. "They shouldn't have too much trouble shelling
large area targets like a city if they have sufficient ammo," Jeremy Binnie of the British military
consultancy HIS Janes told McClatchy news service Monday [7/14/2014].
did $7 billion spent on opium eradication in Afghanistan buy? More opium. With the outcome of Afghanistan's controversial
presidential election still in doubt, and uncertainty over Afghan forces' ability to stand against the Taliban after most US forces
withdraw, it's hard to say with certainty what the US-led war there has accomplished, or failed to accomplish. But one thing
is clear, as shown by latest quarterly report from the US Special Inspector General on Afghanistan Reconstruction: The $7 billion
US program to eradicate poppy cultivation there over the past decade has been a flop.
Uncle Sam's Yard Sale:
Gov't looks to unload Afghanistan war hardware. After 12 years of war in Afghanistan, officials are now
pondering what to do with $50 billion in equipment half a world away — including combat vehicles, dining
rooms, gyms, clothing and more. "A lot of this stuff, you're not really concerned about bringing it back," said Jim
Hasik, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. "I mean if a Coke machine falls into the hands of the Taliban, this
is just not a big disaster." But eventually, much of the gear will trickle down to the public. With the click of a
mouse the spoils of war can be yours on govliquidation.com. Each day, new items appear on the site — as bases
around the country release unneeded items — from rafts and trucks, to fire engines and pretzel stands.
The Editor says...
Material of this sort was called "Army Surplus" back in the 1950s and 60s. I wouldn't mind
having a fire truck, but I don't want to go to Afghanistan to pick it up.
Why Call it Intelligence? The American
Intelligence Community (IC) is starting to resemble a large cast of delinquents, a Faustian opera where bad behavior seeks constant
rationalization and confirmation. And like most bad behavior, the real remedy might not be that complicated. [...] Ironically,
the 9/11 attack in New York, the worst warning failure since Pearl Harbor, produced a knee-jerk windfall for American Intelligence.
Like public school systems, failure became a kind of fiscal stimulus. Subsequently, government agencies that could embed "terrorism"
in their mission statements were showered with tax dollars.
US to Spend $771M on Planes Afghans Can't Use.
The U.S. government is about to spend more than $771 million on military aircraft that the Afghan people "lack the capacity to operate,"
according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
happened to that $6.6 billion in cash we sent to Iraq? There will be those who defend the Bush
administration by making the argument that there is waste in all wars and Iraq was no different. That
may be. But it is also true that it is stupid, negligent, and outright crazy to send 20 C-130
planeloads of $100 bills in shrinkwrap to a country in chaos and not expect a good portion of that money
to go missing.
Power Plant, Taliban Reap a Windfall. The U.S. has poured more than $100 million into
upgrading the Kajaki hydropower plant, the biggest source of electricity in south Afghanistan. And
it plans on spending much more, in an effort to woo local sympathies away from the Taliban insurgency.
Yet, one of the biggest beneficiaries of this American-taxpayer-financed project are the Taliban themselves.
It's Not Exactly a National Emergency.
The United States operated under a continuous state of emergency from 1933 until 1976, according to By
Order Of The President by Phillip J. Cooper. To correct this ridiculous situation Congress
passed The National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601-1651) in 1976 to stop open-ended states of national
emergency and formalize Congressional checks and balances on Preside ntial emergency powers. [Even
so,] There are currently fourteen (14) national emergencies in effect in the United States.
and Phony Outrage. House Democrats are in (cynical, calculated) high dudgeon after a shocking "revelation"
was made public this week. Brace yourself, because this bombshell isn't for the faint of heart: After 9/11,
the Bush administration considered a CIA program designed to target and kill top al-Qaeda operatives. Gasp.
It gets worse: Some members of Congress now say they weren't sufficiently briefed on the then-nascent secret
program (which was never actually implemented)...
Dems' Big Risk. Congressional liberals must
think Americans have very short memories. For years the Left trashed the Bush administration for not capturing
and killing Osama bin Laden. Democrats claimed they could get the job done. Campaigning for president,
Barack Obama made "We will kill bin Laden" a regular part of his foreign policy stump speech. But as the political
winds have shifted, so has the nature of the Left's indictments.
Milking the Homeland Security Cow.
In a climate of continued fear over additional terrorist attacks by al Qaeda on the United States, it is no
wonder that milking the homeland security cash cow continues unabated. As Lew Rockwell observed last
year following Congress's approval of a Homeland Security Department, lobbyists and contractors who specialize
in extracting money from taxpayers were drooling at the prospect of making a big buck in this business.
Democrats aim to tack pet spending projects onto
Iraq bill. While Democrats try to restrict how President Bush can spend the $100 billion he wants
for Iraq, they also hope to load his measure up with $10 billion in add-ons — from aid for Great
Plains farmers to help for children lacking health insurance and better levees in New Orleans.
The toll for terrorism is too high. The
Los Angeles Times is reporting that the city is using $16,000,000 of "anti-terrorism" money to install
faregates on their rail lines.
"You have to understand, guys like [William] Delahunt, really all of the Democrats here, don't care about
winning the war against the terrorists, or keeping us safe. They might have cared after 9/11, but
now they are ruled by the radical left. ," says a former Department of Justice lawyer. "And if the
American people and Republicans understood this, the sooner we'd be seeing a different election."
Justifies $23 Billion More in Domestic Spending, Dems Say. Congressional Democrats' proposed
increases in discretionary spending — $23 billion more than President Bush's request for the 2008
Fiscal Year — are justified by spending on the war in Iraq, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(D-Calif.) and other Democrats. Bush asked for $933 billion in discretionary spending in his budget
request. The Democratic proposals would raise that figure to $956 billion.
Boosting Navy Bandwidth:
The idea of an "open" architecture based on commonly available software runs counter to a long-standing military
mentality. I am glad to see that Admiral Edwards is implementing reforms in the Navy, but I suspect it
will be a long, costly process that is sure to be resisted by more than a few bureaucrats.
The $400 Million Helicopter: After
9/11, the White House sought to build a new fleet of "Marine Ones" that would be able to withstand the rigors of a terrorism
age, including missile jammers, sophisticated communications equipment, and even protection from a nuclear blast. The
cost of the 28 helicopter fleet was originally contracted out for $6.1 billion. But today the Washington Post reports
that the cost has jumped to $11.2 billion — or approximately $400 million per helicopter. That's more expensive
than the Boeing 747 jet that serves as Air Force One!
'Pork' still reigns on Capitol
Hill. After moving earlier this year to make the federal budget process more transparent
to the public, Congress is falling short of its goal of full and timely disclosure of lawmakers' pet
projects, or earmarks. Despite lawmakers' promises to slash earmarks by half, the spending bills
for this fiscal year — now wending their way through the appropriations process —
include at least 12,000 earmarks totaling more than $24.7 billion, according to the White House
Office of Management and Budget.
seeks dramatic cuts in homeland security grants. The Department of Homeland Security has given
$23 billion to states and local communities to fight terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks, but the
administration is not convinced that the money has been well spent and thinks the nation's highest-risk cities
have largely satisfied their security needs.
Murtha's defense of earmarks
questioned. Mr. Murtha, chairman of the Appropriations defense subcommittee, bristled when
questioned on the House floor last week about pricey research-and-development projects doled out to businesses
in districts of top Democrats — including his in Pennsylvania.
Transfer of terrorist
no-fly list 'earmarked'? To secure congressional funding for a pet project, Rep. John Murtha,
D-Pa., made a surprising claim: The little-known National Drug Intelligence Center was about to take
charge of the "vitally important" terrorist no-fly list. Murtha's news, in a letter he sent to the House
Intelligence Committee last month, came as a surprise to the nation's intelligence community.
'Pork' in Homeland Security Grants. An analysis of the grants going to state and local
governments suggests that some of them are pork barrel projects; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) apparently has failed to issue grants based entirely on need, and it has little oversight on how the
grant money is used. For example, some "homeland security" funding has been doled out for office space,
a bus, a bingo hall, and limousine service, among other "projects."
on the congressional pork. The Seattle Times detailed last month how Senator Patty Murray and Representatives
Norm Dicks and Brian Baird, all Democrats, earmarked $17.65 million to a boat company for a vessel the Navy
did not ask for and never used. Murray also earmarked $6 million to a company for battle gear the Army
rejected. Representative David Wu, an Oregon Democrat, earmarked $2 million for combat T-shirts that
were banned because their polyester was flammable.
Often Uses FBI Jet Bought for Counterterrorism. When the FBI asked Congress this spring to
provide $3.6 million in the war spending bill for its Gulfstream V jet, it said the money was needed
to ensure that the aircraft, packed with state-of-the-art security and communications gear, could continue to
fly counterterrorism agents on "crucial missions" into Iraq. ... But the jet that the FBI originally
sold to lawmakers in the late 1990s as an essential tool for battling terrorism is now routinely used to ferry
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to speeches, public appearances and field office visits.
D.C. Pig-Out! Citizens Against Government Waste call the [Emergency War Funding Bill] "a blatant
betrayal of the Democrats' campaign promise to restore fiscal accountability to Congress." ... How do these
subsidies change things in Iraq? $1.4 billion for ranchers' livestock lost in disasters;
$283 million in milk subsidies, $74 million for peanut storage, $25 million in spinach
subsidies; $400 million to continue funding for rural Northwest school districts facing cuts in
federal compensation (they already get) because timber and salmon harvests declined.
Bush vows to veto
hate-crime expansion for gays. President Bush is committed to vetoing the latest effort
to expand federal "hate crimes" laws to include sexual orientation, even if it means sending a defense
authorization bill back to Congress, the White House said. The legislation would make it easier
for federal law enforcement to become involved in crimes against people based on their "sexual
orientation" and "gender identity."
[One might easily wonder why such a matter is included in a defense authorization bill.]
says war could cost $1 trillion. The war in Iraq could ultimately cost well over a trillion
dollars — at least double what has already been spent — including the long-term costs of
replacing damaged equipment, caring for wounded troops, and aiding the Iraqi government, according to a new
Maybe more... The $3 Trillion War:
After wildly lowballing the cost of the Iraq conflict at a mere $50 to $60 billion, the Bush administration has
been concealing the full economic toll. The spending on military operations is merely the tip of a vast
And Abuse at Homeland Security. Following the spending on programs purportedly designed to make
our commercial aviation system secure, one is startled by two facts:
1. The staggering amount of money that has been spent to rebuild the nation's aviation security program after 9/11; and,
2. How the enormous expenditures made in the attempt to hire effective federal workers to replace existing ineffective
private sector workers, and to install new electronic equipment to protect the system from on-board weapons and explosives has
failed to accomplish either.
lies, war lies and partisanship. Democrats are outraged over President Bush's new series of
national security speeches. There he goes again, politicizing the war. The Democratic leadership
obviously believes the president should muzzle himself so close to the November elections because what is
important for national security might also help Republicans, and that must be avoided at all costs.
A culture of fear has entered
American life. Fear has become a winning formula politically, [and] a gold mine for
business. There is much money to be made from scaring Americans and very little to be made
from telling them to relax … Books on terrorism warn of imminent destruction. TV stations
battle over ratings with ever more bizarre scare stories. Fear is a commodity whose value
increases exponentially. Just look at the Department of Homeland Security. … It
is already the third largest cabinet department and boasts 180,000 employees and a 2004 budget
of $36.5 billion.
unveils $835,000 RV. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security revealed its newest tool for
protecting Hoosiers today: A brand new 53-foot mobile command center. … The command center's
$835,000 price tag was covered by federal homeland security grants allotted to the Indiana over the
last two years. Although some counties have obtained their own vehicles, the state's command
center is the most expensive in Indiana.
The Security Pretext: An
Examination of the Growth of Federal Police Agencies. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11,
2001, bureaucrats and special interest groups have been busy repackaging everything from peanut subsidies to
steel protectionism under the rubric of "national security." Federal law enforcement agencies have also
been expanding their power in the name of combating terrorism, whether or not such expansion has anything
to do with enhancing security.
responsibility. Huge amounts of dollars are spent, and our civil liberties
curtailed to protect politicians from both parties from the charge they "did not do enough
to protect us." Much of this new expenditure is not enhancing our protection, but only
weakening us economically, and the never-ending restrictions on civil liberties undermine
the freedoms we hold dear.
comes first. Congress … loaded up the appropriations bill with $8.9 billion
worth of amendments bankrolling pork projects around the country. Consider a few that were deemed
more important than combat readiness: $25,000 for Las Vegas schools to study mariachi
music. $75,000 for Wisconsin's Paper Industry Hall of Fame. $100,000 for the Punxsutawney Weather
Discovery Center Museum, home of the groundhog. $1 million for brown tree snakes, found only in
Guam and non life threatening to humans. This sort of reckless spending is an embarrassment to our
country and an affront to our troops.
Hidden Cost of War: The cost of war is always more than anticipated. If
all the costs were known prior to the beginning of a war, fewer wars would be fought. At
the beginning, optimism prevails. Denial and deception override the concern for the pain
and penalties yet to come. … In almost all wars, governments use deception about the enemy
that needs to be vanquished to gain the support of the people. In our recent history,
just since 1941, our government has entirely ignored the requirement that war be fought only
after a formal congressional declaration — further setting the stage for disenchantment
once the war progresses poorly. Respect for the truth is easily sacrificed in order to rally
the people for the war effort.
the 9/11 Fund was a mistake. In many cases, the government ended up
paying a fortune to people who had already collected a fortune from private
donors. USA Today reported in 2002 that relatives of New York police
officers received an average of $929,000 in charitable funds. The
families of firefighters and ambulance crews got $1,037,000.
Turning the War on Terror into a Special-interest Bonanza. Pressure from defense
contractors hawking "legacy systems," the bureaucratic structure of the U.S. Department of
Defense, and politicians beholden to the "military-industrial-congressional complex" is
quickly transforming the conflict between the U.S. and Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda
network into a more traditional exercise in pork-barrel politics.
Has $300 Billion Bought? On April 21, the Senate approved an emergency
spending measure allotting $81 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A
total of four emergency war appropriations have now been passed, bringing the overall
costs of the "war on terrorism" to more than $300 billion.
Dollars for Terrorists: Recent reports have revealed that during the
last term of the Clinton administration, U.S. taxpayers inadvertently helped fund
some of the world's largest terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda. In
October 2004, an FBI team procured documents of the Islamic American Relief Agency, a
group suspected of having ties to terrorists. The FBI team found evidence that
at the same time the group was receiving millions of dollars from the U.S. Agency
for International Development, its overseas partners were channeling
a large chunk of funds directly to Osama bin Laden.
Edmonds at the FBI: Sibel Edmonds, a Turkish-American, was hired by the FBI
soon after Sept. 11 and given top-secret security clearance to translate some of
the reams of documents seized by FBI agents who have been rounding up suspected terrorists
across the United States and abroad. Edmonds says that to her amazement, from the day
she started the job, she was told repeatedly by one of her supervisors that there was no
urgency - that she should take longer to translate documents so that the department
would appear overworked and understaffed. That way, it would receive a larger
budget for the next year.
on FBI vindicated. Accusations by an FBI contract linguist fired after
complaining about suspected security breaches and misconduct in the bureau's post-September 11
foreign language translation program "had some basis in fact" and are supported by documents
and other witnesses, a report said yesterday [1/14/2005]. The Justice Department's
Office of the Inspector General, in an unclassified summary of a secret, 100-page report
issued in July, said the FBI should have "more thoroughly" investigated accusations by the
linguist, Sibel Edmonds.
supports Sibel Edmonds in FBI case. As a language specialist for the FBI,
Edmonds was responsible for translating potential terrorist documents from Turkish to
English. She reported two categories of problems within the FBI, including what
she said was incompetence and the more serious problem of intentional mistranslations.
In Translation. This is the story of hundreds, if not thousands, of foreign
language documents that the FBI neglected to translate before and after the Sept. 11
attacks — documents that detailed what the FBI heard on wiretaps and learned during
interrogations of suspected terrorists. Sibel Edmonds, a translator who worked
at the FBI's language division, says the documents weren't translated because the division
was riddled with incompetence and corruption.
Who's paying for
the war? For all that the critics rail against the war in Iraq, surprisingly
little time is given to decrying the sheer cost of it.
misspent tax dollars: Defense and Homeland Security are attracting new
pork projects that have nothing to do with fighting terrorists at home or
abroad. Included is $1 million added by the House for the Young Patriots
Program. According to the Defense Appropriations Conference Report, this money
will help to "expand the Young Patriots Program to include a video which promotes
the significance of National Patriotic Holidays." When the federal government
is involved, it's always about expansion, never reduction.
Our Future Tax Cuts? There has been little semblance of fiscal discipline
since 9/11. After the 2001 terror attacks, Congress rightly appropriated virtually
unlimited sums for military action and homeland defense, but afterward, the Republican
majority allowed the infection to spread through the entire budget. We must find
a way to stop it — and stop it very soon.
goes on unabated. House Republican leaders tucked a payoff into [a May
2002] emergency anti-terrorism spending bill: $90 million in special
Medicare reimbursements for hospitals in three congressional districts — two in
Pennsylvania, the other in New York. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, it turns out,
ordered the payoff in exchange for the lawmakers' votes to give President Bush
greater trade negotiating powers.
embarrassing GOP: This Republican Congress, in addition to increasing
spending on entitlements and expanding big government - like the Democrats
they once criticized - also dished out $95 billion in tax breaks and
Cost of Safety: The Washington Post took a look at where our "homeland
security" spending over the last two years has gone. Our tax dollars have bought:
A boat for a volunteer fire department in Virginia ($350,000)
A computerized car-towing system for Washington, D.C. ($300,000)
Eight large-screen plasma televisions for an emergency operations
center in suburban Maryland ($160,000)
is for aliens. Sen. Robert Byrd's amendment to the homeland security
appropriations to provide $125 million to put 1,300 customs inspectors to help
patrol our borders was rejected by the Bush administration as "too expensive." The
same day, President Bush made an "emergency request" for $150 million to
pay for "border inspections personnel" on Iraq's borders.
LaPierre: 9/11 Windfall for
the Anti-Gun Lobby: The anti-gun lobby wants you to surrender your freedoms in the name of
security. If Americans fall for it, they will get neither, a new book warns. "Smoke was curling
over the ruins of the World Trade Center when the gun-control lobby swung into action, seizing on that tragedy
to score points in the political arena," National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre and his predecessor
James Jay Baker write in "Shooting Straight: Telling the Truth About Guns in America."
says NYC needs more money: New York's two senators sent a
simple message to Congress yesterday: Thanks for the $21.4 billion
in Sept. 11-related help, but the city still needs more.
"War Profiteering" at the
Port Authority: CAGW casts doubt on the legitimacy of the New York and New Jersey Port Authority's
request for $29.6 million in emergency relief to build additional exits on two transit stations in
Greenwich Village. The ensuing controversy sparked a grassroots campaign to stop the project, while the
Federal Emergency Management Agency brought it to a standstill, saying the project may not be an appropriate
use of emergency funds.
Use 9-11 to Justify Pork Spending, Watchdog Alleges: House
and Senate appropriators have gone on a spending spree, adding projects not
requested by the Pentagon to the 2003 budget, a public spending watchdog
group [CAGW] alleges. Members of Congress are using the Sept. 11
attacks to justify the excesses it wants to add in military
construction appropriations bills, the group alleges.
Use Tragedy to Raid American Taxpayers: For all too many in the
nation's capital, the country's renewed patriotism has encouraged a parade of
special interests to wrap themselves in the flag and use the tragic events to link their
causes to the U.S. Treasury and the $40 billion that Congress
authorized for relief. In contrast to the rest of the country,
what passes for sacrifice among some in Washington is how much
of somebody else's money--i.e., the taxpayer's--you are prepared to spend.
If Pork Had Wings: Word has it that
congressional offices are creating lists of lobbyists and corporations who have come knocking to use the
Sept. 11 tragedies to cash in for their own narrow benefit. Such profiteering is troubling, of
course, and in this case achieves the amazing feat of setting a new low in the Washington world of brazen
Don't Give a Penny to Amtrak: Amtrak
seized on the Sept. 11 calamities as a chance to lobby Congress for $3.2 billion in "disaster"
aid -- even though it suffered no disaster.
Congresswoman Uses the Race Card To
Ask for a Saudi Handout: With the whole of the US population under attack, Rep.
Cynthia McKinney could only see yet another opportunity to get another handout, no matter that it would
come from a nation that has funded Islamic terrorism and was the site of a terrorist attack that killed
US military personnel.
The new hawks:
Senator Lieberman, whose resume as a military strategist includes attending Yale during the Vietnam war, founding
an anti-war Caucus of Connecticut Democrats, and serving on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, wants the
United States to target Saddam Hussein of Iraq.