Tuesday, April 18, 2006

 

Mything the Point of "Never Forget"

WE NEVER FORGET WHO WE'RE WORKING FOR.

I don't know about you, but every time I hear Lockheed-Martin's slogan I can't help but wonder, "Who are they working for?"  I'm just not feeling the love.  Of course, I'm not the Pentagon and Lockheed-Martin is not my #1 supplier.  I'm not saying there is anything inherently wrong with that.  I'm just stunned we even know the Pentagon's #1 supplier.  Why?  Because it's impossible to audit the Pentagon's budget.  You probably think I'm making that up.  Did you know the Pentagon can't account for 25% of the money they spend? It's a fact.  Look it up.

I'm sure you figure an accounting problem bigger than Enron, WorldCom, and Global Crossing combined would have gotten some press, right?  Don't worry, it has.  On September 10, 2001 Donald Rumsfeld dropped this bombshell on the American public:  "[The Pentagon] cannot track 2.3 trillion dollars in transactions."  

That's right.... 2.3 TRILLION dollars. Let me put that in perspective for you. Our entire galaxy has about 100 billion stars in it.  That means that if every unaccounted dollar was a star, you would have enough stars to make TWENTY Milky Way galaxies with plenty left over for a galaxy of your own and a few for your friends.  

You are probably wondering why this problem doesn't get mentioned every time people talk about the deficit.  I can think of one reason.  The events of September 11, 2001 knocked Rummy's announcement of September 10, 2001 off the front page faster than you could say "the new normal."  Since then the defense budget for major U.S. weapons has doubled to nearly $1.4 trillion.  That's FOURTEEN Milky Ways right there.  

At this point you probably won't be surprised to learn one program highlighted as contributing to those cost increases was the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, under development by -- Lockheed-Martin.  If you think I'm unfairly singling out this program to beat up on Lockheed-Martin, let me put your mind at ease.  I mention that program because it will be the Pentagon's costliest purchase ever.

Here's why I bring all this to your attention: Since 9/11 have spent $274 Billion fighting the "Long War," as Rumsfeld likes to now call it. The vast majority of that has been spent in Iraq. Almost all of that is funded via supplemental budget resolutions. That means it never shows up in the budgets. The latest installment in this fiasco is working its way to the Senate floor. Guess how much it will be this year. If you guessed $106 Billion dollars, you would be close.

This year we need to make sure our representatives don't forget who they are working for. Anyone voting to endorse another blank check for this open-ended commitment better be ready to explain themselves. We need to know why we should continue putting money we don't have into pockets we can't locate to protect us from a threat we can't define. Especially when the people assigned to defend us from terrorists are planning to spend that money building a new generation of supersonic attack jets.  Color me cynical, but all I can say is anyone who thinks they can defend this offense to common sense by pointing to 9/11 is Mything the Point.

"Treat each federal dollar as if it was hard earned. It was -- by a taxpayer."
- Donald Rumsfeld, in Rumsfeld's Rules

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Mything the Point ©:
"Examining unexamined beliefs America accepts on faith value"

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