Who's Got the Money? It Sure Isn't Veterans
Money, Money, Who's Got the Money? It Sure Isn't Veterans
By Jack Dalton
It was approximately three years ago the GAO (General Accounting Office) attempted to do what congress requested: an audit of the DoD/Pentagon. After a solid year, the GAO had to report back to congress that they could not complete the audit as there was no supporting documentation to account for what had happened to a little over $1.4 Trillion, yes Trillion with a capital "T" that was MISSING!
Now today we learn that even more money is missing. The GAO (Government Accounting Office) has reported that the DoD has lost another $3.5 billion of taxpayer money-money and equipment have just disappeared and no one knows where. (SEE: DoD Management Control Breakdowns Result in Substantial Waste and Inefficiency)
Right now, with more people being sent off to war, on any given day there are between 300,000 to 500,000 veterans living on the streets of this nation. Congress sees fit to acquiesce to the DoD/Pentagon and White House demands for more money and they get a budget of $491 billion, which includes the $82 billion the senate recently voted 100-0 for; and at the same time veterans are being turned away from the V.A. due to substantial under funding. That brings the grand total to right at $300 billion in less, that's less, than three years; and all of it "borrowed" money. Since being lied into invading Iraq BushCo is averaging $125 billion a year just in Iraq alone.
Of the little over 360,000 veterans of this BushCo war of choice in Iraq, 85,000 have applied for care at the V.A. To date, right at 350,000 veterans of the first war in the Gulf are receiving disability from the V.A. and I've seen numbers as high as 150,000 that have been essentially told, "no more room at the Inn." There are Vietnam veterans that have fought for 30, 35 and 36 years for that which had been promised, which to paraphrase says, "to care for those who have borne the brunt of battle"
There are veterans from WWll and the Korean War that are still fighting for their rights as veterans as V.A. facilities are being closed forcing some of these veterans in their mid to late 70's and early 80's out of the V.A. nursing homes they currently are residents of-next stop, living on the streets.
We must all remember what David Cho at the Pentagon had to say about payments to veterans, "The amounts have gotten to the point where they are hurtful. They are taking away from the nation's ability to defend itself." Translation-"disability payments to veterans are a threat to our national security." Takes money away from those who started the very war that is creating more veterans needing V.A. healthcare-but then as Cho said, they [we] are now a threat to our national security.
Maybe that is why the head of the V.A. just recently announced the V.A. will review ALL of the veterans that have been given disability ratings and payments due to PTSD-Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome-between 1999 to 2005. The single biggest reason this nation has never admitted to the harm caused by the Agent Orange used in Vietnam is primarily because of the money that would have to be paid out. That is also the primary reason this nation is doing the very same thing to those who have been exposed to Depleted Uranium in the first Gulf War and the current invasion/occupation of Iraq. It's all about the money. There is enough money to start wars, to send people to fight the wars, but there is not enough money to take care of those sent to fight the wars.
The amount of money Rumsfeld's Department of War "loses" every few months would be more than enough to properly fund the V.A--instead veterans of this nation's wars are being denied access on a daily basis; others wait for months to get appointments for even basic medical services; specialized care is even worse-all due primarily to under funding. (SEE: From Vietnam to Iraq: Ignoring the Veteran Healthcare Crisis )
" GAO: Pentagon Squandering Billions on Excess Property
Tuesday, June 07, 2005 -- The Government Reform Committee National Security Subcommittee holds a hearing to examine a new GAO study on waste and inefficiency in the Defense Department. The report finds that the Department has improperly disposed of valuable equipment at a cost to taxpayers of more than $3.5 billion."
"The litany of Administration mismanagement of federal contracts is long and costly. The value of no-bid contracts has skyrocketed under the Bush Administration. Oversight of federal contracts has been turned over to private companies with blatant conflicts of interest. And when government auditors do find abuses, their recommendations are ignored.
Nearly every week, the papers are of full of stories of contract abuse. The Department of Homeland Security has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on security contracts that have produced virtually no results. The FBI has spent $170 million on "Virtual Case File" software that doesn't work. And in Iraq, Halliburton has overcharged by hundreds of millions of dollars, yet the Administration continues to shower the company with federal funds, bonuses, and special treatment."
- Rep Henry Waxman
While I may have missed the June 8th "Million Veteran March" on Washington, whatever it takes I will be at the march on Washington this September 24th. I hope that a lot of people make the plans and set aside that time to come to Washington. The one thing the people who keep creating these wars fear the most is an informed and mobilized public.
The people who run this country currently are destroying the nation's ability to pay for anything but war; while at the same time creating more veterans to toss aside. If for no other reason than the lack of fair and just treatment for veterans by this nations governing body, this alone is more than enough to march on Washington-something I will be doing, bad health, wheelchair and all! I hope to see many of you there-start making plans while there is still plenty of time.
The majority of the "advisors" and department heads Bush has surrounded himself with all come from the state of Texas. They have set the policies that have led us into this current war. They have set the policies that have us on the road to economic ruin. They have turned this nation into a military juggernaut the likes of which the world has never before seen. It would be good to remember the words of Dwight D Eisenhower as he saw this coming a long time ago: "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid." President Dwight Eisenhower, l952.
Unfortunately for us, the nation, and the rest of the world, the people Eisenhower called "stupid" in 1952 are now the one's running the country (over a cliff.) These people that were called "stupid" and the "crazies" regardless of whether they call themselves Democrats or Republicans are essentially two ends of the same "party" the way I see it. The illusion of two parties is what we are faced with. In fact, just recently the GOP stated it is out to completely restructure the federal government in their own image.
A $491 billion bloated War Department budget is helping to create deficits so high that the Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist "policy" of "Starve the Beast" so as to eliminate all social spending by breaking the bank, is well under way-and this definitely includes eliminating spending for and on veterans!
"The time has long since passed for ALL military veterans - especially career military retirees - to take up our arms and join in the struggle to restore ALL promised military pay and benefits...... "James Nolan Campbell, Senior MasterSergeant, United States Air Force Retired-military.com
"IT IS NOT 'UP TO SOMEONE ELSE' - IT'S UP TO US!"
1 in 4 Iraq and Afghan War Veterans Seek VA Medical Care
Uranium Education Project
on Iraq funds
Veterans of America Guide on PTSD
Butler: War is a Racket
Out to Restructure the Federal Government
Warn DoD Budget "Train-Wreck" Coming
Silent on Halliburton
Jack Dalton is a disabled Vietnam veteran, activist for veteran's rights, and writer who lives in Portland, OR. He is a columnist for the POAC as well as many other publications. He may be contacted thru his blog, Jack's Straight-Speak - http://jack-dalton.blogspot.com/