Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


A Whole Different Class of People Here

A Whole Different Class of People Here

by Tony Russell, WarIsACrime.org
June 26, 2013

http://warisacrime.org/content/whole-different-class-people-here

I was flabbergasted when the the Congressional Research Service reported on May 17 that the Pentagon didn’t have a clue what the 108,000 contractors the Department of Defense (DOD) has in Afghanistan were actually doing--let alone how well they were doing it.

Fortunately, my Uncle Jimmy, who works at the Pentagon, was in for the weekend, and I got a chance to ask him about it.

“Jimmy,” I said, “is this true? You guys don’t really have any idea what these people are doing?”

He laughed. “Take it easy, Ace,” he said. “You know how you media guys blow things out of proportion.”

I felt better already. “Great. Could you put it in proportion for me?” I glanced at my notes. “According to the report, DOD spent $160 billion with contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq these past six years. That seems like a lot of money to go unaccounted for.”

“Not a bit,” he scoffed. “We actually save money by eliminating oversight. We have over 40,000 more contracted employees in the country than we do troops! Do you know how many people it would take to actually keep track of over a hundred thousand contract employees and monitor their work?”

“Gee, I don’t know,” I said. “A thousand?”

“Guess again,” he said. “More like ten to sixteen thousand. So we’ve saved, off the top of my head, somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 to $20 billion by eliminating supervision.”

“That’s a high-priced neighborhood,” I joked. “But I’d think you’d be worried about theft and corruption and inefficiency and work going undone and people goofing off. Things like that.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” he said, shocked. “Ace, these are U.S. defense contractors you’re talking about. They’re the biggest and the best. If you can’t trust KBR, DynCorp, Fluor, Washington Group International, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and corporations like that to give you an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, who can you trust?”

I was silent for a minute, and he looked at me. “I know that look, Ace. You’re actually thinking. What is it?” he asked.

“I was thinking about ‘corporate welfare,’ and just remembering those news stories back in the 70s when Ronald Reagan and Reader’s Digest hammered the welfare system and ‘welfare queens’” I told him. “Cities and states have kept an eagle eye out for welfare fraud ever since. You see governments zeroing in on welfare clients all the time. Charlottesville cracked down on more than a dozen in April for taking money they allegedly weren’t entitled to. Most of them were charged with siphoning off a thousand to four thousand dollars.”

“Defrauding the system. That’s outrageous, isn’t it?” said Jimmy. “But what’s your point? I don’t see any connection. We’re talking about a whole different class of people here.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

New HiveMind Project: What Should We Do About Sugar?

While most people agree that increased sugar consumption is a major cause of too many New Zealanders being overweight and obese, what we should do about this remains a matter of debate and argument. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Vladimir Putin’s Wonderful, Fabulous, Very Good Year

Safe to say that no-one, but no-one has had a better 2016 than Vladimir Putin. What an annus mirabilis it has been for him. Somehow, Russia got away with directly interfering in the US election process, such that a friendly oligarch is about to take up residence in the White House, rather than a genuine rival. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On The Media Normalisation Of Trump

We all supposedly agree that the media is going to hell in a tabloid handbasket, but the trends to the contrary can be a bit harder to spot. In his 1970s book The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe had mocked the way the media instinctively acts as what he called The Victorian Gentleman. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: The Reality Of Fake News

Fake news as reality; the inability to navigate the waters in which it swims; a weakness in succumbing to material best treated with a huge pinch of salt. That, we are told, is the new condition of the global information environment. More>>

Alastair Thompson: Helen Kelly And The Compassionless People
I wasn't a close friend of Helen Kelly's. But her passing has moved me to tears more than once in the past two weeks. I feel honoured to be one of the many who worked with her and was helped by her. More>>

Postnatal Depression: 'The Thief That Steals Motherhood' - Alison McCulloch

Post-natal depression is a sly and cruel illness, described by one expert as ‘the thief that steals motherhood’, it creeps up on its victims, hiding behind the stress and exhaustion of being a new parent, catching many women unaware and unprepared. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On News From The US Election Eve

Here’s a somewhat scary headline from October 30 on Nate Silver’s 538 site, which summed up the statistical factors in play at that point: “The Cubs Have A Smaller Chance Of Winning Than Trump Does” More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news