Veterans Voting Bloc

Washington State Chapter

Points to consider


From: Charles Heckman


Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, where is the trillion dollars?


   Once again, a concurrent receipt bill has been defeated, not by an open vote of the House or Senate but by behind the scenes doctoring of a bill in a Senate committee.  The Bush administration opposes concurrent receipt, mainly due to the advice of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.  He has convinced Bush that it will cost too much.  If every retired military man or woman who might apply for it actually does, the government will have to come up with as much as $4.7 billion per year.


   The San Francisco Chronicle just published a story on mismanagement at the Department of Defense (DOD).  According to the article, about one trillion dollars has been lost.  It is really lost.  Nobody knows what happened to much of this money.  By simple math, it is easy to calculate that the missing money would be enough to pay all of the disabled and potentially disabled retired military personnel in the United States both retirement and disability payments for a period of 200 years and have $60 billion left over.  Needless to say, most disabled, retired military personnel will not survive more than about 20 years.&nb! sp; That also means that only about 0.47% the theft and waste at the DOD would cover the cost of one year of concurrent receipt.


   This gives veterans a pretty strong justification to ask Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld why he can’t manage his department just a little more efficiently and give our veterans just a small percentage of what they earned through their sacrifices for the country.  If he cannot do even this, maybe it is time that we demanded the appointment of a Secretary of Defense with better management ability.  Is there nobody in our country with the guts to interfere with the thievery, sloppiness, and incompetence of our Federal civil service and the military departments they oversee?


   We should also ask our senators and representatives what should have a higher priority, giving a disabled, retired veteran a monthly income slightly above rather than below the poverty level or letting some DOD civil servant spend $640 for each toilet seat purchased or lose track of the whereabouts of 56 aircraft, 32 tanks, and 36 javelin missile command launch units, as Tom Abate reported in the San Francisco Chronicle.


   According to the article, Secretary Rumsfeld has admitted that “the financial reporting systems of the Pentagon are in disarray.  … they’re not capable of providing the kinds of financial management information that any large corporation would have.”  We should ask the Secretary of Defense whose fault that is.  He has been in his office since 2001 and is criticizing his own department’s handling of funds.  Obviously, Secretary Rumsfeld finds it more important to take $4.7 billion out of the hides of disabled veterans than to keep track of the $1 trillion dollars that the employees he is supervising have already “lost.”  So why don’t our elected legisl! ators cut off the funds until all of the leaks are repaired.  With only a tiny percentage of the losses, full concurrent receipt could be financed.


   No matter how rich a country is, corruption can grow enough to bankrupt it if left unchecked.