The U.S. government debt is closing in on $17 Trillion! Nearly one-third of Americans are on food stamps, while only 47 percent of all adults in the United States have a full-time job. Our financial house is a wreck and threatens to be demolished by a tsunami of poor government policies, regulations and programs. Here's one that should make your blood boil.
According to a report in the Washington Post, the State Department thought it would be a good idea to spend $34 million of the taxpayer's money building a 64,000 square foot complex of offices and operations center that compose the U.S. Military’s headquarters in Afghanistan. In addition, a building to repair the military’s vehicles and other equipment cost $45 million. And the State Department spent $80 million and signed a 10-year lease on a site for a consulate. Well, "This is war", you might say. "And it costs money to run a war; and the Military's top brass need proper access and materiel at the front."
But here's a little known fact .... These sites are expected to see little or no use. Why? They have either been deemed in a dangerous location, or relatively useless, as the U.S. military moves forward with its plan to pull out combat troops by 2014. Quoting the article : But some senior officers see the giant headquarters as the whitest elephant in a war littered with wasteful, dysfunctional and unnecessary projects funded by American taxpayers. A hulking presence at the center of Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province, it has become the butt of jokes among Marines stationed there and an object lesson for senior officers in Kabul and Washington.
The top Marine commander in Helmand sent a memo to the U.S. headquarters in Kabul three years ago stating that the new structure was unnecessary. But his assessment was ignored or disregarded by officers issuing contracts for construction projects, according to senior military officials familiar with the issue.
The building’s amenities also have prompted alarm among senior officers. A two-star Marine general who has toured the facility called it “better appointed than any Marine headquarters anywhere in the world.” A two-star Army general said the operations center is as large as those at the U.S. Central Command or the supreme allied headquarters in Europe.
“What the hell were they thinking?” the Army general said. “There was never any justification to build something this fancy.”
Even more upsetting is the letter sent to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John Sopko. In his very candid letter, Mr. Sopko stated, in part, that "One senior U.S. military official told me that this facility was designed for a military division that was never deployed and, subsequently, a decision was made not to construct the facility, but inexplicably the building construction started and is now complete. Military officials explained this is an example of what is wrong with military construction in general— once a project is started, it is very difficult to stop." He furthermore stated that, "According to a senior U.S. military official, as the footprint of Camp Leatherneck decreases, the building could be outside the security perimeter, thereby making it unsafe for the U.S. military to occupy it. This leaves the military with two primary options—demolish the building or give it to the Afghan government."
How did this gross mismanagement come to pass? Apparently, it all started in 2009, when the President decided to surge more troops to southern Afghanistan to beat back Taliban insurgents. Army planners in South Carolina and at the Pentagon determined that Camp Leatherneck, which had been selected as the headquarters for Marine forces in the south, required a sophisticated command-and-control facility. If they had listened to the officers in the field, we taxpayers might have been spared more debt laid on our backs. In fact, when Marine officers in Helmand heard of the plans, they objected. The commander at the time, then-Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills, believed his plywood-walled headquarters was sufficient and made that clear to his superiors in Kabul.
But mysteriously, and inexplicably, as the troop presence decreased, the building progress went full-steam ahead. And even after our administration decided to remove an additional 34,000 troops this year, the project continued apace. Cubicles filled the floor. Theater seats arrived. The contractor made modifications to address problems with emergency exits. And now we have a multi-million dollar boondoggle sitting unused and unoccupied .... which will most likely be demolished.
A two-star Army general at the Pentagon calls it "terribly embarrassing." I call it careless, shameful and unethical. Those are the nicest words I could come up with. This is just another example of the slide toward degeneracy that is becoming America's hallmark. Unfortunately, we seem to be mirroring the decline of the once great Roman Empire, in which their military institutions degenerated in much the same manner as their political and social institutions. The corruption of these segments, combined with increased taxation and an escalating cost of operating the State, resulted in a stagnant economy and the eventual destabilization of the Empire. Sound familiar? Just think how that money could have been used to relieve the tax burden of every American, or at least been applied to a program that benefitted our citizens. We cut Meals on Wheels for this?
Proverbs 13:16 "In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly."