Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Well, now we know why our troops are wearing outmoded flak jackets and driving around in un-armored Hummers. Apparently, the Defense Department has been blowing money on unused airline tickets.
Between 1997 and 2003, the DoD spent over $100 Million on unused airline tickets, and then failed to get refunds. Even though refunds were available. They also bought over 68,000 first-class and business-class tickets when they should have been coach. Worst of all, they reimbursed claims by employees for tickets that the DoD bought. So, in essence, they paid twice for the ticket.
This is abysmal. And it's not a Democrat/Republican issue, as the time frame cuts across Clinton/Bush pretty evenly. The issue is that because of waste like this our men and women have been denied vital equipment.
An "up-armored" Hummer, the kind our soliders need in Iraq, costs roughly $185,000. Which means that these wasted tickets could have bought roughly 540 more armored Hummers for our men and women in Iraq. To supply all the soldiers in Iraq with the Interceptor vest (which can stop multiple AK-47 rounds) would cost less than $97 million at retail prices. Some troops already have the vest, so it would be even less. But I guess that's out of the question. Hey, at least some fat-asses at the Pentagon got to fly first-class:
"Too bad Johnny had to get killed wearing that Vietnam-era flak jacket...but look at the legroom I have in this seat!"
This has to be corrected. It'd also help if Rumsfeld killed the over-hyped, over-budget, under-performing F-22 program and invested that money where it's needed: our soldiers.