Money meant to pay for fuel, ammunition, spare parts, supplies, and training for American troops, including those who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been diverted to pork barrel projects, according to the Washington Times.
“Among the 778 such projects, known as earmarks, packed into the bill: $25 million for a new World War II museum at the University of New Orleans and $20 million to launch an educational institute named after the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.”
The amount of the earmarks, which does not include purchases of military hardware not requested by the military, comes to about 2.6 billion dollars.
Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican and an opponent of earmarking, has suggested that short falls in funds are already beginning to affect military training and readiness.
The mind boggles at the spectacle of a Senate that seems intent at shortchanging American soldiers, fighting a remorseless enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan, for things like a monument to the late Teddy Kennedy. Usually when Democrats gut military spending, the reasons are somewhat less venal, albeit just as objectionable to soldiers who may be asked to fight without adequate training and supplies.
The earmarking is taking place on top of Obama administration gutting of military spending in the middle of the War on Terror. The cancellation of the F 22, it is said for budget reasons, smacks of a certain lack of care for the need for a modern air superiority fighter in the future. But what the Congress has done is far worse.
Grabbing money meant for the maintenance of the troops smacks of a return to the so called “hollow military” of the 1970s during which while the armed forces remained strong on paper, they lacked the equipment, training, and supplies necessary to fight. It took the election of President Ronald Reagan and the biggest military buildup of the Post World War II era to repair the damage and to create the military that helped to win the Cold War without firing a shot.
Besides the War on Terror, the United States faces threats from a possible nuclear Iran, a certain nuclear North Korea, the rise of China as a super power, and the revival of Russia and a troublemaker. And those are just the problems that are obvious.
Usually when the Congress earmarks, it is just wasting money. But the Senate, by stealing from the troops to earmark, risks wasting the lives of our bravest and best. It is a disgrace and ought to be stopped.
Source U.S. troop funds diverted to pet projects, Shaun Waterman, Washington Times, October 15th, 2009