The largest bureaucracy in our US government is the Department of Defense or DOD. The second largest bureaucracy in our government is the US Department of Veteran Affairs which is actually a wholely owned subsidiary of the DOD.
These two bureaucracies are where the tax money goes in America.
I spent eight years of active duty Army time, then I worked for civilian contracting firms who contracted services for the DOD for awhile, then I was US civil servant in support of DOD for a while. Today I am a service connected disabled Army veteran receiving medical care through the VA. I am not a complete dummy, nor am I blind, and during all of this exposure to the DOD and the VA I have had my eyes open watching what was going on.
DOD and the VA are a separate culture from the rest of America, and they are both much more powerful than either the Congress or the president. Ask your Congressman. The sole purpose of the DOD has become extracting money from the civilian economy (us) and funneling it to civilian contractors (huge corporations) who suck at the government teat. Together the DOD, the VA and the corporations they serve are known as the "military establishment." Or, as my friend Ross likes to see me call them, the "Hamburger Industrial Complex."
As a tree hugging liberal, progressive American I am just as concerned as anybody about the national debt and the insane spending of our government. I have kids and grand kids, and I can do simple arithmetic. And, I am not (as Glen Beck and Rush Bo and Fox News would have you believe) a "Bad American" either. I am just as good of an American as anybody.
The difference with me as a progressive liberal is that I see the financial problems as mostly a result of run-a-way "military" spending. And, I feel that most of the military spending is done as corporate welfare rather than for true defense purposes. I also feel that a lot of innocent people around the world are being murdered with our bombs and chemicals simply to keep profits up.
If you have never served in the military you have no idea of the scale of the waste and fraud it contains.
Just out of basic training in 1967, I was placed on work detail at Ft Knox Kentucky while awaiting orders for an assignment to a military specialty school. While on these work details, one of the jobs that I did was to sit on the floor in a military warehouse with dozens of other young newly minted soldiers for eight hours per day for a couple of weeks with a linoleum knife and cut big slits in brand new Army field jackets so that they could be thrown away as damaged goods and replaced by ordering more.
There were Sergeants and commissioned officers in charge of this, and they were checking closely to make sure that we made the cuts to the prescribed length so that the wonderful warm coats could be officially declared unusable and unrepairable and could consequently be legally thrown away.
Another job that I was assigned to during that period was to ride around Ft Knox in a truck with a group of young soldiers, going to various mess halls and pouring five gallon containers of wonderful fresh milk down the outdoor sewer drains. We disposed of hundreds of gallons of good milk in this manner everyday that I was on this work detail. A sergeant explained to me, that the Army (DOD) felt that that was easier (more lucrative) to pour the milk out rather than stopping and starting the orders for the milk from the civilian contractors at the end and beginning of troop training cycles at the base.
This was the beginning of a long career for me of watching the DOD and the VA treat tax money like it was an endless resource. Which for the DOD and the VA it is.
Many things I saw later in DOD were much worse. I have seen perfectly good Army vehicles smashed by earth movers and buried in pits so that they could be replaced. I have seen extremely expensive technical and scientific equipment loaded onto to covered trucks and driven around in a circuitous convoy for days, simply so that it would not show up on an inspection and prevent the ordering of duplicate expensive equipment, and thereby keep a government organization from failing to spend its full appropriation during a fiscal year, thus creating the danger of a reduction in the next fiscal years appropriations.
God forbid (in DOD thinking) that any DOD entity ever spend less money than it can get its hands on, and thus endanger next years increase in funding.
If you are a goat herder in a remote valley in a third world country, or an American taxpayer, the US DOD is absolutely your worst enemy.
DOD has killed the space program, kept us from transportation improvements enjoyed by the rest of the world, made basic single payer health insurance for all Americans a difficult sell, crippled education, insured that China and not the US will be the great power of the 21st century and it has put our great great great grand children in debt.
DOD has done all of this and worse by shoveling tax money out of the public till and into the fat pockets of the defense contractors. Defense contractors who build the golf courses and the bowling alleys and the huge plush military bases all over the world in places where we are resented for having a presence.
All this is good for the (too many) military Generals and the corrupt politicians and the "defense" contractors. But, it is very, very bad for America and for you and I and our descendants. And, this is why some liberals like ME get testy when Rush Limbaugh and his ilk blame all of our national financial problems on greedy welfare mothers wanting a quart of milk or disabled war veterans wanting the safe, dignified health care they were promised and are owed.
The truth (in my liberal progessive American eyes) is that if America would stop feeding the insatiable defense monkey, then we could cut taxes and STILL explore space and provide all citizens with safe dignified health care and educate our children and end poverty and lots of other good stuff, but the greedy guys selling the guns and bombs and golf courses and champagne to the US military object to that idea. They object because they are addicted to greedily eating up our national treasure while producing "cost plus" "war" materials for our fat Generals. Fat Generals who like dangerous toys with which to amuse themselves, when they are temporarily away from their favorite military golf courses.
Take it from one who has been inside the belly of the Hamburger Industrial Complex beast. The DOD is where the vast majority of the fraud and abuse takes place. http://WWW.NewHarmonyWatch.Com
Ron ...Posting from New Harmony, Indiana where those not following Rush and Glen are simple mindedly demonized as "bad Americans;" may God preserve us all from Sarah Palin and the Tea Partiers.