by Letter published in the San Francisco Chronicle – August 18, 2003
The Pentagon bunglers claimed they need to balance their $400 budget by revoking the miserly “imminent danger pay” and “family separation allowances” for 157,000 enlisted men and women trapped in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Here’s a better idea: According to a Government Accounting Office investigation, the Pentagon somehow has lost track of $1.1 trillion in funds and equipment. Get the boys in brass to pony up the missing money and, voila!, problem solved.
As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, the Pentagon’s “Defense inventory systems [are] so lax that the US Army lost track of 56 airplanes, 32 tanks, and 36 Javelin missile command launch-units.”
The Chronicle explained that “waste has become ingrained in the Defense budget because opposition to defense spending is portrayed as unpatriotic.”
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) is one politician who believes that this massive Pentagon theft is “unpatriotic.” According to Waxman, “The Pentagon has failed to address financial problems that dwarf those of Enron. While vast sums of money are being siphoned off into hidden coffers, America’s schools, hospitals and public services are are facing cutbacks and closures.”
While it is near-impossible to comprehend a figure like $1.1 trillion, here’s an example that may appeal to cash-strapped Californians. If the Pentagon’s missing billions were returned to the states on a pro-rata basis, California’s share would be $128 billion — enough to erase the state’s budget crisis “three and a half times over.”
Outraged by Washington’s blithe dismissal of this unprecedented theft of taxpayer dollars? There is a citizen’s petition posted on the Internet that demands an answer to the question: “Where is the money?”
To learn more about the greatest theft in US history (and to sign the petition) go to: http://www.whereisthemoney.org
co-founder, Environmentalists Against War
San Francisco, California