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Ben Freeman – (POGO) – November 21, 2012 – In addition to extramarital affairs and “flirtatious e-mails,” the General Petraeus sex scandal highlighted another of the Pentagon’s dirty little secrets – generals live like billionaires, and taxpayers are footing the bill.

As the Washington Post reported on Saturday, these perks “befitting a billionaire,” include, “palatial homes, drivers, security guards and aides to carry their bags, press their uniforms and track their schedules in 10-minute increments. Their food is prepared by gourmet chefs. If they want music with their dinner parties, their staff can summon a string quartet or a choir.”

Lavish perks bestowed to generals increase with higher ranks, as Raymond Dubois, former DoD director of Administration and Management from 2002 to 2005, told Air Force Times. “A four-star has an airplane. A three-star often doesn’t…Can a three-star get an airplane when he needs it? Not always. Does a four-star get an airplane when he needs it? Always. Many times he’ll already have a G5 sitting on the runway, gassed up. There are the kinds of costs that are fairly significant when you add them all up,” according to Dubois.

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Severe soil settling has caused this guardhouse to lean and its surrounding walls to crack. SIGAR has recently identified significant soil stability issues at the construction site of the Kunduz ANA garrison. (SIGAR photo)

Senators see ‘harm to taxpayers’ in government’s decision to pay contractor for inadequate and incomplete work on construction contracts in Afghanistan

(Office of Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) – WASHINGTON – November 20, 2012 -In a bipartisan effort to protect taxpayer dollars, U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) today sought answers from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) concerning its decision to approve a $70.8 million dollar settlement with the contractor DynCorp International for faulty construction of an Afghan Army garrison. According to a report by the Special IG for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) that questioned the settlement, some of the structures built by the contractor had completely “failed” and were either “unsafe, uninhabitable, or unusable.”

In a letter to Lieutenant General Thomas Bostick, Commanding General and Chief of Engineers for the Army Corps, McCaskill and Collins address multiple reports of waste and mismanagement associated with the contract, asking General Bostick to provide them with information that would justify the $70.8 million settlement.

“It looks like we paid $70 million for a contract that delivered next to nothing-any reasonable person is going to ask why,” said McCaskill, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight. “Every taxpayer dollar spent in Afghanistan is a dollar that wasn’t spent to build a school or repair a road right here at home, and I think it’s critical that we really scrutinize what we’re getting for the money we’re spending on projects halfway around the world.”

“Many questions are raised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to let Dyncorp off the hook for poor performance in a settlement agreement made in connection with contracts to construct a garrison for the Afghan National Army,” said Collins, the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “The Corps of Engineers has been unable to provide a justification, despite repeated requests from Congress and the Special IG for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The IG audit on the construction of this garrison documented a number of failures. Such failures undermine our national security objective in Afghanistan to train and support the Afghan National Army. This settlement agreement appears to be yet another inexcusable failure of oversight that undermines the overall mission in Afghanistan and wastes taxpayer dollars.”

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Returning War Contractors Face Second Battle, Against AIG

Posted November 15, 2012 By Ms Sparky
After his rig bottomed out in a bomb crater, AIG made former KBR trucker David Boiles of Willis suffer through 14 months of agonizing back pain and sciatica before they authorized surgery. – Photo Daniel Kramer

In the summer and fall of 2004, 58-year-old William Manning was working east of the Green Zone in Iraq. As a labor foreman, Manning, a marine Vietnam vet, was overseeing and escorting other civilian contractors at a work site near the police academy where Iraqi rookie cops were trained. ~Mine Fields: Injured Iraq/Afghanistan Contractors Fight to Get Compensated for War Wounds

Whatever your role in the U.S. war effort, if you were injured overseas, at least you’d be covered back home, right?

John Nova Lomax – November 14, 2012 – Ever since that June day in 2010 when the roadside bomb detonated ten feet from the cab of his truck on a dusty road in Iraq, Terry Enzweiler has not been the same. He gets lost coming back from the same grocery store he’s shopped in hundreds of times; his daughter had to buy him a GPS to help him navigate his own neighborhood. He takes Xanax and Zoloft to combat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The Xanax stops me from jumping through the roof when a pencil falls on the floor,” he says.

Even medicated, his blood still curdles when he hears Arabic spoken on TV or drives through one of the Chicago area’s Muslim neighborhoods. He wore earplugs for much of the week leading up to and right through the Fourth of July. “Those half-sticks sound just like a .50-cal,” he says, referring to a type of heavy machine gun.

The chuck-chuck of helicopter blades terrifies him, as does the sight of his own 25-year-old son. In Iraq, 46-year-old Enzweiler, a recent client of Houston attorney Gary Pitts, saw a dead Iraqi child who looked just like his boy did 13 years ago. “My psychiatrist said it’s like a marriage where there’s been infidelity,” he says in a phone interview. “The wife forgives the husband. Two years later, she sees a blond woman in a blue dress. Two years prior, the other woman looked like that. So in the mind, the two images come together, and for absolutely no reason, you become furious, and your subconscious takes over. It’s the same thing now. When I see my son, I think of that kid. I saw some horribly gruesome stuff over there.”

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Despite the warnings, a worrisomely large number of senior officers have been investigated and even fired for poor judgment, malfeasance and sexual improprieties or sexual violence — and that is just in the last year. ~ Thom Shanker, New York Times

Another top general ensnared in Petraeus scandal

Jay Bookman – (Atlanta Journal Constitution) – November 13, 2012 – I guess if you create a culture in which generals are treated as rock stars, they eventually begin to act like, well, rock stars.

Complete with groupies.

As The Washington Post reports:

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT — The FBI probe into the sex scandal that led to the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus has expanded to ensnare Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced early Tuesday.

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Truthout: Binders Full of Generals

Posted November 6, 2012 By Forseti

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

Dina Rasor – ( Truthout | Solutions) – October 25, 2012 – Longtime military watchdog and Truthout editor Dina Rasor paints a well-informed picture of what might be motivating the 359 retired senior military officers endorsing the GOP presidential candidate, and asks: if we continue to allow them and their peers to throw their rank around in the political arena, what message does that send to more junior members of the military, not to mention the public?

On October 17, Mitt Romney’s campaign announced that he had received the endorsement of 359 retired generals and admirals in the form of a “military advisory council,” thus furthering the corruption of former military members through politics and defense money. There may be many personal reasons that these retired military would want to endorse Mr. Romney – based on my past 30 years’ experience investigating the military, I can think of a few reasons.

Money, Money, Money

Mr. Romney has promised to shoot the defense budget into the stratosphere at levels that have been unseen since the height of the Korean War. As in a past column, I have inserted here a chart that I think is one of the most significant of the presidential campaign, and it should be passed around to as many people possible before the election. Read the remainder of this entry »

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