Pigs at the trough once again

Pentagon Criticized for Armor Contracts

The Defense Department put U.S. troops in Iraq at risk by awarding contracts for badly needed armored vehicles to companies that failed to deliver them on time, according to a review by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

The June 27 report, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, examined 15 contracts worth $2.2 billion awarded since 2000 to Force Protection Inc. and Armor Holdings Inc.

Mike Aldrich one of Force Protection’s vice presidents replied, “Government reports are largely written by lawyers and look intimidating when you pick them up, but our vehicles perform well in theater and have saved the lives of troops.” Which is a non-answer to the issue. Maybe Force didn’t realize they would have supply problems at first, but at some point there was a relaization they would not be able to deliver per their contract. That would have been the time that an ethical and morally responsible company would have sounded the alarm and notified the Pentagon that they could not meet their obligations. Aldrich’s response, yea, but once we did get the supplies we made a good product. That’s not the point. According to Political MoneyLine Aldrich gave $2750 to the Republican National Committee or to Republican organizations, so if he sounds like he spins like a Bill O’Reilly Republican its because he is. Various Force Protection executives have given about $13550.00 to Republicans just in the 2004/2006 election cycle. Armor Holdings of Jacksonville, Fla., you know the company that sold those armored Humvees that are practically worthless as far as armored patrol vehicles has given a good chuck of change through its political action committee Armor Holdings Inc. Political Action Committee – Total Republican donations $31, 750, Total Democrat donations $ 6,500 (83% Republican, 17% Democrat). Warren B. Kanders ( COB and CEO) of Armor gave $2000 to the Bush-Cheney ticket in 2004 and of $9500 given to candidates in 2006 he gave $7600 to Republicans. Its safe to say that this is another Republican scandal. Another instance where Republicans were feeding like pigs at the government trough and Republicans were giving the boots on the ground that they supposedly cry crocodile tears over the shaft.
Related articles: Breaking: Armor-Makers “Risked Soldiers’ Lives,” Says Pentagon I.G.

One of the themes that the report highlights is the resistance of officials to pursue competition, even when it was evident that other options were out there. This comes up, for example, with Force Protection’s Cougar MRAP vehicle

And, Pentagon IG Slams Contractors for Poor Humvee Armor

As for Armor Holdings — which, by the way, is being purchased by the much-investigated BAE Systems — one subsidiary, Simula Aerospace and Defense Group, delivered to TACOM armor kits with “missing and unusable components” and missed several shipment deadlines, resulting in “increasing risk to the lives of soldiers.”

Note the trolls at TPM who make basically the same argument that Aldrich made, that they make a good product. That is not at issue at present. What is at issue is first the contracts awarded without bids. OK you can make the argument that such a step was necessary because of the urgent need for the vehicles, but that doesn’t excuse not taking action once FP knew they had supply problems. Another troll suggested that the story is hurtful because it is aimed at the employees who are doing their best. Again another red herring. The rank and file employees at both companies are just that, they show up for work and are directed to perform tasks by their bosses. No doubt those front line workers want to deliver a well made product on time that they take pride in, but it is the executives who make the call on whether the company can deliver on its promises and what to do if they cannot. You have to hand it to the trolls for doing their part to redirect the issue away from the core problem; executives for these contractors have been damn close to criminally negligent.

GOP Pundit Outed In DC Madam Scandal

Via Citizens for Legitimate Government:

The phone number for GOP political operative/conservative pundit, John (Jack) M. Burkman Jr. – Principal J.M. Burkman & Associates, Arlington, VA – appears in the database of phone records of the ‘DC Madam.’ From the phone logs: 2006-01-15 18:44 1.00

As C&L points out many may remember Burkman as trying to get some sex play for pay. Think Progress notes that Burkman has recently done lobbying work for Family Research Council ( founded by right-wing christianist James Dobson), Caring To Love Ministries, and America’s Heros of Freedom.

Finally a reporter does their job and confronts Bush with some reality based questions, Reporter Smacks Bush With the Truth!

Q Mr. President, you started this war, a war of your choosing, and you can end it alone, today, at this point — bring in peacekeepers, U.N. peacekeepers. Two million Iraqis have fled their country as refugees. Two million more are displaced. Thousands and thousands are dead. Don’t you understand, you brought the al Qaeda into Iraq. THE PRESIDENT: Actually, I was hoping to solve the Iraqi issue diplomatically. That’s why I went to the United Nations and worked with the United Nations Security Council, which unanimously passed a resolution that said disclose, disarm or face serious consequences. That was the message, the clear message to Saddam Hussein. He chose the course.

Q Didn’t we go into Iraq –

THE PRESIDENT: It was his decision to make. Obviously, it was a difficult decision for me to make, to send our brave troops, along with coalition troops, into Iraq.

Does Bush not know that Saddam complied with every demand placed on him by the U.N. weapons inspectors???

Bush demanded U.N. access to the Presidential palaces and he got it. Bush demanded surprise inspections and he got it. Bush demanded all records of Iraq’s WMD’s and he got it.

That’s why the U.N. Security Council refused to pass a second resolution authorizing Bush’s invasion.

Bush might be suffering from O.J. syndrome, he has weaved this intricate series of lies for so long that he has convinced himself they’re true. Remember the Downing Street memo,

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. – George Washington