17 February 2007

A VC Post - Pork is for Terrorists

The following is a post of mine at the Victory Caucus, re-iterating some ideas I have hit upon over time. All spelling and syntax left as-is to show the deficiencies of the writer:

Pork is for Terrorists

That heading was a title to a piece I did early on after looking at Congressional Warpowers for properly scoping out the actual needs on the GWoT and then a concept of how the GWoT needed identifiable policy goals. Needless to say I was not enthused by Congresscritters asking 'what is the role that Congress plays in warfare?', because it points to them being unable to actually read the document they are sworn to uphold and defend.

Be that as it may, the general concept is one in which you cannot say that Congress has committed to any War completely, and then turn around and do Pork Barrel spending. In point of fact as a Congresscritter one has no justification for saying that the US Armed Forces have, as one Democrat put on Mr. O'Reilly's program last night, 'beat down tanks, not enough body armor, not enough armored HUMVEEs' and so on while spending gross amounts on personal, pet projects for one's District or State at the expense of the Union. That is not only disingenuous, but it is a direct betrayal of the built-in checks and balances of the Constitution. Congress is given the Budgetary Power so as to help oversee the National Budget and administer it. They have so rarely passed the budget handed to the by the Executive, that this has become a joke and mere formality in modern politics. So, when one takes over the budgetary area completely in this way, what you cannot then turn around and say is that enough money is not bein put into *any* effort under Federal purview.

This is particularly apparent in wartime where previous Congresses have handed broad and sweeping powers for Executive oversight on National Industry to ensure wartime supply needs are met. The Congressional check is to ensure the infrastructure of the Nation is properly scaled and scoped to meet a conflict or, as the Constitution puts it, 'Danger' so that the National interest is looked after and those serving to protect the Nation have everything they could possibly need in the fight.

This is a check not only in redacting funds and oversight of contracts, but it is a balance for a President that does not properly comprehend the size, type and length of War the Nation is in. The Congress is given charge of oversight of the size of the Armed Forces, their supply and overall functioning in defense of the Nation. If a member of Congress puts forward that: 'The military does not have enough of X' in the way of goods and THEN votes for Pork Spending, that is a direct and clear abdication of responsibility and a breaking of the Oath of Office. When America gets into a Congressionally mandated War, Congress then must put forward the proper infrastructure, supplies, and goods to ensure the US Armed Forces have enough to win the battle and must push that past a President who is lacking the foresight or mental capability to properly address the size, scope and commitment to the war in the Executive Budget sent to Congress.

Congress does this for earmarks and pork continuously in other areas, but also in the black and white budget of the DoD. Congress has forced new and generally unwanted weapons systems and supply schemas upon the Armed Forces so that every District and State gets 'a piece of the pie'. And yet when looking towards the actual, tactical needs of supply, provisioning and assuring that enough material and warfighting equipment that is useful gets to the Armed Forces, Congress has continually meddled in those so as to fatten up those budgets for pure political, personal and partisan gain. The complaints about high procurement costs are a direct attribution to the Congressional procurement regulations that the Federal Government must adhere to. The idea that there is not enough production capacity to meet wartime needs flies in the face of those same regulations that have, for the DoD side, wartime powers that can be exercised so that vital industries supply the warfighter for their needs. And if those industries are not *enough* Congress must provision for new Arsenals and military production plants under Federal control, utilize such patents and other works as necessary to start those production lines up and then employ the necessary people to ensure that such goods are made. Such was the case with the Mitchell Bomber during WWII and other production needs in various wars: Congress ensures the infrastructure of the Nation is prepared to meet the needs of the fight.

To those in Congress who don't want the troops in 'battered tanks': Properly fund the upgrading of old tanks and start a NEW procurement on a COMPRESSED timeline for getting a brand NEW tank constructed and fielded in the shortest time possible.

To those in Congress who say there is not enough body armor: Open up a NEW Arsenal, use the patents and expertise of the existing suppliers and start NEW production lines under Federal wartime control for the duration of the War.

To those in Congress who want more armored HUMVEES: If the current contracts are not enough then follow suit at a NEW Arsenal and start up armored HUMVEE production under Federal wartime control.

And start to answer questions like: Why has the NLOS-C not gone from demonstrator to production?

Why have you let the DoD dilly-dally about the OICW and not force them to get on the ball with the next generation of infantry warfighting equipment?

Where is the DDX for the Navy so that multi-role vessels can be constructed for easy refit to new missions?

Why does Congress NOT push for the fast scaling up of Railgun technology for the Navy to reach test platforms and then use designs on new vessels for low cast, deep inland fire support?

As Combat Air Support is proving to be extremely vital, why have you only upgrade the A-10 airfleet and not put out a requisition for a NEW CAS aircraft system?

As there is a company looking to low cost methods to get to orbit, why have you not pushed for this for the Air Force so as to give them global battle-space oversight and management with secure comms from orbit?

Not pushing for proper supplies, proper maintenance and actually PAYING for them is a complete abdication of Congressional responsibility under the Federal System. It is more than just denying the President, it is to ensure that the Wars that Congress commits the Nation to are fought to Victory.


Paying for Pork spending is defeatist and a direct denial that Congress actually cares about the Union or its Armed Forces.

That destroys the National will and erodes its confidence in the Federal system.

It is defeatist.

Actions taken to undermine the will of the American People to fight is succumbing to terrorism and eroding National sovereignty.

Pork is for terrorists.


That ended the post, but I will add this priceless quote:

We do adjust what the Defense Department asks for. That is our job. Our job is to try and set the priorities for the Defense Department. Now, we are going to go back to conference. We are going to look at all the things, the adjustments that the Members have asked for, the concern that they have about the various issues, and if I remember on the floor, there was an amendment to reduce defense in the initial phase, before the conference, by 5 percent, by 3 percent. Both of those were defeated substantially.
Any guesses as to the speaker?

Could be any blowhard in Congress, really.

From: Congressional Record: October 18, 1995 (House)

The speaker?

Rep. John Murth (D-PA)

Why, yes, Mr. Murtha... now where the hell are you on wising up your colleagues to this little fact? Or yourself, for that matter?


SERENDIP said...

Absolutely, the Congress can't be saying we're supporting the troops without supporting their mission.

And like you said, if the military is overstretched or if we don't have this or that as one of Congressman said in the video prepared by Rep. Eric Cantor...to deter people who wish us ill requires us to have the ability to move men and equipment very quickly around the world and any type of an inhibition of that capbility is dangerous to U.S.".

So, what are we waiting for? If this capability is undermined by our invasion of Iraq then Why don't we do something about it instead of broadcasting to the world and to our enemies that we're defensless against our enemies because we made some errors 5 years ago?

A Jacksonian said...

Serendip - What we are seeing is beyond mere partisanship, it is willful destruction of the Nation's ability to define itself and then defend those definitions. Every war has mistakes in it, and problems that are beset on all plans because the enemy shows up or not to ruin one's perfect plan.

That is why they are called: The Enemy.

We had planned on the Iraqi Government surviving in some form. It didn't. It evaporated and was not coming back.
The same for their military: it ran and individuals were ditching uniforms as they ran and putting on civilian clothing.
Mistakes in Fallujah and Mosul were set to rights, finally, but initial mistakes caused longer term problems.

Those are not reasons to *run*.

Using the deaths of innocents at the hands of butchers is no reason to *run*... it is a reason to stay and fight harder if you truly believe in those documents that define the Nation.

And using the deaths of soldiers who volunteer for duty and re-up in record amounts is a horrible reason to run as the men and women who are the Citizen Soldiers understand the fight itself better than any politician ever will. They ask for the tools to win and damn the cost in blood as it is worth the blessing of liberty and freedom.

Those who spend on Pork, deride the Armed Forces and then conveniently forget their duties are attacking America asymmetrically.

Those that do such are called: terrorists.

Pork is for terrorists.

And those doing the cramming of the Pork into the budget and then decrying lack of funds are Congress.

Congress is a terrorist organization at this point by no longer upholding their Sworn Oaths to the Constitution, the Nation and We the People.

As I said quite some time ago: the trend-lines for Iraq have been good and getting better all the time - those for the US are not so good.

I have hard problems placing a 10 year bet on survival for these two Nations. At this point Iraq is the better bet as the People there are learning about what it means to build a future... while all we learn is how to destroy our own.

As Franklin pointed out, and I paraphrase: 'We can hang together... or we assuredly will hang separately.'

Harrison said...

I grinned at your last line there: pork is for terrorists!

When Congress Checks Out

When I read the above article, I was flabbergasted at the decrepit, corruptible state of affairs at this ailing institution, now being resurrected by festering zombie-like Democrats for their own vested interests.

Profiteering at its dirtiest and most treasonous, Congress has shown itself to be utterly incapable of providing the moral, institutional and financial support necessary for our troops to survive and win wars - not only abroad, but when the fight comes (as it inevitably will) to our shores, at home as well. Wallowed up in its greed and partisanship, it is an enemy of the Constitution and of the people by extension.

Absolutely hypocritical and repulsive - that's what I feel about them when I hear they don't have enough money to support our troops.

Harrison said...

re: Murtha

He seems to be reworking Rumsfeld's earlier soundbite:

"You go to war with the army Congress permits, not with what the DOD deems necessary."

Purple Avenger said...

Why has the NLOS-C not gone from demonstrator to production?

We may not even be able to produce something like that anymore in volume. A lot of the big guns ever since WWII were made at the Arsenal in Watervliet NY. It is virtually shutdown as a cannon manufacturing operation now. Space on the base is being rented out to various area commercial firms and for general office space.

Hildabeast and Chuckie haven't been very impressive in directing any contracts there.

Purple Avenger said...

Even worse with Watervliet is that core competencies in running the operation have been lost due to its lengthy idleness. The electricians who understood the 1930's wiring and machines are all retired or dead, the machinists who operated all the older gear are gone, the electroplating skill set/businesses in the area has been allowed to dry up (or was flat out driven out of business intentionally).

Even if we wanted to get that operation humming again, it would take 5 years to get it back online operating like it was during the Vietnam war.

A Jacksonian said...

Harrison - Coming from the inside I can tell you that the level of Congressional meddling, putting forth pork projects, threatening Agencies that have limited budgets to do their actual *jobs* and then having to waste time and energy on Congressionally Directed Actions (CDA) is disgusting. On the R&D side from where I come, many workers and staff get stuck supporting such things and then have less time available to do their jobs because job positions do NOT come with CDAs. Thus staff time for important projects is reduced, which makes accountability and oversight within the government more difficult. These are pure *personal* favors that Congress puts into the budget to exploit the Federal Government. And they effect anything they touch in that same way. It is corrosive to running government.

I disagree that the DoS actually had a useful plan as it has been the source of 'Realists' in the ME and they have FAILED at their understanding of any society there. No one could make a post-war plan because no one wanted to do the necessary hard and deep research into just how bad off Iraq was as a *society*. You could not hold the Ba'athists in the government nor military as they had RUN. They were not coming back. They had self-de-Ba'athisized the Iraqi regime overnight. Jay Garner couldn't find them and he spent MONTHS there trying to find them.

That is the outcome of not having a State Dept. that is non-partisan and works *for* the Administration: old Foreign Policy wonks become fossils weighing down the outlook of the bureaucracy. The entire policy staff of the DoS needs to go with each and every Administration and NO personnel beyond simple paper-pushers kept on. Policy is for the Executive, not for the government to put forth in the Foreign realm.

The highly destructive 'middle-man' role they play is anathema to the Federal system.

The #1 telling point in the article was the length of time that Representatives *serve*. I can only offer one way to END that: ending the right of Congress to set its own size and going for a Maximum House. Change the Representational proportion to 1:30,000, eliminate direct staff to Represenatives and make them have a *job*. The House was supposed to be a place where the common man could find a voice as getting the local folks necessary to have a *voice* in Federal Government was not meant to be a hurdle. Today the House coordinates just as many people, has office space for them and generally manages with that many when you take their direct staff into account. In point of fact you would have FEWER people to run the place, but they would ALL be Represenattives. A citizen would no longer be 'flacked' by a staffer. And as distance voting and such is done *now* that can be expanded so that the House goes 'virtual'. Large corporations like Boeing and Microsoft easily manage with distributed staff like that via email and other systems, and there are secured, national systems on the DoD side that could be utilized for that.

This is an Aristocracy that is in place, functionally by definition.

That means they treat the Nation like Aristocrats always do: we are plebes, serfs. No longer worth caring about as individuals, but only as classes and groups. Both parties do this and both are at fault. The years 1909-12 started this off in many realms and we now reap the bitter fruit from the anti-democratic seeds that limit the size of the House, that put forth National oversight on drugs, and that worked hard to criminalize millions who had never been criminals before. The Nation not only survived but prospered *before* that time. The actual impacts upon progress have been minimal, but the impacts on the common society has been enormous to the point where there no longer *is* a common society.

The partisan work done is criminal, in my view, especially in war time. And it has engendered the Volunteer Fifth column to now seek our downfall as a Nation and Society, and put all our Rights in peril as they wish to remove our Responsibilities for living.

A Jacksonian said...

Purple Avenger - The Arsenals are, by and large, gone. That was the 'Peace Dividend' and now we shall reap the 'profits' of that by no longer having them for times of National Emergency and need. On the NLOS-C from BAE: Modified 155mm BAE Systems XM777 cannon. It is meant to replace the M-198... to get an Arsenal up to actually mass produce those (and I think a Stryker variant would be a prime first candidate beyond the NLOS-C) would be long years in the doing as BAE isn't set up for their large scale production. As this would be new technologies, even if the old Arsenals had been kept running, they would still require a refit time, but that would be short compared to actually having to stand up *new* production lines. The electronics, control systems and hardening would all have to be restarted from scratch. I think 5 years to actual, continual production would be optimistic.

I no longer put my trust in Congress to properly know how to oversee, scope-out or manage military production. It is of little help that the Executive feels so attacked that it now sees Congress as 'the enemy' and has problems working with Congress, but that is a two-way street. As Harrison pointed out, however, this has been a two-party problem of lack of oversight for decades, so neither party gets a free-pass on this. They have both put the safety of the Nation at risk for purely partisan means and are dividing up the Nation so badly that it is having problems standing as a Nation.

I was dumb-founded when Congresscritters asked if 'they had no role in war?', and they have forgotten that they get the unglamorous job of logistics, production and supply. That is why WWII was won: Congress did its job to manage the war time economy and ensure that production needs were met. Today Congress ensures that its districts and States are featherbeded, that all sorts of rules and regulations get put in place and NO ONE looks after the actual safety of the Nation. They have refused to do their jobs to actually *pay* for the enforcement of the Laws of the Land. And so those laws get ignored and there is *no* consequences for doing so. That has allowed Congress to dismantle the vibrant infrastructure of the Armed Forces and get a lovely and unsustainable 'Peace Dividend' for immediate spending and squandering. No, a long term down-sizing of forces in a reasonable fashion was not something they wanted: get the goodies now and worry about the future... never.

Now we pay for that indulgence.

I point to the Arsenals so that people can finally start to get answers as to what the hell has happened to the things that allow this Nation to survive and fight in *any* armed conflict. Logistics, supply, maintenance and training make for battlefield effectiveness. Training is the last to be hit by Congress and has saved us to this point by getting the most brilliant of people on this Earth to do things to try and do the impossible: stand up a people who have lived under a tyranny for decades and have never known democracy, so that they can fend for themselves and join us in freedom and liberty. Our Armed Forces are doing that WITHOUT CONGRESS.

That tells me where the real power is: in the individuals doing the fighting, not the bureaucracy over them. Our Citizen Soldiers believe in Federalism and democracy more than Congress does. And there is a Nation State part to this GWoT that must be won, too. It is not the entire fight as the illegitimate use of Arms against the People of the United States cannot be addressed by the Nation via its direct Federal Armed forces, Law enforcement or treasury powers. Only Congress with the Commerce power has that. The full-press against terrorism cannot end it as an idea, but it can remove the ability of those wanting to employ it to do so effectively as groups of individuals... but only the Citizenry with Warrant can fight that fight.

Loss in Iraq is a heading towards full-scale loss globally.

And that means We the People, too.

And Congress is aiding and abetting the Enemies of the Union by destroying the infrastructure and commonness of society by their action and inaction.

That is called terrorism: to destroy the fabric of society so that it falls into disarray and internal dispute and legitimacy of Governance is lost.

You don't need an RPG or AK-47 to be a terrorist, and Congress is wielding the commerce and law making powers in a way to attack the Union.

They no longer do their jobs they are sworn to do.

Oath Breakers, save for those few that still STAND for the Nation.

The Barbarians are not at the gate. They are within the halls of power of the Shining City Upon the Hill.

RoseCovered Glasses said...

It is quite clear to me that we are destined to go broke. Chalmers Johnsion, a former CIA consltant who is now free of the machine to comment sums it up very well at Thomas Paine's Corner:


I like his conclusion:

"It appears for the moment, however, that the people of the United States prefer the Roman approach and so will abet their government in maintaining a facade of constitutional democracy until the nation drifts into bankruptcy.

Of course, bankruptcy will not mean the literal end of the United States any more than it did for Germany in 1923, China in 1948, or Argentina in 2001. It might, in fact, open the way for an unexpected restoration of the American system, or for military rule, revolution, or simply some new development we cannot yet imagine. Certainly, such a bankruptcy would mean a drastic lowering of the current American standard of living, a loss of control over international affairs, a process of adjusting to the rise of other powers, including China and India, and a further discrediting of the notion that the United States is somehow exceptional compared with other nations. The American people will be forced to learn what it means to be a far poorer nation and the attitudes and manners that go with it."

About the Author

Chalmers Johnson is the author of Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and, most recently, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, to be published in February by Metropolitan Books. His last article for Harper's Magazine, “The War Business: Squeezing a Profit from the Wreckage in Iraq,” appeared in the November 2003 issue.

A Jacksonian said...

Rosecovered glasses - The US has never had stomach nor want of Imperial outlook, which may be seen as a failing by some, but is a general strength as the Nation prefers *not* to try and figure out other people's problems. Part of the problem that even such folks like Thomas Barnett have is that the US doesn't do the things that require it to be an Empire, like have constabulary forces. In particular the US has always had a strong isolationist streak from the founding onwards, and that still remains today, although it is becoming a haven of the intellectually bankrupt. Strange that those, today, are often the same folks that just a few years ago were telling us that this is a 'small world'.

Today those that have had to look towards isolationism and 'leave me alone and I leave you alone' are now the ones reacting to this 'small world' and tellling folks that its not all that great and we have some bad neighbors in the neighborhood. These are the very same folks who wanted a presence in post-War Europe so that Germany wouldn't get a fool notion of trying to conquer things a third time, and the Japanese to get rid of its Imperial notions. That traditional isolationist bastion slowly eroded away during Korea and Vietnam and the entirety of the Cold War. While those of the socialist to transnationally progressivist stripe were working hard to diminish the Nation State, those who had been overseas to look after the interest of the Nation were getting pretty disgusted with the way things were going on. Disenchanted they left public life because no one was willing to represent them vigorously... because of their relatively 'go-along, get-along' attitude.

The name for those people, broadly speaking, are Jacksonians.

What is seen as weakness, that very same attitude, has an entirely different face when attacked, however. That is still the case today, and those wishing to dissolve the Nation are finding that there is resistance to it... and those doing the dissolving are looking for the Imperial solution of rulership by division. They have forgotten one very vital thing: Jacksonians don't brook that, and they are overly represented in the Armed Forces. Trying to put an Imperial decision before Jacksonians will, indeed, get something strange in return: A Crossing of the Rubicon.

"With your shield or on it" still has meaning to Jacksonians. Born out of the Scots-Irish from Nordic influences, this hard and harsh view of the world is not an easy one to understand from the outside. Many see their Nation betrayed once, and have attempted to let bygones be bygones. A second time is willful deceit and that gets those doing so a particularly deadly classification from Jacksonians: The Enemy.

The Jacksonian corollary for things is as follows: "You don't bother me, I don't bother you. You punch me, and I kill you."

Americans love their freedom, love to be left alone, love working with those that respect us... and when push comes to shove, Jacksonians reach for their weapons. Vietnam was once... and the political class alienated the Jacksonian swath of the population which has barely decided if there is any value in re-entering politics. Those seeking to do it a second time become The Enemy.

It is not bankruptcy that you will see in America if that happens.

It is Civil War.

And that Jacksonian third or so of the population is pretty well armed... as they make up most of the Armed Forces. And if the compact of the Constitution and the Nation is broken, then the time to restore it comes. You may ask the Imperial Japanese about how easy America was going down in 1941... it is not bankruptcy of the monetary kind we are seeing. It is the bankruptcy of the Political Elite wishing to move towards Authoritarianism.

And *that* means War.

Jacksonians fight to *win*.