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.
And DAMN THE COST.
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)
APPOINTMENT OF CONFEREES ON H.R. 2126, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 1996
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?