Pentagon puts the squeeze on ‘supporting the troops’

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

And so it begins:

(Bloomberg)– The U.S. Army won’t be able to pay soldiers beyond June 15 unless Congress approves $108 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or authorizes a funds transfer, a Defense Department official said.

If the supplemental spending legislation isn’t enacted by then, the Pentagon will be forced to seek congressional authority to use money designated for other services to fund the Army payroll, department spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

Pentagon budget officials briefed congressional staffers about the funding crunch earlier today, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates addressed the issue in a letter to lawmakers yesterday, Morrell said at a Pentagon briefing.

If those Democrats in Congress don’t knuckle under move quickly, we’ll just have to quit paying the troops.

 

There will still be enough money, apparently, to pay Blackwater and the military contractors and the munition manufacturers.  But not enough money to pay the troops.

I call bullshit.

The Pentagon must be awash in money.  It spills billions every day.

It just doesn’t happen to have enough in some account marked “pay the troops,” so Congress will just have to fill it up.

Fortunately, that won’t be a problem.  Congressional Democrats can’t wait to do that, even offering more money that Warmonger President Bush requested.

One would think that paying the troops would come first on the Pentagon’s priority list.  But this is the same Defense Department and administration that currently is working to kill a reasonable GI Bill that might actually let some veterans be able to finish college.

The troops come last in Bush World.

But now they are convenient pawns in the game with Congress.  It seems like overkill, though, since Congress isn’t putting up any resistance anyway.

It does not appear that it will come to this, in any event:

But we can dream, can’t we?

16 comments

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  1. Tips for the troops

  2. That’s in American money?

    At some point, the economy is going to be tapped out. (What am I saying? The economy is already tapped out, floating on paper.)

    They’ll be sending around majors and colonels door to door: “Spare a little change for a fighter jet? Could you check under the cushions of your couch?”

    Women in Black

  3. …the Department of Defense has over three million employees.  There are over 1.3 million servicepeople on active duty alone.  The DOD is by far the largest employer in the United States.

    There is a huge difference, of course, in how civilian contractors and duty personnel are funded, of course.  But I don’t have much trouble believing that they would be unable to pay the troops.  The total outlay to Blackwater is a fraction of the cost of what it takes to pay active duty soldiers.

    • Edger on May 9, 2008 at 3:20 am

    What a line of utter horseshit.

    Defunding Iraq: Misperceptions, Disinformation And Lies

    The situation is process analogous to to a business enterprise that has, for example, 100 employeees to whom they pay salaries and provide food and lodging. The budget for that is something planned for every year. We’ll call that the budget for the ‘troops’.

    One year they decide to take on an extra contract to complete a project in another city and they send those 100 employees (troops) to the new city.

    The project will require incurring added costs over and above the budget for the employees (troops), so management arranges a bank loan to pay for the added costs for transportation, materials, overtime, extra fuel required, etc. etc.

    They then begin to run into delays, extreme competition from a better suited and skilled company, and start incurring huge cost overruns, which they cover with repeated visits to the bank for more loans.

    Eventually the bank says look – this is bankrupting you and placing your employees in danger of being abandonded in the new city if you continue down this path – here is your last loan – it will cover you for 90 days, after which the bank will provide no more money for this project. Your regular budget covers your employment (troop) costs. Bring them home to their original city and continue operating there. Your project in the new city is failing.

    None of the bank loans had anything to do with the regular budget for the employees (troops).

    So, when we talk about cutting off funding “for the troops,” what are we really talking about?

    We must be talking about their meals and armor and vehicles. But there are several problems with making that sort of claim. First, by cutting off funding after a certain date and demanding that the troops be brought home before that date, you are not denying them anything they need while they are deployed.

    Second, we have never provided them adequate supplies and services, and the Congress Members who have pushed to cut off the war funding are some of the same ones who have pushed hardest to try to change that.

    Third, the war funding has nothing to do with changing the level of equipment and services we provide the troops; the big bucks go to mercenaries, not troops; and the really big bucks go to the profiteers providing the worst services for the highest prices.

    Fourth, if we start to talk about the need for troops to protect other troops, we get into an inescapable escalation without end.

    The TROOPS are funded by regular appropriations. DOD budget. Emergency supplemental funding has nothing to do with “funding the troops”.

    It does buy, among other things such as logistical support from Halliburton, Parsons, and DynCorp, fuel, in theater equipment maintenance, bullets, cluster bombs, etc., etc., IOW all the “stuff” needed to continue the occupation. The troops use that “stuff” in the continuance of that occupation, and to defend themselves and stay alive (as best they can) while continuing that occupation. Defunding the occupation of Iraq and withdrawing or redeploying the troops does not hurt the troops. It helps them to stay alive.

    War And Occupation Funding: More Cooking The Books By Bush And Pentagon?

    “Since 9/11, Congress has passed at least one emergency bill to cover war costs, making supplemental spending the method of choice for the majority of funding for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror,” Alexander added. “Of the $510 billion spent thus far, $331.8 billion (about 65 percent) has come from supplemental spending legislation. If the so-called “bridge fund” included in the fiscal year 2007 appropriations bill is included, the total rises to $401.8 billion. That means nearly 80 percent of all funding for these wars was the result of emergency and supplemental spending, not regular budgetary means.

    The total funds requested by the Defense Department for emergency spending is $163.4 billion, including $70 billion already provided as part of DOD’s regular fiscal year appropriations plus a new supplemental request of $93.4 billion.

    “If enacted, DOD’s funding would increase by 40 percent above the previous year and would more than double from the FY2004 funding level,” the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report says.

  4. This is all utter BS.  And it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this “enhanced” budget was not viewing Iran, as well.

    I go along with Edger above.

    The Pentagon budget is already at $515 billion per year, INCLUDING military pay to soldiers.  You must bear in mind that the costs of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq are separately funded.  We are talking about the Pentagon budget alone.

    . . . . Right now, the White House is asking Congress for $70 billion in supplemental war funding. Judging by past spending, that $70 billion will last about four months. Add up all projected defense-related spending for fiscal 2009 and $515 billion balloons to $750 billion – almost a third of all U.S. federal spending today. To put it another way, if the Pentagon were an independent country, it would be the 10th richest in the world.. . .

    What Drives Record Spending

    Our troops and their needs to this day have been on the “back burner” always with a cry that there is not enough money or production for armor has been slow, etc.  All unmitigated BS.  I call it “using” our troops in order to gain what THEY want.

    And then, you know, we can’t be sure of anything these days.  Who knows, it might even be extra money for building one of those entertainment areas in the Green Zone of Baghdad, or to build some more useless warfare, but I suspect my first thought above is more apropos.

    • Edger on May 9, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Inside Halliburton On Camera

    Ben Carter, a former Halliburton/KBR water purification specialist, discusses discovering Halliburton was providing dangerously contaminated water to troops, and the serious long-term implication:

    Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing
    “An Oversight Hearing on Whether Halliburton Has Failed to Provide Clean Water to United States Troops in Iraq” [pdf]

  5. That statement right there is enough not to take this seriously. Anything quoting  government officials is stenography and we all know by now, the Bush Administration and its “government/military officials” tell half-truths while leaving key information out to mislead the public. They’re hiding stuff and we find out after the fact. How much longer is this going to go on? How much longer is the MSM going to give Bush & co. a pass on their bull sh*t?

    Like what Stephen Colbert said at the White House press corps dinner: “Write, type, go home!”

    Unreal.

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