$700 Toilet Seats

Hey guess what, everybody! Someone found $900 million worth of stuff in the Pentagon’s sofa cushions:

The Army program charged with keeping thousands of eight-wheeled Strykers running over the past decade had its eye so much on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that it neglected to keep its books.

It accumulated nearly $900 million worth of Stryker replacement parts – most of them in an Auburn warehouse – with much of the gear becoming outdated even as the military continued to order more equipment, according to a Defense Department Inspector General report released late last year.

Take, for instance, the $57 million worth of obsolete infrared equipment the Army has not installed in Strykers since 2007. It lingered at the Stryker warehouse until the Inspector General called attention to it last year.

Or, the 9,179 small replacement gears called pinions the Army bought as a temporary fix for a Stryker suspension problem that surfaced between 2007 and 2009. The Army took care of the root malfunction in 2010, but kept buying pinions.

It needed only 15 of the gears. The 9,164 extra pinions are worth $572,000, the Inspector General reported.

Yes, Republicans. Do tell me how we can’t possibly cut the Pentagon budget without “endangering the homeland.” I’m all ears. And while you’re at it, remind me how food stamps and Head Start are budget-busters but the Pentagon ordering hundreds of millions of dollars of parts it can’t even use is not.

The Stryker inventory is purchased from major defense contractor General Dynamics, which has a no-bid contract. They, of course, had no comment. Of interest:

The military had awarded General Dynamics a no-bid contract that promised to reimburse its expenses for maintaining the Strykers while adding a fee, giving the company little incentive to control costs.

Yes, that would be wrong. Because freedom and SHUT UP.

BTW I find it amusing that the article quotes Lexington Institute “defense analyst” Daniel Goure, who is quoted as saying of the error,

“This is truly much ado about nothing” he said. “It’s essentially miscommunication.”

Goure appears all over the mainstream press with regularity. You’ll see him quoted in the New York Times and he’s on NPR, Fox and NBC, to name a few. As he was in this story, Goure is always identified merely as a “defense analyst with the Lexington Institute.” First of all, he’s a vice president, not a mere “analyst.” And then, of ocurse, no one ever bothers to mention that Goure worked in the Bush Administration Defense Department, was part of the PNAC study group that gave us the glorious Iraq War, and that the Lexington Institute is another one of those free-market, the-Constitution-is-cemented-in-the-18th-Century far-right talking point factories which has taken such extreme positions as advocating we withdraw from NATO. Furthermore, the Lexington Institute is funded by the same defense contractors that its “analysts” are always defending in the press (indeed, Lexington Institute founder James Courter was a lobbyist for such defense contractors as Lockheed Martin and SRI International.) So, y’know, just your average military industrial complex neocon.

This $900 million “no big deal” is proof of the grift and graft you get when the for-profit private sector bellies up to the government sugar tit. But again, it’s no big deal! Only $900 million! Quit yer whining! (By the way, that’s 90 times more than what we give Big Bird.)

Fiscal phonies.

By the way, we only needed 15 pinions but somehow managed to buy 9,179 of them? And nobody noticed? Shouldn’t there be some kind of Congressional investigation?

7 Comments

Filed under budget, military contractors, Pentagon

7 responses to “$700 Toilet Seats

  1. Eykis

    Yes, there should be BIG TIME INVESTIGATION. Where is Witch-Hunter Darrell Issa along with Lindsey Graham and John McCain?

  2. It’s outrageous. Reminds me of the movie Independence day. The President asked the researcher where Area 51 facility was getting its funds … answer: from $5000 toilet covers.

  3. Jim

    SB – I agree with you. Waste in all areas of the government needs to be eliminated. On top of the waste, the Defense Budget can also be cut significantly by closing our foreign bases that we don’t need and eliminating programs that are out dated. The problem is usually Congress and not wanting to reduce spending in their districts. Asking a congressman to vote for less money coming into their district is like asking them to resign.

    • I think we agree on this one. And as far as closing foreign military bases goes, that’s one that foreign governments get upset about 9 times out of 10. Our foreign military bases are big economic boons to some of these places. These military bases are little more than outposts of American hegemony. Ramstein in Germany was critical for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. These foreign bases will never be closed until America decides it doesn’t want to rule the world. And I’m pretty sure that will never, ever happen. So, we have to suck it up.

  4. ThresherK

    Never heard of the “Lexington Institute”, but…

    Has it become so predictable that I can safely reject out of hand anything newly (post-Reagan) named after a person or placename I learned from our Revolution as a schoolchild?