Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, May 28, 2010 8:38 pm

Two cheers for Tom Coburn

Filed under: I want my money back. — Lex @ 8:38 pm
Tags: , , ,

The frequently jackassish senator from Oklahoma actually has a decent suggestion: auditing the Pentagon:

Without an accurate grasp at the start of a spending program as to its most likely cost, schedule, and performance, how can decision makers understand the future consequences of their actions? Today, an ethic continues to predominate in the Pentagon that consistently paints an inaccurate picture – one that is biased in the same, unrealistic and ultimately unaffordable direction. The errors are not random: actual costs always turn out to be much higher than, sometimes even multiples of, early estimates. The reason is simple; the Pentagon doesn’t know how it spends its money. In a strict financial accountability sense, it doesn’t even know if the money is spent. This incomprehensible condition has been documented in hundreds of reports over three decades from both the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Department’s own Inspector General (DOD IG).

He’s right. We should audit the Pentagon, we should ensure we’re spending only what we need to and not losing money to waste, fraud or abuse.

But even if we did all that, we’d still have a military budget we can’t afford. Even bigger steps are needed, starting with getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan and continuing with a sober, complex, rational analysis of our legitimate defense needs and an understanding of our role and limits as a world power. Every great world power in history has succumbed to imperial overstretch, and we’re doing it right now. Continuing to spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined is not sustainable. We’ve got to cut. A lot. Soon.

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