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What Are Your Tax Dollars Paying For??  

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Cut up those credit cards
By David H.Hackworth
An Army officer, who made me swear I wouldn't use his name to preclude his being shot at dawn with bullets that are in critically short supply, told me:

"I wanted to fire my pistol at the range. I called the Brigade Operations NCO, who said, 'Sure, if you bring your own ammo - there's an Armywide shortage of pistol and rifle ammunition.' I went, just like thousands of other soldiers, and bought my bullets from the local gun shop."

Our Army out of ammo! Those creeps in North Korea and Iraq must be ecstatic. Talk about a dictator's answered prayers!

Word in the Pentagon is that there's just not enough money to buy the bullets our trigger-pullers need to practice putting holes in the bad guys - let alone fight a real war.

Yet while there's no money for ammo, millions of bucks are being ripped off annually by too many of the 1.8 million civilian and military Pentagon employees who've been issued Defense Department credit cards.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, says, "Pentagon credit cards are being taken on a shopping spree, and the taxpayers are footing the bill."

A sample of the stealing recently uncovered as a result of the mass issue of Pentagon credit cards:

* A Marine sergeant ran up a $20,000 bill on clothes and other personal goodies. He even made cash withdrawals totaling $8,500. Then he left the service, leaving Uncle Sam holding his overdrawn sea bag.

* An Army soldier blew $3,100 in a nightclub. A champagne-and-caviar night for the perp and pals on the taxpayers.

* A dead sailor somehow spent $3,565.

* Other scams include a $13,000 Nordstorm designer briefcase, expensive computer monitors, Palm Pilots, cosmetics and gift certificates.

According to General Accounting Office investigators whom Grassley put on the case, none of these spenders bought bullets.

When I enlisted, it was "Join the Armed Services and See the World." Now it's "Join the Armed Services, Get a Government-Issued Credit Card and Get Out There and Spend Taxpayer Dollars."

Grassley, an ever-vigilant watchdog of the public purse, is fit to be tied. He says one bank company alone wrote off $59 million in bad debts from military credit cards.

"There were no effective internal controls in place," Grassley says. "Stealing money was a piece of cake. Fraudulent activity - if detected - was detected by chance and not as a result of effective controls."

The Pentagon got into a credit-card giveaway program without even a minimal credit check for its cardholders because, so the thinking went, the cards would reduce paperwork and thus save money.

"In the private sector, credit cards are a big success," Grassley says. "That's because the control environment is good. Monthly bills are reconciled and paid promptly. In corporate America, if you abuse your card, you lose it or get fired. At the Pentagon, there is no accountability and no control."

The solution is obvious. The Pentagon must stop issuing credit cards indiscriminately to everyone who can lace up their boots all by themselves. It must give the banks authority to decide who can be trusted with a card and what the credit limit should be on each account.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has publicly stated his commitment to clean up the financial mess at the Pentagon. A big step would be to treat the Defense Department's wheeler-dealers as he would his kids if they went nuts with the family card: Get the scissors out and cut up about a million-and-a-half cards.

* David H.Hackworth's home page is at http://www.hackworth.com
He writes for King Features Syndicate Inc.
post #2 of 20

Unfortunatly, like most people who read the news these days, one can and probably does infer from this story that the whole of the DOD has a probelm with the Defense Department Credit cards. To bad it just simply isn't correct....
It seems that story has taken the squandering problem of our Pentagon (which, BTW has been going on loooong B4 the cards were put into use), added a few details of some unscrupulous service people (yes, we do have some), and lumped them all into one nice neat little package...

Now let me give ya'll the reality...

Having been in possesion of one of these cards for 2 years now, and being a service member, of the U.S. Navy to be exact, I can tell you that it isn't as easy as this story makes it sound to run up your bill and get away with it, mind you, I'm only speaking in terms of the Navy. What it doesn't tell you is that there is 3 individuals at each command that monitors the use of the cards within that command. If I charge something to my card, I'd better be on travel, with orders, and it sure had better be within my travel rate (the money we are given to travel) Once my travel is complete I have to account for every penny ive spent on a claim, which is then bounced against what I actually charged. Have sailors used their card to buy things they wern't entitled to, yes, and in all the cases I know of, which have been few, these people have been made to pay and pay dearly.

The article talks about issueing cards without the having checked credit, a falsehood again, as my and thousands of other people had there credit scoured before the card was issued. Even at that the max limit on any card cannot be reached within a billing cycle as your card is shut off if it even looks like eronious spending is occuring. This is done by the credit card company.

Then there's the issue of who is responsible to pay the bill... we are, which is as it should be, except when the government pay system breaks down and doesn't pay us what we are owed on our travel, either in whole or in part. We have to pay the bill out of our own pockets. Most of the time it doesn't happen, but when it does, it can put people in a bind, and if it happens long enough our credit is affected.
These just aren't our cards either, yes they are issued in our names, but there are several other people that keep our number on file so that travel arrangements can be made for us. Now check this out.... A friend of mine was scheduled for travel and the arrangements had been made, once complete all the paperwork was filled out, bills paid, done.. right? Nope, it seems that a travel clerk made triple reservations at 3 different hotels for this person for the same time period. Since he could have only stayed in one hotel, he was charged 65.00 per hotel for not cancelling reservations that he didn't even know he had. Guess who had to pay? It wasn't good old uncle same, and the bad part is that things like that happen all the time.

So before anyone reads a news story about darn near everything, remember, they are in the business to seel news, get hits or make money, whatever, so take it with a grain of salt, cuz what you see isn't always what you get.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I would sooner believe a news person, than a government pawn.
I know people in the Navy too, they are all drug abusers, or statuatory rapists. (the ones *I* know)

Which makes me have all the faith in the world in our government.

Don't these people have some kind of screening process??

post #4 of 20
Well, You are of course free to believe who and what you want.. After all that is your right to do in America, and a right that thougsands of us "Government pawns" have been protecting with our lives since this country began.

As far as the drug abusers and rapists you know, perhaps you just know the wrong people.. It would interest you to know though the military as a whole, most definatly is a cross section of society, we have our bad ones too, just like the bad guys that can move into a house next door to you.... Oh yeah, that's another right that us drug abusers and rapists protect on a daily basis.

But again your opinion is your right, as it is your right to express it, however a narrow it may be.

post #5 of 20
Oh, I forgot to add...

If you've soooo much faith in our government, do something about it... or move...

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
What can I "do something about it or move" besides the moving part?
I already feel out of place as it is, only about 30% of Houston speaks english.. and I unfortunatly am not bilingual. (I only know the cuss words!!)
Do you know how hard it is to buy a pack of ciggeretes around here??!!

I do have a question for you.. How are you protecting me?
*just curious*
post #7 of 20
For me to be able to answer your question would take far more time and effort than I really want to expend, what with having to explain world economics, currency markets, oil trade, shipping lanes, freedom of speech, right to bear arms, and so forth.

Perhaps you'd rather be living in Bosnia or some other country that see's fit to eradicate it's own people..

I'm almost sure that was widely published in a few newspapers...

post #8 of 20

Right on!!! It's pretty ovbious that WashuSama is very closed minded.

I have a question for her...If you are so inclined to believe the newspaper people rather than someone who is knowledgable and speaks from experience in the issue at hand, I've got some swamp land in Bosnia you'd be interest in. I don't know what rock you crawled out from under, but honey, the newspaper ain't gospel. How do I know? Because I write for one.

By the way, Imagyne is FAR from a government pawn. He is a well respected career naval petty officer who plays by the rules, unlike your so called "rapist" and "drug abuser" friends. Why Ken even wasted his time explaining the process to you is beyond me. You are definitely not worth the time, aggravation or air.

So before you go bashing Imagyne's reputation based on something you know little or nothing about, I suggest you get your facts straight or keep your BIG, immature, inexperienced mouth shut.
post #9 of 20
My boyfriend is in the army and has been for over 10 years. He has served in Germany, Jamaica and Korea, as well as various places over the USA.

He takes great pride in guarding the freedom that we all take for granted. If we were to go to war, or if war broke out overseas, he would be on the front line, risking his life. I'm proud of him and he has taught me many lessons about how lucky I am to live in this country.

It looked like he was going to have to go to Saudi Araba, but luckily that didn't come to fruition. He told me that in that when the soldiers go out in SA into public the vendors refuse to sell items to female soldiers. Since woman are held in such low regard there (walking behind the men, not allowed to purchase goods...etc) that bleeds over to the american women as well by default.

God Bless America
post #10 of 20
I'm glad I live in America too. I'm proud of all of the people who fight to keep America free.

BTW, while Sen Grassley is looking for misuses of taxpayer money, he oughta investigate a few of the bills his fellow law makers have passed. And didn't they redecorate their offices not to long ago? Would have been nice if they used that money to help upgrade the housing on military bases instead.
post #11 of 20
Well, although I am not an American but a Turkish person, I agree with Imagyne & others..As far as I observe, most American teenagers aren't aware of what's happening in the rest of the world & they think that there are only Americans living in the whole world..I wonder if WashuSama knows anything about the African, Arabic or South American etc. countries' governments ?? You are soo lucky to live in USA.
post #12 of 20
I can see that this can be a very touchy subject with lots of opinions on either side. However, let's try to discuss this nicely and not call each other names. We've been having some fairly ugly threads on here lately, and I don't want to see this one go that direction.

Thanks guys!
post #13 of 20
As Ken pointed out, the military is basically a cross section of the American people. Just as there are cheaters, abusers, etc out there in the American public, there will be in the military too. However, I think the majority of the public and military alike are responsible, hard working people. My husband was in the military when we got married, so I'm fairly familiar with rigors of military life. It took me 2 months to just get approval to park my car on the post (so many signatures to get), so I have a hard time believing that credit card fraud is running rampant.

And these military men and women are defending us, our way of life, and the safety of our country. A lot of them have hard, dangerous jobs, and we need to give them the credit they deserve.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
I do see that I don't have the freedom to post something I found to be interesting, without being called names and bad-mouthed.
What goes on in other countries, I care not. All I care about is a $500 hammer, wasteful spending, and some of our more colorful laws.
I'm not a teenager, I really don't see what that has to do with anything.
Excuse me for posting, I didn't know I was under the watchful eyes of the Internet Nazis
I know in *some* countries, you are not allowed to speak against the government, but here, I could have swore we had this whole "free speach" thing..
maybe I was wrong.
post #15 of 20
I hope you don't feel like I bad mouthed you or called you names.

I have a different perspective than I did a few years ago because I met my boyfriend, and I have seen things through his eyes, and it has been an enlightening experience.

It hasn't totally changed all of my thoughts, but it's always good when you can put yourself in someone elses shoes, and see life through thier eyes.

I don't think anyone meant to make you feel like you can't talk about certain topics. I'm sure you have hot buttons, and things you feel extremely passionate about. Things that you have personally experienced and found to be true. That is where Imagyne was coming from. His life experience has been much different than yours. He's seen another side. It's something that touches him deeply, and that's why he feels the way he does.

I have actually gotten in arguments with my boyfriend because he sometimes feels like I don't understand the sacrifices he makes to serve his country. I may not always agree, but I respect him and his viewpoints, and you better believe I expect the same from him.

I know that we can all talk about these things without flipping our lids.

As far as what goes on in other countries, you have a new found respect for all the freedoms we have here, when you see that many, many people don't enjoy the same luxeries, choices or life. I spent 10 days in Korea and I could have kissed the ground when I got back. I don't think I've ever been happier to be in this country. That experience changed how much I appreciate what I have here.

This country is FAR from perfect, but when you consider the alternatives (how others live) I think the good far outweighs the bad.

I hope I have expressed my viewpoints in way that doesn't offend you or make you feel bad mouthed. I really want to be able to talk about these things, have opinions, and give my opinions in a way that we can all contribute, learn and grow from each other.
post #16 of 20
WashuSama, I didn't mean to insult you or anything..I must have forgotten that teenagers are less than 20 years of age. I actually meant youth generally..Young people are the arteries of a nation I believe. That's why I wrote that specifically.

That is what I was talking about..American youth don't know anything about the rest of the world & don't even care !.. I can't help but think of people working for a few cents an hour for rich countries such as USA, stick children, sick & helpless, waiting to die in Africa, people working in rice fields (it's very hard to work in a rice field), children carrying guns in their hands instead of toys, women who are not allowed to be even 2. class citizens ( I think animals here are much more respected than women in Arabic -Muslim- countries ) etc. etc. When you know about these world issues, you appreciate your life much much more & will do something about these bad conditions in the future when you have the power..

The world will never be a heaven where everyone will be able to live peacefully and happily, cause as we can see here, everyone has different opinions, different expectations etc. & we can't be peaceful even while we are exchanging ideas in an internet site..Unfortunately there must be some unlucky humans so that the rest of the world will be happy, healthy, not hungry etc. Because the world's sources are scarce & not enough for everyone..So I think it's a duty for everyone, at least to think about these unlucky people sometimes & appreciate their own lives & the others sacrifices (isn't it a kind of a sacrifice ??)

Everyone sure has right to speak. You spoke. And so did the others. Don't get mad or sad. We are just talking here

Love & peace.
post #17 of 20

I believe she was referring to me. When any one of my friends is flamed like she flamed Ken, I will step in and defend him. I will not be nice and sugar coat it the way SOME people on this site do. Free speech or no free speech. If you'll notice she was also name calling. Ken is by no means a government pawn, unlike her "rapist"and "drug addict" friends she talked about.


My uncle gave his life defending HER country. My father was also in the Navy. And for you to go on "babbling" like you did really pissed me off. Until you've walked in their shoes, WashuSama, don't be too quick to judge. Think of the hundreds of thousands of men and women whose names are on the Vietnam wall, and more who have never been accounted for. Their lives lost all so you and I could live in a free country.

What about all the politicians that bounced thousands of dollars worth of checks???? No mention of them being government pawns. If you're going to loses that much sleep over it, write a damn letter for heaven's sake and stop the stereotyping.

Internet Nazis??? Hardly. By all means, WashuSama, express your opinions. That is what the lounge is for. But be careful of the name calling as it may one day come back to haunt you.

post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
Not you Air Princess.. the person who told me to shut my mouth, you blankety blank..

Nah, You're alright, I respect your opinion, you weren't brash about it.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
the post to Ken was entitled "NO OFFENSE, BUT" (this is MY experience)
I never bad mouthed him, or called him names. (by the way, those people AREN'T my friends anymore)
YOU were the one who did those things.
So I suggest you get your panties out of a wad, and PLAY NICE!


dodo, you are cool too. I just don't think the same as you, but at least you are nice.
post #20 of 20
washusama....and others involved in this thread....I am closing this thread....not because I think there was anything wrong with the topic of the thread itself, and washusama, I hope you won't take this personaly, I am not blaming any one person for this, but it seems to have gotten a bit ugly, and I think I should close it.

I have all the respect in the world for the military, and they do protect us, and keep America free. I too sometimes like you, washusama, wonder what all goes on that we don't know about, but I am still thankful that we have these Men and Woman to keep America the way it is meant to be....free.
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