Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Sunday, July 16, 2006

IRAQ WAR'S COSTS PINCH STATESIDE ARMY POSTS BASES' BUDGET $530M SHORT




FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas---A diversion of dollars to help fight the war in Iraq has helped create a $530M shortfall for Army posts at home and abroad, leaving some unable to pay utility bills or even cut the grass.

In San Antonio, Fort Sam Houston hasn't been able to pay its $1.4M monthly utility bill since March, prompting workers in many of the post's administrative building to receive automated disconnection notices.

Fort Bragg in North Carolina can't afford to buy pens, paper, or other office supplies until the new fiscal year starts in October.

And in Kentucky, Fort Knox has to close one of its eight dining halls for a month and lay off 133 contract workers.

"Everytime something goes away it impacts a person,,,a soldier or their family or one of our civilians," said Colonel Wendy Martinson, garrison commander at Fort Houston, which has 27,300 military and civilian workers. "I'm in charge of taking care of them, not taking things away from them."

***This goes to show you where the Bush administration's priorities lie, and it's not with the American people. Bush has dissociated himself from all of this and he could care less.

Garrisons function as the city halls of Army installations, providing services such as garbage removal, mail delivery and firefighting.

The Army's Installation Management Agency is $530M short of what it needs through October 1 to fund garrisons at the 117 installations it oversees in the United States, Europe and Asia, agency spokesman Stephen Oertwig said.

The skyrocketing cost of fuel is partly to blame; paying civilians in Asia and Europe is also costing more, Oertwig said.

Another major factor is the practice of funding the war through spending bills outside the annual budget.

As Congress spent months debating the supplemental spending bill, the Army had to divert money from the Installation Management Agency's budget to cover the cost of the war, Oertwig said.

***Let me remind you that our Congress is Republican run!

The Army often diverts money for other programs, in times of war and peace, said Jeremiah Gertler, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

A supplemental spending bill usually replenishes those funds.

***Well then where are the funds?

This year, though, most of the defense money in the $94.5B was earmarked for the war, leaving little to pay back operations accounts, Gertler said.

***Why should our military do without when we have to spend it on a war in Iraq that is going to end in tragedy for the U.S.?

Military officials could have asked for more money to ease the garrison crunch, but they knew a bigger request would have created a bigger fight in Congress, he said.

***This Bush administration makes no sense and the people that vote for them make even less sense! Why should our military be run into the ground while we fight an illegal war in Iraq?

"The Pentagon is reluctant to ask for more than they need for the war because it all looks like it's going to the war and becomes a very controversial bill," Gertler said.

***Then where is the money going? BUSH NEEDS TO QUITE BUYING OUR ALLIES IN ORDER TO MAKE HIMSELF LOOK LIKE HE'S ACCOMPLISHING SOMETHING, WHEN IN REALITY, HE'S NOT!

But military analyst Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institute said money management seems to be the larger problem. The Defense Department spends about as much on maintenance and operations as it does on weapons and personnel combined, he said, so there should be more than enough in the bills.

***So then what is the Defense Department doing with the funds?

"It makes me worry if the Pentagon can't do its accounting well enough to find money for its electric bills," he said. "It joggles my mind a little bit."

***Once again, then where is the funds? They surely aren't spending in on the veterans since this Administration and its Republican puppets have taken just about everything that the veterans are entitled to, away from them!

The legislation Congress approved June 15 included $722M for the Installation Management Agency, to be split among its installations.

Martinson still doesn't know how much Fort Sam Houston will get, but she expects it will be enough to pay the electric tab. A spokesman for CPS Energy said the company understands the problem and won't turn off the lights anytime soon.

However, it won't save the jobs of about 100 contract workers Martinson had to let go.

And it won't make it easier for her to scrounge up the dollars to buy chlorine for the pool where soldiers' children take swimming lessons, or purchase the feed for the horses that carry soldiers' caskets to their graves at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

***The pool isn't necessary but the feed for the horses is! How low can this Administration get?

The new funds also won't change the orders the Installation Management Agency issued in early June to freeze civilian hiring and fire temporary employees, reduce cellphone, pager and government use, and reduce, cancel and defer contracts.

Oertwig expects the austerity to last for at least another year and a half.

"Everyday we're looking at what are those services that are required to keep the Army going and where can we get efficiencies," Oertwig said. "We're looking to get a dollar's worth of service out of 90 cents or less in some cases."

That alarms US Representative Lamar Smith, a Republican whose district includes Fort Sam Houston.

***Then maybe he should have thought about his vote before he casted it!

In a letter to Army Secretary Francis Harvey, Smith said he worries the budget crisis will effect Fort Sam Houston's ability to accomodate the 11,000 additional personnel being sent there starting next year by the Base Closure and Realignment Commission.

"That Fort Sam cannot even pay for basic post operations is, frankly, Mr. Secretary, a disgrace," he wrote.

***Like I said, maybe he should have thought about his vote before he casted it! He's a representative of the people and should have looked into the consequences. Instead, he chose to do what the President wanted, just like all of the Republicans have been doing. Now is not the time to pretend that your concerns are with the people. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS!


Source of Info: The Boston Globe
Liz Austin/Associated Press
July 7, 2006

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