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Grand Theft Pentagon :Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror Paperback – July 1, 2005
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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the people who imply that the book is written by a knee jerk pacifist have not been paying attention. The article on the Warthog, and others demonstrated not only the man's opposition to waste and corruption, but the fact that the man genuinely cares about having a functioning military for DEFENSE purposes.
The points he raise cannot be simply dismissed out of hand, why keep spending so much money on cold war era weapons when our old enemy no longer exists/
St. Clair makes some quite serious accusations against President George W. Bush and his national security establishment. These are controversial and the jury is still out concerning whether these accusations have merit or not. Certainly his arguments seem persuasive, but this may be because so many senior members of that establishment such as Vice President Cheney and SecDef Donald Rumsfeld are apparently naturally secretive and unpleasant folks. Indeed President Bush himself often appeared to be indifferent or incompetent in dealing with the many challenges that occurred during his eight year administration. History will have to judge all of this.
The main theme of the book is the wholesale looting of the DOD by unscrupulous contactors; well this is a complicated issue. There is ample evidence that the DOD wastes millions if not billions of dollars on ill-conceived, badly managed programs. There is also ample evidence that large and small contractors representing the private sector made substantial amounts of money on even failed programs. The question which St. Clair should have asked, but didn't was why this was so. He seems to believe it was caused by collusion between greedy contractors and stupid or venal generals or high level DOD officials. There is of course some truth in this as there is in that much of the waste is due to corrupt or incompetent members of congress.
Yet the issue is more complicated than this. Not all general officers in the U.S. Military are corrupt, venal or stupid. Most are quite patriotic and more than a few are highly intelligent. The same can be said for contractors who of course are driven by the bottom line, but who are also genuinely interested in providing for the defense of the U.S. and supporting its military. The villains that St. Clair finds throughout both DOD and the defense industries are largely phantoms. Yet the tales of waste and inefficiency are true.
So what is the problem? Some (this reader included) would argue that the problem is with the DOD requirements and procurement systems both of which are badly designed and poorly executed. The senior DOD officials can be faulted for an utter failure in leadership while the U.S. Officer Corps can be faulted for being unable to come to grips with the DOD requirement and procurement cycles. At the same time private contractors should be more proactive in guiding the cycles towards realistic goals in the form of practical weapons platforms and other programs.
This book nibbles at the surface but fails to take a real bite of this issue.
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A. Don't really want the US to have any defenses, or,