Monday, March 9, 2009

Don't Send Care Packages to Our Sailors

Earlier this year I requested $650,000 for luxurious accommodations for our sailors in the Middle East. I'm not kidding, these pictures are of their flats: huge flat screen tvs, king size beds, bidets, professional kitchens, maid and linen service, leather couches. It goes on. I hoped against hope that my request wouldn't be approved. Though this year's request was a clear upgrade, our squadron had been staying in these kinds of digs for years and I didn't have the weight to put them out on the street. I had hoped that a struggling economy and a federal government up to its eyeballs in debt couldn't see their way to shelling out for dvd players and juice blenders for the troops.

Of course our troops need support, but there's a clear line between bullet-proof vests and floor to ceiling windows. What's disturbing is that because these funds come from a different pot of money, I can be denied $500 for office supplies but approved more than half a million dollars for these high-rise flats in the middle of the desert. Unfortunately, as a lieutenant junior grade, I have just enough authority to get myself in trouble and distrusted, but not enough authority to block this kind of outrageous spending.