Posts Tagged armed forces

Thank A Veteran!

Honoring  Veterans our Nation's HerosHe was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And ‘tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.

But we’ll hear his tales no longer,
For ol’ Joe has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer
For a Veteran died today.

He won’t be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won’t note his passing,
‘Tho a Veteran died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young,
But the passing of a Veteran
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician’s stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Veteran,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever-waffling stand?

Or would you want a Veteran
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Veteran,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Veteran,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his likes again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Veteran’s part,
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:

PLEASE pass On The Patriotism! YOU can make a difference.
If you are proud of our Vets, then share this with them. You’ll be glad you did.
honoring veterans

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Watchdog questions how key Homeland Security purchases have exploded by $32.5 billion a year under Obama

BY Phillip Swarts

While President Obama recently proclaimed that al-Qaida’s ability to attack on U.S. soil has been greatly diminished, his Homeland Security Department has gone on a shopping binge that has added more than $32.5 billion in annual spending since George W. Bush left office.

The Government Accountability Office, the auditing arm of Congress, reports that spending in the 16 largest Homeland Security programs grew a whopping 166 percent between 2008 and 2011. And 2012 was budgeted to grow even more, though final figures won’t be available until after fiscal year ends later this month, the auditors said.

In a report this week, GAO blamed poor coordination for the rapid growth of spending and warned the situation left Homeland in a potentially difficult position with upcoming automatic budget cuts due to take effect from last year’s debt deal between Congress and the White House.

“Given the fiscal challenges facing the federal government, funding shortfalls may become an increasingly common challenge at DHS, leading to further cost growth that widens the gap between resource requirements and available funding,” the GAO said.

For creating an environment that has allowed spending to explode while threats have diminished, the Homeland Security Department wins this week’s Golden Hammer, a distinction awarded by the Washington Guardian to an extreme example of government waste, fraud, abuse or unnecessary spending. 

The agency responded to the GAO’s rebuke by saying it is already fixing the problems and expects the situation to get better soon .”The Department’s program performance data are more accurate, complete, and transparent, and leadership has greater awareness of potential program risks,” said Jim Crumpacker, the department’s laison to the GAO.

But GAO isn’t convinced, questioniong whether the agency really has the tools to oversee costs. 

“Most major programs lack reliable cost estimates, realistic schedules, and agreed-upon baseline objectives, limiting DHS leadership’s ability to effectively manage those programs and provide information to Congress,” the report said.

The 16 programs studied by GAO had the largest growth under Obama and accounted for the majority of Homeland’s annual budget. Total spending for those programs rose from $19.7 billion in 2008, Bush’s last year in office, to $52.2 billion in 2011, the GAO said. The department’s entire budget for 2012 is about $60 billion.

Even Homeland’s own managers have doubts about the state of spending, GAO found. “Sixty-one survey respondents reported that their programs have experienced funding instability, and we found that 44 of the 61 programs had also realized cost growth, schedule slips, or capability reductions,” the auditors said.

Homeland has faced other recent criticisms, including an earlier report that government agencies still can’t agree on a way to tell when a building has been decontaminated from anthrax more than a decade after the biological weapon was used in attack on Congress and some media outlets.

The rapid rise in spending also contrasts with the Obama’s administration claims that the homeland threat from al-Qaida has diminished.

“We took the fight to al Qaeda, decimated their leadership, and put them on a path to defeat.  And thanks to the courage and skill of our intelligence personnel and armed forces, Osama bin Laden will never threaten America again,” the president said earlier this month on the 11th anniverary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. “Instead of pulling back from the world, we’ve strengthened our alliances while improving our security here at home.”

The president’s counterterrorism adviser gave a similar assessment in a speech in April.  “When we assess that al-Qaida of 2012, I think it is fair to say that, as a result of our efforts, the United States is more secure and the American people are safer,” John Brennan said.

The GAO recommended the department implement more oversight to better evaluate whether certain purchases are needed to meet security goals.  DHS agreed with the recommendations, and is already starting to reevaluate some of its costs and spending levels, investigators said.

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