July 25, 2017
Call it a wardrobe malfunction. But when the Pentagon spent $28 million on the wrong camouflage uniform, Defense Secretary James Mattis wasn't laughing. In a decision that goes back to 2007, a new report shows that the Pentagon flushed millions down the drain on a woodland pattern for Afghan soldiers -- when "forests cover only 2.1 percent of the country's total land area." Inspector General John Sopko didn't mince words about the decision, which may jeopardize the lives of thousands of our allies. "I mean they're walking around with a target on their backs," he said, frustrated. Although a large share of the blame rests with the Afghan minister who supposedly picked the material, Sopko says the U.S. had the final sign-off.
"Are we going to buy pink uniforms for soldiers and not ask questions?" he blasted. "That's insane. This is just simply stupid on its face. We wasted $28 million of taxpayers' money in the name of fashion, because the defense minister thought that the pattern was pretty. So if he thought pink or chartreuse was it, would we have done that?" The uniform flap is now front and center in Congress, where both chambers are debating military spending. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) insisted the guilty parties at the Pentagon "seem to have lost sight of their common sense." An angry Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) vented, "[This] makes you smack your head in frustration. It's a prime example of wasting hard-earned taxpayer dollars, and we've got to get to the bottom of how this happened."
If McCaskill is so worried about taxpayer dollars, where was she when fellow Missourian Vicky Hartzler (R) tried to save taxpayers billions in social engineering? For all the outrage over Afghan fashion, 214 members of Congress -- including 23 Republicans – have no problem forking over $3.7 billion so that our troops could try on a new gender. People from both parties raced to sign a check for free sex reassignment surgery -- despite being 132 times more expensive than these uniforms. That's the real "affront to taxpayers." At least you could make the case that providing uniforms, however misguided the selection may have been, is a legitimate military expense. Transgender "therapy," on the other hand, is a completely elective "treatment" that has nothing to do with the military's mission -- except crippling it. Still, people from both parties are tripping themselves to call out the Pentagon for the "embarrassment" caused by the Afghan uniforms, while the expense of Obama's transgender policy is ferociously defended by the Left.
Secretary Mattis, meanwhile, fired off his own letter to military leaders, insisting that "Cavalier or casually acquiescent decisions to spend taxpayer dollars in an ineffective and wasteful manner are not to recur." Does that mean he's ready to roll back the ridiculous push to finance the cosmetic surgery of the gender-confused? After all, as Mattis says, this report shows how "if we let down our guard, [we] can lose focus on ensuring [the troops'] safety and lethality against the enemy." Surely, this push to appease LGBT activists qualifies. The bottom line is that the Pentagon should be focused on making the military tough -- not "tolerant". And the country agrees. Only 23 percent of the American people agree with the push to add more Chelsea Mannings to the ranks.
"Rather than minimize this report or excuse wasteful decisions, I expect all DOD organizations to use this error as a catalyst to bring to light wasteful practices -- and to take aggressive steps to end waste in our Department." What could be more wasteful than diverting billions of dollars away from warfighting to the sex changes of troops who are unfit to serve in the first place? Good question. One we hope President Trump will answer -- and soon.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.