Â Dina Rasor, co-author, Betraying our Troops
Dina Rasor is a Northern California woman who has been investigating waste and fraud in the Pentagon for going on 25 years. Most recently she is theÂ co-author of “Betraying Our Troops: The Destructive Results of Privatizing War.”Â The book argues thatÂ an incredible and unmonitored expansion in the use of contract firms toÂ supply U.S. troops with water, food and other supports led to unconsionable waste and worse — the endangerment ofÂ our field troops.
In milspeakÂ logistics and supply functions are called the tail. Fighting troopsÂ are called the tooth.Â Rasor testified beforeÂ a U.S. Senate committee in January. She said the Pentagon outsourced logistics to an extraordinary degree in Iraq. OneÂ contract (LOGCAPIII) had been a $60 million — withÂ an M –Â deal under whichÂ Halliburton/KBRÂ wouldÂ support U.S. troops inÂ the Balkans. Rasor told senators that “the Army took the LOGCAP III contract . . . and exploded it to replace the people and supplies that they did not have in the ArmyÂ . . .Â To date, the LOGCAP III contact is estimated to have cost the Army $26 billion.”
The taxpayer might wonder whether the cost controls of the original contract were sufficient to monitor what amounts to a 430-fold increase in expenditures. But that’s only money. What should boil our blood is Rasor’s testimony about:
“a manager for KBR, who was contracted to provide food, water, supply transportation and other services to our troops in
. He told a general at his Iraq base that unless KBR was paid for their submitted invoices, his workers would stay in their housing containers and do nothing until the money was paid. In other words, KBR was threatening a work stoppage in a war zone.Â This was not an isolated incident.”Â Iraq
Scott Horton, a contributing editorÂ with Harper’s Magazine interviewed Rasor and co-author Robert Bauman last fall. In that articleÂ Rasor said the Pentagon has attacked critics of its outsourcing program — most notably the military officers who have stepped forward to blow the whistle on contractor malfeasance.
“The primary whistleblower featured in our book, Major Rick Lamberth, has suffered retaliation and threats of his career being ruined by the Army if he continued to talk publicly about the problems. Harsh treatment and retribution has been a pattern against those who dare to blow the whistle about contracting problems for Iraq. There have been very few, if any, success stories for whistleblowers trying to expose fraud during this war.”
A year ago Congressman Henry Waxman introduced H.R. 985, the Whistleblower Protection Act. It has passed the HouseÂ but it seems like it’s beenÂ stuck in the Senate subcommittee on government oversight since last June. We need this law. There is no way Congress or the media canÂ penetrate the Pentagon. We need honestÂ officers and civiliansÂ to step forward and reveal how these REMFsÂ — “rear echelon mother figures” — robbed taxpayers and stabbedÂ soldiers in the back.