Whether Edmund Burke did or didn't say, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing!" the sentiment is valid.
I am seething over the USA TODAY story about National Guard units cooking the books.
"Evidence continues to grow that National Guard units across the country are undermanned and have faked their troop level reports to Washington for years in order to protect their flow of federal money and to hide their inability to retain troops." This is out-bleeping-rageous!
"The latest evidence was revealed in court documents introduced during a January military trial in Indiana. A series of e-mail messages from a senior Indiana National Guard officer details a longstanding practice of false troop reporting to the Pentagon and National Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C." However, the more egregious revelations are that Indiana is not the Lone Ranger. This practice/fraud is apparently widespread.
Call me a dinosaur -- an anachronism, a relic. One of the first sentences my son learned to repeat is "Duty, Honor, Country ... for this we fight." Long ago and far away, I took an oath to "preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" and I am still committed to that promise. I spent over 20 years as an Army officer, most of it in the Reserve components. I have commanded units and know the pressures and importance of recruiting, retention and readiness.
However, when I read that senior officers are lying about force figures and using "ghost" recruits as standing operating procedure to maintain the flow of federal dollars, I got (and remain) what the Japanese would say is "mukatsuku." I am "cho-mukatsuku" (very angry)!
Any officer engaged in cooking the books to pump up force structure is more than just a liar and fraud. They may not want to recognize it, but they are "domestic enemies" and constitute a significant threat to our national security. Any soldier who has knowledge of fraud of this nature and does not expose it is not being a good troop and loyal to command, they are co-conspirators. Any soldier regardless of rank, race, creed or political affiliation has a responsibility and a duty to report fraud.
Under the most benign, peaceful conditions, lying about troop strength is a crime. Given the nation's current situation and the war on terrorism, reporting phony strength figures ought to be a hanging offense.
Once upon a time, the reserve components (National Guard and Reserves) were resources to supplement the active-duty military. As reduction in force became policy, the role of the reserve components shifted to "complement" the active duty. Now, the reserve components have become even more critical and are integral to our military-force structure. The reality of that fact has been felt by the thousands of reservists and guardsmen called to active duty in the wake of 9-11.
E-mails introduced by defense attorneys in an Indiana court martial "outline a program in which Guard officials knowingly inflated data on the total number of Army Guard troops in the state. As many as 700 soldiers who had left the 12,000-member Indiana Guard were still being carried on the rolls, some for more than two years after they had left, the e-mails said."
More than 40 officers claim that at least seven states had inflated rolls with phony troops known as "ghosts." Guard members from across the nation have alleged that commanders in their states have padded unit rosters with non-existent soldiers.
I am all for due process. However, as a mission-oriented antique, I have to ask why are these lying sacks of rat excrement still commanders?
USA TODAY has reported allegations of ghost soldiers in Army National Guard units in Illinois, South Carolina, California, Arizona, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming. Reportedly, in some units, as many as 20 percent of the soldiers are troops who exist on paper only.
We have been conditioned to expect this kind of creative bookkeeping from politicians and, now, some big energy companies. However, officers are supposed to be above this routine duplicity. Where are the men of honor?
Total National Guard troop strength is about 460,000. Although each state's Guard reports to the governor, they receive more than 95 percent of funding -- about $13 billion last year -- from the federal government. If or when a state cannot sufficiently staff units, they run the risk of losing the units and the federal money that comes with them.
Congress has written Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that the allegations "raise important questions about the readiness of the National Guard as the nation enters a challenging phase in the war on terrorism." The last time I checked, the Pentagon has not responded to the request.
said, "To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage, or of principle."