I. Am. Pissed.

I am a veteran of the United States Air Force, serving from 12/76 to 9/82, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant (E5). I have copies of my DD214 (Discharge papers) available if anyone wants to check.

So why am I telling y’all this?

In today’s (November 19, 2009) NY Times, there’s a story headlined:

Now it’s bad enough that we are creating more disabled veterans every day with the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and more homeless veterans everyday (both women and men).

No, that’s not enough. Now we have the crooks using programs that are supposed to help veterans, specifically disabled veterans, to rip off both the veterans and the taxpayers.

From the NY Times article:

A program intended to help disabled veterans win government business awarded at least $100 million in contracts to firms that were either ineligible or committed fraud to obtain the work, a federal review has found.

In one case, a Nevada firm won a $7.5 million contract from the Federal Emergency Management Agency even though its majority owner was not a disabled veteran, the review by the Government Accountability Office said.

People serve in the military for large varieties of reasons, simple patriotism to economic need and everything in between. We talk about supporting the troops. We talk about caring for those wounded in our service. Sometimes we even try, through our elected representatives and senators, to provide support for these folks who are injured while carrying out the policies of the folks in Washington. Yet we allow the crooks to come in and subvert programs of this nature without penalty (again from the article):

The accountability office recommended that Congress enact rules that punish firms that win contracts through fraud, whether through levying fines, suspending contracts or barring them from receiving future contracts.

Currently, no such penalties are in place, the report said. In one case cited, a company based in Nevada fraudulently described itself as owned by a disabled veteran so it could compete for contracts to maintain trailers for hurricane victims in Louisiana. Yet after the fraud was uncovered, the company was not required to repay $7.5 million it had received, and has not been prohibited from receiving future contracts.

We require the sacrifice of our soldiers. We should fully and completely punish the malefactors.

(Don’t even get me started on the crooks who pose as veterans).

And once again, because I can: