Allen West: Politicians Are Always 100 Percent Honorable

Categories: Politics
398px-Allen_West,_Official_Portrait,_112th_Congress.jpg
He's trustworthy cuz somebody taught him to shoot things.
What is it with with our Republican froshes? Can't they agree with the White House on anything?

Two weeks ago, Marco Rubio made an ass of himself by using his weekly newsletter to oppose Barack Obama's "draft executive order" -- an order demanding that agencies bidding on government contracts disclose their political contributions. Now Allen West is on the case too, asking Daniel Gordon (of the Office of Management and Budget) questions he knows damned well the Hon. Gordon isn't allowed to answer and erecting enough strawmen to scare the pigeons from the National Mall forever.

The right-wing blogosphere spent the weekend all aflutter after West's grandstanding interrogation of the Gordon, which you may view here:


Early in the exchange, West mentions that he once worked for a Department of Defense contractor. This is true. After his ignominious departure from the military, West worked for Military Professional Resources Inc., a company run by Bantz J. Craddock, a four-star general. That impressive connection allows him to phrase a query like this:

So I want to ask you this very simple question: The Department of Defense sends out an RFP to have recently retired individuals that can go and help to augment the military in Afghanistan or Iraq. Why, before a contract is awarded, would you then have the head of an organization, a retired three-star, four-star general, disclose his political affiliations or contributions?

The specter of the "three-star, four-star" general rears its head again in this exchange:

West: What has been broken in the procurement process up to this point which leads to that Draft Executive Order being proposed?

Gordon: As a general matter, as I said earlier, every procurement system -- ours, the states', the local governments', and foreign ones' -- are constantly facing a risk that the public will view their system as tainted, because the fact is, enormous numbers of dollars, of taxpayer funds, are at risk in the procurement system. And in order to instill confidence in the public, you want to have as much transparency as you can.

West: So you don't think the American people would have confidence in a retired three-star, four-star general to be able to, with his team, be able to write an RFP to compete for a contract? What purpose does it have with this draft executive order, to bring forth this requirement to disclose your political contributions?... I can understand, after a contract is awarded, that's public knowledge -- but why is that part of the criteria we have up-front?

Gordon: That would not be part of the evaluation criteria.

Is it even necessary to point out that Allen West's example -- a four-star general who also happens to be a military contractor -- is not at all representative? Of the 200 or so four-star generals in the history of the United States' army, only about 90 of them are still living. Of these, many are on active duty, and 21 of them are above age 80. How many of them are contractors?

It's hard to say. But none of them pops up on a list of the United States' top 100 federal contractors. Of the companies on that list, only General Dynamics seems to be administered at all by a former high-ranking military officer. (That's Adm. Jay L. Johnson, who serves as GD's vice chair.) These 100 companies command almost a quarter of a trillion dollars in annual government spending. I think it's safe to say that West's old outfit, which recently sold for a piddling $40 million, wasn't on Obama's mind when he wrote his order.

(And even if it was -- so what? Are ex-military personnel incorruptible?)

Fact is, most military contractors are businessmen. As I wrote two weeks ago, opposition to the draft executive order makes sense only in a world in which businessmen and politicians are incorruptible and in which both businessmen and politicians function most honorably when nobody's watching. We don't live in that world, and we need look no further than our own state to prove it. Remember when two young, untrained, unqualified stoners from Miami convinced the Pentagon to cough up $300 million for useless munitions they harvested from dumps in Albania? And what about Harry Sargeant of Delray Beach -- a billionaire oil man who overcharged the United States taxpayer some $200 million for jet fuel bound for western Iraq? As it happens, Sargeant didn't win his contracts by contributing to American politicians -- though it seems increasingly likely that he maintained his monopoly on Jordanian shipping routes through bribes to that country's intelligence service. Still, he's a pretty good argument against the infantile notion that war contractors are all war heroes who wake up every morning single "Yankee Doodle."
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16 comments
Robin Thompson
Robin Thompson

 I saw the piece on Allen West and the Hon. Gordon over political affiliations on Gov contract applications.  I'm "flashing back" to the "Is Reardon Metal good? Yes, or no, ..." conversation from Atlas Shrugged.  I'm obliged to acknowledge that this whole issue is rooted in the public opinion that we can only trust so far.  

What bothers me is West's unanswered question, "why are you here?" They inspired  a couple of my own:  Why wasn't question #1 answered?  Why is Daniel Gordon, from the Office Mgt & Budget speaking on behalf of a document that he can only speak to in general terms?   Who told you to come down and speak for the draft of the Executive Order?  

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted..."

Former President and 4 star General, Dwight Eisenhower.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

It is not uncommon for retired generals to go on cable news shows and support acts of war, never disclosing that they represent military contractors that will profit from these acts.  Here's but one example:

http://www.nowpublic.com/world...

Is there anything more despicable than profiting from killing and lying about it?   

Prep2
Prep2

West is an ass. 3 star, 4 star General, I don't care, anyone might be corrupt. The public has the right to know all up front.

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." - President Eisenhower

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

 "West: So you don't think the American people would have confidence in a retired three-star, four-star general to be able to, with his team, be able to write an RFP to compete for a contract? "

The question doesn't even make sense.  Write an RFP?  RFP stands for Request for Proposal(s).  Requests for Proposals are "written" by the government and responded to by contractors hoping to receive a contract.  No one is questioning the capability of these generals and their teams to respond to or even administer the contract.  What is at issue here is simply transparency.  This is no different than the contracts that are often awarded in Broward County to contractors that have contributed to the political campaigns of the commissioners.  It results in the perception that the donation is payment for the contract and it does not instill faith in the system.  Anyone that would question the transparency that is being proposed here is suspect.  But does anyone expect anything different from the fascist that is Allen West?

Citizen Kant
Citizen Kant

Try to say something original every now and then.

You know jack
You know jack

Model Citizen , , we live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Model Citizen ?  We  have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. . You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties you want us on that wall, you need us on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use then as the backbone of a life trying to defend something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to." 

Citizen Kant
Citizen Kant

Try to say something original every now and then. 

skydove
skydove

One of the reasons Allen West and others like him are taken seriously by anyone at all is the reluctance -- often, I suspect, the incapacity -- of journalists to call bullshit on absurdities like the notion that retired generals write RFPs. West has learned that as long as he doesn't lose his cool when an interviewer tries to provoke him, he can say any nonsense that comes into his head

This isn't the first account of an interview with West that I've stopped reading upon realizing that the interviewer was being played. I don't say I could do any better. But I do suggest that more skillful questioners are needed to reveal to the gullible the clay feet of West and other wannabe demagogues.

One way to become a skillful questioner is to go to a trade school that teaches cross-examination techniques and provides opportunities to practice. Maybe we could kill two birds with one stone here: introduce some elite interviewers, well qualified to call bullshit, hold feet to fire, and all that good stuff, and make Parkland Man happy by removing a few attorneys from the realm of litigation.

Guest
Guest

Well said MCAllen West doesn't make sense...period. Tea Bagger puppets don't really understand him either. 

KennyPowersSays
KennyPowersSays

Even if you are what you say you are, humility is not not even part of your wardrobe, let alone your strong suit. Many people are not grateful for your contribution, as you call it. Permawar sucks and as JFK suggested

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today."

Mr. West continues down his spiral of brief celebrity. War is a booming and despicable industry that allows fortunes to be made by a few at the risk of the rest. He continues to hitch his wagon to the military machine that "retired" him. A one trick pony.

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

Try to say something original every now and then. 

Guest
Guest

We CAN handle the TRUTH!  

Guest
Guest

It has been said he's not in his right mind....Allen West was drummed out of the army for being TOO HARSH and inhumane. 

You know jack
You know jack

As Cee Lo Green would say "forget you"  or in this case the original version is more appropriate

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