Meet the Overseas Contingency Operations Account – Washington D.C.’s Crony Capitalist War Slush Fund

Organised Crime

Meet the Overseas Contingency Operations Account – Washington D.C.’s Crony Capitalist War Slush Fund (Liberty Blitzkrieg, March 27, 2015):

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain has called it a “gimmick,” and Democrats complain that larding up the separate war funding bill with extra spending amounts to an “abusive loophole.” Yet so far, the massive increase is likely to remain in this year’s budget.Another major criticism of the process has been its common use to fund favored projects and other items not directly tied to the war — a trend that has steadily grown over the years as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dragged on and the Pentagon loosened the definition of war-related spending.

From 2001 to 2014, nearly $71 billion of nonwar funding was provided through war appropriations, according to the Pentagon’s own definition, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reported in December.

– From the Politico article: War Budget Might be Permanent ‘Slush Fund’

Many people will read this post, and posts like it, and shrug their shoulders saying that there’s always going to be corruption. True; however, there are degrees of corruption. When empires such as the U.S. attain a certain level of corruption that reaches the point where it becomes engrained within the fabric of society, and you couple that with zero accountability for the super rich and powerful, you have the ingredients for societal collapse. We are rapidly approaching this point, and I personally don’t think there’s any way to stop it.

The best we can hope for is to sound the alarm bells as loudly as possible right now, identify the culprits and their methods of systemic abuse so that when what Martin Armstrong calls “crash and burn” happens, we don’t respond counterproductively by elevating even greater sociopaths into positions of power (yes this is possible and as history shows, quite probable).

With all that in mind, I want to introduce readers to the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, or what is being referred to as the “war slush fund.” You know something’s bad when even Crazy John McCain calls it a “gimmick.”

From Politico:

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain has called it a “gimmick,” and Democrats complain that larding up the separate war funding bill with extra spending amounts to an “abusive loophole.” Yet so far, the massive increase is likely to remain in this year’s budget.

Read that again and think about the complete insanity of it. Everyone agrees it’s horrible, but it’s likely to remain anyway. This is imperial incompetence at its worst.

The practice of funding military operations through a separate spending account — called the Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO, fund — was initially conceived as an “emergency” option, since wars cannot be budgeted for ahead of time and require supplemental funding as needs arise.

Fed funds rates at 0% were also an “emergency measure” and here we are five years later, supposedly in a healthy economy with financial oligarchs still hooked on earning from 0% free money.

War budgets have historically received far less scrutiny than the Pentagon’s so-called base budget. Weapons or equipment requested in these supplemental appropriations do not require detailed justifications. And, politically, lawmakers have also been less willing to vote against the budget that funds troops in foreign wars — making the measures easier to pass without serious scrubbing.

No wonder the U.S. seems to become engaged in a new war every other week. They don’t even care who’s fighting and killing each other. Weapons disappear and no one even cares, see: True Story – U.S. Military Lost Equipment from $750 Million Program, Some Ended up on eBay and Craigslist.

It’s all about producing more weapons, making mountains of cash, and then doing it again and again. The NSA in particular gets the joke:

It’s Not Just Spying – How the NSA Has Turned Into a Giant Profit Center for Corrupt Insiders

Another major criticism of the process has been its common use to fund favored projects and other items not directly tied to the war — a trend that has steadily grown over the years as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dragged on and the Pentagon loosened the definition of war-related spending.

From 2001 to 2014, nearly $71 billion of nonwar funding was provided through war appropriations, according to the Pentagon’s own definition, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reported in December.

The task of determining how to allocate the additional $38 billion in war funding will be left to the appropriations committees, if they are able to pass bills with the added spending. The administration’s initial $58 billion request already includes more than $42 billion for the war in Afghanistan and $5 billion for operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“I think that we need to support, reluctantly, the OCO provision, which is to some degree a gimmick,” the Arizona Republican said last week. “But as opposed to going with the effects of sequestration, I would support OCO as the House acted.”

Just classic. You can always count on John McCain to come out and support something even though he admits it’s a gimmick. With “leaders” like these…

“Adding hundreds of billions of dollars that are more conveniently designated as emergency expenditures — so that they don’t have to be budgeted for along with other national priorities — is only making the fiscal problem that much greater,” McCain said in a floor speech then. “It is unfortunate that, at a time of war and with such a huge deficit and burgeoning debt, we continue to fund unnecessary projects and load up emergency supplemental appropriations bills with non-emergency items.”

What is now in the offing is a scale of abuse not yet seen, according to Winslow Wheeler, a former national security staffer for members of both parties and longtime Pentagon spending critic.

“Four or five years ago, Congress embraced it as a gimmick for $5 [billion] to $10 billion extra,” he said. “Now, they want to embrace it for $40 billion extra.”

The imperial spiral into the stratosphere of stupidity is well underway. With zero accountability for those in power, there’s no way to realistically stop it before crash and burn. The best we can hope is to bring the responsible to justice afterward and pick up the pieces by going back to the Constitution. The intellectual foundation for this must be laid down now. That is the primary purpose of this website.

For related articles, see:

A First Look at a New Report on Crony Capitalism – Trillions in Corporate Welfare

The Department of Homeland Security is a Conduit for Crony Capitalism

Meet James Biden: The Vice-President’s Crony Capitalist Brother

Conscious Capitalism

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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