Winslow on WastrelsTweet
October 13, 2004For years, Winslow Wheeler, a.k.a. "Spartacus," has been working hard for good government from both inside and outside the system. As you may recall Wheeler was publicly "outed" in a 2002 Washington Post story--and then abruptly forced into retirement from his Senate Budget Committee post by Senator Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico)--after Wheeler wrote a scathing piece, "Mr. Smith is Dead," on Congressional defense pork using his pen name. Now a visiting senior fellow at the Center for Defense Information, Wheeler has expanded his thoughts in a new book on Congressional defense pork. His book, The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages U.S. Security (the dictionary defines a wastrel as �one who wastes, especially one who wastes money, a profligate,�), argues that since 9/11, the conduct of Congress has reached a new low and is endangering the nation's security. In the 1980s and early 1990s Wheeler wrote several critical think pieces under the name Spartacus exposing the ways members of Congress and military bureacrats put their own personal interests ahead of the public interest in defense budgeting matters. Wheeler has a rich background and is well-credentialed in defense matters: He was an investigator with the Government Accountability Office and has worked for both Republicans and Democrats. An excerpt from his book:
The effect on our national security may not yet be apparent to most Americans, but it is alarming. Congress is not just dithering with national security--it is trashing it. The military effectiveness American forces have shown in two wars against Iraq is not because of, but despite, Congress' work. U.S. armed forces are not supported at the level most Americans have been led to expect. The leadership in Congress and in the Pentagon work to pursue personal and career agendas, not national security.
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This Land is Our Land
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) raises this important issue in our latest podcast. POGO investigator Mia Steinle talks about the woefully outdated royalty programs for the mining and drilling of natural resources on public lands.