Congressional reaction to BRAC


Some members of Congress are not too pleased about the votes cast by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission to close and realign our nation's military installations.  We don't need a crystal ball to tell us that politicians will fight to keep federal dollars flowing into the effected congressional districts, but according to USA Today, the statements from Republican lawmakers are uncharacteristically honest about their feelings on pork versus national security in a time of war.

As predicted in these pages, some members of Congress, even Republicans, have tied their support for the war to continued infusion of taxpayer money into their home districts.  And the first negative reaction in the USA Today article involves Rep. Ray LaHood, an Illinois Republican, who rather than being upset over the closure of a major installation, is angry at that the BRAC voted to close a National Guard base.  This was also predicted in my earlier piece.

Rep. LaHood probably speaks for all of the representatives and senators, who have trouble prioritizing our war time needs when he said that the President and SecDef Rumsfeld,

"...should have paid a lot more attention to those of us who supported them in Afghanistan and Iraq"

Even Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, recited the obvious when he complained that BRAC's process of selecting installations to be closed was 'rigged to mirror Rumsfeld's priorities.'

So there you have it.  No longer can a sitting SecDef establish priorities to enhance our warfighting capability and fix a defense establishment currently hampered by Cold War constructs.  With congressional emphasis on its shadow federal jobs program instead of winning the war, it's truly amazing that our military has accomplished as much as they have in the fight against global terror.

Douglas Hanson   08—26—05