Pentagon says the cost of Trump's border fence could be measured in the lives of American troops
To build his pointless ecologically, economically, aesthetically, and historically awful border fence, Donald Trump is using the National Emergencies Act to dip into a hodgepodge of military projects and scoop out funds that were going to purchase little things like homes, schools, hospitals—and in at least one case, a practice facility for paratroopers. Which seems a little important. As The Washington Post reports, the cost of these projects might not just be in dollars, because some of them were designed to address situations that are genuinely life-threatening.
Warning of dire consequences, the Pentagon notes that some of the homes that troops and their families are occupying currently aren’t just old, but they’re also loaded up with asbestos and other things that create hazardous living conditions. In other cases, Trump’s precious ammunition is being stored in facilities that aren’t fire-resistant or tough enough to handle potential explosions. The buildings to be replaced or upgraded included more warehouses with crumbling asbestos, a middle school infested with mold, and a training facility overrun by bats. Not only do these conditions represent a direct threat to military personnel, but the Pentagon also notes that they are “hurting military readiness” and damaging national security.
So … Trump has declared a national emergency on the southern border, while military personnel are at risk and genuine threats to national security go unaddressed. Sounds about right.
However, despite the apparent urgency now being expressed, a lot of these projects have gone unfunded for years, or even decades, not because someone at the White House pulled the plug, but because the Pentagon itself has a tendency to funnel money toward massive, costly projects such as new ships and fighter jets, even when those programs incur huge cost overruns. Especially when they incur overruns. In fact, it’s exactly because these other projects had not been finalized that the money was available for Trump. Had the Pentagon prioritized these programs to begin with, the NEA would not have left them vulnerable to being snatched away.
The biggest mistake the Pentagon is making now is coming to Congress with these warnings rather than going to the man who took its dollars in the first place.