While channeling President Harry Truman and fuming about wartime contracting waste and abuse, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) dropped a “god-damn” just for emphasis at a Senate hearing Wednesday.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who chaired the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, was thanking McCaskill for her “excellent testimony,” noting that he was struck by her reference to Truman who proceeded over a bumpy reconversion from a wartime economy.
“I know you’re keeping that spirit alive,” he told her. “It struck me that if we could go and interview him about this commission report and then release the transcript, we would have to delete several expletives.”Taking the bait, she gave her very own tribute to Truman in classically blunt McCaskill style.
“You know, I need to say for Harry Truman, ‘This makes me god-damn mad,'” she said, referring to the billions of dollars wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan on contracting corruption and abuse.
“I knew you wouldn’t let me down,” Lieberman responded.
McCaskill, who chairs the committee’s Contracting Oversight Subcommittee, is particularly livid because these same mistakes have been repeatedly made in past contingency operations.
“As one of the generals said to me when I was in Iraq: You know, everything you are seeing in terms of mistakes that have been made, most of them were made in Bosnia,” she testified. “And by the way, there was a lesson learned after Bosnia, except there was one problem: They forgot to learn the lesson.”
The Commission on Wartime Contracting wrapped up its work and issued a scathing Aug. 31 report, chronicling the poor oversight, sloppy work and rampant fraud involved in the country’s over-reliance on private contracting for military and intelligence work over the last decade, which continues, especially in the intelligence community.
As if the deficit super committee didn’t have enough thorny issues to work through this fall already, Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) is trying to rally support for tasking the panel with ending contracting waste and abuse.
Shays, who headed the Commission on Wartime Contracting and is running for Senate next year, in late August said the super committee would be a “failure” in his eyes, if it did not tackle billions of dollars wasted each year in bloated and corrupt wartime contracting deals.
Meanwhile, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), a leading progressive, sent a letter signed by 70 members to the super committee, calling on it to end overseas contingency operations and budgeted appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan starting in 2012, a cost savings they estimate will add up to more than $1.8 trillion over the next 10 years.