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Now It’s The Military

MSNBC reports that in the widening peanut product recall the U.S. Army the latest to pull items

Worried about salmonella, the Army said Thursday it’s removing some peanut butter items from warehouses in Europe, the latest in an ever-growing list of recalled peanut products linked to a national salmonella outbreak.

…The Army’s recall does not affect Meals-Ready-to-Eat, but another kind of military grub called Unitized Group Rations-A, which provide a complete 50-person meal.

These rations are served at field kitchens for units at remote locations. Some of them were pretty good in the ancient times when I served, and I assume they are still good, but definitely not diet food, and definitely not in individual portions.

8 comments

1 Badux { 01.29.09 at 6:27 pm }

And thus a fine tradition is continued. One of the continual frustrations of Union soldiers during the American Civil War was the poor quality of the provisions with which they provided. Black powder for their rifles that had more smoke than boom, hardtack biscuit that had more worm than wheat, rotten salt pork that even dogs turned their noses up at… corruption in the procurement process meant that Union soldiers were perpetually hungry and unable to see what the fuck they were shooting at because of all the smoke from their rifles. Glad to see that some traditions never die.

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Badux´s last blog post..Oooh, Krugman snarks!

2 Bryan { 01.29.09 at 7:41 pm }

The Civil War was the real birth of the Military Industrial Complex. Lincoln’s first Secretary of War, Cameron, was such a crook, that it is not at all surprising that the military supplies were garbage.

Between the lowest bidder contracts and the cronyism, it is a miracle that anything is usable.

3 Steve Bates { 01.30.09 at 10:01 am }

If Cheney ever undergoes psychological testing, they’ll discover that he suffers a military-industrial complex.

It is indeed a miracle that anything ever was usable while he was driving the supply process for Halliburton’s profits; troops could be grateful if they were merely food-poisoned rather than electrocuted in the shower.

Steve Bates´s last blog post..Friday Shadow Blogging

4 Bryan { 01.30.09 at 2:43 pm }

But grounding a pump is so hard – it cost almost $2 retail and took 10 minutes for me to ground that new pump I installed. We wouldn’t want a government contractor to go to those lengths just to save a few lives. [/snark]

5 Badtux { 01.30.09 at 8:47 pm }

Lowest bidder, Bryan. Lowest bidder. Who then subcontracted it out for $5 a day to somebody he found hanging around in the parking lot of Home Depot (or the Iraqi equivalent, whatever the fuck that is).

At least Lincoln eventually fired Cameron, even if the only person he could find who was both ruthless enough and unhinged enough to take on the corruption was that madman Stanton. Rummy and Cheney, on the other hand, pretty much had their way until near the end, when an adult finally got hired to lead the DoD…

Badtux´s last blog post..Jeremy Mayle

6 Bryan { 01.30.09 at 9:23 pm }

The crap that is still being pulled in New Orleans – four layers of contractors for every job, and the guys actually doing the work are barely breaking even, much less making a profit, but the upper levels are raking it in for nothing.

Oh, yeah, like the crews who built Sam’s, Walmart, and Lowes down here, none of who spoke English, and all of whom crossed roads with that shuffling run more often seen near the I-5 border crossing in San Ysidro. Lowest bid available. We had almost no Hispanics who weren’t in the Air Force down here until those buildings started going up.

Low bid.

7 Badtux { 01.30.09 at 11:46 pm }

One thing about Stanton was that he was a paranoid delusional nutcase who saw Confederate spies and saboteurs behind every fern and curtain. Fortunate for the Army, part of his paranoia was that the procurement process of the U.S. military was beset by Confederate saboteurs who were deliberately delivering shoddy goods to the Army. It’s amazing how much stretching the necks of a few people delivering shoddy goods to the Army improved the quality of goods delivered to the Army :-). Various contractors complained to President Lincoln, and Lincoln merely smiled enigmatically and said something along the lines”when you can find me someone else as good at the job of Secretary of War as Mr. Stanton, please let me know.”

I think it would take someone similarly crazy to clean out the current nest of vipers involved in military contracting. I mean, Stanton may have been crazy, but maybe his craziness was *right* — contractors whose shoddy work is harming U.S. soldiers maybe SHOULD be considered to be enemy spies and saboteurs and treated accordingly. Now *that* would be a change I could believe in :-).

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8 Bryan { 01.31.09 at 12:30 am }

Government contracts are a mess. Rumsfeld had the DoD hiring contractors to administer contracts as part of his privatization. It was bad enough when it was officers getting ready to retire administering contracts and looking for jobs.

There really does need to be a certain “zeal” and, frankly, paranoia involved in the process. Things have been so loose for so long that radical change is required to bring it back under control. Time and cost overruns are considered normal, rather than exceptions. The contracts are underbid by the big guys, knowing the profits will come in the end.

Having been on the receiving end of some of the crap that was produced, it really can affect your ability to do your job effectively. I remember trying to work on an aircraft that had just been delivered after an upgrade, and it was literally impossible to do your job. The controls you used most frequently couldn’t be reached from the chair, and the equipment directly in front of you was almost never turned on. It took our maintenance people two months to swap things around to make it work as the contractors that came with the delivery weren’t cleared to enter the maintenance hanger where the work had to be done.

I used a piece of gear that I was personally responsible for, it went from a vault to the aircraft and then back immediately after landing. There was supposed to be a sliding shelf for the equipment at my position, but there was nothing and the chair was installed too close for an easy fix. That was the last fix, so for two months I had to use the sucker on my lap with a hand-built extension cord. It was a 40 pound laptop.

There have been contractors I would have loved to have shot,