Scandals a Hurt to Veterans - The Missourian: Opinion

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Scandals a Hurt to Veterans

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Posted: Saturday, February 8, 2014 6:00 pm

The news about scandals in payments in recruiting for the National Guard and cheating allegations by trainers at a school for naval nuclear reactor operators is disturbing to all Americans, and particularly to military veterans. For service members to cheat in any way is hurtful to those veterans who served honorably and in an honest manner.

The U.S. Senate is investigating, along with the Army, the National Guard recruiting program under which millions of dollars in unlawful payments were made. The Navy is investigating the cheating allegation against about one-fifth of the trainers at the nuclear reactor school. There also is a cheating probe under way in the Air Force about a monthly test of proficiency in handling emergency war orders for potential launch of nuclear missiles.

These allegations of cheating are demeaning to our branches of service and harmful to their reputations.

The National Guard recruiting scandal indicates a general lack of oversight of a Recruiting Assistance Program for the National Guard. Illegal payments were made in the millions of dollars to people who assisted in recruiting men and women for the National Guard. The illegal payments may amount to $29 million. Sen. Claire McCaskill heads a subcommittee that is investigating the fraud, one of the worst ever to hit the Army. More than 3,000 members of the Guard may have received illegal payments for help in signing recruits who enlisted. About $66 million in bonuses remain to be investigated.

The program was canceled by the Army in 2012, but it cost $459 million. A private contractor was involved. The scandal has reached the top levels of the Guard.

Money should not be appropriated for programs such as this without provisions for adequate oversight. In fact, adequate oversight should be included in all programs in which the military and other federal agencies receive substantial amounts of money.

A troublesome and nagging result of this is that there seems to be less honesty among the general populace today. We realize there has been a certain amount of dishonesty since the stealing of the apple in the orchard. Today there is more of a quest for a quick dollar and more people are involved in fraud. What happened to our moral compass? What happened to having a conscience that signaled right and wrong?

Being dishonest doesn’t seem to bother many people today. Yes, we have lost our moral way in many respects. What is it going to take to right the ship we call America?

/opinion

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