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WaPo opens new front in war against Murtha

Posted by Charles II on December 29, 2007

What would you call it if Salk and Sabin were declared to be wastrels and failures if people didn’t take their polio vaccines?

Well, on a lesser scale, that’s what the Robert O’Harrow Jr. of The Washington Dopes… er, Post… has succeeded in doing.  Headlined “Millions in Earmarks Produce Little of Use,” we automatically know that the National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence must be a boondoggle because it was founded using those dreaded earmarks.  

Not only that, we know they must be wicked because the spokesman for the group that manages the Center, Concurrent, defended its “non-profit status, saying ‘we perform scientific research and development.’ “We don’t claim to be a charity,” she said. “We’re not the United Way.” But legally it’s listed as a charitable organization!  Almost like the all the other organizations that do medical and scientific research but don’t deliver three hots and a cot! 

A careless reading of the story would lead one to believe that this is a story about wasteful pork.  But if one reads the story, it’s very clear that the work the Center arranges to be done is vitally necessary. Unfortunately, in the classic throw-it-over-the-wall engineering problem, the Pentagon fails to implement the ideas and products the Center develops.

Why? Presumably because they, not irrationally, view their mission as blowing things up and killing people, not doing so in an environmentally friendly fashion. So, the problem is not wasteful pork, but a hidebound Pentagon.

Whether this organizational model is optimal for getting the research done is one question, separate from the question of how to get the Pentagon to expand its mission. I suspect one could squeeze more bang for the buck by getting Battelle out of Concurrent. Nor is it exactly unlikely that Murtha arranged this project for his district to enhance the probabilities of his re-election.

There is, however, no evidence produced by the Washington Post that this is wasteful pork and so one can only conclude that they structured the article this way to attack Murtha.

Anyone got an in with CJR or E&P? This seems like a journalistic outrage to me.

(Story via t/o)

One Response to “WaPo opens new front in war against Murtha”

  1. Oh, yes. The GOP/Media Complex is doing a full-court press against “Democratic waste”. The CBS News last night featured a story on the eeeevils of earmarks, carefully avoiding the mention of how they exploded under the Republican Congresses of 1994-2006, and tossed in other shocking examples of “government waste” that added up to, oh, about $2.3 billion out of the latest budget. Of course, we waste $15 billion a month in Iraq, but CBS won’t mention that.

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