Once again, Barack Obama is showing his lack of serious concern for the military.
Instead of court martialing Bowe Bergdahl, who presumably went AWOL in Afghanistan, Obama traded five high-level Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo Bay, for his release.
The President used military pay and pensions as a political football during recent budget debates. Thanks to Obama’s opposition to reform, the Veterans Administration is overwhelmed with an endless backup of paperwork to process –while veterans die on secret waiting lists at government run hospitals.
Time and again, regardless of what the American people want, Obama stays true to his leftist ideology.
One issue less publicized — but of great importance to our men and women in uniform — involves the shipment of service members’ vehicles throughout the world. For many servicemen and women, stationed in a distant state or a country like Germany or Italy, shipping their car or truck allows them to save money and take care of their families on a limited income. This is a service that America should be providing to our brave service members.
To perform this important job, the Obama Pentagon awarded a contract to International Auto Logistics (IAL). It is a company that was set up in 2012 for the sole purpose of bidding on the contract (IAL didn’t even have an office headquarters when they won it!).
Just two months into the contract, there are already complaints of malfunctioning systems and outright incompetence creating needless hurdles for our enlisted men and women. With reports of full voicemail boxes at some IAL locations and non-working phone lines at others, IAL is almost impossible to reach. Wait times at some of IAL’s drop off locations takes more than five hours.
Of the over 6,300 cars accepted for shipment by IAL since May, fewer than 2,300 have gone anywhere. Since IAL hasn’t set up enough storage space to properly secure these 4,000 vehicles, many are just sitting in unsecured locations like hotel parking lots and vacant fields. Over 1,300 of these vehicles are waiting shipment at a single port in Europe, with no telling when they will be sent to their final destination.
Just like at the VA, IAL is largely reliant on paper files. This creates disorganization and is preventing service members from knowing when and where their vehicles are being sent. If they’re among the lucky few whose cars are actually in transit, tracking them is impossible. Cars have turned up in Hawaii, which were supposed to be shipped to Guam and Korea. One service member cancelled his family vacation when his car turned up in Los Angeles instead of Seattle. Another has been trying for weeks to find the car he dropped off in Alaska in May.
This company has become a nightmare: they are cutting corners and losing cars, and our troops and their families are suffering.
In a bizarre twist, the chairman of IAL’s corporate parent IAP Group, Park Sang-Kwon, is also the CEO of a car company with production facilities in North Korea. Not only is he an informal spokesman for Kim Jong-Un, but here he is with the North Korean leader on “Victory Day” and is honorary citizen of the DPRK. Is the Obama Administration aware of this information, which is easily accessible on Google? Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana has already asked the Pentagon to look into IAL, and it is time for more conservatives to support that effort.
It is becoming clear that this contract needs to be stopped and the bidding process should be reevaluated. Our brave enlisted members are willing to put their lives on the line and ask very little in return. During their transitions in the service, not losing their cars and trucks seems like the least we can do.
Ken Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union, and on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons