JULY 18, 2008
Millions of taxpayer dollars intended to counter terrorism have instead been diverted by the U.S. Air Force to create “world class” aircraft accommodations for senior officers featuring plush leather chairs, large flat-screen monitors and fancy stereo speakers.
Known as “comfort capsules,” the extravagantly designed military planes are apparently crucial to the war on terrorism because they ease the travel of Air Force brass with an aesthetically pleasing room featuring luxurious furniture—beds and expensive leather couches—as well as high-tech electronic equipment.
To create these flying “comfort capsules,” Air Force officials have asked to divert $16.2 million from the war on terrorism in the last three years and hundreds of thousands have already been spent. The information was made public by a federal government watchdog group that obtained internal Air Force electronic mail and budget documents.
The group drafted a hard-hitting letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates this week detailing the outrageous waste, which is referred to as an egregious failure of leadership involving breathtaking extravagance when every dollar needs to be wisely spent in a time of war.
The lengthy letter includes a list of Air Force requirements, obtained from internal memos, for the world class comfort capsules. They include a wall-mounted flat screen/flat panel monitor that must have a diagonal measurement of at least 37 inches, a full length mirror, aesthetically pleasing wall-to-wall carpeting, aesthetically pleasing wall treatments/coverings, aesthetically pleasing ceiling treatments/coverings, internal illumination level that automatically adjusts to ambient lighting levels and a single remote control unit for the various electronic devices.
It also mentions that a general, dissatisfied with the color of the furniture’s leather and wood, ordered it to be completely reupholstered for $113,000. This led another general, appalled by the exorbitant tab, to write that he could carpet and upholster a couple of houses for that amount.
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