Just when you were thinking Bush’s Justice Department couldn’t get any more despicable, it gets more despicable. Here’s the latest maggot to issue from the rotting corpse of Justice.
Sioux Manufacturing, a North Dakota company, has produced millions of helmets over the years for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. These were supposed to have been built, as is normal in such matters, to certain specifications set by the customer in what the law calls a “contract.” Unhappily, however, Sioux Manufacturing had a competing and overriding moral obligation — its duty to maximize profits. The Pentagon’s specifications would just have to go.
So the looms were set to short-weight the helmets on Kevlar, the polymer thread which makes them resistant to bullets and shrapnel. Less Kevlar made for lighter helmets. The company therefore added resin to bring them up to the specified weight. This further reduced protection for the troops, since resin made the helmets less elastic and more brittle.
The evidence for all this comes from tape recordings, extensive company records, and the testimony of two plant managers who filed suit under the federal whistle-blower law for $159 million in damages. They were of course fired.
Bush’s U.S. Attorney for North Dakota, Drew H. Wrigley, has just cleaned up this whole sorry mess, thank God, and brought the suit to “an appropriate resolution.” Wrigley stamped his tiny foot and forced those naughty Sioux to settle for $2 million with no admission of wrongdoing.
And as if that weren’t enough, 12 days before the settlement an outraged Pentagon had smacked the reeling company with a $74 million contract to replace all the substandard helmets it had already bought from them.
Cost-plus, no doubt.