Metro-East News

Roger That: Report outlines lavish spending by Wounded Warrior Project

A major donor to the Wounded Warrior Project veterans charity called Thursday for the nonprofit’s CEO to resign in light of allegations of lavish spending on staff meetings, according to a CBS News report.

Fred and Dianne Kane, the parents of two Iraq War veterans, have donated $325,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project since 2009 through their personal charity, Tee-off for a Cause.

Slightly more than half of the Kanes’ donations directly benefitted veterans, according to CBS News.

But after recent tax forms reflected questionable spending by the veterans’ charity on staff expenditures, including $26 million on conferences and meetings at luxury hotels in 2014 alone, Fred Kane called for CEO Steven Nardizzi to be fired.The expenditure on conferences and travel was up from just $1.7 million in 2010, according to reports.

“Hearing that there was this waste of money, donor dollars that should have been going to servicemen and women that were injured, and that it was spent on (Wounded Warrior Project staff) having a good time — it”s a real disappointment,” Dianne Kane told CBS News.

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A former Marine Corps officer-turned-congressman said Friday it was “pathetic” that the Defense Department does not require its troops to intervene if a child is raped by allied troops on US-controlled bases, according to Military.com.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., introduced legislation on March 3 that would require American troops to respond to any child sexual abuse on US bases, both domestic and overseas. The “Martland Act” is nicknamed for Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland, whose Army career is in limbo because he beat up an Afghan police commander who admitted he raped a child repeatedly.

“Sadly, I’m having to write Defense Department policy to make sure it’s illegal to rape kids on American bases,” Hunter said Friday. “It’s pathetic that we have to do this ... it should not have to be done by Congress.”

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Donald Trump said on a Sunday morning talk show that he favored changing U.S. military and international laws against torture and waterboarding that ISIS ignores, according to Military.com.

“I would like to strengthen the laws so that we can better compete” with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Trump said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS TV’s “Face the Nation.”

Citing ISIS’ beheadings of U.S. prisoners and other brutal tactics, Trump said, “We have to play the game the way they’re playing the game. You’re not going to win if we’re soft and they’re — they have no rules.”

America’s top military commanders, however, have pushed back hard about Trump’s calls for the use of waterboarding and other techniques of torture. They say that Trump’s calls for an end to U.S. ban on torture a violation of the Geneva Convention and, American military tradition, but it would be a boon for terrorist recruiting and would jeopardize American prisoners of war. Above all, military leaders say, torture is counter-productive and results in prisoners giving false information that can impede terror investigations.

On waterboarding, Trump said that the law should be changed “at a minimum to allow that.” Waterboarding was one of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” previously used by the United States. Seven decades ago, however, the U.S. military executed Japanese commanders convicted of using waterboarding and other torture techniques on Amerian POWs.

President Obama has banned waterboarding by U.S. personnel in interrogations.

In giving his latest position on torture and waterboarding, Trump said, “I think our priorities are mixed up. I happen to think we should use something stronger than what we have” in interrogating prisoners to extract intelligence.

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Men and women are now equal on the battlefield but that does not mean one size fits all when it comes to gear.

The integration of women into all military combat positions — including elite special operations — is putting increased pressure on the Army and Marine Corps to solve issues of ill-fitting body armor and is pushing a minor revolution in smaller-size options in the life-saving apparel, according to Stars and Stripes.

Both services are fielding thousands of sets of newly sized armor designed to better fit the female form just as recruitment begins for the gender-neutral infantry ordered by Defense Secretary Ash Carter in December. The new female soldiers and Marines could begin service as early as this fall.

The Army has added eight new sizes to its body armor to accommodate women, said Lt. Gen. Michael Williamson, the principle military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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