While Troops Travel in Squalor, Air Force Brass Choose Swatches for First Class Cabins

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On Friday I noted the controversy over two related Air Force projects designed to provide senior military officials with “world class” aircraft accommodations. Outfitted with such first class perks as flat screen TVs, leather chairs, and “aesthetically pleasing” wall and ceiling treatments, the multi-million dollar projects, known as Senior Leader In-Transit Conference Capsules (SLICCs)—first referred to as “comfort capsules, according to Air Force documents—and Senior Leader Intransit Pallets (SLIPs) were the subject of a letter from the Project on Government Oversight’s executive director, Danielle Brian, to Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week. In it, she wrote that these programs, which were partially financed with counter-terrorism funding, illustrate a “disconnect between the senior leadership of the Air Force from the increasingly pressing needs of servicemen and women”—particularly given the “deplorable state” of the seat pallets used for troop transport.

Well, POGO has obtained several pictures of the interior of a cargo plane taken at Al Udeid Airbase in Qatar. And it’s not pretty:

militarytransport.jpg

Meanwhile, here’s a mock-up of a SLICC:

slicc.jpg

And a SLIP:

slip.jpg

I think it goes without saying that senior military leaders deserve to travel in comfort, and require privacy in order to carry out their responsibilities. But if the picture above is indicative of the state of military cargo aircraft in general, then the top Air Force brass are going to find it difficult to explain why they were picking out carpet swatches while the troops were headed to war in squalor.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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