Thursday, June 10, 2004

We could have brought them all the way home

Permanent war is expensive and most of us really should be made to sacrifice for it.

So we close a few schools. Big deal, kids would learn better if teachers were allowed to smack them around a bit. The real problem is lack of disipline at home.

So we take money away from Head Start, poor children probably have lazy genes anyway.

Who really cares if we cut the Children's Heatlh Insurance Program, financially disadvantaged children just grow up to be financially disadvantaged adults.

Cutting back on Social Security and Medicare makes good sense because old people live too damn long anyway.

National parks really should be closed on weekends and holidays so that the Department of the Interior can hire more interrogators for Iraq and elsewhere.

It's great that someone realized that imminent danger pay and the family separation allowance could be trimmed back to show better apperciation of our freedoms.

Thrift, pure and simple explains the lack of body armor, bullets, and even drinking water that should be provided to our volunteer military.

Slashing benefits and entitlements to the vets makes them tougher.

Americans just love the idea that we are sharing the sacrifices of this permanent and senseless war so we are willing to do anything shy of raising taxes on the wealthiest or (gasp) blocking war profiteering ,waste and fraud.

We like the sacrifice so much that we are willing to beg for air miles and money to bring them all the way home (instead of only to a few selected airports) when and if they happen to get a break from the battleground.

That is why this is just so darn clever.

Congress' General Accounting Office issued the findings in two reports on the Pentagon's lack of control over airline travel, copies of which The Associated Press obtained Tuesday. A prior report, issued last November, found that the Pentagon bought 68,000 first-class or business-class airline seats for employees who should have flown coach.

"At a time when our soldiers are patrolling the streets of Iraq in unarmored Humvees, and when the Bush Administration is asking for record Defense spending, Secretary (Donald H.) Rumsfeld is letting hundreds of millions of dollars that could be used to protect our troops and our country go to waste," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, one of three lawmakers who ordered the studies.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, another lawmaker who ordered the studies, said, "It's outrageous that the Defense Department would be sending additional federal tax dollars to the airlines by way of unused passenger tickets. And the fact that the Defense Department didn't even know it was wasting this money is even worse than $100 million down a rathole."

While one GAO report focused on the unused tickets, the second investigation found potential fraud.

United in sacrifice. Refreshing, isn't it?



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