Well, if we’re lucky, they take a bullet just before they retire

It’s a cliche as old as the Maltese Falcon. The young police detective has a crusty, but wise, sidekick who is just days away from retirement when …bang! Cut to funeral.

Looks like the Administration has seen too many of these movies and has decided to apply it to those wonderful fighting men and women whose votes they’re always protecting in close elections.

According the Washington Post:

Alarmed by the cost of expanding military entitlement programs, President Bush has threatened to veto the $355 billion defense authorization bill for the new fiscal year if House and Senate conferees do not eliminate new pension benefits for disabled military retirees that could cost from $18.5 billion to $58 billion over the next decade.

“We simply cannot continue to add ever-expansive obligations to the defense budget,” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a letter to the conferees, who could decide the issue this week. “This would divert critical resources away from the war on terrorism, the transformation of our military capabilities and important personnel programs such as pay raises and facilities improvements.”

Okay. Lets take the worse case scenario. Suppose it is $58 billion over ten years. For the Paul Krugman impaired, that’s $5.8 billion per year in funding to disabled vets going towards rent, food, health care, etc. for which the White House is willing to veto the defense bill. Yet they have indicated that they have no problem with the prospect of paying $9.5 billion a month for an indefinite period to rebuild the economy and infrastructure of Iraq, after we destoy it, of course.

The difference is where the money would go. Whereas military vets would just waste their money on their daily needs, the money to rebuild Iraq would go to “outside contractors” brought in to do the “nation building”. Companies like Halliburton (including) Brown & Root, Wackenhut, the Carlyle Group, and all the other usual supects.

Looks like that $36 million that Cheney got as a parting gift from Halliburton was a good investment. A better investment than the one he made in puchasing Dresser when he was CEO.

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....