Imagine parents endlessly praising their son as "the smartest, handsomest, most athletically gifted boy since God created Adam." We'd conclude that they were thoroughly obnoxious, if not a bit unhinged. Yet the military remains just this sort of favored son, the country's golden child. And to the golden child go the spoils.
I adore having three-day weekends. Yet, I wish all school children knew what this day is for. Any family who has lost someone recently in our current endless wars, or still have family who served in Vietnam or Korea who suffer with lasting injuries, both mental and physical -- will honor this day with sadness. We all need to think about that.
A battle is raging over how much money Americans will sink into the Pentagon next year. At least, that's what it looks like. The Republican Party's deficit hawks have clashed with its defense hawks over another hike in military spending. Obama, meanwhile, has vowed to veto any spending bill that underfunds his domestic priorities.
It's an open secret that the Pentagon has routinely been using the war budget -- known as the Overseas Contingency Operations account -- as a slush fund to pay for items that don't fit within the caps on its base budget. If a new report is accurate, the House Budget Committee will propose an increase of over $40 billion in the OCO account, bringing the total to an astounding $90 billion.
But you would never know it if you listened to the cries coming from key members of Congress and hawkish D.C. think tanks. It is important to note that these substantial proposed increases in Pentagon spending are arbitrary numbers cherry-picked from past Pentagon five-year plans, not careful assessments of current defense needs.