Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal

'Help Is on The Way'

The Nation
Matt Bivens

"To all of our men and women in uniform, and to their parents and families: Help is on the way!" –- Dick Cheney campaigning in the 2000 presidential elections.

Never forget that arrogant pledge. Because first of all, the Clinton-Gore military, as it turns out, was in perfectly fine shape -- fine enough to handle the Taliban in Afghanistan and topple Saddam Hussein. (Though it's had predictable trouble with the peace-keeping side of the coin -- in part because Donald Rumsfeld has moved to close the US Army War College's Peacekeeping Institute and has generally short-shrifted training in that area, in part because even the bravest and most cunning of military outfits can't do much with a stupid mission.)

Now, incredibly, the Help-Is-On-the-Way Pentagon wants to cut the imminent-danger pay of troops in Iraq! Maybe they need to free up cash for bottled water.

When Congress returns after Labor Day, it will have to act fast to counter Pentagon plans to cut danger-pay by $75 a month and family-separation allowances of $150 a month. The Pentagon doesn't want to spend money on such trivia; it says these pay cuts will save $25 million a month. For perspective, that's about 0.6% of the war's monthly cost. Or, if you prefer another comparison: The Pentagon says its proposed pay cuts will save about $300 million this year; which is still less than the $324 million Halliburton listed as second-quarter revenues solely from work in Iraq.

No wonder Army Times is raging at the Administration's nickel-and-dime disdain for its own soldiers. (Team Bush only likes to dress up like soldiers, it doesn't like to pay them.) After news of the Pentagon's pay-cut was broken by the < i>San Francisco Chronicle, an unnamed White House official rushed to tell The New York Times that, while it was true, the president solemnly hopes Congress will overrule the Pentagon. As if the president can't overrule his own executive-branch agency.

What I'm curious about now is whatever happened to that other brilliant Republican idea: the call on patriotic New York police and fire fighters to sacrifice overtime pay so that there'd be enough free cash out there, in a very vague sort of way, for military danger-pay.

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