The Times is reporting that:
Senators diverted $2.6 billion in funds in a defense spending bill to pet projects largely at the expense of accounts that pay for fuel, ammunition and training for U.S. troops, including those fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an analysis.
Earmarks being a fact of life for the time being notwithstanding, the most despicable bill in which to graft is a defense spending bill intended for battlefield necessities in a time of War. Tom Coburn called it "a disgrace". Can't say it much better than that.
One of the earmarks was for "an educational institute named after the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy". Well, that certainly must make untrained, bullet-less soldiers with no gas ecstatic.
And just how will the new Kennedy Institute help our troops, you ask?
Whitney Smith, a spokesman for Mr. Kerry, said the earmark was "a worthy investment."
"Sen. Kennedy served on the Armed Services Committee for 27 years, where he fought to deliver top-of-the-line body armor and armored Humvees to protect our troops and save lives. Educating Americans about these battles is a core mission for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, which showcases one senator's ability to make a difference," Mr. Smith wrote in an e-mail. "This funding will help the Edward M. Kennedy Institute become one the nation's pre-eminent civic educational institutions, and Sen. Kerry is proud to have worked with Chairman Inouye to make it possible."
Ah. Gotcha. Rather than making their lives safer now by filling their rifles with ammunition and their jeeps with gas, the Kennedy Institute, (grand opening....who the hell knows), will assist our military by showcasing "one senator's ability to make a difference." That's spectacular. Perhaps we can give each returning soldier a day's pass so that they can understand exactly why they were fighting without bullets or fuel.
Laura Peterson, of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan spending watchdog, told The Washington Times, "Earmarks like these take money away from other defense programs that the Defense Department actually wants. While military health care is certainly a worthwhile venture, it's hard to see how a program located in Hawaii that openly favors Hawaii-based industries guarantees [the Department of Defense] the best value for such an exorbitant price tag."
Who the hell does the Defense Department think they are asking for things troops actually want or need? Goddamnit, Senators need to buy votes too you know. It's not all about you DOD.
I don't know how these people sleep at night.
Actually I do...in a coffin with a black cape on so nobody can see their fangs.