HIGHTOWER: Pork for Pentagon Pigs

The few. The proud. The hypocritical.I speak not of the men and women of America's armed forces, but of the men and women of the U.S. senate who wail so hypocritically against wasteful federal spending, demanding cuts in everything from education to Medicare ... yet who then lard the federal budget with Pentagon Pork for their favorite contractors back home.Never mind that the Soviet Union is kaput, that there's no credible and present enemy to pose a real military threat to us, these, profligate spenders are devoted to packing the Pentagon budget with high-tech missiles, submarines, bombers and other weaponry that's not needed, will not work or both. As the Council for a Livable World, a Pentagon watchdog group, put it: "The military budget has a new mission: to defend the re-election efforts of members of congress."Indeed, the group's analysis shows more than $4 Billion allocated for the procurement of new weapons that even the free-spending Pentagon brass didn't request. And here's a big ol' coincidence: the biggest bulk of this will go to contractors in the states of senators who sit on the two committees that determine how the military budget is spent!Check out Republican budget hawk Dan Coats of Indiana, for example, bringing home $626 million in pure pork for contractors in his state. And how about Virginia -- it has both of its senators on the Armed Services Committee, and John Warner and Chuck Robb teamed-up to haul $345 million in excess-weapons pork back home to contractors in Old Virginny.This splurging on Corporate Welfare comes at a time when our rank-and-file soldiers are being shortchanged, not even paid enough to meet their housing and food costs. For example, 12,000 U.S. soldiers are on food stamps!To get a military that works, invest in soldiers . . . not corporate pork.Source:Council for a Livable World press release. July 7, 1997.

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