Monday, July 22, 2013

Say, What?

(Snagged from clipart.)

We don't seem to be hearing much about the "sequester" these days, only about some of the cuts that resulted from this disastrous process.  For example, hundreds of thousands of civilian employees of the Pentagon have been laid off.  One area of the Pentagon budget, however, has not been touched, at least not yet.

Marine Gen. John F. Kelly works in a fortress-like headquarters near the Miami airport. Starting this fall, he will live in Casa Sur, an elegant home with a pool and gardens on one of the area's swankiest streets.

The five-bedroom residence, across the street from the famed Biltmore Golf Course, is provided rent-free to Kelly as head of U.S. Southern Command, which oversees military operations in the Caribbean Latin America.

The cost to taxpayers? $160,000 a year, plus $402,000 for renovations and security improvements now underway.

Casa Sur is one of hundreds of high-end homes, villas and mansions where senior generals and admirals are billeted, according to a Pentagon report prepared for Congress last month but not publicly released. ...

The perks for top military brass, a Pentagon tradition, are under increasing scrutiny in Congress at a time when budget reductions and the mandatory spending cuts known as the sequester have forced the Pentagon to cut services, close facilities, cancel training and missions, and furlough 680,000 civilian workers.

"There is no good news," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told hundreds of defense workers at Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina on Wednesday after one woman, who was forced to take 11 days without pay, said she had to take a second job to support her children. "It breaks my heart."

In the annual appropriations bill for military construction approved by a House committee last month, lawmakers criticized the Pentagon for the "excessive cost" of maintaining "large and aging" homes and for the "apparent unwillingness on the part of the [military] services to seek less expensive alternatives."   [Emphasis added]

One of the excuses offered by the Pentagon for this largesse is that the generals and admirals use these palaces for ceremonial functions, which means they required both luxurious homes and high security.  That begs the question of why we are expecting our generals/admirals to do this kind of entertaining.  I mean, isn't that the function of the State Department?

Or have  we become so militarized that we choose that face to show the world?

Sad, isn't it?

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