Keeping Our Commanders Comfortable
The Pentagon acknowledged that even though the Offense Department’s budget is slated for a 20% cut that will cost 800,000 people their job, important war planners like General John Kelly of U.S. Southern Command live rent-free in mansions, like Kelly’s $13,500 per month Casa Sur, in Miami. Or Villa de Lorio, a 6,600-square-foot Italian villa in Naples, leased for $172,000 a year for Rear Admiral Robert Burke, the commander of Submarine Group 8, which patrols the Mediterranean. General Philip M. Breedlove, the Air Force general in command of NATO, beds down in a 15,000-square-foot 19th century Belgian chateau. Lt. General Steven A. Hummer, head of the Marine Forces Reserve, billets in a 19th century plantation house in New Orleans listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And the Joint Chiefs of Staff (and their deputies) occupy historic quarters in and around Washington — staffed with key personnel like security teams, drivers, and gardeners. Also, chefs.
Exorbitant? Not in the least. A bargain, actually. Shh! Don’t tell the war planners. They might ask for bigger mansions and larger pensions!
These war planners are possibly the most important employees of the American People. We’re humbled and honored to be able to provide a little extra comfort and security to the brave warriors (in mansions) who keep us secure and comfortable.
Those who suggest this money might be better spent on food stamps or a salary increase for the rank and file cannon fodder don’t seem to understand one important fact: our entire economy, and the world’s entire economy, requires a constant state of war and conflict. If we’re not fighting, we need to be preparing to fight. If we’re not actively policing a distant region of the globe, at least we have nearly 1,000 police stations operational and fully staffed.
We have to stay ready and we have to stay vigilant. Most of all, we have to stay busy enough to justify spending on Offense what the next twelve nations combined spend. And who’s in charge of this grand effort? Exactly: the guys we most want to have a good night sleep.
Similarly, don’t we want our very best and brightest – or at least the best and brightest video-game players – to fly our fighter jets? The Pentagon also announced that we, a proud warrior nation, currently are short on fighter pilots – and so the flier’s base pay is going to be raised and quarter-million-dollar signing bonuses will be given to qualified recruits. No, it’s not banker money. But no one ever claimed a fighter pilot was more valuable to society than a banker. The point is we’re making the boys who operate our bombers feel special.
Now that’s marvelous. If we applied this kind of logical thinking to the Generals’ housing situation – throw money in the direction of the most valuable people – the smartness of our present policy becomes obvious and unassailable.
Let’s just hope all these new fighter pilots don’t want mansions, too!