Wars and the self-interest of the “generals on the ground”

Our top military brass really do have a personal financial stake in creating and / or continuing wars around the world. Ka-ching!

Some top military brass making more in pension than pay

The new pension rules were part of the 2007 Defense Authorization Act to address concerns that the military would lose too many experienced generals and admirals during wartime.

Previously , the maximum annual pension was based on an officer’s pay at 26 years of service. Now, a four-star officer retiring in 2011 with 38 years’ experience would get a yearly pension of about $219,600, a jump of $84,000, or 63% beyond what was once allowed. A three-star officer with 35 years’ experience would get about $169,200 a year, up about $39,000, or 30%.

Can you see why the following attitudes about “listening to the generals on the ground” might be a problem?

“I think we are drifting to a very, very dangerous situation. None of the generals recommended the speed of the drawdown the president wants. [...] And if you watch what is happening there’s a steady drift from the United States at a time when the president is signaling his desire to get out as fast as he can and potentially faster than the generals think is safe. … You should go to the White House and ask the president why did he overrule all his generals?” – Newt Gingrich on Obama’s earlier announced plan to withdraw the “surge” troops from Afghanistan by the end of next summer

Romney echos President Obama’s right-wing critics who say that the president should’ve deferred his troop withdrawal decision to the commanders on the ground (thereby essentially abdicating his role as commander-in-chief). “It’s time for the troops of Afghanistan to take on that responsibility according to…the time table established and communicated by the generals in the field,” Romney then says. – Mitt Romney Backs Off Letting Generals Decide Course In Afghanistan

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) listens to the generals — so much so that he has advocated on numerous occasions that President Obama defer his powers as commander-in-chief to American military commanders fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. – John McCain Only Listens To Generals He Agrees With

Meanwhile,

[U]nemployment rate for post-Sept. 11 military veterans… stood at 13.1 percent in December. The government estimates that 250,000 post-Sept. 11 veterans are unemployed. – Obama to announce Veterans Job Corps