The expense of caring for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is an unfunded budget liability for U.S. taxpayers that in years to come will rival the cost of entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, lawmakers will be told Thursday.
The House Veterans' Affairs Committee will hear new estimates of the cost of lifetime medical care and benefits for returning troops disabled by their service — a total of more than $1.3 trillion.
The gang's planning on being at the hearing tomorrow so look for it to be reported in the snapshot but I hope you're paying attention to how many members of Congress are floating notions of cutting veterans' benefits.
Last week, for example, US Senator Jim Webb attacked VA Secretary Eric Shineski's decision to expand the benefits and recognition for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange and, for months now, Webb has been whining about the costs.
I think it will be much too late before Americans grasp that when Barack says everything is on the table, he does mean veterans benefits. This will become more evident after the mid-terms.
"Politics may be driving some Baghdad attacks" (Steven Lee Myers and Thom Shanker, New York Times):
The heavily fortified Green Zone in Iraq's capital has in recent weeks come under an intensifying barrage of rocket attacks, prompting a senior U.S. military commander on Wednesday to suggest that Iranian-backed militias were behind the attacks in an effort to influence the formation of a new government.
The attacks -- 23 in the last month, including two on Wednesday -- have alarmed U.S. officials and raised questions about the ability of Iraq's security forces to stamp out attacks on the capital's governmental and diplomatic core.
I really find it amazing how few people are following the political stalemate -- or probably even aware of it. C.I.'s been charting it and counting down the days. March 7th, elections were held. It's 6 months and 22 days later and no government formed. In addition, C.I.'s done the math to find out how long it took to form a government following the December 2005 elections: "In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister."
That's what they want to call progress? It is now taking longer to form a government than it did four years ago. That's not progress. Progress would be the formation of a government taking two or three months after the election.
It really is amazing how this is going down and how so few are even commenting on it. What happened to Iraq in left media?
It never really mattered, it turns out. They weren't against the Iraq War. They just needed a club to clobber George W. Bush with. He left and they dropped their 'concern' about the Iraq War.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):