Dumbfounded by $6 million Pentagon study of the science of storytelling…

Hosni Mubarak, the deposed president of Egypt, was released from jail today.

He was put under house arrest in a hospital in Cairo. Mubarak’s release hinged on a legal technicality. “Seven weeks after a military coup ousted the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi,” reports Abigail Hauslohner and Mary Beth Sheridan for The Washington Post, “and put an end to its brief experiment with Islamist rule, some met the court decision with nostalgia for Mubarak’s order.”

Maybe President Obama is feeling nostalgic too. It seems like he was on the wrong side of the Egypt bet. Since 1975, the U.S. has sent $50 billion in economic and military aid to Egypt. Now the country is in chaos. What the heck was the point of sending all that money?

“Well, umm…

“Errr… national security purposes and other vital interests…”

Whatever the reason, can you say you’re surprised? We’re talking about the Department of Defense. These are the same guys who funded an iPhone app to alert users when it is the best time to take a coffee break. They spent money researching what fish could teach us about democracy!

And those are just a few dropsicles that swell the Pentagon’s budget to elephantiasis. Each year, they get half a trillion dollars (that’s 11 zeros) to spend. You didn’t think they were going to spend every cent carefully, did you?

In order to keep the money flowing, the Pentagon has pursued a policy of “brass creep.” Case in point: During World War II, there were 30 ships for every admiral. Today, there are more admirals
than ships.

Huh?

In total, there are 973 generals and admirals. Many top brass have cohorts of chauffeurs, chefs and secretaries. Some have runway-ready private jets. Still others get motorcade escorts and mansion homes. The cost of the benefits to each top officer works out to roughly $1 million. One general, Kip Ward, used his staff and military equipment to take his wife shopping and send her on taxpayer-funded vacations.

What do these generals do?

One retired U.S. army colonel, Jack Jacobs, says many are “spending time writing and defending plans with Congress, and trying to get the money.” They’re essentially lobbyists, but on the Pentagon’s payroll. Heh. Because that’s not a conflict of interest or anything.

The DoD is a money-sucking juggernaut. And despite spending reduction rhetoric, our guess is that nothing in its path will stop it. But if you can pocket your political leanings for a minute, there’s a hidden cash cow we’d like to share with you… though we’ll need your agreement to keep it hush-hush.

Over the next five years, the Pentagon is seeking an additional $23 billion. That money is needed to beef up their computer networks against cybersecurity threats. It’s also to give the Pentagon greater cyberoffensive capabilities. Former secretary of defense Leon Panetta said “a cyberattack perpetrated by nation-states or violent extremist groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of Sept. 11.”

And his successor, Chuck Hagel, rang the same alarm based on “the growing threat of cyberintrusions, some of which appear to be tied to the Chinese government and military.” Simply put, cybersecurity is the new boogeyman. And to bash this threat into submission, the Pentagon is going to spend gobs of money.

%d bloggers like this: