Dick Cheney visited the Hannity show last night for the obvious purpose of providing a high-ranking attack on the Obama administration’s decision to downsize the military. But, unfortunately for them, Cheney undercut his own credibility when he suggested that food stamps should be cut more instead. Either Cheney didn’t know or didn’t care how much military families rely on food stamps.
Right on cue, Cheney called the Obama administration’s plan “absolutely dangerous,” “over the top” and predicted it will do “long term damange” to our military.
He also boasted that after Desert Storm, he called former president Ronald Reagan to thank him for building up “that magnificent force we had.” Cheney added, “I can guarantee you there’s never gonna be a call from a future Secretary of Defense to Barack Obama to thank him for what he’s done for the military.”
But after last night’s interview, Cheney’s likelihood of getting any approval at all fell even further. He told Hannity:
I think the whole thing is not driven by any change in world circumstances, it’s driven by budget considerations. He’d much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.
But as Think Progress pointed out, food stamps is support for our troops:
What Cheney apparently doesn’t realize is that many of the same troops that he claims the Obama administration doesn’t support rely heavily on the food stamps that he wishes to cut. A Defense Department review released last year showed that military families were more reliant on food stamps in 2013 than in any previous year, with over $100 million in food stamp spending at military grocery stores. “Food stamp usage at the stores has more than quadrupled since 2007 as the recession compounded the already difficult financial situation faced by military families,” ThinkProgress’ Deputy Economics editor Alan Pyke wrote last week.
Despite his experience in first the Pentagon and then the White House, Cheney also seems unaware that many of the troops he supports depend on the same food stamp program once they leave military service. “Nationwide, in any given month, a total of 900,000 veterans nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP to provide food for their families in 2011,” the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote in a recent analysis. Given the high unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans — 9.7 percent for those who served when Cheney was in office — it’s unsurprising that many of them need assistance from the government to help make ends meet.
And, of course, as Think Progress also notes, Cheney’s Republican pals in Washington are itching to cut the already-skimpy food stamp program even further.
Not surprisingly, Sean Hannity didn’t seem to notice or care about the import of what Cheney had just said. Hannity must be too busy dreaming up ways to go to war with Iran and fretting about how his own multi-million dollar paycheck could be improved if only he didn’t have to pay for poor people to eat better. Who has time to think about our troops’ welfare under such trying circumstances?