Senators John McCain and his fellow Arizona Republican Jeff Flake (great name) have revealed that the War (Defense) Department (DOD) has been paying for those displays of hyper-militarism that mar our professional sports contests. Apparently billionaire sport owners have to be bribed to strut their patriotism.
Over the period 2012-15, the Senators' report claims the total of such expenditures was some $6.8 million -- chump change in the military budget, but enough to envelop sports viewers in martial enthusiasm.
Some football teams whose participation were apparently worth top dollar to the military:
- Atlanta received $879,000
- New England Patriots, $700,000
- Buffalo Bills, $650,000
A goodly number of these payments seem to have gone to ensure that favored military VIPs could enjoy luxury boxes.
Over this weekend we'll be seeing numerous Veterans Day tributes at football games. I wonder what the military is paying for those?
See also Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk; apparently author Ben Fountain intuited even more than he imagined about the perfidy of these "tributes to the troops."