Anyone who believes that the members of Congress only have the best interest of the country in mind when they consider a bill is naive at best. Even when it comes to appropriations for the military and the war in Iraq ("we support our troops!" according to every politician in the country), pork is still more important.

Legislators have amply demonstrated that what they’re really interested in is raising and providing some home-state pork to impress voters in an election year. To that end, they have busied themselves with squeezing funds for war essentials such as training, weapons maintenance and spare parts — things troops in combat need more, not less, of — to send extra dollars their constituents’ way. And it’s equal-opportunity raiding: Both Republicans and Democrats have been fully engaged in this behavior.

The amount of pork – $8.9 billion in the recently passed $416 military appropriation bill – is bad enough. However, the way the bills are considered and passed by Congress borders on criminal. Congressional "leaders" are in such a rush to get the money to local businesses (and contributors) that they allow almost no time for public scrutiny or even for members to read what they’re voting for.

Most members, however, are not really interested in reading anyway. They are too busy writing and bargaining for the dozens or sometimes hundreds of "amendments" are added to suck even more money out of the treasury and into their districts. The hypocritical low point of this process is when Congress pushes through weapons programs that the military doesn’t even want. The goal is not to help the troops – they are actually diverting money from that purpose. The purpose is to support the re-election bids of deserving members of the House and Senate by sending money to local military contractors.

Read the article for the whole sad story of this particular bill. And keep in mind that this is not unusual. It is normal business in our hyper-patriotic Congress and the blame is shared by Democrats and Republicans.