The Pentagon is mad at the White House because the White House insists on giving an accurate prediction of the cost of troop escalation in Afghanistan.
See, the White House budget office calculated that adding 40,000 troops would cost $40 billion a year. The Pentagon, amusingly, decided to calculate the cost per-troop, instead of a big yearly lump sum, and also their estimate was precisely half what the White House predicted.
But in a memo early this month, obtained by The Times' Washington bureau, the Pentagon's own comptroller produced an estimate that broke with the customary Defense formula and did include construction and equipment.
That memo said the yearly cost of a 40,000-troop increase would be $30 billion to $35 billion — at least $750,000 a person. An increase of 20,000 would cost $20 billion to $25 billion annually, it said — a per-soldier cost equal to or greater than the White House estimate.
As we all know, a bill providing health care to Americans must be deficit neutral. And even if it is deficit neutral and in fact it cuts the deficit, overall, you are still allowed to not support it because, like Joe Lieberman and David Broder, you just feel, in your heart, like it will probably add to the deficit. Those gut feelings are what make those men such admired and respected centrists. And we can only imagine that Lieberman, and Ben Nelson, and the Maine Senators, and Blance Lincoln, will all refuse to condone any troop increase in Afghanistan unless it is completely paid for and deficit-neutral, just like Iraq was, which is why they kept voting for that. Etc. (Oh, look, it's David Obey, a real-life Democrat, making the same point and threatening the riches with scary taxes.)