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Opening Arguments

General accounting

Hey, how about this for a novelty -- a general in the middle of a scandal that doesn't involve sex:

Gen. William “Kip” Ward, the one-time head of the U.S. Africa Command, was demoted Tuesday and ordered to repay $82,000 he blew on extravagant trips and other unauthorized expenses.

The move by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta means Ward will lose one star and retire as a three-star lieutenant general, officials said.

[. . .]

Ward’s indiscretions included a stayover at a $750-a-night Bermuda hotel, two nights at the Waldorf Astoria and other lengthy stays at lavish inns.

He and wife Joyce also accepted dinner and Broadway show tickets — one offer included a backstage meeting with Oscar winner Denzel Washington — from a government contractor, officials said.

Ward's so-called extravagances are really small potatoes in the grand scheme of things when it comes to the waste and theft of taxpayers' money. Still, it's refreshing to see anybody held accountable for how they treat our funding. Having to retire as a three-star general instead of a four-star ain't exactly draconian punishment, but it's still better than the usual "oh, shut up and go away" we usually get. Wouldn't you like to see a few other people punished for not treating our money with the respect it deserves? I can think of a few who might benefit from a little time behind bars so they can reflect on the error of their ways.