Surprising Numbers…

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Couple of stunning numbers involving veterans — 24 and 45, specifically — surfaced over the holiday weekend. Both are worth noting, and pondering:

— A new Gallup poll shows that veterans favor Mitt Romney over President Obama in November’s election by a striking 24-percentage-point margin. What’s more remarkable is that the two candidates are basically tied among non-veteran males. “Why veterans are so strong in their preference for the Republican presidential candidate is not clear,” pollster Frank Newport writes. Romney’s advantage is all the more surprising because neither candidate is a veteran, as John Nagl, a retired Army officer now teaching at the U.S. Naval Academy, pointed out in a Washington Post column Sunday.

— Nearly half – a stunning 45% — of veterans of the Afghan and Iraq wars are filing for disability benefits, double the rate from 1991’s Gulf War, the Associated Press reports. The poor economy and better medical care that keeps wounded vets alive are key reasons for the surge. Make no mistake: this is the you can pay me now or pay me later cost of cycling millions of troops into combat repeatedly while the nation shopped.