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GIs Work Long Hours
In response to your proposed cuts for reducing the military budget, I have to agree with some of your issues, such as base housing, procurement, etc., but there is one area where I'm afraid you are way off base and that is military pay. The civilian wages that you compared our pay to is not at all realistic and you know it. There is absolutely no way that you can compare what we do as military members to what the civilians in the same education and experience range do. For instance, if the same civilian was forced by his company to leave his family for even as little as 30 days, his pay would increase substantially. Make that a six month stay from the family and he probably just nearly doubled his salary for the year. As for the easy life that you seem to like to portray for military members is such wonderful places as Hawaii and California, you should be ashamed of yourself as a military officer to paint such a picture of military life for those who don't know better!
That is down right dishonest. I hope that you do some soul searching and recant some of the ridiculous statements you have made in this editorial. You make American soldiers look like a bunch of overpaid vacationers living the good life at the expense of the American people. If you want to attack someone's pay practices, try taking a close look at congressional paychecks and retirement.
Ed: I received several similar responses to my effort to show that GIs are not poor. I compared average wages as determined by the Federal Government, so I am confused by those who claim that average full-time wages are not "realistic". I didn't cover the tremendous value of military retirement and VA benefits. If those were eliminated, military pay could double. Why does everyone assume that civilians do not work overtime without extra pay and never leave their families behind? People in the military speak fondly of overseas travels and adventures at Uncle Sam's expense. Reenlistments are so high the services force people out. But when it comes to pay, many whine about overwork while expressing fear they will be forced out of the service.
Since most people in the military never worked in the private sector, they do not know that while at "work" very few non-government employees are allowed to read the newspaper, surf the Internet, go work-out, take a smoke, or get a haircut on company time. When I was in the Marines, I worked with varied offices over the years, and some averaged 30 hours a week. An hour and half for lunch and leaving at around 1500 (3pm) on Friday's is a tradition at most bases, and while TAD at the Doctrine Command I was shocked that they took off every Wednesday after lunch to play softball. Some Air Force commands allow everyone a week or two off at Christmas without charging leave. However, I agree that most GIs are "on duty" too many hours, and it is the result of selfish military leaders. Congress needs to establish a quarterly survey system to track which commands overwork GIs and demand change. There are many reports that over deployments are destroying the Special Forces. Generals must learn to say "NO" to requests, and the problem goes away.
We Deserve More Money
Having served 20 years in the military as a pilot and having a wife still on active duty I can assure your stated pay you quote for members of the military in your article is way over blown. The other facts you fail to mention is when your deployed at sea or "in country" you are working around the clock except for the 4-8 hrs of sleep you might get. How do you calculate that? I speak from real data. I saw the draw backs during the Clinton Administration. I was a detailer. We had to down size 40%. We had to send 600,000 people home with pink slips. I saw ships and planes that could not get the parts needed to maintain them as combat ready. So where did all this money go? We spend more $$$ on programs that the military has stated are "NOT needed" and less on what the military really needs. I had troops on food stamps and assistance just to get by. You need to get out to the REAL world and see first hand for what you are writing about. I assure you that those in uniform earn every penny. I make more now working for myself than I ever did wearing the uniform. I also get a whopping $1800 per month retirement for all my years for service as a 04 flying for this country. It's not a profession I encourage my children to enter into.
Ed: The pay rates I quoted are direct from the Department of Defense website. If you are "retired", why are you still working? The government is paying you $1800 a month for life which began in your early 40s. Most Americans would be appalled to learn that healthy middle-age Americans are paid $1800 a month as "retirement" when they never contributed a penny to a retirement fund? Prior to World War II, GIs didn't receive a retirement check until age 60. And is it true that the US Government not only paid for your two years of pilot training, it actually paid you a salary at the same time? Wow, what a great deal ! Yes, flying is risky, but you volunteered and loved it. And yes, some GIs make more when they leave the service, but usually only by getting into the lucrative government or government contract work. Most make less. This is why Uncle Sam had to force out 600,000 GIs because work in the private sector was less attractive.
I am amazed at the level of whining among US military personnel given their generous training, pay, and retirement benefits. Our military must exert a greater effort selling the benefits of military service rather than lying about "low pay" in hopes of getting even more. All this is eating up the US military budget. Every year, there are new pays and new benefits, where does it end?
The Department of War became the Department of the Army
You repeated a common error in saying that the Department of Defense was
formerly called the Department of War. Actually, there was no equivalent
entity prior to 1947. Before unification, we had two coequal
organizations: the Naval Department, containing the Navy and Marines,
and the War Department, containing the Army. The old War Department is
Ed: Many studies have advocated eliminating the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force and allowing the Department of Defense to fill their limited roles. I agree.
A Common Sense Policy on Homosexuals
Just wanted to drop you a line to applaud your efforts on the homosexual
thing. I think your proposal is the first commonsense approach to
dealing with this issue that I have seen. You also note quite correctly
that heterosexual perversion is just as big a problem as homosexual - a
fact largely ignored within the military today. Some of the shit I
witnessed in Army barracks was just flat out wrong and disruptive but
because it was hetero, it was excused and accepted. In one unit, women
were busted for prostituting themselves in the field - besides being
illegal, a downright dangerous act given the living conditions in the
boonies and yet they got a slap on the wrist and a little extra duty.
Ed: The US Military sacked 787 homosexuals last year.
XM-8 = 5.56mm
It is nothing short of criminally negligent to treasonous to field yet another generation of non-armor penetrating 5.56mm. This weapon's performance specs are keyed to overcoming troop ill-discipline with technology, rather than enhancing capabilities.
"Designers have struggled to fine-tune the air-bursting technology (translation: the average troop with 4 months' training can't hit the target yet) and to reduce the weapon’s weight. The original prototype of the XM29 weighed 18 pounds, which Army officials said was too heavy for an infantryman to carry into combat. By 2010, plans call for the weight to drop to 15.5 pounds."
Wow! a whole kilo off the weight!
“We have a huge weight restraint,” Clarke said. “Quite frankly, we have to wait for technology to catch up.”
They forgot the "two 100% engagements for one hit" design schema of the OICW. Oh well. I've told you for years this piece of shit (now two subdivided into two turds) is another failure brought to us by the same people responsible for LAND WARRIOR. But what the hell do I know? I don't even have a military science fiction novel published, which is the new criteria for up and coming Joint Staff Officers.By 2010, plans call for the weight to drop to 15.5 pounds.
i.e. Six years from now. Compare this to a 1000 meters effective range rifle with a punch penetrating INTERCEPTOR SAPI plates, of .338 to .40 caliber and weighing 10-12 lbs. Not even 2010 non-existent full bore OICW offers this sort of performance. 2010 - 1995 = 15 years, which is when OICW was first outlined. As to OICW's explosive potentials, I could have far exceeded those already at 10% of the cost by using CCD-TV cameras, top down attack and x586x processors trailing fibre optic line. I think I'm going to look into learning to read and speak basic Chinese. Gotta a feeling I'll need some fundamental ability in this language during my Golden Years.
Insane Osprey Program
Boy, are those folks at Bell/Boeing crazy? I knew from Harry Dunn that there were V-22's being put into storage but what's going on there is "insane"! This program has to stop! Somebody's getting rich, and it's probably "politically" related as in Congressman Curt Weldon who's involved in some "shady" dealings with his daughter whom was a former Boeing employee.
Ed: A common method of indirect bribery in Washington DC is to hire the spouse or children of powerful Congressmen and pay them exceedingly well.
The V-22 is Stupid
You are dead on about the V-22. I was in the program in 1989-1991 and even then knew it was never going to work. The whole program is stupid. they just keep doing things that are not proven. The V-22's "thing" is the tilt rotor system. That is Bell Helicopters claim to fame. Rather than just make an aircraft that reliably flew as a tilt rotor, they felt they had to have the latest and greatest in technology. It was stupid--this is just a flying truck. But the fools had to make it more advanced than the SR-71.
I think they are doing this with all of our weapons. Like the Comanche
helicopter they cancelled. The laws of physics are not defeated with horsepower
and fuel, having the latest electronics and most advanced engineering is unnecessary.
Look at the German machine guns mg34 fine made weapon and mg42 cheaper weapon.
Compare actual use of the Beretta pistol to reported actual use of the 1911
Ed: My favorites are the V-22's custom made composite
windshield wipers developed to save a couple pounds, and the lightweight paint
which costs $7000 a gallon.
March's G2mil offers many fascinating and thought provoking bits of info. I was particularly intrigued with the E bomb article. I also applaud the cancellation of the Comanche and the diversion of those funds into needed improvements to Army aviation using well proven platforms. I hope the Marines find the same courage to cancel the V-22 now that its costs move from merely outrageous to shocking. I wish the Air Force would find enough similar resolve to cancel the F-22, but I fear that would simply be asking too much given the Air Force leadership's track record. Ditto for the Navy and the Virginia sub.
I think you do a disservice to G2mil's credibility though when you start using garbage like the Information Clearing House article "America's Empire of Bases". The author of this trash punches all the leftist tickets (anti-America, anti-business, anti-military, pro-abortion, pro-green) while advancing the ridiculous argument that we can defeat global terrorism without military force. I mean if you're going to use stuff like this, you might as well start using stuff by Noam Chomsky and the like.
I agree that we should've reduced our overseas military presence years ago, particularly in Europe with the decline of the Soviet threat. My reasoning is based on reducing the wasteful and fraudulent use of American resources not reducing our supposed "Empire". Leftists frequently conjure up the old soviet propaganda with this notion of overseas American military basing being "Empire" and "colonialization", but they forget a couple of facts.
First, most of these bases were established to thwart the threat of communist tyranny. Admittedly not much of a threat now, but certainly a grave threat at the time. It certainly can be argued that these bases contributed to the defeat of Soviet Communism. Second, we man and maintain these bases at great cost and other than commerce allowed by peace and stability, we receive no benefit from them. If we had an "Empire" we would get "tribute" from conquered territories as the Romans did. We're spending $87 billion to liberate Iraq from a brutal dictator and what will we as a nation get out of it? All the conspiracy nuts who think we went to Iraq for the oil need to ask how much free oil are we getting out of Iraq? The answer is none and gas prices reflect that.
We spent billions (and lost hundreds of people in training accidents etc) over decades to protect South Korea and Western Europe from the communists. Before that we defeated fascism in Germany, Italy and Japan and then did everything we could to ensure not only their recovery, but their economic prosperity. Despite all this we're continually branded as some sort of malevolent empire by the spoiled brats who've benefited from our success. This is bad enough from unappreciative foreigners who, like the French resent those who do what they can not. It is quite galling however to hear this ridiculous garbage from educated Americans who should know better.
I'm all for reform of the military and I absolutely agree we need to spend our defense dollars more wisely (if we did we wouldn't need huge increases in defense spending). I'm also very proud of what the military has accomplished. I think g2mil would be more effective in its reform effort if there was less politically motivated bashing of America. In case anybody forgot, we're the good guys!
Ed: People assume that I agree 100% with every article I link. That is not correct. There are viewpoints that America's corporate media does not publish, and if I think they are interesting I post them to keep people thinking. The author of that article is a former Navy officer and a strong anti-communist from the Cold War era. I linked another article about him in this issue. People have criticized him for changing his views over time. However, he explains that as he gets new information, he changes his views, like any sane person should.
The term "empire" is not bad, and as you note we don't treat our territories like colonies. However, I'd think America would be better off if we did profit. For example, rather than giving Kuwait back to its dictator, we could have made it a commonwealth like Guam. And if Haiti is ungovernable, we should make it a commonwealth of sorts in which we ensure democracy, justice, and stability, yet we collect taxes there to cover the costs. This would be similar to what we do in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam, but we SHOULD NOT allow them access to federal welfare programs and US citizenship. Puerto Rico itself drains some $4 billion dollars from the US in welfare while they pay no US income tax. This is why President Ford pushed Congress to grant them independence, and why Puerto Ricans overwhelming oppose independence. They also oppose statehood, which would subject them to Federal income taxes.
Billionaire George Soros has commented that there are many historical cases in which a nation exacted tributes in exchange for protecting other nations. However, the USA has engaged in a bizarre arrangement these past two decades in which it borrowed billions of dollars from wealthy nations like Germany, Japan, and South Korea by selling them Treasury bonds in order to provide them extra military protection at no cost. That money has not been repaid, and billions of dollars in interest is paid to them each year.
I disagree that American bases is what allows worldwide trade, which was very active prior to the establishment of hundreds of American bases overseas. I recall when the Philippines and Panama kicked us out of our bases a decade ago, many people predicted chaos. Nothing happened, except we save a couple billion dollars a year and don't get blamed for those countries internal problems. My favorite Filipino joke is: "Yankee go home, and take me with you."