Monday, March 19, 2007

Saving money...wasting lives

From today's Christian Science Monitor,

Christian Science Monitor
March 19, 2007

How To Fuel Up The Out-Of-Gas US Military Machine

A poor state of readiness is hurting the world's finest fighting force. Congress must act to correct it.

By Neil Abercrombie and Solomon Ortiz

WASHINGTON -- Earlier this month, the House Armed Services Committee got a classified briefing about US military readiness. Details were disturbing, but the implication was jaw-dropping: The US armed services are literally at the breaking point. This is not hyperbole or partisan rhetoric. It is stark reality – and it requires immediate attention.

That's why Congress must reassert its constitutional responsibility to provide for America's armed services. This begins with the Armed Services Committees, which have already begun hearings on the 2008 National Defense Authorization bill.

Read the complete article here

So let me get this straight…Mssrs Ortiz and Abercrombie say the military is dangerously under-funded and that the solution is for President Bush to stop requesting emergency funds and go through the “regular” budgeting process?

I particularly appreciate their remarks that the war has damaged retention…as evidenced by the Army missing the recruiting goal by 2005. But they fail to mention that Feb 2007 marked the 21st consecutive month of the active duty component meeting its retention goals.

So what does their accusation say about our recruits that we can only make our retention goals by offering expensive bonuses…to people who know they’re going to war. I’m not sure that I buy the notion that people are really anxious to go to war because of the re-enlistment bonus.

Nor do I accept the argument that we’re suffering equipment damage and casualties in numbers not seen since Vietnam. Well, duh! When you don’t really get involved in such a large scale ground-war for a long time, that’s kind of what happens, isn’t it?

I found it ironic that not once in the author’s argument did they mention the validity of our being over there, just that we need to find an “exit strategy from Iraq” and “improve US effectiveness in the ‘real’ war on terrorists”. All of this as part of congress’ role in improving financial oversight of the army. And dangerously short on specifics, or even the impact of such ideas on the current situation in Iraq.

I guess the logic of “If we aren’t using it, it doesn’t cost as much” overrides any real discussion of whether or not we actually NEED to use it in the first place.

It'd be nice to see our leaders engaged in less rhetoric and a little more substantive debate...but then, that wouldn't be politics, would it?



At 12:33 PM, Blogger FreeCyprus said...

"It'd be nice to see our leaders engaged in less rhetoric and a little more substantive debate...but then, that wouldn't be politics, would it?"

You got it!


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