Monday, July 18, 2005

We Were Soldiers Once, and Broke - Ben Stein

We Were Soldiers Once, and Broke. Loved his show, and I've enjoyed some of his writing. I disagree with his solution, that the very rich should pay more taxes and that GIs should get more pay. It's a nice idea, but GIs aren't fighting for just money, and frankly there would be a point where people were joining up solely for the nice money if pay were to be raised to high. If pay after five years in the military were fifty to seventy thousand dollars a year (an amount that many craft workers enjoy after a four to five year apprenticeship) I believe it would be a boon to recruitment numbers and a bane to the type of recruits we would get.

As it is we get idiots who freak and desert when it turns out they might have to fulfil their obligations and actually defend their country and their country's interests. After all, they only joined for the money (college tuition help) and never really had any interest in serving their country or of ever putting their country ahead of their own selfish needs. Those are not the kind of people we want flocking to the military in droves. There are enough of them as it is, and they came out of the woodwork in '91 too. I remember the marines and others who suddenly became concientious objectors or went AWOL when, after having signed a contract and sworn an oath, chose to become oath-breakers rather than serve honorably as so many of their compatriots chose to do.

Just off the top of my head, I'd say it would be better to socially and culturally reward those $500 million a year makers who donate substantial amounts to military aid organizations, veteran tuitions, police widow and orphan support groups, firemen's funds, and other such endeavors. Conversely it would be better to socially and culturally embarass and stigmatize and to banish from polite company those who make untold millions because of the sacrifices made by those who choose to serve their country and their community by putting their lives, and potentially putting their lives and safety on the line.

Well, that's the idea. I come up empty on implementation since it would require massive emotional and moral support from all Americans, and we already know that so many Americans who are in a postion to affect just such changes are the very ones who have demonized GIs and such. Who look with condescencion on those who have put the good of the body politic and what America stands for ahead of their own needs.


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