Senior Pentagon officials told Congress on Tuesday that troops are willing to sacrifice portions of their pay and benefits if it means keeping and improving the training and equipment needed to do their jobs. – Military.com
Right. Hmm. What was that phrase that everyone reflexively said before any criticism of the military on the run up to the Iraq war? “I don’t agree with invading Iraq but I support our troops!“ It was used as a shield by liberals and democrats who were against the war. We used the phrase as an incantation to ward off the, “Hippies spit on returning Vietnam war troops!” myth.
My friend, who is former military, said that no enlisted person is going to complain to his superior officer in those meetings so we shouldn’t put too much value in those comments. It’s just a way to let Congress off the hook. But what I see in those “Senior Pentagon officials” comments are the grasping hands of war equipment makers and contractors.
If you want to cut the state budget in a way that the public will notice, you shut down the parks. If you want to cut down the war budget in the way the people will notice, you cut it for “the troops.”
People don’t get all patriotic and tear-eyed when you say, “We’ve cut the V 22 Osprey budget.”
Remember those Former Pentagon experts on TV pushing war? They were paid by military contractors. Wanna bet that future employees in the military equipment and training business slipped in that line about how the troops really want, “improved equipment and training?”
I heard a famous lobbyist talk about how they recruited people in congress the years before they were planning to leave. “You have a job here when you are gone,” they whispered. Then for their last year it was as if those people were on an invisible lobbyist payroll. They didn’t have the job or get the money yet, but their actions were informed by who had offered them a job in the future. I wonder how many “troops” are going to hire former generals vs. weapons makers?
Yes, we can say to our branches of the military, “Thank you for your service.” But what they also want is for us to show them our thanks in pay and benefits on par with the sacrifices they made.
You can tell a lot about a person who says they “have your back” but when the chips are down they are nowhere to be found.
Top, DoD photo by Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, Creative Commons License
Bottom, photo by Staff Sgt. Helen Miller, Creative Commons License