Saturday, November 09, 2013


Scott Simon of NPR (National Public Radio), my favorite guy, did a piece on Secretary Chuck Hegel, the DOD head. Every month, Hegel brings in about six soldiers and they talk shop. Soldiers, meaning, Marines, Navy, females, former "don't ask don't tell" types; no restrictions.  According to Simon, the soldiers talked about their career, philosophical issues like, "Purpose in Iraq?" What Simon discovered as always with soldiers, they are not in a vacuum. They are like any "aware" group of young Americans.  At the close of his piece, Simon said something like, "What I discovered was that  soldiers were a microcosm of our America society." (Definition, such as a place or an event that is seen as a small version of something much larger) What has my man Simon been smoking? Bullshit, how did he deduce such, they are far from being a microcosm, whatever he's concluded. They are a small percent (about 1%), usually drawn from a segment of society where the military becomes mostly their best option. They are good soldiers but they are not a microcosm with less than one percent of the American society having served in the military and the general public more likely than not unengaged. Honoring vets is a good idea but let's don't be thinking today's military is a microcosm of American society. It just ain't so. 

Monday, October 28, 2013


Watching the World Series this week, the games have honored American service men and women. Pretty inspiring to hear, God Bless America. My initial thought: the military is something upon which all can agree. Pride. However, the military will do what we always do after wars: fire soldiers. 

TIME Magazine recently had a piece about the resistance of the Army to change. Still , according to the article, after these two prolonged (useless) wars, the Army has no "after war" strategy. The Army, in particular, is still prepared for the "Cold War" and not terrorism or whatever we face in the future. 

I don't doubt any of it. Too many generals/officers at every level. Not enough emphasis on Special Ops. What this article dealt with was philosophy. Every swinging "Richard" has an opinion. The military is about to do what we always do. CUT. And, it is going to be brutal and in the long run, who suffers are the troops. We will throw lots of good soldiers out, many who have shed their life's blood in two sorry wars. Not their fault. They are soldiers, have done their jobs. Makes no difference, they are "out of here." And, I don't see anybody at the top levels willing to take on doing this "drawdown" with some common sense. The top brass of the Army can't do it. The vast majority of bureaucrats have no military experience and if these two sorry wars have taught us anything: Can't trust the rosy reports of the leaders. We have to have some "big" thinkers and I don't know where we can find them. F..k. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


The "NY Times Magazine" had an amazing article about a college professor who had a bicycle accident and is now a quadriplegic. The wife is a nationally known "right to die" advocate. Now that it is her husband, all changes. He has round the clock care, 8 caregivers, physical therapists,  respiratory therapists; a wheel chair that cost $45,000.  Paying for all of this is a combination, insurance from their University, Medicare, and private funds. 

This appears to be unusual in a couple of ways. Who could afford this for one thing? Without the funding, would he have already died? Probably. He often says he wants to die but changes his mind. Whoa! An amazing story and one in which I am trying to form an opinion. Who would want to live in this state of total dependence. The flip side of the coin is that it is easy to talk when you are not in his condition. But, still the question appears to be consent. This is interpretive based on the actions of the wife. He gets an infection, he immediately is rushed to the hospital and pumped full of antibiotics. A tough question. If I could project a bit, let me "go." If I say I don't want to go, ignore me. 

Sunday, February 03, 2013


The French have an all voluntary military, (as we do) which distances the population from the cost of war and makes soldiers less visible to the populace at large." (In America, we have closed posts with no real savings. People have no exposure to a military uniform, maybe on TV)It has made the (French) Army more popular with an approval rating of between 80-90 percent. (Americans say they support the troops regardless of their feelings of the war). I doubt it to the degree they are not joining up. America has a good military but they come from the lower socio economic strata of American society. Former SecDef Mel Laid and Milt Friendman sold the American people who care on the Volumtary Army. And, for those guys being so smart, they were stupid, if good salesmen. They sold the idea on the notion that conscription was not democratic. How utterly absurd. The draft with all it's flaws was truly the epitome of democracy. Nothing is less so than today's American military forces. If you think I'm whistling Dixie, asked around how many doctors, lawyers, Wall Street tycoons or Ivy League types join the military.