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February 28, 2006

Comments

"Apparently he declined. That's freedom, ain't it?"

My favorite part is where he, in essentially one breath, asks me "to be to brief" (which one can more or less translate into English), and then accuses me (without even an attempt at substantiation) of having "to then proceed[ed] to quote [him] out of context."

It's difficult to see how I could be even briefer in quoting him without being even further accused of quoting him "out of context" (whatever points I'm allegedly distorting, and whatever words of context I'm allegedly leaving out being not worth even mentioning), and how I could quote him with more context (as if anyone can't just scroll upwards to see his entire "context" in 100% of its entirety -- how impossible to so twitch one's finger!) without being accused of not being even briefer.

But, as I said, it begins to verge on cruelty to pick on someone who appears to... not be a complete master of the available tools of English, logic, or argumentation. Even if one begins to suspect some masochistic tendency is involved, but a more likely explanation probably lies in the region of blindness. (If one is unaware of various tools, it's extremely easy to sincerely dismiss their use by others as a focus on "unimportant" matters; similarly, people who lack a grasp of various points of grammar or punctuation will definitionally be blind to what their problem with such blindeness is; I do still well recall not understanding, from approximately ages 10 to the embarassingly late age of about age 24, why various such points might be important to understand and make use of in my own writing; without doubt there are various and many such points of what currently seem fine subtlety to me that I'll someday be smacking myself in the head over my past blindness in not recognizing such plainly obvious points.)

slarti, I believe I responding to gary's relevent questions in the comments that he quoted out of contex.

jesurgislac, you are right. I will not continue with this discussion, it is useless.

gary, I was not asking you to be brief in repeating exactly what I said, but to briefly make your own points. Again gary, you need to polish up on reading what is written before you respond.

"Again gary, you need to polish up on reading what is written before you respond."

Thanks for the tip.

For you to not do so, that'd be counter to the America's interests. So I say, anyway.

<BSG> So say we all. </BSG>

<Emperor Joseph II> But there are simply too many words, that's all. </Emperor Joseph II>

Gary as Mozart? Ken as Salieri? this thread is rapidly becoming surreal.

my view, fwiw, is that creating greater misery in order to create the political circumstances under which your chosen policy solution will be adopted is morally wrong, needlessly cruel and likely to backfire.

the democratic party appears to be coalescing around single payer government- (or quasi-government-) based medical insurance as the next great idea. i happen to agree. but subjecting soldiers to increased misery in order to get the votes for that program is a line i'm not willing to cross.

Wow. I wish I'd read this earlier.

Keep in mind that these "special programs" are a big part of a soldier's retirement plan. When you chose a job in the private sector, you look into the benefits and retirement options, and make choices that will help you take care of yourself and your family at that time of your life. This is part of a soldier's retirement package. (And no, I don't think GM or any other company changing retirement benefits for people who are already retired, and no longer have the option to leave the company if they don't like the changes, is right.)

For a soldier, VA medical care and other veteran's benefits are more than that. They're also insurance. Soldiers face being sent to death or disablity (I'll get to that in a minute) on a regular basis. They need to know that their families will be ok if something happens. You're going to see huge problems with recruitment and retainment if prospective solders feel they can't take care of their families by choosing a military career.

I'd like to see the statistics that say most military members don't see deployment or life-threatening situations. That's true in times of peace, but right now that's not the case. Even many National Guard units have had 2 or 3 tours in Iraq by now. You can't say that Iraq is a safe place to be. Yes, it's getting safer, but every soldier there is in the way of a possible insurgent bombing. I can't tell you how many mortar attacks my husband's unit endured, and they were not on the front lines at any time.

And I haven't even gone into non-injury ailments soldiers face yet. PSTD is very common (I think the last statistic I saw was 1 in 10). I know several soldiers (from just one unit, mind you) who now have Krohn's disease and have been subject to surgeries and constant pain, and have been medically discharged from duty. I've heard of the leukemia cases someone mentioned earlier as well. Marriages suffer, children suffer, mental health and emotional well-being suffer. Death and maiming are bad enough, but they're not the only things soldiers face during their service.

So yes, they knew the dangers when they took the job, but they also knew and counted on the benefits. Especially since the pay is low, and they are less able to save to pay for own retirement needs or care for their families and/or medical needs should the worst (or even just the really bad) happen.

Military benefits are actually pretty skewed that way. Most jobs pay relative to the risk they involve. The military is a very high risk job with low pay. The benefits (housing, medical care, insurance, and retirement benefits) make the difference to a lot of families.

If you can find a way to provide for these people that replaces their benefits with some that are equivalent or better, I'm all for it. (Given the current condition of the Medicare system, I don't think that's the right choice. The fewer people who must be subjected to that system, the better.) But taking them away or lessening them, as in the current budget, is just unthinkable.

I have no idea how we can expect to keep a volunteer army when the plans call for a sub-standard pay raise and a cut in retirement benefits. Most people would change jobs if they lost benefits, but soldiers don't always have that option. They can chose to leave, but they must wait until their enlistment's up or apply to retire. Of course, those who haven't served 8 years yet can be recalled until 8 years from their date of enlistment, and those who retire can be recalled for the rest of their lives.

There are other places to cut the budget, much better places. Let's chose one that's not financially devastating to a large number of people.

Supreme Court Rules Against Schools in Military Recruiting Case

If they take federal $ they must allow recruiters on campus.

A good ruling.

As would be rulings against the several of the policies, the dislike of which lead to this suit. But those didn't make this suit anything beyond poor target selection.

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