February 07, 2003
More stupid letters

I don't know if it's a slow letters week, or if there is something in the water, but this week Stars and Stripes has been running a lot of stupid letters. This one, however, is egregiously offensive, rather than just manifestly subliterate and self-involved. (Letter will not be online until Monday, so no link. The newspaper's main page can be found HERE.)

After reading stories and letters in Stars and Stripes about inadequate government housing (especially those describing mold and mildew), I'm convinced that servicemembers must be nuts to maintain their undying pledge to serve a country that does not want to equally provide for them.

It is true that we have a lot of military housing (barracks and family residences) that are substandard. However, mold and mildew (while unpleasant) are not a reason to break the oath one gives when joining the military. Some of us feel that our word actually means something, you see.

Don't servicemembers see that the Department of Defense doesn't give a hoot about them or their families because it knows that servicemembers can be easily replaced?

I see the emphasis the DoD has placed on upgrading housing, adding and renovating facilities for servicemembers on base, and addressing quality of life issues in an effort to improve retention. If they truly didn't care, one would assume that no money would be spent on QOL programs, or on the (sometimes significant) reenlistment bonuses offered to military personnel in an effort to retain them. The training they receive and the experience they accrue is not something that can be easily replaced, especially in fields such as the navy's nuclear power program or the various services' electronics maintenance fields.

It's quite evident to me that many servicemembers joined the military to escape economic, racial, and social pressures. Also, many government civilians stay on the payroll to accumulate high salaries and benefits. I won't excuse the gouging government contractors who profit from the blood of naive troops.

In other words, people who leave the military (for any reason) should not be allowed to take jobs in the industry for which they trained? That they should not receive compensation commensurate with their experience? That seems to be what the letter writer is saying here. They either work for the government (in which case their pay is based on their years of experience, similar the seniority systems common in the civilian world) or they work for a private company, whose payscales are their concern alone, not the concern of some outraged lunatic from the fringes.

Soldies of all ranks and military specialties are controlled by forces other than themselves, but they could break from those forces by seeking within themselves intellectual reasoning. Some of them will proclaim, "I came into the military for discipline." Their lack of discipline is due to their parents' lack of instilling discipline in them. Or, "I joined the military to serve my country." How bitterly sweet that statement is: Serving their country is the last thing on their minds when live ammunition is heading in their direction.

Wow, he sounds almost conservative there for a second, castigating parents for failing to instill a sense of discipline in their children. Then he goes and ruins it surrounding his most intelligent statement with a thick coating of drivel.

I'm not a communist or a socialist. I'm a human being who embraces intellectualism and not militarism, although as a scholar I must admit that militarism exists. Servicemembers should drop their weapons and go to prison, for honorable human beings would spend their days and nights as prisoners of nonaggression in a prison rather than participate in a war.

What a load of pretentious, condescending horseshit. He notes that he is not a communist or a socialist, but his aims are clearly those of the far reaches of the left, with those who oppose the United States for the simple reason that it is the United States, as if that alone is justification. He implicitly claims that militarism and intellectualism are mutually exclusive terms, a position with which I vociferously disagree. He advocates mutiny or desertion as a noble alternative to military service, once again ignoring the oath we take when we begin our service. He also appears to believe that war is always wrong; I wonder if he had family in Europe prior to World War II, or if one of his relatives lived in China or Southeast Asia in the 1930's. I doubt he did, else he would not make such a fatuous assertion. Perhaps he feels that the U. S. civil war should not have been fought, the whole slavery issue notwithstanding. After all, war is always a bad thing.

In fact, my father fought against the draft and served one year in prison for refusing to participate in the Vietnam war. What my father did was the highest display of honesty. He refused to buy into the government's propaganda, Even today, he stands as his own man.

...with all of the other aging hippies who were against our involvement in Vietnam. His father's history may explain his political views, but they are hardly relevant to today's all-volunteer force, who joined of their own free will. Strangely enough, one can stand as his own man and make choices with which the writer does not agree.

Servicemembers should remember that their government, their Uncle Sam, their Uncle Sugar, doesn't care about them despite the sacrifices they've made. Simplisitically, when their government offers them and their families substandard housing and denials, that should speak volumes.

How did the writer feel about the deep cuts in the defense budget during the George H. W. Bush and Clinton administrations? During the period from 1986 to 1998, the defense budget dropped every year (in absolute terms, not just inflation-adjusted), despite the Gulf War and peacekeeping missions in Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, Macedonia, and other areas. Given a choice between buying and maintaining the hardware required to perform their missions, and upgrading the housing and other quality of life issues, the hardware neccessarily won out. Perhaps if Bush and Clinton had listened to their generals, instead of anti-war activists like him, we wouldn't have the problems we currently face. Again, by implying that we are blind to governmental creulty is condescending and offensive.

And don't forget the many war veterans who are being denied medical disability from Uncle Sam. Serving in the military is an intellectual and physical waste.

Once again, he pairs a statement with which I agree (the new rules on eligibility for medical treatment are a travesty) with insufferably sanctimonious tripe. What an ass.

Dr. Barnes Palmerson, Ph.D
Baden-Baden, Germany

I wonder in which discipline Dr. Palmerson received his doctorate. Anthropology, perhaps, or maybe Philosophy? I find it tremendously grating for people to ostentatiously parade their Ph.D when discussing subjects in which they have no expertise. There was no reason for him to mention the degree, except to feed his ego.

posted on February 07, 2003 07:06 PM


Un-freakin'-believable. It truly boggles my mind that there are people who believe as this pinhead does.

posted by David on February 14, 2003 02:59 AM

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