Frontier Former Editor

February 22, 2009

Army strong-arm?

Having grown up as a military dependent and now working in a profession where I see how the economy is wreaking havoc on soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guarsdmen, I’ve always been a firm believer in giving military personnel and their families needed aid and comfort. Consistently, they face one of the crappiest professional and home enviroments found in American society, and we ask them to do it at a mere pittance while bankers, entertainers and sports figures drain wealth far in excess of their usefulness to society.

I’ve seen how that aid and comfort has been provided over the years, from service relief organizations to the firm yet fatherly guidance of a senior NCO  for a wayward soldier or sailor. But this bit of news is something that our new National Command Authority might want to consider tending to in short order:

Between 2003 and 2007 — as many military families dealt with long war deployments and increased numbers of home foreclosures — Army Emergency Relief grew into a $345 million behemoth. During those years, the charity packed away $117 million into its own reserves while spending just $64 million on direct aid, according to an AP analysis of its tax records.

Tax-exempt and legally separate from the military, AER projects a facade of independence but really operates under close Army control. The massive nonprofit — funded predominantly by troops — allows superiors to squeeze soldiers for contributions; forces struggling soldiers to repay loans — sometimes delaying transfers and promotions; and too often violates its own rules by rewarding donors, such as giving free passes from physical training, the AP found.

Granted, you can’t run a military like it was a democracy. But a democracy certainly can impose some core values conducive to discipline, good order and humaneness toward the troops.

September 11, 2008

Seven years after . . .

Filed under: 2001, Afghanistan, colonialism, doomed to repeat, God, history, old times, politics, scumbags, Sept. 11, support our troops — Tags: , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 9:04 am

The television and radio are full of remembrances today. You’ll probably see no shortage of Sept. 11-themed photos on the web today, and public figures will make no end of references to what happened seven years ago.

I, like so many others, mourn the dead. But I also mourn that a nation has such a short-term memory and an unwillingness to understand more than the sight of a burning building.

Yes, we should well have invaded Afghanistan. We had a moral obligation to go in there and clean the place out like the rat-infested barn that it was.

After all, we created the rats. We funded and armed the groups that became the Taliban and al Qaida because we wanted to give the then Soviet Union the same kind of headaches and heartburn that we suffered in Vietnam. And after they helped send the Red Army home, they felt they had the same sort of license to begin oppressing their own. Eventually, they did what any well-conditioned Doberman would do – turn on those who fed and raised it.

We owed the world a cold, focused rage to go clean up a mess we had created two decades earlier.

And we botched it. We failed to give the troops who went there adequate numbers and materiel. We failed to maintain the focus on our responsibility, which allowed so many other countries to jump on a bandwagon of revanche against other groups and nations. We failed to tell other countries to stay out of our way in one small corner of earth.

And we failed to remember why we were doing it. We let evangelical and neo-colonialforces in our society twist and mutate it into an old-fashioned capital-C Crusade in which we were leading the world into broad, sunlit pastures. We failed to remember that we were, in fact, going back to clean up a nasty, brutal mess that we let fester and mold and spread.

And then we as a nation allowed a small group of people with visions of an American empire of resources twist the vision of a ‘war on terror’ into an excuse to go into Iraq. Forget all those who still say that there was evidence that Iraq wanted to sow terror in the U.S. After seven years, any semblance of connected, systematic evidence of such an Iraqi effort simply isn’t there.

And after five years of what is – and yes, it really is if you study the history – another damn Vietnam, we’re finally realizing that we lost sight of what we were supposed to do in Afghanistan. Except that, unlike Vietnam, we may very well have destabilized the region we were trying to uplift and control.

We have allowed our government to misuse our armed forces, stretch them thin, and then ask them to go back and do what we didn’t allow them to do – scrub Afghanistan with a wire brush. Assuming, of course, that we would have any better luck than Afghanistan’s previous occupiers.

Seven years after, the memory of all those dead people in New York and northern Virginia and Pennsylvania has been besmirched because we allowed a third-rate political scion and his Nixon-era handlers to corrupt an opportunity to make good on one of many errors of judgement.

The next time you hear someone say that we’re on a mission from God, please, please demand that they show a receipt or a work order or a certified letter from God. If they can’t, tell them to go to hell.

September 6, 2008

Manifest Destiny, as manifested by Sarah Palin . . .

Apparently, Sarah Palin seems to agree with Jake Blues . . . .

We’re on a mission from God.

I know all you all look down on National Public Radio as the last refuge of a liberal, but sometimes they have a nasty habit of running factual information:

http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=94332540&m=94332496

An excerpt:

“Palin now goes to a nondenominational Bible church when she’s in Wasilla, but her years attending Pentecostal churches, including the one she currently attends in Juneau, have no doubt shaped her faith and, possibly, her view of world events.

“For example, at the same service, Palin talks about the war in Iraq.

” “Pray our military men and women who are striving to do what is right also for this country — that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God,” Palin said. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.”

“Poloma says some people might hear that and say Palin believes this is a holy war, or that Pentecostals think this is a holy war.”

Now I know who else Palin reminds me of . . .

 

James K. Polk, Manifest Destiny exponent extradordinaire. From Wikipedia:

“As a Democrat committed to geographic expansion (or “Manifest Destiny“), he overrode Whig objections and was responsible for the second-largest expansion of the nation’s territory. Polk secured the Oregon Territory (including Washington, Oregon and Idaho), amounting to about 285,000 square miles (738,000 km²) then purchased 525,000 square miles (1,360,000 km²) through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican–American War.”

The only difference between Polk and Dubya? Polk was arrogant and competent.

Maybe Palin should remember that many a nation has claimed a holy alliance with God, as a central European nation once proudly declared . . .

 

Belief in God doesn’t make me nervous, despite or maybe because of my avowed agnosticism. What makes me nervous is politicians tossing around the concept of God as a symbol of support and justification as certain as the current day’s Gallup/CNN/MSNBC polls

Good night, Sarah, and remember the ark.

May 28, 2008

Another reason why Halliburton opened a dual headquarters in Dubai:

To avoid extradition or a well-deserved seizure and shutdown by the American people for what could be construed in many U.S. courts as negligent manslaughter?

“PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) — A highly decorated Green Beret, Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth died a painful death in Iraq this year. He died not on the battlefield. He died in what should have been one of the safest spots in Iraq: on a U.S. base, in his bathroom . . . .

The water pump was not properly grounded, and when he turned on the shower, a jolt of electricity shot through his body and electrocuted him January 2 . . . .

Army documents obtained by CNN show that U.S.-paid contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) inspected the building and found serious electrical problems a full 11 months before Maseth was electrocuted.

KBR noted “several safety issues concerning the improper grounding of electrical devices.” But KBR’s contract did not cover “fixing potential hazards.” It covered repairing items only after they broke down.

Only after Maseth died did the Army issue an emergency order for KBR to finally fix the electrical problems, and that order was carried out soon thereafter.

In an internal e-mail obtained by CNN, a Navy captain admits that the Army should have known “the extent of the severity of the electrical problems.” The e-mail then says the reason the Army did not know was because KBR’s inspections were never reviewed by a “qualified government employee.” . . .

KBR declined a CNN interview, but in an e-mail the company said it found “no evidence of a link between the work it has been tasked to perform and the reported electrocutions.” “

God forbid we should consider Halliburton and its subsidiary KBR as acting in selfish disregard of the interests of the American soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen that they have been contracted to support. After all, they  . . . .

bring fresh water to troops in bases overseas

serve hot meals in sanitary mess halls to troops

get fuel to our troops in the field.

F***in scumbags, and mudering scumbags at that.

Every day I get to drive by Halliburton natural gas exploration trucks driving through our region as if the Iraqi insurgents trying to blow up their convoys have somehow arrived in the U.S. I’ve been told that one Halliburton driver was instructed not to dodge oncoming traffic if it meant him being late to a job site. If true, it makes perfect sense given what this organization has managed to become – a perfect 21st-century example of the robber barons of old.

At least American soldiers can trust Iraqi insurgents and al Qaida to try and kill them. Halliburton does it effortlessly and under the guise of good old American patriotism

October 7, 2007

And if you really support the troops . . .

stop spending money on those tacky-assed magnetic yellow or red-white-and-blue “Support Our Troops” ribbons and start riding the collective ass of your elected officials from legislators on up to the f*ckwit masquerading as Commander-in-Chief.

Latest example (courtesy of WCSH, Portland, Maine, ayuh):

National Guard Troops Denied Benefits After Longest Deployment Of Iraq War

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (NBC) — When they came home from Iraq, 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard had been deployed longer than any other ground combat unit. The tour lasted 22 months and had been extended as part of President Bush’s surge.

1st Lt. Jon Anderson said he never expected to come home to this: A government refusing to pay education benefits he says he should have earned under the GI bill.

“It’s pretty much a slap in the face,” Anderson said. “I think it was a scheme to save money, personally. I think it was a leadership failure by the senior Washington leadership… once again failing the soldiers.”

Anderson’s orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days.

Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school.”

And, fittingly enough, inset into the above article was this . . . .

  • Enlist In The U.S. Army

    Enlistment bonuses of up to $40,000 100% college tuition reimbursement.

    officialarmy.com

  • I am so goddamned tired of my government.

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