Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Extended Tours in Iraq Impoverishing US Soldiers

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Extended Tours in Iraq Impoverishing US Soldiers

    An editorial printed in The Seattle Times yesterday:

    The 'Adopt-a-Reservist' Plan

    by Matthew Miller

    Bob Woodward got three and a half hours alone with President Bush while writing his new book. The president will spend far less time with the 9-11 Commission, and only in the company of vice presidential chaperone Dick Cheney.

    Anyone else think there's something wrong with this picture?

    "To govern is to choose," John F. Kennedy said famously, and two of the most critical choices a president makes are how to spend his time, and how to raise and spend the nation's money.

    The Woodward choice tells us something important about the president's view of time. But fresh proof has come in recent days that the president's view of money is equally indefensible.

    The New York Times reported the other day on the appalling situation facing thousands of reservists, whose extended tours in Iraq are impoverishing their families. These men and women left jobs and businesses behind to answer their countries call. But as the expected six-month or 12-month deployments have turned into 20-month or two-year stints in Iraq, the economic toll is mounting. Employers can't hold positions open that long, and for small businesspeople, it's a wipeout.

    The Time's profiled Jay Johnson, a member of the Tennessee National Guard, who has a small mobile catering business. He's been away now for 18 months. The business that he spent seven years building is down to one lunch truck from three. His wife and kids are scraping by on half as much money. "If he doesn't come back soon," Mrs. Johnson said, "we're going to lose it all, and he'll have to start over again."

    So, George Bush is choosing to send families of modest means, who supply most of the Reserves, toward bankruptcy as their reward for serving the nation. Hold that presidential choice in your mind.

    Now consider new reports by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and the Tax Policy Center that tally who really got what from the Bush tax cuts. The contrast is shocking and shameful.

    While Jay Johnson's business is evaporating because he's in Iraq, Americans who earn more than $1 million a year are getting tax cuts that average $123,600 this year. People in the middle of the income spectrum will get tax cuts of $647.

    That's quite a Republican rallying cry: "$100,000 for the millionaires -- six hundred bucks for the reservists!"

    During earlier debates over the war's funding, I humbly suggested an "Adopt-a-Soldier" plan, under which high earners would forgo part of their tax cuts to pay for Iraq. I didn't find any takers in the White House, but I want to give the president another chance because I am worried about the state of his soul. (Sure, Bush looks good -- but so did Dorian Gray!)

    So why not an "Adopt-a-Reservist" plan -- under which America's 275,000 millionaires could give up some or all of their $30 billion in tax cuts this year to help ease the economic plight facing countless reservists and their families?

    That might get us back to mid-19th century political morality, when the wealthier families at least had the decency to pay to avoid military service. This 21st-century Bush morality -- where the best-off both avoid service and get big tax cuts at the same time -- is really going to smell bad when the kids and the historians figure it out.

    As Karl Rove will surely see, I'm only proposing this in the president's interest.

    The cynical icing on the cake comes when the affluent Bush supporter's take a sliver of their $100,000 plus annual tax cut and return it to the president's campaign as a gratuity, via the higher contribution limits of $4000 per couple (up from $2000) that the president signed into law.

    Ka-ching!

    That's the sound of the pocket change from the tax cut as it gets recycled into the president's campaign. Meanwhile, Mrs. Johnson hears the ka-ching on the checkout line and wonders if she'll have enough cash left this month to pay the bills -- and when Jay is coming home.

    آ© 2004, Matthew Miller


    I hadn't thought about this until I read Miller's article. Now, I can't stop thinking about it.
    "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
    --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

  • #2
    Sorry, folks, I meant for this to be in the "Political Pressures" forum.

    Berry, could you move it for me?
    "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
    --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for posting this, Psychic. Very sobering.

      Another problem with this issue is retention. How many of the hundreds of thousands of Guard and Reserve troops who have been activated are going to be excited about reenlistement? How many who haven't been activated or deployed are going to want to push their luck and reenlist?

      If you add to this debacle cutting VA funding, especially for hospitals and the GI bill, it makes you wonder who is really pro-troops. It's much easier as a slogan.

      Comment


      • #4
        I had always thought about this when they mentioned extending their time. It is disgraceful that it is happening. Thanks for the post PWV
        When they had advanced together to meet on common
        ground, then there was the clash of shields, of spears
        and the fury of men cased in bronze; bossed shields met
        each other and the din rose loud. Then there were
        mingled the groaning and the crowing of men killed and
        killing, and the ground ran with blood.

        Homer, The Illiad

        Comment


        • #5
          My kind of article. And it didn't even
          mention that some of them die, be it
          in a fire-fight, by a road-side ambush, or accidental.
          Then all the business and money can go out the window.
          It's gotta be 1000-fold more painful for the family to take
          the emotional damage from a loved one's death to top it all off.
          Imagine that worst-case scenario! A woman (or man) with kids, in financial trouble,
          who face the harsh reality that the spouse/ dad (or mom)
          isn't coming home to fix things; not coming home period.

          Blame it on Bush I say.
          Dubya Bushie, got a theme song for you:

          Soldier boy, made of clay
          Now an empty shell
          21, only son.
          But he served us well
          Bred to kill, not to care
          do just as we say
          Finished here, greetings Death
          He's yours to take away.

          Back to the front!
          You will do what I say, when I say
          Back to the front!
          You will die, when I say, you must die
          Back to the front!
          You coward, you servant, you blind man!
          Back to the front!

          Why-- am I dying?
          Kill-- have no fear
          Lie-- live off lying
          Hell-- HELL IS HERE


          --lyrics from
          "Disposable Heroes" Metallica (Master of Puppets LP)
          \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
          Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview

          Comment


          • #6
            Nice Metallica reference Jerico! From back when they were worth listening to. Certain lyrics from "For Whom the Bell Tolls" also pop to mind.

            "On they fight, for they are right, yes, but who's to say?"
            "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
            --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

            Comment


            • #7
              "Blame it on Bush I say. "

              Amen to that. Blame Bush becuase he:

              - Started the draft!... wait, no, no he didn't
              - ENDED the draft!... wait, no, no he didn't
              - Advocated returning the Draft!... wait, no, no he hasn't
              - Was the first President to have a soldier die under his watch!... no, no he wasn't
              - Was the first President to put a soldier in harms way!... no, no he wasn't

              Well, I tried.

              Comment


              • #8
                I blame Bush because he went to war with Iraq without a clear plan of what to do once Saddam was gone and all the WMD's were found (IMO).

                As far as I'm concerned, the buck stops on the presidents desk. We talk about responsibilty and the lack of it in our society, and yet when its the presidents job to direct the affairs of this country and things are not going well, his supporters find other things to blame. Of course he's not responsible for the war(s) or the state of foriegn affairs or interest rates increasing or joblessness or anything else that's not positive. Its funny, when people like the president, the problems with the country are someone else's fault, but when they don't care for him, he's responsible for everything.

                Its always someone else's fault. I think this is a problem with most poeple in this country (if not the whole world). No one is responsible for their lives. "Cigarettes gave me cancer because the tobacco companies tricked me" ,"McDonalds is responsible for my fatass", "I robbed that guy because I'm poor", "I raped that girl because my parents molested me", "I'm a murderer because I was negleted as a child", " I did drugs because no one understands me", "I'm not responsible for laying everyone off, its the economy.", "I know since I was named CEO the company has lost all value and I got a huge bonus, but its not my fault, that was the deal that was given to me", "I know I'm the President of The United States but that doesn't make me responsible for the things that happen while I'm in office.", "SUV's, I don't own one, my family owns them..." (I am sure the anti-Kerry crowd could give me tons of examples of him passing the buck.)

                I'm not taking sides with Bush or Kerry here, I'm just pointing out that people who support the current admin tend to look elsewhere for responsibility or tend to just see positive things happening. I have a friend who works in the mortgage biz, and he's been pro-Bush all along, telling me the economy is doing great, big recovery going on. Now that interest rates are going up (and will go higher) he's having some doubts. He believed all the talk about the millions of jobs being created; everyone is so happy - now he has less business, realtors are saying the market is getting tougher. And now the defecit is growing. We are spending billions every month policing a country that does not want us there.

                Who's responsible? Who's the captain of this ship? Where I come from, regardless of circumstances, the leader is the one responsible for everything - everything. Even if your subordinates were to blame, even if its just bad luck, the person in charge takes the responsibility, if its their fault or not (unfortunately).

                To me its a matter of honor and character. I'm in charge, I'm responsible for anything that happens under my watch. That is how I was raised. Maybe that's just an antiquated veiw.
                When they had advanced together to meet on common
                ground, then there was the clash of shields, of spears
                and the fury of men cased in bronze; bossed shields met
                each other and the din rose loud. Then there were
                mingled the groaning and the crowing of men killed and
                killing, and the ground ran with blood.

                Homer, The Illiad

                Comment


                • #9
                  "I blame Bush because he went to war with Iraq without a clear plan of what to do once Saddam was gone and all the WMD's were found (IMO). "

                  Fair criticism.

                  "As far as I'm concerned, the buck stops on the presidents desk. We talk about responsibilty and the lack of it in our society, and yet when its the presidents job to direct the affairs of this country and things are not going well, his supporters find other things to blame."

                  I agree, except for one thing. He hasn't walked away from any blame. He hasn't changed his position one iota, and is taking a heap o'shit for it in the other forum (Q&A). The people blaming him are those that question their own decision and can't stand up and admit that. No politician in their right mind is going to say "I was wrong. I don't really know why, but I was wrong." Especially not in an election year. So what happens? If you are a Republican, you keep quiet or respectfully call for more investigations. If you are a DEmocrat you scream "HE LIED" as loudly as you can and hope people don't realize how ludicrous it is to claim you didn't know when YOU HAD THE EXACT SAME INFO AS THE PRESIDENT.

                  Bush should take the heat if heat is forthcoming. But that heat shouldn't come from other politicians with a drum to band becuase they want to hide their mistakes and keep their office.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bill
                    Amen to that. Blame Bush becuase he:

                    - Started the draft!... wait, no, no he didn't
                    - ENDED the draft!... wait, no, no he didn't
                    - Advocated returning the Draft!... wait, no, no he hasn't
                    - Was the first President to have a soldier die under his watch!... no, no he wasn't
                    - Was the first President to put a soldier in harms way!... no, no he wasn't

                    Well, I tried.
                    Bill, you forgot:

                    - Sent a bunch of reservists to Iraq, then extended their tours, thereby putting their entire families in financial hardship, and then cut a bunch of their pay and benefits to top it all off!... Why YES, yes he did do that, didn't he?
                    "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                    --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wow! Speaking of agendas...
                      now that's a great example of pushing!
                      "We want to topple and control Iraq. Let's
                      use the Reservists! What? They have careers
                      outside of the military? They'll thank us later.
                      We'll tell them how brave and courageous they are!!"

                      =============
                      Anyway, watching TV.
                      I'd like to know the name of that Army
                      chick having so much fun torturing POWs.
                      I'd like to see what great stuff this Gen. Karpinsky
                      has to say.
                      \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
                      Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "I'd like to know the name of that Army chick having so much fun torturing POWs."

                        I'm sure her family and friends and employer are going to be so proud of her when she returns! The conquering hero!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          "- Sent a bunch of reservists to Iraq, then extended their tours, thereby putting their entire families in financial hardship, and then cut a bunch of their pay and benefits to top it all off!... Why YES, yes he did do that, didn't he?"

                          My wife was a reservist for 8 years; she is inactive now (we have a young daughter). Back in 2000 or so, she considered going back in, but opted not to because the "one weekend a month, two weeks a year" aren't that. Her eyes were wide open. A year later I did submit an application knowing the same thing (rejected due to age; I wonder if the answer would be the same today?) Now, you could say that she had prior knowledge that other recruits don't have - fair enough - but isn't the risk that they could be deployed part of the down side for the upside of additional pay, benefits, and retirement package at the end of 20?

                          Now, I know enough of these people to know that the benefit issue is going to sting, so no argument there at all. But the idea that they were deployed; that is part of the job description.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Bill - is she in the IRR (Inactive Ready Reserve - I think its called that, been awhile)?

                            If so, she could still be called up if need be. My wife was in it too, but got out completely because she was worried she'd be called somewhere away from her kids (and me of course :roll: ). Not somewhere dangerous, just somewhere filling the job of an active reservist who was shipped out.
                            When they had advanced together to meet on common
                            ground, then there was the clash of shields, of spears
                            and the fury of men cased in bronze; bossed shields met
                            each other and the din rose loud. Then there were
                            mingled the groaning and the crowing of men killed and
                            killing, and the ground ran with blood.

                            Homer, The Illiad

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You have the reference correct, as far as I know, but no, she got out altogether. It's too bad, because she enjoyed the work immensely. The minuses outweighed the pluses for her, though.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X