I would like to thank Mr. Bishop for his fine article. This is a subject that is significantly under-appreciated by too many within the general population of our country. It is truly a crime against our warriors that have gone in harms way to protect us and our freedoms. Particularly the enlisted barracks have deteriorated greatly in the last three decades or more. The state of housing for the married service members is not a whole lot better. Something simply must be done about this problem, and done now.
There is one aspect of the problem that is not addressed in this article that significantly complicates the situation, and is not sufficiently understood by the general public. The problem is that the Congress does not simply appropriate a single sum of money, send it to the Pentagon, and say spend it as you need to spend it. Congress passes bills to appropriate money to specific accounts or groups of accounts within the military. While the military budgets overall have been squeezed, the military construction and maintenance budgets have been significantly shorted in the area of military housing. Then all of a sudden a problem like the one at Walter Reed jump up to the public consciousness and the Congress leaps into action to hold hearings designed to assess blame on various military decision makers, and deflect the blame from Congress itself for not providing the necessary money and authority on an ongoing, realistic, non-crisis basis.
While I, too, agree that the appropriate military brass have not done their jobs, I do think that Congress deserves a lion’s share of the blame. The politicians are more concerned to provide earmarked funds to civilian projects in their own districts, to ensure their own re-elections, and in issuing inane statements about the untoward cost of the military budget for PR purposes.
Unfortunately the road to promotability, particularly for flag rank officers, does not significantly depend on providing decent living conditions for their troops. The road to the next promotion depends entirely too much on networking and politics. This is particularly true at the flag ranks, but starts at the level of Majors that want to make Lt. Col., in other words mid field grade ranks. It is no sure bet that an outstanding warrior among the eligible Majors will get promoted to the upper ranks of the field grades. There is much blather about providing for the welfare of one’s troops, but when the rubber meets the road in the fit reps that determine promotability, the politics of the military have an inordinate amount of influence. So we see “Bird” Colonels and the lower flag ranks spending inordinate amounts of time and effort in getting to know and be approved by Congressional politicians and their staffs. On the other hand, we have top quality warriors spending their careers trying to stay as far away from the Pentagon as possible, and then retiring after 20 years at the Lt.Col. rank, when they truly should be ticketed for flag status.p>Disclaimer; the above discussion does NOT apply to me. I spent my military service in the lower enlisted ranks, and up to the lower NCO ranks, in a period between Korea and Vietnam. I do have a son who made a career in submarines for the Navy and retired a Chief. Additionally I have a former Marine cousin that retired at Lt.Col. after being denigrated by his superior for being a “war fighter.” I have another cousin that retired from the Navy at the rank of Lt. Commander. I had an uncle that retired from the Navy after a career as a pilot. My father and another uncle served in the USMC and Army, respectively, during WWII. Then there are my numerous acquaintances that spent varying amounts of time in the military at varying ranks, both officer and enlisted. br> — Ken Shreve /p>
I’m a retired USAF Master Sergeant, and while at times Air Force facilities were a little less than grand, places like Kunsan and Taegu Air Bases in Korea come to mind. But I was absolutely flabbergasted by the conditions of some dorms (a.k.a. barracks) that are on Ft. George Meade, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online