Friday, December 15, 2006

General says our army is broken

I'm certainly no military genius but I just don't see how increasing our military by 7,000 soldiers a year is going to make that big a difference in our military readiness. Not to mention the cost involved.
The Army estimates that every 10,000 additional soldiers will cost about $1.2 billion a year, up from $700 million in 2001 in part because of increased enlistment bonuses and other incentives.
Call me a dreamer, but I can't help but think if we only waged war out of necessity for our national security, instead of embarking on war of choice misadventures based on political considerations, there would be plenty of volunteers and you wouldn't need incentives. Problem solved, no?

Update: How timely. I'd say this makes my point. Almost 1000 mostly active duty soldiers, including officers have signed an appeal and plan to petition Congress to withdraw the troops in Iraq.
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9 Comments:

Anonymous romunov said...

Kudos to signees.

And here is a thought from a person we all know:
"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

5:17:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

That was his best line Romunov.

7:09:00 PM  
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Interesting logic. So I guess if 2000 active duty personnel signed a petition urging Congress to "stay the course", then that petition would have twice the moral authority of the "withdraw" petition?

7:39:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I don't subscribe moral authority to either position Bubblehead but yeah I think 1000 dissenters carries more weight than 100,000 willing to agree with present policy. There's no risk in that, but the dissenters are not only risking their lives every day in the sandbox but also risking their careers and their futures by speaking out. That takes a lot more bravery. It makes a significant statement in my mind.

8:04:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Oh, btw, congrats on beating me in the awards. I enjoyed the campaign and I was glad to meet you.

8:45:00 PM  
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Libby -- Same; congrats on coming in third in a very good field. I had fun with it, and hopefully everyone else did too.
It looks to me like you're subscribing to the "dissent is the highest form of patriotism" argument -- am I correct?

9:04:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

You put the fun into the competition Bubblehead. And I do believe dissent is a high form of patriotism when it's honestly given and especially when it's tendered at great risk. I certainly believe it's an essential check on unfettered power.

9:19:00 PM  
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Well said, but I'm not sure what "great risk" these people are under -- unless you're an officer, there really wouldn't be any impact on their careers, in my experience. My good friend Rob is an active duty submariner who's been blogging about progressive issues for years (and his command knows about his blog) but that hasn't kept him from becoming the Leading Petty Officer of a nuclear division on board his submarine.

To continue your thought of the importance of dissent, can I assume you would also think that 1,000 women of child-bearing age coming out in a principled but politically unpopular statement against abortion would carry more weight than 100,000 women who supported abortion?

10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I bow to your superior knowledge on the possible reprecussions Bubblehead. I assumed the signers would carry some risk of maybe being charged with insubordination and also might suffer at least ridicule and perhaps worse among their units from those who don't agree with their stance. And I would think depending on the officers in charge, it could have some impact on a grunt's advancement and promotions.

I'm glad to hear Rob is free to blog -- and it's a good blog -- but I also remember a guy from out west, I forget his name at the moment, maybe Leonard Clark or something like that, who suffered some pretty severe backlash from his blog. He was one of the early dissenters.

As to your question, I'm not sure abortion is a good analogy since there's no centralized authority to mete out punishment, for lack of a better word, for voicing a dissenting opinion. A more appropriate analogy for me would be, say a large multinational corporation.

I would give more weight to 1000 employees who publicly voiced opposition to corporate policy than I would to 100,000 willing to sign on saying they agreed with it. Again, I measure the value of the dissent by the potential it has to disrupt the person's comfortable existence.

11:46:00 AM  

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