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If you pay attention to military issues here at DailyKos, you'll notice a new theme cropping up in the diaries. To my jaded eyes, it looks like a pre-election push to make Democrats look less than supportive of the troops. It looks like a ploy to remind folks that those on the left hate the military because they are all out to kill people (this diary) or they are moochers of the system (this diary and this diary).

Except that it isn't just a new diarist or two. Our well-respected Rescue Rangers seem caught up in the fray, recommending diaries that say our troops are overpaid.

Full disclosure, I am an Officer's wife and an Senior NCO's daughter. My husband hasn't served a base level position for a few years and we are currently assigned where there are few military. But I know military family life, from both sides of the track, and I can tell you that we are not overpaid nor did my husband or our friends join in order to kill people.

As I was writing this response, I realized that it will take more than one diary. Thus, welcome to Part I - the killing meme.

Let's get the killing meme out of the way. Yes, military troops are used to kill people. That's a large part of the training for many in all of our services. But that does not mean that people who join are signing up to kill people. In fact, I would argue that service members return from war with PTSD do so partly because the act of killing goes against their ultimate goal, to help bring our world to a peaceful place. They don't join to kill - they join to defend American interests overseas and killing is what they are ordered to do. They put the needs of the nation before themselves and their families. I am not calling them heroes, mind you. But they believe in something bigger than themselves. Whether you believe in that same thing doesn't inform their choice to serve. And that's the ultimate problem, isn't it? Their world view and your world view are informed by very different experiences.

When my husband joined back in the 1990's, it looked as if our nation was on a path to prevent wars. We were actively working with the UN on peace keeping missions. Our diplomatic efforts seemed to us more important than our military ones. We believed that our military was a tool in the overall arsenal and could only work as a deterrent to more war if the people who served were well-trained and well-educated. Note that word, deterrent. Many who join do so because they believe our military prevents more war.

It's true that if we had no volunteers, we wouldn't have the ability to kill so many people. It's one of those horrible truths that I often have a hard time wrapping my mind around. I can't tell you how hard the conversations were when it came time for my husband to deploy to war. My husband's career choice means that he is asked to serve in jobs with which I personally don't agree. And he won't tell you whether he agrees or not. He will just remind you that when he signed that dotted line, he gave up his right to have an opinion and that he serves at the will of the Commander-in-Chief. In fact, a horrible truth is that many of our military members are told to do things with which they don't agree. And I know at times we on the left honor people who refuse to fight. I get that more than you can ever know. But that also means we need good and honorable people to serve in the first place so that when the really horrific acts take place, like the torture in Abu Ghraib, that we have stalwart and brave men and women to speak up and prevent such atrocities in the first place.

Do you really believe that if no one volunteered to serve our nation, the atrocities would never happen? That we would never be at war?

It's a utopian dream that we can live in a nation that has no military whatsoever, that we follow the example of Costa Rica and disband our military. Our nation's path, as much as we may hate it, has made us a target and until we learn how to change that status quo, I'm afraid the military will have to stay in some way, shape, or form.

I'm not saying that it shouldn't be our ultimate goal to be rid of our military but do you really believe that we can be without a military in today's world?

I can agree that our military should be much, much smaller. I can agree that we should not be engaged in wars of choice, that Iraq was a huge mistake and that the way in which we handled Afghanistan wasn't much better. But I can't agree that we should have no military at all. It would be giving up an essential tool in our diplomatic arsenal.

If you believe that, then we really have no common ground on where to even start a conversation. You see the world as a very different place than I do. In some ways, I envy you the ability to see a world where we don't need soldiers at all. I envy you the ability to see it all in black and white. Just know that my husband serves a nation that sees shades of gray and for that reason, joining the military for him and for the thousands like him, killing is not the ultimate goal. They want peace as well.

Originally posted to A Progressive Military Wife on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 08:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Military Community Members of Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I look forward to it very much (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angelajean, llbear

      A discussion of these issues is precisely what I was looking forward to participating in.

      •  really (0+ / 0-)

        I had the idea that you wanted to make the point that you are an overpaid officer and could live fine on a lot less, ergo there is something askew in the military that makes them pay personnel more than they deserve or need?  I thought you were making the point that the enlisted are also paid fine, and that if some have low rank and big families, those with low rank but without families can afford to take cuts to contribute to the bigger family ones.  

        I had the idea that you think it's a good idea to compare a civilian job to military service based on pay and benefits, and that that's sufficient, belonging to the military isn't any worse than civilian jobs.  I had the idea that even though you claim to have been an officer 23 years and earn too much, that you could make even more too much if you'd go for another promotion. I had the idea that you refuse to tell which branch or which type of job, not because it could identify you, which isn't credible, but because you might then be expected to know something about it.  

        I wondered what your point was, now you're saying it's to discuss whether or not troops are overpaid?  The only people I've  known who like to engage in this kind of 'overpaying in the military discussions' are right wingers who resent the retirement and the discount bx shopping and think the military is full of lazy loafers.  Or the types that think we need to make cuts in pay and benefits to address the deficit.  Or who don't think we need a minimum wage because only the market can set the fair wage, the government should stay out of it because they are bad at knowing what workers are worth, proven by their overpayments.


      •  I'm curious as to your own circumstances. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anna shane, FloridaSNMOM, Bookends, llbear

        It is always odd when we get a new member with a definite point to make but without any history of comments.

        It's so easy to push a few buttons to start the meme all over again - Democrats hate the military. Let's see how many on the left we can get to make stupid comments about how our soldiers are overpaid.

        I'm also curious how much of your salary you would be willing to give up before it would be too much. Exactly how much money and benefits would it take to recruit you for 20 years? Obviously the system has worked so far for you - but how much less would it have taken before you had thrown up your hands in disgust and left?

        •  Long time lurker... (0+ / 0-)

          .. But didn't really feel I had something significant to say until I began to look at this subject in actual numerical detail and make a stab at determining a "civilian equivalent salary" - comparing take-home to take-home pay. Obviously in the course of a longish military career my BAH has varied a lot, and many of the special pays come and go.

          I haven't considered the question you posed thoroughly, and to respond to it would be a highly individualized answer that's germane to my particular circumstances. Service to our country takes many forms, and military service is just one of those forms. It has its own set of hardships, and those deserve compensation, but it's worth discussing how much that needs to be. It doesn't seem fair to me that I'm more thoroughly compensated than the first three civilians in my chain of command in my current assignment, even accounting for the differences between military and civilian service.

          Admittedly the title was, in retrospect, more provocative that I should have used.

          Military personnel cash compensation increased by 52 percent between 2002 and 2010, adjusted for inflation. During this same period, private sector wages increased 24 percent. [See Congressional Budget Office, Costs of Military Pay and Benefits in the Defense Budget (November 2012), page 6 and 16]. Should this trend continue? Is compensation about right? Has it overshot? What could be done to make it more fair for troops actually in combat, for junior enlisted in large families, for frequent moves, for disruption to spouses' careers...? These are interesting questions and you need the numbers to talk about them.

          That's really my sole agenda here. And there's nothing in your diary above that I disagree with. We have ample common ground for a discussion. Though we might disagree in detail, I definitely look forward to learning from your perspective.

          •  You left out an important number with the cash... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...compensation between 2002 and 2010. That would be how far behind private sector wages military compensation had fallen. There was a huge push from the late 90's to get military pay closer to private sector pay. I can't recall the year off the top of my head but one year I got a total 19% pay raise. The 3% or so all active duty got on 1 Jan that year and another 16% raise in June or July that year that was supposed to put my current pay at a salary that was closer to a private sector salary that had a similar level of responsibility, job accreditation, and number of subordinates. Everyone in the service should have been getting raises along those lines. Some would have gotten higher or lower percentages depending on rank and time in service.  Of course that didn't make up for the years of essentially lost wages if I had been in the private sector, but I didn't join to be rich.

            The thing is in 15 or 20 years that's going to happen again. After years of 1% raises military pay will fall behind private sector growth percentages by a high enough rate that to keep quality people, especially at mid-grade and senior levels the pay will have to catch up again.


            •  Pay compression was a problem in the '90s (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shivaskeeper1, angelajean, onceasgt

              The date range of 2002 to 2010 covers several "targeted" pay raises designed to address pay compression issues that had developed in the 1990s.  During that period part of the "peace dividend" was providing service members with annual pay raises that were 1% less than the rate of inflation.  By the late 90's that compression, combined with the REDUX retirement plan resulted in a retention crisis in the force.  

              The correction to the pay scale was designed to be adjusted over a period of several years beginning in 2000, it was dropped from the first defense authorization request submitted by the Bush administration catching the DoD by surprise.  The following year after a big push by DoD and military and veterans associations the pay raises were reinstated and completed, I think in 2003 or 2004.  It was a pretty significant raise for me since I got a promotion raise, longevity raise and a targeted raise all in the same year.  After that, while we were at war, congress gave service members pay raises equal to 0.5-1% above the rate of inflation.  

              They also adjusted the BAH policy during that period.  When BAH was first created it was designed to cover 75% of all household expenses (rent & utilities), the policy shifted with a design that it would cover (100%) of those expenses.  As a senior Warrant Officer, those adjustments were more than adequate for my household.  However, the policy didn't quite meet those goals for several senior enlisted personnel who worked for me, since it assumed that E-7s would rent an apartment in multifamily dwellings.  I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect that someone with 15+ years of service wouldn't have the ambition of owning their own home, something that should have been within reach in San Antonio where I was stationed at the time.  

              Perhaps moving forward pay raises should be adjusted to match the rate of inflation and not more, but the proposed reductions in BAH rates to cover less than 100% of the cost of housing and converting the retirement program to a 401K model, if approved are going to produce significant recruiting and retention problems down the road.

          •  if you are in the military (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            why did you suppose that there could be any reason to "take a stab at determining a "civilian equivalent salary."  There is no equivalency in occupation, how is it that you think there should be one regarding compensation?

            Please say which branch you are in, and what your job is, and what promotion you could get and what the training would be and how much more you'd get and how much longer than the 23 years you'd have to commit to to get that promotion and salary increase?

            And please answer angelajean's question of what you think the correct lower pay for you should have been and whether you'd have taken it if that were it.  

            I think many have pointed out the economic and personal disadvantages from joining the military, regarding transfers, spousal employment, 24/7 responsibility, time away from family, loss of civil rights, lose of autonomy, which doesn't yet touch the dangers of combat or on missions, but maybe you can say what you gave up to serve your country and why you think your own sacrifice isn't worth what you are paid.

            You do know I find it offensive to 'discuss' the right price-tag for a human's life, but why don't you?

    •  cannot rec this diary as much as I want to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angelajean, llbear, onceasgt

      or it would never come off the rec list.

      Thanks, angelajean, for taking this monumental task on.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 04:07:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blame the victim. (12+ / 0-)

    Low level troops are as much victims as anyone, and usually moreso, given that they get to be victimized all over again upon their return.

    While I'm sure there are a number of racist yahoos who join up to get a chance to kill them some 'furriners', I'm equally certain that the vast majority of our military would be just as happy never firing a weapon the whole time they're in uniform.

    And with so many troops living in poverty, living off food stamps, having homes foreclosed upon from under them, the notion that most of our troops are overpaid is utterly ludicrous.

    •  Most of those young troops get a variety of (12+ / 0-)

      trials by fire, that cure them of some of their prejudices. You grow up real fast in the service, because you have to.

      I agree with the diarist--this is all about driving a wedge between Military Progressives and Dems, and Vets and the rest of the movement.

      If the current Progressive and Democratic Parties appear to be at odds with all things military, then the party of Gawd Mom and Apple Pie can corner the market on patriotism among other things.

      Don't let that happen. Their version of "Patriotism" is Jingoism.

      Don't alienate all the Progressives and Democrats in uniform, or that are married to the uniform. We have a lot to offer you.

      This whole attack is just more of that "Real Murican" crap. Resist it! The military is a melting pot, embrace that. Accentuate that. It will serve us all well.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:40:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was so glad to see this Angie (10+ / 0-)

    In a perfect world, there would be no need of a military, but we don't live in a perfect world.

    I am also reminded of a lot of good that our military does - search and rescue and humanitarian missions...but that probably does not fit their meme..


  •  Oh, and, btw, (5+ / 0-)

    I do see a way to a world in which we don't spend more than, say the next couple of countries combined, and have a MUCH smaller military.  But it's not a 'snap your fingers and slash the budget and we're there' world.  It's a very long term, decades in the making transformation of our military into specialists in disaster aid, construction and reconstruction, with peacekeeping along the UN lines as a component of what they do, not the central focus.  Really, we stole the National Guard to fill out military ranks.  As climate change continues, we'll need to steal the military to fill out National Guard ranks.

    •  Dr Erich: I want us to spend more on (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the troops and the work they do, and LESS on the contractors' unfilfilled promises about the next-generation whizzbang hardware.


      Take care of the people. In peacetime or wartime. Take care of their dependents and the vets.

      The technological whizzbangery will take care of itself.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 04:10:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped & rec'ed (6+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:17:15 AM PDT

  •  One small disagreement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    It's a utopian dream that we can live in a nation that has no military whatsoever, that we follow the example of Costa Rica and disband our military.
     It was not only the dream of our Founding Fathers to not have a standing army, it was also the condition of the country for the first decade or so.
       The Founding Fathers considered a standing army a danger to liberty. And they were right.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:27:34 AM PDT

    •  So how do we get back to that point? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, llbear

      It can't happen overnight.

      •  True (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, llbear

        We are pretty far down the rabbit hole, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be pulling back.
          That Cold War ended decades ago. We should have closed hundreds of overseas bases by now. We should have ended dozens of expensive weapons programs by now.

        None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

        by gjohnsit on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:38:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed 100% (10+ / 0-)

          My main argument in this piece is that people who chose to serve aren't out there to kill and kill only. They honestly see a way forward by serving the public. And many of them would actually agree with both of us - ideally a nation without a standing army would be better. But how do we ever get back to that point? It certainly isn't by accusing those who serve of being wanton killers or of being brainwashed.

          •  it's a way out of poverty (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            angelajean, llbear

            for rural kids. The military provides education and some learn great skills.  The fact that they had to fight a war wasn't the reason most signed up. It was hard to find recruits after the war started, the army gave lots of waivers, some to kids with juvenile records, I met one kid who'd been in a gang and he got to sign up with some of the others under the buddy system. But he lasted, and the experience changed his life (he obviously survived).  

            The reason I have no problem with the military budget isn't because we don't waste money on congressional pork useless hardware purchases, but because it's the only stimulus package that can get through congress. Not the most efficient, not going to the right places, but the money is being circulated.

            The last thing we need to do is cut salary and benefits for our military personnel.  Or engage in so-called 'discussions' about paying soldiers more than they deserve.

            •  My dad joined for this very reason. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              llbear, anna shane

              That will be in part II as well. It's not a perfect way to bring people from poverty into the middle class, but it does work very well.

              •  there's a lot of great things about our military (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                There could be other ways, yes, but since they're aren't, it is nice that the military is a way.  And thank you for writing this, I didn't know how.  

                •  I have a feeling you're going to figure out how. (0+ / 0-)

                  Sounds like you have a lot of opinions that really need to be shared with a wider audience.

                  •  not really (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    I do have suspicions about where new bloggers who just want to 'discuss' how our government pays any workers too much are coming from.  When I started out here, I was always challenged, and I answered my challengers directly. Just saying you're in the military is no proof, it's proven by consistency and the willingness to share knowledge, not statistics.  

                    I know we're nicer now.  I haven't been very nice about this.  

                    I have military extended family members but my own experience is treating PTSD vets, starting right after Vietnam.   I'd been an anti-war protester, but I got to see first hand what happened to our troops, and how hurt they felt when they were hated, and I am pretty sure that reading a bunch of liberals who've never been in the military comparing combat experience to firefighting can't feel good.  It's not just combat either, as you know, but not everyone knows.

                    To me this is a new form of troop bashing, under the guise of discussion, but that is based on the supposed need for deficit reduction which is the Koch position, using the idea that liberals don't like the cost of our military and that we'd be glad to see reductions in troop pay.  

                    Someone blogged about how the founding fathers warned against a standing army, as if that meant they'd been able to foresee us being a world power and over-using that power.  That wasn't it, they thought that an army could back a monarch and we could lose our democracy, and of course that happens in places where there is no tradition of universal human rights, and no history of the right to assemble.  

                    You're much more diplomatic and you know enough to explain to anyone who wants to know how the military works, and how pay is determined, and what military personnel give up for the honor of serving the nation.  I don't, and I can't keep warning my fellows that this guy seems off and that talking about the monetary value of other people's lives is unkind and unpleasant.   so, thank you

    •  the reason being (0+ / 0-)

      that the army could take over, and we'd have a military dictatorship, not for any other reason.

      Time has shown the we do have elections and peaceful transfers of power and the president is the commander in chief, and can fire generals.  

  •  Well, When Military Contractors (9+ / 0-)

    are paid 3x what those in the Military are being paid, From Paul Ryans view, The heck with the Military, Honeywell and Northrop, will contribute $$$. They always manage to find the Money to put Troops somewhere in Conflict, They sure as heck should be able to find the Money to Increase Pay, And ensure the Money is there afterwards to take care of them.

  •  Much needed diary (9+ / 0-)

    I appreciate your words and those who hurt many of us last night know nothing of war trauma and said so in the diary.   I thank you for writing this.   Thank you and your husband ...

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:31:22 AM PDT

  •  the author of the (5+ / 0-)

    Support-the-troops-Stuff-a-sock-in-it diary recently commented:

    I just thought being a frogman or a sniper would be a really fun way to spend 4 years.I was 17!
    so he apparently figures others are like him
    •  It's a guilty conscience that speaks (8+ / 0-)

      He doesn't want to be alone in his guilt.

      Lots of kids talk big in the service, but when it comes down to really taking up arms--if people were so awesome at killing--why would we need to invest so much training in these new recruits to convince them of that? Why would they need to be conditioned to ignore all the social conditioning they received prior to that?

      Its difficult at this time for me to offer more comments because I get so angry at this, that's its difficult to not be a dick about it.

      If the author really felt that way, he needs to talk to someone about what's eating him. But he doesn't have the right to take it out on the rest of us. Not even the people who are snipers or frogmen.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:45:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That was my initial reaction to that diary (4+ / 0-)

        Someone has some guilt and feels the need to spread/share by attempting to paint every military person with the same, broad brush.

        My second was to tell them to get bent- but not so nicely.


        Thank you for saying it so nicely here.

        You can get animals addicted to a harmful substance, you can dissect their brains, but you throw their own feces back at them, and suddenly you're unprofessional. -Amy Farrah Fowler/The Big Bang Theory -7.50, -5.03

        by dawgflyer13 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 11:41:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well said, Angie (9+ / 0-)

    Those who insist our military is overpaid, fundamentally homicidal, and, above all, unnecessary, live in a dream world where nothing bad happens, and even then it's probably the cops' fault.

    As the daughter, sister and ex of military veterans, I can tell you killing wasn't about why they made the choice to enlist. In fact, in my parents case, they wanted to keep others from being killed by the Nazis and Japanese during WWII. My ex was VN, he joined because he had a family to support with the hopes of help with an education and/or marketable skill when he was discharged. He did 3 tours of VN and only talked about the killing with other vets. He would tell me, when he was very, very tanked, of some of the things he saw and had to do in order to stay alive and to keep his men alive. It wasn't, by far, what he signed up for but once he enlisted he understood he was to serve the country in whatever manner the Commander-in-Chief required of him.

    My brothers served in the peacetime Army and Corps.

    If the naysayers object to what happens overseas, let me ask them, who would you have come to your aid if an ICBM were dropped in your city? Who would you want to fly the planes to guard the skies? Who would they want to pursue those who had harmed them and their families?

    Maybe they think that a fully-trained, fully-armed military force just happens at a moments notice by starting a phone tree or something else so mundane.

    It doesn't. Not then, not now, not ever.

    To say our military is overpaid is ridiculous beyond belief. Landlords, mortgage holders, utility companies, doctors, clothing retailers, and grocery stores may say "thank you for your service" but they'll still have their hand out to receive their payment, as it should be.  No member of our military should ever have to give a single thought to the financial well-being of their family while they are deployed. We owe them that at the very least.

    Thank you for sharing your insight and personal experience.


    Creativity is intelligence having fun.

    by Ninepatch on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:40:35 AM PDT

  •  THANK YOU Angie (8+ / 0-)

    for this eloquent rebuttal to these recent diary atrocities.

    I never sign in from work but today I make the exception.

    Gotta run.

    I appreciate that people do not agree with the reasons our troops are sent out to project American power around the world but to demean them as ignorant thugs is a pretty repugnant position.

    "one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress" -- John Adams

    by blue armadillo on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 09:54:57 AM PDT

  •  Latest demographics data for the US military... (6+ / 0-)

    can be found in DoD's 2012 Demographics Profile of the Military Community.

    I've already used information from this source in a conversation around "why is it abominable that we have soldiers on food stamps."

    I suspect that this source will be useful as you continue this series...

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 10:54:50 AM PDT

  •  Started to write a comment about what I really (5+ / 0-)

    thought, then cancelled it. I wouldn't feel good about myself for publishing it.

    Suffice to say that none of the comments I saw in that diary yesterday caused me to think more highly of the commenters.

    War beats down, and sows with salt, the hearts and minds of soldiers." Brecht

    by DaNang65 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 11:05:38 AM PDT

    •  Seconded (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angelajean, DaNang65, Bookends, llbear
      Started to write a comment about what I really thought, then cancelled it.

      You can get animals addicted to a harmful substance, you can dissect their brains, but you throw their own feces back at them, and suddenly you're unprofessional. -Amy Farrah Fowler/The Big Bang Theory -7.50, -5.03

      by dawgflyer13 on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 11:43:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well I just flat out called out (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaNang65, angelajean, bearsguy, llbear

      survival guilt and then said all of that nonsense got no resepect from me.  I was pretty angry !

      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 02:05:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Survival Guilt, Very sad story (0+ / 0-)

        When I was with a Unit that went on a Med cruise in "89" Our BN. Chaplain as it turned out was a Vietnam Veteran having served in the Marines. Fantastic Person, Cant say enough about How He motivated us, Looked out for us, Taught me a lot. Lost contact as I started my New life, Got Married, Have a Son, Living the dream. I belonged to the Marine Corps League, And during a fundraiser, I met a Local gentleman who was also a Navy chaplain and knew MY Chaplain and I Got back in contact. Well Life goes on and lost contact again. I did a Google search, And I did locate him, But this time it wasn't good. You see, He committed suicide by stopping His car, Got out and jumped off a Bridge. Survival Guilt? I found out He was 1 of a Few that survived from His Unit in Hue City.  I knew this Gentleman for 2 years, Never, Ever did I even think that something was wrong or bothering Him, Just by the way he carried himself, Just a Class Act, Very Giving, Caring, Great Human being, Touched Many Lives.  

  •  I'm glad you wrote this, angelajean. There (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaNang65, angelajean, anna shane, llbear

    seems to be a lot of "divide and conquer" kind of issues flying around DKos lately. We all need to stick together.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 12:15:23 PM PDT

  •  Military wives are my heroes! (5+ / 0-)

    Amazing article that gets it so very right. Thank you for writing it. My view from the military side

  •  Thank you for taking this on (4+ / 0-)

    I too have noticed an anti military trend in Diaries that you mentioned.  I find the O5 who posted about being overpaid the most despicable.  RETIRE and quit stealing O2.

    In 27 years I have met a few of the psychos who joined for the killing.  Most of them signed up during Desert Storm.  Most never made it to the Storm because it was over before they finished training.  They did not make good soldiers and we showed them the door.

    On the other hand I have served with hundreds of soldiers who, like me, despise war.  I hate war so much I committed my life to preventing it.  For a soldier, war is the ultimate failure.  If you do your job right there is no war.  If you are so prepared, so capable and so powerful that the outcome of any conflict is never in doubt, your enemy never starts a war.  Of course when you have a President who CHOOSES war specifically because the enemy is weak, well that sucks.  

    As for the idea of shrinking the military I am all for it to a point.  But you had better shrink the mission too.  One of the best things I have ever heard from Army leadership came in recent congressional testimony when a senior leader said we could no longer do more with less.  from now on we will "do less with less."  Bravo and its about time.  Soldiers are amazing people.  Tell them to do something and they will literally kill themselves trying to get it done.  If the budget were cut 50% tomorrow and we were told 'too bad, you still have to do everything" we would figure it out.  So cut the military, but cut what you ask us to do first.  

    Of course there is the rub.  Everyone wants the good things the military brings but no one wants to pay the bills.  Ask anyone evacuated from a country by the military if they are ok with us keeping lots of C-17.  Ask anyone who has been rescued by the National Guard if we should keep funding NG units.  Make sure you check in with New Jersey and New Orleans before making a decision.  And of course if you buy ANYTHING from overseas or your job involves trade, thank the Navy.  World trade happens because the US Navy says it happens.  And most of all, the people who call the most for cutting the military also dont want to return to the draft.  They want the luxury of an all volunteer force so they dont have to volunteer but they want it to cost less than a draftee army.  Sorry, doent work that way.  Draftees are cheap for a reason.  Im not cheap for the same reason.

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 01:11:53 PM PDT

    •  and you never claimed to be overpaid? (0+ / 0-)

      there are many hardships associated with even non-combat military service, that cost the solider, being away from family, divorces, no civil rights.  But I haven't heard anyone claim they should have been paid more, and that's probably because everyone in the same rank with the same years of service is paid exactly the same.  No favoritism applies.  

      But that was one excuse offered for the 'discussion' you refer to, about troops great pay compared to private business pay.

      like this one:

      What it says to me is the military is fairly, and maybe even generously, compensated compared to civilian employment. The exception to this would be service in a combat zone.

      This was instructive to me, who served in Vietnam when the  lower enlisted and officer ranks were very poorly paid compared to “lifers.” This article helpfully corrects the common misconception that military personnel are poorly compensated, which is often used to argue for increases in an already obscenely bloated “defense” budget.

      The Koch Bros spend a lot, and there is no reason to not suspect that Koch ideas are presented here as a way to get some lefties who support a higher minimum wage and are glad about ACA to agree on record that the troops are paid too much and the benefits are too generous.  
      •  I think you confused me with someone else (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean, anna shane

        Not my quote.

        The only time I have said I was overpaid was in the context of loving my job.  It really isnt work if you love what you do.  But here is the difference - I honestly dont think you would pay someone enough to do what I do.  You have to love this job to the point where you dont really care that much about how much you get paid.  

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 02:40:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Looks like you've written a diary response to me. (0+ / 0-)

      It's beautiful and deserves far more attention that it will ever receive as a comment.

  •  THANK YOU FOR THIS DIARY! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, llbear

    The ones you listed had me pretty much ticked off.  

    I owe a lot to the military for its training (which helped me get into a good career field) and helping out someone who needed to be able to believe in them-self.

    As such thank you for writing this!

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 03:24:56 PM PDT

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