"It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately." ~ Thomas Jefferson
Revolt in the Ranks? Be VERY Careful, Neocon
A few weeks ago, about the same time those high-ranking US generals were stating-- emphatically--their displeasure with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the conduct of the war in Iraq, Military.com ran a story on the Internet'Wounded Soldiers Left in Debt.
The broad range of anger, frustration and regret on the forum surprised me. Three years ago the great majority of servicemen and women accorded the Bush administration carte blanche, out of a misguided sense of patriotism, for a war with a non-belligerent nation that had neither threatened nor attacked the U.S.
Now, three years later, the vehemence of these common soldiers and sailors should give any Neocon a great deal to think about. Dissent is common among unhappy soldiers; disgruntlement as common as the chevrons on our sleeves. Always has been and always will be. But whether any actual revolt in the ranks would ever occur within the US military is debatable. However, the Bush administration should be VERY careful. Just because a large scale mutiny among US soldiers has never occurred does not mean one will not.
Here are just a few remarks from servicemen who expressed a measure of disgust not usually found in letters to your average mainstream newspaper media.
An E-6 Coast Guardsman wrote: 'I am too close to retirement to chuck it all in, but I do everything I can to discourage my sons from having anything to do with joining the military. Everyone says they support the military, but it does not take much support to buy a stupid yellow ribbon for a car. The Republicans have had complete control for the last 6 years, they don't care about the wounded. If they did, this would not happen. Do you see the civilian pro war group joining, or their children enlisting?'
Sgt John Peters, an E-7, wrote: 'I put up with the Army B.S. for 9 years and finally decided enough was enough. People thought I was nuts to throw it all away as an E-7 with that much time in but hey . . . it's just a job! A soldier (and his family) can only put up with so many deployments, B.S. duty assignments, and screwed up pay system so long, before he finally realizes it's just not worth it anymore. I'm all for serving my country but you eventually have to start thinking about yourself and your family because the Army definitely doesn't have your well-being in mind.'
Petty Officer George Madden, USN: 'I'm a Vietnam vet and I've seen this and it's been happening forever. I may be wrong on this but the only government that didn't consider its military to be a throw-away tool when they were no longer needed were the Romans. After 25 years of service they were guaranteed a villa and a stipend of some kind for life! And, believe it or not, the average Roman soldier lived a longer life than the average citizen.'
US Army captain Thomas Pallardy: 'This is just another example of what has happened and is happening with the Armed Services since this stupid downsizing began. When my son returned from Iraq , he was flown back on a military flight to the East Coast. From there he had to purchase a ticket to Denver and then to the local airport near his Duty Station. He was never reimbursed for something he never should have had to pay for in the first place. The real kicker was when he finished Basic, the cost of the uniforms he was issued was deducted from his final pay before leaving Boot Camp. Just what are these people thinking at Foggy Bottom. These types of individuals shouldn't even be working for us, period.'
Sgt Leroy Farmer, from Arizona , offered something from personal experience: 'I was lucky that my troops took care of me when I was hit in Iraq . My troops gathered all of my gear, even the gear cut off during medical treatment and stuck it in a couple bags. It was easier to declare a loss because I had remnants of the equipment. That is not the case for most troops. The Department of Defense dishonors itself by allowing its Departments to recoup money from combat wounded troops for equipment they can no longer be responsible for.'
An Army warrant officer wrote: 'After 16 1/2 years of service to this country, I am leaving. This kind of thing (Wounded troops paying for equipment, etc) would never happen if the Army was grooming good commanders. It is amazing to me that more vets are not making the case OUT LOUD for prospective recruits to steer clear of this organization.'
Sgt. Frank Scaletta added: 'While our grandstanding politicians are hoodwinking the public about oil prices and the evil oil companies, these kids are being left out to dry. Disgraceful!! "
US Navy petty officer Joel Jenkins wrote: 'TYPICAL GOVERNMENT ACTION, It doesn't matter that the 19 year old kid from NC will never walk again, or the 21 year old that that eats through a straw because his jaw got shot off. As long as Uncle Sam still gets paid, they don't care. And I say this after having serving for going on 8 years . . . and still in this clusterfuck.'
Sgt. Dana K. Beausoleil also offered something from his own experience: 'While in Iraq my unit suffered several casualties. One soldier, an E-7, had his face literally smashed in. Almost all the bones in his face were broken and he lost three teeth. We MEDEVAC'd him out . . . 6 months later he was still on medical hold. He'd lost like 40 lbs and looked pretty rough but was fighting mad. It seems the Army doesn't want to replace his teeth that he lost in combat. So no it doesn't surprise me that this is happening in the army. They're the only service I know of that makes you pay for military issued equipment if you make a human error and break something that belongs to the US government by accident . . . but every other night I watched us lob 155 mm shells into the desert to "fire for effect" at no particular target just to let them know we were out there. We are truly ruled by idiots.'