Paul Kane wrote this Op-Ed Piece a couple of days ago, and I'm just getting around to responding to it now. Its been a busy week. But enough of my sniveling, this article misses the mark entirely.
His first assertion, in my humble opinion is just insane, "First, the Air Force should be eliminated, and its personnel and equipment integrated into the Army, Navy and Marine Corps." Then he goes on to say, "Yes, air power is a critical component of America’s arsenal. But the Army, Navy and Marines already maintain air wings within their expeditionary units."
Well first off, no, we in the Army do not maintain Air Wings. We have attack helicopter units, lift and recon squadrons, but no fixed wing fast mover types.
Secondly, how is this supposed to work? How does this all fit in? Who takes over basing? Who gets what? What happens amongst the personnel systems? What happens to the expertise? These are just a few questions I am left with. Its nice to make vast sweeping statements. Almost sounds like he is running for office. But I'd like to see how he would propose doing this.
He then goes on to say that the Air Force is not at war. Now, don't get me wrong, I like to give my counterparts in the Air Force a hard time as much as the next grunt, but they are shouldering more then their share of the weight. They are moving us back and forth. They are flying all of our supplies in and out of theater. They are conducting taskings as advisors in Afghanistan. They are flying close air support for us. The list goes on and on. His statement is outright a fallacy and I am personally offended for my brethren in the Air Force.
His next shot is at the personnel system claiming that, "Any soldier passed over for promotion twice must leave or retire." News flash, this was suspended back during the early days of the Global War On Terror. In addition, I can not speak for the Navy or the Marines, but I know within the Army people have been bending over backwards to assist people stay in who are deserving of that. So again, the facts are not correct, and I don't even know where he is getting info from at this point.
His final comments really got to me though:
"Last, Mr. Gates should urge President Obama to confer with Congress and introduce national service at age 18 for all Americans. Under such a system, young people from all classes and backgrounds would either serve in the military or do other essential work like intelligence assessment, conservation, antipoverty projects, educational tutoring, firefighting, policing, border security, disaster relief or care for the elderly. The best qualified would be assigned to the military.
The 1.6 million Americans who have served in the current wars represent less than one percent of all citizens. We need to spread the risk and burden of fighting our wars. If more of our national leaders had been in uniform, or knew they might have children at risk in war, their decisions during military confrontations might be better."
Ok, where do I start. First off, I do not want a draft military. The men and women that we have now, want to be here. They are motivated to be here, and have requested this mission. Their are no finer Soldiers to be found anywhere else in the world.
Secondly, we live in a Federal Style Republic. That means that people have the right to choose. Now, I am all for volunteering. I think it is a very good thing. I think we should do more of it. But, to place into law that people MUST do this, concerns me greatly. Where does it stop? What other legislation would we make to legislate people's lives?
Lastly, why would the military only get the best? Are you inferring that only the best of our society volunteer to serve in the military? I personally know many young men and women who are serving our nation as school teachers in the inner city. I know some that wanted to serve their country after 9-11 and joined the State Department and the CIA. The military is not for everyone. That does not mean they are less of a person or care about their country any less then I do.
Yes, I have gone to war twice now for my country. I have seen my men, shot, maimed, and killed for our great Nation. I have seen the blood, sweat, and tears that have been given for our Nation's Colors. BUT, if we forget who we are, what makes this nation great, and adopt this last idea, I fear that may all be in vain. The purpose of the government is to maintain life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all of our citizens. It is invested with the power of the people, by the people, and for the people. Not the other way around. Yes, some of us volunteer to serve within the military. But that is my choice. Others may not make that choice, and that is OK with me. If you think you owe us something, don't impress people into service, just tell us thank you.
God Bless America
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