Look Mom, No Gear


I worked in prison situations, where inmates complained about everything and sometimes I even agreed with them.  Invariably, some older world-weary inmate would say:  “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” When spoken by a muscled, or at least strong and/or angry looking inmate, I have seen that shut people up.  Let’s try this one when it’s time for troops to deploy:  “Don’t appear, if they ain’t got the gear.”

You’ve seen those people who have signs on their cars that say “I support the troops.”  I dare you to ask any of them how they do this.  Morally?  In a day when material support is lacking.  How can we possibly talk about putting women into combat if our government cannot come up with tampons and panty-liners?  We are a government and a country of hot air, not of real support. Try this one; no matter what the ideology, we should not be in a war where we can’t seem to be able to afford to supply our own troops with the most basic humanitarian needs.  People who volunteer for the military are all too often unemployed, with very little idea of what they are getting into.  I was a trained physician, and still had very little idea of what I was getting into.  I mean, anyone with financial encouragements to meet a quota is highly unlikely to describe the loss of civil rights that goes with joining the military.  The “catch phrases” in the article on this topic, put out by PBS, are amazing.  “Few alternatives.”  “Sense of duty.”  “Providing for a family.”  In my work, I see lots of people for whom a family is something that “just happens.”  Despite sex education efforts, lots of young folks start a family without even thinking about it.  To provide for them, with the overwhelming lack of jobs, a military career suddenly looks wildly seductive. How rapidly naiveté fades.  Whatever remains will surely fade even faster when the young folks discover that their nation cannot provide them with sufficient body armor.










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