I remember being amazed at some of my Dad’s thoughts on the state of the world when I was younger and believed I knew, oh, so much. Over a quarter of a century later, I hear myself echoing some of those same statements of his as I talk with younger people so confused by all the rather frightening jibber jabber constantly bombarding us on an hourly basis these days. At least back then, we only had the evening news on three TV channels and on-the-hour five minute radio news during the top 40 countdown. We were free from the torrent of doom and gloom and body counts for the other 23 hours of the day.
Yet even with 24 hour cable news, the internet, social media and instant access to the world even from your cellphone, some things never seem to change. Number one on that list, I dare say, would be politicians. My Dad’s bottom line on politicians way back then was simply that they were all lying crooks lining their pockets and could care less about their constituents.
Don’t see much change in that area these days.
The Pentagon’s civilian workforce, which expanded dramatically during President Obama’s first three years, is not facing any significant reductions even as the Defense Department is slashing ground troops by more than 10 percent, retiring ships and combat planes, and putting off the purchases of some new weapons.
This year, the number of civilians sits at 801,000, an increase of 62,000 personnel, or 8 percent; it is expected to decline by 1 percent next year.
Mr. Punaro, a retired Marine Corps Reserve major general who headed the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Democratic staff, said the defense budget is suffering through rapid increases in personnel overhead costs at the expense of troops.
“While the fighting force is coming down, the overhead continues to grow,” he said. “It was an adverse ratio to start with, and it’s getting worse. You want to put your money in the tip of the spear, not in the rear with the gear.”
Read the rest here.
This certainly does not surprise those of us who were paying attention during the Carter and Clinton administrations. (Something about having a “D” after your name and cutting the military…)
From the White House:
After signing an agreement that details our future relationship with Afghanistan, President Obama explains that we must now focus on the type of nation our troops return home to, and calls on Congress to take the money we are no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the other half to rebuild America.
I watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
Here’s the transcript:
Oh, sorry. Here’s the real one:
This week, I traveled to Afghanistan—to thank our troops serving far from home, and to sign an historic agreement that will help us complete our mission and end the war.
As Commander-in-Chief, nothing is more humbling or inspiring than the chance to spend some time with our troops. At Bagram Air Base, I visited with some of our outstanding men and women in uniform. I thanked them for their extraordinary service. And I let them know that America honors their sacrifice.
Because of their bravery and dedication, the tide of war has turned in Afghanistan. We have broken the Taliban’s momentum. We’ve built strong Afghan Security Forces. We have devastated al Qaeda’s leadership. And one year ago, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set – to defeat al Qaeda, and deny it a chance to rebuild – is within reach.
Because of the progress we have made, I was able to sign an historic agreement between the United States and Afghanistan that defines a new kind of relationship between our countries – a future in which Afghans are responsible for the security of their nation, and we build an equal partnership between two sovereign states; a future in which the war ends, and a new chapter begins.
The enormous sacrifices of our men and women in uniform are not over. But many of our troops are already coming home. Last year, we removed 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Another 23,000 will leave by the end of the summer. As our coalition agreed, by the end of 2014, the Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country.
And this is as it should be. Because after more than a decade of war, it is time to focus on nation building here at home.
As a new greatest generation returns from overseas, we must ask ourselves, what kind of country will they come back to? Will it be a country where a shrinking number of Americans do really well while a growing number barely get by? Or will it be a country where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules – a country with opportunity worthy of the troops who protect us?
America has answered this question before. My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army, got the chance to go to college on the GI Bill. My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth. They contributed to a story of success that every American had the chance to share in, the basic American promise that if you work hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.
Keeping that promise alive is the defining issue of our time. But it means making responsible choices.
I don’t think we should prioritize things like more tax cuts for millionaires while cutting the kinds of investments that built a strong middle class.
That’s why I’ve called on Congress to take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the other half to rebuild America.
Because we’ve got more jobs to create. More students to educate. More clean energy to generate. More entrepreneurs with the next great idea, just looking for their shot at success. We’ve got to invest in things like education and medical research. We’ve got to build newer, faster transportation and communication networks. And we’ve got to secure the care and benefits our veterans have earned, so that we serve them as well as they have served us.
Every time I have the privilege of meeting with our troops, I’m struck by their courage, their commitment, their selflessness, and their teamwork. They have something to teach us. Recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression is a work in progress – but if we follow their example, then I have no doubt we will preserve the promise of this country, protect the freedoms we cherish, and leave for our children an America that’s built to last.
God bless you, and have a great weekend.
Reality phonecall for Pres. Obama at courtesy counter. Please come to the courtesy counter for your reality phonecall.
Of course, all that pie-in-the-sky good feelin’ hope and change crap won’t mean a thing if we have a leaner (read: gutted), meaner (read: politically correct) shell (read: civilian) of a Military to defend this country (read: transformed) and it’s Constitution (read: shredded) from Islamofacsists (read: murderers).
A report by Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, and Representative Mike Rogers, Republican, has challenged Obama’s evaluation during his visit to Kabul that America has broken the Taliban’s momentum.
“President Karzai believes that the Taliban will not come back. I’m not so sure,” adding, “The Taliban has a shadow system of governors in many provinces,” News 24 quoted Feinstein as saying.
Rogers said that the group (the Haqqani network) was responsible for almost 500 US deaths and continued to operate outposts along the Afghan-Pakistani border.
Hmmm…maybe those Obama unicorns and rainbows aren’t quite so shiny these days.
But then, if the Afghan Army keeps this up, we won’t have to cut the Military:
“An individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against coalition service members in southern Afghanistan today, killing one service member,” NATO’S International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.
Damn them all to hell.
I. Can’t. Stand. This.