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July 05, 2006

Fight! Fight!

Well, such as there is at the Castle. Knowing that a lot of you *don't* go burrowing through the comments, I thought I'd bring a conversation from the comments up into the light.

The post that generated the commentary was this one, on Supporting the Troops.

The discussion revolved around perceptions of right wing vs left wing support for the war and the manifestations thereof - along with some side commentary about political assumptions being made about the political leanings of the soldiery. I'm going to leave that aside and will bring up here the discussion between Castle Contrarian and Leftish Canadian Alan of GenX@40 and our own rightish buried-in-the-academy Ry, currently guest-posting at Kat's place, The Middle Ground.

Alan starts out:

To be fair, there are a lot of right winger civilians who do not exactly care deeply about the lot of the military either, asking it to do far more without the civilian side of the community pulling its weight behind the effort in the war on terror through increased taxes, bonds, etc. You see some community outreach in a town like Watertown, NY near me as Fort Drum is so close but you might find a greater national effort might also find that soldier feeling less like no one cared.

Ry Responds:

The points Alan and SD are making are exactly why I have tried(proll'y in vain, knowing me) to not make my essays on the subject over at Kat's a partisan issue. Rogers did, in the end he really did because it comes down to getting the people in power now instead of looking at how the system is messed up. [Armorer's note - "Rogers" refers to another comment thread on a different post that you don't have to be read in on to follow this discussion]

People do tend to just put up the yellow sticker and think the jobs done. It ain't. Not by a long shot. These same jokers did the same in '91(and voted for Bush the Elder in 1992), but by '94 wanted Slick Walrus(having voted for him) to slice off 4 divisions and cut the Navy in half because they thought they had better uses for it than letting the Mil have it(and when you're strapped for getting current gear, repairing gear, and getting the pipeline for future gear decision makers aren't going to worry about things like the VA so much, particularly when it isn't being stressed so hard in peacetime.).

But, to be fair, the anger at 'liberals' is fair too. Nine times out of ten it is 'liberals' who want to cut mil spending to fund something like Headstart for everyone(instead of just for really impoverished or disabled children).

Al, I always have a problem with the 'war tax' argument. You do realize that we took in more tax revenue last year than just about any year ever? That we funded WW2 with lesser taxes? And temporary taxes usually aren't---just like temporary presidential powers typically become permanent(like the power grab by FDR, over which a SCOTUS battle was being fought and to win said battle FDR was going to pack the court, that means every pres now has immense pull on domestic issues when they didn't prior to FDR). There's enough revenue coming in to do this without a war tax. How about we get rid of Amtrak, a perennial in the red service? Sell it to a private provider. There's a ton of other things that could be axed because they are entirely unnecessary before we need a war tax.
And again(have you read my essay Al?), a war tax now really wouldn't fix the problem. It'll take a few years before that cash infusion will begun to be seen in the field. And then, when the war in Iraq is over, the public will demand we scale back again---producing the late 90s situation all over again, and this all over again the next time a pres decides to go to war without a 5 year build up.
I really think we've mythologized WW2 and the rationing scheme too much. My Mom lived thru it and the way she talks about it it wasn't a great thing. It was hated. It sucked. 3 years of it had people in backwoods Wisconsin(and other places) talking about voting in someone who would get us out of the war(which makes me question why so many are so in favor of a war tax. Is it because they know it will kill support? Rather a cheap trick to get your way if so ain't it?).

SD and Trias, most of my childhood friends joined, myself being the only one who went to college(Craig went to The Point after being JROTC) instead. They do write/call me saying how pissed off they are that they are being turned into a political football, how much they hate us Normals because we don't understand and can't understand. One side arguing that they more authentically care about 'The Troops' more. This guy and Beth have a point(though, I would be a little more kind to Murtha. He may want to pull out any time there's trouble but he typically votes to get the gear.). While they, my buddies and their Brothers, like seeing that yellow bumper sticker they're also aware of the triteness of it. It's bitter sweet for them(We're remembered, but, damn, why's that $itch driving an f'n Hummer, with perfectly manicured nails and coiffed, dyed blonde hair, and wearing Gucci sunglasses while my buddies and I had to sleep in 115 degree heat, eat crap food, and mickey mouse $hit?). And they absolutely want to skull hump those who say things like, 'Support the troops. Bring them home.' Because it's cheap to do either. Because it's easy. Because it isn't substantive help(though it is a psychological boost to some when they first came home.).

I've known some of these guys longer (Moran(20 some odd days longer) and Boner(yes, his last name really is Boner and I've known him a few years longer)) than my wife's been alive. the group's collectively gotten into spittle inflected rages over this. Support shouldn't start when Bush said we're going to war and it shouldn't stop when the last man steps of the Starfrog ladder Stateside. That's what they're pissed about: the easy stuff's being done now, but none of the hard stuff was done years ago when it could've mattered. They're tired that they have become a political football.

And yeah, it's a lot easier to point the finger at someone else. It's a lot easier to try and make our own efforts seem much grander than they really are. (I could've made arguing budgeting in places other than living rooms and restaurant tables the last 15 years). So let's not fault Beth for this overmuch. We sacrifice what we can without making utter messes of our lives. That's all we can do at this point. We can't undo the late 90's.

Later today or tomorrow, I will post the next installment in the series. While I really like just having fun in the comments, it's stuff like this that differentiate blogs from the other forms of media. Especially when people follow the Rulez and it doesn't degenerate into a Sunday Morning Talk Show/Daily Kos/LGF shout-fest.