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Saturday, December 18, 2004

What US$400 Billion Buys You

NOTE: This article was originally published here on 1 November 2004. Republished for the purpose of newsfeed distribution.

It certainly looks like one can afford to get quite a number of toys on Pentagon's budget. And toys are certainly there,- GPS-guided bombs, Navy carrier groups, tanks, submarines...

However, some things a soldier might really need in battle are in rather short supply:
With a $400 billion defense budget you might think U.S. troops have everything they need to fight the war, but that's not always the case.

Correspondent Steve Kroft talks to a general, soldiers in Iraq, and their families at home about a lack of armored vehicles, field radios, night vision goggles, and even ammunition - especially for the National Guard and reserve units that now make up more than 40 percent of U.S. troops.
I have commented on this problem before and it certainly looks like it has been there for awhile, has been reported on for awhile, but is still to be resolved.

What can I say? On several occasions, the aftermath of 9/11 being one of them, I considered signing up with the US military. Now I am glad I did not. And that is not because of fear,- it is certainly there, which is natural, but I am perfectly comfortable with the notion that everyone dies one day. No. The reason for that change of attitude is that I consider soldiers human, and I believe that protecting them to a reasonable extent is the nation's responsibility, a basic measure of respect and care for someone sent into the harm's way. And if $400B can't provide soldiers with enough bullets,- that says it all.

I consider those responsible for this outrage guilty of imperial arrogance, their attitude being that of "legionaires are paid to fight and die". And wasn't this Republic founded specifically to make sure this sort of governance never happens?

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