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November 23, 2009
War costs money (2)By Greyhawk
Last week:Kabul--U.S. President Barack Obama aims to bring the Afghan war to an end before he leaves office, he said on Wednesday.Along with leaks from others, remarks by the president that are "open to interpretation" have been the hallmark of the administration's cloudy national security 'policy'. So clarity would certainly be a welcome change, too.
We just used that quote in another post, but here's an example about how many agendas a vague statement can serve.
The LA Times has picked up the "how much this thing is going to cost" angle and reported back: "Pricing an Afghanistan troop buildup is no simple calculation".
But don't worry - Democrats Propose Surtax to Cover War Costs.
But still don't worry -
Discussing the idea earlier this month, Murtha said he knew the bill would not be enacted and that advocates of a surtax were simply trying to send a message about the moral obligation to pay for the wars.You see, Murtha & company are really only concerned for the troops:
"The only people who've paid any price for our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan are our military families," Murtha, Obey and Larson said in a joint statement. "We believe that if this war is to be fought, it's only fair that everyone share the burden."
And there's that "what kind of burden does this place on our young men and women in uniform" part of the president's statement, too.
Now, it's too hard to figure out in advance what the war might cost - even Jack Murtha (who's certainly brought home more money off the war on terror than any other congressman) can't figure it out - so the amount of the new tax that Murtha says he knows won't be enacted to cover the cost that can't be calculated will only be determined after the money is spent. And Obey says everyone will give their fair share: "the tax should be paid by all taxpayers, with rates ranging from 1 percent for lower wage earners to 5 percent for the wealthy."
And if LA Times reporters and congressmen can't calculate how many bazillion dollars X infinity the war will cost, then certainly the average American can't do all the hard maths required to figure it out either. And really, after all, the only thing Americans need to understand is that they could get a lot of free stuff from the government if it wasn't for the war that's killing our children.
"There ain't going to be no money for nothing if we pour it all into Afghanistan," House Appropriations Chairman David Obey told ABC News in an exclusive interview.For example, health care, which would cost exactly as much as the war:
So the answer to the question "how much will the war in Afghanistan cost" is officially "nobody knows - but it's exactly as much as free health care for all Americans."
From our History is Fun department: after Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, Obey earmarked his share of the warbucks in the first defense budget developed under his Party's control for his home district's dairy farmers:
House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., isn't waiting on the upcoming farm bill to extend income subsidies aimed at small dairy farms. Obey's 13-month extension would cost $283 million.
But he later said he was sorry for yelling at the mother of a Marine suffering from PTSD.
Ancient history, all that. But now that the US economy is markedly worse than it was when he first took control of the purse in 2007 the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee might feel his task is simplified - especially since he, like his colleague Jack Murtha, supports the troops.
And maybe this time those "idiot liberals" will keep their mouths shut.
And for those who might be a little slow on the uptake, here's a friendly little warning message from history - sent directly to the Obama administration (and any other "idiot liberals" out there) from Jack Murtha's web page:
"As presidential historian Robert Dallek reminds us, 'war kills off great reform movements'," the Members said, noting that World War I ended the Progressive Era, Korea ended Harry Truman's Fair Deal and Vietnam ended Lyndon Johnson's Great Society.
Previously: War costs money.
Posted by Greyhawk / November 23, 2009 1:33 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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