So everyone has a perspective on war.
When we should go.
Who should go.
What reasons we should go for.
How war should be conducted.
The list could literally go on forever, but the real question is WHO should be making these decisions. With the election coming up we will not only get a new Commander and Chief, but we will get a new Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security, and new Joint Chiefs of Staff. Essentially the entire core of the military machine will be changing at the highest levels. Realizing this change is coming and there is nothing we can do to stop that is very important to keep in mind for this upcoming election, because the one thing we do have a say in is who gets to pick all of these positions. I’m not going to say who we should, or shouldn’t pick for these positions, but more take a look at what kind of person should really be in charge of the entire military.
The first thing I personally think any of the above potions should have (with the exception of Secretary of State… maybe) is a history of military service. Do I think they should be a war hero? Not necessarily. Actual active duty military? Not really that either. A candidate for any of these potions (except joint chiefs since they are obviously current military) should at least have some form of training in the field, whether its military school, ROTC, reserves, or any facet of active services doesn’t really matter to me. What I’m looking for is just a basic understanding of how a military works, and a respect for the customs of the military. Just having the basics covered isn’t really enough to understand us (the little guys actually doing the fighting), but it’s a minimum bar we can’t seem to accomplish these days. Is wanting to be governed and controlled by a person who has been their too much to ask? I would venture to say it’s almost UnAmerican to have a civilian calling the shots for troops across the board. We are supposed to be a nation who is governed by the people, and for the people. Shouldn’t that apply to military people as well? I’m not saying the Sec Def needs to be “Mad Dog” Mattis or Douglas MacArthur by any means, but even a man (or woman) who did 4 years in the reserves, or 4 years of ROTC is more qualified to make decisions for the troops. At least they have SOME understanding of the way things actually work. Would you want to work for a company whose CEO has never actually done the job your company does? And who had never even done anything similar? I know I wouldn’t, and I doubt you would either.
What about all these people who protest and complain to bring the troops home, especially the ones who have never been in the service, have no children in the service, and support criminal charges for Men and Women who did the best they could in times of great stress (the kind of stress a civilian could never understand)? Shouldn’t the troops get a say? Obviously I’m not talking about making my beloved Corps, or any other branch into a full-blown democracy where mob rules (because let’s admit it, for the Corps and Army Infantry the answer would be a state of perpetual war), but shouldn’t the will of the commanders and generals who begged to stay and finish the job matter? If we go by the actions of our current administration the answer is no, and look where that got us. We went from Iraq conflicts and attacks dwindling to nearly nothing, to having a full blown caliphate brutally ruling over a huge chunk of the middle east. Do you think if we had a veteran as Sec Def that he would have encouraged this so-called successful removal of troops? I highly fucking doubt it. I’m not saying people don’t have a right to dislike war or the goings on of the military, but shouldn’t the people actually involved have a say? What do I know, I was a lowly enlisted Marine who got cast aside after several deployments because it’s a kinder gentler military.
Let’s look at one more little snippet of what’s wrong with the upper echelons of the War machine in the US. Congress, and Cabinet members getting paychecks forever. Why do they qualify for their full pay for life? Wouldn’t that encourage them to do nothing with their time? If you told me as long as I didn’t do anything completely dumb for a few years I would get a paycheck for life I would be the biggest shitbag in the company. Military personnel need to serve 30 years to get their full pay after service, 20 will only get you like 70%. That’s ridiculous (better than most civilian jobs, but congress gets that after 1 term?). We trust these people to make decisions for us as the military. Seems kind of messed up right? I propose we set term limits for Congress, give all of them 25% pay for 4 years, and they get to keep medical care. That should be sufficient to allow them to get back to work. If we did this it would motivate congress and the cabinet to actually listen and do what I’d best, instead of treating their position as the promised land with guarantees retirement even if they fuck up. I also don’t think they should get to decide where troops go without having at least 20% actually visit the locations and speaking to the troops. They Wouldn’t be so quick to make decisions for us if they knew they had to come there as well. Oh and to fix the VA how about we make all ex congress and cabinet members only get their care through the VA. How about we also make it so that the only way to adjust the pay or benefits of the POTUS and VPOTUS, Congress or the Cabinet is through a popular vote from the people. That way they aren’t just sitting around, writing themselves checks.
So let’s review a little bit. To qualify for Sec Def or Sec HS you should be former military (or maybe police), congress shouldn’t be able to adjust their own pay, or get lifetime benefits. And any decisions about the military should be made AFTER the Congress people have been their, spoken to the people actually there, and taken their advice into account. No more people on their ivory towers bossing the military around, inflating their own pay, and doing a bunch of counterproductive partisan bickering. Stayed tuned for an upcoming post about what it actually feels like to be inside the head of a Frontline troop I’m Iraq or Afghanistan