Tuesday :: Aug 2, 2005

$um$ Of The Pioneer$


by pessimist

If there was anything that clearly demonstrates that the GOP are a bunch of hypocrites, it has to be the way they offer volumes of lip service about how they 'support our troops'. So the thought occured to me that there has to be a way for our Red State 'patriots' to demonstrate their real and evident support in a more substantial manner, and I think I have come up with it.

Red Staters, such as our wrong-wing comment section friends, love to crow about how well the Bu$hCo economy is doing, so it would be reasonable to assume that they are among the Topper$ who are raking in all the new American renminbi. Flush with profits gathered by the toil of Walmart-wage workers of America, these Topper$ have to be seeking safe and secure places to $ta$h their ca$h. What better place to put it than in the trust of someone trained in the usage of military firearms?

Yes - One of those soldiers you so loudly proclaim to support.

As the Washington Post asks:

Unlike the editors of the nation's newspapers, I am not at all impressed by people who resolve to have others stay the course in Iraq and in Afghanistan. At zero sacrifice, who would not have that resolve?

Perfessor? Chevy? Al? muckdog? Tex? Anyone from the 'borrow and waste' party? [Thanks, Ga6thDem!]

Should anyone be surprised by this national resolve, given that these wars visit no sacrifice of any sort -- neither blood nor angst nor taxes -- on well over 95 percent of the American people? ... no more than 10 million Americans have any real emotional connection to these wars.

I disagree. Those of us who oppose the Oil War have an emotional investment in bringing our troops home before King George can kill any more of them.

But I digress.

The WaPo article continues:

The administration and Congress have gone to extraordinary lengths to insulate voters from the money cost of the wars -- to the point even of excluding outlays for them from the regular budget process. Furthermore, they have financed the wars not with taxes but by borrowing abroad.

No economic muss and no taxation fuss?

Gee - I was sure that the 101st Fighting Keyboarders would be flocking to the colors by now!

The strategic shielding of most voters from any emotional or financial sacrifice for these wars cannot but trigger the analogue of what is called "moral hazard" in the context of health insurance, a field in which I've done a lot of scholarly work. There, moral hazard refers to the tendency of well-insured patients to use health care with complete indifference to the cost they visit on others. It has prompted President Bush to advocate health insurance with very high deductibles. But if all but a handful of Americans are completely insulated against the emotional -- and financial -- cost of war, is it not natural to suspect moral hazard will be at work in that context as well?

I don't know that the Chickenhawks of America can face ANY hazard - especially a moral one!

A policymaking elite whose families and purses are shielded from the sacrifices war entails may rush into it hastily and ill prepared, as surely was the case of the Iraq war.

Moral hazard in this context can explain why a nation that once built a Liberty Ship every two weeks and thousands of newly designed airplanes in the span of a few years now takes years merely to properly arm and armor its troops with conventional equipment.

Moral hazard also can explain why the general public is so noticeably indifferent to the plight of our troops and their families.

To be sure, we paste cheap magnetic ribbons on our cars to proclaim our support for the troops. But at the same time, we allow families of reservists and National Guard members to slide into deep financial distress as their loved ones stand tall for us on lethal battlefields and the family is deprived of these troops' typically higher civilian salaries.

We offer a pittance in disability pay to seriously wounded soldiers who have not served the full 20 years that entitles them to a regular pension. And our legislative representatives make a disgraceful spectacle of themselves bickering over a mere $1 billion or so in added health care spending by the Department of Veterans Affairs -- in a nation with a $13 trillion economy!

So let's see some walk for all that GOP morals values talk! Dig deep into that Money Bin, Unca Scrooge, and show the world that your personal warrior has the best financial support a Topper can personally provide!

Adopt A Military Family

In order to give incentive to you Topper$ (and Topper-wannabees) out there, I propose that you ...

[Cue dramatic voice with lots of echo]

Adopt A GI Family!

[Cut voice and echo]

In return for your tax-deductable gift of $100,000 per annum, your family's GI will gladly continue to risk his life so that you don't have to be ecologically responsible, and have to turn that Belchfire Ga$$iphon V10 you use to run to the tavern a block away so that you can display your manliness by lifting Lone Star Longnecks by the case one at a time, into a greenhouse.

And as an extra added bonus, your family's GI will wear a T-shirt - emblazoned with your full-color photo of you posed in a Rambo-like stance, complete with M10 machine gun and bandoliers of ammo - into battle as he fights those terrorists 'Over There' for your personal safety, opulent decadence, and excessive wastefulness.

What could be easier? You can be 'at war' without being at war! And at no personal risk to you!

But wait! That's not all!

In addition to providing you with clear and observable proof that you support your soldiers with more than your manly embouchure - developed over many years of loudly blowing your own horns - you can avoid the embarassment of your words being compared to the results of your actions!

In return for your tax-deductable donation to support those who directly bear the burdens of King George's 'War on Terra', you will avoid the sort of opprobrium that WaPo article author Uwe E. Reinhardt lays at the feet of 'patriotic' Americans who 'support our troops':

When our son, then a recent Princeton graduate, decided to join the Marine Corps in 2001, I advised him thus:
"Do what you must, but be advised that, flourishing rhetoric notwithstanding, this nation will never truly honor your service, and it will condemn you to the bottom of the economic scrap heap should you ever get seriously wounded."
The intervening years have not changed my views; they have reaffirmed them.

Last year kind-hearted folks in New Jersey collected $12,000 at a pancake feed to help stock pantries for financially hard-pressed families of the National Guard.

Food pantries for American military families?

The state of Illinois now allows taxpayers to donate their tax refunds to such families. For the entire year 2004, slightly more than $400,000 was collected in this way, or 3 cents per capita. It is the equivalent of about 100,000 cups of Starbucks coffee. With a similar program Rhode Island collected about 1 cent per capita.

Is this what we mean by "supporting our troops"?

Now, how much better you must feel, knowing that your money is going to war for you, supporting the family of the guy who used to pack your purchases and carry them out to your Hummer for you at Walmart. All that worry over how his family will make ends meet while he has had to go abroad to war when his National Guard unit was sent to Iraq! You can ease all of that mental anguish which prevents your soldier from remaining focussed on the mission with just a swipe of your American Excess Card! And, you can make those low, affordable monthly payments and not affect your ca$h flow in an adverse manner!

If you act now, you might prevent a soldier from going AWOL as more than 5000 already have. You would instead be improving the poor morale of our troops by reminding them that killing and destroying for your thirsty SUV gas tank levels is just as much fun as the foxy recruiter babes told them it would be when they signed up!

It will be just like those days of yore when you used to have GI Joe take that hill in your mother's vegetable garden!

So don't be like one of those wimpy No. 10 Downing Street aides who felt that the Oil War was illegal! Dig deep! Pony up! pony up! pony up! MO'! My Topper Boy! The family you support, with your tax-deductable donation taken from the tax-cut largesse bestowed upon you by Owwer Leedur, will be very grateful to you once the shock over the telegram informing them of the death or serious incapacitation of their loved one fades in their memories.

They might even eventually call you 'Uncle' ... or even 'Dad'!

[Speed-talking legal disclaimer to conclude sales pitch]

No refunds will be given in the event of the soldier's death or incapacitation, or in the event of early termination of hostilities due to political considerations, whether real or taken as a political expediency to ensure electoral success. No other warrant, guaranty, assurance, bond, or legal liability is expressed or implied.


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