Suffering war vets should tell D.C.: Tanks for nothing

TankAssemblyIn case you need a refresher on who’s really running this country, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are pushing to appropriate about a half a billion dollars in U.S. tax money toward the production of tanks that the U.S. Army has said it doesn’t need.

Despite a repeated “No thanks” from senior army officials, an updated version of the 70-ton Abrams tank is being shoved at the military by both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill.  In the words of Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff, “If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way.”

From your mouth to God’s ear, General.  But it’s clear that the bottom line is this:  You’re getting those tanks whether you want ‘em or not.

See, this push is a political issue.  Both parties are under a lot of heat to show the American public that they: 1) Can overcome partisan warfare and agree and work together to achieve at least something; and 2) Are motivated to actually help the people from the states/districts they represent.

This is the best measure they can come up with so far:  To appropriate the construction of tanks nobody needs.  Why the tanks?  The usual reasons.  See, tanks are made of stuff.  And somebody has to assemble the stuff the tanks are made of.  That means jobs for folks in the districts and states these elected officials represent.  All this translates into better marks for each of these elected officials, in the area of creating jobs, generating wealth for the defense industries, and yielding a little bit of a windfall in their own personal defense industry stock dividend quarterly returns. It’s what these elected officials see as a “win/win”:  It’s like having someone pay you extra for looking like a hero for providing jobs, bolstering the economy, and strengthening the good ol’ Yoo-Ess-Uvay.

Of course, we as obedient taxpaying American citizens are supposed to conveniently forget a few things.  First of all, as we’ve stated earlier, the Army has said that they don’t want new tanks, more tanks, or any tanks upon what they already have.  Second, even if they did need tanks, more tanks is a finite, short-term solution to any local economy.  They only way to create a lasting demand for tanks is to consume tanks.  That usually happens during a warfare scenario, which, strangely enough, is one that we try to avoid as a society.  So the upshot is that, eventually, the demand for newer tanks is going to hit a saturation limit; and in the future, those who have jobs making tank components today are likely to be part of tomorrow’s unemployment statistics.

What could a society like ours do with the $436 million we’re appropriating toward tanks we don’t need?  Well, I admit I’m kind of a broken record about this particular topic, but the statistics involving our war veterans do seem pretty grim.  Most of the nation’s Veteran’s Hospitals are under-maintained, under-updated, and under-staffed; and we still have about half a million war veterans in this country who are living at or below the poverty level, and a good percentage of them are homeless.  As Americans, we’re really good at the whole “Nothing’s too good for the boys on the front lines” mentality; but we’re also good at throwing way too many of these people in the trash once they’ve served and, in many instances, paid horrible consequences for their service.

Now, I also understand that the half-billion in question is itself a limited and finite infusion of cash, and that veteran’s affairs on all levels stack up to a sort of cash-flow expense for our nation.  But still, we could apply some of that half bil toward remedying that situation.

But then again, why should our elected officials do the moral thing if there’s no money in it for them?

1 comment

  1. David Erik Finn


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