Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Big Fat Government

One of the bonuses of getting off of work at 6 o'clock is being able to hop into my car and listen to Marketplace on NPR during the commute home. It is a show that takes a look at the daily news through the lens of the economy. It is done with wit which makes the 45 minute drive fly by rather quickly.

Tonight they did a quick story on a soldier in Iraq who called home to clandestinely plea with his parents to help get armor for the Humvees he and his buddies navigated through the war with. Unfortunately this young man was killed the following week. Fortunately his parents took him at his word and tried to find the equipment to help these young soldiers. They developed a "land shark" which is a small motorized vehicle which could pour water over road bombs until they were rendered useless. They recently received a government contract for $800,000 to manufacture these simple devices, but they ran into difficulty finding investors because the war may.. or may not end.

I know that the congress recently passed the budget for 2009.... with well over 1/2 of the budget going for defense: $515.4 billion for the Department of Defense’s (DOD's) base budget—a nearly 74-percent increase over 2001 as quoted from the US Budget. This doesn't even get into the few billion here and few billion there it takes to support all the other facets of the military.

Now- not for nothing- but shouldn't an army with these kinds of resources be running circles around a bunch of hooligans on horses in the middle of a desert? I can't help but think that the money is being spent on equipment to fight the type of war that no longer exists. Don't our soldiers need the sort of equipment for how war is conducted now? Namely a war fought by terrorists hiding in plain sight using IED's and suicide bombers. Why isn't our defense money being spent in a way that actually defends our soldiers? Why are they asking their parents for the equipment they need?

I am all for a strong military. I am certainly for providing all the care our veterans deserve. But I can't help but think of how Russia bankrupted itself in its quest for military might.... and all done at the expense and to the detriment of the people it was supposedly protecting. Are we headed down that same highway and does our new government have the gumption to say ENOUGH?!

Image of the installation of a new toilet at my father's camp in Vermont- and it cost under $100,000,000!


LYC said...

Perhaps there's a government ploy to help us all feel like genius for seeing things that should be obvious to those whose job it is to see it - and they still don't see it.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Yeah, sometimes the simple answer is the best (i.e. throwing water on bombs to render them useless) but who wants to approve money for that when you can approve it for the "sexy" stuff (i.e. high-tech crap that costs more money and takes more time in development before it can be deployed) to accomplish the same task?

That's not just our military, sadly, it's our whole mindset. Why find out what's actually eating your plant before you go out and dust Sevin, Eight, or whatever you happen to have in your garage (Diazinon, anyone?) on it? Why try to get physical activity and eat less calories when you can spend more money (and maybe lose weight in a less healthy way) by popping a pill or a canned drink? Ugh.

SMC said...

BSG- I agree about being seduced by the sexy stuff. Don't our gardens hold the answer to everything? I try not to use flamethrowers when something goes awry. And sometimes I find the best answer is to co-exist with something I might object to in theory- like a few bugs that interfere with the perfect display.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I think I still need to learn to coexist... I have been known to tear off not-so-perfect leaves, although I am purposely lax in deadheading. So why do a few little leaves bother me?