Originally Posted by zanshin
You should talk to your brother more often, or better yet, be more like him and enlist. You've obviously never been in any hostile situation when people were shooting at you if you think speaking the language is as useful to your "self-defense" as your weapon. Also, there is no such MOS as "dishwasher," and U.S. Marines aren't sent to battle to defend themselves.
As for "no one" liking unnecessary government programs, we seem to have 535 or so "no ones" up on Capitol Hill earmarking and voting for them. Minus, of course, the dozen or so that have spent the last 3 or 4 years wasting taxpayer dollars as they were off campaigning to be President.
(Before anyone jumps out here yelling about how campaign costs are born by the candidates and their supporters, let's remember they are being paid handsomely to be in Washington D.C. doing their jobs, not taking a year or two off with pay to try and get a different one. None of them have refused paychecks from the US Govt while they ignore the very people who elected them to do something beneficial for the citizens of the states they represent.)
There are far more people than the "military/industrial complex" making money from unnecessary government programs. Printers, filmmakers, researchers, analysts, teachers, road and highway workers, FARMERS
, bankers, welfare scam artists, doctors, lawyers, and broadcast "journalists" come to mind.
As much as I dislike debating politics and military issues on an Apple forum, your lame argument and simplton comments cannot go unanswered.
I talk to my brother every week and I understand the military. You are an idiot to pretend to know who I am or what I've done. I was stationed in the South Pacific and I did relief work on the Rwanda-Burundi border and I had to stare down 18-year olds with rifles while I was unarmed and didn't have an armored Humvee or green zone backing me up. And unless you are living a Rambo movie in your head an M16 would not have been as helpful in those situations as the ability to communicate.
I know there is no such MOS (military job description) as "dishwasher." It was a figure of speech and I probably shouldn't have used it since there was about an 80% chance that you would waste time picking at such a detail and ignore the bigger issue. I was wrong.
Your assertion that Marines "are not sent into battle to defend themselves" is a good one, but only historically relevant. Unfortunately there are plenty of Marines right now who are doing exactly that!! That is the problem with situations where soldiers have morphing missions from invasion, to occupation, to policing, to security, to civilian support and to humanitarian aid roles and back and forth. My earlier point about the Army War College is that even they know forces are not being used appropriately sometimes and the military needs to adapt.
As for your rant on "unnecessary government programs," here are some places where I think you are being too myopic:
1. It looks like your laundry list of greedy, bad frauds, includes everyone in the country except you!!!
.... whatever it is you do. My point is that most people think their job is necessary. Most people, even in government, want to do a good job and do not want to waste money. To get earmarks out of legislation will require changing procedures for how legislation is adopted. This is just an issue with regard to government transparency and congressional accountability.
2. Why are candidates forced to spend 2 years campaigning for jobs that only last 2, 4 or 6 years? That IS crazy, but is it really a government problem? No it is the fault of media and constituencies in a free market that have created the system of continuous campaigns. To stop it would require election regulations, common in many other countries, that would limit time candidates could campaign. That means small government people need to embrace more government regulations and that is the conflict that keeps the system going.
3. You predictably ignore the size of the military budget and go into a list of everyone else that seems to be the very definition of unnecessary government to you. However I wonder if you see the irony in the fact that your list is largely not made of people who work for the government. I know from my own family of farmers that farm supports are absolutely ridiculous right now and are somewhat archaic, but they were necessary in order to keep the farm economy stable enough for a few decades. Food production is just as important as military spending and the globalized markets were creating problems. Farmers are different from other businesses and live on the margins and depend on weather, etc. We can't just have 10% of the farmers going out of business (like restaurants) and be able to maintain food security.
4. Your other examples from bankers to highway workers also shows my point. Much of the waste in government doesn't go to the government it goes to business. When a highway goes 3-times over budget, the state highway engineer doesn't get 3-times the salary. That money goes to the free market, private subcontractor who probably goes home in his gas guzzling monster pickup and complains about government spending!!
Total denial. The same with bankers and Enron and on and on. The so called "welfare scammers" are also bad, but if you look at the actual dollars, you'll find that they are not as big as you think.
The point it that these are issues about economic greed as they are about government waste!
I'm sure you also have issues with teachers and "journalists" that you don't agree with, but I hope you take the time to realize that real change will come only when voters are better educated to making decisions and people have greater access to those decisions.
So ... IMHO, iPods with good translation software and in the hands of troops who have at least some language skills is a great idea and a good use of money! whew.
PS Razorpit: No one is advocating to stop "defending freedom." It just makes sense to be skeptical about the who and why of the "freedom" we are defending. And when leaders lie about the reasons for one war, it is human nature to be more skeptical the second time around.