That all being said, however, my real goal is not one of sorrow, but rather one of joy. Dad created this space as a place to vent his frustrations, and in the year and a half it's been up and running, it has become so much more. Political frustration and discourse aside, this has become a safe place of shared sorrow and of joy, a place to bang heads on tables and to put up a collective cheer. To say that this wouldn't have been possible without all of you is not only obvious it's silly. However, it's also true. That you take the time to comment, to peruse past and empathize, to read with interest, has been an amazing blessing. That we live in a nation (well, most of us!) that allows us the freedom to interact with one another in an open and honest way is amazing; it is both a gift and duty to use such freedom. Dad's desire to speak out was partially to vent spleen, and partially to be a part of the voice of the people, and that in itself is a testament to the power of the ideals held by the founders of this great nation.
With that I'm going to mention something that painfully affects the military and yet has been widely overlooked. I'm not in a state to write much, but I did want to point everyone to the "Restoring America's Future" proposal put out by Obama's Debt Reduction Task Force. I'm very much the fiscal conservative, and I embrace the idea of cutting spending, I just want those cuts to be show to the public, and to be talked about.
Included in the proposal is cutting the billets for 275,000 soldiers, "reforming cost sharing" for Tricare (meaning military families would pay more out of pocket for their medical care, which they state outright on pg 102), and "transitioning from the current military retirement system to one more similar to that in which federal civil servants participate" (think 401k, no cash till retirement age, and time in service requirements of between 30 and 40 years, with an addendum of a new 10 year partial retirement option). (pg. 100-101 for both quotes). Oh, and they want to change the intelligence community quite a bit, including the "greater use of commercial imagery." Cause why get our own imagery when we can just get it from Google instead?
Those 275,000 they want to fire?
"Reduce active duty end strength by 275,000, of which 92,000 would come from reversing the ground force buildup of the past ten years, 80,000 would come from withdrawing additional U.S. forces in Western Europe and East Asia, and 100,000 would come from eliminating infrastructure positions held by uniformed personnel in the Department of Defense."
Meaning we slowly pull out of Europe and Asia, and farm out more military positions to civil contractors. Which, honestly, I get. As much as I love being in Europe, there isn't a drastic and driving need for us to be here in the numbers we are. But the point here is that Afghanistan is still very problematic (to say the least) and there are still troops in Iraq, yet they want to draw down military numbers over the next 5 years. Overseas assignments keep moral up, and interactions with civilian contractors can be tricky.
The one I'm shakingly angry about, though, is the greater burden put on military family when it comes to health care. Not because my co-pays go up, but because of all the rhetoric I hear about how we must push for the "right" to free health care to be extended to all, yet the privilege already extended to the military is going to be drawn down.
As this is just a proposal many of the above items aren't fleshed out; however there are interesting conversations being had about what this will all mean. The military aspects are but a few of the topics covered, and there is much interesting information lurking in the linked pdf. I haven't had the time to go through it all, but I'll be putting in on the kindle to read, that's for sure.