Time to Follow the French

The French are taking a step, albeit a small one, that the rest of the world, especially the United States, should follow:

France’s military will slash its ranks by 54,000 personnel and close dozens of air, army and other bases in an overhaul meant to slim forces at home while making it easier and faster to deploy troops abroad, the prime minister announced Thursday.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the 15 percent cut in manpower and base closings will save billions of dollars but still permit an agile military suited to the country’s security needs.

This small beginning in demilitarization will open the doors to our future just a bit wider. A future of free human beings creating and evolving rather than nation states destroying and killing.
It is unfortunate that opposition to these clearly desirable actions comes from those who live off the milk of the state:

Officials in towns slated to lose their bases argue the plan will be disastrous for local economies and say they will fight the closures.
Fillon said he understood people’s fears and promised $503 million in aid to the most affected regions, many in France’s depressed northeast. He also said measures would be taken to encourage investment in the those regions.

Fight the closures they might but their futures will be much stronger if built locally rather than on the backs of taxpayers and at the whim of national or state governments.

These bases should not have existed in the first place and that they have is no rationale for either maintaining them or subsidizing local economies once they are gone.

Brin on bush’s Accomplishments

David Brin on the accomplishments of the bush administration::

Our topic is the number one accomplishment of the George W. Bush administration. Not the record deficits, or stagnant science, or rampant theft, or even a legacy of nation-dividing Culture War. Rather, it is something that until a few years ago seemed downright impossible — bringing low the finest and most professional national military the world has ever seen.

Read the rest. It is quite good and thought provoking.
For your leisure time I highly recommend Brin’s Uplift series! Read his more recent The Kiln People only if you become a Brin completist.

Via Robert Farley.

Would You Volunteer for This Group?

If even a fraction of this is true then why would one volunteer for the US military?

The most appealing explanation lies in the motives of those driving this ostensibly schizophrenic conduct. Plainly, they view sexual morals as something to be manipulated for the accomplishment of political objectives. Hence, lewd and offensive sexual conduct can be deliberately used as a tactic against detainees. On the other hand, officers who earn the leadership’s ire will be humiliated and disgraced using innuendo of sexual misconduct as a tactic.
The cynicism and immorality of this mindset is staggering. It reflects a wholesale repudiation of traditional military values.
One can well question the efficacy of sexual humiliation practices as tools for interrogation and intelligence gathering. However, no one can question their highly inflammatory effect in the War on Terror: they tarnish America’s reputation and put our soldiers at risk. And they may well claim another victim. Experts are already noting that at Rumsfeld’s current burn rate, the volunteer army cannot be sustained much longer. Rumsfeld’s cynical sexual policies are destroying military morale and discipline and hastening the volunteer army’s demise.

Yep, why would anyone volunteer for this environment? Unless, well, they think they might like it….
Read all of Scott Horton’s post: Sexual Perversion in Rumsfeld’s Pentagon.

It’s Your Money

What are the odds that these folks (R) are being payed the same or less then the troops they have replaced?

Stretched thin by troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and security needs at home, the Army has resorted to hiring private security guards to help protect dozens of American military bases.
To date, more than 4,300 private security officers have been put to work at 50 Army installations in the United States, according to Army documents obtained by The Times.
I’ll bet this makes the personnel on these bases feel much more secure as well.
Oh, the process for awarding some major contacts for this service is pretty typical for the current administration.


Our tax dollars at work or enlistment benefits:

…members of all four branches of the U.S. military can get face-lifts, breast enlargements, liposuction and nose jobs for free — something the military says helps surgeons practice their skills.
Uhh, if they need practice and don’t have real work to do I’m sure there are plenty of emergency rooms that could provide more appropriate practice for a military doctor.
On the other hand, there are plenty of combat injuries that will eventually require skilled plastic surgery as part of the recovery process. But, again, working on real victems of trauma would seem a more appropriate training ground.
Via Classical Values.