If you havenâ??t served, you may not fathom that individual units that are asked to routinely go into harmâ??s way might be so deficient in simple necessities, but if you have served, you likely remember these days:
â?¦You go to the motor pool and half your HMMWVs are deadlined with a missing part or filter.
â?¦You are out of batteries for your GPS, Night Vision Devices, or sites with no conceivable time period for replacement.
â?¦The sites on your Bradley or Abrams are busted and have been for a decade.
â?¦Your tool kits are loaded with shit that you bought at Ace Hardware because the military just didnâ??t have it handy or your budget for the year got blown in like two months.
In all seriousness, the stark reality is that many young soldiers have fired more rounds in combat than they have in training. Iâ??ve met soldiers, in combat zones, who have somehow managed to jam their magazines into their weapons BACKWARDS. There are a lot of things you can do in life where on the job training is reasonable â?? cooking French fries, stocking shelves, carrying boxes, and neurosurgery fall into this category. However, figuring out how the fuck you load, aim, and fire your weapon is not a formula you want to solve for the first time when bad guys are trying to kill you.
In the real world, our troops are begging, borrowing, and stealing to supplement the minimal tools they are provided so they can ensure they are combat effective. Meanwhile, back in Doucheville, Congress is working diligently to divert money to projects that will line the pockets of their constituents at home, regardless of whether it has anything to do with the needs of the military.
When questioned by the Washington Times, senators and their mouthpieces opted to scoff at the idea of impropriety and pretend to take the high road. Senator Kerryâ??s aide somehow managed to argue, while maintaining a straight face, that the expenditure for the Kennedy Institute was justified because the late Senator had voted for improved body armor and up-armored HMMWVs. Senator Landrieau told the Times she was â??proud to fightâ?? for the World War II Museum because it would honor the past generation of warriors. And, Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii offered this little gem: â??The operation and maintenance title is fully funded. There is no shortage. â?¦ The committee is deeply concerned that the critical operational needs of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are met with the finest equipment available.â??
The fact that Mr. Inouye believes itâ??s all good on the line apparently makes it okay for him to siphon $206M to his state for 35 earmarks. Wow. I wish Mr. Inouye was a North Carolina senator. Ranger Up really needs gold plated toilets, a limitless supply of coffee and Diet Coke, and a wind tunnel. Sometimes we need all three of those things at once (If youâ??ve never drank Diet Coke while sitting on a golden toilet in a wind tunnel, you should).
Tommy Batboy and Whitney the Ginger make it a routine to mock my desire to do math on a regular basis, so just once I will attempt to use those skills for good rather than evil.
For one moment, forget about the pilots that need to fly (who are not getting enough training time) or the ships that need to sail, or the tanks that need to fire rounds. Letâ??s just talk bullets.
If we took that â??meaninglessâ?? $2.6B and bought as many 800 round boxes of 5.56 ball that we could at wholesale price (and somehow I think weâ??d get a deal if we bought $2.6B worth), weâ??d have 11.1 billion rounds. If we then split those rounds out evenly across every single soldier and marine on active duty, in the National Guard, or in the Reserves, each troop would receive almost 9000 rounds. That would mean every single month; every troop that might come into harmâ??s way on the ground would be firing 25 magazines worth of ammunition. Do you think that might help a little?
What if we only gave the rounds to combat arms folks that spend almost all of their time outside of the FOBs â?? the infantryman, tankers, field artilleryman, and the like? Now, weâ??re looking at 32,000 rounds per man. We could be firing 85 mags or more per month! Hell, we could drop that to 75 mags per month and hire some ex-special operations guys to teach us to shoot better! You think that would have an impact on success abroad?
But you know what, Iâ??m probably thinking too big. Congress isnâ??t likely to suddenly find a conscious and the end the absurd and embarrassingly transparent corruption. Maybe we should just target one earmark at a time. If we could get Senator Kerry to drop the Ted Kennedy Institute from the military operating budget, that $25M would give every combat arms soldier one extra magazine per monthâ?¦then my platoon sergeant and I would only have had to spend $350.
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