A little different subject for this article – still economics – but one that will probably have sufficient material in it to irritate almost everyone. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Navy veteran, served in destroyers of the Atlantic Fleet as an Electronic and Fire Control Technician working out of Norfolk, VA., to the Med, N. Europe, Caribbean and the Middle East during the middle 1950’s. Further, I have a son-in-law who is a retired Navy Chief Fire Controlman who worked 20 years on various Fast Attack submarines in the Pacific, Atlantic and Polar waters. Two Grandsons are Marines. I have earned the right to my opinions whether anyone agrees with them or not.
Dwight Eisenhower, one of this countries most talented and brilliant military and political leaders (better military than political but he did his best), long ago warned us of the dangers of the Military/Industrial Complex – meaning the unholy marriage of government, the military and the vast and numerous industries that supplies the military with everything from toys to tools to stealth bombers and ballistic missiles. On January 17, 1961, in his parting speech to the American people, President Eisenhower specifically warned of the dangers and “grave implications” of the alliance between government and the military/industrial complex (he coined the phrase). He knew exactly what he was talking about.
The soldier above is our modern, equipped and armed ground pounder – a Marine or Army soldier with full pack and weapon, ready to hike out from a base camp to patrol or fight, whatever his assignment. He or she has to be in really good physical condition as that pack weighs in at half his or her weight not counting weapons.
This photo is his current enemy carrying his weapon of choice (or assignment), an RPG or rocket propelled grenade. Please compare the two.
Our solder’s pack is over 100 pounds of high tech goodies, from dry socks to sanitary napkins ( if it’s a “she”), oh Hell, read the list for yourself:
On the other hand, our Taliban fighter carries his weapon (4 to 6 pounds plus an extra pound or two if he’s carrying spare rocket heads) and nothing else. His supplies follow along on a donkey, he can sleep on the ground, survive on a gallon or two of water a day, wear the same clothes for a week or two (or three), never shave, eat dried or boiled strips of sheep or whatever can be commandeered from the civilian population along the way, fight from ambush rather than patrol and is generally far better suited for his war than we are. Give him 30 seconds to hide his weapon and you can’t tell him from the opium farmer he’s standing next to.
The IED’s that he can bury are also carried on donkeys (or a dilapidated pickup truck) after dark to try and avoid our million dollar drones and can be made out of old Russian artillery shells and bombs left over from Russian occupation and abandoned when the Russians gave up (or furnished fresh from Pakistani intelligence services).
Ah, but never fear, the military/industrial complex to the rescue.