Horowitz the Soldier

Norman wrote this over a month ago. I’ve been remiss in keeping up with his posts, but I’ll catch up in the coming week. — AWO

by Norman Horowitz

It was about sixty years ago during the Korean War that I enlisted in the Air Force. Our training was at Sampson Air Force Base in upstate New York in January — and was it ever cold!

My basic training lasted eight weeks and consisted primarily of marching and going to classes.

One night, I was assigned to guard a warehouse in the middle of nowhere for three hours carrying an unloaded rifle that I didn’t know how to use. Around midnight, I was delivered to my station by Jeep and told to walk up and down in the front of this warehouse until I was relieved in about three hours. It was dark and about fifteen below zero and windy. I was scared out of my mind. The three hours lasted forever.

I served as a student of electronics for almost a year, followed by three years as an instructor. I never did anything “military” other than “drill” from time to time during these four years.

That brings me to the very sad story involving the killing of 16 Afghans by U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales.

It appears that there is no question that the Sergeant is responsible for these deaths, but there is a larger responsibility that rests with Presidents Bush and Obama for continuing the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I cannot comprehend how our once-great nation allows a soldier to be in harm’s way during three tours in Iraq followed by a tour in Afghanistan. This man is someone’s son, husband, father, etc., and he was put in harm’s way day after day and year after year.

In 1969, a member of the President’s Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force wrote to its chairman that “while there is a reasonable possibility that a peacetime armed force could be entirely voluntary, I am certain that an armed force involved in a major conflict could not be voluntary.”

I expect that, were we to have a draft, the “system” would not as easily continue our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan requiring the system’s sons and daughters to be put in harm’s way.

Given the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan along with casualties, enlistments have dropped, and a majority of the American public no longer believing that these wars are worth fighting. We must conclude that Sergeant Bales has been unreasonably placed in harm’s way over and over again.

Of course the Sergeant needs to be punished by “the system,” but how about someone punishing those who operate the system?

Sergeant Bales will have a high-profile court-martial, President Bush will continue to clear brush in Texas, and President Obama will run for a second term as we get ready to go to war with Iran. Now what is wrong with that picture?

5 Ways to Sound Stupid When Discussing the Debt Ceiling

In the past week, I’ve had conversations with people who voiced the following myths. Read and learn, lest you embarrass yourself in the same way.

Myth #1: Federal debt has been increasing under all presidents since World War II.

Reality: Federal debt steadily declined from the mid-1940s to the early 1980s, then it increased dramatically (with a brief hiatus in the mid-to-late 1990s). Ronald Reagan reversed four and a half decades of safe, responsible fiscal policy, and every successor except Bill Clinton followed his lead. See for yourself:   Continue reading “5 Ways to Sound Stupid When Discussing the Debt Ceiling”

What to Read on Taxes

Nine Things the Rich Don’t Want You to Know About Taxes — David Cay Johnston
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  1. Poor Americans do pay taxes.
  2. The wealthiest Americans don’t carry the burden.
  3. In fact, the wealthy are paying less taxes.
  4. Many of the very richest pay no current income taxes at all.
  5. And (surprise!) since Reagan, only the wealthy have gained significant income.
  6. When it comes to corporations, the story is much the same — less taxes.
  7. Some corporate tax breaks destroy jobs.
  8. Republicans like taxes too.
  9. Other countries do it better.

Top Ten Tax Charts — Center on Budget and Priority Policies

  1. The United States is a low-tax country.
  2. Federal income taxes on average families are historically low.
  3. Corporate tax revenues are historically low.
  4. Effective tax rates on wealthiest people have fallen dramatically.
  5. Bush tax cuts heavily tilted to the top.
  6. Rise in debt could be halted over next decade by letting Bush tax cuts expire.
  7. Tax expenditures are substantial.
  8. Income gains at the top dwarfed those of low- and middle-income households.
  9. Top 1 percent’s share of total after-tax income has more than doubled over the past thirty years.
  10. Most of budget goes toward defense, Social Security, and major health programs.

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