Monday, January 26, 2009

A FEW GOOD MEN: America’s Call to Action

By Brandon Brice

In this year’s past election, the Republican’s nominee Sen. John S. McCain and the GOP portrayed him as a true American hero; being shot down and captured by the enemy, surviving five years into captivity and being beaten to the point of having life sustaining fractured limbs. Unfortunately, the Grand Old Party still couldn’t defeat the Democratic nominee, losing to a message of hope, change, and a financial rescue plan. Last Sunday morning, as I walked down 125th street in Harlem, I noticed a man around the age of 50 years of age asking people for change. The man who obviously was homeless was wearing a military jacket draped with medals and insignia. America’s commitment to its armed forces and veterans is dwindling, as our soldiers should be one of our nations top priorities pre-and post service.

Military duty throughout America’s history has always exemplified courage and honor, until the 1960’s where the introduction to the television revolutionized the American perception towards the atrocity’s of war. In 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor, a U.S. naval base in Hawaii, resulted in the lives of hundreds of innocent soldiers. As a result we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki under President Harry S. Truman’s orders. Historian’s challenge the idea that if every American family had access to a television versus a common AM/FM radio at the time then WWII would be observed in a different way perhaps unfavorable. In the end, a strong military force, intense agriculture and smart diplomacy are the only options to having a dominant and sustainable presence in the world.

As a grandson and cousin of two former United States Naval Officers, I had the pleasure of asking both veterans pertinent questions about the military from a perspective of a recent soldier in the Iraq War to a veteran of 56 years in the Korean War conflict. As a nation we generally do not pay full homage to our troops, whether they’re returning from conflict, seeking employment or general benefits that should be granted to veterans. As I walked the streets of New York in Times Square the numerous amounts of homeless veterans, usually from the Vietnam War or Desert Storm, living in cardboard boxes under the Port Authority overpass is quite shameful. Military service is an honor and we as American’s must cherish the idea of those men and women putting their lives on the line to keep this nation safe. The opposing views suggest that we spend too much on the military, but we must remember much of the funding is generated towards the families left behind, the ability to feed our troops and the capability to simply provide our troops with the best firearm, weaponry and protection needed to secure our boarders and fight against the opposing force. The military is an important portion of what makes America free, and we should pay full homage to those that commit to the idea of protecting that god given right.

Recent military enrollment numbers, through public opinion show a slight decline in the number of American’s who desire to serve. Young American’s view military service as a last minute means for college money or an alternative to avoiding the correctional facility. The Honorable Congressman Charles Rangel, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and a former veteran, has called for every American to serve, as a means to possibly reinstate the draft. Let’s think for a moment of the benefits of passing a bill to push for a mandatory military service of two years. What if American’s honored our troops by granting those men and women, who serve for10 years a tax exempt status? Should the government’s Committee on Veteran Affairs fight to assure that if we can take care of AIG and Lehman brothers, then we can take care of the many men and women that put their lives on the line to protect us at night? America has it’s priorities in the wrong direction when recent studies show that educators, police officers, fire-fighters and military veterans are living on food stamps and barely making a means to an end.

Brandon Brice is a graduate of Howard University and is a former graduate of the New Jersey Eagleton Institute of Politics fellow at Rutgers University. As a long time member of Republicans for Black Empowerment, Brandon is an active contributor to Brandon is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, and attends the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church in Harlem.

1 comment:

Mike said...

While your monetary and tax benefits sound great the idea of 2 years of service via a draft does not. I will give you a business case for why a draft does not work in the modern military.

Imagine you have a company that used high cost, high tech equipment and perform very high risk tasks. Your new employee must attend training for 6 months just to learn the basics. It will take another 6 months to a year for the person to be qualified to do their job.

You have mandated a very high personnel turnover for jobs that work best when your teams have developed working relationships that require years to develop and maintain. After all the cost of training this person, you will have use of their skills for 6 months, a year at best.

The moral of the team members that stay will drop as they will constantly have to cover the tasks that the new hires would cover if they would stay around. The quality of the on the job training will drop as the 'old hands' do not want to invest all their efforts on someone that will be gone in 6 months.

The idea of mandatory service sounds great to those who do not do the service.