Thursday, January 1, 2009

Another new year ... everything old is new again.

The year, 1979 ... a new president is taking over from the previous president who couldn't handle the economy, and had a problem with the Middle East.

Gasoline averaged $1.69 for regular, housing market was in the tank, an auto company was getting a bailout, and the military was too small for what it had to do.

One thing different, we had to make do with what we had in the military. The budget was about what it was for the previous few years, however, President Carter advocated a large increase for military pay, and for the first time in years, the military saw an increase that was not swallowed up by the cost of living, in fact, I believe it was close to a 10% increase.

Fast forward, 30 years later. Much of what was listed above, is true now. I'm already seeing things that worry me about the next administration and the military. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a editorial showing headlines the editorial board would like to see. One of which is a Peace Dividend from the military. Now, since the only way to get a peace dividend is to end the war and/or reduce the size of the military; both of which could cost the US more in human terms, than we would receive in monetary savings.

I'm not about to argue whether or not bringing the troops out of Iraq will cause the US harm, in my opinion it will in a number of ways. Its what we do with those troops that will matter. My main problem with the way the Bush Administration acted after 2001 was that they allowed themselves to be distracted from the real problem; catching Bin Laden. Iraq was a side show, orchestrated by some who thought that there was some unfinished business that needed to be taken care of; and who thought that it could be done on the cheap. I do see that they are moving the Marines out of Iraq to Afghanistan where they can actually do some good against Al Qaeda.

The bright light I see right now is that they are keeping SecDef Gates in the Pentagon. The man is intelligent, understands the realities of the world, and protects the men and women in uniform. He'll not allow any push for a peace dividend decimate the Armed Forces. We'll see.

And so it goes ...


  1. Thanks for the memories... I think. Carter (and Nixon and Ford before him), had capped military pay at less than half the raises that the civil service was getting. Morale was as low as at any time in my career. Then Carter delayed and delayed again the raid to free the Teheran hostages because no one in DOD would assure him in writing that no Iranians would be hurt!!

    It was the Reagan pay raise (14%) that finally let us catch up after 7 years of steady decline.

    As of January 20, our President will have his hands full and will need all our prayers.

  2. I do remember the Reagan pay raise, but when checking the Social Security statement they send out, I remember seeing a large increase prior to Reagan's administration, and I don't remember getting a promotion that year either, so I'm sure that Carter did push a raise too.

    Now the raid was another story, while it didn't come off exactly right, it did help the military realize that it needed a single point for all planning thus WWMCCS was born !!


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