Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Random Thoughts . . .


Obama to Award Medal of Honor to 24 Army Vets

Associated Press | Feb 21, 2014

WASHINGTON - Seeking to correct potential acts of bias spanning three wars, President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans following a congressionally mandated review to ensure that eligible recipients were not bypassed due to prejudice.

The Pentagon said the Army reviewed the cases of the 6,505 recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars and found an eligible pool of 600 soldiers who may have been Jewish or Hispanic. The Army also worked with the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, the Jewish War Veterans of the USA and the American GI Forum, the largest Hispanic-American veterans group, to pinpoint potential medal recipients.

I don’t claim to understand, forensically speaking, the demarcation between the DSC and the CMH.  But how many of those 5905 white Gentile DSC recipients might have turned out to qualify for the CMH under the Pentagon’s current standards had their cases received the same reconsideration as the Jewish and Hispanic candidates?  I’ll bet a lot more than 24.

Foreign-Made American Flags Banned by US Military

Fox News | Feb 21, 2014

Under a new law signed as part of the 2014 omnibus appropriations bill, any flag purchased by the Defense Department is required to be 100 percent made in America. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., who wrote the legislation, said he did so for economic as well as symbolic reasons.

The legislation has been historically difficult to pass in part due to trade agreements, as well as the fact that flags made in China, the largest importer, cost significantly less than ones produced in the United States. An estimated $3.3 million worth of American flags are imported from Beijing each year.

Dale Coots, marketing manager for Annin Flagmakers, in Roseland, N.J., said the new legislation is a positive step, but says other issues regarding flag imports remain unresolved, including the Federal Trade Commission’s lack of enforcement on flag labeling.

"An American flag is considered a textile," she said. "And a lot of flags that sell online don't have any origin label, which is required under U.S. law."

Annin Flagmakers, which has produced American flags since the 1820s, will not benefit from the new law because the company employs more than 500 workers. The federal government only takes bids from small businesses in flag purchases, she said.

This is mostly meaningless in the big economic picture, but I’m curious whether or not the 500-worker cap on flag manufacturers has been applied to the Chinese companies with the same rigor it has been apparently applied to American companies.  But if the cost is a problem, wouldn’t lifting this cap be the way to go?

Obama Tells Pentagon to Plan for Afghan Pullout

Associated Press | Feb 25, 2014 | by Julie Pace

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has ordered the Pentagon to plan for a full American withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of this year should the Afghan government refuse to sign a security agreement with the U.S, the White House said Tuesday.

Better late than never.  Yes, cutting your losses is hard.  Do it anyway.

Defense Budget Would Cut Troop Pay and Benefits

Feb 24, 2014 | by Brendan McGarry

The U.S. Defense Department is proposing limiting troop pay raises, reducing housing allowances and cutting funding for commissary stores because of automatic budget cuts, officials said.

The proposals to curb personnel costs, which the officials said consume a rising share of defense spending, include limiting troop pay raises to 1 percent, reducing housing allowances by an average of 5 percent,

According to my final leave-and-earnings statement, my housing allowance was almost 20% of my salary, although in ranged to almost 25% depending on my rank and where I was living.

cutting some $1 billion in commissary subsidies -- which will likely mean higher prices for troops and retirees

Commissary shoppers pay cost plus 5%.  But that 5% surcharge, if I understand correctly, may not be used for operating expenses.  It only funds construction.  That may have something to do with why our commissary seems perpetually under construction, but only three of the twenty registers are open at a time.

-- and higher health care fees for some retirees.

"The savings will enable us to sustain a well-trained, ready, agile, motivated and technologically superior force," Hagel said during a briefing Monday afternoon at the Pentagon. "Although these recommendations do not cut anyone's pay, I realize they will be controversial."

I’m not sure “not cut anyone’s pay” means what Hagel thinks it means.


Anonymous said...

And we still have plenty of money for joint exercises with Ukraine.

Anonymous said...

I am always against trying to re-rule on past decisions. It wasn't just the racism holding people back. The entire culture was different back then. Re-judging them by our standards is pointless. Not to mention it leaves out all those potential MOH winners who didn't get any awards at all because their citations got thrown away, misfiled, or simply lost in the chaos of war time operations. Witnesses died in combat before they could report what they saw. Commanders died in combat before they could sign the forms.

Modern people think that the MOH is some artificial line in the sand that once you cross, everyone can see you crossing it and the only reason you wouldn't get your award is "racism".