Who Will Carry The Load?

We have had an all volunteer military since 1973 and during that time we have sent it to war on several occasions. For the past decade, our military has been fighting enemies and suffered many casualties. Many troops have deployed several times into a combat zone. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are both winding down, but deployments will continue since we have bases all over the world.  When one looks at who is serving, it adds up to less than one percent of the population. As a result, fewer and fewer Americans fully understand what it is like to serve, deploy, and fight. That load is not being shared as it had been in the past.

During World War II, nearly every family was touched in one way or another and as a result came to understand the sacrifices. In addition, most items were rationed so sacrifice was met even on the home front. We talk about it today, but it does not touch the population as it did in the past. We read that the country is war weary. Why? Far too many people do not have a relative in the military and many do not even know of a neighbor who is in the service. There have been no shortages of anything because of the war.

According to polls, the military has the highest reputation of all organizations throughout the country. That’s great and it should be so, but not many people encourage their sons and daughters to go into the service. The opportunity to grow and be exposed to leadership development early is more available in the military than in any other organization. The opportunity to meet with individuals from all types of backgrounds also adds to the growth potential as one moves around.

On the civilian side, who is carrying the load? We now have nearly half our people paying no federal income taxes, and an ever growing number signing up for food stamps. Last month, we had more people sign up for disability than those who got jobs. Where is all these disability claims coming from when we have improved our safety environment dramatically? It seems that far too many people are content to have the government provide for them. 

The economy is truly in the doldrums, but there is no significant cry from the population. No one is going hungry. It seems that many are content to live a simple life and let others bear the burden of the country. Many politicians desire to raise the taxes on the rich because according to them, the rich do not pay their fair share. When the top 50% pay 97% of the federal income taxes, How much more should they pay?

It does not take much to survive. I recall being in the jungle of Vietnam and two meals a day along with some drinking water met all the needs. One slept on the ground and covered himself with a poncho when it rained. We went like that at times for months. That is not an ideal way to live, but we survived. We carried the load as did many others like us. 

Today, far too many are not carrying the load and many of them are content to have others do the work. It is time to demand that those who are capable get out of the cart and start assisting in pulling the cart. John Stossel had his staff look at the area around a “Job Center” near the “Fox” studio in New York and found many entry level jobs in the area. One restaurant said that he would hire 12-14 people and train them. It seems that as long as unemployment paymentscontinue there is no rush and little incentive to find a job.

Colonel Don Myers

USMC (ret.)

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