The U.S. military does a great job, overall, of defending America. Its successes are legendary. Many veterans will tell you, however: "There is room for improvement."
Congress, with a low approval rating of 19%, has failed -- in the eyes of many voters and nonprofits -- to properly regulate the millionaire CEO's of Big Defense Firms.
Many Americans remember The Truman Committee -- which saved billions of dollars and thousands of lives -- under the stewardship of Senator Harry S. Truman (D-MO).
The poor performance and cost overruns of many systems have outraged taxpayers: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, C-5 Galaxy and other weapons.
The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) has attacked the bloated salaries of defense firm CEO's, lack of promised jobs, poor performance of weapon systems, and culture of indifference among today's (mostly non-veteran) Congress Critters.
Billions of dollars over-budget and 7 years behind schedule, the wasteful and mismanaged F-35 program has been hit with heavy criticism from dozens of experts.
The many documented failures of the Patriot Missile Defense System to intercept low-tech Scud missiles have outraged taxpayers. Many Patriot Missiles veered off course, completely missed enemy targets, had software glitches, or exploded in mid-air.
The poor performance of the Patriot Missile Defense System has provoked the Pentagon to purchase Israel's war-tested (and superior) Iron Dome System.
THE PENTAGON: "OOPS, WE REALLY MESSED UP!"
From friendly-fire deaths to peacetime Navy accidents, the Pentagon has suffered errors of management (like many companies). Sometimes, the Pentagon has "fudged the facts."
After the tragic and friendly-fire death of NFL Football Player Pat Tillman, Members of Congress were shocked at the distortions presented to them by the U.S. military.
Thousands of veterans will tell you about the extreme cost, and lack of combat readiness (at times), of military weapons systems. The Top Brass tried to cover up Patriot Missile Defense System failures, helicopter failures, and other problems which neglected troop safety .
For example, KBR's poorly-grounded equipment tragically caused 18 GI fatalities.
Many troops argue that we need feedback panels, in Congress, to hear real-time complaints about unreliable systems -- and (if needed) to supersede DoD authority and fix problems.
VOTERS DEMAND A "NEW TRUMAN COMMITTEE"
For millions of Americans, the military has been a positive and rewarding career.
Patriotic veterans are shocked that America no longer has compulsory military service. They scorn the dangerously-low percentage (a mere 7%) of veterans among our citizens in 2021.
They compare America to Rome, which fell because of a corrupt and indolent population.
From 1940 to 1973, America's successful conscription program manned the Armed Forces.
In a far more patriotic era, the 1940-73 draft filled the military's ranks by men willing to serve the nation for 2 years. Moreover, in that era, America was a far greater Industrial Power. The military was far larger during that period, with a Navy and Air Force twice their current size.
Military service was a "rite of passage" to manhood for millions of American youths. In the 1940-73 draft, new conscripts learned lifelong skills -- including discipline and maturity -- to successfully begin their careers. Many learned high-tech skills, as well, to launch their careers.
Overall, veterans greatly value their training and friends gained in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Thousands of GI's, however, have complained of excessive punishment during their careers.
Young GI's are prone to do impulsive things. And they get themselves into trouble.
In many cases, a GI is given a second chance after "messing up." However, many GI's have complained about the heavy hand of the Military Justice System -- when they do mess up.
For minor infractions committed by new recruits, the U.S. Navy brutally kicked out thousands of sailors -- as it was publicly admitted in The Washington Times - National Weekly Edition.
Quick to dismiss first-time offenders, America's military is unique within NATO for giving "bad paper" to GI's for: (1) a single failed urine test, (2) minor misconduct, and (3) off-duty adultery.
America suffers NATO's highest percentage of GI's who are: (1) denied clemency, (2) given "bad paper," (3) the tragic victims of suicide, or (4) the tragic victims of homelessness.
Col. David Hackworth, a WWII hero who wrote a syndicated column, often attacked "zero tolerance" policies which are cruel to U.S. soldiers and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.
Harsh fact: Blacks in the Armed Forces often suffer disproportionate punishments.
Harsh fact: Many Black Veterans were cruelly denied their GI Bill Benefits. In the Deep South, racist Congress Critters tainted The GI Bill -- to give "racist priority" to States' Rights.
Harsh fact: The Pentagon lacks long-term policies to help struggling -- or briefly wayward -- soldiers. The Navy has admitted to cruelly kicking out thousands of new (but struggling) sailors, who might instead have been adeptly rehabilitated -- to guarantee their retention.
The Navy soon faced a massive sailor shortage, after its shortsighted "kick 'em out" policy.
Indeed, hit with a self-inflicted shortage of 12,000 sailors -- the Navy publicly and belatedly reversed its policy. It compassionately shifted its focus: to rehabilitate and retain marginal GI's. The new policy worked. Thousands of "newbies" were rehabilitated, instead of getting "bad paper." Performances improved and the "newbies" finished their terms of enlistment.
Steve McQueen, the late actor, is a great example of rehabilitating a wayward GI. Seven times, was demoted. Twice, he was busted for "drunk on duty." Despite his many offenses, he was not dishonorably discharged. Returned to duty after spending 6 weeks in a Marine Corps brig, he later "shaped up" and -- in the long term -- received an Honorable Discharge.
Too often, however, the military continues to harshly punish GI's for minor misconduct.
To a youngster who has recently finished school, a bad military discharge is a harsh blow.
Many critically-needed soldiers were ruthlessly kicked out for a single failed urine test.
Many highly-distinguished soldiers -- including doctors and paramedics -- were kicked out for adultery. For most GI's, their off-duty social lives do not adversely affect their performance -- or their unit's readiness level. Unbelievably -- for many years -- a toll-free number was set up within the military to report any soldiers who were having extramarital affairs.
Col. David Hackworth, a war hero, frequently criticized the "Perfumed Prince" mentality of the top brass. "A soldier is meant to serve and fight," he said, and not to be a "perfect priest." Many highly-rated soldiers, he complained, were given "bad paper" because they missed a credit card payment, got caught speeding on base, or made other minor mistakes.
On a positive note, recently there have been limited reforms to the Military Justice System.
In 2019, UCMJ reforms reduced some career dangers for legally-separated soldiers.
In 2011, UCMJ reforms reduced the threat of discharge for gay soldiers.
From World War II to 2011, more than 100,000 gay soldiers were kicked out -- often with a career-hindering "other than honorable" discharge. New laws are enabling many to upgrade their discharges, in the wake of President Obama's repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2011.
Many famous Americans, as impoverished youths, were harshly punished by the military:
1. George Carlin (comedian) received a Dishonorable Discharge from the U.S. Air Force,
2. Edgar Allan Poe (author) received a Dishonorable Discharge from the U.S. Army,
3. Richard Pryor (comedian) received a Dishonorable Discharge from the U.S. Army,
4. Jimmy Hendrix (singer) and other celebrities were busted in the Armed Forces.
Thousands of GI's -- who got hit with "bad paper" -- would gladly commit to a 1- or 2-year national service, or even rejoin the military, in order to upgrade their character of service.
Thousands would commit to fighting forest fires, or to serve in other public-sector jobs.
America, however, is a nation where Congress is "run" by six-figure attorneys who have completely dodged any military service. Americans spend millions of hours watching fantasy shows about dinosaurs (dead for 65 million years), but they "can't spare time for veterans."
For thousands of veterans saddled with "bad" paper, The NY Times has demanded clemency.
America's TV and cinema ruthlessly ignore veterans' issues.
The media, looking for the "next profit" from a fantasy TV show, prefer to dwell upon increasingly ridiculous "entertainment" -- fantasy shows, overpaid celebrities, ignorant "reality" shows, free-agent athletes, and "elites" who have never served in the Armed Forces.
Millions of workers are demanding a more progressive media, which fights for veterans.
Because 83% of all Congress Critters are not veterans, pressing GI issues are often ignored.
CONGRESS IS SHORTCHANGING THE TROOPS
VETERANS: AN UPHILL FIGHT FOR JUDICIAL REFORMS
A STRONGER AMERICA: REFORMING THE MILITARY
THE MILITARY'S ARCHAIC "SYSTEM OF JUSTICE"
Americans hope the New Democratic Majority in Congress will replace today's "toxic leadership" -- within the military -- with more dynamic policies to improve life for soldiers.
According to a Japanese study, Americans are the world's hardest workers. Moreover, American soldiers are rated the world's best. Tirelessly, they toil to create the world's best Armed Forces. Too often, however, soldiers are let down by "toxic leaders" who fail to enact morale-boosting policies for common GI's, and to improve combat readiness.
Long-term problems in the U.S. military have yet to be solved:
Expensive "combat systems" that don't work, but are bought by Congress after heavy lobbying by the Fortune 500. The sexual harrassment -- and tragic deaths -- of many young soldiers, including Vanessa Guillen. Dozens of preventable peacetime accidents, which took the lives of hundreds of peacetime U.S. soldiers. "Toxic leaders" in the DoD.
For example, millions of Americans would voluntarily serve in the Armed Forces if they were offered shorter, first-time hitches. American "leaders" -- with their ignorance of worker problems -- are also hopelessly ignorant of soldier problems. As most Members of Congress and their Staffers are non-veteran, six-figure Attorneys, many couldn't care less.
In Europe -- where workers are treated much better -- NATO leaders offer the choice of an 18-month or 2-year hitch to new recruits. "Toxic leaders" in America, however, demand that brand new recruits sign up for excessively long, 4-, 6-, or 8-year "first-time" hitches.
Many new recruits prefer shorter hitches, as they are from the poor inner city -- and their parents have little, if any, military experience. They prefer shorter hitches, to "test the waters" of military life. Because new recruits are coerced into signing up for long, 6- or 8-year first-time hitches, the U.S. military annually falls far, far short in its recruiting.
Meanwhile, so-called "American VIP's" are nowhere to be seen in the Military. They are very poor role models, unlike British Royals (who always serve in the Military). Good luck finding an American politician, actor, CEO or other "celebrity" who served in the military!
Furthermore, America suffers NATO's worst morale-busting statistics of neglected, mistreated, and overpunished soldiers: dishonorable discharges, courts-martial, etc.
America has the First World's highest: (1) prison population, (2) homeless population, (3) pervasive worker poverty, and (4) pervasive wealth inequality. It stands to reason, then, that U.S. soldiers suffer similar statistics of lack of clemency and gross overpunishment.
To "quickly get rid of GI's for minor misconduct," the Pentagon has resorted to labeling GI's as "personality disorders" -- and then brutally kicking them out with "Bad Paper."
Despite years of honorable service, GI's who suffer from PTSD have been given punitive discharges for minor offenses. GI-friendly policies are increasingly a thing of the past.
The Bar Association of the District of Columbia has called for major judicial reforms.
Thousands of veterans will tell you: "There is room for improvement of the justice system," with increased emphasis on second-chance programs for overpunished soldiers.
REFORM USA, PO BOX 380343, SAN ANTONIO, TX 78268
The U.S. Military has a long and proud tradition of successfully defending the nation. To reinvigorate today's military, many support a renewed draft system. It endangers America, when too few of its citizens have a long-term and disciplined commitment to defense. Brief military service would benefit today's obese, jobless, aimless and heavily-tattooed youths who are a far cry from their patriotic and veteran parents.
In America, thousands of patriotic and reform-minded veterans agree: "There is room for improvement in the management of America's soldiers and equipment."
For example, the enormous lack of effectiveness -- and huge cost -- of the Patriot Missile Defense System has created a rift within NATO. Turkey, an important NATO Ally, has refused to buy the ridiculously expensive -- and often-ineffective -- system.
The Patriot Missile System has FAILED to do its job, during many enemy attacks:
1. Iran's missile attack on Saudi Arabia in 2019,
2. Yemen's missile attack on Saudi Arabia in 2017, and
3. Iraq's missile attack on Saudi Arabia in 1991, which killed 28 U.S. troops.
The U.S. military, as noted by critics, suffers NATO's worst statistics of:
1. Performance shortcomings of expensive weapons systems,
2. Long-term shortages of Army soldiers and Air Force pilots,
3. Service-wide maintenance problems of expensive military equipment,
4. Lack of Suicide Prevention for active-duty personnel and veterans,
5. Lack of combat readiness among many units and weapons systems,
6. Lagging European NATO in updating the archaic military "justice" system,
7. Lack of governmental support for homeless veterans,
8. Shortcomings of the Veterans Administration in helping former soldiers, and
In 2021, voters are demanding a modern-day version of the popular Truman Committee.
During World War II, the popular and vital Truman Committee identified fraudulent and inefficient defense contractors. Saving thousands of lives and billions of dollars, the truth-seeking Senator indicted criminal CEO's who failed to deliver on critical DoD contracts.
On one surprise inspection, Senator Truman visited a firm (which had received millions of taxpayer dollars) and discovered that NO equipment had EVER been produced for the U.S. military! Moreover, the "headquarters" of that "company" was a tent in an open field!
Guilty of massive fraud, the deceitful CEO was quickly indicted by the Truman Committee.
In the Anaconda Wire Fraud Case, Truman discovered that $6 million worth of critical, Pentagon-purchased wires and cables were hopelessly defective -- and endangered troops.
Senator Truman got results! He didn't sit around all day (like many of today's so-called Beltway "leaders"), looking forward to his next lobbyist-bought steak dinner and wine!
A staunch supporter of President Roosevelt and the war effort, Senator Truman said the Government's job was to "aggressively investigate and regulate defense contractors."
In 2019, Rep. Lynch (D-MA) introduced H.R. 3576 to resurrect The Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC) -- which operated from 2008 to 2011. Unlike the Truman Committee, the CWC was a weak entity which indicted no company (despite massive fraud). Its final report stated: "Poor planning, management and oversight of contracts has led to massive waste." The Project on Government Oversight strongly endorsed the CWC, and its re-introduction.
Taxpayers For Common Sense has complained: "The DoD still runs on too many redundant and out-of-date accounting systems -- which obscure how taxpayers’ dollars are spent."
Common Dreams has criticized the waste, fraud and errors of the blank-check Pentagon.
American consumers are smart! They return defective products, and they demand refunds!
With the lives of U.S. troops on the line -- and with billions of taxpayer dollars on the line (spent on millionaire CEO's and their poorly-audited firms) -- voters are demanding results.
Voters are demanding tough new scrutiny to investigate troop-endangering defects:
Famous Americans who got hefty punishments as young soldiers include the Civil War historian Shelby Foote (left) and Michigan Governor Bill Milliken (right). Foote was court-martialed as a young officer on trumped-up charges of "excessive use of a government vehicle." He was dismissed from the Army. Milliken was brutally demoted from SSG to private for "not keeping a tidy quarters" in his WWII tent. Having flown 45 dangerous B-24 combat missions in Italy, SSG Milliken considered the abrupt demotion as "wholly unjust."
For millions of Americans, the military has been a positive and rewarding career. However, thousands of veterans have criticized the Military Justice System for its lack of clemency, harsh "zero tolerance" policies and hefty punishments for minor offenses. Moreover, many Black Veterans were brutally denied the federal benefits of The GI Bill.