Monday, July 30, 2007

For Sale: The US Military

You know you had a great weekend when you're beside yourself thrilled that it's finally Monday so you can go to work and clear your head.

It seems my public is demanding a new post. By public, I mean Leslie, my college roommate/favorite photographer/almost oldest friend in the world who somehow seems not to have enough to do in her day despite her insanely busy schedule, household and wifey duties, and the fact that she's expecting a little bambi(no)/peanut/lentil. Did I mention she's my favorite photographer? She's so great, she can even make my Uncle Fester bags under my eyes go away AND make me look 10 pounds thinner. Pretty miraculous stuff.

My current events blogs have kind of tapered over the last couple of weeks because I'm on a news diet. My favorite green eyed man is leaving me for sand and sun - not the bikini kind, the burqa kind - so in the interest of my personal sanity and mental well being, I've decided I don't really need to know about EVERY suicide bomber who finds success in the Middle East. However, despite my best efforts to be an ignorant American, a few ridiculous news stories have managed to seep into my News-Free Zone.

Everyone has their own personal point of view on the war. I'm not getting into that debate this morning. One less divisive topic that has totally enraged me over the weekend is the amount of money private contracting corporations are raking in thanks to this incredibly brutal war. I will be the first to agree that contractors do have a place within our defense department and I firmly believe that contractors should be used to fill certain administrative and support staff positions to take some of the burden off our overworked military. What I don't agree with is war profiteering. Thanks to the greed of the largest military contractors in the United States, exhorbitant amounts of money are being made off the backs of members of our armed forces and civilian contractors who are being put in harm's way in the name of a quick profit.

While contractors who work with the United States government should be allowed to make a measure of profit for their services, their first priority is to provide quality support to our troops, freeing up much needed man power for other tasks. Like fighting a war and coming home to their families in one piece. Basic security precautions, like staggering meal times to allow for varied schedules to avoid planned attacks on large groups of soldiers, were thrown to the wayside by companies like Halliburton because of "cost concerns." Interestingly enough, the same companies complaining about their bottom line seem to have enough money to pay their CEOs millions of dollars in salary and benefits each year. To say we deserve better is an understatement. When our men and women in uniform can't even be guaranteed fresh drinking water, how are they supposed to effectively do their jobs? Even worse, how can we expect them to when we allow our own government to sell their safety and, in turn, our country's safety, for campaign contributions?

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