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Obscene Amenities?

Oh, you know, Arkin's comment:

So, we pay the soldiers a decent wage, take care of their families, provide them with housing and medical care and vast social support systems and ship obscene amenities into the war zone for them, we support them in every possible way, and their attitude is that we should in addition roll over and play dead, defer to the military and the generals and let them fight their war, and give up our rights and responsibilities to speak up because they are above society?

Marines catching some z's in their spacious accomodations during the March Upcountry.

Heh. Compared to my Dad's Army, yeah, the pay's not bad. The housing is much better, too. The medical care isn't bad, and I'm not sure where this vast social support system is that he's talking about. At least the one that he implies is paid for with tax dollars. I see a darn huge lot of volunteers out there, and stuff paid for with NAF dollars. Hold that thought.

La Malkin, et cie, have already covered this subject, really. Nicely with this video, too.

I'm sure that Arkin has in mind the Great Ameriki Souk, AAFES. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, and NEX, the Navy Exchange. And the MWR services (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) that the profit from AAFES operations funds. With NAF money.

NAF. Now there is an interesting term not tossed about much in the press.

Non-Appropriated Funds. The significance of Non-Appropriated means that Congress does *not* authorize the expenditure of those funds. They are not appropriated. They do not come from the Treasury. They are not Bill Arkin's tax dollars. They aren't my tax dollars. They aren't your tax dollars.

But they are my dollars. They are the dollars of anyone who is authorized to use the PX/BX, the Post Exchange/Base Exchange. The military's in-house J.C.Penney/Sears/Target. Or, who pays to use the MWR facilities, like the swimming pools, stables, golf courses, movie theaters, arts and crafts shops, auto craft shops, etc.

They are self-supporting. And the money comes from - us. The soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, coast guardsmen, commissioned Public Health Service and NOAA personnel, active, Reserve, and retired, and our associated families, who are authorized to use those facilities. There are some exceptions regarding some of the buildings that pre-existed the break that was created in the 70's when Congress defunded those activities. And the "traveling shows" that MWR puts on do get corporate sponsorship - but not money from the Treasury. Most of the golf courses were built, many a long time ago, with appropriated funds and today, they solicit outside sponsors. But there isn't any tax money going into their upkeep.

They have to be sefl-supporting, or they get closed. There used to be officer, NCO, and EM clubs here at Fort Leavenworth. Now there are none. Because they couldn't compete with outside the gate businesses. And I mean literally - we imposed regulations on their alcohol sales that made them uncompetitive with local bars. So, they closed. There used to be clubs everywhere, but now only the larger installations can support them.

Things like the stables here at Fort Leavenworth used to be real deals - but now, by MWR rules, the cost of MWR activities can't be more than 10% below the prevailing "outside-the-gate" price. And at least since 2002 there has been a surcharge on MWR activities. A surcharge that pays for... the MWR services for the deployed soldiers around the world.

It's not completely that clean. In some places, like here at Leavenworth, the stables are in the old post stables, built by the government for government use. When the horse soldiery went away, two of those buildings were kept for private horse boarding. But the PX, Shoppette, Gas Station, Bowling Alley, etc, were built with AAFES money, not appropriated tax dollars.

The emloyees are not GS civil servants. They're NAF employees. And last I recall, two of them died in Iraq.

And while the stuff going into theater is being shipped many times at government expense - outside of that, unless you are an MWR user, the stuff being shipped over wasn't paid for by you.

In other words, we self-tax to provide the "obscene amenities" that Bill Arkin so reviles.

You, Mister Arkin, essentially don't provide us squat in terms of amenities to the deployed soldier.

I *so* want to break the Rulez and go Weapons Free Cleared In Hot on Arkin. But, my sister lurks this place, and one of the reasons she lurks here is because this place doesn't do that... besides, Uncle Jimbo does that better than I.

Though she *does* hate the Castle Store ad. Hates it, hates it, hates it.

Hey, I'm her little brother - I gotta tease her somehow.

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Arkin痴 claim that our current troops are receiving obscene amenities in the war on terror and that because they are well cared for he can willingly call them mercenaries. Let痴 remind everyone out there just what it is that Mr. Arkin said, courtesy ... Read More


It’s hard to make a “time adjusted” judgment. But, I agree with John. And, it’s very odd this comes up during elections season – or maybe it’s is engineered to put the left in power.
I won't go in "cleared hot" on this...uh...challenging specimen of humanity...but I will put the laser beam on him and say I'd like to give him a swift kick in his "obscene amenities".
John, the image of you as a teasing little brother explains SO much. But why would the Big Sis object to the Castle Store ad? Does she have something against Denizennes??? heh. Thanks for the explanation of the funding for MWR and other NAF funded amenities. How sad that the high-and-mighty Arkin would deny you amenities as simple as MWR sites for in-country soldiers to stay in touch with their loved ones at home. What a tiny man.
But why would the Big Sis object to the Castle Store ad? Does she have something against Denizennes??? heh. YEAH! so.. whassup with that, Big Sis?
1. Do *not* pick on my Big Sis. She survived me, think about that. 2. She's got nothing against you, it's against me... a touch too stereotypically male-oriented for her taste. Remember, my sister is the closest thing to a liberal in the family. The fact that she hangs out here says something good about us.
Not to invoke The Godwin, but that pic of the Marine, above, reminds me of a Hitler quote. I saw "Triumph of the Will" in German, and ol' Adolf was standing up there bringing up the old comrade memories, and spoke about those who had shared the privations of the War, in the field, and in the "Schuetzen-Graben." I just giggled. I (literally) translated it to myself as "Safety-Graves." P.S. I laughed a lot watching that ("Ich bin Schwaebisch!") but the part that creeped me out was Hitler explaining what he did, and why he did it, to the inconvenient Brown Shirts. We gots some politicians, here and now, who kinda talk like that. Just as with the Nazis, if they treat their own people like that, what can the different folks expect. N.B. I wrote "talk like that." We haven't yet got to the stage of "act like that."
Let's see - you guys sleep in trenches so shells won't kill you in your sleep. You wear something like, what, 80 pounds of protective gear so some some pissed of jihadi behind a wall with an AK doesn't put you in a bag. I got buddies who sleep in tanks that get up to 150 degrees and then pee in tubes in front of their CO's to prove they're not dehydrated. You can get called away from you family for months at a time, and never know if you're going to see them again. And all that is fine and good, assuming you come back in one piece, bodily and emotionally. And this guy has the nerve to kvetch about the lukewarm lemonade served in hell? Grrr. If you guys get a golf course or twelve and some entertainment in the field on my dime to do all the above, that's a bill I'm willing to pay, and more. Heaven knows I pay taxes for so many stupid things that this sort of thing wouldn't even be noticed. Helluva lot better than most of the stuff they fund with the public endowment for the arts. (Sorry if I broke a rule or two John. I get mad about this sort of stuff.)
Geez, another general order to keep track of. And yes, having you as a little brother would 'splain a lot.
So those obscene amenities that my fellow brothers and sisters in uniform seem to be wallowing in, come not from the Citizenry’s taxes but rather from those same folks who use them, what a novel concept Mr. Arkin, is this somehow akin to the wonderful benefits you receive from your employer. Of course not, Mr. Arkin doesn’t pay for those privileges and benefits, they are given to him to attract him and other’s like him to the company, after all the journalism business is incredibly cut-throat isn’t it. I guess that makes Mr. Arkin a mercenary doesn’t it. Funny how that works out, you and those you malign aren’t that different, in your world view, except of course for the fact that the members of the US Military do what they do not out of sense of who will pay me more, but rather because they believe in a set of values that are centered around Honor, Duty and Country. Mr. Arkin has shown us that the media and those on the left do not appreciate in the slightest what it is that the US Military provides the US Citizenry on a daily basis. As a former member of the US Armed Forces Mr. Arkin should know better, and perhaps he does and if that is true then he has sold his soul and have become that which he so despises; a mercenary at its most base level.
You just won't ever let me forget telling you about Godwins Law will you Just? :P Yesh give a guy a techie inch and he takes a techie mile :D
How does Finley feel about using his poster thusly?
I am so regreting bringing up Arkin. I don't mind watching the mob go after people like that, but I don't like being the kid who starts it all. Arkin's main fault is he took it personal and he mixed his opinion with that of the general public at large. Big mistake. Yeah, the general public continues to support the military. But the complaint by the soldiers wasn't about the general public. That's a nasty rhetorical trick he tried to employ there. Seeing as that it was just a rhetorical trick I'm surprised at the trouble he's gotten into. He tried to make it into a red vs blue issue. Failed. Catastrophically. Only way it could've gone worse is if he put me in charge of it. I thought he'd get a little roughed up, but this man got lynched. He didn't help himself at all with his further posts, but daaaamn. I feel bad for even bringing him up. Hi, Sis-o'-The-Armorer! Don't mind me. I'm just the unhired help. (And finally John, answers a question I asked him when he started the Castle Store. gollum forgets, but he also remembers.). Oh, and as the younger brother of two sisters: Nice tweak. (High five.)
Snerk. So now you're taking credit "outing" Arkin? Please. Geez, dude. You may have brought him up here first, but he'd have surfaced eventually. Twit hoist himself with his own petard. He has no one to blame but himself. All he did was lower his guard and talk to his peeps. He just forgot that he does that on one of the largest dailies in the country. TFB. Besides, I'm a 'splainer. I decided today to 'splain 'bout AAFES.
Ry you have a bit of an ego bubble there. Now that's not too wise considering how much snerking goes on here. Arkin's words are his career. You'd think he'd consider their impact a little more, especially in his replies. Unless it's some kind of publicity whore thing. However Arkin is burnt at the stake or deemed anti-war hero du Jour his fate isn't very important. But various responses which are going to be presumed conservative or military head down the violent ape path which does the military no favours at all. And that *is* important because a professional defence force is going to have more of the support that a military perceived as a bunch of thugs will not. The point here is I understand the emotional response of wanting the push him through a mincer but where eyes see and ears hear going through with that impulse is doing your fellow soldiers a disservice. Arkin is so not worth it.
Trias - you finally broke out of comment-moderation hell. I wonder what changed. As for the rest of what you said - that's why just used it as a vehicle to explain things, offer some context. And resisted the urge to whack him with a chain-mail gauntlet.