Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Most Lavish Benefit of All

An article written by David Wood that was published in late January  by Huffington Post has gained serious steam within the military community the past few days.  Originally titled “After Decades of Lavish Benefits, Military Personnel Fear Cuts”, then watered down to a less rage inciting "Defense Budget Faces Cuts to Personnel After Decade of War", the column has inspired many military and non-military families to speak out against inaccuracies and assumptions many civilians have about compensation in the armed forces.

I am not going to dismantle the article piece by piece.  My friend Karen at And Then We Laughed did a wonderful job at pointing out the errors and illustrating where Wood really gives away his complete and utter disconnect and ignorance about the service in general.  Making General rank in 16 years? 30% off at the commissary? Implying that the Pentagon pays for all of our housing costs when we live off base?  You gave yourself away, Mr. Wood.  It is a shame that none of the editors at HuffPo caught on.  Read Karen's article and you will see how I feel about all of this. 

Mr. Wood, (and any other misguided American citizen who was nodding or "liking" Mr. Wood's diatribe), the most lavish benefit of all? The all volunteer military force that exists in this country and has since the end of the Vietnam war. 

Knowing that your child won't be drafted into the service:  huge and lavish benefit.  Your right to go to college and not have to serve your country before entering the workforce: lavish (and somewhat controversial) benefit.  Being able to sleep at night knowing someone is standing the watch protecting you and your family, both at home and abroad: lavish benefit.  Having your husband or wife or child home for the holidays, not worrying about them being sent overseas at a moment's notice: Lavish benefit. 

I could go on and on and on.

The irony?  These cuts, these completely baseless and sloppy hack jobs that are being done to our Defense spending thanks to sequestration and congressional gridlock, are threatening the civilian benefits I listed above.  If you take away everything that makes the military even slightly lucrative then recruitment and retention plummet.  If you put families on Welfare, make them live in substandard housing, take away their education benefits, strip away retirement, make medical care expensive or non existent, then who on earth is going to stay in the military? 

The all volunteer force is a privilege that the American public has taken for granted.  Congress has also taken it for granted.  Since Mr. Wood obviously passed on the "lavish" lifestyle of being a service member, maybe his eyes will open when the benefit of choosing not to serve is taken away from him or his children.

17 comments:

Danielle Bartran said...

and there it is...

Karen said...

Great post, Jill!

Life is a Zoo in the Jungle said...

Thanks for YOUR service. I am not a military wife but my husband serves our country and I know that your service is every bit as much of a sacrifice as his. Loved your thoughts on this topic.

Lori said...

You've stated what I'm feeling about this issue and dismissive attitude so articulately. We military families accepted the risk and the sacrifices in the name of service to our country. I doubt many Americans have any real idea about what this entails, but if the "haphazard" cuts keep occurring without real regard to where that leaves our nation's defense, they may just have to find out one day. Great post!

Anonymous said...

For people to say the military has such terrific benefits, then maybe our members of Congress should all have the EXACT same ones. Let's see how long it would take for that to cause a stink!

Kerry-The Simple Year said...

I read the original article a couple weeks ago and was so irritated by it at the time. I wanted to write about it as well, but my blog really isn't the proper platform. So, I am glad and thankful that you and so many other great military spouse bloggers have "taken the words right out of my mouth" and are so eloquently rebutting that absurd article. Kind Regards.

dre said...

THANK YOU!!!!

hismrshooah said...

Preach it, girl. VERY well said!

Lori J. said...

I think it's wonderful that you're able to put into words what so many of us living such a "lavish" lifestyle are feeling right now. Well done, Jill!

~ko said...

Perfectly said!!

Things that make you go hmmm... said...

The article by Mr Woods is the poster child for what you get when the conclusion of an article is decided before any real facts are considered. Whether the result of crass stupidity or a genuine agenda, the results are the same. Write your piece, then find the correct pseudo-facts to fit and support it. Ignore anything that might alter the intended outcome of your drivel. Mr Woods is what passes for a journalist today. Sad piece of work.

BGJames said...

At the mention of welfare...there are already enlisted personnel that qualify for assistance through Food Stamps and WIC. I do not see how an income low enough to qualify for food stamps could even remotely be considered "lavish". Maybe I need to get out my Merriam-Webster and re-read the definition of "Lavish" because obviously I've been misusing for the last 35 years!

TC said...

Great post, Jill. There will be a mounting temptation to fox the budget through the personnel account.

Mentioned you here: http://www.jqpublic-blog.com/?p=249#more-249

Thanks for what you and your family do to support our country!

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Hi, I'm Jill!

Hi, I'm Jill!
Extrovert. Mom of two. Wife of a cute Naval Aviator. Lover of wine. When I'm not chasing my two kids around town you will find me writing, taking too many photos, and researching the ten future areas the Navy could potentially (but probably won't) PCS us. We are fish out of water, landlocked at 7,000 feet. For now.

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