Moon of Alabama — Oct 19, 2017
The U.S. military is a socialist paradise:
Service members and their families live for free on base. People living off base are given a stipend to cover their housing costs. They shop in commissaries and post exchanges where prices for food and basic goods are considerably lower than at civilian stores. Troops and their families count on high-quality education and responsive universal health care. They expect to be safe at home, as bases, on average, have less violence than American cities of comparable size. And residents enjoy a wide range of amenities—not just restaurants and movie theaters but fishing ponds, campsites, and golf courses built for their use.
Of course, some bases are better than others. But even the most austere provides a comprehensive network of social welfare provisions and a safety net that does not differentiate between a junior employee and an executive.
For those who stay on, the military provides a generous retirement pay.
“But life in the military is dangerous!”
According to a 2012 study by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC) the risk to one’s life is lower for soldiers than for civilians:
In the past two decades (which include two periods of intense combat operations), the crude overall mortality rate among U.S. service members was 71.5 per 100,000 [person-years]. In 2005, in the general U.S. population, the crude overall mortality rate among 15-44-year-olds was 127.5 per 100,000 p-yrs.
The huge difference is quite astonishing. The death rate for soldiers would still have been lower than for civilians if the U.S. had started another medium size war:
If the age-specific mortality rates that affected the U.S. general population in 2005 had affected the respective age-groups of active component military members throughout the period of interest for this report, there would have been approximately 13,198 (53%) more deaths among military members overall.
Those working in the U.S. military, even when the U.S. is at war, have a quite pampered life with lots of benefits. They have less risk to their lives than their civilian peers. But when some soldier dies by chance, the announcements speak of “sacrifice”. The fishermen, transport and construction workers, who have the highest occupational death rates, don’t get solemn obituaries and pompous burials.
There may be occasions where soldiers behave heroically and die for some good cause. But those are rather rare incidents. The reports thereof are at times manipulated for propaganda purposes.
The U.S. military spends more than a billion per year on advertisement. It spends many uncounted millions on hidden information operations. These are not designed to influence an enemy but the people of the United States. In recent years the U.S. military and intelligence services have scripted or actively influenced 1,800 Hollywood and TV productions. Many of the top-rated movie scripts pass through a military censorship office which decides how much ‘production assistance’ the Department of Defense will provide for the flick.
A rather schizophrenic aspect of its safe life is the military’s fear. Despite being cared for and secure, the soldiers seem to be a bunch of scaredy-cats. The military’s angst is very ambiguous. It meanders from issue to issue. This at least to various headlines:
- The U.S. Military Fears Russia’s Electronic Warfare Capabilities
- Air Force Fears New ‘Drug Craze’
- U.S. Military Fears Volcano Could Harm Jets
- U.S. Military Fears Outcome of Rape Trial
- U.S. Army Fears Major War Likely Within Five Years
- Why is the United States Navy afraid of the Pirates?
- After Kandahar massacre, U.S. military fears new Taliban reprisals
- The Military Is Afraid of Your iPhone
- Why the Pentagon Dreads the “Sale” of IBM’s Chip Business
- Pentagon afraid of ignorance about Iran
- Why the FBI and Pentagon are afraid of new genetic technology
- The Pentagon Is Worried About Hacked GPS
- Some Marines Fear Innocent Men Are Being Convicted of Rape
- U.S. military fears Iraqis can’t control security
- Air Force personnel fear what coming cuts will bring
- Why U.S. Military Fears Sexual Assault Reform
- The Air Force’s 4 Biggest Fears
Members of the U.S. military live quite well. They are safe. Their propaganda depicts them as heroes. At the same time, we are told that they are a bunch of woosies who fear about anything one can think of.
I find that a strange contradiction.