Free Koowait!

Tom Sweetnam
Sat, 18 Jan 2003 05:53:03 +0000

So you guys still let Bolcer post here, huh? And I always thought this list 
had some class. Ha!

"No War in Irak"

That kills me. Before the last Gulf War, one of the "we support our troops" 
demonstrators outside the Ventura County Courthouse had a placard that said 
"Free Koowait".

"Our viewer demographic doesn't have much education so they tend not to 
share an interest in international affairs."--ABC spokesman at a press club 
meeting aired by C-Span, answering a charge that international affairs 
coverage by the big three New York-based networks has sunk to an all-time 

Columbia University, once the nation's preeminent school of journalism, 
conducted a poll last week amongst its graduate journalism students asking 
them what area of journalism needs  more coverage by the press/media.

#1 response: celebrity-related news
#2 response: international affairs

I wrote a piece for the Ranger web ring last year germane to a couple of the 
FoRK issues at hand, but I can't find it for the life of me. Anyway, it had 
to do with my CO (commanding officer) in Vietnam, a West Point graduate 
named David Ohle who went on to become a War College graduate, an MBA, and a 
three-star general at the Pentagon. His job at the Pentagon was head of 
personnel for the US Army. He's retired from the military now and sits on 
the board of Shell Oil Company.

His last job at the Pentagon was a tough one, because amongst a bevy of 
other headaches plaguing military personnel during the Clinton 
administration, he'd been assigned the task of trying to induce IT 
scientists to stay in the military since IT scientists are the single 
professional skill slot the military needs most, yet these people are the 
ones the military has the most difficult time keeping. The problem exists 
across the board in the military, the US Air Force being the single branch 
suffering most from a paucity of career IT scientists, though in 
technological sophistication, the army is catching up. The reason IT 
scientists don't make a career of the military are threefold:

* Like Rodney Dangerfield, IT scientists don't get no respect. This seems to 
be their chief complaint when asked why they leave the military after a 
single hitch.

* As one poster already alluded, the current well-entrenched road to 
advancement in the military usually requires that an officer have combat 
experience, a prospect highly unlikely for IT scientists. The Pentagon is 
full of generals who led men in battle, yet very few scientists are to be 
found in a uniform sporting stars on its epaulets.

* Money. It's that simple. These people can generally make two or three 
times as much money in the private sector as they can in the military, yet 
for most IT scientists leaving the military after a single hitch, money 
still ranks behind career advancement as a stated reason for them ditching 
the military. If IT scientists could be shown that the military is willing 
to make a paradigm shift in its traditional thinking insofar as how officers 
are promoted, many would stay in the military in spite of the lower pay, 
since the military offers a plethora of benefits that for many young 
officers adds balance to the overall career picture.

Change comes slowly in the military. Five thousand years of doing things 
according to a rule book that hasn't varied much over the eons isn't going 
to happen overnight. During the Clinton administration, when the military 
budget was cut by 40%, the prospect of offering IT scientists inducements 
like "professional pay" just wasn't in the cards. Nuclear submarine 
commanders for instance, are given $60,000 - $100,000 bonuses for each 
six-year hitch they agree to stay on in the navy. Since it costs the US 
taxpayer well over two million dollars to train such an individual, it makes 
sense to offer them inducements to stay in the military. Physicians with 
specialties are offered similar financial inducements to stay in the 
military, as are other select MOS slots  (military occupational 
specialties), yet congress has approved no such specialty pay allocation for 
IT scientists as yet.

That has to come soon. Drones are taking the place of manned aircraft and 
robots are taking the place of the grunt -the infantry foot slogger. By 
century's end, our military will be unrecognizable from what military 
establishments have been for five thousand years previous, and it won't be 
the West Point good ol' boys running the show then. Not a chance. A new rank 
will be well established by 2099. Not the four stars worn by the Chairman of 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff. No. Not the five stars of the field marshal 
either. Not a chance.

This new rank will hold the equivalent of six stars(!), hell, maybe even 
seven stars(!!), yet those who hold such rank won't be recognizable from the 
shiny bobbles such generals wear today -those little silver stars adorning 
one's collar flaps. Uh uh. This new rank's insignia will consist only of 
icons plastic and gooey: one OD (olive drab) DDD-453242-YHH-543434322 
government issue camouflage pocket protector, and a three-inch length of 
DDD-453241-YHH543434321 OD (olive drab) government issue eye glass nose 
bridge repair kit duct tape. The military standard "yes sir" and "no sir" of 
today will become anachronisms of course, supplanted by a more venerable 
display of respect. This orchestration will likely consist of thrusting 
forward one's right arm while smartly clicking together one's boot heels 
while barking out in resounding hall-ringing robust echoed mantra, "Heil 
Geek! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Heil Geek! Heil Geek! Heil Geek!"

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