We don’t do this very often, mostly because it’s just so declasse to note the difficulty one’s competitors may have in matching one’s content, but today’s Wall Street Journal op-ed on the grim and crucial conflict between the two contracts America has with its troops leaves us almost too satisfied to speak.
The op-ed, by Breaking Defense Board of Contributor Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution defense brahmin Michael O’Hanlon, brings to Wall Street readers arguments that we first ran in mid-June.
Here’s our June 13 headline: America’s Two Promises To Troops: A ‘Stark Choice’ Between Weapons And Benefits.
Here’s a bit of what Eaglen wrote for us at double-quick time after we discussed this issue:
“Because so few serve on behalf of the rest of us, the nation has wanted to ensure we give the very best to those who risk death on the battlefield. Americans view it as their obligation, as well, to take exquisite care of those personnel and their families after they return from combat.
“There is, however, another unspoken contract between Americans and our forces in uniform: we will make sure you get the best weapons and technology, along with the best intelligence, training and logistics money can buy. The goal is simple: we want to ensure you are never in a fair fight. Should fighting start, we tell them, we’ve done everything we can to make sure the enemy will die and you will live.”
“Today, as defense budgets fall, these two sacred promises by Americans with their military are in direct conflict.”
Here’s their headline: “Military Entitlements Are Killing Readiness: The Pentagon and President Obama understand this. So why doesn’t Congress?”
Here’s the gist of what the Journal ran:
“The reality is that the U.S. doesn’t have one sacred contract with our troops: It has two. In addition to generous care and compensation, we owe them the best possible preparation for combat-weapons and other technologies that outmatch the enemy, excellent intelligence, training and logistics support. When they fight, our troops should prevail quickly and decisively.
“These two noble promises are now in direct conflict. Defense entitlements are well on their way to crowding out military readiness and capacity, a fact even the Pentagon has acknowledged. But lawmakers refuse to address this challenge. Unless Congress reverses budget sequestration and restores three years’ worth of additional cuts, the Pentagon is in for more belt tightening.”
Of course, you can’t and shouldn’t keep good ideas down and we are glad the Journal ran their original op-ed about a topic every American should be discussing.
Of course, we hope this helps drive Congress to act before the Pentagon begins to eat one of its young, which is likely to be the pledge to provide the best weapons and ensure the enemy dies instead of our troops.
We’re also glad the authors had time to flesh out the idea a bit. Just remember where you see those ideas first! (That sound you just heard was a deeply satisfied sigh — a nice start to the weekend.)