There is a big Marine Corps base south of here called Camp Pendleton, and a Marine Corps Air Station called Miramar. Now don’t get me wrong, I’n no fan of the military. Yes, I know my father was a vet, and freedom isn’t free, and blah blah blah, but in a country where we spend zillions on defense and haven’t won a war since 1945 despite failed efforts in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Somalia, and a bunch of other places, it seems like our military is less a fighting force than it is a budget appropriations boondoggle.
$1 trillion for a fighter jet that doesn’t really work, etc., and that $1 trillion as in “enough zeroes to give a college degree to every American who wants one.”
Of course that’s to be expected because the military dredges from the bottom of the barrel when it recruits, generally going after the poorest, worst educated, most future-less kids who can be suckered into a job that offers their parents a few grand in death benefits for the chance to have the child’s face melted off by an IED on the streets of Baghdad.
But don’t worry, son, we’ll put an “I support the troops” bumper sticker on the back of the SUV and make sure that you get preferential seating on Southwest after finding bin stowage for your prosthetic everything.
Our military sucks, not because of anything I say, but because the average person wouldn’t join if you paid them, which is exactly what the military does. We have an army of mercenaries, and rightly so. Everyone knows that unless you are a career officer retiring with a rank of major or higher, the military is a horrible substitute for a college degree, and everyone knows that despite all the lip service to our “heroes,” they’re treated like dogshit once they return from combat and that their chances of living homeless, addicted, horrible lives is sky high. To top it off, the officers for whom a military career is actually a decent one all have college if not advanced college degrees.
If the best preparation for a career and a life you could give your child was a non-com job in the military, society generally recognizes you as having failed miserably. And please don’t email me about how your child got her life straightened out in the Marines, how yours is a multi-generational military family, or how it has worked out for your kid. In general, it’s a dead end with potholes and falling down, roofless structures with their windows all shot out.
The “benefits” of serving in the military are so obviously non-existent that recruiters don’t even bother to set foot in high schools, especially wealthy ones, who prepare most of their students for college. That’s because being told what to do and then shot at looks like a raw deal compared to smoking dope for five years, sleeping around, learning stuff that you like, and getting a job with Google. The people who run the military will admit all this in private, and more: Recruits are terrible and it’s virtually impossible to fill quotas with qualified volunteers.
Top it off with the fact that we don’t have any more good wars to fight, that there isn’t a draft, and that most military jobs don’t prepare you for work outside the military, and at the end of the day you can’t escape the fact that today’s service is a badge of failure. Doubt it? Go take a poll of the homeless people in LA’s skid row. Ex-military are everywhere. Ex Wall Street traders are virtually non-existent. Ask managers at good firms what they want in a new hire and they will say, “A degree from a good college, an internship, and good communications skills.” Few will say, “A kid from a shitty high school with no college who can’t spell or read and who has served six tours in Iraq.”
Yes, I know your parents and grandparents saved democracy, but that was then. Now the only thing you get from being in the army is preferential seating on an airplane, which most people can get by paying $40 and don’t have to donate their youth to some rebel uprising in a Middle Eastern war zone, fighting for the rights of Exxon and the rights of a Saudi prince to execute bloggers and repress women.
Still, there are more practical reasons to be down our military, and nowhere do our armed forces show their undemocratic stripes more shamelessly than on Camp Pendleton. This federal facility blocks access to all cyclists traveling between San Diego County and Orange County. In the past, all you had to do was show a driver license, smile, and they’d wave you through.
But no more. A few days ago the USMC brought the hammer down on a group of mountain bikers who had unknowingly crossed onto the air station. They even confiscated their bikes, proving that even though the USMC gets its ass kicked up one side and down the other by a bunch of mule-riding, heroin-selling, illiterate and ragtag Taliban, it can sure as hell run roughshod over a few skinny bicyclist computer programmers. Tough guys, one and all.
However, or perhaps because the fighting forces of the USA have returned home soundly beaten from the last few engagements overseas, the good commanders of Camp Pendleton have now put a new set of rules set to take place on 3/1/16 that require anyone who wants to cross the base–i.e. ride a bike–to register on a website ANNUALLY, be approved, and carry an I.D. All this so that we can use land that is already ours. Imagine the havoc that’s going to wreak with people from out of state, or out of area. Foreigners won’t be allowed to register.
What’s worse are the banana-suckers on the cyclist advocacy side who have posted this information in an attempt to “work with” the base commander. Why aren’t we calling this buffoon out and asking him why the hell he’s commanding a military base if he can’t deal with a few cyclists? I know his armed forces suck, but it’s news even to me that a handful of shaved leg bike pedalers armed with water bottles pose a security threat to the USMC, an arm of the military that once prided itself as being pretty much fearless and proved it at Guadalcanal, Okinawa, Pelelieu, and Iwo Jima.
How times have changed.
Update: USMC Air Station Miramar, formerly known as Top Gun, confiscated the bikes on trails that were not marked, but that were on federal property adjacent to the popular Mission Trails community park system. Riders confirm that the signage is either very confusing or, depending on where you enter the trails, nonexistent. This are is now patrolled by MP’s in flight suits because, bicycles. USMC will return the bikes after the fine has been paid by the trespasser. That’s the new America: Militarized and policed to the teeth. Criticize it and you’re a treasonous liberal lefty America-hating fact-less idiot: http://www.cbs8.com/story/31018621/marines-confiscating-bikes-of-trespassers-on-base.
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