By Steve Litteral Jr.
Stanley Campbell may want to rethink his argument in his opinion piece titled, “Why do conservatives ignore military-industrial waste?” (5/12-5/18/10). There is not a person I know who likes to waste tax dollars, but there are reasons why there are civilians working in military dining facilities and driving supplies to military bases overseas. I would like to refresh Mr. Campbell’s memory and explain the massive cuts in military spending and neglect the armed services endured from 1992-2000. I know from personal experience because I served as an airborne infantryman in the U.S. Army throughout that time period. I only mention that because Mr. Campbell believes all conservatives lack military experience and that we are all “war hawks.” I beg to differ with his assumptions.
From 1992-2000, the military cut the jobs of over half a million members and paid some to end their enlistments early. The Army lost six divisions worth of soldiers and closed numerous bases across the country and around the world. The Navy decommissioned more than 70 ships in less than a decade. The Marine Corps was reduced to just more than 20,000 Marines by the year 2000. With a heavily-decreased budget, diminished forces, and an increased number of deployments throughout that era, the military suffered from low morale and a lack of military readiness. With a lack of support troops to help the combat units resulting from cuts in defense spending, the government turned to civilians to fill some of the gaps left in the non-combat roles in the military. This did not start during the Bush administration, as imagined by Mr. Campbell.
Mr. Campbell is not a “communist” or a “terrorist” as he imagines people believe. He is merely a man who touts the superiority of a despotic, communist state like Cuba where people are eager to leave, and exalts the anti-Semitic, misogynistic, brutal theocratic state of Iran. Mr. Campbell likes to write about these nations with his concealing brush of multiculturalism that hides the true nature of these backward-thinking states. So, maybe he can see why people are confused by his ideology.
Mr. Campbell plays his part as the local “radical” by living in the perpetual naiveté of youth, but he is not so radical when it comes to criticizing the majority party here in Illinois or nationally. From what I have read of Mr. Campbell, he is just a lap dog for the Democratic agenda, which is monetarily and philosophically bankrupt. I would also like to remind Mr. Campbell that the Democrats have controlled defense spending since the fiscal year 2007, so if he has a problem, he should write Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). If Mr. Campbell is the true radical he claims to be, he will ask tough questions of the ruling party instead of criticizing politicians that no longer serve, or Republicans that currently have no political power. Here are some examples I would like to see: Why do the Democrats in Springfield refuse to pass a state budget? Why is Illinois No. 48 in job growth? Why is Illinois one of the most corrupt states in the Union? A true radical would focus on those in charge no matter the political party. But this will never come to fruition since he seems to be satisfied with the high level of nepotism, corruption and graft that happens in a one-party state. Mr. Campbell is only satisfied with making unfounded blanket statements about conservatives, and by continually alienating a portion of the community, he is hurting his organization.
Steve Litteral Jr. is a resident of Rockford.
From the June 9-15, 2010 issue