The country has caught football fever – that’s soccer to you unreconstructed, tunnel-visioned fans of American football. The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team has shown determination, good team work, great heart and even occasional flashes of brilliance. While losing to Germany in its last match, the U.S. team’s overall performance was sufficient to advance it to the round of 16. Although it is an extreme long shot, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the U.S. team could acquire a medal in Brazil.
If America treated its World Cup Soccer Team as badly as it does its military it is possible that the team wouldn’t even have made it to the World Cup games. Or having gotten there, it would have imploded in its first or second game like Gabon.
Imagine if the National Council of U.S. Soccer, the game’s governing body, had told the team to cut its budget by 30 percent, reduce its roster, equipment, medical support and training activities commensurately but all the while requiring it to maintain its ongoing schedule of games? Then, just to make it really interesting, the National Council told the team it couldn’t reduce salaries, close excess training facilities or even get rid of worn out equipment. All it could do is fire players and reduce training time. Actually, it can do one more thing. It can sell off all its future draft choices in order to scare up some current cash to keep the operation going for a little while longer. This is called eating your seed corn.
Well, this is exactly what the U.S. Congress did to the military. First, it voted for the Budget Control Act which cut $1 trillion from projected defense budgets over ten years. Then, as if that were not enough, it refused to permit the military to reduce pay and benefits, even for future personnel, close excess facilities or even retire platforms and equipment that were no longer needed, such as the A-10, in order to preserve more modern capabilities and streamline sustainment costs. If Congress were in charge of U.S. Soccer it would be the same as mandating that players play with their legs tied to one another like in a three-legged race.
By the way, after doing all this to the soccer team, the National Council would still demand that it win all its games. In fact, in the spirit of doing more with less, it might even require that the team play in the World Cup short one person.
Or what if the varsity team was being undermined by the JV squad with the latter claiming that they were just as skilled and capable as their varsity brethren and would be willing to play for a third the salaries and perks. Never mind that the average JV player gets less than a quarter of the training time as his varsity colleagues. Well this is what the Army National Guard is doing to the Active Army. The Army National Guard wants all the privileges and neat equipment available to the varsity squad but doesn’t want to be held to the same tough playing schedule or standards of performance.
What would be the result of the gender diversity mafia demanding that at least 20 percent of all the slots on the U.S. World Cup Soccer Team be reserved for women? This is basically what they are demanding of the U.S. military: open up positions in combat units, including infantry, to women whether they want them or not and regardless of standards of performance.
If this country did to our World Cup Soccer Team what it is doing to its military the outcry would be deafening. Shame on us all for not treating our service personnel and their institutions with the same respect, care and support as we devote to our sports stars and their teams.
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