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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Our troops: stealing to survive
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Friday, December 21, 2007

Our troops: stealing to survive

i just got back from the va hospital where i had an appointment this morning to have blood drawn in preparation for a regular check-up next week... the lab there manages to do a pretty damn good job processing what i imagine must be at least a hundred or more folks a day... i had brought along a book and, even though i wasn't anticipating a long wait, i figured i could move ahead a bit in my latest cyber-punk novel... i couldn't concentrate on the reading, however, because these two guys across from me were having a conversation that could easily be heard well into the next room... it's when the conversation took this turn that i started to unobtrusively pay attention...

both guys, as it so happened, had served in different parts of alaska, and both had assignments that required them to visit remote areas to inspect and service radar and other electronic surveillance stations... the interesting part, for me, was that both of them were taking turns topping each other's stories about how much government stuff, mostly gas and oil, they were able to steal without getting caught... one guy talked about driving his official car by his house near elemendorf afb and stopping to siphon gas into his private vehicle... the other bragged about stopping by a storage depot late at night and filling 50-gallon drums with motor oil and then selling it to friends and acquaintances... "everybody did it, nobody gave a shit," one of them said... "how else are you gonna make it on what they pay you..."

i drove home and it just now hit me... those guys have the very same mindset that those running kbr, halliburton, blackwater, and lockheed martin have... yeah, and probably cheney and gates too... the big difference...? they saw themselves as stealing to survive... but if they were suddenly plopped down in senior exec positions in one of those companies, would they behave any differently...?

This is my country! Land of my birth!
This is my country! Grandest on earth!
I pledge thee my allegiance,
America, the bold,
For this is my country to have and to hold.

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