Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Article excerpt

Nation's Defenders Guard a Lifestyle

The Opinion-page article "Here's a Fat Candidate for the Line Item Veto," (Oct. 9) virtually ignores the very real quality of life issues involved for those of us who wear this nation's uniform.

I have been in the military for 15 years and have moved eight times. The system of military commissaries, PXs, and housing has been crucial to sustaining my family and our way of life, nomadic as it is. At Fort Irwin, Calif. (in the middle of the Mojave Desert), the nearest civilian grocery store and housing is 50 minutes away. In Bad Hersfeld, Germany, the economy lacked the housing to accommodate American soldiers, and the rentals that existed were small and expensive. Noam Scheiber advocates raising salaries of service members to compensate for the lost benefits. Do the math. This would cost more than is saved. More likely, the author's call for "efficiency" would be met by reducing the standard of living of military families. No one ever promised riches from a career in service, but being a member of the Armed Forces should not be a call to a life of poverty. Our country relies on an all-volunteer military to defend its vital interests and these forces depend on quality men and women to answer the call of duty. The constant erosion of military benefits will have results, but not the ones that the author describes. Maj. Peter R. Mansoor Silver Spring, Md. Though the author does not suggest elimination of benefits for military personnel - only the taxpayer subsidy - the result would be the same. Commissaries and exchanges are often required to operate in austere locations to provide service to deployed US citizens - locations guaranteed to generate a loss. No commercial venture has that profit-eating mandate. All companies offer benefits to entice quality applicants; the military is no different. Company benefits are financed by consumers - most of whom do not gain those perks. When the article addresses housing, it implies choice where it does not always exist. …

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