RANGER AGAINST WAR: Nuts and Bolts <

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nuts and Bolts

--Manas Air Transport Field, "Freedom's Frontier",
For the Glorious Make Benefit of Kyrgyzstan

If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By The United States Marines
--USMC Hymn

The brotherhood of man is evoked by particular men
according to their circumstances.
But it seldom extends to all men.
In the name of our freedom and our brotherhood
we are prepared to blow up the other half of mankind
and to be blown up in our turn
--R. D. Laing

Kazakhstan's prostitutes cleanest in the region,
except of course Turkmenistan's
--Borat (2006)

The United States Marine Corps celebrated their 236th birthday November 11, which got Ranger thinking about the USMC Hymn and specifically, "From the Halls of Montezuma / To the shores of Tripoli" (Ranger likes songs as much as Marines like comics.)

Since Ranger is not a gyrene (due to his parent's being married to one another), he is not sure about the "Halls of Montezuma" reference, but he thinks it has to do with USMC participation in the Mexican War while the U.S. was stealing part of Mexico.

But the Tripoli reference is clear (even before NATO and other entangling alliances.) It was the first projection of U.S. military power overseas, and it was for purely commercial interests as the pirates were hindering American maritime commerce. Which means the U.S. military from the gitgo has been used to support U.S. financial interests. USMC actions in China, Haiti, Nicaragua in the early 1900's bear this out.

The Barbary Pirates were exacting tribute, and the U.S. sent the Marines (avant-SEALS) to kill their asses. The U.S. refused to pay tribute, plain and simple, and from this exercise the Corps got some early heroes, like Steven Decatur, and even stole the Marmeluke sword from the pirates. (This event was essential since USMC birthday balls would be dull affairs sans swords.)

Fast forward a couple of centuries to the Phony War on Terror (
PWOT ©) and all that the little Stans that swirl around that undertaking. Exacting tribute is new again.

"In one of his first statements as Kyrgyzstan’s new president, Almazbek Atambayev said Tuesday that he would seek to close an important American military base when its lease runs out in 2014, reviving a threat dropped by past leaders after the United States agreed to increased payments.

"Officially called a transit center, the base, which is at the Manas airport close to the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, has been a crucial supply hub for the war in Afghanistan since 2001 and is the only one of its kind in Central Asia.

"In 2009, Washington persuaded Kyrgyzstan’s president at the time, Kurmanbek S. Bakiyev, to keep the base open by agreeing to pay over $40 million a year extra in rent and provide an expensive renovation of the Manas airport (New Leader Says US Base in Kyrgyzstan Will be Shut).

When the last new president of Kyrgyzstan threatened to evict the U.S. in '09, our government ponied up $40+ million per year increase in our tribute payments to K-stan for its war-related lease, chalking it up to lease inflation in that primo real estate market. Washington (= we) also paid $36.6 million to line bureaucrats pockets expand the airport and contributed tens of millions of dollars toward economic development and the fight against drug trafficking (In Reversal, Kyrgyzstan Won’t Close a U.S. Base). The NYT somewhat cynically reported, "There had long been speculation that the Kyrgyz government never intended to evict the Americans, but only wanted more rent. "

$40+ Million annual increase in the lease of a Stan airfield, and then think about the U.S. economy. What did not get funded by this increased tribute? Did the President's Super Committee consider cutting this expenditure to save money?

And how does any of this affect Ranger? Well, he had to fight for every benefit awarded him by the Department of Veterans Affairs; ditto his Department of the Army CRSC benefits. The Social Security Administration is currently appropriating a $10,740 "overpayment" from Ranger's benefits --
their admitted error -- and Ranger will receive SSA benefits until November 2012. Three years of their "mistake", but it took only one month for them to begin dunning Ranger's account.

If it benefits the government it's processed
macht schnell; if it's for you, not so much. Once again, Ranger's fall back case of the missing left nut:

5 October 10 Ranger applied to the DVA for Special K - Loss of Sexual function with no response to date. All the proper hoops were jumped through, like a
football being thrown through a hanging tire swing in a Levitra advert, but no reply. It's not like it is something new to be researched -- the injury happened in the Republic of Vietnam, as recognized by the DVA.

The loss of a nut is compensable at something less than $100/month.
You would think they would be happy Ranger will not spawn any like-minded issue, and might see his small remuneration as a sort of retroactively-awarded appreciation. But no, Ranger is still left hanging.

Yet tyrants around the world may exact tribute from my government and the payout is in the mail; they know they have us by the balls when we traipse around the world to deal with extortionists. However, for the citizens of our nation, it is a battlefield to get our needs met.

What did we get for these large bribes? Some advice from the Manas airport page,
"keep distance from over friendly people. Do not walk alone at night. Get a map. Enjoy your stay," but "the toilets are working, and their [sic] is paper" (Much improved from neighbor Kazakhstan's Atyrau airport, where there is no fax, phone or website listed, but strange comments like, "Running a company without knowing who the owner of the 50 % under these circumstances are not very easy as everyone can understand," and,How then, is it possible for an airport to degrade services from appalling to worse?", courtesy WorldAirportCodes.com)

Ah, yes . . .
the Last Outpost of Liberty. The Kyrgyzstan airfield is but one example of tribute-paying, and it looks like the U.S. is getting the shaft on this deal.

Perhaps turnabout is fair play, as we do have the fancy sword and a very catchy hymn from our early No-Tribute stance.



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