Clubbing the Veterans

Defending a nation has always required the service of strong people who often traded their health, limbs, and sometimes their lives so that the other citizens could sleep safely in their beds at night. In first century Rome it was not much different leaving substantial numbers of disabled veterans depended on the state for small pensions that sustained their modest lifestyles. 

Then there was Caligula, the infamous Roman Emperor noted for his unquenchable desires, who decided to entertain the people by clubbing hundreds of disabled veterans to death in the Coliseum.  His joy was two-fold, while pretending to be a warrior the spindly sovereign helped balance his national budget by eliminating some fixed costs. Such behavior is repugnant to any observer of history who possesses even a modicum of humanity.

Today, the United States is fighting a global war, another way of saying world war, against an enemy who wants to disrupt the sleep of our citizens. The strong people who stand watch and do violence as required on this enemy often trade their health, limbs, and sometimes their lives for us.  Caring for those that survive the ordeal of service requires a cost.  Modern health care is more expensive than it was in 1st century Rome, but our longevity and quality of life is greater too. 

So far, no one has suggested murdering our veterans to balance the defense budget, but other things are being done to them that endanger their health.  Just a few years ago a system called Tricare replaced a system without an annual fee.  At the time, some argued that it reneged on the promises of the past, but the argument was brushed aside because the fees were smaller than most civilian plans.  Those fees were designed to offset some of the cost of health care by collecting money from the veterans.  The resistance faded and the system went into effect.

Soon it was argued that having smaller fees for Tricare than for plans like Blue Cross, encouraged retirees to actually use the program resulting in a high cost to the defense budget.  Some proposed modifications to Tricare appeared to be designed to force retirees to abandon Tricare altogether and to seek healthcare elsewhere.  While it is not quite as horrible as Caligula’s clubbing of Rome’s veterans in the Coliseum, it is still a shame that the past service of our 20 to 30+ year veterans is not being held in high esteem.

The bean-counters in the Pentagon aren’t completely to blame.  All of us who served during the 80s and 90s experienced shrinking or eliminated entitlements.  Self-help was the mantra of how to get things done.  Costs were “transferred” from the budget to money acquired through fund-raisers or squadron dues.  And now when the budget spinners talk about “increasing revenues” they really mean collecting money from retirees’ pensions.

Balancing the defense budget on the wallets of retirees is repugnant.  Congress should fully fund military health care to stop the Pentagon budget planners from continually searching for ways to loot retirees of their hard-earned pensions.

It just makes sense.

10 Responses to “Clubbing the Veterans”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Even the beginning of this book has surprises. I knew before I began it, that it was loosely based on Genesis and set in Antediluvian times. I did not know that Sutherland has created a world of wonder and great accomplishments in technology so that the long ago world is quite similar to ours. Yes, I was surprised to find innovative ways of transportation, shopping similar to ours today and even the same sins we see in today’s world. Though that last shouldn’t have surprised me I suppose. After all, Satan is an ancient creature and his servants are ever present.

    Sutherland’s conception of the days of Noah boggle the mind and the monsters found within it are loathesome. The Creator God shines above all else especially in the bravery of a young woman, Susah, the daughter of … no, I will not spoil that for you because I recommend that you read this book.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Like the MASTER, feeding the 5000 with a few pita breads and some sardines, Sutherland has taken a few scraps of information [what the Bible gives about the world before the Flood of Noah] and has multiplied those tidbits into a miraculous world, filled with dragons, giants, physical demons, and a host of other dangers. And it is a world populated by a very few who brave souls who are willing to stand against the too prevalent evil.

    WARNING: This fast-paced story is one of those actioners that is impossible to put down once you are swept into and captured by its fantastic world. The characters are so believable, that you feel you are right there with them in their joys and struggles; urging them on to overcome their flaws, wanting to help them in the conflicts thrust upon them; rejoicing in the triumphs of the good and cringing at the plotting and heartlessness of the wicked.

    I am SO going to read the next volume in this series! Author: PLEASE HURRY!

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a soul-shaking book; I couldn’t put it down at times, and other times I HAD to put it down to catch my breath. I think we all know evil, but this evil requires an equally great hero, or in this case, heroine. Sutherland takes a Sunday school lesson and makes it into an action-packed science fantasy. It starts with Susah’s trip through the woods, revealing a peak of the youngster’s potential. The story continues to develop rapidly when Susah’s uncle and aunt are murdered, but a hero steps in to save her and her cousins. With this hero, Susah finds a purpose and calling that many young people seek but unfortunately many never find. The military descriptions are accurate and detailed, but not distracting from the story. As with any epic, a great battle must be fought, but this is only the stepping stone to even more action to come in Sutherland’s future books. I can’t wait!

  4. Anonymous says:

    What an imagination C. D. Sutherland has! Revisiting the world of Earth before the Biblical Great Flood, he populates it with fallen angels, giants, ogres, dinosaurs and dragons, as well as two main tribes of humans: the descendants of Seth and those of Cain, the sons of Adam. Ancient and ultra-modern technologies exist side-by side. Chariots share roads with powered transporters; food synthesizers supplement agriculture; a form of television exists.

    The story’s young heroine, Susah, is a daughter of Noah. Like her father, she possesses the ability to telepathically communicate with both humans and other animals. After being attacked by a gang of ogre thugs, Susah is rescued by an army officer and his two-headed dragon. He flies her home in a glider towed by dragons, and she is inspired to join the Dragoneers, the elite air force that guards the Garden of Eden. When Noah, obsessed with building his ark, disapproves, she runs away and enlists. Her telepathic powers give her an advantage over her fellow recruits.

    While Susah excels in training, Lilith, a powerful ogre and organized crime empress, plots with politicians and renegade army officers to defeat the Dragoneers and seize the Garden of Eden and its secret powers. She views Noah as an enemy, making Susah a target as well. Lilith’s military minions pose a continuing threat.

    The plot races to a climactic battle between a valorous band of Dragoneers and an army of ogres.

    Sutherland’s flowing writing style draws the reader into the narrative and creates anticipation of what new wonders await in the pages ahead. This book is suitable for young adults as well as older readers. I recommend it to all lovers of action/adventure and fantasy. Well done, C.D. Sutherland.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Reading a fantasy can be compared to tasting wine. Once you begin to soak it in through your senses; the look, the smell, the texture, the taste, and even the sound, as it rumbles in the back of your throat, a synergy of pleasure, revulsion, or meh will soon establish itself in your mind, and from there it will be most difficult for the review of anyone else to ever sway you from the opinion you settle upon. The senses and prejudices of readers can be quite diverse, so just as there is no single wine that will please everyone under all conditions, I believe the same is true with fantasy literature.

    However, when you find it; that most pleasing fantasy, which tickles your mind with spectacular scents, sights, and stimulates your imagination, bonding you with one or more of the characters as they go about their task of creating or preventing change to the “normal” world, where you find the story. If you tense at the verbs, sigh or cry at the modifiers, and smile at the nouns, you’ll know you have a keeper, and one that you will not only read again, but will also long to read the sequel. Which is exactly what I found in this most pleasing debut novel from C.D. Sutherland.

    I compare THE DRAGONEERS to a high-end merlot, suitable as an adult novel, softened by filtering out all profanity and literary pornography, but without reducing the texture of tension which comes via action, including flying combat, martial arts, mysterious technologies (which have replaced the typical outlandish “magic” one finds in most fantasy books), and the hints of spiritual activity against the backdrop of what appears to be a plausible antediluvian world, is most fitting for introducing new readers to fantasy along with satisfying the experience connoisseur of the works of much better known authors: Tolkien, Lewis, Hubbard, and Peretti.

    Some may see it strange, but I couldn’t help but to connect with a lesser, supporting character, Commander Belewe, who I think was smarter and more courageous than he was given credit for by the most corrupt people he unfortunately has to serve, I fear he will not escape the political scales which are tipped against him.

    Read it yourself and see what you think. If you don’t make the same connection as I did, fine, go ahead and follow the girl, Susah, who is the primary focus of the story anyway, as she’s sure to come out on top, if you do that, then you might see THE DRAGONEERS more as pinot noir, which by the way goes well with chicken.

    Bottoms up.

  6. Anonymous says:

    THE LOST DRAGONEERS Wizard of Oz Meets the Book of Genesis

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