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Defense, Not Profits:

Howell Hurst Defense vs Diplomacy


Morro Bay, CA . . . I have just learned a practical lesson that motives me to clarify my opinion of our U.S. Military Services versus the gigantic Defense Industry that massively profits financially from its management and marketing of our Defense Services.

The Practical Lesson:

Yesterday morning at 6 AM, while motoring northward from Morro Bay toward Monterey against 25-knot Northwest winds, ten foot ocean swells, white-capping waves, and the relentless ocean current pushing headlong in my face, a mooring line came loose from a lifeline, and found its way back into the propeller of my sailboat, instantly halting my engine.

I was about four miles from the California shore to my right. Now dead in the water, my boat was being pushed by the prevailing winds toward the shore. With power from the engine unavailable, I had to release a portion of my jib sail (the forward sail) to regain control of the direction of my boat, and head away from land.

After gaining control, I radioed the U.S. Coast Guard my situation. The CG immediately answered my radio call and, after a brief discussion, we agreed that my best strategy was to sail south back to Morro Bay, where a local CG boat would tow me safely into port for repairs.

What I Learned:

The practical lesson I surprisingly began to learn was the degree of assistance the Coast Guard was able to provide me on my six hour journey back south. I had now been heading north for a total of 17 hours, including some 10 hours overnight, by radar and automatic steering. I had only been able to nap sporadically for fifteen minutes at a time during the night. I was awake and alert, but a bit tired.

The Coast Guard, speaking to me from their Los Angeles station, instantly established how much sleep I had had, how I felt mentally, and how I was functioning physically. Assured I could function, they then by hourly radio check-in kept track of my latitude, longitude, my course, and my speed. When I arrived outside Morro Bay, the local Coast Guard unit’s rescue boat towed me safely back into port.

Upon reflection, I newly realized what a great deal we actually do owe our defense system. It possesses far more capabilities than just fighting wars deemed necessary by our politicians. But something else came clear to me through this experience.

The team of young Coast Guard mates who helped me were not predominantly motivated by the desire for profit. Theirs may have been partially a need for financial income, but clearly they were proud of their ability to assist a sailor in need of assistance.

The Greater Lesson:

Thus, I realize that I now respect our military defense service members far more than I do the top management and politician partners of our gigantic profit-oriented defense manufacturing industry – all of whom regularly grow wealthy for the work they do.

I have long held a personal belief that our defense industry ought to be run on either a non-profit basis, or on a specific limited profit margin basis to preclude personal financial gain playing any part in our defense managers’ incentive to do their job.

A defense system reliant on people profiting from it can only encourage their financial motivation. I would prefer that our defense were instead managed by people more defense oriented than profit oriented.

I am confident sufficient numbers of Americans would leap at the opportunity to serve our country under these terms than to demand massive personal profits.

I contend that since so many massively expensive Defense cost over-runs are repeatedly discovered, as well as Defense-related financial corruption schemes, we should strive for far more carefully defined financial accountability of all defense contractors – very possibly including the very back-bone of defense: the specific Defense-related portion of the Oil and Gas Industry.

I would add to that, I hold the same belief regarding the Medical Industry. It is my conviction that the only rational basis for running a country is to insure, as a basic right of being an American, that all citizens are assured of 100% health coverage and national defense – both industries legislatively divorced from the concept of anyone earning profits by such work.

If profits are your real goal to keep Americans alive and safe, I question your loyalty to your fellow Americans. Instead, I suggest you go into some other business. I do not believe that wealth, multiple homes, luxury, and lust after gold bathroom fixtures justify making profits off of either medicine or defense.

I am keenly aware arguments may be made against my beliefs. Nonetheless, I stand by them. Debate about the subject is a legitimate political argument, which is firmly supported by a comment Mark Twain once made. I paraphrase: “Difference of opinion is what makes for horse races.”

The same for the taxing of our personal incomes, I suggest.

Since it is politicians who spend so much time and our taxes on defense and medical battles, and since almost all of them, Left or Right, seem to become wealthy in the process, ought not we citizens begin to reconsider the situation more closely?

After all, it is these politicians who are the horses ever racing for our voting approval in the name of their parties and patriotism.

Isn’t it?

PS: Coming soon:

Remember, by the way, that

upon my eventually reaching

Monterey, I’ll soon start to send

these Commentaries as Videos,

which you may access through a

a simple Link to Dropbox with

the click of your mouse.



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