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How many Ventilators for the price of those tanks the Pentagon didn't even want?

By Andrew Pollack on 04/04/2020 at 07:29 PM EDT

This goes WAY beyond Trump or Obama. This is decades of poor planning and poor use of funds. Certainly it should have been addressed in the Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan administrations -- all of which were well aware of the implications of a pandemic.

I want a military prepared to help us, not just hurt other people.

As an American I expect that with the ridiculous funding of our military might, we are prepared for damn near everything. Not just killing people and breaking things, but defending our nation against threats most of us don't spend time thinking about.

As a firefighter, and briefly as a fire officer, I was and am around people who spend a lot of their time preparing for disasters that probably won't happen. From hazmat situations resulting from a train derailing on the way through our little town, to floods or wildfires, and a thousand other unlikely things. We're expected to be ready to respond. To the extent possible, we are. The first time I walked a "fire watch" during a graduation event at the high school, my captain at the time was pointing out things and teaching me to think that way by saying "If there is an alarm, first we'll protect-in-place in the gym. It has high ceilings and plenty of exits directly to outside." That sounds obvious, but he was teaching me to think of those things before they were needed.

I want to be able to rely on my military like people used to. Watch old SF movies when bad things would happen and "The Authorities" would respond. The plot may or may not have them succeed, but the people were always able to trust that "The Authorities" would take care of the problem. They would have a plan. They would have supplies. We can't entirely go back to that naive way of thinking, but we can have some expectations.

I want a military prepared to help us, not just hurt other people.

I want a military that could respond to a massive regional power failure with portable high-output generators that come in on trains or heavy lift helicopters and can be deployed in days. The technology to do this exists. We've had small, portable, reliable, and very safe nuclear power on navel ships for decades.

I want a military with a ridiculously large stockpile of medical equipment, PPE, long shelf-life medicines, decontamination equipment, tents, and most important -- the plans to use them.

I want a military with stockpiles of long shelf-life food that could feed a city for months if it had to. With massive water purification and desalination plants that can come in on trains and ships. We know how to do these things. We know how to build a ship ready to pull into any harbor and use it's on-board nuclear power plant to drive power and/or desalination plans that could produce fresh water enough for a major city for months.

These things cost money, but they are a better use of that money than annually purchasing tanks we don't need and the result would be just as many jobs. Supplies have to be rotated. They can be sold as surplus as they age. People will be needed to do routine maintenance and checks on more complex equipment.

We've got an enormous ability to do good while preparing for the worst instead of simply finding better and more expensive ways to kill people by remote control.

Just my thoughts.


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