On Monday, the Associated Press obtained a July 21 memo from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in which he chided the Pentagon for “cavalier” spending in Afghanistan. Specifically, he was angered that the Pentagon sunk $28 million over a decade into forest-print uniforms for Afghan soldiers — a camouflage pattern that makes little sense in the desertlike theater.
When World War II came to a close, the United States put up roughly $120 billion in today’s dollars to rebuild Europe under the vaunted Marshall Plan. That still-celebrated project not only restored much of the continent physically after the war’s ravages, it also launched an era of economic prosperity that modernized much of the developed West.
U.S. Army photo, colorized by Jared Enos and shared under CC 2.0 license.
In the fall of 1917, draftees from around the country came together at Camp Greene, North Carolina to form the newly activated 4th Division. These men went on to fight in the trenches of France for the remainder of the First World War. At the time, they were fighting for their country and each other. What they did not know was that they were the founders of an organization whose lineage would span several more wars, and would continue to serve the country 100 years later.
There are signs that today’s vets have greater problems reintegrating into society that in previous eras. Perhaps most consequentially, today’s vets suffer from higher unemployment than not only their civilian peers, but also vets of previous generations.