Micromanaging the Troops

Of all the things our representatives in Congress could be focusing on right now…

>[Concerned that the military is selling pornography in exchange stores in spite of a ban, one lawmaker has introduced a bill to clean up the matter.] [at]

>”Our troops should not see their honor sullied so that the moguls behind magazines like Playboy and Penthouse can profit,” said Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., unveiling his House bill April 16.

>His Military Honor and Decency Act would amend a provision of the 1997 Defense Authorization Act that banned sales of “sexually explicit material” on military bases.

(Via [Hullabaloo] [h1].)

I would have assumed it was more dishonorable to send our troops to live in [shoddy slum housing] [fo] (also via [Hullabaloo] [h2]), or to [oppose the expanded GI Bill] [abc].

Of course, as a member of Congress, Rep. Broun has a different perspective on things. Legislators enjoy any chance to introduce a bill that stimulates moral outrage yet accomplishes nothing significant. It gives them something to brag about, and stirs up the kind of fuzzy indignation that generates votes on the very far right, but doesn’t really rock the boat. Nothing unusual there. What’s appalling about this bill is the justification:

>Exchange officials noted that tax dollars are not used to procure magazines in the system’s largely self-funded operations.

>But Broun’s spokesman John Kennedy contended that taxpayer dollars are involved — “used to pay military salaries, so taxpayer money is, in effect, being used to buy these materials,” he said.

Translation: these guys think that, because military pay come from taxes, they have the right to tell the troops how to spend it.

Now I’m wondering how soon it will be before everyday employers try the same thing–whether the big box stores and meatpacking plants of the world will claim the right to stick a finger in their employee’s personal finances, since, after all, that money is coming from corporate profits…

[abc]: “"Officials in charge of Pentagon personnel worry that a more generous and expansive GI Bill would create an incentive for troops to get out of the military and go to college."”