Saturday, May 5, 2001

Noble: The U.S. Army, for finally getting its head straight on the beret issue by halting its hideously hysterical campaign to buy black birthday berets from communist China.

China would have received a sizeable chunk of the $35 million dollar beret contract, which Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz cancelled this week, following the congressional outcry that rattled stars around the Pentagon´s E-ring.

One of the rattled stars was Gen. Eric “self-esteem” Shinseki, who ordered the beret giveaway as part of a feel-good offensive. The campaign has given plenty of offense, especially since to meet Gen. Shinseki´s artificial and unnecessary deadline, the Army waived the “buy-American” Berry Amendment to buy Chinese berets that actually cost more than their American counterparts.

Unfortunately, the Army still couldn´t cap off a good week, since it misfired on a bullet issue.

Knave: The U.S. Army, for spending an estimated $12 million since 1994 in an effort to build “green ammunition” specifically, “environmentally friendly” 5.56 mm bullets used in the M-16 rifle.

An Army spokesperson claimed, “We want to be good stewards of the environment,” which will no doubt give comfort to the individuals targeted by the bullets, who will now be able to die in an environmentally friendly manner. Taxpayers have also been targeted by the campaign, since the new, tungsten composite bullets cost 16 times more than their standard-issue lead counterparts. This year the Army will spend an estimated $4 million to produce 50 million of the new eco-shells, and it hopes to make them standard-issue by 2005.

According to the Associated Press, “On one training range, a law on erosion prevents digging of troop fighting positions. A ruling on an endangered bird prohibits tree trimming and requires soldiers and their vehicles to stay on established trails at another.” Since when was a spotted owl more valuable than a soldier´s survival?

Caught between black berets and green bullets, it´s no wonder that so many bearers of the colors are turning in their pink slips.

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