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SavageHenry031145 karma

Sometimes war changes your outlook on life, and evolves you in ways that are shocking. For some guys, "the war" is the singularity around which their new/evolved outlook orbits.

It's very difficult to let the"old" you off the hook for having done things the "evolved" you finds... distasteful.

That shit is sneaky, too - pops up from time-to-time, usually when you'd rather be paying attention to something else.

SavageHenry031118 karma

I've got to correct you here, in case anybody without insurance reading this gets the wrong idea:

Docs love self-pay patients. No wrestling with the government or an insurance company to get paid, no crazy paperwork, etc....just see the patient, get paid. Hell, one place I work is 8 months behind in getting paid by my state's Medicaid. Those docs wish less patients had "insurance".

So, if you're reading this, YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN GET SEEN WITH NO INSURANCE. Go to an Urgent Care. Call a Family Practice. Tell them you'll be paying out of pocket. Some bigger groups/companies even offer payment plans. In my area, a basic visit runs somewhere between $75-$150. Fixing the same problem at an ED can cost $500-$1000.

Also, be upfront (and nice helps, too) with the staff. Lots of us spent periods of time poor/in school/without insurance. We've got drawers full of discount cards for prescriptions, we know which pharmacies are cheaper, and we'll remind the doc to raid the sample cabinet/keep cost in mind when rx'ing a treatment.

Signed,

Your Friendly Ghetto Paramedic who moonlights at an Urgent Care.

SavageHenry03119 karma

what could have happened if we gave 5% of the military budget to some of the amazing NGOs operating in Afghanistan, and didn't try to defeat the Taliban before attempting a serious development effort.

I've seen a similar thing done during the early days of the Liberian Civil War, and it was a disaster.

The warlords would just show up wherever the NGOs were operating, take their stuff, and do whatever with it. Some warlords (the smart/decent ones) would give stuff away to the people in their area. The assholes would sell it at vastly inflated prices. This led to a splintered local power structure, with different "governments" every few city blocks. Large municipal services (water, power, etc.) were interrupted constantly due to one warlord holding another's area hostage. Eventually a lot of that stuff had to be rebuilt. It was pretty heartbreaking to see what happened to the average person in that kind of environment.

Now, I'm no expert on international relations or anything, I'm just a dumbass old Marine grunt. But it seems to me that it's a lot better in the long term to have stability (even a monopoly on force) in an area before you start giving out chow and medicine to people.

SavageHenry03119 karma

Dr. Brin, I don't have any questions, and I (currently) lack the education to talk meaningfully about your work

But

I want to thank you for writing Startide Rising and The Uplift War. I read those books over a decade ago and I still think about them often. Your work has made me examine over and over what it means to be a sentient creature, and ponder my place on the food chain.

Every time I see a chimpanzee, I think of Fiben Bolger sitting alone in a worn out spacecraft, just waiting for the fight to start - waiting like I used to do when I was a grunt. Gets me in the guts sometimes, even now.

Ladies and Gents reading this comment - those books are science fiction The Way It's Supposed To Be Done. If you haven't yet - go read some of David Brin's work. It's effing good.

SavageHenry03113 karma

As a guy who's spent rather more of my life than I wanted to in dangerous places where nasty things are regular occurrences, I noticed a common thread in many people I met:

There is a constant, humming, background assumption that the US can do anything. Right decades of wrongs to the satisfaction of all parties? Easy. Lift countries/cultures out of pre-industrial feudalism and plop them comfortably into the Information Age? Sure thing, it'll be done by lunch....maybe give us until tomorrow morning if you don't want anyone offended or disenfranchised, okay?

There's this....belief....that if the US doesn't do these things, it's because we're somehow bad or selfish or wrong. This includes those instances when we try our level best (and some of us die trying, as a matter of fact) but fall short of everyone's ideal solution.

Granted, not everyone, everywhere thinks like this. However, it's prevalent enough that I, a dumbass grunt who'd never been to college and was just out of my teenage years, noticed it. No matter where I went, I saw that everybody loves their children, most people want peace and basic freedoms (as defined by them), and a lot of folks had an idealized notion of what US involvement in their affairs would mean.

It's a big fucking problem.

Yes, the US sometimes does nasty shit to people who don't deserve it. Innocents are harmed - I have seen it with my own eyes. It's a decent country as far as sole-remaining-superpowers go, but it's faaarrrr from perfect. There is a lot of bad that comes with the good.

I think that gets magnified when people realize that US foreign policy (especially the kind that involves guys like me with belt-fed weapons and close air support) doesn't live up to their idealized fantasy-version of How Things Should Be.

I don't know what portion of blame for this is belongs to who (whom?), or if it's even a productive thing to think about.

I do know that this unfortunate belief exists, though, and it's rarely mentioned or accounted for.

My $0.02, worth nearly what you paid for it.