According to Money Magazine (October 2012, p. 85), 68% of those polled (Republicans AND Democrats) think the United States should cut defense (military) spending. Military Times has reported on numerous occasions that the Department of Defense (DoD), Congress, and President Obama all want to cut personnel and retiree benefits, that is a fact. What are these geniuses thinking? What is 68% of the population, supposedly, thinking? You got me friends!
We have been at war with Al Qaeda, and others, for 13 years and our military, if not dead already, are worn out, exhausted, and not really appreciated, even though "thank you for your service" has become the "catch" phrase since 9/11. Our heroes in uniform, past, present, and future, put their families, health, and lives on the line every day ... for your freedom folks.
So now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, we are out of Iraq (for the time being, in mass anyway), and things are winding down in Afghanistan, we have nothing to worry about ... right? Military retention rates are at all time highs thanks to patriotism and a weak economy, so why not cut their (active duty, Guard, Reserves, and retiree) pay and benefits or, better yet, drum them out of the service altogether so we can save a few bucks? Forget those promises we (the government, recruiters) made about job security, lifetime healthcare, pensions, and other "retention" tools ... the threat is gone, over, history, so why not cut defense spending (that is shorthand for personnel and benefits? Do you really think the military (DoD) is going to give up any planes, tanks, ships, or helicopters?
I don't know about you, but I have a couple problems with that kind of thinking:
First, we, as a nation, made promises to our men and women in uniform and cannot change course now. That is immoral! Can you say integrity? Apparently not. Politicians and others can "talk the talk", but when it comes to keeping promises made to recruits, they DO NOT "walk the walk"! KEEP the promises you made (integrity) to those serving and those who have served. If you want to make changes, make them effective BEFORE future enlistees enlist, not after we obligated to and/or faithfully served our country.
Second, the president, Congress, and DoD ARE NOT focusing on fighting a few terrorists here and there, they are focusing on two very real, very large, very lethal threats ... CHINA (and their redheaded stepchild North Korea), IRAN, and Russia (again) thanks to their nutjob president, Vladimir Putin.
China is a military and nuclear superpower with BILLIONS of potential troops and Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear threat (beside having one of the most potent militaries in the Middle East), and is threatening one of the most unstable and economically critical regions in the world today ... ON A DAILY BASIS! Can you say OIL? How about nuclear holocaust? Israel? Are you people out if your freakin' minds?
So why not cut porkbarrel spending, pet projects, a bloated government full of useless programs and lazy workers (that is a generalization, there are many worthwhile programs and civil servants), or even cushy pensions for serving in Congress for a couple of years? Or why does the government not target the BILLION$ that goes down the drain every year due to FRAUD, WASTE? Because they do not care, memories are very short, and if there is not an immediate threat, citizens are selfish and want all the money to come to their way. That is human nature and means the politicians need to keep those voters happy so they can be reelected and receive those cushy pensions ... right?
In conclusion, our shortsighted predecessors cut defense spending after World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, and even Gulf War I, but guess what? That's right, we got caught with our pants down when the next conflict came along. Do you have any idea how much we waste as a nation drawing down and building up our military as a reaction to world events , or worse, elections? BILLIONS ... JUST LIKE THOSE BILLIONS OF CHINESE just a stones throw from the United States of America ... can you say Alaska (Sarah Palin can see Russia from her house after all)? What about Hawaii? There is a place in Hawaii called Pearl Harbor ... have you heard of it?
China recently launched their first aircraft carrier and their defense budget has been increasing by at least 12% annually for decades. Who do you think they are preparing for? Al Qaeda? North Korea? No, they are preparing to take on the largest superpower in the world ... U.S. ... and we are going to be caught with our pants down once again. Why? For a few more votes ... for a few more self-centered, shortsighted, ignorant morons ... that's right, we call them POLITICIANS (lawyers mostly and we all know what Shakespeare said about lawyers).
DO NOT FORGET TO VOTE! I am not going to tell you WHOM to vote for, but vote with your conscience, and, ABOVE ALL, vote for a strong military and hold your elected officials accountable for protecting the FREEDOM we in the military have worked so hard TO EARN and DEFEND. Vote for president in 2016 or you might just be voting for a Chinese Premier in 2020.
That's the end of that tune ... CombatCounselor...OUT!
Chris Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
This article can be published in its entirety with the permission of C.T. Sorrentino, aka CombatCounselor, 3rd Wave Media Group, and 3rd Wave Publications
Key Words: benefits, budget, China, cuts, defense, election, government, Iran, Korea, military, Obama, pension, personnel, politics, spending, Vietnam, voters, war, Osama bin Laden,
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