My son-in-law is getting set for deployment to Afghanistan. His departure is imminent, and while I am proud of the young man’s continuing service to this country, this being his second deployment, I am startled by the manner in which the current administration treats all our soldiers. The truth is that the Obama administration doesn’t even like the military, and except for instances in which they can be used as a campaign prop, they haven’t any regard for the men and women who volunteer to serve this nation. One Obama-friendly group has come out with its proposal for trimming military pay and benefits, and it’s shocking to realize how little regard they have for our service-members based on what they’re advocating. The Center for American Progress, a completely maniacal left-wing cohort of Obama’s, largely funded by George Soros, has actually suggested that our government should cut the pay and benefits of soldiers dramatically. It’s disgusting. It’s despicable. It’s another example of how the left doesn’t understand or appreciate our military men and women, but if Obama is re-elected, it’s probably the blueprint for what will happen. It’s time to consider the disastrous consequences of another presidential stand-down.
They’ve actually proposed cutting military retirement, and they’ve also proposed changing the rules for when one can begin drawing a military retirement. Rather than commencing retirement benefits upon retirement, the madcaps at the Center for American Progress are pushing the notion that benefits shouldn’t commence until 60. I want those of you who haven’t served in the military to think about this very carefully. If a young man or woman serves twenty years in the military, on average, it’s not like working in the civilian world for two decades. The abuses of one’s body, the toll it takes on one’s family, and the miserable conditions under which two decades of life are conducted is something for which there are no direct analogs in the civilian world. One person I know, a police officer, who works hard and is dedicated to public safety, likened his profession to the military, and I stopped and corrected him. There is a vast difference, and it comes down to this: Our service-members live under martial authority. It’s not like being a cop, much as I respect so many in that profession.
Let’s be blunt about it: If you are a police officer, and you arrive at a scene, and your Sergeant or Lieutenant tells you to carry out some ludicrous order that puts you in danger, you can refuse. The worst thing that can happen to you is that you will be fired. In garrison, or on the battlefield, a soldier really has no such discretion, because failing to follow orders can get you dead. You see, in the military, there really isn’t room for such discretion, and those who volunteer to serve have set aside the ordinary right to refuse all of us in the civilian world enjoy, in favor of the mission set forth by their commanders, but since they do not get to pick the term of their enlistments according to who is in command at the time, either nationally or locally, they simply must comply.
To get capable, smart, qualified people to do the jobs we ask our service-members to do in peacetime at their miserable rate of pay is hard enough, but multiplied and magnified by the rigors of war-fighting, and a simple existence under martial authority, we need to offer an enticement. That’s why we offer at least somewhat enticing retirement benefits, but this is also why the left, despite all their previous anti-draft protesting, is very much pro-conscription: They wish to be able to force people to serve in these conditions. Imposing the pay and benefits cuts that CAP proposes would assure that the United States would either impose a draft to fulfill its defense needs, or simply cease to defend the nation. Either is acceptable to leftists, but in truth, they’d like to have both.
Remember, if a young person 17-21 volunteers for military service, assuming they carry out a twenty year career, that means they will return to the civilian world in their late thirties or early forties, and despite the propaganda to the contrary, most will be effectively starting over. You see, very few specialties in the military actually translate directly to civilian uses. Working on artillery pieces doesn’t really translate to working on Fords. Some of the underlying skill-sets may, but the truth is that it’s not a simple transition in most cases. There aren’t really many positions for infantrymen in the civilian world. Therefore, you have a group of people transitioning into a civilian workforce who may well have delayed their higher education, and otherwise set aside those developments in order to protect us. Then, having completed two decades, they exit the military into a civilian workforce where they may be at significant disadvantage. There is discrimination against veterans in many cases, and they step into this world precisely in what ought to have been their peak earning years. The Center for American Progress thinks we should delay their retirement benefits until they’re sixty. The truth is, we should pay them upon retirement because it’s the ethical thing to do in helping them catch up, and in order to thank them for their honorable service.
I’m not going to touch the part about active military pay, lest I launch into a stream of profanities over CAP’s proposals, but I think it’s time we understand, all of us, that when we ask young men and women to serve, we’re asking that they do so in our stead. How much is that worth? As my son-in-law prepares to fly to a distant and God-forsaken land, to help a people who may not want it, and to defend them against their own, knowing that most deaths in that country are the result of our alleged allies turning on our people, I can’t help but reflect on my own military service, and all the things I saw. I wonder if the day will ever come when the American people will universally understand what it is we ask of these young people, and whether there will ever be a time when the left is willing to pay the costs of maintaining the defenses of the liberties they so blissfully enjoy in brutally indifferent ignorance. If Barack Obama is re-elected, the undue suffering of our men and women in uniform will increase dramatically. As I prepare to see my son-in-law depart on another deployment, we must take care of affairs here at home. We must prevent this.