Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Seriously?

 
When it comes to the office of the President of the United States, I shy away from making negative comments. This goes back to an earlier time when the President, regardless of party, was held in high regard – or at least in higher regard than today.

Our military is so different from other countries – in particular, our military has at the head, a civilian who is the President. Within the military community, there is a rule that you do not criticize anyone in your chain of command up to and including the President. If you do, you know the hammer is going to come down on you – hard! We are not a political organization. This does not, however, mean that individuals in the military do not have strong philosophical, religious or political opinions. You just learn to keep them to yourself. Once you return to civilian life this business of criticism gets a bit murky. The rule of thumb would be: When in doubt, don’t.  

I will continue to make this my practice despite the fact that I have many serious issues with our current president, not the least of which is his disdain for our military.

Just this past week I, along with many of you, experienced another peek into the attitude our president has toward our military. Having spent 34 years wearing the uniform, I get a bit sensitive when it comes to those who have willingly placed themselves in harm’s way for the 310 million Americans that reside in these 50 States.

In keeping with quoting from reliable sources and not wanting to take anything out of context, I present the following portion of an interview with President Obama the other day. The discussion centered on the federal budget and the need to cut the military’s portion by $500 billion.

“Even if the cuts take effect, Obama said, the Navy's elite commandos need not worry.

‘We're going to do what we need to keep our SEALs operating. They are the point of the spear in our battle against terrorism,’ he said. ‘We're not going to see our SEAL teams impacted. We need them to keep us safe.’

“He said he isn't bothered by charges from a political action committee called the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, founded by Scott Taylor, a former SEAL from Virginia Beach that accuses Obama of taking too much credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden last year.

‘I don't take these folks too seriously,’ Obama said. ‘One of their members is a birther who denies I was born here, despite evidence to the contrary. You've got another who was a tea party candidate in a recent election. This kind of stuff springs up before election time.’

“He described the bin Laden raid, carried out by Virginia Beach-based Navy SEALs, as ‘an example of the United States government working as it should to protect the American people.’” (Kate Wiltrout, The Virginian-Pilot, Aug 21, 2012).

I find this to be most interesting! Scott Taylor, a former Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, Land), a special operations force, has spoken out concerning this administrations trumpeting of the take down of Osama bin Laden. The SEAL Team that performed the task was named, and individuals associated with this operation were identified. A Pakistani doctor who aided our guys in finding bin Laden is now serving more than thirty years in a Pakistani prison because our leaders spilled the beans. This should not have happened! Who will want to step up and help us in the future if they are uncertain if our leaders can keep their egos in check and their mouths shut?

As a rule, special ops guys do not seek glory and fame. There are always exceptions, but they are few in number. So for a former Navy SEAL like Scott Taylor to speak out against the administration, and who was on the mission that got bin Laden, it had to be serious indeed. The President’s response when asked about Mr. Taylor’s criticism is stunning. “I don’t take these folks too seriously,” Mr. Obama said. Seriously? You don’t, Mr. President? You are the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of America. Ours is the finest military the world has ever known. And the Navy SEALs are arguably the best of all. And you don’t take them seriously?

Let me remind you of this pertinent fact. The men and women of our military, regardless of political stripe, will defend you, Mr. President, to the death. They will be loyal to you as their Commander in Chief even when you are not loyal to them. You, sir, hold their lives in your hands. They will serve you and serve you well, and not once will they blink. That is why the United States of America has been and continues to be the greatest nation on earth.

Mr. Obama, you are our president, duly elected. But when you disrespect our warriors, you disrespect all Americans for they are our sons and daughters, husbands and wives. Quite frankly, sir, we deserve better.

At this point I will simply say: The presidential election on November 6th is seventy days away.

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