The President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of the military. Consequently, it is helpful if he has served in the military. But if he has not served it is essential that the president at least show that he respects, appreciates, and supports the military. Men and women who are called on to sacrifice their family lives, put themselves in harm’s way, and even give their lives to keep our country safe and free deserve the respect, appreciation, and support of all Americans, especially the president who is their commander-in-chief. Unfortunately, military members, veterans, and their families are not getting the respect, appreciation, and support they deserve from this president and his administration.
In his book Duty, Bob Gates, former Secretary of Defense for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama tells of the huge chasm that existed between White House staffers, including the president, and the military. The chasm was worsened by the fact that none of the president’s key advisors in the White House had ever served in the military or even run a major organization of any type. Consequently, they had no understanding of what could reasonably be expected of the military, the logistical difficulties of complying with the president’s directives, the effect allowing and even promoting open homosexuality in the ranks would have on morale and operational effectiveness, and the harmful effects of constant deployments on military families. But their lack of understanding was only part of the problem. The bigger problem is that the president’s advisors are all career politicos. Hence, not only do they not understand the effects of their actions on military personnel and their families, they don’t care. They are concerned with politics and politics only.
According to Gates, the sense among military leaders is that the Obama administration makes military decisions on the basis of political considerations rather than military effectiveness, a perception that causes top military leaders to mistrust the president and his advisors who, in turn, mistrust them. When members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff advocate for actions that contribute to the achievement of military goals in Afghanistan and other hot spots, President Obama and his key advisors accuse them of trying to box the president in politically. In short, as Commander-in-Chief, President Obama is trying to command a military that does not trust him and that he, in turn, does not trust. The feeling among top military leaders is that President Obama is 100 percent politician—a man comfortable with campaigning but not with governing and certainly not with serving as Commander-in Chief. As a result, when Bob Gates left the Obama administration the trust gap between the White House and the Pentagon was broad and growing; a fact that bodes poorly for military morale and operational effectiveness.
With what the American military has been through over the past 20 years and all the sacrifices and contributions they have made, Barack Obama has no reason to mistrust the military services he is supposed to command. But the military, on the other hand, has a laundry list of reasons for mistrusting the Commander-in-Chief. Examining some of the reasons why military members, military families, and veterans do not trust President Obama and his advisors is a worthwhile and edifying undertaking.
For example, in spite of the continual deployments, absurd rules of engagement, and mounting casualty rates, the President continues to show his appreciation for the military by cutting the defense budget to dangerously low levels. His draconian cuts have resulted in a Pentagon budget that is a slap in the face to active-duty and retired military personnel. Here are some highlights from the Pentagon’s proposed budget for 2015, a budget forced on the military by President Obama’s cuts:
- Limiting pay increases to just one percent for fiscal year 2015.
- Cuts in basic allowances for housing.
- Reductions in the number of commissaries available to active-duty personnel and veterans.
- Major reductions in force in which career military personnel will be retired early while others will be involuntarily separated from the military.
- Increases in the cost of insurance (e.g. increased co-pays, deductibles, and enrollment fees for Tricare health insurance).
- Elimination of Tricare Prime—the managed care option. This leaves military retirees only the fee-for-service option for healthcare.
These are just examples of how the president is cutting the military’s budget. The list could go on. What these various cuts and others that are not listed here boil down to is this: the Obama administration is expecting active-duty military personnel, military families, and veterans to do more while being paid less and while accepting fewer benefits. For example, the Pentagon’s proposed budget reduces the buying power of an active-duty non-commissioned officer with a spouse and two children by $4,993 per year. A mid-grade officer with a wife and two children will see a reduction in buying power of $5,890 per year. What is even worse about these cuts is that the savings are not being put toward reducing the national debt or deficit. Rather, they are being transferred into the burgeoning budgets of social programs favored by President Obama and his minions. In other words, the family budgets of men and women who put their lives on the line to serve and protect America are being cut to finance idle people who make their living playing the system and living off of government entitlements, people who contribute nothing to improving the economy and even less to keeping America safe.
Barack Obama is returning the U.S. military to the bad old days when enlisted personnel qualified for food stamps. His only interest in the military seems to be using it to help build a dependable and dependent constituency of homosexuals and women who think they want to serve in combat. Here is my answer to President Obama and his anti-military advisors in the White House. Let’s just turn the military over to homosexuals and women who want to serve in combat and encourage heterosexual men to choose career options that do not involve the military. Then when we are ruled by China or, worse yet, some radical Muslim mullah, Barack Obama will finally have established the presidential legacy he is so keen to have.