Despicable even by this administration’s standards, the White House has decided to increase the financial burden on aging Alaskan World War II veterans by excising pension money from its outlined priorities for a new military appropriations bill. From McClatchy:
In a strongly worded message to Congress outlining its priorities for a military spending bill, the Obama administration today said it disapproved of including money for pensions for 26 elderly members of the World War II-era Alaska Territorial Guard.
The Guardsmen are among those assigned to protect Alaska from the Japanese during World War II.
The Army decided this year to no longer count service in the Guard in calculating the military’s 20-year minimum for retirement pay, although it still counts for military benefits. As a result, their pensions were decreased in January.
An estimated 300 members are still living from the original 6,600-member unit formed in 1942 to protect Alaska, then a territory, from attack. The 26 men have enough other military service to reach the 20-year minimum for retirement pay but would lose it if the Territorial Guard service doesn’t count.
You know, we went through this very same thing in March when the White House sent out what it later insisted was a trial balloon, suggesting that it was going to force combat-wounded veterans to pay for treatment of battlefield wounds through their own private health care coverage. The White House eventually reneged on that after criticism reached a fever pitch, and I hope that the president similarly flip-flops here as well.
Back in March, the administration hoped to save $540 million by having wounded veterans provide their own care. While, in this case, the exact number of pennies looking to be pinched at senior veterans’ expense hasn’t been divulged, the argument remains the same. We gave $900 million to Hamas after that group brutally murdered innocent Israeli women and children back in December of 2008. We passed a $787 billion so-called “stimulus” package committing $650 million to provide coupons for free digital television converter boxes, $335 million for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, $300 million for fancy electric golf carts, $400 million for research into the farce that is global warming and a whopping $8 billion on a Mag-Lev train for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. We’re preparing to spend trillions of dollars on health care reform and bankrupt our economy through cap-and-trade. Yet we cannot scrape together enough money to ensure that the few remaining members of the Alaska Territorial Guard can live the rest of their lives without additional stress?
Heck, instead of sending money to the son and daughter of Moammar Qaddafi, as the president would like, perhaps we could split that $400,000 evenly among those 26 elderly men in Alaska.
And how much does it cost the federal government to fly the president, his wife, and the entire entourage to Copenhagen so he can plead Chicago’s case for the 2016 Olympic Games (in which, of course, Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett’s old company has a stake)?
I think I summed things up back in March fairly well:
I don’t know about you, but I don’t even recognize this place anymore.
Could this be the same administration which touted the unfortunate situation at Walter Reed Medical Center as an indication of how the previous administration had somehow neglected our servicemen and servicewomen? Could this be the very same president who said repeatedly as presidential candidate, president-elect and president that, for our veterans, care shouldn’t stop at home? Heck, last I checked, I haven’t seen the president making the rounds at Walter Reed.
Instead, I’ve seen him drop charges on the terrorist animal who orchestrated the deaths of 17 brave Americans on the U.S.S. Cole, voicing to the press his intentions to do so before meeting with the families of those who were murdered.
Instead, I’ve read about how he completely disregarded the recommendations of Gen. David Petraeus, the military genius whose counterinsurgency techniques saved countless American and Iraqi lives, not to mention completely turning around a difficult war.
Instead, I hear about how he fully intends to release the unrepentant terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay knowing full well the high recidivism rate, placing the superficial overseas perception of this freshly-changed, laissez-faire America ahead of the knowledge that many of those previously released from the facility have fresh American blood on their hands.
Instead, I see that he was more than happy to send $130 billion after AIG posted $64 billion in fourth quarter losses, but has no qualms about forcing our fighting men and women, who have already sacrificed so much on the battlefield, to sacrifice more at home in the name of generating $540 million in revenue.
Say what you want about former President George W. Bush–I sure didn’t care for how he completely abandoned his free market principles during the latter half of his second term–but that man never abandoned our armed forces. Never. Not like this. President Bush spent a wealth of his time, both in front of and away from the cameras, in the waiting rooms and therapy suites at Walter Reed. More and more with each passing day, however, it seems as though our current president will not even shake a uniformed hand without a camera present. Moreover, when the cameras are turned off, he’s looking to pull the wallet straight out of their BDUs.
Rest assured as an American taxpayer, though, knowing that under Barack Obama’s healthcare plan, your hard-earned money will be destined for the needs of an exponentially growing family of illegal Guatemalan immigrants rather than to the married mother of two who, just a few weeks before, lost her arm to a roadside bomb in Kirkuk, Iraq while dutifully serving this country. Rest assured that the executives at AIG are spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer money on bonuses–blame the executives, of course, rather than the big-government legislators who chose to send good money after bad–while a family of six who has already sacrificed enough because of daddy’s five tours of duty face higher insurance premiums as daddy learns to walk again on his prosthetic legs.
Normally, I think about the utter dearth of principled leadership in this nation. Now, it seems, we’re getting a peek at our president’s principles, and they closely mirror those of his comrades in the Democratic Party — especially the disdain for the United States military.
After all, who can forget how well Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in 2004, made known his opinion of our servicemen and servicewomen?
Who can forget how Sen. Harry Reid, in April of 2007, undermined American force morale and gave comfort to our enemies by declaring, in his natural defeatist tone, that the war was lost?
And, of course, in a discussion of how Democrats constantly and consistently place party before country, especially where flag-draped coffins are concerned, Nancy Pelosi’s actions back in October 2006 cannot be overlooked. At that point before Gen. Petraeus’ troop surge, when the war in Iraq was looking worse and worse each day, the obstructionist Pelosi took it upon herself to open regional wounds by renewing decades-old discussion of legislation which would have officially recognized the 1915 Turkish slaughter of Armenians as “genocide.”
It didn’t matter to Pelosi that no living Turk under the age of 103 could have had Armenian blood on their hands, nor did it matter that diplomatic relations with Turkey were unnecessarily strained, nor that as a result Turkey recalled its ambassador from Washington and were looking to rescind, for good, overflight and base privileges essential to supply lines which protected American troops in harms way.
At that point, more than two years ago, the very politicians who had spent so much time, energy and money lambasting the Bush administration for not providing American troops with enough critical supplies and life-saving armor went out of their way to kick sand in the face of the leaders of Turkey, the very nation which permitted the vast majority of American supplies and armor to be collected and transported into Iraq. It was party before country, obstructionism based not upon responsibility but ideology, and done at the expense of common sense, and potentially at the expense of American lives.
Now, the very same group of people whose only election-year military policy revolved around the manufactured perception that President Bush somehow did not care for returning veterans are going out of their way to stick it to those soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who spilled their blood for this nation. I don’t get it. It doesn’t make any sense politically, as such an unconscionable move will undoubtedly have adverse consequences for anyone involved. It doesn’t make any sense fiscally, at least not when Congress just passed a bloated omnibus spending bill loaded with billions and billions in pork-barrel spending and left this matter without consideration. For the life of me, I cannot think of a valid reason to do this — so, that leaves an intentional slap to the face of those who don an American military uniform, a prospect which under normal circumstaces would be shocking, but less so considering the Democrats’ time-tested attitude toward our men and women in uniform.
You know, in the perpetual quest for relevance, print and television journalists alike have been looking for an overarching theme to associate with Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office. You see it across the political spectrum, and regardless of the cable channel or network on the television. Everyone’s looking for that great way to summarize the first moves of this historic presidency.
Most will argue that Obama’s first 100 days were defined by his reaction–sage or knee-jerk depending upon the source–to the economic crisis facing the nation. I’m not so sure that captures it all, though. For me, Obama’s attitude on everything from economic policy to domestic policy to foreign policy to the ongoing Global War on Terror can be boiled down to a single idea:
America. Against all odds, we continue to support and reward the worst and worthless while simultaneously adding to the scrutiny and burden upon our most honorable, most dutiful, most productive, patriotic and faithful. Now that’s Change We Can Believe In.
To this, I’d add that the president has only dignified the service of our currently-serving men and women in Afghanistan with only one single, solitary conversation with the lead general on the ground there, the very man he appointed. I’d add that he continues to waffle over sending needed additional forces to the region. I’d add that he has actually said that he is uncomfortable with the very concept of victory. And I’d argue that, in nine short months, he has done more to squander the very freedom, sovereignty and strength that so many Americans have fought, bled and died for than any other president in our nation’s history.
If you did not believe before that President Barack Obama views our military with contempt and our nation with scorn, consider the plight of those twenty-six men who served our country with honor, who have watched their number dwindle as the years have gone by, and who now face additional, wholly unnecessary financial challenges as they, too, face the fate they were all too willing to accept at the hands of the Japanese more than a half-century ago.
It sickens me. It should sicken you. Unfortunately, it’s just another example of a byproduct of an administration led by a president who fundamentally holds nothing but disdain for America and for those who put everything on the line to make America great.