Tag Archives: US military

Trump exhibits ignorance

By JOHN KANELIS

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump’s ignorance of military matters is well-known, thoroughly chronicled and has become the talk of the planet.

But then the commander in chief said today that rank-and-file enlisted men and women love him, but that the generals and admirals at the top of the chain of command well … think a lot less of him.

“I’m not saying the military’s in love with me,” Trump said. “But the soldiers are.

“The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t, because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy, but we’re getting out of the endless wars, you know how we’re doing.”

That was his response to a question today at a press conference about statements attributed to him in The Atlantic article, the one in which he reportedly called injured service personnel “losers” and “suckers.”

Trump’s astonishing, jaw-dropping ignorance drew a sharp rebuke from retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a Vietnam War combat veteran who led troops into battle during the Persian Gulf War.

McCaffrey noted that the individuals at the general grade officer level themselves came up through the ranks. Many of them saw combat as junior-grade officers; they suffered injury; they suffer from PTSD. Those individuals, Gen. McCaffrey noted correctly, are adamantly opposed to going to war.

And for the commander in chief to suggest they are in bed with weapons makers is as disgraceful a statement that McCaffrey said he has ever heard come from a commander in chief.

It’s instructive, too, that Trump would say such a thing in the wake of the blowback from The Atlantic article that attributes astounding comments from Trump about those who have sacrificed so much in defense of the nation.

To my eyes and ears, what Trump said today about the general-grade officers, alleging greed is pushing them into continuing to fight “endless wars” only validates the reporting that The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has provided.

The commander in chief’s ignorance about military matters, as Gen. McCaffrey has noted, makes him a menace to our national security.

Wanting next POTUS to rescind transgender ban

Donald Trump took office as president and began issuing a flurry of executive orders, even though he criticized Barack Obama for his use of executive authority when he was president of the United States.

One of the orders he issued revoked an Obama order that allowed transgender Americans to serve openly in the U.S. military. Trump listened to his base of supporters and rescinded the previous order.

He is now getting his re-election campaign ramped up. Many of the Democrats seeking to succeed him want to yank the transgender ban off the books and allow those patriotic Americans to don the uniform of their country while serving in the military.

I fully support lifting the ban. Even the Washington Examiner, a newspaper friendly to the Trump agenda, has urged the president to take a second look at the transgender ban.

Trump offered a number of dubious assertions seeking to justify his decision to rescind the previous executive order. The worst of those reasons had something to do with the money that the Defense Department would be spending on personnel who would be in various stages of what is called “gender reassignment.” The counter argument to that notion, of course, came from those who noted the enormous amount of money the Pentagon spends on medication to correct maladies such as, oh, “erectile dysfunction.”

Without doubt, though, the most ironic aspect of Trump’s decision dealt with his denying Americans’ desire to serve their country when, back in the day, Trump avoided/evaded such service during the Vietnam War. He secured the now widely derided medical exemption relating to alleged “bone spurs” that Trump said he suffered on his feet.

For this president to deny Americans the opportunity to serve, which they seek to do voluntarily, is ridiculous on its face.

Furthermore, I equate the military transgender ban with the idiotic Bathroom Bill that the 2017 Texas Legislature considered enacting. You’ll recall that one, yes? The Senate approved a bill that required people to use public restrooms in accordance with their gender at birth; it was meant clearly to discriminate against transgendered individuals. The Texas House, led by then-Republican House Speaker Joe Straus, killed the idea in a special session.

Whoever succeeds Trump — whether it’s after this upcoming election or the next one — has vowed to restore some justice to our military ranks. My fervent hope is that the opportunity comes sooner rather than later.

Oops, those troops aren’t exactly ‘coming home’

Donald Trump declared his intention to bring our troops “home” from Syria. He made a surprise announcement this past week that he would pull about 1,000 U.S. military personnel off the bloodstained battlefield.

He didn’t want our men and women to fight in “endless wars.”

OK, so the president followed through … with part of his plan.

The troops have left Syria, except that fewer than half of them are going “home.” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that about 700 troops are headed for Iraq.

I’ve commented already about the idiotic decision to abandon our Kurdish allies in the fight against the Islamic State. What is troubling now is that the president’s decision to leave one battlefield is apparently going to put our troops onto another field of battle, where soldiers are still dying.

I concur with Trump’s view that we shouldn’t be fighting in “endless wars” with no conclusion anywhere to be seen. There should be careful consideration, though, on how you do it. Such a plan needs to be crafted with intense consultation with national security, intelligence, military and diplomatic advisers. It doesn’t appear that the president did any of his seemingly mandatory due diligence prior to making this decision.

What’s more, he is sending troops to Iraq?

What the … ?

Texans play politics with hurricane relief

Congress managed to cobble together a bipartisan spending relief package that is going to send $15 billion to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

It wasn’t unanimous, though. Indeed, of the 80 House members who voted against the package, four of them reside — get ready for this one — in Texas! Four members of Congress who live in the very state that suffered the grievous wind and flood damage voted “no” on the package.

Most disappointing of all for yours truly is that one of them is GOP Rep. Mac Thornberry of Clarendon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Thornberry’s no vote was because the Harvey relief was tied to increasing the debt ceiling — which the House and Senate had to do to avoid the government defaulting on its debt. Thornberry also said the bill would harm the U.S. military by freezing some funds. I mean, it’s not as if there are now plans to decommission aircraft carriers, or ground strategic bombers, or take weapons out of the hands of our fighting men and women.

Of course, as the Texas Tribune reported, none of the Texas House GOP members represent districts in the direct path of Harvey’s onslaught, which I suppose gives them some political cover for the votes they cast.

I used to believe that major disaster relief was a given in Congress. A region of the country gets clobbered, smashed, devastated by Mother Nature and the rest of the country rallied to its side. Americans stepped up to render assistance. That included members of the House and Senate.

No more. Now they attach qualifiers. They equivocate. They seek ways to offset the cost.

As the Tribune reported: “I am not against voting for relief programs to help hurricane victims, but I am against raising the public debt ceiling without a plan to reduce deficits in the short term, and eliminate them in the long term,” (Rep. Joe) Barton said in a statement. “The money we vote to spend today will have to be paid back by our children and grandchildren.”

Thornberry, chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, cited an aversion to short-term funding measures that he said harmed the military.

Barton, with that statement, managed to parse his opposition to some weird level that no one who is trying to rebuild his or her life is going to understand, let alone support.

Nice.