"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Americans Break Promise with the Military? Or the Other Way Around?

I've watched the budget "debate" unfold up until today, when Congress passed a military retiree pay cut and sent the bill to be signed by the President.  During that time I've also talked with average Americans about their support of cutting from the paychecks of military retirees, and those discussions reinforced my previous view.  Many Americans simply do not care about keeping their promise to those who wield violence in their names.  Somehow they have internalized false messages rather than facts, as they seemingly do every election, and have come to see military pensions as having caused the deficit and even the downfall of Detroit.  Everything must be on the table they say, repeating that message like some farm animals repeat "four legs good, two legs bad!"  But what is most striking is how easily they dismiss the idea of keeping good on your promises.

It is as if the average American has found a much more destructive way to spit on the troops, after they come home from war.  The real shame of it all, is the lack of trust that comes from breaking promises.  That lack of trust is dangerous for America.

To be fair, the military makes a promise too.  That's what creates the contract, and there are services that must be rendered to earn military retirement benefits.  You know, to well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which you enter.  Military members promise to support and defend the constitutional rights of Americans, and to not violate those rights even when so ordered and even when their career, their convenience, and their liberty is on the line.  Doing the right thing is difficult, just as resisting the urge to legally steal from somebody else is difficult when the financial chips are down.  Of course, it is apparent that few in the military make good on those promises.  The National Security Agency (NSA) violates the rights of Americans by the millions on a daily basis.  More frighteningly, the military fails its oath when ordered to assassinate American citizens without charge or trial.  So has the military been faithful in delivering services rendered?  Can it possibly be faithful when it kills innocent Americans and deprives them of life without so much as their American right to a jury trial?

Perhaps this breaking a promise with those who serve in the military, is a result of the military first breaking its promise to America?

That's not at all what I hear from average Americans, but it would be a reason I would understand.  Sadly, it's not mentioned by those Americans who support the theft of military pensions.  What I have found is that the lack of trust comes from a mutually shared lack of morality.  Americans care as little for their rights as those who serve in their name, and are just as quick to break their word for their own benefit.

Still, this latest legislative move won't help build trust between the People and those who promise to support and defend their constitutional rights.  It won't help defend this nation, and it won't help defend our rights that are being savagely attacked on a daily basis.  It will not help fix a military that is ethically and professionally in critical need of being repaired.

This is a very bad development in a sea of very bad developments.

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