Time to Be Angry with Congress About All Things Military

I’ve been angry for a long time, according to my husband.

With whom? Well, not with him, or you, but oh those men and women in Congress have me shaking with it. I read a report quoting Senator John McCain that “of course [former U.S. Senator Chuck] Hagel will be confirmed” as the new Secretary of Defense in President Obama’s administration. But that those who have been attacking Hagel and refusing to confirm him, were doing so because he: (1) condemned President George W. Bush for the Iraq War and the reasons for the invasion, and that (2) Hagel isn’t conservative enough for those to the far right such as U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – but that of course after all the hearings and kerfuffle they were going to confirm him anyway.

Well that just made me SO angry.

While Congress is off on yet another vacation –- a vacation from posturing, speechifying all sorts of twaddle, grandstanding and making sure their Easter Egg tie is brighter than the next guy, I have to ask what is going on in our military community? We are careening head long into sequestration, civilian workers for the Department of Defense are facing furloughs and a 20% cut in pay; family support programs are already suffering; training is being cancelled; deployments are being lengthened for some and stopped for others. Some of our elected officials are saying we should just let all this happen.

In the midst of all this, we have 535 men and women (aka our congressman and senators) who have made dramatic pronouncements, shed crocodile tears, and thanked the men and women of the military for their service on camera, while doing absolutely NOTHING for that community. We are again being used simultaneously as both stage dressing and whipping boy, hauled out with flags flying and medals flashing in the sun to be paraded about while chest thumping politicians babble about being prepared for anything; and then told we are wasteful, redundant and not needed in the modern world. Politicians have their pictures taken with multiple amputees and with tears shining in their eyes proclaim with a catch in their voice that nothing is good enough for these brave men and women, all the while slinking out of town and refusing to face the future our  wounded really face!

This has gone past Tricare premiums or pharmacy restrictions; the fat has been cut, we are heading into muscle and bone. When we start cutting maintenance, restricting ammunition for training, and even cutting training time before sending men and women into what they euphemistically call “harms way” we are, as U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno remembered, hollowing out the force.

I remember that force. We were new to the military life and watched as cut after cut hit like hammer blows. But we weren’t at war then! We are still at war now! I know that’s a terribly inconvenient fact to the civilian world – so sorry to bother you, but we still have thousands of troops in Afghanistan. I know it’s awkward, but our service men and women need things like boots, bullets, bandages, food. Their families are in need as well, of support networks, of certainty.

Yes, this all makes me very angry. What about you?

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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