Mr. President, we’re back at it again. Your joint address to Congress was riveting stuff, really. It was like watching a caricature of great Machiavellian characters speak. I can’t tell if you’re attempting to be a satire of yourself or not. If you are, then you’re doing great work. I can talk about disliking who you are as a person until I die, but I digress. Let us get to the topic at hand. Where do you draw the line? When is enough, enough? Veterans are not political bargaining chips.
I’d really like to know. Earlier today, an interview aired where you told Fox and Friends, “They lost Ryan”, which referred to the military leaders and fellow SEALs involved in the raid in Yemen. Shame on you. The blood is on your hands Mr. President.
Allegedly, several of your aides told you that the raid shouldn’t go forward. Nevertheless, you decided to go ahead with the ill-advised raid without clear intelligence saying that you should. You, allegedly, didn’t skip dinner or even go to the situation room. What did you do? Eat and Tweet. That’s it folks, this is our president.
Not only did we lose Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, but 20 civilians lost their lives, and for what? Nothing. No actionable intelligence was acquired, no high-value targets were dispatched. Senior Chief Owens’ father, William Owens (also a veteran), said, “Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation.”
On February 8th, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “Anybody who undermines the success of the raid owes an apology and a disservice to the life of Chief Owens.” First, call any Senior Chief in the Navy ‘Chief’ and see what happens. Secondly, those of us who question the poorly planned raid that the president called for are not doing a disservice to Senior Chief Owens’ life. Politicizing his service and his death in the line of duty during an address to Congress is disgusting. Putting his wife on center stage and using her image to further your agenda is despicable. I’ll admit that seeing Mrs. Owens’ tears made my eyes water. I’ve seen numerous women cry at the thought of their recently deceased husband, son, or father. I’ve held dear friends in my arms while they cried over their loved one’s death. It is a powerful moment, and you took advantage of it for political gain. You touted the raid as this wildly successful thing, yet many sources claim otherwise. You owe an apology to the Owens family, and to all families who have lost loved ones overseas.
You said, “heroic veterans will get the care they so desperately need.” I have a pretty simple question for you, how? You allegedly are proposing an increase in the defense budget to the tune of $54 billion, while cutting many federal agencies by a combined total of $54 billion. With this increase, we’re looking at a defense budget that is higher than the next 13 countries combined. That is absolutely ridiculous. The defense budget needs to be cut. We need to reinvest in the education system and (I hate agreeing with you) rebuild our infrastructure. We have the tools we need to protect our interests, but we all know that you don’t actually care about that. You don’t actually care about veterans or service-members. This budget increase is about paying contractors and big businesses, not providing for us or increasing our pay. Your federal hiring freeze has resulted in vital services for service-members and veterans being put at risk. What do these things have in common: Centers for Child Development on bases worldwide, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Personnel Support Detachments? All are run on federal budgets and affected by the hiring freeze. We’re talking about veterans who are already struggling to receive healthcare and benefits they need. We’re talking about military families being stripped of affordable opportunities for childcare. We’re talking about service-members orders, pay, retirements, travel, etc. If you’re serious about helping our community, then help it. There are an overwhelming number of veterans, nationwide, who spend the night on the streets or in shelters. Numerous veterans are committing suicide on a daily basis. An astounding number of veterans are having to wait for, or are being outright denied, medical treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many veterans, myself included, are fighting wars inside their own heads. These may be caused by service, or exacerbated by it. The point is, the issues that have plagued our community for far too long are quite public. You don’t have to try very hard to see where you could start helping, but you don’t actually want to do that, right?
I would have some respect if you just owned and it said, “I don’t give a fuck about our veterans or service-members. They don’t make me money.”
And finally, “radical Islamic terrorism.”
Can we stop it with this already? Please? If you knew anything about Islam, you would know that it really isn’t much different from Christianity in America. We’ve got the KKK and white supremacy groups, they’ve got ISIS, Hezbollah, etc. Separate the religion from the nut jobs. I could say that people who bomb abortion clinics, Westboro Baptist Church, and the KKK are radical Christian extremists. Guess what, I’d be right. The crazies don’t make up the entirety of a religion, unless it’s a cult. I’m not a pro-religion guy in the slightest, but come on. Yes, these jihadist organizations waged war on the western world. We haven’t given them any reasons not to take up arms against us. You’re only worsening the problem by providing textbook recruitment materials for these extremist groups. They can pull up any of your speeches and show how much you hate them. Pretty simple concept, right? Your new national security adviser doesn’t like the term, so you probably shouldn’t use it.
I’ll get to the rest of your speech at a later date, but I felt this needed to be said.
Stop politicizing our community. Stop.
We are not a commodity to be used to earn brownie points from Americans who didn’t serve.
We are people.
We are Americans.
Stop treating us as if we’re otherwise.
Remember what we are, and what you aren’t.
We are veterans.