Most legacies are written years after the record has been completed. Almost all politicians lie. They claim successes not their own and deny failures of their responsibility. But in the case of Obama and the Military, the record is quite clear. It may not have been apparent to party loyalists in 2008, but it can not be considered as anything but clear in light of the last 4 years of decisions.
Party loyalists have asked me how I could dislike this politician this much. They have asked me why I do. They have asked me whether I think Romney would reverse the ills of this President. Some party loyalists want to believe that they can "support the Troops" while voting for the current politician in chief, that he really isn't as anti-Military and anti-Veteran, as the majority of Troops and Veterans I know believe he is.
His record on the Military precedes his current position. As the junior Senator from Illinois, he voted against funding the Department of Defense and against funding the Troops in Combat, in the middle of Two Wars. In 2007, when the Senate got their demand to have General Petraeus ordered to Washington in the middle of a war he was turning around, the junior Senator from Illinois leaned back and chewed his gum and ignored the proceedings until he had a chance to give a campaign speech. When Soros' PAC, MoveOn,org attacked the General as "Betrayus," Obama couldn't find it in him to condemn the actions of his benefactor.
As chairman of the subcomittee on the War in Afghanistan, the junior Senator didn't go to the country, until he was campaigning for his current position. When media photographers were denied access to Landstuhl to visit wounded Troops, he cancelled the campaign stop. As the media retreated from the Petraeus Plan's Sustained Successes in Iraq, at the close of the 2008 campaign, the nominee could not find it in him to acknowledge the plan he opposed had worked, or that the General's plan and leadership was to credit for it.
But Obama campaigned against the War in Iraq, and claimed that he would make the War in Afghanistan his top priority. His first act in office was to sign an Executive Order to close Guantanamo within 1 year. It is still open. Instead he has funded a world class soccer field for the worst terrorists in world to play on, along with an arts program. He sped up an early release program for the terrorists and has pushed for the release of the top Taliban terrorists that are held there.
It took almost no time for Obama to ask for permission to begin charging Military Veterans and Retirees for their own health care. It was so outrageous that even Jon Stewart, a staunch supporter of the DNC, opposed it. Shinsecki, the former General that had stolen the Ranger's beret and proposed the end of Armored Personnel Carriers, and Obama's Secretary of Veteran's Affairs supported his plan to charge Combat Veterans for their own medicine. The plan was initially withdrawn, but passed later, quietly, under the Pelosi-Reid Congress.
Reports began to surface early in 2009 that the Global War on Terror was no longer to be used to describe our Current Conflicts, that it had been downgraded to an "overseas contingency operation." The Administration denied it when the story first broke, and the public outrage was heard. They blamed the misnomer on a low-level bureacrat. But a few months later, it began to be slipped into official documents. Obama loyalists even blasted this publication for not changing the name, as ordered (in their minds) by the POTUS.
When Islamists killed Our Troops at a Little Rock recruiting station, and at Fort Hood Texas, Obama couldn't be brought to call it Terrorism or even acknowledge it was carried out by Islamists. Instead Janet Napolitano put out a memo stating Veterans were potentially violent terrorists and a threat to Americans, with no mention of the Islamist Terrorists we are fighting at home and abroad.
He continues to call the Fort Hood attack "workplace violence," called the Times Square bombing a "lone wolf" attack despite the ties to the Pakistani Taliban.
Quietly, Pelosi, Obama, and Reid cut 20,000 Troops from the National Guard. No one noticed.
In the spring of 2009, he stated that he had defined a "new strategy" in Afghanistan, but when he fired General McKiernan and installed General McChrystal, later that year, he said it was necessary to finally write his strategy for Afghanistan. And when General McChrystal told him he needed more Troops to win, he waffled for several months, dithering away, devoting an hour a week attempting to figure out how to explain why in less than 12 months, he was no longer making it his top priority. While he dithered, the enemy grew bold. As he dithered, fatalities mounted. Current levels of violence rose from June to December of 2009, and remain there.
The French and Europeans were more supportive of the General that Obama had selected than was he. The French President urged Obama to support his General, and stepped up with more Troops before Obama even talked to his General.
In 2010, Bob Woodward came out with his book, claiming that Obama had never had a priority to win in Afghanistan, but from the very beginning had been looking to retreat.
But 2010 was also when Obama's appointee, Secretary of Defense Gates announced Obama's intention of cutting the DoD Budget by $100 Billion, and asked Congress to NOT give Troops more than the law required inflation based pay increase.
Before the new Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, took office, Obama had Gates ask for another $450 Billion in DoD budget cuts. He had 49,000 Soldiers cut from the Army. This year alone, 5,000 -10,000 of our most experienced NCO's will face a board to find out which of them will be thrown into the unemployment lines. As Veteran unemployment soars, and all unemployment climbs to 8.3%, more Troops are being tossed out.
When US Special Operations Snipers took out pirates that had been holding a US Civilian Captain hostage in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia, they saved an American life, but had used the ambiguity in their orders to justify their actions. Those SeALS (most likely) had done the right thing, not the guy in the White House, but he tried to have it both ways, claiming the credit, while couching his words.
He would be more aggressive and less willing to share the spotlight when SeAL Team 6 killed Osama bin Laden. He would claim to have acted decisively, despite later information that he had delayed the operation 3-4 times. He would claim that it was only his focus on finding bin Laden, when the intelligence that led to the location came from Guantanamo interrogations and intelligence programs that had been put in place under his predecessor. He claimed a share of the glory that implied he had personally gone door to door collecting intelligence in Pakistan, and fast roped into the compound himself, by himself, rather than joking it up at a White House dinner and playing golf while Our Warriors attacked.
To prove his greatness, he threw the actual source of confirmation under the bus. That doctor now languishes in a Pakistani jail because a US politician wanted to prove how smart he is. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban now prevent upwards of 250,000 Paki kids from vaccinations because the POTUS told the world that was how we got the word that OBL was holed up in Abbotabad. Other doctors providing humanitarian aid in Pakistan have been shot and killed, because it was more important to the Politician in Chief to run his mouth and prove his greatness, than to protect the sources of how we found and find information on our enemies.
But this was not enough. In 2011, Obama asked Congress to let him charge upwards of $2k/year to Military Retirees for their health care. He said personnel costs were rising and the Retirees needed to make up the difference. He first proposed this in the "Buffet Tax" and explained that "some Americans weren't paying their fair share." Panetta pushed it again in the 2013 DoD Budget proposal. He sent his political appointee, General Dempsey, to Congress to tell them that he could afford the new health care taxes. And of course he can. He'll be making more after the new tax, in retirement, than he makes as the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He won't be taking a pay cut on a shoestring budget, but getting a raise despite the new charges to retire.
And when the leaching of the DoD budget to Panetta's hometown looked to be nearing an end for Fort Ord, Obama declared it a National Historical monument while asking for more bases to be closed. Fort Ord is a model of why closing bases is a bad idea. Closed in 1994, the government will still be paying for land to be given away until 2019, and with the stroke of a pen, Obama made sure it will always to be on the government dole. But the act did not make a monument to the sacrifices of US Troops who fought in WWI or WWII, or trained for decades at the base. It was declared a monument because a Spanish explorer walked through the backside of the post before it became American soil. While Troops and Veterans pay full price to play on the golf courses the Army paid to build on the former Fort, the US Government is paying to tear down the vestiges of the military and make a park out of areas the local anti-military population wants.
And Obama-Panetta weren't finished. While Panetta charged the American people $32,000 every weekend to fly across the country for weekends on the left coast, he was pushing Congress to cut the DoD budget by $450 Billion dollars MORE while at the same time warning that it was Congress' fault for more cuts. And he was asking to end Inflation based pay raises to the Troops. He was asking to allow inflation to erode away the pay of the very Troops that are fighting our wars.
But they could not allow inflation alone to cut pay. He commissioned the 11th QDR to propose that Guard and Reserve monthly drill pay to be cut in half, along with their Retirement. His loyalists have claimed that it was the QDR, not the White House that proposed it, but the fact remains that Obama had the request sent to Congress. His appointees did not make that decision on their own accord. They had to have permission from Obama.
And cutting pay was not enough. Obama is now asking that Guard and Reserve Troops be saddled with 7 weeks of duty a year. What employer in their right mind would hire someone that will be gone 30% of the time? And if our "part-time" Citizen-Soldiers are finding it difficult to run a business now, how would they do so if they are gone so much?
It doesn't really matter that Panetta claims the Military is not becoming a hollow force or that he is "keeping faith" with the Troops. He is doing the opposite. He is gutting the military and misallocating funds for his personal weekends off and $26/gallon biofuels. He is using the DoD budget to subsidize "green energy" at 10 times the cost of existing, paid for, energy generation. And Panetta isn't doing that of his own accord but on the orders (or permissions) of the guy that appointed him.
Have no doubt, Panetta has power in Washington. The only place the Department of Defense directly pays a municipality is Panetta's former Congressional district, the same one that contains the airport he flies into every weekend on your dime. And that former base, Fort Ord, is now home to the "Panetta Institute."
Not since the 1970's has a President worked so ardently against the Military. And if Obama initiatives were to be authorized, the Military would be smaller than at any time prior to World War II.
Romney needs to weigh in on what he would do differently in regards to the Military, and the American people need to hold Obama accountable for what he has asked to be done to the Military. It is long past time that the War on Terror be a campaign issue, that the cuts to the Military, and abuses of Our Troops and Veterans be talked about on the campaign trail.
I don't like that I don't know Romney's positions on National Defense, that he is silent on the issue, but I do know that Obama is gutting the Military.
How Things went wrong in Afghanistan
The Troops are not your personal photoop Mr. President
Smallest payraise since WWII
Obama dithers on Libya - Against it before he was for it
Escalating Violence in Afghanistan - 2011
Retreating from Afghanistan - Hell or High Water
Cutting Generals; Installing Civilians
When will you stand up for Veterans
Cutting Troops in a Time of War?
Cutting more Troops?