Times Are Changing — And Will Our Military Pay the Price?

Written by Jerry Curry on November 3, 2013

Since the Revolutionary War, Virginia has been the titular home of America’s Armed Forces which brings to the state myriad Defense Contractors, their representatives and thousands of defense related jobs. The Pentagon is located in Virginia, as is the huge Navy Yard at Norfolk and countless Army and Air Force installations are scattered throughout the state.

All these installations are manned by military personnel and most of them have families living in Virginia. It can be said that as goes America’s Armed Forces, so goes military spending in Virginia as well as the spending at military and military support facilities all across the nation.

When the nation’s Defense budget is large those working at the bases and military facilities are flush with money, and all the little and big stores and local businesses enjoy the good life. If the Defense budget is cut in Virginia you can be sure Defense spending is reduced nationwide.

But this depends on who is sitting in the White House as Commander-in-Chief. For the last five years the actions of the President and the Democrat Party have been directed toward weakening and shrinking the size of America’s armed forces. In the words of the old folk song, “The times they are a changing.”

The nation went through this before, in the administrations of Presidents Carter and Clinton. The results were the same. Military readiness crashed. The Navy’s ships were unmanned and rotting in port. The Air Force didn’t have enough repair parts to put a full squadron of planes in the air at any one time. The Army and Marines were improperly trained and outfitted and didn’t have enough boots to effectively put them on the ground anywhere, let alone in a war zone. And our friends and allies doubted our reliability.

Isn’t it interesting that at a time when U.S. Military forces are being drastically undermined and dangerously shrunk, that non-defense civilian-military forces are being greatly expanded. How is this possible?

The Pentagon doesn’t have enough money to recruit, train and support the nation’s military, but federal departments like the Department of Homeland Security have more than enough money to create, outfit and equip their own civilian armies, from scratch.

Civilian pseudo-armies have sprung up in many of the federal government’s non-military departments and agencies. We don’t have enough money to keep our military trained and ready for deployment, but we have enough money to create civilian pseudo-armies that do not report to the Congress or to the Pentagon.

For what purpose are these civilian armies being created? It can’t be to deploy them overseas to fight alongside our armed forces in wars like the one in Afghanistan; we have contractors who do that. No, these civilian armed forces are meant to fight within the continental limits of the United States.

And who is their enemy? Basically there are three possibilities. First, they can be used to fight terrorists who sneak into our country to kill innocent Americans. That isn’t being done. Second, they could be used to interdict illegal aliens infiltrating our borders. That isn’t being done either. And third, they could be used to control and harass American citizens at the beck and call of the federal government, much as pseudo-legal DHS SWAT teams now do across the nation with impunity; but to successfully pull this off the nation’s military forces must be neutered, which seems to be the plan.

As best I can determine, the White House has fired more high ranking generals and admirals in the last two years than in the past fifty years combined. The cause of their retirement is less than clear. The Pentagon suggests that perhaps they may have been involved in improper relationships, whatever that means, or they have been too openly critical of Administration policy. This is code for their refusing to be “Yes” men.

If they do as told without questioning, even when they know what they are being asked to do is wrong, they will be rewarded with a promotion. If they insist on modifying their instructions and doing what is right, they will get fired.

Clarity of purpose and definition of what is required to do to win, matters. Both Congressional Democrats and Republicans say they want to avoid the deep Defense budget cuts scheduled to take place next year, which amount to about $20 billion. Entitlement spending is scheduled to remain close to where it is now.

But war is not a zero sum proposition. Just because entitlement spending goes up, doesn’t mandate that defense spending goes down. This nation shouldn’t increase or limit the number of soldiers, aircraft, aircraft carriers and submarines deployed around the world based on entitlement spending requirements or whether taxes have been increased or decreased.

Defense spending should be determined solely by the nation’s national defense needs, not simply to balance arbitrary budget requirements. Each soldier, sailor or airman needs to know, down to the last one, that their President and Congress will not cavalierly send them off to risk their lives or to die on some irrelevant foreign battlefield for some extraneous cause based on a budget.

Now is the time for senior admirals and generals to stand up, speak up for the troops they lead and tell Congress and the President in no uncertain terms that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in the Middle East are not being properly trained, equipped and led, especially in places like Benghazi and Afghanistan.

Their Politically Correct rules of engagement are wrong. They should be allowed to blow away any foreign soldier who even looks like he’s about to fire on American troops or on our allies. If a mistake is made and an innocent is killed, as best as is possible restitution should be made. But there should be no second guessing of our soldier’s actions.

Our senior generals and admirals would do well to remember the words of German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoeller when speaking of the NAZIs. “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out … Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

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General Jerry Ralph Curry (D.Min.) is a decorated combat veteran, Army Aviator, Paratrooper and Ranger. He enlisted in the Army as a Private and retired a Major General. For nearly forty years he and his wife Charlene have served this country both in the military and while he was a Presidential political appointee.