As a retired military officer, the announcement that retired General Colin Powell is supporting Obama for president made my stomach churn. In making whatever endorsement he was going to make, I would have hoped that Powell put aside his antipathy toward the Bush Administration and remembered that he is at least nominally a Republican. Evidently he did not see fit to do either. Hopefully, Powell's lame endorsement will only give the troops who now serve added motivation to vote-and not for Obama.
In casting your votes, you brave men and women need to consider several things that General Powell apparently has chosen to ignore. Other retirees, I hope you will consider the following in casting your votes too, in support of these great young men and women who now serve and lead our military. So much is at stake.
First and foremost, you surely must have a pretty good idea that Obama's plans for Iraq are not in your best interests. By pulling troops out prematurely, those who remain on the ground will be more vulnerable to attacks by an emboldened enemy. Ultimately, everything you put your lives on the line for could be for naught if Obama follows through with his plans for premature troop withdrawals.
Second, Obama, as an untested Commander-in-Chief with no military experience of his own, will use the military as a grand social experiment, much like draft dodger Bill Clinton tried to do. Remember him? Mr. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell?" The only reason Clinton didn't go further with his experiment in gay rights was that Senators in his own party, like Sam Nunn, would not support him. Nowadays, that's simply not the case anymore-the Sam Nunns who once provided the Democrats some moderation on the issues are long gone. And as you know, the gays have continued to press their agenda and have made great strides since the Clinton years. See Matt Barber's insightful article in this week's edition of Conservative Truth for more eye-opening information about Obama's plans for gays openly serving in the military. You're at ground zero on this; you're the ones who can best gauge the true impact on morale, readiness and combat capability that such actions will have, and you will have to bear the brunt of whatever new policies are put in place.
Third, there is little doubt that an Obama defense budget will be smaller-perhaps drastically smaller-than what we've had under Bush or even under Clinton. This will of course have a potentially negative effect on your pay, benefits and job security. Not to mention that it will obviously have an impact on your ability to achieve mission readiness, with fewer real-life training scenarios and exercises available due to budget cuts. New weapon systems that allow us to keep a technological edge with fewer troops will be delayed further or cancelled, impacting our current and future combat capabilities. At the same time, you will still be expected to do more (with less) in places like Afghanistan as well as Iraq. So, while your mission may stay at a high level on the international scene, the funding provided for that mission and related support functions may decline.
Fourth, you are fighting for freedom, the noblest cause on earth. However, an Obama presidency will set about to reverse our freedoms in many areas in the name of greater government control. It will be especially disheartening if, while you're serving bravely in places like Iraq to protect the fledgling democratic government, your home government is taking away more and more of your rights. By the time you get home, you may no longer recognize your country.
Finally, Obama the "world citizen" will not hesitate to lend you troops to UN-sponsored "peacekeeping" forces in places where, frankly, the United States either has no business being or could do a better job on its own. Darfur is one possible example; the Middle East is certainly another. As Obama's breathtaking lack of experience is felt not only here but around the world, dictators and thugs will be emboldened to create mischief that they would not have dreamed of doing with a Bush or McCain in the White House.
All signs point to this being a close election, no matter what the "drive-by" media are trying to tell us about Obama having the upper hand. The future of our strong military and our nation, as interrelated as they are, hinge mightily on this election. Treat your right to vote as the privilege that it is, and don't let anyone tell you that it's not important.