By Mike Cronin
Six months ago, Military Times reported that morale in the military is waning. The article sums up the reasons thusly: “Today’s service members say they feel underpaid, under-equipped and under-appreciated.” Of course, feeling underpaid and overworked would sap anyone’s morale, but that last bit, feeling underappreciated, is key.
Today is supposed to be about celebrating our independence and our freedoms. While we certainly capitalized on the gift of independence from Britain our founders bestowed on us, we are regressing on the freedom front.
Everywhere you turn, there is a law or rule or tax that does nothing to protect our rights. Protecting individual rights is the only proper purpose of a government meant to function under the consent of the governed. Instead, we are shackled with millions of pages of petty proscriptions and ruinous regulations. Instead we are creating a dependent class.
Service men and women joined to protect those freedoms, not to watch them erode.
On top of that, our military has been commanded to fight wars with a proverbial hand tied behind its back (Vietnam, Iraq II, Afghanistan) against enemies we don’t care to name (War on Terror, War on Drugs); “led” by politicians who haven’t served and don’t respect the Constitution and the rule of law.
Worse, our military has been commanded by our elected politicians to fight wars at the cost lives, and cut spending at the same time, while being prohibited from employing the most direct methods of saving those funds (e.g.. base closures). Closing bases costs jobs, and thus votes, to those self-same politicians. Thus, the life of the service member fighting abroad means less than the job of the base employee working at home. How’s that for a morale killer?
The bureaucrats in the Pentagon are left with the alternative of achieving spending cuts by cutting pay, benefits, and/or people, and “consolidating” services…while we are still at war!
By all means, celebrate Independence Day today. We remain an independent and sovereign nation. But think twice when you are told we celebrate our freedom today, because that freedom is eroding, and our service members know it.