Does disdain for the military matter anymore?
If Barack Obama's candidacy is any indication, it does not. Sen. Obama gave a graduation speech at Wesleyan University on Sunday, May 25. In it, he praised students for their public service. He also asked them to forego the business world in favor of careers in public service. "I ask you to seek these opportunities when you leave here, because the future of this country – your future – depends on it. At a time when our security and moral standing depend on winning hearts and minds in the forgotten corners of this world, we need more of you to serve abroad. As president, I intend to grow the Foreign Service, double the Peace Corps over the next few years, and engage the young people of other nations in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity."
Notice anything missing in that list of public service jobs Obama will push?
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How about the men and women who protect us abroad?
Obama's brash omission of servicemen and women shouldn't be a surprise. After all, this is the man who stated in February 2007, "We ended up launching a war (in Iraq) that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged, and to which we have now spent $400 billion and has seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted." This is the man who employed Demond Mullins, a radical ex-Marine who has slandered the troops as adulterers and murderous occupiers. This is the man who, in August 2007, remarked, "We've got to get the job done [in Afghanistan] and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."
Barack Obama is the man who explained terrorism as a function of poverty in his 1995 memoir, "Dreams from My Father" – then excoriated "the powerful" for their "dull complacency and ... steady, unthinking application of force, of ... more sophisticated military hardware." He is the man who actually ran a campaign ad bragging, "I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems. I will institute an independent Defense Priorities Board to ensure that the Quadrennial Defense Review is not used to justify unnecessary defense spending. ... I will set a goal for a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal: I will not develop nuclear weapons."
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Barack Obama is running for commander in chief of our armed forces. Yet these are not the comments of a prospective commander in chief – they are the comments of a man who believes that the American military is a force for darkness in the world. They are the comments of a man who believes that deterrence does not matter, that our enemies are kindhearted folks looking to compromise, that military spending is provocative and disarmament proactive. They are the comments of a pacifist.
Perhaps disdain for the military no longer matters. Military heroism no longer wins elections (see George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole), and anti-war radicalism no longer spells dramatic defeat (see John Kerry). Perhaps as the number of military men and women declines, more and more candidates will emerge who openly question the validity of the armed services as a legitimate arm in defense of American interests.
Nonetheless, Barack Obama should be ashamed of himself. The men and women he may one day command are the same men and women who protect him each and every day. And no matter how many flag pins he puts on his lapels, no matter how many stars and stripes he plasters behind himself at speeches, his disgust for the military is an open blemish on his patriotic pretenses.