Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

October 17, 2013

They are a disgrace to all who have served

I am very angry and embarrassed for my country.

President Obama, Secretary of Defense Hagel and the uniformed members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have all acted without honor.

The president and the secretary in particular have callously and insensitively used the government shutdown as a lame excuse to not provide for the families of service men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

How can we as a country ask our finest to place there lives on the line? We, the most powerful and most compassionate nation in the history of the world can’t even ensure that the wife or husband of a fallen soldier can be at the airport to receive the remains.

We who have a solemn history of honoring our lost comrades in arms, can’t even provide for a proper burial of the loved one yet alone payment of the standard death payment of $100,000.

The president and secretary of defense have used the government shutdown as an excuse. Leadership and a firm understanding of what is right ensures that we do the right thing. They have neither.

With only 17 percent of our bloated government affected by the shutdown, it is disingenuous that we were unable to provide for these families.

Both of them should immediately resign — they are each a disgrace to every man and woman who have ever worn the uniform. I am also appalled that the uniformed members of the military would allow this to happen.

They have budget authority and they all should have had the courage to do right by the families regardless of personal consequences — at least that was the military I remember.

The audacity of this administration to maximize public pain in order to try to sway the public against the Republicans is revolting.

Most of the Pentagon and the military are fully funded, but we can’t honor our commitments to fallen soldiers.

The president opens up the mall and uses National Park Police for a demonstration of tens of thousands of illegal aliens as part of the immigration reform push, while he prevents people from walking up to open air national monuments such as the WWII, Vietnam War, Lincoln and Jefferson memorials.

Think of the irony — with open arms we welcome illegal aliens to meet and speak on the national mall while blocking military veterans and heroes from visiting memorials commemorating their sacrifice to God and country.

I’ve read that we’re spending more money maintaining these closed than it costs to keep them open.

They even blocked off scenic viewing spots along the highway near Mount Rushmore. How can this be? It needs to stop now! Please contact your elected officials and communicate your disgust.

Stuart J. Thomas CDR, USN Retired

Painesville, Ohio

Formerly of Salisbury, Pa.

 

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