Thursday, April 12, 2012

Troops talk – do we hear?

Mid-April marks the annual reconciliation with the IRS.  It also is the six-month marker from when President Obama deployed the military and began a defacto war in Africa.     Mid-April is also when the 2011 Presidential financial reports become public.  An underreported fact shows that 87% of military contributions went to RonPaul.  In the 2008 election Dr. Paul received more than double the dollars than President Obama received from active military donors.  Obama at that time was the other anti-war candidate and combined they received nearly all of the donations from military personnel.  It’s a powerful statement that the working men and women of the military overwhelmingly support anti-war candidates.  Is anybody listening?

The military of the United States is deployed in more than 150 countries around the world, with more than 205,118 of its 1,425,113 active-duty personnel serving outside the United States and its territories.
President Obama has rightfully taken credit since October 2011 for removing American troops from Iraq – delivering on a major campaign promise.  The implication that Americans are actually gone from Iraq is, however, not accurate.  “Contractors” remain – nearly 15,000 with the Department of Defense alone.  That figure doesn’t include third party contractors like Academi (formerly known as Blackwater) which the administration awarded a $250 million no bid contract for mercenary services.
Today there are over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, 90% American.  In 2009 the Huffington Post reported that troops outnumbered Taliban 12 to 1.  President Obama’s 2010 surge brings the figure closer to 20 to 1.  If it weren’t so tragic, it’s the opening to a joke:  how many troops does it take to get a Taliban?

A Tea Party Marine claims he was joking when he slammed President Obama on his Facebook page, going so far as to put his face on the poster of the movie “Jackass.”    Last week the Corps determined that he violated policy, committed misconduct and deserved a dishonorable discharge.  Whether Facebook is a personal journal that happens to exist in public or whether it’s a tool for dissent is an interesting free speech question to examine in another blog.

Speech that is permitted for all Americans (and now corporation) is in the form of political donations.  That 87% of all military donations went to the most unequivocal anti-war candidate is a stunning message, especially since is it is so consistent with the 2008 message.  These are not liberal, granola eating, peaceniks … these are men and women on the front lines.  Imagine if 87% of the political donations from union members suddenly went to Mitt Romney.  Or if 87% of Wall Street bankers gave money to Obama’s reelection?  The significance would be front and center in the national political discourse.

Ron Paul has been marginalized – sometimes thanks to his own actions, but largely by the media.  (A whole other blog!)  Ron Paul is a military veteran, having served in the Air Force...something the other candidates (from either party) can’t claim.  Congressman Paul has a passionate philosophy of non-intervention.  If the American military are to be deployed then the mechanisms of the Constitution must be utilized:  specifically that the Congress authorize war.  A simple vote that takes less than an hour.  The U.S. has engaged in dozens of military conflicts since World War II and tens of thousands of soldiers have died or been hurt.  1941 was the last time war was officially declared by the United States.  Let’s be clear:  Ron Paul will not be President.  But we owe it to ourselves and our country to take heed and listen to the message that is being sent from the troops:  stop war now.

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