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November 08, 2009

Obama Doesn't "Get" the Military He Commands

"What Vice President Cheney calls 'dithering,' President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the American public," said Gibbs. "I think we've all seen what happens when somebody doesn't take that responsibility seriously."

~White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
Life is full of mysteries, but chief among them in this Marine wife's mind at the moment is, "Just how stupid does this White House think we are?" If the events of the past few months have shown us anything, it's that Barack Obama has little enthusiasm for - or interest in - one of the most important duties of an American President: his role as Commander in Chief of the nation's armed forces.

Like so many of his campaign promises, Barack Obama's commitment to the military has undergone constant revision since he took office in January. When he was still actively courting the military vote, nothing was too good for us. The First Lady pledged to make military families "her mission", trotting out piquant tales of desperation in the ranks to make the case that military families face a slew of horrific problems all requiring the immediate intervention of the federal government:

An Air Force wife said she had to give up her job when her husband deployed because she couldn’t find child care....

A Marine wife, a former executive, said she home-schools her children because she couldn’t find a public or private school that could meet her children’s needs....

A Navy wife described the pressures of taking care of her husband’s father, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, while also caring for her infant and her teenager — all while her husband was deployed.


Faced with tragedies like this, it's hard to know how military families manage to soldier on isn't it? According to one source, the First Lady was moved to tears when she heard that [gasp!] some military families are forced to use food stamps! Naturally, the First Family was second to none in its determination to fix a problem that doesn't exist:
The Defense Department conducted its last study on food stamp usage in 2002 and found that 2,100 members of the armed forces redeemed the aid. That figure represented slightly more than 1/10 of 1 percent of the military and had decreased significantly from 19,400 service members using food stamps in 1991.

A military spokeswoman said the seven-year-old study linked living on base with using food stamps.

That some military members continue to qualify for food stamps is primarily a result of the Department of Agriculture excluding the value of government-provided housing as income in determining eligibility for the food stamp program. The study indicated that the majority of military food stamp recipients lived on base,” Eileen M. Lainez said in an e-mail to Military.com.

“The fact that some enlisted members and even a few officers received food stamps was more a result of larger household sizes and living in government quarters than an indicator of inadequate military compensation.”

For those of you at home who make too much to qualify for a government calculator, here's a quick translation: (1) The number of military families using food stamps is roughly 1/10th of what it was in 1991 (2100/19400= 10.8%), and (2) if their monthly housing allowance were included in the income calculation (the way it is for civilians) these military families would make too much money to qualify for food stamps.

Faced with largely imaginary ills, the Obamas are all sympathy. During the campaign, they were more than willing to promote a whiny culture of entitlement that undercuts everything the military stands for - just to win a few more votes on Election day. And as time went on, the illusion of supporting the military continued. In March Congress passed a resolution making 2009 the Year of the Military Family! As if that weren't enough November is, by Presidential decree, Military Family Month. With such heartfelt lip service literally oozing from the White House, one might well ask: how does this president's rhetoric match up with his actions? Since you ask, the answer is, "Not too well".

Obama started his first term by becoming the first president in 56 years to snub the Salute to Heroes ball honoring Medal of Honor recipients. Next, having been handed a thoroughly researched analysis of our options in Afghanistan, he proceeded to take two months to conduct a "comprehensive review" that ultimately resulted in a "new and improved strategy":

When Obama took office, he ordered an Afghanistan review of his own. Led by former CIA official Bruce Riedel, the Obama review team looked at Afghanistan and made its recommendations. On March 27, the president announced his new Afghanistan strategy--one that included many of the recommendations of the Bush administration's review. And that is another indignity. Not only did the Obama administration understand full well that the Bush administration had conducted a comprehensive assessment of Afghanistan, and not only had Jim Jones asked that the Bush review be withheld from the public--but Obama's "new" strategy bore an uncanny resemblance to that prescribed by the Lute review.

Who knew comprehensive strategy reviews had such a short shelf life? Just a few short months later, someone leaked a report General McChrystal prepared at the express request of the President. Lefty bloggers and pundits alike - on no evidence - attacked General McChrystal, calling him a dirty, duplicitous traitor. Few bothered to ask questions that might have enlightened them as to what was really going on:

Is Obama running an administration where an analysis required of a four-star general confirmed into his job by the Senate—an analysis drafted by an international civilian and military team of experts recruited for the task—can be second-guessed by some guy someone at State knows in a think tank? What's worrying about this administration is that the answer may be: yes.

...Suddenly, the strategy Obama announced in March is being ditched. Back then, Obama said that Afghanistan had not received (from the Bush administration) "the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently needs." Specifically, he charged, the resources U.S. commanders needed "have been denied." "Now, that will change," he said. As late as last month, Obama was declaring the struggle in Afghanistan "a war of necessity" where victory was "fundamental to the defense of our people."


There's an important point here: where was our Commander in Chief when his top commander in Afghanistan was being viciously attacked? Did he step in and defend his subordinate for doing the job he was ordered to do? Of course he didn't. Harry Truman was obviously no community organizer: the brouhaha over McChrystal ensured that the buck wouldn't stop in the Oval Office this time. The McChrystal leak was followed by the revelation that our stalwart Commander in Chief had only met with his top commander in Afghanistan once. Stung by the implication that his "war of necessity" was very much on the back burner, Obama scrambled to find a mere 20 minutes to spare as he idled on a runway in northern Europe. He spent more time than that conducting a beer summit.

Now the Army's largest base has suffered a devastating attack by a deranged Islamist. And how does our Commander in Chief respond? He gives a "shout out" to Joe Medicine Crow, that noted Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

Tell me something: in a moment of national tragedy is it really too much to expect the President of the United States to forego the "shout outs"? Is it too much ask that he learn the difference between the Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Honor? What we require from our leaders at times like this is not much, really. No one expects them to actually care. What we want is precisely the kind of thing that comes so effortlessly to Barack Obama: honeyed words and a reassuring show of compassion from a man who thinks that quality is the most important attribute a Supreme Court judge can possess. A public acknowledgment that something grave has happened. But for some reason, asking the Commander in Chief of our armed forces to give even the appearance of empathy was a bridge too far.

Americans expect something more from their leaders in times of trouble. We expect grace. Empathy. Inspiration. A sense of solemn gravity that befits the nation's somber mood. When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded killing 7 astronauts, Ronald Reagan postponed the State of the Union report to address and assuage the nation's shock and mourning.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, gave us shout outs.

As so many have noted, our Commander in Chief finally visited the wounded at Fort Hood the other day. Unfortunately, it wasn't this Commander in Chief:

Instead of comforting his troops, President Obama decided to spend the weekend at Camp David.

Even if one were inclined to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume that he had asked Former President Bush and Mrs. Bush to visit the wounded soldiers because the Bushes live in Texas, why would he ask this of his predecessor and not get on Air Force One overnight to get down there himself?

Why would he not go to be with those whom he is charged to send into battle and who were so horrifyingly betrayed by one of their own?

Because he doesn't give a rat's backside, that's why not.


For the past 8 years, we've heard a lot about how George Bush was too "cowardly" to face the consequences of war. Such bald faced lies are only possible if one is willing to ignore the eyewitness accounts of hundreds of Americans who saw him do just that - with no media fanfare and even less thanks. With every word he speaks and every act he performs, Barack Obama only strengthens the impression that he neither understands nor cares to know the military he must lead as Commander in Chief. Military families are only useful to him as hapless victims of the Bush administration because Obama's entire vision of government rests on the notion that Americans are powerless to rise above misfortune. It's not surprising he spends so little time at Walter Reed, Bethesda, or any of the military medical centers. You see, he wouldn't recognize the spirit of sturdy self reliance that is commonplace there:
Jeremy reminded me, as have many wounded warriors I’ve met, that life is too short not to enjoy it. He and thousands of other disabled veterans across the country have overcome obstacles and adversities that could make even the most optimistic people crack.

They’ve stared death in the face, and are now living their challenging lives to the fullest when it would be so much easier to just give up. But they don’t give up. Beyond the prosthetics, bandages and screws holding them together physically, they’re still Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, and in traditional military fashion, they just keep driving on.

Demby, who was wounded in the Vietnam War, said it best: “Although these guys’ lives have changed, they look at living with their disabilities as a second chance, a new beginning. Their resiliency is an example to all of us.”


Jeremy is a young man who, faced with the prospect that doctors may soon have to amputate his other leg, replied matter of factly, "If that happens, I'll deal with it, too." Perhaps more than any other institution in America, the military represents values like accountability, resilience, strength under adversity, achievement, and personal responsibility: qualities that used to be thought of as simply "American". It seems strange beyond belief that a President swept into office on the shoulders of voters chanting, "Yes, We Can!" now personifies a philosophy of government based on "No, You Can't" (without my help).

Obama doesn't "get" the military because with every step they take, whether it's on prosthetic legs or the steely sinews of a combat hardened Marine, their strength and independence give the lie to his defeatest rhetoric. All those unbowed shoulders, unbeaten spirits and uplifted heads make him profoundly uncomfortable.

As well they should. Americans don't need to be rescued by the government. We have each other.

Speaking of which, it's hard to think of a better application of Ronald Reagan's philosophy of private philanthropy and the resilience of the American spirit than Valour IT. Give generously, please, and say "thanks" to these folks who defend everything we hold dear.

Posted by Cassandra at November 8, 2009 09:10 AM

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Comments

I don't have anything to add to this. It's perfect.

Posted by: airforcewife at November 8, 2009 11:44 AM

I don't think President Obama even understands people like me. But I think he is closer to throwing his clothes away and riding a unicycle around Key West than "getting" the many heroic members of the military.

Posted by: man riding unicycle naked at November 8, 2009 01:09 PM

Since it appears that BO is incapable of

"...grace. Empathy. Inspiration. A sense of solemn gravity that befits the somber news..."

at the very least I would EXPECT the C-in-C to show some respect. Apparently he can't even do that.

Posted by: brat at November 8, 2009 02:19 PM

Someone realistically expects Xerxes I Won!, Lord of the Lies, to respect, empathize, or give a flying f^$k about the American military?!
Really?
Bwaaahaaahaaahaaahaaahaaahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaaaahaaaahaaaahaaaa

*deep inhale*
ahaaahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaaaahaaaahaaaahaaa

*catches breath*

That's as likely to happen as *I'm-A-Dinner-Jacket* converting to Judaism.

Posted by: DL Sly at November 8, 2009 04:53 PM

Once again, you pen an essay (ok type it) that is so fantastic it knocks me for a loop.

Posted by: clarice at November 8, 2009 05:31 PM

Miss Cassandra,

Once again, I stand in awe at your ability to use words as a rapier, filleting the current seatwarmer in chief and his significant other. Their care for those of us who defend the nation is non existant; we are merely props to be used when a point needs to be emphasised (witness Dover).

Little does he (and she) realize, as is the case with Pelosi and Reid, that we are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution against ALL enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC. We take the oath seriously; many have given all they had to uphold their oath. Barack dare not make that claim. He has given nothing, only taken from us.

As he dithers, not fufilling the request of his hand picked General for more troops, he and his myrmidoms infer he is being cautious, deliberate and measured. Let's face it. He is as full of crap as a Christmas goose and has no idea how to do anything but campaign.

At some point, people will realize what he has done. I only hope it is not too late.

As a case in point, my civilian MD was telling me what a great person Pelosi was, and how her plan was so good. I asked her if she was ready for a big pay cut, and she said that was just a scare tactic used by the republicans. Now I have to find a new doctor, because this one is seriously challenged in the thought process department.

And one final thought. George Bush and Laura Bush are great Americans. I was honored to serve him, and I am honored that he chose to reside in Texas. They are the kind of Americans who do what needs to be done and don't need the fanfare or glory. They are good, kind and decent people.

Hang tough. pbo's time is coming. The poop is about to hit the scoop....and he won't have a clue - as usual.

KP

Posted by: Kbob in Katy at November 8, 2009 06:56 PM

PS -

"I think we've all seen what happens when somebody doesn't take that responsibility seriously."

~White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs

Was gibbsy talking about Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter???

Posted by: Kbob in Katy at November 8, 2009 06:57 PM

Outstanding. I couldn't have said it better (frankly, you said everything I've thinking but a heck of a lot better than I could ever....A magnificent post)

I served in the military as Carter was leaving (and everyone was depressed and Reagan was on his way in which boosted our spirits)

It's a shame we have a weak commander. God help us all! God bless this great nation!

Posted by: Dave at November 8, 2009 07:07 PM

You guys are way too kind.

Thanks for reading :)

Posted by: Cassandra at November 8, 2009 07:12 PM

Very well written and right on point. Our current president just doesn't get it.

Posted by: Don at November 8, 2009 07:26 PM

Wow. Brilliant essay. You show eloquently that all that motivates our "C in C" is his desire to squeeze the life and honor out of any segment of American society that still possesses it. I thought that this Presidency would be disastrous, but it is sinking below even my pessimistic expectations.

Posted by: Clark T at November 8, 2009 07:33 PM

I watched the Fox football pregame announcers (Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long et al) today. They were broadcasting from Afghanistan. If Obama is yin, the broadcast was yang. It was good to see, in contrast to our current administration. You said it, Cassandra--and very well. Thanks.

Posted by: Marc at November 8, 2009 07:35 PM

I always look forward to reading your thoughtful and intelligent essays on subjects that matter to me every single day. As a former USAF officer who served in Korea, Japan, France and even Texas, I appreciate your support for those of us who chose to serve our country, as your husband does. Thanks a lot.

Posted by: Peter S Conover at November 8, 2009 07:37 PM

"Just how stupid does this White House think we are?" is, perhaps, the wrong question. They don't think we're stupid, they think we're frightened; frightened of an administration whose attitude seems to be ""nice country you got here...shame if anything were to happen to it":

* Frightened of having the financial markets, which the administration essentially talked out of the tank - between about 6600 in March to just over 10000 on Friday - talked right back into the ground.

* Frightened of losing out on some crumb of largesse we might receive for being nice, submissive subjects in a State-controlled economy. If you look at the CNBC summary of the week's financial activity, by the way, you will see that it reads Dow Gains 3% for the Week, Led by GE You might recall that GE is the parent company of NBC Universal, and received a good deal of money under the stimulus.

* Frightened of having the alternative to Obamacare be no care as Medicare is gutted and private care destroyed by regulation.

* Frightened of having the alternative to environmental controls and taxes under minimally predictable legislation be the destruction of American industry by capricious regulation.

* Frightened of a military-civilian rupture, however low-key and polite.

* Frightened, in the last extremity, of our "cold civil war" turning hot.

I will admit to being frightened of all of these things. I am merely more frightened of losing my liberty.

Posted by: David L. at November 8, 2009 07:59 PM

Thank you, for many reasons. Starting with the measured ferocity of your words. They come from the heart and from lived experience; but they marshal the evidence and develop the argument as might a general sending her forces into combat. You're good; and better than that, you inspire.

Our luck is mixed. On one hand, we have for our CinC a pathological narcissist, which (expanding) means a self-absorbed lying manipulative coward who has no idea what he is doing and no ability or motivation to learn; who bullies whom he can; who sells out his allies; and whose first instinct is to bow to other, bigger bullies. On the other hand, we have already taken his measure. And we have you, and many others in and out of the services, who are wise, strong, decent and resolute. With God's help we will prevail.

Posted by: Owen Hughes at November 8, 2009 08:02 PM

Our luck is mixed.

I agree.

When my boys were small I found that no amount of lecturing or convincing taught them a lesson quite like simply standing back and allowing them to experience the full consequences of their decisions.

As a parent, I quickly became a big fan of the object lesson :p

Reading our own history allows us to spot patterns, but I've never been convinced warning signs in a history book are as convincing as being smacked upside the head by current events.

I think we may be concluding a very long period where we experienced few (if any) of the natural consequences of our political decisions. For decades our amazing prosperity and the proliferation of technology have allowed us to keep kicking the can down the road for a few more years.

It may take a fair amount of pain to remind the the American people exactly what's wrong with big government. Sometimes we just have to screw up really badly before we learn our lesson for a generation or two... only to forget it all over again :p

Posted by: Cassandra at November 8, 2009 08:20 PM

Nice write-up. President Obama's weaknesses were evident during the election. Nonetheless, a majority of Americans voted for this man. I am still dumbfounded.

Our brave men and women are in harm's way and out President dithers.

Doug Santo
Pasadena,CA

Posted by: Doug Santo at November 8, 2009 08:44 PM

Yes, Cassandra, the Obamas have been doing that since the campaign. Here's MEchelle:

"In the world as it should be, when those men and women who have fought so hard for us -- with honor and dignity and pride -- when they come home to this country that they love so much, that they come home to mental health support."

In other words, when Johnny comes marching home, he can go straight to where our honorable, dignified, proud soldiers belong -- the madhouse.

I've been saying for ages that the Obamas don't "get" the military. They also don't "get" us civilians who wouldn't dream of missing a parade or ceremony on Veterans Day, whose high point of a trip to Disneyland is seeing the Flag Retreat on Main Street, who feel pure love at the sight of a big, well-lit flag flying on a small hill on a lonely road at night. Nope, they don't get it at all.

Posted by: arhooley at November 8, 2009 09:09 PM

Oorah, Cassandra, Oorah. I'm sure your serving husband is proud of you, as are we Americans who stand by our military. A more eloquent comment would be difficult to find.

Bless you, and may God bless and keep your Marine and bring him safely home to you.

Posted by: Bruce at November 8, 2009 10:03 PM

Excellent.
Obama has been an agitator and 'community organizer' , agitating real or perceived slights, even believing he is a victim while at the same time living an elitist life.
He has a stone cold rock where a heart belongs.
And let us not forget his book, 'The prettiest sound in the WORLD, is the Muslim call to prayer at sunset'.

Posted by: Fred at November 8, 2009 10:05 PM

As would be expected, there is data much more recent than 2002. Of course when it indicates the exact opposite of what you want it to it is easy to ignore.

Military members and their families are using more food stamps than in previous years - redeeming them last year at nearly twice the civilian rate, according to Defense Commissary Agency figures.

http://blogs.knoxnews.com/fredbrown/2009/07/more_troops_relying_on_food_st.html

Posted by: sam at November 8, 2009 10:08 PM

Thank you, Bruce :) I'm counting the months!

Posted by: Cassandra at November 8, 2009 10:09 PM

Interesting. I gave a brief dis on the commander in chief lately to a active duty marine.

He looked me straight in the eye and said, "he is my president and I will defend him:.

Too bad, the president doesn't realize, loyalty goes up and down..........................

Posted by: Navy1946 at November 8, 2009 10:11 PM

Cassandra --

You get a deserved shout out. (And an Instalanche!)

Good job.

Military Mom

Posted by: JAL at November 8, 2009 10:12 PM

When it comes to Obama, i don't have to ask, I can tell.

Posted by: robrott at November 8, 2009 10:12 PM

Thank you for your excellent essay. This Commander in Chief has, and always has had, zero affinity for the military (“rat’s backside”, indeed). In September 2007 (as our son prepared to deploy to al Anbar province with the Marines), a Senate vote was taken on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, condemning “personal attacks on the honor and integrity of [Commander of Multi-National Forces] General Petraeus”. This was in response to the Moveon.org New York Times full page advertisement slandering General Petraeus. Then-Senator Obama not only bit his tongue publicly but also, characteristically and literally, hid in the cloak room and did not vote on the measure that passed by a 72-25 majority. A friend of the military he is not.

Posted by: Stu Cohn at November 8, 2009 10:18 PM

Our juniors have shown their supreme ability to ruin everything.

Posted by: Dump Hnak Johnson at November 8, 2009 10:22 PM

Sam, having volunteered for years to help military families with financial problems, I can tell you that there is rarely any reason for a military family to be on food stamps.

My husband and I made less than any enlisted family when we were first married and we had a baby right away. That's a big reason he entered the Marine Corps - compared to what we made as civilians, we felt like we'd won the lottery.

For the most part, it's quite possible to live comfortably on a military salary even if you are a brand new married PFC. In my area a married PFC with less than 2 years in makes nearly $33000 in basic pay and BAH ALONE - that is excluding other allowances.

According to inflation converters, $32635.15 in the year 2008 has the same "purchase power" as $11000 in the year 1979 (the year we were married). You may find this of interest:

http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=8550&type=0

We made far less than 11000 the first two years we were married for a family of 3 and never had to use food stamps. And this doesn't even take into account the fact that so many wives can and do work nowadays.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 8, 2009 10:22 PM

Cassandra, you really nailed it, great writing. I picked up this from Powerline. I suspect it will get the attention of Rush Limbaugh who cites Powerline frequently. I emailed elRushbo with your link. Best wishes to you and your husband in Afghanistan. I pray he and all his brothers & sisters are safe and return home soon.

Posted by: Cheryl Ann in CA at November 8, 2009 10:34 PM

More military personnel should run for office after their military career has ended.

Thank you each and every one for your service.

TEA PARTY PATRIOT
(There's more of "us" than there are of "them").

Posted by: Mad_as_H at November 8, 2009 10:51 PM

Great. Accurate and powerful.

I've got 21 years on base as a brat and 7.5 years as an AF officer. G. W. (notwithstanding his faults) was one of us. Barack never will be. He just can't understand sacrifice.

Posted by: F4GIB at November 8, 2009 10:54 PM

Cass -

Brilliant. And something which has needed to be said for a very long time. Unfortunately, he shows little indication he ever will "get" it - nor, as you note, does it appear he cares.

That said, we don't fight for our CiC, we fight for each other and the nation.

Posted by: McQ at November 8, 2009 11:12 PM

McQ, I'm just glad I hadn't seen that crack he made equating sacrificing one's life for one's country with voting against one's constituent's wishes when I wrote this.

I'm so stunned over that one that I don't even know what to say about it. Every time I think he can't possibly dig himself any deeper, he goes and proves me wrong.

*sigh*

Posted by: Cassandra at November 8, 2009 11:26 PM

we don't fight for our CiC, we fight for each other and the nation..

Amen. The President should be treated with all the respect due the office.

You know me - it's not like me to get angry. I guess this has just been building up for a long time.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 8, 2009 11:29 PM

Amen, sister! Great, great, great writing.

Posted by: Mary at November 8, 2009 11:53 PM

Elegant, Eloquent and damn simply marvelous, our dearest Moqta...Ummm, Cassandra.

Posted by: El Cid at November 8, 2009 11:55 PM

Why is everyone so surprised he didn't go to Fort Hood. It's quite simple:

He couldn't take his teleprompter with him in order to give his support speech.

I can't go to Fort Hood - but bless all of you and know that most Americans support you 100%

Posted by: Concerned One at November 8, 2009 11:56 PM

Cassandra, that was AMAZING. Thank you for using your gift in this way. You've said things I have been thinking and couldn't find the right words.I'm a mom of 3 who spent 10 years as a military wife. My husband retired a couple of years ago, and there isn't a single day that goes by that we don't think of you ALL. God bless you.

Posted by: refounders5 at November 9, 2009 12:11 AM

I think a more acerbic thrust would be to "frame" the moment as: the United States Army faces its greatest body count in the continental U.S. from domestic terrorism since Harper's Ferry, and why isn't our C-and-C off his chips and couch?

Posted by: bob at November 9, 2009 12:19 AM

BTW. I do think we still have that right..to respect the office, but not the holder of.

The person that occupies the house Americans own, is ill-suited for that job and an ill-mannered arrogant for me only, (to use the term loosely) man.

Posted by: El Cid at November 9, 2009 12:30 AM

Is it too much ask that he learn the difference between the Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Honor?

He neither knows nor cares that there's a difference -- if it ain't on the teleprompter at that moment, it doesn't exist.

Posted by: BillT at November 9, 2009 12:41 AM

Beautifully put.

Keep in mind that Obama as a kid was abandoned by two fathers and then his mother. As an adult he has never to anyone's knowledge made any sort of sacrifice for anyone else, even close family---he even threw his ailing grandmother "under the bus" in his Philadelphia "race" speech last Spring, because it was convenient for him.

This is one sick puppy, and anyone who ever thought he could understand or even see a need to TRY to understand the military should be well past that by now.

Posted by: Marty at November 9, 2009 12:59 AM

woot woot
right on!!

Posted by: Mightymom at November 9, 2009 01:13 AM

This is inspirational - thank you for putting down in words what so many of us in the military think everyday. One little quibble at the beginning when you are discussing the percentage of military personnel using food stamps. You quoted, "That figure represented slightly more than 1/10 of 1 percent of the military and had decreased significantly from 19,400 service members using food stamps in 1991." You then say, "For those of you at home who make too much to qualify for a government calculator, here's a quick translation: (1) The number of military families using food stamps is roughly 1/10th of what it was in 1991..." These two statements are not equivalent. It's a minor point but it does distract from the point you were making.

Posted by: BunnyMomRocks at November 9, 2009 01:19 AM

Well, it's like many polemics - a lot of colorful smoke but Obama would have to be a sociopath to be untroubled by the weight of 'harms way'. Is this your position? And, the overall implication was raised regarding Clinton, too. If you're not a military person, you cannot understand the sacrifices that come with the job. I think even Washington (or perhaps especially Washington) understood that the President was not, nor should he be a (standing) General. This will spark many screams, but Bush was the ultimate in shirkers - during the height of Vietnam, he escaped harms way and there's still plenty of uncertainty regarding whether he even fulfilled his reserve commitment. Will you issue him a 'pass' because he's of your political stripe? Obama is left to complete Bush's 'accomlished' mission. Cut him a small bit of slack - he is your President too.

Posted by: gonzo at November 9, 2009 01:24 AM

Cassandra--

Thank you for eloquently writing what so many feel. C-i-C Zero is a disgrace.

Posted by: Fresh Ait at November 9, 2009 01:29 AM

While I agree with pretty much all of this, your argument about food stamps shows you know nothing about the topic.

First many soldiers stopped getting food stamps because the army was shamed into paying ppl more. When I was stationed at Ft Drum they had a standing order to do "whatever it takes" to get ppl off food stamps because they were tired of the bad PR.

Another problem is that "(2) if their monthly housing allowance were included in the income calculation" is a joke.

According to the army "housing allowance" sheets I was "saving" a whole $700 dollars a month by living in the barracks and thus was really making XX,XXX dollars a year when housing, water, electric, etc was accounted for.

Funny thing about that since their were 3 ppl living in a single person room... thus we all were paying/saving $700 dollars a month in "rent" so the army was charging for the room $2100 a month... now I don't know what you know about Watertown NY however for $2100 dollars a month the 3 of us could have afford a 5-6 bedroom brand new house(and pay for water, electric, etc).

What the army claims to pay in housing next to the real cost is a joke. Thus why and rightly so it shouldn't be counted toward food stamps.

In the end though single soldiers still get screwed in pay and housing by the army even though they do more work then married soldiers... a problem that the army really needs to fix.

Posted by: robotech master at November 9, 2009 01:45 AM

This is one of the greatest posts I've ever read anywhere. Thank you for taking the time to craft it so well.

Posted by: Adam at November 9, 2009 01:55 AM

Those who actually take the time to read the source article linked to by Sam (10:08 pm) which can actually be found here:


http://www.military.com/news/article/more-troops-relying-on-food-stamps.html?col=1186032325324


will discover that he's misrepresenting its findings.


The figures quoted by Cassandra are for actual purchases by military families. The figures in the article are for purchases in Commisaries, whose customers include retirees, reserves, and National Guard personnel. But more importantly, the figures he claims show military families are using food stamps at twice the rate of civilians show no such thing. What they show is that the use of stamps at Commisaries have INCREASED at twice the rate. Not twice the usage, twice the rate of increase. Big difference.


And, by golly, when you go to the bottom of the article, you see it reproduces the study Cassandra used, which contains figures on actual usage by actual military personnel, because that appears to represent the last accurate data on the subject.

Posted by: JayDee at November 9, 2009 02:04 AM

Obama would have to be a sociopath to be untroubled by the weight of 'harms way'. Is this your position?

Is being a sociopath a requirement for being a classic Chicago snake-oil vendor?

Obama is left to complete Bush's 'accomlished' [sic] mission.

When did Bush claim that either Iraq or Afghanistan was an accomplished mission? That "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln referred to the *Lincoln's* mission having been accomplished -- not the Iraqi mission, and certainly not the overall GWOT mission.

Posted by: BillT at November 9, 2009 02:43 AM

I respectfully disagree with this entry, though the writing is excellent.

It's not that Obama doesn't "Get" the military; he actively HATES the military. He hates America, he hates the Constitution, he hates capitalism, he hates freedom.

He said nothing when the military recruiter was murdered in Arkansas in June, but immediately condemned the shooting of the abortionist Dr. Tiller, around the same time.

Obama goes around apologizing for the use of American force...which is the Armed Forces. Obama is a TRAITOR who actively HATES our military. He understands it full well, but he would dismantle our Armed forces if he could get away with it.

He is Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayres combined. Ayres wanted to murder military personnel. Obama doesn't care if those soldiers died at Ft. Hood. He made it quite evident with all his actions, though now, he'll try to lie through it, as he has done with everything else he's screwed up.

Posted by: Mo at November 9, 2009 03:01 AM

Posted by: Cassandra at November 8, 2009 08:20 PM

In other words the lessons from Jimmy Carter have just about worn off.

Yep.

Posted by: M. Simon at November 9, 2009 03:24 AM

Cassandra, this is beautiful writing and you didn't leave one cent on the table. I will agree with Mo's take on Obama, though. I keep seeing the question asked: "If Obama hated America and was trying to destroy it, what would he have done differently?" My answer to that question is "Absolutely nothing at all. Not one thing."

If the "cold civil war" doesn't turn hot on this guy's watch, it will be a great blessing from God we don't deserve. However, I'm afraid for this man's life because he's already a liability for slightly more than half the nation and he's only eleven months into his term.

I haven't the slightest doubt but that he's going to become even less popular than Jimmah at his nadir. At that point, he's more use to the lefties dead than alive. I wouldn't put it past them in the slightest to have him "hit" and try to make it look like a white racist did it.

I want to see him live to leave the WH in shame and ignominy and have every sane person in America looking at him in the same way they view Marion Barry: as a miserable failure who deserves to be despised for the rest of his life.

Posted by: mac at November 9, 2009 03:33 AM

Just shows how devastating good arguments, no ranting, no ad hominem and no pointless exaggeration can be. Thanks for this brilliant post. Brought a tear to my eye.

Posted by: Andrew Lale at November 9, 2009 04:05 AM

Cassandra, Just followed a link to your site and am very much impressed! You hit every single nail on the head with your assessment of that "do nothing loser" in the WH! I am a retired 20 year plus Navy guy who is absolutely distressed to the point of wanting to crawl into a hole and pull it in on top of me till this obomanation is gone! Unfortunately we, and I cannot do that. I have too much respect for all the men who have gone before me who gave up body parts and lives to bring this country to where it is now! This absolutely includes the guys serving now. I live in a town of about 800 people and many of our young people have joined the military in the last ten years. Mostly to the marines and the Army. I only hope that after all their dedication and sacrifice there is still something for them to come home to. Right now it doesn't look to good. Keep up the good work. SEMPRE FI!!

Posted by: Everett R Littlefield at November 9, 2009 06:32 AM

Hello!

Why is everyone ignoring the 800 lb gorilla in the room?

The Defense Dept reported that in 2008 troops used food stamps at TWICE THE CIVILIAN RATE!

http://blogs.knoxnews.com/fredbrown/2009/07/more_troops_relying_on_food_st.html

... and you are getting all riled up about 7 year old data?

That means you are willing to sweep a very real and pressing need for our military families under the rug just to make political points and folks THAT IS EVIL!!!


.

Posted by: FredC at November 9, 2009 06:38 AM

"Under current law, military members who are eligible for food stamps receive up to $500 per month in the form of a supplemental subsistence allowance. Section 603 [of the 2010 Defense Authorization Act] includes a provision to increase the maximum amount to $1,100. Families receive just enough (up to the maximum) to make sure they don't qualify for food stamps."

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/fy2010paycharts/a/foodstamp.htm

And the Defense Authorization Act of 2010 is *now* the law.

Posted by: BillT at November 9, 2009 06:58 AM

Memorable post.

Dear Leader isn't just a damaged street kid raised well above his level of incompetence, thought true. He's on the other side.

Posted by: gary gulrud at November 9, 2009 07:16 AM

Maybe she didn't use the 2008 data since it was collected under the same flawed premise as the old data - i.e., they still didn't count housing in as part of income.

Posted by: SgtRon at November 9, 2009 07:26 AM

You quoted, "That figure represented slightly more than 1/10 of 1 percent of the military and had decreased significantly from 19,400 service members using food stamps in 1991." You then say, "For those of you at home who make too much to qualify for a government calculator, here's a quick translation: (1) The number of military families using food stamps is roughly 1/10th of what it was in 1991..." These two statements are not equivalent. It's a minor point but it does distract from the point you were making.

Sorry if I didn't provide the calculation behind this statement. I have added a note to the post to show how I arrived at the "1/10th" figure:

(2100/19400= 10.8%)

It's just a fluke that both numbers worked out to 1/10th :)

Posted by: Cassandra at November 9, 2009 07:38 AM

This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 11/9/2009, at The Unreligious Right

Posted by: UNRR at November 9, 2009 07:44 AM

That means you are willing to sweep a very real and pressing need for our military families under the rug just to make political points and folks THAT IS EVIL!!!

Nonsense. Read BillT's comment:

"Under current law, military members who are eligible for food stamps receive up to $500 per month in the form of a supplemental subsistence allowance. Section 603 [of the 2010 Defense Authorization Act] includes a provision to increase the maximum amount to $1,100. Families receive just enough (up to the maximum) to make sure they don't qualify for food stamps."

The point here is was two-fold:

1. The only reason these folks qualified for food stamps in the first place is that 1/2 their pay (in the DC area - BAH + VHA varies with local housing prices) was excluded from the income calculation, and

2. If you insist on using the number of troops using food stamps as a measure (and it really ought to be a normalized figure or rate rather than a lump sum if you mean to perform any meaningful analysis) then one might want to know how this number has changed over time -- and not just going back a few years.

Anyway, this post is not about food stamps. That was just one of many examples of a minor "problem" being blown way out of proportion until it becomes a "crisis". Seems to me that even if military folks were still getting food stamps, that would show that the need was being addressed :p

Posted by: Cassandra at November 9, 2009 07:45 AM

Perhaps Obama is acting exactly as he wishes and your anger is exactly the result he wants? Maybe he wants chaos? Maybe it is not thoughtlessness that drives him but a cold calculating desire to wreck this country?

Naah...a confirmed 60's radical lover would NEVER want to do something like that.

Obama is a traitor...once you accept that premise all of his actions make perfect sense.

Posted by: Pierre Legrand at November 9, 2009 07:48 AM

Thank you this is well said.

Posted by: Mrs.Smith at November 9, 2009 08:05 AM

Wonderful post. I will be emailing a link to everyone I know.

Obama's actions have been atrocious on many levels. The Commander in Chief should put his troops above all else. It is obvious that during this difficult time, Obama's thoughts on everything except the men and women who serve this country.

Posted by: Carol at November 9, 2009 08:08 AM

You could make a very good case for his thoughts being on nothing except maintaining his popularity with his base.

Posted by: BillT at November 9, 2009 08:25 AM

The number of sheep is growing while the sheepdogs are getting spread ever thinner. Our citizens had better wake up, because our military can only do so much.

I took an oath many years ago to defend our Constitution and I still hold that oath sacred; I suspect many in DC do not.

Posted by: Al Reasin at November 9, 2009 08:45 AM

Cassandra,
This is the first of your works I have read. It is right on the money. Keep it up.

Posted by: Gordo at November 9, 2009 08:57 AM

Outstanding.

Posted by: Cricket at November 9, 2009 09:19 AM

excellent post...gives me some hope...keep writing!

Posted by: Rebecca at November 9, 2009 09:35 AM

Again thanks for reading, guys :) I'm enjoying the feedback, both positive and negative!

Posted by: Cassandra at November 9, 2009 10:04 AM

Just wonderful! I have bookmarked your site and am going to send a link to this article to everyone in my address book.

God bless the US Military!

Posted by: Jen06 at November 9, 2009 10:25 AM

Bravo Cassandra! And Semper Fi.

Posted by: Laura Armstrong at November 9, 2009 10:50 AM

God bless America. God bless each and every one of our military and keep them safe. God bless the families and friends who are grieving because someone in their family was brave enough to volunteer to protect this country. God bless each and every one of our military and keep them safe, and if "safe" in our terms is not God's plan, then I pray that God will keep them safe in His bosum until they are again reunited with their families.

Sincerely,
a non-military American citizen who is very thankful

Posted by: Louise at November 9, 2009 10:57 AM

Wow! Way to channel your indignation, marshal your facts, and eviscerate the hollow clown.

Posted by: Albert at November 9, 2009 11:11 AM

Amen.

Posted by: booya at November 9, 2009 11:32 AM

I am a civilian , 90 years old , American by Choice . I don't have words to express my desapointment , revolt , disgust of what is happening under this Government . I pray everyday
for all of you , military people . This president is not an AMERICAN , believe me .

Posted by: Arminda Da Cruz at November 9, 2009 11:45 AM

I vividly remember the difference between Carter and Reagan as CIC of the military. Carter would send out Christmas messages to the troops with words to the effect that America expected us conserve resources and not display any Christmas lights on base because the energy crisis was the moral equivalent of war. Reagan’s first Christmas message went something like this— Nancy and I want you to know that America is proud of you. We honor your service to our great country. Keep up the good work. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays—It made a lot of difference to me. I think Obama is the second coming of Jimmy Carter--except at least Carter served in the Navy.

Posted by: ken in sc at November 9, 2009 12:02 PM

I will admit to being frightened of all of these things. I am merely more frightened of losing my liberty.

Posted by: David L. at November 8, 2009 07:59 PM

David,

Please take comfort in these words from the good book:

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.


The wicked are doing all they can to destroy this great nation and the people who love it work to keep it the greatest place on earth and those of us who defend it with our blood.

No names..cough Obama Pelosi Reid cough cough Barney Frank Jon Carry cough cough...the list goes on and on...but I can think of a few who should be run out of town and this country on a rail.

As I said earlier, the poop is about to hit the airscoop, and the seatwarmer will be back to 3 packs a day and recreational pharmaceuticals to maintain his cool demeanor. Forces are coming together because they know he is a sniveling coward with zero leadership skills and even less management capabilities. It will be up to the people who take their oath seriously to do what needs to be done and protect those who cannot or will not protect themselves.

Remember the story about sheep, wolves and sheepdogs...and know that it is just the way it is.

http://www.gleamingedge.com/mirrors/onsheepwolvesandsheepdogs.html

Don't be afraid. Let not your heart be troubled. We will prevail and rise from the rubble that obie leaves us to work with when we have replaced him, stronger than before with a resolute determination to carry on, reaching ever higher. We are Americans!!! Nothing can stop us if we put our minds to it!


Posted by: Kbob in Katy at November 9, 2009 01:14 PM

Upon his election, despite my firm conviction that he was an utter fraud, I was determined not to hate Obama. He is inexorably changing my mind. Why is this POS not at the Berlin wall with Merkel and Gorbachov? My guess is because his side lost.

Posted by: Phd at November 9, 2009 01:37 PM

Beautiful essay. Thanks.

I suspect the reason Obama does not understand the difference between the Medal of Freedom and that of Honor is that he hates the former and lacks the latter. The man and his circle are implementing a plan. Get out of the way.

Posted by: betheweb at November 9, 2009 02:38 PM

WOW! As the step-mom of a Marine, let me thank you for your words of TRUTH! Have you ever thought of submitting an article to American Thinker? Thanks to Lucianne.com for the link to you.I will add your blog to my favorites and look forward to reading more insightful commentary.Again,WOW!!!

Posted by: Tabbysmom at November 9, 2009 05:08 PM

Ah, beautiful. Thank you so much.

Posted by: Kristina at November 9, 2009 05:56 PM

Years ago I seem to recall that AMThinker linked to a defense of Jim Mattis that I wrote. I deleted that post long ago though :)

I don't really promote my writing, but I appreciate the suggestion. I write mostly to explore ideas - when it comes to the promotion aspect of blogging, I tend to fall grievously short!

Posted by: Cassandra at November 9, 2009 06:03 PM

First time I've seen your blog and I am so deeply touched by what you wrote. Beautifully written and so full of truth. I will absolutely pass on your message.

Posted by: Julie at November 9, 2009 06:10 PM

As an AF Colonel with 22 yrs, little to this point has so well summarized my thoughts. You brilliantly captured more than I've been able to stomach at any one time. You gave me blissful satisfaction reading your words, and immeasureable disgust in having it all in one place.

Posted by: Don at November 10, 2009 01:38 AM

Very nicely done.

I realize this isn't about food stamps, but I want to throw in my 2 cents. My husband is an O5 with 7 dependents. Many years, we qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is a subsidy for "workers with low wages." Anybody seriously think an O5 has low wages? He's been deployed since July, so all that income is tax-free. I'm looking forward to a huge refund next year.

I don't know if income earned while a soldier is deployed counts for food stamps or not, but if it doesn't, it could appear on paper that a soldier is trying to raise a family with zero income, which would not be the case at all.

Posted by: Michelle Reitemeyer at November 10, 2009 08:10 AM

I was looking for a superlative of praise. I could find none that would do your writing justice other than I wish I could write like you.

Posted by: Michael P. at November 10, 2009 02:01 PM

*blush* :)

We women do like to talk, that's for certain!

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2009 02:09 PM

Michelle, I'm not sure either (about deployment/combat pay). I do know that we enjoy so many benefits that our forebears would have killed to get.

One of the best things I've ever been privileged to do as a Marine wife has been inviting the wives of retired Marines to our social functions. They add a perspective that is just incredible. Listening to them talk about doubling up in cramped apartments with other couples just so they could pay the rent really puts our modern "inconveniences" in an entirely different light.

My Mom and MIL (both Navy wives) lived through repeated deployments with no family support from DoD. They made their own, as we did the first decade or so of my husband's career. In many ways I think we were better and stronger for the experience.

Great comment!

Posted by: Cassandra at November 10, 2009 02:13 PM

I continue to be amazed by your brilliance. Can you share some, please?

I strongly agree that our modern families sometimes forget how good they have it. Not only have I listened to my grandparents talk of sharing a one bedroom apartment with another newly-wed couple, but my mother tells that the grandparents sent money so that the baby (me) could have real milk and not powdered. Most of us, myself included, can't fathom that level of poor for a military family.

Posted by: Kate at November 10, 2009 03:57 PM

Cassandra, you have penned a masterpiece! To all who read this and who have commented, have faith for we only have three more years to go before this poor excuse for a man is voted out of office.

Hopefully the county will find enough strength to defeat his remaining efforts to destroy what your family and millions of other military families have fought for over all the years - Freedom for the United States and other freedom loving people around the world.

In less then one year we shall have the opportunity to vote the liberal, spineless whimps out of office and replace them with freedom loving, conservative and fiscally prudent people who value life and liberty, who love this country, who respect the Constitution and who respect the military personnel who risk their lives everyday to protect Americans around the globe!.

Posted by: Pat Spooner at November 11, 2009 04:52 PM

I know I am late to comment on your essay, Cassandra, but I felt I must. Since November 2008, my husband and I have felt as if we were living in an alternate universe. We wondered why we could see something so obvious that everyone around us was apparently so oblivious to. After reading your essay and everyone's comments, we realize we are not the only ones who can see BHO for the snake in the grass that he is.

We seriously considered leaving this country but instead chose to stock up on "neccessities" and fight the good fight, if need be. We want our son, currently serving in the U.S. Navy, to be proud of us, and we want him to have something to come home to. He spent last Christmas in a field hospital in Iraq, being treated for slight (thank you, GOD) wounds received from a bundle of 6 duct-taped together hand grenades being thrown his way.

We look forward now to fighting for our country. By fighting I mean: 1. voting in every election , 2. contacting our senators and representatives regarding bills with which we disagree, 3. taking part in demonstrations (ie: Tea Parties) to make sure our voice is heard. If fighting for our country ends up requiring more of us, we are ready for that as well. I refuse to look my son in the eye and say that I was too cowardly to stand up and defend our country just as he has.

I am linking your essay in an e-mail to every Kool-Aid drinker I know, as well as other Patriots who feel as we do. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Mineman's Mom at December 5, 2009 11:03 AM

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