Veterans: What Are They Seeing And Thinking Now?
By Thomas D. Segel
March 27, 2007

During the first Bush run for the Presidency, active duty, retired military and veterans were strongly behind his campaign and the GOP. As the president entered his second term, there was dissatisfaction in the military community, but most still gave the Republicans and the administration the benefit of the doubt. But, two years later those who wear American Flag lapel pins and boast the Elephant logo had, though arrogance, ignorance, ineptitude and self adoration managed to squander all of the support that had been so generously given to them by those who had worn the uniform and placed themselves in harms way defending their homeland.

We all know that polls lie and liars, this commentary will not even attempt to address those constantly changing opinion numbers. What we have found in checking with brothers-in-arms around the country is antidotal evidence of complete dissatisfaction with the entire Washington establishment.

Central Florida has appeared and reappeared in the news since the election of 2000. Retired Marine Fred Carr makes that region his home. He says "The residual effect of Bush 'stealing the election' still resonates, and I find it hard to believe that personal hatred of our President clouds the true debate on the War on Terrorism.

"People and the media show up in droves to welcome home the troops to the Orlando Reserve Center and to send them off. They are not all conservatives, but they are behind their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. Try as the media will to skew the occasion, they have not yet been able to do so. It's almost as if every family member received formal media training for the ambush interview technique."

Carr feels that people suffer political burnout from campaigns that are too long, left wing-right wing and liberal-conservative messages. Even though his locale is becoming increasingly populated with minorities and leans left, "the general consensus is that Demo hopeful Barak [sic] is a joke and Hillary is viewed as a personal freedom threat."

He feels we spend too much time examining trivial issues related to politicians. "Who cares if a politician smoked weed when he or she was a teenager? Who cares if their spouse had a DUI? Who cares if their kids got caught drinking underage? What we are all looking for, after a qualified, intuitive individual who can build consensus and carry us forward, despite the popularity on non-popularity of the decision."

Charlie Revie represents the Army view in his corner of Las Cruces, New Mexico. He writes that both parties disgust him. "If the Dumbocrats don't mind their manners now that they are in charge, they can pay the penalty in 2008 as the Repugnants did in 2006 when we, the people, got tired of their arrogant enlightenment that they could do no wrong and the people didn't matter. The only reason I did not vote against my Repugnant Representative this time is because his Dumbocrat challenger scared me more..."

Leo Robert is a retired Marine from State College, Pennsylvania. He says, "Most veterans I know don't like the Democrats, but again they don't like what the GOP has become. So many tried to get the GOP to wake up many moons ago, but they kept sleeping. We tried to work with the party, but to no avail. Third party conservatives were foolish enough to shoot themselves in the foot as well. Parties are becoming a joke and that includes third parties. Today both of the major parties are the same. One stinks, and the other smells."

Retired Air Force and Vietnam veteran John Clayton says that the grass roots crowd around Airway Heights, Washington seem to feel "Our politicians in DC have their own agenda and they are not hearing what the voters are saying, except if the liberal media exposes things like the Walter Reed issue, then the DC gang are all ears and the finger of blame gets pointed in many directions. Some heads roll, but the agenda of the Political Crowd remains the same."

Clayton also claims both parties fail the citizens, citing their oath of office is not consistent with their actions. He charges elected officials fail to provide specific responses to voters who contact them on important issues, fail to back our immigration laws and favor illegal aliens rights to unearned benefits. He also notes his grass roots cronies feel those in Washington D.C. seem to favor international law over our Constitution, and lump all veterans and retired military personnel into the same basket when considering health care issues. Most of all, he abhors those with the cut and run position on the Iraq War.

Len Kaine of Coronado, California was a Naval Aviator flying missions off the USS Enterprise more than 35 years ago. He says, "Like many, I'm fed up with the spineless politicos. They remind me of how I felt during my deployments as I fought in the air war over North Vietnam."

When R. L. Fisher retired from the Marine Corps and moved to Coalmont, Tennessee, it was to enjoy living in some beautiful country. Today his picture of Grundy County is not all that pretty. He sees it as a Democrat stronghold with about 50% of the people functionally illiterate, a very poor educational system and many on various forms of state and federal welfare programs. "Things are Bad!" he says." He also reports," They think Bush should be impeached. It was wrong to go to Iraq. Bush lied about everything and fabricated the reasons given. We are losing the war in Iraq and can't ever win. We need to withdraw immediately. Military leadership is bad. It is getting lots of people shot up and killed for nothing. Troops are just terrrorizing peaceful Muslim civilians."

Fisher claims few know anything they haven't heard on the TV news. "As more of the media say it", he reports, "Many are beginning to believe Bush somehow ordered and caused 9-11." Finally he feels that in his county "People really believe the United States is the cause of all world problems...because TV says so."

Bryan Whiting spent the Vietnam War years serving two Army tours in combat. Now living in upper New York. He feels the general mood of the public in his area is "Blame every problem the state and the country has on George Bush. Most people around here think anything the Administration says is a lie. I personally don't feel I can support either the GOP or the Democrat majority. One side is just as bad as the other."

For more than 40 years, John Boring has been a fellow Marine, a journalist and a friend. He now makes his home in Arizona and travels the land regularly in his RV, enjoying life on the road. Says John, "When politicians start talking, I stop listening. I skim the newspapers these days instead of reading them cover to cover as I used to, because I am so fed up with the politicians and their comments. The ones we elect have all, to the man, forgotten why we elected them. It is not about one party over the other. We put them in office to do what is good for the country, regardless of party affiliation.

"This mess has been a long time simmering and it's only going to get worse. There's no relief in sight. And it is not entirely the fault of the politicians. Many of "us" have gone political in our thinking by blaming the continual mess on the party in power. We have to blame someone, so we select our party, paste on the bumper stickers and pick fights with all who disagree with our positions.

"Part of the problem is we keep electing the wrong people to represent us. But, given the selections on the voting ballots, we have little choice. We need a grass roots movement to weed out the incompetents and the totally party minded who are occupying the seats of the House and Senate. We need to pick right-minded people who will represent our country, not Donkeys and Asses."

Finally to give you a small view from Deep South Texas. I will repeat some of the comments I made to my military addressees when I sent out a note seeking their observations.

I have had it up to the eyeballs with the crybaby, poor me, the other party is worse than Caster Oil crowd in Washington. I have even found myself tuning in game shows and reality crap on television to get away from the "news". The Rotary and water cooler gang I associate with are as sick as I am about both parties and all the appointed lemmings that follow in their wake. In every case, people are telling me the whole city of Washington needs a spinal transplant.

But, most of all, the active duty and retired military community seems to hold the entire Congress in contempt. Note after note received from this body of patriots places the label of "traitor" on all of those who falsely claim they support those in uniform, while at the same time do everything possible to harm our heroes. Some veterans have even quoted J. Michael Waller, Professor at the Institute of World Politics, who said "Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale or undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged."