The Pryor Times

Opinion

April 12, 2014

Defending our defense

PRYOR, OK — We owe a great debt to all our men and women in the armed forces, past and present. Our nation has a rich history of brave military service that we celebrate. As the grandson of a World War II veteran combat engineer, I’ve long been fascinated by the grit and determination of the greatest generation as they went to war to liberate our allies and fight against the tyranny of their time. Our country rallied behind these men and women and our country’s leadership gave them the tools they needed to succeed.

Unfortunately today our country finds itself in a different atmosphere under an Administration that only pays lip service to our troops and veterans. A Commander-in-chief that is deeply concerned about the security of a nation holds different priorities than the ones we’ve seen from this President. With weak foreign policy and support of defense cuts, our country is being led down the wrong path.

The threat from Al Qaida is real and we must remain vigilant against the enemies who want to do us harm here at home and abroad. The current rise of terrorist groups in Iraq shows the painful truth that the foreign policy of this Administration has eroded our influence in that region of the world.

It is more important than ever to get this right. In tough fiscal times, we should not look to balance budgets on the backs of our military and at the sake of detriment to our national security.

Recently the President presented his annual budget request, which critically impacts our military. The President’s budget takes us down to pre-World War II troop levels, eliminates the A-10 aircraft and reduces military benefits. Oklahoma’s Second District is home to countless veterans and active duty troops, and the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. We are clearly committed to our nation’s defense and do not want to see these cuts implemented.

There are ways we can reform the Defense budget and go after wasteful spending whether it be government contracting inefficiencies, or various forms of fraud and abuse in the military industrial complex. But it should not be on the backs of our men and women in uniform. With the current unrest globally, this is not the time to make broad brush cuts to our military. If we are seriously dedicated to our military, we should not be gutting them.

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