Larry Provost
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Cutting military and Veterans benefits is harmful. Doing so during wartime is disgraceful. Politicians who embrace this approach do so at their own peril and weaken our country.
After every war is finished come calls for cuts to the military and Veteran’s benefits. It begs the question of why any organization or leader would embrace these cuts which would inevitably accelerate the decline of these needed benefits and programs. As if that was not shameful enough, calls for cutting military funding and Veteran benefits are happening while the Islamic jihad declared against the United States continues and other threats are concurrently growing.
Military and Veterans benefits are not a a vast right wing conspiracy or a liberal plot. The military is a government entity that actually works. Our Founders understood that and the military is the one form of spending that is specifically spelled out in the preamble to our Constitution; a common defense that benefits the common people of our great nation. The military, fully funded, wins wars quicker and faster, saving time, money, and lives. It is a department of peace and freedom, through strength.
So too Veterans benefits are not entitlements. Veterans are the heart and soul of the nation who willingly give up the best years of their lives so that we can have peace, freedom, and prosperity.
Today’s Veterans were not drafted; they volunteered to serve their nation in a time of war while most others their age did not. Most young Veterans missed out on the traditional college experience and all it entails. Their young years were spent fighting an enemy who wears no uniforms. They see their buddies bleed and die. IED’s and other forms of guerilla warfare often do not even allow the psychological satisfaction of shooting back at the person that is trying to kill them and their friends.
Their non combat days of duty are ever so fun. They do more before 9am than most do all day while tough, demanding supervisors keep them ready. Instead of sunning themselves on a beach, they instead wear a good 70 pounds of gear, with multiple clothing layers, in the warmest of conditions. Their Christmas day is spent on patrol and dinner is a can of beefaroni.
Our heroes have sacrificed enough and now we are talking of cutting them, their morale, and their weapons systems? Our troops hate this and our enemies love this.
Those who embrace such an approach, in their zeal to lower the national debt, or in their misunderstanidng or outright dislike of the military, weaken a nations defenses and the morale of those who are serving and have served. Further, such approaches will discourage fine young men and women from joining service if they feel that their nation will not take care of them. In short, our wars will be even more costly in the future; and the war is not over despite what any administration says.
The alternate solution is simple. Fully fund the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs and do not ever consider otherwise. Show our troops and our Veterans that we care. Show them that, unlike after every other war, their needs, equipment, and deferred compensation are not forgotten.
Forty years from now, when our great grandkids are on our knees and they ask what did we do in the great Global War on Terror we won’t have to say “I waved a yellow ribbon, thanked them, and then cut them.”

Meanwhile, the war continues…..

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Larry Provost

Larry Provost currently works at The American Legion in the National Security and Foreign Relations Division.