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OPINION

Military Veterans Ready for Ron to Run in 2024

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

America needs Governor Ron DeSantis to run for president in 2024. Americans need him to rebuild and restore our military and honor the pledges our nation country has made to military veterans once they leave service.

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DeSantis is a decorated veteran himself. He runs one of the largest National Guard forces in the country and tries to make up for the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) ineptitude by building additional veteran assistance programs within his state of Florida.

Over the last two years, the military budget and force structure has been cut to the bone, while the capabilities of our potential adversaries are ballooning. Just last week, Vladimir Putin drafted 300,000 Russians to attempt to crush the audacity of the brave Ukrainians fighting to save their country. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said China will have the capability to invade Taiwan by 2027, cutting off a vital trade route to our allies Japan and South Korea, as well as trading partners throughout Asia.

But what is the response of the Democrats in control of the government? Pull back, abandon our allies like we did in Afghanistan, and cut our military forces.

To meet those potential threats, we need to invest now in our defense. We cant just turn these forces around overnight; it takes years. Just this month, the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies stated unequivocally, The Air Force lacks the force capacity, lethality, and survivability needed to fight a major war with China” and will require substantial investments to return that force to anything approaching what the United States needs. In fact, only 45% of the Air Forces fighters and bombers are mission capable because they are broke and cant be repaired. And, by 2030, the Air Force will only have 31% of the bombers and 38% of the fighters it needs to protect our homeland and help our allies. That’s because of the Biden administration’s budget cuts.

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Meanwhile, the Army only recruited 50% of what it needed this year to maintain its force, largely because parents dont want their children to join and they dont trust this government to properly take care of their sons and daughters while in service. The Biden Administration’s budget proposal for the Navy would scrap nearly 10% of all the ships in the Navy, somehow arguing in truly Orwellian fashion that by cutting the Fleet, they will somehow be able to grow it.

Which leads to the next point: Since Democrats have been in control of the government, they have uniformly denied veterans access to the timely and quality health care they need and deserve. When Republicans controlled Congress and the presidency, fundamental reforms were made to the VA to hold senior bureaucrats accountable for such travesties as the Phoenix VA hospital wait time scandal, where the Obama Administration protected those responsible. On the other hand, the Trump administration put the whistleblowers that exposed the VA’s ineptitude in charge of those new accountability programs.

When Republicans controlled the government, they also made it mandatory for the VA to send veterans into the private sector (at the VAs expense), when the VA couldnt see a veteran quick enough. Now, the VA under the Biden administration is attempting to stop veterans from getting that health care, and instead forcing them to wait even longer while quicker health care is sitting and waiting in the private sector.

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Even the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Denis McDonough, said he wanted to loosen these standards for these veterans, making it more difficult for them to get timely care. And what happens when the veteran is forced to wait longer just so he can be seen by a VA doctor? More than half of those waiting patients experience worsened health. The VA fears that the it won’t be able to justify the bloated employment and salaries at underutilized VA hospitals if they dont force veterans to wait longer for direct VA health care. Some experts even say “the VA is more concerned with maintaining its facilities and staff, rather than ensuring veterans receive timely care.”

DeSantis is the person who can turn this around for our military and veterans. He can restore the trust that a government promising to to care for him who has borne the battle” will actually do so. He can rebuild a military force that minimizes the casualties the United States may suffer because the force is too small. A Navy veteran himself, he supported Navy SEAL Teams in Iraq, and was awarded the Bronze Star for that service. As Governor of Florida, he is Commander-in-Chief of the 12,000 members of the Florida National Guard, thousands of whom he called to active duty to respond to Hurricane Ian.

Moreover, DeSantis started new veteran home ownership programs with discounted fixed rate loans and 0% down payment and closing cost loans. He also signed into law better preferential hiring of veterans seeking Florida government jobs and was one of the first to realize the teaching potential of veterans to meet the teacher employment crisis in Florida schools.

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Governor DeSantis knows how to rebuild and restore our military because hes been part of it. He knows how to take care of our veterans because he is one. This veteran, and many more to follow, is proud to be part of Veterans Ready for Ron.”

Bob Carey is a veteran who now serves as an advocate for Ready for Ron PAC.

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