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Veterans Take the Decline of Our Military and Country Personally

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Few things have been as painful over the last few years as watching our military fall into ruin. And even worse is seeing the collapse of our country after serving her. Let me tell you – we vets are not happy. A lot of us are alienated. Many feel like we wasted years of our lives – and, some of us, our blood – for nothing. That we have come to this just makes me sick. 

Ronna McDaniel is running for reelection to chair the Republican National Committee. She has failed to get the promised result in four elections now (including the 2021 Georgia run-off), and by the time you read this, you will know if the latest Georgia clusterfark – end these stupid run-offs, Peach Tree People – has made her 1-4 or 0-5. But she has some competition, including the great lawyer Harmeet Dhillon – and it's pretty clear that the base does not want Ronna Redux. Will the establishment listen? It better. 

A Sad Time For Vets

At the recent Reagan Defense Forum, the 4-star commandant of the Marine Corps told interviewer Dana Perino (I paraphrase), "Marines don't talk about or care about so-called wokeness. That's not an issue in the Corps. I've never heard anything like that." 

The fact we have not won a war decisively in three decades seems a lot less surprising when you hear something like that. Hey, if you want to get the pulse of the troops, go ask an O-10. I can just see some lance corporal telling him, "Well, sir, this woke bullSchiff is ticking us off, and I'm getting out on my ETS and telling all my buddies at home not to enlist." Said E-3 would no doubt be a member of the Unicorn Cavalry because the approximate chance of anyone telling a four-banger GO that his organization sucks is about 0%. 

So, I believe him when he says he's never heard it. And he ought to be relieved for never having heard it. 

This is a symptom of how far our beloved military has fallen. Thirty-two years ago this week, I deployed for the first time to lead my carwash platoon in the Persian Gulf War. You need to understand what it was like to serve in 1990-91 if you weren't in the military then. In 100 hours, the US military annihilated a nation's entire army, barely breaking a sweat – the sweat had come in training beforehand at Fort Irwin (where I would later deputy command a brigade rotation in the toughest training event of my career) and in Europe preparing to stop the commie hordes. We learned under the guidance of the guys who fought in Vietnam and stayed around to rebuild the shattered US military. The command team for the mighty VII Corps (I was a minor O-2 cog in this magnificent armored machine) had two members with just one leg from that war, GEN Fred Franks (the corps commander) and COL Stan Cherrie (the G3).

And it was amazing, something I did not appreciate while I was there (I was at Corps Main outside Hafur al Batin) but which I came to understand in subsequent years. This was a victory on par with Cannae in terms of planning, execution, and total victory. To be a part of a military that could do that – that could move the equivalent of a mid-sized city across the globe, drive it to the middle of a desert, then utterly rout the enemy that lived there – was something remarkable. And we vets were lucky to be a part of it. 

And now it's all trans awareness, boats running into each other, and dead Marines, presided over by ribbon-bedecked functionaries who are either lying to us or delusional. 

I served 27 years active and reserve. I didn't do anything heroic or dangerous – paper cuts don't count – but I left my wife and six-month-old kid for 16 months in 2004 to deploy again because my country needed me. And you look at the country now, with contempt for working people and the Constitution, the defining aspects of our "best and brightest" – who themselves almost never serve – and you have to wonder whether it was worth it.

Were we suckers?

Was it worth it?

I still think so. But I'm really pissed off. And I am not alone.

The GOP Chair Race Cluster

Ronna McDaniel thinks she deserves another term after going 0-4, maybe 0-5 if Herschel loses. Cards on the table – I support Harmeet Dhillon, though I would be happy with Lee Zeldin if that was the decision of the 168 party bigwigs with a vote. And you, in the base, agree. I did an unscientific poll on Twitter, and 83.3% of you supported one of these two candidates. Just under 6,000 people voted, a not-insignificant number. And there was another not-insignificant finding: Ronna McDaniel received just .6% of the vote. 

That is not a typo. 

She did not crack 1%. Monkeypox is literally more popular.

It's not personal to Ronna. I don't think she tried to lose. And lose. And lose. And lose. But she lost, and lost, and lost, and lost, and how the hell can our party 1) not hold her accountable (lack of accountability for leaders brought America to this sorry state) and 2) ignore the manifest will of the Republican base? Is there a greater show of utter contempt for us, the actual voters, than to reject this unequivocal rejection of a failed Chairwoman?

There cannot be. This is a decision point, people. The GOP has a choice – and it better make the right one.

Get Inferno, the seventh book in the Kelly Turnbull series of conservative action novels set in America after a notional national divorce! Catch up with all my action-packed novels, including People's Republic, Indian Country, Wildfire, Collapse, Crisis, and The Split, as well as the non-fiction book We'll Be Back: The Fall and Rise of America.

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