As the deployment of active-duty military members to the U.S.-Mexico border continues, the newest form of criticism is that the troops will not be home for Thanksgiving and they could possibly miss Christmas as well.
As Defense Secretary Mattis tours the border, where nearly 6,000 troops are stationed, fmr Defense official @kellymagsamen isn’t mincing words. She says these troops will miss Thanksgiving with their families “for a political stunt.” pic.twitter.com/vTTFyYvTic— Brooke Baldwin (@BrookeBCNN) November 14, 2018
The election’s over. Let the troops at the border go home for Thanksgiving.— Ken Olin (@kenolin1) November 17, 2018
The next time you hear Republicans in Congress complain about the deficit, remind them that they stood by as the Trump administration spent $200 million to deploy 5,000 troops to the border (over Thanksgiving) for a political stunt.— Robert Reich (@RBReich) November 13, 2018
Send our troops home for Thanksgiving! This @POTUS drill at the border is an embarrassing joke and a gross waste of taxpayer money. And isn’t it interesting that POTUS hasn’t talked about the caravan since the election? https://t.co/MLK1nDAp0Q— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) November 16, 2018
While I can say that’s part of the job and how people signing up for the military know they will be missing days like Thanksgiving, I’m just a reservist who has not experienced such a sacrifice. Which is why Eli Crane, a Navy SEAL veteran with three deployments to Iraq and who is the CEO of Bottle Breacher, was happy to break it down Barney-style for recent critics.
“When I see civilians and commentators criticizing the troop deployment to the border and discussing how it’s just a political move and unnecessary for our troops to be deployed for this during the holidays it reminds me exactly why I joined the military in the first place,” Crane told Townhall.
“To protect, especially those who don’t know any better, from foreign and domestic threats. Our borders are a big deal, protecting our citizens from thousands of foreigners who showed their true character by busting through Mexico’s southern border and assaulting Mexican police cannot be taken lightly,” he explained. “These same commentators also fail to realize that the precedent set here is actually more important than what happens to this wave seeking to enter our country. It’s a couple thousand today, it’s 20,000 tomorrow.”
Crane said he understands how easy to forget that there are troops deployed during the holidays:
"Take it from me, it is especially easy during the holiday season to forget that we still have service members deployed overseas in combat zones. If I didn’t spend many a holiday overseas myself, if I didn’t have good buddies that just came back and some others that just said goodbye to replace those returning, I must admit I would probably be just another oblivious civilian trying to get things done. You see our service members are also dealing with the hustle and bustle this holiday season. Their hustle and bustle, however, doesn’t involve, turkey, presents, family gatherings, and football. It involves hustling to a bunker during incoming mortar fire, making sure they know their responsibilities during the next resupply convoy and finishing their collateral duties so they can get back to their quarters to skype with their children before they go to sleep thousands of miles away.
“The military does the best job they can making sure that during the holidays we get to enjoy a good meal and see a decoration or two,” he continued. “Ask anyone who has ever spent the holidays thousands of miles away in a foreign land wearing a uniform on a ship or base and I can guarantee you the one thing you won’t here is ‘that was the best Christmas ever.’”
“I will remind you that there hasn’t been a draft in this country since Vietnam. What that should mean to you is that these men and women overseas were not forced or obligated to spend holidays, birthdays and other special moments away from their loved ones,” Cane added.
“Rain or shine, light or dark, cold weather or hot weather — we have an all-weather force that's on duty 24/7,” Mattis explained. “Drive around the Pentagon on Thanksgiving Day, and look at the number of cars in the parking lot of people who work right through the holidays. Some of you were with me when we were at Guantanamo Bay last Thanksgiving timeframe. Troops were down there.”
“Kind of, all I can say to the American people: Welcome to your military. It's on duty,” he concluded.