Letter to the editor – John Thompson

To the editor,

President Obama just finished his last State of the Union Address.  He pointed out that our military is still the best in the world. He is right, but he is also the worst Commander-In-Chief to ever lead the best military in the world. Although his leadership hasn’t dropped us down to the readiness and operational capability of second tier powers like Russia and China, our force has deteriorated under his watch. 

During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan it was uncouth for Congress to vote against a pay increase for our troops. Unfortunately that exacerbated an already unaffordable 20 year retirement system for our military that only benefits 17 percent of all that serve. That wasn’t all Obama’s fault.  But what he did about it was.

President Obama made sure they didn’t retire. I have many West Point classmates that got the pink slip while they were still deployed. After spending 10 years, half of them on long deployments to Western Asia, they lost their job. This was 10 years on deployments that put strain on families and ruined any chance of a good night sleep for the rest of their lives.

There are special hiring authorities for veterans to transfer their service to the federal civilian force. However, federal agencies tend to prefer to hire from within. A well qualified military leader would break through the pecking order if hired. A young veteran with a couple of years can start over at the bottom and boost the number of “veteran hires” to a federal agency. However, if a job posting is for middle management, agencies tend to cancel and repost job listings with new requirements such as “must live within this zip code to apply” to ensure they do not have to hire a veteran leader.

Ironically, President Obama quipped during the last State of the Union, “Want the job done?  Hire a veteran.”

That was obviously empty rhetoric and not guidance to his Office of Personnel Management, the agency who oversees the federal workforce. The only thing that organization has done for veterans under his watch is to negligently lose our fingerprints, medical records, financial data and the addresses of all our families and neighbors to the Chinese in the worst cyber data breach in history.

I am not so visceral that I think Obama hates America.  I have very different values than our president. However, despite those differences, he is still a terrible leader who would put winning an argument over accomplishing something for our country.

 

I’m sure he wants veterans to have good opportunities.  But he only knows how to give speeches; he is clueless as to how to deliver results. I’m sure he wishes that the VA cared more about providing services for our veterans than protecting its own leaders.  Obama’s VA covered up the fact that they were allowing veterans to die while waiting for treatment. And I’m sure that our president will not revel in the fact that his veteran legacy will be that every day 22 of them take their own life.

–John Thompson, Jefferson

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