I was not going to write anything this Memorial Day, because there’s only a few simple facts that apply, and one grows boring, repeating them over and over. But I persist. After all, Delenda est Carthago. What prompted this was a typical feel-good Memorial Day email from my Congresswoman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Reading it, I found I had to reply.
Thanks for your Memorial Day message, but let me remind you that actions speak louder than words.
As a VietNam veteran, I have some suggestions as to what actions you, as a lawmaker, can take to honor those who died, or otherwise gave their lives in service to America.
1. Fund the VA, nationwide, at a level that will let them hire the doctors and staff needed to serve the workload associated with our wars, for as long as those who served need their service.
2. Fund the economic programs needed to make sure returning service members can find a job when they get out, and that they have a safety net until they find that job.
3. Fund the State Department at a level that will let them maintain adequate security at all their stations. Did you know that since the end of the Cold War, we’ve lost more ambassadors overseas than we have general officers?
4. Finally, keep us out of stupid wars and ill-thought foreign adventures. 6000 Americans died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we’re less safe than we were on September 10th.
Do these four things, whoever is in office and whatever their party, and you will have the undying gratitude of those who served, and their survivors. Do these four things without regard to offsets or tax reform or other political cant. Do these four things because they are the right thing to do to support the troops, and because they represent part of the hidden costs of a robust foreign policy, a hidden cost you have to accept when you make the decision to engage.
It’s fine to remember the troops, and I thank you, but more importantly, you should never forget that it’s your laws and your funding that sends them in harm’s way and cares for what comes back.
Tags: Memorial Day