Jumping in Fleet First to Save the Military

Barb Wire

Which is more dangerous: facing ISIS or flying the equipment there? These days, it’s a toss-up. Thanks to eight years of neglect, the military that was once the envy of the world has been reduced to dilapidated fleets and aircraft that probably pose a greater risk to our troops than the enemy itself. That’s what we get under a president more concerned about who our service members sleep with than the resources they have to do their jobs.

The casualties of deep cuts and even more social experimentation, “less than one-third of the Army is at acceptable levels of readiness,” warned House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas). In the Air Force alone, “less than half combat forces are ready for a… high-end fight.” It is, he said soberly, “the smallest, oldest, and least ready [force] across the full-spectrum of operations in our history.” Even if we started today, experts argue, Congress couldn’t repair the damage done to the military until the end of the next president’s term in 2020. Our bombers and other aircraft are so run-down that Marines are literally taking planes out of mothballs to scavenge them for parts.

“Imagine taking a 1995 Cadillac and trying to make it Ferrari,” Sgt. Argentry Uebelhoer explained. “You’re trying to make it faster, more efficient, but it’s still an old airframe… [and] the aircraft is constantly breaking.” Marines were so desperate to get one jet flying that they had to visit a museum to find a landing gear door. To his dismay, the Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic Commander was notified earlier this year that even his current squadron of F-18 Hornets (barely half of which are operational) would be “parts donors” if the carrier needed spares.

And that’s just two of the branches! As recently as this week, jaws dropped when the Navy admitted that the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and its carrier group were headed to the Middle East to launch ISIS strikes “with the help of parts stripped off of other operational ships.” “It’s emblematic of the readiness problems across the force,” top officials vented. And it isn’t just the equipment that’s tired, one master sergeant pointed out. It’s the personnel too. On most installations, troops are so strapped for money that pilots can’t even meet their training standards. When they do get airborne, who knows how many of the planes are safe to fly? Just yesterday, Americans watched in horror when a Thunderbird and Blue Angel crashed at separate sites, killing one pilot. We may never know if he was a casualty of the shoddy gear forced on our troops under a president too preoccupied with social engineering to fund America’s priorities.

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Unfortunately, this is the new normal for a military that’s fallen apart while its commander-in-chief pursued his radical agenda: open homosexuality and transgenderism in the troops, women in the infantry, and daughters in the draft. America’s enemies are getting more sophisticated — and what are we getting? More politically correct. Yet despite all of this, President Obama had the gall to stand in front of a class of graduating Air Force Academy cadets this week and insist that the military is stronger than ever. Why? Because “gay and lesbian cadets and troops can serve their country, a country they love, without hiding who they love.” And because “all combat positions are open to women.”

Like most of the president’s soundbites, saying it doesn’t make it true. Military leaders fought long and hard against these changes because of the risks to readiness involved. That didn’t matter to the president’s political appointees (most of whom don’t even have real-world military experience). They waved off the brass’s concerns and plowed ahead anyway. Now, morale is in the gender-free toilet, suicides and sexual assaults have never been higher, recruitment and retention are in the basement, and our equipment is falling apart.

Making matters worse, the shift in priorities is already having a devastating effect on the next generation of service members. Young sailors like Lt. David Nartker are spending so much time in diversity and sexual harassment training that they don’t even know the code of military conduct.

Yet when questions stream in to the White House about the sorry state of our Armed Forces, Press Secretary Josh Earnest has the audacity to point the finger at Congress. That’s laughable, conservatives will tell you, since the White House has threatened to veto almost every troop funding bill since 2009. “If one or more unforeseen contingencies happen, then the United States Army currently risks not having ready forces available to provide flexible options to our national leadership… And most importantly, we risk incurring significantly increased U.S. casualties,” General Mark Milley testified in Congress.

While I am sure some on the Left, — including the president — would dispute this, the historical record makes it clear that the world has been a better place because of America and her leadership over the last 240 years. History also makes it abundantly clear that nations, such as ours, cannot maintain peace and security for ourselves or others without an equipped, trained, and disciplined military dedicated to protecting the ideals and freedoms that this president has systematically attacked over his last two terms.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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