Our veterans at a crossroad

Only a handful of occupations require their members to be ready at a moment’s notice and, at times, be willing to put their lives in harm’s way.

While our policemen and firefighters are constantly on call to protect and serve, so are thousands of men and women who stand ready to protect the United States at home and overseas.

Since the era of modern warfare, veterans deployed to Europe twice, during World War I in 1917 and then again in early 1942 for World War II. While thousands of servicemen and women were in Europe, thousands more left for the Pacific to fight the Japanese.

We have seen men and women deploy to the Korean peninsula in 1950, Vietnam in the 1960s, the Middle East in 1990-91, the Balkan peninsula in the mid-to-late 1990 and Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003, respectively.

The latest wars have been costly in the number of American losses.

To be a member of the military is an honor, to serve one’s country is a noble profession.

Fallon salutes the thousands — if the not millions — of veterans who have served their country.

Yet, while we salute our veterans, we also cast a weary eye on the military’s future as the Obama Administration and Congress wrangle over defense spending.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said $1 trillion in proposed cuts during the next 10 years will have a devastating consequence on the military’s readiness, and future cuts will be much worse than the cuts the military faced under sequestration this year or the government shutdown in October. As with previous budget proposals, undoubtedly lawmakers will also zero in on reducing military benefits and retirement, an idea that is nothing more than a slap in the face to the men and women who served or currently serve their country.

Around the corner, though, looms the second round of sequestered cuts, which not only harms the military but also adjacent communities that rely on the base economy, such as Fallon.

Cuts could range as high as $50 billion less than what the Pentagon seeks, thus causing government bureaucrats to say the Department of Defense will become smaller with fewer civilian workers and uniformed members.

While both parties — the Democrats and Republicans — wrangle over how to avoid sequestration with military spending, the commander in chief remains mute on the subject. The men and women who are serving or who have served deserve better treatment from their elected representatives, especially a president who seems aloof in military’s affairs.

Editorials written by the LVN Editorial Board appear on Wednesdays.


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