Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Best Way To Thank A Veteran Is To Vote Against Trump

The following op-ed was written by veteran Frank Biggio (pictured) for

Frank ("Gus") Biggio, originally of Wooster, Ohio, earned his law and MBA degrees from Case Western Reserve University. He served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry from 1993 to 1998 and in the Marines' Civil Affairs Group from 2007 to 2010, deploying to Afghanistan in 2009, service for which he was awarded the Bronze Star. 

Mr. Biggio writes:

As one of the roughly 22 million Americans who served, or are serving, in the nation's military, I always appreciate when people tell me, "Thank you for your service." My response is always, "You're welcome," and other than the occasional department store discount or free round of drinks, I've never sought to exploit my veteran status to garner any special favors.
This year is different.
One of our options includes a man who has glibly spoken about using nuclear weapons in Europe and the Middle East and seems unconcerned about nuclear proliferation by other countries simply because it is "going to happen anyway;" who fails to comprehend the deterrent effect of U.S. troops in South Korea against increasingly belligerent threats by North Korea; who would allow NATO member states on Russia's western border to fall to Kremlin aggressions unless they "pay up;" and who has denigrated the family of an Army captain killed in action while serving his country.
This is a mercurial man who will have almost unchecked authority to put uniformed men and women in harm's way, but whose understanding of foreign affairs and military strategy is based almost solely on his instincts rather than analysis. 
I served under many commanders. Some were leaders in name only, but most deserved the title by demonstrating core leadership principles, regardless of any stress or hardship, and didn't resort to primitive and distracting antics like belligerent shouting or chest thumping. They led by example, invited collaboration, analyzed conflicting positions and took responsibility for the decisions that ultimately fell to them to make.
When successes occurred, they praised their teams. And when events turned against them, they took responsibility and didn't blame others or make excuses. 
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower drafted a letter on the eve of D-Day which was to be released in the event the invasion failed. He wrote: "If any blame attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone." We of course know that the Allied Forces succeeded after storming Normandy's beaches and Gen. Eisenhower praised the efforts of his teams, from the generals to the privates. 
It's inconceivable that Donald Trump would take such a position, either by acknowledging his team for a success (this is the man who claimed "I alone can fix it!" in his nomination acceptance speech), or solely taking blame for a failure.
Trump is no Eisenhower. He's more like the fictional Captain Queeg played by Humphrey Bogart in "The Caine Mutiny" -- paranoid, erratic, condescending and ultimately incompetent. There are many other apt analogies, but each is equally frightening when thinking of Trump directing the deployment of our military to today's ambiguous front lines, perhaps just to prove that he can.
There are many things to consider when heading to the polls in November. One of those is who should command the nearly 2.2 million members of our active and reserve military forces; who should be the elected leader with the authority to put their lives in jeopardy to protect American interests against evolving threats around the world. 
Will we elect a man who, without offering any clarity, boasts that he "will be so good at the military, your head will spin," as if his high school graduation from a military academy validates that claim, and hopes that the electorate will simply trust that will be so? Whose behavior and public comments cause a collective group of 50 foreign policy experts, most of whom are from the Republican Party and have at one time sat in the White House Situation Room and contemplated the implications -- and repercussions -- of deploying our military, to publicly denounce him and the security and foreign policy positions he has proposed?    
We have an alternative to the embarrassment that is Donald Trump, a candidate who, though not flawless, has actual experience and demonstrated pragmatism, is known and respected by military and civilian leaders in America and abroad and is capable of decisiveness and restraint as the situation requires. I'm with her.
This Election Day, please thank me for my service by voting for Hillary Clinton as our president and commander in chief.

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