(MIL) PATRIOTISM vs POLITICS

By Jug Varner

After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, American youth joined the military, not with the idea of careers and retirement perks, but out of patriotic desire to serve our nation and save it from destruction.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2002, our nation's youth joined the military, not with the idea of military careers and retirement perks, but out of patriotic desire to serve our nation and save it from destruction.

In between those two major events in our lives patriotism did not change, but Congress created many changes to the military. Some changes were good, some were bad, but all were political.

I believe in justice, fulfilling promises, and receiving earned rewards, and have supported the efforts of “Keeping The Promise to Military Retirees.” But I can't support the growing trend by some retirees to politicize this effort to a point of no return.

Many retiree e-mail messages I see bitterly attack President Bush as if he, not Congress, is the villain for not correcting a situation that has gone virtually unchanged under countless Congresses and administrations before him - Democrat and Republican alike. I can't support such messages.

I can't support the loud faction rushing to judgment to create a “military political party” that can only fracture and fail to produce anything more than dissention within the ranks of the once non-partisan lobbying effort - an effort that began as a means to educate Congress about broken health care promises to military retirees.

And, I certainly can't support those who are pandering to a failed Army general Democrat presidential candidate who might possibly be the worst selection of the entire group, all in the name of “You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours” - never mind what sort of president he might be.

Human nature seems to include the pattern of “the more you get, the more you want, whatever it takes,” commonly known as greed.

This whole problem is, always has been, and always will be politics and greed. And, as the old saying goes: “It is difficult to pull a person out of the gutter if you are down there with him.”

We, the retired military, are not politicians. Nor do we, as a relatively small group, have any political power. Nor, should we. If you know anything about history, you must conclude: “Our politicians are bad enough! God help America if the military ever gained political control.”