As always, the Posse offers its sincere thanks to our military veterans, past and present, for their service to our nation.
Thank you and God bless you.
I've noticed a change over the last few years regarding military service. Back during the heights of the Iraq War, we had a Vietnam reprise of people calling our military members baby-killers and so forth. Many schools banned recruiters. (If you don't believe me, check this blog's archives for examples of unhinged commenters.)
Now all that has changed. Even in the heart of liberaldom, military service is something respected and admired. How long that will be the case in the Age of Trump no one can say, but it is a welcome development.
I am under no illusions regarding what Trump will accomplish, but one area where I am cautiously optimistic is the Veterans Administration.
The VA is incredibly corrupt and its incompetent, criminal leadership has suffered little consequence. The entire department needs to be restructured and the approach to health care re-examined.
Call me naive, but I think a man who made his reputation on the phrase "You're fired!" can do a great deal of good here. Trump seems to have a sincere admiration for military veterans, no doubt shaped in part by his primary education in a military school.
During the campaign people tried to make hay over his remarks that he felt he understood military members because of that experience. In fact, he's right and I understand what he meant.
The vast majority of people in the military - even career members - have never heard a shot fired in anger. The American defense establishment has sharp teeth, but they are tiny in comparison to its massive tail.
For 90+ percent of the people who serve, the military experience is one of discipline, tradition and boredom. You train, transfer, train some more, and get inspected. You move around a lot.
His childhood experience of uniform inspections, marching around and living in a dorm is pretty much what most people ever know. Trump is aware of that and I wager that having put up with that as a kid, he has great admiration for people who can do that for a living. It is not easy.
Contrast this with, for example, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama - typical progressive liberals. None of them know the first thing about what it means to be in the military. To them, the military is the Other. They are strange, violent people, not fully human who kill for pay and pleasure.
Again, it was remarkably easy for people of this kind to imagine all manner of atrocities in Iraq caused by our brain-damaged soldiers and Marines.
As for their care when they got back, once again the Vietnam trope of the emotionally stunted killer vet was brought out. Their thoughts were clearly: "What could the VA do? These people were damaged goods to begin with?"
The Obama administration's entire approach was one of media management and damage control. Rotate the staff (but don't fire anyone), say it's getting better and change the subject. Oh, and ask for more money.
This also explains why Trump's shot at John McCain also didn't hurt him. What's McCain been doing for all these years? Why hasn't he been barging into clinics personally, or sending his staff to check up on this? He's married to a beer heiress - he could afford to hire private investigators if it really bothered him!
Reforming the bureaucracy isn't as hard as people say. The old "vertical chop" of taking down the leadership and making examples out of everyone above middle manager does wonders. Leadership matters and once the drone employees see the way the wind is blowing they will either get with the program or go somewhere else.
Again, it may not happen, but the signs are better than they've been in my lifetime. Here's hoping.