Commendation on a VT Network Balanced Writing Staff
by Robert Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, Staff Writer
As one of the newest Staff Writers for the VT Network, I want to thank the General Manager and Editorial Board at VT Network for recruiting and putting together a cross section and representative collection of views and opinions my fellow authors bring to our network.
John P. Allen and Morgan Barker have put together a spectrum of opinions and views that give voice to all that is both negative and positive that impacts Veterans, Military Retirees, and yes our troops and families. The collective we may or may not be in agreement on eachother's views and opinions or the approach used, but I hope and pray it is with a focus on what is best for our Military Families, Veterans, and Troops regardless our ideology, politics, or views pro or con on War.
In that spirit, I humbly request that all staff writers be mindful that regardless our own personal opinions, bias, (that means me too), or where we stand on the issues of today that impact our brothers and sisters in arms (Veterans today, yesterday or tomorrow) one thing we all have in common is that WE truely care about our love ones placed in harms way. Our focus should not be a politician, they come and go, as we are about to find out (2008), nor should our focus be on any political party.
I know from personal experience and history that switching political parties, if a trooper or military family is even concerned about politics, because who is to say all are? Switching party loyalty is a American as apple pie. I am living proof that one CAN separate the Soldier from the War just as easily as one can and has separated opposition to "a war," any questionable war from those ordered to fight it. Those sent in harms way play no part in that decision and that fellow writers is out dilemma.
While I was in the Army during the last year or so of Vietnam, I opposed that war, but I was also among a unique 'few' if one wants to consider over 750,000 a few Vietnam Vets who staid around to develop, build and watch the All Volunteer Force grow despite assessments after Vietnam it would fail, because not enough American citizens would volunteer to make it subsist. Suffice it to say that I opposed the war but had no beef with the military. That does not mean I do not and will not criticize 'my' military establishment if I do not agree with what the civilian partisan run Pentagon is doing. Having done my time so to speak at the Pentagon, I am not reluctant to tell the public those who really run it are naked. That is the up side of Military Retirement, one can finally speak their mind on 'policy,' Senior officers on both sides of the issues surrounding the War on Terror do it all the time. They set the example for enlisted troops, especially Veterans that decided to not make the service a career as I did.
Thus, I can relate to any Iraq or Afghanistan Veteran, and I know a few who either question or oppose 'this war' yet continue to desire a military career. Some, as I did after Vietnam, have decided to go into Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Let me give witness and testimonial. When the Armed Forces is hurting for people, especially the ground forces, does anyone seriously believe an officer recruiting board or military recruiter is going to ask a potential accession what their political or ideological views on a war they may question are. Nope, I was never asked that question nor should I have been. I loved the military not the temporary politicians who by right and Constitution rule over it as parties change.
Those are 'my views' and my story, and I'm sticking to it.
About the Author: Robert (Bobby) L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, is a member of Veterans for America (VFA), Veterans for Common Sense (VCS), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), and writes for Our Troops Ladder. You can email Bob at [email protected]