The Responsibility of a Veteran in this time of National Crisis


by Tom Barnes

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."  George Washington

I agree with General Washington.  And this has nothing to do with parades, disability pensions or another G.I. Bill.  It has to do with understanding that by virtue of his willingness to serve, and in some case, her willingness to be wounded or maimed, the veteran has claimed the right to lead.  His opinion is the most important because his or her sacrifice has been the greatest for the common good.  Veterans need to start taking seriously their obligation to serve on all levels of political life in the United States. 

It is their continuing obligation to make sure that the voice of the veteran is heard in any and all political discussions among all parties.  That time is now more than ever.  I truly believe that anyone who had served in uniform would have been able to see this economic mess descending upon us if he or she had been serving in a high enough place within the financial oversight infrastructure of the nation. This assumes that there  were enough veterans available to that leadership team  to be able to use their common bond to force everyone else to see it. 

The one thing you learn and never forget once you wear a uniform is that even chaos has a pattern, a predictable pattern. The patterns of financial chaos were ignored so that the rich could grow richer.  Combat veterans or disabled veterans in positions of high authority in places that had control over our money would have smelled an ambush.  It is really that simple in my mind.


“In war there is no prize for the runner-up.”  General Omar Bradley

Veterans understand this, most especially disabled veterans hurt in combat.  The price that they have paid for their freedom and that of their family and friends will stay with them until their last breath.  We need to generate in this country a way to clear the field for veterans to lead.  They will accomplish the mission because they have done it before. 

They have stared death in the face and did not flinch.  That changes a person.  Veterans know that the only “answer” to any problem is the one that actually works.  Ideology means very little in a fire fight, a drug bust at sea or a situation requiring the crew to man their battle stations.  No one cares from where the correct answer to a dangerous situation comes as long as it does come and is ready to be used.  And it is ready to be used right now.

"It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it" General Douglas MacArthur

We are truly engaged in a new kind of war.  This one is deadly real and will affect our grandchildren’s children.  We are losing 20,000 jobs a day in this country. 

In 2008 we lost 2.6 million jobs.  That is a little less than twice the population of the City of Philadelphia where I was born.  Even now the Russians are challenging us in Khyrgystan by simply outbidding us with Russian money and twisting their neighbor’s arm to throw us out of the country and dismantle our air base which is critical to the war effort in Afghanistan.  This will be happening every week now. 

Our money was our real line of defense.  We do not have money anymore, at least not on the scale that we did.  Now we are in a bidder’s war for influence and I am not completely sure that we can always afford to offer the highest bid.  This is more dangerous than having outdated weapons.

We must have the will to win this new type of war, a bidder’s war with people who will move against our national interests by simply offering more money than we are willing to offer to achieve our goals.  Veterans can help by educating themselves on just how microeconomics and macroeconomics works for us and then they need to get involved in those decisions. 

We can no longer leave these decisions to the elites.  The elites have shown that your children and my children do not matter to them.  We must take the reigns of power.  We must force the international organizations that have made billions in this country to pay their fair share of these economic aspects of American defense. 

Money can be used as a weapon.  We clearly see that now.  As you read this money is being used as a weapon against us. We must ensure as veterans that those who have made that mountain of money here now pay a big share of those earnings toward our common defense. If someone is going to buy influence for the American population overseas, we need to ensure that we are first in that bidding war.  In order to do that we need a strong economy and fair tax burden leveled against the wealthiest of our population and business communities.

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones"  Albert Einstein

I will tell you what World War III will be fought with; the weapon of choice will be cash.  We are already involved in the war and the Russians have fired the first volley.  Our European “allies” will soften their stance with us very quickly. This will happen once they sense we can no longer afford to subsidize their national and community defense.  We do this with an overabundant American presence in European defense matters and a much too willing attitude to pick up the slack for them when they will not spend enough money on their own defense. 

Alternately, a strong American manufacturing base as well as a quick and decisive group of strategies to be viable in foreign markets with American products and services is vital to our national defense interests and veterans can play a role by ensuring that American goods and services are at the top of their consumption.  I am not talking about trade barriers. 

I am talking about buying American, regardless of cost.  We need to employ each other to generate wealth to ensure the common defense.  Wealth is as much a power as a guided missile but it can go a whole lot further in ensuring that America’s defense and general well being needs are met.

“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.”  Jeannette Rankin, first woman Member of Congress

She had a very good point.  Wars are ultimately unwinnable.  Too many people die, too much wealth is wasted, too many resources are destroyed.  We can no longer afford our typical American bullishness on foreign policy.  Veterans can help by insisting that we try as hard as possible to keep our war expenditures down.  The more wealth we can generate and keep in country the more wealth that wealth can generate in turn. 

As you well know, it takes money to make money.  If we spend our wealth on useless wars (as in Iraq) we have no wealth to spend on making more wealth.  Wealth is quickly becoming the weapon of choice among nations, now that the playing field is a lot more level among nations.  Veterans must ensure that everybody sees the danger of this new kind of war for influence here.

“It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter.    Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace–but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have?  Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? 

Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! “ Patrick Henry, March 23,1775

We are now at war over the accumulation of wealth, the ultimate weapon for world dominance.  Veterans need to get involved at every level of American politics to ensure that our national, state and local wealth is spent wisely and with an eye toward making us ever stronger and keeping the burden of repayment off the backs of our grandchildren and their children. 

That National Debt in the USA in 2008 presently has each American citizen owing $30,400 each to pay off.  That is a lot of debt.  Very few people in this country have $30,400 dollars lying around to pay off their portion of the national debt. 

The national debt is making us weak and that is because we have allowed the elites to make the decisions as to where our money goes.  American veterans have an obligation to change the rules of the game. We need to get heavily involved.  The price we have paid to have our voices heard in unison as a solid block of 25 million men and women must now be honored by all of us.  We need to take charge.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Tom Barnes is a retired Coast Guard warrant officer, a retired employee development specialist from the Smithsonian Institution and he spent a little time teaching public high school business courses in Northern Virginia after he left the Service.  He is a totally disabled veteran. 

He is the the Author, "The McGurk".  

The McGurk is a novel about the many cultural facets of Catholicism within the Archdiocese of  Philadelphia in the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries.  We read about a small aspect of that very large story as it plays out primarily in the lives of bishops, priests and nuns who are struggling with their Faith, their loyalties and their sense of ‘church’.  Many aspects of historical Jesus research are integral to the storyline.  The Irish in Philadelphia and Irish Catholicism as it existed there are the nucleus of the story.  This novel can be purchased at



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