Support a SMART Defense Budget NOT a Bloated One.

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by Bob Hanafin, Staff Writer 

The following Letter to the Editor was sent to the editors of several newspapers surrounding our Air Force Base, theDayton Daily News, OH; Beavercreek News-Current, OH;Fairborn Daily-Herald, OH; Journal News, Hamiliton, OH; SpringField News Sun, OH; The Middletown Journal, OH; Troy Daily News, OH; Urbana Daily Citizen, OH; Wilmington News Journal, OH; Xenia Daily Gazette, OH, and the Columbus Dispatch in our capital city.

Our military family, signed up with TrueMajority to support President Obama and Secretary of Defense Gates’ plan to cut funding for wasteful weapons that don’t work. I’ve talked about this over and over on VT as being a Smart Defense Budget not a Bloated One. I’ve also been an outspoken critic in opposition to Obama and Gate’s plans to expand the GWOT into SouthWest Asia without sincere U.S. national commitment.

     

Despite that, our military family sincerely believe that both Gates and Obama are leading in the right direction on this one regardless how we view escalation of wars we do not believe in. Howver, more to the point, Congress is running in the other direction and what its their motivation – campaign contributions from the aeronautical and naval defense industries.

The defense industry anticipated this threat to their war profits off the backs of our ground forces and have been working around the clock since the announcement. They’re close to convincing dozens of key legislators to oppose the Obama/Gates budget – and keep wasting billions on weapons programs that we don’t need.

gatesandarmy_50_400My fellow Veterans remember that the next time you complain about the VA budget not being on time or not adequate to care for our returning troops as civilian defense contractors line their pockets. Remember that as the war economy continues to plummit hurting those most vulnerable and those of us doing the fighting and dying for defense contracts. No, do more than just remember, think, whine, and complain. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Take the next step – Write a letter using our easy-to-use online tool.

http://act.truemajorityaction.org/t/120/letter/?letter_KEY=16

Gates’ budget isn’t everything we want – but it’s an impressive start. The proposed defense budget ENDS the F-22 program we’ve fought to cut back for years. It cuts billions from star-wars weapons defense that won’t work and will set off an arms race in space. Most importantly, Gates is the first Secretary of Defense to stand up to the Defense industry in generations – saying no to sweetheart-deal contracts that make corporations rich without protecting America3.

3twar_400Tell your neighbors about this, with a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Together, we can keep the heat on Congress and re-write the rules of defense spending for years to come.

To set the example, the Mustang Major did what he does best LEAD the way.

Robert L. Hanafin
Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired
AND IF YOU THINK THAT CRITICIZING A BUDGET THAT WOULD BENEFIT MY SERVICE WAS AN EASY DECISION THINK AGAIN, MY FAMILY ALSO DEPENDS ON AN AIR FORCE BASE FOR SUPPORT.

On April 6 former Bush administration Secretary of Defense Robert Gates proposed a bold Defense Budget that cuts spending. As a military family, veterans of both the Army and Air Force, and Army parents, we commend Secretary Gates for proposing to cut or reconfigure weapons which don´t work or are based on threats that we no longer face. 
We support the scaling back of a variety of programs including missile defense, the F-22 and the DDG-1000 destroyer. Secretary Gates’ effort to turn priorities around at the Pentagon that really support our ground forces in what has been essentially a ground war and will continue to be so in Afghanistan is commendable. Al Queda has no Navy or Air Force to speak of, and if anyone can seriously convince us which nations pose a conventional threat to us and our potential allies in the Air or on the Seas, and we will listen.  

We realize that the role of funding the military belongs to Congress, but disregarding the wishes of a Defense Secretary that has served both a Republican and Democrat Commander-In-Chief’s would make it quite clear to voters who members of Congress are really working for and it is not our ground forces but the Defense Industry.
It is way past time for the Army and Marines to get the lion’s share of the defense budget and contractors need to make adjustments for that focus. Our stand is not a popular one for our military family in an Air Force community to take, we also depend on Wright-Patt, but we place support to our troops (ALL OUR TROOPS) over self-interests and ensuring the security of DOD civilian jobs or defense industry contracts that have little to do with winning the ground war. 

usaf_cutting_costs_400We are prepared to hear members of Congress in districts surrounding Wright-Patt, Springfield ANG base, and Rickenbacker ARB attacking Gates for not supporting the troops. What exactly have these politicians done to support our ground troops? Throwing carrots at those of us who served in the past in no way supports our ground troops today, let’s not fool ourselves; Secretary Gates has just as much an effective and ready fighting force in mind for the Global War on Terror now as he did when he worked for Mr. Bush. Such political-industrial attacks fueled by campaign contributions only serve to clarify who during the next Congressional election cycle is really running their political campaigns on the donations of defense contractors.

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Readers are more than welcome to use the articles I've posted on Veterans Today, I've had to take a break from VT as Veterans Issues and Peace Activism Editor and staff writer due to personal medical reasons in our military family that take away too much time needed to properly express future stories or respond to readers in a timely manner. My association with VT since its founding in 2004 has been a very rewarding experience for me. Retired from both the Air Force and Civil Service. Went in the regular Army at 17 during Vietnam (1968), stayed in the Army Reserve to complete my eight year commitment in 1976. Served in Air Defense Artillery, and a Mechanized Infantry Division (4MID) at Fort Carson, Co. Used the GI Bill to go to college, worked full time at the VA, and non-scholarship Air Force 2-Year ROTC program for prior service military. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1977. Served as a Military Intelligence Officer from 1977 to 1994. Upon retirement I entered retail drugstore management training with Safeway Drugs Stores in California. Retail Sales Management was not my cup of tea, so I applied my former U.S. Civil Service status with the VA to get my foot in the door at the Justice Department, and later Department of the Navy retiring with disability from the Civil Service in 2000. I've been with Veterans Today since the site originated. I'm now on the Editorial Board. I was also on the Editorial Board of Our Troops News Ladder another progressive leaning Veterans and Military Family news clearing house. I remain married for over 45 years. I am both a Vietnam Era and Gulf War Veteran. I served on Okinawa and Fort Carson, Colorado during Vietnam and in the Office of the Air Force Inspector General at Norton AFB, CA during Desert Storm. I retired from the Air Force in 1994 having worked on the Air Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon.