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Honor Our Soldiers; Don't Use Them as Pawns

Our veterans and active duty personnel deserve our gratitude.

American veterans, and those actively serving, deserve our gratitude and respect. They represent an America with a rich history of fighting for global values, not just American ones.

On this Veterans Day, we honor all who have served to defend our country and those who continue to do so. And we thank them for their service

Unfortunately, our current GOP administration is led by a president who does not appear to understand what it really means to be a veteran or to serve in the military. After all, despite his bellicose claims about how much he loves “his” military, Donald Trump managed five deferments from the draft during the Vietnam war – one because of bone spurs in his heels and four other educational deferments.

Even Saturday, while in France for an international Armistice Day observance, Trump canceled a planned visit to an American cemetery 50 miles outside of Paris. The White House cited the rain, which sometimes grounds the President's Marine One helicopter. Meanwhile, fellow leaders -- including French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -- visited hallowed locations across the French countryside.

Trump really has no appreciation or understanding of the sacrifices these men and women have made to keep the world free, despite his rhetoric. How can he and his Republican supporters say they respect or support our veterans when they are now working to slash funding for veterans’ healthcare to help pay for the billion-dollar tax cut they implemented for the corporations and the wealthy?

The president on several occasions has clearly shown no respect for our veterans or troops. They are only useful to him as political pawns to further his draconian policies or to stir up his devoted base.

The America first agenda only makes us look like an oppressor now as was clearly shown when he separated families trying to enter the country and ratcheted up the war on immigrants.

Today, instead of using our military to fight oppression around the world, Trump is deploying 5,200+ troops to the Mexican border to put up barbed wire and capture any asylum seeker attempting to enter illegally – and said that could rise to 14,000 troops.

“And if they throw rocks, shoot them,” he said.

As Commander in Chief, he thinks the rules of engagement can be ignored and “his” military should do whatever he wants. These are not the actions or thoughts of the president of a democratic republic. They are the rantings and actions of a would-be dictator who tragically has access to nuclear weapons.

Presidents in office during every armed conflict of the 20th century understood that our troops were necessary and they appreciated their commitment to not just American, but global ideals. The current president has no interest in protecting the global community or using diplomacy and intelligent, well thought out policies to help those seeking to escape tyranny -- which could truly make America great in the eyes of the world.

The United States has always been on the right side of history. If this president persists with his current agenda, which is solely to stroke his ego and make himself feel more powerful, we might very well end up on the wrong side of history very soon.

Susan Hutchinson spent 18+ years in a clinical diagnostics company near San Francisco in support and sales/marketing positions. She worked as a product manager in England for six years. Tired of working for a corporation more concerned about shareholder profits than its employees, she retired two years ago.

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