“Leave no man behind,” is certainly a long-standing military phrase that captures the essence of the pride and valor of men and women serving in our armed forces. The origins of this phrase are not known, but is used by the US Army Rangers, the USMC and special forces units around the world.
Regardless of its origins, the message is clear: Our military takes care of their own and does not leave their wounded and brave heroes behind when they have sacrificed so much to defend our liberties. Clearly, political and military leaders in DC don’t operate with the same code of ethics and integrity. Specifically, the Pentagon is proposing significant changes TRICARE, the military health-care program, to meet budget reduction targets.
As reported by USA Today earlier this month, “the Pentagon is proposing substantial increases in health care premiums for working-age military retirees. For some retirees, the premiums for TRICARE, would nearly quadruple from $520 per year to $2,480 in 2017.
“Veterans’ advocates denounced the proposed increases. Retired vice admiral Norb Ryan, president of the Military Officers Association of America, called it a ‘a significant breach of faith with those who have already completed arduous careers of 20-30 or more years in uniform.'”
Quite understandably, the proposed increases in medical insurance premiums has provoked a firestorm in DC. Reports the Washington Free Beacon, “’We shouldn’t ask our military to pay our bills when we aren’t willing to impose a similar hardship on the rest of the population,’ Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a Republican from California, said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. ‘We can’t keep asking those who have given so much to give that much more.'”
While there are many sacred cows that may need to be sacrificed to bring our federal budget deficit under control, axing medical insurance premiums and medical care for our veterans and active military personnel is not one of them. If we as a nation can’t care for our brave heroes, then we shouldn’t be placing them in harm’s way in the first place.
Former Secretary of State and Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff, Colin Powell said that, “War should be the politics of last resort. And when we go to war, we should have purpose that our people understand and support.“ Perhaps, General Powell should have added “and that we as a Nation have a clear responsibility to care for those we send to war.”
I am quite sure that General Powell would have assumed that to be the case, but it would appear that “sense of responsibility” seems to have been replaced by “sense of entitlement” among the current breed of Beltway bandits.