For a Better Future
I served in the US Army from June 4, 1992 - June 3, 2000. I have at least three generations of documented military service before me, and a few of my generation has carried on the tradition.
I never got the chance to do what I hoped I could do with my military service, and like many veterans, after my time was up, I wanted virtually nothing to do with the military. I was not ashamed of my service, but due to machinations of Congressmen who never served, my eight years in uniform did not allow me to claim veteran status to get federal or state benefits from my eight years of sacrifice.
I was fortunate to get out of the military before President George W. Bush and VP Dick Cheney started the illegal war in Iraq by misleading the American public. The mainstream media sold the narrative for us to go to war with no clear strategy for victory.
I lost more than one battle buddy to the "War on Terrorism" and one nephew, Joey Cantrell, was killed in service while a crew defused a roadside bomb next to his vehicle.
The ongoing wars has taken a toll on our veterans: 22 suicides a day, over 4,000 lost in combat, stop-gap retention, delays in claims, delays in treatment, under-equipped and under-trained soldiers and sailors, and multiple deployments and separations from family.
Last year, I believe in no small part due to the lack of strategy and no visible end to the "War on Terror" the US military have failed for third year in a row to meet recruiting standards. Add the fact that most recruits are not in good enough shape to begin basic training, the US Army and other branches have lowered their recruiting standards. This means more waivers have been written in the past ten years for felonies, drug use, and other standards than the last 200 years.
We have been at war almost 20 years in Afghanistan and Iraq and are no safer. We have had a "War on Drugs" since the early 1970s and illicit drug use is probably at it's highest ever with over 70,000 Americans overdosing on opiates in 2017. Spending $32 MILLION an hour in Iraq and Afghanistan has not made us any safer than spending over $1 TRILLION has kept drugs off the streets.
For me, national security is more than the military. It doesn't mean a physical barrier, but something more than the sum of it's parts. International Goodwill is probably the most important component of National Security. Unfortunately, the US government under the guidance of two Republican and one Democratic presidents have squandered any and all of the International Goodwill the US had built up over 200 years.
What are my goals to achieve greater National Security that will lead to improved economic conditions for all nations of the world?
1. END ALL WARS- on Terrorism, on Drugs, etc.
2. Reinstatement of recruiting standards-eliminate waivers without extraordinary circumstances
3. Shutter or sell overseas bases to allies
4. Reinstate a Fair Trade policy over the current Free Trade policy
5. Work with existing international partnerships to handle crisis situations
6. Re-establish a leadership role