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The Sequester Massacre

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In last month’s article I briefly addressed the effects of the sequester on my efforts to get information from the Navy History and Heritage Command. I also spent some time on the fact the Fairchild AFB Commissary was closed one additional day per week so that retirees, other veterans with base privileges and active duty personnel had fewer opportunities to shop for groceries and other common household needs.

These two items became trivial concerns on Monday morning, the 16th of September, when a disgruntled contract consultant entered the Washington Naval Yard in our nation’s capital and started shooting. How could this happen? How could anyone enter a military establishment carrying a shotgun and pockets full of shells in his cargo pants? The quick answer is the sequester. 

That onerous and draconian fiasco created by Congress was at the foundation of this tragedy. Due to budget cuts demanded by the sequester, the manpower level in the security forces at the Navy Yard had been reduced by 20 percent. This reduction in manpower appears to have left significant holes in building security; holes big enough for a former employee who still held his access card to enter a supposedly secure facility and kill a dozen innocent Americans. 

In an article for The Fiscal Times (http://bit.ly/1dn06Y7), Brianna Ehley writes about the links between the sequester and the shooting, a report that should make all of us see red. 

It appears to me that almost every base and unit commander made economic decisions based on maintaining optimum operational readiness and capability with less consideration given to possible impacts on lower echelon daily activities, like building security. The fact that all of these commanders were forced to make these decisions by our dysfunctional 113th Congress is positively mind-boggling. I have tremendous respect and admiration for the commanders who were forced to make these very difficult decisions. I have zero—make that less than zero—respect for the buffoons that forced those commanders to make those decisions. 

It is way past time for this Congress to stop playing political games and begin to do their jobs. They were elected to do the best they can for the majority of Americans, not to do a never-ending performance of Kabuki theatre on a national stage. The entire nation is being held hostage by a minority of ideologues whose whole purpose is to thwart at every turn a President they disagree with. 

That is not the American way. If you lose a game you don’t steal the ball so no one else can play. If you lose an election you should have enough character to suck it up and learn to work with the winners. I am constantly reminded by the ‘leaders’ of the House GOP of small children throwing temper tantrums when they don’t get their way. They have voted over 40 times to overturn the ‘Affordable Care Act’ at a cost of tens of millions of dollars to the American taxpayers knowing full well that there is ZERO chance it will ever pass the Senate. 

The October 1 government shut-down is further evidence of their penchant for temper tantrums. I may be old school, but there is more than sufficient reason for some corporal punishment being applied. Logic and reason seem to be totally ineffective with the 113th Congress.

We pay these small children slightly less than $175,000 per year to do absolutely nothing except spout their nonsense and stir up that very small minority of the population that makes up their base. I for one think that it is time for the adults to assert themselves and make these ‘children’ go into a well-deserved ‘time out’! 

On Friday, September 20, the nation observed National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Ceremonies were held at the Pentagon and near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. MIA numbers, as of this writing, are:

73,661 from World War II;

7, 906 from the Korean War;

1,644 from the Vietnam War;

126 from the Cold War;

1 from Operation El Dorado Canyon over Libya in 1986;

2 from Operation Desert Storm;

3 from Operation Iraqi Freedom;

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, is America’s only known POW from Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

There is a chance that many of these MIA’s will never be found and identified, but as I reported recently they will never stop trying to find and return home every one they can. Case in point: the remains of Sgt. Melvin E. Wolfe, 18, of San Diego, CA and Pfc Ronald C. Huffman, 18, of Lashmeet, WVA have come home.

According to VFW Post 12024, “In late November 1950, Wolfe and members of the K Company, 31st Regimental Combat Team, were forced into a fighting withdrawal to a more defensible position south of the Chosin Reservoir. Wolfe was reported missing in action on Dec. 12, 1950.

“On Feb. 12, 1951, Huffman and K Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, were fighting Chinese forces near Saemal, South Korea. The Chinese reported that Huffman had been captured and taken to a prisoner of war camp in North Korea. After the war, repatriated American POWs reported that Huffman had died in the camp in July 1951.”

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Gil  Beyer Gil Beyer A 21 year Navy veteran, lived in Bonner County for over 30 years, Past Commander of the Priest River DAV Chapter and admitted news junkie.

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