In America, and indeed most of the world, there are myriad ways to serve the country and they are all worthy of recognition and commendation. Law enforcement officers, school teachers, nurses, firefighters, and postal workers are just a few of the public sector employees that provide a service for all Americans and there are sacrifices involved in each of those professions. Those professions, although admirable, are not the same as our brave men and women of the military who take an oath to serve and if necessary, sacrifice their lives as dedicated professionals who provide the rest of America with security knowing that daily life continues without the threat of attack from America’s enemies. President Obama has been at the forefront of giving praise and benefits to military personnel from his first days in office, and persists in acknowledging their sacrifice, professionalism, and dedication in serving America.
During Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire, Willard Romney castigated President Obama and the American people for not “paying the price of freedom” in America and although Romney found it amazing and extraordinary, his remark is the height of hypocrisy and insulting to every veteran, public servant, President Obama, and the American people. There are thousands of reasons to dislike Willard Romney, but his hypocritical assault on the president, public servants, Americans, and our military personnel is enough to engender hatred from the most benign altruist.
If Romney finds it extraordinary that “a very few number of families are paying the price of freedom,” then he must be repulsed at his own record of disservice. Romney evaded the draft by serving the Mormon church in France where he spent time in a Paris mansion that other Mormon missionaries described as a palace that featured a servant, a cook, stained glass windows, and pricey art. The mansion later became an embassy of the United Arab Emirates and is currently worth about $12 million.
Apparently, Romney’s idea of sacrifice and paying the price of freedom is different than most Americans. Most Americans, whether they opposed the Viet Nam war or the military in general, did not look for a coward’s way out of serving and when their country called on them to serve, they did their duty instead of hiding out in a French mansion with a book of Mormon and a bible looking for gullible people to baptize into the cult. Romney went on to use educational deferments to avoid serving while he attended college in Utah and California. During the time America had a draft, using religion as a reason for not serving was somewhat accepted as a matter of conscience, but shifting to educational deferments usually merited the appropriate label of coward. More on that later.
If Romney believes too few American families are not paying the price of freedom, then one would imagine that his 5 sons were fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq for the past 8 years. However, none of his sons are paying the price of freedom and Romney had the audacity to claim that his sons are “showing support for our nation helping to get me elected.” This author’s son-in-law served in Baghdad for over a year during the civil war there, and there is little comparison between traveling the country in a customized luxury RV and serving in stifling heat and freezing night patrols waiting for the next IED attack or ambush to kill you or one of your comrades-in-arms. Romney would never dare tell Iraq or Afghanistan war veterans that his sons’ campaign work is akin to fighting, killing, and dying in a desert or alley in Sadr City, Fallujah, or Kabul.
Romney expressed his admiration of Dick Cheney for his “wisdom and judgment” in response to a question about a possible running mate. It is telling that Romney is enamored with a vile war criminal that avoided serving in the military and then pushed for war with Iraq. Romney, like Dick Cheney, is a coward who cheated his way out of paying the price of freedom and has gathered a foreign policy team that was instrumental in assisting George W. Bush and Cheney in their push for war with Iraq. Romney’s foreign policy advisers advocate war with Iran and as former Cheney aide Eric Edelman said, “The military option should not be dismissed” in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, and Kim Holmes of the Heritage Foundation worried that Europeans negotiating with Iran might be “preventing the U.S. from using military force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.” Romney’s cowardice prevents him or his five sons from paying the price of freedom, but like Cheney, has no problems putting someone else’s son or daughter in harm’s way.
Romney’s jab at President Obama for not making monthly appearances on television to promote the troops’ sacrifice and wars Bush and Cheney started is a cheap shot that has little basis in historical fact. The President has been a relentless advocate for military service members. Having lived through the Viet Nam war era, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the first Gulf war, and numerous military incursions, it is doubtful that any president made monthly television appearances extolling the virtues of service members’ sacrifice. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney certainly didn’t speak to the military’s sacrifice and refused to allow Americans to see the results of the ultimate sacrifices by blocking the press from covering flag-draped coffins returning from the war-zones.
The only consistent position Willard Romney has maintained during his adult life is that, for millionaires and privileged people like himself and his sons, “paying the price of freedom” is luxuriating in a French mansion, attending college, driving a luxury RV around the country, manipulating investors’ money, and advocating sending someone else’s sons and daughters to fight and die for their country. In that sense, Romney is Dick Cheney and it informs why he idolizes the coward war criminal. As news of Romney’s win in New Hampshire sinks in for Republicans waiting their turn to vote in their state’s primary, hopefully they carefully weigh Romney’s hypocrisy and cowardice because the next American “paying the price of freedom” may well be their son or daughter; unless they are wealthy investors, Mormons on a mission, or campaign workers named Romney driving a luxury RV around the country.