The Blog

Obama and the Military

9:23 AM, Jan 25, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The boss noted President Obama's praise for the military in last night's State of the Union address—praise, that is, designed to advance his own liberal agenda. President Obama is “using the prestige of the military to justify the nanny state,” as the boss wrote last night. Still, Obama seemed genuinely to care about our troops.

So, two questions: Will President Obama do anything about the pretty obviously unjust treatment of a Marine lieutenant Joshua Waddell?  As Sara Carter reports in the Washington Examiner:

On Nov. 1, Waddell, a 25-year-old executive officer with 3rd Battallion, 7th Marine Corps Regiment, was monitoring a surveillance camera in Sangin, Afghanistan, when he spotted a man who had been identified as a bomb maker working with area insurgents. Two days earlier, a sergeant from India Company had lost both legs and a hand when a bomb detonated in their area of operation. The man spotted on the camera was believed to be responsible.

After receiving permission from his battalion commanders, Waddell ordered Marine snipers to open fire on the man, and he was hit. A group of Afghans rushed to the man, put him on a tractor and attempted to flee. Waddell ordered the snipers to hit the engine block of the tractor, disabling it so the man believed to be a bomb maker would not escape. The tractor was hit but no civilians were injured.

Then, about three weeks later, the civilians who helped remove the wounded man from the area were found to be teenagers….As a result, Waddell was demoted from executive officer, and the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Seth Folsom, determined he had violated rules of engagement that governed when Marines could fire, and at whom. Folsom said Wadell "is not recommended for promotion" and "in violation of [combat rules] during an engagement." The report stated that "noncombatant local nationals" were in the area of direct fire and that "the engagement resulted in a damaged local national vehicle."

And why is he cutting the military so deeply and recklessly? As Mackenzie Eaglen writes:

President Obama spoke at length about revitalizing American manufacturing and betting on American workers.  Citing the courage and determination of America’s service members, the President argued that America can soon get back on its feet.  Despite this soaring rhetoric however, the President’s message is truly frustrating—and hypocritical.  The administration’s policies are directly contributing to unemployment and the decline of American industry, and what is more, they are putting our men and women in uniform at risk by denying them the cutting edge technology they need…

The future does not have to be like this.  President Obama can maintain America’s contract with its military and help keep American jobs by working to undo the disastrous sequestration cuts and infusing much-needed capital into the defense budget.  More work—much more work—needs to be done in order to help the military recover from already ruinous reductions, but as the President himself said, “America remains the one indispensible nation in the world.”  

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers