Sex in a Godless Army (part 3): Do We Really Want Equality?

Apart from the Gospel, few things provoke the godless more than the biblical sexual ethic.

My military experience has offered me some unique insight into gender inclusion. The unit I served for many years never had women below the Brigade level though it has since been integrated. At one point, we literally had 13 women in an organization of over 3,000.

When I got sent to the Division, I found myself surrounded by women. I had female commanders, female 1SG’s, female lieutenants and a litany of female soldiers, and most of these soldiers were intensely professional.

More than a few of the young female soldiers were single mothers who had replaced their child’s absentee father with the Army. They had literally replaced the stability and support that the father is supposed to provide with the stability and support of the Army, and again many of them were great soldiers for whom I have tremendous respect.

As the rear detachment Brigade Commander, my S3, the officer in charge of running the entire Brigade, a position normally reserved for a major, was a female captain. She was one of the best officers I have worked with. Intelligent, physically fit, and motivated—I rated her as #1 among the nearly 30 officers I rated in her grade. I would proudly serve with her again.

A soldier is a soldier, or so goes the mantra.

Yet, when you remove all the other differences and treat everyone the same, sexual difference becomes the only thing you notice. As much as attempting to treat men and women the same could potentially damage the mission, its potential to damage women is even greater.

Is equality truly a virtue, something to pursue?

This is Equality?

The Army has stayed the course in attempting to treat males and females the same, something that was entirely shocking to me upon my reemergence into the force. In the field, we even share sleeping tents. There is no female tent. I found this highly unusual.

The Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) perfectly highlights the unavoidable.

In Combatives, there are no males or females, only soldiers. This means any male soldier could find himself grappling with a female soldier. Combatives looks like a cross between wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu and places the opponents in what could be considered very intimate positions. Bodies are pressed against bodies. Legs are wrapped around waists. Call me antiquated, but I found this to be very inappropriate. As we instituted a robust Combatives program, I frequently found myself confronted with the prospect of engaging with a female. (I would combat this by pretending to be too tired at that point and needing to sit out for a round or two.)

Aside from the inappropriate contact, one engagement I witnessed highlighted the absurdity. I had a young lieutenant built like Mike Tyson, thick and powerful, taking on a young female officer who was built like a typical female, small and frail by comparison. It was a joke. The male kind of toyed with her a bit, somewhat bemused by the situation and more than a little uncomfortable, and then at some point, he kind of grabbed her as gently as he could and pushed her to her back and achieved the dominant mount position. She even uttered out a little cry as he took her down. Though he did it as gently as he could, it looked like domestic violence practice.

This encounter highlights Army “equality”, a rather low view of women. Sexual assault and rape become the nasty by-products.

Absent a biblical foundation of complementarianism, young men are taught at home and reinforced by the military that she is no different from him aside from the fact that she possesses a vagina, not someone to be cherished and respected. Men take what they want from other men all the time, by force if necessary. Why not do the same with her?

So the military continues to perform cheetah flips to spit out it’s next poster child, but for every Haver or Griest we generate, how many women suffer? How many women must we sacrifice on the altar of equality to maintain this farce, this charade?

This is Equality

As men tend to sin by oppressing women, we actually denigrate women by placing them on the same level as men. We, men, should elevate the position of women.

My wife and I teach all six of our sons that you “treat a girl like a flower”—they can all recite this on command. If they hit one another then okay, “no blood, no foul,” but if they hit a girl, my granddaughter for instance, I come down on them with the full wrath and fury of the Lord God, Almighty.

Return with me once more to the Garden, to creation. Consider that God made everything—the heavens and the stars, the sun and the moon, the earth and the sky, the beasts of the field, the fish of the waters. God made everything by His spoken word, and then He brought forth man and put Him in the Garden to work it, to have dominion over it. He taught man His statutes, and only when all of creation was prepared and ready, poised, He brought forth woman. Adam then exclaimed, “This one at last, is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.”

The Bible adamantly speaks to the elevation of women by men, lest they be oppressed by those very same men.

I return to my daughters. When I think of them and their prospective husbands, I don’t want for them equality. I don’t want a husband for them who treats them the same as he treats his buddies. My desire is that a man comes along and treat them as a Princess, that he cherish them and hold them in the highest regard, that he sees them as the weaker vessel, the ceramic vase, the butterfly that they are and conducts himself accordingly—gentle, honorably, with respect.

In striving for what we designate as equality, our nation and our Army endangers women, placing them in a lesser position than God intended. And, as we will soon be sharing a bathroom, shower facility, and locker room if our secular overlords have their way, it will only get worse.

Clarification

Before proceeding, I am led to clarify a point. Lest you misunderstand, I am advocating for the distinction of women, the opposite of degradation. I am an advocate for women in the service. I have served alongside amazingly competent women, officers and enlisted, every bit the warrior and patriot of their male counterparts. However, perhaps we can do it better, honor both the unique nature of men and women while simultaneously utilizing their requisite skills for the defense of the nation.

Solution

It is here that my assessment falls admittedly short. The most obvious answer is, “Repent!”

Collectively, as a nation, the only solution is revival, to abandon the secular slide and turn once more to the ways of the Lord. Apart from a dramatic supernatural intervention in this fashion, the question must be framed appropriately, an exceedingly difficult venture.

“What do we do?” becomes,

“How do we generate godly sexual behavior while still clinging to and teaching a godless sexual ethic?” which specifically translate to,

“How do we teach our young men to respect and cherish young women while still teaching them that they are the same, minus the presence of a penis or a vagina?”

We should immediately abandon the farce that men are the same as women. Allow men to be men and women to be women. Re-segregate basic training. Re-segregate billeting. Re-segregate sleeping quarters. Segregate Combatives training. Inject a manner of separation and quit trying to teach men and women that they are the same. Quite the opposite, we ought to honor and celebrate our God-given sexuality, male and female, instead of foolishly pretending that once a person slaps on a uniform, they somehow become asexual.

Second, we should at least teach a godly ethic as an option. At least tell them the truth, that there is another option, another way.

Third, we should seriously reconsider the introduction of women into ground combat and their inevitable inclusion in the Selective Service. Can women fight? Of course. I think of Stalingrad and Kobani, yet these were unique circumstances for a desperate time. Description is not identical to prescription, and we need to be able to differentiate. A better question that we must ask is “ought a woman to fight?”

Should we intentionally send our women to do the dirty business of ground combat?

As I know that these things will likely never happen—we’ve drifted too far—I return to my original plea for America.

“Repent.”

The Series

Brave Rifles: Sex in a Godless Army (part 1)

Sex in a Godless Army (part 2): The Illusion of Gender Equality

Brave Rifles: The Problem of a Godless Army

Brave Rifles: The Danger of a Godless Army

Brave Rifles: The Theology of War

 

 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

No Ticker Tape—Burn in H*** Little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes

The email hit my inbox with the subtlety of a GBU-56. “CIF appointment Monday at 12:30.” Boom!

Panic set in. Monday, gulp. It was Friday.

Over the last 18 years I accumulated a veritable mountain of kit. My cage was crammed with bags of gear. Woodland BDU’s, a barrack’s bag issued in 2000 that I’ve never opened, heaps of pouches and boots and sunglasses, UCP stuff, OCP stuff, FREE system, ICWCS, maybe ten jackets—the summation of Uncle Sugar’s two decades of lavishing.

His pockets run deep.

How could I ever sort, organize, account for and even clean (yeah right) this abomination of desolation? The task seemed insurmountable.

CIF beckoned, the detested Central Issue Facility, the source of so much angst and corporate ire.

The dreaded little old lady in tennis shoes awaited.

The LOLITS

The Army, like all government institutions, is awash in red tape. The priestess of the red tape is the little old lady in tennis shoes.

While negotiating any Army system, in-processing or whatever, she is the arbiter, the gatekeeper of said system, a figurative character, a nasty civilian who’s been doing this singular job longer than you’ve been alive. She’s seen soldiers come and go, heard all manner of excuses, seen all manner of absurdity, and maintains little sympathy for your lot in life.

Don’t cross the “I”s or dot the “T”s and she’ll not render you the desperately needed stamp or signature or entry into the appropriate database. In out-processing the Army, I’ll negotiate a battalion of little old ladies in tennis shoes.

Now I had to face the nastiest of them all, the CIF little old lady, a stickler for those three dreaded words: accountability, serviceability, and cleanliness.

PCC’s/PCI’s

I did what I had to do, I called for back-up.

I issued a FRAGO to the spousal unit, jumped in my truck, and headed for the compound. Heavy D in the unit issue facility hooked me up with a list of what I owed—I didn’t recognize half of it—and I headed for my cage to see how to avert the impending train wreck.

I had to go systematic. I started by sorting according to decade. Old woodland stuff over here, Smurf-colored junk over here, actual modern and useful OCP stuff over here. Stuff that I had no idea what it was, over here. Unopened and unused stuff in this pile.

At some point, I surveyed the growing piles and compared them against the typically-odd language of the Army inventory list and began to panic a bit.

I called Ami to inform her of the potential blood-letting. She exhorted me to get back to work. I briefly contemplated who I might pay to get me out of this mess and then girded up my loins and got back to sorting.

“Sort and pack your gear in reverse order of the inventory sheet,” was the CIF guide’s bland instructions. I opted for packing by pile. After determining that I had a large portion of the gear and then some, I contemplated cleaning…cleaning?! How do you clean a pouch? A rucksack? Do I really need to paint my E-tool (folding shovel for you laymen)?

I quickly formulated a three-fold strategy:

-I would first present my copious amounts of unopened, unused OCP kit. Surely that would ingratiate me to the demons at CIF.

-Second, I would present the most outdated equipment to include the unopened barracks bag. Perhaps the humor of the situation would further soften their hearts.

-Finally, I would overwhelm them with volume, praying that the sheer amount of kit I showed up with would mitigate their attention to detail. Along with that, I’d ensure they knew I was retiring, not some flunky merely PCSing to another assignment. Maybe I’d get another retiree as an inspector, possibly receive some thanks-for-my-service-type charity.

At this point I was not beyond leveraging any angle.

One Last Drag

Whoever invented the Army kit bag is a devil straight from the pits of hell. For those of you unfamiliar, the Army kit bag is roughly a large cube, capable of holding approximately 200 pounds of equipment (hyperbole, somewhat), with two comparatively tiny handles. Human ergonomics were definitely not factored into it’s design.

It’s almost as if someone intentionally designed a bag to be difficult to handle.

Unless you are of professional basketball player dimensions, there is no good way to carry them. You could do one in each hand though you hit either grip or trapezius muscle failure. Some would sling one onto their shoulders Atlas style. Still others would even drag them…hence the coining of the apt though not entirely accurate label, “The Duffel Bag Drag”.

I had done the Duffel Bag drag across the globe. From one garden spot to the next, always dragging more kit bags than I could ever carry. In the desert heat, the middle of the night across some dusty tarmac, sweaty and worn from hours of travel, still wearing the same underwear after 36 straight hours—you know the drill.

This day I did one last Duffel Bag Drag, 10 bags from my cage to my truck.

The Engagement

“Smith, Inspector X,” came the call.

I presented as friendly of a smile as I could muster and turned to greet my inspector with just a hint of a carefully-crafted, self-deprecating countenance. Here was the noble warrior riding into the sunset after years of warfare. So what if his kit was a little disarrayed, maybe not as clean as it should’ve been? At least that’s what I hope I portrayed.

The inspector rounded the corner and stopped short, surveying my pile of 10 stuffed bags. I looked around and scoffed at the neatly-packed two to three bags of my fellow inspectees and looked back to the inspector hopefully.

“This all yours?”

This was it, the watershed of my military career, nearly two decades of persistent conflict and all that stood between me and freedom was this man and his good graces.

He called for back-up. Uh oh.

Thirty minutes later and my plan was working like a champ. My still-packaged kit had clearly greased the skids. We joked about retirement—praise Jesus but my inspector was himself a retiree. I made a show of inquiring about his service, his family…make it personal, keep it friendly.

The pile surrounding me grew and so I moved into phase 2 and presented, with much aplomb, my unopened barracks bag. A Kevlar! An old-school LBE! A web belt. The inspector(s) gleefully examined each pristine relic from a bygone epoch, even reminiscing about when they had donned such fine gear.

It was happening perfectly!

I audaciously moved into phase 3 and began presenting my highly-used, but not exactly clean gear, obscuring it intentionally in a mountain of excess gear. The inspector(s) at some point exchanged a knowing look. Were they onto me? Was bottom about to fall out?

Thirty minutes later and the inspector(s) handed me the completed inventory. After 22 years and 9 months, I owed precisely a 1-quart canteen, a brown fleece jacket, and a belt.

Victory was mine.

I practically danced a jig as I swaggered out of the facility. I had vanquished the little old lady in tennis shoes forever.

Final Fires

The rest of out-processing was a relative breeze and try as I might, I couldn’t summon one shred of sentimentality.

Driving around the compound, I recalled the first time 18 years ago that I walked into the hangar, a brash young officer full of zeal and naiveté.

My mind drifted to my earliest days, to the first 10 days of Cadet Basic Training that I didn’t take a single crap. No kidding. I recalled the day I assessed favorably for the unit and drove from this very gate, whooping in delight and pounding the ceiling of my rental car. I recalled the day I waited seven hours to get onto the compound, the day our collective lives changed irrevocably, September 11th.

Driving from the compound was as anti-climactic as it had to be. No ticker tape parade, no fireworks, no flyover. Maybe I should’ve requested the Division band. All entirely appropriate.

The quiet professional, the noble warrior, requires neither the affectations of men nor the worldly praises coveted by others. When his work is complete, the final role call taken, the warrior is content to drift into irrelevancy, to fade into obscurity.

It was never about him anyway.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

Sex in a Godless Army (part 2): The Illusion of Gender Equality

I’m no Rambo, but I have never met a woman I couldn’t kill with my bare hands.

People will hear what they want to hear, see what they desire to see. Many will read this and hear sexism, patriarchy. They will denounce the conclusions before understanding. 

That is not a statement of either, but a statement of fact that bears relevance to certain discussions.

One of the primary manifestations of wickedness in the hearts of men is the oppression of women. The military in many ways foments this by bending to our civilian masters in refusing to acknowledge the fact that gender equality is an illusion, a charade, and harmful one at that.

A Permissive and Necessary System

Gender equality only exists as allowed by a system. Absent a permissive society, in the presence of anarchy, women are decidedly vulnerable due to their weaker bodies and kinder natures. Do exceptions exists? Undoubtedly, and women are as capable of brutality as any man.

Yet men possess a corner on the market for the application of brute force and brutality. Almost all violent crime is committed by young men. Almost all domestic violence is committed by men. Men, unrestrained, excel in the oppression of women and the application of violence. This is a fact borne out by history and declared by God in the Garden. (Genesis 3:16)

The key notion is restraint, and it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that restrains the brutality of men and provides the conditions for equality. Jesus was the greatest proponent and protector of women. In the patriarchal 1st century Jewish culture, women were subservient, second-class citizens living completely at the mercy of their male overlords.

This is also the case in every other society since, other than those based upon a Judeo-Christian heritage. Can you name a single matriarchal society? I can’t. They don’t exist; they never have. Atheistic, Buddhist, or Hindu Eastern societies are all decidedly patriarchal. Never mind that every single Muslim society openly oppresses women, many in an extremely brutal fashion. No, it is the common grace of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ that protects women from the sin of men.

As the Gospel ebbs from our collective conscience, I fear the consequences, specifically for women.

A Dangerous Fantasy

I have an aunt who maintains a decidedly liberal outlook on all matters. At the height of the national debate concerning bathroom use and allowing men who identify as women to use female bathrooms and changing facilities, she made the comment to me that she didn’t need my protection in a bathroom. She could take care of herself.

During the 2016 Miss USA pageant, the eventual winner, Miss District of Columbia who also happens to be a reserve Army officer, was asked about the Pentagon’s decision to open ground combat positions to women. Without hesitation, she declared her enthusiastic support, “We are just as tough as men!”

Both of these women live in fantasy world.

My Aunt is a little old lady and any grown man who followed her into the bathroom could literally do whatever he wanted, were it not for the intervention of…another man. The veracity of Miss USA’s statement depends on what you mean by tough. My wife is one of the toughest people I know. She is a fearless mother, tireless and strong. In fairness, I would not want her next to me in a gunfight. Miss USA’s statement rings true while she’s wearing a glittery dress, replete with tiara and a bouquet of roses. Put her under a rucksack confronted with a bevy of grown men trying to kill her and her comrades, and the charade loses its luster.

Refusing to acknowledge the inherent godly differences and that a system is necessary endangers both women and the mission. Removing the veil of Christ’s protection and provision for women places them at risk, yet we cannot acknowledge that lest we offend the sensibilities of the secular masters of this nation.

The Rhino and the Butterfly

Peter writes,

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel(1 Peter 3:7)

As much as concepts of submission offend so readily, so too does the idea of weakness. Many seethe over the connotation.

Consider another angle. Consider weakness in terms of fragility, as in the fragility of a ceramic vase—weak, fragile, beautiful really, delicate, and valuable. Consider a ceramic vase versus a steel pot, the man, or perhaps a butterfly versus a rhinoceros. Some situations require the attributes of a rhino. Would you really send a butterfly to do the work of such a beast?

A recent deployment aboard an Air Force C-17 provide a nice example. The assistant loadmaster was a young lady, though it took me a minute to realize it. She sported a short, boyish haircut and walked and acted like a man, sort of. It took me a minute to realize that this was, in fact, a female. Once I did, it was extremely obvious that this was a female acting like a male. Now, whether she was ‘trans’ or not, whatever that actually means, I don’t know. Maybe she was just a boyish female. Either way, her femininity was obvious despite her best attempts to portray masculinity.

It became even more obvious when she had to do things. The loadmaster on a C-17 is responsible for all the cargo, to ensure it is loaded correctly and safely. At one point, the head loadmaster directed the young woman to secure a pile of plastic boxes with a cargo strap. I stood out of the way and watched this young lady fumble with the industrial strength cargo straps for several minutes with no success before needing the assistance of the loadmaster, a man. She simply did not possess the strength and leverage to make the straps work.

Shortly before takeoff, the loadmaster directed the young lady to close the door to the aircraft and yet again, she could not complete the task, lacking the strength and leverage. After several failed attempts, she once more required the assistance of the loadmaster, a man. He walked over, casually threw his weight into it, and slammed it shut.

This young lady literally could not generate the torque and leverage that the man could though he was no bastion of masculinity. She actually appeared to be in better shape. He was a middle-aged, slightly overweight, E-7 with a beer belly. Yet, he could generate the brute force that this young lady could not, and no matter how much she wanted to look like a man the instant brute force became necessary, her femininity became intensely obvious.

This is not to impugn this young lady. I maintain great respect for her service and the fact that she needed assistance is no issue. Certainly there are men who might require assistance with these mundane tasks. What I seek to highlight is that to ignore the distinction between men and women is a most foolish thing to do.

She was a butterfly and that fact was never more obvious than when she was required to do that which is expected of the rhino.

In this case, the inability to generate brute force did not prove decisive. However, I can think of numerous situations where this ability might just be the difference between life and death. Situations exist where the restraint of the Gospel ebbs, where the smoothing effects of civilization and society wane, where the ability to generate and respond to brute force and brutality might just be the difference between victory and defeat. I’m thinking specifically of combat, definitively ground combat.

The Obama administration opened all positions in the military to women despite the obvious folly of such an endeavor. A Marine Corps test of infantrymen versus integrated infantry proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that infantrywomen do not perform well as infantrymen. Go figure. We don’t need tests to demonstrate this. Anyone who has served, including most women, will attest that this is an endeavor fraught with peril that will ultimately cost lives.

Perhaps there might be a way we could honor our God-given sexuality and still have women serving alongside men. 

But first we’d have to acknowledge the foolishness of supposed gender-neutrality. That would ultimately require us to acknowledge the author of our sexuality, God. And therein lies the issue.

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

THE 413 REPORT

If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

I am a Veteran, I am Complicit in our National Debt

I’m going to out myself.

I am 44 years old. I take no prescription drugs. My blood pressure and labs are all normal though my bp inches toward the upper end of the normal spectrum every year.

I train four to five days a week—I’m an avid weightlifter and hater of all things cardio. My current lifts are all within range of my max’s from younger days. I’ve lost a step or two, carry around a few more pounds of blubber but in all, I would classify my health as excellent. Anecdotally, I can ball my 17-year-old son up like tissue paper.

I am set to receive roughly 70% disability from the government.

A Great and Growing Immorality

The total outlay for President Trump’s 2018 budget submission is $4.09 trillion. Let’s write that out for perspective—$4,090,000,000,000. Estimated 2018 government revenue is $3.66 trillion leaving a budget deficit of $440 billion to add to the $20.6 trillion national debt.

The national debt is a generational issue. Though Trump’s proposal will purportedly balance the budget by 2027, every President makes similar claims. Yet, the debt continues to grow, even as we’ve raked in record tax returns year after year.

Our collective spending habits may one day doom this nation.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expects to spend $57 billion on disability benefits next year. That’s up 25% from $46 billion this year, and nearly quadruple the $15 billion spent in 2000, before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.

And I’m angling to get my cut.

A Scandal

In 2007, The Washington Post published a series of articles outlining extreme cases of neglect at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC).

Administrative errors allowed an outpatient soldier to drink himself to death and two others, who should’ve been restricted, died in a high-speed car accident. A therapist’s error led to the death of another. There were preventable suicides, avoidable drug overdoses, and even murder.

The articles described WRAMC’s building 18 as a rat- and cockroach-infested dump, with stained carpets, cheap mattresses, and black mold. Soldiers reported no heat or water in the facility.

Within a week of the articles, Defense Secretary Gates visited Walter Reed and declared that those responsible would be held accountable. Shortly thereafter, he relieved the Commander, Major General George Weightman.

As a result, the nation poured resources and money into the Veteran’s Administration (VA). They held oversight hearings, installed new leadership, and rewrote the rulebook. Veteran’s issues became even more of a flash-point.

“Support the troops,” was the battle-cry. To be categorized as not “supporting the troops” was political suicide. “Where’s your yellow ribbon?” Legislation and ultimately, appropriations, reflected this slant.

Everyone jockeyed to get on the right side of this issue. The fallout would not be felt downwind for a while, but it would generate broad and lasting ramifications.

On the Street

As a positive, our nation cares for our veterans in an unprecedented fashion. Our veterans, those who’ve served honorably and those not so much, receive great support, often for life, as many of them should.

Increased MEDEVAC proficiency and new battlefield medical treatments flood our system with a never-before-seen number of wounded. Previously, many of today’s survivors would’ve perished at the scene. The system struggles to cope with the sheer volume: amputees, double amputees, quadriplegics, burns, not to mention the burgeoning PTSD population.

We should lavish care and resources upon our battlefield wounded. They have literally stood as sword and shield on behalf of a grateful nation and I would personally donate a chunk of my pay to their care.

It’s the other’s such as myself that lend cause for concern.

A Cut for Everyone 

Anecdotally, A PTSD diagnosis yields a 70% disability rating, automatically. The soldiers know it. Barracks lawyers coach up anyone willing, as to the correct answers to the test to yield a positive diagnosis.

My last unit’s psych, a civilian, was pretty good at weeding out the imposters. Yet, a shameless major at the hospital would readily overturn his diagnoses, common knowledge in the ranks. In frustration, I phoned this major and demanded an answer. He informed me that he had been at Walter Reed during the scandal and since then, has erred on the side of the soldier.

Consequently you, the taxpayer, fund ex-soldiers with questionable PTSD diagnoses for life. Ever heard of garrison PTSD? It exists.

Going through retirement, I’ve received a personal tour of an entire system geared toward inefficiency.

My Cut

I come from a long line of mouth-breathers. My father was a great mouth-breather. My brother. One of my daughters. As a young child, I vividly recall a family trip where my father’s incredible snoring had me clinging to the edge of the hotel bedroom whimpering in misery.

For years, I’ve denied my wife’s claims that I have sleep apnea. Last year, I finally went and got a sleep study done and sure enough, sleep apnea. A rotor-rooter nose surgery coupled with a spankin’ new CPAP machine has me sleeping like a baby, very effective treatment.

I’ll also obtain a minimum of 50% disability due to this.

Six years ago, I grabbed a monster rebound in a pick-up basketball game. My ACL rebelled by ripping in two, to go along with a battered-up meniscus. Two knee surgeries later and I no longer play basketball, limit my poundage on the squat rack, and now have a joint that definitively responds to the weather. Otherwise I get around fine.

This was not a service-related incident but I’m sure to receive a few percentage points for this as well.

I’ve got a few other dents and dings in the fender. What middle-aged man who leads an active life doesn’t. I’m sure that several years on airborne status don’t help, but 70% disability? It’s the system. I was coached, as is every single other retiree.

Mr. Smith, how long have you had ringing in your ears?”

“Well I don’t really…”

You’ve been in aviation for over twenty years and you don’t have ringing in your ears?!”

“Well, uh, no, not really…”

Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) yields 10% disability rating and is impossible to verify or refute. Stiffness in your neck? Those night-vision goggles sure must’ve been heavy. Sore back? Those ruck-sacks do take a toll. “Check your pride at the door,” a retiring friend advised me as I prepared for my VA physicals. “Let them walk you through it.”

Over twenty years ago, the government signed a promissory note guaranteeing me retirement pay should I serve a minimum of 20 years. I upheld my end of the bargain, so they should uphold theirs. I’m just a little uneasy with the accompanying disability. Perhaps you could reassure me a bit.

The Spirit of the Law

The intent is righteous, take care of our veterans and soldiers and again, please don’t hear me say that our wounded veterans and those who legitimately suffer with PTSD don’t need and deserve support. They do.

The issue is that the notion that each of us should get a piece of the pie, that the government ought to be in the business of taking care of us, this notion will inevitably dilute the resources that can be applied to those who do need it.

How long can our fiscally and morally bankrupt government fund so many otherwise able-bodied men? At some point, something must give.

As Jesse Owens was deciding which college to attend in the 1930’s, his coach offered him some poignant advice. In light of scholarship offers and other deals his coach gave him this.

You ought to pay your own way through.

And this is exactly what Jesse Owens did. Oh yeah, he still ran track full time and managed to defeat the Nazi great Luz Long in the 1936 Olympics, defying the Fuhrer. Our willing readiness, as men, to be cared for in some ways epitomizes a loss of this grit.

I am guilty as charged.

Now, send me my check, please.

 

 

Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

Author - Founder

Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

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This is a powerful read in a small book. The subtitle hits the mark with its description of, "A Biblical Treatise on Adoption." The author poses a challenge to the reader to stop reading the book upfront if the reader does not want to be moved to action.

   Janice S. Garey  

The call that sounds for the incredible need of emotionally and physically abandoned and orphaned children and one that when answered manifests the love of Christ.

  Anne Rightler

This book is a must read for anyone affected in any way by addictions. So many of the situations in this book seem hopeless, but as Brad so clearly points out, Christ is the solution and the only hope of man. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

  Scott Doherty

In Scourge, Brad offers us more than cold statistics or a cautionary tale. Instead, he offers us the solution - faith backed by action - to overcome this insidious problem Insightful and provocative, Scourge is a warning flag, guide post and rally to hope for all of us.

 Chad Chasteen

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