General’s comments on Trump’s Thanksgiving message shows how out of touch military “brass” can be

When it comes to certain former members of military leadership, it becomes ever more apparent how political (and wildly out of touch) the top brass can be in regards to the troops who fight under their command and the Commander-in-Chief whom they take orders from.

Retired Lt. General Mark Hetling, who has been an outspoken critic of the president since he took office, spoke on CNN to say he disapproved of the president’s Thanksgiving message to the troops.

“When you come back you are going to see with the jobs and companies coming back into our country and the stock market just hit a record high, unemployment is the lowest it has been in 17 years,” President Trump said in his message to the troops.  “So you are fighting for something real. You are fighting for something good. A lot of things have happened with our country over the last very short period of time.”

Hertling said his message would not have “rung well with him” if he were a deployed soldier.  He feels the president’s message lacked sincerity and seemed to boast his personal successess more than it offered the troops thanks for serving during the holiday.

“Deployed service members don’t want to hear about that [(the economy)],” Hertling said. “They want to hear, ‘hey thanks.'” Hertling continued to speak as a self-appointed voice of the military, saying, “truthfully, military personnel don’t care all that much about the job market or the economy or things like that.”

While for him this may have been true, considering he made the choice to stay in the military -as an officer- until he retired. For many, this will not be their career.  The Army has over half a million personnel but only has 230 positions for generals and only a small portion of those are lieutenant generals.

In reality, most will get out of the military whether they want to or not, returning home to find a job or be educated to become apart of the civilian workforce.

Service members were told in 2007 that “The Surge,” which sent 30,000 additional troops to Iraq would end the war, but ten years have gone by and they are still fighting. Those thousands of service members came home in 2008 during the worst economic crisis in the United States since the Great Depression.

“The hemorrhaging of American jobs accelerated at a record pace at the end of 2008, bringing the year’s total job losses to 2.6 million or the highest level in more than six decades,” CNN reported in 2009.

Service members want to know that the country they are fighting for will be there to support them when they come home. A highly trained Army Ranger with six combat deployments does not want to go home and find out the only job available to him/her is working an hourly-waged, stationary security job at the local mall because no company wants to spend the time or money to re-train him/her during an economic crisis.

Our service members deserve to return home to a stable economy with opportunities for their loved ones, and themselves after serving their country. A bit of hope is better than another half-hearten “thank you for service” they have heard a million times during their career.

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