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Putting the teeth back in our military

By Walter Geiger Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America Friday. Like all other inaugurations, it will be an historic event. The transition of power from Barack Obama to Donald Trump has been the most interesting of my lifetime in that the two men and their priorities could not be more different. A largely adoring press corps fawned over Obama and almost never called him out on anything. Trump, well, not so much. Obama was willing to shut down America’s oil, gas, coal and steel industries out of fear of global warming. Trump began jumpstarting those industries before he even took office and is a global warming skeptic. The workers in those industries, mostly union, largely supported Trump, much to Hillary’s surprise. Obama tended to appoint career bureaucrats to cabinet positions. Trump is leaning toward highly successful businessmen like himself. I see that as a positive. Many see it as a negative and that’s fine. In a few years, the results will speak for themselves. I am heartened by Trump’s pledge to strengthen our nation’s military. Obama’s Secretary of the Army is bureaucratically highly qualified and an openly-gay male. Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, has openly supported placing women and transgender soldiers in combat. That will likely be revisited under Trump’s Secretary of Defense Gen. James ‘˜Mad Dog’ Mattis. Gen. Mattis is a Marine, a combat veteran and much more like Gen. George Patton than Carter, who never served in the military. Do you see the trend? Businessmen not bureaucrats running the government. Warriors not bureaucrats running the military. Not only is Gen. Mattis combat tested, he is a quote machine. His best include: ‘I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential of failure. I cannot even spell the word’ and ‘Be polite, be professional but have a plan to kill everybody you meet’. That is the kind of man I want in the Pentagon where, during the Obama administration, the words ‘˜Merry Christmas’ were forbidden, according to retired Army Col. Robert McGinnis. In 2012, the Army had 570,000 soldiers. That is set to drop to 400,000 by the end of 2018 if Trump does not step in. The U.S. Navy now has about 270 ships compared to nearly 7000 during World War II. Our newest B52 bomber was built in 1962. So, our military needs substantial upgrades and Trump has pledged to make them. That, to me, is comforting. We are living in exciting yet dangerous times. Our safety and security have never been more threatened. President Trump will approach protecting and promoting us in a manner much different than the way his predecessor attacked the problems. We shall see if he succeeds or fails. For the sake of us all, let us hope he succeeds. Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette and Pike County Journal Reporter.

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