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By The Policy Geek
September 2, 2016 ~ While checking out the Facebook group associated with this blog - www.facebook.com/GetToKnowDonaldTrump - we found a fan had posted this:
(Disturbing meme posted on Facebook August 30, 2016)
Wow. That's quite an extreme meme, if we do say so ourselves. (Pretty soon we're going to be creating our own Meme page here. You can look for it. It'll be in the Table of Contents under "Meme City.")
In the Memetime
We're going to take this opportunity to present a teachable moment and actually parse this one out. Let's just leave aside - for the time being - the ridiculous excuses the pro-lifers have for their historically embarrassing rhetoric that has already resulted in the closing of essential clinics and the defunding of women's health care centers nationwide. Let's talk about the "not brave enough to kill our enemies" part of that social media blast instead. Not taking a side on any party’s ideologies for just a second, let's simply talk about bravery.
Where to Start
Bravery. How many people have laid their lives down for this country all together? The few, the proud, the marines, our army men, navy reservists, airmen in our airforce - how many of them have been on the battlefield, killing our enemies, over time? How many have been buried in cemeteries around the world? We live across the way from a big VA cemetery here in Oregon, and every day we can hear the bells ringing hourly from the chapel on the hill. Every day we can also hear the sounds of construction and expansion as they open up new land with a dozen bulldozers to make room for more dead. Right now as we type, we can hear the soulful sounds of "Taps" being played by a lone trumpeter pouring over across the field between us.
It begs the question: how many members of the military are Democrats? How many members of the dead died fighting for democratic ideals while also happening to call themselves Democrats?
Dems Literally on the Front Lines
In a study done in 2014, 27% of our beloved members of the military call themselves Republicans - that's true. But it is also true that 20% self-identified as Liberals and another 17% called themselves straight up Democrats. The gender gaps by party and ideology are also pretty sharp. Female vets, who perhaps understand the importance of upholding the Constitutional rights of women, are nearly twice as apt as men to be Democrats and liberal.
Bill Clary, who holds a master's degree in Military Studies, reports surveys tend to show that NCOs and enlisted personnel are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans, while officers are more likely to be Republicans than Democrats.
Retired Army officer Darrin Vicsik is a CIO, Commander, Platoon Leader, NCO and enlisted man with 21+ years on active duty. Vicsik explains his observations like this:
I'd say the NCOs were the most staunch Republicans and Officers were close to 50/50 with a slight edge towards Democrat. Junior Enlisted were the most unengaged politically. I think the perception that Officers lean Republican is due to the fact that it's more acceptable, in American Society as a whole, to voice aloud Republican affiliation. But when you get to know your fellow Officers, it's not uncommon for the Officers that seem on the surface to be apolitical, to lean towards Democrat.
Retired Navy Chaplain, and UCLA graduate Bruce Byers reports, “The military newspapers do surveys, and they discover that the enlisted tend to be registered Democrat, at least at a higher percentage than general population.”
So that’s a sampling. Let’s say it’s not 50/50. Let’s say it’s only half that number; let's say only 25% of our military men and women are Democrats. Let’s pretend. Are those the Democrats she’s referring to when she says they are "just not brave enough to kill our enemies?" Are these enlisted guys and their commanders - the ONLY ones that are really killing our enemies on the front lines - are these the Democrats who are "just not brave enough?" Are only the Republican enlisted men fighting and dying? Is the person who proudly posted this meme suggesting that Democrat enlisted men and women are “just not brave enough,“ so they’re hiding behind the Republican ones? It seems people like Representative Tammy Duckworth (D - IL 8th district) might take issue with that mindset. There are family members of people serving in the military who keep the fires burning at home, and the kids in school, with these warriors pinned directly to their hearts. Are Gold Star families that vote for Democrats "just not brave enough?" In our opinion, cowardly people who post stuff like this on social media ought to be ashamed.
The Grimm Reaper
How many enemies have been killed under Democrats? Not really sure that death should ever be a goal of any kind. Not really sure that killing our enemies will stop the recruiting efforts of ISIS. But again, putting all of that more intelligent debate aside - in the 17 months since it started bombing ISIS and other jihadist organizations in Syria and Iraq, the US military has conducted more than 8,600 airstrikes and dropped 28,000 bombs. Under President Obama, the Pentagon reports we have killed "20,000 ISIS members, while causing just six civilian deaths, including those of three children—a claim that groups watching the conflict say is a gross undercount." Since Trump suggests "taking out" entire families of terrorists as part of his anti-islamic terrorist strategy, he probably would prefer if those numbers were actually higher anyway.
Not counting today’s announcement that another of ISIS's top operatives - their #2 - was taken out, let’s take a moment to jump into the rabbit hole and ask who killed more terrorists, Obama or Bush? The fact that Republicans are framing this as some sort of contest is beyond the pale, but since they started it, we're going to finish it.
Death by America
Van Evera, professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says, "Obama has put a higher priority on killing the leadership and cadres of the most dangerous global terrorist organizations, and has in fact killed considerably more of these types of leaders and operatives."
(Military Times 2016)
(TIME Magazine 2015)
"Obama’s use of targeted attacks, particularly drone strikes, clearly demonstrates the disparity between the two styles of leadership in battle and is the main difference between the two Commander-In-Chiefs in question," wrote Gartenstein-Ross, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies while comparing Obama to Bush. According to data from the New America Foundation, Bush launched about 60 strikes in Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen, killing a maximum of about 400 militants. Obama, on the other hand, has launched more than 500 strikes in those three countries, killing anywhere between 2,700 and 4,000 militants. The heaviest covert drone warfare has taken place in Afghanistan, with about 1,000 strikes there as of 2014, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. In 2015 and 2016, the Air Force reported more than 500 strikes combined, and - although the GOP is loath to admit it - the President is Barack Hussein Obama, and he is in fact a Democrat. A deadly Democrat brave enough to discover, confirm, and kill our enemies -- en masse. After 7 years of the previous Republican President, George Bush, being completely unable to find Osama Bin Laden and bring him to justice, Commander-In Chief Barack Obama made it a priority, and accomplished the mission. A 2015 report out of Brown University estimates that although the number of Taliban deaths in Afghanistan over the course of the entire Bush Administration may have been between 5,000 and 15,000 total, up to 5,000 enemy combatants per year have been killed during the Obama administration.
So what was this person saying when they posted this meme on the top of their Facebook page? Were they trying to announce that some Democrats, because they believe in a cleaner environment, a living wage, women's rights, civil rights, voting rights, and filling an empty Supreme Court seat are cowards? Are they pretending that Trump himself didn't fill out four student deferments to get out of fighting in the Vietnam war before finally handing in a "doctor's note" saying he had bone spurs in his feet to duck out of service?
What are the messages coming out of the Republican Party in their march toward glory in November? What exactly are the messges they are sending our troops? Just as Trump insults Gold Star families, holds fake veterans' fundraisers, and announces to the world that our military is in "shambles," people who support Donald Trump - and post things like this - insult both our military and our intelligence. #BraveDemocrats #BraveRepublicans #BraveIndependents #BraveLiberals #BraveConservatives #BraveAmericans
Hillary Clinton, August 31, 2106 on the killing of Osama Bin Laden while speaking at The American Legion (CSPAN)