Donald Trump’s recent national security speech in Philadelphia outlining his vision for the Armed Forces of the United States is a breath of fresh air into a community who has suffered through eight years of neglect under the current administration. In his speech, Trump stated that “in a Trump Administration, our actions in the Middle East will be tempered by realism. The current strategy of toppling regimes, with no plan for what to do the day after, only produces power vacuums that are filled by terrorists.”
From a political scientist vantage point, I wholeheartedly agree that the policy of regime change has been an unmitigated disaster in Iraq, Libya and Syria. The cost of resources repeatedly being used in futile gestures has allowed dangerous actors such as ISIS and ISIL to expand their power and expand their geographic territory.
However, as a former Army Chaplain, the true cost of these fruitless interventions is the damage to the minds and hearts of our dedicated men and women in uniform. Since the beginning of my doctoral research on the impact of multiple deployments on our service members in 2011, the number of veteran suicide attempts per month jumped from 650 to 900 in less than two years according to the Veterans Administration.
The Veterans Administration also reports that as of 2014 statistics 20 veterans commit suicide EVERY SINGLE DAY. The loss of life is where the rubber truly meets the road. The current administration, between its flawed use of the Armed Forces in failed foreign policy and its failure to provide leadership in the care of our veterans, has severely damaged the social contract between the citizen soldier and the government.
The citizen soldiers of the National Guard have been deployed on multiple occasions to fight wars they were not prepared to fight. The current administration has proven they are as unconcerned about their psychological and spiritual wounds as they were nonchalant about the well-being when they were ordered into harm’s way with no plan for lasting victory.
Taking care of our men and women in uniform is a solemn promise. I want a President who will keep that vow.
I support Donald Trump because I believe him when he says “we must also ensure that we have the best medical care, education and support for our military service members and their families – both when they serve, and when they return to civilian life. Our debt to our men and women in uniform is priceless and eternal.”
America is the Land of the Free because of the Brave.
Antonio (Tony) Campbell
Tony Campbell is a Veteran and a former Army Chaplain and is supporting Donald Trump to be our next Commander in Chief.