Posted by Curt on 12 May, 2023 at 9:46 am. 22 comments already!



Veterans love President Trump.

Sure, you knew a guy that was in once upon a time who sits around on Facebook and trolls the right and makes fun of President Trump like it’s his job (it might be).  We all have known people whose minds are depraved and ideologically blind on account of the mental junk food they have been force-fed through the school system, in corporate America, or in arts and culture, and of course, in the mainstream media.

But by and large, I would surmise that no President in the history of the United States has appealed to men and women in uniform, especially military veterans (combat and non-combat veterans alike), quite like Donald Trump has.  I have bumped into more veterans than I can count over the past several years that are not typical Republican voters (minorities, non-Christians, and others) that revealed in conversation their appreciation for our 45th President.  If you are new to this journal, you are reading the words of a post 9/11 veteran whose view is checkered by the creeping bureaucracy associated with the officer rank structure, and who developed a mindset of tactical impatience while watching opportunities for operational success crash and burn at the hands of mentalities like “this is the way we’ve always done it!”

Perhaps most fascinating about my assertion is that Trump himself is not a veteran.  His personal involvement in the realm of military prior to becoming commander-in-chief of the United States was limited to five years as a cadet at New York Military Academy.  In this space, I will outline why veterans love Trump.

I.          He’s Not About “Make America Average Again”

Veterans are used to being promoted on a generic timeline, no matter how strong their performances may be relative to peers.  Some of the most legendary warriors in American history have attained high rank at a very young age, like Washington or Patton.  These days, so as not to confuse the bureaucrats up the chain and keep the peace, the best captains remain captains for no less than six years in almost all cases, increasing frustration and driving them to the more rewarding civilian business world, where their leadership skills are free to flourish with seemingly no limit to promotion potential.  The sharpest enlisted soldiers, who shine in physical fitness and proficiency tests, and know doctrine inside and out, who have immaculate uniforms, feel the same way when they see their wayward peers retiring at the same rank because the “yes men” at the top will never retire and make way for new blood.

“Make America Great Again” doesn’t imply “Survive and Get By” like a half-assed “Build Back Better” campaign slogan does.  Trump’s America isn’t about survival, but rather the return to principles that made our country the envy of the world, one worth crossing oceans, mountains, rivers, deserts, and cartels for (please note, I do not condone illegal immigration or consider it an “act of love” – I refer to all types who have abandoned known lives for unknown ones in a new country, America).

II.         They Hate Politicians

You may be asking, “who is a politician in uniform?”  The biggest disaffirmation for “the military is in control” theory is to ask a veteran about the top of the rank structure.  NCOs reaching the grade of E-7 reach a new boundary line.  Their future promotion potential hinges on their ability to go along and get along, with few independent thinkers and problem solvers able to make E-8 (because they rocked too many boats in grade E-7), and certainly not E-9, which is the highest grade an enlisted soldier can reach.

Officers become much more politically correct and indoctrinated beyond the grade of O-3 (Captain in most branches), when they become “field grade” officers (pay grades O-4 to O-6).  Promotion to O-7 (Brigadier General in most branches) is highly politicized and requires Senate confirmation, as does every promotion beyond it.  The best commander I ever served under was tailor-made to be a general officer, with an innate ability to inspire all ranks with his warmth and personal demeanor, while never losing an ounce of respect.  I interviewed him for my leadership class while pursuing my MBA and told him I was surprised he retired as a Colonel (O-6).  The Colonel replied, “they purposely chose more women and people of color for promotion to Brigadier General in my selection year than at any other time in history.”

The truth is, that Colonel was a real leader.  His soldiers and officers loved to serve under him and trusted his judgment.  He always wanted to be in the real combat, even as a senior officer married to another senior officer, who could have long since been collecting a huge pension and sitting around his ranch in peace, but there he was, looking to take the fight to the enemy.  He was the kind of would-be General the politicos in this country seek to keep away from such influence, and with it, the ability to transform the spirit of the military, which languishes and to this day fails to attract fit, able-bodied men and women as the nation declines alongside its services.

Soldiers hate these political leaders – enlisted or officer, it matters not.  The cherry-picking of “yes men” generals and admirals has a direct impact on the social decline of our military and its strategic vision.  Soldiers want to serve under leaders who exercise moral authority, which is different from the legal authority mere rank provides.  Moral authority comes from shared hardship, honest communication, and loyalty inspired during hazardous times spent together, not from poll-testing every decision that may piss off somone up the chain and thereby jeopardize a safe climb up the rank ladder.

Trump has pissed off everyone in the political world, regardless of party, with great success.  So much so, in fact, that many of his traitorous key advisors from one or both of his presidential campaigns to this point have openly turned against him.  Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and the rest of the eunuchs at the Republican establishment pull out every Wile E. Coyote trick in the book needed to trip up President Trump, and always fail to do anything but make his star shine brighter.

III.        Pragmatism Trumps Orthodoxy

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “hurry up and wait,” you might be an American military veteran.

“We need all you guys to line up and get your tetanus shot!” usually results in a line of 400 people standing up against a wall, wrapped around multiple hallways and stairwells.  In a functioning leadership system, authority would be properly delegated down to maximize time and efficiency, with little waiting time for such a task.

The same can be said of a unit that has recently returned from a deployment, which certainly suffered many casualties on the home front during that period.  Examples are divorce, abandonment, or just simply missing a year of your kids’ lives.  Many leaders, fearing reprisal, hold the entire unit until the arbitrary time of 1700 hours on a given duty day, when the flag comes down.  As a result, the PTSD intensifies, strain grows, and a mental and spiritual breakdown becomes increasingly likely, especially when the next lengthy period away from home commences.  Soldiers complain about being held around with nothing to do as training to time, not to standard.

Real leaders are the ones who act more like Captain Winters than they do Captain Sobel, the rigid disciplinarian from the 101st Airborne portrayed in Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers.  There is indeed a time and need for discipline, but there is also a time and operational need to reward over-achievers with freedom to sink or swim instead of forcing them to show up for PT when temperatures hover below zero and pile up sleeplessness and fatigue instead of muscle mass.

President Trump, for lack of better words, doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the way things have always been done.  That’s why when he saw a third-world invasion of our country, he called for a medieval solution, a wall.  That’s it.  Not drones, not sensors, not special technology that can sniff out dust clouds created in the desert brush.  A damn wall, the same thing Nehemiah built two-and-a-half millennia ago.  That is not a conservative solution, mind you.  It is a pragmatic one that considers what is at stake, the risk of failure, and the quickest way to turn the tide in one’s own favor.

You say I can’t blow this Iranian general straight to hell when he’s standing there at the Baghdad Airport?  OK, thanks for the input – now take him out.  That’s leadership.  That is the opposite of a battalion commander having to go two levels up to give his Apache crews permission to return fire in support of direct action, which I have seen with my own two eyes, ten feet in front of where I stood.

Veterans want solutions and success, in the shortest timeframe possible.  Not conservativism, not liberalism.  Those are the things that belong in textbooks and the fairy-tale halls of our academic ivory towers of indoctrination.  To delay and polish up something to make it more digestible in a combat zone leads to needless death and destruction.  A pragmatist, rather than an ideologue, knows this instinctively.

IV.       Trump is One of Us

Not a veteran by definition, but certainly one of us.  Veterans are a unique crew, a mix of self-reflection, aggression, meekness, and, at the proper time, ferocity.  Unfortunately, the strain caused by military living causes a disproportionate number of veterans to suffer from a variety of emotional and mental suffering, including serious post-traumatic stress disorder.  My father dealt with his mental and emotional wounds from serving in Vietnam as an infantry officer by becoming a heavy drinker.

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