(TFC) – About a month ago, 88 high-ranking retired military officers signed a letter endorsing Donald Trump for President. Now a collection of high-ranking retired military officers have released a letter condemning Mr. Trump for his antics and begging the American people to keep him out of the Commander in Chief’s office.
The officers condemning Trump have expressed a very real concern: that his attitude towards women will create a hostile command climate. The military has spent decades attempting to stem sexual harassment and sexual assault within its ranks. The push back against this type of behavior began in earnest after the Tailhook scandal in 1991. During a symposium in Nevada, 83 women and 7 men were sexually assaulted by Navy and Marine officers. Incidentally, four of those who signed the endorsement of Trump were present at that symposium, though none were charged.
The officers condemning Trump took specific issue with his dismissive attitude about sexual assault in the military. Commenting on the massive number of sexual assaults in the military, Trump said:
“What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”
As is typically the case with Trump, later he back peddled his statement. It should be noted that in response to a question about specifics, he said in typical Trump style:
“The numbers are staggering, hard to believe it even — but we’re gonna have to run it very tight. I, at the same time, want to keep the court system within the military. I don’t think it should be outside of the military,”
The reader should be aware the court system is already within the military.
Those condemning Trump had this to say:
Those 88 officers who endorsed Trump prior to fully grasping the depths of his flaws desperately need to reconsider their endorsement. Imagine the young Corporal or Lieutenant who knows her Commander in Chief expects sexual assault to happen when men and women are together and who has led from the front in the charge to demonstrate that more powerful men of higher standing can expect women to let them grab their genitals. How do you think she’ll view a ranking officer? As a mentor or as a threat? How can the signers, who claim to be concerned with “policy choices and combat operations that have left the superb men and women in uniform less capable of performing their vital missions”, endorse a man whose leadership will plainly erode the command structure?
I’d ask the readers to indulge me for a moment because I plan on making certain that all of the 88 officers who endorsed Trump receive this. My initial thought when sitting down to write this article was to simply point out all of the less than honorable individuals who endorsed Trump. There are quite a few. One of those is a man who was instrumental in promoting the Iraq war. A war we now know sacrificed the blood of Americans on the altar of lies. As I researched each of you, I became convinced that a slim majority of you signed this endorsement because you believed Trump would safeguard the men and women you left behind in the military. It probably seemed a final act of public service.
Through a twist of fate, those of you who signed this endorsement are now in a position to give America something it needs so much more than specific President in the White House. You can provide the United States with a parting gift greater than your service in the military. You are now in a position to provide the country with an example of honor.
Honor can mean many things. In some instances, it’s remaining silent to protect those you care about. In others, it’s falling on your sword and becoming the scapegoat to protect something more important than your reputation. This is not one of those times. The United States is a resilient entity. It can survive four more years of poor leadership, whether it be from Trump or Clinton. What it can’t survive is continuing to be a society with no examples of honor. In this case, displaying honor is speaking up.
I respectfully disagree with the officers who have implored you to rescind your endorsement of Trump. That’s simply casting your lot in with Clinton. I would suggest that you openly declare both candidates to be unfit to hold the office of the Presidency. Demonstrate to the American people that those who served this country honorably feel they deserve better than a “con man” or a “crooked” politician. Lead by example and declare that you will not vote to be ruled by an individual of lesser moral fiber. You could throw your weight behind a third a party, declare one among you a write-in candidate, or simply tell people to waive their right to vote this election. Demand that candidates worthy of the office are presented.
Many of you may look upon the younger generations in this country as lacking backbone and honor. You may compare them to the young men and women who served during World War II and scoff. What do you expect of an 18-year-old today? Who can they hold up as an example of honor? The self-entitled rich kid who thinks women are there for his amusement? Endorsing that is how you plan on creating the next “greatest generation”? Somebody has to set the example of refusing to choose the lesser of two evils. Somebody has to simply start standing against evil, regardless of their political affiliation.
You can be that example for the country. Your service and the scandal you are now caught in the middle of provides you the platform necessary to be the example of honor today’s youth can look up to. Today’s society at large needs your example and leadership more than any butter bar ever did. If you really want to make America great again, it starts by fostering a belief in the individual. You are uniquely capable of doing that at this moment in history. Don’t let it pass.
This is most likely your last public act. Do you choose to allow it to be the endorsement of a man who belittles the fallen, POWs, and the women in uniform? I do agree with the officers who are demanding you rescind your endorsement in one respect: history is watching. You can betray a quarter of a century of progress in the military, or you can demonstrate the honor I know you possess. The choice is yours.
Neither one of these candidates are fit to shine the boots of a service member at basic.