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Letter to the editor

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The apparent press release article you ran in the Dec. 26 edition entitled, “Alexander Supports Defense Act” sure put the positive slant on all of the line items Congress passed for the bipartisan Defense Authorization bill, but he failed to address what he and other members of the Senate who voted for it let happen with its final passage - the “breach of trust between those who have and are serving in uniform, and their civilian managers.” The Murray-Ryan budget passed by the Senate on Dec. 18, was a “shameful betrayal of the trust of our military veterans.” For those who may have missed it, the ‘deal’ cuts all veteran’s retirement benefits to 1 percent below inflation until veterans reach age 62, providing an approximately $6 billion budget cut, meanwhile increasing federal spending elsewhere. One former Congressman and military veteran, Allen West, states in a Dec. 23 Washington Times article: “...six billion dollars in disrespect to our military retirees is preferable to offending illegal immigrants? Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn released his annual “Government Waste Book” that detailed $33 billion in wasteful spending — apparently more important than honoring those who honorably serve/d.” 

Our other state senator, Bob Corker, voted against the budget deal because he felt “it busts budget caps without making meaningful changes to mandatory programs [in that] the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act authorizes spending above limits set by the Budget Control Act of 2011, as well as the new budget agreement.”

A recent article in a conservative blog brings forth the following: 

“When President Obama closed the WWII Memorial, shutting out visiting ‘Honor Flight’ veterans in the wake of sequester cuts, Americans saw the boldness of his disrespect toward the military. The Murray-Ryan budget intensifies the attack on military confidence. Those political elites who supported and pushed this budget through with their vote or voting for cloture have begun to see retaliation to the undermining and disrespect for our military. These big government politicians have reneged on specific promises to support our military. 

Consider the words of retired Chief Master Sergeant Chuck Wooten, who posted a Facebook letter to Congressman Paul Ryan on Dec. 20 that has now gone viral:

FB Friends,

I’m still mulling this Paul Ryan budget deal that stole (sic) money from every military retiree (past, present and future). This morning, upon opening my email, I noticed I had a letter from Congressman Paul Ryan…and it was begging me for an “emergency end of the year donation.” It only proves what we already know. The folks in Washington are indeed clueless. Instead of hitting the delete button, I decided to call Congressman Ryan out on his audacity and lack of self-awareness. I sent the following to him. I’m also posting it on the FB USAF Chiefs page as an open letter to the Congressman. If you’re a retiree, I will tell you we may have lost the battle, but not the war. If you’re inclined and find it worthy, let’s flood social media with this letter and see if we can get some traction. Thanks.

To Congressman Paul Ryan

Congressman Ryan,

Please note that this request by you for a cash donation from me is extremely unfortunate and very ill-timed. You see sir, I am one of the military retirees your “bipartisan” budget just impacted. You and every Republican (both in the House and Senate that voted to pass this travesty betrayed and broke trust with me and everyone like me. You may not know us by name, but we’re the people, Congressman, who answered our Nation’s call, some of us at a very early age to willingly serve YOU and others LIKE YOU so you could safely attend college and pursue your personal ambitions without fear of harm.

You might also want to note that for at least 20 years, my brothers-in-arms answered that call of duty EVERY SINGLE DAY, without fail, without complaint, without enough money to sustain our loved ones we had to leave behind while we DID OUR JOB in every corner of the Earth. And for that service, we were given absolute assurance our so-called retirement benefits would be protected by law. The very law you shattered in your zeal to impress your Democratic cohorts in your back room deal–with the enemy. Yes, I said it. The liberal Democrats are an enemy to the American people and our Nation. Your lack of judgment and eagerness to compromise on the backs of us who protected you is sickening. Congressman, you and every Republican that voted for injuring military retirees have engaged in a complicit, sordid affair with the Democrats who’s objective has always been to dismantle the military. By climbing into their bed on this issue, you have confirmed you are absolutely no better than they and have proven it with your vote.

Congressman Ryan, the audacity which you display is noteworthy, but to unceremoniously snatch earned money from a small group that has added so much more value than the paltry $6B you looked to “save” (which is all smoke and mirrors and you know it), is reprehensible and insulting.

We have, despite the hardships, meager salaries and harsh conditions, have performed with honor and excellence…in silence, which is something most members of Congress have no idea about doing. Our job approval was, is and always be better than yours. 

We knew our mission and we got it done, then handed it off to a new generation in better shape than we found it.

 Your ability to look us in the eye, take money from us (apparently there was ZERO, other source of waste within the federal government that you could have recovered this money from…right, got it), while simultaneously holding your hand out to beg (with passion) for our cash is stunning. Your actions have proven you do not have the tremendous intellect you’ve sold the American people on. I say, with all seriousness, Congressman, what you lack in intellect and spinal rigidity, you make up for in cajones.

 I hope you and your cowardly, Republican “colleagues” hear a message from me loud and clear. You will NEVER receive another cent of financial support from me. Further, if you happen to be at a Capitol Hill dinner or at a K Street cocktail party with RNC Chair Reince Priebus, Rep. Ron Barber, Sen. Jeff Flake or Sen. John McCain, I would be honored if you communicate with them that I am launching an effort to ensure NONE of you traitorous “representatives of the people” ever receive another vote from a military retiree. Remove me from your contact lists.


Chuck Wooten,

Chief Master Sergeant, USAF (Ret)


Gary Fodor 



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