The Commander in Chief got a decidedly cool reception from the troops on a whistle stop at Fort Bliss in El Paso Friday. While this president already is not widely popular with our military, the attitude demonstrated by the shanghaied soldiers in that cavernous hangar was demonstrably cooler than at such past events. The conservative media interpreted that indifferent reception to dissatisfaction with Obama’s politics and his repeated failures as CinC, but the event is far more consequential as yet another example of how little the Obama Administration understands the military it commands.
I’m an old non-com who, as a bachelor lived in the barracks, and as such I’m well aware of the excitement that permeates any military barracks in the days leading up to a four-day, holiday weekend like Labor Day. Virtually every soldier has made big plans to escape his military existence for four precious days and spend that time with family or friends. Many will have to use the first and fourth days for travel to and from distant destinations, which means only two, crucial days of holiday pleasure for them, sandwiched between two less pleasant days of travel, especially if they must fly commercially. Take away just one of those days and many of those soldiers’ plans will either have to be scrapped entirely or the time at home or whatever destination, be reduced to a single day. Plans made long in advance have to be rescheduled, a sometimes quite difficult task when it regards holiday weekend travel: flight changes may be impossible and hotels are booked solid; neither may allow changes in reservations without severe financial penalties.