Veterans should vote for Mullikin

By: By Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret.) - Contributing Columnist
Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret.)

Washington is in a dismal state of disrepair, and this disrepair is now bleeding over into our military’s ability to defend this nation. No longer can we afford to ignore this reality. America needs strong “solutions people” who can and will return this nation to its former greatness and battlefield supremacy on every existing and future front. That’s why I support the candidacy of Tom Mullikin for U.S. Congress.

The 18th century economist and philosopher Adam Smith said that the first duty of government was (and is) defense, specifically, “protecting the society from the violence and invasion of other independent societies.” Yet over the previous eight-plus years of the 21st century, this “first duty” has been relegated to a secondary or tertiary responsibility. And vital combat training hours are increasingly being replaced with time spent on social engineering within the military services. We are losing our warfighting culture.

Meanwhile, our greatest strategic-defense challenges — the increasingly dangerous military expansions of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and the ever-increasing threat of global terrorism — continue unabated. For this reason alone, we need to replace career politicians with new-blood lawmakers — like Mullikin — eager to bolster our military’s technological superiority; our strategic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities; our surface and undersea warfare platforms; land systems; and new advanced aircraft; as well as enhancing cyber, electronic, and space warfare capabilities.

For these reasons, we need candidates like Mullikin who have both managed and led businesses and served in uniform at various levels. We need strong candidates who understand and appreciate the nuances and necessities of budgetary issues and the need to provide our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen with the best training in the world to meet all current and future threats on more than one front. We need congressional leaders who will support our men and women in uniform (and their families) while they are serving, especially when they’re deployed, and when they leave service.

We need to change the culture in Washington. There must be a renewal of national will when it comes to the military; and a sustainable, ongoing level of support going forward.

In South Carolina alone, we have a population of some 4.6 million people including one-million-plus children below the required age for military service. Yet, approximately 379,000 of that overall number are military veterans. That’s a huge percentage, and they deserve every benefit that we can afford them. South Carolina’s military veterans don’t need to be an afterthought.

Mullikin is the right man at the right time to change this backseat attitude toward strengthening and sustaining our national defense capabilities. He is the best candidate in terms of helping and supporting the Palmetto State’s 379,000 military veterans. He will put teeth into the Veterans Administration and our struggling VA hospitals. And he will reach out to — and lift up — those veterans whose lives have devolved to the point that they are living out their aimless lives in the streets.

Mullikin is the candidate with the greatest military experience both in-and-out of uniform. He’s a former United States Army officer. He also served as special assistant to the Chief Prosecutor for Military Commissions in GTMO who is responsible for the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four co-defendants. And the near-1,000 member historic S.C. State Guard — which he today commands — is largely composed of men and women with distinguished federal military service under their belts, combat veterans from every war, conflict, and military excursion from Vietnam to the Global War on Terror.

Simply put, South Carolina needs Tom Mullikin working for us in Washington.

Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret.), is a recipient of the MEDAL OF HONOR, the nation’s highest award for combat valor.

Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret.) Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret.)

By Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret.)

Contributing Columnist