Sept. 11, 2023

Rob Lauer, U.S. Army Military Police Veteran

Looking back now 22 years after 9-11, our government’s naked corruption and incompetence was on full display. I experienced it firsthand as a soldier. Let me be clear: Being an American soldier was the greatest honor of my life.

I still remember like it was yesterday—walking into the Army recruiting station at the age of 34 and going through the process of enlisting. I lived in LA at the time. I remember, after an entire day of physical exams and testing, standing there and taking the oath. About a month later, I reported for Basic Training.

In 2005, as the war raged and cable news channels were consumed by daily reports of U.S. servicemen and women killed in action, I flew to St. Louis, Missouri, where the military bussed recruits to Fort Leonard Wood. I arrived late at night greeted by a drill sergeant. 9-11 paintings were on the walls of the barracks.

For the next 12 weeks, I was drilled from 4:30 am every day and molded into a soldier. I remember, at the very end of the longest week of my life, standing with my platoon at attention at night, with a bonfire, being sworn in. I was now officially an American Soldier.

That wasn’t the end. That was just the beginning. I trained for the next three years before I volunteered to go to Iraq. In January 2008, I walked out the door and went off to the war, not knowing if I would ever see home again. Even though we were headed to the desert environment of Iraq, the Army, in its wisdom (and incompetence), sent us to Fort Dix, New Jersey, to train in the winter snow. We trained there until May 2008.

The Army’s tactics were a complete joke. A great deal of our training focused on retreating from the enemy under fire instead of counterattacking. With our superior weapons, training, technology, and highly motivated soldiers, we were expected to shoot our way out of ambushes in our vehicles instead of counterattacking a bunch of insurgents. The liberals who ran the military focused on winning the hearts and minds of goat-herders.

It was there that I suffered a spinal injury so severe that I was flown back to LA, where I underwent spine surgery. I was so fortune to serve with some of our nation’s best. They were my heroes. I was desperate to return to the fight to protect them and fight by their sides. They were my brothers. By August 2008, I was asking command to rejoin my unit in Iraq. But army doctors refused to allow it. And they were right. I went on a different mission, guarding a key military shipping port. Again, my back injury came back. I was done.

But then my real nightmare began. The Army refused me any further help. I even filed an appeal with my congressman. I just suffered for years. In 2012, my back was in such terrible condition, and I broke down and went to the VA. The VA made it its mission at that time to refuse medical services. They told me the earliest appointment was nine months out. I actually went to that appointment, but they canceled it without any notice.

In 2015, CNN reported 305K Vets had died while waiting for care.

“The VA’s inspector general found that out of about 800,000 records stalled in the agency’s system for managing health care enrollment, there were more than 307,000 records that belonged to veterans who had died months or years in the past.

From there, I had to fight tooth and nail to get help. Two years ago, I finally had spine surgery that truly helped. That was a decade after I went to the VA asking for help. That was the Trump VA that finally helped me.

The Obama DOD tied our soldiers hands and actually arrested numerous soldiers for going on the offense killing known enemies. Under Obama, the U.S. military convicted U.S. Army Lt. Clint Lorance of murder in 2014 for ambushing two Afghans he had good reason to believe were scouts for the Taliban. On November 15, 2019, President Donald Trump issued a full pardon to Lorance, and he was released from prison after serving six years.

Then American Vets had to watch Joe Biden’s retreat in Afghanistan after we actually won the peace. We only had 2,500 troops there, mostly in support roles. Following Vietnam, Biden’s retreat was the single biggest foreign policy blunder in American history. After emptying the prison at Bagram Air Base, a suicide bomber killed 13 American Marines. Biden left thousands of Americans to fend for themselves. Veterans across America were heartbroken by the retreat.

Politics, incompetence, and greed in our political ruling class caused 9-11 veterans more pain than our enemies on the battlefield. The battlefield turned into a battle to get care from the VA. To get the benefits we were promised all the while, Biden gives billions of dollars to legal and illegal immigrants flooding in over the border as we speak.

I remember traveling through the airports in uniform on my way to or from a duty station, and folks would come up to thank me for my service. If you really want to thank our troops, vote for real leaders who fight for our country instead of leaders who fight against it.


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