Defense cuts put U.S. at risk [Letter]

I consider myself to be a very concerned and loyal citizen who takes time to study all the issues related to each specific election and make sound decisions that will guide our country in the direction that statesmen such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and others would have wanted. These statesmen and their constituents supported each other's dream of creating a strong nation for all future generations. But now I am worried for my country because of the military reduction plan being initiated by President Barack Obama and blessed and executed by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ("A smaller, more nimble force," Feb. 26).

I sometimes wonder, do our elected officials in Washington know the difference between a politician and a statesman? You see the Washingtons, Jeffersons and Franklins of this world were statesmen who forged a country where freedom was guaranteed for all but also made it clear by their writings and actions that freedom wasn't free. Since the president and all our elected officials work for the country's citizens, it must be emphasized that it is their first priority and responsibility to protect all citizens and keep us free. President Obama acknowledged that when he took his oath of office, but by his decision to reduce our armed forces, he is placing his politics before the guarantees we have as citizens. These are truly difficult and trying times, but as the commander-in-chief, he has one thing on his side that no other world leader can claim and that is the history, the image and the power of his office. This powerful image exists only because of the actions, trials and life-making decisions that the previous 43 residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue made to strengthen and protect our freedoms.

This world has so many potential problem areas; the most recent example is in Ukraine. Recently, President Obama warned President Vladimir Putin not to intervene or there would be consequences. Fast forward several years from now when, after having reduced our military to pre-World War II levels, he makes that same statement to Mr. Putin. Mr. Obama spoke about Ukraine's sovereignty but the only support the United States can give is rhetoric. At the present time, this is probably the best plan of action, but when the president has only rhetoric as its backup, other world leaders will recognize this weakness and make decisions based on it.

My last thought I wish to share is as citizens of this country, our personal freedom and the freedom of our future generations is guaranteed at any and all costs, but the president and the defense secretary have placed a price tag on it and that is an infringement they have also placed on all Americans. The question I have to ask U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin of Maryland is, what actions are you planning to take to safeguard our ability to remain free, strong and respected in the world?

Joseph P. Sacchet

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