All images for this post are shamelessly lifted from the Facebook Page The Dogs of War Unsung Canine Heroes of the US Military.
John McCain is a dirty rat.
For a veteran, the Senator is not sympathetic to the plight of some of the bravest and sweetest of his brethren who walk into battle every day. McCain worked to remove the “Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act” from the Defense Authorization Act of 2013 AFTER it passed both houses of Congress. As such, trained military dogs remain designated as “equipment” rather than veterans, as all people who understand dogs and their function on a battlefield know them to be.
I can just hear the more self-righteous and fiscal hawk conservatives out there saying, But C.L., dogs are not people and people have to be our first concern. And with all the expenses facing our country right now, this one could go. Yeah, yeah. While it might be true that dogs aren’t people, and they don’t technically have souls, military canines are responsible for saving the lives of countless servicemen in the field. Not having a consistent system for adopting them out at retirement is disgraceful. And it’s not like the US military is going to quit using dogs any time soon despite attempts to defund the Advanced K-9 Training Course at the U.S. Army base in Yuma, Arizona, which is cheaper to run for a year than a single Michelle Obama vacation.
Even with all the advances in technology and battlefield abilities, nothing has been able to replicate a dog’s hearing, which has been exploited since World War I, to listen for trip wires in the field. Nothing has been found to match a hound’s nose (or a Labrador’s or a shepherd’s or a poodle’s) for sniffing out bombs, drugs and finding humans in debris. Dogs can be and are trained to assist with these functions and more on the battlefield. Nothing other than a bloodhound’s nose can sniff out a body underwater (but, since bloodhounds are not good swimmers, they have to wear lifejackets). As such, they save lives – and their soldier handlers will not leave them behind.
Why should they? Military canines are just as much soldier as the humans who handle them.
Most military dogs start life the same as all purebred dogs do, in a single or two breed kennel born to a carefully selected bitch who presents desirable traits mated to a dog with the same. These may not be the most beautiful specimens, unlike occupants of a show ring, but they are some of the most intelligent, easily handled, affable and brave. To fulfill their purpose, they must be. Military canines are bred at Lackland Air Force Base, for the most part, and endure testing before being chosen to be developed for active duty. (Flunkies are adopted out.) They are fostered in homes with families who have the time and capacity to raise them for a few months until they are ready to move up.
Then, just like support dogs – and soldiers – everywhere, the real work begins. Training. Just like human soldiers, training a military dog is takes a lot of time and work and dedication, but the final product is worth it: a loyal asset trained to defend soldiers and help keep them safe. Once these brave animals have served and have reached eight years of age, or been wounded badly, they must be retired. Many times, these gallant pooches are adopted by their handlers, but not all former handlers can do so, and that is where congressional action needs to be taken.
At this time, there are no official provisions from the Department of Defense to be sure that all canine warriors are returned from overseas, let alone adopted out and provided for during their twilight years. With small numbers of animals in the program and breeds used having shorter projected life spans, any program that provides for canine retirement is not going to be a money pit. Most military dogs are bigger breeds and with the big breeds, getting to 12 years old is good. 14 is extraordinary. A year of the entire military K-9 program with retirement provisions would cost less than a single copy of any battle aircraft. Considering what these dogs go through for our soldiers, aren’t they deserving of a comfortable retirement?
The Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act was set to correct this oversight, much to the delight of veteran handlers from a number of wars, and John McCain saw to it that the act was removed from the 2013 Defense Authorization.
The dirty rat. These brave veterans deserve better.
p.s. Given what we know about the Occupier of the White House…members of Islam are not allowed to own dogs as they are not “clean”, will eat carrion and other, uh, nasty stuff if not properly supervised. Hmmm…. Just sayin’.
As an aside, a relative trained dogs for the military during World War II. This issue has lingered for decades.
Aside 2: All those years ago when USAF Capt. Scott O’Grady was shot down in Bosnian Serb territory, he managed to evade capture partially because the Serb army was not using search dogs.
Aside 3: Another relative in the military is a helicopter pilot. He was on a tour in Iraq and one day had to fly a bunch of German Shepherds up to the Syrian border. It was hot, so he let them sit on the seats strapped in rather than travel in their crates. Then he turned on the rotors. I wonder if they ever got all the dog hair out of the cockpit.
Further reading from today’s American Thinker: Why Should Only Governments Be Allowed Canine Protection.
Okay, I think I’m done now.
Tags: arizona, belgian polic dogs, bomb sniffing, canine members of the armed forces act, dog handler, dogs, german shepherd, Islam, islam no dogs, john mccain, labrador retriever, lackland air force base, michelle obama's vacation, military equipment, Politics, Veterans, yuma