I am an Iraq war veteran. I have the deepest respect for my fellow members of our Armed Forces risking their lives in service to our nation.

I was incensed when I heard that Russia is paying bounties to the Taliban for each American soldier they kill. And I can’t describe my anger whenever our president claims that he knew nothing about Russian bounties or worse, brags about his great relationship with Russia or that he is tough on Russia.

President Trump claims the Russian bounty story was invented to harm him politically. So, after some research, here is what I learned. In early 2019, American Intelligence informed the White House that Russia may be offering bounties on our soldiers. They confirmed it a year later after a SEAL team discovered Taliban documents proving the bounties. By March of 2020, the CIA concluded there is no doubt that Russia targeted our soldiers. The CIA was certain enough to brief Britain, whose soldiers were also targeted.

What was our president’s response? He alternately claims it is a hoax and that he was never informed. In March he received a President’s Daily Briefing report containing the information. He continues to say he never received the brief. All the while, he continues to call the whole thing a hoax and he refuses to stand up to Russia.

I expect better from my president. And the members of our Armed Forces certainly deserve better.