We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, December 2. 2009
One of my oldest and, deservedly ten times over, most respected friends, a combat veteran, a journalist, a frontline refugee aid worker, a man of the cloth, a professor, major scholar, a mentor and example to generations, wrote me this email below. He offers insights based on real experience that is lacking in mere scribblers in media and blogs who haven't ever been on the front-lines of life, death, and hope and effort despite odds due to undefeatable faith.
My friend's email, to all of you:
From a column by David Ignatius:
This is all just a distraction from health-care and cap and trade. If the Taliban do come back
He says in the speech that we are not patrons but partners, and then he speaks of the Pakistan and Afghan governments in an utterly dismissive tone, as if he were speaking to ADHD children. The Karzai government is corrupt and inefficient? Compared to what? Najibullah or Mullah Omar, Kharzai's predecessors? Is the Afghan government more corrupt than the governments of
However, if the Afghans, as Obama suggests, don't want a return of the Taliban, why are we about to facilitate their return? Obama's whole plan sounds like just enough to keep his generals from resigning, but not enough to defeat the Taliban. An upfront capitulation and retreat would actually be better. That would say we don't want to win but would leave open the question of whether we could have won if we wanted to. But the result we'll get will say we couldn't have won in any case, that American arms simply couldn't prevail. Notice that he said nothing about why he's sending 2 brigades less than his commander asked for. It probably polls better that way.
He plans to "end" both wars--no matter the consequences--before the 2012 campaign season begins. This will aid his reelection and help him "earn" his Nobel. I'm beginning to wonder if I can in good conscience encourage a student to remain in or enter ROTC with a commander-in-chief as unprincipled and feckless as this one--and an Army chief of staff as stupid as Gen. Casey. I've always encouraged our students to at least consider military service. I never thought this would be a question for me. But it is becoming one now.
My friend is a bit discouraged tonight, to say the least. Neither you nor I nor he need worry that he will remain that way. His life is one of striving with all his being and integrity to overcome evil and to contribute good to the world. He will keep on, as must we, as Obama too shall pass, and be replaced with a better.
P.S.: My friend saw this and a private email comment to him that "spirit demands fiber". He replies
BTW, Related: Read this op-ed, by another friend, of course a former Marine, and much more: Counterinsurgency Incoherence
And, Related: Ralph Peters gets to the point.
Tracked: Dec 02, 05:43
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Very good post. Loved your friend's quote about college idiocy. Can you imagine what BO's dates might have said about their coffee shop experiences with him. But wait, did he have any???
Another provocative and great post Bruce. I have so many things I want to say in response, but they are unordered and probably incoherant so I'll pass on most of them with one exception.
The ultimate problem with Western society is that there are two major cultural imperatives competing to win the hearts and minds of the populace. One is the liberal cultural gestalt of moral relativism with respect to historical imperatives - everything is gray and we are no better than those we oppose. The second is the more pragmatic and conservative view that there is black and white choice and that social values have both practical and moral consequences.
President Obama is a product of moral relativism. He is the end product of a system that will only accept one set of rules and those rules are constantly moving and changing to fit the issue du jour. The only constant is that direct armed conflict with other societies is to be avoided at all costs - that we, as a society, haven't the right to see and correct injustices, defend those who can't defend themselves and to offer the great freedoms of democracy - to be a protector and not just a participant in the practice of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It is that morally relativistic view that allows for ignoring the contributions of our ancestors - it's not an ignorance of history as much as it is ignoring history because it's not morally relavent - the distorted logic is that we are just a guilty as our "enemy", thus the damage must be limited as much as possible. Call it "better Red than Dead" view of life.
Americans have always had flirtations with the moral relativistic view, but in the end, we discard that view to do what is right and proper. And for that we need to encourage self sacrifice, dedication to a cause, discipline and courage that military service can provide because it is only through heat and fire that steel can be made.
And with that I'll stop because I'm entering into incoherant mode and I have many things to do today. :>)
Great stuff Bruce - I'll be thinking about this all day as I put the final touches on the new bathroom.
Bruce ... Very interesting commentary by your friend about Obama's speech and about Columbia. I graduated from Columbia back in 1951, when it was still a pretty good school. It has significantly deteriorated since then, hitting bottom, in my opinion, when it provided that criminal, Ahmidinijad, with a platform from which to spew his poison. I wrote them then that I would never contribute another dime to their fund drives.
Loved your friend's comment: "Four things can kill sexual desire: hunger, exhaustion, fear, and listening to an idiot." I find that listening to an idiot kills my appetite right away. For hours.
This has been a painful day for me.
My oldest enlisted straight out of high school and has been training as a combat medic. He loves military life and he calls me several times a week to talk shop.
How do I deal with him going off on a political tail wagging exercise into harm's way? I served proudly and am similarly proud of his non-hesitation in going straight in 'just like you, dad'.
I have reconciled that I served under a president who revered troops (Ronald Reagan) while the general public had lost interest in the cold war.
My son is serving under a C-in-C who doesn't give a rat's ass about the troops while the public holds them in very high regard.
I remain convinced that our experiment is the last best hope. The service of the ideal is worth what is being paid.
I just can't help thinking that if something happens to him in the sandbox, I'm gonna need you folks to put me in restraints.
I need to write the young 'un a long letter.
"How do I deal with him going off on a political tail wagging exercise into harm's way? I served proudly and am similarly proud of his non-hesitation in going straight in 'just like you, dad'."
Having a child in harm's way is perhaps the hardest thing of all. Much harder than having your spouse deploy, or deploying yourself.
Your son's service has little to do with his C-in-C. I will admit that I am having a great deal more trouble with this deployment, largely b/c of my pessimism regarding our commitment to this fight. It only adds to the normal fears associated with deployment and separation.
But our children are free to choose their own path. That is the great glory and wonder of having raised them to adulthood. Your son's service (and the ultimate worthiness of what we're trying to do) will not be defined by Barack Obama.
He's not that big a person. Write your son a letter and let him know how proud you are of him. You have reason to be.
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