Rage from the Right — by guest blogger COL. USAF (RET)

In this world of instant messages, communications, and news coverage, where nothing held back from the viewer and where the phrase “The public has the right to know” is seen as some sort of sacred trust, we have profaned our selves and our society to the god of success. When this is matched with the ubiquitous left slant of anything with a major audience, I tend to suffer periods of rage. Success seems to be defined by the ability to have YouTube, facebook, media, and twitter followers in the millions and enough cash on hand to spend extravagantly without recourse to any sort of “common sense” (which I have become convinced is not at all that common). To continue this diatribe I have seen some things over the past few weeks that have really set me off.

1. There is no restraint because, after all, we might miss some critical element if we used such a thing.  Nothing is out of reason.

A young man, mortally wounded and lying on the battlefield has no privacy. This is a picture worthy of a Pulitzer Prize, or whatever award there is for morbid photography.  After all this is NEWS! “What about his parents and other family members?” “Forget it, this could…get me money, make me famous, increase my circulation, set me up for life.”  Just pick one of the responses that some despicable, cockroach of an editor would use.  “Humanity, dignity…PAH! just gets in the way.  How can I get rich and famous if I have to play using those outmoded rules?  Rules are for suckers, and I know better.”

I don’t know if thoughts of that sort went through the minds of those who were responsible for the despicable act of printing those pictures, but I believe that the media gods of news, “right to know” and fame all went through those minds. What is truly a sign of the times is that the people responsible actually heard from the family who requested that the picture not be published and after considered review some still printed it.

Maybe the ideal of a genteel society is way 1950s, but a certain amount of restraint and civility would be nice to see once in a while.  In the same way, but not as tragic, I just don’t need to see three days of funerals for people I would be ashamed of calling my friends.

2. The same week had news stories about UN lawyers (who are worse than ordinary lawyers, some of whom I’ve learned aren’t all bad), with true malevolence in their hearts (or whatever substitutes in them for that organ), from some country or philosophy that has a bone to pick with the US, see our military as the perfect way to get back at any real or imagined slight or offense they think America has committed. Their target is conduct by troops in battle.

If you have never been in combat, it is exhilarating and scary at the same time.  My combat was not as close in as the ground troops, but I understand that feelings run hot in combat.  Occasionally things go wrong, and I certainly would not condone that, but the best people to review / punish the wrong doer are not those who have never been shot at, never seen that life or death moment up close and personal.

When these … UN parasites came to Bosnia (yes, I was involved in some of that also) they did not really go after the man in the field, they went after the bosses, the generals, the Secretary of Defense, and even the President. They accused them of “war crimes” because we were on the other side of the political fence.  The International Criminal Court is an unspeakable mockery of what used to be justice in the US.

It used to be said that the winning side wrote the history of the conflict.  No more.  Now, it is the Left leaning historians in conjunction with the Left leaning National Education Association of teachers that explain how we, even if we did win, were the worst sort of humans possible.  Well, there is some solace, I don’t think that the UN will go after our President this time, even if he probably intends to leave the Afghanistanis out to hang.  This will give the terrorists such a boost that all we can expect a future with more and more of the same.  Next it will be 3 or maybe 4 Al-Quada groups in the US, and the really horrible thing is that some of them will be US citizens.  Enough!

3. I delayed writing this third point so I could get some of the violent passion out of it, but passion doesn’t go away when the news (or maybe rumor) is about a US unilateral nuclear disarmament.  I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent in airplanes on airfields that weren’t nice, cushy, American garden-spots, but were, instead, hell holes, defending and being an integral part of our nuclear force.  I spent a sizable portion of my life in some not very nice places displaying a military presence, and I don’t like it that someone is trying to give up that protection because of a distorted and profane view of the world.

One of the reasons we have such a difficult time in the world is that Americans generally tend to judge people in other countries against a very Ameri-centric viewpoint.  It doesn’t work when judging the efforts of other religions, nor does it work while judging other countries who view us as the enemy to be defeated.  With just a little travel, open mindedness, observation, and a smattering of intelligence, that childish world view should go away.  The world is not a very nice place.  People are not our friends.  I do not advocate sending the military in for every little thing and beating up friends and enemies alike (as Clinton did).  Far from it. The most pacifistic people I know are those who have to go and risk their very lives defending our country. I know that I don’t know many Left wing pacifists, but I have eyes and ears, and I can recognize them when they make the news.  I guess it’s good that I no longer watch much TV, although football season is here.

4. One of the worst things that I have heard about recently has to do with our troops on the ground.  I am one who advocates that unless we get those dirty boots on the ground, we win nothing.  Anyway, in this bright new world, in the combat zones, we are overly concerned with Rules of Engagement (ROE).  We need rules of war (engagement) so that we do not become like the ones we are fighting.  What has to be taken into account, though, is that the ROE’s have to adapt when your enemy violates every precept of the accepted ROE and fights from churches and schools.  Instead of adapting so that we can fight these tactics, wee go out of our way to add more and more restrictions, effectively handcuffing our people.

Not only that, but when we send them to untenable situations, we don’t protect them when they do get in a fight. Currently, in Afghanistan, we have some of those added ROE.  If there is a possibility that some civilians may be in the field of view of our weapons, we hold weapons tight (no expending).  What does that do? Well the enemy just needs to be in the vicinity of civilians and fire at will.  We cannot counterattack, we can’t use artillery or air support because there is a chance — mark that, a chance — that some civilians will get hurt. In the case of ambushes, we lose.

All of this is especially difficult when our enemy look just like the civilians, not just physically, but in manner of dress also.  A precept of the Geneva Conventions that many in this great country seem to disregard is that the enemy has to be uniformed to get Geneva Benefits.  If they are fighting in civilian garb, they are outlaws and have no Geneva Convention Benefits. I do not believe that we can or should go in and kill everyone in an area, but we must be able to protect our young men and women in combat situations.  They are OUR CHILDREN.

5. Lastly, recently there was a NYT reporter who went where he was warned against going.   He just had to get the story, and maybe become this generation’s Ernie Pyle. Did he get his story?  I guess he did.  Was it worth it?  Ask the family of his translator who was killed, or the family of the young British soldier who was killed during his rescue.  This was so utterly pointless.  Why did he go where it wasn’t safe for a story that will be forgotten in a month?  Was this bit of journalistic grandstanding worth two, maybe three lives?  Did he know that if he got into trouble the military would get him out?  This was a reporter from the NYTimes, not a credible newsprint organization and one that has a definite anti-military/anti-American outlook.  What the heck was he doing there, and what the heck was his goal?  Do you think he and his employers even appreciated that we, the capitalistic, repressive, just plain bad military, risked our people to get him to safety?  I actually had someone in my office send around his report and say how good it was.  That was followed by a reminder of the cost and comment on whether the story was worth it.

It has not been a great couple of weeks.  My hope is that, even if congress (nope won’t capitalize it) passes Obamacare, that before it can be enacted to any great degree the next Congress, with considerably fewer Ds, will rescind it. Maybe we can get SCOTUS to take a hack first.  But the former will only occur if we vote the … buggers out.  So get your neighborhoods organized and tell the real story of what is going on.

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  • SADIE

    Well said Col.

    We are at a historic impasse with two distinct and different Rules of Engagement, not just in the military, but for civilians as well. These two different camps have become more evident in D.C. and on the battlefields the past 20 years.

    Points 1 & 5 are cut from the same tattered cloth. It is a first person mentality and reflects that neither man has every worked in a group, for a group or for the success of a group. Self serving and self centered – morally bankrupt.

    Point 2 is a case study in what constitutes moral bankruptcy. The mere mention of the ‘un’ makes my head spin and my face contort. Global whores, thieves and pimps doesn’t even begin to sum it up. It is ‘baksheesh central’ taking their cut of money and resources where ever they plant their feet.

    There are others in the room who can speak to points 3 & 4.

  • BrianE

    #4 concerns me greatly.

    I have asked previously what “victory” in Afganistan would look like.

    Bernard Finel asks 10 questions that deserve an answer about Afghanistan.

    I have become a skeptic of the continued American involvement in Afghanistan. Like many skeptics of the policy, I am willing to be convinced to change my views. But unfortunately, most of the arguments in favor of an escalation of the conflict provide unconvincing strategic rationales. I believe that a compelling case for increasing our commitment must be able to provide convincing answers to these 10 questions.

    (1) Why does the possibility that al Qaeda might establish a sanctuary in Afghanistan justify a multi-year commitment of American forces, while the reality of an al Qaeda sanctuary in Pakistan justifies nothing more than financial support to the Pakistani government and occasional Predator strikes?…

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/08/25/doubting_afghanistan?page=0,0

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  • Danny Lemieux

    It wish that it wasn’t so, but I have resigned myself to that fact that we have already lost in Afghanistan. As with Vietnam, it wasn’t the U.S. soldier that lost but instead their purported “leaders” who had neither the will, the wisdom nor the stomach to understand the consequences of their actions.

    The war in Afghanistan was lost when President Obama declared that our objective was not victory. Whether it is Germany and the Armistice that “ended” WWI, the Korean Armistice that put war on hold at the DMZ of Korea, or the cease-fire that convinced Saddam that he had won the first Gulf War, anything but total victory only ensures the enemy that they have survived to fight another day. Obama’s rejection of our victory in Afghanistan as our goal only guaranteed the Taliban and Al Qaeda the opportunity to say that they stood up to the world’s two largest superpowers (the Soviet Union and the U.S.)…and won. We will reap the whirlwind.

  • BrianE

    I supported our efforts in Iraq, since the benefit of success held huge upside. I think if the left had kept their mouths shut for even a short period after we entered Baghdad, the results might have been different.
    If you remember though, Kennedy was already calling Iraq Bush’s Vietnam when we were pinned down by a sandstorm early on. Within three weeks we controlled most of Baghdad, and questions were being raised– would we turn east to Iran or west toward Syria.
    Significant mistakes were made (does the name Chalibi ring a bell?) which led to a poor formulation of military occupation. Think Garner and Bremer.

    But at least there was an overarching agenda.

    What is that agenda in Afghanistan? Western civilization, where women are honored and given a position equal to men in their society? One man, one vote?

    What is victory in Afghanistan? Either before or after Obama?
    I realize Obama merely supported Afghanistan for political reason, so he could prove he wasn’t a Chamberlain.

    Maybe I need to read McChrystal’s plan (is it even public). Maybe the answer’s there.