Obama’s latte salute is offensive because . . . death

The semper latte saluteAh, yes.  The infamous “latte salute.”  If you haven’t heard about it yet, Obama walked off a helicopter insouciantly clutching an environmentally-deadly Styrofoam latte cup in his right hand.  When the two Marines waiting at the base of steps offered him a smart salute, Obama, who seemed to avoid looking at them, vaguely pawed his forehead with the hand holding that cup and then walked on.  Here, see it for yourself:

People in the military and conservatives were outraged. Liberals have been outraged at the outrage. Here are a few of the comments I’ve culled from liberals on my “real me” Facebook page:

Obama isn’t military so he shouldn’t be expected to salute.

Reagan started the saluting trend, and there’s no reason to continue it.

Obama has the weight of the world on his shoulders, so it’s ridiculous to expect him to salute.

If you’re going to demand saluting, why not require all presidents to be ex-military. [Bookworm:  Not a bad idea, but the liberal who wrote that was obviously being sarcastic.]

We all do things like waving a “hi” while holding a coffee cup. He’s a good guy and sincere.

For military people, the honor of directly serving the president outweighs all other things.

Weak leaders like Reagan (who sold arms to terrorists) disguise their weakness by saluting.

Bush did worse, because he hugged a dog when saluting. [Bookworm:  What I see, given my bias, is that Bush found himself holding a dog, and struggled to construct the best salute possible under the circumstances.]

Bush salutes while holding dog

You get the idea. Progressives simply cannot understand why Obama’s failure to perform this silly, formulaic act should excite so much disgust amongst the president’s critics. Certainly, the Left is correct that, just as they viewed every eyebrow twitch on George Bush’s face as a sign of evil or stupidity, conservatives are watching Obama like a hawk for proof that he is indeed a far-Left ideologue, who is hostile to America’s core values and interests. In what is still a kind-of-free political system, this partisanship is natural.

Conservatives, however, are on to something deeper than mere politics or tradition when they look with disgust at Obama’s almost studied disrespect for the Marines. As I mentioned above, you need to look at his body language. It’s not just the limp, cup-in-hand salute he offers; it’s the way he rushes past the Marines, refusing to make any eye contact.

Obama, unlike Eisenhower (whom Leftists note was a general who did not salute the troops), is a wartime president. More than that, he is presiding over the longest war in American history and one, moreover, that appears to be heating up significantly on his watch, with an indefinite, probably far off, end-point.

It doesn’t matter that Obama is trying to distinguish himself from George Bush by promising that his latest war won’t be “boots on the ground” fight.  We know that this promise is as untrue as all of Obama’s other promises. After all, Bush also tried a no-boots-on-the-ground strategy, which rejoiced under the name “Shock & Awe.”  That strategy failed dismally until the boots-on-the-ground Surge turned the tide.

No boots on the ground in Iraq

The reality is that you can bomb battleships and military bases, but you cannot bomb disparate individuals who can instantly melt into the surrounding landscape and population. The only way to deal with that is hand-to-hand combat. That’s what the Israel did to win back Jerusalem in 1967 and to destroy Hamas’s tunnels in 2014; and it’s what the US did to destroy the Iraqi Islamic fanatics in places such as Fallujah.

Gunnery Sergeant Ryan P. Shane shot while trying to rescue fatally wounded Marine at Fallujah

Gunnery Sergeant Ryan P. Shane shot while trying to rescue fatally wounded Marine at Fallujah

The problem with boots-on-the-ground fighting is that people die. They die in especially large numbers during the first days of fighting, when the Commander-in-Chief is trying to convince the public in a republican democracy that a ground fight really is a good idea. Sure, these fights produce incredible tales of heroism that are still told around military campfires by modern-day bards, but at the end of the day, a culture that still values most life (more or less, depending on whether the life has already been born or isn’t yet aging its way to death) is left staring at a long list of names carved into a wall.

Marine 1st Sergeant Bradley Kasal

Marine 1st Sergeant Bradley Kasal in Fallujah.

Moreover, because our Constitution (possibly with an eye to our first president) designates any sitting president as Commander-in-Chief, the American way is for the president to command that all these young men be sent to potential death. This power over life and death is especially large if you’re a Commander-in-Chief who insists on ignoring the clear language in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that “Congress shall have the Power . . . to declare War” and, instead, contends that he doesn’t need no stinkin’ Congress.  He’s the Obama and has the imperial power to declare war.

Not only has Obama given himself the sole power to send these men into battle, he’s doing so at a time when he’s shrinking our military to a size and readiness more consistent with an America right before World War I than with an America fighting a sadistic, hydra-headed enemy all over the world in a battle that has lasted for more than a decade and that promises at least another several years to come. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that more war with less military probably means more military deaths.

So what about that salute? From a lower rank to a higher rank, a salute is obviously a sign of deference. When returned by that higher rank to the lower rank, it’s a sign of respect. The higher ranking officer is recognizing the individual serviceman’s humanity, his training, and his willingness to go into battle. Never is this mutual respect more important than with a Commander-in-Chief who is in the actual process of making life-and-death decisions about these troops.

Given this relationship between America’s Commander-in-Chief and his troops, it’s stunning that Obama’s whole body language says “I don’t see you. You’re not there. You’re not worthy.” Perhaps that’s understandable.  It’s so much easier to send the invisible, unworthy ones into battle than to do so with real human beings. After all, as Stalin tellingly remarked to Churchill when the two met at Tehran, “When one man dies it is a tragedy, when thousands die it’s statistics.”

In other words, when conservatives see a Leftist Commander-in-Chief — one who is uncomfortable with the military and who seeks to cut it down to size, even as he plans to send more troops into battle — rush past saluting Marines, avoiding eye contact, and making a bare pretense of a salute, they see a Commander-in-Chief who is saying “Eh, they’re just statistics. Why bother?”

Per an email I received, veterans are organizing to clip the wings of an anti-military Commander In Chief

Marines dismounting from an amphibious assault vehicleI cannot vouch for the following email’s veracity. That is, I do not know whether it’s true that there’s rising distress in the military about the Obama administration or whether it’s true that troops and veterans are beginning to share political information amongst themselves directed at clipping Obama’s wings in 2014. A lot of the information about ROEs sounds old, but the reference to the 2014 election indicates that this is a current email. All I can say is that I got this and found it interesting enough to pass along:

You may not be a veteran but you might know someone who is to pass this on to.

VET’S BACKLASH AGAINST OBAMA, A movement has been started by our armed forces, to get out the vote in 2014. They are organizing themselves, but this can be done by all of us. The President, the Commander in Chief, has made the Rules of Engagement (ROE) so difficult, that our troops are often killed before they can even get permission to fight. Nothing has been done to stop our troops from being murdered by Afghanis they are training, either. Now, the President wants the US to sign on to the UNs International Criminal Court (ICC), which would allow the UNs ICC to arrest and try US troops for War Crimes, without the legal protections guaranteed under US Law, and from which there is no appeal. The President, with his Democratic control of the Senate, has nearly all the power. If the Non-Establishment can take back the Senate in 2014, our troops can once again be protected from unnecessary danger. Please consider this, and send it on to your mailing lists. Thank You and Semper Fi,

Interestingly enough, when GWB was president you heard about the military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan almost daily. With Obama in the White House, the mainstream media has been strangely quiet. More than 1,000 American soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan in the last 27 months. This is more than the combined total of the nine years before. Thirty have died in August. During the last month, over 50 additional NATO and US servicemen have been murdered, inside jobs by those who are hired to be a force for good in Afghanistan .

The commander in chief is AWOL. Not a peep, although he ordered the White House flag flown at half-staff for the Sikhs that were killed. There is a deep disgust, a fury, growing in the ranks of the military against the indifferent incompetence of this president.

It has taken on a dangerous tone. No one knows what to do about him, but the anger runs deep as the deaths continue with no strategic end in sight to the idiocy of this war. Obama has had 4 years to end this futile insanity, during which time he has vacationed, golfed, campaigned, and generally ignored the plight of our men and women in uniform. But, there is now a movement afoot in the armed services to launch a massive get out the vote drive against this president. Not just current active duty types, but the National Guard, Reserves, the retired, and all other prior service members. This is no small special interest group, but many millions of veterans who can have an enormous impact on the outcome of the November election if they all respond.

The million military retirees in Florida alone could mean an overwhelming victory in that state if they all show up at the polls. It might not keep another one hundred U.S. troops from dying between now and November, but a turn out to vote by the military against this heart breaking lack of leadership can make a powerful statement that hastens a change to the indifference of this shallow little man who just lets our soldiers die.

(Thanks to Caped Crusader)

Is Commander in Chief Barack Obama at risk of court martial?

Obama saluting

I wrote a long post at Mr. Conservative about Barack Obama’s potential vulnerability to serious action based upon his conduct as president.  Some of the post expresses my thoughts, some of it is more a reflection of others’ ideas.  I’ll post here the redacted version that’s pure me.  I’d like your feedback:

Barack Obama became a national player in significant part by presenting himself as an anti-war politician. It would be the height of irony if this “anti-war” president ended up being indicted for war crimes, impeached for war conduct, or court-martialed for dereliction of duty. The unraveling of his Benghazi narrative, however, may mean that those are precisely the possibilities facing him.

[snip]

With Libya, Obama thought he could play both sides of the game. He would get America “involved” in al Qaeda efforts in Libya to remove Qaddafi, but he’d never actually declare war. It would just be an “action” or a “support” or a whatever else that wasn’t actually war and that therefore needn’t neither a formal declaration of war nor Congress’s consent. Obama’s non-war successfully removed Qaddafi from power and, as always happens when a strong man leaves, left a power vacuum.

It turns out that Obama forgot to heed the words liberal columnist Thomas Friedman repeatedly said to President Bush: “You break it, you own it.” Bush took those words seriously in Iraq (and must have been horrified when Obama’s precipitous withdrawal undid all his good work). When it came to Libya, though, Obama thought he could just walk away. Any efforts he took to secure U.S. interests in Libya were minimal or perhaps, as we discuss below, dangerous and under the table.

Burned by his non-war failure in Libya, Obama opted to go for a “we won’t even speak of it” approach to Syria. He might have gotten away with this except that, when rumors began that Bashar al-Assad was gassing his own people, Obama forgot that he was supposed to stop with making clucking noises about how bad chemical weapon use would be. Instead, he went off teleprompter and announced that, if there was evidence that Assad was using chemical weapons on his people, that act would be a “red line” and the U.S. would have to act. Obama got very lucky when Israel, which became concerned by the Hezbollah/Iranian/Syrian build-up of weapons immediately across its border, did some surgical strikes, taking the heat off Obama, and putting it back on Assad.

[snip]

And then there’s Benghazi. The wheels are really coming off the bus with that one. The testimony before the House today and in the coming days reveals that, from start to finish, the Obama administration was negligent, at times criminally so. What the whistleblowers knew from the start was that the September 11 consulate attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. People on the ground saw it coming in the months before it happened and begged then-Secretary of State Hillary (“What difference does it make?”) Clinton for help. She refused. When it was actually happening, people on the ground (especially Glen Doherty and Lance Woods, who were manning a stalwart, doomed defense) begged for help – but the available help was given a stand down order.

Only the president can issue stand down orders. That’s because doing so is that big a deal. Obama, however, appears to have been minimally interested in the whole thing. He left the White House situation room early, got a good night’s sleep, and went campaigning the next day. There are no records that he was in contact with the situation room after he Left – even though he is Commander in Chief and this was an attack on American soil. He left his troops to die. No one has ever explored whether the American Commander in Chief can be court-martialed for dereliction of duty. This would be a good time to check out that issue.

What Obama, along with Hillary Clinton, did do instead of coming to the aid of their people on the ground was to engage in a massive cover-up. We can guess as to the reasons, with Obama’s desire to win the upcoming election surely being one of them. Rather than acknowledging the terrorist attack, Obama, Hillary, and their flunkies made the rounds everywhere saying that the attack was because of an obscure video that inflamed devout Muslims. Once Obama & Co. gave the video this kind of massive publicity, members of the Religion of Peace rioted throughout the Muslim world, resulting in dozens of deaths. Those deaths lie at Obama’s feet.

And lastly, there’s the question of why we had such a busy consulate and CIA station in Benghazi. Rumors are swirling that the Obama administration was using the Libyan facilities to do some gun running. In other words, what happened in Libya was like Iran-Contra (gun running), plus Watergate (cover-up), plus something entirely new (a Commander in Chief’s gross dereliction of duty).

Will Obama be impeached now or indicted as a war criminal or court martialed? No. As long as he owns the Senate, this won’t happen. Should Obama’s behavior in Benghazi and in Libya and with the drone strikes in Pakistan come under scrutiny with an eye towards indictment or impeachment or court martial? Absolutely. And here’s how to make it happen: In every single election between now and forever, vote for Republican candidates who believe that Obama has committed crimes and failed in his duties to the American people and to the men and women who serve under him.

In attacking Marine Week, Democratic Underground again displays its disconnect from reality

I wish I could be in Cleveland right now.  I have to admit that it’s not the City of Cleveland itself that calls to me, although I’m sure it’s a very nice place.  Instead, it’s the fact that the City is playing host to the 4th annual Marine Week.  Previous years’ events were held in Boston, Chicago and St. Louis.  The event’s purpose is to give those Americans who do not live near a Marine base the chance to meet this all-volunteer military organization:

The Marines found their Ohio recruits two centuries ago, and they might pick up a few more during their upcoming visit to Cleveland.

But that’s not the purpose of the event, according to Capt. Craig Thomas, Marine Week spokesman, who noted the Corps already meets or exceeds its recruiting goals.

“We want to create ownership, connections between the public and the Corps,” Thomas said. “It’s also our chance to get out in the community to say thank you for supporting us, and the military in general.”

Marine Week has been previously held in Boston, Chicago and St. Louis. Thomas said Cleveland was selected because “the whole idea is to pick a city without a [Marine] base or station, so people can meet their Marines.”

I think Marine Week is an excellent idea.  We are blessed to have a Constitutional military, one that serves at the will of the people, not at the will of a dictatorship.  To that end, it’s extremely important to remind Americans that the men and women who serve are their men and women, and not some ominous gun-toting strangers answering to an untouchable dictator.  It’s the Constitution — which is the people’s document — that authorizes the military, rather than a monarchy, oligarchy or dictatorship.  The military in turn answers to a Commander in Chief who is elected by the American people.  This is a military of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Because we haven’t had a draft in almost forty years, however, the American military doesn’t touch that many American lives.  In past wars, going all the way back to the Civil War, the nature of the draft meant that every American family knew someone who served.  That isn’t the case anymore.  If the military wishes to stay relevant to Americans, it must be part of their lives.  This is especially true during war time, when the military is engaged in battles that seem excessively alien in nature to a public weaned at the PC teat.

Thankfully, Cleveland seems to be very enthusiastic about the whole thing.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer has been running one supportive article after another.  My own friend America’s Sergeant Major occupied pride of place in one of those articles.  And from the running updates he’s posting at his blog, both the Marines and Cleveland’s citizens, young and old alike, are having a wonderful time as the Marines get to know Cleveland, and Cleveland gets to know the Marines.

Not everyone, though, is quite so excited about the chance to meet the Marines and their equipment.  Over at the Democratic Underground, bastion of Leftist political extremism, one person took photos that the Marines had published showing shiny, happy people examining the equipment their tax dollars bought and decided to append his own narrative:

“Trust us, children . . . using one of these to blow the beJAYsus out of sovereign nations that never threatened one American citizen is a noble and just sacrifice your country’s willing to make for your educations and futures.”

[snip]

“You just shut the HELL up, you pansy-ass, troop-hatin’ liberals and demonstrators. Freedom isn’t Free and we got enemies EVERYwhere! WELL WORTH THE COST!!! Occupy a jawb or a shower or somefin . . . haw haw haw.”

What’s so fascinating about the DU tirade is how personal the animus is.  This writer, who self-identifies as HughBeaumont, hates the Marines.  He seems to be singularly unaware of the fact that these Marines are serving under, and showed up in Cleveland by the order of, the most Leftist president ever to grace the White House.  Barack Hussein Obama is their Commander in Chief.  They go where he sends them.  And in the last three and a half years, President BO has sent them lots of places.

The last quotation, the one in which Beaumont purports to put words in a Marine’s mouth, is the most foolish thing of all.  To begin with, have you ever seen Marines speak with a lack of civility to Americans?  I know that, amongst themselves, they aren’t delicate flowers, but when they speak to the public, they speak with respect.  Better than Beaumont, they understand that they are public servants.  Even more importantly, the United States Marines pride themselves on honor and dignity, two attributes that, when they wear the uniform, are entirely inconsistent with the flow of effluvia Beaumont attributes to them.

Despite the bile spewing from him, Beaumont did get two things right.  First, Freedom isn’t free, as know from the American blood spilled over the centuries to create an independent nation, to free the slaves, the protect the world from Nazi or Communist domination, or to stem the tide of murderous radical Islam.  (Wouldn’t you love to see this DU weenie come face to face with some serious jihad-nik?)

Second, speaking of those serious jihad-niks, America does indeed have enemies wherever there are Muslims who have bought into such poisonous ideas as a world-wide ummah or a Caliphate in the White House, or who see America’s influence as dangerously antithetical to such Progressive Islamist notions as slavery, female subjugation, hanging homosexuals, routine child abuse in “educational” institutions, and Jewish genocide.   The 2,996 Americans murdered in a few short hours on September 11, 2001 are vivid evidence of that reality.

Happy Marine Week, Cleveland!  I wish I could be there with you.