Category Archives: Military

Don’t Tell Me…

Obama’s first State of the Union address is just a few hours away, and much of what the media (new and old) has focused on are what the President will say about issues such as spending and health care. Given the recent developments on these fronts, it easy to focus on them. However, one of the issues that the President will be bringing up is the issue of gays serving in the military.

This issue is one that has bothered the left for years, and is one of the things that is often cited as one of Clinton’s “sell-outs” amongst that group. Many of  you may not remember that the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a compromise between the Clinton administration (which desperately wanted gays to be able to serve openly) and the military (that desperately did not).

The problem with this policy, like so many coming from the left, is that it attempts to make the situation into something that it will never be (and probably never should be). In this case, the left wants to treat the military as a giant social engineering experiment. It looks at the military as an opportunity to test out its desired social policies, since the vast majority of those in the military would have to comply whether they liked it or not (you know, that whole chain of command thing).

The left conveniently forgets that the military is not just another large organization. As much as lefties may squirm at this fact, it’s reason for being is to defend this country, which usually entails defeating its enemies on the battlefield. This often requires actually killing another person (as opposed to Mirandizing them and sending them at an art therapy program). This business is hard, dirty work and requires several things that most other organizations don’t have a need for. One is a requirement to follow orders, no matter how seemingly trivial or insignificant. Another is a little intangible called unit cohesion. This can take on many forms, but for brevity’s sake, let’s define it as the need for the personnel within a unit to act as one.

Anything that causes damage to this unit cohesion is generally frowned upon. A great deal of time and energy is invested in developing and maintaining unit cohesion. One of the many arguments from the military at the time the policy was enacted was that it could damage unit cohesion at the small unit level (where it really matters). Like it or not, it was a serious worry, and probably remains so.

Now comes President Obama, who campaigned on (amongst other hare-brained ideas) to repeal “Don’t Ask” so that gays can serve openly in the military. Now that his great two-headed monster of health care reform (takeover) and cap and trade seem to be dead on arrival, he needs to do something to help placate his progressive base, which is becoming increasingly frustrated with his seeming inability to ram the progressive agenda home once and for all.

While it is unfortunate that the Obama administration thinks that making this change (which is very unpopular within the military) while we are prosecuting a war, it shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. The left, of which President Obama is still a member in good standing (despite all this talk about spending freezes and populist anger), is pushing hard for him to make a substantive change that aligns with their goals. Someone on Obama’s team has examined the factors and decided that now is the time to push this policy change through. While it may excite his progressive comrades, it completely ignores the needs and desires of the military. Civilian control of the military is one thing, but continued meddling in the inner workings of the military, especially instituting grossly unpopular social engineering policies, is just another bad progressive idea.

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Notes and Views

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Jay Nordlinger of the National Review should be proud of himself.  One of my favorite writers at NR, Jay puts out a column regularly of just little items that catches his attention. I generally enjoy his insights and his sense of humor. Also, I figure that you, my faithful reader, need a break from what has become the normally long-winded posts found on this particular corner of the blogosphere…

True to his word, President Obama, signed into law the $800+ Billion dollar “stimulus” bill yesterday.  Almost instantly afterwards, ground was broken on the proverbial first stimulus project in Missouri, construction of a new bridge. The ABC anchor that was reporting on the story this morning noted that the bridge that was being replaced was built as part of one of FDR’s works programs during the Great Depression. She almost gleefully noted that, 76 years later, we find ourselves building another bridge through a similar program.  Hopefully, it won’t take quite as long (and another world war) to get us out of this economic crisis (because government intervention in the markets has worked so well in the past).

On the stimulus bill, there has been a great deal of skepiscism and criticism amongst economists over the bill as passed, not to mention the path the government took in general to try and help the economy out of its doldrums. You may not know that if you get your news from CNN, MSNBC, or any other network that doesn’t include the letters F-O-X.  However, it isn’t often that you find a Harvard economist come out in such strong terms on anything the Left does (I suspect it isn’t a “career-enhancing” move to do so at Harvard).  Nonetheless, Robert Barro minces no words on the stimulus bill in his interview with Conor Clarke of The Atlantic. In it, he calls the stimulus bill “garbage” and “the worst bill that has been put forward since the 1930’s”.  Bravo, Mr. Barro, for sticking to your macroeconomic guns.

I saw this morning where the President is deploying upwards of 17,000 more military personnel to Afghanistan. In announcing his decision, the President stated that the war was “still winnable”, but that the U.S. had lost its focus by invading Iraq. Outside of the fact that this particular argument is getting tiresome, the President may want to send a little thank you note to the last Democrat president, Bill Clinton, for his wonderful job in drawing down our military’s combat power, especially in the Army and Air Force.  Maybe that old standard of being able to wage two concurrent major regional conflicts wasn’t such a bad gauge after all.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be proper for me to close without sending birthday wishes to my father.  He is the person who taught me what an honor it is to live in this great country, and the responsibility we all have to preserve and protect it. I know that he shares many of my concerns for the direction our country is headed, but he also taught me to keep the faith. Hope you have a great day, dad!

Thanks for reading…until next time.

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Filed under Economy, General, Military, Politics

Veterans Day 2008

Today is Veterans Day, the one day of the year that we, as a country, are supposed to take time out to thank all of those amongst us that served our great nation in the military.

Marine Corps logoFor those of you who may not know, yesterday was the 233rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps. The Marines were founded at Tun Tavern (appropriately enough) in Philadelphia, PA on November 10, 1775 in the opening months of the American Revolution.

One of the benefits of living where we live is that I am reminded almost daily of the sacrifice the Marines, as well as her sister services, make on our behalf. Whether it is hearing a tactical jet head out on a late night training mission or seeing on the local news the report of yet another unit either coming from or heading out on deployment, each is a reminder that there is always a sacrifice for freedom. It may be as small as missing tucking the kids in at bedtime, or as large as heading off to war, these sacrifices occur daily, with most of us blissfully unaware.

We are also fortunate to call several current or former Marines friends. Some of them are here, and some are away on deployment. I count it an honor to be able to assist, in some small way, on the home front with wives and kids who are left behind. Hopefully, in some small way, it gives them some peace of mind that their loved ones are being cared for while they are away.

Living where we do also provides me with endless examples to use to teach my son about the sacrifices that our military makes on our behalf, and why they deserve our utmost respect and admiration. To that end, one my favorite quotes of all time, attributed to George Orwell, is, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” We are fortunate that we continue to produce men and women that are willing to face down the barbarians at the gates, to put country over self, to put honor and duty over self-centeredness and irresponsibility.

It is fitting, I think, that the birthday of the Marines is one day removed from Veteran’s Day. Many of the battles that have made the Marines famous bring into sharp contrast why all those who have worn the uniform of this nation deserve our gratitude and thanks. Names like Belleau Wood, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, Chosin Resevoir, Hue, Beirut, and Fallujah are famous both for the ferocity of the battle, but more importantly, for the strength and resolve that was displayed in order to produce victory. It is true that there is “no better friend, no worse enemy” than the United States Marines.

So, on this Veteran’s Day, I hope that you get a chance to thank a veteran or two and wish a Marine Happy Birthday and Semper Fi. It is these folks that understand, better than many of us in this country I am afraid, the truth displayed on the Korean War Memorial:

Inscription on the wall at the National Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Inscription on the wall at the National Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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Filed under Freedom, Military