I Remember Carter’s Army

I remember President Carter’s Army. I remember Carter’s gasoline lines. I remember Carter’s interest rates. I remember his turn your thermostat down and wear a sweater energy policy speeches. I remember him really showing the Russians how tough we were by boycotting the Moscow Olympics. I remember his policy of restraint while Americans were held hostage and abused by Iranian terrorists. I remember his cheerleading for the “moderate” religious man to replace the “despotic” Shah of Iran. I remember his amnesty and upgraded discharges for military deserters and draft dodgers, most of whom got a better welcome home than our Vietnam combat veterans did. One of them almost became our president. But, mostly I remember his Army because I was in it. Money was scarce and because of that training, equipment, spare parts and maintenance suffered. It was a worn out Army and it was still hung over from the political surrender of the Vietnam War. It was a volunteer force. It was a hollowed out, underpaid and underappreciated volunteer force.

I remember President Reagan’s Army. I was in that one too. I actually got some pay raises although I was still paid less than some big city welfare recipients and qualified for food stamps in most places. With President Reagan, our military got the attention it needed. It was peace through strength attention or as Soldiers of the time called it, peace through superior firepower. Leaders who endured Carter and some of his predecessor’s finally got the wherewithal and mission to rebuild the force. Given the means and the mission, they did one heck of a job.

This masterfully rebuilt force was handed off to the first President Bush. The Berlin wall fell, with nary a shot fired. Sort of put things in a Biblical perspective – when Reagan fought the battle of Berlin, the wall came tumbling down. It showed its stuff when it ran through Iraq’s “elite” faster than berries can pass through a goose. The combination of asking Americans to read his lips and the third party candidacy of Ross Perot, Bush number one did not have time to do us much damage. Although, he did herald in the era of the cold war “peace dividend” – a cute buzz-phrase that ushered in filleting of the military.

With lip reading and Perot’s help, Americans sent the draft dodging William Jefferson Clinton to the Whitehouse. President Clinton’s legacy was “downsizing” the military while quadrupling deployments of our war fighters to so-called “peace keeping” missions. He also left us with a bevy of political and politically correct generals. They called the “drawdown” the “builddown” and assured those of us serving that we would be a smaller but more effective force. Down sized military bases were called “power projection platforms.” For certain, we were good with buzz phraseology. Ironically and maybe somewhat prophetical in title, one of the general officer books born of the era was titled Hope Is Not A Method. “Drawing from their military experiences in downsizing, restructuring, and reengineering….” We were not likely to ever see another heavy armored corps barreling across the plain with the ability to absolutely crush an enemy. For my liking, Clinton’s Army looked like a downsized politically correct version of Carter’s Army. He did not leave office with hostages held in Iran, but he did leave behind him the first World Trade Center bombings, the Kohbar Towers bombing, US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania bombings, the USS Cole bombing and all of them unanswered and the legacy of “that woman.” He also left us his, not the military’s, “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy meant to circumvent Public Law 103-160, Section 654, Title 10 U.S. Code passed by veto proof majorities in both houses of Congress and held that homosexuality is incompatible with military service.

After they finished counting pregnant and hanging chads in Florida, the second George Bush became our President. He did not have much time to think about the status of our forces when the attacks of September 11, 2001 happened. We finally went to war against the people who had been at war with us for years and most intensely through the previous eight. Our Soldiers have been at war since. We have young men and women with more combat stripes on their uniforms than they do service stripes. In case you do not know, a Soldier in the US Army gets one service stripe for 3 years of service and one combat (or overseas stripe) for each six months of such duty. Bush inherited the remnants of Daddy’s peace dividend and President Clinton’s downsizing. By the end of his time, he decided to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps. Fortunately, the legacy of training doctrine left by the leadership that rebuilt the Carter era Army served our men and women well. They were and remain prepared to confront our nation’s enemies. Unfortunately, the President had to contend with political and media enemies on the home front who really wanted to hang a military and a political defeat around his neck. These people long for another victory like they produced in Vietnam. Their actions showed how little they truly cared about the men and women serving in uniform. George Bush was not a conservative of the Reagan mold, but he was and still is a decisive, trusted and respected commander–in-chief.

After Bush was elected and the country had suffered the 9/11 attacks, former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger said Clinton had cut back the military so much that we might not be able to fight a war on terrorism on several fronts. He listed the problems brought on during the Clinton years: lost air and sea lift capacity, two or three years during which nothing was procured for the military, and cuts in R&D. – Human Events

In January 2009, the promise of hope and change came to the Whitehouse in the form of President Obama. Before he arrived, he told Americans his intentions. Watch the short video clip. I do not know how much hope this brought, but it did bring the promised change with the Secretary of Defense Gates’ proposal to cut defense by 400 billion over 10 years. Analysis of the Reid/Obama plan shows planned cuts closer to 900 billion over 10 years.

“Immediately the plan would cut defense in real terms below the FY11-enacted level of $553 billion and hold defense below the FY11-enacted level through FY13. It represents a $16 billion cut to our FY12 levels for next year and a $26 billion cut for the following year.”

He cheered the removal of Egypt’s Mubarak who is destined to be replaced by the Muslim brotherhood. We know how well that generally turns out. Our casualty rates in Afghanistan in the past two and a half years exceed the number for all the years prior to that. The media keeps reporting these as “NATO” losses and none of them are running the daily body count and demanding to photograph their flag-draped caskets. Much of this increase in casualties is attributable to his administration’s rules of engagement. The Stars and Stripes, the newspaper published primarily for overseas serving military members, reminds our serving Soldiers of what the administration deems most important – guidance on observing Ramadan. In his January 2010 state of the union address, President Obama reiterated his promise to homosexuals that he would repeal Public Law 103-160, Section 654, Title 10 U.S. Code. Bolstered by Whitehouse leaks of phony military polling data, his lame duck Reid and Pelosi lead Congress gave him what he wanted and he repealed the law – in spite of what most Americans and Soldiers think.

Let me see if I can sum it up. Reduce defense spending by nearly one trillion dollars. Usher in “moderate” Middle Eastern governments. Abandon missile defense, abandon space, abandon development of future combat systems and use the military as a tool to normalize homosexuality. Mr. Carter’s Army is looking pretty good about now.

©2011

Panetta Warns on Across-the-Board Pentagon Cuts

Follow That Dream

It was an Elvis Presley tune from 1962. Do we not all have a dream? Sitting here in my self-imposed Sunday afternoon exile, a time of solitude some call it, that is the question I contemplate.

Doctor Martin Luther King spoke famously about his heartfelt dream. Most of us will never be able to speak so eloquently of ours. He dreamed of Americans of all persuasions coming together in unity. Since he spoke of his hope, we have traveled the road toward our own hyphenated cultural enclaves. Sadly, it is a journey that has taken us farther away from rather than bringing us closer to his noble dream.

… when a dream is calling you,
There’s just one thing that you can do
Well, you gotta follow that dream wherever that dream may lead

What is the American dream? What is it these days other than an overused oratorical club with which politicians beat one another?

The American dream, from my humble perspective, is not so grand. Other than being a dream that built the world’s freest and most prosperous nation it is not overly complicated. I need only God’s help to achieve it.

My American dream is to live free. To pursue life. To be happy in a safe and secure country. To freely worship the God of my choice. To be free to speak my mind. To own property and a home. To raise a family and feel safe in that home. To fear God, but to stand in fear of no man, no government, and no country.

That may not be your view of the dream. Unlike politicians, I am unable to presume to know what most Americans want or believe. Of more concern to me is that what I view as the original dream has morphed into being something all together different. From the urban landscape of concrete gray to the vast uninhabited wilderness that makes up our country, the dream is changing. It is being let go. More precisely, people are letting it go or are being led away from it into believing they are entitled to the dream rather than having to work to achieve it – and keep it. Or, they are following the dream of another. One that is wholly not an American dream.

When our recent pioneer ancestors set out to build this country, was there any politician with a promise? Was there any government entity offering them anything or trying to convince them that they were entitled to something? The founders of our country broke the ties between an oppressive controlling government and liberty loving people. Self-serving and power seeking progressive politicians have been trying to take back that fought for freedom and expand the control of government ever since. They have worked tirelessly to replace a free and fiercely independent American spirit with a spirit of entitlement begetting dependence – on them.

If we are to pursue the original dream, what is it that stands in our way? First, I blame me. The individual American. The person looking back at me from the mirror. For it is what I allow to happen that becomes the standard. Generations from now, once free-spirited, Americans will be suffering because of what I allowed to happen -if there even remains a world entity known as the United States of America.

Most people are not leaders. They are followers. Because of that, we have followed politicians and their sycophantic minions toward our hyphenated existence. We have been led away from the American dream into pursuing one of Balkanization. Incessant pandering to whichever hyphenated interest group that may provide the additional few votes needed to place or keep career politicians in power is what has led us to where we are, which is the brink of our own self-destruction. That along with following a silly philosophy that says government, not free people, should be the benevolent givers of charity. It is a kind of controlling government that wants to make our personal decisions for us and become all things to all people.

Many Americans have worked hard throughout a lifetime to gain some portion of their dreams. There is fear growing in the segment of America that has worked the hardest to achieve what little they have managed to accumulate and who have sacrificed the most in our nation’s wars. It is a fear born of an awakening to the fact that our national wealth has been squandered. Squandered by men and women whose only contributions to our country have been corrupt lives as career politicians. It is the fear that in the blink of an eye and the stroke of a Washington fountain pen that all they have will be lost – taken and given to the collective for the greater good. What the government decides is the greater good. That fear is being covered with a growing anger – a simmering rage. The fear and anger can be sensed and felt if one but ventures out into his neighborhood. It is not what one should sense in America. The combination of the two emotions does not generally turn out well.

If things can improve, this means that there must be some absolute standard of good above and outside the cosmic process to which that process can approximate. There is no sense in talking of “becoming better” if better means simply “what we are becoming – it is like congratulating yourself on reaching your destination and defining destination as “the place you have reached.” – C. S. Lewis

God, I pray today that you will awaken the hearts and minds of the American people. I ask you to raise up Godly leaders to save this nation that you have so richly blessed. Amen.

©2010

.. and eat your doggoned peas too

Do you remember the stories about schools sending letters home to the parents of fat kids? Obviously humiliating children into pursuing svelte culturally acceptable physiques did not work. Now, there are people who believe that fat children should be taken from their homes and their parents and placed into foster care until such time as they become acceptably lean. I believe that our nation’s first lady should be the first foster mother. Her eating habits set such a fine example for our children. As the President reminded us, it is time to for us to eat our peas. Does a ShackBurger have peas on it? Just asking.

These save the children from obesity advocates insist that allowing one to become chubby is child abuse. I agree. We should force feed them raw vegetables. No, that may not work. Raw vegetables create an abundance of methane and we could accelerate global warming, unless of course Al Gore can invent an adolescent fart catcher. These advocates for children’s health are the same bunch who will scream to high heaven to preserve a woman’s “legal choice” to kill an unborn child, but damn her for allowing a live child to eat a cupcake.

Frankly, I think these actions are way past due. We must get control of these parents who continually abuse their children with their poor choices. A good place to start is taking children away from people who mark their poor defenseless tots for life by naming them things like Dweezil. We need to take those kids from their nutty parents and keep them in a foster home until they are old enough to legally file for a name change. We are sure to save them from a lifetime of agony and clinical depression. Remember what happened to Johnny Cash when his daddy named him Sue? “I tell ya, life ain’t easy for a boy named Sue.” If it was tough on Sue, can you imagine going through life being called a Dweezil? Yep, we must protect the children – it is off to foster care for Apple, Peaches Honeyblossom, Dixie Boo, Banjo…

But, let us not stop there. If parents smoke, legal smoking products that is, we should take away their children too. Children do imitate their parents and we must not let children learn how to smoke from watching their parents do it. Children should not be exposed to second hand smoke, unless it is of the medical variety particularly native to California. If they are in foster care, we can force them to look at pictures of people dying from respiratory illnesses and cancer. Oh, wait. Someone already had that idea.

Oh there is more. We should take defenseless children away from parents who give them Mohawk haircuts when they are three. Or who take pictures of them naked in the bathtub that can only ruin their lives posted on facebook when they are seventeen – or forty.

If your adolescent daughter hangs out at the mall, I mean literally hangs out, looking like a street hooker on the prowl; she should be in foster care. And her tattooed, eyebrow pierced brother with half his rear-end hanging out of his oversized jeans should be in there with her.

If a child comes to school and shares strange ideas with his schoolmates, like for instance Christianity or patriotism, straight to foster care. We cannot have parents radically indoctrinating their children with such crazy ideas. That is the job of the public school system, which also by the way has the opportunity to teach health and physical fitness. That is a nationwide failure that even the Atlanta school system cannot cover up.

Place aside the sarcasm for a moment. There once was a society that believed it could intercede where parents had failed. Its leader intended to build a perfect race starting with perfect children. Let us not start down that path, even as sincere as it might seem.

©2011

Land of the Free?

I live in the United States of America. I live in the country where people once came seeking refuge from oppressive governments, murderous thugs, and dictators, and to just have a chance to taste the freedom of which we boasted. Nothing feels like freedom. Nothing comforts the soul like the security of man protected God given freedom. At least that is what they once came here for. Now they come to bring to America their failed notions of how a society should be. Worse yet, they have found support for their endeavors in the highest offices of our land.

Most people I knew in the military and with whom I served looked upon service as more of an honor and privilege than a mere job or duty. We were protecting something worthy of the potential price one might have to pay. We were an apolitical bunch. Sadly, most of us did not even vote. Naively, we trusted the citizenry to protect freedom on the political front.

Soldiers know good leaders and they can pick out a bad one from well beyond his maximum effective range. The law of the land placed civilian leadership over us. That is as it should be in a free nation. We knew who set the national strategy from which the missions derived that eventually touched each individual Soldier and his family. We did not always like the direction, but we always adhered to our sworn oaths to obey the orders of the officers appointed over us. As long as they were legal orders, but when orders and missions seemed directionless and pointless, even the best of us internally questioned our commitment to them. That instills a dangerous sense of uncertainty- a questioning sense of uncertainty. That happens when the direction lacks clarity.

Clarity comes from leadership. A leader with clarity focuses down on what is critical and places the unnecessary aside for those times when life is a little less pressing and complicated. Leaders that, in the eyes of the led, lack clarity are motivated by things other than what the led see as the pressing issues – what should be the common focus. Because of their motivations, they are dishonest pretenders proclaiming one thing for the ears of the masses while pursuing ends that are in total opposition to the words that come out of their mouths.

In the United States of America, I should not find myself wondering if I have sufficient weapons in my home to protect my family and me or whether I need to arm myself outside my home so as not to become a victim of some half-raised and half-witted “flash mob”, but I do. In America, those kinds of concerns should not occupy space in our minds. I should not have to wonder if I have sufficient food and medical supplies stored in my home to survive for an extended period, but I do. I should not have to be concerned that the Washington ruling class will decide one day that it is necessary to take what I have earned and saved over my lifetime to provide food stamps, and five years worth of unemployment, and to pay mortgages of deadbeats, or to bail out communist led unions, but I do. I should not have to wonder how many Americans share my thoughts, but I do. When thoughts such as this own my solitude, is not freedom already lost? Freedom is imprinted on our hearts while we are still in our Mother’s womb. It is God given, remember? It is also a living state of mind. It is at the core of our national soul. People who know their freedom is guaranteed think and act much different from people who fear losing it.

Why do you think the United States of America is the strongest, most prosperous and most generous nation in the history of the world? Is it because we are smarter than everyone else? No, it is because God has blessed us.

We have reached our Romans 1 moment in history and in our national relationship with God. Our President has declared to the world that we are not a Christian nation. No matter that declaration, God will not abandon us. He will let us continue on our path to national self-destruction if that is what we choose. Or we may seek his blessing. We need a leader that is bold enough and one who has clarity of mind and the strength of heart to proclaim to Americans the direction in which our nation must turn. If we are given that clear choice in 2012 and we choose the path that we are on now, we are finished as a nation.

Freedom is not found elsewhere in this world. There is no place else for us to go.

©2012

Fundamental Restoration

When I was young, I did not have very much. My Father was a coal miner during times when the job was more dangerous than now and paid much less. We never had material wealth that is for certain. Still, I do not recall feeling poor or being told I was poor. I believe the reason for that lies in a time and world view much different from today’s.

I was encouraged by the adults I looked up to and especially by my school teachers. The running theme offered by each of them was that this is America and here you can be whatever you set your mind to be, but you have to work for it. Never once in my young life did someone suggest to me that it was somehow the fault of another, the straw man evil rich guy, that I was not wealthy. Instead, I was taught about abundance. I learned that there is plenty to go around and that I too could become wealthy, if I worked at it and if I made the right choices along the way. I was also taught that my freedom to choose my own path in this country was guaranteed. I was never taught that the government or anyone owed me anything or that my predicament in life was caused by another. In fact, it was quite the opposite that I learned and that has been reinforced to me over a lifetime. Work hard. Pursue the opportunities placed in your path and realize that God drew up the roadmap for your life, but it is up to you to follow it.

When I played little league baseball, not every boy played in every game. Actually, some boys never made the team their first try or even the second. The best players made the team and the best of them played in the games. The rest of us got splinters in our britches a ridin’ the pine. I certainly had my share of splinters, but it made me work harder to eventually earn my way off the bench and into the game- the key word being earned. It set the foundation for a good work ethic and built in me a competitive and winning spirit. There was no participation trophy. It also taught me that when you are old enough to finally play the game, you should not expect to play ahead of someone several years your senior in age and skill. This is a lesson that transfers to life, especially in a modern America where kids leaving school expect CEO salaries on intern responsibilities.

I can recall my early elementary school days beginning with the pledge of allegiance to our nation’s flag followed by singing the first verse of America.

My country,’ tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
land where my fathers died,
land of the pilgrims’ pride,
from every mountainside let freedom ring!

I also recall being led in the Lord’s Prayer – inside the classroom by a teacher.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

Hopefully, I have put the ACLU into collective convulsions with those shocking historic revelations. The religion of atheism was successful in removing the prayer. The impact of that is obvious. The pledge? Even if schools do it, the kids do not have to. I suppose there is no need for children learning to show reverence to the Creator from whom their freedom originates nor pledging allegiance to the only country on this earth founded on the principle of protecting each individual’s expression of his Creator endowed freedom.

It was that type of upbringing that founded and produced a Christian conservative nation no matter that modern day politicians and liberal academicians might have the audacity to hope that you will believe otherwise. It is a nation that is the freest, most prosperous and most generous in human history. We have really progressed over the years have we not? Children once taught to work hard and achieve are taught to be victims who are owed. Children once taught to revere God and our country are forbidden to talk with God while in their schoolhouses and they barely know our history. Presidents once spoke boldly and proudly of American Exceptionalism. Now they boast of fundamentally transforming it. Fundamental – the underlying principles and structure of our nation. What we need is a fundamental restoration.

May America Bless God on the Independence Day with a fundamental restoration to her Christian conservative roots.

©2011