American Promise – American Dream

When a promise or dream defines a national state of mind, a charlatan, with support of his equally fraudulent comrades, hoping to change the nation rather than lead it toward the promise and the dream will always try to define both to suit his self-interest.

What is the American promise? What is the American dream?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – The Declaration of Independence

Is that not the answer to both questions? The promise: all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. The dream: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Politicians and their allied frauds throughout our history, and even more so in our present, have tried to redefine the promise and the dream into material terms. An education, home ownership, abundance…. It is the dream formula for failed nations.

When a man believes the dream is material and he cannot obtain the material objects that fulfill it, then he is left to conclude that the dream does not extend to him. He becomes convinced by unscrupulous and evil men that “the dream” is only obtainable by select groups. His situation is therefore unjust and can only be corrected through drastic change. A man that will ensure the loss of all his freedom and with it any real hope of achieving the materially defined dream offers him hope by promising the type of change that only he can provide. I will take and give to you what is rightly yours. I can and will deliver to you the American dream.

The problem facing a benevolent guarantor of hope is that when dreams or promises do not belong to him, he cannot take them away. In the same vein, he cannot give to you what does not originate with him… endowed by their Creator…. He can, however, take material things from one and give it another.

Our President has publicly professed that he has accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I am not personally convinced that his walk supports his profession of faith, but only God knows his heart so that is something the two of them will settle on the appropriate day.

If we are led by a Christian man, would he not steer our nation toward following two of God’s most basic commandments? Those are the commandments that instruct us to love our neighbor as ourselves and to not covet his property. To love my neighbor as myself means simply, at least in my un-theologically trained mind, that I want the same good things for my neighbor as I want for myself. What I want for my neighbor are certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I want him to have the freedom to make choices that will enable him to acquire the wealth and material possessions that he may desire – just as I desire for me. I do not covet his property in any form. What my neighbor acquires through the exercise of his unalienable Rights is his to do with whatever his conscience guides him to do. Taking his property and giving it to me, or anyone, because some man or government is convinced that a portion of my neighbor’s wealth rightly belongs to me or to the nation that promises to redistribute it to me, is not a Christian concept. It is also not a concept on which our nation was founded.

As I write this, around our country Americans are praying for a miracle that will return our nation to its underpinning which is very clearly expressed in the words of the Declaration of Independence … with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence… that set this nation on the path to becoming the most blessed nation known since the days of Solomon. The founding of the United States of America and the development of its Constitution led free republic is a miracle from God. It is a miracle that changed the world. It is one we are bound to preserve, because miracles are just that.

By definition, miracles must of course interrupt the usual course of Nature; but if they are real they must, in the very act of so doing, assert all the more the unity and self-consistency of total reality at some deeper level. – C.S. Lewis, Miracles

Understand the miracle that interrupted the usual course of [human] nature. Understand the promise. Understand the dream. Understand Who we should follow. Long live our blessed nation.

“I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance [as the framing of the Constitution] …should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent, and beneficent Ruler in whom all inferior spirits live and move and have their being.” – Benjamin Franklin, from The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, quoted here from A Miracle that Changed the World, The 5000 Year Leap

© 2012

The Fighting Spirit

It is an election year, a.k.a. the silly season in America. If you are a talk radio junkie, you may need to kick your habit until at least the second Tuesday after the first Monday in November. If you do not, some neurotic radio head may plant doubt in your mind. So much so that on election day you may declare that there is no use and stay home, thus guaranteeing that America falls on over the cliff which is now her wobbly perch.

I enjoy listening to the people with great voices who talk for a living. They are the background noise I need while I work. Mostly, I must admit; I listen because they cancel out my tinnitus. Their time slots in my work day are presently replaced by music – something that soothes my mind rather than assaulting it. When a radio head tells me that the only guy for them is Ron Paul, I hear the old analog dial spinning in my mind searching for something else. The same goes for Romney, Gingrich, Santorum or any other candidate for as long as any of them remain in the race.

The most destructive thing pundits, especially those with millions in their listening audiences or millions reading their books, can do to our electoral process is use their voices to shill for one candidate or another during primary election season. When they do this, they become no more useful to their listeners than is the remaining liberal media. They become MSNBC and undeserving of my time. I do not need a microphone driver to do my thinking for me. Most Americans do not.

I also love the brilliance of the television political panels that tell us who the only candidate is with any chance of winning the general election. Typically it is the polished, over-rehearsed one with nice hair and a lot of cash. He is the one who, although unspoken, would class up the cocktail party circuit and blend well with established Washington. He is after all, presidential. Then they tell us about the ones who could never win a general election. One cannot win because he travels the campaign trail towing his personal baggage car and his style is destructive rather than collaborative. One has a good message, but lacks the necessary charisma, cash, and establishment backing and, his social views scare away independents. Or, in their assessment, the one who is just plain nuttier than squirrel crap.

When all of their predictions and nuanced reasoning falls flat on its collective butt they are at a loss to explain why. They cannot explain why because they avoid the message while assessing the messenger. He may have won this time, but the polls tell us….

“Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. America loves a winner. America will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise a coward; Americans play to win.” – General George S. Patton

General Patton just explained to all you over rated pundits, who could not figure it out, why Newt Gingrich won in South Carolina. The more you jump up and down on him while pushing others at us, the stronger he is likely to become.

For as long as I can recall, the accepted American and hopelessly liberal media has reviled and labeled every conservative voice. Liberal politicians, with the help of an eager media, have defined conservatives with every despicable brand one might imagine. If the liberal politicians proclaim it and the liberal media defends it and if it remains unchallenged, it must be true. Conservatives are greedy, money grubbing, middle class hating, homophobic, fundamentalist Christian racists who want to hold America hostage to their evil ideology. The ideology that insists that freedom is God-given and that people do not need government directing and meddling in their personal lives.

What is the typical conservative response? Assume self-defense mode. When you defend against nonsense, you give the nonsense validity. Conservatives, the nuanced, intellectually superior beltway version of conservatism at least, must stay on message. They must address only the issues and keep to the high ground. They must never utter a phrase that can be twisted to further define them as greedy, money grubbing, middle class hating, homophobic, fundamentalist Christian racists who want to hold America hostage to their evil ideology. It is a pathetic little media and mental war that conservatives have lost for decades. They have lost it for one simple reason. They are not playing to win. They are playing not to lose. There is a big difference. Why do you think the sports guys describe a football game strategy as conservative? It is a classier way of saying trying not to lose.

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun. Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.” – President Barack Hussein Obama

Like him or hate him, Newt Gingrich broke the code. Americans understand the code. When you are in street fight, one that may decide whether you live or die as a nation, you better be prepared for some eye-gouging, toe stomping and hair pulling. You better be prepared to land some solid body blows on your opponent and keep pounding him until he is on the ground and then when he is down jump up and down on him some more. Otherwise you become John McCain.

“Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that “we are holding our position.” We’re not holding anything. …. We are advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We’re going to hold onto him by the nose and we’re going to kick him in the ass. We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we’re going to go through him like crap through a goose!” – General George S. Patton

Americans love a good fight. Americans love a fighter. Conservatives, do you want to win? Then find and hold on to the fighting spirit. It is that simple.

©2012

Spectacular Failures

Those of us who served in the United States Army occasionally encountered people of dubious character, never quite sure what drove them, but most certain about what lay at their center. It was a large narcissistic, ultimately destructive ego that often led to their spectacular failure (a phrase I stole from a trusted friend). It was a self-centered approach that took advantage of cultural shifts to promote themselves and their like-thinking cronies.

Too often their approach to leading was at the expense of honorable men and women who did not stand to influence their careers one way or another – or so they thought at the time. At some point in their lives, demonstrated competence gained them promotions. At least, we like to believe that is what advanced them. At some other point, they lost focus of who they were and what they represented. Then their character flaws failed them, but not before the lives and careers of many others were harmed along the way.

In recent decades, there has been insidiousness at work that is destructive to the honor and integrity of our force. It has multiple heads, but a single focus. That focus, at least to this old retired Soldier, is the transformation of the world’s greatest fighting force into the world’s greatest social engineering laboratory. Added to that are the in-service politics driving selections for important assignments. Unscrupulous character deficient leaders are always standing by to benefit from social experiments and crony politics.

Understand one thing clearly. If our military is to remain the great force that it is, people who enter it and who are now serving must conform to the standards of the force. The force cannot continually reshape its culture and standards to accommodate individuals, groups and most frighteningly incompetence.

Writing this, I fully expect the sharp knives to come out. But, I do not care. I have had those stuck into me before, often from the same characters who at the time were smiling to my face and shaking my hand. When I was serving, I always said what I thought. Now I stand at a point in life, where it matters even less to me what people think or say about me. What is important is to speak out about what I see happening to the great institution that gave a wayward teenager a good home for most of his life. I pray that others in and out of the service will do the same. If we do not, we fail the many young Americans who dutifully and trustingly enter the United States Armed Forces.

In my book, The Three Meter Zone, in the chapter titled Build the Foundation, I wrote about Trust and Confidence. I recounted a story written in third person because I had no desire at the time to publicly embarrass the leader who owned this piece of my personal history. He was having enough issues at the time and the lesson from the story was more important than its characters. Leaders must have and keep the trust and confidence of the led.

It was not until I arrived at my new assignment at Fort Myer, Virginia that I learned the back story. My first assignment there was as the Command Sergeant Major (CSM) for what was dubbed “Headquarters Command Battalion.” Yes, it was as insignificant of an assignment as it sounded and rather disappointing to say the least. The man I replaced was headed for an assignment in Germany. One highly sought after by CSMs from the personnel field. It was not the assignment promised me in my trust and confidence story, but another. His experience level was much less than what one would expect for the assignment he was given, but he was well-connected to the Office of Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA). His selection angered senior and experienced CSMs from his field. Too make an already too long story short, after his assignment it became time for selection of a new SMA. The man selected to be the new SMA was the man who broke his handshake personal commitment to me for reasons he proclaimed “he was not at liberty to discuss.” What did the personnel CSM do? He decided that he did not want to be a CSM after all. He gave up the sought after wreath on his rank insignia and with it the privilege of leading soldiers to do what? Return to the office of the SMA and work for the newly selected one. I do not have to give any more detail about this SMA. You will recall that he flamed out rather spectacularly. Following his court martial on sexual harassment charges he was discharged forever to be remembered for the last thing.

There are some very important assignments for NCOs in our Army. They should always be filled based on merit with men and women of demonstrated competence and high character. One of the most important is the Commandant of the Army’s Drill Sergeant School. The person responsible for being the example to and training the trainers that teach young Americans how to be Soldiers. On September, 21, 2009, the New York Times ran a long complimentary article hailing the selection of CSM Teresa King, the first woman, as the school’s new commandant. Not long ago, the Army Times reported that she was suspended from her duties.

“If we outline the allegations, people will jump to conclusions that she is guilty of those allegations,” said Col. Chris Kubik, a TRADOC spokesman. “We don’t want any sort of prejudgment. There may not be any substantiation to it, so we don’t want to mar Sgt. Maj. King’s good name — she does have a distinguished record and we don’t want anybody prejudging her.” –Army News Service

It is quite interesting that none of the reporting news services will “outline the allegations” that caused CSM King’s suspension. I hope they understand that bad news does not get better with age nor does it just go away in today’s connected world. If true, the allegations are disheartening. Unchallenged rumors are of bogus college degrees in her records, a sexual relationship with an enlisted Soldier junior to her and a drinking problem. If they are true, it is another spectacular failure of Army leadership. For the sake of our Army, let us hope that CSM King is not remembered for this last thing.

The Army must take a hard look at itself. It cannot continue to select and place people of questionable character into important leadership positions. In the name of political correctness and social engineering, are we failing America’s Soldiers and ultimately America herself?

©2012

Looking beyond the wars he inherited…

That is the opening phrase of the Associated Press article announcing plans to further decimate our Armed Forces. And in the name of what? Frugality? It is the most irresponsible and dangerous act in recent history otherwise I might break into hysterical laughter.

Once upon a time in the Army, thinking and planning was based on what is essential. Not how much something costs, but whether doing it or not doing it is difference between success and failure. Living and dying. If the objective is to simply cut the national budget, then you can hack and slash until you get it where you want it, but not at the expense of putting our nation in danger.

What is our objective? Is it to defend our nation?

Some years ago, I participated in a research project on the World War I battle of the Meusse-Argonne. The offensive ended on November 11, 1918, which was also the end of the war to end all wars. The research did not begin with the battle itself, but necessarily with the pre-war years and the state of our Army from the beginning. It was important for us to learn what it took to win the decisive campaign of the war.

Before World War I, the strength of our ill-equipped standing Army was less than 100,000 men. With the rapid buildup for war we did not have sufficient equipment, even small arms, for the men we were sending to battle the Germans who had arguably the best Army on the planet at the time. We were so poorly equipped that many of our ”Doughboys” completed only rudimentary basic training and never fired a rifle before setting sail for Europe. Once there, they learned to shoot with British Enfield rifles. After all, we did not have any. The Europeans had a low opinion of us and our abilities, but welcomed the replacement stream of bodies.

So, how did we ultimately defeat a well-trained, battle hardened, and well-equipped German Army? We overwhelmed them. American Soldiers represented an infinite replacement stream of bodies while the German stream, worn down by years of war was rather finite. At the top of the Konigstuhl, in Heidelberg, Germany there is a German War cemetery. Some German Soldiers killed in World War I were re-buried there after the cemetery was built during the National Socialist years. Teenagers. We were not the better Army. We were not better trained or equipped. The Germans simply ran out of Soldiers. They filled their cemeteries with a lost generation of teenagers.

In the Army it is understood that the Generals will sometimes make mistakes. It is also understood that it is ultimately the Soldiers who pay for them. But understand clearly that it is the mistakes and ill-conceived miscalculations of politicians that ultimately fill our gardens of stone with the bodies of American Soldiers.

Not long ago, I wrote about Carter’s Army. It was an Army beaten down and worn out by years of combat in Vietnam. Its morale busted by liberal politicians, their allies in the media and a seemingly ungrateful public. Carter’s defense cuts further hollowed out the force. Our Army was in a sad and dangerous state. It was brought to that state by political bungling of a war and political disdain for those serving in uniform. Instead of regenerating the force, Mr. Carter cut it.

At the height of the Cold War, our standing active Army strength was around 760,000. Down came the Berlin wall and the Soviet Union. Washington politicians were dancing in the marble hallways of the Capitol as peace dividend dollar signs destined for pet projects and cronies rang up in their beady eyes.

But not so fast, insisted Sadaam Hussein.

Being the only nation on the planet with the ability to project such power, we ultimately deployed the heavily armored 7th Corps to the desert. They rolled through and over Iraq’s “elite” Republican Guard and decimated the world’s 3rd largest standing army in short order. Political intervention prevented the complete destruction and ouster of the madman. We encouraged revolution then turned our backs while Hussein filled mass graves with would be revolutionaries.

With that great victory, it was finally time to cash in the peace-dividend. There is no more 7th Corps and our Army was reduced to nearly half its Gulf War strength. We were built down, made leaner. Large conventional force on force wars were over or so we were told. Now we were able to focus on important things. Political correctness or the inability to tell the hard truth lest feelings are hurt and our diversity or better described as out of one many rather than out of many one.

Now we have been at war for a long time. Our Soldiers are tired. Their equipment is worn. Political bungling has been the norm. They have endured all of it. Now some politicians believe that we can cure the national debt by cutting the military while we are still fighting the war that Iran started with us in 1979. All of this while throwing money by the bucket load from every government window in the land. Liberal ideology once again trumps reality. Unless we rid ourselves of inept Washington leadership, more young Americans will necessarily become again the infinite stream of replacements trying to restore peace to a world brought to turmoil by political idiocy.

Do you ever watch those wildlife shows on television? The predators do not attack the strong. They cut out the weak and kill it.

Truthfully, he is looking beyond the fate of the country he inherited and the one thing that keeps our nation safe, the powerful military he inherited that keeps the predators away.

©2012

Do It Right Today

We are told that according to the Maya calendar we just celebrated our last Christmas on earth and are beginning our last year of existence. Call me skeptical if you like, but I put my faith in another source about that time. My source has a much better prophetical record than do the Mayans, but who am I to challenge the cable TV scholars on such a matter.

Hear ye, hear ye, the world ends on December 21, 2012. We are also taught that when the day does come, there will be no proclamation. The Maya calendar is interesting to some I suppose. If they are right and my source is wrong, I suppose the joke is on me. But, if my source is right then I am all set and the cable TV scholars, who are convinced that space aliens can account for most everything on earth and their colleagues at the ACLU better stock up on asbestos underwear.

Here is what I know for certain. We cannot fix yesterday and we cannot predict tomorrow. As a people, we do spend much of our time trying both. The only thing we can do is work to get today right. If we work hard to get today right, yesterday will not need fixin’ and tomorrow we can work hard at getting it right again. If we work hard to get it right every day, then we will be prepared for whatever comes.

Hey Congress! See how that works.

There are other proclamations I also accept as truth. An important one tells us if we do what is right today, we will be blessed and prosper in the land that we have been given. It is a declaration proven true throughout our brief history. Then it warns us if we stray from doing what is right, we will not live long in the land we were given. I am no Mayan and no prophet, but the signs are that we are feeling the pains from many years traveling that well known highway to perdition.

When we consider the state of the land with which we have been blessed and the impact it does and can have on the rest of the world, maybe the Mayans do have it right to some degree. Maybe the world as we know it, at least our part of it, will end in December 2012 or more likely on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

I was driving home the other evening, a day before the calendar flipped over to 2012. I prefer the old two-lane blacktop and the country side to the Interstate. I was pretty much alone on the road and contemplating much of what you just read – if you made it this far. Adding to the mood was the sound of Elvis coming from the CD player in the car. He was singing How Great Thou Art. No matter what else you may think of Elvis, he could certainly put some spirit into singing gospel tunes. I looked out ahead on the road and up at the hilltop. Evergreen and the winter brown from the hillside blended perfectly into the powder blue, soft gray and white of the evening sky. All of it was highlighted with brilliant orange and red streaks from the setting sun. The thought that popped into my mind is that no mortal artist could paint such a picture as that about the same time as Elvis sang “When I in awesome wonder.”

Elvis then broke into a spirited Joshua fit the battle of Jericho.

They tell me, great God that Joshua’s spear
Was well nigh twelve feet long
And upon his hip was a double edged sword
And his mouth was a gospel horn

It was about that time that I decided that I cannot do much about the state of our nation. I resolve in this year to avoid discussions about the stupidity of the stupid or the morality of the immoral or the corruptness of the most corrupt. These people can destroy a great nation and many people along the way, but they cannot take what it important. Instead, I thought I would better serve my country by focusing on the man in my mirror. It is said that a person’s eyes are the window to his soul. I need to take a long hard look into mine and ask if I am doing it right today. In my world, even if the Mayans made a lucky guess and it all blows up on December 21, 2012 our souls will live on and we control our own destiny by doing what is right today.

All of us control the destiny of this land with which we have been blessed. We must insist in 2012 that as a nation, we do it right. Today. “And the walls come tumbling down.”

©2012