Friday, August 19, 2005

"Your son volunteered. He knew what he was getting into ..."

So did I ... in 1968 five months after the Tet offensive. I dropped out of college and enlisted.

And like the current volunteers who are described by worn-out conservative flag-wearers, I had a rough idea of what I was getting into. That "rough idea" was based on trust ... trust in a system and, ultimately, trust in a specific leader and a specific governing political party.

The specific leader of course was LBJ, the specific party was the Democratic Party and the specific system was and is the system that allows us to hang our political opinions on buttons and sanctimonious drapery of stars and stripes from which we belch our prejudices.

When you sign up you endorse a contract on the bottom line. It's a contract with specified written obligations on the part of both parties, but also with unspecified but powerful assumptions on the part of both parties.

In the case of joining the military knowing what you are getting into is based on very powerful unwritten but nationally accepted assumptions:

1) The integrity and honor of the commander in chief of the military and that CIC's skill, wisdom and understanding of all reasons when and why military citizens are to be placed in harm's way.

As a volunteer you are at the mercy of that individual, his party and their combined priorities - with a strong expectatin that those priorities extend beyond a desire to remain in the driver's seat.

(2)As a volunteer you are at the mercy of your own fellow citizens (including your own family) whom you trust to be willing and supportive in making sure the leadership does not waste your vital blood, devotion and patriotism in pipe dreams, self-interested agenda's and idealogies; That leaders are driven by a genuine desire to involve the country in on-going mutual participation and compromise regarding foreign policiy before resorting to force as a last resort.

(3) Volunteering to become a soldier is volunteering to preserve and protect - with your own power and will - the country, it's borders, its citizens and its institutions. It isn't volunteering to keep a political party in power. The only way to avoid that circumstance is for the citizens to assume their rightful role in the triangular relationship with the troops and the CIC.

The troops are expected to trust the CIC's wisdom as well as the patriotic participation of the Citizens who will keep the CIC honest.

The CIC is expected to trust the troops to follow orders and expects to sustain by honesty and integrity the support of the Citizens.

The Citizens expect the troops to do their duties and expect the CIC to sustain by honesty and integrity his political authority. The Citizens must be willing to hold the CIC accountable and willfully resist when the honesty and integrity of leadership is absent.

That is what is going on right now. The President has demonstrated a lack of leadership at a time when leadership is needed. The killing continues daily .... and we are witness to a repeat of a leader who is like a deer caught in the headlights ... sitting there ... doing nothing ... pondering what ... while pretending to enjoy "My Pet Goat."

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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