timely quote

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president.

Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The speech that Obama should have given at Ft Hood

I brought this in whole from Richard Hernandez (Belmont Club) at PajamasMedia and it is one of the truest thing I have read in a while. Thank you Richard for writing it.
Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic thought Obama’s speech at the Fort Hood memorial was the greatest he had ever written. The full text is on Ambinder’s site.

Today, at Ft. Hood. I guarantee: they’ll be teaching this one in rhetoric classes. It was that good. My gloss won’t do it justice. Yes, I’m having a Chris Matthews-chill-running-up-my-leg moment, but sometimes, the man, the moment and the words come together and meet the challenge. Obama had to lead a nation’s grieving; he had to try and address the thorny issues of Islam and terrorism; to be firm; to express the spirit of America, using familiar, comforting tropes in a way that didn’t sound trite.

I thought I would try my hand at speechwriting to emphasize what should have been said. Although my version is less than soaring, it touches upon issues which ought to be have been addressed. My amateurish attempts and an actual video of Obama’s Fort Hood address taken by a participant are after the Read More.

First of all, I would like to apologize, as Commander in Chief and on behalf of the entire chain of command, for failing to protect the men who were shot here some days ago. The specific shortcomings which allowed the shooter the opportunity to commit this crime will determined and rectified forthwith. That is the least I can do for those who died.

You men and women of the Armed Forces are expected to risk your lives in the service of our country; to overcome your fears, to bear up against hardship and risk your life and limb to protect the nation you serve. No one will accept the excuse ‘I was afraid’ from a soldier, though God knows there will be times when fear will be the natural thing for a man to feel. But in return the senior military and political leadership owe you its own kind of courage. Perhaps not the physical bravery expected of you, but courage nonetheless. The courage never to call you to arms unless national interest absolutely demand it; the fortitude to support you unswervingly until your mission — the mission we gave you — is completed. We owe you that. The leadership owes you the best equipment, the finest intelligence and the most competent leadership. But above all we owe you our loyalty and the assurance that everyone placed above you and alongside you wearing the uniform of the United States is someone you could trust implicitly with your life. Because there would be times when you would have to.

And in that duty we have failed.

For reasons which brook no excuse, whether from lack of competence or the absence of professional courage, we have allowed a traitor to gain a position of trust in your midst. We gave him high rank. We gave him the prerogatives and honors due to a member of the medical profession and an officer in the Armed Forces. And he used that position to kill the men we are remembering today. We who demand of you the courage to routinely risk your lives in the service of our nation did not ourselves have fortitude to expel a man from the service who by rights should have been gone because we feared criticism. We feared being accused of bigotry. We feared being accused of persecuting a religion. We feared the bad publicity that would come from recognizing the danger signals which have all too tragically culminated in this. It was out of fear that we forbore and men died.

Let me repeat my apology. By command responsibility the onus of this falls on my shoulders. And the duty for correcting the defects falls on me as well. Already there are those who say “this was an ordinary crime”; or that we do not know what motivated this killer to commit the crime he did. We must not add dishonesty to dereliction. We know. If we were not men enough to do our duty then, then at least we should do it now. Let me pledge that from this day forward, no officer in the Armed Forces, no member of law enforcement, no man or woman in authority should ever dare ignore a danger to you, my men — for you are my men — out of fear of giving offense. Political correctness should fall distant second to duty, honor and country.

I cannot bring back the dead. But I can prevent others from following in their tragic place. Others will eulogize the fallen. They will recall this young life or that promising future cut short on that day. Let others speak of the nobility of those who died on this post. Let others comfort the parents and loved ones of those who will wait at the door for the knock they once heard and hear nevermore. That is not for me to do.

Rather let my deeds from this day speak more eloquently than tributes or flowers. Let my determination to prevent this from ever happening again be my peroration and my tribute to the fallen. "Gesta, non verba" is all the Latin I need to know. Deeds, not words. I will return to my duties and you to yours. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Generations

On this Veteran's Day I'd like to mention some veterans I've known in my life.

First is my Grandfather. He served in WWII in Germany in 1943 and 44 in the Army Corps of Engineers before coming back to live a long and productive life as a stock broker, then later an avid iris gardener before passing away last year. He was married for over 50 years to my Grandmother, and together they raised 3 children. They watched their kids raise 5 grandchildren, including me.

Second, my Father, who was in the National Guard during Vietnam. He served in a reserve capacity for 4 years, prepared to go to a foreign land if his country required it. He and my Mother were divorced when my sister and I were young, but in watching him pull himself back from the brink of death, I've learned more from him about strength and character that any other person.

Third, I spent 6 years in the US Navy from 1990-96. I spent time all over the country and northern and western Europe. I was on a Minesweeper and we swept for mines in the North Sea, further cleaning up the WWII mines laid by Nazi Germany. This is as close as I've ever been to what my Grandfather did for our country and the world.

Last, at least for now, is my son. At 17 years old he has made the decision that he is joining the Navy. He is a senior this year and will graduate in May of 2010 and then head off to serve the same country that I served, and my Father and Grandfather before me. He is currently in the Delayed Entry Program and applying for ROTC.

I keep trying to write things about my son here, but all I can say is that I am so proud of him for making this choice. I can't get the words out.

So to all you out there who have served, who serve now, and those who are still making the decision, please accept my gratitude for your sacrifice and dedication to us and our country. Remember that no matter what the rest of the world says, here, we're thankful that you have chosen to serve. Here, we enjoy the freedoms that you fight to protect, and without you, they would no longer exist.

Thank you, from me and mine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A greater tragedy

Political correctness and diversity, I guess, are the bullet points that have been passed down from the top, as Army chief of staff General George Casey has been out there explaining we can't blame islam and how discrimination against muslims would be a greater tragedy than the Ft Hood massacre.

The Army's chief of staff is saying that even though Hasan was known to maintain radical muslim beliefs; had said openly, in his official capacity as an Army officer, about how muslims should kill non-believers; had contacted known anti-American clerics and terrorist leaders including al-Queda members; and was being watched by the intelligence community, that we shouldn't jump to conclusions.
"I'm a Muslim first and I hold the Shariah, the Islamic Law, before the United States Constitution."
General Casey, 13 of your soldiers were killed and almost 30 others injured by another one of your soldiers. While he was killing them, he was screaming, "Allahu Akbar!" He had made many statements about the righteousness of jihad. Now, you're covering for the political correctness that caused more than two years of purposeful ignorance of this issue.

How can you honestly go out there and say this:
But we have to be careful. Because we can't jump to conclusions now based on little snippets of information that come out. And frankly, I am worried -- not worried, but I'm concerned that this increased speculation could cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers. And I've asked our Army leaders to be on the lookout for that. It would be a shame -- as great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.
I have nothing against diversity specifically, but putting diversity ahead of soldiers' security and safety is lunacy. As great a tragedy as this was, I think a greater tragedy is that you're still out there defending Hasan's beliefs. He has a lawyer for that. You owe your allegiance to the other soldiers there at Ft Hood and throughout the Army. Stand by them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A new level of...

I was going to call this "A new level of contempt," but it occurred to me that Obama's fun-loving "shoutout" to his friend the Medal of Honor winner (patience...) and casual mention of the Ft Hood massacre during a different speech probably weren't contempt. I'll say that it shows where the military ranks in Obama's hierarchy of issues. Now why he and his handlers thought it was a good idea to handle it that way, I can't say. I can say that the way it was handled was just plain stupid. There's no other way to put it.

Not to mention calling the Medal of Freedom a Medal of Honor. Obama even awarded that medal personally. Of course, if Dubya had done that it would have been front page news with the discussion on how stupid he is, after all, he can't tell the difference between the medals.

So in the middle of all this, he goes in to damage control mode, give another pale soulless speech then schedules a trip to Ft Hood for tomorrow, to explain how his teleprompter feels about this tragedy.

But then, FoxNews broke the story that the last known leader of the free world, George W. Bush, visited Ft Hood and spent "considerable time" visiting with the surviving victims and families, as well as the families of the deceased. It's nice to see a president who cares, isn't it?

What's interesting is the commentary showing up from overseas on Obama's gaffe. The Telegraph has this headline: Bloodless President Barack Obama makes Americans wistful for George W Bush.
Completely missing was the eloquence that Mr Obama employs when talking about himself. Absent too was any sense that the President empathised with the families and comrades of those murdered.
That says something, doesn't it? Maybe it is contempt after all.