Sunday, November 1, 2009

For those that are not on FaceBook

For those not on facebook, I've reproduced Vern's essay below:

I've been asked what I think of the Matthew Hoh resignation in particular and the situation in Afghanistan in general. For those of you who know me well, you know that you've now asked for it. Pardon me while I get on my soap box and begin my ramble.

For those who want to read his actual resignation letter, go here; http://www.docstoc.com/docs/13944018/Matthew-Hoh-Resignation-Letter It is a good segway into my own penmanship below...

Well...I know enough to know that this is a very, very complex environment over here and we are missing the boat by #1 not having a coherent, national strategy and #2 by not having a coherent, national strategy...

Are we trying to deny Al Qaeda sanctuary, as many would say we invaded Afghanistan in the first place for? if so, then why aren't we in Pakistan with troops? Al Qaeda has sanctuary there. why aren't we in Yemen? Al Qaeda has sanctuary there. why aren't we in the Horn of Africa (HOA) in more force? Al Qaeda has sanctuary there. Why aren't we bullying our way around spots in western Europe where a good portion of the 9-11 attacks were planned? No...that isn't the reason.

Are we trying to stablize the region? if so, then why don't we stabilze the region by protecting Pakistan's govt instead of trying to rebuild Afghanistan in our own image? After all, everyone knows Pakistan and India hold the nukes we're worried about. India and Pakistan hate one another and they both have nukes. Oh, and both countries have extremist organizations who want to overthrow their governments. Did I mention they both have nukes?

The fact remains that Pakistan doesn't want a stable, unified, pro-western Afghanistan on its western flank. They're pursuing and trying to crush Taliban in their own country (because they pose a threat to their government), while they simultaneously support and protect the Taliban who're fighting us in Afghanistan. Why? They want an unstable, dependent (upon them) Afghanistan on their flank to serve as a nice buffer between them, Iran, and the "Stans" of the former Soviet Union. This also allows them to focus on their troubles with India without worrying over their "back door".

Simultaneously, Iran doesn't want a unified, stable Pro-U.S. government on their eastern flank that can be used as a launching pad for attacks on them. They don't seem to be "heavily" involved in this theater...yet. But it may be only a matter of time if the situation does actually start to improve in our favor here.

So the question remains, why are we investing so much blood and national treasure (which BTW we aren't going to have much treasure at the rate we're going...but that is another subject for another time) in this effort? Why are investing this treasure and placing all our chips on an Afghan central govt that is completely corrupt and only concerned about gaining and maintaining power for itself and their related cronies? Why are we insisting on changing a culture that doesn't understand or truly want a democratic form of government?

Bottom line for me is that I still am a Soldier and a professional. I'll carry out my duty to the best of my ability. If someone ever decides that our strategy is to rebuild Afghanistan and that is the strategy, then I say that GEN MacChrystal is almost right. I'd take a SWAG and say we need at least 60,000 more troops though, instead of 40,000. We need to saturate this austere and compartmentalized country and control and secure the populace. Simultaneously we need to enable the LOCAL governance to take root. The central government doesn't mean anything to the average Afghan. Simultaneously we need to build (double in size) and mentor an Afghan Security Force that is undermanned, under-equipped, under-trained, and has no solid NCO corps on which to build. Did I happen to mention that Afghanistan has no true natural resources to speak of to produce income? Oh, wait a minute, I forgot about the poppie/heroin production...largest in the world. Anyway, I digress...

Afghanistan has not had a stable central government since the monarchy of King Mohammed Zahir Shah who was overthrown in 1973, after which he lived in exile in Italy. In my opinion, our first mistake was in 2002 when, after we had ousted the Taliban, Mohammed Zahir Shah was invited back to participate in a Loya Jurga (Pashto for "grand assembly"). At that time there were open calls for a return to the monarchy. Zahir Shah himself let it be known that he would accept whatever responsibility was placed on him by the Loya Jirga. However he was obliged to publicly step aside at the behest of the good 'ol U.S. of A. because many of delegates to the Loya Jirga were prepared to vote for Zahir Shah (a.k.a. monarchy) and block the US-backed Hamid Karzai...and Karzai was our "man in the bag" to be point for creating a democracy in Afghanistan. Zahir Shah died in 2007.

Question...why didn't we let them have their monarchy again? Why do we insist on instituting democracy on a people and a culture who aren't asking for it? Have we forgotten how our Founding Fathers fought viciously and tenaciously to achieve our own representative democracy? No one can force this form of government on another. You must want it to the point of being willing to die for it. You must have a foundational belief and understanding of the value of the individual man, as created in Jehovah God's image. You must believe and give ascent to a system of law and order that is based upon the Ten Commandments and the value of the individual.

I can tell you that I agree completely with Matthew Hoh when he said in an interview, "I'm not some peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love," Hoh said. Although he said his time in Zabul was the "second-best job I've ever had," his dominant experience is from the Marines, where many of his closest friends still serve. "There are plenty of dudes who need to be killed," he said of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. "I was never more happy than when our Iraq team whacked a bunch of guys."

I can definitely identify with these statements. I've been deeply involved in this conflict for a while now, but my views started to shift early this year. I've had many discussions with my lovely better half on this subject. I also started reading Robert McNamara's book "In Retrospect" to gain some historical perspective on the establishment of our strategic goals and the decisions made to support those goals during the Vietnam War.

Bottom line reference President Obama determining our strategy..."Is situation X (fill in the blank) an actual or ancillary threat to the existence of the United States of America?" We've faced this question many times before and we haven't always answered right.

I ultimately have to answer the question for myself..."why am I continuing to be a part of an effort if I don't think we're going down the right path?" Well, the answer, like the problem, is complicated. I can honestly say that at the root of it all, I'm a military professional that has a skill set that many young men can still benefit from. THAT will always be good enough for me.

If any tidbit of the myriad of advice I give to various commanders, leaders, and Soldiers helps change their thinking or assists them in protecting their men while accomplishing their tactical mission...then I can sleep good at night knowing that I'm doing the right thing. I will continue to give my all every day over here and do my darndest to help win the tactical and operational fight...because that means less body bags being filled by our national treasure...our youth.

...my fear is that we will continue to waffle and spin in circles on a strategic level while no matter what anybody does at the tactical level...those body bags keep on being filled...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thoughts on Afghanistan...from someone who's been there

As you may or may not know, my brother is an articulate, caring, thoughtful and all-around good guy...and did I mention, you don't want to get on his bad side...particularly if you're plotting the death of Americans in Afghanistan? He's a recently retired Major in the Army Rangers, an elite corps that are among the highest trained fighting units in the world.

He is currently training our soldiers in Afghanistan to ensure the success of their mission.

And...he has some opinions...

"I know enough to know that this is a very, very complex environment over here and we are missing the boat by #1 not having a coherent, national strategy and #2 by not having a coherent, national strategy..."

He goes on to ask the million dollar question...why are we there? In light of Matthew Hoh's resignation, it's about time that someone in the Executive Branch ask this question...and decide. I know the President spoke in Jacksonville on Monday, defending his lack of attention to this matter, maintaining that it's because he's taking it seriously...

Seriously?

We were waging this war prior to his taking office. I'm sure he was fully briefed by the Bush Administration on the strategy at the time. If he was truly contemplating changing strategy...and took it seriously...I would think that this would be high on the priority list once he entered office. In fact, if I recall, he did start deploying troops to Afghanistan...was he doing that absent a strategy? Or was it the wrong strategy? Or did he just not spend enough time on the golf course contemplating the "solemn decision"?

We can see what it is that he takes seriously-- his domestic agenda.

That's fine, I guess, during a time of peace. But, it's unconscionable to place such a light emphasis upon the Constitutional duty to "provide for the common defence" during wartime. Upon his election, we were involved in a war in two major theaters...if it was as important to him as he claims...don't you think he would have taken the time then to deliberate and figure out the best strategy?

This dithering about on the golf course while our men our over there fighting and dying -- waiting for a strategy -- is disheartening at best.

It would be well if more people paid attention to people like Vern...people who are there, have their wits about them and can see the big picture. Read his short essay.

Monday, October 19, 2009

S. 1796

Interesting Reading the Table of Contents...
After creating a massive, mind-numbing bureaucracy, how do the dems propose to pay for it? Have a look...
TITLE VI—REVENUE PROVISIONS
Subtitle A—Revenue Offset Provisions
Sec. 6001. Excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage.
Sec. 6002. Inclusion of cost of employer-sponsored health coverage on W–2. (tax)
Sec. 6003. Distributions for medicine qualified only if for prescribed drug or insulin. (ration)
Sec. 6004. Increase in additional tax on distributions from HSAs not used for qualified medical expenses.
Sec. 6005. Limitation on health flexible spending arrangements under cafeteria plans. (ration)
Sec. 6006. Expansion of information reporting requirements.
Sec. 6007. Additional requirements for charitable hospitals.
Sec. 6008. Imposition of annual fee on branded prescription pharmaceutical manufacturers and importers.
Sec. 6009. Imposition of annual fee on medical device manufacturers and importers.
Sec. 6010. Imposition of annual fee on health insurance providers.
Sec. 6011. Study and report of effect on veterans health care. (?)
Sec. 6012. Elimination of deduction for expenses allocable to Medicare Part D subsidy. (tax)
Sec. 6013. Modification of itemized deduction for medical expenses. (tax)
Sec. 6014. Limitation on excessive remuneration paid by certain health insurance providers. (ration)

Let's see...massive tax increases, annual fees, expansion of requirements and rationing. Brilliant. See what happens when the free market fails us? Thanks, Paul.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

School Vouchers

These women ask "why?" One word: unions

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Obama's Friends

...ALL THIS LEADS to one important question. Suppose Obama succeeds in building friendships with Chavez, Castro, Ahmadinejad and the Taliban. What then? Does America still get to feel that it stands for something? Will we still be the beacon of liberty and freedom to the rest of the world, or will we have sold out in the name of political expediency? And do any of us seriously believe that presidential friendship is going to get a megalomaniac like Hugo Chavez to ease up on the levers of power, or are we just feeding his ego by showing him he can be a tyrant and still have a beer with the president of the United States? Will the Iranians really stop enriching uranium through diplomacy rather than economic sanctions?

HT: Drudge

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hating What's Right

This lecture by Evan Sayet (9/11 conservative convert) was one that explains his concept of how liberals make decisions. This concept subsumes Jew/US hatred under the same umbrella and provides a cogent rationale for the ever-present Jew-hater at the anti-war rallies...Notes and embedded video below-watch it if you have the time:

To the liberal, Indiscriminateness is a moral imperative

However, indiscriminateness of thought does not lead to indiscriminateness of policy...it sides with evil.

Because of the indiscriminateness, there is no justification for anything that is better than anything else, therefore, failure is de facto proof of victimization

A multiculturalist (one that believes that all cultures are equal) must de facto be a supporter of tyranny

Either there is is something exceptional about our culture, or there is nothing special about our culture. It the latter, our success is unjust and our longevity is proof positive that we cheated...among the most unjust in the history of the world.

The multiculturalist can't believe that we are an exceptional culture, therefore we stole our success.

"Objectivity is undesirable if history is to serve a social purpose." - Howard Zinn

Jew hatred goes hand in hand with US hatred...because of the same exact reason

The act of criminality is de facto proof that the criminal has been victimized

To not believe that the terrorists were not provoked is racism

The more heinous the crime, the more victimized the criminal must have been
Seeking the truth is an act of bigotry to the left.

In order for this to make sense, we must elevate the provocation to the level of the crime. Why would Durbin call our troops Nazis? Because the evil he is championing rises to that level.

Liberals have an inability to identify the "better things in life"
--Life is zero sum. If so, the way to prevent poverty is to prevent success
in the "grown-up world" all ships rise with the tide

In order to help people lead better lives, conservatives want to train people in better behaviors, but Liberals attack the behaviors, because they are signs of bigotry.

example: abstinence - this is a good practice for children, look at social statistics apart from any religious consideration. But, Liberals invariably promote destructive behaviors - "F- abstinence" rally.

Once the failure they've promoted takes place, they scream that they must confiscate our money to create a program to deal with the program

This promotion of behavior that lead to failure instead of success...is Orwellian

Commonalities:
1. Isolated from consequences of his own beliefs (when you live in a utopia, these ideas don't affect him) musicians and college students, celebrity and academia
2. Stupidity is a luxury...those who are on the left are those that can afford to be

Exceptions in celebrity - Professional athletes...work in a field of objective truth
Exceptions in academia - Hard sciences...

Q & A
The goal of the modern journalist is not objective truth, it is neutrality

Time is not on our side
a. Need to engage in the fight
b. We need to stand up for what is right


One-Party Classroom

"The wolves of the left, sensing a new opening with a new administration, are circling. Dangerous organizations like ACORN and MoveOn.org feel that Obama's victory is theirs as well. Poisonous figures like George Soros, Louis Farrakhan, and Bill Ayers who have spent their lives trying to tear America down feel newly empowered by the election results. Israel haters are licking their chops. Like their bloodthirsty comrades abroad, Islamo-Fascists here at home are ready to step up the stealth jihad they are waging against our universities and other domestic institutions. I have one thing to say to the leftists who would try to take advantage of America's present vulnerability: NOT ON OUR WATCH!"

--from David's excellent
conservative activist website, www.frontpagemag.com

I have been saying this...

Remember the $4B to Acorn in the stimulus bill? It's just the tip of the iceburg...

"It's a job patronage system" - caller to Michael Savage

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Conservative Principles

Four transformational challenges faced by this generation simultaneously:
1. Social and economic turmoil of globalization (industrial to a globalized marketplace)
2. Evil enemy in al-qaeda
3. Rise of Communist chinese superstate and a strategic threat
4. Will moral relativism erode a nation built upon self-evident truths

The way to address these challenges are through the principles of conservativism as explicated by Thaddeus McCotter:

1. Liberty is from God, not government
2. Sovereignty in souls, not soil
3. Security comes through strength, not surrender
4. Prosperity from the private, not public, sector
5. Truths are self-evident, not relative


Monday, March 9, 2009

The Tipping Point

Without having given a whole lot of thought to this concept, (caveat in case I write something unduly stupid) I tend to think that, if we have passed a tipping point of sorts in our nation toward socialism, it is due to our former President and his many willing accomplices.

The last President represented much of what we had hoped for in a President...someone who placed great value on preborn human life, appointed good...no...great, SCOTUS justices -- he just wasn't a conservative.

However, his penchant for using government to achieve economic equity set the stage for the drubbing that conservatives received in the last election...because no one can outspend the liberals.

Over the last 50 years, we've been on vacation...getting fat on the government dole. Bush primed the pumps for the current massive acceleration of our reliance by doing things just conservative enough to earn the ire of a large percentage of the population and just liberal enough to lose his friends.

And now, we have what we voted for...a group of elitists wealthy from years of "public service" ready to fill up their stockings with a wish list that has been growing since 1994. Make no mistake, this talk about government creating temporary deficits is illusory...there is no such thing as a temporary government anything. Reagan said

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

The best we can do is reform a government program, like welfare reform in 1996 -- a very successful reform that is being undone as we speak.

One can hope that the ineptitude that our current President has shown in foreign policy will be a harbinger of his success at getting his agenda foisted upon the American people.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

An infuriating missive

I received this in my email tonight...

GovTrack.us Tracked Events Update

This is your email update from www.GovTrack.us. To change your email updates settings, go to your account settings page.

You are currently monitoring: Rep. Holden [D-PA], Sen. Casey [D-PA], Sen. Specter [R-PA], H.R. 1: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Congress will next meet on Feb 23, 2009.
Feb 17, 2009 - Bill Action
Law Enacted: H.R. 1: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
This bill has become law.
(You are seeing this event because you are tracking H.R. 1: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009)

"The right of representation in the legislature [is] a right inestimable to [the people], and formidable to tyrants only." --Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Too Punny to Pass Up

Monday, February 9, 2009

Taken from the Bill

I'm just going to copy and paste from the Senate stimulus package and let you see if you think this will create jobs:

  • $200,000,000 - Department, other than the Forest Service, for necessary replacement, modernization, or upgrades of laboratories or other facilities to improve workplace safety and mission-area efficiencies as deemed appropriate by the Secretary:
  • $400,000,000 - farm ownership loans (lots of jobs to be had on farms nowadays!)
  • $275,000,000 - Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations
  • $65,000,000 - Watershed Rehabilitation Program
  • $100,000,000 - National School Lunch Program equipment assistance
  • $500,000,000 - SPECIAL SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION PROGRAM FORWOMEN, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN (WIC)
I'm getting tired, and there's 756 pages to go...click on the link and check it out for yourself.

Contact Your Senator

Here's an email reply sent to me by one of my Senators, Arlen Specter.

Dear Mr. Tubbs:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The concerns of my constituents are of great importance to me, and I rely on you and other Pennsylvanians to inform me of your views. I will keep your thoughts on this matter in mind. Thank you again for writing. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office or visit my website at http://specter.senate.gov.

Sincerely,

Arlen Specter

I know this is a form email...but it's important to communicate with our representatives, and since the direct election of Senators, they have become our reps as well.

So, contact your senators for the vote tomorrow, but only if you agree with me!

Menagerie of Incompetence

The circus on Capitol Hill is alarming...not because of the dancing elephants, braying donkeys or those miniature rinos...it's the clowns...you know, the creepy clowns that are supposed to make you laugh, but you can't see behind all that makeup so, you're just not sure. One thing I know for sure...they're never very comforting.

Does anyone really think that this bill will help what is going on?

Our President today said, "Our nation will sink into a crisis that at some point we may be unable to reverse." This to my mind reveals a hard-line Keynesian economic view that is truly nonsensical.

  1. He believes that an Act of Congress will save us from an economic crisis.
  2. He believes that we will reach an economic point of no return
Truly, this is obtuse.

First, Reagan understood, and with the help of Congress, helped us recover from the ill-suited (and ideologically similar to our current President) Jimmy Carter. He understood that government is not the solution, but the problem. So, he set about lowering tax rates and getting government out of the way...which inevitably led to a tremendous amount of production by individuals in the free market.

When government tries to help people, it is legal plunder. Federal government is not there to help me...it is there to protect my rights and defend me from foreign invasion.

So, in the case of this travesty of a bill, the dems are not even pretending to put things in there that are stimulus related...it's a power grab, plain and simple. And our President is standing behind his party, come hell or high water...irrespective of the horrendous nature of the bill.

Second, markets have cycles...there's no such thing as a point of no return, unless you're talking about massive government intervention claiming that regulation is needed more than economic freedom. That's still not a point of no return, but it's sure as heck close.

So, the clowns, instead of making us laugh, continue to spout doom and gloom unless "something" (i.e. pork for me and my friends) is done immediately! Oh, and don't listen to Rush.