Thursday, November 15, 2012

Is BengPetAllen…"Gate" related to Afghanistan? Its Closer than You May Think!

What a difference just a few days can make. Just a day or so before the election, the White House was still grappling with exactly how to categorize the coordinated attack by members of Ansar Al Shariah on the US compound in Benghazi. Apparently, the 52% of the voting block in the US who chose to keep the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave for another fun filled four years isn't concerned about that. In fact they are not apparently concerned with any of the inconsistencies in our foreign policy.

Yes, inconsistencies; policies that are inconsistent with the traditional and constitutional vision of US national security. If someone wants to try and convince me that wasting the precious blood of American War Fighters for the benefit of another people, in another land, who are taught from birth to hate the great western satan is either rational or patriotic; have at it! So what does this have to do with revelations of David Petraeus's extra-curricular activities?

Absolutely nothing! And that is the point!

Unfortunately, it took an attack on a small, unprotected compound in Libya which ended with the death of two Bureaucrats and two genuine, American Heroes, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods to cause the dead in DC to even consider that something might be wrong. Why? Simply because it hit close to home. No longer were those who were betrayed nameless, uniformed,  men and women from towns with obscure names. The two principals killed in the coordinated attack launched by Ansar Al Shariah on the anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Towers in New York City, September 11th, were, for all practical purposes, kin.

They were of the DC crowd and the DC crowd takes notice when their own are threatened.

But what the media - all the media, the vast majority of the DC crowd and most Americans seem to have missed is that the very same foreign policy vision that caused the attack in Benghazi, is that which has been killing American Service Members and ISAF forces in Afghanistan! But as with all things, the squeaky wheel gets the attention; and DC can be very squeaky when the carnage they have caused hits too close to home.

Precisely what the motivation for the attack in Benghazi was, we may never know. The reason we may never know is because there was something else, something sinister going on behind "the curtain". Theories abound but what we do know does more than simply suggest something untoward was underway in Libya. Whatever that thing is was deemed so important as to cause the White House, its entire administration and appointees to agree to leave Stevens, Smith, Doherty and Woods to die. The fact is, it was determined acceptable that all in that compound that night should be sacrificed rather than let whatever the secret is, come to light.

I say this with conviction because several calls for fire support were placed by those besieged in Benghazi that night. I say this because the White House watched the entire episode unfold - all 7 hours of it, from cameras mounted on UAV's which had been launched, presumably after the attack began, to "monitor" the attack.

Why hasn't the media asked these questions?

1. Where were those UAV's launched from? How is it that they were on site so early in the attack?

2. If someone had the wherewithal to launch UAV's - and use them for surveillance/monitoring, where was the same determination to defend Americans on sovereign US soil?

3. Why was AFRICOM, General Carter Ham, replaced within weeks of the attack? The story about his order to deliver supporting fire on the mortar which killed Doherty and Woods, only to be countermanded is said to be inaccurate. And yet, this curious timing of his replacement is supported with statements that only generate more questions. Keep in mind that most posts are three year assignments.

An authorized statement released to the press was that there was no way to know with certainty what was going on in the compound that night. It was even intimated that fear of collateral damage was a concern.

Sound familiar?

Really; a rogue element attacks sovereign US property and its Ambassador and we're worried about collateral damage??

Do you suppose this sitting President who watched from his "War Room" as Americans and his appointed Ambassador were being attacked would be as concerned about "collateral damage" if that kind of attack happened in DC? I think not; but again, that would be too close to home!

One of the theories being floated is that the administration had authorized the movement of arms to Syrian Rebels (without Congressional approval), being shipped first to Turkey. In fact we know that Stevens met with a Turkish emissary just a couple of hours before the attack.

Does it strike anyone as strange that an American Ambassador to Libya would leave the consulate in Tripoli, travel overland, some thirteen hours away, to meet with a Turkish emissary? What business could an American Ambassador to Libya possibly have with a Turkish emissary, anyway? Why not meet with him at the consulate? If it was legitimate Embassy business, again, why would he do that business some thirteen hours away in Benghazi, rather than in the US Embassy…in Tripoli?

Could the operative word here be "legitimate"?

This brings us to this latest round of stories involving two men entrusted with prosecuting the war in Afghanistan; men who hold the lives of America's Sons and Daughters in their hands. Men who have subverted better judgment, ignored history, zealously expunged vital information about the enemy from training curricula, who continue to force America's Sons and Daughters to patrol in streets known to be littered with IED's. These men, who force better men to forfeit their lives based on a confabulation projected by their CIC who is infatuated with all things Islam. Men who select controversial and historically disastrous strategy to force our War Fighters to operate under simply because their Commander in Chief has determined that Afghan lives are more valuable than the Sons and Daughters of American families are morally reprehensible! Just because something may be lawful by man's law does not mean it is so by God's law. Knowingly placing another man in jeopardy of losing his life or physical well-being when you have the knowledge and the ability to prevent it, is a crime whether or not our morally challenged bureaucrats consider it so or not!

David Petraeus has been caught in the act of Adultery. I know of enlisted Marines who have been charged with adultery, tried by Courts Martial and kicked out of the Marine Corps with an Undesirable Discharge for being involved in the very same thing David Petraeus is allegedly guilty of.

I am not here to pass judgment on David Petraeus or General Allen (should those allegations prove to be true), for essentially a sin against God but to remind people that it is apparent that these acts were committed at the same time men were being slaughtered by "friendlies", being forced to operate within the untenable guidelines of COIN - a strategy Petraeus selected and Allen rubber stamped.

And now, the White House is allowing the moral failure of at least one man to distract Congress and the American people from the greater travesty which is this government's complete failure to give fire support to Americans who were under siege and who this President watched die!

There is nothing that can be uttered that can justify this conscious decision to not use the might of this nation to defend the lives of Americans - ever! It is clear that this President and his appointees have deemed "some thing" of far greater value in an environment where there was nothing of national security concern that would dictate that. There were no legitimate national security secrets that needed to be protected, which is made obvious by the unusual absence of an MSG (Marine Security Guard) detail.

No, there is nothing that will ever justify the inaction of our "leadership", that night. But there was consistency in at least one area: The narrative was protected "at-all-cost". The inexplicable and costly determination to protect the Ummah at all cost remained intact. Once again, this sitting President and his entire entourage proved their willingness to cause American deaths rather than chance a stray round that might injure or kill "an innocent".

King David had an affair with a woman and then ordered her husband, Uriah, be placed in harm's way to insure his death. David was guilty of adultery and then murder to cover it up. But unlike David who repented, President Obama remains obstinate and intent to continue covering his many sins against the very people he has sworn to defend.

Apparently, David Petraeus has learned more from his "liege" than David or David's God.

The American people made it clear that they want this kind of Presidency. But elections have consequences. The most costly consequence of this election is the continuation of policies which place men at undo risk, for an ungrateful people. We have high ranking Officers who sully their names, their uniforms, and bring pain to their families.

As a bonus, Congress unwittingly masks far greater sins by turning its focus on the personal sins of men and a single incident which shines a light on the greater problem. Unfortunately, they remain blinded to the reality of that greater problem.

And 52% of the American people remain blissfully unaware. Heck; they'll be getting free IUD's and government paid tuition.

Why torture yourself with troubling things…



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

More Proof of the Fruit of COIN Madness!

This is another important piece chronicling the perverse nature of an ill-advised battle strategy chosen by a mindless body politic and their morally defunct General Grade surrogates.

If the strategy (COIN) was such a magnificent contrivance, there would be no discussion about progress; it would in fact be self-evident. Instead we have journalists like Michael Yon, who is not of the exact same camp as I am. He and I have talked and he has held out hope for a properly run COIN operation even in the midst of the demonically possessed while I believe every iteration is doomed to failure.

This, his latest piece, provides even more insight into this nightmare called COIN, conceived in the hearts of spiritually soiled men and in meetings governed by a coward's concern for global perceptions! This travesty of strategy, as a principle of theater-wide application ought to be outlawed by this Nation!

The world court opinion BE DAMNED!

Our concern as a people of a nation should be for the well-being of our War Fighters - FIRST! If Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians, Libyans, Tunisians, Algerians, et al want to lessen their plight, they have the exact same opportunity as our Fore Fathers did; fight for it! We owe them nothing and certainly not our trust or the blood of our finest! The problem is, they don't see their condition as a scourge or a plight; they see it as the spiritually enlightened condition of men who have given themselves to the doctrines of a man who claimed to have conversed with a 'god'. Any man in this country who thinks we have anything to offer people who have given so much of themselves to so vile a religious construct as Islam is simply arrogant - and ignorant! Asking better men to sacrifice themselves for this arrogance is the height, width and depth of moral depravity! Demanding they continue in light of such absolute proof of the total and abysmal failure of such an arrogantly conceived battle plan, is simply criminal!

If this is going to change, men currently serving in the Halls of our great governmental institutions are going to have to enlist the help of men dedicated to this discussion who actually understand the topic. Our Representatives and Senators are going to have to decide to act in a way that may not be politically feasible and say things that may cost them an election. But one thing is certain, unless these men who claim to have a heart for the troops and say they understand that the current direction is wrong, act furiously to change it, our forces will continue to suffer the same life-altering injury and pay with their lives as have those before them. And the price they will pay, in the end, will be in vain because Afghans are not going to change what they fervently believe to be the state of being required by their 'god' and his spokesman.

Afghanistan is a cesspool of humanity; a mass grave for honorable men compelled to serve in her sewage by the arrogant, delusional and cowardly politicians of the day. Nothing good has come of our efforts; nothing good will come out of the next two years.

Our political establishment has lost its way or maybe the American population has lost its moral compass and have consciously chosen men of unscrupulous character and such a deplorable lack of courage to represent them. In either case the affect is the same on our War Fighters.

Michael Yon does an exceptional job of providing insight into the latter days of this our most miserable martial effort in the midst of a demonically charged and hate-filled culture.

How many more lives must be destroyed before those who dare call themselves "Statesmen", will muster the courage to draw that metaphoric line in the sand and demand this fratricide committed by our leaders against our War Fighters, end?

Happy Reading…

John Bernard

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Are Our Elected American Representatives leading us to another "Operation Frequent Wind"?

In the past few days and in the midst of the murderous jubilation expressed by the Muslim communities throughout the Middle East for their new found Arab "Sprung" freedom, insider attacks number 37 and 38 reaped the religion of peace and our government, six more ISAF and American dead, two British Soldiers killed in an attack on Camp Bastion and some $150,000,000.00 worth of equipment including six Harriers destroyed and two severely damaged.

Not a bad five day's work for Allah's "peaceful worshippers"!

Of course the single most outrageous act of the week was the pre-planned, coordinated attack on our Embassy Staff in Benghazi which yielded another four completely unnecessary American deaths; an attack this administration, as of this writing still refuses to acknowledge as a pre-planned, coordinated attack.

Some clarification is in order at this point. Let's define what elements define a "coordinated attack":

1.  The use of combined arms, ie small arms fire (rifles), rocket assisted direct fire weapons (RPG's), indirect fire weapons (Mortars).

2.  The assignment of individuals to specific elements of the attack:

            a.  Base Fire Element which provides, preparatory and suppressing fires - Mortars combined with machine guns, rockets and small arms are used to soften the target and render defenders inoperable.

            b.  A Maneuver element - a lightly armed unit(rifles, RPG's, light machine guns), whose principle responsibility is to carry the attack to the enemy and engage them, one on one.

3.  Rehearsal - Practice, Discussion, Intelligence coordination and dry runs to insure all individuals and elements understand their responsibilities and most important, the disposition of the other elements in relation to each other and the target.

Any coordinated attack that contained the two first elements would have been rehearsed for reasons that should be obvious even to a complete novice. The Base of Fire Element which is designed to soften up a target can be deadly if not coordinated with the Maneuver Element. This means a pre-designed communications/signal plan telling the Base of Fire when to cease fire, or shift to make a safe avenue of approach for the Maneuver Element.

It is important to know that it has been determined that all of the above were exhibited in the assault on our personnel in Libya. It is also noteworthy that Libyan President Magariaf, insists that this was a pre-planned, coordinated attack and not an impromptu act of a mob, displaying "righteous indignation" over insults to Mohammed and Islam in a16 minute You Tube video and that it occurred in advance of any "protest" that might have been spawned by that film.

There are only two reasons this administration would continue to deny the obvious; one, they're idiots and two, they are protecting something; in this case two "somethings".

The first, is the likelihood that someone within the State Department was derelict of duty. The very idea that an Ambassador and his Staff would be placed on foreign soil without an MSG contingent is despicable! No Embassy is complete without one and as the last few days has shown, an MSG is vital for the security of the Staff, US Sovereign Property and Operational Security issues.

The second reason is that anything that moves attention away from the ridiculous suggestion that a 16 minute video (that took most of us hours to find) could cause these people to hate us nullifies the argument for COIN in Afghanistan and our generally gentle handling of the Ummah.

It also calls into question the judgment of this sitting President, his administration and the gaggle of Representatives and Senators who giggled at the prospect of "democracy" in the midst of Islam; a suggestion that all of us who write on this subject warned was an impossibility.

It is truly remarkable that the administration and its legions of minions persists in their combined efforts to convince the American population that these kinds of murderous outbursts are somehow reasonable; when these murderous acts are manifested as some perverted form of righteous indignation against blasphemous commentary on Mohammed or Islam.

It is painfully clear that they have deemed these acts as legitimate despite their anemic attempts to dispel this characterization of their remarks.

I am wondering if the administration considers the lack of violence among Christians as a sign of spiritual degradation when we don't act similarly? Remember Andres Serrano's outrageous photograph of a Crucifix bathed in a bucket of his urine?

Insider attack # 38 however, is the single most troubling thing to happen this past week. It is troubling because of what it portends for the safety of our War Fighters operating within the damnable parameters of COIN in Afghanistan.

Look at the number of attacks, per year from the Long Wars Journal:

2008  - 2

2009  - 5

2010  - 6

2011  - 15

2012  - 38 (as of this writing)

There is a left-wing allegory that was pedaled some decades back trying to illustrate the manufactured fear of the day; over population. The story sets up a simple question; there is a tree, near a pond which drops a single leaf into the pond and on each following day the number of leaves dropped into the pond doubles. If the pond is full on the thirtieth day, on which day is the pond half full?

The answer; the Twenty Ninth Day.

We are facing a Twenty Ninth Day scenario in Afghanistan and if the events of the last week are any indication, possibly the whole world.

There is no way of knowing which attack will "inspire" a larger segment of Afghan society to join the ranks of the "true believers", but it is now clear that the day is approaching. It is also clear that when that day approaches, we will be caught unaware. While the average Marine and Soldier may bear a sense of impending disaster, there is very little indication that the leadership - military or civilian are at all aware of the possibility.

This "spiritual energizing" of the dormant Islamic soul which is fed both by guilt for having fallen from the "true faith" and a confidence in watching fellow Muslims in the act of self- destruction and murder for Allah, is a toxic and fatal combination. They are the cause and the epiphany which propel otherwise "peaceful" Muslims to suddenly and "inexplicably" turn their weapons on their "allies".

The tragedy is that the administration is so enamored with it's conjured perceptions of who the average Afghan Muslim is, that it denies them the opportunity to consider what is likely coming, and to plan for it; and our War Fighters are found caught in the middle. They are caught between the delusional "leadership" of lesser men and a burgeoning revival of the Islamic spirit which history proves to always manifest itself, violently.

This administration has chosen to use their efforts to convince the US and World population that the events of the past week are related to a simple 16 minute parody. Their efforts would be better used determining what must be laying just below the surface to cause whom they have deemed spiritual and peaceful people to act out so violently, so quickly, on so specific a target.

The final Operation of the Vietnam War, "Operation Frequent Wind", was ordered on 29 April 1975. From a political vantage point, it stands as one of the most shameful decisions any country has endured. It was the inevitable fruit of a political structure which refused to listen to it's military leadership coupled with an arrogant view of other peoples, in other countries.

It was the last gasp of another failed attempt at operating within the paradigm Counter Insurgency Doctrine and one that defiled the conscience of a nation, and left an entire generation disillusioned for twenty years.

As we consider the events of this past week and most important of all, these latest two incidents of treachery, it is becoming all to clear that this administration and those who serve at its pleasure will never accept the fact that their analysis of Afghan culture was false, their vision sullied by the delusions of one man and their efforts to choose a strategy a failure.

It is also clear that our Forces will likely again be compelled to endure the tragic consequences of the vision of an arrogant and delusional few and to revisit the politically embarrassing last days of a war that nearly destroyed us as a people, thirty seven years ago.

The real question is; how many more of America's Sons and Daughters need to be sacrificed at the altar of arrogance and political convenience before the inevitable order is given?

Semper Fidelis;

John Bernard

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An American General "Excuses" the Murder of American Servicemen in Afghanistan as due to "Religious Stress"!

In what can only be described as a pitiful attempt to distract Americans from the obvious truth which is being written, and rewritten in American blood multiple times per week, General Allen excused the actions of Afghanistan's "True Soldiers of Allah". He very publicly declared that the "stresses" endured by ANA and ANP troops who participated in the month long Ramadan fast, have contributed to the very existence of "insider" attacks. Apparently, for the General, this is an acceptable explanation for "vetted" Afghan's to turn the weapons Americans have given them, against their benefactors.

It wasn't long ago we heard of another Officer who felt United States Marines were nothing more than cannon fodder for his unique understanding of "the greater good", Lieutenant Colonel Homiak. Let me be clear General; it is not acceptable!! No killing of American War Fighters is EVER "acceptable"! While it may be that during the normal conduct of battle deaths will occur, it is never "acceptable" and no individual entrusted with the level of authority you have been given should ever dare to suggest to America's Fathers and Mothers, that their Son's or Daughter's deaths is acceptable - regardless of the words you use to arrive at that opinion!

This almost apologetic comment, made by this American General who has been very quick to condemn American troops for things like the inadvertent burning of copies of the Quran can only be described as a total lack of regard for the Marines and Soldiers who have been sacrificed at the hands of this 7th century gaggle of thugs and their surrogates in Washington!

What makes his disgraceful commentary that much more unpalatable is his follow up in the Washington Post. Rather than damning these attacks for what they are, he continues to excuse these simple acts of Islamic mandated holy murder while calling for more US bloodletting for the unwarranted hope that Afghanistan will somehow miraculously blossom into a beacon of peace, tranquility and freedom for the ever "oppressed and noble" Afghan!

Can you say Stupid?

This continual betrayal of American trust and confidence given our "leaders", is not only despicable, it is an ugly, indelible scrawl across the thousands of American Servicemen's grave stones declaring in no uncertain terms; you were just a convenient tool on the way to an anti-American/pro-Afghan fantasy!

There is an allegory that most American Service members are familiar with. It breaks down human society into three distinct groups; The Sheep, the Sheepdog and the Wolf. It is taught that the majority of humanity can be described as Sheep; generally docile and unassuming, grazing, collecting and giving birth, to more sheep. They are generally peaceable but also blissfully unaware of the danger that lurks nearby. There is no guile but also no innate sense of duty to sacrifice oneself for the flock either and because of this, the sheep are defenseless. There is no crime in this, it is simply the state of the sheep.

The Wolf, on the other hand, is cunning, conniving, capable of great violence and continually on the prowl for the weak, unaware, defenseless sheep. Sometimes he attacks from the front but often from the periphery where the sheep is not watching. He steals, he kills, he destroys; sometimes without apparent purpose but always without remorse. He is self-centered and often runs in packs of other self-centered, remorseless, blood thirsty wolves. Against him, the Sheep have no defense because they live unaware and unprepared. The wolf doesn't hunt or take exclusively for need, rather he lusts for the blood of the unsuspecting and peaceful sheep.

Also within society there exists the Sheepdog. The Sheepdog is also capable of extreme violence but is also compassionate with a deep sense purpose toward the sheep around him. The Sheepdog runs in packs as well but his pack is well organized and dedicated to the protection of the sheep. The Sheepdog respects and trusts his leadership and is prepared to lay down his life in the protection of the sheep and his fellow Sheepdogs. He is keenly aware of the wolf and his evil tendencies and the Sheepdog is continually on watch for him and prepared to do what is necessary to protect the sheep, even to the point of death. It is also comforting to know that where the Sheepdog is, the wolf is hesitant to attack.  

It is with deep regret I inform you that the wolves have infiltrated the ranks of the Sheepdog…

This has been more than apparent for a long time now, and the wolf, under the guise of genuine American leadership has been sending the Sheepdog to slaughter while telling the Sheep, everything is alright.

And the sheep nod their heads, and do nothing!

Everything is not "all right" and things have in fact been very wrong, for a very long time. These "insider/green on blue/ Ramadan stressed/fasting impaired" attacks on American Servicemen are not an acceptable price to pay and our General Grade leaders and our Civilian representatives have all been lying to the American public for far too long. Their apathetic glare and pathetic responses to each and every new American Service Members death can no longer be tolerated.

It is far time for the American voter, the "King" according to our founding documents, to accept responsibility for the disgrace that is the inner DC beltway and stop the carnage being perpetrated against our American Servicemen - our Sons and Daughters in Afghanistan and other ill-conceived battlefields; present, and future!

If there is an enemy to fight in Afghanistan, it long past time we rooted him out and destroyed him without mercy and without ceasing until he exists no more or begs on bended knee for forgiveness. We "owe" Afghanistan and Afghan's, nothing! And if there are those who think differently, they can always but their collective butts where their far too free tongues are, join or start a civilian aid group and go to Afghanistan to do as they see fit! But make no mistake about it; War Fighters should NOT be used and abused to seek the manifestation of a fantasy conjured up in the minds of the deluded puppets of the political sphere.

I want to thank, Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman for his allegory.

I want to implore General Allen to reconsider his remarks which are so uncharacteristic of our beloved Corps and recant. And if for some reason, you have arrived at that point in your life, and your career that you can no longer place the lives of the Marines in your charge at a premium, do the honorable thing and retire! Who knows; maybe the "honorable Afghan" will appoint you as an Officer in the ANA?

Lastly, to all the Sheep, former Sheepdogs and currently serving Sheepdogs; use your God-given right and compose a letter, an e-mail, pick up the phone, send a telegraph, lash a note to the leg of a Carrier Pigeon, send up a smoke signal or drive down to DC but please, contact those men and women who dared to ask for your vote while promising to represent you and tell them ENOUGH is ENOUGH!

By the way General; Does the last "noble Afghan" who killed two more United States Service Members, yesterday, still get to claim clemency under the Allen/Ramadan defense?

Semper Fidelis;

John Bernard

Monday, August 13, 2012

Six United States Marines Murdered; Two Acts of Treachery; One Day in the True Afghanistan!

The tenth of August has given us two more examples of just how miserable the United States Government's vision for the "war" in Afghanistan is! In what can only be described as an "in-your-face" declaration by the very focused, ideologically motivated forces at work within the borders of Afghanistan, these two incidents, the latest in an ever increasing number of like attacks, once again demonstrate just how wrong our understanding of Afghan culture is.

What is even more troubling is that in the first ambush/attack, the perpetrator was not working alone. He had the help of accomplices, who like him, were declared allies by the United States government. He and his fellow Officers were given unfettered access to our forces and they exploited that weakness in our perception of who these people are and killed according to the doctrines which bind all of Afghan society together.

And why not?

After all, since when are men at war required to do the bidding of their enemy during hostilities? This is where our government has failed and continues to fail in Afghanistan. We refuse to reconsider our original assessment of the whole culture in Afghanistan and as a result, our War Fighters continue to pay the price for the hubris of those whose orders they obey.

With straight faces, the unending queue of government "experts" continues to pedal their well-rehearsed narrative in spite of the increasing mountain of evidence which screams to the contrary. We have gotten to the point that I personally have no desire to continue this "dialogue" with men who have so easily sold their personal souls along with the lives of good men on a fantasy that spins a tale of a peace-loving culture beset by an unwanted, alien force who pervert the doctrines of the "religion of peace".

The facts of these latest two incidences tell us everything we ever needed to know but several years after we should have learned their lesson! The murderers are of that segment of society that our government has presumed want peace and relief form the "unwanted alien insurgency" and yet, they baited a trap for United States Marines who were under standing orders to trust them.

This happened not once on this single day, but twice! And the result is that 6 good men, United States Marines, will not be going home to rejoin their families.

What is so damnable about these two events and the many others which preceded them is that our government insists on continuing to give these people the benefit-of-the-doubt while placing our own sovereign citizens in their midst like some perverted science experiment even though the evidence clearly indicates these kinds of attacks will continue!

Is this the vision of our Government? Sending men who have voluntarily suspended their rights as American citizens and willingly placed their very futures, trustingly, in the hands of those I tell you are lesser men only to have that trust squandered and their lives wasted? At what point are these euphemistically expressed, "green on blue" incidences going to convince the dead in DC or their surrogates, the media, that the current strategy is yielding nothing more than more dead US Service members, NATO, ISAF and civilian worker deaths and greater alienation from the very people the strategy is supposed to protect?

Even the much lauded, "fair and balanced" FOX news could not take the time or space on their scroll to report on these two incidences first thing Saturday morning. FOX was too busy covering a political announcement to report it live and their scroll failed to mention it at all. Here are the stories the "keeper of the scroll" considered more important than the deaths of 6 United States Marines:

·       Announcement of Paul Ryan as GOP VP pick (celebrities - even government trump troops)

·       Lackland AFB Sexual Assault Case (salacious details sell more product)

·       Syrian Rebels pleading with West for aid (even our future enemies are more important)

·       Neil Armstrong Heart Attack (love Neil Armstrong but even in pain he would agree; troops first)

·       Mourning 6 murdered Sikhs (murdered citizens should be mourned but not above that of our troops)

·       Catholic Nuns in Scandal (…REALLY??)

It was 0926 before the keeper of the scroll finally mentioned one of the attacks which took the lives of three Marines but clearly, the focus of effort was the political announcement of the day!

In addition there wasn't a single mention of either of these two attacks in any of the speeches or following commentary by anyone in either party nor was there any mention of any foreign policy vision as it relates to Central Asia, the war in Afghanistan or the plight of our War Fighting community!

Make no mistake about it; this is a direct reflection of the continued inexplicable defense of the current strategy by, seemingly, our entire government! Our "servants" have allowed themselves to be lulled into complacency by the few who have convinced them that their "analyses" clearly indicate that the vast majority of Afghan culture is supportive of our effort and that if we stay the course, it will succeed. While this might have been an acceptable argument ten years ago, it is nothing short of criminal to perpetuate this argument in the light of these continued acts of "treachery" TEN, YEARS, LATER!!

What was missed or rather expunged for the "analyses" was any "derogatory" mention of the religion which binds and directs all elements of Afghan society. And it is this religious doctrine which ultimately motivates those we have declared allies to act against us. What our "leaders" fail to understand is that these men are in fact at war, but not against those with whom they share a common doctrine, common culture, common ancestry; they are at war with us! And if some of these Afghans, many of whom we have declared to be allies, are at ideological odds with us and are not only willing but compelled to wage war with us, we need to perceive them in this way.

When the sitting President of Afghanistan reaches out to an unrepentant Taliban leader, before the cessation of hostilities and recommends he run for President of the very people we have declared he has victimized, it is clear we have no understanding of players and no legitimate vision for the outcome of this 10 year war. Why; because Karzai was our choice of leadership and because not one single voice cried out in condemnation of Hamid Karzai's insult to the price paid by thousands of American Service members to date!

Our government has failed to come to terms with these facts and in the process have caused many thousands of needless horrific injuries and deaths. And this has become so acceptable a price for the survival of the narrative that even the news agencies consider these deaths as secondary to the common and mundane events of daily life here in the US.

Will this election cycle in November really make any difference to how we envision doing "business" in the Middle East and South West Asia? You don't need to look any further than the venues which spew the "news of the day" and listen to the content of the speeches of political hopefuls for an answer to that. If there is no sense of urgency for the unreasonable price being paid for the defense of the inexplicable vision of our apathetic civilian servants, now, some 60 plus days out, what serious hope is there for a troop friendly change in November?

Nun scandal…REALLY?


John Bernard

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Afghan Treachery and Visionless Strategy Continue to Kill American War Fighters!

The Daily Mirror ran a story about the increased angst in the ranks of Britain's forces over new orders that require British forces to be fired upon before engaging the enemy in Afghanistan. While these ROE are not new to the US and ISAF forces in general, the edict is being received by Britain's armed forces as another oppressive act permitting a greater level of danger for them in the interest of safeguarding "innocent" Afghan civilians.

This debate is not new for either the Brits or Americans but with each new edict comes a new round of unnecessary friendly deaths at the hands of the Taliban and our new "allies", the Afghan Army and Police. As the numbers of ISAF and NATO casualties increase, there is ever growing evidence of the numbing of the minds of those entrusted with the leadership of these forces.

The number of deaths attributed to treachery among the ANA and ANP aimed at ISAF and NATO forces should indicate that efforts to minimize the damage caused to civilians by heavily restricting our forces simply isn't working. If this kind of behavior was occurring in this country and growing at the same rate, the career health hand-wringers would be declaring an epidemic! Unfortunately, we will be seeing more of these attacks because there is no sign that either the DOD, Pentagon or the civilian leadership in DC are willing to change tactics and loosen the ROE in response to what is clearly an uptick in anti-American and ISAF sentiment.

This report about the moral and real world effects of these continuingly tightening ROE came just a day before reports of two more "trusted" Afghan's opening fire on their British and American "counterparts". In the first incident which occurred, ironically, just one day after the scathing Mirror report, three British Soldiers were killed and the second occurring in Kabul, today yielding another five American Soldiers wounded. Concerned Americans are asking why this is happening and the answer is really very simple.

It has been 10 years since we first invaded Afghanistan driving the Taliban from power and leaving Al Qaida in disarray, forcing them to seek shelter in the mountains around Tora Bora and across the border in Pakistan. We spent the next few years simply holding ground via COP's and FOB's because we had shifted focus to Iraq. A discussion about the value of that decision can be held in another venue and another time but what is certain is that during the Iraq War years, we lost focus in Afghanistan.

When we were once again preparing to re-engage the Taliban in Afghanistan which had reconstituted, it was under new leadership with a radically different vision for the operation and for our conduct in the battle space. General Petraeus who has been lauded as the tactical genius who "won" the war in Iraq, had done two things which occurred simultaneously; first, he requested and received a surge of some 30,000 troops. The benefit of that surge was felt in Al Anbar Province.

At the same time, he made a decision to change strategy and introduced the controversial doctrine of Counter Insurgency to our efforts in Iraq. Although he has been crowned as the father of the doctrine, the truth is he borrowed it from the Marine Corps's Small Wars Manual of 1940 and simply "re-tooled" it to fit the environment in Southwest Asia. Because these two elements occurred at the same time, many were led to believe that our eventual success in Al Anbar province was due to the strategy change.

This was an unfortunate misinterpretation of the taming of Al Anbar. The truth is that Al Anbar was won by hard fought, hardcore combined arms Infantry tactics and a little something called force saturation. Simply put, the "Insurgency" did not have any more maneuver space in Al Anbar because we had filled the battle space with American uniforms. But because a population needs a "hero", General Petraeus was held up as the COIN genius who won Al Anbar and with that kind of press comes a legacy and all legacies need justification. The justification came by way of a decision to change the strategy in Afghanistan with the hope of duplicating our success in Iraq.

Refocusing on Afghanistan would require changes and a change of leadership and so Defense Secretary Gates asked for General McKiernan's resignation in early 2009 and replaced him with a philosoph of Petraeus, General Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal was not only loyal to Petraeus, he was also a staunch believer in COIN. The change was determined necessary because the Taliban had already rallied and were regaining territory taken from them early in the campaign. Petraeus and McChrystal both believed Afghanistan presented challenges that COIN was developed to respond to but Petraeus and McChrystal misread the population and the prevailing religious ideology of Afghanistan. In addition, the focus and intent emanating from the executive branch in DC, placed new emphasis on "playing nice". The greatest evidence of this new intent is found in the complete lack of discussion about the predominant religion in the region.

The reason the Taliban has been able to operate in such close proximity to our forces is the same reason we are finding so many incidences of treachery in the ranks of the ANA and ANP; the absence of scrutiny of the influence of the prevailing religion in the region and it's most hate filled verses. While the mantra from within the DC and emanating from the DOD is that Islam is a religion of peace which has been hijacked by a small percentage of adherents, the evidence suggests that the percentage is indeed higher. It is also indicative of a population that is not nearly as concerned with the actions of the Taliban as they are with our presence in their country.

Probably the most significant piece of evidence for this is in the proliferation of IED's. If in fact, as we are told, IED's are the product and weapon of an insurgent element that has perverted the doctrines of Islam, there should be very few of these devices left to injure our troops who are forced to patrol in and around populated areas without Close Air Support, Artillery Support, Support from organic weapons systems like 60mm, 81mm and 120mm mortars and who cannot return fire on an enemy if the engagement is near a populated area. But in reality, IED's are still being set and very few are being reported to ISAF or American forces by the population these unreasonably tight ROE are intended to protect.  They are not being reported because the local population does not feel as oppressed by the Taliban as our leadership has chosen to believe. The Taliban are in fact, of the people in Afghanistan. They are Brothers, Fathers, Husbands, Sons, Neighbors and Friends. They also have one thing in common with the people that we, as a western force do not; a shared adherence to Islam.

The truth is, Counter Insurgency efforts throughout history have been waged at a terrible cost to the War Fighters who are forced to operate within that paradigm. And the historical record of success while working within COIN and its damnable ROE is abysmal. The evidence that is reported every, single day screams of its failure and yet no one in DC or the DOD or the Pentagon seems to be paying attention.

So the question to ask this day is whether our appointed leaders are more concerned about history recording their undying support for the strategy they have thrust upon our War Fighters or succeeding on the battlefield?

In the meantime our War Fighters will continue to be victims of short-sighted leadership and the tenacity of the Afghan people; the Taliban, the treacherous ANA and ANP, the corrupt Kabul government and the actions/inaction of the "innocent" population.

And this is because our leadership refuses to acknowledge or even consider the ramifications of working in an ideologically monolithic society where that ideology is Islam.
Semper Fidelis;
John Bernard

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The End of Counter Insurgency Operations? Don't Bet on It!

Now that a politically survivable solution has been accepted to end the current conflict in Afghanistan, the discussion of COIN (Counter Insurgency ) doctrinal viability has begun.  Even though the debate over this doctrine has raged since it's inception, this last ten year ordeal is forcing the visionaries and philosophes to re-engage in the discussion of strategy.  

On June 5th, Stratfor issued a prequel to what promises to be a long, arduous, soul searching event where the differences between one view point and another will be measured perceptions established after gleaning after action reports and US foreign policy philosophy.  While AA reports and Foreign Policy statements reveal information relevant to understanding the outcome of specific engagements, neither after action reports nor the political establishment's vision will answer why the overall strategy succeeded or failed.  In order for there to be any substantive knowledge gained from these discussions, those involved will have to look a lot further back to find the real reasons the desired outcome may not have been achieved.

Revisiting those original meetings and discussions that filled out the analysis that was used to write the Op Order and plan the strategy will require honest introspection.   It is absolutely vital that those involved in these post operation discussions be as transparent and honest about what wasn't done and what was ignored as they are about what transpired on the battlefield because this is where the legitimate answers lie. 

Of course the intent of these following discussions is to determine how best to engage enemies in the future because it is becoming more apparent by the day that our involvement in this region of the world is far from over.

It is almost ironic that Stratfor should break ground for these discussions on this day because the same morning, the Syrian government expelled all Western diplomats.  This move would normally be seen as just another step in a third world diplomatic process that is replete with these kinds of retaliatory acts had the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and the Netherlands not already expelled Syrian diplomats several days earlier.  Western nations have been trying to decide what course of action to take to staunch the bleeding in this latest chapter in the saga of the Arab Spring while simultaneously trying to convince the Syrian government and their President Bashar Al-Assad to, essentially, surrender. 

My question remains the same; why do we care?  In every single similar episode in this Arab Spring "adventure", the combatants have had a shared ideology, shared culture and have been just as brutal to their fellows as the opposition. Neither side has any particular love for the non-conforming, infidel western world. The outcome of these poor excuses for elections has certainly not lived up to the hopes and expectations of the cheering section on this side of the big pond and one would argue has done little more than energize a people already belligerent to our very right to exist.  Given our incredibly poor batting average to date, why do we insist on supporting one side or the other when in reality, they are the same?

What is certain in Syria is that Al-Assad is unlikely to bend to the whims of the largely western infidel hand-wringers and, the rebel force facing off with Al-Assad's military is unlikely to back down.  This leaves the western diplomatic visionaries with few options and if a military strike is chosen, the likelihood of an air offensive a-la-Libya only, is slim.  This suggests the possibility of our witnessing US and Western forces making yet one more incursion into one more predominant Islamic nation. 

Not likely you say?  When we were looking at Libya, many believed "reason would prevail" and our visionaries would simply sit back and advise. They didn't and I don't believe there is anyone left who truly believes Libya will have improved their vision of the infidel world or that Libyans are likely to lead a better life because of the revolt or our support of it.  Remember the desecration of British World War II graves?  Does someone really want to defend that act as the reasonable response to the unintentional burning of books?  Is this how normal, moral, peaceful, recently freed people respond to those who helped them?

At this stage in history, the prospect of sending more US troops into yet another Islamic regime operating within the same COIN paradigm should give pause to every red blooded American.  If anything has been proven to date it is that the proponents of COIN are far more interested in the success of their vision than they are the outcome of combat action. 

America's War Fighters deserve better than that!  They are trained not simply to follow orders but to apply the skill and tenacity infused in their very being by years of very specific training intended to allow them to deliver victory to the nation they are serving! 

COIN does not envision victory. COIN envisions low kinetic peacekeeping operations in the midst of a "reasonable people" beset by an outside, unwanted, destructive asymmetric force that neither the reasonable people nor their government can dislodge without help.  It is not much different than the way law enforcement operates in bad sections of town overrun by gang violence.  However, unlike these domestic law enforcement operations, conducting operations within the sovereign space of another nation creates a tension between the general population and the foreign counter insurgency force in the best of situations.  Infidel western forces working in the midst of an overwhelming Islamic culture however is far from ideal and the likelihood of confrontation is a given; and this is where the COIN proponents failed.  Absolutely no consideration was given to the probability of unresolvable tension between the people of Afghanistan and ISAF's largely western, non-Islamic force due to the doctrines of Islam and the dedication of it's adherents. 

To date there has been absolutely nothing to suggest that either the politicians in this country or the martial architects of either the Iraq or Afghan campaigns have been willing to revisit their conscious and politically motivated decision to ignore the "elephant in the battle space"; the Islamic religion.

In a world that has no stomach for conflict, those entrusted with the safety and security of nations have decided that big wars are avoided by smaller wars which are essentially best handled without fighting per COIN doctrine.  In this brave new world, the Small Wars Manual of 1940 is not just another tool in the magic bag of war planners it has become the holy grail of conflict resolution.

COIN isn't going anywhere and our War Fighting community will have to come to accept that the heady days of vanquishing the enemy, his capability, his morale, his will to fight and forcing him to take a knee are relinquished to old dusty volumes sitting atop rotting stacks in forgotten libraries.

Such is the "vision" of our morally bankrupt Politicians and their General Grade minions.
Semper Fidelis;
John Bernard

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Afghanistan; America's Willful Deception

American Thinker, John Bernard 16 May 2012
The battlefield is as fluid as diplomatic efforts to shape the outcome are convoluted.  While diplomacy during peacetime can be described as the efforts between two national representatives to overcome obstacles to a good, healthy and mutually productive relationship, diplomacy during hostilities cannot.  “Diplomatic efforts” during an ongoing conflict are at best an oxymoron.  The failure of two parties to work out problems with one another is what leads to war and if war is the ultimate outcome of a failure of diplomacy then it stands to reason that the successful outcome of the war can only be defined when one warring nation capitulates to the battle field prowess of the other.

Our current struggles in Afghanistan have been defined and redefined so many times that it is little wonder that civilian support for the effort here in the United States has waned.  What is truly amazing is that the level of morale in the ranks of our War Fighting community has remained as high as it has.  High morale is not however an accurate indicator of how our military views our successes on this battlefield especially at this point in history.  The reason it does not is because this is one of the only times in our history when a draft has not been used to maintain numbers in the ranks.  Those who have served both in Iraq and Afghanistan have done so willingly and their overall perception of time served is generally more positive than that of conscripts.

Americans have grown accustomed to hearing reports emanating from government officials that do not line up with reports coming in from the battlefield through media outlets and from other sources with boots on the ground.  Every piece of information delivered to the American public flows through a government filter to insure consistency with the narrative.  In addition the administration’s proxy, the Pentagon has decided that elements of certain kinds of information should be sequestered to insure the state narrative continues untarnished by pesky details.

Even the lexicon has morphed to reflect the changing opinions of the current “visionary”.  While success on the battlefield has historically been defined as victory, even the word battlefield has been carefully expunged from the public dialogue.  Success has been coopted by “compromise” and victory remanded to the dustbin of unacceptable words and phrases. Enemy Prisoners of War (EPW) are now future leaders in the new coalition government envisioned by the luminaries in DC. General Grade Officers have been carefully selected for their willingness to capture the vision and then translate it into conduct on the battlefield that reflects the intent of their Commander in Chief.

The American population has been exposed to military jargon they don’t understand, historically incorrect details about Afghan society and Islam and have been force-fed these carefully manicured stories of successful encounters with Afghan society for at least eight years.  I say eight years because it took time for the government to begin to transit from high tempo combat to a low kinetic, COIN-centric operational philosophy.  This slow slide into the insane world of peace keeping operations took time.  The move to COIN fantasy began to take root at precisely the same rate as our moral outrage and desire for retribution for the acts perpetrated against us on September 11, 2001 began to fade. One of the great problems with COIN operations is that it’s historical success rate is abysmal.  In fact there has only ever been one successful attempt and Afghanistan isn’t it.  And just to keep the record straight, Iraq wasn’t it either!

If things are going so very well for us in Afghanistan right now, then reporting should reflect that but there are very few stories to corroborate what we are being told.  In the past two weeks alone, we have seen more evidence of the growing trend of Afghan Nationals turning their weapons on American, and NATO/ISAF forces.  Even as stories like these continue to roll in, we have had further confirmation of an ongoing effort by US representatives to reconcile with the incalcitrant Taliban and to release battle hardened Taliban fighters back to Afghan society.  While we have chosen to abandon the battlefield in a quest for a magic potion to make the Taliban like us, they, are doing their level best to ‘explain’ to us that they have no interest in peace, an example of which is the killing an Afghan “peace negotiator”.  They are also exploiting our weakness on the battlefield due to our apparent unwillingness to bring the fight to them!

Of course many questions are raised by all of this but none as important as the one; why did we ever let this government convince us that rebuilding Afghanistan was somehow better for the United States?  This question is important simply because there are those of us who are serving in that part of the world who have been led to believe they are there for the security of the United States.  Regardless of the apparent inanity of the mission, the overwhelming evidence of IED placement, VBIED traffic, the obvious lack of measurable support from the local population and the incessant stories of moral and ethical failure in the Kabul government, these War Fighters press on.  The government that has compelled them to serve in a hostile environment owes them at least the ability to defend themselves when fired upon.  The ROE however denies them use of the basic tools of the trade; artillery, close air support, use of organic weapons systems like the 60mm mortar and even small arms fire if their proximity to civilians cannot absolutely guarantee safety for the civilians.

As the ‘combat’ mission begins to morph into one of training and support, logic would dictate that under normal conditions the environment will become more dangerous for our War Fighting community.  But the conditions in Afghanistan are hardly normal and no matter how much the General Grade Officers and their counterparts in DC want Afghanistan and Afghans to reflect their vision for them, it isn't going to happen.  One thing is certain, as the number of service members in Afghanistan is drawn down, the real threat to our War Fighter community will grow – exponentially.  The ROE will grow incredibly tighter for that is another expectation within the COIN paradigm; as the operation ages, so grows the support from the civilian population decreasing the need for armed force.

Does anyone want to bargain their lives or those of their loved ones on that premise, in this part of the world?  Maybe the President or our silent Congressional representatives should stand in the gap and give our War Fighters a break. 

The truth is, in spite of the narrative, the actual evidence suggests things in Afghanistan are turning in favor of the Taliban.  The danger to our forces will not only continue but will grow in intensity as more, and more control of the battle space is handed to the Taliban.  And this giving over of control is a direct consequence of our having chosen not to hold the Taliban accountable on the battle field; a battle field created by a failure on the part of Al Qaida, the Taliban and other like-minded Islamic cells to choose peaceful co-existence with the rest of the world.  It is also a complete failure of the remainder of the so-called peaceful Muslim Ummah to denounce the violence perpetrated by these groups.

Those in the highest levels of governance in this country and appointed to highest echelons of authority in the DOD have willingly rendered their consciences and their minds incapable of considering the threat, the motivation for the threat, the determination of this enemy and the proper response to the threat.  Instead, they have done what too many men in this age have done. They have been seduced by a lie that allows their weakened character to take the less painful road rather than the road that would have led to victory.

And in so doing, they have purposefully deceived a nation and a nation’s most valuable asset: it’s War Fighting community.

Semper Fidelis

John Bernard

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This Year We Choose the Best of the Least

People who ‘rise to the occasion’ are generally no different than the people from whom they emerge. If the people are focused on good character, sound leadership, selfless service, a sense of personal responsibility for the good of the nation, an understanding of good and responsible nationalistic spirit, then those who are chosen to represent them will display these qualities.

However, what we have seen happen far too often are men who are missing an innate understanding of what should be moral eligibility for the positions they seek. I for one am astounded that anyone could not feel inadequate or disqualified for federal political office having not served, in some capacity, in the Armed Forces of this nation. What kind of arrogance is it that allows a man to consider himself – or herself eligible for a position of service that bears the authority to send others to their deaths having first exempted themselves from that heavy responsibility when it was their time?

While the US Constitution does not require Military service as a prerequisite for holding the position of President of the United States, the voter certainly can demand it simply by refusing to consider men who don’t have this essential experience in their resume. This irresponsible voter oversight creates an opportunity for the kind of degenerate decisions that continue to endanger better men on the battlefield. It is this kind of selfish, self-centered, sociopathic vision that allows unqualified men to rise to the highest levels of authority in this country. And make no mistake, ‘we the people’ have not only ignored this missing qualifier in too many of our candidates, we have encouraged people who should have disqualified themselves to run in the first place.  

This is not a complicated issue it is in fact a stance that we all take every, single, day. As business owners, we regularly fire people who do not display a minimum of talent or the character necessary for the jobs we offer. Truly successful corporations typically hire men for leadership positions who have an innate understanding of the industry they will be leaders in. Even Churches glean resumes, interview candidates and listen to the sermons given by men who apply for positions as Pastors of Congregations. Law Enforcement personnel suffer a gauntlet of interviews, academy training and lengthy probationary periods before being put on the permanent rolls. We all spend a significant amount of time with contractors, service personnel, mechanics and babysitters before hiring someone to perform any one of their services in our homes or on our equipment. And yet the process of choosing someone for the position of President of the United States is run more like a popularity contest than a period of deeply considerate vetting.

How else do we wind up with one man whose entire personal experience is summed up by college and a position as a community organizer on the one hand while on the other, a business man who never grew anything, built anything or created any substantive thing. And I know, in some cases both of their efforts probably allowed for the creation of some jobs but their efforts certainly contributed more to personal aggrandizement and personal wealth than the former. In any case, that nagging, desire to serve others with your very life seems to have been lacking in both – at least as it pertained to military service. President Obama simply chose not to serve while Mitt Romney sought a deferment for school. Please keep in mind that this is no small matter for as President of the United States because they hold the authority to press others into service and harm’s way even through selective service if necessary.

The last election cycle reaped a man with no military experience and personal prejudices for a specific religious institution. The men whom he has appointed to positions of authority within the DOD and military circles have shared his historically incorrect and skewed view of this religion and it’s worshippers. Our Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Coastguardsmen continue to bear the devastating consequences of that election, the appointees and the strategy they chose. Their price is measured in thousands of deaths, tens of thousands of life altering injuries and a prohibition to hold the enemy accountable on the battlefield.

The greatest sin however is that this country squandered the greatest gift that can be bestowed upon man for if the 1% of this generation can truly be said to be gifted by God, called by God to selflessly serve their country in the uniformed forces of this nation then it can also be said that those in whose hands they placed their lives and their gifts, betrayed them. They betrayed them by dangling the aura of pure service in the fires of combat in front of their faces and exchanged it for senseless death and mutilation void of a righteous fight with the enemy or even righteous retribution. By denying the Warrior ‘his day’ they have emboldened the enemy, moved the Afghan population toward the Taliban, made this country less secure as a result and mystified the thinkers in this nation!

Short of Divine intervention, our last hope is for a last minute, life altering personal epiphany on the part of at least one of these candidates. However, if these two men truly represent the heart of this nation a policy changing personal epiphany is unlikely. Their ‘epiphany’ would have to be inspired by the heart of the people from whom they come and there is little evidence that a plurality of the electorate understands either the significance of their responsibility or the effect it will have on those who are compelled to function within the constraints of COIN fantasy.

An additional cost that is more difficult to measure is the loss of respect for all current leadership in this country. Even if the White House can be blamed for its vision and it’s appointments, and Congress for its lack of oversight, the ultimate blame for the devastating decisions on the battlefield lays at the feet of the General Grade Officers who bear the final responsibility to decry what they know to be wrong.

I am reminded of one of the tenets of good counseling and that is to never leave a counseling session without an uplifting note or a piece of sage advice; while the outcome of this election is likely sealed, the responsibility of the electorate is not. We face election cycles every 2, 4 and 6 years nationally and more at local levels. As long as we are American citizens and as long as the US Constitution remains a viable cornerstone of jurisprudence and a declaration of personal freedom, we will have elections. And as long as we have elections, we have a responsibility to choose from among us the best to represent our interests rather than the least of the bad.

Now is the time to become educated on all of those issues that affect us as a nation, as individuals and most certainly those among us who have chosen to place their lives and their posterity in the hands of those we will elect to the highest positions of authority in the land. It is time for the uneducated, the insufferable idealists, the pessimists and the optimists to lay aside their uneducated opinions, their personal prejudices and that bowl of cherry blossoms.

It is time to become a responsible citizen who recognizes they hold the lives of Warriors in their hands at the polling booth!