Obama & Thomas Friedman- Foreign Policy Failure Fest
Godspeed Robin Williams

Despair or Determination

I’ve written on the difference between a victim and victor before, and today I find myself writing about despair.  Let’s face it, there is a lot out there to make us despair.  

 Anti-semitism has become public and fashionable once again, particularly among the so-called intelligentsia.  Some token efforts are made to cloak it in terms of anti-Zionism or some such, but quite a few — including former major world leaders — don’t even bother to cloak it in that anymore. 

The war on women rages on.  Not the fake outrage of the glittery SJW crowd, but a real war where a modern caliphate is parcelling out captured women as sex slaves with nary a word of objection raised by that same group of SJWs.  These are also the people beheading or or otherwise killing those of other faiths, down to children.  Yet, we are told by our so-called betters that solutions have to be found by negotiation.  

Translators and others who risked life, limb, and family to help us have been deliberately, and in my opinion maliciously, abandoned by our department of state.  Only where significant political pressure has been brought to bear has there been much movement on individual cases.  The larger program? Not of interest to or a priority of the lace panty brigade.  I swear there are days I think they see those brave people as traitors or similar scum… 

In Iraq, I watched as individuals, squads, and companies of our troops changed a country.  A brutal dictatorship fell, and an effort was begun to raise a new country, complete with laws and rules of law — a concept that was new.  For not just decades, but centuries the rule was family and clan, and the heck with all else.  Sure there was lip service, but the rules and laws were to be broken at need, and for those in power ignored.  Western Enlightenment principles of rule of law, fairness, and even the social compact had no sway. 

We tried to plant those seeds, and by our actions show that such was possible.  I’ve written before on these pages about individual Iraqi’s telling me that no matter what was said in public, that they did not want us to leave.  We were the only party they trusted to be objective, neutral arbiters.  Given all, I need to point out that they were referring to the military and the troops.  

A good reason for that trust of the troops by your “average” Iraqi (and even some in political circles) was a young commander I met who became known as a Sheik, for he went and visited every home and family in his AO.  When he met a family that needed help, he went and bought a goat from another and gave it to them.  That gift helped two families, and showed the people that he would do right by them and was a real leader.  Sad to say, our own rear echelon had already decided that he was not a fit for advancement, because he had failed to check a bureaucratic block before showing himself to be a capable combat and reconstruction leader.  

The work of thousands can be undone by a single person or incident, and especially by a small group of like minded people.  The current administration deliberately walked away from the SOFA discussions, and pulled us out.  This despite being warned of what would happen, and private pleas from a variety of parties.  No effort was made to make the prime minister honor spoken or written word, much less follow the rule of law.  His people got the good jobs, the best stuff, and all that went with the power.  

The result, is what you see before you.  ISIS has created a caliphate stretching from Syria to Baghdad, and Maliki’s forces can’t stop them.  Most of the effective fighting Government forces is reported to be by Russians (pilots) and Iranians.  The most effective fighting is being done by the Kurds, which is no surprise to me given those of them I had the chance to meet and observe even briefly.  

It is also the start of a coup, with Maliki having used his own forces to secure key points in Baghdad yesterday.  He has no plans to give up power for himself and his faction of the Shia.  We have zero leverage with him even now, or perhaps especially now, since DC seems to be coming down on the side of the Iraqi president.  Understand this, Maliki will not give up, and is perfectly happy to take Iraq down in a flaming mess with him (esp. as he undoubtably has an escape plan or two).  

Add in Ukraine/Russia and any of several other issues, and it is clear the world situation is deteriorating alarmingly and rapidly.  I have no faith or confidence in our political elite (or most elected officials) to deal effectively with any of it.  As a whole, I see them as more interested in staying in power and having the perks of same than anything else.  Such as doing their jobs and being representatives and servants of the people.  

Looked at this way, despair is easy.  What we need is determination.  Determination to operate in the best interests of America for a change, something that seems to have escaped the leadership of both major parties.  Determination to be exceptional, to carry the light of individual freedom and liberty as that beacon in the night.  To show, despite erosion of it even (especially) here, that the rule of law applies.  It means cleaning house on many levels and in many ways.  

In practical terms globally, we don’t have a lot of good options, and frankly not even that many merely bad.  In Iraq, the best thing we can do is arm the Kurds and give them all the support we can.  Frack Maliki.  There may be some options with the president and the government that is supposed to be forming, but I’m not seeing a whole lot there.  The agents and leaders of our government eradicated the good will and example made by our troops.  I’m sure that here and there were individuals part of post-troop efforts who tried to do the right thing and not make things worse, but they were not leadership.  At least not at a level to make a difference.  

As the CEO of a charity and for other reasons I’m not supposed to hold, or at least espouse, strong political opinions.  Yet, I can’t sit back and not say anything.  

So, here’s what I have to say:  Stand the frack up, shake off the miasma of the media and start digging.  Learn about what is going on, what led to it, and what it means.  Yes, what happens in Donetsk and Mosul does matter here, and isolationism never has and never will work.  Develop an informed opinion and make it known, both via contact with politicians at all levels and especially at the ballot box.  Are you mad about how veterans are being treated?  Then join those of us who are not waiting on empty words, but are taking actions to make a direct difference.  If you think the latest bill will fix something, hate to tell you but until workers at all levels (and not just SES) can be fired or otherwise disciplined, not one thing is going to change at the VA beyond a bit of theatre.  Until then, it’s just money being thrown into a bureaucratic sinkhole.  

Get off your metaphorical butts and make a fracking difference.  Matt started this site for a lot of good reasons, a prime one to make sure that the sacrifice of a friend (and that friend) were not forgotten and ignored.  It was a source of information and discussion by people interested in the military and what was really happening to and with our troops downrange.  The people who came here became educated in a variety of areas and made a difference.  They contacted elected officials and hit them with informed opinions and forced some needed things.  When the government couldn’t/wouldn’t do things fast enough, they joined with charities to get everything from kevlar blankets to candy downrange to those in need.  

Together, we made a difference before, and we can do it again.  We, the authors, can post, make points, and share information.  The rest, that’s up to you.  Me, I’m not sure how much I will be writing, as I need to go do what I can to make a difference to the brothers and sisters I see being abandoned.  And, yes, that is precisely how I feel about it.  I’m in a funky enough mood that the line ‘what God and elected leadership abandoned these defended’ has crossed my mind. 

The fact is, if we don’t act, no one else will.  Let's rock.