Why we don’t win wars anymore and embolden organizations like ISIS to attack our citizens

The problem is with two words “Exit Strategy.”

We all hear the talking heads, consultants, politicians and arm chair quarterbacks (and yes I realize the irony of this statement) talk about how warfare has changed, that the enemy Is harder to find, or more insidious. Frankly I find these words to be false, they are not why we can’t win anymore. We have the best, most expensive and most trained military in the world. Yet we cannot win and we blame President X, Congress, Political Party Y, or that we chose a bad war. It is none of these. When I hear Exit Strategy, I know we’ve already lost. We’ve put a timeline on what we’re willing to do. We’ve put a politically expedient phrase to essentially tell the world, and our enemies, that we are not going in to win, but that we are going through the motions, for political gain and to feel better that we did something. The only true Exit Strategy is unequivocal defeat of an enemy and there is only two ways to fully defeat an enemy, there is no middle ground where we say “we will leave in two years”  We leave when the job is done, period. Sadly, we as Americans always take the middle ground now and put a timeline and dollar tag on war. If we are unwilling to truly defeat an enemy, then we should never engage in war as it is a wasted effort and the cost of war (not in dollars, but in people and humanity) is so terrible that it should never be wasted, once engaged.

This is not an opinion piece on whether war is good or bad, justified or unjustified, it is that once we wage war, there needs to be a true commitment to win. The only two ways to win a war is either the complete and utter destruction of the enemy and where they go to quarter or to defeat the enemy and make them irrelevant.

The first way is the most brutal and most effective in the short term and that is the death and destruction of all the enemy and where the enemy goes to quarter. Barbaric, but effective, and yes, this type of war can be accomplished in a very short time should we set our minds to it. Purely punitive and self-preserving. Think of how Rome dealt with Carthage for a perfect example.  Rome didn’t rebuild Carthage, and they didn’t set a 2, 4, or 10 year limit on defeating Carthage.

The second way to win is to change the mindset of where the enemy draws their support. This requires a true generational (read 20-30 years) change where we provide stability after war in policing, education, jobs, and all the other needs that when not attended to, cause discontent. By providing these functions after war and TRULY rebuilding a country, we can change the course of a country for the better. One needs to look no further than Japan or Germany, post WWII. And rest assured, it took a generation to change. We didn’t hand over the last part of Japan until 1972.

What the United States doesn’t have, in any of our current conflicts is a true strategy to win. And how can we truly gain allies in these unstable countries when any potential ally knows that we will be leaving before the job is truly done? Not a good deal for those we want to help us, and therefore, to the United States, our allies look weak. The reality it is our resolve that is weak due to our national ADD and we shouldn’t wonder why allies don’t flock to our banner, when they know, in the interest of political expediency, we will be gone soon enough. The reality is we need to be willing to spend a generation in these countries, and bring them to true prosperity.

The main problem the United States has will power.  We bask in our past glory and act like everyone should still fear us. We have an inflated sense of capability, that countries still fear us for what we did years ago, in the trenches, on the ground and wherever we felt the need. It reminds me of the former High School football player reminiscing about 20 years ago, but can’t run a hundred yards anymore.  We lack the will to see things through to the end, whether it’s total destruction or nation building.

For those that say we cannot afford it, I answer that that, are saying we cannot afford it from our air conditioned room with our next generation iPhone while drinking five dollar espressos. The reality is not that we cannot afford, it’s that we don’t want to afford. The WWII generation understood that affordability had more to do with will. They endured gas rations, built victory gardens, recycled on a scale we haven’t seen. Other than the service men and women of America and their families, we’ve not had a single inconvenience. We lack the will to support our Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines in a manner that will make their going into harm’s way relevant.

For those that say “at what cost of life and limb?” I say to go in to win and ensure both our enemies and allies know we are going in to truly win, is the way to bring more allies and isolate our enemies. One we truly win, we won’t need to go back.  In the end, that is how we effectively win wars and end this back and forth that has changed nothing and brought further instability to wherever we wage what we call war today.

isis

Rest in Peace James Foley, and I hope that your country finds its resolve to ensure we don’t have this over and over again.

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The sad truth about anti-immigration.

I’ve read, heard and thought about every argument against allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the US. And I’ve come to the conclusion that the only decent thing to do is, after immigration reform, to immediately send back any illegal immigrants back to their country of origin, with a bill to that country for repatriation costs.  That being said, the immigration reform needed is to fully open immigration to most people trying to come to the United States with the exception of known criminals.

Bear with me as we go through the arguments against people who are jumping the border.

Argument 1: The Illegal Immigrants are coming to take jobs Americans need.

All I need to do is counter that with the second argument.

Argument 2: The illegal immigrants are coming up for a free ride.

I’m not sure how anyone can make both arguments with a straight face.  How can people be coming up to work AND freeload?  I think clearly the answer is most are coming to work. And yes I am sure there are exceptions but we have exceptions without the immigrants as well.

Argument 3: Yes but they are working tax free and using services that we pay taxes for.

Actually about 50% of the illegal immigrants currently pay taxes per the IRS. And that includes taxes for things they are not currently eligible to receive, to include Social Security. In addition, for taxes not to be collected, it is not the illegal immigrant to blame, it’s the employers that hire them, knowing the immigrants are afraid to complain.

How could we make the payment of taxes near 100%? That’s right. Make the immigration legal. It will raise the wages for these workers to at least the minimum wage, level the playing field for both immigrants and current citizens and would encourage immigrants that are not being paid legally to speak up. Because in reality we should be blaming the companies and people that hire them for less than minimum wage and underreport payroll. That’s the real crime and who we should be angry at.

Argument 4: Since they are breaking the law by jumping the fence, they have no respect for law.

I hope you never speed.

Argument 5: Criminals are coming in.

Yes, but if we fully open immigration, people won’t be afraid to immigrate legally. The paperwork will be done. People will be tracked, and criminals return. Everyone else will want to come through the normal way, and that way, when you DO see someone border jumping, you know their crime is greater than just trying to escape poverty and violence and those people can be immediately returned.

Argument 6: My father/mother/grandfather/eighteenth cousin by marriage on my mother’s side immigrated legally, and that wouldn’t be fair.

This presumes that you A. think that the laws have never changed since Capt. John Smith landed in Virginia. B. That things should never change.

I’m very glad you were not a horse and buggy driver in turn of the Century New York that was striking against the automobile because they didn’t want things to change.

Some other points to ponder

 The reality is the current immigration system is overly complex and at best, unintentionally racist (populous countries are limited to how many people can immigrate from their country – other than the United States, Russia is the only majority white country of the fifteen most populous countries in the world).

For those of you that either participated in, or supported the Occupy movements, which was based on income inequality, there is a good bet, that on the world stage, you are part of the 1%. If you really want to be the 99% percenter, you should support immigration reform to include more open immigration.

Per ForeignPolicy.Com -

“So by global standards, America’s middle class is also really, really rich. To make it into the richest 1 percent globally, all you need is an income of around $34,000, according to World Bank economist Branko Milanovic. The average family in the United States has more than three times the income of those living in poverty in America, and nearly 50 times that of the world’s poorest. Many of America’s 99 percenters, and the West’s, are really 1 percenters on a global level.

Nor did the Western 99 percent “earn” most of their wealth, any more than the top 1 percent “earned” theirs. It’s the luck of where you’re born, according to the late Nobel Prize-winning economist Herbert Simon, who estimated that the benefits of living in a well-functioning economy probably account for 90 percent of individual income.”

In other words, if you supported any portion of the Occupy Movement and oppose opening immigration, I am not sure how you make sense of that.

The reality is we pride ourselves on being generous and kind and we profess that the United States was founded on Christian Principles. One of the strongest principles is Social Justice. We should strongly consider that when considering immigration reform.

I’m sure none of this changes anyone’s mind.

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People saying Ignorant Things. Part One of I am sure a long series.

aka I hate Jews which is why I don’t let my daughter watch violent movies…

As I am sitting, finishing my Father’s Day meal cooked by my daughter…

“When I was in Catholic school, my parents wouldn’t let me watch ‘The Passion of The Christ’ -  My Daughter

“That’s because Catholics don’t like Jews because they killed Jesus” – My Daughters boyfriend’s Mom who came by to wish said Boyfriend Happy Fathers Day. This woman is clearly not Catholic of course.

“Wait, what? I don’t like JEWS and that’s why I wouldn’t let my daughter watch that movie? Maybe it’s because it was released Ten Years ago when my Daughter was FUCKING EIGHT YEARS OLD and didn’t need to see that bloody movie, but I’m guessing you were OK with your young kids watching that? And to say Catholics (in the 2000s) are the Anti Jewish group? Historically, in the US, it’s been the some of the  Southern Protestant clans that are um….lets see Anti-Jewish (for killing Jebus), Anti-Catholic (Papists can’t be trusted to vote) and of course Racist. (footnote – see makeup of the KKK and KKK pledges). So glad to see a woman say something that stupid when my daughter mentioned she went to Catholic school and couldn’t see that movie. MAYBE you could have figured we might be Catholic?” – What I wanted to say, but didn’t. Instead I just went upstairs to my room and closed the door. Bye Bye Father’s Day enjoyment…

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Honoring our Dead, not Forgetting our Living

IMG_3984_-_Washington_DC_-_Arlington_National_Cemetery

Here are several things I am not: Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative.

Here is one thing I am: A Veteran. A Veteran that looks at Memorial Day and wonders what to say when people on Memorial Day thank me or others, because, I survived and Memorial Day is for those who gave their lives in service to our country.

But then I look at the news today and we have service members that nominally survived the actual war and are dying every day. And we, as a country, look the other way. I’m not talking about those who are getting shot at, nor those that died many years ago, we should continue to honor them, and remember them. I am talking about those that die because they can’t navigate our Veteran’s Health Care system, that have gotten sick (or even POSSIBLY sick) due to their service and can’t get benefits. Recently in the news, we’ve heard about hidden waiting lists at a VA hospital. And I guarantee, that like the saying with Cockroaches, that if you see one, you have a hundred. Yet we let the Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki stay as head of the VA. We protect the federal appointees and bureaucrats, because they haven’t had due process, when our sick and dying veterans are not given the same benefit. We give the VA the benefit of the doubt, we hold hearings, but no one is fired, no one’s pension is taken away, and we focus on more programs for vets, promise that the latest and greatest IT program will solve the problems, but we don’t get that the problem has nothing to do with any of that. The problem is people, leadership and accountability.

The VA had, as of December 2013, 340,926 Employees. 2,247 Employees were separated due to performance. (that’s .65% for you figuring at home). At the same time, almost $400 MILLION dollars were given as bonuses to an organization that fails year after year (according to their own IG reports) to serve the very people that give the VA employee a job. That bonus pool averages to about a bonus of $1,100 dollars for EVERY VA employee for letting Veterans die, get sick or just plain give up on their watch.

The reason I’m not a Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative for this post is because this problem isn’t owned by Democrats, Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives. It’s owned by all of them, and all of us, and this is not a recent problem.

A couple years ago, I lost my health care due to high cost. As a Veteran, I had hoped to get support from the VA. I registered online to have my first appointment, just to get registered and get my Veteran’s Health Card. The wait for an appointment was over two months. This was not to receive any care. This was just to fill out paperwork and get a card, so I could then make another appointment to get care. As this is all online, we’ve lost the personal touch that makes people understand the needs of other humans. It’s nearly impossible to get a voice on the other end of a phone, to meet someone face to face. We hide behind technology in the name of efficiency and lose our humanity to those that need it most. To the VA, I was not a Veteran, I was a number, a statistic and a calendar entry. This culture doesn’t change with the voting the President or Congress out, or simply having the head of the VA change. This culture changes with making the career bureaucracy at the VA change.

In case you wonder, I worked for several years supporting the VA. I saw over and over, employees focus on ensuring they got their ‘compress’ day because they worked extra hours over the rest of the week. I have to tell you while many were present at work, work wasn’t getting done. Sports scores were being checked, two hour social lunches were held in the cafeteria, shopping was done in the stores at the VA, and leaving early was important for that doctor’s appointment (how does a VA employee get those easy appointments while the Veterans they nominally serve get nothing?)

I also met dedicated VA employees. The problem is they are being dragged down by the others that don’t do their work, so increasing the VA budget solves nothing other than paying for inefficiency. And government workers will shout “not all government workers are bad” and I can only reply “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing.” And rest assured, letting Veterans die while you do your work, but letting the person next to you shirk their duties is evil.

We truly have the world’s greatest and most capable military, have a half a trillion dollar budget, incredible weapons systems and technology that can find a single person and strike at them, but somehow our Veterans get lost at home…and then die.

What you should do this Memorial Day. Honor the Dead. Enjoy your friends and family. And while I want you to share this post or use your own words to add awareness, I ask for more, only share this as a commitment to add your voice by writing your congressman, making calls to your senator, contacting the White House and voting to make sure we don’t have to honor more dead by forgetting the living. And when you write or call, let people know you did it, let people know what you said, and most importantly, let people know that you are asking them to do it as well. And next Memorial Day, don’t forget. Please keep this as an issue until true change happens and not just while it is in the latest news reports.

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