Thursday, August 26, 2004

too much reading to do for this blogging biz

Ah, the blogosphere is alive these days! Who paid for what ad, who knew about what ad, a dog that deserved a Bronze Star (or at least someone deserved it for rescuing the dog), and more evasiveness and back-pedalling attacks than you can shake a stick at! I'm so caught up in the reading of articles posted on the web these days that I can barely get movement from my own thought train--and when I do, it's normally to comment on something that another reader has posted about an article he/she has read. I will point you to some gems I've read of late, and encourage you to take the time to look at them:

And for the record, I think that Kerry's representation of his war record in his several years as an elected public servant is the focus that these historical fact-finding "missions" should be taking--not so much "what did you do then", but "what have you said/allowed to be said lately that deals with what you did then". As that backdrop, I give you article uno:

which may become my personal favorite, depending on how things run their course. From Joshua at View from a height (shout out to the RMA!), who details how Kerry reacted to Adm. Boorda's wearing of thought-to-be-unauthorized devices on his ribbons back in 1996. Now I must warn you from the start that my info here is incomplete, because I have not paid to read the entire article Joshua mentions from the Boston Herald (that's a line I don't want to cross--makes me seem too serious about this hobby, you know? But if you're interested in paying $2.95 to see the full story, and therefore get a better understanding of the context from which the following is derived, go here), and I try to hold judgement on these things until I have seen the SOURCE itself. From what Joshua posted, however, I will present the following: Kerry stated in 1996 that it is wrong to improperly represent your battlefield exploits--sufficiently wrong, in fact, to question an individual's ability to hold a leadership position. Now, I'll stop short of totally echoing Joshua's article here, because he mostly deals with Kerry's own "device controversy", which personally I find little traction for following up on. But the quotes Joshua posts of Kerry's interview with the Boston Herald on May 18, 1996, make me believe that Kerry gave some sound bites then that may come back to haunt him today; I'm waiting for this interview to get some more play in the major media (no, I'm not holding my breath);

Article #2 comes from my new favorite blog, Captain's Quarters. I'm giving it the tab over Hugh Hewitt for a couple reasons: greater frequency of posting, the fact that you can comment on their posts (although that may be going away, thanks to the rudeness of some who have commented before), and I think CQ is slightly more balanced than Mr. Hewitt. HH does great research, to be sure--but sometimes he's just a little hard-edged for me. But that is besides the point: the article of interest to me deals with another Kerryist trying to set the record straight about Kerry's first Purple Heart. All that this spokesman accomplished, however, was to refute other charges of the Kerry camp and add credibility to the testimony of a member of the SBVT which is at odds with the story offered up by Kerry. Two things jump out at me: a) Kerry's people are doing more damage to the candidate than the Swiftees are, by far. The more they open their mouths and spout out inconsistencies, the more life this story gains. If he (Kerry) would just come clean, release records and have a good interview (it should be an interview by panel, in my opinion--there are just too many inconsistencies for one interviewer to be able to address), this whole thing disappears off the front pages, and maybe disappears entirely in a couple days. Either that, or finally just ignore the Swiftees entirely (doesn't seem like a winner to me, but what do I know)--either way, you've got to realize these little "truth lunches" aren't helping matters, Senator; and 2) again with the sending spokespeople out to rescue you from the bed you've made? Listen, Americans want accountability in their leadership. I can't even tell you how many different places and ways this is evident, but you needn't look to far to see that this is a true statement. But Kerry, who decided to make his military service so much a part of his campaign, has been AWOL when legitimate questions are raised about that service. Again, these tactics speak volumes about Kerry's leadership and decision-making TODAY--it's not about 30 years ago, it's about today, or even more appropriately, it's about tomorrow. Sometimes a leader just has to go it himself-- this increasingly appears to be one of those times, and Kerry hasn't "stood up to be counted" yet.

Thirdly, and just as a side note: I engaged via the blogosphere recently in a "debate" dealing with the abuses at Abu Ghraib. My "opposition" seemed to feel that instances like these show that the real problem with the military is that it's an "upside down culture, that which says that all are the enemy, and they are all less than human, and not worthy of basic rights." That description brought out the debater in me. The bottom line is this: there is a big difference behind the "culture" of the military and the shortcomings of small groups of individuals who fail to fall in-line with the teachings of the organization. The abusive soldiers acted badly; their supervisors failed miserably to supervise; the tactical leadership (read: on-site leadership, NOT the Pentagon) failed because of poor orders from a sloppily-understood and/or practiced chain of command. And there will be individuals held responsible not just for what they did (in the case of the abusers) and what they didn't do (in the case of the supervisors), but also for what they SHOULD have done (in the case of the on-scene leadership). So to anybody who might agree that the "culture" of the military is the reason why these things happen, I ask this: IF the military were so culturally inclined to treat enemies in a manner devoid of basic rights, would ANYBODY be getting into any trouble at all for Abu Ghraib (much less people who didn't even directly "participate" in the acts)? My fellow debater mentioned My Lai, Tailhook, and the painting of racist jargon on bombs to be dropped on the targets in Afghanistan as examples of "soldiers gone bad". But My Lai and Tailhook have been the cornerstone of TONS of training in today's military! And the result? How about the lack of a My Lai, Tailhook, etc since those initial occurences. And don't get me wrong, Abu Ghraib is a travesty and an embarrassment to our Armed Forces. But I doubt that something like it will happen again in our lifetimes. The leadership of the military will not allow whatever short-circuit in logic/duty that occurred in AG to spread anywhere else. That is as much of a testament to the "culture" of the military as anything else--at least in my mind.


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