Lions Led by Donkeys

ASYLUMNote: Regardless on which side of the aisle you sit, this is a must read by every American concerned about our military and what is happening to it — and why. David French is an attorney, a staff writer for National Review, and a veteran of the Iraq War. Like Mr. French, I also do not believe military experience is a prerequisite to become POTUS, but the smart person will surround himself with people who have the experience he lacks, not people who are as ignorant as he.

by David French

In 14 years of continual combat, has there ever been a greater disconnect between our warrior class and the civilians who purport to lead them? American politicians still don’t understand our enemy, still don’t understand the capabilities and limitations of the American military, and worst of all, they still seem unwilling to learn.

They come from an intellectual aristocracy that believes itself educated simply because it’s credentialed and they tend to listen only to those who share similar credentials. They’ve built a bubble of impenetrable ignorance, and they govern accordingly.

During World War I, German general Max Hoffman reportedly declared that English soldiers fight like lions, but we know they are lions led by donkeys. Over time, his criticism stuck, and popular opinion about the war hardened into a consensus that the horrors  of the trenches were the product of stupidity and lack of imagination. Callous generals, the criticism held, safely ensconced themselves in the rear while sending young men to die in futile charges, unable to conceive of the tactical and strategic changes necessary to deal with the technological revolutions that defined the war. This criticism was unfair then, as generals on all sides suffered high casualty rates and dramatically changed tactics during the course of World War I, but it’s entirely fair now.

Just look at the collection of senior talent advising President Obama on ISIS. Stanford and Oxford-educated National Security Adviser Susan Rice has no military experience, was part of the team that disastrously botched America’s response to the Rwandan genocide, and is notable mainly for a willingness to say anything to advance the electoral prospects of her political bosses. Stanford and Michigan educated and leftist Valerie Jarrett, by many accounts, President Obama’s most-trusted adviser She also has no military experience, spent much of her life toiling in Chicago municipal politics, and has gained influence primarily through her steadfast loyalty to the Obamas.

Yes, Yale educated John Kerry served in Vietnam, but one of his first acts upon returning home was to turn on his fellow veterans and slander them as war criminals. He has minimal credibility in the military. Perhaps worst of all is Smith College¬ educated Wendy Sherman, the lead negotiator of the administration’s disastrous Iran deal. She has zero military experience, started her career as a social worker, and then made her name in radical pro-abortion politics as the director of EMILY’s List. Sherman played an instrumental role in the failed North Korean nuclear negotiations during the Clinton administration, so naturally Obama put her in charge of the Iranian debacle. Incredibly, this gang of cocooned leftists has reportedly aced the Pentagon out of the decision-making process and pushed military frustration to the highest level in decades.

But the politicized Pentagon bears its own share of the blame, beginning with a politically correct culture where discrimination complaints are more harmful to careers than battlefield failures. Yale and Oxford educated Ash Carter is no doubt intelligent (he has a Ph.D.in theoretical physics) and may be an upgrade over Chuck Hagel, but he has exactly as much experience in uniform as the commander-in-chief.

On his watch, the Pentagon has maintained rules of engagement that have so dramatically hampered American forces in the field that terrorists routinely and easily find safe haven from the world’s most capable military.

And while military experience, even experience on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan, is no guarantee of either wisdom or policy agreement (after all, even the most hardened post-9/11 veterans can and do disagree on tactics and strategy), there is a reason Senator Tom Cotton stood alone in voting against the disastrous Corker bill. He has seen jihad up close, and he knows that it cannot be appeased.

Republicans, while possessing a bit more clarity regarding the nature of our enemy, suffer from similar defects in experience. Not one of the leading GOP contenders has served one day in the military, and this experience deficit could be one reason that they sometimes substitute the foolish pacifism and appeasement of the Left for foolish saber-rattling. The Republican candidates, near-lock-step support for a Syrian no-fly zone (with the notable exceptions of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump) reflects the worst sort of strategic thinking.

Chris Christie’s vow to shoot down Russian planes if they violate such a no-fly zone was an embarrassment.

I do not believe that military service is a prerequisite for the presidency, but lack of service, especially lack of service since 9/11 should lead to a degree of humility and openness to counsel that our political aristocracy self-evidently doesn’t possess.

I know their world. I’ve lived in their world. This is a political class that reflexively distrusts the military, believes the right kind of experience can be gained by attending panel discussions from Boston to Geneva to Istanbul, and claims to gain on-the-ground insight from quick, guided tours of the safest sectors of Iraq and Afghanistan.

They know nothing. Worse, they learn nothing. The American people deserve better. This is a nation that has supplied an all-volunteer military with elite warriors for 14 consecutive years of combat. This is a nation whose sons and daughters keep exhibiting  the courage of the Greatest Generation and the generations of soldiers who came before.

We still raise lions. But alas, the donkeys rule.

 

 

Wounded Warrior Redux

Note: Is this timely  or what. We’ve been having a discussion on this group for several days and up pops this report. Again, it’s your money, do as you please, but “caveat emptor.”

The charity for wounded veterans, the Wounded Warrior Project, is facing accusations of using donor money toward excessive spending on conferences and parties instead of on recovery programs, according to a CBS News report.

Army Staff Sergeant Erick Millette, who returned from Iraq in 2006 with a bronze star and a purple heart, told CBS News he admired the charity’s work and took a job with the group in 2014 but quit after two years.  “Their mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors, but what the public doesn’t see is how they spend their money,” he told CBS News. Millette said he witnessed lavish spending on staff, with big “catered” parties.

“Going to a nice fancy restaurant is not team building. Staying at a lavish hotel at the beach here in Jacksonville, and requiring staff that lives in the area to stay at the hotel is not team building,” he told CBS News.

According to the charity’s tax forms obtained by CBS News, spending on conferences and meetings went from $1.7 million in 2010, to $26 million in 2014, which is the same amount the group spends on combat stress recovery.

Two former of employees, who were so fearful of retaliation they asked that CBS News not show their faces on camera, said spending has skyrocketed since Steven Nardizzi took over as CEO in 2009, pointing to the 2014 annual meeting at a luxury resort in Colorado Springs.

“He rappelled down the side of a building at one of the all hands events. He’s come in on a Segway, he’s come in on a horse,” one employee told CBS News.

About 500 staff members attended the four-day conference in Colorado, which CBS News reported cost about $3 million.

Wounded Warrior Project declined CBS News’ interview requests for Nardizzi, but instead sent Director of Alumni and a recipient of their services, Captain Ryan Kules, who denied there was excessive spending on conferences.

“It’s the best use of donor dollars to ensure we are providing programs and services to our warriors and families at the highest quality,” he said.

Kules added the charity did not spend $3 million on the Colorado conference, but he was not there and was unable to say what it did cost. He also told CBS News that the charity does not spend money on alcohol or engages in any other kind of excessive spending.

 

To All Marines

cropped-stock-photo-dress-of-military-equipment-on-the-old-wooden-323517323.jpgI have seen this You Tube many times when sent to me by the 100’s of Marines in my address book, but each arrival requires me to click on it and listen. While I am  not an avid country music aficionado, I do like specific artists, and this fellow is one of them! You must understand that as a teenager in the fifties, I am a devote rock and roller, but only of the 50’s and, of course, the fabulous 70’s! I am sorry to say, I cannot handle the “stuff” of today, but then as a 75-year-old, that’s my privilege, right? 🙂

Marine or not, if you’ve not heard this one, please indulge yourself, you’ll not be disappointed.

 

Wounded Warriors? You Decide

I am sure we all feel the same about our hard-working dollars when it comes to charity giving, and the concern that our donations will be shepherded properly. This particular charity has, for some reason, always caused me some concern. I can not explain this feeling, only that it always comes up when I see their advertisements–which are everywhere.  I suspect my Economic education might have something to do with this “feeling.” Might I suggest you go to this link, then you decide for yourself–I have already.

WOUNDED WARRIORS EXECS MAKE OUT LIKE BANDITS, ACTUAL WOUNDED WARRIORS? NOT SO MUCH…