Posts Tagged ‘military’

Budget Compromise

April 9, 2011

The threatened government shutdown has been averted.  The politicians in Washington realized that no one would appreciate the idea of our military being in combat, and their families not receiving financial support.  That would cost them votes next election.

I have not seen the details of the compromise.  If it is a good compromise then everyone should be equally unhappy.  Yes, I said unhappy.  A compromise means that you have had to give up something that you wanted originally.  It means that you hoped for more than you are receiving in the deal.  It is a fair compromise, when both sides give up equal shares.  Of course, each side also should receive things that are important to them., but they should come at the cost of other things of lesser importance.

Hopefully, our political leaders will figure out what is truly important.

1000 Dead Civilians?

April 4, 2011

Last week I heard that our primary reason for the use of military force in Libya was to protect civilian life.

Saturday, I read about 1000 civilians that had died in the Ivory Coast due to internal conflict.

Should we have been involved there as well?

If we are trying to protect civilian life there are many places in the world experiencing turmoil.

We cannot be everywhere.  How will we decide who gets our support?

Our interjection of force into a nation’s internal conflict is not the way to go.

Libyan No-Fly Zone

March 22, 2011

The United Nations has decided to impose a no-fly zone in Libya.  American forces have launched attacks in Libya, destroying much of the ability of Libya to control the skies of their own country.  The reason given is to protect civilian life.

Libya was in the process of quashing an armed rebellion.  This was not simply massive, peaceful protests such as has occurred  throughout the Arab world, it was an armed rebellion with the rebels taking control of significant portions of the country.

So, in effect, we are supporting a rebellion.

I appreciate that we are there at the direction of the United Nations, with broad support from Arab countries.

That does not make it right.

Libya should have been left alone.  Our involvement is costly and unnecessary.  I do not believe that it was a good use of our resources.

Thank You, Veterans

November 11, 2010

Today is Veterans Day.  I would like to thank each person who has served in the military, in all of its branches, over the years.  Our country would not be what it is today without the willing sacrifice of the many who have served.  That service comes at varying prices.  Not all have had to endure combat, but all have given years of their life, in service to our country.  For those who have endured the horrors of war, it is a very difficult scar to heal in their lives.  Even for those who have never seen combat, their lives are forever changed by their time in service.

They all deserve our thanks, our prayers, and our support.

A Light in the Darkness

April 8, 2010

On one of my last field exercises before getting out of the Marine Corps, we were planning an early morning movement of the company.  We were operating under light and sound discipline.  That meant that we were not supposed to have any unnecessary light, or make any unnecessary sounds.  It was early in the morning, way before sunrise.  I dropped down between tanks, that were parked side by side, and fired up a small, portable, single burner stove that tankers carried on their vehicles, since we were often far from any source of hot food.  I placed my canteen cup over the flame and shielded the light as best I could with my body, and the vehicles.  Soon, I heard my platoon commander, whose tank was about twenty five yards away,  whisper loudly, and urgently, “Sgt. Girod”  …  I pretended not to hear him.  It was still pitch black, I couldn’t see him; and positioned where I was, he could not have seen me, but he saw enough of the light.  He sent a crewman running over to tell me to extinguish the light.  I immediately complied.

Besides, my water was already hot.  My morning coffee was ready.

The light that I had made shone brightly in the darkness.  I really could not effectively hide it from those nearby.  Actually, light can be seen for a great distance in the darkness, and if it had been a real movement, not simply an exercise, I would never had lighted the stove. 

Jesus is the light of the world and Christians believe that Jesus dwells in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.  It is important that we allow the light of Christ to shine forth in our lives.  Our actions, words, and our attitudes should all reflect the light of Christ.

That is even more true if we find ourselves in a dark place surrounded by evil, tragedy, or difficulty.  Let the light of Christ shine even more brightly in that day.

The Goal of War

April 7, 2010

Sitting next to our computer is a brass casing from a 105mm tank round.  No, I did not steal it.  I served in the USMC back in the eighties as a tank crewman and one day we were given instructions to use up the remaining brass rounds that were on hand.  Our company commander then authorized us each to keep one of the casings as a souvenir.  That was many years ago, but I still have one in my possesion.

It is visually contradictory, because we have a bouquet of artificial flowers stuffed into the top. 

I read a great quote the other day, “The goal of war is a just peace.”  and I suppose that my unusual flower stand could be used as a symbol of that statement.  The round is spent. It is no longer a threat or a danger, yet it is a reminder of a past reality.  The flowers that are supported by it currently, are a present beauty.

My hope, and prayer for our returning troops, and for the countries now in conflict, is that a time of peace will come, and that beauty may be restored, both to individual lives, and to whole countries.

20/20 Hindsight

November 11, 2009

I read something about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan yesterday in the newspaper that concerned me.   “Hasan communicated 10 to 20 times with a radical imam overseas who in the past came under scrutiny for possible links to terror groups…”  and “U.S. officials were aware of the communications since last year, but no formal investigation was ever opened based on them”

I do not know what those communications entailed, but it would seem, in hindsight, that it would have been a good idea to investigate further.

There are many Muslims who simply want to live, and practice their faith in peace.  It would be wrong to condemn an entire group based on the actions of a few.  However there seems to have been enough evidence that Hasan should have been watched more closely, at the very least.

So what happened?  It seems to me, that someone dropped the ball. 

By the way, have you noticed that the mainstream media are not calling this an act of terrorism?  Hasan was scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan with the army.  It appears he was conflicted about whose side he was on. 

Apparantly he decided.

Hasan may not have been a radical at first, but he certainly has become one; unless shooting a large number of military personnel is considered the act of a moderate.

Courageous Military

October 5, 2009

The recent attack on our military in Afghanistan resulted in eight soldiers making the ultimate sacrifice.  Our military is an all volunteer force.   Everyone who enlists is aware that we are a nation at war, and there are risks.  Military personnel accept those risks in service to our country.  It is part of the job.  The courage of our military has been proven over and over again. 

The courage of our politicians, our press, all of the people on the home front, is another matter.  There seems to be a lot of vacillation here at home. 

As a society, we need to stand firm.  Supporting our military is more than waving flags, or tying yellow ribbons.  When the going gets tough we need to maintain a firm resolve to accomplish the mission. 

What is the mission?  To continue to oppose terrorist organizations, preferably on foreign soil.  We can be very thankful to our military, the Department of Homeland Security, and other law enforcement agencies, that since 911 there has not been a successful attack on US soil.

When we were focussed on Iraq, a criticism was that we should be focussed on Afghanistan.  Now that the fighting has shifted to Afghanistan, why is there not more unanimous support?

Our military is courageous.  Our support for the mission should remain firm.

Help for Veterans of War

December 18, 2008

There are thousands of men and women returning to civilian life after serving in the War on Terror.  It is a difficult adjustment to return to the civilian world after serving in the military, especially during wartime.

I would like to encourage today’s veterans to consider joining the local vetarans’ club.  Whether it is the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, or some other group, these organizations were established to provide support for America’s military whether on foreign soil or returning to the home front.

If today’s vet wonders what a bunch of “old guys” have to offer them, I would remind them that those “old guys” were once young men who went off to war in a strange land.  Many of them experienced the horrors of war, some experienced victory, and others experienced defeat.  They then returned to the United States and made lives for themselves in the civilian world.  They have dealt with the horrors of war and returned to civilized society. 

They have gone to war and come back.

Who better to help the young men and women of today, but those who have already been there, done that, and returned.

Whether they served in Germany, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf  War or other places that we don’t even think about anymore, veterans share a common bond.

Veterans understand what it is like to go to war, and come back and build a life.

If you are an Iraqi, or Afghan vet and would like some help returning to civilian life.  Contact your local veterans organization.  They would love to help.  That is their very purpose.

Crossing Borders

October 29, 2008

Here in the United States the majority of the news is dealing with the election and the economy.  However I have read recently with great interest some news about the war on terror.  American military forces have crossed the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan, and also from Iraq into Syria, to strike at terrorist targets.  Unfortunately,  there is also the collateral damage of loss of civilian life and damage to communities.

It is good that terrorists are not able to hide in safety across a border which they can cross at any time to make their attacks.  They will certainly be less bold in their continuation of attacks if their place of refuge is no longer safe.

I am concerned about how the Arab world will view these attacks by American military.  We really, really, do not want to make new enemies.  We have enough of those already.  At the same time, we really do want to truly complete the mission of eliminating terrorist attacks.

I hope our government and military know what they are doing.

I pray that they will make the right choices.  I look forward to a day when we will debate with words rather than kill or be killed.