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Alright, I think it’s safe to come back out again. When I submitted my little piece (same title as contained in the brackets), over a week ago, I intended it to be a small one-off type of observation. It was nothing more than a couple of quotes from a National Review article (and yes, I know that many of you detest the publication) with a few sentences of my own thoughts. Easy-peasy, right?
I didn’t anticipate the number of comments or some of the verbiage that was contained in them; some of which was quite heated. Although I certainly don’t have the literary skills to pour the needed oil upon the troubled waters, I would like to add a few more comments to my original offering.
I now realize that we will never, and I mean never, get past this thing of “Never Trump.” It’s ingrained, perhaps in the DNA, of many folks even here at Ricochet. I suppose that’s to be expected. Looking back at the NR’s famous issue (February 15, 2016) of “Conservatives Against Trump” (which featured a caricature of Trump in a Benito Mussolini uniform) it was easy to see that passions were (and still are) running deep. (For the record, I was an early supporter of Marco Rubio, even if he did have small hands.)
However, as events showed, all that conservative intellectual firepower didn’t amount to (as John Nance Garner so eloquently said) a bucket of warm spit. Still, if you go back and look at that list of folks who wrote their opinions you’ll find that most of them are, grudgingly, holding their fire because they have realized what the alternative would have been had Hillary Rodham Clinton ascended to the Presidency.
And, that alternative would have been four (and probably eight) more years of the policies of Barack Obama. OK, if you have to, go into a dark closet, close the door behind you and think, really think, about where we would be today if that had happened. If, after some contemplation, you believe that we would be no worse off than the three and a half years we have had under Trump, well, then perhaps you should stay in your closet a bit longer.
In a recent NR “Morning Jolt” (which I recommend, mostly to get Jim Geraghty’s extremely well-done opinion pieces) there was a piece by Jonah Goldberg (yes, yes I know that some of you aren’t fans) in which he described himself as “a conservative who just can’t board the Trump Train.” And here, is what we should be concentrating on.
First of all, I don’t believe there’s as many of us on the “Trump Train” as Goldberg believes. I can’t speak for others but, for me, I’m on the “American Train.” If the tracks of the “Trump Train” and the “American Train” are running parallel then I’m fine with it. If those tracks should begin to diverge, that’s another story. In some of the comments made to my first post, there were references to “ET” or “Ever Trump” folks. I suspect that the number of those folks is far less than the “Never Trump” folks.
In terms of what we have at stake in the upcoming election, I was a bit taken aback at some of the arguments which seemed akin to those “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” disputes, only in a political sense. And, I still wonder how ideological “purity tests” can still be taken seriously when there is so much at stake.
For all you “purists” (to paraphrase Barbara Mandrell), “I was Conservative When Conservative Wasn’t Cool.” I don’t need someone explaining the fine points of conservatism to me. I want “what works” to be the final determinant in any endeavor that the government takes; and I want all government endeavors to be only what is truly required.
Like a lot of other people, I cringe at some of Trump’s utterances. His praise of unsavory characters (read thugs) such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un was bad enough but his unsolicited “great leader” and “brilliant man” remarks concerning Xi Jinping can only be described as head-shaking. Normally, in another time, this would be cause for me to scramble to another candidate. Today? In the immoral words of R. Lee Ermey, “I don’t think so.”
As I do not have a “fetish for complexity” as our last great President (Ronald Reagan) phrased, I have limited my reasons for staying with Trump to two (and only two): Defense and federal judicial appointments. Without the former we have no country; without the latter we have no society.
The degree to which our national defense suffered under eight years of Barack Obama cannot be underestimated. Although he frequently mentioned how “inspired” he was by members of our military, his actions frequently belied those words. Obama never understood military culture and gave little reason to believe that he wanted to understand it. I genuinely believe that he (and his many toadies) were caught totally off guard from the reaction of the military rank and file when he brought the deserter’s (I refuse to say his name) parents to the White House for a Rose Garden ceremony. Then, when he sent one of those toadies on a round of Sunday morning news shows to reiterate that the deserter had “served with honor and distinction”; well, that was the end of what credibility he had. At the end of his administration, when he pardoned a treasonous transgender (again, I refuse to say the individual’s name), the military was shown just how little Barack thought of them.
Awhile back, I used the term “hollow force” to describe how badly our military has deteriorated and an individual here at Ricochet sniffed that it was an “easy phrase.” Since I’m merely an old E-8, I didn’t know what that meant. I googled it and the first definition produced by the software was “I’m easy” which certainly doesn’t apply to me; especially since I’ve been married for more than three decades. So, let me go at this from another angle. Please bear with me.
Our military still does have some awesome capabilities. However, much of that capability still resides with our nuclear forces (the “Triad”). Unfortunately, if we use those forces, it will be game over for many of us since two (and soon, four) of our leading adversaries also have those capabilities.
Even discounting our nuclear capability, we can still field an impressive array of weaponry. However, what most concerns me is the state of the personnel who will handle those weapons; that is where the eight years of Barack may have done the most lasting damage. Make no mistake: I am talking about the “Warrior Ethos” along with the military “Code of Conduct.” Although these concepts might be alien to our civilian population, they are absolutely vital to our men and women in the military.
Obama’s appointments, namely the Secretaries of the Army and Navy, were nothing short of disasters. Both Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus were solid leftist ideologues; probably the reason that they were chosen for their posts. The performance of these two was nothing short of shameful.
Eric Fanning seemed to have been chosen for his job mainly because of the fact that he was (and is) openly gay. I am not saying that being gay should have disqualified him for the job but when he acceded to be the “Grand Marshal” of a Gay Pride parade (in San Diego) while American men and women were fighting and dying in Afghanistan, he appeared to be showing the entire Army what his priorities truly were.
Fanning’s entire mission appeared to center around diversity. Toward that end he worked relentlessly, dogging the Army to install women and transsexuals in elite combat units such as the Rangers. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, the Rangers are “the tip of the spear”; the fire eaters who go ahead of the regular infantry, who seek out and destroy the enemy. It is not the place for those who cannot meet the most demanding standards. Yet. as author James Hasson noted in his must-read book Stand Down, the Army “placed their fingers on the scale” to meet Fanning’s directive. After two women were graduated from Ranger training and received the coveted Ranger tabs, all records which pertained to their training were destroyed.
Incredibly, Secretary of the Navy Mabus was even more destructive. Seeing what was happening in the Army, the Marines conducted an extensive test lasting months, in which rifle companies composed only of men were compared with rifle companies which included women. The testing insured that all training, all tactical exercises and all conditions were equal. Evaluators were brought in from outside the Corps; the testing methods were above reproach.
The results were that the “coed” rifle companies were far inferior to their all-male counterparts. The findings were compiled and sent up the command chain to Mabus. He barely looked at the report before denouncing the entire study as “biased.”
Mabus was equally destructive to the Navy and seemed more interested in naming new ships for social activists such as the USS Harvey Milk. His twin pet projects, diversity and the “Green Navy,” insured that combat readiness would be a secondary concern. As Hasson noted in speaking with a Navy two-star, “…Navy crews out there, you know, on their ass, readiness-wise, and now we have ships running into each other like it’s nobody’s business, and he (Mabus) was worried about freaking green fuel.“
Along with those two ship collisions (which were troubling in themselves), came the incident in which two Navy Riverine boats were captured by the Iranians. The entire incident was disgraceful as it illustrated both a lack of seamanship and a total abandonment of the Military Code of Conduct. The commander of those two boats was an Annapolis graduate but it appeared that he had learned nothing from his four years at the Naval Academy as he apologized to his captors, praised them, and thanked them for their “hospitality and assistance.” As for our civilian leadership, that windsurfing warrior Secretary of State John Kerry did the appropriate groveling before the Iranians (evidently James Taylor was unavailable to warble “You’ve Got a Friend”) and the Americans were released, though not before the hapless crew turned over all the classified material and equipment they had.
It’s worth delving a bit further into this incident. Is this forlorn crew’s performance indicative of a much larger problem? I don’t know. However, for the sake of the nation, we have to ensure that our troops are trained with one thing in mind; that is, to engage and destroy our enemies. Our men and women do not enter the military to be subjected to, for hours on end, lectures on diversity and acceptance of transsexuals into their ranks. They want to be trained to do their jobs; which is to protect this nation. It’s a given that the Red Chinese, the North Koreans, the Iranians, and the Russians don’t give much thought to whether or not they are “diverse” enough. It’s far past time for us to emphasize the “warrior ethos” over the plaintive cries for more diversity.
It’s worth noting that both Fanning and Mabus are hanging around Washington today, working in their own “public interest” companies; patiently waiting for their chance to come back into a Democratic administration, possibly in their old jobs. It’s an absolute certainty that they would continue in their destruction of morale in our armed forces.
Should we give them that opportunity?
This one is easy. Despite his mercurial performance in many other areas, Trump’s selection of federal judges has been commendable. Along with Sen. Mitch McConnell, some of Obama’s damage to the federal judiciary has been mitigated. Obviously, the job is not complete as evidenced by Trump’s efforts to protect our borders. He has had to fight Clinton and Obama judges at every turn.
Until we get a majority of federal judges who have as their “guiding star” the principle of “originalism” then our existence, as protected by our Bill of Rights, will be threatened.
So, what are the choices? I’m unhappy with Trump probably 12 hours out of each day. His fits of pique have greatly damaged his administration. His disputes with Generals Kelly and Mattis were unnecessary. While Trump’s enemies are plentiful (especially in the increasingly irrelevant press), he is still his own worst enemy.
Will Trump let the military keep striving toward that Warrior Ethos? Will he continue with his so-far wise choices for the federal judiciary? My answer is a solid, unequivocal, “I hope so.” However, I do know this. If we return to a country under Democratic rule, the idiocies that have caused our military to suffer will continue and probably become even worse. As for appointments to the federal judiciary, well, you don’t have to be a genius to figure that out.
So, if your hatred of Trump is what floats your boat, go ahead and pull that “D” lever when it comes time to vote. But before you do, think about the country that was run by Barack Obama and some of his cohorts, such as Valerie Jarrett, Ben Rhodes, and Jonathan Gruber. Only this time, think about this bunch on steroids. Owing to the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party, that’s exactly what you’re going to get. “But, Biden’s pragmatic,” you say. Keep dreaming.
Note: I do not shill for authors but I believe that James Hasson’s book, Stand Down, should be read by anyone who is concerned for our military readiness. The author, a Ranger and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, makes several suggestions as to fixes we can make in improving military readiness.Published in