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The Season of Treason

Posted by admin on February 25, 2007 at 5:45 pm  

A special Commentary by1_145
Keith DeGreen, J.D., CFP,
Former Sgt E-5, USMC, Vietnam
Phoenix, Arizona February 22, 2007 Editor’s Note: The following is the extended text version of Keith’s Season of Treason radio commentary.

Prelude

War is hell on earth. I know. Like many of you, I have been there. To the American who dies in battle, or who looks down to see his leg missing; to the parents whose home is destroyed and children killed, or to the enemy soldier who was obliterated by a weapon so powerful and so fast he never saw it coming – to all these people and to millions more – there is no such thing as a small war, or of limited casualties. There is just war. There is just hell on earth.

We must only ever resort to war as the last and least desirable alternative among virtually all other alternatives, except unduly risking our families’ safety, our God-given freedom, or the principals that define our greatness.

My Points

Let me put this simply:

First, once again America is single-handedly losing a war it could – and should – win. And, yes, the war has been mismanaged by the Bush Administration.

However, the Administration’s contribution to this mess is small by comparison to the contribution of a second and far more devastating group of American’s narrowly intent on defeat for the narrowest and most selfish of reasons.

Fact: more Americans than necessary are being – and will be – killed and maimed in Iraq. Also, at this point, unless we change our approach as a nation, we will probably fail to accomplish our mission there.

These unthinkable results are the direct consequence of the words and actions of most all of America’s usual suspects: The liberal candidates for President, including several members of Congress, and even officials elected to particularly high office such as the current Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader, all of whom have a Constitutional duty not to undermine America’s military efforts; America’s “old media” and our typically irresponsible far left.

By word and deed these contributors toward defeat have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that they literally – and I mean literally – care more about their own domestic political ambitions than with accomplishing the essential strategic defense of America by, in this instance, successfully accomplishing our mission in Iraq.

I understand they are frustrated with the Bush Administration. Nevertheless, the evidence of their complicity in America’s defeat in Iraq is overwhelming.

First, regarding the war itself:

There is only one nation on the planet capable of defeating The United States militarily. That one nation is, of course, The United States itself.

However supportive I (and most of the Arab governments in the Middle East) might have been of the need to liberate and stabilize Iraq, as a practical – if not perfect democracy in a troubled part of the world; however highly I regard the concept of using democracy as the ultimate weapon against extremism in that — or in any — part of the world; nevertheless, I must insist that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld did every bit as poor a job of managing the Iraq war as Robert McNamara did at managing the Vietnam war.

Moreover, despite the fact that he faced an openly hostile press and many other obstacles, I must also acknowledge that President Bush has done as poor a job as I can imagine at selling the vital need for the war as it has dragged on.

For example, images of brave soldiers abound; as do images of proud Iraqi’s holding up purple thumbs after risking their lives to vote, or of Iraqi children embracing U.S. troops. And there is much to show regarding the rebuilding of Iraq’s shattered infrastructure.

Yet, while these positive signs of progress are everywhere, rarely have I seen the President appear with such photos behind him, or people beside him; and rarely have I seen anything approaching a serious attempt from this administration to politically and forcefully market – around the hostile media and the left – the common sense and the common need underlying the war and the absolute necessity of succeeding in Iraq.

Nor do I personally believe that simply securing Bagdad will win the war, as the President’s plan now seems to contend. One thing that can be said of Senator McCain is that he has had the courage to deliver the real news: If we wish to win in Iraq, we need to fight throughout Iraq, with the Iraqis, to not only take and secure, but to hold territories and entire communities while they rebuild.

However, the real threat comes from the American left who — for its own political gain — will not let America succeed.

Overlooked by their selfish and dangerous public declarations and actions is our entire Constitutional scheme: That the President alone is Commander-in-Chief, and that once Congress authorizes a war (as it has done in Iraq) it has a duty to assist the Commander-in-Chief to win that war, in all ways possible.

Congress’ “non-binding resolutions” against what are truly routine troop increases; the calls by federally-elected candidates for President for dates certain upon which we must leave the field of battle, and their legislative proposals to arbitrarily limit troop strength or war-related funding, do, in the purest sense imaginable, profoundly and incontrovertibly provide comfort and support to our enemies.

On the other side of the world, the enemy sees and hears — and disseminates — only what it wants to see and hear. When it sees and hears our own Congress pass “non-binding” resolutions against muscling up on the field of battle, they do not see the words non-binding. They see the word “surrender”. That is the message that is sent.

When a Candidate for President calls for a time certain to end the war, the enemy only sees the word, “surrender” and when either candidates or Congress seriously propose cutting the funding to accomplish our mission, again, the enemy only sees and hears the word, “surrender”.

This emboldens the enemy beyond description. It encourages them to increase the killing of innocent civilians, Iraqi police and troops, and, most especially, it encourages them to kill more American youngsters.

Point blank: these comments and actions encourage the enemy. They encourage the enemy. They encourage the enemy. They encourage the enemy.

And they kill young American.

And who is defeating us here? A few fanatics with relatively crude weapons? Of course not!

We are the world’s only super-power. Only The United States can defeat The United States.

And let’s please dispense with the ultimate nonsense: You absolutely positively cannot “support the troops”, as some defeatists claim, while limiting their ability to accomplish what we put them in harms way to accomplish, or by encouraging the people who are trying to kill them. Once the war is on — and this war is on in earnest — there is only one way to support our troops: Help them win!

Consider: Is there in fact a better way to embolden an enemy — has there ever been — than for high ranking government officials and Presidential candidates to not only publicly attempt to limit our ability to win a war, but even to declare we should limit the time we spend fighting it?

This more than merely embarrasses The United States. It jeopardizes for the entire world the very goal to which billions aspire, and to which all mankind is entitled: Freedom.

The American left and the officials and candidates mentioned here have made it clear: Our commitment to freedom has a time limit. Our commitment to fighting for the rights of others expires when things become inconvenient, when things don’t go as well as expected.

In short, America’s principals have an expiration date.

What a chilling effect that must be to billions of people for whom freedom itself remains a dear but distant dream.

The Solution

Once the war began – once Congress expressed its support of the war (and it did) – and throughout this entire debacle, the public debate among elected officials and those seeking the Presidency should always have been – and should always remain – solely about how best to win the war in Iraq – how best to accomplish our mission.

When candidates for President pander to the left by making reckless statements that embolden the enemy, there can be no debate: They are placing their personal, selfish, political interests above the lives of Americans at war, and above the accomplishment of our mission in Iraq. And they we must not forget risking thousands, perhaps millions, of Iraqi lives. (Remember the millions who died in Vietnam’s “cleansing” of “dissidents” after we left; and the related slaughter of millions by the Kmer Rouge in Cambodia. There are real consequences to the people who believed we would keep our word, when we quit.)

Under our Constitutional scheme, each branch of government has at the very least an affirmative duty not to undermine the ability of another branch to function. Our Constitution names one person, and one person only – the President as Commander-in-Chief – as the exclusive leader of our military efforts during times of peace and during times of war.

Words and actions by elected officials, or by candidates for high office, that undermine the President’s right and duty to fulfill his Constitutional role undermine not just some Republican from Texas for whom they have a visceral hatred, but undermine our entire Constitutional system; and they make actually winning a war – any war – constitutionally impossible.

I absolutely do not contend that members of Congress should not express their concerns in the bluntest possible terms to the President. And the President must be willing to hear and consider the unvarnished comments of elected officials who do not agree with either the war itself, or of his management of the war.

This is a dialogue that must occur not merely for show, but for results. And it must occur because of the value of ideas that might surface during those frank discussions. But – and here is the crucial point – those discussions absolutely positively must occur in private.

Behind closed doors. Official to official. American to American.

Not, for God sakes, publicly in a way that emboldens our enemy.

The message our enemies must here from all our elected officials is this: You have lost, even if you have not yet received the memo. America finishes what it starts, and it has started to finish you. You’re done. Put a fork in ‘ya. America will not run, and it will not leave until it accomplishes its clear and publicly-stated mission.

In Iraq our mission is straightforward:

-Help the Iraqi’s establish a reasonably democratic society that hosts free and fair elections, that honors election results, and that honors the individual rights of its citizens. From this foundation of political freedom, economic freedom will abound. It is automatic. America has proved this point beyond a shadow of a doubt; and, equally important

-Help the Iraqi people rebuild the integrity of their governmental, law enforcement, military, and social institutions to the point that they are able to sustain and defend themselves from within and from without — against any person, sect, organization, or nation that tries to murder its way to power.

That is our mission, and that should be our message – Repeated to the world every day from the lips of every responsible American – and particularly from every American elected official and Presidential candidate – until the mission is accomplished, and our finest American youth – another greatest generation in the making – is safely home.

I am sick – so very sick – of Americans wrapping themselves in the First Amendment, proclaiming their right to oppose the war, or to limit our ability to win the war, while too many of the rest of us ignore the obvious consequences of their words to our troops and to our mission in Iraq.

These people embolden the enemy, and the enemy kills more Americans and more Iraqis as a result. It truly is that simple – and that direct.

Many of us – from the field of battle in Vietnam – experienced this precise consequence, from this precise cause. We saw it with our own eyes, and we are seeing it again.

This is not theory. This is fact.

As a boy I remember learning that during World War II, the government employed a popular phrase: “Loose lips sink ships.”

Well, here is a blunt statement just as true for our generation: “Stupid statements kill young Americans.”

If America wishes to win in Iraq – or in any future war – we must first find a way once and for all to speak with a single voice to the world that we will not leave the field of battle until we completely and unequivocally accomplish our stated mission. No exceptions. No excuses. And the world will only come to believe us when, finally, we actually keep our word and accomplish what we set out to accomplish in the first place.

But the moment our enemies come to realize we mean what we say — at that very moment — the war will begin to end — and victory will only be a matter of time.

The President and Congress must – must – find a more effective way to maintain a private, blunt, dialogue, with serious ground rules, about the war, with each side listening carefully to the other, even as each side unequivocally expresses its public commitment to accomplishing our mission.

And finally, we Americans must also find an appropriate – but certain – way of shouting down those who would risk the lives of our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, for their own political or ideological gain – absolutely no matter who they are, or what office they hold.

When we learn to keep our family arguments behind closed doors, and to present a united front to terrorists and adversaries throughout the world, we will gradually, but ultimately witness a profound reduction in our need to actually use our military strength.

Because the world will have learned, that once engaged, The United States of America will no longer defeat itself.

–Keith DeGreen


Comments

6 Comments so far

  1. Joan Johnson on April 1, 2007 11:50 am

    I was so moved by this commentary. It’s hard to believe that many of our elected officials have turned a blind eye to the dangers of their position solely for political gain. Where is the public outcry? Are they so influenced by the extreme left that they cannot see what is so clearly evident. Do they not think for themselves? Even with all the media negativity, I still have faith that America will prevail — we must.

  2. David Romero on April 8, 2007 7:43 pm

    What you say is spot on. I see neither love nor loyalty to America by our leftist critics. Their onerous concerns are flatly for staking out their political fortunes, and they could frankly not care less whether their treasonous words and actions cost more American lives and undermine our efforts to defeat an implacable enemy. But then, again, our country’s so-called leaders are a far different breed than the generation which led us through World War II, and, as a result, our nation has become diminished from its former greatness. We are the world’s laughing stock, a timid, vacillating power, paralyzed by a feckless unwillingness to fearlessly assert itself against our enemies–at home and abroad.

  3. Paul Harding on June 10, 2007 11:31 pm

    I gave up on trying to read your article because of the repeated “aE” that were sprinkled throughout. Was this done on purpose o0r do you have a computer problem. Unfortunate little letters ruined an otherwise interesting article.

    PAUL,

    Don’t know, Paul, but we’ll check it out.

    –Keith

  4. Dan Hill on June 23, 2007 3:51 pm

    Right on Keith. Following your adventure every step of the way. With your permission, I’d like to put your link up on the home page of my website.

    Best Wishes for your continued success,

    Dan

    DAN, Absolutely!

    –Keith

  5. Spencer Benedict on August 12, 2007 4:41 pm

    Hi Keith, I guess I’ll have to be the one dissenting opinion here. In paragraph 18, you state, “..once Congress authorizes a war, as it has done in Iraq..” This is the crux of the problem – Congress has abrigated it’s Constitutional responsibility to declare war. Only Congress can declare war and it has attempted to shift responsibility to the Executive Branch to try to avoid criticism from their constituents. It is patently un-Constitutional!

    Which again is at the crux of the problem in general – our government’s inability to honor, and abide the Constitution of the United States of America. It is to the principles of that document that we owe our allegiance – not to bureaucrats, the pentagon, or the President’s administration. It is my belief that if we confined our government to it’s Constitutional role, we wouldn’t have the kinds of problems that we find ourselves in today.

    My second thought on this is – What is our (the American people’s) responibility to create a democracy in Iraq? How is it that we are obligated to fund the building of a political structure in another sovereign nation? More importantly, if it is that important to security in the Middle East, why isn’t Israel doing the nation building in their neighborhood?

    Our own Monroe Doctrine certainly would prohibit other nations from doing something similar in our neck of the woods – yet we expect others to just give us a welcome invitation.

    If our representatives in Washington wanted the kind of effort that you call for from American’s, they would have (as you’ve suggested, in WWII) made a Declaration of War, set out on a mission launch, fight, and quickly and win a WAR. But WE have allowed our representatives to totally disregard their obliations and responsibilities while we must consider loss of liberty (ie. the 1st Amendment)while they attempt to build a nation with our resources.

    As for me, I’m glad heeded, our founders words to know, study and appreciate our Constitution. If others did the same, we would have avoided much bloodshed, destruction, and global animosity.

    -Spencer Benedict

    Spencer,

    Great to hear from you! Can’t say as I agree with some of your comments, however. Thanks for the thoughts.

    Keith

  6. Bill on August 26, 2007 1:58 pm

    Its pretty interesting that you think people on the left embolden the enemy that we must stand united against tyranny. On that point I agree. Then I read some more pages of your website and find out that you bought your boat in China. So what if American industry gets flushed down the toilet at least you saved some cash right mr high and mighty. I think when you start acting like an American and not a globalist POS then I might take your opinion with something more than a grain of salt. PS the people that use to work in American shipyards thank you for your opinion.

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