Monday, June 29, 2015

Sin and the State

For the purpose of the preamble to this treatise, the Colonel begs your indulgence as he dispenses with his customary use of the third person self-address.  He wishes to be crystal clear of whom and of what he speaks  –  it is his bona fides on the subject.

I am a black-hearted sinner.

Of all the sinners of whom I am aware – scores of billions since the beginning of man – I am the greatest.

I have broken every law of God, in thought if not in deed.  

Although, I deed a lot.

I lie.  I lust.  I long for the possessions of others.

I am guilty of idolatry, blasphemy, sexual immorality.

I have dishonored my parents.

I have harbored in my heart unforgiveness and hate so strong, that had the object been in front of me at the time I would have taken his life.

I am even guilty of the sin of hypocrisy – condemning sin in others of which I am just as culpable.  

I am an authority on sin.  I am in my 60th year as a practitioner.

I take no pride in my sin.  I fly no flag proclaiming my sin.  It is self-evident.

My awful sin separates me from my Perfect Creator.

The only sin of which I am NOT guilty is rejection of my God’s plan for my salvation from the eternal death of separation from Him.  Through no other action of my own, save acceptance of God’s Son Jesus as my savior, my sin no longer separates me from my Perfect God.

The purpose of the foregoing preamble is to dispense with the highly favored counter-argument that my argument has no standing due to my hypocrisy.  I am dismounted from my high horse and have my feet planted level on the playing field with all others.
The Colonel (resuming his customary third person) actually agrees whole-black-heartedly with his liberal friends who pronounce that government (hereinafter: “the state”) has no business “legislating morality.”  Yet, the Colonel has great cause to question his liberal friends’ belief in that principle.  Were they true believers that the state has no business legislating morality, they would see no need for so-called “hate-crime statutes.”  Hate is at the very root of all immorality.

But that battle for the title of “Greatest Hypocrite” will have to be fought in a different forum.  The Colonel has another set of great questions for us to ponder:

Why is the state in the business of “licensing” marriage?  For that matter, why is the state in the business of providing incentives for marriage? 

If the argument is that “stable marriage is beneficial to society,” why then does the state incentivize single mothers on welfare to have more children outside of marriage?

If the role of the state in a constitutional republic is to ensure equal protection under the law (see the vaunted 14th Amendment to our Constitution), why should a married couple receive more favorable treatment under the tax code than a single citizen?

In full disclosure, the Colonel must admit that he has benefitted from that favorable “unequal” treatment under the tax code for nearly his entire tax-paying life.  Furthermore, while on active duty in the Marine Corps, the Colonel received, by virtue of his CHOICE to marry and have children, additional benefits and allowances not given single Marines.  Those single Marines did the same job, worked the same hours, and endured the same hardships as the Colonel.  The only difference was that the Colonel had a wife and kids – who provided absolutely zero to the combat effectiveness of the Marine Corps. 

Both examples in the paragraph above are, the Colonel has come to believe, egregious violations of the 14th Amendment’s “Equal Protection” clause.

For that matter, progressive taxation is also an egregious violation of the 14th Amendment’s “Equal Protection” clause.

For you slow Bama and LSU grads, “progressive taxation” is the socialistic manner in which our federal income tax code is graduated so that those who make more and more money pay a higher and higher percentage of their income in taxes.  Marx would be so proud of us.

No, not Groucho; Boudreaux.  Karl.  Karl Marx. 


The Colonel believes it’s time to recognize the concept of “the separation of sin and state,” that, while not specifically spelled out in the Constitution, is just as manifest in the framers’ intent as is “the separation of church and state” and “the right to privacy” – both of which have been used to legislate (by activist courts) more “morality” and limit more religious freedom over the past 50 years than to provide for the individual freedoms for which they were designed.

Homework for the Colonel’s next post:  Read, for comprehension, the 10th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Qual Day

Fridays often evoke jarring memories for this old Jarhead.
This morning, as the strong coffee courses venously, clearing the sleepy sludge like a downpour through a storm drain, the Colonel remembers the rifle range.
By this hour of this day of an old Corps annual requalification range week the loudspeakers would crackle with instructions no Marine will ever forget, though the intervening years be many and his brain cells few.
"Shooters! This is your fifth and final stage of fire -- 500 yards slow fire from the prone position -- ten rounds with a time limit of ten minutes. All ready on the left. All ready on the right. Shooters, your long range targets are in the air -- you may commence firing."
The Colonel invites you to study the accompanying picture. That's what a man-size target looks like through the iron sights of an M-16 at 500 yards.
An impossible shot.
Yet, Marines in the Colonel's day were trained to make ten of those impossible shots in a row.
500 yards.
Iron sights.
Iron sights are a thing of the past and the Colonel has lost touch with what the current Marine Corps rifle qualification requires. He, frankly, doesn't care to know.
He'd rather remember, like a pre-Chicxulub Cretaceous creature (that's a "dinosaur," for you Bama Bandwagon Boors), the sensory overload of recoil, burnt powder, the crackling cacophony of dozens of rifles to left and right, and the manly satisfaction (term used in the most gender-neutral way the Colonel can) of punching tight groups of 5.56 caliber holes in black paper at long distance with 100 year-old rifle sights.
There are five stages of fire to qualify as a rifleman in the Marine Corps, serving as an enduring waypoint in every recruit's and every officer candidate's right of passage toward earning his or her eagle, globe, and anchor insignia and the right to be called "Marine;" and also serving as a yearly touchstone to the "rifleman ethos" for the rest of a Marine's career.
At 200 yards, five rounds each are fired at a 12-inch round target, from the standing ("off-hand"), sitting, and kneeling positions. Ten more rounds are fired "rapid-fire" (less than a minute) at a foot and a half tall and two foot wide top-half silhouette, from the sitting position.
At 300 yards: five rounds, sitting, at the round target; and ten rounds, "rapid fire," at the half silhouette, from the prone position.
Those two lines of fire always felt "mechanical" to the Colonel. Hard to put into words, particularly given the Colonel's lack of education (he went to Ole Miss instead of college, remember), but it just felt like "target shooting."
The 500 yard-line, however, had a whole different feel.
Every time the Colonel wrapped his service rifle in the prone embrace and squinted over open sights at a full-size silhouette, he couldn't help but feel an affinity with some long-forgotten Marine infantryman in the defense outside of Paris in the early summer of 1918.
With their 1903 Springfield rifles reaching out and touching at long range and with such rapidity, the Marines in 1918 so impressed the Germans attacking their lines that they reported back that "every Marine seems to be armed with a machine gun."
At least that's the propaganda we Marines kept alive three generations later...

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


An effective theater battlefield strategy – one that secures victory within parameters acceptable and profitable to the victors (Pyrrhic victories are not the result of “effective” strategies) -- is the final product of a long chain of critical assessments that begin with a nation’s Grand Strategy (determination of national interests – vital, important, and peripheral – and the resources that will be developed, maintained, and employed to protect those interests).  

The United States (particularly over the last 100 years) exerts tremendous effort in codifying Grand Strategy, from which a National Military Strategy – and the resource requirements to support it – is derived.  Literally hundreds of millions of man-hours of critical analysis and strategic assessment, by some of the finest civilian and military strategic thinkers on the planet, are expended every year to ensure that the United States is prepared to protect its national interests in any conceivable contingency.  The United States mans, organizes, trains, and equips military forces accordingly, and does so better than any empire the world has ever seen.   

Assuming that the mission given a Theater Combatant Commander is in consonance with our nation’s Grand Strategy, that commander would then, by definition, have available for his use ample resources and authority to accomplish that mission. 

In short, if the mission is important enough to our National Command Authority, a winning battlefield strategy should be a no-brainer.

If, however, the mission is less important to our National Command Authority than domestic political considerations or is colored by a current decision-maker’s  (or significant advisors’) worldview that does not place the interests of the United States absolutely and unquestionably above the interests of any other nation or non-governmental organization, then a winning battlefield strategy becomes problematic, no matter the excellence of the nation’s long-existing Grand Strategy or the amount of national treasure expended to make the supporting National Military Strategy feasible.

So, with the foregoing as instructional preamble, we find ourselves with a set of questions before us:

Is the defeat of the Islamic State a matter of vital national interest?

                a. If yes, then whose competence should be in question at present – the President’s or the Pentagon’s?     

                b. If no, then our President should say so and explain why not.

Actually, the Colonel needs no answer from the President.  It is quite clear -- even to this knuckle-draggin’, mono-syllabic grunting, academically-challenged cretin -- the President does not consider the defeat of the Islamic State to be in the “vital” national interest of the United States.

So, that would make defeat of the Islamic State either an “important” or “peripheral” national interest.   

If the Islamic State is not a clear and present danger to the United States, but still of grave concern to the security of friends and allies – an “important” national interest – then the question remains: 

Whose competence should be in question regarding the failure to develop (in over a year’s time) a “complete strategy” (his words) for the defeat of the Islamic State – the President’s or the Pentagon’s?

If defeat of the Islamic State is considered only of marginal or peripheral interest to the United States, then why are we expending any treasure or risking any American lives?

The Colonel ain’t smart and you can’t make him, but this ain’t rocket science.