Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Colonel Kids Thee Not

The recent Islamic State-inspired attack on a military recruiting office and Reserve center in Chattanooga hit the Colonel right in the small crusty cinder that serves as his heart and fired up a few neurons circulating in the vicinity of what used to be his memory.

The Colonel's last command on active duty was the 6th Marine Corps District; headquartered at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, and responsible for Marine Corps enlisted and officer recruiting in the Southeastern United States. He commanded more than 500 Marine NCOs and Officers, spread over hundreds of offices. Those Marines (most on temporary duty as recruiters -- outside of their primary occupational specialties) contacted, screened, and sold nearly 4000 of America's finest young men and women on the benefits of serving their nation as Marines, each year.

In addition to recruiting the best high school graduates for service as Marines, recruiters are also held responsible for preparing soft, squishy civilian minds and bodies for success at the world's foremost military recruit training grounds -- Parris Island and Quantico..

The Colonel has often told anyone he could corner that, "a Marine recruiter is the best salesman in the world." Anyone who can convince a college-bound youngster, and his Momma, that he should forego college for a few years and serve as a Marine -- in time of WAR -- well...,

That's a salesman.

And..., to walk into the most dangerous place on earth -- Momma's house -- to ask for Momma's permission to take her baby to war, takes incredible bravery.

The Colonel kids thee not.

Marines would rather face a regiment of the enemy single-handed, than Momma.

A combat Marine, now trained to be the world's best salesman, is a dangerous combination of skills.

Even as planes crashed into the towers in New York and into the Pentagon, the Colonel remained more concerned for the safety of his Marine recruiters at the hands of a jealous boyfriend or husband than any terrorist.

The Colonel kids thee not.

The Colonel lost more Marines to their own testosterone and bravado than he ever worried about losing to enemy action.

But, as much as the modified dress blue uniform of a recruiter made him an easily identifiable target, that was the whole idea. Marines on recruiting are supposed to stand out in the civilian community. They give most of the American people the only personal exposure to Marines that they ever get. That is by design.

Only the best Marines get assigned to recruiting duty.

Marines assigned as drill instructors are fine, as well. But, the Colonel would take a former recruiter as a subordinate leader in any combat organization over a former drill instructor ANY DAY.

The Colonel kids thee not.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Swords and Plowshares

In the Colonel's not-so humble opinion those who entertain the pleasant delusion that any deal with the mad mullahs in Iran lessens the probability of war in the region share that pleasantly delusional state with those who believe that the current deal with the mad mullahs makes a war in the region more likely.

In plain truth, there will be another major war in that region within the next generation with or without some agreement ostensibly restricting Iranian development of nuclear weapons.

Count on it.

The Colonel isn't cynical -- well..., he is..., but on this score he's just plain realistic.  He's read way too much history to be otherwise.

First of all, the history of grand multinational arms limitation agreements preventing war is checkered at best.  For example, the international naval limitation treaties of the inter-war years in the last century did little to prevent the ultimate rise of the Axis powers and the horrific global war that followed.

One could point out that the strategic arms limitations treaties between NATO and the Warsaw Pact "kept the peace" during the Cold War, but in reality mutually assured nuclear destruction had more to do with keeping the U.S. and the Soviets from settling their political differences on the plains of Europe.  And, proxy wars embroiled both sides in costly side-show wars regardless.

Secondly, the Iranian regime is clearly expansionist.  Sure, it hasn't overtly invaded neighbors' sovereign territory, yet; but its clandestine claws are scratching open old wounds all across the region.  They have played the game extremely well, so far.  No move has been so overtly hostile as to draw a hard response.  But, even the most calculating chess player knows that gambits are no sure bet -- the other side is is calculating, as well.  

In military planners' parlance: "The enemy always gets a vote."

So, the Colonel believes, without a significant doubt in his military mind, that the Iranians will eventually miscalculate.

The road to war throughout history is paved with miscalculations.

Lastly, over the last 100 years alone, the region we call "the Middle East" has hosted a major war every dozen years on average.

The Colonel sees no reason to believe that the tensions and motivations that led to those conflicts has abated, or will for the foreseeable future.  And, a major war caused by Iranian hegemonistic designs cannot be sat-out by the United States. 

Don't beat your swords into plowshares just yet.      

Saturday, July 11, 2015

In Defense of Thought

The Colonel has said it before and it bears repeating: "the line beyond which something is considered 'politically incorrect' -- a term which in itself conjures up the most egregious aspects of totalitarianism and tyrannical socialism -- incessantly encroaches on God-given individual rights, constricts even the most conservative definition of common sense, and pushes ceaselessly against even the most harmless historical markers of custom and tradition necessary for maintaining a culture."

Orwell's "Thought Police," once anathema to the American Ideal, have come to life and taken root at the Republic's collective brain stem like a malignant tumor disguising itself by releasing emotional endorphins that overwhelm our once vaunted reputation for tolerance and respect of each citizen's opinion.

The Colonel has not flown the "Rebel" flag for nearly 40 years. He's a Rebel, to be sure -- in more ways than one -- but, his oath to "defend the Constitution" (without statute of limitation) obviated love and allegiance to all but one flag. Still, he feels great sorrow welling up as the Confederate battle flag comes down. No sorrow for the flag itself, nor for the causes that usurped the symbol for the purpose of perpetuating prejudice and hate.

Sorrow for the loss of common sense, sanity, and, ultimately, the individual freedom for which the republic was founded.

Let's be clear-eyed about the erasure of a historical marker in the life of our Republic. It will not erase the sins of pride and prejudice in our hearts, nor will it be the last target of those who seek to consolidate power by controlling thought.

Those marching at the head of today's "victory" parade, will not relinquish that "honor." No cherished ideal or beloved tradition is safe from their rapacious appetite for the amphetamine rush of power.

Eventually, the movement will turn on itself, in one last cannibalistic feeding frenzy.

Like a collapsed star whose density generates gravity so strong that not even light escapes, so will be the Republic and its once-bright torch of freedom.


Unless each of us stands up to the tyranny of political correctness.  

Not in defense of indefensible positions and thought; in defense of the right to hold those indefensible positions and think those indefensible thoughts.

What are YOU doing to defend the Constitution of the United States?