The great rift

Open Letter to My U.S. Government – This Veteran is Mad as Hell – Listen Up! That’s an Order
This good Catholic girl is mad as hell (and I never use that word, so that should tell you just how mad I am!) Read more…

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Yes, the great rift…and I am not referring to a major geographic feature in Africa…as an external observer, it has been fascinating and concerning to watch the US government slowly shake itself to pieces with impasse between both irresponsible factions in the Senate.

Impasses over budgets, national debt and welfare policy are not unknown nor that unexpected…the real concern is the manner in which the government has resorted to the most petty means to maximize the hurt and inconvenience for the people. This is clearly a campaign if not led, certainly endorsed at the highest levels – such pettiness could not be sustained otherwise. To bar survivors of ‘The Greatest Generation’ on what for some may be their first and last visit to the memorial erected in their honour is not only inexcusable, it is the sort of petty arrogance that would see governments unceremoniously evicted in almost every other western nation. It has already been pointed out that, when this happened in Australia in the 70s, the government was promptly sacked by the Governor-General.

 

How do you get to close Mount Rushmore or shut off the sea or prevent people from living in holiday homes on federal land? Yeah, sure, I get that government agencies have to close when staff can not go to work but closing websites and preventing photography or access to memorials that do not require staffing? Puhlease! Give us a break…

The scary thing about all of this is it displays the almighty rift between government apparently from the people, by the people and from the people and the people themselves – representatives who appear more interested in playing petty political games than actually doing their level best to ensure that the best interests not those they present – the actual people, not the endless and mindless lobby and special interest groups – are looked after. Big fail, Congress, epic fail, Senate, super epic fail, Mr President.

It is good to see people getting angry about this but will it do any good unless the system itself is changed, unless political representatives are made responsible to the people they apparently are from, by and for, unless that rift is closed…? As one of the comments on Cynthia’s blog states ‘…time to take your country back...’ And that’s not a call to war, it’s a call for change, to return to your core values – and  that includes putting big business back in its box – in all fairness to the reigning president, he did give the banks a thrashing when he first came to power – and perhaps a period of introspection about your place in the world…

That is all.

Carry on.

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Fixed, determined, inviolable

I’ve always had a soft spot for Douglas MacArthur and think, rightly or wrongly, that he is one of history’s most maligned and least understood commanders. Here is a soldier who reached the top of the heap, Chief of Staff of the US Army, before WW2, who retired to his beloved Philippines, and who was recalled back to duty after Pearl Harbor. Together with Dwight Eisenhower and George Marshall, he was a key figure in implementing a style of occupation we can still (and should) be learning from today and halting the postwar advance of communism.

His final address to the cadets at West Point on 12 May 1962 is a classic that provides a focal point for the essence of what the military is:

… your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable – it is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional careers is but a corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purposes, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishment; but you are the ones who are trained to fight; yours is the profession of arms – the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory; that if you lose, the nation will be destroyed; that the very obsession of your public service must be Duty – Honour – Country…

This is not an Americanism – it is a universally applicable reminder that, indeed, there is no substitute for victory. It does not say how that victory should be achieved, or under what conditions, or in what environments. Simply, it’s about doing our jobs and not letting the bad guys win. To achieve this, we may have to change our ways and, this is where Douglas  MacArthur is commonly held to have failed. Personally, I think that’s debatable given his mandate and mission.

Regardless of nation, the same applies to us in the current environment – it’s a different environment with a different adversary and we have to adapt to the nature of that adversary. That’s the real bitch of being the good guys: we have to adapt to what the bad guys are doing – we can offer them all the MBTs and attack helicopters we like, they are just not going anywhere near our comfort zones. To succeed, to be victorious, we need to get into THEIR comfort zones…and to do that, WE need to change, adapt and evolve or, just like Gunny Highway used to growl, “…improvise, adapt, overcome…