Tag Archives: U.S. military

Hoping, believing voters will heed their better instincts

Donald Trump gestures while speaking surrounded by people whose families were victims of illegal immigrants on July 10, 2015 while meeting with the press at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, where some shared their stories of the loss of a loved one. The US business magnate Trump, who is running for president in the 2016 presidential elections, angered members of the Latino community with recent comments but says he will win the Latino vote. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN        (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

I’ve been watching those polls. They alarm me.

The presidential campaign that was supposed to be a lock for Hillary Rodham Clinton has turned into something quite different. It’s becoming a nail-biter, as Donald J. Trump has closed the gap to within a whisker.

I worry for our country no matter who wins this election. Whether it’s the Democrat Clinton or the so-called Republican Trump, my concernĀ lies in the unrest that has been fomented by the GOP nominee.

Look, the choice doesn’t thrill me.Ā Trump’s rise in the public opinion surveys, though, suggestsĀ that Trump has tapped into something foreboding and grim. He keeps yapping about the “failure” of our national leadership. For the life of me, IĀ cannot fathom what in theĀ world he’s talking about.

Failure to do what? To stop the economic free-fall that was underway in 2009? ToĀ prevent a major terrorĀ attack on our soil while killing bad guys on the battlefield?

As IĀ have read and absorbed all the hideous statements that have poured out of Trump’s mouth since the day he declared his presidential candidacy, I keep asking myself: Do Americans really and truly want someone of this caliber serving as their head of state?

How does one truly endorse a political figure who:

— Says aĀ U.S. senator is a war hero only because he gotĀ captured by the enemy?

— Mocks a reporter’s physical disability?

— Says women should be punished for obtaining an abortion?

— Fails to disavow immediately the endorsement of a known hater, one-time Ku Klux Klan grand dragon/wizard David Duke?

— Proposes an unconstitutional banĀ on Muslims seeking to enter this country?

— Proposes to build a wall across our southern border and then demands that another sovereign nation pay for it?

— Says a distinguishedĀ American judge cannot preside over a case involving Trump University simply because his parents are Mexican immigrants.

— Denigrates the U.S. military as a “disgrace”?

— Says heĀ “knows more about ISIS than the generals, OK?”

— Changes his policy views hourly.

Stop me beforeĀ my fingers fall off typing these examples.

Yes, I know about the trust issues that plague Clinton’s campaign. I know about the concerns that many voters have that she’s not entirely transparent and truthful.

I wish Clinton would speak to us more candidly and answer the difficult questions that media representatives pose to her.

But given the choice that confronts us, my sincere hope is that Americans are going to realize the profound consequences this country faces by electing someone with zero understanding of the complexities of the office he is seeking.

Military is 'trustworthy'

All right. I said I was done commenting on the Jade Helm 15 story.

Allow me one more tiny shot at it.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry says the U.S. military can be trusted, which apparently isn’t quite in Gov. Greg Abbott’s view. Abbott wants the Texas State Guard to look closely at the military as it conducts exercises in Texas later this year. It’s called Jade Helm 15 and has become the subject of wack-job Internet rumors about a takeover of Texas by the federal government.


As the Texas Tribune reports: ā€œI think itā€™s okay to question your government ā€” I do it on a pretty regular basis,” Perry told reporters here before a luncheon for the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. “The military’s something else. You know, I think our military is quite trustworthy,” Perry added. “Civilian leadership ā€“ you can always question that, but not the men and women in uniform.ā€

Sure, criticize the civilian leadership. We all have done so on occasion.

Perry, though, seems to fall far short of Abbott’s concern that we need to keep the military in full view while it’s running through exercises in Texas.

Perry didn’t answer a question about whether he was criticizing his successor.

That’s all right. The former governorĀ didn’t need to answer it directly to make his larger point.

Jade Helm 15 story keeps getting life

It boggles my occasionally feeble mind to watch some stories take on lives of their own.

They won’t fade away.

The U.S. military is going to conduct some exercises in Texas later this year. It brought out some Internet lunatics who put forth a rumor about the (a) declaration of martial law and (b) and outright invasion of Texas by the federal government.

Then comes Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who orders the Texas State Guard to “monitor” the activities of the exercise, called Jade Helm 15. He wants to protect Texans’ rights, civil liberties, property and whatever else might be threatened by the military.


Here comes Chuck Norris, the so-called “actor,” martial-arts expert, longtime political activist who said it’s OK for the state to monitor the military. He wrote a newspaper column in which he actually questions the military’s stated mission to conduct “just an exercise.” He doesn’t trust the use of the word “just.”

Heaven help us all if we actually believe this crap.

Norris is right about one thing. It’s all right to question the government. The Constitution gives us that right in the First Amendment. But this wacky nonsense wondering out loud about whether the military wants to “invade” one of the nation’s 50 states just feeds into the nutty notions that find their way into cyberspace.

This story needs to die.

Immediately — if not sooner.

I’m done with it.

What makes a good commander in chief?

Scott Walker says that being an Eagle Scout prepared him to be commander in chief of the greatest military force in the history of the world.

So, there you have it. Join the Scouts, earn enough merit badges and you, too, can serve in the Oval Office.

The Republican Wisconsin governor was answering the question on a conservative radio talk show.


I won’t dismiss Walker’s Eagle Scout accomplishment as being irrelevant as Walker prepares to enter the 2016 GOP presidential primary donnybrook.

In truth, I don’t know what prepares someone to be commander in chief. The qualifications of the 44 men who’ve served as president are a mixed bag, to say the least.

A couple of our greatest presidents — Republican Abraham Lincoln and Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt — didn’t serve in the military. Yet they saw the country through two horrific wars.Ā Virtually all Lincoln’s presidency was eaten up by the Civil War and yet he held the Union together. FDR mobilized the nation after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor and led the nation beautifully as it carried the fight to enemies in the Pacific and across the Atlantic in Africa and Europe.

Republican Dwight Eisenhower ascended to the rank of general of the Army, but didn’t have to mobilize the nation during his two terms as president. Republican Ulysses S. Grant became an Army general, but his presidency was marred by scandal.

Our three most recent presidents among them have very little combined military experience. Democrat Bill Clinton didn’t serve in the military and in fact avoided the draft back in the 1960s; Republican George W. Bush served for a time in the Texas Air National Guard, flying fighter jets stateside; Democrat Barack Obama also has no military experience.

Does prior military service equate to preparation for being commander in chief? I don’t know.

And does such service mean more than achieving an Eagle Scout ranking? I don’t know that, either.

It seems to boil down to judgment and whether a president has the right judgment — and perhaps the temperament — to lead the world’s premier fighting force.

Maybe a stint in Scouting helps develop those traits. Then again, maybe it doesn’t if the individual doesn’t already possess the innate skill and judgment required to do the most difficult job on Earth.