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Executive Decisions and Mental Cowardice

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“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.”
Dale Carnegie

“There’s no use talking about the problem unless you talk about the solution.”
Betty Williams

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way”
Thomas Paine

President Obama has been on a roll this year with anti-terrorism, and the latest recipient of American justice was Anwar al-Awlaki, who was involved in or connected to at least six acts of terrorism against America. The problem is, al-Awlaki was an American citizen. This gave President Obama’s opponents an opportunity to voice a complaint that actually had a veneer of credibility: that America had sentenced an American citizen to die without due process, and has since carried out the execution.

Now Bill Maher on his show Real Time recently pointed out that such was Rick Perry’s job, and most of us see the irony of Maher’s joke. On the one hand, Maher supports President Obama’s decision, but on the other hand, his quip clearly shows where such a precedent could lead if our president were lacking in sound judgment.

And there’s the rub! Alwaki could not be captured. Unlike bin Laden, who stayed in the same compound for years and thus made himself a stationary target, al-Alwaki was a moving target, and despite all our military capability, it was logistically impossible and diplomatically perilous to send ground troops in to capture him. If the president had stood on principle and idealism and had not acted, he would have placed American lives and the American economy at significant risk, since al-Awlaki had shown himself to be a capable and determined threat. If the president did make the decision to kill al-Alwaki, the precedent is set. But no president is given the luxury of indecision, and the decision he had to make rested entirely on his shoulders.

So ever since the execution-by-drone sentence was carried out, conservatives and libertarians, and not a few liberals, have decried President Obama’s decision to convict and execute without a fair trial. But I have yet to see a single complainant present a better solution that addressed the choice that the president faced!

This is what I call mental cowardice. If an intelligent and educated adult is willing to complain about a problem but is unwilling to even try to present a workable solution to that problem, then that intelligent and educated adult is evincing mental cowardice on the issue. Yes, it’s one’s First Amendment right to say what he wants or to not say what he doesn’t want to say, but the complainant still has the moral responsibility to at least try to suggest a workable solution. That’s why the military has modified Thomas Paine’s quote thus: Either lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

So if you see a problem, point out the problem, yes! But point out the solution, too. And if you don’t know a solution, then educate yourself on the matter! Anyone who has read this far is literate enough and internet-savvy enough to do his or her own research, and certainly capable of not only giving opinions of but also at least attempting to give solutions to major political conundrums. And if you disagree with President Obama’s decision to execute Anwar al-Awlaki without a fair trial, then have the mental courage at least to try to present a workable solution to the choice he faced.

“Say and do something positive that will help the situation; it doesn’t take any brains to complain.”
Robert A. Cook

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • Clavos

    Your insistence on a citizen who complains having the obligation to present a solution to his complaint borders on being unconstitutional (and were it to be enforced by a government authority, literally would be unconstitutional), imposing as it does a condition on the First Amendment right to free speech, which as the language of the Amendment clearly indicates, the Founders intended to be an unconditional right.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    I’m speaking not from a legal or constitutional standpoint, but from a moral standpoint. Thus the final quote:

    “Say and do something positive that will help the situation; it doesn’t take any brains to complain.”

    It doesn’t violate the constitution to be an idiot or a coward…but neither does the fact that it’s not unconstitutional make an idiot or a coward any less of an idiot or a coward.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Geez, Glenn, if people had to be solutions-orientated rather than just bitching about stuff they don’t fully comprehend, a good portion of the Internet would shut down.

    Your idea sounds good but is impractical as it requires more effort than most are willing to exert. Why should people work to improve the economy when it’s so much easier to complain that it’s not working?

  • Clavos

    Why should people work to improve the economy when it’s so much easier to complain that it’s not working?

    More to the point, why should unpaid ordinary citizens have to work to improve the economy when there are highly paid experts in business, the government and academia whose job it is?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    El B –

    That is a brilliant reply/retort, and I can’t say a thing to rebut it!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    More to the point, why should unpaid ordinary citizens have to work to improve the economy when there are highly paid experts in business, the government and academia whose job it is?

    “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

    That, and “many hands make light work”.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Because the unpaid ordinary citizen is part of the economy; they are not an innocent bystander. What’s more likely to improve the economy: a person using their time and energy to create something new or improving what already exists or the person doing nothing but complaining?

    Am glad people like Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, et. al. didn’t wait for the so-called experts, but hey, if you want to, be my guest, though the papers suggest that tactic isn’t working out.

  • pablo

    I guess Glenn does not subscribe to the rule of law, and that a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

    From the LAW of the land. Any other law, or executive order must be in conformance with the constitution or it is null and void on its face, thus making Obama’s executive order ILLEGAL and UNLAWFUL on its face. He has committed a murder against a citizen. PERIOD

    And all of your talk and questions about what would you do, is bullshit, you justify murder by the state for expediency. Shame on you Glenn.

    “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”
    Article 3, Section 3 US Constitution

    Article 6 reads:
    “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

    There is nothing ambiguous about the paragraph. Nothing to opine about, it is plain and simple.

    Which is why Glenn your politics DISGUST me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I would’t give a spittle for Glenn’s political philosophy, Pablo, no more than I would for the political philosophy of such BC luminaries as zinzing or Jordan Richardson, whatever the fuck is his name — have I missed anyone?

    They’re all fucking liberals, and the essence of being liberal is to defend the Anointed as though your life depended on it. For reasons I cannot fathom, the very fact they elected a black persoh to the Oval Office is their vindication, their badge of honor, something they’re willing to live and die for, no matter how the motherfucker is a complete moron.

    Which only goes to show the extent of the liberal guilt. It’s pathetic.

  • pablo

    I could not agree more Roger. And now that they have a wolf in sheep’s clothing in office, they love him even more!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Pablo,

    I’m sick to my stomach of all these people who pretend to be good Americans, patriots to boot, while they’re all so ready to ignore the very principles upon which this nation was presumably founded.

    The presumption of innocence was part and parcel of English common law, long before it became part of the American tradition, and it’s all to the good. But now, we have such as Glenn and company willing to put an individual to a stake for the sake of God and country. In name of false sensof patriotism. Shame!

    Elizabeth II was a far more enlightened ruler. Glenn and the like are in dire need of history lessons.

  • Clavos

    Am glad people like Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, et. al. didn’t wait for the so-called experts, but hey, if you want to, be my guest, though the papers suggest that tactic isn’t working out.

    Well, EB, you’re right (at least, you obviously think you are).

    So, pray tell us: what are you doing to improve the economy? How many workers have you hired lately? How much capital have you invested in our infrastructure? How many “new somethings” have you created?

    You and Glenn both are skilled at setting up strawmen and attacking those who don’t toe your line, but I don’t see any tangible improvements created by either of you, and you both certainly do your share of complaining about those on the right, though of course not about your Messiah in the WH, who, come to think of it, does a fair amount of complaining as well, and does nothing to correct things.

    But he sure knows how to shift blame and responsibility…

  • Jordan Richardson

    Roger, I don’t “defend the Anointed.” I’m not a Liberal. And I remain curious as to what it is about my “political philosophy,” something you know dick al about, that you find so reprehensible.

    No worries, I’m not expecting an answer that makes any earthly sense.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Here’s LB’a and Glenn’s way of improving the economy: feed all donations to Obama’s campaign – 80 million strong, and god save the suckers, to LA media.

    It’s bound, so I’m assured, to produce a beneficial results. LB had told me so!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, Jordan, I just threw your name for good measure, especially since you were unusually cool if not downright hostile, when I posed the question about your Seattle experience with the Occupy movement.

    Forgive me then for jumping to conclusions, but you know how it goes: what goes around comes around.

    For a while, though, I thought you were one of us. Ir is a disappointment.

    Next time perhaps.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I wasn’t hostile at all, I’m just not writing about it.

    And no, I’m not “one of you.” Whatever that means. Happy to disappoint you. Feel free to lump me in with the “disgruntled homos” and assorted obstacles to democracy, please.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sorry to hear that for I meant it in the best possible sense.

    And yes, it is disappointing that you’re not joining the voices of such a Cindy or Mark Eden (never mind me) against oppression and the like.

    Some other time, perhaps. I’ll be ready whenever you are.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yep, I’m actually for oppression. Another spot-on observation.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    OK, Jordan, have it your way. I was just trying to reach. Apologize for having been clumsy.

    Manana.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    If you are going to talk about strawmen, you shouldn’t use so many in your comment.

    I’ll tell you what I’ve done in terms of the economy, which are admittedly miniscule in the grand scheme, although your asking shows you obviously missed the point because I don’t sit around bellyaching that the politicians at the national or state level haven’t fixed the economy yet.

    I have over 20 people now working for me at Cinema Sentries, which wasn’t in existence last year, and the more they do the more opportunities they have to make money. Not enough to quit their full-time job, but they certainly can put a nice chunk of spending money in their pockets as some have.

    Also, I have cut down my spending online and buy more things from local stores, like choosing nearby book sellers over Amazon for example.

    If you think I only complain about those on the right and not Obama and others on the left, you should take off the blinders, which seem affixed pretty tight if you think he’s my Messiah (yet another strawman).

    Guess, we’ll skip over my disagreements with Glenn, Roger, Cindy, zing, and others about some issues here, since you have, and just stick to disagreeing with Obama and his administration.

    I don’t get how his healthcare plan would have worked and not sure I understand what they have now after Congress got through with it, which seems less desirable. I don’t understand the DOJ going after medical marijuana in states that have approved. Forget doing enough, I don’t think he’s doing anything about illegal immigration. If Solyndra is more than just a company failing in the marketplace, I’ll have a problem with that. I was disappointed he continued Bush tax cut because I don’t think we can afford it any longer. Looking at the website whattheheckhasobamadonesofar, there are a lot of important items he’s spent money on, but I don’t know where it’s is coming from to pay it all.

    I’m off to generate some content.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Roger, considering your current financial situation, you are the last person to be talking about economic matters, but please don’t let that stop you from playing the clown.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger, pablo, Clavos –

    Complain, complain, complain…yet none of you have had the intestinal fortitude to give a reasonable and workable alternative to Obama’s decision. Kenn and Cindy tried, but failed. But at least they tried.

    And THAT was the whole point of my article – that it doesn’t matter that none of you can come up with a reasonable and workable alternative, and few of you even have the intestinal fortitude to try.

    Read the first quote in my article, and accept my thanks to all of you for helping me prove it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @20

    Whoopsy do, LB, I used to to when I was in business for thirty some years, employing in fact the skid row guys no one else would hire. So what now? Shall we both get a medal?

    As to your subsequent remark, apart from the fact that you’re playing dirty pool — what else is new? — what has one thing got to do with another? I never put personal economic well-being on top of my agenda, you see — different strokes for different folks. And as to politicians, who said they can fix things. US economy is beyond recovery, I’ve said that before and I’m saying it again.

    It’d seem, LB, you are the resident clown, but then again, don’t let that stop you since the title fits. One no longer ever notices it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @20

    Whoopsy do, LB, I used to to when I was in business for thirty some years, employing in fact the skid row guys no one else would hire. So what now? Shall we both get a medal?

    As to your subsequent remark, apart from the fact that you’re playing dirty pool — what else is new? — what has one thing got to do with another? I never put personal economic well-being on top of my agenda, you see — different strokes for different folks. And as to politicians, who said they can fix things. US economy is beyond recovery, I’ve said that before and I’m saying it again.

    It’d seem, LB, you are the resident clown, but then again, don’t let that stop you since the title fits. One no longer ever notices it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Since you’re asking for a solution, Glenn, here’s one: let’s set a drone on you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And what the hell do you mean by mental cowardice? How do you propose to distinguish it from physical cowardice? Am I supposed to think the latter has to do with being a bully?

    Well, using drones instead of the boots on the ground is taking bullying to the nth degree, don’t you think?

    But it’s not for me to say. It’s your article.

  • pablo

    Glenn,

    Your words speak louder than I could possibly ever criticize. I do thank you for that.

    At least your man enough to admit that your idea of law is more akin to Atilla the Hun than Thomas Jefferson. I rest my case pal.

  • zingzing

    roger, you probably typed out # 25 before your brain registered the irony. and you’re wasting a lot of breath scolding people because they don’t hold every one of your recently acquired precious beliefs. your tactics have become very much like cindy’s at her worst. just pure hostility. from where i sit, it just looks like you sit around all day and fume. why don’t you go to one of these things and see what they’re really like?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Ain’t scolding nobo0dy, zingo, just call ‘em as I see them. Does it look to you like scolding? Sorry ’bout that.

    And no, no irony was lost; think rather fast on my feet, proud to say. And thanks for the free diagnostic session, BTW. Never know when it’ll come handy.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    And what the hell do you mean by mental cowardice? How do you propose to distinguish it from physical cowardice? Am I supposed to think the latter has to do with being a bully?

    The only ‘bully’ is one’s own ego, when one is too afraid to question what one believes, when one is too insecure to admit error even to oneself in the long solitary watches of the night.

    And that means I’ve got a sincere apology to make to you, Roger, because as far as I can tell you’re the only one other than myself on this site who has gone through such a truly radical change in his outlook. My change came in the early 90’s, yours online here…and while yours was in a direction I usually strongly disagree with, I should at least have had the understanding to see that you were overcoming what you had once believed, you were questioning the bully your own ego, and you were admitting error to yourself in the solitary night when memories and regrets become too deafening to bear – you had do be doing this, for one cannot make such a radical change otherwise!

    You might have gone from right to wrong in my opinion, but I should at least have given you respect and understanding for the difficulty of the journey you were facing.

    I know I’m sanctimonious, that I’m too proud in my humility, but I am sorry. Please accept my apology – such a journey isn’t easy, and I think yours was harder than mine.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    pablo –

    After my dinner of crow in front of Roger, thank you for giving me a chance to get back to my usual habit of throwing someone’s error back in his face! You said:

    Your words speak louder than I could possibly ever criticize. I do thank you for that. At least your man enough to admit that your idea of law is more akin to Atilla the Hun than Thomas Jefferson. I rest my case pal.

    REALLY? Here’s a little history about Thomas Jefferson (who, btw, is one of my favorite presidents):

    Between 1776 and 1779, while governor of Virginia during the Revolutionary War, Jefferson recommended forcibly moving Cherokee and Shawnee tribes that fought on the British side to lands west of the Mississippi River. Later, Jefferson was the first President to propose the idea of Indian Removal. He laid out an approach to Indian removal in a series of private letters that began in 1803. His first such act as president was to make a deal with the state of Georgia: if Georgia were to release its legal claims to discovery in lands to its west, the U.S. military would help forcefully expel the Cherokee people from Georgia. At the time, the Cherokee Nation had a treaty with the United States government which guaranteed its people the right to their lands, which was violated by Jefferson’s deal with Georgia.

    Jefferson was certainly no Attila the Hun, but he did his share of great wrong, even though he did it with what he thought was the best of intentions. Like all other men including you and me (but not Jesus IMO), Jefferson had feet of clay. The tragedy is, when one is in a position of power, one’s failures tend to harm a lot more people than they would otherwise.

    So I caution you, pablo, to know yourself, not in the biblical fashion of course, but in the way that Sun Tzu recommended long before Christ ever walked the earth:

    If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @30

    Appreciate your comment, Glenn, just want to let you know my comments are never intended to attack you personally — though I’m certain that at times I fail to be careful enough to preserve this vital distinction — only the position.

    As to my intellectual journey, Cindy and Mark provided the necessary impetus. It was in the course of our dialogues here on BC that I got so radicalized.

  • pablo

    El Bicho 21

    That remark to Roger was particularly ugly and mean, and you should be ashamed of yourself for saying it. Unfortunately your probably proud of it, and if so, speaks far more about your character than Roger’s.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s OK, Pablo, I’m up to LB’s tricks. What he doesn’t understand, I didn’t grow up in the “money culture” whereby everything revolves around making the buck, and never absorbed this aspect of Americanism. In fact, the years I’ve been in business for myself were gratifying not for the money I’d make but rather in terms of building “business architecture,” something LB probably has no conception of.

    In any case, the present state of my finances have nothing to do with my understanding of the economy, nor does it disqualify me from commenting on the subject — another one of LB’s fallacies.

  • http://cinemasentries.com El Bicho

    Considering some of the things you’ve typed here, Pablo, you are in no position to scold anyone, so get off the high horse you rode in on.

    I notice you don’t take issue with Roger making up stuff and attributing it to people. Or his other clownish acts like his recent tantrum because Jordan didn’t respond quick enough for him.

    Trust me, the moment I care what you think of me, I’ll be sure to let you know. Until then, hold your breath.

  • pablo

    I don’t hit below the belt Bicho. And you can rest assured that the feeling is more than mutual regarding what you think of me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Wasn’t a tantrum, LB — just a come on! Either wash your ears or put on your reading glasses. Or are you objecting, perhaps, that I’m personalizing things a bit with Jordan? Well, I admit I care for what Jordan thinks and would like to draw him into the fold. As for you, I don’t give a rat’s ass.

    And in regard to “clownish behavior,” it’s you who seem to exhibit it more and more and with far greater facility, but I guess practice makes perfect.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    *grabs a bag of high-fat microwavable popcorn and sits back to wait for the bikini-clad girl to carry around the sign announcing the next round*

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    The problem with the rule of law, Pablo, is that sometimes the law is flat-footed.

    For example, in England you can actually be tried and convicted of homicide for using lethal force while defending your own home against intruders. The use of “reasonable” force is legal, but what actually constitutes “reasonable” is pretty hazy. Recent court decisions have tended to favour the householder, but the case of Tony Martin in particular demonstrates how arbitrary the law’s interpretation can be.

    Arguably (and I’m not saying that it is true), the case of al-Awlaki could be a similar instance of the rule of law being inadequate to the situation. For all we know, the guy could have been travelling with an armed nuclear missile that he planned to launch on New York the next day. (While this probably isn’t the case, and while even if it was there’s no way the government would ever say so, the Justice Department isn’t doing anyone any favours by being cagey about it.)

    In that case, sending a military team into Yemen to chase and capture al-Awlaki on the ground, with no guarantee of success, might have been as absurd under the circumstances as being expected to decide in the heat and fear of the moment whether shouting a warning in the darkness that you’ve called the police and hoping that the bedroom door holds is more “reasonable” than blasting away at the intruders with a shotgun.

  • http://cinemasentries.com El Bicho

    “I don’t hit below the belt Bicho.”

    Riiiight. Let me know if I need to find more evidence, but this should be enough to prove you dead wrong: Exhibit #1 Pablo’s comment posted at Dec 15, 2008 at 9:25 pm.

    I am only providing the link because it’s too ugly to repeat. It is certainly worse than anything I have ever typed on this site.

    After you refresh your memory, feel free to explain if you didn’t remember sinking so low or if you thought you could lie and get away with it? And are you ashamed or proud of your words?

  • http://cinemasentries.com El Bicho

    Sorry, Rog. No time to deal with your three-ring antics right now, but I’ll be sure to remember you care what Jordan thinks the next time you tell him you don’t care what he thinks

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Neither do I, but I’m certain that won’t stop you from telling me what you think, as if I cared.

  • zingzing

    pro-tip: “as if i cared” means the exact opposite of what is intended.

    i know i get into it as often as anyone else around here, but this silly personal bickering is, although fun for the participants, exceedingly puerile and somewhat pathetic from the outside looking in.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No fun for me. I don’t care to communicate with people I don’t give a shit about — takes too much effort — and I’m not wearing an official hat, like Christopher does, to have to explain myself to anyone, be fair, patient, or whatever. But it seems LB has got nothing better to do with his time, and neither do you, apparently.

  • zingzing

    and neither do you, apparently.

    but that’s something you ought not throw around, roger. if you’re arguing with me, you’ve got nothing better to do with your time, obviously. so don’t stick your fucking nose up.

    my day was pretty full. hanging out with my 5 month old nephew this morning in dc (who’s AWESOME), bus back to nyc, then to work, then finally home. i’ve had a long day.

    that i choose to chill out and have a few political arguments on the issues of the day is my decision, and nothing for you to harangue me about.

    glass houses, etc.–or–what did you do today?

  • pablo

    Bicho 40

    Nuthin below the belt there. Clavos engaged in an illegal and unlawful war, which is tantamount to murder. And called him on it. Next example?

  • pablo

    However Bicho when someone such as Roger talks about economics, and you say he doesnt have a leg to stand on because of his own economic struggle, which had NO bearing on his argument, that is below the belt.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    pablo –

    I looked at your 2008 post, and you were WAY out of line. Why? Because in war, the LEADERS are to blame, not the foot soldiers. It is the leaders who determine the personality of a unit, the leaders who set the tone of the command, who give the orders to kill…

    …and if the foot soldiers do not follow the orders, their lives can wind up being wrecked – most employers look dimly on any military discharge that doesn’t read “honorable”. Also, there was this little thing called the ‘draft’. You may have heard of it.

    So NO, as much as I hate war, as much as I thank God that I never saw combat, there is ZERO blame on the enlisted for following orders. Put the blame where it belonged – on those who insisted on the war.

    So…yeah, your insult was WAY out of line, and simply showed your ignorance.

  • troll

    Glenn – we are each personally responsible for our actions…no more hiding behind ‘leaders’

    the movement is setting up space in which to develop this principle

  • troll

    pablo – Clavos is quite aware of the nature of his behavior

    you and I went around about this before and you know how fucking scummy I find your approach to be

    it is unwise to condemn or consider weak all who have been manipulated w/in the meat grinder

  • troll

    …how do you view those vietnam vets in beantown pablo who just took it up the ass on behalf of their occupy movement?

    cowardly murderers or what?

    I sometimes wonder if men can grow into peaceful beings w/out directly encountering the ‘killer demons’ within (as I’m sure that your personal experiences have led you to do)

  • pablo

    When an adult whether drafted or volunteer into military service, they take an oath. That oath is to uphold and defend the constitution. It is very clear that the power to declare war rests with the congress in the constitution, not in the executive. Since war was never declared in Vietnam, it was unlawful and illegal.

    So yes I do hold responsible the foot soldiers as well at the leaders in waging an unlawful war.

  • pablo

    troll,

    You are too incoherent for me to respond to.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yours is an astoundingly easy position to take, Pablo. Remember that.

  • troll

    that’s ok pablo – you probably have to have been there or to be empathetic…which I guess you haven’t and aren’t

  • pablo

    Jordan,

    You take an oath, understand what it means and follow it. Its not rocket science.

  • pablo

    Troll,

    No I was not in Vietnam. At age 13 I was in the streets of San Francisco protesting it, I was smart enough even at that young age to realize that the war was wrong and illegal.

  • troll

    lol pablo…I meant in my incoherent head

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’m pretty sure you missed my point, Pablo.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @57

    I was a late bloomer, though, and when I was drafted, I thought nothing of going to Nam — even volunteered for a tour of duty, for the glory of it, but my security clearance wasn’t approved.

    The point I’m making, people change, my man. Today you could declare me the enemy of the State and you wouldn’t be far off. You can’t judge me today for my ignorance as a youth. Likewise with Clavos, I’m certain.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll and pablo –

    Glenn – we are each personally responsible for our actions…no more hiding behind ‘leaders’

    That’s very easy to say when one hasn’t faced the same kind of decisions that we in the military faced. Back then, people were drafted. Others were troublemakers who were told to either join the military or go to jail. Even today, choices aren’t as easy as they seem. Some joined because it was family tradition. Many joined because they could not get a job otherwise. And then there are those who joined because it was the only way to feed their family and provide quality health care for them. My wife’s choice was the latter. She was just about to join the Army so that she could provide health care for her child. But then she met me, and the rest is nearly two decades of history.

    It’s so easy, troll and pablo, for the two of you to condemn the choices of others…but it’s obvious that neither of you really understand how difficult certain choices can be. For instance, when one is told that refusal to follow orders will result in a court-martial and imprisonment, one tends to follow orders…because we in the military generally have a good idea what said imprisonment is like – and it can be much worse than your standard state or federal prison.

    What I’m getting to, troll and pablo, is that both of you are naive. Neither of you have faced the same choices that Clavos or Dave faced…and neither of you (nor I, since I (thankfully) never saw combat) have earned the right to question why they followed the orders they were given.

    And what’s the proof? How many of us believed George W. Bush as he was lying us into Iraq? Maybe both of you were too smart for his lies…but most of America wasn’t. Suddenly the recruiting offices were filled and America was caught in the fullness of what many of us thought was righteous fury.

    Is it their fault that they were fooled by the ones who controlled the information we were all fed? EVEN COLIN POWELL was lied to, and repeated what he did not realize were lies to the United Nations!

    Enlisted personnel, troll and pablo, are to be held responsible for what they personally do right or wrong…but they are NOT to be blamed for the decisions of the leaders that force them – FORCE THEM – to go to war.

    With the exception of Dave Nalle, we’re all private citizens here. Let us not condemn one another unless we’ve walked years of our lifetimes in each other’s shoes.

  • troll

    watch your assumptions Glenn – what do you know of other’s experiences

    ps – where did I condemn the choices of others here?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    My apologies if that is not what you meant in #49. You did not overtly condemn, but it sure seemed that way in #49 when you implied that blaming the leaders is a way for their subordinates to avoid responsibility…

    …even though (to your credit) you did seem to contradict yourself in the last line of #50.

    And troll – what do I know of others’ experiences? When you’re a supervisor in the military, you find out that you are to some extent actually responsible for what your subordinates do on- AND OFF-duty, 24/7/365. For instance, if my subordinate got a DWI I wouldn’t have been charged with it…but those in charge of me would have remembered it when it came time for my evaluations if I had failed to ensure that my subordinate had attended anti-DWI training or that I had failed to see that he was an alcoholic. Off-duty misconduct by a subordinate can and often does directly impact a supervisor’s opportunities for advancement. And yes, there are GOOD reasons for all this anal-retentiveness in the military.

    Because of all this, one tends to get to know his subordinates REALLY well – and this includes learning about what they have and haven’t done even before they joined the military. AFAIK there is no equivalent to this level of responsibility in the civilian world.

    When you’ve held such responsibility over a couple hundred people or more (in my case this was not all at one time, but cumulative), it becomes almost second nature to accurately pigeonhole the strengths and weaknesses not only of each subordinate, but of other people you meet. Don’t get me wrong – a career in the military does not mean that one knows all and sees all when it comes to his fellow man. We still get surprised all too often by what others do or don’t do. What it DOES mean is that compared to civilian leaders, we who have been in leadership positions in the military are significantly more likely to be able to accurately read the personality of another person.

    Now I realize that sounds like so much BS to you…and if our positions were reversed, I’d probably feel the same. But that’s my experience…and that’s one reason why I do my level best never to insult anyone else.

  • troll

    you know Glenn I’m exceedingly tired of dealing w/ your poor reading comprehension skills – not that I don’t fall into some of the same traps myself at times

    on examination I think you will find my position consistent

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Glenn’s reading comprehension would be just fine if he were to take himself once in a while out of the picture and listen to other voices.

    I was thinking of a movie with Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn, I believe, the scene of action, Vietnam — can’t think of a darn name and google ain’t fucking helpful — that he might want to re-watch about this whole business of “obeying orders.”

    Wasn’t that, BTW, the Nazis’ favorite line of defense in the Nuremberg trials?

    Again, and I’m merely dovetailing to an earlier remark, left standing like a sore thumb because no one would bite, what we’re seeing here is not a failure of logic but a moral defect of sorts (for lack of a better word).

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    To lighten the tone, Glenn, “troll” is one of the clearest thinkers on this site (even though he may be too cryptic at times, which annoys the hell out of me). Anarcissie is next, and I, together with Cindy, are the distant third.

    The fact that you, zing and Handy don’t pay any of us homage and accuse us instead of contradictions only shows how full of yourselves each of you are.

    So get with the program now and never question the masters.

    Sorry, “troll,” I just thought I’d throw that in for good measure, just to ease Glenn’s burden (and zing’s and Handy’s too).

  • zingzing

    troll may be a clear thinker, but for god’s sake man, you are to punctuation as i am to capitalization! please… sometimes, it takes some work to unwrap your sentences, which may be the source of glenn’s “reading comprehension” issues.

    roger: platoon.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @ 69

    That’s why I’m the distant third.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And that’s not the movie, Sean Penn and Michael Fox were starring. Sean Penn doesn’t feature in the Platoon.

  • zingzing

    casualties of war? i don’t think charlie sheen was in it. but as i recall, that’s the plot… sean penn is rather sadistic, yeah? i love brian de palma, but that one didn’t quite do it for me. not de palma-y enough.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Holy begeebers, I am a third rate thinker?

    :-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    (cries)

    sniff

    sniff

    ;-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Distant third’s not the same as third-rate.

    Besides, you’re in the same class as I, which means you’re in good company.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Thanks for the update, troll. Please keep keeping me posted. I would be out their in a millisecond if I could be. It’s good to know what is going on more directly than just the social and news networks.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Okey dokey, Roger. I will use that knowledge as salve for my wounds. :-O

    (jest kiddin wit ya)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Unfortunately, some took me serious. Their bad!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Any OWS sites in Jersey?

    That would be your best bet?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Yes, Roger. There are two: Trenton and Jersey City…and Newark is trying to get off the ground.

    I have been in Newark since September as we are in the hospital again for a minor thing. Nothing wrong. We go home again tomorrow at last.

    (The reason I cannot go is that I cannot leave my husband alone. As one, his heart is run on batteries. I am trained to do emergency replacement of his controller. I would not entrust him even to someone I have trained for more than say an hour. And two, imagine me getting arrested under such a circumstance. We are two peas in a pod. :-)

    When I get home I plan on scouring the area garage sales and thrift shops for items needed like sleeping bag and coats and dropping them off for the protesters with something scrumptious to eat. (Thanks for that link you posted about what supplies are needed.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I donated to the live-stream, and will try to make use of the site you linked to earlier.

    BTW, you mustn’t have seen my email linking to the last article on SOW. Anarcissie too is not responsive. She visited the site more than once and said it was not here type of scene. For a while I thought she got arrested.

    This is bigger than any of us, but we shouldn’t stop communicating and sharing our thoughts. Quite the contrary, now is the time.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Glad to see your tone is milder now. IMO, however, the clearest thinkers on this site are Doc Dreadful, Baritone, STM, troll, and – you’ll probably think I’m nuts – Clavos (as much as I think he’s wrong, at least he’s consistent and very difficult to pin down on any one issue).

    You’ll notice I didn’t include myself in that list – and that’s not out of a sense of false humility. I know how I sometimes dwell out in left field, and my points can sometimes get downright sanctimoniously goofy (ouch)…but I can still take pride in the fact that sometimes they’re pretty doggone original.