by Andy Weddington
Friday, 14 June 2013
"If any man haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot." Major General John A. Dix
Today is Flag Day!
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
I learned that sentence in first grade. How many still do?
Few things stir more emotion in veterans, in all patriots, than the sight of our Colors. Whatever a citizen's training - rising; the position of attention; a salute; right hand placed over heart; not chewing gum; and silence are respectful behaviors, of allegiance, to the map, our symbol, of our country.
It is what our red, white, and blue - stitched together in a striking, unmistakable banner - represents that is so moving. The sacrifices necessary to establish and ever protect our Republic, America, and the bold courage and casks of blood spilled to preserve freedom, spurn thought - deep thought. And respect. And reverence.
During the past half year or so, more than several senior Marines - colonels and lieutenant colonels (none known to me) - have been relieved of duties by either the commandant or other generals. Certainly those are serious matters, private matters. Yet Marines cannot help but wonder why - particularly when knowing the caliber of officers, the deliberate command screening process, and the commands to which entrusted. Nary a specific reason cited - "loss of confidence" is what makes print.
But it is noticeable, peculiarly so, that there has been an absence, at least reported in the media, of general officers being relieved of duties - for "loss of confidence." Colonels report to generals. And generals bear responsibility, too. More so, generals set the tone - in word but more importantly in deed which Marines - private to general - know as setting the example.
More disturbing and troubling has been the growing corruption surrounding President Obama and his Administration. And not only have incompetent and corrupt and lying and quite probably criminal subordinates not been relieved of duties, in some cases they have been promoted. Absurd? Surely! For it was President Obama who pledged otherwise - a new type of government - before elected in 2008.
Think of the contrast between the relief of Marine commanding officers and the handling of senior civilians. Whom is supposed to be leading whom?
Further, any president who, in prepared remarks and regardless of forum and context, publicly says "punish our enemies" - referring to fellow Americans - is to be taken seriously.
President Obama's words, that were not off-the-cuff nor a slip-of-the-tongue, stunning to be in the head of much less come from the heart and mouth of a United States president; president of all Americans. And those words, his words, have since been carried out to a depth of attack against Americans still unknown but forthcoming.
Know this - President Obama's charges took him at his word. Literally. Every single lawful, moral, and ethical breach, however big or small, and the list lengthy (e.g., Fast & Furious; Solyndra; Benghazi; IRS targeting conservative and religious groups; AP reporters being monitored; FOX News reporter James Rosen, and others, being targeted; the Attorney General and others lying under oath; NSA surveillance of cell phones and computers and data and metadata collection; et al.), surrounds President Obama.
How could it possibly be that all of these breaches of trust with America are not akin? The child's play of dot-connecting is not necessary. Thus, separate investigations and hearings are nonsense. And, be damned. End them! "Bundling" is a popular term and negotiating strategy these days - do it!
President Obama has set the tone. President Obama is solely responsible for what goes on in his Administration. Whether orchestra director or rodeo clown, he alone is right smack dab in the middle of it all. The clueless defense improbable so in neither pit nor barrel is there safe quarter. Let us not forget he (all others, too) is a public servant who works for us. We, Americans, do not live and breathe at the pleasure of our president.
As such, there should be but a single investigation and however long the hearing necessary - into the goings on of President Obama and his Administration. And such a look must be a comprehensive and fair one. Exhaustive. Our history demands as much. Due process is the American way. It's not personal - no one is exempt. Televise it all.
An acquaintance said to me, "You have a rather succinct and blunt way of communicating." "Yes," I replied, "Leading Marines I learned such a way practically assured mission success - it clarified intent and minimized misunderstanding, confusion, and likely precluded disaster." And, I've learned such an approach is effective not only leading Marines but teaching.
Until then (that time of a single investigation and hearing) and therefore, following the lead of Marine generals and considering tens of millions of angry, disgusted Americans (we now know NSA can confirm) calling for impeachment, should not Barack Obama be relieved of duties as President of the United States of America?
"Loss of confidence."
Bold? Agreed. Disrespectful? No. Someone has to speak truth. And true leaders don't kill messengers (I read that again yesterday in a draft book about making Marines written by a Marine colonel - once my regimental commander. I'd follow him anywhere. And anytime.).
End of message.
The words of Virginia Foxx, "The American flag is the most recognized symbol of freedom and democracy in the world."
That's still true.
Yet the United States of America is ever being ridiculed and taunted and poked and prodded and challenged and attacked by enemies - foreign and domestic. Reality is it will take more bold courage and spilled blood to preserve our flag's meaning and purpose and for America to carry on the vision of our Founding Fathers.
It's not going to be easy and it's not going to be without cost - great cost. Nothing worthwhile is.
Forever wave our Colors - and, complying with the order of General Dix, shoot any man, or woman, who should attempt to haul down, however their strategy however their tactic, our American flag.
America - "O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!" That the closing line of each of the four stanzas of 'The Star Spangled Banner' penned by Francis Scott Key in 1814.
Or as is more commonly heard these days and often seen printed on bumper stickers, "America - land of the free because of the brave."
At this moment, the brave stand duty; voluntarily. Freedom!
Sometime today take a good long look at our beautiful Colors - and think.
'Colors - Bombs Bursting In Air'
18 x 24 oil on canvas
The irony in all this is that were Barack Obama a Marine in command he'd have already been relieved for "loss of confidence" and more. With courts-martial to follow. And such our commandant, and other generals, too, well know. For that matter, so does every Marine. Might Corps Values - Honor. Courage. Commitment. - have something to do with it? No doubt! Why is exemplary leadership not coming from the top? There rests the heart, the core, of America's problems.