COUNTERCLOCKWISE - SO MOVES CORPS AND COUNTRY
by Andy Weddington
Sunday, 08 September 2013
"You can never plan the future by the past." Edmund Burke
Clockwise refers to the direction in which the hands of a clock move. That is, clockwise marks progress or forward movement of time. The clock can be stopped and even rewound but time marches on.
Counterclockwise refers to the direction opposite to that in which the hands of a clock move. That is, counterclockwise is backwards - which time does not move (as far as we know).
And as time cannot be reversed some things cannot be undone.
Years ago I knew a senior military officer who was selected for promotion to yet more senior rank. While waiting to be promoted the officer was the subject of an investigation - sundry allegations of impropriety.
Allegations were substantiated. Among other serious misconduct, unethically and illegally the officer pocketed tens of thousands of government dollars. Fraud it was - plain and simple.
For whatever reason, this pompous, arrogant officer believed self to be above the rules.
In the end, there was discipline, punishment, and forced retirement at a rank below that held when selected for promotion. There was justice. Higher authority was lenient. It could have been worse.
Not too many months after the case was made public another senior officer, not involved, made an odd comment. The remark was in so many words, 'Well, the money was paid back. Why is there still a problem?'
Counterclockwise. Rewinding time is impossible. And negating misdeeds after being caught is, too, impossible.
Restitution is one matter. But the character defect remains.
Yesterday news hit the wire that the Marine Corps was dropping all charges against a captain facing court-martial in the 'urination on enemy corpses' brouhaha.
That justice happened because the Commandant of the Marine Corps - General James F. Amos, and his counsel, tried to circumvent due process (punish Marines hastily and unfairly) and then attempted to cover up their actions. Sloppy. A lapse, if not a flaw, of character and moral courage. Inexcusable.
Had that not happened this week coming was going to be ugly for General Amos and his counsel.
But justice does not negate the misconduct of the commandant and his counsel. A counterclockwise movement does not put the matter to rest. There is now the clockwise matter as to what to do about a commandant who compromised the high office, breached Corps Values, and has brought embarrassment and shame upon the Marine Corps. What to do?
Recent conversations with active duty Marines - enlisted and officer - who entered service before 2010 have been interesting.
As to 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' repeal, women in ground combat, and the commandant's mischievous role in the urination case, the consensus is no respect for seniors - the Marines are laughing, in disgust, at them. And the Marines are sickened by the culture change and questioning why should they continue to serve? Many are leaving.
The 35th commandant's legacy is set. It's not good. And there is nothing he can do to salvage it. Time to go. Forward, March!
Like the Marine Corps, America moves counterclockwise these days.
For example, President Obama drew a "red line" (use of chemical weapons) for Syria. Syria crossed it (so it seems - though video is not necessarily reality). President Obama has yet to act.
Now President Obama, despite video and transcript proving he drew a "red line," says he didn't draw the red line that the world drew it. If that's true, where is the world collective, in force, poised to strike Syria? They are not.
President Obama wants to strike Syria. But he cannot, with logic nor justification, answer the simple core questions as to why and whom and what and where and how and for how long. A judge known to me calls them "trial questions."
Though he surely wishes he could, President Obama cannot operate his brain nor mouth counterclockwise. He said, "red line" and now needs to figure out how to salvage his and America's credibility. But this is not America's problem to solve - America is not duty bound to do the wrong thing (strike Syria) just because the president recklessly backed himself into a bear trap.
President Obama has a problem, a self-inflicted problem; again.
The President is scheduled to speak to America Tuesday evening. Who knows what he's going to say. Should anything he says be taken seriously? Should anything he says about Syria be considered truthful?
In stark disturbing contrast stands Benghazi, Libya. And the grand lie, with President Obama at the hub, that surrounds that tragedy.
President Obama did not send military help to Americans on duty under attack. Thus a military attack on Syria, with no American lives at issue, is illogical and senseless. Making a case for treason is not far-fetched.
Overwhelmingly, America is against striking Syria. America does not care what President Obama has to say. Frankly, he'd be best served by speaking counterclockwise Tuesday evening by: 1) explaining Benghazi, the four murders, his actions, and lying; 2) apologizing for establishing "red lines" without thinking; 3) ordering, for public situational awareness, our military to "Stand Down." And close with "God Bless America!" Then, be quiet. That will be all well and good but will not negate his poor, amateurish performance.
It's going to take considerable work and luck to salvage the 44th presidency. The forecast is not good.
A commandant and president - so counterclockwise Corps and Country have been running and that is not good.
Clockwise is the natural order of things - it makes for progress. Moving forward is what made, and will continue to make, America great.
Time is always of the essence.
God Bless America and Save Our Corps!