"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Fate Worse Than Death

I recently saw this video from Lt Col Mike Drowley, an A-10 pilot and Weapons Officer.  It's excellent and it sums up the standard of every aviator I know, when it comes to protecting our guys on the ground. I do honestly mean standard. I am proud to say that I have never in my career, met an aviator that I thought would give anything less (or who wouldn't at least die trying to give the same), to protect our brothers on the ground.

There are fates worse than death.  When we also realize, and act on, the idea that there are fates worse than career death, we will then be able to build an amazing Air Force.

Lt Col Drowley said that he "swore" to never let anything happen to those military members on the ground.  I never swore such an oath with my mouth, but I certainly did with my heart.  But I did, and Lt Col Drowley also did, swear an actual oath with our mouths.  That was an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.

It's also a fate worse than death to watch our citizens (even the long-haired hippie Occupy protestor, or the the clean cut Tea Party protestor, and even the nutty Fred Phelps church member, or perhaps some American citizen Muslim who presents no imminent threat but is on a kill list--or at least as reported by media sources) lose their Constitutional rights to free speech and due process on our watch.

Nobody ever said defending America would be easy. But for those who swore to do so, there is a fate worse than death.  And there is even a fate worse than death on foreign soil defending American soldiers, a fate where you forgot who you were really defending, and forgot your nation and why you were fighting in the first place.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Welsh Have a Saying - The Proof Is in Da Pudding

So many times I hear, "He seemed to really care, he really listened to me.  It was refreshing."

I think, THE MIRROR.

Never been to any fancy schools, but I have learned, after a decade of trying to find a companion I could respect, that some women are gifted at using the mirror.  They are masters of appearance.  If, however, you are interested in more than how they look, and if you sincerely attempt to get to know them and their value system, they will do their best to reflect back to you what they think you want to see.  Like a mirror to whatever audience, they are interested in shaping an appearance to please.  They are gifted at "listening" but they really don't share your values despite their sincere looking head nods and facial expressions.  You feel like they listen, you feel like they get you.  But they are creating a deception.  Of course it's not just the fairer sex who do this.

It's also the primary skill of the politician, to include many commanders.  To make you feel like they know where you're coming from, which they probably do, and more importantly to make you feel like they care, which they probably don't.  But as long as you feel like they understand you, then when they are at the helm, you'll make excuses for their failures.  They weren't ready, they weren't competent enough, they were too nice, it was the situation they couldn't control, it was other people.  It wasn't them though, you know them, they tried, they care.  You don't want to admit to yourself that their actions, which are nothing like what they said, are not the result of a failure, but rather the result of a well crafted deception.  You don't want to acknowledge that when you tried to get to know them and their value system, they held up a mirror so you could see yourself, all the while never actually caring about what you care about.  You don't want to admit that you know nothing about them.

I remember some physically attractive women I dated a long time ago before I knew their merits, before thankfully finding a superior person and marrying her as fast as I could (and in ten years of marriage have never met a woman who ever came close).  These other women looked good on the surface, they were pretty, they could talk a good game and they said the right things in social situations.  They were fine arm candy.  But my attempts to ask thoughtful questions to understand them, were met with the mirror.  Like stealth, they seemed to absorb or deflect my signals seeking to map out who they were.  But they sure looked good on the surface.  I was wise enough to not fall for the illusion, and I could ferret out the dishonesty.  Young men, approach your dating life like it's a great investigation.  Know yourself, and then get to really know the other.  Woe to him who can't see beyond nice speeches and a shiny reflection of himself...

So that brings me to this.  Welcome.  I hope you're not like so many before you, above you, and below you.  We need a real leader.  If you're it, I'll be your biggest fan.