What a contrast

I meant to write of Paul Ryan’s fabulousness last night at the convention, but the-infant-is-napping clock ticks while I have laundry to fold and dinner to make. I’ll leave you with Pundette’s impression, which is very similar to my own.

Instead, I’ll tell you about my drive on post this morning to visit the pediatrician.

Every time I visit the doctor, take the kids to theirs, or go grocery shopping, I pass this:

 

More often than not, I also pass this:

Then I have to explain my tears to the four year-old. It never fails to bring the tears, either, and the subsequent silent prayer for the family of the fallen. It was an Army family today, by the uniforms. A Navy family last week.

That’s why reading this headline burns me beyond belief:

Obama Honors Fallen SEALs By Sending Their Parents a Form Letter Signed by Electric Pen

There are no words sufficient for my contempt. I have friends who fall for the Michelle does so much for military families ruse, and I try to bite my tongue.

In case anyone wonders, GW spent hours writing personal notes to the families of the fallen. Over 4,000 letters:

Mr. Bush, for instance, has sent personal letters to the families of every one of the more than 4,000 troops who have died in the two wars, an enormous personal effort that consumed hours of his time and escaped public notice. The task, along with meeting family members of troops killed in action, has been so wrenching – balancing the anger, grief and pride of families coping with the loss symbolized by a flag-draped coffin – that the president often leaned on his wife, Laura, for emotional support.

“I lean on the Almighty and Laura,” Mr. Bush said in the interview. “She has been very reassuring, very calming.”

Mr. Bush also has met privately with more than 500 families of troops killed in action and with more than 950 wounded veterans, according to White House spokesman Carlton Carroll. Many of those meetings were outside the presence of the news media at the White House or at private sessions during official travel stops, officials said.

The first lady said those private visits, many of which she also attended, took a heavy emotional toll, not just on the president, but on her as well.

I was incredibly upbeat this morning after Ryan’s speech. We can win this, I thought. He represents the future. Now all I can see is red, and that caisson pulling a casket, knowing that the Commander-in-Chief could give a shit less about this family or any other military family. Form letter. Campaign on! Sign it with an auto pen.

Defeat this man. Restore the honor and integrity to the office. To the nation.

UPDATE: NB: I know my husband will be incredibly disappointed that I’m using foul language–a first–on the blog. But after much thought, it stands as it properly reflects the attitude of the CIC and his disdain for our finest and their collective sacrifice, two things he knows nothing of. There, ended a sentance with a preposition, too, so everyone should know how peeved I am!

UPDATE 2: Wow, the family of a dead rapper gets a personally written condolence from Obama. Must be that major contribution to … culture. Defense of one’s country, not so much.

“The notion of allowing women into Ranger School because denying them the experience would harm their careers makes Ranger graduates cringe.”

So explains former Army officer and Ranger Stephen Kilcullen in the WSJ as to why the current discussion of allowing women access to Ranger school as a necessity of opening Infantry units to women would be disasterous. “It’s a career enhancer” isn’t the best of reasons, no? That it proves to be a good marker for success for the officers and enlistees who brave the course is an after effect: they pass against all odds because of grit and determination, not because it’s a career enhancer. More:

Ranger School isn’t about improving the career prospects of individual candidates. Our motto is “Rangers lead the way.” Many a Ranger has lived these words before being killed in action—certain that if a Ranger couldn’t accomplish the mission, nobody could. This unique culture lures the kind of young, smart soldiers needed to get the toughest jobs done. The promise of something bigger than oneself—bigger than any career track—is what motivates these men.

It is this culture of excellence and selflessness that attracts young men to the Ranger brotherhood. The Ranger ethos is designed to be deadly serious yet self-deprecating, focused entirely on teamwork and mission accomplishment. Rangers put the mission first, their unit and fellow soldiers next, and themselves last. The selfishness so rampant elsewhere in our society has never existed in the Ranger brotherhood.

And that is the secret of the brotherhood’s success. Some call it “unit cohesiveness” but what they are really describing is a transition from self-interest to selfless service. The notion of allowing women into Ranger School because denying them the experience would harm their careers makes Ranger graduates cringe. Such politically correct thinking is the ultimate expression of the “me” culture, and it jeopardizes core Ranger ideals.

The military has changed many policies in recent years, based on individual self-interest masquerading as fairness and antidiscrimination. As we debate new policies, decision makers need to ask two simple questions: Is a proposed move good for the majority of service members? And does it improve or hinder our ability to execute our mission?

After all, the military does not exist to provide careers. It is a responsibility, a way of life and a higher calling that only 1% of our citizens choose to follow. A top-notch fighting force composed of dedicated and strong men who are the very best at what they do is what defines our armed forces—and the Rangers as among their best. Let’s not destroy this small but incredibly important culture under the banner of “me.”

Hoorah.

Liberals will do all they can to destroy the  one arena of American life where merit, grit and determination can truly guide someone from obscurity to success. All in the name of “politically correct.”  Read the rest.

H/t: Hot Air headlines

UPDATE: now a Memeorandum thread, but sans much discussion. Why? This is a big deal, y’all. Either way. Waiting for Allahpundit tonight. (Warning: the one thread linked is… viciously feminist and imagines irony behind every word. How does the Army having to lower physical standards in order for any female to pass allow “women to pursue equality”? Really.)

We can’t help ourselves: Obama admin celebrates intel success a little too much

To the detriment of future operations. Much like our military successes during this administration. Makes you wonder, no, if the boasting has an ulterior motive? Or if the Obama-infatuated media can’t quite grasp that they arent helping their BFF out by printing the info gleaned? What a tangled web. From the UK Guardian, our friends across the pond have had enough:

Detailed leaks of operational information about the foiled underwear bomb plot are causing growing anger in the US intelligence community, with former agents blaming the Obama administration for undermining national security and compromising the British services,MI6andMI5.

The Guardian has learned from Saudi sources that the agent was not a Saudi national as was widely reported, but a Yemeni. He was born inSaudi Arabia, in the port city of Jeddah, and then studied and worked in the UK, where he acquired a British passport.

Mike Scheur, the former head of theCIA‘s Bin Laden unit, said the leaking about the nuts and bolts of British involvement was despicable and would make a repeat of the operation difficult. “MI6 should be as angry as hell. This is something that the prime minister should raise with the president, if he has the balls. This is really tragic,” Scheur said.

He added: “Any information disclosed is too much information. This does seem to be a tawdry political thing.”

He noted that the leak came on the heels of a series of disclosures over the last 10 days, beginning with a report that the CIA wanted to expand its drone attacks inYemen, Barack Obama making a surprise trip to Afghanistan around the time of the Bin Laden anniversary and “then this inexplicable leak”.

Robert Grenier, former head of the CIA counter-terrorism centre, said: “As for British Intelligence, I suppose, but do not know, that they must be very unhappy. They are often exasperated, quite reasonably, with their American friends, who are far more leak-prone than they.

“In their place, I would think two and three times before sharing with the Americans, and then only do it if I had to. The problem with that dynamic is that you don’t know what you don’t know, and what opportunities you might be missing when you decide not to share. The Americans are doing a very good job of undermining trust, and the problem starts at the top.”

So many of our current woes do.

H/t: memorandum

Going rogue: elite Afghan soldier kills US Special Ops mentor

The translator, too. So much for being so closely vetted. Get our guys the hell out:

An elite Afghan soldier shot dead an American mentor and his translator at a U.S. base, Afghan officials said on Friday, in the first rogue shooting blamed on the country’s new and closely vetted special forces.

The soldier opened fire at an American military base on Wednesday in Shah Wali Kot district, in volatile Kandahar province, said General Abdul Hamid, the commander of Afghan army forces in the Taliban’s southern heartland.

“The shooting took place after a verbal conflict where the Afghan special forces soldier opened fire and killed an American special forces member and his translator,” Hamid told Reuters.

At least 18 foreign soldiers have died this year in 11 incidents of so-called green on blue shootings, which are an increasing worry for both NATO and Afghan commanders, eroding trust as Western combat troops look to leave the country in 2014.

The latest shooting will be of grave concern to both sides, at it is the first involving a member of Afghanistan’s new special forces, which undergo rigorous vetting as part of their selection into the country’s top anti-insurgent force.

Rigorous vetting.

“When we analyze the problem, it occurs for a number of reasons, and not as many as you would expect show any evidence of insurgent initiation, or insurgent backing,” a senior NATO official who could not be identified said last week.

“Quite often people resolve their personal problems by resorting to the use of a weapon. It’s more of a cultural thing here.”

We will not change the tribal culture in Afghanistan. It’s long past time to go. As Mark Steyn wrote last month in the wake of the murder of two American officers:

Say what you like about Afghans, but they’re admirably straightforward. The mobs outside the bases enflamed over the latest Western affront to their exquisitely refined cultural sensitivities couldn’t put it any plainer:

“Die, die, foreigners!”

[...]

In Afghanistan, foreigners are dying at the hands of the locals who know them best. The Afghans trained by Westerners, paid by Westerners and befriended by Westerners are the ones who have the easiest opportunity to kill them. It is sufficiently non-unusual that the Pentagon, as is the wont with bureaucracies, already has a term for it: “green-on-blue incidents,” in which a uniformed Afghan turns his gun on his Western “allies.”

So we have a convenient label for what’s happening; what we don’t have is a strategy to stop it – other than more money, more “hearts and minds” for people who seem notably lacking in both, and more bulk orders of the bestselling book “Three Cups Of Tea,” an Oprahfied heap of drivel extensively exposed as an utter fraud but which a delusional Washington insists on sticking in the kit bag of its Afghan-bound officer class.

Read the rest.

H/t: Hot Air headlines

Change: “the job prospects for bachelor’s degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in more than a decade.”

Lesson learned for college kids? Will they know to blame GW for their employment woes? I’m sure. Via memeorandum, the AP reports:

The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.

A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge.

Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that’s confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.

An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor’s degrees.

Opportunities for college graduates vary widely.

While there’s strong demand in science, education and health fields, arts and humanities flounder. Median wages for those with bachelor’s degrees are down from 2000, hit by technological changes that are eliminating midlevel jobs such as bank tellers. Most future job openings are projected to be in lower-skilled positions such as home health aides, who can provide personalized attention as the U.S. population ages.

We know a wonderful young man about to graduate from a major state  university. He’s fortunate enough, however, to be leaving school debt-free thanks to a ROTC scholarship. And oh, he’s guaranteed a job as a newly-minted 2nd Lieutenant in the Army with an in-demand BS.

He didn’t vote for Obama, either. Go figure, eh? The kids willing to work for what they want–rather than taking the liberal bait that they’re owed something–are the ones who will emerge successful and debt-free. If only we could all be so savvy.

More from the article:

Taking underemployment into consideration, the job prospects for bachelor’s degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in more than a decade.

“I don’t even know what I’m looking for,” says Michael Bledsoe, who described months of fruitless job searches as he served customers at a Seattle coffeehouse. The 23-year-old graduated in 2010 with a creative writing degree.

Initially hopeful that his college education would create opportunities, Bledsoe languished for three months before finally taking a job as a barista, a position he has held for the last two years. In the beginning he sent three or four resumes day. But, Bledsoe said, employers questioned his lack of experience or the practical worth of his major. Now he sends a resume once every two weeks or so.

Bledsoe, currently making just above minimum wage, says he got financial help from his parents to help pay off student loans. He is now mulling whether to go to graduate school, seeing few other options to advance his career. “There is not much out there, it seems,” he said.

Emphasis my own. What a shame no one told Bledsoe that the practical worth of his major amounted to next to nothing. He is pictured with a nose ring and giant gauges in his ears. Call me old-fashioned, but I wonder how his appearance plays into his inability to garner more than a minimum wage job. (Hint: remove the jewelry, dude!) Further, he asked his parents for money to pay his loans rather than trying to find another low-paying job. No wonder it sounds like a great idea to stack up more debt! Go get that MFA!

Liberal disconnect: our too-successful military must be destroyed

Sometimes I think to myself: liberals really can’t be that different, right?

Then I read drivel like this:

Since the end of the military draft in 1973, every person joining the U.S. armed forces has done so because he or she asked to be there. Over the past decade, this all-volunteer force has been put to the test and has succeeded, fighting two sustained foreign wars with troops standing up to multiple combat deployments and extreme stress.

This is precisely the reason it is time to get rid of the all-volunteer force. It has been too successful. Our relatively small and highly adept military has made it all too easy for our nation to go to war — and to ignore the consequences.

Our all-volunteer force is too successful, therefore liberals must try to destroy it. Resuming the draft would do so, quickly, which the author acknowledges:

Resuming conscription is the best way to reconnect the people with the armed services. Yes, reestablishing a draft, with all its Vietnam-era connotations, would cause problems for the military, but those could never be as painful and expensive as fighting an unnecessary war in Iraq for almost nine years. A draft would be good for our nation and ultimately for our military.

I wish I could say this were printed in some far-lefty blog. But it wasn’t. I’m not sure which scares me more, that those among us exist who would intentionally destroy our military for “the good of the country” or that the WaPo would print it.

H/t: HotAir headlines

“Apparently I’ve got a thing with numbers lately. 720. That’s how many days it’s been since he left this earth. That’s how many days I’ve survived widowhood.”

So writes Mrs. P on the second anniversary of her husband, Cpl. Jonathan Daniel Porto’s, combat death in Afghanistan. I wrote then:

Blogress Mrs. P lost her beloved husband, soul mate, best friend, and father to her infant daughter, Cpl Jonathan Daniel Porto, in Afghanistan last week.

From one military wife to another: I am so very sorry.  I had a difficult time explaining to the toddler on my lap why I was crying while reading your post.

“Mommy crying Mommy owie?” she asked, brow wrinkled with concern.

Yes, baby, my heart hurts.

Thank you for the support, encouragement, and love you gave your husband–and our country–by allowing him to warrior while you held the fort at home.  It’s not easy.   My thoughts and prayers are with you, your baby girl, and your beloved husband.

Semper Fi, Cpl Porto.

Mrs. P writes:

Thank God for that little girl who made me survive through those early days. I had no choice, I had to take care of my little girl, his little girl, our little girl.
I had to survive. And so, I did. I have. Two years later, I’m still here.

[...]

Because our love was so strong, it has carried me through. On days like this, Jonny, I think of you. I think of the way you loved me, and I know it’s not so bad. I had that love, I still have that love. So, to my biggest support (even if you are the cause of all this, ya turd) thank you for your love. Thank you because I know you make sure I feel it from where you are. Thank you for loving me. And thank you, thank you for choosing me to be your wife, thank you for choosing me to be the mother of your beautiful child. I’d never change being with you, even if I couldn’t change the ending, you showed me what true love is and I will always love you for the rest of my years on this earth and beyond. I know you hear me, I know you feel me. Know that I miss you, I love you, and you are my true love.
And with that, I am off to bed to be rested to spend a day at the zoo with our beautiful daughter tomorrow.
Remember to hug your loved ones. Tell them you love them and how much they mean to you. Life is short, appreciate it.

So true.

My prayers were with you then, are with you now. As a military wife with a decade on you, it hurt me even more that you and Jonny are so young. I taught high schoolers who are your age now. I’m so proud of you for thriving, Mrs. P. Semper Fi.

H/t once again to Legal Insurrection.

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