Thursday, October 29, 2009

President Obama Honors the Fallen at Dover Air Force Base

hat tips-djchefron, Angelar and Icebergslim

returning soldier-doug mills NYT
---Doug Mills, NYTimes






13 comments:

The Angry Independent said...

I don't recall Bush or Cheney ever showing up to Dover (quietly) to do this. In fact, they didn't even want the Press to be there for video/pictures... because they wanted to keep the American public in fantasy land.... where war is a video game to be watched on Faux News or CNN.

Donald Borsch Jr. said...

Nothing says Photo Op like dead soldiers fighting a war Obama wants us to lose.

I wholeheartedly disagree with you my Internet acquaintance.

Call it my severe distaste for Obama and his progressive administration, but this smacks of nothing less than a self-glorifying move on Obama's part.

As a veteran myself who had the privilege and honor of being selected to bury our fallen soldiers, I can assure you that there is nothing glamorous about photographing and/or videoing such somber events. Perhaps Bush and Cheney understood that at times like that, obtrusive media would only serve to cheapen and turn them into publicity stunts. No camera on this planet can fully capture the raw emotion of receiving our fallen warriors.

You mentioned 'keep(ing) the public in fantasy land'. With Obama's refusal to move ahead on a plan to help our warriors in Afghanistan right now, even at the behest of his Commanding General, I must wonder who really is living in a fantasy land.

Thank you for the opportunity to opine.

Respectfully submitted,
Donald Borsch Jr.

Donald Borsch Jr. said...

Also, I forgot to mention that the quote from W.E.B. DuBois is fantastic.

And so freaking true in today's America.

Donald Borsch Jr.

The Angry Independent said...

"Nothing says Photo Op like dead soldiers fighting a war Obama wants us to lose."

How do you come to that conclusion? Your guys Bush & Cheney didn't use the military for photo ops? Please!!! Every chance they got they were using American soldiers as their backdrop. Hell, in fact, they spent more time doing that than almost anything else. They surely didn't devote much time to creating meaningful policies to help run the Country... which is why they left the Country in worse shape than they found it.... (ran us into the ditch). Yet they dodged their responsibilities when others were being drafted for Vietnam. They were...and continue to be cowards.

It appears to me that Obama did this quietly.... I didn't see a show here. We will have to agree to disagree on that.

On the assertion that Obama wants the U.S. to lose.... Bush under-resourced Afghanistan repeatedly.
It was the inattention from the Bush/Cheney Administration that led us to this point.

1. They failed to provide enough troops.
2. They failed to train enough Afghan forces.
3. They failed to equip the Afghan Army.
4. They failed to pour resources into civilian development (economy, jobs, health, education, institution building, etc).
5. They failed to mitigate the Poppy problem and deal with the Poppy farmers (and now it is fueling the insurgency).
6. And they failed to address corruption.

Do you think all of these problems magically appeared within the last 9 months under Obama? The U.S. has been there for 8 years now. Please don't try to rewrite history... it won't work here.

Obama inherited an unmitigated nightmare in Afghanistan.

There are enough troops there at the moment to prevent the Country from being overrun. The corporate news media loves to be dramatic on this stuff for ratings purposes. Obama is deliberating at what I see as a normal pace. Although for some folks it isn't fast enough. Even if Obama would have approved tens of thousands of additional troops 2 or 3 weeks ago... it would have taken several weeks...if not a few months, to get them there. (in other words, they would not have necessarily gotten there any faster). So it would not have made much difference in terms of recent events. Plus, The Obama Administration wanted to make sure the political situation in Afghanistan is appropriate. Much of that seems to have worked itself out (at least temporarily). But corruption is still an issue.

Regarding the photos... No one is calling the pictures glamorous. Where did you ever see that comment from me? I was raised in an Army household... i'm not exactly an idiot when it comes to the military. The point is.... Republicans/Conservatives have used the media ban on the return of fallen soldiers as a way to hide or obscure the real life consequences of their policy decisions vis-a-vis war.

The Angry Independent said...

(continued)

Currently, only a small fraction of the American public is really connected with what is going on.... most don't have a stake in Iraq or Afghanistan. If we had a draft...then they would wake up. But we don't have a draft right now. Folks are putting yellow ribbons on their cars...and calling it a day (as if they are really in touch or concerned with what is going on). They put their stickers on their cars...and they go shopping. Most Americans are in la la land. They don't give a damn about what is happening in these wars... (unless they are in one of the few families that have something or someone to lose).

Anything that could be done to show the other side of war.... the unpleasant side.... is healthy for a society, IMO.

And if Obama wanted to lose the war...he would have pulled troops out and allowed it to collapse.

I think Afghanistan is important (but no more important than any other volatile region in the Muslim World). The fact is... we've made Afghanistan more of an issue, because U.S. policy over the last several years has been part of the problem.

Frankly both the Bush and Obama Administrations are operating under the same flawed precept... that you can defeat an ideology and win hearts and minds with Conventional military power. That's just not going to happen...and was never going to happen. It's a fundamental flaw in American foreign policy. You can't kill a way of thinking with bombs and machine guns. In fact, most of the intel estimates since both wars began have tended to suggest that U.S. military action was doing more to fuel the very ideology that we want to quash.

With Al Qaeda no longer dominating Afghanistan... (but concentrating in Pakistan instead...where they have always had a big presence) it made sense to have a major review of policy. That doesn't mean we should abandon the Country either.

The fact is.. the U.S. is in a quagmire in both Afghanistan and Iraq. To get out with any sort of dignity will require good policy decisions.

I'm amused by folks who try to rewrite history and blame Obama for all of these problems (and I predicted that this would be the case.). Obama will be damned if he does and damned if he doesn't as he tries to clean up the mess left behind during the last 8 years.

Instead of rewriting history and pontificating.... these folks should grab a #&^&%ing mop.

Donald Borsch Jr. said...

Angry Independent,

Thank you for such a concisely written and well-thought out response.

I will definitely shoot a retort your way when I am able. Right now, alas, I am working from home, so my time is limited. But please know I have read what you have written and I sincerely wish to engage.

Before I exit, however, please understand that I am very, very not a "Bush/Cheney" kinda fella. While it is true I am a Conservative, I have no allegiance nor fealty to these men or the GOP. I understand the assumption on your part to lump me in with them. No harm, no foul.

As we continue to share ideals with one another, please keep this in mind. We might have more in common than either of us think.

Cheers,
Donald Borsch Jr.
donaldborschjr.blogspot.com

ps: Later this evening I will comment further.

Donald Borsch Jr. said...

Angry Independent,

Thanks for your patience!

We agree that Obama did do it quietly, yet why were any photos taken at all and released to the public? If he had done it and no photos were released, neither you nor I would be having this conversation. What was his motivation: Honoring those who have fallen or knowing this would make the headlines? I believe we will agree to disagree and leave it at that.
-----------------------

My assertion that Obama wants us to lose is based on his comments that victory isn't really the goal of us being in Afghanistan:

"President Obama has put securing Afghanistan near the top of his foreign policy agenda, but "victory" in the war-torn country isn't necessarily the United States' goal, he said Thursday in a TV interview on ABC News. He said-

"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur."
(This is from American Thinker, from 25 Jul 2009)

Not for nothing, AI, but if victory isn't something he is comfortable with, then what is? Just a thought...
---------------------

You said, "Do you think all of these problems magically appeared within the last 9 months under Obama? The U.S. has been there for 8 years now. Please don't try to rewrite history... it won't work here."

Perish the thought. I have strong doubts about the validity of us being in Afghanistan right now, but I would never say that Obama screwed it all up and Bush was blameless. (On a side note, though- is it possible to have a conversation with a liberal and the name of Bush is not invoked in some fashion? You do know he isn't the President any longer, don't you? Please don't take this the wrong way, but you sound like Olbermann, Maddow, or Matthews when you bring up Bush. I'd prefer to focus on the here and now, if you would be so kind. Just an observation...)
--------------------------

You mentioned that Bush left Obama an unmitigated nightmare in regard to Afghanistan. On this I know that there are 2 distinct arguments: 1. Cheney saying that the Bush Administration briefed Obama's Administration during the change-over of power, and 2. Rahm Emanuel saying that the Bush Administration had no working plan and essentially left the Afghanistan situation adrift. As a guy who seeks common-sense, I have researched both of these claims and have found nothing concrete that either man is telling the truth beyond any shadow of a doubt. In other words, I don't know what really went on behind closed doors. Maybe Rahm is being truthful, maybe Cheney is being truthful. I simply could not say either way.
--------------------------

I used the word "glamorous" with the intent of painting a picture that no media sensationalism should be allowed anywhere near our fallen soldiers; no media should be there to "glamorize" these deaths by photographing them or videotaping them. I find it all in bad taste and suspect character. I apologize if my intent wasn't clear enough.
-------------------------

I agree with your take on how many Americans simply place stickers on their cars as a way of showing their support, but yet know absolutely nothing about the situation at all. It reminds me of what I like to call "bumper sticker evangelism", wherein a person has some sort of "Jesus" sticker and assumes by having one people who see it will automatically become Christians. Fah. Same sort of mentality. I agree that unless a family is directly connected to this issue, they probably have no clue to its significance.
----------------------

Donald Borsch Jr. said...

continued..darn word-limiting buttheads!

You said: "Anything that could be done to show the other side of war.... the unpleasant side.... is healthy for a society, IMO."

Hm. I understand you come from an Army family, but I am here to tell you that there was nothing that I did in the Army while I served that was anyone's business but my superior officer's. You aren't prepared to see what really has to be done to keep America safe, AI. It is a different world with different rules and moral compasses. All that mattered/matters was/is keeping America safe. Period. I think your opinion here is based on emotionalism and not a realistic view. Just an observation...
--------------------------

You said: "Frankly both the Bush and Obama Administrations are operating under the same flawed precept... that you can defeat an ideology and win hearts and minds with Conventional military power. That's just not going to happen...and was never going to happen. It's a fundamental flaw in American foreign policy. You can't kill a way of thinking with bombs and machine guns. In fact, most of the intel estimates since both wars began have tended to suggest that U.S. military action was doing more to fuel the very ideology that we want to quash."

I hope you're sitting down for this, but I wholeheartedly agree 100% with you here. It is impossible to defeat an ideal with guns and bombs. Imagine if a foreign army took up residence here in our Nation and said they were here to hunt down and imprison all...I don't know...liberals. Even if every last liberal in America was detained and imprisoned, can you honestly believe that would eliminate forever all liberal thought? Of course not. So we agree here, definitely.
-----------------------------

You said: "The fact is.. the U.S. is in a quagmire in both Afghanistan and Iraq. To get out with any sort of dignity will require good policy decisions."

Hm. Well, time will tell, sir. I can only watch and wait to see how this will ultimately unfold. I do not envy Obama in regards to this issue.

AI, thanks for reading all of this. I hope I presented myself as somewhat reasonable and clear. I know that I will not change your mind and vice-versa, but this has been a great exercise in "iron-sharpening-iron".

Thank you again, and Long Live the Republic.

With Respect,
Donald Borsch Jr.
http://www.donaldborschjr.blogspot.com

The Angry Independent said...

We agree that Obama did do it quietly, yet why were any photos taken at all and released to the public?

It was open to private media... This ceremony has been open to the media for a while (ever since the change in policy went into effect). So of course it will get noticed. The whole point was to open this solemn event up. And the parents agreed beforehand.

And no one is taking inappropriate photos of bodies. These are photos of flag draped coffins.... Citizens watching aren't able to identify who is there.

What was his motivation?

To pay his respects. He's the Commander-in-Chief for crying out loud. Funny how these kinds of questions aren't typically asked in regards to the other status-quo Presidents. Now all of a sudden with Obama... his status as Commander-in-Chief is constantly challenged & questioned by Conservatives.

What are his motivations for visiting the tomb of the unknown soldier, or going to Walter Reed Hospital, etc etc etc? He's the President. (I know a lot of Conservatives have yet to come to terms with that fact...and some never will).

I think your opinion here is based on emotionalism and not a realistic view.

Well, you're wrong there. I'm actually a realist. A pragmatist as well.

And keep in mind I am not a booster for Obama. There are a lot of things about him that I don't care for....and I criticize him quite often.

For instance, I don't agree with his attempt to reform healthcare this year. It's just a boneheaded effort....although his heart is probably in the right place.

Generally speaking:

*I believe in a robust military....but would rather see the U.S. stay out of wars that are avoidable. Instead, we should be concentrating on fixing the problems here at home... fixing the economy for example. China and India (and other nations) will begin to overtake the U.S. over the next couple of decades...in terms of education, technology, and economy. Our currency is in trouble right now... there are just so many things that need attention. These military adventures are not helping. (wasting precious blood and treasure).

* I'm generally pro-gun (but with common sense regulations). I'm for concealed carry, etc.

The Angry Independent said...

(Continued)

* I believe the U.S. has way too much debt. (Although I think if we are going to spend...the money should go towards improving infrastructure, and the quality of life for our own people.... roads, education/schools, paying teachers more, improving healthcare, etc....things that will make the Country better 50 years from now). Wasting money on wars and bridges to nowhere isn't doing any of that. It's just money wasted.

* I believe in getting rid of K Street altogether (the lobbyists). If I were President...one of my first Executive Orders would be to close K Street...and tell those folks to pack their things and get the Hell out of D.C. They would no longer have access to members of Congress. Period. (of course it would be unconstitutional... I know... but I would damn sure try it anyway... to send a message).


Basically, i'm an independent-Progressive, with a few Conservative tendencies.

I don't consider myself a Liberal.

I like solutions that make sense.

______________

Regarding the photos...

Photographing wounded troops as they return (or the coffins/& funeral services)....has actually been closer to the norm throughout the nations history (since Camera technology and since photos became part of mainstream media/widely distributed). In modern times, you can go all the way back to World War I and World War II and you'll find that this was not abnormal. You can actually go all the way back to the Civil War.... but for the sake of discussion...The WWII era (with the advent of TV) was the point where it became the norm in terms of modern history. It continued through Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, and Panama. It was after the Panama invasion that George H.W. Bush went against precedent and banned the practice...and he did it for political reasons. So overturning that policy actually gets us back to where we have been through most of modern history....where we have been through most of the nations conflicts. It has been closer to the rule than the exception (despite what Conservatives would like you to believe).

The Angry Independent said...

(Continued)

On the Wars:

Let me ask you this...

What do you define as "Victory" or a "win" in Afghanistan and Iraq? I think this is one of the problems that the Bush Administration and now the Obama Administration never properly grappled with... by not providing a definition of what "winning" is in either war... they have created an almost impossible situation and unrealistic expectations.

I think we should ramp up training of locals in both Countries, provide them with equipment and air support (until they could do this for themselves) and allow them to fight for their own Countries... (with Special forces help and the help of some residual U.S. troops.... but a much smaller footprint than what we currently have). Let em' fight their own fight...and get out of there.

Success or "winning"= a certain level of stability. There won't be total peace and total stability for another 2 generations (if it's even possible at all). We don't have that much time...nor do we have the money to pour down the drain. We are already bankrupt as a Country.

In terms of terrorist havens.... those can be anywhere. Most of the 9/11 planning and pre-operations actually took place in Europe & the U.S..... not Afghanistan. Planning can be done in a random house or apartment anywhere in the World. Tanks and warplanes can't stop that from happening. That can't be a pretext for attacking a nation State....because of the actions of non-State actors. We would have to invade half the nations on earth....and it still wouldn't solve the problem. Conventional arms can't defeat this type of threat. Armies can do nothing about a group of radicals from applying for student Visa's, gaining entry to the U.S., and living among us.

Instead, we should improve human intel, international cooperation, disaster prep./contingency plans, fight for hearts and minds, fix gaps in immigration policies and security, etc. For those Countries that blatantly and openly support terrorist enemies (as Afghanistan did prior to 9/11) and they refuse to hand folks over when asked nicely...then yes... they should face the possibility of a serious ass kicking.... but beyond that...and until then, I think we have to be smarter about what we are doing.


Thanks for the debate...

truthiz said...

@AI and DB Jr - Great debate! I thoroughly enjoyed following it!

AI:
"Frankly both the Bush and Obama Administrations are operating under the same flawed precept... that you can defeat an ideology and win hearts and minds with Conventional military power. That's just not going to happen...and was never going to happen. It's a fundamental flaw in American foreign policy. You can't kill a way of thinking with bombs and machine guns. In fact, most of the intel estimates since both wars began have tended to suggest that U.S. military action was doing more to fuel the very ideology that we want to quash."

I could NOT agree with you more!

rikyrah said...

SEVEN YEARS

TWO WARS

and neither BUSH nor CHENEY

ever ever ever ever visited Dover.

SEVEN YEARS

NOT ONE VISIT.