Saturday, December 10, 2011

I think he missed my point

Although I would have loved to respond earlier to Mr. Frank Miller’s comments concerning the editorial, Just Answer These Questions, I was busy training, screening, and evaluating young officer candidates who have the desire to be leaders of Marines.  Each summer, a small group of individuals decide to spend six weeks of their summer vacation trying to become the next generation of Marine Officers at Officer Candidates School, Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA. 
For each of the last three summer training cycles, I have had the opportunity to be a part of developing these young candidates.   

Mr. Miller, is correct about one thing.  I did volunteer to wear the uniform and fight the nation’s battles, but by no means does that indicate that I do not have the ability to think outside of the box.  All citizens have the right to think critically when decisions are being made about possibly sending young men and women into foreign countries to engage in combat operations. 

Wearing the uniform for the last 15 years gives me the right to think critically about these kinds of decisions.  Marines who served as mentors to me, peers who I have worked along with, and young Marines I personally trained have lost their lives proudly fighting for this country.  Anyone with an open mind can tell that there is a big difference between fighting our nation’s battles and being the social police of the world. 

The critique in the aforementioned editorial was aimed at the individuals who think it is the American military’s job to be the social police of the world.  The people I have a problem with are the sideliners who have never worn the uniform, and somehow dodged serving the country who think going to war is as easy as turning on and off a video game.  Actual lives are at stake when these critical decisions are made, that is why I am concerned.

During a recent visit to Arlington National Cemetery this summer, I could not help but think about the sheer number of people buried there and asked myself why?  I also wondered if these deaths could have been avoided in any way.  Yes is the conclusion I came up with, but I guess fate is why so many people lost their lives fighting in wars that could have been avoided.

Here is a simple analogy.  Think about the fans in the bleachers who think they know more about football than the head coach.  Better yet think about a coach who has never played a down of organized football, or has any coaching experience calling plays for a football team.  How much sense does that make?

It bothers me even more to hear commentators who have never strapped on a set of shoulder pads, never played in a competitive basketball game, or swung a baseball bat sit back and provide“expert” analysis of the game.  We do not accept those tactics concerning sports, so why should it be any different when it comes to politicians making decisions that have life and death consequences?

Your “another line of employment” suggestion was immature, insulting, and typical of people who do not understand what Marines do on a daily basis. Yes, I chose to be a part of one of the finest organizations the world has ever seen, but being a Marine does not mean I don’t have an opinion or a right to question decisions being made that could cost me my life.  One of the most important things the Corps has taught me is to be a thinker and not just a follower.  Even the most junior Marines are leaders in one aspect or another, which makes our way of doing business unique from our sister services.  If Marines aren’t allowed to think critically, lives could be lost because their leader was too afraid to be a forward thinker.

Mr. Miller, you may want to do some homework and some serious rethinking concerning your pre-existing beliefs about the present state of Israel.  Anybody with common sense knows that the land Israel occupies existed well prior to 1948.  Have you ever asked yourself why the Palestinians are still pissed off more than 60 years later?  Have you ever thought about why they are still willing to fight over land that was arguably taken from them?  Probably not.  I would venture to say that you probably still believe that Christopher Columbus discovered America because that is the feel good story fed to children through the education system.  The same one sided version of history that leads people to believe that Native Americans and African slaves were barbarians and savages who were rescued from themselves by the adventurous Europeans. The same story that forgot to mention how barbaric the Europeans were as they traveled around the world colonizing territories that didn’t belong to them, and then categorizing themselves as explorers and exhibitionists.

Sir, please do not attempt to marginalize, or question my understanding of history and do not challenge how much homework I’ve done prior to presenting the material in my editorials.  You should think more like Michael J. Wise from St. George who has an appreciation for a point of view different than what he will see on the local news, or in the mainstream media.  I always have encouraged everyone to think critically when reading books, watching the news, or listening to talk radio. 

You totally missed the point in Just Answer These Questions because of your pre-existing set of beliefs.  Do not be a “ditto head” and believe everything you hear on Fox News, or conservative talk radio.  A story can be told from many points of view, and I try to analyze the facts from a common sense approach prior to offering my opinion.  If that is what you call a pre-existing set of beliefs, you are the one that needs to take the blinders off and open your eyes to the way the world really operates.
Originally published by the Charlton County Herald on August 30, 2011

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