Damn, This Is Good!!!
Created 09/25/2006 - 9:26pm
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Brent Budowsky
I am a Sam Nunn Democrat who begins with this: I salute you and everything you have done for our country. Some of you are heroes in uniform. All of you are heroes in spirit. All Americans owe you a deep debt of gratitude for all you have done, and all you are doing and will always do every time our country calls you.
In your hands, in a few short weeks, rests one of the most important decisions the voters of America will ever make in a Congressional election.
My own background begins with many years of experience in intelligence. Within days of 9-11 I contacted both the CIA and Marine Corps intelligence and offered to use my background and experience to help in any way. When the fires were burning from lower Manhattan to Northern Virginia on that day in September, my fires were burning, as were yours, to kill the people who made that happen.
Within days, I learned that the plan was not to go after those who killed our neighbors on that September, but to use that event, to begin a war in Iraq. Those of you with high level military contacts knew, as I knew, that this was not what our commanders wanted. And those of you with high level contacts in the intelligence community knew, as I knew, that that is not what our intelligence professionals recommended.
As I know, and many of you know, so much has been said, since those days, that is simply untrue. And as many retired commanders from the United States Marine Corps and United States Army have now said, and many now on active duty believe, but cannot say because of the chain of command, many things were done wrong then, and are being done wrong today.
Lord knows, you will not hear from me, that Democrats or their leaders are perfect. Since 9-11 I have personally communicated with many of them, at the highest levels, as recently as 48 hours ago. More often than not, they have not taken my advice, and they bear some signficiant responsiblity for the dangers we face today.
Having said that, there is an enormous and potentially catastrophic difference between continuing an all Republican government, as we have today, which will mean more of the status quo and possibly worse, versus electing Democrats to Congress, in which case our government will step back and begin to come together as a nation, again.
The problem with the President and his policy is simple, and twofold. First it is run by hard core ideologues who every day appear trigger happy for new wars, having failed to properly run the existing wars. And second, it is run by ideologues who have no military service records and, therefore, no understanding of military policies, military needs, military life, and military traditions.
I do not question the lack of service of the President, the Vice President, and virtually every other senior member of his Adminstration and virtually every leading neoconservative who has dangerously dominated our policy from the beginning, until now, except for this:
The disrespect shown to our former Army Chief of Staff, General Shinseki, who tried to warn them, is only an ugly public show of a dangerously wrong attitude that harms our country, our troops and our security every day, since this conflict in Iraq began.
They do not understand military expertise, and they disrespect those who have it. They do not understand military requirements, so they ignore commander advice and go to war with too few troops. They do not understand military life, so they turn troop rotations into practices that become involuntary servitude and border on a backdoor draft.
The problem is not a moral judgment on their lack of military service, it is a dangerous lack of experience combined with a dangerous lack of respect, for those who have it.
They do not understand the proper role of our Guard and Reserves, so they abuse those vital services, and disrupt the lives of those who serve and their families, which are far outside their life experience. They do not understand the moral and military duties of civilian leaders to those who wear the uniform, because they have never been there, or done that, so they send troops to war without adequate armor, bandages and helmets among many other things.
They are so far removed from military culture, military life, and the responsibilities and duties of civilians who control our forces, that even when they read stories about Moms and Dads asked by sons and daughters in combat, to buy from home supplies that were not provided from Washington, they are not moved to action, they are moved to write talking points of excuse or call our troops complainers.
Because of their lack of military experience, and their lack of respect for those who have it, they do things that we know are unthinkable. When commanders and special forces plead for reinforcements to kill Bin Laden at Tora Bora, they so no, because their obsession to war in Iraq exceeded their commitment to kill Bin Laden. When commanders plead again and again for troop support, or armor, or better protected vehicles, they say no, or delay, because they have never been there, and do not understand.
Because of their lack of military experience, and their lack of respect for those who have it, they ignore and mock the unanimous view of every commander in every service to honor the Geneva Convention. Never having been there, or done that, they do not understand, as every commander and every enlisted man and woman understands, that the Geneva Convention was not created to protect our enemies, but to protect our own troops.
Because of their lack of military experience, and their lack of respect for those who have it, they listen to those who want meager and inadequate pay for those who serve, claiming lack of money, while they excuse stealing and corruption that may total $10 billion of the money for Iraq, because it helps their friends, and campaign contributors.
They listen to voices calling for cuts in help for brain injury treatment for wounded troops.
They tolerate for years our active duty troops being ripped off on loans with rates higher than the Mafia charges its loan sharking victims.
They stand idly by, when debt collectors make harrassing calls to wives and husbands of heroes who serve, threatening to reposses their homes and cars, because this is not part of their lives, this is not part their world, when they send troops to harm, from the safety of their citadels of power.
They listen to voices calling for closure of military hospitals, citing budget pressures, while they cut taxes, which cost hundreds of billions of dollars, to buy political support at home, while they impose sacrifice on those who serve abroad.
Lacking military experience themselves, and lacking respect for those who have it, they do not believe intelligence is meant to make informed decisions about whether to go to war, or how to manage a war, as every military commander knows and believes. Rather, they believe intelligence is just another political weapon in their obsessions of ideology, to be twisted and distorted when the truth may contradict their obsessions, to be ignored when the facts call for changes in policy, at great cost to those who serve.
Lacking military experience themselves, and lacking respect for those who have it, they never understood that one of the great rules for success in war, is unity at home. Rather than unite the nation behind the policy, they divide the nation, deliberately, to support their partisanship, at great cost to those who serve.
Five months ago, the combined resources of the American intelligence community issued a National Intelligence Estimate which held that the war in Iraq was creating more danger, creating more terrorists, creating more threats to America.
This was not some idle statement, this was the authoritative viewpoint of our combined intelligence services. What did the President and his advisors do? Did they make any change to the policy? No. Did they tell the truth to the people? No. Did they honorably represent the views of commanders? No. With even our combined intelligence agencies warning of danger, did they do anything al all differently? No.
To military families, military communities, I would respectfully say this: the problem with these people, the problem with the President, the Vice President, the neoconservatives and the Republican Congress is that they are political ideologues, who treat war as theory, because they lack experience in practice. They are hard core political partisans, who show contempt for commanders when the voice of experience contradicts the ambitions of their politics.
They play to win elections, not knowing how to win a war, which the combined intelligence agencies of the American government, now warn they are in danger of losing.
To military families, military communities, I would respectfully propose this: if Demcrats are elected to Congress, what will happen on the morning after the election, is that reasonable people in both parties will sit down, with each other, with our commanders, with respect and goodwill, and begin to plan a way out of this mess. Together.
The choice this November is not between a Republican policy versus a Democratic policy. The choice this November is whether we have two more years of one party government and continuation of the status quo, or whether we have two party government, three branches of government, and a renewed spirit of national unity, and national purpose.
As someone proud to be associated with the Fighting Dems, who stand for heroes who sit in the House and Senate, and heroes who wear their banner of service as a badge of honor in their quest to serve in government, I will make one promise, with my hand on my bible, and my heart with our troops:
I and every one of the fighting dems will spend every hour of every day, working and fighting for our troops, their families, and their friends, neighbors, colleagues and clergy who stand with them, behind them, and for them.
I and every one of the fighting dems have the ear and attention of the leaders in our party, because they care. Many of them have served; all of them have enormous respect for those with experience in running wars, and those who risk their lives in wars, and those who sacrifice on their behalf, at home.
This is in our blood, our soul, our heart and our spirit. For us, this is not a commercial for election, this is the commitment for a lifetime, a passion and patriotism we believe very powerfully, and very deeply,
Some of us have had men and women die in our arms, from enemy fire.
Others of us will carry for life the wounds of combat, carrying with us pain, felt with honor.
Still others of us, know what it's like to have bullets fired towards us, where we never asked the race or religion or political party of the man or woman by our side.
All of us, each and every one of us, knows this: we are in this together, and we will not let any person, from any place, for any reason, tell us differently.
With even one American under fire, in any part of the world, we are all military families, we are all security moms, we are all security dads, we are all in the great band of brothers and sisters and for us, this is hallowed ground that we will never yield to anyone, and will always defend together.
If you stand with us, we will stand with you.
Because, we are you.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Brent Budowsky served as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, responsible for commerce and intelligence matters, including one of the core drafters of the CIA Identities Law. Served as Legislative Director to Congressman Bill Alexander, then Chief Deputy Whip, House of Representatives. Currently a member of the International Advisory Council of the Intelligence Summit. Left goverment in 1990 for marketing and public affairs business including major corporate entertainment and talent management. He can be reached at email@example.com.