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Once more unto the breach

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Once more unto the breach, dear friends.

– Henry V, Act III, Scene I

There is nothing there worth even one more American life.

I’m sure some if not all of those who advised President Trump to send more troops to Afghanistan have read these words, and consciously or unconsciously had them in their heads when they did so. It’s a great line. A warrior king, rallying his men for war.

The only problem is, Henry V actually led his troops into battle. He didn’t send them halfway around the world to do it on his behalf without ever having been to war himself. President Bush served in the military but never went to war. Presidents Obama and Trump have never served in the military. All 3 of them have now gotten us into or continued us along the path of a protracted ground war with an objective that is not obtainable.

How do you know?” some might ask. Fair question. I spent a year there as commander of a forward surgical team, like a modern day MASH unit. We cared for not only wounded US and NATO troops, but also for Afghan military and police forces, civilians, and even a fair number of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. I got to spend a lot of time with local politicians, ordinary citizens, military officers, and the enemy. From all of these experiences I can give you my take:

There is nothing there worth even one more American life.

After the horror of September 11, 2001, we had every right to take out the Al Qaeda terror camps that littered Afghanistan. We certainly had every right to topple the evil Taliban regime that supported them. However, right from the start, we made it clear we weren’t going to fight total war, but rather the kind of “winning hearts and minds” campaign that failed so miserably in Vietnam. I’m here to tell you, there is no way to win hearts and minds over there.

I’ll give you an example:

At one point we got a patient, a local boy of about 12 who had been shot by our troops. Why had he been shot? He was planting a roadside bomb. His grandfather was brought to our Forward Operating Base (FOB) to see him while my surgeons and nurses worked on him. It was just a flesh wound and we kept him overnight. We told the grandfather we’d bring him back the next day before we moved the boy to Bagram Air Base to be turned over to Afghan authorities. One of my Soldiers and a translator escorted him off the FOB.

When they returned they gave me a disturbing report. The grandfather had been counting his paces on the way out. He wanted to know the distance from the FOB gate to our facility. Yes. I was angry. We were taking care of the enemy, something they would never do, even nice enough to let the grandfather see his grandson, and by way of thanks he was lining us up for a mortar attack. I had no real concerns it would actually harm us. Anyone who served in Afghanistan knows the safest place to be is where the enemy is aiming. The point is that their mentality is so warped that we can’t ever win hearts and minds over there.

Here’s another:

Special Ops never gave us more than 2 minutes warning when they were coming in with a patient. That made things difficult in the middle of the night when you have to wake your team. One night they brought in a 15-month-old girl. She had been shot laterally through the chest. She was dead. We knew it. We worked on her anyway. When my docs finally called it, one of my nurses wrapped her in a blanket and laid her in her mother’s arms.

Her mother was escorted by a neighbor they had to collect because Allah forbid she get her daughter emergency medical treatment without a male escort. As soon as the baby was laid in the mother’s arms, both she and the neighbor started speaking to us about monetary compensation. I stared at the ground, not trusting myself to speak. I could feel 3 pairs of eyes boring into the back of my head. I glanced back and confirmed my 3 surgeons were staring at me in shock. I looked at the ODA operator who had brought them in and asked, “Did you find whatever it was you were looking for?” He just nodded. Good. I was done with that conversation.

We seem to think if we just hold out long enough they will come around to our way of thinking. It’s not going to happen. Most 3rd world nations in general and Afghanistan in particular are never going to be ready to fight for truth, justice, and the American way. The sooner we get that through our heads, the better off we all will be.

We definitely need to keep terrorist bases from forming, but we can do that without large numbers of troops on the ground. Troops on the grounds are targets the enemy can actually get to and kill. Fighters and bombers at 30,000 feet are not, at least in Afghanistan.

I personally carried my fair share of dead American Soliders, and they were always 19 years old it seemed, not even old enough to buy a beer most places in the US. Those people over there are not worth it. I’ve actually been there, which is more than many of the hawks in the GOP can say.

We’ve been there for TWO 2-term Presidents and are now on President number 3. If we haven’t finished what we need to do by now we never will. It’s quicksand, and so enough is enough. Some have already argued that “we have to finish the job.” I ask, “for how long? Another five years? Ten? FIFTY?!”

And so you see, when fools like Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are thinking “Once more unto the breach” I’m actually thinking of a line from that same play, but from Act IV, Scene I:

“..If these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king, who led them to it….”

Benjamin Wilhelm served as a commissioned officer in the United States military for 10 years, serving one combat tour in Afghanistan. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge among other military awards. Ben has worked in a variety of private sector businesses both large and small. He is a former military and civilian firearms instructor and an advocate for veterans issues. Ben is a strict Constitutionalist who sees the Federal government as an out of control leviathan, and the federal debt as a burden that will break the country. Ben is a divorced father of two boys.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. renadee

    August 22, 2017 at 8:00 am

    This story proves just how out of touch our so called leaders are. Our generals should know but they just want to be generals. Not sure how much they care when that 19 year old goes home in a flag draped casket.

  2. drewb04

    August 22, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I’m with you enough is enough we have done all we can this nation building has to stop.

  3. Jon

    August 22, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Excellent article! I honestly think that Hillary Clinton or Jen Bush could have given this speech. However, this is not the message Trump gave on the campaign trail. I feel that after 16 years of the same war we surely ought to have learned something that would lead us to a different approach. I want Trump to clearly explain why it is necessary for us to be there. I would like Trump to define clear and concise objectives. I would like the Commander in Chief to tell the American people in uncertain terms exactly what victory looks like. We deserve to know these things if we are expected to send our sons and daughters into harms way.

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Politics

Trump’s proposal to defund Planned Parenthood under Title X is fake news

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Last week, Donald Trump, the self-absorbed occupant of the White House who routinely rails against news outlets that print unfavorable news stories and refers to them as “Fake News,” engaged in a bit of his own version of fake news with his announcement that he would be defunding Planned Parenthood.

Calling it the “Protect Life Rule,” Trump proposed withholding $50-$60 million received by Planned Parenthood each year under the government’s Title X Family Planning program, which is used to provide family planning services to low-income individuals.

If the proposal is accepted—an unknown outcome since Trump provided no details on what it would look like—it will model a regulation first implemented by Ronald Reagan and modified over the years.

Despite claims by Ingraham—one of the many members of the so-called conservative media on the Trump Train—this is a fake news story because it doesn’t defund Planned Parenthood, a fact confirmed by a White House official on the day of the announcement.

“This proposal does not necessarily defund Planned Parenthood, as long as they’re willing to disentangle taxpayer funds from abortion as a method of family planning, which is required by the Title X law.”

Under the proposal, as long as Planned Parenthood uses taxpayer money to pay for what “candidate Trump once called the “good work” they do and not for the “relatively small part of the business” known as abortion, the largest provider of baby-killing services in America will continue receiving every penny of Title X funds they want.

Even if successful, Trump’s proposal is nothing more that a restatement of existing law. It’s been illegal for Planned Parenthood to use taxpayer money to pay for abortions ever since the Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976, even though Planned Parenthood still receives federal funds that have now reached over half-a-billion dollars a year.

How is this possible? It’s because money is fungible.

By providing Planned Parenthood with taxpayer money, other funds are freed up to bankroll the murder of over 321,000 unborn babies a year. To put it another way, Planned Parenthood is able to make nearly all of its non-government revenue from killing babies because taxpayers are paying for everything else.

Of course, with 2018 being an election year and the GOP in serious danger of being wiped out by a Blue Tsunami come November, Trump’s fake news announcement fits right in with the rest of the GOP’s election-year game plan where recycled campaign promises are used to cover a track record of ineptitude and cowardice.

Much like the House “show votes” earlier this year regarding term limits and late-term abortions, this proposal by the man evangelicals are calling “the most pro-life president in history” is simply the latest effort by Trump and the GOP to get conservatives to the polls to vote Republican in November while doing absolutely nothing to defund Planned Parenthood.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

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Guns and Crime

Will school shootings be the next step toward a nationalized police force?

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The recent shooting at Santa Fe High School outside Houston, TX, that resulted in ten dead and thirteen wounded is fueling another round of demands by liberals in Congress to pass more anti-gun laws “to protect our kids” with some blaming the NRA for preventing such laws from being passed.

While conservatives and those who claim to be conservative willingly point fingers at the Democrat side of the aisle, the sad fact is that many Republicans agree with Democrats on the issue of gun control.

For example, after blaming local police for the Parkland, FL. high school shooting in February, Trump held a bipartisan meeting with members of congress where he openly supported the idea of seizing guns from Americans who committed no crime, even if it violated their Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment right to due process.

Weeks later, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos wrote an opinion piece praising Trump for signing the disastrous Omnibus bill because it contained over $700 million to fund the STOP School Violence Act to pay for so-called mental health services designed to prevent school shootings. DeVos’ rhetoric aside, Rep. Thomas Massey (R-KY) stated in an interview with Conservative Review at the time that the STOP SVA essentially nationalized public-school safety.

I think that nationalizing public-school safety is the ultimate goal of big-government progressives. It’s been building for quite some time now, and I think the hype over recent school shootings will be the thing that puts it over the top.

The desire to create a nationalized police force began gaining traction under the Obama administration. Consider the actions of the Congressional Black Caucus following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. In a letter to then-president Obama, the CBC demanded the appointment of a Police Czar to give the feds control over the local police. Not long afterward, Al Sharpton called for a march on Washington to demand the DOJ to take control of the police nationwide.

Though neither of these efforts came to fruition, Obama succeeded in laying the groundwork for a nationalized police force by leveraging a series of tragedies into policies giving the DOJ control over local police forces in several communities across America.

Trump has bought into the idea of federal control of local police since becoming president, threatening to “send in the feds” in January, 2017 to clean up Chicago after a FOX News report about gun violence in the Windy City.

Shortly after the Santa Fe tragedy, Trump demanded action “at every level of government” which is exactly what he said following the FL shooting. This led to the creation of a host of anti-Second Amendment proposals by Republicans and Democrats designed to disarm Americans and place armed security in every public school.

Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with working to make schools safer, but with Washington working 24/7 to limit our Constitutional rights, should we give the federal government and the Department of Homeland Security that power?

Before you answer, do you remember how George Bush and a fully compliant Congress federalized airport security and created The Transportation Security Administration in the name of “safety” following 9/11? Besides creating tens of thousands of lifetime unionized government jobs, and the likely violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, these “transportation security officers” have been an abysmal failure.

Federal control of school security essentially creates a type of nationalized police force. Doing it “for the children” doesn’t change that.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and FacebookSubscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for the Kentucky Primary

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Kentucky is the state that gave us Rand Paul. He is the biggest highlight, however he is not alone like Ben Sasse in Nebraska. Thomas Massie is also a strong Conservative. This primary has a chance to unseat a major swamp creature. Aside from this one race, there wasn’t much action to be had. Mitch McConnell shows that Kentucky does not have a rich history in holding bad politicians accountable. So if there are any Conservative victories in Kentucky, they should be celebrated vocally.

Best Pick: Geraldo Serrano
Worst Picks: Harold Rogers, Chuck Eddy, Andy Barr
Best Race: District 5
Worst Race: District 6

District 1

James Comer is more fiscally responsible than most RINOs, but he still voted for Omnibus. He is unopposed.

District 2

Bill Gutherie is an unopposed RINO.

District 3

Three Republicans look to win Louisville. The first is Vicky Glisson. She is running a limited issues campaign focused on drugs, healthcare, and a hint of fiscal responsibility. Next is Rhonda Palazzo, the most upfront Conservative in the race. She is a real estate agent and devout Christian. Her stance is overly simplistic, to a fault. Lastly is Mike Craven. His platform is also too simplistic. This race is a three way crapshoot in terms of determining the best candidate.

Conservative Pick: Rhonda Palazzo

District 4

Since 2012, Thomas Massie has been a solid Conservative. He is unopposed.

District 5

Harold Rogers is a decades experienced swamp creature, 33 years in the making. Gerardo Serrano is his challenger. Serrano has Rand Paul potential in both foreign and domestic policy, such as FISA. His website features a unique story of him and a county sheriff, where he held a sheriff accountable when the 2nd amendment was in danger. (The sheriff wasn’t a villain in the story).

I especially like his twitter handle. Geraldo Serrano is a strong candidate, and we desperately as a nation need to unseat swamp monsters such as Harold Rogers.

Conservative Pick: Geraldo Serrano

District 6

Andy Barr is another RINO with a horrendous spending record. He is being challenged by Chuck Eddy. This was a huge disappointment.

I don’t believe he realizes how much a massive walking contradiction he is.

Conservative Pick: None, Barr will undoubtedly win

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