Posted October 22, 2012 | comments 31 Comments

Letter to the Editor: Obama's foreign policy has made our nation safe


It is high time that we dispel the myth created and fostered by macho, flag-waving right wing conservatives who imply that President Obama's foreign policy has made this country vulnerable (Dan Flather's letter, Oct. 15) while supporting "chicken hawks" who talk tough, but when it came to fighting for their country, they were absent.

Led by their leader George W. Bush, who got preferred treatment in getting into the Air National Guard to avoid Viet Nam, the list includes Dick Cheney (had other priorities); obnoxious bully Tom Delay, who had the unmitigated gall to say that there was no room in the service for "patriots" like himself because too many minorities joined the service to escape the ghetto; Karl Rove; Phil Gramm; Pat Buchanan (bad knee); Newt Gingrich; Dick Armey; John Ashcroft (eight occupational deferments); Trent Lott, who got a student deferment and waved pom poms as a cheerleader for ole Miss; and now Mitt Romney, who spent the Viet Nam years in Paris.

Conservatives do not have a monopoly on virtue and military valor. Many liberals have served honorably, such as George McGovern, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, Daniel Inouye - Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Tom Harkin, Charlie Rangle - awarded the Bronze Star, John Conyers, and Max Cleland, who despite having left two legs and an arm in Vietnam was branded a traitor by the draft-avoiding right wing Republican Saxby Chambliss who got four student deferments for a "football injury." Other lesser known liberals include Mike Thompson of California - Purple Heart, Leonard Boswell of Iowa - two distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, and the Soldier's Medal, and Pete Peterson of Florida - the Purple Heart, Silvre Star and Legion of Merit.

Of course, many conservatives have served honorably and many liberals did not and those who did not should not be excluded from the political process. The point is that those conservatives who shirked their duty would do well not to question the patriotism of those liberals who put their lives on the line for their country. Obama's foreign policy of speaking softly and carrying a big stick has served this country well and kept our country safe.

Gene Rigelon, Front Royal

31 Comments | Leave a comment

    Your rebuttal might have been worthwhile had you actually responded to what I actually wrote last week, Gene.

    Three (extremely long) paragraphs of selective listings of politicians with whom you disagree -- and of those you don't -- not one word about actual foreign policy decisions by President Obama and the consequences.

    You did make the point that it's never a difficult task when one simply changes the subject in an argument. (Still wondering how honorable service as a litmus test for political involvement got in there.)

    Too bad for you that Mr. Obama won't "have more flexibility" to "speak softly" with Vladimir Putin during a second term.

    He's no Teddy Roosevelt.

    McGovern, even before he ran for president, held heroic stature for us. In 1970 he attached to a military procurement bill the McGovern-Hatfield Amendment, which would have required, through a cutoff of funding, a withdrawal of all American forces from Indochina. The amendment did not pass, although the majority of Americans supported it. McGovern denounced on the Senate floor the politicians who, by refusing to support the amendment, prolonged the war. We instantly understood the words he spoke. They were the words of a preacher.

    “Every senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave,” he said. “This chamber reeks of blood. Every senator here is partly responsible for that human wreckage at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval [hospitals] and all across our land—young men without legs, or arms, or genitals, or faces or hopes. There are not very many of these blasted and broken boys who think this war is a glorious adventure. Do not talk to them about bugging out, or national honor or courage. It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes. And if we do not end this damnable war those young men will some day curse us for our pitiful willingness to let the Executive carry the burden that the Constitution places on us.”

    McGovern’s moral condemnation was greeted in the chamber with stunned silence. When one senator told McGovern he was personally offended by his remarks, McGovern answered: “That’s what I meant to do.”

    Truthdig: excepts by Chris Hedges


    If Romney gets in, you'll see the wars in the Middle East escalate! Arm-Chair Warriors is what they are and I loath them.

      I actually voted for McGovern as protest, Diana.

      When a sitting president fails to deliver (Nixon supposedly had "a secret plan" to end the war in 1968) -- and has a corrupt administration (Watergate had begun to stink -- the depth of it wasn't fully revealed until after the election) -- it's time to let him go.

      I wonder whether you'll get to the point of thinking for yourself rather than wasting time with selecting cut 'n pastings to bolster the fantasy that obama is competent and pure.

      Do the right thing on November 6.

        Flathers, no one is implying that Obama can "walk on water" but he is smart enough to know we are in a no-win situation in the Middle East (just like Viet Nam) and we can easily be destroyed from within.

        Do you really think this country can continue to put billions into these wars? Do YOU want to go there and fight?

        It's time to bring our troops home.

    Arm-Chair Warriors, that's what they are! Allow me to correct my grammar.

    And thanks Mr. Rigelon for your letter, as always you are on the mark. I cringe when I see George W. Bush or "the Shrub" (as the great, late Molly Ivins would say) crawl out of his hiding zone with that familiar stupid smirk on his face or Dick Cheney, flushed with blood, as his new heart keeps beating.

    These two should have been impeached for their lies and that ungodly war in Iraq. Maybe then we could have turned this country around in time. Now this country is trying to decide if Romney should be the next president?!
    Is anyone listening to that man? The rich and powerful don't fight these bloody wars!

      ...neither do Community Organizers "fight these bloddy wars!"

      BTW: ALL wars are "bloody." Try making a point without the histrionics.

        Meant to say, this earlier quote was an "excerpt" (from Chris Hedges' contribution to Truthdig). I left the r out! And this man is an excellent writer who can state the case better than I.

        And that's "bloody" wars, Mr. Flathers. Yes, they all are indeed bloody!

        A former Community Organizer who happens to be black? Is that what you really see? Maybe YOU can find some important information and contribute here too. Talk about lack of effort. Why don't you grab another word or phrase from the great Sarah Palin intellect. I remember her over-use of the "community organizer" label.

        Actually Obama is a very smart, well educated man who hasn't been filthy rich all of his life nd may have some ability to relate to the average American. None of these politicians are "innocent" in an age where money buys everything - even elections, but he's the only choice we've got.

    Since the end of World War II, it is true Republicans have supported the 'Military Industrial Complex" forewarned by President Eisenhower as a threat to democracy because of the cozy network of politicians, individuals, and institutions involved in producing weapons and military technologies.

    President Obama has not rattled the sabers vigorously enough to suit today's war mongering neo-conservatives and Dan Flathers. (What did you do in the Vietnam war, battalion mail orderly?)

    It appears Flathers, who accused Rigelon of failing to address the Flathers letter, has now also failed to address Rigelons letter. Tit for tat or the Flather's version of Romnesia?

    Oh, and to answer your question, Wooly: I was a medical corpsman and later an airevac crewmember -- not that this has anything to do with foreign policy.

    What did you do? Live in a commune?

      At the time Khrushchev sent missiles to Cuba I was transferred from NAS Andrews AFB to become Nuclear Weapons Training Officer, Carrier Air Group Three, stationed at Cecil Field, deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga out of Mayport, Florida. I resigned my commission in 1968 as a protest against the atrocities of the Vietnam War, specifically the My Lai Massacre, the slaughter of 500 unarmed innocent men, women, children, the elderly, and babies which did not become public knowledge until 1969.


      BTW, the Naval slang term for a corpsman was 'pecker checker'.

        Congratulations, Wooly!

        As a veteran, you'd had to of known that I'd be aware of the slang for my career code...Ouch!

        Is this the depth of your wit?

        You are the first veteran I've ever come across who found it necessary to besmirch another's service -- though your sarcastic assuptiom was dead wrong, my best friend actually was in the mailroom.

        It never occured to me that his service was less honorable than mine -- or even yours.

        I guess that's the fundamental difference between us.

        As to atrocities by the US Army: That's it? You resigned only because one Lt. of 2 million servicemen under arms lost it?

        How noble.

    I am not a fan of think progress, it is just as left as the spews is right, but a FB friend posted this article today..


    Some are linked in the story, others like a Romney advisers claim that the President didn't kill bin Laden "fast enough", I did google and found separately.

    Note: I have not been through this story line by line, nor do I intend to, or even care to debate it. I already see Willard for the lying, scheming wanker he is. I only share it here due to the relevance of the letter to the editor.

    “All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.”
    ― John Steinbeck

    “Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.” ~ ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

    “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
    ― Plato

    It will be intresting for Mr. Flathers when Romney basically agrees with President Obama's foreign policy tonight.

    Bwwaaaaahhhhhhh hahahaha

    It seems SOOO appropriate to learn Dan "Pecker Checker" Flathers military career was spent inspecting 'short arms'.

    What did you do in the war, daddy?

    Er, ah, well......


      Debate result:

      Romney = Big Picture; Presidential

      Appealed to the uncommitted voter. He wins

      Obama = Small Ball; Petulant

      I can better understand the attraction his supporters -- but he didn't need to convince them tonight. He loses.

        Oh, Dan, you are SO right! I do agree with MUCH of your assessment of the debate.

        Romney DID present the "Big Picture" which is like looking out of a picture window and seeing total darkness, void of details. And anyone can play the roll of being and looking "presidential" for a few hours, especially as HE has had concentrated training and focus for that position since 2007.

        Yes, Obama, is the small ball. His policies and ideas are very compacted and methodical. Steady as he goes. Trustworthy. Very comfortable with himself.

    Wooly: "I resigned my commission in 1968 as a protest against the atrocities of the Vietnam War,"

    My hat off to you, Sir.

    It is a very difficult decision to stand up for what is the right path when dealing with our nation and its policies. I know a few people who have also followed similar paths.

    LOL Jane, I saw Flathers response before bed last night and just assumed he was hitting the bottle pretty hard pre-debate.

    I found it interesting that Willard chose to pretend to be President Obama for the evening and essentially agree with the President's foreign policies while old Willard has spent the last two years on the trail saying exactly the opposite. Interesting but not surprising because the one thing we know with certainty is that the Rombot gets re-programmed prior to each public appearance.

    I choose CNN for post debate commentary, and one was saying conservatives were already throwing a fit (via social media) that Willard didn't stand on the graves of the dead per Fox Spews instructions, as their commentators were calling for as well as their website pre-debate. You would think they would have learned after the failed attempt to make F&F a big conspiracy, but hate knows no bounds.

    Mr. Flathers,
    You are working the "Gish Gallop" debating tactic again, trying to bait everybody with an overload mixture of half-truths, outright lies, and strawman arguments. But, you already know that, don't you.

    Like the Japanese soldier hiding on a Pacific island for 45 years after the end of WWII, Flathers' stubbornness is never giving up the cause; It’s easier psychologically to come up with a rationalization that perpetuates the delusion than it is to admit that you were wrong.

    The U.S. military is at risk of losing its "military superiority" because "our Navy is smaller than it's been since 1917. Our Air Force is smaller and older than any time since 1947." says Willard.

    Pants on FIRE!!! says politifact


      @ katybug re October 23, 2012 11:30 PM post: Good reference. I agree that these were bad data to support Romney's position.

      The overall point he is making is that we should maintain a strong military which requires continued high levels of funding. I don't think ANYONE knows what that level should be in today's environment.

        Well VP, I guess they will either choose to post it or not around midnight when they post the new letters, as it was held for "blog owner". Only imaginable reason, I said *p..s* off, instead of tick off.

        VP, I posted this once before but.....

        For those who support the Republicans push to give the military budget more--here are some points to ponder.

        In addition to approving $255 million for the Abrams battle tank, the House added hundreds of millions of dollars to the Pentagon’s $606 billion annual spending bill for items the military didn’t request, including health programs with little connection to national defense and a National Guard anti-drug program that the Drug Enforcement Administration also performs. Even with a two-year ban on earmarks, or pet projects that often can’t be justified as national priorities, the action was the latest evidence that members of the U.S. Congress are still finding ways to deliver the goods for their constituents.

        Lawmakers turn to the Pentagon spending bill to seek hundreds of millions of dollars for non-military projects, including drug enforcement and research into bone marrow disease, autism and breast cancer. Almost all of the $550 million added by the House as part of the defense health program goes toward research into breast, prostate, ovarian and lung cancer, as well as for muscular dystrophy and bone marrow failure.

        Lawmakers turn to the Pentagon spending bill to seek hundreds of millions of dollars for non-military projects, including drug enforcement and research into bone marrow disease, autism and breast cancer. (DOI 2012)

        --Only a few projects in spending bills being considered this year have a request tied to a lawmaker who can be identified. Representative Bill Young, a Florida Republican and longtime appropriator, would continue funding his namesake bone-marrow donor program through $31.5 million he secured in the House- passed defense spending bill. This earmark has been buried in the NAVY budget since 1987.

        --The Defense Rapid Innovation Program is the brainchild of Representative Norm Dicks, the top Democrat on the appropriations panel. It received $250 million in the defense bill to help encourage small business innovation through a competitive process.

        --Citizens Against Government Waste maintains that health research projects in the defense bill are redundant. A separate measure in 2012 provided $5.1 billion for the National Cancer Institute, according to the watchdog organization’s website.

        --Funding for an anti-drug program, apportioned to states through the National Guard, adds an additional $130 million in 2013 to use military personnel in drug enforcement operations in the states.


    The point of GR's letter was "...that we dispel the myth... that President Obama's foreign policy has made this country vulnerable (Dan Flather's letter, Oct. 15)..."

    GR presented nothing to dispel the "myth," if you even choose to believe it is a myth. Let's just say it is an opinion expressed by some (most?) conservatives. But GR did not attempt to support his main theme. Tell us why it is a myth. Instead, he presented a list of "chicken hawks" and their alleged misdeeds. He didn't support his position because it is not easily supported; just as the "myth" is not easily supported.

    GR concludes: "The point is that those conservatives who shirked their duty would do well not to question the patriotism of those liberals who put their lives on the line for their country." This and the entire "chicken hawk" discussion goes astray of the topic. There was nothing in DF's letter questioning patriotism.

    GR further concludes: "Obama's foreign policy of speaking softly and carrying a big stick has served this country well and kept our country safe." This restates the point of his letter in a different way but does not dispel the "myth." (btw, If I had made the same statement about Bush, the posts would still be flying.)

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