Apples and Oranges

In this day and age of high-speed, low-drag technology, there seems to be a notion that wars can be fought without the collateral, non-combatant casualties that happen. Americans have forgotten that our armed forces have one basic mission: to kill people. That can be prettied up any number of ways, but the basic mission of the military involves dealing death on multiple scales and in a number of different ways. While there are all sorts of rules to try and limit that killing to “legitimate” targets, the problem is that people in charge forget that our job involves high explosives, unguided rounds downrange, and mark 1 mod 0 eyeballs in addition to all of the technical mumbo-jumbo. In war, people die. That’s a basic fact and the only way to alleviate the death is to eliminate war.  That’s a nice notion but somewhat unrealistic for the human race at this time.

Death during war-time is the highest price that the human race pays. In the case of the deaths of hostile forces,  the deaths are Although in the case of friendly deaths there is always responsibility, there is not necessarily culpability to accompany the former. A non-commissioned or commissioned officer of the armed forces is charged with the safety and well-being of his or her troops. With that charge comes responsibility and the loss of a single troop bears a price that no person who has not experienced it can understand. I include myself in the latter group, thank God. While such losses are less common than they used to be they still occur. Such deaths are recognized as the “fortunes of war” and, while that provides scant comfort for the bereaved, such deaths are not the result of actions that are, “meriting condemnation, censure or blame, especially as something wrong, harmful or injurious…” (

For some time I’ve wondered about the notion of holding SecState and POTUS culpable for the action fought in Benghazi in 2012. That the upper echelons, as well as the entire chain of command, bear responsibility for the loss of the military and civilian lives lost cannot be questioned. In fact, there is enough responsibility to go around for every American when we lose a member of the Armed Forces, a diplomat, or a contractor in the line of duty. There is no culpability, though. In this specific case, budget cuts for embassy security staff came from the legislative branch and not the executive. Neither branch of our government bears culpability for acts that were made in good faith as part of their duty and, politically motivated or not, such were the governmental acts that led up to Benghazi.

In the case of the Yemen operation, though, an operation that had been shelved as not likely to succeed with acceptable losses, there is culpability for the non-combatant civilian deaths as well as that of Senior Chief Owens.  It lies squarely on Oval Office and provides yet another example of President Trump’s unsuitability for public office.

Despite being healthy enough to play sports in school, he was medically deferred from military service during the war in Viet Nam. While a lack of military experience is not disqualifying, Mr. Trump’s predecessors often relied on the experts.  This adventure, on the other hand, seems to be nothing more than an attempt to demonstrate the intelligence and leadership abilities.  If that is so, it failed miserably.  It did offer evidence that Trump has a gift for taking credit for the success of others and sloughing off fault for bad decisions. America was largely aware of those traits, however, and they seem to come with higher office. It also highlighted the notion held by the Trump regime that it is appropriate to ignore contrarian advice from outside the Oval Office. That is problematic in any case.  The real problem evinced by Trump’s adventure, however, is the clear choice to ignore the military and intelligence communities (including the folks who have been there and done that). That is more problematic and is where the culpability (as well as malfeasance, pre-meditated murder, manslaughter, and abuse of power.

Trump’s adventure came at the cost of one of our own who was paid to take chances. Senior Chief Owens volunteered and he knew what he was getting into, but he deserved better than this. The military has long borne the cost of such adventures — it is one of the things we get paid for, but it is time to hold those responsible for such decisions accountable. My military brothers and sisters deserve better than this.

The cost of Trump’s first adventure abroad also included another of our own who was not yet old enough to vote, eight-year-old Anwaar al-Awlaki, an American citizen in the wrong place at the wrong time. Given that a major part of the job of the President is to oversee the safety and success of America and her citizens regardless of their race, creed, or sex, it is clear that Mr. Trump failed here too.

Yet a third cost of this adventure also included civilians who were caught in the line of fire. No doubt the administration regards these other non-combatant losses as not worthy of notice because, according to several of those in the Oval Office, “them people” were most likely Muslim and therefore terrorists. This type of endemic racism has no place in America (or anywhere else for that matter), and certainly not at the highest level of our government.

The issue is exacerbated by the tone adopted by the oval office, indicating an affinity for being surrounded by yes-men and yes-women. The fate of our late acting Attorney General shows what happens to dissent of any sort. That presents something of a problem in a world where lives are unnecessarily lost when the Commander in Chief makes an “error” in judgment. In this case, the cost was the death of at least two Americans and an unknown number of other non-combatants. The former is unconscionable, the latter a violation of international laws and treaties. President Trump is directly culpable for those acts.

Mr. Trump’s adventure must be investigated and appropriate action taken. This was not another Benghazi. There is clear culpability and the Executive Branch needs to be held accountable to the American people by the Legislative and Judicial branches. This before the system of checks and balances that protect our Constitution and our rights are completely lost. To do less is to deny justice to the dead of all faiths. To do less is to deny justice to the American people. To do less is to present a clear and present to the United States of America and her Constitution.

To do less is to deny justice to the dead of all faiths. To do less is to deny justice to the American people. To do less is to present a clear and present to the United States of America and her Constitution.

To do less is to deny justice to the American people. To do less is to present a clear and present to the United States of America and her Constitution.

To do less is to present a clear and present to the United States of America and her Constitution.

Echo4Golf Clear

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