Monday, March 03, 2008

When a soul is sold

Power is a funny thing. It can do something to the smart parts of your brain that that can make you sound almost insane. It pursuit of power, the weak often take shortcuts that leave gaps in logic, fact, and honor.

Prostitution is a funny thing. People do it for different reasons. Some to feed a family, some keep fear and an abusive pimp at bay. Some do it simply to feed an addiction.

Politics is a funny thing. Though many do it for a desire to help, to serve, to do something good for the greater nation they serve before the mortal shell God gave them cracks, fails, and leaves them of their time on this Earth. Others however are in politics for power, pride, and to use if as a scaffolding to support their drifting and fading sense of self-worth, utility, and reason for being.

Being a retired General or Flag Officer is a funny thing. As a byproduct of your station, you bring with you a degree of granted trust, respect, gravitas and credibility. Your word is taken as a given at face value. It is not, however, granted forever. The public is forgiving, but not stupid. Credibility is your currency - and when you sell your credibility it doesn't just decrease your stature, but the stature of all retired officers of any rank.

It used to be that retired GOFO either stayed out of politics, or entered it directly as a candidate for public office. Those who did not, stayed on as advisers or subject matter experts. Surrounded by the mud that is natural in a vibrant democracy, but not rolling around in it. Not selling credibility for partisan gain. That doesn't apply to many though.

There are many things one can say about Sen. McCain (R-AZ) and his fitness as CINC. I have mentioned it a few times here.
There are a few things one can say about Sen. Clinton (D-NY) and her fitness as CINC. I may have mentioned a few here - though not that much. To be honest, Sen. Clinton has little interest for me. My mind was made up about her in 1993.

I won't insult your intelligence about who has been in the Senate the longest. I won't insult your intelligence about who has the most experience in national defense.

From Byron York, I want you to read the below - a statement from retired General Wes Clark and Retired Admiral William Owens.
In the national security business, the question is, do you have — when you have served in uniform, do you really have the relevant experience for making the decisions at the top that have to be made? Everybody admires John McCain's service as a fighter pilot, his courage as a prisoner of war. There's no issue there. He's a great man and an honorable man. But having served as a fighter pilot — and I know my experience as a company commander in Vietnam — that doesn’t prepare you to be commander-in-chief in terms of dealing with the national strategic issues that are involved. It may give you a feeling for what the troops are going through in the process, but it doesn't give you the experience first hand of the national strategic issues.

If you look at what Hillary Clinton has done during her time as the First Lady of the United States, her travel to 80 countries, her representing the U.S. abroad, plus her years in the Senate, I think she's the most experienced and capable person in the race, not only for representing am abroad, but for dealing with the tough issues of national security.
Speaking just after Clark, retired Admiral William Owens, former vice chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, said, "I would just say that I agree with Wes on that."
Later on, the McCain campaign had the following to say - putting it short and sweet.
Wes Clark should be ashamed of himself. John McCain's 24 years in the US Senate, serving as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and leadership on every major national security issue over the last two decades has prepared him to lead as commander in chief from day one.
Yep, I agree. Shame is the right word.

Wes, you are already on the Wall of Shame. Bill, have Wes welcome you aboard. Shame on you selling yourself so cheaply.

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