Hearts and Minds. Whose First?

President Obama… this morning you went to welcome home 18 Fallen men. You watched as their flag draped caskets were walked solemnly from the plane. You saluted and I assume you looked into the eyes of their families. I hope you listened to their words.  I hope you asked about who these men were in life and not simply how they died. You see, how they lived is so much more important than how they died.  I hope you understand that exhaustion played a role in their death because the request for more support troops is being ignored and “thought about” by you. I hope you understand that we the families of the military now hold you accountable and do not care what the past administration did or didn’t do. Now of us can change the past we must deal with this moment.  I hope you know every single one of those men took upon the responsibility and role they played in this war voluntarily knowing they would be deployed.  Think about that for a moment… they wanted to fight this war on terrorism knowing full well they may die in this fight.  My son knew it was possible that he would die.. and yet he chose to go. And even if he had known for sure he would lose his life in Iraq I think if he also knew that one day it would make many other lives better he would have still gone.  Military men are truly peace keepers and the only ones in the world who truly understand and hate war. But they do it because they also know that sometimes you have to value something beyond yourself and be willing to fight for it. And yes even die for it.

I hear a lot of talk about winning the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan, well I think we should start with the hearts and minds of our own troops. Because you sir are losing them.  Are you listening to them, the men and women who wear the uniform that are fighting this war? Are you listening to the ones that would be sent to support those already in afghan? The ones that feel betrayed and abandoned by their commander? The ones here stateside are frustrated because they want nothing more than to go and fight alongside those there. I listen to them I hear what is being said. They want to go and make afghan safe for the people there and the world safe from the virus of terror that I incubates there.  If you haven’t spoken to the enlisted men of our military, the ones who would be going, you should. It’s their lives you claim to be so concerned about… ask them if they are willing to take the risk. The enlisted men.. the ones who face the front line… don’t just take their commanders word for it.  I can promise you they want and need to go do this job in the largest numbers you can imagine.  I know men getting out  of the military, great soldiers and leaders at the NCO level because they feel you have betrayed them. YOU! Not Bush.. Not the world.. YOU!

There is a bond in the military you will never understand. I’m not saying that to be insulting I am saying it because it is a fact. Unless you wear the uniform and fight side by side with these men no one can truly comprehend that bond.  And the desire that it fuels to go and help and fight with their brothers.  But you won’t allow them to follow their heart and enact the bond and honor they cherish and go fight with and for their brothers.

There is an old quote. Not sure who it is from but it is “When in doubt empty the magazine” That is what you have to do. Empty the magazine. Put all we have into this fight!  We started a job and we must finish it or it will simply be left to the next generation.

There will be more knocks upon doors to deliver the news of a fallen loved one. There will be more tears and pain for military families but I truly believe that by giving our troops the support hey need and deserve and by changing the rules of engagement to allow our commanders and troops to use the good judgment they have to fight this war we can end it quickly with as little loss of life as possible.  You have to LET THE MILITARY do its job and give it all the tools it needs to do it. Or you are guilty of betraying the very men you are commander and chief of.

You stood at Dover and welcomed 18 men home early this morning….  Please don’t let their deaths be in vain… and don’t leave this for another generation to finish.  Don’t abandon those who we as a Nation have asked to go and fight. Win the hearts and minds of our troops so they in return can win the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan.  Give them the tools, support and morale to do it.  Or bring them home and take upon yourself the defeat, because a defeat would be Yours and yours alone. Our men did not quit and will not quit.

Do something now.. not this afternoon or tomorrow but this instant.  Make a decision. Right or wrong, doing something, anything,  is better than nothing at all.

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22 Responses to Hearts and Minds. Whose First?

  1. USMCWIFE8999 October 29, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, you speak for many of the military families feeling frustrated and betrayed by sending our bravest without sending enough. He can not do half, he can not vote “present”..the campaign is over..now start standing up and be our President..and lead our Men …

  2. juliannah October 29, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    Great post!. I had the same reaction. It is hard to stand by and watch our military in limbo. Not sure if Obama’s trip to Dover was a political move or not. I would like to hope it wasn’t, but I am not holding my breath.

  3. Basinah October 29, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    Well said. You captured and conveyed the feelings of the families,and the feelings of the “band of brothers” so well. I wish the members of the public that questions the war would read this as well, so they could understand a bit more.

  4. phalanx October 30, 2009 at 7:22 am #

    I heard this morning that of the eighteen families, only one agreed to let the casket be photographed, and meet with the president. True? I haven’t seen that anywhere except radio news. If anyone knows anything more, please post.

  5. David M October 30, 2009 at 8:54 am #

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 10/30/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  6. Stacy Lee October 30, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    Very well said. Thanks. I too would like to think that he went to Dover for the right reasons, but I have to say I have my doubts.

  7. Sully October 30, 2009 at 3:00 pm #

    Needful of saying and beautifully said. I appreciate your son’s sacrifice and sympathize for your loss.

  8. admin October 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

    phalanx.. that is what is being reported by the media.

  9. Pat Dollard October 31, 2009 at 4:20 am #

    Obama didn’t ask anybody anything, as his only purpose there was a political photo-op designed to feign the seriousness of his entirely un-serious, non-existent, deliberative process as to answering General McChrystal’s troop request. His decision, like his desecration of the returning bodies, turns entirely on political self-interest.

  10. Deskpilot October 31, 2009 at 7:50 am #

    Knottie, Our military used to command respect and warrant fear around the world. Lo, these last several months, that extra umph, has been neutered by our Commander-in-Chief. As you so clearly stated, he cannot, and will never now the fire that burns in each of us who serve(d), to put the greatness and dignity of America before self. We do not seek the camera, we do not serve for the accolades, we do not serve but for the greater good of America herself.
    Conversely, our president seems only interested in himself, to the exclusion of all else.

    I for one cannot possibly know of comprehend the pain and increasing anguish that GSF’s experience when you see the marshmellowy approach this administration takes in manners regarding support for our troops.

    I share this out of the love and respect I know that your son or daughter sacrificed for:
    When I see a Gold Star (Family/Mother/Father) flag or license plate, it is my personal practice to offer to them a crisp, well honed salute. As is the practice in the military, a junior shall salute a senior. With that, anyone who has lost a loved one serving in defense of our nation is in my heart a senior of the highest order. A salute is a sign of respect, and I can think of no higher, instant communication of that respect to honor and convey my sympathy for your loss. May the Good Lord keep a special watch and care for you.

    http://legion.org/national/americanflag/flagcode and
    Title 36, Subtitle I, Part A section 301 United States Code
    National Anthem

    If you can read this, thank a teacher, If you can still read it in English, You’re Welcome.
    Deskpilot, AM(H)1(AW), USN(Ret)

  11. Don D October 31, 2009 at 7:53 am #

    I feel Obama is losing the hearts and minds of all Americans in his efforts to win the hearts and minds of other nations. Trust is not a trait often used to describe Obama or Congress for that matter. When It comes to trust and respect in my mind, the military and their families are about the only group that come to mind. Thank you all for your service and sacrifices. I bow to you only.

  12. J.L. Smith October 31, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    Hi, there…just wanted to let everyone know that I am donating a percentage of my book sales – through Veterans’ Day – to Project Valour-IT!

    Why not donate to this very worthwhile cause and read a great book at the same time? You can read a sample chapter on the “Sneak Peek” tab at http://www.ReportingForDoodie.com. Please help support our wounded soldiers by spreading the word! Thank you!

  13. Meg H November 2, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    AMEN!!!! At least someone is saying it! I am a PROUD Army wife and I am terrified to send my husband back over for his second tour. I don’t feel like he will be supported and supplied like he needs to be and that SCARES the mess out of me. We thank you for your son’s service and pray that this will all be behind us soon! God Bless! – meg

  14. Delta Whiskey November 2, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more.

  15. Kermit November 2, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    Well put Knottie.

  16. Wandafay November 4, 2009 at 1:19 am #

    Excellent post Knottie! You said it beautifully! My heart breaks for our guys over there and the silence they hear from who their Commander in Chief should be.

  17. loans canada November 12, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

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  18. shaun t insanity March 9, 2010 at 9:05 pm #

    I must say that overall I am really impressed with this blog.It is easy to see that you are passionate about your writing. If only I had your writing ability I look forward to more updates and will be returning.

  19.  Pine Desk August 18, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    i love hearing radio news, although most of the time we use the internet and TV for news updates,~;

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