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Our Commander-in-Chief, Too - Conservative vets will give Obama the chance Democrats denied Bush.
National Review Online ^ | January 16, 2009 | Pete Hegseth

Posted on 01/16/2009 8:35:52 PM PST by neverdem








Our Commander-in-Chief, Too
Conservative vets will give Obama the chance Democrats denied Bush.

By Pete Hegseth

Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are largely united in their ardent support for victory on those battlefields. At the same time, they represent a cross-section of the political spectrum in the U.S. I patrolled Iraqi streets with conservatives and liberals, blue and white collars, believers and atheists. But about the mission, there was very little doubt. To adopt an old saw: there are no anti-American GIs in Mideast foxholes.

Once back home, veterans—and the groups that speak for them—are pressured to represent the political camps that most closely cohere with their battlefield experience. Veterans who support continuing our work in Iraq seek out Republicans, and disenchanted or outright anti-war veterans cozy up to Democrats. Had the parties represented different positions, the alignment might also be different.

Such developments are to be expected, since politics has a tendency to narrow even the most independent minds. Every policy position has a political camp, and as time and distance away from the battlefield extends, the slow creep of partisanship can supplant the oath to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

The slow erosion of a “country first” ethos—prominent in the politicization of some Iraq and Afghanistan veterans at home—comes at a high cost for the military, most significantly and consequentially in the eyes of the general public. When politicized, the military becomes a predictable messenger for a partisan camp rather than a personal and passionate messenger for the best tactical and strategic national-security policy. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are ambassadors for the military and those still serving—and our actions shape public perceptions of our profession.

As the famous military theorist Carl von Clausewitz once observed, “War is the continuation of politics by other means.” For our generation, the inverse of that statement—politics a continuation of war by other means—is also true. Some veterans, and others invested in America’s conflicts, have turned the policies of war overseas into a zero-sum political battlefield for public opinion at home.

As conditions in Iraq deteriorated, any semblance of dispassionate advocacy on the war evaporated. Anti-war veterans' groups seized on the situation and Iraq became “George Bush’s war,” rather than our war. And when conditions worsened considerably, prospects for battlefield success became linked to disdain for President Bush. For many veterans, defiance of the commander-in-chief started to look like a duty.

I, too, was frustrated by the conduct of the war when I returned from Iraq in mid-2006, and advocated a new strategy. Had America continued a fundamentally flawed policy—at the cost of even more lives—I would have constructively opposed those who decided upon such a continuation. But with the new surge strategy, the opposite occurred. America changed course in Iraq, and the war turned around. The test of intellectual honesty was thrust into the laps of those veterans who, nonetheless, continued to call the war a failure. Too many failed the test. Success on the ground in Iraq was politically damaging to their cause, and those veterans—aligned with many Democrats—ceaselessly took shots at President Bush, willing to sink the chances for their comrades in arms in order to sully a Republican president.

They did the same to John McCain, a fellow veteran, when he fought for the surge. And many veterans still call the surge a “failure” in the face of all evidence, spitting on the historic accomplishments of troops in order to establish or reaffirm partisan allegiance. It appears that nothing—save January 21, 2009—will change these veterans’ sentiments toward their commander-in-chief. And on that date, the aforementioned litmus test for intellectual honesty shifts to veterans who supported the surge and who still support victory in Iraq.

Our group, Vets for Freedom, ran millions of dollars’ worth of television and radio advertising this year that directly challenged Obama’s policies toward Iraq and the surge. We aggressively instigated his return trip to Iraq and called on him to tell the truth about the success of the surge. We believed his stated policy prescriptions for Iraq were outdated and pressured him to reconsider his rigid timeline for withdrawal.


But on Inauguration Day, our approach will change—as a candidate becomes our commander-in-chief. We will not do to President Obama what others did to President Bush. Our brothers are still in harm’s way, and Obama is their commander-in-chief, just as he is ours.

We will support President Obama whenever possible, persuade him at decisive and deliberative moments, and constructively oppose him when he pursues policies we deem detrimental to battlefield success. Success on the battlefield—as well as the health of our military—must be our lodestar, as we seek to help our new president defend our nation.

If we eventually end the war in Iraq with honor and in victory, it will be because President Obama continued effective policies and did not pull troops out precipitately. If we turn around the war in Afghanistan, it will be because President Obama empowered U.S. commanders and gave them sufficient resources—patience being the most important. If we grow our military to meet operational requirements, it will be because President Obama stood by his campaign pledge to increase our ranks. And if we increase military spending, as a way of both creating new jobs and replenishing war-torn equipment, it will be because President Obama saw the value in butter and guns. If so, we will be eager to give him credit.

If President Obama’s policies work toward the long-term security of our country, we will happily defend him against those who would seek to score short-term political points. We ask our fellow veterans to do the same. Too much is at stake for our nation, and for the reputation of our veterans.

Lt. Pete Hegseth, who served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division from 2005 to 2006, is executive director of
Vets for Freedom.



TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; bhodod; bush; cicobama; democrats; iraq; obama; oefveterans; oifveterans; veterans

1 posted on 01/16/2009 8:35:52 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

There are lotsa “ifs” in that article.


2 posted on 01/16/2009 8:41:36 PM PST by Txsleuth
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To: neverdem

No, we will not re-up..we will resign our commissions.


3 posted on 01/16/2009 8:48:49 PM PST by DGHoodini (Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand)
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To: Txsleuth
There are lotsa “ifs” in that article.

There were six “ifs.”

4 posted on 01/16/2009 8:49:58 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

I won’t


5 posted on 01/16/2009 8:50:29 PM PST by clamper1797 (I pledge to give the Obamanation the same level of support that the liberals gave GWB)
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To: neverdem
Not I! Obama and the rest of the Rats have slandered our troops for way too long.
6 posted on 01/16/2009 8:51:55 PM PST by tobyhill (Obama gets no free pass from Free Republic!)
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To: tobyhill
Every time Obama gets faced with the question on prosecuting "W" for alleged "crimes" (there were none BTW), he always avoids facing up to the fact we still have a backlog of war criminals from the Viet Nam War to indict, prosecute, convict and hang ~ and virtually all of them are Leftwingtards like Jane Fonda, Senator Kerry, etc.

As long as Obama refuses to address "that problem" he really shouldn't be talking about the imaginary bugaboos of the Lunatic Left.

7 posted on 01/16/2009 8:56:08 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: neverdem

That’s a mistake. If Barack Obama succeeds, god knows what he’ll do in his second term, with no need to worry about re-election.

Conservatives should seek to make sure he fails, not cheer-lead him on as David Brooks and his ilk would have us do.


8 posted on 01/16/2009 8:56:26 PM PST by exist
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To: exist

I will give him the same respect they gave Pres Bush. I will also follow the ny slimes when they said that dissent is the greatest form of patriotism during Pres Bushs admin, I bet they are singing a different tune now


9 posted on 01/16/2009 8:59:11 PM PST by italianquaker
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To: neverdem

For eight years, we’ve been told that President Bush is:

- illegitimate;
- stole the election;
- Hitler;
- BushHitler;
- a Nazi;
- a fascist;
- BushCo;
- Shrub;
- an alcoholic;
- a cocaine addict;
- an idiot;
- an evil genius;
- a poor-person killer;
- a warmonger;
- a kicker of old ladies;
- a religious fanatic;
- a war criminal;
- Chimp;
- Chimpy McHitler;
- Chimpeached;

When The Left apologizes or is punished for eight years of slander, libel and sedition, THEN I’ll think about stopping personal attacks about The Obama, The Messiah, The One (piss be upon him).


10 posted on 01/16/2009 8:59:36 PM PST by Old Sarge (For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be an American)
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To: neverdem
But on Inauguration Day, our approach will change—as a candidate becomes our commander-in-chief.

In other words, "we sold out".

11 posted on 01/16/2009 9:01:54 PM PST by Old Sarge (For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be an American)
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To: Old Sarge
Yep. I told Lanny Davis, on the Michael Medved show, that I would be quite comfortable giving 0bama the same amount of respect and consideration that his side has given President Bush for the last 8 years. I am sickened that 0bama will be the CIC. He has NO respect for our military.
12 posted on 01/16/2009 9:04:45 PM PST by originalbuckeye
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To: italianquaker
I will give him the same respect they gave Pres Bush. I will also follow the ny slimes when they said that dissent is the greatest form of patriotism during Pres Bushs admin, I bet they are singing a different tune now

You're absolutely right. Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism. What's good for the geese...

13 posted on 01/16/2009 9:07:12 PM PST by exist
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To: originalbuckeye
I am sickened that 0bama will be the CIC. He has NO respect for our military.

And neither do the majority of the American Sheep - They the ones who voted for The One (piss be upon him).

If anyone needs proof that Americans don't really support their troops, just show them the election returns. A country that claims to support us, doesn't give someone like The One (his name be pissed) this kind of power.

14 posted on 01/16/2009 9:09:03 PM PST by Old Sarge (For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be an American)
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To: neverdem
Conservative vets will give Obama the chance Democrats denied Bush

This conservative vet won't!

15 posted on 01/16/2009 9:11:05 PM PST by clintonh8r (Somewhere in Kenya a village is missing its idiot.)
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To: neverdem

When I read stuff like this my Allodoxaphobia act’s up !....:o)


16 posted on 01/16/2009 9:11:11 PM PST by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: neverdem

Not all of us.

CPT, ARMOR
MACV Class of ‘71


17 posted on 01/16/2009 9:15:59 PM PST by PzLdr ("The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am" - Darth Vader)
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To: Squantos
Allodoxaphobia

LOL! I couldn't find it in a hard copy of Stedman's or Dorland's digital dictionary.

18 posted on 01/16/2009 9:32:45 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

I thought you’d like that !

You stay safe ....I am off to bed !


19 posted on 01/16/2009 9:37:58 PM PST by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: neverdem

My second son is thinking of enlisting—he’s a chef who needs work and thinks that the military will always need cooks. I refuse to let him because I think that Obama has no understating or respect for the military and will put any warm body in a tank if that’s what he needs. No way am I letting my son salute a man who’s learning to salute this very weekend. He may be commander-in-chief, but that doesn’t mean he knows squat about the military.


20 posted on 01/16/2009 10:02:22 PM PST by MHT
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To: Old Sarge
Come on Old Sarge, give the boy a chance.

I have given Obama a chance already. Here is my conclusion: Gaza is Obama’s fault. The economy is not fixed yet and that is Obama’s fault. The US Airways flight that sucked them birds in is Obama’s fault. Almost the entire United States is experiencing cold weather. This is Obama’s fault. We are supposed to be experiencing global warming.

I have given him a chance already and he is failing. All he does is hold a press conference looking for the next photo op to go down in history. He aint fixed nothing yet.

It is Obama’s fault from this day forward.

21 posted on 01/16/2009 10:17:51 PM PST by do the dhue (They've got us surrounded again. The poor bastards. - One of General Abram's men)
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To: MHT
Here is what Obama thinks of our Military:

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=cxL8NcNACBY

Please note: he will slow the development of future combat systems.

22 posted on 01/16/2009 10:30:38 PM PST by do the dhue (They've got us surrounded again. The poor bastards. - One of General Abram's men)
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To: Old Sarge

I am with you OLD SARGE.


23 posted on 01/16/2009 10:30:47 PM PST by easternsky
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; Jeff Head; ...
Global cooling is upon us

Full text of Mayor Bloomberg's State of the City Speech The Twilight Zone might be upon us.

Bill would pull plug on reloading

Direct Answer - A solution for the reading gap between black and white children...

Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign and military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.

24 posted on 01/16/2009 11:01:10 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: MHT

I am so afraid my son will try to join the military. Not a lot of options for him, but I will do anything in my power to dissuade him. His dad was in the Navy, so he thinks of it as being an opportunity. I cannot allow him to serve under the new CIC(I Hate saying that man’s name).


25 posted on 01/16/2009 11:07:44 PM PST by ozaukeemom (It's Obama's fault (just practicing))
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To: neverdem; Squantos

Thanks a lot for reawakening my suppressed Hellenologophobia,


26 posted on 01/16/2009 11:08:48 PM PST by FredZarguna (And writing about it aint helping my Catagelophobia, either.)
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To: neverdem

“If President Obama’s policies work toward the long-term security of our country, we will happily defend him against those who would seek to score short-term political points.”

Big mistake.


27 posted on 01/17/2009 12:47:08 AM PST by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: DGHoodini

I fear this may be a big problem. He’ll be terrible for recruitment and retention. Who the hell wants to be bound by law to obey him? Not the 18 year olds who voted for him, that’s for sure.


28 posted on 01/17/2009 12:49:21 AM PST by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: Impy

Obama should be good for retention with the old timers nearing retirement. I for one don’t want his signature on my papers to be honest. Looks like I am in at least another four. Assuming that is, he does not eliminate my job, unit, branch just for fun.


29 posted on 01/17/2009 1:11:58 AM PST by McCloud-Strife (Lenin was a community organizer too)
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To: neverdem

Thank the scumbag Democrats for politicizing the military through their constant “blame America first” tirades. Obama will never be this old Marine’s president.

Real America is dead and gone, anyway. All that’s left is a land mass populated by selfish cretins and parasites who have absolutely no respect for the military and who vote for big government to confiscate money from their neighbors and “redistribute” it to them. It hardly seems like an America worth defending anymore.

I recommend that anybody currently serving in the military find a way to get out as quickly as possible, especially before Obama sends them off on UN “peacekeeping” missions to Rwanda or Darfur, armed only with rubber bullets and trash bags.


30 posted on 01/17/2009 1:31:33 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: originalbuckeye

Hey, I heard you! Good call!


31 posted on 01/17/2009 1:33:49 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: McCloud-Strife

“I for one don’t want his signature on my papers to be honest. “

That means a lot to you huh. Well I hope for everyone’s sake it 4 and not 8.


32 posted on 01/17/2009 1:35:07 AM PST by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: neverdem

You salute and respect the uniform, not the man.
I don’t like O either, but I served under Johnson and Nixon.
Respect and obedience is due the office of CIC, not the man occupying it.


33 posted on 01/17/2009 4:42:08 AM PST by Viet Vet in Augusta GA
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To: neverdem
Democrats aren't going to be as nice to opposing nonprofits as Republicans were. The new bailout even gives money to liberal nonprofits. We are going to see a lot of desperation out of conservative nonprofits in the next few months.
34 posted on 01/17/2009 6:11:05 AM PST by armymarinemom (My sons freed Iraqi and Afghan Honor Roll students.)
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping!


35 posted on 01/17/2009 8:26:49 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Lancey Howard

Thanks! When I asked about Pelosi shutting out the Republicans he started complaining about DeLay. I brought up Gingrich and he still complained about DeLay. I wished I had said ‘yeah, you and your willing accomplices in Big Media got rid of Gingrich, didn’t you? You all deserved DeLay’. IIRC, Gingrich resigned the Speakership due to receiving a $300,000 advance on a book. Hillary! received an $8,000,000 advance but that was OK to the Dems as she hadn’t actually been sworn in as Senator yet. Glaring double-standard.


36 posted on 01/17/2009 9:01:41 AM PST by originalbuckeye
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To: FredZarguna

LMAO !!


37 posted on 01/17/2009 9:08:14 AM PST by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: neverdem

I love this. We’ve just been through 8 years of clinton hating and 8 years of bush hating. That’s hurt us all. I surely will give Obama a chance. If he manages to keep us safe for another 4 years, and keeps our military in fighting form, I will give him credit for that.
I don’t want another food fight. I will reluctantly get in one if it looks like Obama is trying to decimate our military power, but I’m going to wait until he is inaugurated before I assume that he’ll be a disaster.


38 posted on 01/17/2009 4:21:40 PM PST by speekinout
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To: Viet Vet in Augusta GA

...Bravo, I agree with yer, this is not the time for mutiny...


39 posted on 01/17/2009 7:01:18 PM PST by gargoyle (...BHO "What do we want?" Change! "When do we want it?" Now! "OK, I changed my mind.")
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