Jerryaughtry’s Weblog

November 30, 2009

DANCING WITH THOSE WHO BRUNG YOU

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 10:18 pm
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DANCING WITH THOSE WHO BRUNG YOU is a NC staple. I don’t know who the president is dancing with in sending 30,000 more troops but it ain’t those who “brung” him. Those who brung him want us out of two unwinnable and untennable wars. What we cannot accept is that there are no answers and there aren’t short of total peace on earth. And, yet the president is almost taking a page or pages out of the George W. play book. Sending more troops is a bad move. And, what is fascinating to me is that the president and others don’t see what those of us out here in the hinderlands see. Generals always want more troops, they always think in military terms. They are using counter insurgency as an argument. We all believe that it will work in twenty years. Everybody who believes we will stay in Afghanistan twenty years, raise your hands?

Out here in the real world, we understand that Afghanistan is ripe with corruption. Ruled by War Lords, a tribal people, and living in the Middle Ages as relates to women. The list is endless and this doesn’t even include the drug culture. And, we can solve this with more troops? Scare tactics like fight theTaliban at the source and we don’t have to fight them at home. This is an argument from Don Rumfelt and George W. Not our president.

His speech and all the rhetoric since then has not turned us around. And, choosing to make the speech in friendly territory like the military academy definitely began to seem like another verse of the song we’ve heard for eight years. I’m beginning to feel like something attributed to Abe Lincoln: “I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true. I will stand with any man when he is right stand with him while he is right but will depart from him when he goes wrong.” More troops in Afghanistan is a “wrongheaded” move.

November 26, 2009

GOD BLESS “MERICA” (this is way the NASCAR guys say it)

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 7:18 pm

I don’t think it is just Republicans who are “locked in.” As a Democrat, let us be objective: everybody that I talk too of all kinds of political persuasions, appear to get it about Afghanistan, we simply can’t do anything. They are a tribal people, still live in the Middle Ages, a President who stole an election and fosters corruption. He is, by reasonable American standards, a joke. Yet, we continue to pour in millions as though we have a McChrystal ball. Nothing seems to make any real difference: we have a demo Prez, that I’ve supported bigtime, Demo congress: no difference. So, it really baffles me.

 
I’m sticking with my view: 30% of Americans are downright stupid. I don’t mean dumb, they just don’t think, and they appear to be mostly Republicans from where I stand but by no means, the only ones. We have 300 million plus in the country, 25% are out to lunch, they don’t participate in anything: operate on a philosophy of “Of all my fathers children, I love myself the best. If the Lord provides for me, the devil take the rest.” And, what I’m hoping is that there is at least 50% of Americans, of all persuasions, who at least possibly, maybe are still participating and want to rescue the country.
 
America is a great country, still experimenting, I believe. We may be ungovernable, like CA, not sure. Still, we have lots of opportunity, can criticize the government, and be about as nutso as we want to be.

November 23, 2009

HOW WE DIE?

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 3:31 pm
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A great article in the NY Times: Hard Choice for a Comfortable Death: Drug-Induced Sleep. If you have hung out much in nursing homes with relatives or friends waiting to die, you want to read this long and informitive piece. It talks about something we use to do all the time when I was a hospital chaplain at Letterman Army Medical Center on the Presidio when it was a full scale teaching hospital. Hospice does relatively the same, which I think is great. They simply increase the morphine and the terminally ill, who at this stage are not with us, other than still breathing, slip into the terminal sleep. According to the article, it is called terminal sedation, a treatment that is already widely used and as the article says, “vexes family and a profession whose paramount rule is to do no harm.”

What is different about this article is that for the first time, at least as I’ve seen, the medical community admits that they do this and even talk about cases and drugs they use. The two most popular drugs are ativan and roxanol.

As I read on, I almost fell over as this is the sort of thing that we need to think about, especially those of us who can see the end. We all die and so to figure out how to do it as easy as possible is no small thing.

We simply don’t do a good job of helping people die. There comes a time when someone is not going to get better, they are not going to recover so why not make the end the very best we possibly can. This is the basis of the article.

What is fascinating to me is how reticent people, even professionals, are to talk about the end of life. Why? is always an issue as we all die.

Seeing folks at the end is so sad, most in 90s and beyond. You would think that these “front burner types” who’ve lived long and rich lives would simply be “ready” to hit the trail so to speak. Not so as the denial of the process is a big factor. A doctor friend of mine told me about his mother, 92, well educated, had lived a beautiful life according to him. He was convinced that when it came “time” she would opt for the, “no extraordinary means.” Shaking his head still in disbelief, he allowed exactly the opposite, “do everything you can,” she said. “I want nothing spared to keep me alive.”

Presently, my wife and I are doing all we can to prepare a loved one to die because it is what she wants. Her once vibrant life has been reduced to being almost helpless with wearing diapers which, for her, is the height of indignities. If anything happens, “no extraordinary means to keep her alive,” are her wishes. God bless her and more power to her. I’m going to sign off with a HooAhhhh for her Mom who use to love this when I did it for her at the chapel. HooAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

November 19, 2009

ROCK SOLDIERS

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 4:25 pm
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It really is ROC (Republic of Korea). they are the best ground Army in the world. As far as the basics are concerned, there simply is no better. When I was in Korea last, I use to watch them train. In snow, they were required to walk distances to make them tougher.

So, why is a Division (approximately 20,000 men/women) of American soldiers on the front lines at the demitarzed zone. Good question. Here is a familiar scenario often talked about. if the North Koreans were to invade in massive numbers which they would, the American Division would be anialated thus bringing the Americans into the war.

maybe this theory is outdated. the torpedoring of the South Korean ship has set up another scenario which again focus attention on a radical and crazy dictator. a homogenous nation of people who fulfill the confusian view to the max of Ruler over subject.

November 15, 2009

GIVING UP FREEDOMS

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 2:45 pm
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***On Thursday 13 American Soldiers were killed and another 30 wounded at a horrific mass shooting at a US Army installation, Ft Hood Texas . As I watched in horror and then anger I recalled my two years of final service in the Army as a Battalion Commander at Ft Hood, 2002-2004.

My wife and two daughters were stunned at the incident having lived on the post in family housing. A military installation, whether it is Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, or Coast Guard, is supposed to be a safe sanctuary for our Warriors and their families. It is intended to provide a home whereby our “Band of Brothers and Sisters” can find solace and bond beyond just the foxhole but as family units. A military installation is supposed to be a place where our Warriors train for war, to serve and protect our Nation.

On Thursday, 5 November 2009 Ft Hood became a part of the battlefield in the war against Islamic totalitarianism and state sponsored terrorism.

here may be those who feel threatened by my words and would even recommend they not be uttered. To those individuals I say step aside because now is not the time for cowardice. Our Country has become so paralyzed by political correctness that we have allowed a vile and determined enemy to breach what should be the safest place in America , an Army post.

We have become so politically correct that our media is more concerned about the stress of the shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan. The misplaced benevolence intending to portray him as a victim is despicable.

***the above is a portion of the comments made by the former battalion commander and prompted my remarks to follow.

The dilemma that I face personally is that I want an open society but I am afraid that we can no longer have it. PC and labels like liberal and conservative will no longer do. We have to put the security of the country ahead of political idealogies. Unfortunately, those like myself or as I see it, those who are open about things have to accept that it no longer can be.

Here’s one of the things I’m thinking and maybe the only positive that comes from this unfathonable tragedy: the shooter at Fort Hood, being alive and because of the military system, when found guilty and sentenced to death will be at Leavenworth prison for years but we will be forced to deal with what he has done because it was a terrorist act. Eventually, as a country we might be forced to face our future and consequently have to give up some of the freedoms we have known in the past. Like what? I don’t know but when 9-11 happened, I said (not original with me and no great insight) this has changed life in America and will affect us forever. And, it will and it has. Consequently, in the past, I would have shrugged off Col West’s comments whereas now, I am thinking about it differently. I would vote for Col West in a millisecond (he is running for congress in Florida). My seminary professor, Dr. Boyce said once that “man has a great capacity to change and to change his views.” Rarely does that happen but I’m giving it a shot. God bless us.

WAR LORDS

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 2:13 pm

Malalai Joya is an Afghan who tells it like it is. If there has ever been a reason to think exit Afghanistan, her book lays it out. She was actually elected to their congress but expelled for accusing the War Lords of being the problem with her country. She says that about half of them are criminals, involved in dope, adinfinitum. I think if we could let women run the world, we wouldn’t be in the shape we are.

November 11, 2009

RETIRED MILITARY CHAPLAINS SPEAK THEIR MINDS

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 3:00 pm

Chaps, I thought the President did well, making the strongest statements
about the killer, justice, etc, in fact being the only one to speak of the
killer. Although they all spoke of the irony and horror of being killed in
a “safe” military environment no one mentioned that it was at the hand of a
fellow soldier. It sounded to me like the Army brass were afraid that they
might slip up and accidently say Muslim or terror/terrorist.

Also, I wondered why the senior chaplain didn’t use other chaplains for a
couple of the chaplain parts. Is it because there is a Muslim or Buddhist
chaplain there, or a fundamentalist chaplain, Dave or Tom, and he didn’t
want to have to deal with “diversity?” Or was afraid one of his chaplains
might mention the name of Jesus? Does anyone know? L Hunt
Chaplain (COL) US Army, Retired

Chaps,
I hope that President Obama’s words came from his own heart, not from
speech writers, and which ever is the case, that he heard himself and felt
something new in the environment in which he uttered those words.

And I prayed and pray that President Obama is forever changed in ways
that will be good for our constitutional government and for us.

Claude

Agree with you, Dave, in fact all of you. What really ticks me off is here we have spent no telling how much of a dollar value could be put on this guy’s edcucation, at least a million, after getting his education, he comes up with all these radical things, ie, fighting other muslims, etc. I personally think it was an act of terroism, the same as if he were a suicide bomber.

What I hate is that we are going to spend years dealing with this guy. His rights, our prejudice against Muslims, etc. It is such a shame that our cop didn’t complete the job. We don’t need to learn this guy’s motive: jidhad, kill the infidels. jda

November 6, 2009

THE FORT HOOD TRAGEDY

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 2:19 pm

Could hardly believe what I was hearing. It wasn’t comparable to 9-11 but it was shocking in its tragedy. For about 4 hours, I was glued to the TV. An Army psychiatrist kills thirteen and wounds 41. I could hardly believe it. Aren’t psychiatrists in the helping professions? This doesn’t make any sense. Then, of course, we have his name: it isn’t John Smith, it’s Arabic. Immediately, we think terrorism, a suicide bomber, what! A shrink for God’s sake. What is going on? I’m going to wait and see. Crazy in it’s magnitude and sadness in what this senseless shooting has wrought.

I have known lots of Army psychiatrists and most of the time smile when I think about ’em. I asked one why he bece a shrink. “I hate blood”, he says. Well, those are reasons. I can’t conceive of a psychiatrist in the helping mode doing something like this to innocent soldiers.

And, then there’s the comeraderie of being a soldier. There’s something about “all being in this together.” Us against the world sort of thing. Soldiering these days is a subculture of sorts where few people outside the military have any concept of what it’s like. Those who are in this environment probably feel a false sense of security. No longer.

My seminary professor, Dr. Boyce said to us once, “Sometimes there is a sympathy so great for someone, that there really is nothing to say.” The only thing I know to say, God bless all at Fort Hood and the families of all who’ve died and been wounded.

November 5, 2009

AFGHANISTAN/VIETNAM

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 2:43 pm

I am plowing through Ted Kennedy’s True Compass. It has proven to be quite the “fine.” I’ve never been much of a fan of any of the Kennedys and I really don’t know why. I think that some of it has  just been personal prejudice with no basis. In the book, one of the things that I zeroed in on immediately: Money is never any option. Want to go overseas, take off. How about a new house in Palm Beach? Sure. See what I mean. Few of us have those privileges but beyond that, True Compass, is fascinating. And, especially now that we are in the throes of dealing with Afghanistan and with the President mulling a decision of whether to send more troops. You could take an overlay of Vietnam and put it on Afghanistan and it is a perfect fit. The difference is that HO’s  overriding desire was nationalism for Vietnam while the Taliban and AlQueta are fanatics. But, Vietnam’s Diem was corrupt as is Karzai, Diem had appointed himself president, lined his own pockets with nepotism as his middle name. He had lost touch with the people. It is an absolute replay of the same song, different verse. Diem’s big thing was fighting communism. We were willing to dole out billions then whereas now it is terrorism.

Here’s something I see. True Compass lays out the path of the late Senator Kennedy’s disillusionment of Vietnam while at the same time starting out as a supporter. It is simply amazing and scary and another example of how history repeats itself. The sad thing is that it doesn’t seem to make any difference. We have two major wars going on with no real end in sight. Although we still hear that Iraq is more peaceful, we’re headed toward withdrawal, I remain skeptical. And, a strategy in Afghanistan which at best will mean years more of our involvement and at worst finding ourselves where we did after Vietnam, 58,000 plus American lives and billions of dollars; was it worth it. NO WAY. Maybe a legacy of the late Senator Kennedy’s final word to us in True Compass is that for once we understand the concept of quagmire. Vietnam was a quagmire. Afghanistan is a quagmire.

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