WHY CHARACTER MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Sculptures of (left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln represent the first 130 years of the history of the United States.
Sculptures of (left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln represent the first 130 years of the history of the United States. (from here)

Yesterday I thought about posting this post, but I needed to get some sleep. So I decided upon this reblog, Due Process of Law, #1: Can a Law be Unlawful?, to introduce the subject.

Consider leaders such as those shown above. Why did men risk so much to follow them? Was it merely their good looks or their charm? That’s doubtful, I think. Read about them, and you will find that their deeds matched their words. Because they were honorable men, they walked as they talked, and they made personal sacrifices to keep their word.

Contrast that with the words of our current Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter.

Here is the crux of it.

In a scathing critique of the performance of the ISF to date, Carter said, “The Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight” in fleeing Ramadi last weekend.

In an interview with CNN’s Barbara Starr that aired Sunday, Carter said, “They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force and yet they failed to fight,” abandoning their equipment, large stores of ammunition, more than a hundred U.S. Humvees and other vehicles, and several tanks — reportedly including M1A1 Abrams tanks.

(from here)

What is happening in Iraq? Whose fault is it? Why won’t the Iraqis fight? Are they cowards? What is this “will to fight” that the Iraqis apparently lack? I fear it is something we are slowly losing in this country. What the Iraqis lack is honorable men and women, people they respect and trust, to lead them. What the Iraqis lack is the wisdom to exercise honorable behavior towards each other.

Consider how Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq from 1979 to 2003. Hussein did not seek to lead men. He drove his people to obey by making them afraid for their lives. For decades Hussein taught the Iraqi people that to survive they must docilely obey the strong man.

Saddam Hussein succeeded by dividing and conquering the Iraqi people. He pitted the various factions in Iraq against each other. Thus, each Iraqi citizen learned that at best he could trust only a small circle of friends and relatives.

Consider how ISIS has behaved. Similar to Saddam Hussein, ISIS seeks to conquer by terrorizing any who would oppose it. Instead of members of the Ba’ath Party, the leaders of ISIS claim to be devout Muslims. Nevertheless, the leaders of ISIS model the behavior that tyrants have displayed since men first learned to conquer and enslave other men.

When Americans put boots on the ground and took over Iraq (following the Second Persian Gulf War), we did not know what to expect, but we soon learned the people of Iraq did not trust each other or their elected leaders. Hence, we could not simply pack up and leave. If we did, we understood opportunists would slip into Iraq and take advantage of a weak Iraqi government. Unfortunately, when President Barack Obama pulled out our troops, the inevitable happened.

Why should we have stayed in Iraq? Consider what happened when Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt. After living as slaves for centuries, the Hebrews did not know how to fight.

Israel Driven Back into the Desert (illustration by B. Barnards from the 1908 Bible and Its Story Taught by One Thousand Picture Lessons) (from here)
Israel Driven Back into the Desert (illustration by B. Barnards from the 1908 Bible and Its Story Taught by One Thousand Picture Lessons) (from here)

Hence, even though they knew God Himself would fight for them, the Hebrews were still afraid to enter Canaan. Therefore, God let them march in the wilderness for 40 years, waiting until all those who had refused to enter the Promised Land had died.

Honor, wisdom, self-discipline, self government….these are things we must learn, and that learning is not easy. It takes time. Like it or not, the Iraqi people cannot suddenly understand how to be good citizens. Like it or not our children will not learn just because we think that they should do so. Like it or not, if we want our government to work, we have do to what we want the Iraqis to do. We have to be good citizens. We have to make it work. If we want to be a free people, we must choose good people to lead us, and we must hold them accountable to our laws. And, with our own example, we must teach our children how to be good citizens in a free country.

IF WE KNEW THEN WHAT WE KNOW NOW: A POST FOR MEMORIAL DAY

While the fortune teller entertains him, he is robbed from behind.
While the fortune teller entertains him, he is robbed from behind. “The Fortune Teller” by Simon Vouet (1590-1649).

When someone claims the ability to predict the future, they claim the ability to do the impossible. Then we have no choice except to suspect their honesty. Therefore, when someone offers to “read” your palm, shuffles a deck of Tarot cards, or puts a crystal ball on the table, we should protect our wallet and back off. Yet fortune tellers always entice some people. Frightened by the unknowable, we all want to believe, and some do. These stay to listen, and the rest of us are apt to smugly call them gullible.

Yet there is a different type of fortune teller who has almost no trouble getting everyone to listen.  Instead of predicting the future, these fortune tellers grandly proclaim as peerless the intelligence of hindsight. These speak with the perfect knowledge of the critic.

Want an example?

In hindsight, was invading Iraq and toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein a mistake? Here is probably the most famous answer to such blabbering critics.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. — Theodore Roosevelt from THE MAN IN THE ARENA

When as a nation, we decided to invade Iraq and end an evil tyrant’s bloodthirsty rule, we did so for many reasons, but we could not do so with perfect knowledge. Until the future becomes the past, except for what our Lord has blessed us to know, we must pray, guess, and hope for the best.

Accurate or not, President George W. Bush correctly used the intelligence given him, and our military forces succeeded in pacifying Iraq. Then the critics took over, and with increasing rapidity the Middle East is descending into chaos. Yet instead of trying to correct President Barack H. Obama’s obvious foolishness, the corporate-owned news media wants to grill Republican presidential candidates as if it were possible to know in the past what we know now. When we know that such perfection is impossible, questions solely based upon knowledge gained in hindsight do nothing but stupidly insult people who have dedicated their lives to serving us.

If you are one who wants to properly contemplate what it means to be a doer of deeds, please consider reading A Memorial Day Devotion for Christians.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU’S SPEECH BEFORE CONGRESS

The video above is from Speaker John Boehner’s YouTube channel.  Frankly, I think Boehner has been an awful Speaker of the House. However, I give him credit for inviting Netanyahu to speak before Congress.

Check out Invitations at Keith DeHavelle. As usual, Keith does a good job of putting events in their proper perspective.  So I will just add this observation:

Whether our sacred Dear Leader was informed or not of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress is a side issue of little consequence. We should not be conducting our foreign policy just to soothe our Dear Leader’s feelings and to prevent him from having temper tantrums.

What will Iran do with a nuclear bomb? The evidence indicates, based upon their current and past behavior, they will used nuclear bombs to intimate, bully, and attack other nations, particularly Israel and us. Yet our Dear Leader seems have no intention of trying to stop Iran from getting the bomb when it seems quite likely that he could stop Iran.

To defend his nation, Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to go anywhere, speak to anyone, and do whatever is required. What we should be worried about is why our president and our leaders in Congress refuse to behave with the same dedication and loyalty to their country. (from a comment I left here)

If Obama had not made an issue out of his supposed right to approve Netanyahu’s speech before Congress, no one would have even noticed that that was a problem. As it is, because Congress is a separate and coequal branch of government, Obama does not have any right to approve the people who speak before Congress. Hence, the ruckus Obama made over the speech just proved to be yet another grab for power, an effort to silence opposition.

WHAT HAS OUR PRESIDENT DONE THAT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL? — PART 2

A year ago I wrote WHAT HAS OUR PRESIDENT DONE THAT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL? — PART 1. Today (since I have no desire to listen to President Obama) seems a good time to add to the list.

  1. To defend his red line, the president threatened to unilaterally — based solely on his own authority — start a war. Fortunately, so many people objected that the president appears to have backed down, but we should not forget what this president has done and is capable of doing.  Consider Obama’s unconstitutional military adventure by Tom Tancredo (www.wnd.com).
  2. The president has unilaterally — based solely on his own authority — continued to rewrite the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That is, he has unconstitutionally revised the law by arbitrarily delaying parts of the law. Here are some articles on that:
  3. The Obama administration secretly monitored the communications of journalists. That, of course, is something even the Liberal News media deigns to cover.  Check out Obama’s War on Journalism: ‘An Unconstitutional Act’ by (www.thedailybeast.com)
  4. The Obama administration targeted conservative groups for harassment using the IRS. Here is an assortment of articles on that. First, here are some of the stories going back to May when things began to break.

    Here is the result a search on Instapundit.com. That includes this: IRS agent: Tax agency is still targeting Tea Party groups by PAUL BEDARD (washingtonexaminer.com)

So if you think it important you immerse yourself in the Syrian WMD crisis and listen to President Obama make silly, prevaricating, platitude filled speeches, please do so. Just do me a small favor. Please DON’T VOTE! If you have not figured out by now that taking an oath to support and defend the Constitution is suppose mean something, then how can you properly appreciate your right to vote?