I just finished reading, “Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President

If President Trump doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office. By William H. McRaven”

The Admiral is an excellent writer and has served our nation in combat, his opinion deserves to be read. I applaud him for his service, for his leadership and appreciate his right to his opinion, this last with which I strongly disagree.

First, nowhere in his opinion piece did McRaven illustrate how and why Our Republic is Under Attack by the President. Yes, McRaven made statements about policies with which he does not agree, even abhors, but nowhere did he substantiate how the President is attacking “Our Republic.” For a senior retired military official to assert such nonsense is utterly irresponsible, inflammatory and wrong. My observations over 30 years of service and an equal amount since then, are that whether or not officers agreed with a President’s foreign policies, they saluted and carried on, or if on active service, resigned if they were unable to abide by a Presidential decision or command. Some have had the integrity to do that.

As a junior officer in Viet-Nam, I loathed President Johnson’s personal selection of targets, “bombing halts” and other matters that were outside his expertise or experience. But he was President and that was final. Johnson and/or his writers were brilliant people but his totally uninformed insights about Asian, in his case, Vietnamese history and culture were breathtaking.

Both Presidents Bush were wise to leave prosecution of combat to the those who were trained to do it; to state the objective, lay down rules of engagement, provide the wherewithal to do the job and stand back. Similarly, military officers are legally bound and wise to leave foreign policy and grand strategy to the President. Make the case, state the rationale as strongly as possible and be prepared to follow legal guidance and direction. (Both Bush’s brilliance was organization and persuasion; and, the failure of both was no clearly stated vision as to how to proceed after winning.)

Second, McRaven stated: “If President Trump doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office.” No question about it, the Admiral has substantially more leadership experience in the context of military leadership experience than the President. Although I do not know it as a matter of fact, he likely attended top-level schools at Government expense, superb schools that are a vital part of a military officer’s training and education. There, he was exposed to a wide array of experts from all facets of Government, industry and education.  Although he is plainly a highly intelligent man, he does not speak for all military members or retirees in his criticism of the President’s personality, style or policies.

It is evident from other articles he has authored that he is a partisan democrat, just as this writer is a hard-nosed, flag waving, bible clutching, gun-carrying, patriotic, liberal conservative; not a Republican. Unlike some critics who assert that McRaven has no right to criticize the President as an active or retired military officer, citing Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, I strongly disagree. A retired military member, enlisted or officer, has earned that right more-so than any civilian ever could to speak his or her mind notwithstanding “retainer” pay, just as much as any civil servant or civilian.

However, the fact that McRaven is a retired senior officer, has a degree in Journalism, and a master’s degree does not endow him with unquestionable and/or all knowledge and wisdom. Many military members and retired members are as highly educated or more so than so-called, elitist or highbrows…all of whom should calm down and get over the fact that they don’t like the President’s style or personality and are themselves borderline psychotic, driven there by their visceral, blind hatred for the President. In polite company their assessment stinks, or as us common folk on the lower rung of the socioeconomic ladder would say, bull shit!

The President promised that he would do everything he could to disengage the U.S. from unnecessary, wasteful, and unending wars; no one has convinced him that contemporary actions in Syria and environs are vital or even essential, despite the best minds weighing in from both sides of the aisle.  

Another President from a different era put it this way, “My most fervent prayer is to be a President who can make it possible for every boy in this land to grow to manhood by loving his country–instead of dying for it.” ~ Lyndon B. Johnson. President Trump has asserted on numerous occasions that he is opposed to wasteful loss of life of our American military members. And like it or not, spending lives and treasure in a no-win situation which both sides of the political aisle have asserted from time to time, is anathema…to the one who counts, President Trump.

The political class in which the Admiral is clearly entitled to be, the media and democrats may not like it, but foreign policy is the sole purview of the President. (Yes, I know that a declaration of War is the purview of the House and Treaties can be entered into only upon the advice and consent of the Senate.) But I remind the Admiral, if he has read General Mattis’ book, and with profound respect point out that the former Secretary of Defense was greatly displeased with the way politicians and civilian appointees interfered in what was regarded as military purview during his service in Iraq, but obeyed, nonetheless. That precept is as true today as it has been for the 243 years since the founding of this great and exceptional nation.

I am not suggesting that the Admiral butt out, far from it. I am suggesting that he come out from behind his military grade and speak as an outright partisan not shield himself with or use the weight of his military grade whilst taking cheap shots at the sitting President who by all accounts has won a hell of a lot more in the public and international arena for America, than he has lost…without firing a shot.

The political class needs to get over partisan politics and work for America. There are storm clouds generated by active socialists/communists in the Democrat Party at home as well as miscreant actors abroad whose intent is to totally “transform” America; or in other words, to destroy her. I urge all sober, right thinking Americans to join with the President in advancing America’s interests for a change. First disregard the “hair on fire” and “sky is falling rhetoric.” Build the wall; enact bi-partisan legislation to resolve the border crisis; come to rational agreement on health care; approve negotiated Trade Deals; commission a bi-partisan group of experts from both sides of the argument to engage in a dispassionate study of climate change using factual data and with a reasonable deadline; and, more.

The President outhustled Clinton at every turn, won the election and has stood against the combined assaults of the Democrat Party and its cohort megaphones in the media. Democrats, RINOs and the media are angry that there is a man in the White House who isn’t afraid to take them on, head on; he wins and will win again and again for this Nation. 

Conservatives have repeatedly voted for Republicans who betrayed them: McCain and, Romney being the most recent of that ilk. They have finally found one who may not be as smooth as silk, but he defends them and the entire land with a fervor and determination never observed in any President in the Twentieth and Twenty First Centuries except for Teddy Roosevelt.  Get over it, Admiral; you are not, and Trump is President…thanks be to God in both instances!

Semper Fidelis,

Bob Pappas

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