Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Can't Have It Both Ways, Mr.Vice President

Dropping by for a cameo in Indianapolis, Vice-President Mike Pence nestled  his hand firmly upon his heart for all cameras to see and stood for the National Anthem at Lucas Oil Stadium. He later tweeeted twice, including "I stand with @POTUS Trump. I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem."

Sorry, sir, but there was no "all of the above" or "(a) and (c)."  You have to make your choice to stand with President Trump or with  our soldiers. (Credit him, though, for properly using "soldiers" rather than "troops.").  If we paid attention only to the President or his puppet from Indiana, we wouldn't have heard Tuesday from The New York Times that

When a team of Green Berets in unarmored pickup trucks came under fire in Niger last week, they quickly found themselves in the middle of a nightmare battlefield scenario: outgunned, taking casualties and far from friendly support.

The operation, which left four American soldiers dead and two wounded, is now under investigation, Pentagon officials said. That inquiry, senior military officials said, will likely reveal that the American troops had deployed to a hostile area without adequately assessing the risk, and lacked ready access to medical support.

Battlefield commanders have called medical aid an ethical obligation. The Defense Department follows a “golden-hour standard,” in which the military seeks to whisk wounded American troops from the battlefield within an hour of being wounded to give them access to advanced care and the best chance to save their lives.

But in Africa, the time frame for evacuating injured American troops is much longer, and particularly in West Africa, military officials acknowledged this week. The team of roughly a dozen Army Special Forces in Niger were on what officials said a routine reconnaissance mission, and when they were ambushed, no American helicopters came. The French military, based about 275 miles away in neighboring Burkina Faso, scrambled to help, eventually rescuing the casualties and providing attack support.

This problem results from no act of god and the government of the globe's wealthiest nation may have been able to prevent the loss of life.   The reporters continue

“The department puts vast resources against that problem,” Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the director of the military’s Joint Staff, told reporters last week. “It is one of the primary considerations for each geographic combatant commander.”

He added, “Whenever possible, we seek to achieve that goal.”

But the military’s Africa Command asked lawmakers broadly for more help months before the attack in Niger, a West African nation nearly twice the size of Texas.

A little leadership from the White House might have made a difference, but the President is busy trying to void international nuclear disarmament treaties and blow things up.

It shouldn't be surprising, however.  In 1997, he told Howard Stern "I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there – it’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier."  In 2015 he stated"I  always felt like I had been in the military" about his time at New York Military Academy, where his father sent his son to straighten him out.

As a candidate, he famously declared that Lieutenant Commander John S. McCain, who had spent over five years as a POW in Hanoi, refusing release until the other prisoners also were released, was "a war hero because he was captured." Less famously, he implied that military members and veterans with mental health problems" are not “strong” and “can’t handle it."

So Mr. Pence, stand with the President of the United States of America, who selected you as his running mate. Loyalty has its rewards. However, we will remind you that in so doing, you are not standing for "our soldiers," only against the First Amendment and traditional American values.

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