Monday, April 02, 2007

Great Weekend

After such a stormy week, the weekend was just beautiful. We got so much rain on Friday that our pond was way up and spilling over the spill-way. Jesse took pictures. I will have to move over to her computer to post some pictures - later. It was much too wet to do any work around here. We took a "farmer's day" on Saturday and went to WF to drop off Mom's tax return and pick up Toby's suit. We made a trip to Sam's Club and went by to see my little brother. Sunday, we invited my Bo and Sara to lunch along with her parents (Inpassing). Being friends with the in-laws is just pretty cool. I wonder how GBN1 feels when she has all her grandparents under one roof. Toby cooked fajitas on the grill, although it was pretty muddy around the house. It sure will be nice when Jesse gets her patchwork patio finished. I did not get to visit much with Inpassing, because our neighbors showed up to get their horses that we have been boarding this winter. Our neighbors are nice people, but different. I think of them as Yankees. They moved here from Florida about four years ago, bought all sorts of animals (donkeys, min. horses, lamas, big horses...) and then last fall they decided to move back to Florida. After about 6 months in FL, they decided OK was the place to be. Anyway, we had to help them catch their ill-mannered horses, and it took away from my visiting time.

My cousin sent this link to the WPO that has a quote from his son, Major Jim, my Marine cousin. The article is interesting too. Last week my Uncle Bob sent an article from Jerry Hogan who is a retired Army LTC writing for some paper in the Dallas area. I wish I could just give you a link, but that is not what my uncle sent. So, I will copy and paste the article here. Then I will move to Jesse's computer and post some fun pictures.

A Sad Day in Our Nations Capital

The Military View
Jerry Hogan

“Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs that should be arrested, exiled, or hanged.”

These are the words of one of our greatest wartime Presidents, Abraham Lincoln. And today, a hundred and forty years later, if he were here, he would probably say the same thing. Let me talk about two separate recent congressional actions that would give credence to such a pronouncement.

The first has got to be the recent “scandal” surrounding Walter Reed Medical facility in Washington, DC. For those of you who have missed this issue, two reporters from the Washington Post visited this first class medical treatment center and found one of the older buildings in need of repair. Now granted, they were right on the money in saying that Building 18 needed repair, but they did NOT comment on the fact that requests for funds to do this had been submitted and delayed for over three years due to “bureaucratic bickering and legal squabbles that led to staff shortages and a hospital in disarray just as the number of severely wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan were rising rapidly.”
As reported by the Associated Press on March 19, “Medical care was not directly affected, but needed repairs went undone as the nonmedical staff shrank from almost three hundred to less that fifty in the last year and hospital officials were unable to find enough skilled replacements.”

Two reasons seem obvious to anyone familiar with the military as to why this problem developed. The first is money and the budgeting process. Because of the Department of Defense policy to move to more contractor personnel to replace service men and women doing housekeeping and facilities type work in the military, Walter Reed was in the process of trying to get a $120 million contact approved through the Pentagon, the contractor, and the Congress for facilities maintenance of the Medical Center. The process started in 2003. The contract was finally through the bureaucratic nightmare in 2006 and the contract was awarded in November, 2006. Further delays caused by the Army and Congress prevented work from starting by the contractor until February 4, 2007. One month later the “scandal” started.

The second reason is just as important. In 2005, the Congress approved the Base Realignment and Closure report of the Department of Defense. This report looks at all of the bases currently in the inventory and recommends realignment and closure of some bases for “economy” reasons. Makes sense as some bases, over time, have ceased to be needed for current demands. It is, however, some what unusual to be closing bases, especially major hospital treatment centers, in the middle of a war, but that’s another story. What is important here, the Congress decided that Walter Reed should be closed as a facility and officially placed this Medical Treatment Hospital on the Base Closure list for 2011. Thus ever since 2005, all of the people at Walter Reed, military and civilian, know their jobs are going away in 2011. For the military, this is not an issue as they will be transferred to other facilities and will continue in their present type of work. For the civilians, however, they have no guarantees they will be offered another job, where that job might be, who their new boss might be, etc. No wonder 250 of the maintenance personnel left and could not be replaced and no wonder some of the maintenance was sub standard.

When the “scandal” surfaced, the Congress demanded an investigation to determine how our service men and women could be treated so badly. (Never once did anyone, anywhere, ever say the treatment of our wounded warriors was anything but outstanding; just that some of the out patients were billeted in facilities needing maintenance.) The Secretary of the Army has been forced to resign; the Commanding General of the Hospital has been fired, his replacement was replaced after a day and a Presidential commission, headed by Bob Dole and Donna Shalala is currently running around the country to see how “pervasive the problem is.”

Where was the leadership of the Congress willing to stand up and tell this story of Walter Reed when it hit the newspapers??

The second example is even worse. Where are our spineless politicians, both Republican and Democrat, who lack the courage, fortitude, and character to see the difficult tasks through as we, the United States, fight this International War on Terror? A war where our enemy has openly proclaimed their objective of imposing radical, conservative Islamic Law on all countries with Muslim majorities and enslaving the rest of the world. An enemy that believes it is their holy duty to convert, enslave, or kill the rest of the people in the world. An enemy that has attacked our home land and killed aver 3000 of our citizens. An enemy that has stated; “We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxton civilization. The goal of the Jihad is world domination; a global Islamic State under radical Islamic Law.”

How in the world can these politicians believe that voting and announcing a withdrawal date can have any positive effect on the out come of the war? Even the most inexperienced military strategist can quickly see that a definite date to stop the war and go home leaves all sorts of good options for the enemy, not the least is simply doing nothing until we leave and then start the war again without the expertise of the United States involved. What a horrible day in our Nations Capital when this vote was taken and approved in both the House and the Senate. Where is Abe Lincoln when we need him?

Support of our troops is important. Hanging yellow ribbons on cars and meeting returning service men and women at the airport is positive, but what they really need is the support of our government, our elected leaders, us, and our President. They do have the President’s support; they have my support; and they have the support of a lot of other people whose sons and daughters are fighting in this war. How about the rest of you? How many have written to their Congressman or Senator telling them what you believe? How many really believe it is important that you do so? It is, believe it or not. Votes count, and politicians listen to voters.

Washington seems to be in another world right now where “politics” rules the day. At the same time, we have an enemy that has vowed to impose their brutal Islamic dictatorship on all of us. I, for one, am not ready for that and I do support our troops. My elected officials here from me often. How about you?

Jerry Hogan is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel who lives in Heath, TX. If you have a friend or relative in the service, Active, Reserve, or National Guard, and would like to see them highlighted in this column, please contact Jerry at 214-394-4033 or


Buck Pennington said...

Last week my Uncle Bob sent an article from Jerry Hogan who is a retired Army LTC writing for some paper in the Dallas area.

I agree with all he said. I'm thinking Mr. Hogan probably had to change his e-mail address after that article was published. The 'bats aren't shy about writing nasty e-mails to folks who think like that.

Out of curiosity, what makes a horse ill-mannered? I can ID a horse two out of three times, but that's about the limit of my experience...


Bag Blog said...

An ill-mannered horse is one that thinks he is a big dog - pushes you around, wants in your lap, rubs on you, yanks you around when your are leading him, steps on your feet, and is in your space. It is one thing for a dog to be this way, but a thousand pound horse is dangerous. They are easily trained to be better, but some people treat them like pets and think it is cute when their horse acts like a dog.

Buck Pennington said...

Ah! Thanks for the info...I'm a little bit more ed-u-mah-cated now! :-)

I can see where a horse that acts like that would be dangerous.