7-17-2015 12-30-37 PMLast week, near Ft. Lewis in Tacoma WA, a currently active female soldier entered a restaurant to have some wings and a beer with someone who would never show up at the table: her brother who had died in Iraq while protecting us. Was she delusional? No, she was just creating her own ritual, very similar to the lunch that is held every year for Vietnam MIA soldiers, and that always has an extra chair at the table, as well as an empty place setting. I have been to one of those at our own Alabama Vets’ Museum, and I will never forget how moving it was, or how grateful I continue to be for the forgiveness of God and ‘Nam vets for my former stupidity.

The scene in the Northwest was the Wild Wings Restaurant, and the female soldier came in, ordered a Blue Moon and a Corona, (two different brands of beer) and for a moment hit a snag: in Washington State, you can order only one beer at a time, and cannot order ahead for the person who is going to join you. Her server, whose name is Brian Avey, politely explained the law. The soldier politely explained that she was there to honor her brother, who would not be joining them because he fell in battle.

7-17-2015 12-31-40 PMAvey relented, rightfully upholding the spirit of the law, the soldier ate her meal, and the untouched, opened Corona sat next to her the entire time in the space that would have been filled by her brother. The restaurant also didn’t charge her for his beer. She left it there and on her receipt wrote a brief thank you note to the server and the restaurant which said:
“Thank you. An act of kindness goes a long way. It means a lot to me. Have a great rest of your day.—Greatful [sic] Soldier”

Mr. Avey finished his shift, went home to the ubiquitous Facebook, and wrote a post that has now gone viral. It said:

“After she left, I didn’t have the heart to dump the beer out and throw it away, so I put it on top of the cooler next to the American Flag. When I showed my boss his response was Amazing… He said ‘That’s Fine, just do me a favor, put a fresh Lime in it Every Morning.’”

A fresh lime every morning. What a profoundly simple and dear way to say thank you to a soldier who gave his life for us, as well as a way to honor his active duty sister. While I realize that at some point the beer is going to have to be disposed of, I am personally grateful for the response of the server, the response of the restaurant, and the response of the manager. I also deeply hope that the Health Department of the State of Washington, as well as the State Liquor Board, or whatever other governing body which manages open bottles of Corona will let the lime be refreshed for as long as Wild Wings deems fit.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

7-17-2015 12-31-24 PM

7-3-2015 2-52-02 PMOnce upon a time, in the State of Georgia, there was a Baptist Church that was founded before the United States of America. It was the year 1774, and the founding pastor of Abilene Baptist Church was arrested for “preaching in Georgia.” The next pastor, a man by the name of Reverend Loveless Savage, was a chaplain in the Revolutionary Army.

Abilene Baptist Church has had a long relationship with the Army, and Ft. Gordon is not far from it. For the past 20 years, there has been a patriotic service held on the Sunday that falls the closest to the 4th of July, and Ft. Gordon has provided the color guard. However, that tradition has abruptly come to an end this year.

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The Army has decided that it is against its policies to officially participate in any church service, even one that is dedicated to thanking God for the freedom bought and purchased by the blood of soldiers. The church is stunned. “It was an absolute shock,” said Brad Whitt, the current pastor of Abilene Baptist Church. “What a sad commentary on the state of affairs in America – when we cannot even allow the flags to fly if they are in a church building.”

“We’ve had a tremendous working relationship with the fort,” said Pastor Whitt. “We’ve hosted all sorts of events for military families. We really try to show our love and respect and we try to honor our military folks.”

“That’s what makes this so sad,” Pastor Whitt said.. “This is what we’ve come to in our nation – where even just representing the colors is some sort of political thing.”
“They have participated for the past two decades and now they are saying – no,” he said. “This is just another example of the secularization of America.”

It seems that we are trying to break the sound barrier when it comes to the speed by which we are flying away from our values, as well as our history. I think of the fact that just two years ago I got a chance to worship with General Jerry Boykin of Blackhawk Down fame at a similar 4th of July service in a Baptist church here in Alabama. Are we next? Could it get to the point that even someone who is no longer wearing a uniform could be stopped from preaching because once upon a time he wore a uniform? I realize that sounds far-fetched, but honestly, almost nothing shocks me anymore.

We said the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the church service. I wonder if the so-called “separation of church and state” will ever get to the point that it will become illegal to say the Pledge inside of a church building?

We are turning away from God so quickly it is dizzying, and if the Army decides it can’t include God, there is no point celebrating the 4th of July at all, inside a church, or out in the park, because we’ll be done.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

7-3-2015 2-52-22 PM

6-18-2015 2-31-19 PMFour hundred and fifty US troops have been sent by their Commander-in-Chief back to Iraq, and I am sure it must have galled POTUS to do so. Why? Because he declared the war in Iraq to be over. I know that there are those who will take issue with me, saying that this is what should have happened, but I lived amongst Iraqis for three years, and this was their fear: that the Coalition would leave before they could handle things on their own. That is exactly what has happened, and it is heartbreaking.

It did not help at all that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid pushed through a resolution to announce their intent to see to it that the US withdraw by a certain date, which was a truly idiotic if not treacherous move. “Hey, let’s just announce that we are out of here, let our enemies bide their time (which they did,) and they can wait ‘til we’re gone, take over, and we can go back and finish the job! Sounds like a plan!”

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History tells us that the same thing happened in Vietnam. The Viet Cong knew they were losing, even though our media said otherwise and were very close to surrendering. Then we left, and millions were slaughtered.

To have our President assure us that effectively bold and resolved leadership is in fact present by having a news conference that announces that we still don’t have a plan as to how to defeat ISIS is past pathetic, and utterly predictable.

Truly, if I were not aware of the Scriptural promises to Iraq, I would have no reason to have any hope at all. And, I am intrigued by the number of troops chosen to go back. 450. What will they be able to do?

Then I think about the history of the 1973 Yom Kippur War in Israel, where true miracles happened, along the lines of the Gideon’s 300 story in the Bible. Insanely outnumbered, the IDF had documented Divine intervention on a number of occasions, and the Syrians fled. Could we see something similar?

It is estimated that if ISIS is not defeated, then 2 million Iraqi Christians, (let alone Muslims who are not considered to be fervent enough believers) will be slaughtered. It is indeed a portending holocaust.

Yet, there are tales emerging of ISIS members who have had dreams of Jesus appearing to them and telling them, “Stop killing my people.” One of these secret ISIS converts had a Christian believer look at him shortly before he was martyred say, “I know you are going to kill me, here is my Bible.” It was through that experience and the subsequent dreams he had that turned him upside down, and he is not alone.

Another thing to consider is the role of the Kurds. They typically have had resolve when it comes to resisting. Certainly that was the case when Saddam was in power, and the situation just may cause Iraqis, whether they be Sunni, Shia or Kurdish to be forced to come together. Or not. All I know from experience is that there are Iraqis who will do anything to be free, and may the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob grant them peace.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

6-18-2015 2-31-41 PM 6-18-2015 2-31-49 PM

6-6-2015 8-40-03 AMThe Athens Veterans’ community has had to say goodbye to two of its most storied members, Theo Calvin and Billy Duncan. They passed within just a few weeks of each other, and both men embodied everything that makes American soldiers so legendary.

Theo was 92 when he passed, and served in France under General George Patton. He had to wait until he was 89, when, due to the hard work of Alabama Veterans’ Museum Director, Sandy Thompson, and others, he was surprised to finally receive the following medals:

• The Bronze Star, the 4th- highest award that can be awarded
• Combat Infantry Badge-given to enlisted soldiers or officers below the rank of colonel who personally fought in any ground war after December, 1941
• WWII Victory Medal- given to those who fought from Pearl Harbor until December 31, 1946
• Army of Occupation Medal with German clasp- for those who served during the Occupation of Germany after WWII
• Belgium Fourragere-Created by Prince Charles, Regent of the Kingdom of Belgium originally for those who were in the Belgium Army, but was also given at times to members of the US Army

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He was chosen as the 2011 Grand Marshall for the Athens Veterans’ Day Parade, and was completely surprised when he was taken to the Limestone County Event Center for the pinning ceremony, conducted by Lt. Gen Richard Formica, and Mr. Denis Barbet, Consul General of France. Theo said he felt like a movie star that day. I would see him at Coffee Call every month, and then, just like that, one more of my father’s generation, aptly called The Greatest Generation, passed. How glad I am that at the end of his life he was given the honor he deserved. I hope the wait made it sweeter.

6-6-2015 8-40-15 AMCommand Sgt Major Billy Duncan was by anyone’s definition a warrior’s warrior. He enlisted just one day shy of his 17th birthday during the Korean War, served three tours in Vietnam, and became a Command Sgt Major, which is the highest rank an enlisted man can hold. His career was the stuff of legends. He made thousands of jumps as a paratrooper, and essentially put the “Air” in “Airborne.” Once, the Master Parachutist’s chute failed to open, and he landed in 3 feet of snow, breaking his back. He spent a full year in the hospital recovering from his injuries, and his back was never the same again. His awards and decorations included parachute wings from the US, England, France, Norway and Germany. His medals included the Bronze Star with eight oak leaf clusters and the V device for Valor, the Army Commendation Medal with V device and 3 oak leaf clusters, and the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

He was instrumental in the founding of the Alabama Veterans’ Museum, and the monthly Coffee Call was his brainchild. In 2014, CSM Duncan was the Grand Marshall for the Veterans’ Day Parade. I last stood beside him in line for refreshments at the reception held this year on Memorial Day at the Vets’ Museum. For the zillioneth time, I told myself I needed to sit down and listen to this man’s tales, and I missed my chance. I am content to wait, but when I see him again, I am not sure that Vietnam or having been a Vietnam protestor is going to be all that important to either of us. But, on this side, Theo’s and Billy’s valor have strengthened me and us, and it was my honor to make their acquaintance. Rest in peace, my dears.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

6-6-2015 8-40-42 AM 6-6-2015 8-40-52 AM

5-15-2015 12-50-08 PMAs Publisher of Athens Now, and someone who has a deep first hand appreciation for Chaplains and all they do for our troops, I have done my best to sound the alarm as often as I can when I become aware of the Constitutional freedoms with which our Chaplains minister being denied and vilified. Sometimes I feel like I may be perceived as “crying wolf,” but, that’s a risk I’ll take. Yet another Chaplain has been called on the carpet for ministering according to his faith, but this time there could be lives that are lost as a result, and to me, that is simply unacceptable.

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Chaplain Joseph Lawhorn was conducting a suicide prevention training session for troops at Ft. Benning, GA, and “got real” with his soldiers. He did what few officers do because of what it could do to their careers: he told the Joes that he, too, had struggled with severe depression, and told them what helped him get through it. While he made it clear that it was largely his faith, he gave them a handout that had, on one column, secular resources he had found helpful, and on the other side, a list of Bible verses that had fed him in the dark night of his soul. All should have been well.

However, Chaplain Lawhorn was called into the office of his “higher,” where he was read what was labeled as “A Letter of Concern.” The letter accused him of unlawfully proselytizing, and stated that the Army could not tolerate having “Army resources” listed in the same document as Scriptures. Ummmm, this is a Chaplain, whom the Army pays to preach, pays to run seminars, pays to counsel, pays to bury soldiers, pays to comfort when they lose their buddies, and pays to keep them from killing themselves, but you can’t have your “resources” peacefully co-existing on the same piece of paper? If he uses “Army resources” to print out sermon notes, or words to hymns or lyrics to praise and worship music, is he in trouble? If he uses “Army resources,” such as an Army-built chapel in which to hold services, does he get to sing out, with the News Boys, Willie Robertson and other Americans, “My God’s not dead/He is surely alive/and He’s living on the inside/roarin’ like a lion?”

When I was in Iraq, there was a clear, ironclad order called General Order One. It was simple: no porn, no booze, no proselytizing. Even in a Muslim country, “proselytizing” was understood to be aggressive and threatening, somewhat like being told that if you don’t convert to XYZ faith, you and your family will be tortured, killed, or both. It did not there, and does not ever mean the bold sharing of one’s faith or how one’s faith gave hope. How much less, when our soldiers are struggling with suicide, should a Chaplain be rebuked for taking the risk of being vulnerable to his flock, and telling them from the standpoint of true experience, that, “Guys, (and gals,) this worked for me, and I am here to help you in any way I can?” Chaplain Lawthorn should be getting a promotion for his courage, not some stupid “Letter of Concern.” He is a Chaplain, not a social worker, and unless that distinction is restored, civilian pulpits could be next.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

5-1-2015 11-54-47 AMIt is the 29th of April as I write this, and Baltimore, the place where our national anthem was written, is reeling from riots. The reason is that a drug dealer died while in police custody, and so the thoughtful response has been to loot stores. The logic of that kind of behavior being called “protest” escapes me, but as this column is about and for soldiers, I’ll leave it behind for now and move toward talking about some of my favorite people on the planet, the National Guard.

When I was in Iraq, the NG, as they were called, were attached to various regular Army Units, and as the NG was brought in from all 50 states, you had everything from the Island Boys from the Hawaiian 399th, to the New York State Fighting 69th, largely hailing from New York City. I think you can imagine the culture, the camaraderie, and the humor. In addition, all of these guys (and a few gals) took desert training before they came to protect us, and were a very important part of the war. I will always owe them for all they do to keep me free.

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So, you can be sure I was more than thrilled about the fact that two Baltimore area Whole Foods Stores, out of the goodness of their hearts, pooled their resources in order to make sandwiches for the Maryland National Guard as the NG has been on duty protecting the people of Baltimore. As is the case so often these days, the slightest activity ends up being posted on Facebook, and here is what was said:

Whole Foods Market Harbor East
“We teamed up with Whole Foods Market Mt. Washington to make sandwiches for the men and women keeping Baltimore safe. We are so thankful to have them here, and they’re pumped for turkey & cheese.”
Sounds like something positive right out of a Morale, Welfare, and Recreation training manual, and then the naysayers began their negative rant in regard to the noshing NGs:
“I spent my last money with Whole Foods last night. What you are doing is unconscionable.”
“As Baltimore’s poorest kids are left hungry due to school closure, (no school lunch,) Whole Foods feeds the oppressor.”
“The stunt Whole Foods in Baltimore pulled today opened my eyes. I used to love Whole Foods, but I can’t support the company anymore. #Bye”
Are you kidding me? “Unconscionable?” “Feeding the oppressor?” “Stunt?” Were these soldiers the guys who set things on fire and put 15 cops in the hospital?
Thankfully, there were those who voiced their support, and they are the kinds of folks whose positive thanks goes far when soldiers are putting their lives on the line:
“Thank you Whole Foods and Five Guys for supporting the National Guard. They didn’t ask to leave their families to enforce basic civility!”
“Thank you Whole Foods for taking care of our boys in blue & the National Guard. I know where I’m shopping!”
“Thank you Whole Foods for serving lunch to National Guard in Baltimore today. You have my support.”

Thankfully, Whole Foods is not backing down for feeding the troops, and I for one am thankful for their spine. The NG deserves to nosh.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

5-1-2015 11-55-05 AM 5-1-2015 11-55-18 AM

4-17-2015 9-01-35 AMMartin Luther King, it is time to roll over yet again in your grave. The nefarious NCOs who are part of the EO’s (Equal Opportunity) division of the Army have struck once more, and have shown contempt both for you and your dream. This time they conducted psychological warfare against our soldiers at a base in Georgia, and because someone in the room had a cell phone, took a picture from the Power Point presentation that was rich with racism, and posted it on Facebook, maybe, just maybe justice will be served, and freedom will be allowed to ring loud and clear in the United States Army.

The tirade was not even remotely subtle, and thankfully, the soldiers themselves, warriors of every color, stood up to it and risked disciplinary action. Here’s what went down. A non-commissioned officer went “waaay off the reservation” by insulting the entire room with the following travesty of “diversity training” with the dubious title of “The Luxury Of Obliviousness.” One of the slides said this:

“Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans or to how white privilege affects them. ‘To be white in American (sic) means not having to think about it.’”

4-17-2015 9-01-46 AM

Anyone who knows me knows I am often not the biggest fan of Facebook, but in this case, I was thrilled both at its existence as well as its usefulness as a weapon. Soldiers were swift to push back, and here is some of what they said:

“That should be instant UCMJ and Dishonorable Discharge for the instructor who deviated in this manner,” George Stevens
“Pretty sick of hearing about white privilege. Nearly my entire chain of command and NCO support channel have been Hispanic or black since I joined,” Tim Wilson Jr.
“True story: I went to a forced EEO class and the white female SSG said we white folks were a problem. I looked around the room and everyone of every race were rolling their eyes,” Scott Hampton Truelove recalled. “We of all races went fishing, eating out, having BBQs, went to the club, together. We all never had a problem with race. We as a group stood up and walked out. She was cutting into our beer drinking time.” Anonymous

Brave souls, these beer-drinking buddies. If you walk out on a mandatory training session, you can be in big trouble big time with the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The blessing is that this is so completely out of line that it looks like something is going to be done about it. An officer by the name of Captain Roman said this to USA Today:
“The unit (Equal Opportunity) instructor deviated from the authorized topic and content which was provided. To prevent further instances, all unit instructors will receive additional training on the importance of following Army EO training requirements.”

Translation: Now taxpayer money must be spent to enlighten Army educators with this newsflash: It’s actually wrong to discriminate against people because of the color of their skin! If this weren’t so evil and nuts, it would actually be funny. I just hope Rev King can get some rest, knowing that sin has been electronically shouted from the rooftops because someone dared to speak out at the risk of harming or possibly ending their military career.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

4-17-2015 9-02-00 AM

4-3-2015 11-18-36 AMIt has been a banner year for movies about our military heroes. An American Sniper has grossed more than 300 million dollars, more than the other Best Picture Oscar contenders combined. Other recent offerings include Unbroken, The Imitation Game, and Fury. However, last week a book-turned-movie that has been many years in production premiered in California, and whose story I have been awaiting for a long time. When it comes to our area, I will see it first chance I get. I plan to take a lot of Kleenex, and I might just go with a bunch of ‘Nam vets from the Vets’ Museum so I can tell them one more time how sorry I am that I ever bought into the idea that they were “baby killers.” The movie’s name is Ride The Thunder: A Vietnam War Story Of Honor And Triumph.

It tells the story of Vietnam from the perspective of Vietnamese soldiers and the Americans who fought alongside them. It is without apology willing to say that the South Vietnamese are forever grateful to Americans for helping them fight communism, something that would send people like “my former self in another lifetime” into cardiac arrest.

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There are a number of reasons why I want to see this movie, and they are not all cathartic. I will be the first to tell you that the facts of what occurred in Vietnam are murky to me, and I know from having lived on an intel base in Iraq that “human intel is the best intel.” In other words, human “source documents” are always the most accurate, and I am happier than I can say that such an outstanding opportunity to hear the voices of the battlefield brothers, and to also let them set the record straight has come our way. I hope that like Sniper, Thunder is a blockbuster.

Ride The Thunder’s author and the film’s Executive Producer, Richard Botkin, had the following to say about the era when returning vets were advised to not get off the plane in Oakland in uniform for their own safety: “The men who served in Vietnam are every bit as great as their dads and uncles who served in World War II, The reason they’re not called the Greatest Generation is because Vietnam’s generation had people like Jane Fonda out there muddying up the waters, and John Kerry. There were several hundred thousand junior officers who served in the Marine Corps and Army, and yet the only name that is ever recalled is Lt. William Calley. We’ve got to change that.”

4-3-2015 11-18-55 AM

After the war had been over for several years, former President Richard Nixon lamented, “No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then. It is misremembered now.”

Contrast those comments with those of our current Secretary of State, who threw away his Purple Heart: “We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service.”

It appears rather, that after more than 40 years, a merciful God is making it possible for people like me to “know the truth,” and have that truth make all of us of the Woodstock Generation fully free. At last the honor that is due the warriors of America and Vietnam will be lavished upon them with no reservation, and I could weep for joy.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

4-3-2015 11-19-06 AM
3-20-2015 9-38-41 AM

When I was in Iraq, I watched as chaplains would emerge from seminars that were geared toward making sure that they were more “sensitive to the diverse needs of the troops.” These types of sessions were invariably a platform for political correctness, and referred to by their attendees (in a tone that could never be mistaken for affectionate), as “EO think tanks.” “EO” in Armyspeak refers to “Equal Opportunity,” and it is anything but.

The very concept of “Equal Opportunity” means that there should be an equal opportunity for all, which is good. The problem is that these days it has come to mean that if you are a Christian, you do not have an “equal opportunity” to believe your beliefs, let alone express them.

The latest “fodder” for the “EO Cannon” is a chaplain by the name of Lt. Commander Wes Modder, who has been suspended for counseling a soldier struggling with homosexuality. Modder had the audacity to suggest that homosexuality may not be such a good idea, and is in big trouble with the brass.

3-20-2015 9-38-33 AMOK, let’s take a look at this from two standpoints, the first being health risks for men, and I am not confining those risks to the standard HIV/AIDS examples. It is inarguable that when male reproductive fluid enters the blood stream, the body looks upon it as an invader, and goes on autoimmune response. Not a good thing, by anyone’s estimation. That is a scientific fact, and if you want to call me a hater for being a Messianic Christian mother bear that wants soldiers to be protected from anything that could hurt them, (including risky behaviors,) knock yourself out.
As self-evident as the risky behavior argument would be to a reasonable person, there is the pesky fact that a soldier gets to, in exercise of his or her 1st Amendment rights, seek out the counsel of a chaplain whose spiritual beliefs are deemed personally helpful, and are consistent with whatever has been chosen to be embossed on one’s dog tags. “Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Wiccan, Buddhist and Muslim” are examples of what I am talking about.

But here is the rub: the “politically correct” requirements to not question or challenge other’s spiritual beliefs, sexual behaviors or practices do not apply to the Koranic instructions for beating your wife or how to self martyr. They don’t apply to the beliefs of some Satanists that endorse human sacrifice, or some Native American rituals that utilize hallucinogens. You may not, as a soldier, be allowed to do it as part of your expression of faith, but God help the person who suggests that it could harm you or others, and that’s the reason why God does not want you to do it.
Lt. Commander Modder has done what people of faith (and of the cloth) have always done: stand up for what they believe is right, and let the hearer decide. He is a decorated officer who has served honorably for 19 years, and could lose it all if the “EO Think Tankers” have their way. If you want to help him, you can contact Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus at www.frc.org, and respectfully request that Chaplain Modder’s 1st Amendment rights to believe and serve according to his conscience be upheld.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

3-5-2015 2-02-10 PMGiven yet another well-deserved drubbing on Iranian nuclear proliferation delivered on March 3rd by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, all eyes may not now be on President Obama. Some may understandably lock on to recently appointed Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. It is not in any way unkind to refer to him as a “wonk,” that is, someone who is immersed in the minutiae of science and/or politics. In Carter’s case, it is both. And, it could just work to provide some much needed spine in the High Noon that is coming with Iran.

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By way of background, Ash Carter is no naisant when it comes to nuclear capabilities. As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he earned a doctorate degree in theoretical physics and studied sub-atomic particles. He also knows his way around the political world, having been a Pentagon insider for years, and having served as well as a faculty member at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. As a Yale grad, his degrees were in physics and medieval history. Considering the recent description by former UN Ambassador John Bolton of ISIS’ atrocities as “medieval acts of barbarity,” Carter may just have an insider’s view there as well. This is in stark contrast to the miserable foreign policy fiasco of announcing to our enemies that we were leaving in 2010, thus giving them the chance to re-organize as the Islamic State, and just wait us out, which clearly they have done.

He has made several unannounced trips to visit troops in Afghanistan, and he and his wife have made it a point to visit wounded warriors at Walter Reed Hospital on the weekends. He has vowed to recommend that we stay in Afghanistan if ISIS gets traction there, rather than uphold another ridiculous decision to announce to our enemies that we are leaving there in 2016.
In the process of Carter being confirmed, Senator John McCain painted a bleak picture of the Pentagon Carter would be inheriting: “Despite the growing array of complex threats to our security, we are on track to cut $1 trillion out of America’s defense budget by 2021.”

“Readiness is falling across the services, and morale is falling right along with it.”

“Army and Marine Corps end-strength is dropping dangerously low. The Air Force is the oldest and the smallest it has ever been. The Navy’s fleet is shrinking to pre-World War I levels,” McCain also said.

No matter how it goes, Ash Carter is going to have a tough row to hoe. He has made some pretty gutsy statements that do not exactly square with the West Wing, such as an article on North Korea that he co-authored with former SECDEF William Perry wherein they said, “Diplomacy has failed, and we cannot sit by and let this deadly threat mature.” Considering NK’s partnership with Iran, his views published in 2006 are more than timely.

Carter is in a unique position, seeing as he is neither ex-mil, nor has he held any political offices. The lack of military service makes me nervous, because he has no firsthand experience at being trained for battle, but the lack of political experience in the usual sense makes me want to dare to hope that perhaps at last in this Administration we have someone who will both see and tell it like it is, and will stand.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

3-5-2015 2-02-33 PM