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Watching The Watchers

One of the most difficult jobs I ever had was serving as an advisor to a high ranking person. My job was to watch things develop, then tell that person what I thought, why I thought it and should he choose to take some form of action, hundreds if not thousands of men’s lives could be put in jeopardy. Not the sort of thing a conscientious person takes lightly and is certainly the cause of many, many sleepless nights.

So now I find myself watching those in Washington agonize over what to do about this ISIS group and their march across Iraq. We portray ourselves to the world as the great beacon of freedom and liberty, yet we must consider the thousands of lives and billions of dollars pushed into a lost cause; and wonder “what now?”. There are many good points on both sides of the argument to the point that one must wonder the agony those watchers are going through right now. Love or hate this administration, you must respect what they are going through and count your own lucky stars that you aren’t in the hot seat, having to make the decisions they will be making in weeks to come.

As a soldier I learned early on that “you never reinforce defeat”, but we have the reputation of riding to the rescue in so many desperate situations, yet in recent years we are starting to learn temperament and restraint. The down side is there are those in other countries that see this as a sign of weakness and try to exploit it. How do you know? How do you determine when to roll the dice? What do you say to so many parents, wives & children when your decision costs them a loved one and “sorry” simply isn’t enough?

These are the times that test our elected officials and as much as I like to complain about so many bone headed decisions they make … this is one time I simply am glad it’s somebody, anybody else than me making that decision. For those that blurt out “oh I know what I’d do …..” I’m here to tell you, you don’t. I have sent men to their death knowing the odds of their survival were practically zero. It is something that haunts you the rest of your life. Justify it all you want, if you are honest about your feelings you know those are ghosts that never go away. So I feel for those presidents that have to make such gut wrenching decisions. Is it really such a surprise to see each one come out of office looking decades older in just a few short years?

These are the times when, despite my personal feelings for the man, I offer a few kind words in my prayers and hope the man upstairs will indeed grant him the wisdom to make the decision, but more importantly, give the poor man some small piece of mind and alleviate the terrible burden that goes with that office. Amen

Comments (5)

sammy2u
Nicely written Injuneer what a predicament.handshake
guadal
Living in a "free" land u don't (didn't) have to do it.
Ken_19
Yep. Ghosts that never go away. Know that one.

Back in 03 I warned someone I was being paid to advise it was a really bad idea. I saw really to me obvious comparisons to a place in SE Asia some of my HS buddies died in. I was ignored and out shouted by those with fancier degrees and whose boots had never gotten muddy. In 07 I quipped that when pull out time came one really did not wish to be one of US paid workers inside the Green Zone watching the last US helicopter flying away as 'those who behead' come a calling. For whatever reason my contract was declared no longer needed. Fine. Whatever.

So let's see. We have a hostile army of thousands approaching the gates. Without third party intervention (or some really big bribes on the order of those paid to Attila) I think Baghdad will possibly fall by the end of this week. Almost 10 years since my last visit to DC, but I am sure some words from the past are being spoken again. Words once spoken by Graham Martin. 'Decent Interval.' 100 extra US Marines for airport security today. May need a lot more. A lot more helicopters too. What do we have 5,700 Coptic Christian workers living inside our Green Zone? How many with family outside the checkpoints?

Ha. History repeats and very, very sadly I may soon be vindicated. Not that anyone will remember or care. How many workers today are being urged to stay at their post with assurances being given that they and their families will be evacuated if need be? Visions of people refused the ride hanging off landing skids of US Marine UH-1Ds flying away from our embassy in 1975 only to eventually drop off somewhere. Water or land, it made no difference. From 1,000+ feet at 100 MPH nothing lives.

Most have seen the videos ISIS released today. Clearly re-education of the defeated is not their primary agenda. I fear it will all be sudden, confused and panicked again just like last time. How many helicopters, how many seats? Sorry your id card doesn't have the Z indicator, go over there and wait and pray it will be quick.

Abandoning those loyal to us in Nam hurt us badly over the next 10 years on the international front. Shook our other allies to learn we may turn our backs and walk away from them too if the worst happened. Promises made, assurances given, it began to fade from memory. Now this. Let photos of our workers in the Green Zone hanging from the landing wheels or skids of Blackhawk helicopters be shown (from on cell camera or another) as Baghdad falls and twice dishonored we will be. Every Nation that has a dependence on US promises of military response if, will re-evaluate the decision to walk that path.

In 07 I told a coworker it doesn't matter who wins the election. They will inherit the nastiest ball of fishhooks imaginable. I blame the Congress and a corrupt media willing to accept money to broadcast war mongering hearsay propaganda as if it were actual news.
wallops1964
Well written blog Injuneer, I have often had similar thoughts when it comes to life threatening decisions. I would not want to be in the shoes of those making them, yet someone has to.
I too would join you in the prayers that God would bless the man/men that has to make the decisions that they would make inspired ones.
It is all too easy for us to sit in the comfort of our homes and say what we would do.

Very thoughtful blog wave
Gentlejim
Any time you are in a position of authority, you have to make tough decisions. Obama said in the past couple of weeks he would not commit troops to fight in Iraq. Other than providing security for our embassy in Baghdad, I think we should let this country settle its own problems! We cannot continually be the "world's police force". Iran wants to help Maliki's govt...so let them!

There is no easy solution here.

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