RANGER AGAINST WAR: No Thinking Aloud <

Friday, August 10, 2007

No Thinking Aloud


I think I'll let you down

and leave you flat

Because I've told you before, oh,

You can't do that

--You Can't Do that, The Beatles

Ranger spoke yesterday with a native Columbian about Chavez and Venezuela. The man said there was no freedom of speech in Venezuela, ergo, Chavez is a dictator.

This started Ranger thinking: What constitutes freedom, and specifically, freedom of speech? Do we have absolute freedom of speech in America? Justice Holmes decided not in cases of "clear and present danger." Can't yell "fire" in a crowded movie house; can't libel or slander. Otherwise, I believe The Supremes have not yet fully gutted that right for the U.S. citizenry.


And there is freedom of speech among our elected officials, since our leaders are free to lie and bend facts in gravity-defying manners. Slam dunks replace truths. So yes, freedom of speech, if truth is not a requisite. Free, but not necessarily true.


Ret. Army Col. Jack Jacobs in yesterday's
New York Times argued against investigations into servicemen's deaths, this new edict following on the heels of the outcry over the suspect killing of Cpl. Pat Tillman ("Generals Don't Need a Watchdog.')

"To conclude that the Army needs to legislate honesty is a knee-jerk response to the stupidity of a very few — a mindless judgment perpetrated by officials who have little idea of military life. That the Army’s uniformed leadership was complicit in creating the new regulation is all the more galling."

Not stupidity, Col. Jacobs, possible criminal collusion in a murder. Different things. The Colonel's exclusionary posture is reminiscent of La Cosa Nostra.

What is galling is the deception we are fed from our trusted leaders. We are the citizens of a great nation, and we are being played for fools or paeans.

Pat Tillman was an avid reader, who kept a small lending library for his unit, and who, according to friends, was a great lover of thought and communication. Our glorious freedoms were one of things which probably motivated his patriotism. He thought he had freedom of speech.

Maybe Cpl. Tillman said the Iraq War was "so f---ing illegal" one too many times.


What then becomes the value of free speech?

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13 Comments:

Anonymous Publius said...

Ranger, I think you might be beating up on Jacobs a little too much. I read his piece yesterday in the Times (get it online), but have put it into the disposal where all emails end up.

As I recall what Jacobs said, it was all about how things like this SHOULDN'T be necessary. What I think he was arguing was that if you have bad apples, take care of them, but don't promulgate all new stuff to address the problem of failed leadership.

I kind of agree with Jacobs. I'd rather fry those who've betrayed their oaths than erect a whole new system of surveillance. The unfortunate reality is that the oath you and I once took—the one all officers take—doesn't seem to mean much to many senior officers in today's Army.

Actually, I think Jacobs is being kind of a bureaucrat and isn't wholly in touch with reality, but the fact is, the existing rules should suffice. If, that is, we have honorable people serving in the Army. Big "if" these days, IMO.

Friday, August 10, 2007 at 9:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Publius,

No doubt Jacobs is speaking as a solid bureaucrat, and surely more paperwork is never the answer.

In fact, the purpose of the current proposal is merely further obfuscation. You are right--we already have rules in place to deal with most eventualities, and most detail-minders are efficient.

Hence why Iraq is an absurd and profligate undertaking. The rules for dealing with terrorists were already there.

I like paper-pushers and bean counters no more than the next guy. However, in the Tillman case, a special investigation is called for. To whitewash this dirty affair by saying they will implement across-the-board investigations is b.s.

Yes, there are still honorable people in the Army. And then there are the others. . .

Saturday, August 11, 2007 at 12:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

publius:

Ranger sends: As always, it's nice to hear from you. It's interesting that you accuse me of beating up on Jacobs when you bludgeon Peters at every turn ;)

I feel that I was rather politic. Generally I'm in agreement with Jacobs, BUT not with the dismissive tone he uses re. Tillman's case.

This was not an error, it was criminal negligence or cover-up. Rules are in place for this eventuality, if commanders are dealing in good faith.

Obviously, a Ranger tab on one's shoulder does not automatically make one truthful.

Saturday, August 11, 2007 at 1:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Sean O'Neil said...

publius,

Would you say that it is creating a whole new system of surveillance even if the question of further investigation is limited only to the death of Pat Tillman?

Can't it be done case-by-case?

Is military investigation and adjudication that different from what is commonplace in federal and state courts?

Saturday, August 11, 2007 at 10:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

Sean, Ranger hasn't posted a subsequent comment of mine that I think may answer your question. Briefly, I just don't like ad hoc responses to issues that can be addressed through existing systems.

Sunday, August 12, 2007 at 5:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

Well, this latest comment go posted in real time. Maybe I screwed up. Anyway, here is my earlier comment, the one I thought was in the system:

Ranger, I hold no brief for Jacobs. However, as I wrote, it's my belief that we have adequate mechanisms to deal with wrongdoing such as we've seen in the Tillman case. If only the Army would use them. But it appears our Army is not inclined towards introspection or self-criticism these days. This critical failure of character ill-serves the nation and sows the seeds for future military debacles.

I view the Tillman issue through the same prism through which I view the War Powers Act and the Authorization for Military Force in Iraq. I see no need for either, if Congress executes its Constitutional responsibilities and either declares war or refuses to do so.

If I misremembered (my Bushism for the day) Jacobs's piece, then so be it. The Tillman case is a tragedy, one that that ranges far further than this poor lad's death. It represents yet another nail in the coffin of the reputation of the institution to which I was once proud to belong.

And I beat up on Peters because this contemporary and branch mate of mine usually richly deserves it.

Sunday, August 12, 2007 at 5:53:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

hi publius,


FYI: Taking your advice to heart, we've removed moderation and verification, so any comment made will go directly to the site. So far, so good. And if it's encouraged your return, we're doubly happy.

Hopefully, Jim will see your comments tomorrow,

--Lisa

Sunday, August 12, 2007 at 8:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous trip wire said...

Rogers' Rangers' Standing Orders

4. Tell the truth about what you see and what you do. There is an army depending on us for correct information. You can lie all you please when you tell other folks about the Rangers. But never lie to an officer or a Ranger.

What are these, about 250 yrs old and still most of them make sense.

Reguarding Chavez, he rerouted Big Oils' profits to the poor of his country and PO'd the same people who brought you the war in Iraq. They've made coup attempts and a huge misinformation campaign against him so I'll see what history says and reserve judgment on him. But I wouldn't be surprised if all of a sudden they say he's supporting terrorists and we have to invade!

Sunday, August 12, 2007 at 10:53:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

trip wire,

Right-on, re. both Rogers' Rules and Chavez!

Lisa

Sunday, August 12, 2007 at 11:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

trip wire,

Ranger sends: Thank you for your continued readership. Your analysis is excellent, except Ranger feels ALL of Rogers' rules are still pertinent. In fact, Ranger is sharpening and polishing his hatchet as we speak.

Specifically, the rule that talks about varying routes of travel to preclude ambushes. There is nothing that requires U.S. supply columns to follow roads. They can vary their routes by avoiding roads, or bypassing busy intersections.

Try this: Do the convoys at nighttime, since this is when the IEDs are being planted. This would break up their tempo of attack.

Monday, August 13, 2007 at 9:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

publius,

Ranger can not disagree with anything you say. We're on the same sheet of music.

Thanks for staying on the team. Your input is appreciated, as the voice of experience,

Your continued homeless Ranger (but I do have a patrol base)

Jim

Monday, August 13, 2007 at 9:20:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

publius, addendum,

Ranger agrees with your analysis of the existing regs., but that assumes that everyone is dealing in good faith. This is a military that has supported a war of aggression, illegal incarceration of foreign citizens, torture and murder. So what's a little lie compared to all of that.

Jim

Monday, August 13, 2007 at 9:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

"Ranger agrees with your analysis of the existing regs., but that assumes that everyone is dealing in good faith. This is a military that has supported a war of aggression, illegal incarceration of foreign citizens, torture and murder. So what's a little lie compared to all of that."

Yeah, Ranger, there is that little matter. I think what irks me the most is that at our age, how many of these special investigations and commissions have we seen by now? I suppose there will have to be one ; otherwise the cover-up will remain intact (probably will, anyway).

Imagine. Still an idealist at my age, and after what I've seen in my lifetime. I still believe in Rogers's rules.

BTW, Jim and Lisa, I'm hopeful the change in posting policy will result in added traffic/discussion here on your excellent site. And I'm further hopeful that I won't regret having recommended it. Just remember, bozos sometimes come with the territory. I haven't seen any here yet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 3:35:00 PM GMT-5  

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