Posts Tagged ‘rules’

Voter Ignorance Driving “Controversy”

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

ignorance_no_excuse_ftIn most presidential primary seasons, and indeed, most presidential elections, the actual process is invisible to most voters.  Most don’t know many details, and in most years, it doesn’t really matter much. In 2016, it’s different, and the reason it’s different is because the Republican Party is deeply divided.  Most primary cycles conclude with one candidate or another attaining the crucial majority of delegates between mid-March and mid-April.  This year, that’s not the case, and because of it, the true process has become illuminated more than usual, such that many voters, either having never participated before, or having been clueless participants in cycles of the past, now see something that’s always been there, but react to it as though it’s alien to them, the country, or the party in question.  The process isn’t alien, abnormal, or otherwise different in any substantive way, but for those who’ve been drive-thru participants in the past, they’re very shocked by the existence of a process that’s been normal for nearly two centuries, though they’re just learning of it now.  I wonder how many of these people paid any attention in civics class in high school.  I wonder how many civics class teachers failed even to mention it.  Whatever the case, as the old saying goes, “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” but rephrased for this election process, it’s not just the law of which voters have claimed ignorance, but of the entire underlying process by which the Republican Party selects its nominees.  My aim here is to alleviate that ignorance, primarily because I’m tired of this phony “controversy.”

As the first order of business, let’s establish some facts, whether we like them or not, so we can work our way through from there:

  • Political parties are private organizations.  They have their own rules, bylaws, and procedures. Their internal processes are theirs and theirs alone. The candidate the party selects is the party’s choice, but not truly the choice of voters
  • Our nation IS NOT a democracy, never has been, and had never been intended to be. Neither are the political parties (a much earlier article that covers this subject in full is here)
  • The Republican Party at the national level does not have full control of the Republican Party in each state, though it exercises some control via the national convention and the rules committee.
  • Most delegates for most states’ parties are bound in some number of national convention ballots, varying by state, but this doesn’t always mean what people think it means

These concepts have been true and available to inspection for every person who is alive today in the United States for their whole lifetime, and generations before. There are rules changes periodically, but the underlying process has not changed much since at least the nomination of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. What our contemporary electorate needs to understand is that in our system of government, their votes for President are a recommendation to the Electoral College, but not a mandate.  Their votes in primaries serve as a recommendation to the parties, but these votes are not fully binding on the parties.  This may surprise a drive-thru participant in public affairs.  If one has educated him/herself, one ought to have known better all along.  This list of bullet-points may seem like a negative thing to one who is ignorant, but if one understood the intentions of our constitution’s framers, one will understand it also because one understood it all along, having bothered to inform his/herself.

Before new readers have a walleyed hissy-fit because it seems that I’m calling so many voters “ignorant,”I want you to understand that there’s a qualitative difference between “ignorance” and “stupidity.” Ignorance is simply not having the requisite information.  Stupidity is the failure to seek to alleviate one’s ignorance due to a lack of intelligence.  Foolish mischief and prideful stubbornness result in the failure to seek to alleviate one’s ignorance for the sake of maintaining one’s internally contradictory opinion.  Ignorance can be alleviated with a modicum of effort.  Before we recoil at the “discovery” of this “hidden process,” perhaps we should actually seek to know and understand it.  In any event, the level of ignorance among registered Democrats is several magnitudes worse.  Most of them haven’t bothered even to read the Constitution.

Since the beginning of the Republican Party, it has always decided who its nominee for the Presidential election would be through a series of states’ conventions with a delegate process that has always, always varied from state to state.  The truth is, as a Republican, there’s only one state about which you really need to care: Yours!  If you want to be an elections analyst, or you’re merely very curious and hold an intense interest in public affairs,  you might want to know all the others, but it requires a lot of study. Since the various states change their rules from time to time, and since new state statutes and constitutional amendments in those states affect those rules from time to time, it is always in flux.  It is always evolving.  It always has.  It always will.  That is part of the dynamic condition of the sort of constitutional, representative republic our framers had designed.  If it ever ceases to evolve, you will know that the party has failed entirely, and probably the country as well.

All the state parties, to maintain their charters as recognized constituents of the RNC, must abide by some general rules, and agree to the rules set by the national party.  Those rules can cause the state parties to adjust their own rules so they can maintain compliance.  An example of this was Colorado, which in August 2015, changed its rules in order to protect its interests in the national convention.  Let’s see if we can get this straight, shall we?  In 2012, Colorado’s GOP held a “straw poll” to seek the recommendation of the voters at large.  That state-wide straw poll had never been binding before, but because of the RNC’s rule changes, it would have to be binding if they wanted to hold a straw poll.  In other words, delegates selected by the state party would be forced by RNC rules to go to the candidates according to the results of the straw poll, effectively converting the state from a Caucus system, to a primary election system.  The Colorado Republican Party didn’t want to be constrained in that fashion, because they feared being stuck with delegates bound to a candidate no longer in the race.  Just as now, there are delegates bound to Rubio and others who are no longer in the race, and they will be obliged to vote for those candidates on the first ballot at the convention.  Colorado didn’t want its delegates constrained in that fashion, so they changed their rules, as they are entitled.  They did so last August such that every campaign had time to know the rules and adjust accordingly. Some did, but some didn’t.

Speaking of ballots at the National Republican Convention in July, I suppose I need to cover this briefly, since it seems there is a good deal of confusion.  The way the national party, the RNC, selects the candidate who will be the party’s nominee is through a system of ballots.  (Votes, if you prefer.)  There are a total of 2,472 delegates in the Republican Party.  Half of that number is 1,236.  Add one(1,) and what you have is 1,237, also known as a “majority.” For those who are confused about this, it is important to remember that a “majority” does not mean “the most.” It means “one more than half.” A “plurality” is equal to “the most.” If the rule specified a “plurality” instead of a majority, then all a candidate would need to obtain is “the most” delegates.  (The highest total.)  The rules state, and have always, always stated, that a majority is required.  This is not something new to 2016, but it has become an issue of popular concern because there now exists a better than even chance that no candidate will make the 1,237 delegate mark.

Now, in the electoral college, in the actual general election on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November, the candidate who obtains a plurality of electoral college votes is the winner, but here’s the bonus prize:  The electoral college doesn’t actually meet until December.  It is there that the new President of the United States is actually selected.  It is most often a rubber-stamp of what the electorate has recommended, because most states bind their electors to do so.  Nevertheless, it is possible, in some circumstances, for some elector or other to raise objections and to derail the rubber-stamping.  It’s not happened in American history yet, but it is possible for the Electoral College to discard the “will of the people” and select somebody else, strictly speaking.  It’s very, very unlikely. It is, however, possible. (For the record, this year’s presidential election falls on Tuesday the 8th of November, meaning this is one of those rare years in which the 1st of November falls on a Tuesday, such that the election gets bumped back to the second Tuesday of the month, because the Monday before the first Tuesday is the 31st of October.)

Returning to the national convention, let’s imagine one in which no candidate has obtained 1,237 bound delegates prior to the first ballot. It is still possible to win on that first ballot because there are usually some number of unbound delegates.  It simply depends upon how clever a negotiator one is, with respect to the unbound delegates, and how large a shortfall one has.  If nobody has obtained at least so many that with the addition of unbound delegates, they’re able to close the gap, what you now have is officially a “contested convention.”  Of course, it should also be stated again that something else is true: It is possible to have 1,237 or more bound delegates going into the convention, and still lose.  How can that happen?  Easy!  All it takes is that a candidate with 1,237 delegates has even one delegate abstain from the first ballot.  In other words, ultimately, nobody can actually be nominated with certainty until the convention. This is where the term “presumptive nominee” arises.  A presumptive nominee is a candidate who has obtained 1,237 bound delegates, but who hasn’t yet officially received the party’s nomination when the delegates cast their votes.   Even if you had all 2,472 delegates bound to you prior to the convention, if 1,236 of them abstain from the first ballot, what you have is a “contested convention.”  While highly, highly unlikely, even if a candidate somehow managed to have 2,000 or more delegates bound for the first ballot, it is strictly possible for that candidate to be defeated.  So you see, those who say that the “party chooses the nominee” are exactly, technically correct, and if the party is absolutely dead-set against a candidate, they have the ultimate ability to turn that candidate away.  That said, the party is not so likely to go this far to prevent the nomination of a candidate because it’s suicidal in an electoral sense.

One might wonder why a party would do so, or what justification there would be for denying a candidate the nomination.  One reason might be that some substantial proportion of the party finds the proposed nominee unacceptable for some reason, perhaps electability, or that the candidate’s long-term impact on the party might be substantially damaging to its ends. Whatever the case, it is possible, and has happened that the candidate who had “the most” delegates going into the convention wound up without the nomination.  This was true in 1860, when Abraham Lincoln actually went into the convention with the third highest delegate count.  If you wonder why John Kasich sticks around, here is your answer, (although Abe Lincoln, John Kasich clearly is not…) Of course, Kasich has another hurdle to clear as the rules now stand: He hasn’t won a majority of delegates in at least eight states. This is a requirement that was put in place four years ago. At present, Kasich has only won a majority of delegates in his home state, Ohio, and it’s likely the only state in which he will have won a majority of delegates by the time we get to the national convention in Cleveland, this July. Unless there is a change to rules, he won’t be eligible for nomination.

Yesterday evening, I read a story about a lawsuit against the GOP by Larry Klayman, of Freedom Watch, who you’ll probably remember/know from Judicial Watch lawsuits fame.  Klayman is an unabashed Trump supporter. His lawsuit against the GOP is over the fact that apparently, Florida delegates are bound for three(3) ballots.(In many states, it’s just one ballot, two in others, and none in states that don’t bind delegates at all.)  Freedom Watch is claiming that the delegates ought to be perpetually bound to Trump, but this is utter madness for a very obvious reason.  Let me explain Klyaman’s foolishness by way of an example:

Imagine arriving at the July convention with no candidate having obtained 1,237 bound delegates.  Further imagine that all states perpetually bound their candidates, so that no matter how many ballots they cast, they would always, always be compelled to vote for the same candidate.  How would the party ever obtain a nominee?  It couldn’t!  Think about this for a moment, and then you will realize that Freedom Watch’s foolish lawsuit is truly a nuisance lawsuit that belongs in the category of “frivolous” if ever a lawsuit belonged in that category.  His excuse, the “tort”(or “harm”) he cites in his suit, is that the people of Florida(of which he is one, thus alleging standing,) are being defrauded by the Florida and National GOP because they “held forth” that delegates will be bound.  In other words, he’s saying that because voters may not have informed themselves of the Party’s rules, they’re being defrauded.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is a toxic bit of political grand-standing, if ever there was one.  Any decent judge, of sound mind and judicial temperament, would bounce this case out of his/her courtroom faster than one can say “build a wall!” Is Klayman really alleging that he didn’t know the delegate rules for his state, and was therefore harmed?  That’s nearly the most preposterous thing I think I’ve read lately, but as I’m certain most readers will have observed, there’s no shortage of absurdity in this election cycle.

Having meandered through this whole topic a bit, I suppose I ought to conclude. My conclusion is as follows: The party selects its nominee – not the electorate – but the party tends to listen to the recommendations in various forms it has received from the electorate, where applicable.  All of this has been true for every election in my lifetime, the lifetime of my parents, and for many generations before. If a person older than, let’s be charitable and say twenty-six years of age, doesn’t know these facts and rules, it’s only possible because they have chosen never to engage themselves in discovering them.  I chose twenty-six because by then, a person should have participated in at least two presidential election cycles.  I don’t know if I knew all of this by the time I was twenty-six, but I am fairly certain I’ve known most of it since at least the age of thirty years.

It is amazing to me that people who are in their forties, fifties, and sixties now complain about this as though it’s all news to them.  The Internet has been around as a commonly accessible research tool for more than twenty years.  Most states and most state parties have had websites devoted to this information for most or all of that time.  To claim ignorance at this late date is to openly proclaim one’s complete lack of diligence.  If one can surf the web over to Ebay or Amazon, to make purchases, and so on, I don’t see how it’s possible that somebody who wanted to know this information was somehow denied access to it.  The election laws governing the states’ parties are generally available through each state’s Secretary of State website, where they may also provide links to the various parties operating in their state.  I encourage all Americans of voting age, or even younger, to learn and know at least the laws relevant in their particular states, and certainly the rules applicable to the party with which they choose to associate, if any.

The United States was established so that citizens could, through the various levels of government and attending political processes, participate fully in their own governance.  In short, being a citizen is supposed to be an active lifetime engagement for the people to determine the course of the nation.  in order to fully realize that participation, citizens should become familiar and remain up-to-date on the laws and rules applicable to their particular political interests and participation.  For most of my readers, most of this will not be news, although for perhaps some of the younger readers, it may be enlightening, but with all the, dare I say “trumped-up” controversy, I thought it critically necessary to clear the air on this issue.  Factually, this is the process.  You might not like it as is, but you have the ability to work to change it. If you think the existing parties cannot be reformed, you are also free in America to form your own and if you’re very successful, in a decade or two, you might be able to have grown it enough to have viable national candidates.  What is not true is that some giant magic “easy button” exists to  “fix things” instantaneously. Being an active citizen is something too few citizens actually do, and this is to the detriment of the country as a whole, and certainly to the parties in particular.  Ignorance of these facts leave too many Americans easy prey for demagogues, and it’s instructive to watch how, with the circumstance of the GOP nomination fight, so many Americans are easily led astray.  I dearly hope this will be a lesson for many, providing them the impetus to engage in the true blessing of self-governance in a thorough fashion they had never contemplated before.

Lastly, I would like to address the complaints of those who argue that it’s “too hard” or “too difficult” or that there is some situational constraint on one’s participation in the full political process.  I grant that at various times in our lives, it can be more and less difficult to find the time to fully participate, but I also know this: If most of us really wanted to do so, most of us could find a way.  What I’ve seen is that for many, complaining and stomping around is a good deal easier, and it satisfies the temporary emotional need.  That sort of laziness will never lead to change, however, and it’s high time that having informed oneself, each goes on to a full and unrelenting participation.

Editor’s Note: This article should not be seen as an endorsement of all aspects of the Republican Party’s rules or procedures, but instead a simple statement about the simpler fact that some form of these rules, with some variation, have been in place since the beginning of the party.  It’s also intended as a way to further that historical perspective and to alleviate some of the ignorance made plain by the reactions to this information by some people.  My intent is not to criticize the electorate at large, but to make them aware of these historical facts so that even should they fail in this election cycle to obtain their desired result, they will have no excuse for not being ready to fully participate in the next cycle, and to fight for those changes they believe are necessary. 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Convention Fight Update: It Isn’t Over

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, the GOP establishment is trying to pull a fast one, and they’re using media to confound and confuse the issue. Given my stance on the state of the Republican Party, you might wonder why I care what they’re doing in Tampa.  Let me make this as clear as I am able, because you, who work precincts, and who carry the water for the Republican Party at the grass-roots level deserve and need to know the truth:  They think you are suckers.  I am not trying to make you any angrier than you may already be with the GOP establishment, but I want you to understand the chronology of what has been done. Let’s cover it briefly:

Friday, the 24th of August, Ben Ginsberg, acting on behalf of the Romney campaign gets rules placed that would severely limit the influence of the state parties in selecting delegates, or having much say-so at all in future elections.  This rule 15(and now 16) would have made it nigh on impossible for you in the grass-roots of the party to have your rightful influence on the national convention.

Over the weekend, Morton Blackwell sent out a response to this, outlining the problems.  This was a rather complete appraisal of the probable impact of such rules.  Blackwell is a hero in my estimation, sounding an alarm that began to gather steam by Sunday, and was trumpeted by no less than Mark Levin and Sarah Palin on Monday evening.

The GOP establishment never runs out of tricks to play against us, even as they frequently seem confounded by the Democrats.  On Monday evening, they pushed out a story via the Houston Chronicle that proclaimed the matter resolved, and that any crisis and floor fight had been averted.  Worst of all, it was false, because it ignored and omitted the matter of Rule 12, that will permit the party bosses to shove Rule changes down our throats by a 3/4 vote.  That sounds okay, right?  The problem is that it’s really not as great a defense as some have been led to believe.

This phony “compromise” prompted this morning’s letter from Mr. Blackwell, who explains the truth of the matter.  Wrote Blackwell:

“Proponents of the “compromise” ignore the enormously destructive problem of the proposed Rule 12.  Rule 12 would enable 75% of the Republican National Committee later to eliminate their “compromise” and to destroy or make drastic changes in dozens of other rules which have served our party well over the years.

“In practice, Rule 12 would enable an RNC chairman to enact almost any rules change he or she desired, because an RNC chairman already has so much power and influence that he or she can almost always can get 75% or more of the RNC members to vote for or against anything.  A chairman already has the enormous “power of the purse,” and should not have also the power to change party rules at will.

“There is already quite enough power flow from the top down in our party.  Instead of approving more power grabs, we should be looking for ways for more power to flow from the bottom up.  That’s how to attract more participants into our party.

“The media’s picked up on this series of last-minute manipulations by D.C insiders and consultants, and I’m sure you’ve been bombarded with contacts from both sides.

“The truth is, this isn’t a compromise.  It’s far from it.”(emphasis added)

Complicating this matter has been the fact that many people ran with the “compromise” business without fully grasping what had been omitted from the Chronicle’s story of Monday evening.  Mark Levin posted on Facebook that the problem had been resolved, but the truth is that it hasn’t.  He likely read the Chronicle story or other stories derived from it, and concluded the crisis had been resolved.  He is to be forgiven this error, because this whole thing is being done precisely to create confusion about the state of the fight.   As those of us who followed the matter into the wee hours of the morning know, this was never the case, and as Mr. Blackwell makes plain in his latest note, the matter is far from resolved even at this hour.

Ladies and gentlemen, make of it what you will, but the facts are plain: The GOP establishment is out to rule the party from the top, and despite pretending otherwise, Mitt Romney’s campaign has had a strong hand in this.  Worse, the deceptive notion that Ron Paul supporters are behind this kerfuffle is designed to get you to shrug and walk away without a fight.  I don’t doubt but that there are a number of Paul supporters involved, but there are many who simply wish to safeguard the future of the party, and that’s where you should come in, if you still care about the future of the party.

This isn’t over. It’s not over until the rules are adopted, and I urge all conservatives to get in touch with their states’ delegations and put an end to this madness.  This is YOUR PARTY!

As Erick Erickson reports on RedState, this isn’t over.  Time to let them hear you, conservatives!

Michelle Malkin has a complete list of State Party contact numbers, as well as this list in PDF form.

The Power Grab Isn’t Over

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

If you’re not aware of Morton Blackwell’s letter to RNC delegates, I suggest strongly that you read it here.  As the controversy continues, there was on Monday night a so-called “compromise” floated that would strike Rule 15, the objectionable rule that would permit the party to dominate the State parties, but hidden behind all of this was the unchanged rule 12, that would permit the Party to change the rules at will.  In other words, they were willing to pull back the most obviously objectionable rule now, but maintain the rule that is a complete abomination in the long run.  This sort of trick is precisely the kind of thing we have come to expect from Democrats, and from the Obama administration.  As usual, Michelle Malkin is doing great work on keeping us updated on the state of all of this, but I must tell you that your input is required.  Read Mr. Blackwell’s letter.  Act accordingly. (RAISE HELL!)

If the GOP establishment has its way, our voices will be muffled and silenced.

Governor Palin has weighed-in too:

“We have to remember that this election is not just about replacing the party in power. It’s about who and what we replace it with. Grassroots conservatives know this. Without the energy and wisdom of the grassroots, the GOP would not have had the historic 2010 electoral victories. That’s why the controversial rule change being debated at the RNC convention right now is so very disappointing. It’s a direct attack on grassroots activists by the GOP establishment, and it must be rejected. Please follow the link to Michelle Malkin’s article about this.”

As I reported, the Republican establishment seems to be obsessed with dominating the grass roots, and this calls into question the future of the Republican Party. Rule 12 is Mitt Romney’s insurance policy against a primary challenge in 2016 if he moves too far to the left.  What leverage will the grass roots have if he were to appoint another Harriet Miers or to go along with some sort of modified Obama-care?  None.  It’s also the Bush Clan’s insurance policy if Romney fails in 2012.  Any way you look at this, it’s all about controlling the party from the smoke-filled rooms of political consultancy in Washington DC, leaving you in the dark as they feed you manure.  The GOP establishment prefers mushrooms.  It’s our job to force them into the light.

Update(8/28/2012 6:45am): Apparently, not satisfied with having tried to rig this, the establishment tried another dirty trick.  They sent details of the alleged compromise over rule 15/16 to the Hearst papers (via the Houston Chronicle,) but omitted the discussion of rule 12.  This was done to trick people into believing that the controversy was over, but it isn’t over. As long as rule 12 remains, the truth is that they will retain the ability to change the rules at any time.

Update(8/28/2012 7:15am):The truly unseemly part of this is the Chronicle’s attempt to refer to only “the Texas delegation” and “the Ron Paul delegates.”  There is much more involved in this than a few wild-eyed Ron Paul supporters. Washington (state) is supporting the minority report opposed to rule 12 also, and the possibility of an all-out floor fight continues. This is simply astonishing. They are hoping by associating this solely with Ron Paul supporters, you’ll shrug it off and walk away.  The fact is that rule 12 is a problem whomever you support, now or in the future, in 2016, and in perpetuity.

 

Rules of Engagement: Betraying Our Troops

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

.

As a veteran who is conscious of the extreme anguish the families of our lost service-members are feeling, like so many others, I was horrified at the news of some of our nation’s finest warriors in a helicopter crash, apparently shot down by Taliban insurgents. While we rightly cherish the memory of their names, and all they have devoted in the name of our country, let us honor them also by remembering their surviving brethren when we set forth national policy.  Currently, the commanders in Afghanistan and elsewhere are having to contend with a bitter, cruel and devious enemy which cannot be confronted with force of arms in any measure.

The number of US casualties has been on a steady and disconcerting climb over the last several months, in what can be taken as a signal of the growing threat from this nearly invincible enemy.  Our own rules of engagement may have come to be the cause of more battle casualties in Afghanistan than any other single factor.  One may wonder, given our catch-and-release policy, if the insurgents responsible for this shoot-down may have been in our custody before.  It’s a shameful reminder of why most liberals who have come of age since WWII should never be entrusted with the nation’s defenses, or at the top of the military chain of command. In this time of grief over our fallen heroes, let us dedicate a moment’s reflection to the purpose of reducing the number who will surely join them.

It’s a lesson often neglected by politicians and their advisers, when setting policy for the conduct of military operations around the globe.  Whatever we may think of the necessity of a given operation, when our warriors go into battle, we must not constrain and disarm them with rules of engagement that serve a political, rather than a military end.  Veterans of almost every war in the last century will be able to cite for you examples of such policies, however, the service-members who went to Vietnam certainly became most thoroughly familiar with the consequences of rules designed not to destroy an enemy and thereby attain victory, but to serve a political aim, not so much at the tables of diplomacy, as for the consumption of misguided politics at home.  This is the meat-grinder that has become the debate over the rules of engagement with which our troops must comply.  In Afghanistan, under the direction of President Obama, and his appointed cabinet officers, the immorality of such a policy rapidly becomes apparent.  More interested in serving the political concerns of their left-wing constituencies, policy is crafted so as to minimize political blow-back among his base  at home, while the consequences on the battlefield are measured in blood, limbs and lives.

General Petraeus was brought in to relieve General McCrystal, whose rules of engagement had begun to show weakness under a political dogma bent in an effort aimed primarily at not causing civilian casualties at any cost.  As the new commander has been in-theater for roughly a year, we should begin to assess what differences he may have made.  While I always hesitate to criticize the professional commanders in the field, I would be remiss if I didn’t examine the rules of engagement under which our forces now fight, and how politics at home are being permitted to constrain them to the detriment of our warriors.

Imagine for a moment that you’re an infantryman.  Further imagine being instructed that you cannot fire upon enemy combatants who are planting roadside bombs and IEDs in plain sight, because they do not present an imminent threat to your security.  This is the sort of nonsense that is now being inflicted upon our troops in the face of an intractable enemy made more strong by these foolish rules.  Now imagine capturing enemy combatants, knowing that the term of their incarceration will not be determined by the length of the conflict, but whether they had a gun in their hands at the time of their capture.  Apparently, the wizards who determine these policies would likewise set the sentence for criminals on the basis of how far they had heaved their weaponry immediately before surrendering to police.

This sort of nonsensical rule ensures that the insurgents are quickly returned to the fight, most within a year, to immediately re-engage against our soldiers.  General Patton was noted to have remarked that he didn’t “like to pay twice for the same real estate,” but imagine his surprise had his chain of command told him that he could only hold prisoners a short while before allowing them to rejoin their comrades behind enemy lines.  Our soldiers must now pay dearly, not merely for the same real estate, but the same prisoners, not twice but repeatedly.  Naturally, US authorities disclaim responsibility, as most of the combatants they’re capturing are turned over to Afghan authorities in short order.

There is also the self-defeating notion that we must not cause civilian casualties, at virtually any cost.  The purported motive is based on the premise that to cause civilian casualties merely strengthens the resolve of the population against us.  This hogwash is presented as part of our strategic aims, but in fact, it is another policy in service to the radical leftists who comprise our President’s political base.  It is impossible to imagine having ever successfully overcome Hitler or Hirohito had we been forced to adopt these rules.  Can you imagine flying bombers at altitude over the industrial cities of Germany and Japan, and instructing our aircrews that they must first do no harm to civilians?  While nobody looks with glee at the prospects of civilians being killed, this astonishing requirement almost guarantees an increasing number of US casualties as the enemy on the battlefield adapts and responds by hiding more frequently in and amongst the civilian populace.

This wrong-headed thinking virtually condemns more to die who might not otherwise, and it begs the question about our larger mission there.  What are we now trying to achieve, with our forces inhibited from rising in their own fully vigorous and proactive defense?  It’s an immoral waste of our troops in a meat-grinder, made worse by the fact that our current President has taken so long to set a course, and has yet to produce what could be considered strictly military objectives.  Given these rules of engagement in service to domestic political concerns, it is right and proper to question the wisdom of a chain of command that is more interested in political perceptions by way of alleged humanitarian concerns for the enemy and their captive populace, than for the lives and limbs of our own noble warriors.

It is for these reasons that I believe that future monuments to our war dead should not be constructed along or near the Mall in Washington, DC, but instead upon the White House lawn, so that future occupants will look out any window to tragic reminders of what the implementations of military actions in service to domestic political concerns have wrought.  This wrong-headed thinking, and the disaster in human terms is one more reason why Barack Obama must go, next November.  While these policies may have played no role in the loss of the helicopter and its  precious human cargo including some of our finest warriors, it should serve to remind us that there are troops in the field, that the nation is at war, and when we send them to fight, they should arrive on the field not only with the best training and technology our money can buy, but also the benefit of a wise chain of command which knows why they’ve been sent, and for what they’re fighting, unimpeded by tawdry domestic political considerations.

These sorts of policies aren’t a new enemy, but resurrected by President Obama from the historic ashes of the Johnson administration, they have new life, and new vigor, but they must be defeated.  May we all hope and pray for those who have suffered in the tragic loss of these fine warriors, along with those who have preceded them, and may we find the strength of character to elect leaders who will understand the terrible costs of war turned to the purpose of domestic politics.  The families demand it.  The honored dead demand it, but most of all, our consciences should demand it.