Thank you for serving, now move along

Yesterday I posted an article I read from the Voice of San Diego to Facebook. Following up an earlier expose on the rejection of a housing project in Poway for low-income veterans,  it irritates me to think how my neighbors to the north look on themselves as a privileged class.   I think posting the original article is very instructive on the social biases of affluent people who often want the Government to do something to help people but NIMBY (Not In My BackYard).  Poway is home to large businesses, Defense contractors, and expensive homes.   Sadly, many of these residents depend on the military residents who pay taxes, shop in their businesses, send their children to local schools and attend their churches.  With land that is mandated for low-income residential use — home ownership and not a transient rental population is overlooked because of mistrust, ignorance and fear.   Is this just an unwilling city to put money where its mouth is?  When houses in the county average a half-million and condos $300K, what exactly does low-income veteran housing look like?

We Do Not Owe Them a House in Poway’
Posted By Maya Srikrishnan On December 29, 2016

After the Poway City Council denied a low-income veterans housing project in November, residents opposed to the project rejected suggestions that they were “anti-veteran.”

They are right. The opposition to the Habitat for Humanity veterans project had nothing to do with veterans.

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Thanks Pepsi, I’ll still drink Dr. Pepper

Coke: Nobody opposed singing  

One of the bloggers I follow posted on the recent Pepsi ad that features Jenner and scenes that bring up all the controversial issues in the USA today.  I appreciate reason and tolerance.   Some people are ‘offended’ by everything from colors to messages.  As a retired Navy Chief,  happily heterosexual man, a disciple of Jesus, and a California-born, social conservative, I probably offend some who have never met me.   Though educated by world -travel, technical and university scholarship, and nearly six decades of examining human behavior,  I lament the end to civility, tolerance, and nationalism.

The rub is to tolerate differing opinion – without shutting down the one who differs. That’s the real underlying message of the media and school programs which seek uniformity of thought along the guidelines they establish.  Pepsi and other companies, will test the wind and see that ‘inclusion’ is the marketing tool of today.

May I use pitbull dogs as a metaphor for the messages in that ad?   Some will hate that breed regardless of evidence.  If there are a million dogs that have some Staffordshire Terrier in whole or part, perhaps ten thousand have been exposed to dog-fighting abuse. Some people will examine each animal  individually, to see what they were exposed to and whether they can be placed with children or other pets.  Some want to exploit fear and doubt of the breed for power.   Some will see dogs abused to kill and maim as misunderstood.   Some will adopt pitties and then neglect them.   And if a community legally forces everyone to adapt by banning ‘pitbull’ ownership; by fining disobedience and by teaching that anyone who believes differently is maladjusted, can we still sing of “land of the free, and home of the brave”?

And so corporations – Pepsi, NCAA, NBA, and socialist governments- especially, the California legislature —  do not try to force my thinking or my life into your determination of ‘inclusion’.   While I will render to Caesar what is Caesars, I will not spend discretionary money on you.  I will follow Thoreau and Civil Disobedience.   I will join like-minded voters and oppose policies by the process we initiated in 1789 and worked well for 230 years.


When Al Qaeda terrorists attacked on September 11, 2001,  I was a 42 year old reservist; I was absolutely willing to go if called up.  One of my mentors while I was on Commander, Third Fleet staff (1997-99),  had been killed when the Pentagon was attacked.   While my unit’s signals analysts were mobilized,  as an electronics maintenance supervisor, I was not.   As the war continued, members of our larger community went into harm’s way and some died in combat.

While many young Americans today have been conditioned to think we are aggressors in many places,  they have no firsthand experience with people or places outside North America.   My peers and I have firsthand experience of the difficult, dirty, dangerous and often violent world people live in.  Twenty years ago, I had conversations and developed acquaintances while traveling around the Mediterranean, Bulgaria, Russia, Turkey,  Egypt, Israel,  Central America,  South America, and Asia.  Most of these relationships may have lapsed but people I know who still travel to those places know that the same struggles continue.   Every week we are witness to violence that occurs in the name of a religion or a faction that Westerners want to blame on secular causes.  Military members have been often marginalized by critics including academics and journalists for behavior or biases that may be exacerbated by tours in those regions.  I trust military service members understand  better than noisy college protesters and  Facebook ranters who complain from the comfort of the United States.

I’m first to admit that I don’t have boots on the ground exposure to the war in Afghanistan or Iraq.   My service in the operational theater aboard a Spruance -class destroyer occurred over 20 years ago following the combat phase of the Gulf War.  I was there when we launched 15 Tomahawks to destroy Saddam’s Intel center; it was retaliation for plotting to kill former President G.H.W. Bush.   But every IED, every homicide attacker against our troops and against civilians since the 1990s has been funded and armed, directly or through proxies, by the Iranians.  Some terrorists have used US arms we stupidly provided to extremists because the “enemy of my enemy is my friend”.  Today we are rejuvenating a relationship with the one democracy there – Israel.  Those politicians will not admit that just about every Islamic group we have given arms to in the past 40 years has at one time or another been used against civilians or against us.  When the terrorists were not Sunnis killing Shia or Shia killing Sunnis, they were blowing up soldiers, sailors, contractors, police and aid workers.  Only through constant training and force was any semblance of peace being fostered there.  And today, while we consider adding to the presence in that region, the entire Western European and Arab worlds are succumbing to a misguided and poorly implemented influx of refugees.   In the 1990s, we named the breakdown into factions and groups unwilling to assimilate into the culture of the host countries “Balkanization”.  This has certainly been seen to exist in many nations where the influx of Islamists have not assimilated.

Combat veterans have a unique position to support, refute, or respond to policies of the United States that engage us in conflict; however,   I think all veterans have a moral duty to protest when policies or bureaucrats fail to support those who returned from a conflict.   For more than thirty years, my friendship with a Vietnam combat veteran and scholar, whose acerbic commentary on all things involving politicians,  military affairs & particularly anything that can be ascribed to failures of the Republican Party – has continued as I respect someone who has been at the “pointy end of the spear”.   Another veteran, a retired USMC Colonel also has acerbic commentary, but would likely be diametrically in opposition to the other combat veteran.  This continues to keep me mentally sharp to engage in debate.

I hope to add my voice and watchful eyes to call the Government to account for many shabby incidents of treatment for honorably serving veterans.    I am hopeful that a website for combat veterans,  The War Horse,  started by a combat veteran of this most recent conflict will help veterans.   I have a son serving in the Army today and know that the culture in the military often puts the military family at odds with young people who have not experienced military service.    I am also leery of the biases and motivations of journalists and academics who generally have been critical on all things American, who now promote a combat veteran’s experience toward journalism and academics.    Yet I will add this to my reading list on conflict, coping with the aftermath, and the promises kept and broken by the nation that sent them to war.



Can you appreciate the Irony

Viet Nam Veteran to Be Sold Out for Environmental Fines  Does everyone believe Big Government is the salvation of the common man?  Here’s a Vietnam veteran living off-the-grid in San Diego County whose property is up for auction to pay fines for not clearing brush (fire hazard).   Seems his property was in the area of the big wildfires of a few years ago, but was not harmed by the flames.  He has been levied, but did not pay  nor remove the offending brush.   Hmm, isn’t this just another case of Government apathy toward veterans –except when Government wants to make a buck?