As you may know from my previous post, I and my family have a history deeply rooted in the United States Military. Simply put, there has been a member of my family in the military of the United States in every major conflict since the Revolutionary War, up to and including my grandson in the Afghanistan War. I personally have served a career in the United States Army spanning 28 years and two combat tours during the Vietnam Conflict. I tell you this for one simple reason. I tell you because I want you to understand that we (my family and millions of other families) have willingly and with great pride and gratitude sacrificed for our country and most importantly for our constitution. We have, shed blood and millions have sacrificed their lives for our country and constitution. So I hope, by bearing that in mind, you know that I speak not only from some little experience but also from patriotism and love.
Our nation sacrificed material treasure but most importantly blood, and precious life to defend our national ideals of freedom and democracy in numerous conflicts to include two World Wars. We sacrificed millions of lives and unfortunately took millions of lives and millions more were taken by “collateral” damage. I, as a citizen soldier, weep for each and every one of those lives lost and broken. I weep because I share some of the responsibility for some of those losses and to this day those people, soldiers, enemy and friend, and innocent bystander march through my mind reminding me of the incredible sacrifice that was made so that others may live in freedom and peace.
One of, if not the most important results, of the two World Wars was the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. That organization was crafted out of the ashes of conflict and with the overwhelming desire of the participating countries to create an alliance that would endure and ensure lasting peace and would further the goals of worldwide democracies. And that alliance has ensured those goals and accomplished those purposes for over 70 years.
When I write of these accomplishments I write with some experience. I served for nearly 11 years in Germany and Belgium and participated in innumerable military exercises, training and practicing alongside our NATO allies in an effort to demonstrate “our” collective determination to defend democracy and ensure peace against any who would try to destroy it. That organization with the United States leading brought down the Soviet Union and ended the Cold War without armed conflict.
That being said, I write this post today to warn all Americans that that alliance AND our democracy and peace are under attack. It is under attack by countries that have not and do not share our vision of democracy and peace. Countries that perceive the United States and the NATO alliance and hence representative democracy as a threat. Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran to name a few perceive us as a threat and they are aggressively working to undermine democracies around the world with those of the NATO Alliance the primary targets.
Our intelligence agencies and those of our NATO allies have been telling us for several years and with ever more clarity that the Russians and Chinese have been using computer warfare against us for several years and have attacked/hacked the elections in the United States and those of our NATO allies. I, for one, trust ours and our allies intelligence services and I think we should pay careful attention. These are, simply put, acts of war. I will say unequivocally that I trust the intelligence services and not because someone has told me to but because I have worked with them and all Americans have seen the concrete results of their efforts in defending our country.
Some people would have us not believe our military or intelligence agencies, to that I would say this. Our military and our intelligence services are and have always been made up of the most intelligent, patriotic, and loyal Americans that exist. These organizations have a history of saving our democracy time after time after time. They are made up of our mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles. They are made up of our families. They are not made up of politicians or wealthy Wall Street brokers. They join their services to defend our country and constitution just like my family has done and just like your families have done. They are sacrificing every day for their country. I know that everyone who may read this post has a relative somewhere, living or dead, that has served or is serving or who has sacrificed for this country and our constitution. These are the people doing these jobs today.
During my life, I have watched as President after President has addressed audiences and organizations in Europe. I watched as President John F. Kennedy spoke before cheering crowds in front of the Berlin Wall. I watched as Ronald Reagan spoke before another cheering crowd at the Berlin Wall and told Mr. Gorbachev to “Tear Down That Wall”. I was present when Vice-President George H.W. Bush came to NATO headquarters and addressed NATO members. And I have watched numerous other American leaders speak before our allies and almost to a person they spoke of unity and common goals and these speakers always received standing ovations and engendered the respect of our allies and foes alike. This happened because they all knew that we are stronger together and that the free world depends on NATO.
Today, I am very sorry to say, that that has all changed. I have now watched as an American President demeaned the NATO alliance and its members. I have watched as an American President, acting like a child, has shoved another world leader and barged in front of him. I have watched as an American President has casually mentioned taking our country out of NATO as though it were just an afterthought. I have watched as an American President has belittled himself to minor dictators agreeing to a summit meeting with no chance of any true agreement and damaging the work of countless diplomats and world leaders. And I have watched as an American President cozied up to a strongman leader and ex-KGB officer and spoke to him in private without any other Americans present and then destroying the notes from the meetings. And most recently I have watched as the Vice-President of the United States spoke at a gathering of European leaders and after he gave greetings from the American President and later called for cooperation on withdrawing from an arms accord that the United States led in achieving he evoked dead silence in response to both. The later symbolizing the decline in respect for the President of the United States as a result of his actions toward NATO and our allies.
As the last of the members of the Greatest Generation pass on and so living evidence of the past evils and sacrifices fade from memory the threat to our democracies today may seem not so great. I urge you to not be fooled. Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran are not our friends. And regardless of what the American President says, we, the United States are far weaker without our NATO allies and the democracies of the world are in far more danger without that alliance and without it being led by the United States.
Let me close this by saying that I do not write this intending it to be a political document. I write it as an observation that I as someone who has a little experience in the realm of the NATO alliance and what is happening as a result of an American Presidents actions in regards to the alliance. I am not an advocate of the status quo. I am an advocate of alliances that work. NATO was carefully crafted by statesmen and patriots and has worked extremely well for over 70 years and it certainly must and has shifted and adjusted to a changing world but the organization and it's members deserve respect which they have not received from the President of the United States to the detriment of Western Democracies.
Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That