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The Week in Review: An Eerie Silence from the Enemy (?) Camp

12.4.2009
The Week In Review: An Eerie Silence from the Enemy (?) Camp
“From the Far East I send you one single thought, one sole idea—written in red on every beachhead from Australia to Tokyo—there is no substitute for victory!”
-General Douglas Mac Arthur (“Mac Arthur’s Message”)
When All Else is Lost, Who Would You Rather Rely On?
As a West Point grad, I always think it’s wonderful when my alma mater is featured on TV or in the press.  It’s a great place that gives its Alumni—and America—a lot to be proud of.
Or so I thought, anyway.  Apparently I was wrong?
Enter Chris Matthews from MSNBC who, when remarking on the stoic welcome the Corps of Cadets provided the President, referred to Mr. Obama “maybe [going] to the enemy camp tonight.” Seriously?  The “enemy camp?”  I’ll give Mr. Matthews the benefit of the doubt that maybe that’s not what he meant…but let’s be clear—the home of 4,000 future commissioned officers, a place that is steeped in historical significance, and one of the most important garrisons in America dating back to the Revolutionary War should never be confused with an “enemy camp.”  Mr. Matthews, given the choice of putting your fate in the hands of a West Point Cadet or a foreign terrorist, which “enemy” would you choose?  Like it or not, there is a difference between “good” and “evil” in this world…and we are the good guys.
The Only Thing More Dangerous than a Bad Decision is Indecision  
With all that said, if the President did consider his welcome a little cold, maybe he should better understand the crowd—and the subject matter—he was dealing with.  Looking out over a packed theater of well-mannered Cadets, I’m sure he felt a sense of awe in knowing that America’s best and brightest, assembled there in front of him, would go to the ends of the earth on his command.  
What he doesn’t understand, however, is that the crowd looking back up at him was not impressed.  When they see a man who commits to send troops—in many cases, those sitting there listening to him that night—to the most dangerous parts of the globe with only a timetable instead of a clear-cut plan for victory, they are not going to warmly embrace him.  After all, it’s their lives…not to mention the lives of the soldiers they’ll lead…on the line.
The Warrior Ethos cultivated at West Point is based on the premise of undeniable, unilateral victory.  A more comprehensive approach is not possible; a lesser-committed action leads to unnecessary death and failure.  Cadets don’t train to achieve mediocrity.  America’s leaders shouldn’t expect that mediocrity is an acceptable outcome.  We all know the difference…and we all know what we heard Tuesday night.
The sons and daughters of America deserve a better plan in Afghanistan.  Given the price already been paid—and all that is at stake—there truly is no substitute for victory.
Accountability Starts Today.
Dave
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