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Archive for September, 2009

I have been thinking from a leadership prospective about  the health care argument going on in Washington. I have had some ideas, posted a few articles on my blog over the summer, but until now, I have not been able to find an answer to the health care reform.  By the way, it is not what the policians in Washington are proposing!

In my travels throughout the nation, I have been blessed to meet several good citizens and leaders. One of them is Dave Hubbard, as well as his wife Melinda. If you recall Dave and Melinda took the dog Darlene that I rescued last year when I was travelling through Northern Georgia touring Civil War sites.  Since then, we have forged a friendship, and they and Darlene have been blessed with each other (See my post “Saving Darlene,” September 2008).

Dave Hubbard, former NFL Offensive Lineman, Minister and now a Fitness and Motivational Expert has just published a book that provides a blue print for America’s health care crisis, called Fat to Fit. Dave gets at the heart of what I have been trying to say, but have not found a way to say it-that health care reform as the politicians want to do it will make our own health (mental and physical) worse.  We must start with ourselves to reform our health care.

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On War #317: Keeping Our Infantry Alive William S. Lind 29 September 2009

The headline of the September 23 Washington Post read, “Less Peril for Civilians, but More for Troops.” The theme of the article was that restrictions General Stanley McChrystal has imposed on the use of supporting arms in Afghanistan, with the objective of reducing Afghan civilian casualties, have increased American casualties. The Post reported that since General McChrystal issued his directive on July 2, the number of Afghan civilians killed by coalition forces dropped to 19, from 151 for the same period last year. At the same time, U.S. troop deaths rose from 42 to 96. Not surprisingly, Congress is interested: the Post quotes Senator Susan Collins of Maine as saying, “I am troubled if we are putting our troops at greater risk in order to go to such extremes to avoid Afghan casualties.” Congress is unlikely to understand what General McChrystal knows very well, namely that firepower-intensive American tactics, especially heavy use of artillery and airstrikes, will lose us the war.

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William S. Lind, 22 September 2009

The Washington Post yesterday made available an unclassified version of General Stanley McChrystal’s long-awaited report on the war in Afghanistan. Politically, the report is bold, in that it acknowledges the enemy has the initiative and we have been fighting the war – for eight years – in counterproductive ways. But intellectually, both as analysis and as prescription, it is five pounds of substance in a 50 pound bag.

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I spent that last wonderful week at Fort Benning, The Warrior Infantry Conference, and also down at Fort Monroe.  It was a good week because I got to see a lot of old faces, meet some new ones, and continue to work with good people in pushing a new training doctrine on the Army, as well as use of a new teaching methodology.

So, over a few posts, I will discuss or review,

1. The Infantry Warrior Conference

2. The Confederate Naval Museum at Columbus GA, yes Columbus GA

3. America’s Fitness Coach Dave Hubbard as well as his new book

4. Moving forward with Outcomes Based Training and Education (OBT&E) and Adaptive Leader Methodology (ALM)

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The introduction by Chuck Spinney and article by David Michael Green get at what I say is the biggest crisis in our nation, lack of leaders with strength of character.  People who, based on well researched work, present workable and sometimes tough, solutions to our problems. These are people who are willing to sacrifice society’s definition of success: money, power and things in pursuit of what they believe is right and will bring a greater good to the larger group. 

Many of the problems we have created anyway, and can, with strong leadership, fix, with sacrifices.

That is the problem, we don’t like “tough” [and smart], we say this style of leadership is to harsh (see our reactions to some sports stars acting human-I wish the President would take lessons from Sarena Williams the tennis star (who in my opinion is competitive as was only acting human once and a while), and treat the assholes to protect special interests for their own self gain the same way).  Now the asshole that jumped up on stage, to take from the young singer who won the video award, that is typical self serving America I see today; but he will still sell millions of CDs.

Sacrifice, is fun to talk about in essays and applaud when the President talks about it, but it is no fun when it has to involve “me.” Why should I have to cut back on my RIGHT to drive anywhere I want, or have to take public transportation! And go on and on…watch my health, my weight, not me, I am American, I have to right to do what I want, all that talk about civic duty, what is that?

I agree with both assessments completely. As Dr. Green says at the end of his piece,

“What’s really wrong is the near total absence of prominent political figures willing to sacrifice much of anything to protect their country from these depredations.”

Do I think our nation can be salvaged, returned to the values outlined by the Constitution? Yes, I still have faith, but it is going to take a serious mental adjustment by every citizen to start looking beyond their credit cards and own selfish desires, at least enough set the standard and pull the rest up.

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William S. Lind
9 September 2009

An article in the August 28 New York Times described a recent epiphany on the part of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. It seems that Admiral Mullen now “gets” a point Fourth Generation war theorists have made for years, namely that Information Operations are less what you say that what you do. The Times reported that

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has written a searing critique of government efforts at “strategic communications” with the Muslim world, saying that no amount of public relations will establish credibility if American behavior overseas is perceived as arrogant, uncaring or insulting…

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McGovern makes a simple logical point … Congress should have a simple up or down vote on Medicare for all. It would would smoke every politician out on the single payer issue, and it might (very low probability) even end up being a way of cutting the Gordian Knot.

But, I am only a stupid redneck. Fuck, no, I just “commit the truth” that is my problem. We don’t want truth tellers in our nation anymore. Now, I know why I am not considered successful, I don’t make a lot of money, and don’t make people feel comfortable by telling them the truth (backed by hard research and harder to do recommendations).

Now, McGovern’s idea is very good, simple but good.

It’s Simple: Medicare for All By George S. McGovern Washington Post Sunday, September 13, 2009 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/11/AR2009091102406_pf.html

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