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GriffithCorpGriffithCorp subscriber Posts: 6
edited March 2009 in Veterans
The way we treat our veterans says volumes about our country. Yesterday at 1pm, I attended a conference call with the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Those who took part in the conference were, without a doubt, committed to helping veterans and their families.
Acting Director Stephen Dillard outlined where the new Administration was headed, and touched upon the efforts of the Bush Administration in the establishment of faith-based organizations. Under the leadership of former Director Darin Selnick, the effort to support our veterans was a cooperative, collective effort shared by faith-based and community organizations.
Still, we find our veterans homeless, out-of-work and struggling for health benefits. We are living in a country that talks about how proud we are of our men and women in uniform, while failing to put our words into effective action on their behalf.
Our men and women in uniform represent the ultimate in selfless sacrifice. They volunteer to serve and do so with pride and courage. Our country often takes them for granted, forgetting who is prepared and ready at a moments notice to defend our countrymen without distinction of political affiliation, religion, race, gender or creed.
The care of our veterans is a moral obligation of the American people. We can not expect the government or the Veteran`s Administration to do it all. We must do our part as well.
There is no doubt that we tend to get wrapped up in the events of the day. Whether our day races by with work, family or recreation, it is easy to put-off doing that which we know is our duty. We can always do something. Whether it is sending a card to a soldier serving overseas, simply thanking them for their service, or sending a care package. Whether we send an extra cellphone or calling card to a soldier so they can call home, or we volunteer some of our time at the local V.A. or a faith-based or community outreach to help a veteran...WE CAN DO SOMETHING. To paraphrase my dear friend and a true `Citizen Leader`, Darin Selnick, "We must do something for those who wrote a blank check for our liberty."
And do something, we must. God shed his grace on thee, but not without the sacrifice of millions of Americans who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Services.
There is always a veteran who we can thank or salute when we meet them. They are all around us and the opportunity always exists.
Let us remain sensible of our moral obligation to our veterans, as a nation and as Americans who are free. To our veterans and to those who continue to serve our nation, we salute your efforts, your sacrifice and your courage.
-Will Griffith, Chairman
  The Griffith Corporation


  • rfrobbyrfrobby subscriber Posts: 0
    Hello Will,
    I do not know you even a little but having just read your post I feel the need to reply. First, let`s get something straight right away. I have nothing but respect for ANY veteran who did his duty with honor. I also know that our wonderful politicians lies have killed thousands of our men and woman needlessly. "Blind faith" got 50,000 kids killed in Vietnam. So I really don`t think there is anything " moral" about war. It may at times be a necessary evil, but it is certainly not moral and to treat as such is an affront to human decency. If you had used the term righteous we could at least have pointed to Pearl Harbor and used it as an example of a rightious war. But when our leaders attack the wrong country based on lies the word moral does not jump out at most people. We either have the worst intelligence operatives in the world or there never was any WMD`s. Want to guess? So I will not hold the veterans in contempt but rather I will feel ashamed as an American that our lies got so many of them killed, not once( Vietnam) but twice( Iraq) and yes, I will respect them for doing what they were told  as enlisted men and woman, and I will do so because I choose to, NOT because of some twisted sense of morality.
    Bob Layte 
  • GriffithCorpGriffithCorp subscriber Posts: 6
    Dear Mr. Layte,
    The job of a soldier, especially that of a volunteer force, is to protect the interests of national security. We differ on our perception of what lies were told. We can disagree over the merits of our intervention in Iraq (of which I support and continue to support) and can even disagree on the moral obligations to go to war to protect liberty and the security of a nation.  The purpose of my post was in specific reference to our job as Americans to provide for our men and women in uniform.
    I appreciate your position, though I disagree. It is such dialogue that makes one take a step back and inventory their position closer. Your response is, indeed, thought provoking and not without merit.
    For whatever reasons we were given with regard to invading Iraq, and whether or not we should have toppled Saddam Hussein`s regime, will be debated as the history of this period is written.
    War is, indeed, a necessary tool. It was war that founded this country as an independent nation from Britain. It was a civil war that kept the union in place and it is war that continues to be used as both an evil and as a tool for a better future around the world.
    One would have to define weapons of mass destruction for me in this case. We witnessed thousands upon thousands of Kurds murdered through mustard gas and biological weapons. This is not mass destruction? We witnessed the brutality of a regime that threatened life and and prospect of liberty for an entire nation. Perhaps we should not have gone into Iraq. What then? If we had listened to the pleas and warnings prior to World War II, millions upon millions of Jews would have been spared the horrors of the holocaust ( which, the President of Iran continues to deny ever occured). Preemptive warfare and political action is a tool for a greater good. In the case of Iraq, they defied U.N. Resolutions and repeated warnings  from the Bush, Clinton and Bush Administrations.
    So Mr. Layte, while I appreciate your position and respect your response, I disagree with you about the moral merits of war. It has allowed our country, as well as those allies who have called for our assistance, to preserve liberty and freedom for future generations. If it were not for the military might of the United States, our European brothers and sisters  would being doing the goose-step today.
    With regard to our intelligence operatives, I would say mistakes have been made throughout history, but the record in the War against Terror stands on its own merits. We have not had another attack on our soil since 911. Thank God and the men and women who serve this nation.
    Vietnam, though the objectives were valid, failed because the Washington political elite refused to let the military commanders do their job. I am glad to see that President Barack Obama has a sense of history and has not repeated that mistake in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
    Again, thank you for your response and I salute you for standing by the courage of your convictions. While we may disagree, I appreciate the time you took to express your views.
    Will Griffith, Chairman
    The Griffith Corporation
  • rfrobbyrfrobby subscriber Posts: 0
    Hi Will, please call me Bob. Thank you for your response. While It is true that we disagree, I appreciate your willingness to support our right to do that. I suppose we could respectfully tear into this for quite some time but aside from one comment I will respond: fair enough. The one comment? I think it was pretty clear what Mr. Bush was referring to when he spoke of WMD`s and it was not the gassing of Kurds in the north.
    Bob Layte
  • GriffithCorpGriffithCorp subscriber Posts: 6
     Dear Bob:
    I would not presume to speak for former President Bush on the matters of the WMD`s. You have a valid point concerning what he may have meant by Weapons of Mass Destruction.
    What I would consider weapons of mass destruction were evident to me, long before President Bush became chief executive.
    President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Mrs. Albright and Mrs. Clinton have all agreed on the WMD perception I lean toward.
    Again, thank you for the dialogue on the matter.
    Will Griffith
  • rfrobbyrfrobby subscriber Posts: 0
    Hi again Will,
    You of course are entitled to your own interpretations, but the vast majority of people in the united States, and indeed the world, would consider WMD`s as ICBM`s capable of reaching the U.S. or any other country with a warhead capable of mass destruction. To imply that this is an ambigouis topic is really trying to disguise or not accept  the truth. Remember, Iraq was a country we had destroyed as a viable military threat only 10 years before under Bush Sr. They had difficulty landing a Scud outside thier own borders. Most  experts would tell you that it would be impossible to become a " world threat " in such a short time and with such heavy U.N. scrutiny. One of the reasons Colin Powell resigned was because he could go along with the deceptive practices of the Bush administration.
    Bob Layte
    rfrobby2/22/2009 12:31 PM
  • rfrobbyrfrobby subscriber Posts: 0
    Please excuse me Will. The sentence concerning Colin Powell should have read " could NOT go along with the deceptive practices of the Bush administration"
    Thank you,
    Bob Layte
  • GriffithCorpGriffithCorp subscriber Posts: 6
    Bob, my friend-in-debate:
    One thing I appreciate is healthy debate. You are correct in citing Colin Powell in the core of your position. However, biological weapons CAN reach the United States, as every national security expert has agreed (even Gen. Powell). The threat of biological and nuclear weapons, are a constant concern for our intelligence community. The fact that the delivery of those weapons may be unconventional does not diminish the threat. Airliners were used as WMD`s, and in dealing with the the terrorist mindset, nothing is off limits.
    After 911 we were dealing with terrorism in a new way. Al Qaeda verbally declared war on the United States, the Islamo-fascists got behind Bin Laden in his rhetoric and we had to face a new era where new tactics and a new kind of warfare was instituted. I did not intend to create a climate in my post where I excuse the mistakes made by the Bush Administration. What I do contend is that he did what no president successfully did with the terrorists before him (Republican or Democrat). He answered the battle cry and went on the offensive. History, indeed, will vindicate him for doing what every president who takes the oath is bound by constitutional law to do...support and defend the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. I have every confidence that our 44th President will deal with the war against terror, which includes state-sponsored terrorism, in a fashion that will keep us strong and unafraid.
    Barack Obama deserves the support of the American People, regardless of political affiliation, in matters of national security. Perhaps he will conduct the foreign policy of the nation in a manner that provides better security for the nation. Perhaps he will learn from the mistakes of the past to provide better tools for intelligence and our military. He has my faith and my prayers daily.
    Bob, I understand your position. I do. I also understand you to be a good American, perhaps disappointed by the mistakes and decisions of Washington, but an American who loves and cares for his country. In light of this, I appreciate our dialogue and I appreciate the fact that you remain steadfast to your beliefs and principles. This is more of what Washington needs.
    I believe semantics can often flood a debate such as this. I find myself as guilty as my opponent in a healthy debate.
    My original statement that the care of our veterans is a moral obligation remains unwavering, and on this I believe we can all agree.
    Will Griffith
  • rfrobbyrfrobby subscriber Posts: 0
    Hi again Will,
    The last thing Intended was anything confrontational. Just different takes, I suppose. My big issue is not with veterans and I agree whole heartedly we should support most of them( there have been a few embarrassment`s). My issue is why the Bush Adm. would not own up to the mistake of going to Iraq. All of our pretext has been proven unfounded. We belonged in Afghanistan looking for Bin Laden, we blew it. Why? There was no evidence suggesting that terrorism was being exported from Iraq.  There was plenty of evidence suggesting it came from the Taliban. In fact it is we, the United States that brought the terrorist to Iraq.They came from everywhere to fight Americans AFTER we attacked Iraq for reasons yet defined with plausable answers. Before we arrived Saddam ruled with an iron fist as most dictaters do, he would never tolerate a group such as Al Qaeida threaten his power. The fact is Hussien and Bin laden were sworn enemies. Mr. Bush had a sworn obligation to defend America, just as FDR did after Pearl Harbor. The only difference is that FDR attacked the right country.
    Bob Layte
  • GriffithCorpGriffithCorp subscriber Posts: 6
    Hello Bob:
    This would be really fun if we were on the golf course! I do not consider you confrontational at all, rather secure in your position and voicing it well.
    To be fair, we blew the Osama bin Laden factor under Clinton. Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson (USAF, ret.), who was in charge of carrying the nuclear football for President Clinton, has openly outlined how and why President Clinton was "unavailable" and missed a golden opportunity to take out Bin Laden long before September 11, 2001. Today, we know why the President was "unavailable". Regardless, there is plenty of blame to go around with regard to bin Laden.
    Afghanistan should have remained more centralized in the war on terror. It should have remained a primary focus and because mistakes were made the Taliban has reemerged in full bloom. But Iraq was a necessary military action as well.  George Herbert Walker Bush, William Jefferson Clinton and President Bush all agreed that Iraq posed a direct threat to the national security of the United States on a variety of levels.
    Israel has been and remains our primary ally in the Middle East. While Saudi Arabia is considered an ally, it is a reluctant relationship of diplomacy we utilize while remaining on guard. The geographical position of Iraq is unique. Because of this position and the unpredictable and erratic behavior of Saddam Hussein, he had to be removed. The primary threats in that region, in my opinion, are Iran and Syria.  Jordan remains an ally and Israel remains the focus of Imperial-theocratic agendas of men who declare that the Jewish state must be blown-off the map. From this position alone, the war in Iraq is justified in my opinion.
    Take into account the human rights atrocities committed by the Hussein regime and couple that with his warnings and statements to the United States, including the assassination plot of George H.W. Bush (which was met with airstrikes by President Clinton, to his credit), and the war has additional footing.
    Then, let us look at the evidence (also presented by the United Nations Security Council) concerning Iraq`s refusal to honor United Nations resolutions and regional treaties. Kuwait was only one example. Non-cooperation with U.N. inspectors was another. The mad man had to go! And go he did.
    While I believe an exit strategy is warranted and that it is long overdue for the Iraqi people to do the heavy lifting to keep their new found democracy, I believe that the Iraqi people are better off today, they are a young, struggling democracy and they have a future they would have otherwise not had due to the decision to intervene in Iraq.
    FDR was a brilliant President for a time of war. His relationship with Winston Churchill literally saved Britain and the United States from the domination of the Axis. 
    With regard to Hussein`s iron fist and whether or not he would tolerate an entity such as Al Qaeda, I agree. It was all about his power and his regime. We do know that Hussein used Al Qaeda and other Islamic fundamentalist splinter groups to plot the assassination of former President George H.W. Bush. So he used those factions when it suited him. Qadaffi is a similar dictator in the mold of Hussein. He has grown more cooperative since Hussein`s overthrow and execution.
    Whatever the case, exchanging this dialogue with you has been thought provoking and indeed worthwhile. I urge you to always remain steadfast in what you believe in your heart and continue to support the very best elements of our country. We are a diverse people with diverse and varied ideas. In the end, we are united in our love and passion for America, her history and the preservation of our liberty.
    With Best Wishes,
    Will Griffith
  • MattTurpinMattTurpin subscriber Posts: 22
    To get back to the core of the topic - the care of military veterans is lacking and getting worse day by day. I`m not a veteran myself, but my father retired from the Navy after 23 years getting about as high as an enlisted man can get. The benefits for military service get worse by the day. The health insurance provided isn`t as strong as the service you can get independently, and it should be stronger than any private service.
    Pensions are a dying idea, but military retirement isn`t half what it used to be. He retired while things weren`t half bad, but on keeping up with the times, a new recruit has nothing to look forward to in terms of future security.I think the promises of college education for military recruits needs to be expanded as well. I`ve been told by friends who recruited after high school that college funding isn`t quite as guaranteed as they often make it seem. It should be. These soldiers won`t be soldiers forever, and the better prepared they are for civilian life on retirement or discharge, the better for us all. Sending soldiers back to civilian life broke, with no higher education, and without the means to acquire one is no good for any of us.After all, every bureaucratic horror story from one soldier to a friend is one friend who will never enlist. Bad word of mouth is horrible for our future security. We need soldiers telling their friends about how great Uncle Sam treats them. That`s better marketing than any silly "army of one" campaign.Our country was founded on the idea that people who are willing to take big risks can reap big rewards. What bigger risk is there than dying in a war, being captured and tortured, and despite what the flags would tell you, probably forgotten. There`s no Rambo or Chuck Norris to rescue these POWs. The rewards need to be commensurate to the risks. The risks are astronomical. So should be the rewards. We can afford it. If we can afford to bailout financial morons from bankruptcy, we can afford to reward heroes.MattTurpin2/26/2009 8:16 PM
  • rfrobbyrfrobby subscriber Posts: 0
    Well said Will, Especially the " plenty of blame to go around" spot. Great discussion and I thank you.
    Best regards,
    Bob Layte
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