Thursday, April 28, 2011



Dave and all, in my view, the MCA is worthless. Even though Dave, you hold
the titular title of VP, it is as useless as tits on a boar hog (get Clyde
to explain that). I've been a member I think at least two or three times. If
you want to greet and eat, fine but these organizations never live up to
their stated goals or to what their potential is. Chaplains have a chance to
add their voice to maybe a cause but orgs like MCA end up doing mostly
nothing toward any sort of potential good.

We all, I think, are doing good pastoral work since retiring. I've become
involved with the UCSF Cancer Center and in writing, mainly blogs. And, I
know of your good work through 10 chaps. And, all of us, relatively
speaking, enjoyed the chaplaincy and did good work there too. The chaplaincy
was and is unique and is far superior in my view to civilian ministry. The
fact that chaplains have gotten little or no recognition or appreciation for
their hard work then and now is beside the point. We all in our waning years
have to do our own thing.

Because of my nature, I have two crusading causes. Getting out of
Afghanistan and Iraq and the restoration of the draft. Briefly my view of
our wars are they basically have been for nothing. We are not even going to
get cheap oil from Iraq. You can put any spin you want on it but like
Vietnam, wasn't worth a single life. Afghanistan is a "fast train to no
where." If we stay there a hundred years, we can do little. The generals in
particular bear blame for the idiocy of Afghanistan since we have a
president and congress who literally have no military experience and the
generals have way too much sway over decisions. And the SecDef is from Texas
A and M of all things. Here's reality: when Nixon was elected to his first
term on the promise of getting us out of Nam, there were around 17,000 young
American soldiers dead. Nixon lied. By the time he left, there were 58,000
or so who had paid the ultimate price.

On the draft. Until it is restored, presidents can keep sending us to war in
places like Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya because Americans are
uninvolved. Only 1% of Americans have any "skin in the game" in making any
kind of sacrifice and the vast majority of our soldiers come from
environments where they have limited options. They are good soldiers but we
don't have any children from families of doctors, lawyers or Indian Chiefs
in the military, at least as I have observed, read about or those who have
been profiled in various ways. On NBC the other night, a young fearless,
"Hurt Locker" soldier was profiled. By his own admission, he was rudderless,
an alcoholic father, drug addict brother and then he found the Army and was
rescued. Good for him and for us. The larger story, however, is that the
"hurt locker" soldier's background has bece more the rule than the exception
and this simply can't be a good thing overall.

Americans have become comfortable with other peoples' children fighting our
wars. My personal goal is to impact that and here's how I'm attempting to do
it. (I know your eyes are glazing over but this is the important part of
this "running off at the mouth," I'm doing).

And, I didn't come up with this idea but got it from one of the old guys I
hang out with. For the last couple of years, I have regularly been emailing
to the White House website with no response or at best, a "thank you for
your comments." My buddy who is bigtime Democratic donor, (owns pretty much
entire block called 52 Bush in San Fran, I think that is what it's called).
Good guy but erasable as all get out. I have to kick his ass with
regularity; he said, "want a response?" Send money. I sent a sizeable check
to the Democratic National Committee. (Not rich of course but have at this
stage of my life ended up with a fair amount of disposable income).
Immediate response. Sent another nice check. Has it made any difference?
The only thing I know is that I get replies with a promise literally that my
ideas are going to get a hearing. I plan to keep it up until or unless, I
think it doesn't make any difference. What I've rediscovered is that in
addition to money, there's a sense of fulfillment if you don't have anything
personally to gain from your causes. My observation has been that most
people who are financially involved in the political process have some
agenda, i. e., anti-abortion/gay marriage, etc. I don't, not even concerned
if 10 chaps like or not (don't want to come across as arrogant but I'm sure
this does. Is an RET concept if you guys remember. Don Davis and I took a
class at Albert Ellis Institute when we were in Career Course on RET
[Rational Emotive Therapy-now called by other names]. Whatever happened to
Don? Super guy, Presby if I remember correctly); but, for me, have to be
resolute in my convictions. But, come the presidential campaign, if I don't
hear some of my ideas, I'll head off in another direction. Amen and power in
the blood. {{{{{Jerry}}}}}

Jerry's comments are [presently] true, that is why the whole
organization needs some new blood; someone like Jerry and the 10 chaps who
will, for the most part, tell it like it is. One or two people can't do it,
however, several could make an impact. I believe that MCA has potential, but
as is, it simply slides along, not doing a whole lot, ---showing up at
formal occasions, glad handing, giving an invocation, etc. MCA has a chair
with the committee/group (Forget what they call it) that meets with
congressional people (big rollers), however, my sense is that their
participation is very limited. If there were an aggressive visionary type
person that represented MCA at that meeting; waved the Corps flag,
represented the troops,spoke to the issues, etc., MCA would have a positive
impact. MCA also has the potential of serving as an advisor to the Chiefs.
It would take some work but the potential is there.Chiefs could learn a
whole lot from retirees.For Example, (ref. para. 3 & 4) MCA should/could
pass a resolution concerning the draft. (I can already hear it on the
"News", MCA, retired Chaplains recommend the reinstitution of the
Draft.:):). Leadership (congress/Generals, Chiefs, etc. should hear a
statement like para. 5. Another reason I believe MCA's [reality] Voice is
needed is because most active duty & Reserve Component are locked into
saying what is politically correct...The prophetic voice is rarely heard.
That is not a criticism, but I think it is reality...SOOOOOO HERE IS THE
Jerry is right, however, there is potential

10 chaps.: This is a draft of what I am going to send to the Executive Director of MCA. They will be meeting next Monday prior to the conference which begins on Tuesday. My goal is to get it discussed by the Board and then to put in on the floor during the General Membership meeting which will be conducted on Thursday.

I move that MCA recommend through a resolution the reinstitution of the draft.


1) Americans, for the most part are uninvolved in the activities of the Military, to include our “wars”. Only 1% of Americans have any "skin in the game" in making any kind of sacrifice. The vast majority of our soldiers come from environments where they have limited options. They are good “troops”, in fact, excellent. However, as I have observed and read about those who have been profiled in various ways, we have very few children from families of doctors, lawyers, congressmen/women, mayors, professors, Indian Chiefs, and on-and-on. In fact, on a recent NBC profile, a young and fearless, "Hurt Locker" soldier was profiled. By his own admission, he was rudderless, an alcoholic father, drug addict brother. He found the Army and was rescued. That is great!. Good for him and for us. The larger story, however, is that the "hurt locker" soldier's background has become more the rule than the exception and this simply can't be a good thing overall. It is not good for the services, or society. Clauswitz has a lot to say about the importance of getting society and the majority of the population involved in the nations wars. In fact, as I recall from War College Days, he said, don’t go to war unless you have the nation’s support. We are fighting 3 wars, and they hardly get noticed by most people in our nation. In fact, the largest percentage of Americans have become comfortable with other peoples' children fighting our wars….with only 1% of our country involved in the sacrifices of three (3) wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya), plus US “Troops” assisting in keeping the peace throughout the world, most US citizens have very limited understanding and awareness of the service members mission, needs, and sacrifice. Consequently, support is limited at best. We have an “all volunteer military” which is successful in terms of keeping the ranks filled but a dismal failure in terms of shared sacrifice. When Nobel prize winner, Mort Friedman, and then, Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird, teamed up to get rid of the draft and initiate the All Volunteer Force, I am confident that they could not possibly have conceived the eventual shared national sacrifice, lack of support for service members and their families, the significant increase in the breakdown of military families due to an inordinate number of “hardship” tours, the increased suicide rate among service members—--to name a few. In summary, the impact of the All Volunteer Force has been no real shared national sacrifice while service member commitments consistently increase.

2) Serving in the military, or serving the nation, has many positive returns.

a. Patriotism

b. Sense of pride in the nation.

c. Sense of appreciation for the nation. (It is mighty rare that you meet a former service member who isn’t thankful for the privilege he/she had to serve, and for the nation. )

d. Leadership abilities are immeasurably enhanced and refined.

e. Positive Personality traits among military members are enhanced.

f. Sense of ownership toward and for the nation comes about as a result of making a small , sometimes large, sacrifice.

3) Negative aspects of the All Volunteer Force.

a. Over commitment. The commitment and demands exceed the ability of a small military force

b. Increase in breakdown of military families

c. Increase in the number of suicides among military personnel

d. Increase in the number of military personnel suffering from Post-War Traumatic Stress

e. Very little shared national sacrifice, and support.

4) This is a great opportunity for MCA to be on the cutting edge of national policy, a policy that is so very much needed.

Dave, this is terrific. I would not change a thing. There are a couple of repeats but I would leave them in as reinforcement. If MCA had any insight, they could see how this might make a real difference. And, for those who are savvy to the media, the possibilities are endless and could really pull MCA out from being mostly useless to a prominent player on the national scene. Chaplains need a venue. We don't need a theological one but a nation building one because of our value system. The opposition will be enormous but better for all to fight. Politicians for one thing have done nothing along this line, even if they wanted too because they have feared a backlash. To me, it is stupid as those who would be effected don't vote. Regardless of what happened, MCA could be out ahead. I doubt there's much chance now but for the future who knows. As a last thing, the 10 chaps need to come on board. Great job.

I am skeptical that MCA will have the will to agressively pursue such an agenda. That said, what you have proposed, Dave, gives them an opportunity to show their metal. I am afraid Jerry is right. We will see. Bernie.

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