Sunday, March 18, 2007

Support the Troops, Support the Mission...

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18 March 2007
Staunton, Virginia

It was a rally to show support not just for the Troops serving in the war on terrorism but to also show support for the mission that they\we are involved in. To show support in a mission that may have become “Unpopular” to many who do not understand what the “War on Terrorism” involves and that if it is not engaged in terrorist countries it will be engaged here in the United States.



The rally was started with a prayer for the safety of the Troops serving as well as complete success of their mission. The only sound during this time was horns blowing in the back ground by passing motorist showing their support...










Those in attendance then showed their respect to the flag of the United States with their Pledge of allegiance to the flags presented by this "Special Honor-Guard" ...




Numerous Veterans from prior wars were on hand to show their support for active duty military as well as support for the mission. These men have seen war and know of the importance of support from home...








Ssgt. Herb Harman was present and spoke about his recent year long duty served in downtown Baghdad fighting the war on terrorism. During this time his squad had the responsibility of protecting the Iraqi Prime minister and his men were proud to be center stage in the efforts to establish a free, democratic, government in Iraq. He also spoke of how the mission is not completed and the importance of completing this work in the region. He also told me that it is likely that he will be called back to duty in Iraq and that nobody “looks forward” to going back into battle, but he and his men understand the importance of completing the mission and “Look forward” to being part of that completion.

Rhonda Winfield read a letter that she had presented to Cindy Sheehan to those gathered to show their support to the troops and the military personnel lost in this conflict. It was a response to Sheehan’s anti-war protests and to let her know that “Cindy does not speak for all”…


Republican State Senate Candidate Scott Sayre spoke of his military service and the importance of supporting both the Troops and the mission. During his military service Sayre was responsible for the security of many high level military members and responding to the threats against them.



Numerous members of the local Augusta County "Patriot Guard" were in attendance to show their support for the rally and the Troops mission.





Chris over at “Spank That Donkey” has many impressive photos and comments about the rally at: http://spankthatdonkey.squarespace.com/spankthatdonkey2/2007/3/17/swac-gathering-of-eagles-part-1-making-it-happen.html#comment727687













19 comments:

zen said...

All of the accounts of the rally I've read have no mention of the huge number of new recruits for the war that were surely present. How many recruiters did you guys have there to handle the droves of excited new enlistees ready to show their support?
With all the enuthusiam for the war and recognition that we need complete this mission, there must have been quite a mass of people signing up to serve.
Tell us all about that.

RightsideVA said...

Recruiters from the Virginia Defense Force was in attendance and had a table with information.
One of the members addressed the audience and unfortunately it seems Brad Zinn, reporter for the Staunton NewsLeader, also failed to note these guys in his report and article. Sorry for the oversight...

I also believe the recruitment goals have been met the majority of the time and in fact re-enlistment by all military has been very high also. In fact I have talked with several military members who have re-enlisted and have told me about numerous servicemen who have re-enlisted while still in country or immediately upon return...

Do you have a large, long list of desertions that you would like to provide? Too bad you could not make the rally for I know of a Ssgt. that would have been glad to tell you about the re-enlistments...

zen said...

How do you feel about the lowering of standards being done to facilitate enlistment? The maximum age has been raised to above 40 years, the educational/intelligence requirements have been loosend, criminal records no longer disqualify people for service, of course the stop-loss program was instituted long ago, even now injured soldiers classified as "medically unfit" are being sent back into combat. This is the longest war without a draft being instituted. I'm just curious as to what your thoughts on all of this are.
Even though enlistment goals may be met, it seems because the military is becoming quite desperate. Do you think having felons in stressful combat situations are ideal when judgement is a premium?

Anonymous said...

Zen, give a reference for your information and take it to the local recruiters who will let you know your information is wrong. Enlistment is up, reenlistment is up, and it is a volunteer military. What time should we expect you at the recruiting station to offer your services to your country?

zen said...

The information which is the basis of my questions are well established. But here's what a quick sweep turned up. It's not in dispute.

I'm just asking what the pro-war perspective is about these facts? So far we have outright denial. I hope that isn't the only response.

Army expanding 'stop loss' order to keep soldiers from leaving

Army Raises Maximum Enlistment Age

The number of waivers granted to Army recruits with criminal backgrounds has grown about 65 percent in the last three years...The number of waivers for felony convictions also increased, to 11 percent of the 8,129 moral waivers granted in 2006, from 8 percent.

Army tops recruit goal by lowering standards
Lower test scores allowed, but high school diploma still required


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15197832/>The Army is ordering injured troops to go to Iraq
At Fort Benning, soldiers who were classified as medically unfit to fight are now being sent to war.

RightsideVA said...

Unfortunately standards have had to be lowered and it seems many forget about the substantial cuts to the military forces during the Clinton Administration. Maybe that is also how slick willie was able to "Claim" a surplus during his years.

Also probably has something to do with the Elite academia and their fight to prevent recruiters in schools and keeping their "Educated" students away from the opportunities provided by the services.

At least you did not use the "failed Policy" talking point like most of your crowd...

But if it is such a failed policy and hopeless war where are the massive desertions? Why would all these military members be re-enlisting if the war is such a fraud and waste?

zen said...

I knew it once again would fall to the "blame Clinton" excuse. But you also added the "elite academia" to the list of scapegoats. At least you don't deny the strain on the military outright.

Let's be very clear about a few points shall we? It was the Bush administration, Rumsfeld in particular, that advocated a "streamlined" military. One comprised of small, fast forces.

But whomever is responsible the truth exists that the military is under an enormous strain. Which makes us unable to properly send fully functional forces into action. Domestic forces are lacking as well.
So aside from the blaming and defending, I'd really like to know how you feel about our broken military. How do you suggest we fix it? How do we rebuild a military that is fully capable of responding to threats in the future? Surely you think raising taxes is off the table, what about a draft? What do leading Republican's propose (assuming they acknowledge the problem)?

Also, you mentioned the Virginia Defense Force had recruiters present. But why not recruiter for the war mission that you were also rallying to support?

f mcdonald said...

I think it is insulting to our Troops and their families (myself included) that Zen would be offended by a show of gratitude and support for them.

Your photos and report, Rightside are uplifting and I truly appreciate all that you and the good people in your community have done. Stand the storm!

spankthatdonkey said...

Zen:
You oh, so anonymous blogger..

The recruits you should be worried about are the non-recruits flocking to the anti-war -anti-America Movement you espouse.

You were soundly defeated in DC, and non existent at our rally! Your movement is the one that is in question....

zen said...

When have I ever said that I was offended that people would gather for something they believe in? Never. It ridiculous to insinuate as well that I have ever expressed that I offended by our troops. Making stuff up about me doesn't make it true.

Also, the rally as I understood them were a way to express opinions, not a competition. Expressing opinions is one of the many great freedoms that we still share in this nation. It only too bad that some would call the very essence of being American, as being somehow unpatriotic.

Again, is it too much to expect to have a discussion based on substance here? It seems the only responses to my very reasonable questions on important topics are attacks and allegations. Is that all you have?

RightsideVA said...

I was impressed by the way the Augusta County Coalition for Peace and Justice conducted a candle light vigil for the troops without the usual outrageous signs and props they have used in the past. No Grim Reaper in attendance as was in the past and a simple story presented by the NewsLeader.

Then I went over to the NewsVirginian where I found statements of usual attacks and un-true statements.

“They didn’t die for freedom. They died for George Bush,” she said. “Iraq wasn’t threatening our freedom.”

These are the statements that I have heard from the Coalition numerous times in the past during their protests. The person who made this statement is Veteren of flammable statements that she can't back up and becomes irrate when questioned on her statements...

Actually had a good feeling about a story coming out of the NewsLeader for once, only to be destroyed by the rest of the story being reported by another paper...

Would Recruiters for the military services have been appropriate at a rally like the one on Saturday?

What would have been the reaction and reports from the media if they were there?

What would the "Veteren" of the Augusta Coalition have said?

Josie said...

I have seen reports and calls to fight this war with diplomacy...

Who do we invite?

Are these the people who have dedicated themselves to killing the infidels?

What is the "Progressive" opinion of diplomacy and how would they do it?

There's your debate

zen said...

RS>> I agree with you about the tone of the Staunton vigil, and actually said something similar on the NL forums this morning.

As for having recruiters at a pro-troops/pro-war rally, that would seem to be very appropriate. Why not? It's essentially putting your money where your mouth is.

I cannot speak to what the media coverage would be. But personally I think that a recruitment rally is a tremendous way to support the cause. That's why I inquired about what arrangements were made for Saturday.
As I'm sure you are aware one cannot make excuses after the fact based on what you might be criticize for.

You still didn't seem to address the original questions. I'm really interested in how you feel about the strain on the military? Do you think it's sustainable? What do you think about the reduced readiness of our forces, hurting our ability to respond if needed?

To address the diplomacy issue. I think first we have to come to terms that we are in the midst of a civil war. Of course there are some disruptive elements. But by far the overwhelming violence is sectarian—shiite vs. sunni. So knowing this, we can find people to negotiate with.
Even Gen Petraeus has said that there is no military solution.

zen said...

I offer this interesting read on the topic:
http://tidewatermuse.blogspot.com/2007/03/state-of-american-military.html

Steve Harkonnen said...

I'd have liked to have been able to attend this rally in Staunton, but I was in DC for the day for the protest with the Gathering of Eagles there, amongst my fellow blogging friends, and a wonderful evening dinner and we immersed in deep discussion over the current affairs, and the future of western civilization as a whole.

Rightsideva, please contact me via email as soon as possible, there is something I must discuss with you.

RightsideVA said...

Zen,

Unfortunately I fear we have become weak in our military forces and that blame can be spread across both Political Partys...

As stated in your link:
"Four years after the invasion of Iraq, the high and growing demand for U.S. troops there and in Afghanistan has left ground forces in the United States short of the training, personnel and equipment that would be vital to fight a major ground conflict elsewhere, senior U.S. military and government officials acknowledge"

Yes the military has gone towards a more "Tech less Boots" strategy and that would probably work best with a large established army battle where there is a uniformed enemy to fight. Unfortunately I believe the World will be look at more "Terrorist" battles in the future as compared to uniform fighting as in the past...

We also need to use the weapons we have to get the job done when we have the opportunity. Bin Laden in the mountain tops of Afghanistan when we first went in after him? We had the perfect opportunity to take out the area with a small tactical Nuke but would that have been accepted?

As far as other potential problems in the future like Iran, Korea, China, and the likes? We need to be ready there also with the Navy, Airforce, Army equipment to do the job as well as the foot soldiers to go in also. We need to make sure we have the resources to do all of the tasks we maybe faced with in the future. The Federal government needs to focus it's energy on National security, Homeland security, and the ability to protect our allies. Our military forces offer and provide substantial training that is also used in the private sector once out of the military. We need to support and improve that as well as increasing the pay levels to military personnel across the board. But does the American people have the stomachs for that?

zen said...

How do we accomplish all of those lofty goals and still cut taxes?

RightsideVA said...

I believe that both the Federal and States governments need to re-focus and spend the money they have better. VA state budget has doubled in 10 year span and now Kaine wants more to spend. You telling me they can't gop back and find waste to cut? Look at the waste in the Federal government spending and there is no waste there?

We have dumped Trillions into education and spend the most of any government but yet our students score so low... Re-focus???

We have dumped Trillions into fighting poverty and yet it continues, on a different level,to be such a "Problem"? Just give the poor people the money wasted in government programs to deal with poverty and you would raise them out of poverty. That in fact would not work for just giving money will not encourage them to do for themselves that which they must do for themselves.... But look at the waste. Re-focus?

There is much more waste and programs we do not need the government to run or support. Cut these down and there will be plenty of money to increase\improve our military which is the Federal governments first job. Need to raise taxes after cutting out all the waste? I have no problem with that once you show us the waste that was cut and why we need more taxes.

USMCPOP said...

Thank you Patriots in Staunton for coming out! As the father of one of Virginia's fallen, I appreciate you supporting our troops and the mission.

I'm from Richmond and was in D.C. on the 17th for the Gathering of Eagles.