Yesterday I was notified that this blog, Maggie’s Notebook, is banned in Afghanistan on the computers soldiers use for “recreation.” As anyone reading here knows, I am an unwaivering supporter of our Troops. I have been very critical of Military leadership, from the perspective of a citizen sitting out here in the ether. I have been critical of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for baldly telling Congress he and the President will deploy U.S. Troops when they choose to do so, without Congressional oversight. I have criticized the Military handling of Nidal Hassan, the Ft. Hood shooter, and I, along with many others, am dismayed at our leader’s refusals to acknowledge Islamic jihad. I have told Sgt. Gary Stein’s story, and the stories of other Military, who say they will refuse to follow an unconstitutional order from the White House. I have recently advocated for bringing the troops home, because they are not allowed to fight a war, and I have been overtly suspicious of Afghan security forces. For this, I assume, I have been banned.
UPDATE 4-1-12: I wish this was an April Fools prank, but it’s not. I have some further information. My site has been blocked at the MWR (Morale Welfare Recreation). I believe our soldiers have Internet Cafes, in this instance known as MWR on the SPAWAR networks. I’m banned there which means no soldier can visit here.
Today I found a timely op-ed written by MSgt Tom O’Rourke (ret) The Integrity of the Soldier vs. the Duplicity of our Leaders. He talks specifically about Arlen Specter’s duplicity, his litany of dishonest political moves, and his 60th vote that put ObamaCare on the President’s desk for a signature. He speaks of the integrity of the Troops in the face of poor and misleading leadership. The banning of Maggie’s Notebook and the theme of the op-ed seem to go hand-in-hand.
I decided against asking the Military Advisor in Afghanistan who notified me of the banning, to take a screen shot of the no-access notice. That’s what bloggers do when we find China or Russia has banned our blogs. This time, I feel it will put him at risk to ask anything of him. His information said I was banned on SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command). He was unable to access my homepage. I did not know him before he contacted me. I had not visited his blog.
It’s a sad day when a small-time blogger, who passionately supports our Military and our Constitution, as I do, is blocked. I’m thinking The Daily Kos must be alive and well in Afghanistan.
While my heart warms every time I see a person in a military uniform and the American flag flying proudly, it is also turned cold by the daily fusillade of reports on the poor and misleading leadership, the trading of insults and the extreme lack of ethics provided by our elected officials of all political stripes.
We send our troops overseas with the best training, a hearty handshake and a promise to help their families, and while not a perfect system, it nonetheless functions well due to the caliber of the people we send and the American principles that they embrace.
However, when it comes to selecting our local, state and national leaders, we seem to be guided by a perverse logic of buying into selfishness (bringing home the bacon), racial or ethnic solidarity (he or she looks like me) or apathy (just don’t care – they are all the same). Is it any wonder that we now cascade toward a financial day of reckoning that promises intense pain for all and limits the hope of many young people?
To put his into a specific contrast I offer the lesson that Pennsylvanians (author included) learned when Senator Arlen Specter, who survived a primary challenge from Pat Toomey in 2004, ceded his integrity to his personal interests, switched political parties and became the 60th and deciding vote for the American Healthcare Act.
This action stands in deep contrast to the integrity, courage and professionalism of the vast majority of our deployed forces, who rise every day not knowing if a 155mm rocket will be launched at their camp, a sniper will take aim at them or more recently, a host nation traitor will bring them harm. In the face of this danger and the conflicting signals they see from their civilian leadership, we are indeed fortunate that they continue to perform at the tip of the spear and bring us honor!
I write this in tribute to SSG Christopher Kiernan, US Army KIA May 2007 – your ultimate sacrifice is my daily inspiration.MSGT (ret) Tom O’RourkeOIF 2006 and 2010New Jersey Air National GuardMcGuire AFB, NJ
Before her husband’s remains [Kiernan’s] arrived on Monday, Donna read an e-mail Chris sent her shortly before his death, titled “The past six months in Baghdad.” In it, he talked about the situation in Iraq and policies proposed by lawmakers. He slammed elected officials for passing a bill that provided a timeline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq./font color> He asked his wife to forward it to everyone they knew, but asked it not be passed on to members of the media because his words would be misconstrued…During training, the “gloves are off,” Donna said, but in battle the soldiers are held back and “must be proper while the cowardly so-called insurgents use their religious mosque to hide out and build weapon caches.”The insurgents are upgrading their weapons and experience,” she said. “They want to kill American soldiers.” She put responsibility on the Iraqi people, saying it is time for them to be held accountable for meeting deadlines set by the American government.