The Other Epidemic

Another week and we find more signs of incompetence destroying confidence in our institutions. Indeed many of our institutions are crumbling. A group of mounted border patrol agents just doing their job of turning back Haitians illegally entering the U.S. found themselves vilified and suspended. The president, vice-president, and the DHS secretary all have accused them of abusing the lawbreakers. The president promised, “they will pay.” Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer tweeted, “The images of inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants by Border Patrol—including the use of whips—are unacceptable.” Arizona Republic columnist Greg Moore went so far as to say, “Haitians flee a disaster-stricken island for the promise of stability in Texas, but they’re attacked by white men on horseback like slaves who don’t know their place.”

Of course, these agents never did whip anybody. They never had whips. Most of the Haitians came from South America and hadn’t been in Haiti for a decade. Hispanics, not whites, are the largest ethnic group in the Border Patrol, and likely, the horse patrols reflect this composition. An ugly rush to judgment that can only cast the Border Patrol in an unflattering light. Just how were they supposed to stop people from illegally entering our country?

Forgotten are the lessons of the similar Nick Sandmann circus. Pictures can appear to show one thing when the opposite is true, especially when it fits your political narrative. Blasted for harassing a Native American, it turned out high school student Sandmann was entirely innocent. Several news organizations reluctantly contributed to young Nick’s financial future. 

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Icy Joe

When Biden took office and rescinded Trump’s border controls, tens of thousands sought entry across our southern border. The new Administration did little to stem the tide. Dead bodies in the desert and abandoned little children only elicited efforts to move the multitudes out of sight. The left hailed Biden as enlightened. Fifteen thousand migrants are setting up an improvised city under a bridge connecting Mexico to the U.S. Unvaccinated, with no food or water and little sanitation, it’s the definition of squalor. No one in the Administration is available for comment. How cold is this?

Tens of thousands of abandoned people, the U.S. is honor-bound to get out of Afghanistan still left under the Taliban’s rule. Some of them turning up beaten or dead. With no plan to get them out, the Administration is busy congratulating themselves for retrieving others. Again, their view is cold. 

Why aren’t people more worked up over these horrors? Sometimes things are so bad it’s hard for people to comprehend. An earthquake killing thousands gets less attention than ten trapped miners. We relate in human terms.

Thousands died of Covid in New York nursing homes. Still, it wasn’t until a Fox news weather person asked how her elderly in-laws died that an incoherent policy of returning infected people to the homes became widely known. Putting a human face on the problem made all the difference.

The Biden administration’s capping the number of monoclonal antibody treatments given to certain red states could backfire the same way then-Governor Cuomo’s putting the infected in nursing home policy ruined his image.

Many people are still unaware of the Monoclonal Antibody Treatment, so a little background is in order. In my 12/21/20 post “Are We Doing Enough to save Lives?,” I wrote of my shock finding this life-saving treatment was little used, despite President Trump’s rapid recovery from Covid. Unused, the antibody treatment stockpiles grew.

It wasn’t till this summer’s Delta Covid variant spreading rapidly Florida Governor Ron DeSantis noted infections among older or compromised vaccinated people. It appeared the vaccine protection waned for these groups. Added to the unvaccinated,,he had a crisis. 

Gov. DeSantis, to my mind, is one of the few elected officials who has followed the actual science of the pandemic. Early on, he made every effort to protect those at most risk. Help and vaccines went to those first. People at less risk were allowed to return to everyday life. Florida boomed. Kids are in school. 

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The Next Big Error and the Next

The 20th anniversary of 9/11 brings forth a wealth of speakers. The sadness of the occasion is relieved by tales of heroism. Maybe it’s just me, but two of the speakers were of place. It wasn’t because of the positions they occupied. The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are fixtures at these events. It just struck me the two people presently occupying these posts didn’t belong where we honored courage. In their younger days, Sec. Llyod Austin and Chairman Mark Milley wore the uniform of our armed forces with distinction. But that was then. Their character hasn’t aged well.

With our possible involvement in World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt took the bold step of appointing a junior officer Chief of staff over many senior Generals. Roosevelt realized in peacetime; military men owe their rise to top positions more to political connections than to being warriors. With war on the horizon, we needed warriors, not soft politicians.

Marshall, in turn, cashiered 600 officers, clearing the way for the likes of the then colonels Eisenhower, Bradley, Patton, and many others to lead us to victory. When asked why he dumped “the brains” of the Army, Marshall said, “I was eliminating considerable arteriosclerosis.” I fear Austin and Milley are no longer fighters. People shouldn’t stay past their expiration date. Not when they forget who and what they represent for political considerations.

How else can you explain their actions or lack thereof in the Afghan pullout? The lowest second lieutenant knows better than agree to a plan where the military leaves before the civilians. No trained military person with a clear mind could okay Biden’s plan. Did our top military people agree to this dishonorable and stupid plan? If so, they need to leave in shame. They’ve stained the services they represent.

If they opposed this despicable plan, why didn’t we know their objections? Leaks to some news organizations cover your butt. It does nothing to stop a program that results in a significant loss.

It’s not that they weren’t aware of how to act honorably. Facing similar circumstances, Trump’s Sec. of Defense Jim Mattis loudly opposed troop pullouts in the Middle East and Afghanistan as he resigned. As I’ve pointed out, the fact that we still have troops in Syria shows that doing the right thing can change minds.

Goodness knows, Biden’s disastrous Afghan plan needed changing. The two might not agree with their President, but they failed in their duty to speak up even if it cost them. They’ve stained the services they represent. They need to leave in shame.

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The Biden Wall

Six planes containing US citizens and Afghan allies are sitting in an airport in Afghanistan, unable to take off. The State Department admitting at least 100 US citizens are stranded in the country, while Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) says it could be as many as 500. Over half of our Afghan friends we were supposed to get out are still trapped. Undoubtedly all the Sunday news programs would be exploding with questions of how this could happen. Newspaper Headlines demanding to know how we are getting these people out. 

Unfortunately, most media outlets had little or nothing to say on the subject. Most headlined a Supreme Court procedural vote rejecting a stay of implementing a new Texas abortion law. The court said there had to be an actual case before the court could act. It didn’t take up the merits of the case. Just saying it needed to follow a long-established procedure. The recent severe storms and wildfires also claimed a lot of space. Thousands of lives in Afghanistan, many US citizens, at-risk just weren’t that important.

On his program, George Stephanopoulos steered any conversation away from Afghanistan. Of the four Network weekly news shows, only Fox News Sunday devoted any real-time to the peril of those trapped. One of the greatest disasters in our history, and somehow it’s yesterday’s news. What’s going on? Where are the journalists?

David Ignatius is one of the Washington Post’s journalistic crown jewels. Not only a longtime columnist, but he’s also a senior editor. He’s the paper’s go-to guy on foreign affairs. So how do you excuse his recent column explaining away Biden’s Afghanistan debacle? This Harvard Summa Cum Laude graduate blindly accepts the General’s numbers for abandoning Bagram Airbase. Arguably the dumbest move in the whole fiasco.

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