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Must Take Risks
to Avoid Danger

September 15, 2014

What is risk taking?  It’s simply any action that exposes you to possible loss or injury. You could lose your health, money, power, prestige, your life or you could endanger the lives of others.  But worse, failure to take responsible risks could endanger the lives and freedoms of a nation.  So why do some people try to avoid taking risks?  Fear!  After Pearl Harbor Franklin Roosevelt said “All we have to fear is fear itself.”

Taking risks requires leadership, discernment of the right courses of action, and accepting the consequences.  President Truman made the decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan.  It caused the death of many Japanese but saved an untold number of both American and Japanese lives. He understood leadership involves taking risks and he was not afraid to make decisions and let the chips fall where they may!

Fast forward to today.  We have the most powerful military in the world but this administration is hesitant to use it, and when it does, it hamstrings it.  The few boots we have on the ground in Iraq were ordered to only protect our embassies.  Guard duty is not what they trained for.

The President delays American involvement and seemingly, only when forced to do so by public opinion, does he take action (risks).  In the case of ISIS he took token steps.  Wednesday he touted the 150 air strikes in Iraq last month.  That is a “limited engagement” if you compare it to Vietnam where each month the U.S flew an average of 1,300 sorties.  He also announced a major escalation in the U.S. presence – sending 475 troops, who will not serve in a combat role.   His guiding theme is to “keep us from being drawn into another war;” not national security.    We don’t want another war either but we’re not afraid to defend America.

The Press calls the President’s approach “leading from behind.”  Some contend our lack of a solid foreign policy led to the vacuum which allowed ISIS to take over much of Iraq, the beheading American journalists, raping women, and killing hundreds of Christians who will not accept ISIS’s radical religious views.

Meanwhile the President sent conflicting messages -- we will “degrade and destroy” ISIS then explaining his goal of “shrinking” ISIS to a “manageable problem.”   Which was it – “degrade/destroy” them or “Manage the problem”?  Was he embarrassed to admit that ISIS is no longer a JV team?  Is he afraid to admit that perhaps he pulled troops out of Iraq too early causing the resulting vacuum?  Or is it that he wants to be seen as a President who got us out of war regardless of the consequences?  Don’t be fooled the U.S. is ISIS’s eventual target.

Unlike Roosevelt and Truman, the President seems to be unwilling to take bold actions in the foreign policy and national security arena. Iraq is not the only example.  Just look at the token steps he has taken in combating Russian aggression against the democratic government of Ukraine and his putting a hold on military aircraft sales to our ally, Israel. 

The United States foreign policy is in a shambles while he tells us he had no “strategy” to deal with it!  Meanwhile our military readiness is worse than before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Our enemies and allies understood and respected “Peace through Strength.”  They don’t understand, trust or rely upon “Leading from Behind.”  On Wednesday the President took a small step in the right direction but it’s still too little too late.  This weak response leaves the U.S., and our troops, in great danger. 

Bill, Mark and John