Tuesday, June 24, 2014


We Virginians LOVE Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and, short of you Marylanders changing your laws so he can have a third term, the best thing for Virginia is that you elect O’Malley’s hand chosen successor and present understudy Anthony Brown (not to be confused with Anthony Soprano although both are intent on getting their hands on your hard earned cash) as your next Governor!


Under the O’Malley-Brown Team and his liberal Democrat fellow-travelers, Maryland has acquired a well earned reputation as a state that is so extremely unfriendly to business and job creators that they are fleeing in record numbers.  Virginians are confident that Anthony Brown will continue the current anti-business crusade that has allowed your neighbor to the south to flourish while Maryland has been hemorrhaging businesses, jobs and even taxpayers in record numbers.  As a result of additional taxes and fees stemming from 40 separate O’Malley-Brown increases, wealthy Marylanders are fleeing the state faster than the state can drain their bank accounts!


The well respected CNBC business network scored and ranked all 50 states using the “51 Measures of Competitiveness” developed with input from business groups including the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness. States received points based on their rankings in each metric. Then, they separated those metrics into ten broad categories, weighting the categories based on how frequently they are cited in state economic development marketing materials. That way, their study ranked the states based on the criteria they use to sell themselves.   The entire 50 state ranking is appended at the bottom of this entry but here is a snap shot of how Maryland and Virginia compare.  I would note that Maryland, at #40, did beat out #41 Mississippi by “a smidgen” while Virginia came in a strong #5!

Overall Rank
Cost of Doing Business
Quality of Life
Technology & Innovation
Business Friendliness
Cost of Living
Access to Capital

To reinforce that the CNN ranking was not an aberration, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation ranked Maryland even lower at #41 in the nation for business climate.  Today Maryland's unemployment rate is 75% higher than when the recession began and the main cause is it costs too much for job creators to stay in let alone come to Maryland. According to data released on 20 Jun 14, by the U.S. Department of Labor, Maryland shed 1,300 jobs in May 14 in both the public and private sectors and the unemployment rate jumped to 5.6 percent.  By contract, Virginia’s unemployment rate is a full half percent lower at 5.1%.  Hence, that sucking noise you Marylanders hear all the time is jobs and businesses fleeing your state!  Within the past couple of years Maryland lost out to Virginia when Northrop Grumman, SAIC and CSC all relocated their headquarters from your clone state, California, and after looking at Maryland they all decided Virginia was a much more business friendly location.  

According the Washington Post's Washington Technology publication, of the 100 largest Government Contractors, 41 are headquartered in Virginia and just 5 are in Maryland; only one is in DC.  Of the Top 20, 11 are in Virginia and only one in Maryland.  Given over two-thirds of the Nations Capital is surrounded by Maryland, business climate and not proximity is the reason for Maryland's dismal performance.  And the main factor driving businesses (and Marylanders) away from your state can be summed up in one word – TAXES!


The O’Malley-Brown administration has levied 40 consecutive taxes on Marylanders in their term in office.  From increases in sales and income taxes, to regressive taxes such as the gas tax and rain tax, Marylanders are paying more for just about everything than they were seven years ago. These taxes have taken $9.5 billion from Maryland’s economy and are projected to cost $20 billion by 2018.  Maryland is now one of the highest taxed states in the country and the O’Malley-Brown Team has been innovative in dreaming up new ones – Maryland is the ONLY State that taxes citizens for the rain that falls on their property!


Over 31,000 Marylanders have voted with their feet since 2007.  As a result of the O’Malley-Brown historic tax increases, those 31,000 Marylanders that left the state took $1.7 billion yearly out of Maryland’s economy and took it to the more tax-friendly states, such as Virginia and North Carolina.  Along with those 31,000 taxpayers, Maryland lost over 6,500 small businesses, the worst in the region, thus showing the state’s inability to support business, produce jobs and maintain its tax base is eroding. The state has lost 10 of its 13 Fortune 500 companies.  This is a sharp contrast to 24 large corporate headquarters in Virginia.  In a recent pole, almost half of All Marylanders said they would leave the state if they could.

The Good News for Virginia is, with leaders like the O’Malley-Brown Team in Annapolis, we don’t need to worry about competition from our neighbors to the North.  We Virginians LOVE the O’Malley-Brown Team and many of us even contributed funds to their elections because they are the best thing that's happened to the Virginia economy in years.  Their anti-business policies are directly responsible for driving down our unemployment rate to the lowest on the Atlantic seaboard and now with their other harebrained initiatives like their off-shore wind turbine fiasco Virginia will do even better.  Their wind turbine fiasco, which locks Maryland taxpayers into paying for a 20 year binding contract to buy uneconomically feasible electricity from a bunch of their political cronies, will accelerate the loss of the few manufacturing jobs left in the State!.  Already electricity in Maryland averages 12 cents/kW hr while it’s only 8 cents across the river in Virginia but off shore wind will drive it up to 18 cents/kW Hr in Maryland.  Although the O’Malley-Brown Team only “intends” to tack on $1.50 for residential and 1.5% onto industrial monthly power bills, the rest of the costs will just be paid by other taxes such as your new 9% State Income Tax (on top of 35% Federal), increased sales tax and your new 24 cent/gal gas tax.  Don't forget your new "flush tax!"  Marylanders can't even take a crap without being taxed!

So PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE Marylanders, Elect Anthony Brown as your next Governor so Virginia can continue to grown and prosper.  My only advice to you is, in your haste to flee the State is don’t forget to leave someone behind to turn out the lights.

And here is the side-by-side Maryland-Virginia comparison recently published in the Washington-Post and below it are some other observations about how the two states stack up.

Here are some observations -- More are coming:

  • Virginians have 2.7 Times more Registered Firearms yet Marylanders are 2.5 times more likely to become a victim of violent crime!
  • Maryland has 30% more Lawyers by population - guess that's to service all the additional criminals Maryland has than Virginia.
  • Maryland teachers' salaries are 8th highest in the nation and 20% more than Virginia teachers (tied for 32nd) and Maryland is 9th in the nation in per pupil spending at $14,616 while Virginia is 20th spending $11,192 yet Marylanders SAT scores are 30 points lower than Virginia students.  Also, Maryland does NOT even meet the requirements of the Individual & Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) "guaranteeing students a free and appropriate education" while Virginia had no problem satisfying the law.

Completely CNBC State Rankings for Business Competitive.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why Does the Liberal Press Continue to Lie About General Eric Shinseki’s Tenure as Army Chief of Staff?

Isn’t It About Time the Liberal Press Puts to Bed the Myth that General Eric Shinseki Was Fired as Army Chief of Staff and Cashiered Out of the Army for Confronting Defense Secretary Rumsfeld Over Post Invasion Troops Levels that would be Required in Iraq?

Since the day in December 2008 that President-elect Obama announced retired Army General Eric Shinseki to be his nominee to be the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Liberal Press with NPR in the vanguard has advanced the myth that the General had been fired from his job as Army Chief of Staff by then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and “cashiered” out of the Service for disagreeing with him over the number of troops required to stabilize Iraq after the invasion – when NOTHING could be further from the truth.  Although this false narrative might have enhanced the General’s bona fides with Liberal Democrats, NPR's natural constituency, it does not comport with the facts.

FACT:  General Shinseki served as Army Chief of Staff for every minute of his entire four year tour.  To be completely accurate, he served two terms as a term is two years but with few exceptions Army CSAs serve two terms.  He did not leave one minute early and even he has repeatedly stated this.

This week as VA Secretary Shinseki was actually being cashiered by President Obama, NPR continued to perpetuated the Rumsfeld firing myth and I heard several NPR commentators describe the General’s Pentagon departure as “being fired,” “cashiered,” and “removed from his job.”  Here are just a couple of examples:

On 30 May NPR Morning Edition Steve Inskeep: Can I just mention briefly, this is a difficult thing for a Democratic President to do because Shinseki as a general became a hero to many Democrats. He was a serving general who was perceived anyway as having lost his job because he spoke forthrightly about the pending cost of the Iraq war that was on the way at the time

On 30 May All Things Considered Quil Lawrence: That contradicted the George W. Bush administration's plans of a quick invasion with a much smaller force. His candor effectively ended a 38 year Army career, which included two combat tours in Vietnam, two Purple Hearts - one from the landmine that caused most of Shinseki his foot.

And now the Real Story:
I’ve known General Eric Shinseki since we were Fort Leavenworth CGSC Classmates back in 1978, and back in 2008 I blogged the truth when NPR and even the Washington Post tried to enhance his reputation among Liberals by broadcasting these outright falsehoods about his tenure as Army Chief – a post he served in until the last minute of his term and from which he was NOT Fired.

The best explanation of GEN Shinseki “relationship” with then Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his now-famous February 2003 Senate Armed Services Committee testimony was contained in an 8 Dec 2008 article by Jamie McIntyre, the CNN Senior Pentagon Correspondent.  In that article, Mr. McIntyre made the following points:

Shinseki told the Senate Armed Services Committee a month before the invasion that something on the order "several hundred thousand troops" would be necessary to keep order in a post-invasion Iraq…. Still, Shinseki wasn't advocating 300,000 troops be dispatched into Iraq… he said specifically that the forces mobilized in the region to that point were probably enough, and he made it clear he would have defer to the combatant commander, Gen. Tommy Franks…."I would have to rely on combatant commanders' exact requirements," he said…. pressed by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, to make an off-the-cuff guesstimate, Shinseki said "it would take a significant ground force." …. At the time, that observation drew loud scoffs from then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and from his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, who dismissed the prediction as "wildly off the mark."

Since that day, critics of the war have lauded Shinseki's prescience and his willingness to speak truth to power….   It's an appealing narrative, but the facts as we know them are not nearly so complimentary to the retired Army chief…. Shinseki never made any recommendation for more troops for Iraq…. According to senior military officers who were in the pre-war meetings, Shinseki never objected to the war plans, and he didn't press for any changes…. When the joint chiefs were asked point-blank by then-Chairman Gen. Richard Meyers if they had any concerns about the plans before they went to the president, Shinseki kept silent.

…. Washington myths like the popular misconception that Shinseki was fired for standing up to Rumsfeld…. is so pervasive the authoritative Associated Pres repeated it …  saying "Shinseki was removed from [his] post after challenging the Bush administration." ….  He did not stand up to Rumsfeld, nor was he fired.

There's no question that Shinseki was on the outs with his civilian bosses, especially Rumsfeld.

He retired after serving a full four years as chief at a ceremony in 2003 that neither Rumsfeld nor Wolfowitz attended.

To be fair, NPR and the Washington Post were not the only Liberal news outlets that perpetuated the Shinseki firing myth.  As usual, NBC in general and Tom Brokaw in particular fell right in line and on Meet the Press on 7 December 2008, when President-elect Obama made the following announcement: "I'm going to be making announcement tomorrow about the head of our Veterans Administration, General Eric Shinseki" -- BROKAW made the following comment: "He's the man who lost his job in the Bush Administration because he said we will need more troops in Iraq than Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld thought we would need at that time."

For the record, GEN Shinseki stepped up from Vice Chief to become the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) in June 1999 and served his entire COMPLETE four year term until June 2003. Characterizing this as "losing his job" is par for the course for "history revisionists" like Brokaw and NPR.

What is true is the General was treated very shabbily by Rumsfeld after his prophetic but controversial testimony with his replacement being identified earlier than usual and Rumsfeld not attending his retirement -- All inexcusable. As a retired 30-year Army Officer and CGSC Shinseki Classmate, I like most Soldiers was no Rumsfeld fan, but even GEN Shinseki has corrected interviewers when they mistakenly mention he was dismissed early.

I would also mention that GEN Shinseki did not counsel NOT to go into Iraq, only correctly that we needed more troops to maintain order after that government was toppled.

Isn’t it about time the Liberal Press put that "firing" myth to bed?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

NPR’s Counter-terrorism "Expert" Reviews Richard Clarke’s new book “Sting of the Drones” and Reinforces NPR’s Ignorance of All Things National Security Related!

In the Sunday, 25 May 2014 Washington Post I had the “pleasure” of reading the book review of Richard Clarke’s new book Sting of the Drones reviewed by Dina Temple-Raston, NPR’s counter-terrorism correspondent who cites as her bona fides: “spending decades covering terrorism” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/book-review-sting-of-the-drone-by-richard-a-clarke/2014/05/23/83302ec8-d487-11e3-95d3-3bcd77cd4e11_story.html).

I believe this passage in the review tells you all you need to know about Dina and NPR’s knowledge of drones, counter-terrorism, and National Security in general: “the fictitious Creech Air Force base outside Las Vegas, where the drone pilots are based ….” This just reinforces the fact that using “NPR” and “Counter-terrorism expert” in the same sentence yields an oxymoron. I suspect the 3000+ service members stationed at the 2300 acre Creech AFB in Indian Springs, NV, would be surprised to learn they work at a “fictitious” base.

The fact that Dina doesn’t know about the existence of the base that hosts the 432d Air Expeditionary Wing, comprised of 2 groups with 6 Operational Squadrons and 3 Maintenance Squadrons of Unmanned Areal Vehicles (or drones) that fly both MQ-9 Reapers and MQ-1 Predators, is breathtaking. Not only is the base the home of the Joint Unmanned Aerial Systems Center of Excellence but it’s the location where UAV pilots and aircrews are trained and is even the location from which pilots coordination, direct and conduct combat sorties halfway across the world.

So much for establishing Dina’s (and NPR's) “terrorism bona fides!”

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Washington Post Again Awards President Obama Four Pinocchios, Its Highest Accolades for Lying, for his Incredibly Preposterous Statement About Republican Filibusters.

This morning the Washington Post Fact-Checker Glenn Kessler busted President Obama (again) for playing fast and loose with the truth for his “false facts on Republicans’ filibusters.” This is the statement that earned Obama Glenn’s highest award for lying, the coveted Four Pinocchios:

“Here’s what’s more disconcerting. Their [Republicans’] willingness to say ‘no’ to everything — the fact that since 2007 they have filibustered about 500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class just gives you a sense of how opposed they are to any progress — has actually led to an increase in cynicism and discouragement among the people who were counting on us to fight for them.”

—President Obama, remarks at a DCCC dinner, May 7, 2014

This past week the President was in Los Angeles addressing a fund raiser of the only collection of idiots dumb enough to believe his ravings, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, where he made this claim so ridiculous that it had even some of the Hollywood crowd attending this dinner chocking on their rubber chicken: “Senate Republicans have filibustered 500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class.”

Even the Washington Post (WaPo), certainly no bastion of Conservative thinking, couldn’t believe the president’s claim made any sense, no matter how he worked the numbers.

The WaPo went on to lay out these facts:

For the slow witted Democrats they began by providing the universally accepted definitions of filibuster and cloture: “A filibuster is an extended debate that delays a vote on a pending matter, while cloture is the device to end debate. Filibusters are used by opponents of a nominee or legislation, while cloture is filed by supporters.”

The WaPo pointed out that since 2007 (while Senator Obama was still a Senator I might add), there have been 527 cloture motions filed which is probably where Obama got his “about 500” figure but most of those cloture motions were dropped, never voted on, or in senatorial vernacular “vitiated.” To support his lie, Obama counted every cloture motion as a filibuster but in fact since 2007, there have only been just 133 successful filibusters where a final vote could not take place. Even this 133 number is misleading because Obama referred to “legislation” in his 7 May statement while most of these cloture motions involved judicial and executive branch nominations. In the 113th Congress, 83 of the 136 cloture motions so far have involved nominations, not legislation. Even Obama would be hard pressed to explain how any of these confirmation cloture votes were aimed at “legislation that would help the middle class.”

Another major flaw in Obama’s “500 pieces of legislation” calculation is the same bill can be subject to as many as three cloture motions, further inflating his numbers. On a single bill there could be cloture on the bill, cloture on a substitute bill (when a lawmakers is using an unrelated bill as a vehicle for passage), and cloture on the underlying bill -- all these votes taking place close together – but for Obama that would be three filibusters. So far in the 113th Congress, 36 pieces of legislation were subject to a cloture motion — and 12 actually were filibustered. That isn’t even close to the 136 that Obama counts to get to his 500 number.

Obama also includes at least a half-dozen times when Democrats used a filibuster to block Republican initiatives. Further, Obama reached back to 2007 in making his claim which includes two years when he was still a senator and on eight occasions he voted against ending debate and extending the filibuster, the very thing he’s condemning Republicans for doing.

Thankfully, Obama is not counting as filibusters against Republicans the favorite tactic of Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid’s (D-NV.) where he extracts a unanimous consent agreement of a 60-vote threshold for passage to even allow a Republican-backed piece of legislation to come up for a vote. The WaPo found this to be the Democrats equivalent of a threatened filibuster and just last week Reid demanded a 60-vote threshold agreement to even allow a vote to come up on an energy-efficiency bill that included approval of the XL Pipeline. This negotiated 60-vote threshold is the Democrats method of avoiding the lengthy mechanics of the cloture process, but still thwarts a simple majority rule so is the equivalent of a filibuster.

When the WaPo confronted Obama’s White House about their “filibuster lie,” they couldn’t defend it so declined to provide an on-the-record response.

After unanimously winning the 2013 “Lie-of-the-Year” honors from almost all the major news organizations for his “if you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance; if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” whopper, Obama grabs another Four Pinocchio and “Lie-of-the-Week” honors for this Republican Filibuster doozey.

The WaPo found Obama’s statement to be ridiculous on just about every level. The WaPo noted he had served in the Senate so should be familiar with its terms and procedures and should know the definitions of “filibuster,” “cloture” and “legislation.” Hence, he might have been able to make a case that Republicans have blocked about 50 bills he supported but instead contorted the numbers to such an extent that he even blamed Republicans for filibuster votes he made as a senator.

This is what earned President Obama his Four Pinocchios but don’t take my word for it, here is the actual article as it appeared in the WaPo Sunday, 11 May 2014 edition.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A_COL's Academy Award Predictions .... and the Oscar goes to:

I truly appreciate the critics picking best movie of the year and winners in all the other categories but in the ONLY category that really counts – MONEY MADE - appears Gravity wins hands down and by a wide margin bettering the next nearest competitor, Wolf of Wall Street, by over two to one.

When it comes to picking movies, I normally "trust the mob" so here is how the movie going and paying public ranked this year’s movies:

Rank, Movie, Box Receipts
1 Gravity $972M
2 Wolf of Wall Street $450M
3 American Hustle $360M
4 Captain Phillips $324M
5 12 Years a Slave $117M
6 Philomena $114M
7 Dallas Buyers Club $54M
8 Her $32M
9 Nebraska $16M

No contest; ….and the winner is, bank statement Please: GRAVITY

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 District of Columbia Homicide Rate Once Again Inches Out Maryland But Far Out Paces Virginia!

Each New Years Day I anxiously await the Washington Post article exposing the homicide stats for the District of Columbia, our Nation’s Capital, and the surrounding suburbs. For some reason and unlike past years, this year the article was relegated to the Metro Section rather than the Front Page but the full article by Peter Hermann and Lynh Bui “Get in the Street and Hear Our Pain” is available at this link.

Like past years, the WaPo curiously makes no attempt to compare the rates among the various jurisdictions but even a cursory analysis of the stats in the article might reveal a motive for why the Liberal WaPo NEVER attempts any analysis; could it be because it would clearly demonstrate the dramatically inverse relationship between homicide rates and restrictions on gun ownership.

My detailed analysis of the 2012 stats can be found here on my Blog at: http://old-soldier-colonel.blogspot.com/2013/01/district-of-columbia-homicide-rate-has.html but here is the detailed math for the 2013 numbers using the most recent population figures from the US Census Bureau and the Stats in the article:

DC population = 632,323
2013 Homicides = 104 (*Corrected from 103 in WaPo 3 Jan 14)
2013 Homicide Rate = 16.45 / 100,000 people.

Maryland DC-suburbs of Montgomery & Prince George’s Counties
Population = 1,885,847 (Montgomery = 1,004,709; PG = 881,138)
2013 Homicides = 66
2013 Homicide Rate = 3.50 / 100,000.

Virginia suburbs of Alexandria City, and Arlington and Fairfax Counties
Population = 1,485,941 (Alexandria = 146,294, Arlington = 221,045, Fairfax = 1,118,602)
2013 Homicides = 14 homicides
2013 Homicide Rate = .94 / 100,000.

This reveals that a person would be fortunate to live in Virginia where gun ownership is almost unrestricted because a DC resident, where guns are still almost impossible to own, is 17.5 times more likely to be a homicide victim then us Gun Tottin Virginians (16.45/.94 = 17.50). Even a Marylander, with moderately strict gun laws, was 4.7 times less likely to be a homicide victim than a DC resident (16.45/3.5 = 4.70). Much better than DC but a Marylander is still more than 3.7 times more likely to be a homicide victim than one of us Virginia Gun Totters! (3.50/.94 = 3.72)

Now I’m not opposed to registration and some reasonable limits on ownership such as terrorists, ex-cons and the mentally unstable but there should be no restrictions on ownership by average citizens – anywhere in the US. There is a “God-given” right of self protection, especially in one’s own home, and a gun is the only way to exercise that right. If you don’t believe me, just ask any Bostonian who was subject to the “hide in your home” order during the Boston Marathon Bomber manhunt this April. One has to go no further than right here in our own DC-area backyard to clearly demonstrate that contrary to liberal rhetoric, it is an “inconvenient truth” that “guns actually do make us safer.” Case in point, Virginia has by far the laxest gun laws and the least gun violence of any of the surrounding jurisdictions. Additionally, the DC homicide rate only began declining after the Supreme Court ordered the loosing of DC gun ownership laws in 2008. Is the fact that DC’s drop coincided with this landmark court decision coincidence or might there be a cause-effect relationship? Could it be criminals are not so anxious to attack law-abiding citizens if they might be "packing heat?"

The obvious message in these statistics - guns make us more and not less safe!

Here are a few other inconvenient FACTS I’ve mentioned in my previous articles:

In any given year in this country there is one child drowning death for every 11,000 residential swimming pools or 550 children under the age of 10 drown every year in our 6 million pools. Meanwhile there is one child killed by a gun for every one million (plus) guns in this country or with about 200 million guns, approximately 175 children under 10 die. This means a child is over 100 times more likely to drown in a pool than be killed by a gun. Hence, banning residential pools is a much more effective way of protecting children than banning fire arms.

In Switzerland, every male adult is issued an assault weapon for militia duty and required to keep it in his home. As a result, Switzerland has the highest per capita rate of guns in homes in the entire World yet is one of the safest places to live. Fire arm deaths in Switzerland is .56/100,000. Compare that to the United States where Assault Weapons are heavily regulated and automatic ones are outlawed and our rate of fire arm deaths is 2.97/100,000 per year. That means an American is 5.3 times more likely to be killed by a gun in the United States than someone in Switzerland where everyone and their brother has an automatic assault weapon. Go figure!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Remembering President Kennedy - 50 Years After His Assassination!

Back on 21 January 2011, on the fiftieth anniversary of his inauguration, I published my Blog article: Remembering President Kennedy - 50 Years Later! where I praised him for his courage to stand up to Communist aggression in Vietnam which in retrospect arguably saved all of Southeast Asia from falling under Communist domination. Here on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of his assassination I feel compelled to update and repost that article.
As a retired Army Colonel who was drafted into Secretary McNamara’s Army, commissioned out of OCS and had the privilege of serving an extended CIB earning Vietnam tour arriving as a new second lieutenant and coming home a seasoned captain, I don’t believe President Kennedy is given sufficient credit for his committed bi-partisan, anti-communist foreign policy and his principled defense of South Vietnam. By sending in U.S. Combat Forces and actually creating the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) on 8 Feb 1962 (as everyone that fought in Vietnam knows, MACV was the US Command that prosecuted the war right up until the end), President Kennedy provided most of the rest of Southeast Asia, and particularly Thailand, the “breathing room” to resist total Communist dominance.

President Kennedy was totally committed to stopping communist expansion and knew not acting decisively in Vietnam by committing US troops would fatally damage U.S. credibility with our allies. As Kennedy so eloquently stated "Now we have a problem in making our power credible... and Vietnam looks like the place.” He went on to reaffirmed his commitment to defend South Vietnam in his 11 May National Security Action Memorandum 52, which became known as "The Presidential Program for Vietnam." Its opening statement reads: “U.S. objectives and concept of operations [are] to prevent communist domination of South Vietnam; to create in that country a viable and increasingly democratic society, and to initiate, on an accelerated basis, a series of mutually supporting actions of a military, political, economic, psychological, and covert character designed to achieve this objective.”

Although initially totally supportive of the Vietnam Catholic minority administration of President Ngô Đình Diệm, the Kennedy administration grew increasingly frustrated with Diệm because his crackdown against protesting Buddhist monks that sparked a Buddhist Revolt where several monks committed self-immolation covered by the world press. Hence, on 1 Nov 1963, with the tacit approval of the Kennedy administration, Vietnamese military officers launch a coup d'état against Diem and on the next day he was assassinated. President Kennedy knew to be successful there needed to be a change in Vietnamese leadership and he was not afraid to make it. By the time President Kennedy was himself assassinated he had established the MACV Command and had 25,000 troops in country with plans for a significant escalation. Although President Johnson presided over the troop increases, he was following the Kennedy blueprint so President Kennedy is due the lion’s share of the credit for saving most of Southeast Asia from Communist domination.

As a student of the Vietnam War who strongly believes holding the line there until the mid 1970s (ground troops left in 1972 and Congress withdrew support allowing the South Vietnamese Government to fall in 1975) actually stemmed the tide of Communist aggression in Southeast Asia, I believe the contributions of President are often overlooked.

Much of the reason for President Kennedy not getting the credit he deserves is due to the works of some misguided liberal Kennedy biographers, most notably Theodore White and Ted Sorensen (neither of whom ever served in the Military although of prime draft aged during US conflicts). In their attempts to revise history after much of their Democrat liberal base turned against the Vietnam War, and without any basis for their assertion, they promulgate the false myth that if Kennedy had lived he would have withdrawn U.S. Forces in his second term and spared the country the agony of Vietnam.

Although no one could ever knows for sure Kennedy’s intentions for Vietnam during a second term, the best indication of his thinking on the subject was provided by the person in the best position to know, his brother Robert. In an interview some five months after JFK’s death, Robert Kennedy (RFK) told an oral-history interviewer that his brother “had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should win the war in Vietnam.” Here was part of that exchange:

Interviewer: “There was never any consideration given to pulling out?”

RFK: “No.”

Interviewer: “. . . the president was convinced that we had to keep, had to stay in there  . . .”

RFK: “Yes.”

Interviewer: “. . . And couldn’t lose it.”

RFK: “Yes.”

President Kennedy himself telegraphed his Vietnam intentions even more strongly during his 12 September 1963 press conferences, just two months before his assassination. Responding to a question about Vietnam, he said his policy was: “to win the war there ….That is why some 25,000 Americans have traveled 10,000 miles to participate in that struggle…we are not there to see a war lost.”

From the beginning President Kennedy’s commitment to Vietnam never waivered and remained consistent. Even way back in a 1956 speech Senator Kennedy called Vietnam “the keystone to the arch, the finger in the dike,” adding: “This is our offspring — we cannot abandon it.”

The fact that President Kennedy established MACV and introduced combat troops into South Vietnam in sizable numbers providing the “breathing room” that kept most of Southeast Asia free should be a proud part of the proud Kennedy legacy and I am honored to have been one who was inspired to answer the President’s call “to ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”