The Drill Instructor

American policy in the Middle East is coming unglued. The Arab Spring is not giving rise to democratic governments but to radical Islamic governments. The Obama policy of removing secular dictators who were more or less friendly to the United States, or at least not openly hostile, has resulted in turning those countries over to religious dictators who yearn to kill us. Obama has just done a complete about face on keeping troops in Iraq to forestall a takeover of Iraq by Iran, and has announced he is bringing all troops home in two months. Obama believes in speaking softly, but in the Middle East speaking softly is seen as being weak. Many, many years ago, in Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base, sixty of us 18 year olds were being marched down the company street by our assistant drill instructor, a quiet young man with a weak voice. Calling “Halt!”, his voice did not carry to the first 5 ranks, who continued down the street while the back 10 ranks, including me, came to a snappy halt.  Screaming “Halt!”, the DI raced after them, got them stopped, and screamed “About Face!”, whereupon the first 5 ranks about faced and at the order “Forward March!” came striding toward us.  The problem was, the back 5 ranks had also about faced, and at the order “Forward March!”, were now marching away from those of us in the middle 5 ranks.  We collapsed on the road in laughter, guys were falling out of barracks laughing, and the DI ran screaming down the street after the disappearing back 5 ranks.  Such is our policy and policymakers.  Weak voices lead to chaos, not all of it a laughing matter.



Unfortunately, the toughest guy

At State is our gal Hillary

Which says a lot and tells you why

We’ve put away the pillory

We stamp our feet and make moues

Grand bargains we attempt to make

Without a clue to Arab ways

Or what it takes to buy a sheikh

O whispers Halt, or Forward March

None hear and no one changes pace

O’s voice needs quite a bit more starch

For only he hears his ‘Bout Face!


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