A pamphlet from the National Park Service reads … “Adams followed many of the precedents set by Washington for the office of the President. ‘The great Washington,’” as one visitor called him, set the tone and formality of the office, its boundaries with Congress, and began the ritual of the annual “state of the union” message where each branch of government took its place, but always within the framework of the whole. ... The office of President of the United States was identified by the Constitution in 1787, with Gen. George Washington in mind.”

So who was Washington? As a young man, he embraced and lived by “The Rules of civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversations.”

He led from the front.

He was not perfect, but at different times during his life he noted and willingly began making difficult self-changes. Perhaps the best description of his leadership presences came from a young officer at the Battle of Princeton: “I shall never forget what I felt ... when I saw him brave all the dangers of the field and his important life hanging as it were by a single hair with a thousand deaths flying around him. Believe me, I thought not of myself.”

The president was constitutionally granted a few powers strictly of his own, including commander and chief and chief diplomat.

In recent times, the president has acted as and has been recognized around the world as “the” leader of United States foreign policy. If used wisely, this position holds great power.

Washington left us with some sound advice on foreign policy: Cultivate peace and harmony with all, act in good faith, and “steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”

Interestingly, Washington begrudgingly signed the Jay Treaty, a very weak agreement with the British. Considering our weak military circumstances, he felt that this was the best he could get. Time has left us with a more perfect view. Good foreign policy is best negotiated from a position of strength and not weakness.

Our history is rich with examples. Washington demanded the surrender at Yorktown from a position of power. President AbrahamLincoln continually replaced timid, indecisive generals until William Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant were appointed. Teddy Roosevelt had his policy of “Speak softly but carry a big stick!” FDR quietly armed the British while in the Senate, Democrats spent their time cozying up with the USSR and Republican doves buried their heads in the sand. And after rebuilding our military, President Ronald Reagan demanded the USSR “tear down this wall!”

Today we see a pattern of nonengagement on the part of the president and his administration. Nobody is telling where the president was during the attack on the consulate in Benghazi but we do know the next day he headed to Las Vegas for a fundraiser. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused to provide adequate security for the consulate in Benghazi and then in front of the world said “What difference does it make?” Secretary of State John Kerry undercut our Israeli allies because they would not weaken their own national security.

There is a U.S. Marine in a Mexican jail because he mistakenly took a wrong turn at the border and we seem powerless to do anything about getting him released.

What is wrong with this picture? What’s the message being sent to our friends around the world? It’s time for us to learn from our history. Peace through strength works. Peace through appeasement doesn’t!

Bill Sargent, Mark Mansius and John Gay are writing a series of columns on timely issues for today. All three ran in the 14th Congressional District primary.

(17) comments

Johann Ramirez

Where is the pride in the US assuring there are 0 POWs left at the end of the Afghanistan war?

Carlos Ponce

This administration in trading one non-com for five big wigs, the equivalent of five four-star generals has put a price tag on the heads on ALL Americans living abroad. The State Department should issue a warning: "If you leave the United States you may be kidnapped and used as a Political Pawn". As for me, I wouldn't even leave Texas.

Johann Ramirez

There is no pride in assuring the US ends a war with no POWs? Or do you suggest we send in another brigade to try to get the guy, leading to more soldiers death? Or better yet you'd rather we left that POW to rot? http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/04/the-real-reason-the-u-s-didn-t-rescue-bowe-bergdahl.html

Carlos Ponce

If you were talking about Bowe Bergdahl, he was no POW. He was a deserter. I am glad to see his return so he can face an Article 32 hearing for his desertion. I am not happy that 5 murderous thugs were traded for him.

Johann Ramirez

I'm shocked! You have accused him, tried him, and found him guilty that quickly? As far as I know, US law will punish a deserter harshly, but that is something that is only ascertained following an appropriate trial.

I'm almost ashamed for you, aren't you the one that said
"carlosrponce posted at 4:25 pm on Sat, May 3, 2014.
Joe Biden, Harry Reid, and John F. Kerry have said worst in public and Sterling said his in what he thought was the privacy of his own home! George Orwell wrote this would happen in his book 1984. The walls have ears and so do cell phones so beware. Unfortunately it is still permissible to spew hatred towards Christians and Right wing Conservatives."

I guess you only support due process for racists?

Carlos Ponce

LIKE I WROTE, Bowe Bergdahl, can now face an Article 32 HEARING. A hearing is not a trial. If there are grounds for a trial then one will be held, if not then no. His accusers are members of his own platoon. Let the facts come forth. No one has tried him or found him guilty. What he has going in his favor is that he was dismissed as unfit for the Coast Guard. If he was unfit for the Coast Guard, why was he okay for the Army? And an Article 32 HEARING is Due Process.

Johann Ramirez

If you were talking about Bowe Bergdahl, he was no POW. He was a deserter.

You have said "He was a deserter"
"he was no POW"

For those to be true, he must be found guilty.

Carlos Ponce

military definition of desert:
(of military personnel) to leave or run away from (service, duty, etc.)
That is not in question. It is a fact.
(CNN) -- The sense of pride expressed by officials of the Obama administration at the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is not shared by many of those who served with him: veterans and soldiers who call him a deserter whose "selfish act" ended up costing the lives of better men. "I was pissed off then, and I am even more so now with everything going on," said former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl's platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009. "Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him." Vierkant said Bergdahl needs to not only acknowledge his actions publicly but face a military trial for desertion under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. A reporter asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Sunday whether Bergdahl had left his post without permission or deserted -- and, if so, whether he would be punished. Hagel didn't answer directly. "Our first priority is assuring his well-being and his health and getting him reunited with his family," he said.

Johann Ramirez

I guess you don't see how you're taking a comment someone else made, accepting it as fact, and then determining that the service member defected is fact.

The whole point of due process is to promote the idea of innocent until proven guilty, I think that's what you were trying to emphasize with the whole Sterling fiasco.

Until we have a trial and validate the speculative comments made by those that have spoken up, all I know is we had a PoW of the US Military that our government was able to negotiate to release. If you claim to know anything further, you are personally finding someone guilty of a crime (desertion) without due process.

Carlos Ponce

I have former students in Afghanistan. I trust what they tell me. I do have inside information from them. You shouldn't worry about Bowe Bergdahl. Before the entire story is told, President BO will give him a pardon.


Mr. Ponce,
My guess is Mr. Obama will NEVER allow this guy to face a trial, because if he did, all that would be doing is to put Mr. Obama and his screwed-up administration on trial as well, and he is NOT having that!
We had a program in the "NAM" where we used helicopters to drop fliers all over the place where we suspected VIET CONG infiltration! They were written in Vietnamese saying ...
"Chu-Hoy" along with explanations of the benefits they would receive if they did so.
In English all that meant was to throw, down your AK-47, or your SKS-Chicon 47 and come work for us! We will take care of you and your family! "Sappers" got the better deal because they were TERRORISTS before, the word was made common.
If they approached one of our units and they had a weapon in their hands,...they bought the farm!!!! They had to be empty handed to qualify. That was the first prerequisite. The next requirement was their hands had to be sky high, and they should be shouting "CHU-HOY"....."CHU-HOY" as the approached our units!
What did Bergdahl do? Well he got close to the Afghanistan trainees, he was helping to train, and learned as much as he could from them. He started learning their language! When he decided to pull the trigger on his plans, after he made his arrangements, he threw down his expensive, and lethal American M16 assault rifle and night visions instruments and walk out of his assigned area, and proceeded to join his adopted countrymen!
After that, the attacks and assaults on American positions became more often, fierce, and precise! Not my words but as you said, WORDS OF THOSE WHO SERVED WITH HIM, WHO HAD NOTHING TO LOSE BY TELLING THE TRUTH!
Why would they lie on the guy? Now a command staff Major, Colonel, or General are not going to put their careers in jeopardy by NOT backing a lying, covering up the truth-in-order-to-cover-their-*&%- Obama Administration!!!! A non-career Non-Com Officer or below that in rank, need not worry about that.
The truth is, there is no telling how many US servicemen died because of this clown!
Obama wants to bring his Taliban speaking, beard wearing dad into the Whitehouse Rose Garden and have a hero's welcome back celebration, patting himself on the back, and then had to do damage control when the enlisted men who served with this clown came out telling HOW it really happened! That was how LT Calley got caught with that My Lai incident!!!!!! It was the enlisted men who exposed him, just like in this case!
Look at this excerpt:
"A company of U.S. soldiers on a search-and-destroy mission against the hamlet found no armed Viet Cong there but nonetheless killed all the elderly men, women, and children they could find; few villagers survived. The incident was initially covered up by high-ranking army officers, but it was later made public by former soldiers."
I tell you what,...wait and see if this guy goes to prison for being a traitor! You will be waiting!

George Croix

i suspect all records showing Bergdahl's actual status and actions will suffer a 'computer crash', and be lost, in about, oh, a year or so... [wink]

Lars Faltskog

Well, maybe someone should have been smart enough to erase those Watergate tapes. That would have saved a lot of angst and negative public perceptions back then.

Carlos Ponce

You call it "smart" to erase the tapes. Some think it was Nixon's arrogance not to do so, to preserve his role in history during the late 60s and early 70s. I really think it was a moral decision not to erase them. It shows the difference between some Democrats and some Republicans at the time. That difference has now grown as illustrated by your suggestion that they should have been erased. I really think the missing 18 1/2 minutes can be recovered using modern tech. it would be interesting to try. As for Lois Lerner's "computer crash". Possible, but for all 6 IRS computers of people in the IRS she e-mailed to crash at the same time is beyond belief. And Federal law says all e-mails sent to the White House MUST be kept, so where are they? Federal Law also says that IRS e-mails MUST be backed up. "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."


One thing for sure he is very fortunate he came along in the Afghan War, and not the Vietnam War, We did not tolerate that quit every other month and come back BS, over there! I'll let others fill in the gaps! I had a "troop trial" myself for just treating everybody the same. There was a term called ( FRAGGING )...and you would never see it coming! So I know this dude would not have made it back! He would have gotten his due process alright! ( It was something like PRISON due process ). Very similar.
This is true stuff I'm telling you, I have no reason to lie!

George Croix

The price is never too high, when there's no chance that the spender will ever personally have to pay the bill....
That applies to more than just monetary considerations, too.

def - Prisoner of War
A person who has been captured and imprisoned by the enemy in war.
def - Deserter
A member of the armed forces who deserts.
def - Desert
To abandon (a military post) in violation of orders or oath. To forsake one's duty or post.
There's no denying that Bergdahl abandoned his post. More than once.
Is one able to claim to be captured if they willingly leave their post, then seek out the people they end up in the company of? Capture means taken under control by force.
I suppose that, technically, yes, Bergdahl could have been 'captured' if he had last minute regrets about his decision to leave his post, and was then forcibly detained. But even then, it does not alter the fact that he did abandon his post and walk away to seek contact with the Taliban. That is desertion.
Trying to parse just a little bit of desertion is like trying to be just a little bit pregnant, or just a little bit of a thief.
You are, or you are not.
I do wonder why so eager to believe the guy who took off, but marginalize the several guys who knew him well and hunted for him. What do they have to gain by turning on a fellow soldier, if that fellow is innocent.
Unless they are masochists and enjoy being demonized, the answer is...nothing.
Due process it is, then.
That's more than the future victims of the 5 released major caliber terrorists new victims will get.
Is this a great country, or what.....?

30 lines, inclusive...in case anyone is counting... [whistling]

George Croix

Here's some questions looking for answers:
1)Are we sure that all of the MIA's in former wars never were POW's, missing because they were never formally accounted for, then finally given up on. OR even deserters, and thus misssing of their own accord?
2)Will the terror war stop just because our President declares our involvement in part of it to be over? When all actual POW's in former wars were repatriated, there was an official, accepted END to that war. Is there one in this case? Has anybody bothered to let the jihadis know they are supposed to quit fighting us now? Think they, too, will declare victory and just go home?
3)What price is too high to pay? if 5 top dawgs were OK, how about if the demand was to empty Gitmo and return all those guys back to where they came from? Would that have been a good swap for one of our guys?
4)How can any nation protect it's citizens as a whole if it's willing to pay any price to save just one of them? Isn't the door open wider now, after showing we are willing to bargain with terrorists, for the ramped up taking of Americans to use as bargaining chips?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.