Straight Talk

Have you ever wished a political candidate would dispense with the usual evasive answers and speaking, but never really saying anything? I found a candidate that has done just that. Diggs Brown was sent a survey by Peace Action West, a liberal peacenik group. Here are some partial excerpts from Brown’s response:

Do you support negotiating with Russia for deep reductions down to 1,000 or fewer weapons in our arsenals? Do you support the larger vision of taking practical steps to reach the elimination of nuclear weapons?

I’m going to assume from the title of your organization and the tone of your first question that this is going to be an interesting questionnaire. So let’s dispense with the usual political double-talk. I’m a Green Beret. You’re something called “Peace Action West”. This is not going to be pretty.

Right out of the gate we can see Diggs is going to give it to us straight. Their second question:

Do you support U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty?

Throughout history, whenever America and her allies have put stock in the signatures of dictators on pieces of paper it has left us vulnerable. Hitler signed a piece of paper agreeing to “peace in our time.” Japan signed a piece paper in 1930 agreeing to limit the size of its navy. The Soviet Union signed – and broke – treaties throughout the Cold War. North Korea, Iran and Iraq have all signed pieces of paper in the past twenty years that have turned out to be meaningless acts of deliberate deception.

The questions posed in this survey are all designed to elicit the answers they are looking for.

Under what circumstances, if any, would you use military means to deal with Iran’s nuclear programs?

As the cornerstone of my negotiations with Iran, I would speed up the development and production of the Massive Ordinance Penetrator, a precision-guided, 30,000-pound bunker-busting bomb (the “MOP”) capable of destroying their underground nuclear facilities.

Diggs is more than happy to give them his answer, though I’m sure it’s not the one they’re looking for. How about some sanctions against Iran?

Do you support sanctions against Iran? If so, what kind (broad, targeted, unilateral, multilateral, etc.)?

I support any and all sanctions on Iran, unilateral if need be. However, any sanctions should be backed up with the “diplomatic tool” of the MOP. (See Question 4).

The survey wouldn’t be complete with an exit strategy question:

Do you support the escalation of troops in Afghanistan? In general, do you support the use of military force against non-state terrorist organizations? Would you consider voting in favor of legislation that would exercise oversight of the military mission in Afghanistan (i.e. requiring development of an exit strategy or setting a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops)?

Let’s be honest, have any of you have ever been to Afghanistan? Have any of you ever fired a weapon (or had one fired at you)? Have any of you have seen what the Taliban and Al Qaeda are doing to innocent civilians?

I’ve been to Afghanistan. I have Afghan friends who were beaten by the Taliban because they didn’t grow a long-enough beard. I have worked with Afghan women who were forced by the Taliban to wear head-to-toe burkas and prohibited from getting an education. I have met Afghan widows who were beaten on the streets by the Taliban because they left the house without a male escort – and if they left with an escort other than their husband, they risked being summarily executed for presumed adultery.

I spent a tour of duty in Afghanistan. I helped rebuild a school there, one of the first in the nation that allowed girls to get an education. I saw the Afghans enjoying art, music and freedom of expression for the first time in a generation. I saw Afghan villagers walk miles in bare feet to get their first medical care in years. I saw the overwhelming generosity of the American people who opened their hearts and their wallets to ship school supplies to help children they’d never met.

All of that was made possible by the United States Military, and I saw the gratitude of the Afghan people who saw the American Soldier as their best hope for a better future. The chants of “Thank you America!” still ring in my ears.

So when you’re ready to tell me what you’ve actually done about the conditions in Afghanistan, other than try to tie the hands of the people who are actually helping the Afghan people – the United States Military – get back to me.

Diggs gives it to them straight. He’s been there. He knows what’s going on, and what our presence and success mean to the people of Afghanistan. Now they want to know about sending civilians to replace the military.

Do you support shifting the ratio of funding to favor greater emphasis on civilian engagement in Afghanistan? What type of non-military programs do you support for stabilizing Afghanistan (development, aid, diplomacy)?

Afghanistan remains a very dangerous place for civilians to do business. The Taliban are actively seeking to attack American targets. As such, we must continue to put the focus on security first. Without security, civilians can’t do their jobs and the Afghan citizens can’t create a stable society.

One of the missions of the Green Berets is to win hearts and minds. You do disrespect the tremendous work that our military does every day with the assumption that it takes a civilian to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan. I rode along with medical missions in the mountains of Afghanistan. Many of the Army doctors I served with climbed aboard helicopters and volunteered to fly into remote villages, set up medical facilities and treat the people.

Some of those volunteers never came back.

Diggs knows what really goes on because he’s been there. How about those drones?

Do you support air strikes and drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

You guys spent the first few years of the war complaining that too many of my brothers and sisters in the military were getting killed. Frankly, the use of military dead to make your political points is disgusting to me. Some of those men and women were my friends, and they would never want their sacrifice to be used to further your political agenda.

So now the Pentagon figures out way where a pilot can sit in a comfortable chair in Nevada and provide us air cover with a Nintendo controller, and you still have a problem?

Who’s lives exactly are these people really concerned about?

What do you see as the future role of foreign assistance in U.S. foreign policy? Would you support efforts to increase resources for development and elevate foreign assistance to better balance reliance on the Defense Department in U.S. interactions with the global community? Would you support a rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act?

“Reestablishing civilian control of humanitarian and development efforts…” So the next time there’s an earthquake in Haiti or a Tsunami in Thailand the civilians will be the first responders?

Maybe the civilians will airdrop supplies from their massive fleet of civilian CH-47D Chinook helicopters? Or maybe the civilians will roll up onto the beaches in their civilian rigid-hull fast boats? Or maybe civilian paratroopers will secure the airfields for incoming flights of civilian C-130 cargo planes?

When the Tsunami struck, the first humanitarian teams on the ground were the United States and Australian Navies. (For some reason, I doubt that there’d just so happen to be a civilian carrier battle group in the region on the day after Christmas). As United Nations civilians dithered about which hotels they’d be willing to stay in, Airborne Rangers and Air Force special-ops teams secured airfields and conducted around-the-clock flight operations, sleeping on the tarmac in order to get badly-needed food and water to those in need.

This past week in Haiti, the 82nd Airborne landed in Port-Au-Prince (the hard way), secured the roads from the airport to the city and set up massive food and water distribution systems. The Coast Guard handled the immediate air-traffic control into Port-Au-Prince until the Air Force could take over. The Navy used their landing craft to get around the clogged harbor. Airdrops from military helicopters launched from the USS Carl Vinson were the first food aid to reach outlying regions. Ten thousand Marines will provide security. There’s a Navy hospital ship (the USNS Comfort) parked offshore with Navy medical teams performing surgeries on Haitian civilians. Meanwhile, the French and the Venezuelans are complaining to the United Nations that we’ve “invaded” Haiti.

It sounds like you and I have very different ideas about how the world works.

I’ve actually been there. As a college senior I signed up as a private in U.S. Army Reserves. Today I continue to serve in the National Guard and proudly wear the uniform of a Green Beret Major when I’m called to active duty serving the United States.

Through it all, I have seen firsthand that the most powerful force for good in the world today is the United States Military, of which I am a proud member.

(I have a feeling I won’t be getting your group’s endorsement.)


Diggs Brown

Candidate for Congress (Colorado’s 4th Congressional District)

Veteran, Operation Enduring Freedom

I, for one, find it refreshing that a political candidate is willing to reply to one of these surveys exactly like we’d hope he would. Diggs Brown has served our Country well, and deserves a look in the race for Colorado’s 4th congressional district. I recommend that you read the entire survey and Diggs’ responses for yourself.

Large excerpts of the survey and responses were re-posted in this diary with permission.

Cross-posted at Night Twister