- The Washington Times - Monday, September 1, 2003

The bold warriors of the Air Force

Donald Devine’s Aug. 20 Commentary column, “Designer Air Force training,” paints the picture of a kinder, gentler basic cadet training at the Air Force Academy, training that he depicts as lacking in the warrior ethos. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the first day of basic training through the culminating event, a team-based 35-mile warrior run, initial training was every bit as difficult and stressful as in years past.

As dedicated members of the world’s greatest air and space force, we do not yell and scream at each other or our subordinates, nor do we tolerate harassment or unprofessional conduct. Why then should we allow our upper-class cadets, our leaders and supervisors, to indoctrinate our newest future officers in that type of environment?

We want our cadets to lead by example and learn to “become the leader you’ve always wanted to work for.” Military officers are not politically correct gentlemen and gentlewomen of war — we are warriors who train young men and women to be warriors, warriors who will fight and win our nation’s wars. In creating an atmosphere that ensures proper officer development and stresses the value of teamwork, the Air Force Academy is focused on mutual respect, dignity and appropriate use of authority.

Yes, we did alter the training schedule for the class of 2007 to reduce initial physical training and front-load several critical briefings. Our purpose was to provide key information to the basic cadets in a reduced-stress environment that would be conducive to learning and retention. This phase lasted just for the first four days. From that point on, we sought to build disciplined, high-performance teams of mentally tough warriors who possessed high moral and physical courage. Those who say it was easy were not there.

Airmen are bold warriors of honor, committed to achieving victory and living the Air Force core values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. Comrades in the profession of arms, airmen are prepared in mind, body and spirit for war, but are so prepared in order to build a better peace. Airmen develop the awareness, intellect, judgment and will to be decisive in battle. They place special trust and confidence in themselves and their commanders.

These qualities and bonds strengthen an airman’s oath in the armed forces of the United States of America and forge an unstoppable team of warriors, the Air Force. With this warrior ethos as our mandate, I firmly believe the Air Force Academy will continue to be the premier institution producing America’s finest military officers. Professional training is not, and never has been, defined as lesser or easier. Seeing is believing.

BRIG. GEN. JOHNNY A. WEIDA

Commandant

U.S. Air Force Academy

Colorado Springs

A poor sign for the economy

Regarding “Economy blooms in spring” (Page 1, Friday), Patrice Hill touts that the economy reportedly grew by 3.1 percent in the spring. However, she fails to point out that 1.7 percent of that growth resulted from increased federal military spending and corporate profits actually fell by 3.4 percent despite severe business cost-cutting.

When you factor in the deficit-inducing, nonproductive federal spending, the “real economy” only grew by 1.4 percent — a very poor performance by any objective standard. The article mentions that the “growth” was accomplished without hiring new workers. This is common during times of economic stress and is the result of classic belt-tightening by employers. It’s not a good sign for the economy.

FREDERICK L. WOECKENER

Hyde Park, Vt.

Rehabilitating Peru

The number of deaths reported by the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission shows a refreshing and courageous step in the rehabilitation of Peru (“Report doubles death toll of decades of war,” World, Friday). However, there is still controversy over assigning the proper responsibility for the lives lost to this narco-guerrilla conflict and what should occur next.

Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and the Tupac Amaru rebel groups, drug producers and the military are still intertwined in a complicated narco-guerrilla web.

As Maj. F. Andy Messing Jr. stated in a 1991 commentary, “In the cocaine jungle,” in The Washington Times, these factions create the stage for social, economic, and political instability where drugs are allowed to flourish. The money gained by growing and dealing drugs further fuels turmoil.

The lives already lost to this conflict should not be in vain. Now that we know the damage caused by these errant groups, preventative and proactive measures can be taken to further mitigate future human losses, with America lending an appropriate hand.

KATHERINE LUNA

Latin American Research Assistant

National Defense Council Foundation

Alexandria

More on Justice Roy Moore

The opinion piece written by Betsy Hart (“Civil law obedience test,” Commentary, yesterday) contained one major inaccuracy. Ms. Hart stated that the Christian duty of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was to obey the civil authority, even if that authority is wrong. Many columnists have used the analogy of players choosing to ignore the rulings of sports referees, but this is erroneous and misleading. A more apt analogy would be if an NBA ref walked onto the field during an NFL game and attempted to call penalties. Would the players be obliged to entertain the rulings of that NBA referee?

Based on my reading of the Constitution of the United States (and this was reinforced recently by a well-written piece in The Federalist), the federal courts have no jurisdiction in this case. If one reads the religious freedom portion of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, (“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”), nowhere is the federal judiciary given the authority to mediate what is obviously a state court issue. Congress did not place that Decalogue there; a state supreme court justice did so, and in a state supreme court. So, the federal courts have no right to rule on whether it should be there or not. When this makes it to the Supreme Court of the United States, one can only hope that a majority of the nine justices can understand the Constitution as it is clearly written. But given the recent rulings, and the history of that court, I am not confident they are capable of making such a distinction.

NORMAN HENDRICKSON

Bowie

Justice Roy Moore is a right-thinking man of rare nobility who knows that the Ten Commandments are rules for making civilization work. He stands almost alone against the further corruption of our society by the prevailing winds of atheism.

Fanatical organizations that attempt to make Christianity illegitimate either have not read our founding documents or do not care. On what authority do they promote their “separation of church and state,” a concept found nowhere in our founding documents or in the law?

The removal of the monument by movers from Georgia (no Alabamans could be found to do it) was an outward display of contempt for our religious foundation.

Congress and the president must respond to our demands, not requests, for a return to judicial integrity, now, before our quarters are inscribed “In God we do not trust.” We don’t need 40 more years of discussion. The question is a simple one: “Is God in or out?”

ELIZABETH NOTTRODT

Baltimore

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