Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"You Can't Handle the Truth!

In the 1990's, Rob Reiner directed a good movie called "A Few Good Men."  The film depicted the investigation of a young private's death at Gitmo in Cuba and the resulting court martial.  Near the end of the film as the story reached its climax, the main villain of the piece played so well by Jack Nicholson, uttered a line that has become a part of the lexicon.  When pressed by the character portrayed by Tom Cruise for the truth, Nicholson's character shouted, "You can't handle the truth!"  This line reminds me of the top news story that has actually managed to bump the BP oil spill from the lead story momentarily.

While it is very true that no one in the military should ever level criticism of the kind that General Stanley McCrystal did toward the Obama administration, maybe we should take a moment in the midst of all the hysteria and listen to what the general has to say.

McCrystal should have never revealed his criticisms to a Rolling Stone reporter.  He should have voiced those criticisms and concerns through the chain of command.  The military is absolutely dependent on strict adherence to discipline.  Without it, combat would be more of a nightmare than it already is.  No general has the right to go public with his criticism of the Commander in Chief regardless of the validity of his concerns.  However, maybe we should give an ear to the general and consider his complaints.

General McCrystal has served on the front line for a very long time and, because of this, knows firsthand what the every day troops must endure.  He also knows in great detail what it is like to deal with the Obama administration.  He sees the flaws in his leaders and is rightly concerned about how those flaws will effect the lives of the troops in the field. 

I have to wonder why the administration, elected on a platform of being more open and honest with he American people, has become so defensive in this matter.  Shouldn't they listen to the general a little more carefully to learn from their mistakes so that they can improve the lines of communication and command?  We teach our children to learn from their mistakes.  Is it really true that the President of the United States is above all that and couldn't possibly learn from his errors. 

We had the absurdity of George W. Bush not being able to think of one mistake that he made when he was pressed by a reporter.  Remember the outcry then?  Now, with Barack Obama at the helm, are we to believe that the president is incapable of making a mistake as well.  Maybe he was not prepared to meet with the general during that first meeting as McCrystal claims?  Where is the crime in this?  Haven't we all been in situations where we have found ourselves unprepared to take on a new and important task?  Granted, the task of the president in these matters is far above what most of us will encounter.  But the point is still there.

I do think that General McCrystal does need to be disciplined for his apparent insubordination.  But I also think we need to listen to him to see where we can do better.  I think it is the Obama administration's duty to see to it that they learn from the incidents outlined by the general and correct the situations the general reports.  Or is it, Mr. President, that, "You can't handle the truth"?

Saturday, June 5, 2010


In the life of every family there are mileposts along the way to mark the special occasions that grace life.  This past week, the King family quietly noted one of these mileposts without much fanfare but that does not mean it was not something on our minds.

My son, Josh, and my daughter-in-law, Melissa, observed their tenth wedding anniversary.  Ten years!  It does not seem possible that ten years could have gone so quickly.  Their union has brought great joy into the life of a proud father who has had the privilege to share many of those years with this most special couple.

Along the way, I have seen my son blossom into a man who is a man in every sense of that word.  He is thoughtful, kind, resourceful, energetic, dedicated, and so devoted to his family.  He conducts his life with integrity and dignity that defines what manhood should be.  He has embraced the love of his life with all of his energy and being and his pledge of lifelong devotion will, no doubt, be filled with many years of a life together.

As I have gotten to know my daughter-in-law, I have come to see her as a very special lady with gifts untold.  She loves Josh with every fiber of her being.  When they are together, she lights up.  When he cracks one of his dry jokes, her face beams with great laughter.  You can see that with Melissa in his life, Josh is completed as a human being and her life is complete with him.  She is a genius when it comes time to save money for the family yet heaps her gifts of natural motherhood on her family without reserve.

During these ten years, we have welcomed two new Kings into the world.

There is Aliyah.  Aliyah is filled with the energy and excitement that you would expect from any seven year old.  She loves to do nothing more than run and play in the summertime sun.  She lives for the pool and long walks with mom and dad.  Her passion is reading and will spend quiet hours devouring books and any other reading material that may be at hand.  She loves to teach her little sister how to read and delights in their time together.  She is the spitting image of her father and possesses the wit of her mother.  She, too, loves without reserve and gives her heart totally to all.

Then we have KeirahKeirah is a gentle soul.  Content to play alone or with big sister Aliyah, she is sweetness defined.  Her mind is sharp and is a sponge for detail.  She loves the summer too, and lives for those times when pool season comes along.  She bears a striking resemblance to her maternal grandmother and has an easy smile and loving way that touches the heart so deeply.  Keirah is a sensitive soul so that at times she bursts into tears for no apparent reason only to sport her captivating smile moments later.

And then we have the unknown King waiting in the wings for a scheduled appearance in mid-September.  What will this little one bring to our lives as the union of my son and his wonderful wife takes on yet another dimension?  It will be an adventure I am sure!

Lastly, I want to thank Josh and Melissa for gracing our lives with theirs.  We have all grown together and become a family.   The time that we have together is not nearly enough because of the distance between us.  But that is a blessing in itself because it makes the time we have together even more special, knowing that is not commonplace.  Our pride and love for you both knows no bounds and we couldn't be happier for the both of you. 

May God grant you many more decades together and may he continue to bless our family with the love and grace that he has shown in these last ten years.

Happy Anniversary!