Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Friday, February 25, 2005
On Returning to Service

In 1987, I joined the active Navy with the belief that our nation needed to be strong to stay free. In 1991, I re-enlisted in the Navy with the expectation that our country would lead the world in building freedom everywhere. In 1995, I left the Navy with the realization that our political leadership would rather be stable than help others be free. In 2001, I was sure that I could never serve again due to my failing health. Last year there was a real chance that our country would abandon its responsibilities abroad.

Ten years ago I was exhausted with the endless cycle of "gotcha" military inspections that served primarily to further the careers of the inspectors. This was during a time of reduction and destructive introspection as the political leadership of the country did whatever it could to ignore its responsibilities to act in the world. Initiatives to empower the individual in the service to increase performance had been firmly suppressed and the business of the service had been turned over to the politically ambitious bean-counters. I watched them file the edge off the sword to avoid anybody getting hurt. The bombing of the USS Cole cannot be described as a surprise because the "business as usual" mentality made it so inevitable.

Four years ago I was exhausted due to diminished thyroid output slowly killing me. When the thyroid gives out, the body slows down, becomes susceptible to disease, mimics depression with astonishing accuracy, and puts on weight. If my wife Abigail had not been part of my life, I do not know what I would have done. With her support, I had something to live and become well for. I love you very much Abigail, thank you.

Perhaps it is my own personal bugaboo, but I was terrified of being caught again with a one-term President's accomplishments being abandoned in the name of stability. One of the things that make all the indignities of the service worthwhile is the chance to accomplish something meaningful. I had the option of holding back my service until I was sure that it would at least have the chance of touching upon lasting significance. It is clear now that the will of the United States is to seek stability through freedom. After the glorious bravery of millions of ink-stained Iraqi heroes, the chances of America abandoning responsibility for the siren call of expedience seem remote. We are tied to the mast and steering clear of the rocks.

Today I am rested, well, and can again contribute to my nation as we act responsibly in the world again. This is the last post I will make without censoring myself in the interests of the service. I love my country and I love my wife. I am returning to service with a clear conscience and the determination to do right by both of them. By serving, I am doing my part to make sure that my wife has a better world to live in.
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