During the first week of February, McCook NE (pop 8000) lost a 20-year-old guard specialist (post-humously promoted to Sgt) to an IED in Iraq. I wanted to try to put a little blame for that loss where it really belongs, but without dragging the young man or his family into it. Here is my letter to the editor as published about Feb 8.

If our leaders are going to take us to war, we justly demand that they meet some unavoidable basic standards. Absolute perfection is way too much to ask, but there are indispensable basics.

1. We need from them honesty, straightforwardness with us, accountability to us.

2. We need them to be extremely well-informed about what they are doing and why and how.

3. We need them to be very highly competent in all the related diplomacy, in the war-planning, and in overseeing the actual operations.

Our government has had these three opportunities to connect with the demands of reality. Unfortunately, what we’ve gotten from them is three strikes. In baseball, that would mean it’s somebody else’s turn.