Sunday, January 29, 2012


"There is no right or one way to lead … It should, however, always be authentic. Otherwise it's not leadership at all." -- Richard Neff.
Woke up about 0200 my time, read a little bit of All In, the new biography of David Petreaus, but couldn't get back to sleep. In part, this was because I awoke with the fear that I am not up to this task that is before me this week. I'm not sure anyone is, or that anyone else could be. The stakes are as high as they get. We stand once more, at the opening of this fateful year of 2012, at a crossroads in the history of our sad, battered old Republic. Take one path and we'll stagger on in the Founder's experiment. Take the other . . . well, the other is a short trip to the precipice of an abyss. And once started it will be darned difficult, if not impossible, to stop or turn back, with the pressure of events and human folly at our backs.
It is easy to be discouraged and doubtful at two o'clock in the morning and it is important at such times to remember that the first actually flows from the second. Doubt can paralyze if you let it, or it can leaven your judgment. In my life I have known men and women who never doubted their own competence and direction -- people convinced that they, and they alone, had the answer and so they sought to mold other people, and even reality itself, to that answer. They were, one and all, lousy leaders and almost universally worthless as human beings.
In the flurry Friday night to get the story out about the White House document dump, I was down in the hotel lobby, working the cell phone and their guest computer. My frenetic activity drew the attention of the night manager, who asked me, "Are you a journalist?" I gave him my stock answer these days, "No, but I play one on the Internet." I have always felt the same way about being called a "leader." I have never really thought I was a leader, or, if I admitted on the evidence that people seemed to agree with what I said and followed me along as I went, that I was not a very good one. I still believe that, even though the group of folks who consider me to be a leader has grown over the years.
I have long told the story of how, after I was selected as the leader of what became my militia unit, the 1st Alabama, I asked the boys why they picked me, a transplanted Yankee in their eyes. There was an uncomfortable silence and then a good old boy back in the corner offered, "Hell, Mike, its BECAUSE you're a Yankee. We put you out front and you get killed, we ain't lost nothin'." Later, the same guy told me, "Look, we agree with what you say and the way you say it, but that's not why. It's because we trust your judgment that you won't get us killed for nothin'." Implied in that was the promise that if I did get them killed for SOMETHING, they would follow me willingly. It was the first time that someone, anyone, had ever trusted me with that kind of burden and it was humbling and scary at the same time. I felt like Forrest Gump when Lieutenant Dan Taylor welcomes him and Bubba to Vietnam:
"Two standing orders in this platoon. One, take good care of your feet. Two, try not to do anything stupid, like getting yourself killed." Bubba and Forrest look at each other and then Forrest says, "I sure hope I don't let him down."
There is a lot of discussion in the book All In about the "mask of command," about how a leader like Petraeus must hide his human feelings in order to effectively lead. I rather agree with the sentiment of Richard Neff at the top of this essay. I have never commanded men in battle, so I don't think of myself as a "commander." I have led citizens over the years in a variety of settings to accomplish shared purposes, and God has given me a talent for putting into words what many others feel and think. This, and this alone, makes me a leader in some sense. And it is a burden. It is a responsibility, and I feel it keenly, especially right now, sitting in a hotel room thanks to the subscription contributions of you, my gentle readers, after my original plan broke down. YOU have made it possible, once again, for me to be here and I feel very keenly the hope that I don't let you down, that I am equal to the task. I'm not a leader, see, but people keep asking me for serious advice. And they go where I go and help push me along to where they think I need to be. But in my heart of hearts I know that I am just some guy lucky to have such friends. And that, and that alone, makes me special. Not me, but my friends. You.
I am a writer, yes. An investigator, yes. An advocate for a point of view, certainly. I will wear all these hats in turn this week as I both cover the story and push it along to the best of my ability. But mostly I'm a citizen. Just a citizen. Doing what the Founders expected all citizens to do -- hold their government to account by whatever means to preserve the liberty and property of all.
I don't know if I will succeed.
But I will do my best.
-- Mike


Anonymous said...

Godspeed Mr.Mike!

Anonymous said...

Well put! It is obvious that you are in a position to observe and report upon this weeks events because you have a great amount of passion for and about what is to take place. Your patriotism for what was created by America's founding fathers is a source of fuel which will see you through in your efforts to bring forth truth, resulting in accountability. It is your deserved honor to attend these proceedings.

Anonymous said...

Do what God expects you to do, not the founders. Remember Peter on the water.

Jeff said...

Thank you for your leadership - whether you like your position or not - tag, you're it.

You are eloquent.

You don't mince words.

The words bite - by necessity.

Been a leader - led men and women in difficult times and places.

It can be hard, I know, but in the end, you're only as good as the people who follow your lead - so keep it up.

You're good to go.

Take care and please keep sticking your finger in their eyes.

Retired Navy.

Armadillo said...

At this point there is only one thing I can do to help. That one thing is, I will pray for you. I am sure there are many Americans praying for our country at this time. Our prayers will give you the words, the calm to think, and the, I want to say courage, but you already have the courage. You have the courage because you know this country is on the edge of falling. The one thing you need to remember is God is helping you, this is his country that was created by christian men over 200 years ago. We are asking him to help us make it his country again.

eddymatthews said...

My prayers are with you.

Crustyrusty said...

Not eloquent, no great words of encouragement, except that I think there are more of us out here who got your back than you or even they might think.

Prayers going up.


Anonymous said...

Full speed ahead Dutchman. Your course is true. A little fear and trepidation is good temper for judgement. What you see and how you describe the unfolding moments is what we need in these uncharted waters.

The doors God opens are not always the ones we'd choose but they are inevitably the ones we walk through whether we know it or not. And the path God sets before us is always the path in Gods plans.

Tell us what you see and we'll plan accordingly. The Republic... well, its been a grand experiment and its worked well for some. Undoubtedly, there are many who do not deserve the liberty and freedoms its provided. There are those who've exploited it for personal gains and those who've plotted against freedom and liberty seeking to destroy our individual sovereignty and make us subjects to perverse authority.

To hell with them Dutchman, to hell with them. They're days are shortened by the company they keep and the masters they serve.

Long Live The Republic. God Speed America. Freedom will prevail.

Anonymous said...

After reading one of your recent posts I would like to offer a few words of encouragement.Robert Leckie ,once said one of the things that strengthened and encouraged him during the Pacific Campaign, was a simple verse his grandmother taught him as a child..."This too shall pass"...Whether or not a person is a believer,there are truths in the bible that "Will echo thru Eternity".Here are a couple I have relied on many times in periods of great personal stress,Matthew Ch.6 Vs.34 and Matthew Ch.10 Vs.19. Our cause is Just.Situations like this bring home the words of Thomas Paine..."These are the times that try men,s Souls"....

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind, your not from re-election money. So your not that important to any of them.

All of them are very good at the use of words to back shoot any one.

They do think very little of "those people" aka us.

Smile, keep them off guard.

W W Woodward said...

You will do your best. Of that I have no doubt. And, that is all anyone can ask.

When all this is over, it may very well turn out that we will be outscored, but with folks like you leading the charges we will NEVER be beaten.


Uncle Al said...


Leadership takes two forms. The most obvious one is to instruct the actions of others directly. I'm sure that you perform that role for some (God bless 'em), but by necessity they must represent a smaller number than the rest whom you lead with the second form of leadership: by example.

I have no first-hand knowledge of your effectiveness in form 1, but even so I have no doubt at all that you do it well because your leadership by example is outstanding.

Thank you for what you have been doing, and with Providential help what I deeply hope you will continue to do in the coming days.

With utmost respect,
Uncle Al

pete said...

There have recently been more frequent comments suggesting that Mike's and David' efforts in exposing "fast and furious" have been an exercise in futility from the outset, and hence, a waste of time.

IMO, however, nothing could be further from the truth. If it turns out that the only result is to have proven once and for all, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that justice and the rule of law are dead in this country, a great service will have been rendered. We will know with certainty what the only remedy can be.

I am humbly grateful for everything David and Mike have done and contine to do.

God speed to both.

BadCyborg said...

This essay is why you do not need to worry. The fact that you WORRY is proof you don't need to. Don't fret (I hope you've been living in the south long enough to know that word), Mike. It's the ones who never question their competence to lead who get men killed. Such leaders either need to be removed from command prior to combat or fragged as soon as possible afterwards.

I'd follow you. Old, diabetic, heart-sick, arthritic as I am I'd follow you into the teeth of Cerberus.

Anonymous said...

Just look at it this way - eventually an asteroid the size of a mountain will hit the Earth and none of it will have mattered anyway.

Anonymous said...

"I have never really thought I was a leader,.."

I view you as a "thought" leader--one who mediates the ideas of great men to a popular audience.

You are doing admirable service for your country, in all humility, to the glory of God. There are few men like you. If you never achieve another thing in your life, your example of steadfast integrity will be an inspiration to those who outlive you.

That, my dear friend, is true leadership.

With highest regards,

Yank lll said...

You have a message and you are a believer and that is the magnet that draws me to you and those others who choose to follow you. Your message is honest and true. Your leadership is not a task but the result of your actions in serving those who choose to follow you and your message. It works because its time for the truth.

Your message and belief have given all us lost souls, some who didn't even know what their were seeking, a place to call home in our hearts that had been destroyed by culture and social mismanagement and manipulation.

Some knew what was wrong but not how to fix it, some knew something was wrong but not what and others just needed a little direction and re-enlightenment on the basics.. then we found you and your site.

While leadership is a major burden it is also a badge of honor and respect given by those who follow of their own volition.. for my part wear it proudly and shake your fist a bit more.. ; )

God speed.
Yank lll

MikeB in NM said...

God Bless you Mike V for representing us.

I'm proud to know you even tho we haven't met.

We have mutual friends.

Stay strong, I'm glad of the small influence I might have had in getting you to accept those voluntary memberships/subscriptions.

I am due for renewal soon.

Anonymous said...

Godspeed friend.

Alessandre said...

God bless you, Mike. You remain in my prayers. & thanks.

Anonymous said...

You pay very close attention to Lt. Dan's advice.