LIC and The Department of Veterans Affairs

What is LIC?

Low-Intensity Conflict (LIC) is the official name for when individuals or governments hire intermediaries to conduct violent operations from a secure position.  LIC is a misnomer; those who have become victims of the barbaric cruelty of those practicing LIC find nothing “Low” about the experience.  The conflict is intense, the actions brutal, and the practitioners remain cunning adversaries using and employing willing dupes to hide the true depths of moral decay inherent in the societal destructions and depravations the practitioners are enacting.  Many confuse LIC in describing the actions of unbridled violence committed by ideologues under the banner of terrorism.  The US Military Joint Chiefs of Staff define LIC as:

A limited political-military struggle to achieve political, social, economic, or psychological objectives.  It is often protracted and ranges from diplomatic, economic, and psychological pressures through terrorism and insurgency.  Low-intensity conflict is generally confined to a geographic area and is often characterized by constraints on the weaponry, tactics, and levels of violence (Tinder 1990) [emphasis mine].”

Green (1997) adds a key ingredient to the description of LIC from Tinder (1990).

… Non-international conflict is a refined term for what [was] formerly known as revolutions or civil wars, particularly when these have developed into major operations with the likelihood or reality of atrocities being committed against non-combatants.  Whether civilians or those [rendered] hors de combat, a fact that is often more common in non-international … conflicts, especially when ideological, ethnic, or religious differences are in issue.  It is for this reason that it must be borne in mind that the term low-intensity [conflict] has no relation to the severity or violence of the conflict” [emphasis mine].

Lt. Colonel Alan J. Tinder wrote a paper for the Air War College in 1990 titled: “Low-Intensity Conflict.”  I have learned much from the Colonel and benchmarked this principle to more thoroughly understand LIC, recognize LIC, and detail LIC for others.  The other compelling source is L. C. Green’s paper on “Low-Intensity Conflict and the Law.”  I aim to synthesize this information into a manageable topic and aid understanding.  Let me state emphatically that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leadership’s actions are nothing short of LIC where employees and veterans/customers are concerned.

Regularly, the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports on a comprehensive healthcare inspection of a VHA facility, reports on employee morale in the VBA, or sum analysis of an employee or customer surveys, and include in the report a fairly descriptive, yet starkly utilitarian phrase, “reduce staff feelings of moral distress at work.”  Generally, the efforts to reduce “moral distress” is left to an underling, an assistant, or a person for whom this is a secondary or collateral duty and is not considered important or relevant.

Do the actions of a leader represent complicity in creating moral distress fit the general definition of LIC?  Absolutely.  Consider that the leader sets the culture through actions, words, and behaviors, which originate in the thoughts and feelings of the leader.  Correcting moral distress is pawned off on a junior staff member as a collateral duty, another method for displaying disrespect and communicating principles of abuse to employees.  But there is no physical violence; how does this apply to LIC?  Aren’t dead veterans’ examples enough of violent tendencies to justify the definition of LIC?  The VA leader operates from a place of security, exemplifies the culture they deem acceptable, and then works through minions to achieve a “to achieve the political, social, economic, or psychological objective.”

Never forget these two critical points in the description of LIC:

Often protracted and ranges from diplomatic, economic, and psychological pressures.”

LIC has no relation to the severity or violence of the conflict.”

At the VA, the leadership calls their example politics; keeping your position or advancing is economical, and the psychological pressure to conform is palpable.  All fundamental keys to conducting LIC against veterans, taxpayers, dependents, and non-conforming employees.  Multiple times Congress has held hearings and listened to how the VA Leadership exacted revenge and retaliation upon those who reported problems to the VA-OIG, their elected congressional leaders, and other investigative parties.  Feel free to peruse some of these hearings; you will hear victims relating physical, economic, and mental abuse, and the VA leadership never takes action.  Elected officials never scrutinize and hold accountable those executing LIC, and the victims are victimized a second time.

Want another indicator that LIC is being practiced, the VA-OIG, after learning there are problems with moral distress at work, makes the following to slide the issues under the proverbial rub:

“The OIG’s review of the medical center … did not identify any substantial organizational risk factors.”

Signifying that even though the VA-OIG found moral distress is affecting and influencing employee behavior, the VA considers employee moral distress not an “organizational risk factor.”  What does an employee who feels morally distressed do in performing their duties?  Delay patients’ appointments, make mistakes on medication shipped, slow walk any responsibility to make things more complicated and take longer than they should.  Does any of these actions sound familiar; they should, for this is the standard operating procedure for VA employees.

As reported previously, while I worked at the VA, I had intimate observations of what morally distressed employees do.  When I wrote to the VA-OIG, I was informed that since I had my employment terminated, I could not be a whistleblower and get my job back.  Plus, what I reported could not be actioned because it did not apply.  How’s that for protecting the guilty?  The VA Leadership is writing procedures and policies to target anyone and everyone who would report problems and seek help.  An employee physically assaulted me; the camera mysteriously broke when I reported it, so no evidence was available.  Who was at fault?  Me; the assistant director promoted the attacker, and I got ostracized.  The attacking employee took moral distress to new heights after this incident, and anyone who reported their behavior felt the wrath of the attacker and the VA leadership at the Albuquerque VAMC.

What is horrendous, this is not an isolated incident.  What happened to me frequently repeats daily across every VA office.  LIC is the overarching term, LIC is the behaviors named, and LIC is what the taxpayers are forced to pay for, all at the expense of veterans, dependents, and employees who see, know, and can do nothing.  Repetitions of moral distress in employees, reported by the VA-OIG, are more than 20 just in 2022.  The problem is cultural, and the elected officials desperately need to begin doing their second job, scrutinizing the executive branch and holding people accountable, including canceling the retirement packages of those practicing LIC.

Before someone tries to make this a Republican vs. Democrat issue, it is NOT political.  LIC is never political, just as LIC is never religious, never racist, not sexist, or any other distinction.  These distinctions are excuses, and the reasons do not justify the means for being violent.  The leadership at the VA, and many other government agencies, have found that abusing the taxpayer pays well, provides protection, and allows them to exercise dominion to their heart’s content, all with the power of government to justify their deeds.

Do you realize that the VA-OIG has a metric for measuring moral distress, and the only time the VA-OIG reports moral distress among employees is when the results are higher than national averages?  How scary is that to ponder?  The problem is so prevalent that it only warrants reporting when it exceeds the norm.  Thus, moral distress is declared less frequently when the average worsens.  Official protection for LIC is provided by LIC, increasing, and the taxpayer is footing the bill.

I have read reports where the moral distress has worsened from year to year.  The same leaders exacerbating the problem of employee moral distress are promoted and moved instead of reprimanded, punished, or fired.  One of the VA-OIG reports is particularly heinous in hiding moral distress in employees.

Selected employee survey responses demonstrated satisfaction with leadership and maintenance of an environment where staff felt respected and discrimination was not tolerated.  Patient experience survey data implied general satisfaction with the outpatient care provided; however, leaders had opportunities to improve inpatient care satisfaction [emphasis mine].”

Mark Twain is oft quoted as stating, “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.”  How much more valid are these words when results are “selected,” “cherry-picked,” or allowed to “imply generalities?”  Those who engage in LIC are criminals, they are comparable to terrorists, and they have infiltrated the bureaucratic halls of government.  Employing government power, they form unholy unions with social media outlets and media companies to further silence and abuse, all while increasing protection.

Where does it end?  How do we put paid to the tyranny?

It ends when ordinary people decide they have had enough.  Ending the LIC-powered tyranny requires nothing more than elected officials scrutinizing the government and doing the jobs they swore to commit.  No violence, problematic or arduous tasks, merely following established law and doing the jobs we elected them to accomplish.  LIC is always destroyed when the citizens being oppressed stand up for their rights and demand the bullies, tyrants, and fiends cease and desist!

Thomas Paine, writing in “Common Sense,” discussed simplicity, stating:

“I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature, which no art can overturn, viz. that the more simple anything is, the less liable it is to be disordered; and the easier repaired when disordered.”

The American government was established on simplicity, and the US Constitution is a simple document.  Using Thomas Paine’s pattern, the disorder in the government is simple to correct; all we need are people insisting that the infection is terminated.  Using the systems established in the US Constitution, the US government can be brought to heel, the rot removed, and justice can be delivered to those tyrants employing LIC for personal gain and political profit.  LIC is happening in every government agency, and it is time for change to begin.  Where are the politicians willing to do the job we elected them to perform?

Mark Twain provides the final word, “The government of my country snubs honest simplicity but fondles artistic villainy, and I think I might have developed into a very capable pickpocket if I had remained in the public service a year or two.”  From artistic villainy to LIC is not an arduous shift, merely the extension of abuse of power to a larger audience.  Learn, choose, and then make your voice known through elections and peaceful assembly for redress per the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

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Speaker Pelosi – Enough is ENOUGH!

Bird of PreyThere comes the point where every person reaches their penultimate point.  They can take no more, stand no more, and allow no more abuses to be heaped upon them by others.  On 30 August 2021, when Speaker Pelosi (D), Speaker of the US House of Representatives, refused to show up, refused to recognize, and refused to participate in a moment of silence for the 13 service members lost in Afghanistan, my moment arrived.  I am thoroughly done, and I am here to describe what that means!

  1. I will not edit my diet to fit a “woke culture!”

CommitI love fried chicken, watermelon, BBQ ribs, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on white bread.  I have been eating this way my entire life; I will not change just because some dweeb is projecting their racism onto food.  Food cannot and should never be labeled as “racist.”  I love grits and fried eggs, with cheese and gravy, or biscuits and hashbrowns.  I am a huge fan of fried okra and pork.  I enjoy a bowl of hominy and honey with a bit of butter and cornbread.  Bring on the food, leave the politics on the porch!

  1. I will not disrespect every police officer just because some person gets shot.

Is there the potential possibility that a bad police officer could have slipped in and will abuse their power?  Absolutely, and it has been my displeasure to have met a couple of these abusive and detestable bastards in my time.  I call them out, just like I call out those who abuse their position in any other profession.  But, I am done with seeing every police officer branded as bad when a precinct somewhere else in the world makes a dumb call, makes a poor decision, or is Monday-Morning-Quarterbacked by a bunch of bureaucrats who never wore a badge.  I have met too many great and good police officers to see all of them slandered by the media and the politicians for the statistical anomalies that come with a demanding job and the political misfeasance that is part of the risks in their profession.Thin Blue Line

I will add another piece of important information to this list, fail to listen to a police officer and get shot; you have no sympathy from me, EVER!  A police officer demands to see your hands and has reason to believe their life is in danger; you need to listen and obey first, talk and spout stupidity later.  Acting on a police officer’s demands in executing their duties is called being a responsible citizen, the first job a person has to law and order in society.  As a citizen, you must listen to authority, even if you do not like that authority or disagree with that authority.  Hence, it is not the police officer’s fault if you refuse to do as instructed and get shot in the process.

  1. Rioters, Looters, Anarchists – You Are Terrorists, and I will treat you as such!

LICThere is no such thing as a violent protest.  You are either protesting (peacefully) after having obtained the proper permits and in accordance with the laws, or you are terrorists hell-bent on destroying society.  There is no middle ground, and I refuse to bend on this issue, regardless of the media’s claims!  When you begin looting, burning, acting violently, this is the time to call in the military.  The rules of engagement include returning violence equal to or greater than the violence shown to restore law and order: no police, military response, and open fire.  Law and order is the police’s job.  Terrorism is the military’s job, and those who survive receive a terrorist trial in a military tribunal.

  1. Consent of the Governed. Rejected!Patriotism

America is a Constitutional Republic (if we can keep it).  Speaker Pelosi, you have breached public peace and no longer deserve my consent to hold your title and office as Speaker of the US House of Representatives.  More to the point, until you are removed from office and held accountable for treason and other crimes, you are held in contempt and do not deserve any title.  Nancy, go home!  My consent to be governed has been withdrawn!  Take your president, the fraudulent and senile Joey and Jill, the useless Kamala, and your good buddy in the Senate Patty with you.  Fly commercial; I refuse you the right to use my taxpayer-funded transportation!

  1. Rights, freedoms, liberties all come with obligations and responsibilities!

Your “right to free speech” comes with moral obligations, responsibilities, and you are accountable for what you say.  The Supreme Court has made this clear in many a case law, and it remains incumbent upon the citizenry and the politicians to learn this lesson.  Screaming nonsense is not allowed, and a “college safe place” will not protect you from a genuine ass-whooping when behavior correction is needed.  Nancy, your vile and deprecating speech borders on treasonous and criminal as you have promoted violence on your political enemies, frankly that you have escaped the law is atrocious and needs rectification!  That you are third in line to become president means you are held to a higher standard, and that you have failed to live to that standard reflects poorly upon yourself, your party, and this country!  Well, as a citizen of this country, I reject you!The Duty of Americans

I reject the “Gang of Five” who have followed maliciously in your footsteps and prospered under your pernicious tutelage.  You have poisoned enough minds and hearts during your Congressional career, and it is time for you to be held accountable for your crimes, audacity, and reprehensive behavior!  You have dodged the obligations and responsibilities of your office long enough.  Since you have gerrymandered your congressional district to guarantee re-election ad nauseam ad infinitum, it is time the citizens outside your community hold you accountable in front of a judge and jury.

Knowledge Check!Nancy, you sent the military to Afghanistan.  You continued to send the military to Afghanistan as political decisions.  You hold the blood of the slain, the sweat of the military sacrifice, and the tears of the families, and you cannot ever shake this responsibility!  For you to act in such a deplorable manner is cause for removal and public shaming, at a minimum.  But with your ego and arrogance, simple public shaming will not teach the lesson you need to learn.  Thus, Nancy, I hope to be there in person when a judge hands down a sentence of guilty, and pronounces your punishment of community service in distinctive clothing, wearing a sandwich board declaring your crimes, and watch you pull weeds on a chain gang, scrubbing graffiti, and picking trash.  Then, maybe, will the enormity of your crimes come home to you!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Revisiting No Neutrality – Today is a Day of Choosing, Tomorrow a Day of Action!

Why The Safe Path Is Dangerous - Tri-Peaks Life CoachingOn 01 July 2021, I first wrote an article regarding how there are no more safe paths, no more neutral zones, no more areas of peace to rest upon.  After the last 15-days, the world has witnessed this reality, and I revisit this topic to issue a plea.  Today, make a choice.  Tomorrow go to work implementing that choice.

In mentioning the following, I am not discussing religion but social history.  The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints holds sacred “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of JESUS CHRIST” as holy scripture.  The book contains a record of a civilization ruled by kings; then, the king proposes a society ruled by judges where their own conscience and written laws govern every person.  Both systems of government worked well.  The reign of the judges ends in chaos when the chief judge is murdered, and the people break up into separate tribes.  That is a couple of hundred years of history boiled into a few brief words; however, the pattern holds true for several other societies not recorded in books considered holy scripture.  I find the following fascinating as a template for the current time the world finds itself facing.

Why do societies fail?

Image - John Wayne QuoteMost societies fail because leaders have violated the core fundamental principles those societies were built upon. The people have lost the way to hold the leaders accountable to the fundamental principles that originally built the society.  In modern societies, these principles are codified laws from founding national documents, and holding the leaders accountable would involve lawyers and judges, as well as time and other leaders committed to holding together the system to ensure those who broke the system are held liable and accountable before the law, and not a mob.

Pick an empire, Rome, Greece, Israel, Egypt, Nephite, etc., all of them suffer the same fate as they crested the height of their time and slid into failure and ruin.  The leaders failed the people.  The government decided they did not have to perform their only job, to look out for the safety and security of the people, and the people died, and the government fell into ruin.  What have we witnessed across the globe, governments not listening to their people, refusing their people, and denying rights and liberties to their people in the name of personal power, wealth, and highly temporary fame.Finest Hour

Australia and New Zealand, the COVID measures are so beyond the pale horrific, and totalitarian that the government is doing more harm than the disease the government proclaims to be fighting.  China has blatantly broken the treaty with Hong Kong.  Nobody outside of Hong Kong appears to care enough to issue strong demands, let alone support Hong Kong’s citizenry in reclaiming that which is their right by treaty.  North Korea continues to vacillate and sway to whatever music China plays in the hopes of catching scraps, as their people suffer and die from malnutrition, disease, and neglect.Patriotism

Head into the Middle East, and that powder keg is going to blow again real soon.  Terrorists in Afghanistan never stay in Afghanistan, and now with a pipeline to China, money, and weapons from America, and new ways and means to launder money, how soon before the Middle East becomes a free-fire zone, the European mainland becomes a terrorist free-for-all shootout to rival America’s Wild West, and Africa descends into more tyranny and villainy?The Duty of Americans

Where are the leaders of government?  Where are the government representatives?  Our globe has changed since 2000; the hoped-for peace from the end of the last century has turned into a blood bath of terror on a global scale fed by low-intensity conflict (LIC).  Just as major international conflicts dominated the previous century, this century is being dominated by small brushfire LIC conflicts.  Our modes of war must change, our governments must adapt, our societies must change, and we are 20+ years into the new century.  The government still thinks this is 1995, money is free, music is 1980s good, and the future is bright and happy!

The Decisions for Today

QuestionWhat do you want most?  What government is most important to you?  Is your government system sufficiently powerful enough a motivator to propel you to action to save it and pass it along to the next generation?  America has had leaders who have been quoted as saying something to the effect of, “The blood of current generations must renew the tree of liberty to remain free.”  What will you sacrifice for liberty today, for your children to experience freedom tomorrow?

LIC is here to stay.  LIC will be the “gentlemen’s war” of this century.  Where the wealthy pool resources and purchase mayhem and destruction for their pleasure.  If society does not change, all representative governments will be lost in the turmoil created by these “children having fun.”  Worse, those little fracases could become full-blown international conflicts with nuclear weapons very easily — all based on the WWI model of human ineptitude and our human weakness for killing ourselves.LIC 2

The decisions are yours, and yours alone to make.  Collectively, your choices will move you into one of two groups, those fighting for representative government and those opposed to representative government.  Truthfully, do not expect to experience peace; there are no safe paths, no routes through tulips and rainbows on gossamer wings of spun sugar plums.  The enemy is awake; the enemy has prepared a legion of useful idiots and ivory potentates to give orders.

But, the decisions must be made, and the sooner the decision is made and communicated, the easier life becomes, for then you know your purpose!

The Actions for Tomorrow

ToolsAct with haste, prepare with confidence, and move with speed.  Get loud!  Stand like a rock!  I was told standing is not an activity.  The person proclaiming that has never stood still and faced down an enemy, or they would know just how arduous standing can be!  Seek learning through study, discussion, questions, and faith.  Seeking learning through faith means that you will actively believe until you can prove otherwise, even if it means waiting patiently for a while to learn more.

I learned this principle in the US Army.  I fully did not expect to learn this lesson, but learn it I did.  I believed in the chain of command.  Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training did nothing to dissuade that the chain of command needed to be accepted, supported, and obeyed unquestioningly.  Then I got to my first duty station and began learning my role in the chain of command as an active participant.  First, I refused to believe, then I believed in faith, then I tested and learned, then I acted above and beyond my rank and got swatted down for breaking the chain of command.  Always the same counsel, you are a great soldier/sailor, but you make decisions above your paygrade, and this rubs higher ranking people wrong.  My response, how am I responsible for the choices and consequences of those higher in rank choosing to be offended?

Knowledge Check!Everyone is now in the same boat; the chains of command cannot be trusted.  We must each think and act for ourselves for the betterment and security of our country, families, homes, freedoms, and the next generation.  We must each choose to throw off the shackles of the past, learn the lessons of history not taught in school, and then act to save the best in our societies before the wolves of terrorism steal everything.  We each must become the sheepdogs of war!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.