Monday, January 26, 2009


Making a decision is a funny thing. We expect people in leadership positions to make the tough decisions. Sometimes, all we want is for them to make any kind of decision - good or bad. While I was in the Air Force, I was told several times that as an officer, part of the job is to make a decision. Even if it turns out to be wrong, a bad decision is better than no decision. At least you acted to try and make the situation better.

It seems as if in the last several months, the favorite topic in the news was former President Bush and his decision making over the last 8 years. History will judge him better than we can at this moment. It is almost too easy to judge him knowing what we now know. We may never know exactly what information he had at his disposal ("need to know" and national security being what they are), however, I am sure he made the best decisions he could based on the information he was given. As an elected official, our highest elected official, we must believe he made decisions based on the information at hand and what he believed was best for us and our country.

In a recent article describing the unveiling of his official portrait, Gen Pete Pace (USMC, Ret) made a comment that fit right along with this. Gen Pace said he "certainly made some recommendations that if I could take them back and change them, I would, given the knowledge of today, but I also know that given the exact same data, at the exact same time in history, I would give the exact same advice.” Given the "knowledge of today" I think we would be hard pressed to find any decisions from any point and time in history that we wouldn't change in some way. As easy as it is to do that, it is important to think of the knowledge at the time instead of the knowledge of today (taking into account the whole hindsight being 20/20 thing). Most would prefer to wait until they have 100% of the information required to make a fully informed decision. However, the majority of the time, you cannot wait until you have 100%, and at other times, the information is continusously changing and it isn't possible to ever have 100%. It takes courage and bravery to make a decision knowing you will be judged on both the decision and the outcome.

History may prove me wrong, but right now, with the "knowledge of today," I am proud of former President George Bush and Gen Pete Pace. Proud of the decisions they made in their quest to keep our country safe; proud of the men they are and the leadership and service they gave to our country; proud they are men we can look up to and respect.

I hope and pray the men and women leading our country today put the country first in all their decision making, regardless of the consequences only history will show.

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