Posted on Feb 6, 2015
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From: Air Force Times

The Air Force A-10 attack jet has killed more U.S. troops in friendly fire incidents and more Afghan civilians than any other aircraft flown by the U.S. military, according to data declassified and obtained by USA TODAY.

The close-air-support aircraft has been embroiled in a battle over its survival between hawks on Capitol Hill and the Air Force. To Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and others, the jet represents an Air Force commitment to troops engaged in ground combat. To the Pentagon, it's a Cold War relic with no future in a time of tight budgets.

Wednesday, Ashton Carter, President Obama's choice to be Defense secretary, was drawn into the fight to kill or save the Warthog, as it is known. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., a member of the Armed Services Committee, wrested a commitment from Carter to meet with an association of troops and veterans who support the jet.

The A-10 can strike fear in an enemy. Its 30mm cannon can fire as many as 3,900 rounds of depleted uranium shells per minute at targets posing a threat to U.S. ground troops, many of them from the Army. Those bursts can shred the armor on a tank. They can also hit unintended targets.

Since 2001, the A-10 has been involved in four friendly fire incidents that killed 10 U.S. troops. The next highest is the B-1B bomber, which killed five soldiers last year in one incident. Friendly fire deaths are exceptionally rare. There have been 45 total friendly fire incidents out of about 140,000 missions flown by the Air Force, Navy and Marines.

The A-10 is the aircraft responsible for the most civilian deaths in Afghanistan since 2010, when data on those deaths started to be collected. Thirty-five people have been killed compared with 19 killed by the Harrier, data show.

In close-air-support missions in which weapons were dropped in Afghanistan, the A-10 has a slightly lower percentage of civilian casualty incidents per missions flown than B-1 bombers or F-16 fighters. More than 99% of the missions in which warplanes attack enemy ground fighters avoid harm to U.S. troops or civilians.

The Air Force would like to phase out the A-10 by 2019, but pilots still use it. Since August, it has flown 14% of the missions against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIL.

Its limited range and speed have prevented it from taking part in strikes against Kobani, a senior Air Force official said. The siege on the city by ISIL militants was lifted last week after months of airstrikes, many by the B-1, whose range, speed and payload far exceed the A-10.

The Air Force wants to retire the A-10 and use some of the $4.2 billion savings over five years to pay for crews to maintain the F-35, a costly new warplane that can perform multiple missions, from close-air support to attacking enemy fighters.

"The A-10 has been in service for 40-plus years," said Lt. Col. Chris Karns, an Air Force spokesman. "While the A-10 and its airmen have a long and proud history, fiscal realities and the significant cost savings associated with A-10 divestment are resulting in tough decisions."

The debate continues about the jet's value. Four senior-level Army and Air Force officers spoke to USA TODAY on condition of anonymity because the A-10 issue has become politically charged and the data are sensitive.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, where insurgents blend with average people, avoiding civilian casualties is a paramount goal. Incidents have been used as propaganda by insurgents or have driven a wedge between the U.S. effort and the Afghan government.

"First, you better do no harm," a senior Army officer told USA TODAY. The officer commanded at high levels in Iraq and Afghanistan and, like other senior officers, has seen the A-10s work up close. "I didn't want any stinkin' A-10s flying unless they were going to drop a (satellite-guided bomb) or other precision-guided munition."

Two other senior Army officers, both with combat command experience in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past two years, had more charitable views of the A-10. Both said they understood that automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, which occurred two years ago and are scheduled again for October, forced the Air Force to make tough choices. The sight of the slow-moving jet above a battlefield and the guttural sound of its gun can reassure troops facing enemy fire, they said.

For pilots and ground troops, "the most important thing is for the platform to get there and provide support," said Brig. Gen. Patrick Malachowski, a former A-10 pilot and expert on close air support. "If time is an issue and you need to get there quickly, then the A-10 is not the preferred platform."

The best aircraft for a mission depends on the threat, Malachowski said. All of the aircraft the Air Force uses for close air support work well, he said.

The Project on Government Oversight, a non-partisan group, wants the Air Force to release more data about the performance of aircraft in close-air-support missions, said Mandy Smithberger, a military analyst with the group. POGO would like to see the Government Accountability Office conduct an audit to determine which plane is superior for close air support.

"It's not about not liking or not wanting the A-10," Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, said. "It's about some very tough decisions that we have to make to recapitalize an Air Force for the threat 10 years from now."

http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/tech/2015/02/05/a-10-warplane-tops-list-for-friendly-fire-deaths/22949239/
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COL Vincent Stoneking
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CAS platform engages in CAS. Film at eleven. In other news, water is wet.
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SPC Ryan D.
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Last time I checked, the A-10's didn't fly themselves.

Using the argument that this aircraft is responsible for those deaths, and not the actual pilots or the controllers calling them in, is very misleading and unfortunate.

This aircraft, next to the apache, IMO is the best close air support troops have on the battlefield today.

I hope the A-10 stays in play for as long as possible.
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LTC Paul Labrador
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The arguement they are trying to make is that since it does not have the whiz-bang hi-tech gadgets that, say, the F35 has, that it is more at risk at shooting at friendlies. My counter-arguement is that whiz-bang gadgets don't prevent human error. Whiz-bang gadgets break, don't work as advertised. That is the nature of warfare.
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SPC Ryan D.
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Gadgets are nice, but you're absolutely right. I'd rather we spend money on flight time and training for the pilots than (to borrow your wording) 'whiz-bang' gadgets that can fail and don't account for human error.
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SPC Ryan D., next you'll be telling me that guns aren't responsible for killing people and spoons don't make you fat. Keep that kind of logic up, and you'll NEVER be promoted!!

On a serious note....yes...I hope the A-10 stays in inventory well into the 21st century. She may be old and ugly, but she's a great aircraft.
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CPT Butler
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LTC Paul Labrador - ..and for the whiz bang cost overruns of the $160 billion, I bet all the A-10 can be upgraded/rebuilt just like the B52s with better systems to mitigate the possible human error.
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Lt Col Michael Hills
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The C in CAS stands for close--this is inherently dangerous, it doesn't mean the A-10 is at fault in those casualties, it means that it is an incredibly challenging mission...more difficult without a capable aircraft and pilots trained to do that specific mission. Moving to even less specialization will result in more casualties and is a bad call in my opinion, especially given this is one of the few relevant platforms the Air Force brings to the fight. We're not in an air dominance fight right now, we're fighting insurgency and terrorists, not a peer competitor--we have air superiority...toss the parochialism and protection of budgets that don't make sense and do the right thing. The A-10 was a good aircraft and is an economically sound decision...the F-35, a complete embarrassment.
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The mission the A-10 performs is simply far more likely to result in friendly forces deaths. I am sure AR-15s have been involved in more friendly forces injuries and deaths, than sniper rifles. I disagree with most, however on the employment of A-10s. These should always have been Army assets and organic to Combat Arms units to be under direct and immediate control of the Division Commander. Regardless of how well the services try to work together, there will always be procedures that will interfere with timely engagement of these assets. Sad that our Army leadership doesn’t want to accept this responsibility. Historically Army leadership has had the “Look at me, I can do more with less” mentality. While Air Force leadership hasn’t been afraid to clearly state the expected effects of cutting corners. Even now, the threat to cut the A-10, was likely just a parry to cutbacks being forced on them. I fully believe they chose this as something that would certainly result in additional funding since they never considered that the DoD would actually consider cutting the A-10 as an option.
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Lt Col Michael Hills - 5 star General/President Eisenhower was correct in his last speech about the military industrial complex 3 days before he left office.
Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

Public Papers of the Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960, p. 1035- 1040

My fellow Americans:

Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.

This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.

Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the Nation.

My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.

In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the national good rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the Nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling, on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.

II.

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.

III.

Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger is poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle -- with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research -- these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.

IV.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present
• and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

V.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

VI.

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war -- as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years -- I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

VII.

So -- in this my last good night to you as your President -- I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and peace. I trust that in that service you find some things worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.

You and I -- my fellow citizens -- need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation's great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.









Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961


Public Papers of the Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960, p. 1035- 1040

My fellow Americans:

Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.

This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.

Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the Nation.

My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.

In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the national good rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the Nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling, on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.

II.

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.

III.

Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger is poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle -- with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research -- these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.

IV.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present
• and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

V.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

VI.

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war -- as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years -- I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

VII.

So -- in this my last good night to you as your President -- I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and peace. I trust that in that service you find some things worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.

You and I -- my fellow citizens -- need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation's great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.
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Lt Col Michael Hills
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I (still) like Ike!
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