by OPOVV, ©2013

Will anyone at the U.S. State Department be held accountable for the four deaths in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012?

(Dec. 23, 2013) — An old man hired me to fix the leaking windows on one of his rental properties. We met at the house and he showed me the problem, and then I told him how I’d fix it and gave him the price. He said he was satisfied and he’d be back the next afternoon to pay me.

On the way home I spent four hours going to a couple of building supply stores and purchased the wood, caulk, screws and nails required to do a top-notch professional job. And then, after I got home, I spent another hour getting all the tools together that I would need, and then spent an hour diagramming the operation just to double-check that I wouldn’t run out of anything. So far I’d invested at least six hours into the job.

In South Florida it gets hot quickly in the month of August, and the hottest time of the day is late afternoon, so I started the job just as the sun rose the next morning with the idea that I’d work until the job was finished, which is what I did. I arrived at the job site while it was still dark and, as it got lighter, laid out the electrical cords, unloaded the ladder, and distributed the materials around the job site where they were needed. And then, at 8:00 am, I started to use my saw and hammer since that was the time when the noise restrictions were lifted in the place where I was working.

I worked for nine straight hours, stopping only to drink the water that I brought with me.  As I was loading the ladder onto my truck, the owner arrived to inspect the job and pay me. My total time on the job was 15 hours. The owner walked up, looked at his watch, and said, “I’m not paying you for a half-day’s work; here’s half your money.”

The thought crossed my mind that there’s not a jury or a judge on earth that would convict me no matter what I did to the owner.  I used a tremendous amount of restraint and did nothing physically, although I let him have my two cents’ worth. “What are you going to do, sue me for a measly couple of hundred dollars?” No, I couldn’t afford losing that much time off from working to take him to court, and he knew that.

And that was the last time I did a job on a handshake. My whole world, my world view, changed dramatically. Ever since then, I carried contracts with me. Half down upon signing the contract, and then the remainder when completed: cover the cost of materials and labor at the start, the gravy at the end.

The day of the handshake is over. Taking someone at his word is over. Don’t talk about it; show me, and if you lied to me, it’s really over. There’s a moral here: don’t judge on words, only on results. Be accountable.

Of course, if you’re taking on the responsibility to be accountable, it just follows that everybody else in the universe should act in a like manner. How many times have we heard, “Those who have messed up will be held accountable”? Don’t believe it.  The definition of “accountable” for you and me is not the same as the government’s. If one of our employees would be held “accountable,” they’d be fired with no pension. Too bad; that’s the way the cookie crumbles in the real world. Why, then, is it any different for OUR employees who work for the government?

Well, the short, middle and long answer is it shouldn’t be any different. No free ride. No “Get Out of Jail” card for our politicians. To start, let’s find the person, or PERSONS, who let our four guys get murdered in Benghazi. Let’s find them, try them, convict them, and parade them a la LTC Terry Lakin-style through the airport concourse on their way to a Federal Penitentiary or, better yet, to Gitmo.

Works for me.


3 Responses to "Accountability"

  1. Dabigragu   Monday, December 23, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Excellent article.

  2. OPOVV   Monday, December 23, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    You know what?
    Your right.

  3. Stephen Hiller   Monday, December 23, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    My Daddy brought me up with “a man is only as good as his word”. If a man’s handshake is no good, his name on a piece of paper means nothing either.

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