inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

McCORMICK: What I Learned in 2023: In the Face of Evil, America Needs New Leadership

In 2023, we were reminded that evil lurks in the world and is on the rise, and that we need strong leadership and moral clarity to deter and overcome it.

Over the last three years, the world has become an increasingly dangerous place for the United States and our allies as adversaries probe for weakness.

First, America’s enemies watched as our commander-in-chief botched our withdrawal from Afghanistan. Thirteen brave servicemen and women lost their lives and America was humiliated because of this failure of leadership.

Having witnessed President Biden’s weakness, Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine, killing tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and destroying peace in Europe. Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party has continued one of the largest military buildups in history and escalated pressure on Taiwan and the Philippines.

Then, Hamas launched a barbaric assault against innocent Israelis that was the deadliest attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Since then, Iranian-backed terrorist groups have attacked U.S. forces across the Middle East and paralyzed international shipping in the Red Sea. This is a stark reminder that the enemies of Americans, Israelis, and others who enjoy freedom and prosperity remain a significant threat.

At home, we’ve seen protests calling for the genocide of Jews, a dramatic rise in hate crimes, and leaders of our country’s most elite institutions failing to show moral clarity and the leadership needed to meet this moment.

The world is watching to see whether our leaders will stand up for the American people, and this has been a brutal wake-up call that all is not well for America and our closest allies.

We need leaders with the strength, the will, and the moral clarity to meet these challenges. Leaders who will make our enemies think twice about attacking America and our allies. Leaders who defend America’s interests. And leaders who will make serious, generational investments in rebuilding our military.

President Joe Biden and Senator Bob Casey will do none of these things.

Their every move has weakened our position on the world stage, undermining deterrence, and showing our adversaries that the United States may not be the superpower it once was.

Biden’s failures have had the support every step of the way of rubber stamp Senator Bob Casey.  Pennsylvania’s senior senator votes for the president’s disastrous agenda 98 percent of the time and repeatedly has failed to use his position of power when it matters most.

Pennsylvanians deserve better than weak, ineffective leaders who have proven themselves to be incapable of keeping America and our friends safe.

In the business world, when someone fails to deliver results, they’re fired. I learned that the hard way while CEO of an investment firm. My boss initially decided I was not cutting it in the job, and demoted me. I learned some hard lessons and later earned my way back to CEO and successfully led the company for a number of years.

Bob Casey should be held to the same high standard. Congress had a historically unproductive year, with the fewest bills signed into law in decades, and Casey has not seen a single significant piece of his own legislation become law in 17 years in the Senate.

The world is a scary place. We need leaders who are capable of protecting the American people and America’s role in the world.

My decades of leadership experience demonstrate I’m equipped for this dangerous moment, and I’d be honored to carry the torch as the new U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

SILVERSTEIN: How One Soldier Copes With War Horrors 17 Years Later

Sgt. Scott Borawski has suffered from survivor’s guilt for 17 years — a result of his five-person crew getting blown up in Iraq on October 17, 2006. The guys were clearing roads of improvised explosive devices. But it went deadly wrong.

This is about the anatomy of a soldier — one man’s journey from idealism to grief to renewal.

The Army sergeant was always on patrol. But on this day, he had to ensure the infantry was adequately equipped — similar to his logistics job with the Air Force from 1990 to 1994. A friend took his place that fateful day, never to return.

The Army forbids communication after these disasters so officers can gather the remains of the fallen and provide proper notification to family members. Borawski’s wife, Debbi, and their son and daughter waited three days and nights, expecting to hear the worst. Friends came to comfort Debbi at their Fort Hood, Texas, home, including the wife of the man who replaced Scott.

And when the knock at the door finally came, the uniformed officers explained the horror, causing her friend to break down. But the Borawski family is forever changed.

“I always liked watching old-school movies with John Wayne. But Hollywood makes it out to be something it is not. I felt a calling — to do my duty,” Scott said.

“I had survivor’s guilt something fierce,” Borawski lamented, whose 53rd birthday was in October and who has been with the U.S. Postal Service since 2015 in Columbia, Tenn. “I don’t know why God chose me to be around. I always think of the worst-case scenario, which has hindered me since this happened.”

The mental anguish plagued him. But despite his torment, the sergeant returned to the Afghan battlefield for two tours and two years beginning in 2008. In 2014, the Army medically discharged him.

But Borawski isn’t thinking of himself. He is concerned for his fellow soldiers — those 22 veterans daily who commit suicide because of post-traumatic stress syndrome on American soil, according to Veterans Affairs. While the agency helps vets after they serve, the sergeant said the soldiers are often unaware of the programs.

However, he shoulders some blame, saying the war veteran community is not doing “buddy checks.” “The soldiers have so much emotional pain, and they need to talk to someone,” Borawski said, whether it is their peers or professionals, who must ensure the conversations stay “squarely in that room.”

Despite his daily mental and physical struggles, the sergeant believes profoundly in the cause of freedom, saying he would fight for the Ukrainians if he could. But he quickly adds that war is not illustrious. It’s a living hell.

“If you have seen it, you are humble and don’t talk about it,” Borawski said. “There is nothing glorious about killing the enemy. Soldiers know what they have done and accomplished — and how they have saved lives.

“Then there are those who never go outside the wire and on the front lines,” he said. “We don’t look at them the same way, but without them, we can’t do our jobs. Some of those behind the front lines brag about their medals. They glorify war but have never seen a bullet whiz by. They are taking away something someone else has sacrificed — to protect our country on the battlefield.”

The sergeant is a changed man from 17 years ago. But he has gone through a spiritual awakening — a byproduct of his faith and family. “That keeps me going, he said. “Even when it’s a struggle, it’s still a good day.”

Scott Borawski embodies the American soldier: selfless, brave and patriotic. But he’s also humble, decent and good-hearted, which is why the military chose him to lead and why he selected to serve — the same attributes that give him respect and stature within his community.

SPEIDEL: ‘Top Gun Maverick’ Has a Message for America

Since opening on May 27, “Top Gun Maverick” has had box office sales greater than $600 million.


To be sure, action-adventure shows with violence, explosions, the good guys winning, and lots of shiny things do well. But not this well. And this movie is more than loud noises and shiny things.

“Top Gun Maverick” does well because it is what these times demand. Its message is what we miss and long for. Remember, the “Top Gun Maverick” release was in the week of the Uvalde mass shooting. At the Robb Elementary school, 19 police officers were in a hallway awaiting keys, snipers, ballistic shields, and negotiators while children died dialing for help.

The Uvalde School Superintendent Hal Harrell’s response at his press conference was not to answer questions but to declare the school district would hire more officers. Harrell will also need to budget for expanding school hallways to accommodate additional police if that is the only response.

The scalding tragedy of Uvalde is only the most recent demonstration of our incompetence. Watching our Afghan bug-out sears and scars.

Responding to an August 26, 2021 suicide attack that took the lives of 13 U.S. servicemembers and at least 60 Afghans seeking to flee their country, President Joe Biden warned, “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

Within days, on August 27, a US  drone destroyed a vehicle transporting an international aide-worker and 10 children, killing all.

Flopping failures have become the new growth sector of our domestic product.

“Top Gun Maverick” is about competence and what competence demands.

“Top Gun Maverick’s” message is that diverse, conflicting individuals can maintain their identities, learn to work together, and accomplish the undoable mission. That to accomplish the mission, they understand the mission. They train and work, train and work and then train again, ruthlessly holding themselves to the standards the mission demands. And the standards are quantified. Clarity and focus on the mission are built in from the start and endure. We ought to try that concept occasionally.

Its message is there are bad things out there, and alpha males with toxic masculinity are the antidote. Nor are alpha males defined by gender. Consider Lt. Natasha Trace, call sign “Phoenix.” Fitting for our time, “Phoenix” identifies as an alpha male dripping with toxic masculinity, slathering insults and never backing down in the fight.  “Phoenix” will never be mistaken for a male; she passes for an alpha male all the time. Badass transcends the biological gender. Labels such as alpha males do not define gender-only behavior.

“Top Gun Maverick” affirms the value of the truth despite its costs. Those who came of age in the 60s embraced confronting authority, celebrating speaking truth to power. Meet Capt. Pete Mitchell, whose cratered career reflects speaking truth, also getting the mission accomplished.  Truth requires recognizing and owning mistakes.  Not a lot of that going around now.

Dating to the 4th century B.C., there is a concept that the opposite of fear is love. Macaulay’s “Lays of Ancient Rome,” tells of “the Brave Horatius, Captain of the Gate,” who seeks two “who will stand on either hand and keep the bridge with me?” Those who do the difficult, the dangerous love the individuals to their right and to their left who share the burden and danger. Being there for the other beside you overwhelms your fear. It is the definition of love.

Naval aviation enshrines the concept of protecting the other. It’s phrased as having your wingman’s “six.” The “six“ is the threat position directly behind the plane’s tail(s). The aviator is responsible for keeping the “bad guys” off his wingman’s six. When things go wrong in these times, throwing others under the bus has become a competitive sport. It would be nice to hear “I got your six” for a change.

Despite bubbling with living fully, with song and laughter, and being involved and committed to others, our finite span is never off stage in “Top Gun Maverick.”  Like “Goose” and “Ice,” we will all depart the pattern someday. Maverick starts the movie alone in a hangar, working on another old, high-performing relic of aviation, a P-51 Mustang. The film closes the circle with “Maverick” back in the hangar working on restoring the other old warbird, this time with Penny, “Rooster,” and Amelia. Continuity? For we endure in our children, those who will follow. We endure in the heritage we gift, in the values we affirm.  As Rooster says about staying with his wingman, “Maverick,” “It’s what my dad would’ve done.” This is how we progress.

In the summer of Uvalde, “Top Gun Maverick” speaks to our needs and reminds us of others who still walk among us. The movie shows a culture and values that accomplish missions and leave the world better. The movie invites the viewer to engage … “FIGHTS ON!”


Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or