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Monday, May 31, 2004

Honor, Gratitude...and Memory 

(Part 3)

"The flak was the heaviest I'd ever flown into. The Japanese were ready and waiting: their antiaircraft guns were set up to nail us as we pushed into our dives. By the time VT-51 was ready to go in, the sky was thick with angry black clouds of exploding antiaircraft fire."

"Don Melvin led the way, scoring hits on a radio tower. I followed, going into a thirty-five degree dive, an angle of attack that sounds shallow but in an Avenger felt as if you were headed straight down. The target map was strapped to my knee, and as I started into my dive, I'd already spotted the target area. Coming in, I was aware of black splotches of gunfire all around."

"Suddenly there was a jolt, as if a massive fist had crunched into the belly of the plane. Smoke poured into the cockpit, and I could see flames rippling across the crease of the wing, edging towards the fuel tanks. I stayed with the dive, homed in on the target, unloaded our four 500-pound bombs, and pulled away, heading for the sea. Once over water, I leveled off and told Delaney and White to bail out, turning the plane to starboard to take the slipstream off the door near Delaney's station."--George H.W. Bush

The Washington Times:

"Mr. Bush was just 20 years old when his TBM Avenger torpedo-bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire on Sept. 2, 1944, during a bombing run over Chichi Jima, an island 600 miles south of Japan, just north of the better-known Iwo Jima.
The young pilot stayed on course long enough to release those bombs on an enemy radio transmitter before bailing out above the Pacific, his aircraft now a fireball, his two crewmen dead.
Mr. Bush never forgot his men, the black smoke and the moment he himself sliced into the ocean with a damaged parachute. He was rescued by a U.S. Navy submarine after three hours in the water and was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
But these events — the visceral moments of a young pilot — have not been lost. Mr Bush's experiences have been retold in both a new book and an upcoming CNN documentary.
"Flyboys," by James Bradley, will be published Tuesday, chronicling the stories of nine airmen shot down over Chichi Jima, eight of whom died as prisoners of war. Some were beheaded, according to recently declassified documents with "facts so horrible" they were hidden from the men's families.
But the ninth airman — Mr. Bush — survived.
"The Flyboy who got away became president of the United States," Mr. Bradley wrote in his account.
To this day, that president can't forget his lost crew mates, gunner Ted White and radio man John Delaney.
"It still plagues me if I gave those guys enough time to get out," Mr. Bush told the author. "I think about those guys all the time." {underscoring Pres. Bush's fundamental decency.-ed.}
..."Just over a year ago, Mr. Bush returned to Chichi Jima, meeting veterans from both sides of the war — including one Japanese soldier who saw Mr. Bush's plane fall into the sea five decades earlier...
Alone in a life raft, Mr. Bush paddled out to the waters that had claimed both his plane and his buddies."


"On August 26, 1950, I was summoned to the office of Captain Edward Pearce, USN, in the Dai Ichi Insurance Building in downtown Tokyo, overlooking Emperor Hirohito's imperial palace. For the past year, I had been serving under Captain Pearce on General Douglas MacArthur's staff.

"Gene," Eddie Pearce said in his gruff deadpan way, "I believe we've cooked up a little rumble you're going to like."

The twinkle in Pearce's gray eyes intrigued me. So did the eager expectation on the face of the other man in Pearce's office, Major General Holmes E. Dager. He had been one of General George S. Patton's tank commanders during World War II. Between them, these two guys had seen a lot of bullets and shells fly in that global struggle. Now a new war had exploded in Korea. I sensed they were about to invite me to sample some excitement in this fracas.

I said nothing, while Eddie Pearce shifted in his chair and leaned toward me. "We're going to make an amphibious landing at Inchon on 15 September, and General MacArthur says it's essential we obtain more timely and accurate information on everything in and around the place-at once."

"How would you like to try to get us that information?" General Dager asked.

On June 24, 1950, Communist North Korea had invaded South Korea with fourteen well-trained divisions. They quickly captured the capital, Seoul, and smashed the lightly armed Republic of Korea army with a lavish use of artillery and tanks. President Harry S. Truman had ordered General MacArthur to send American soldiers to resist this act of naked aggression.

The green GIs, mostly draftees in combat for the first time, had been driven back to a precarious perimeter around the port of Pusan, on the southern tip of the Korean peninsula. They were clinging to this enclave, under ferocious North Korean attack. Many people in General Headquarters thought it was only a matter of time before we faced an American Dunkerque. In Washington, D.C., shudders ran through the White House at the possibility that if the North Koreans succeeded in spreading Communism at the point of a gun, the Russians might try something similar in Europe. There was also a very visible threat to Japan, where President Truman had done his utmost to exclude Communist influence. The tip of Korea was only about ninety miles from Kyushu, Japan's southernmost island.

I was devoted to Captain Pearce. The white-haired Annapolis man had accepted me without the slightest hint of the condescension often displayed by some naval academy graduates toward "mustangs"-officers appointed from the enlisted ranks during World War II. That was how I had won my commission. A yeoman, I had risen from seaman to chief petty officer-the highest rank an enlisted man can achieve. But I disliked captaining what I sometimes called an "LMD"-a Large Mahogany Desk-and applied for a commission to get myself into the war zone.

I was not completely surprised by Eddie Pearce's proposition. Since the war in Korea began, I had been working in the Geographic Branch of General MacArthur's staff, gathering information about tides, terrain, and landing facilities at various ports along both coasts of South Korea. I had participated in amphibious operations during World War II, notably on Okinawa, the last big battle of the Pacific war, and knew what was needed to make a successful landing on an enemy-held shore. I and other members of my research team had scoured every possible source, from old Japanese studies to aerial photography taken during World War II-and had come up with very little that was reliable about either Korean coast. Major General Charles Willoughby, MacArthur's intelligence chief, had expressed grave dissatisfaction with our reports.

My experience as an amphibian also enabled me to grasp why a landing at Inchon required absolutely reliable information. The port was on Korea's west coast, 180 miles north of the Pusan perimeter. If anything went wrong at Inchon, the American attackers would be in serious danger of being flung back into the sea with horrendous casualties. The fighting men around Pusan were too far away to give them any support. From my preliminary research, I already knew that the approach to Inchon was complicated by tides that rose and fell twenty-nine feet in a twenty-four-hour period-leaving miles of mudflats, some extending six thousand yards from the shoreline at low water.

"I know we've gone to the limit in researching this matter," I said. "So I take it that a little personal look-see trip is in order. Is that correct, Captain?"

"That's right, Gene," Pearce said. "It's going to require a reconnaissance of the Inchon area by someone qualified to observe and transmit back to Tokyo the information we currently lack. I believe you're the man for the job."

"I'd certainly like to take a crack at it," I said-simultaneously trying to visualize what this rumble might involve. I had an uneasy feeling it was not going to be a pleasure trip. At thirty-nine, I was getting a little old for the commando game. But I preferred excitement to desk work. I had had a pretty good taste of action on Okinawa and nearby islands, dealing with Japanese troops who were inclined to stage a final banzai charge rather than surrender. After the war, I had enjoyed some highly clandestine operations along the China coast, trying to help the Nationalist Chinese in their losing struggle with the Communists.

"I told General Willoughby you'd be ready to tackle the job," Captain Pearce said, visibly pleased. "You will report to General Dager until the completion of this mission, as of now."

"Aye aye, sir!" I said.

In the elevator, General Dager told me to get him a list of what I would need for the expedition by the following morning. With it should be a target date for my departure to the vicinity of Inchon.

Back in my office, I sat down at my desk and lit my pipe. Below me spread the peaceful, exquisitely beautiful grounds of the Japanese imperial palace. It was hard to believe that men were fighting and dying around Pusan while I gazed down at this oasis of serenity."--Excerpt from "The Secrets of Inchon: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Covert Mission of the Korean War" by Commander Eugene Franklin Clark, USN.

(This gripping story should be made into a movie.)

We'll stop our historical review here, leaving stories from 'Nam, Grenada, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, the home front & elsewhere for another day.

But the message is clear; from times now receding into the mists of history, Americans have answered the call to duty.

And they deserve our Honor, Gratitude...and Memory.

Honor , Gratitude...and Memory 

(Part 2)

"The fighting at the head of the line was fierce and bloody to an extraordinary degree. ...the 'Queen Charlotte' was almost disabled, and the 'Detroit' was also frightfully shattered, especially by the raking fire of the gunboats, her first lieutenant, Mr. Garland, being mortally wounded, and Captain Barclay so severely injured that he was obliged to quit the deck, leaving his ship in the command of Lieutenant George Inglis. But on board the Lawrence matters had gone even worse, the combined fire of her adversaries having made the grimmest carnage on her decks. Of the one hundred and three men who were fit for duty when she began the action, eighty-three, or over four-fifths, were killed or wounded. The vessel was shallow, and the ward-room, used as a cockpit, to which the wounded were taken, was mostly above water, and the shot came through it continually, killing and wounding many men under the hands of the surgeon."

"The first lieutenant, Yarnall, was three times wounded, but kept to the deck through all; the only other lieutenant on board, Brooks, of the marines, was mortally wounded. Every brace and bowline was shot away, and the brig almost completely dismantled; her hull was shattered to pieces, many shot going completely through it, and the guns on the engaged side were by degrees all dismounted. Perry kept up the fight with splendid courage. As the crew fell one by one, the commodore called down through the skylight for one of the surgeon's assistants; and this call was repeated and obeyed till none was left; then he asked, "Can any of the wounded pull a rope?" and three or four of them crawled up on deck to lend a feeble hand in placing the last guns. Perry himself fired the last effective heavy gun, assisted only by the purser and chaplain."--Theodore Roosevelt's account of Captain Oliver Hazard Perry & the Battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813.

(Capt. Perry and crew's victory secured the Great Lakes...and kept the nation free of marauding Canadians such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell for another 150 years. It was one of the few good pieces of good news in the War of 1812 {which also gave us our national anthem} until the Battle of New Orleans was won by Johnny Horton. Seriously, although New Orleans was fought after a treaty had been signed, Andy Jackson insisted--rightly--that the British wouldn't have honored the treaty without it. Both Hazard & Jackson had enlisted as 13-year olds; Hazard fought against the Barbary Pirates and Jackson was abused as a prisoner by the British during the Revolution. The British failed to apologize.)

"There is one who on this day is always present on my mind
(Henry Abbott of the 20th Mass.). He entered the army at nineteen, a second lieutenant. In the Wilderness, already at the head of his regiment, he fell, using the moment that was left him of life to give all of his little fortune to his soldiers.I saw him in camp, on the march, in action. I crossed debatable land with him when we were rejoining the Army together. I observed him in every kind of duty, and never in all the time I knew him did I see him fail to choose that alternative of conduct which was most disagreeable to himself. He was indeed a Puritan in all his virtues, without the Puritan austerity; for, when duty was at an end, he who had been the master and leader became the chosen companion in every pleasure that a man might honestly enjoy. His few surviving companions will never forget the awful spectacle of his advance alone with his company in the streets of Fredericksburg. ...He was little more than a boy, but the grizzled corps commanders knew and admired him; and for us, who not only admired, but loved, his death seemed to end a portion of our life also."

..."It is not of the dead alone that we think on this day. There are those still living whose sex forbade them to offer their lives, but who gave instead their happiness. Which of us has not been lifted above himself by the sight of one of those lovely, lonely women, around whom the wand of sorrow has traced its excluding circle--set apart, even when surrounded by loving friends who would fain bring back joy to their lives?"

..."But, nevertheless, the generation that carried on the war has been set apart by its experience. Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing. While we are permitted to scorn nothing but indifference, and do not pretend to undervalue the worldly rewards of ambition, we have seen with our own eyes, beyond and above the gold fields, the snowy heights of honor, and it is for us to bear the report to those who come after us. But, above all, we have learned that whether a man accepts from Fortune her spade, and will look downward and dig, or from Aspiration her axe and cord, and will scale the ice, the one and only success which it is his to command is to bring to his work a mighty heart."

..."But grief is not the end of all. I seem to hear the funeral march become a paean. I see beyond the forest the moving banners of a hidden column. Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death--of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and joy of the spring. As I listen , the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will."--Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Civil War veteran, on Memorial Day, May 30, 1884.

"Mother, I suppose you read all about the Marines in the New York papers. Well, it was in one of those battles that I was wounded, but before they got me I was able to get to the edge of the woods and help to drive them out. When I was first hit I thought I was going to die, and I was glad that I took the ten thousand insurance, but I did not die. Well, Mother, I think I will close now as I will write a letter to you once a week to let you know how I am getting along."--Pvt. Frank McCarthy, USMC, 2nd Division, Belleau Wood, June, 1918.

"It's God's truth that one Company of American soldiers beat and routed a full regiment of picked shock troops of the German Army...At ten o'clock...the Germans were carrying back wounded and dead [from] the river bank and we in our exhaustion let them do it--they carried back all but six hundred which we counted later and fifty-two machine guns... We had started with 251 men and 5 lieutenants...I had left 51 men and 2 second lieutenants..."--Capt. Jesse Woolridge,
3rd Division, Second Battle of the Marne, September, 1918.

(cont.)

Honor, Gratitude...and Memory 

(Part 1)

"When we came there, we were attacked by a party of French and Indians...The Virginia troops showed a good deal of bravery, and were nearly all killed; for I believe, out of three companies that were there, scarcely thirty men are left alive. Captain Peyrouny, and all his officers down to a corporal, were killed. Captain Polson had nearly as hard a fate, for only one of his was left. ...I luckily escaped without a wound, though I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me."--a 23 year-old American Militia colonel, Geo. Washington, describes the Battle of Fort Duquesne, July 9, 1755.

(Many years later, an Indian chief sought out Washington. The chief told him that he and his warriors had exerted themselves mightily, yet in vain, to kill Washington during that battle: "We felt that some Manitou guarded your life and we believed you could not be killed." Washington later told his brother "By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation. Death was levelling my companions on every side.")

"There they now stood, side by side...with (fire)arms in their hands, silent & fearless, willing to shed their blood for their rights...John Parker, the strongest and best wrestler in Lexington, had promised never to run from the British troops; and he kept his vow. A wound brought him on his knees. Having discharged his gun, he was preparing to load it again, when he was stabbed by a bayonet, and lay on the post which he took at the morning's drumbeat..."--George Bancroft, historian & founder of the Naval Academy, describes the Battle on Lexington Green, where 70-some Minute Men--ordinary citizens, really--faced 700 British Regulars on Apr. 19, 1775.

(The citizens had been warned by Richard Dawes and Paul Revere. They were joined by Dr. Samuel Prescott, who had been visiting his girl-friend in Lexington. When Revere & Dawes were suddenly surrounded and detained, Dr. Prescott and his mount jumped a stone wall and escaped. {'Prescott'?...hmmm...AWOL!AWOL!} When church bells pealed across the countryside, the British fled, freeing Revere & Dawes.)

cont. ...

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Mt. Rushmore Speaks 

On this Memorial Day, we honor the memory of those who gave, and still give, all for our liberty.

Let's then examine the meaning of that liberty through the words of the four American Giants whose images are carved on Mt. Rushmore, symbolizing the birth, growth, preservation and development of our national life.

George Washington:

"The hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are Freemen, fighting for the blessings of Liberty — that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men."

"There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war."

"I wish from my soul that the legislature of this State could see a policy of a gradual Abolition of Slavery."

"I am principled against this kind of traffic in the human species...and to disperse the families I have an aversion."

"The Constitution which at any time exists, 'till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People is sacredly obligatory upon all."

Thomas Jefferson:

"A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate."

"A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone, is a good thing; but independence of the will of the nation is a solecism (an absurdity), at least in a republican government."

"All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride legitimately, by the grace of God."

"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever."

"At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little and little, the foundations of the constitution, and working its change by construction, before any one has perceived that that invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account."

Abraham Lincoln:

"A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved--I do not expect the house to fall--but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. ...Two years ago the Republicans of the nation mustered over thirteen hundred thousand strong. We did this under the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us. Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy. Did we brave all them to falter now?-now, when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered, and belligerent? The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail-if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come."

"The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

"Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation."

"Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this. Who can be more nearly a fiend than he who habitually overhauls the register of deeds in search of defects in titles, whereon to stir up strife, and put money in his pocket?...Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief -- resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer."

"Dear Madam,
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.
I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully, A. Lincoln"

"Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT."

"I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence."

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan..."

Teddy Roosevelt:

"I believe that a man must be a good patriot before he can be, and as the only possible way of being, a good citizen of the world. Experience teaches us that the average man who protests that his international feeling swamps his national feeling, that he does not care for his country because he cares so much for mankind, in actual practice proves himself the foe of mankind; that the man who says that he does not care to be a citizen of any one country, because he is the citizen of the world, is in fact usually and exceedingly undesirable citizen of whatever corner of the world he happens at the moment to be in."

"Let the man of learning, the man of lettered leisure, beware of that queer and cheap temptation to pose to himself and to others as a cynic, as the man who has outgrown emotions and beliefs, the man to whom good and evil are as one. ...Still less room is there for those who deride of slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who "but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier.""

"But the reward must go to the man who does his work well; for any other course is to create a new kind of privilege, the privilege of folly and weakness; and special privilege is injustice, whatever form it takes. To say that the thriftless, the lazy, the vicious, the incapable, ought to have reward given to those who are far-sighted, capable, and upright, is to say what is not true and cannot be true. Let us try to level up, but let us beware of the evil of leveling down. If a man stumbles, it is a good thing to help him to his feet. Every one of us needs a helping hand now and then. But if a man lies down, it is a waste of time to try and carry him; and it is a very bad thing for every one if we make men feel that the same reward will come to those who shirk their work and those who do it."

"Of one man in especial, beyond any one else, the citizens of a republic should beware, and that is of the man who appeals to them to support him on the ground that he is hostile to other citizens of the republic, that he will secure for those who elect him, in one shape or another, profit at the expense of other citizens of the republic. It makes no difference whether he appeals to class hatred or class interest, to religious or antireligious prejudice. The man who makes such an appeal should always be presumed to make it for the sake of furthering his own interest. The very last thing an intelligent and self-respecting member of a democratic community should do is to reward any public man because that public man says that he will get the private citizen something to which this private citizen is not entitled, or will gratify some emotion or animosity which this private citizen ought not to possess. ...One day I was riding the range with a newly hired cowboy, and we came upon a maverick. We roped and threw it; then we built a fire, took out a cinch-ring, heated it in the fire; and then the cowboy started to put on the brand. I said to him, "It So-and-so's brand," naming the man on whose range we happened to be. He answered: "That's all right, boss; I know my business." In another moment I said to him: "Hold on, you are putting on my brand!" To which he answered: "That's all right; I always put on the boss's brand." I answered: "Oh, very well. Now you go straight back to the ranch and get whatever is owing to you; I don't need you any longer." He jumped up and said: "Why, what's the matter? I was putting on your brand." And I answered: "Yes, my friend, and if you will steal for me then you will steal from me."

"There is not in all America a more dangerous trait than the deification of mere smartness unaccompanied by any sense of moral responsibility."

"To no body of men in the United States is the country so much indebted as to the splendid officers and enlisted men of the regular army and navy. There is no body from which the country has less to fear, and none of which it should be prouder, none which it should be more anxious to upbuild."

Now that we recall the 'why', let's remember the 'who'.

Now have a great--and meaningful--holiday!

Friday, May 28, 2004

Memorial Day 

Jonathan V. Last:

..."With the combination of Memorial Day and the World War II Memorial dedication this weekend, the city is crawling with veterans. Last night I went to the mall (as in Pentagon City, not the National) and it was crowded with vets: old men and women in couples, or with their extended families. You see them walking around town and on the Metro, looking for directions and getting lost, just like any other tourists."

"They're not, of course. They are the centurions who made this age possible. I grew up soft; spending my time in malls and on the phone with girls, on my eighteenth birthday worrying about which overpriced college I was going to attend. I can scarcely comprehend these giants."

"But I'm more grateful than I can say. I'm also a little ashamed that the memorial they're being given seems, at least to my untrained eye, so inadequate."

"But however imperfect this collection of stones is, the sentiment behind it is real. And if the World War II Memorial keeps these heroes and their families coming back to Washington often, so that this city can pay them tribute, then it will serve a fine purpose."

Amen.

Speaking Truth to Power  

Patrick Henry to the Virginia House of Burgesses:

"I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

Professor Hashem Agajari to an Iranian judge:

"Free me unconditionally or carry out the [death] sentence."

He's ready.

Free Iran.

Oh; and faster, please.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

More Ovine, Please 

HE SAID, SHEEPISHLY.

From New Criterion's Armavirumque:

"In the nations of Scandinavia the Western European attempt to strike a happy balance between scrupulously amoral free-market consumerism and intrusively moralistic bureaucratic state socialism may have achieved something like a perfect synthesis: a sugar-soaked and narcotic totalitarianism so enveloping in its providence and so libertine in its materialism as to threaten to reduce its peoples to an almost brutish pliancy... when human existence has been winnowed down to an oscillation between ignoble complacency and shameless appetite, the golden mean between the ovine and the lupine can become elusive."--David B. Hart

I was just about to say the same thing.

Al Gore, Unhinged 

Ah; the fully-animatronic cyborg mask slips at last.

Al Gore descended, or perhaps defaulted, into full Beer-Hall Putsch mode when he addressed the bong-water brownshirts at MoveOn.org.

Naomi Wolf, forgotten; now, it's All Leni/All the Time.

First, it must be said; all is forgiven, Tennessee. Sure; you gaveth Al, but when it counted most, you tooketh Al away. Has there been another major candidate that couldn't carry his own home state? If only Al could have counted the electoral votes from his home planet, he'd be President today.

And so would Saddam.

Instead, The Tennessee Slumlord has been repairing toilets down at his trailer park, listening to Rush and stewing. He finally boiled over like a rusty old water heater in one of his share-cropper shacks, letting loose with a good, old-fashioned Soviet-style denunciation of administration officials. The New-Age Nartzis, Latex Leftists, Sandalwood Sandanistas and Franpagani Fascists at MoveOn ate it up, but to the rest of America, it resembled a Big Top circus elephant finally snapping, going rogue under the glare of the spotlight.

On behalf of America, let me offer you some advice, Al;

That toilet's gonna need a new wax ring. Definitely. And lose those damn Commie metric wrenches, wouldja'?.

And for cryin' out loud, pull your pants up--and your hat down;

Your cracks are showing.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Too Much Law 

IS ITSELF A FORM OF LAWLESSNESS

I like Overlawyered.com.

But then, I like public hangings.

Overlawyered a freak show of frivolous filings, a minefield of malingering motions, a colostomy grab-bag of classless class-actions, a leachfeild of legal letchery & ludicrous law-mongering--with some occasional good news as well.

Such as when lawyers sue each other, for example.

Walter Olson does a great job, bringing us stories like these:

*Lawyers sue businesses for sending out unsolicited faxes--and seek clients for the class-action suit via--wait for it-- unsolicited fax. [Because it's so wrong, you see...]

*A family of rural doctors who delivered babies for a century are driven from obstetrics by malpractice insurance costs. [But, hey; rural America has too many doctors already...and, when you think about it, what society really needs
babies anyway? I mean, you can't sue them...can you?]

*Auto manufacturers choose not to build more plants in Mississippi due to its judicial hell-holes & out-of-control litigation. [I say Mississippi has been hogging all the good jobs for too long anyway!]

I don't want to cast too wide a net here. There are many...well, there are some...okay, there are several good lawyers doing good work. But aren't we're approaching a tipping point? Is it a case of a few bad apples? Or, is it the few good lawyers that prevent us from seizing all of them, tying them to a poisonous cactus in the desert, slicing open their abdomens and pulling out 40 feet of lower intestines to be left for hungry coyotes?

Yes, yes--you're right, of course; coyotes don't deserve that kind of abuse.

And should someone come along and trip on the outstreched intestines, well, what can we say? Sue us.

If you can find a lawyer.

There is indeed a certain majesty to good law, well-practiced. Unfortunately, these days that certain majesty is usually Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

One day, Joe Consumer will go to his local retail store where he will be greeted by a paralegal. Both of whom will say:

"Welcome to Law-Mart, sir; Can I help you?"

"Um...yeah...I need, uh, some pruning shears and some pistachios."

"Yes, sir; you'll find the forms for the pruning shear suit in our Dangerous Garden Tools department and the pistachio forms are in the Red Dye #2 aisle."

"No--I...I want the actual products."

"Actual products? I'm sorry, sir. We no longer carry actual products. But our shelves are full of the finest legal paperwork in place of where those products used to be."

"Say what?!!"

"You look like you've got a headache, sir; may I recommend our pharmacy? True, you can't get any aspirin there, as we've put the pharmaceutical companies into receivership...but there are some great class-action briefs that should make you feel better right away."

"I'm outta' here!"

"Come back again, sir. And thanks for court-shopping at Law-Mart...Always the law price. Always!"

Was it the failed prophet, John Kerry, who once said; "The Communists are not coming to invade our McDonald's hamburger stands."? Hold on one minute there, Bob's Bolshevist Big Boy; let's see if you vote for the "Cheeseburger Bill" first. I mean, before you vote against it.

If things keep going the way they are, one day we'll have Tiffany shops as in the old Soviet Union, where peasants press their faces up against shop windows to ogle products they'll never be able to afford.

"Susie! Johnny! C'mere, kids--look at this; that's a power drill, Johnny. Back in my day, everybody had them. And see that? That's a double-cheeseburger--with bacon! Why, back before Lawyers Ruled the Earth, you could go to any McDonald's and for just a few dollars, you could...McDonald's? That's a kind of restaurant where...restaurant?...that's a place that sells ready-to-eat-food that...food?..."

During the Michigan law school case before Supreme Court, some argued that the Civil Rights Act of '64 should be enforced. Others argued that we should have Affirmative Action instead.

But I maintain that we should shut the sucker down. Period. Along with every other law school in the country. Sorry; we're done. Full up. We've got enough lawyers to last until the next millennium. Or at least until Helen Thomas gives birth to Brad Pitt's love-child.

Failing that, we should convert them all to medical schools. How great would it be if we had doctors chasing ambulances instead of lawyers? And 'ambulance chasing' is not a myth; I've seen it with my own eyes. Lemme tell ya, it takes a special, special kind of human scum to roll up on an accident scene and think "Look at that; a horrible human tragedy...how can I squeeze a nickel out of this?"

If neither one of those solutions are adopted--and here at Sharp Knife, we're all about solutions--I propose we raise the tuition ante. It would work like this:

Take a course in Living Constitutional Law and, in addition to paying the regular tuition rate, we amputate your leg above the knee. Either leg, doesn't matter.

Study 'How to Impoverish Good Samaritans for that Tuscany Vacation' and it will cost you, say, every other finger and toe. Unless of course, you've already taken Living Constitutional Law, in which case you get a 2 and 1/2 toe discount. No coupons please. Void where prohibited by law.

Want to spend your career, oh, suing the military for failing to provide Gitmo detainees with plasma TVs and al Jezeera on cable? For that, we drop you off in the mountains of Afghanistan dressed in a Red Army uniform, armed only with a realistic-looking Kalashnikov squirt-gun and Robert Fisk as your interpreter.

And on it goes. A man's got to ask himself "How badly do I really want to practice law?"

Well, that ends your free consultation. If you don't hear from me for a while, it probably means Big Lawsuit has come after me with both briefcases blazin'. In that case, do me a favor, wouldja?

Call my coyote.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Hey, Imus! 

Why don't you pull your nose out of the Beltway's butt-crack long enough to talk to some real soldiers?

You know, like

RUSH: "Jeff in Moreland, Oklahoma. This is our returning soldier from Iraq. Welcome, sir. Nice to have you on the program.
CALLER: I appreciate it Rush. Real honor to talk to you.
RUSH: All right, give us some details about where you were, how long you were there. I know you want to keep some anonymity here which I totally understand. I don't want you to violate that, but give us some background so that we can have a context for the details of the story you want to relay on this Iraqi wedding business.
CALLER: Well, Rush, I spent 300 and about 56 days in downtown Baghdad.
RUSH: Hang on. For those in Rio Linda that's just about a week short of a year. Okay.

CALLER: And one of the things I told your screener was... Well, first of all I was very angry when I was listening to that caller earlier because he had no idea what he's talking about. One of the most basic --
RUSH: Which caller was that?
CALLER: The guy that was... Gosh, what was he saying? He was saying --
RUSH: The Toyota dealer who used to know me from Kansas City?
CALLER: Yeah, I believe so.
RUSH: Yeah, this guy was complaining that I was being too flippant about these wedding parties?
CALLER: Right.
RUSH: Okay.
CALLER: The fact of the matter is, when we first came into Baghdad, Rush, we had two very simple rules: Don't stay out past curfew and don't shoot at us.
RUSH: What is curfew?
CALLER: Curfew used to be 11 o'clock. For some reason they lifted that. I have no idea why.
RUSH: Those are the rules for Iraqis?
CALLER: That was the rules for all Iraqi citizens – and not shoot at us, and every time they'd have a wedding... Every Thursday is wedding night in Iraq for some reason. Now, they will have them on other days but every Thursday we would have to react to all kinds of gunfire and when we would get out on the street, in their celebration. They'd just take shots at us, too. One particular small firefight we got into was with a funeral procession. They love to have their weapons at their celebrations.
RUSH: A funeral procession, and they fire on you even at that. Now, what kind of weapons are we talking about?
CALLER: Well, just about every Iraqi citizen has an AK-47.
RUSH: Waaait a second. We haven't heard that. Just about every Iraqi citizen has an AK-47?
CALLER: Roger. We allow them to keep an AK-47 per household, and/or a pistol.
RUSH: Second Amendment triumphs!
CALLER: In Iraq it does. (Laughing.)..."

The Government Which Governs Worst 

IS THAT WHICH GOVERNS LAST

Jonathan V. Last in the Weekly Standard's newsletter:

"My wife and I are trying buy a house, and everything was going swimmingly until I received a panicked call from the mortgage company yesterday. "There's a tax lien against you from the state of Maryland!" gasped my loan processor. "You better get that taken care of," she said ominously. "Call the Anne Arundel County courthouse.""

After being told by the Anne Arundel Courthouse that, yes, they did have a lien on me, I was told that, no, they wouldn't fax me a copy of it. I would have to drive to Annapolis and see the good folks at Document Control.

"In Annapolis I learned that the lien is not against me, but against one "Charles R. Laster." Mr. Laster, it seems, was delinquent on his Maryland state income taxes between January and December of 1992. He owed the state $588.55. Hence the state's lien on him."

"I spent January through September of 1992 living in New Jersey, where I was a high school student. That fall I came down to Maryland, where I enrolled in university and, sadly, had no income. But this strange coincidence--me having the same first four letters of Mr. Laster's name and the two of us living in the same state for three months--well, you can see how these things happen. My name became attached to Mr. Laster's lien."

"The people at the Anne Arundel courthouse told me they couldn't help me any further and that I had to see the state Comptroller's office. In Baltimore. Off I went."

"At the Comptroller's office I was helped by a lady named Rona. She fiddled with the lien, made phone calls, checked with supervisors, and eventually came to the conclusion that, yes, this was a clerical error. Somehow--she couldn't guess how--my name had been attached to Mr. Laster's lien. Sadly, she couldn't help me. For that, I would need to talk with the Anne Arundel County courthouse."

"With more politeness than you can imagine, dear reader, I protested. Rona relented and offered to let me use the office phone to call the courthouse. Her supervisor said the people I needed to speak with were in the Register of Wills division. The Register of Wills division disagreed, and sent me to the Landmark division. The Landmark division said I was barking up the wrong tree and sent me to the Civil division. The Civil division at least agreed to look at the lien--if I faxed it to them. This was quite a courtesy, I thought, and I nearly told them that they'd have to drive out to my office to have a look at it. Forty minutes later, while looking at the fax, a clerk named Joyce and her supervisor Diane, informed me that yes, there was clearly an error here, but that no, they couldn't fix it. For that I'd have to go to the Comptroller's office."

"It was at this moment the twitching began."

"For a great, long while I sat there, with the Anne Arundel County courthouse on the phone and the Comptroller clerk sitting three feet away from me. The three of us went to and fro and back again. Because of some bit of civil service etiquette, of which I'm shamefully ignorant, these two women refused to speak with one another on the phone directly, and instead, used me to relay messages to each other. I thought, for a moment, that it would never end."

"But end it did, at precisely four o'clock. Because four o'clock is the Maryland civil service witching hour, when workers finish their jobs, and phone systems shut down. Rona had to leave. Joyce, on the other end of the line, said that once we hung up I wouldn't be able to call her back, since their phones turn off after four. Don't worry, she said cheerfully, they'll come back on tomorrow. At eleven. Ante meridiem."

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Mark Steyn 

was kind enough to publish my "Love and Marriage" song parody ('French and Kerry'---scroll down) in his John Kerry Songbook. And he even acquiesced in my shameless self-promotion, printing this blog's URL.

Welcome to any readers who may have wandered over. And many thanks to Mr. Steyn, whom I regard as a true genius--our Mark Twain.

This calls for something special...bonus verses!

French and Kerry, French and Kerry
His role model is Robespierre-y
This I'll tell you frères
You won't find John without an heiress.

French and Kerry, French and Kerry
They go together like "Typhoid" and "Mary"
He's got his Band of Brothers
but they're mostly votin' for the other

guy.

Okay, okay; it needs a little work.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Ted Kennedy Breaks Out the Sympathy Neck-Brace 

John O'Sullivan:

"These are serious moral questions — and serious practical questions when the U.S. is waging a war on terror. They cannot be wished away by pious references to the Geneva Convention. And the media's attempt to transform serious consideration of these painful dilemmas into a gung-ho criminal prosecution of Rumsfeld is both a partisan disgrace and a shameful evasion of difficult realities."

"Let us finally examine the tally sheet. Selective agonizing, taking dictation from terror, willing gullibility, galloping inferentialism, and criminalizing anti-terrorism — not a short list of media failings for a single week. And when all the mistakes are on the side of opposing the liberation of Iraq, and none of the mistakes favor the U.S. or Britain or Bush or Blair, it tells you something. Namely, which side they're on. Or "tears are shed only from the left eye.""


Hitch:

"So a Sarin-infected device is exploded in Iraq, and across the border in Jordan the authorities say that nerve and gas weapons have been discovered for use against them by the followers of Zarqawi, who was in Baghdad well before the invasion. Where, one idly inquires, did these toys come from? No, it couldn't be. ..."


Lileks:

"So they found a sarin shell? Eh. Halliburton put it there, it was old, and besides everyone knew Saddam had WMD, and we gave him the sarin anyway, and it would be news if we found 400 shells, but if they were old undeclared shells they wouldn’t count because they weren’t a threat to us anyway – do you know that most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi? Why aren’t we invading them? Not that we should, that would TOTALLY be about oil, anyway , did you read Doonesbury today? He had this giant hand talking in a press conference. This big giant floating hand. I think it was a reprint. I like when he has that bald dude who’s in charge of some Iraqi city. Bald dude is like, wasted."

..."This smothering gloom, this suppurating corrosion – this isn’t us. This isn’t who we are. If it is, well, we’re lost, because it contains such potent self-hatred that we’ll shrink from defending ourselves, because what we have built isn’t worth defending. Thanks for the push, al Qaeda! We’ll take it from here."

"But it’s not us. It’s some, but they don’t set the national temperament. They can set the mood, but not the character. Yet. This war is ours to lose if we want to."

"You want to lose it? Me neither."

Monday, May 17, 2004

There Are Fascists 

AND THEN THERE ARE 'FASCISTS'

Tanks in the streets, summary arrests--Bush has gone crazy!

"The criminal law as it stands is simply not adequate to deal with systematic terrorism."

"The police have therefore been given certain extraordinary powers necessary for the effective detection and elimination of conspiratorial organizations which advocate the use of violence. These organizations, and membership in them, have been declared illegal. The powers include the right to search and arrest without warrant, to detain suspected persons without the necessity of laying specific charges immediately, and to detain persons without bail."

"These are strong powers and I find them as distasteful as I am sure do you. They are necessary, however, to permit the police to deal with persons who advocate or promote the violent overthow of our democratic system. In short, I assure you that the Government recognizes its grave responsibilities in interfering in certain cases with civil liberties, and that it remains answerable to the people...for its actions. The Government will revoke this proclamation as soon as possible."

Oh...wait a minute...that was some other national leader. Who? Johnny Knuckles knows.

Hint: "...even a pig with a chronic sinus infection can still find the occasional truffle."
(appropriate inappropriate language alert).

(via Mrs. du Toit)

Rule 

OR BE RULED

President Bush:

"The sacred institution of marriage should not be redefined by a few activist judges. All Americans have a right to be heard in this debate. I called on the Congress to pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and a woman as husband and wife. The need for that amendment is still urgent, and I repeat that call today."

Article V.:

"The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; ... and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate."

The Amendment:

"SECTION 1. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

Now we choose; are we citizens...or subjects?

I've made my choice.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Today's Sermon 

"You may remember, when I was talking about sexual morality, I warned you that the centre of Christian morals did not lie there. Well, now, we have come to the centre. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind."

..."It is easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objects education, building, missions, holding services. Just as it is easy to think the State has a lot of different objects - military, political, economic, and what not. But in a way things are much simpler than that. The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden - that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time. In the same way the Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose."--C.S. Lewis, 'Mere Christianity'

Saturday, May 15, 2004

He's Toaster Shakin's 

Ever since Cold Fury linked to this North Georgia Dogma post exposing the nefarious Al Bundy/John Kerry link, there's been a song rumbling around in my head.

This one:


"French and Kerry" (to the tune of the Sammy Cahn & Jimmy Van Heusen classic "Love and Marriage")

French and Kerry, French and Kerry
They go together like 'tooth' and 'fairy'.
Citizens of Fargo
for breakfast he dines upon escargot.

French and Kerry, French and Kerry
The UN's an institution that he'll not disparage.
Ask the local gendarmerie
They'll surrender that he's haughty.

Flip, flip, flip to get elected
leader of the nation
Flop, flop, flop--if by 'lead' you mean
capitulation.

French and Kerry, French and Kerry
"J'ai servi dans le Vietnam...do not query!"
John was told by Mama
"Win...or it's back to the cabana!"

Hmmmm...better send that one to Steyn.

"My; this Klinton Kool-Aid is especially tasty today!" 

YOU ELECTED THEM, NEW YORK

Ann Coulter:

"Recently...Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Chuck Schumer were clamoring for the release of Ansar Mahmood, a 26-year-old Pakistani immigrant detained in October 2001 after he was observed taking photographs at a water treatment plant in upstate New York. Mahmood later pleaded guilty to committing a felony by giving financial aid to illegal immigrants from Pakistan. Schumer says Mahmood should be permitted to stay in the U.S. because he "was cleared of terrorist links," and he has already served his time for "a non-violent felony." Hillary simply calls Mahmood's detention "disturbing.""

Evidently, the rich tapestry of diversity (which is our strength!) requires that we free this guy to go about his business. Now maybe he just watched 'Erin Brockovich' and was just trying to do his civic duty. Or maybe he's one of those 'Fallujans Against Fluoridation' kooks.

Or maybe, just maybe--and I know this is going to sound far-fetched--he was reconnoitering the water treatment plant in order to poison the infidels of New York.

This stinks of the usual leftist race-pandering and anti-Ashcroftism. But how would active collaboration look any different?

Increasingly, there is less and less difference between the two.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Let Me Dis-Introduce You 

John Kerry recently appeared at a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Los Angeles.

"Felicitations, little brown people," said Kerry. "I bring you greetings from Dear Commandante Ortega and the Nicaraguan people."

Kerry seemed very touched by the story of Cinco de Mayo. The Senator broke down and cried like a baby (albeit a large, gangly baby, who, by the way, served in Vietnam), sobbing especially hard when told how the French army was booted off the American continent, never to return.

The appearance was part of a bold new Kerry campaign strategy.

"We began introducing Senator Kerry to the American people a month ago. Since then, his poll numbers have been dropping faster than Bill Clinton's trousers in the secretarial pool," said spokesfraud Micah Wright, himself a Panama (Red) veteran. "Therefore, we have decided instead to Dis-Introduce Senator Kerry to the American people."

Mr. Wright SpokesPants explained: "Unfortunately, 'A Generic Democrat' was polling better than we were. Then Senator Kerry said 'Hey, guys; I can be a generic Democrat!'. So our new Dis-Introduction campaign will feature no-frill ads printed in block letters with generic themes such as "TAXES GOOD!" and "WAR BAD!". And we'll be de-emphasizing the Senator's autobiography," said Wright, himself an autobiographical de-emphasizer.

"If, by November, we can make everybody totally forget John Kerry's name, we have a real chance--especially if we can have all the military absentee ballots thrown out again" he added, on his fingers.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

What He Said 

Thomas Sowell:

"When our troops are putting their lives on the line for this country, thousands of miles away, surely it is not too much to ask of the rest of us back home to act like adults and put things in perspective — even during an election year. That includes the media. Sometimes the fourth estate seems more like a fifth column."

"The story of what happened at Abu Ghraib prison was told by the American military authorities months ago. This was not some cover-up that the media exposed. What the media did, irresponsibly, was send inflammatory photographs around the world."

"In an age when some in the media are gross enough to release photographs of Princess Diana's dying moments, perhaps it is too much to expect forbearance about releasing photos that can only help our enemies around the world."

"CNN had the forbearance to withhold information about far worse things that were done during the Saddam Hussein regime, for fear of having their Baghdad office closed down. But apparently that was more important than the war in Iraq."

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Fools In Prison Blues 

Let me get this straight; a few perverts got carried away with their authority and made some non-consensual Mapplethorpe photos of terrorist prisoners last year. It was reported and the reprimands, dismissals and courts martial immediately began, and properly so. And it was reported to the press. You know what that makes Abu Gharib?

One of the best-run prisons in the Arab world.

Now, that's not good enough for us. We have to meet a higher standard. Gratuitous sadism and rape cannot be--and are not--standard operating procedure. But I have to say that a jihadist being forced to wear women's underwear is way down on the list of things that twitch my sympathy meter.

Nor am I against even harsher measures in all cases. Consider the case of Lt. Col. Allen B. West.

"Col. West worked in the Sunni Triangle, one of the most dangerous regions in Iraq, where soldiers face the daily threat of attacks from Saddam's followers."

"Col. West admitted he broke Army rules Aug. 20, when he pulled an Iraqi detainee out of his cell, took him outside and fired two shots from his 9 mm pistol while threatening to kill him. Col. West had been told by an intelligence officer that the Iraqi, a police officer in the town of Saba al Boor, knew of an assassination plot against the colonel and his men."

..."Mr. Puckett [Col. West's lawyer] said the Tikrit hearing exposed a weakness in coalition interrogation techniques. He said released Iraqis promptly tell other Saddam loyalists that if taken into custody they do not have to talk."

""All of the intelligence witnesses regularly expressed the fact that detainees bragged they know they don't have to talk because we can't do anything to them," Mr. Puckett said. "The bad Iraqis are ID'd by human sources. The Iraqis who are ID'd as bad guys and questioned all know we can't touch them. We can't even so much as threaten them.""

Was the colonel justified in his actions? Yep.

"At his preliminary hearing, West acknowledged he allowed two soldiers to beat an Iraqi policeman who refused to reveal details of an ambush plot and fired his pistol near the man's head, threatening to kill him."

..."The scared policeman then immediately disclosed the information, leading to the arrest of two Iraqis last August and cessation of attacks on West's 4th Infantry Division battalion."

Colonel West was fined $5000 and forced to retire. As far as I'm concerned, he should have gotten a medal. And a promotion.

Now I'm not putting him in the same category as the sadistic guards in question. Quite the opposite. But others do. The Left, human rights groups, liberal politicians and the press all call what he did 'torture'. I call it service to his nation.

Had Col. West had not committed this "torture", some of his men would probably died horrible deaths--and then their names would have been read aloud on some news show for the express purpose of demoralizing the public. Either way, the jackals in the press win.

Let me say a few words about our friends in the presstitute corps. They have been waiting for an event such as this to discredit this administration and declare defeat. Legitimate reporting is one thing, but this has degenerated into a feral feeding-frenzy, instead of just the usual slant and distortion. Screw them. They did a shitty job of informing the public before 9-11, and now they've abandoned even the pretense of balance and objectivity..."VX nerve agent in Jordan? Nah, that's not important; besides, everybody knows there are no WMDs...lets get Rumsfeld!"

As for the grand-standing politicians, some of them might want to consider a little circumspection and restraint. After all, were it not for the passengers on Flight 93, some of them might well be dead. There might not even be a hearing room in which to play to the cameras. And why did those passengers have to give their lives in the first place? Because these same politicians didn't do their jobs; they were too busy spending money, gutting our intelligence--and playing to the cameras.

Root out the sadists. They've hurt our effort to defend this country in a dangerous world. For that alone, they deserve prosecution and punishment to the full extent of the law.

But hysterically bellowing 'This a Gulag Nation!', 'We're all terrorists now!' and 'The Arab world will never get over this!' does just as much damage as those perverts. Maybe more.

(Japan got over Hiroshima and John McCain got over being forced to listen to John Kerry speeches in the Hanoi Hilton...but Arabs will never get over this? Please.)

I am so not inclined to second-guess from the comfort of my armchair those who are defending me & mine. This is war. Decades of half-measures have given us a stark choice; Victory...or Death.

So excuse me if I don't join the lynch mob.

Asshats.



Monday, May 03, 2004

He Lives In A Pineapple 

UNDER A ROCK

John Kerry announced today that he had hired disgraced cartoon-writer Micah Wright as chief spokesman.

When asked why, Senator Kerry said "Stop questioning my patriotism!"

When asked again, Kerry said "Nobody asked me why I hired Micah Wright when I was in Vietnam!"

When asked a third time, Kerry said "There's just something about young Mr. Wright here that reminds me of all my old buddies in 'Viet Non-Veterans Against The War'. Plus, Micah's experience writing 'The Angry Beavers' will help us reach out to the Feminist Community."

Mr. Wright asked Senator Kerry if he could spare a medal and then began taking questions.

When asked if he expected Kerry to win in November, Wright said "Win? John Kerry couldn't win this thing if we gave 5 year-olds the vote and nominated SpongeBob Squarepants as Vice-President."

"He'd have a pretty good shot at 'The Kid's Choice Awards', though", he added.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

"It's as easy as lying... 

...because it IS lying."--Chesterton

Mark Steyn's "Don't count on Koppel for whole war story":

"Likewise, the cost of war is a tragedy for the families of the American, British and other coalition forces who've died in the last year. But we owe it to the dead, always, every day, to measure their sacrifice against the mission, its aims, its successes, its setbacks. And, if the cause is still just, then you honor the fallen by pressing on to victory -- and then reading the roll call of the dead."

"If that doesn't quite have the sweeps-month ratings appeal ''Nightline'' is looking for, since Ted has now established himself as a $6 million list reader he might like to remind people of the comparative costs of war. At two seconds per name, to read out the combat deaths of the War of 1812 he'd have to persuade ABC to extend the show to an hour and a quarter. To read out the combat deaths of the Korean War, he'd need a 19-hour show. For World War II, he'd have to get ABC to let him read out names of the dead 24/7 for an entire week. If he wants to, I'd be happy to fly him to London so he can go on the BBC and read out the names of the 3,097,392 British combat deaths in World War I, which would take him the best part of three months, without taking bathroom breaks, or indeed pausing for breath."

"As Stalin said, one death is a tragedy, 1 million is a statistic. The fact that America's dead in Iraq are not yet statistics, that they're still small enough in number to be individual tragedies Ted can milk for his show tells you the real cost of this war. In Afghanistan, the numbers are even lower, which is why ''Nightline'' hasn't bothered pulling this stunt with America's other war."

[Note: It is also a way to imply that Afghanistan and Iraq are not part of the same effort; that one was justified and the other, not. But if you meant to honor the dead, as Koppel claimed, wouldn't you especially want to honor those you beleived had fallen in the more honorable cause? This was a cheap political stunt, clothed in patriotism. The last refuge of a scoundrel, indeed.]
Mr. Steyn:

"Yes, the dead are husbands, wives, fathers, daughters, best friends, and for those who knew them in that capacity the loss is grievous. But Americans know them only as warriors, and they should honor them as such. Those British losses in the Great War reached deep into every family in the land. By contrast, in a nation of 300 million, the vast majority of families are personally untouched by military deaths, and that, paradoxically, makes it easier for the defeatists to exploit the small number of the dead as evidence of the hopelessness of our cause. The historically low rate of combat fatalities amplifies each one."

"Here's where it's worth considering the cost of Ted Koppel in the broader sense. Our enemies have made a bet -- that the West in general and America in particular are soft and decadent and have no attention span; that the ''sleeping giant'' Admiral Yamamoto feared he'd wakened at Pearl Harbor can no longer be roused. If he could, he'd be a problem. But he's paunchy and effete and slumped in his Barcalounger, and he's defining decadence down: In Vietnam, it took 50,000 deaths to drive the giant away; maybe in Iraq, it will only take 500; and maybe in the next war the giant will give up after 50, or not bother at all. He has the advantage of the most powerful army on the face of the planet, but he doesn't have the stomach for war, so it's no advantage at all. He's like the fellow with the beautifully waxed Ferrari in the garage that he doesn't dare take on the potholed roads. If you're predisposed, like many Islamists and many Continentals, to this stereotype of the soft American, then the lazy, ersatz pacifist mawkishness of ''Nightline'''s gimmick pretty much confirms it: That's the cost of Koppel reminding us of ''the cost of war.""

It's all here.

Would EU Like to be My Neighbor? 

"...the EU...a government with more layers than a Chinese henhouse."

Ah; prose like that must mean Denis Boyles has a new column up.

Here's more:

"Living in France has been a kind of geographical methadone for me. What a living hell a French newsstand is. Half the stuff on the rack: Weird, little cardboard cutouts designed to shill a trinket, a craft project or a lousy DVD. The other half: Weeklies with pictures of Johnny Holliday or Prince Charles on the cover, sometimes together. Don't get me wrong--I like Johnny. Now that Yves Montand is dead, he's the only man on earth who can make French sound like a masculine language."

Mr. Boyles links to this excellent editorial, from, of all places, The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvannia.

""Oh my God!" I said aloud, almost in sync with the TV reporter. The TV was tuned to Sky News, a satellite news channel, and everyone in the newsroom was staring at the screen. I heard news of the other two planes crashing and watched the Towers implode. I started to cry."

"Sky News was taking reports from a number of sources, but there was one reporter on the ground in New York City. His accent was American and he was running frantically through the crowd, shouting into the microphone, trying to get reactions from those running from the scene. He was emotional, out of control and clearly affected by what was going on around him. "Typical American," were the first words I heard anyone else say aloud. It was the newspaper's editor."

Piss off, Limey.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Man the Barricades 

DON"T BARRICADE THE MAN

"This cry of "Save the children" has in it the hateful implication that it is impossible to save the fathers; in other words, that many millions of grown-up, sane, responsible and self-supporting Europeans are to be treated as dirt or debris and swept away out of the discussion; called dipsomaniacs because they drink in public houses instead of private houses; called unemployables because nobody knows how to get them work; called dullards if they still adhere to conventions, and called loafers if they still love liberty. Now I am concerned, first and last, to maintain that unless you can save the fathers, you cannot save the children; that at present we cannot save others, for we cannot save ourselves. We cannot teach citizenship if we are not citizens; we cannot free others if we have forgotten the appetite of freedom. Education is only truth in a state of transmission; and how can we pass on truth if it has never come into our hand? Thus we find that education is of all the cases the clearest for our general purpose. It is vain to save children; for they cannot remain children. By hypothesis we are teaching them to be men; and how can it be so simple to teach an ideal manhood to others if it is so vain and hopeless to find one for ourselves?"--G.K. Chesterton

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