Thursday, June 30, 2005

"SCAPA" - A New Acronym...

The Supreme Court of the United States (hereinafter referred to as "SCOTUS") recently considered the question of whether a governmental entity could extend the power of "eminent domain" (hereinafter referred to as "ED") to include the taking of private property for "public use" as set forth in the Constitution of the United States Fifth Amendment could also cover "public good" situations, specifically in terms of razing a property to make way for some commercial development that would generate more tax revenue. I discussed some of my thoughts on this decision, as to why I think the alignment of who was on the majority side in this post a few days back... SCOUTUS handed down a 5-4 decision saying a local government could in fact confiscate your property, agsint your wishes, in order to place a more (tax wise) profitable establishment in it's palce. Most of you know this already. I propose a new term to be used to describe this confiscation: "SCAPA" - Supreme Court Authorized Property Acquisition. Use: "I just had my family's home of three generations taken by a SCAPA action." Use it often, so others can realize when govenments use ED, then you know to think of those fun justices at SCOTUS that brought you this confiscation act... and...ending on this note, see what some people are scrambling to do, because they can! I think there must be at least four other residences that could be bulldozed to provide more tax revenues, too... "It's always dangerous to set a precedent, for you never know when you'll have to live by it." - Me, 1988. Thanks to Mudville Gazette Open Posting!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

History Repeats Itself in Iraq

The more things change, the more they stay the same. We invaded Iraq, and it was difficult, yet we managed to militarily subdue a nation is a very short time. The troops fought well against some dedicated opposition. We had seen the amount of conflict reduce as time went on. In reading blogs from those on the front lines, I noticed fewer entries about VBIEDs going off, and more posts that were substantive reports on getting to know the local population, helping out injured Iraqis, doing community projects... The in recent weeks, the number of attacks by the terrorists ramped up, and we began losing increased numbers of service members. As a result, members of our Congress began calling for a a timeline to pull out of Iraq, and began pronouncing the entire effort as the now well worn out word "quagmire." What's happening? The opposition is taking some shots at us. Where have we seen this before? In the center of Europe in late 1944, the was a little shoot-em-up recorded in history as "The Battle of the Bulge."
"The Battle of the Bulge which lasted from December 16, 1944 to January 28, 1945 was the largest land battle of World War II in which the United States participated. More than a million men fought in this battle including some 600,000 Germans, 500,000 Americans, and 55,000 British. The German military force consisted of two Armies with ten corps(equal to 29 divisions). While the American military force consisted of a total of three armies with six corps(equal to 31 divisions). At the conclusion of the battle the casualties were as follows: 81,000 U.S. with 19,000 killed, 1400 British with 200 killed, and 100,000 Germans killed, wounded or captured. In late 1944 Germany was clearly losing the war...."
We had breached Fortress Europe on the beaches of Normandy, fought across France and entered Belgium, enroute the invasion of Germany. I'm sure if you had been with the troops surrounded at Bastonge, you certainly wouldn't conceive that the Germans were, as the last line of the except above properly presents being characterized as "clearly losing the war." It was a last gasp for Hitler, hoping he'd make a big enough dent in the pending invasion to regain the offensive. Since we are so lucky to know the end of the story, we know his gambit failed. The Third Reich was crushed within the next 7 months. I think we are in this circumstance once again. The terrorists, like Hitler sense the end is near and need to score some big points and hope we'll go defensive and possibly have the will of the people broken. At the Battle of the Bulge, the situation for our troops was far more desperate, and there was a reasonable probability of them being overrun. How did the on scene commander respond? When asked by the German Commander to surrender, Gen McAulffie responded with a one word, famous answer: "Nuts!" A commander surrounded, using cooks and clerks and anyone else with a uniform, to hold off the Wermacht troops, stood his ground. Patton's Army did a "left face" and sped north to relieve the troops at Bastonge, no small feat for an entire Army. The outcome? Stunning defeat for the enemy. I once heard courage defined as hanging on for 10 seconds more than anyone else. I think that definition tends to fit will into this discussion of a battle 61 years ago. I think it's a thought we need to hold onto for today. My take is, like sharks, who can sense 2 parts per million of blood in the water, the terrorists have heard the cries from our own Congress, and are making an all out effort to make a splash. They want us to perceive they have been resurrected, and this spate of attacks is a foreshadowing of what is to come. It defies logic to believe an enemy, who has no "home court" at all, is composed of various competing groups, loosely held together by a hatred for the allied forces, with no effective means of secure communications, facing a well equipped and well trained military, armed with technological marvels to augment boots on the ground cannot have gathered the resources to mount a sustained offensive capable of dislodging our forces. On the other hand, having learned the lesson of both Vietnam and Mogadishu, know if they can spill some US soldier's blood and get Congress to begin howling for a pull out, there is a chance we will leave, only to later find out they were on a tactical "sprint," designed to appear as a strategic offensive. We also need to hold to these lessons. They are on the ropes, the country of Iraq is coming along well, we need to steel ourselves hang on for "10 more seconds." We have been here before, facing much worse at the Alamo, Gettysburg, at the Chosin Reservoir, in the Pusan Perimeter, and during the Tet Offensive. In each case, the US military stood up to the task with incredible dedication to a cause greater than themselves, and, while men were lost, the long term battles were won. To pull back now is to admit defeat and go home, not only dishonoring the sacrifice of the 1700+ service members lost in this war, but the loses of all before them on the battlefields here and abroad where we have fought to defend freedom. at's happening? The opposition is taking some shots at us. Where have we seen this before? In the center of Europe in late 1944, the was a little shoot-em-up recorded in history as "The Battle of the Bulge."
"The Battle of the Bulge which lasted from December 16, 1944 to January 28, 1945 was the largest land battle of World War II in which the United States participated. More than a million men fought in this battle including some 600,000 Germans, 500,000 Americans, and 55,000 British. The German military force consisted of two Armies with ten corps(equal to 29 divisions). While the American military force consisted of a total of three armies with six corps(equal to 31 divisions). At the conclusion of the battle the casualties were as follows: 81,000 U.S. with 19,000 killed, 1400 British with 200 killed, and 100,000 Germans killed, wounded or captured. In late 1944 Germany was clearly losing the war...."
We had breached Fortress Europe on the beaches of Normandy, fought across France and entered Belgium, enroute the invasion of Germany. I'm sure if you had been with the troops surrounded at Bastonge, you certainly wouldn't conceive that the Germans were, as the last line of the except above properly presents being characterized as "clearly losing the war." It was a last gasp for Hitler, hoping he'd make a big enough dent in the pending invasion to regain the offensive. Since we are so lucky to know the end of the story, we know his gambit failed. The Third Reich was crushed within the next 7 months. I think we are in this circumstance once again. The terrorists, like HItler sense the end is near and need to score some big points and hope we'll go defensive and possibly have the will of the people broken. At the Battle of the Bulge, the situation for our troops was far more desperate, and there was a reasonable probablity of them being overrun. How did the on scence commander respond? When asked by the German Commander to surrender, Gen McAulffie responded with a one word, famous answer: "Nuts!" A commander surrounded, using cooks and clerks and anyone else with a uniform, to hold off the Wermacht troops, stood his ground. Patton's Army did a "left face" and sped north to relieve the troops at Bastonge, no small feat for an entire Army. The outcome? Stunning defeat for the enemy. I once heard courage defined as hanging on for 10 seconds more than anyone else. I think that definition tends to fit will into this discussion of a battle 61 years ago. I think it's a thought we need to hold onto for today. My take is, like sharks, who can sense 2 parts per million of blood in the water, the terrorists have heard the cries from our own Congress, and are making an all out effort to make a splash. They want us to perceive they have been resurrected, and this spate of attacks is a foreshadowing of what is to come. It defies logic to believe an enemy, who has no "home court" at all, is composed of various competing groups, loosely held together by a hatred for the allied forces, with no effective means of secure communications, facing a well equipped and well trained military, armed with technological marvels to augment boots on the ground cannot have gathered the resources to mount a sustained offensive capable of dislodging our forces. On the other hand, having learned the lesson of both Vietnam and Mogadishu, know if they can spill some US soldier's blood and get Congress to begin howling for a pull out, there is a chance we will leave, only to later find out they were on a tactical "sprint," designed to appear as a strategic offensive. we also need to hold to these lessons. They are on the ropes, the country of Iraq is coming along well, we need to steel ourselves hang on for "10 more seconds." We have been here before, facing much worse at the Alamo, Gettysburg, Wake Island, Chosin Resevoir, in the Pusan Perimeter, Ia Trang Valley, Khe Sanh and during the Tet Offensive. In each case, the US military stood up to the task with incredible dedication to a cause greater than themselves, and, while men were lost, the long term battles were won. The enemy of today isn't anywhere near the caliber of the other amred forces we encountered in those battles. Our forces are today every bit as good as thier predecessors wearing the uniforms of the United States. This entire push by the left is what we used to call a "banana." Put something stupid in your staff work, near the front, to catch the boss' eye, let him harange you for it, correct that and come back to get it signed out "because it reads much better now." Don't buy into it, "read" their entire message... To pull back now is to admit defeat and go home, not only dishonoring the sacrifice of the 1700+ service members lost in this war, but the loses of all before them on the battlefields here and abroad where we have fought to defend freedom, particularly in desparate circumstances. Update 6/30/2005: Reference my speculation above, see what Major K has to say about the terrorists' huffing an puffing (before being smoked like a cheap cigar....) Thanks for Mrs Greyhawk of Mudville for the "Dawn Patrol" link.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"Excuse Me, Sen Durbin, Your Lack of Courtesy is Showing"

I found the below article via a Daily Read Board entry by Yankee Sailor. Here it is. Peachy!
"Durbin Offers Vets Apology for Remarks Email this Story Jun 25, 11:12 PM (ET) By JAN DENNIS PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin apologized to war veterans Saturday for his remarks earlier this month comparing interrogators at an American-run prison camp in Cuba to Nazis and other historically infamous regimes."
I guess Dick Durbin thinks we fell off the cabbage truck yesterday, but does anyone else notice something completely disingenuous here?
""I think when you've done something hurtful to people you have to stand up and say I'm sorry," Durbin said at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Peoria, five days after he apologized for the comments on the Senate floor."
Clue for Senator Durbin: You got that right, but what you got wrong is: (Oh how I wish Sam Kinison was here right now and I could record him saying this) "WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME, SENATOR DURBIN!" Maybe Sneator Durbin should have listened more closely to the words spoken in the 2004 Presidential Campaign.... Why did you go to the VFW in Illinois to apoligize? Did you say anything on the floor of the Senate about how Americans service members in WWII, Korea, Vietnam or GWI acted like Nazis, or did I really miss the "revised and extended comments" you guys always make and pretend like you said something on the floor of the Senate Chamber, when you really never said it to any audience? (Back to Sam Kinison initaion) "IT WAS THE MEN AND WOMEN AT GTMO YOU INSULTED AND THEY ARE IN GTMO, HAVING FECES THROWN AT THEM, WITH TERRORISTS THREATENING TO KILL THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES, WHILE YOU HAVE A BEER WITH PEOPLE YOU DIDN'T INSULT!" I'd really like to know, after all the "trips" you have taken on my tax dollars, Senator Durbin, why you couldn't pick up the phone and ask for the United States Air Force to pick you up and fly you to Camp X-Ray, so you could humble yourself before the men and women who have shown remarkable restraint, unlike you, in the performance of their duties? You know they would have done that for you, despite their personal feelings. Our Air Force, like their Army MP counterparts at GTMO are professionals.
"Initially, Durbin refused to apologize, but he relented as the firestorm over his remarks continued."
Yep, and so for my Kinisonion "WRONG TIME!" comment. Five days later? Did your staff sheild you from the reality of what the outcome of your actions on the Senate Floor, or did you plan to have it simmer in the public view for this long, to make sure it's toxicity saturated deep enough?
"Durbin received a standing ovation from most of the crowd after his speech Saturday. Charlie Brimm, 55, said Durbin's comments upset veterans, but most think his apologies are sincere. "It took a pretty big man to come up in front of a veterans group after the comments he made just a week or so before," said Brimm, a former state VFW commander and Army veteran of the Vietnam War."
Open comment to Mr. Charlie Brimm: Thank you for your service to our nation, but please do not accept what is not yours to take credit for. I think it took a lesser man to come before you, than to stand in the very presence of those he defamed before the world. By your acknowledgement of his "apology," you give Senator Durbin a false seal of approval he will use to excuse his egregious behavior. You, sir, have been used for his political gain. I think you would have done more service to this country, to compliment your past service, by holding your applause and directing a comment to the speaker such as this: "We veterans here in Peoria cannot accept this apology. It is not our place to do so. We were not there, we did not have a hand in the situation of which you spoke of on the floor of the Senate. We do know where the people are who are owed your words in person. They are our brothers and sisters in arms, across the ages, connected by the common experience of service to this country while wearing the uniform of the Armed Forces. Those who you have spoken ill of are stationed at Camp X-Ray, Gauntanamo Bay, Cuba. Go there and stand in their presence and apologize." Clue for the clueless: If you wrong someone, go to them and make amends. Surrogates are not acceptable if you are sincere. If you are using surrogates, then it's clear what your motivation has been... Thanks to Mudville Gazette's open posting!

Monday, June 27, 2005

We're All in This Together - Part I

I'm not sure if this will really become a multipart post, but I suspect it might end up that way, hence the "Part I" label. The decision last week by the Supreme Court regarding the extension of "eminent domain" to be used by local governments is something we all have, unfortunately, have had a part in. Please stick with me on this one, and don't dismiss this discussion too quickly. I dislike the decision, and my father was a land appraiser for the federal government, so I understand the concept. In the early years of my life, much of his work was involved in the very issue, working for the Army Corps of Engineers, and working across the northern mid-West to procure land for the Minute Men silos. That sure seems like a reasonable use of "eminent domain" in the public Constitutional context...for the great good (defense) rather than for the greater dollar in taxes. I first thought it was interesting that the "liberals" on SCOTUS sided with developers, AKA "BIG BUSINESS." Shocking!, I thought....but as the evening wore on, I started to get it. The outcome of developers getting access to just about any piece of property is, as was argued before the Court, to generate a greater tax revenue base than the property currently does. That's the key: Taxes. The liberals "got in bed" with the "BIG BUSINESS" so there would be more taxes put in the hands of the local governments, and therefore more capital to use to, shall I say politely, "purchase voting power." Taxes. The key, the locus of this discussion. Mystery solved as to "WHY?" DANGER! DANGER! Will Robinson! - or What's the possible and not completely out of the question "unintended consequence" of this SCOTUS poor judgment? Hmmm...lemme see...I envision large buildings on nice property that happen to have a "tax exempt" status held by the "owners" (in quotes, for it seems like SCOTUS doesn’t think anyone can own any property). Any type of commercial activity on the same property would automatically yield more tax dollars. Do the (very simple) math.... What sort of places are these? Yep, religious (and that means all of them who have done their paperwork) organizations. But, don't forget, each and every 503(c) organization that has picked up property is in the same boat. While I'm sure the People for the American Way are licking their chops at the prospect of getting a lot of their "competition" wiped out, the American Red Cross, the Cancer Society and so many other organizations of great merit are now subject to the same interpretation. If there is enough differential in taxes to be pulled in, nothing is safe where it stands. Now the part that I think is important. We all had a piece of this. As with any business, if you need more capital, then you have a few ways to get it. One is to cut efficiencies, the other is to go out and get more (increased sales, etc). Our local and federal governments have provided many things to us, and, on "both sides" of the aisle, we benefit and have become comfortable in those things we take for granted. Those things are paid for by taxes. I perceive that nation has become far more self-centered, but still, we are generous, and this has helped drive us asking our governments to do more. We also have great demands placed on our state and local agencies by federal legislation, that directs states to carry out the actual leg work, with these laws basically being unfunded (to the states). Two cases in point are Megan's Law and the other was the Brady Bill. Each has their merit in the eyes of their proponents (but that's not part of the discussion), and each imposed administrative and resource demand, "unplanned" (in the budgetary terminology) at the state and below levels. Funding demands increased, even with the locals getting a say in it. Then we have all those pet projects, usually funded by bond issues, and they end up being white elephants. The aquarium here is not pulling the projected revenues, but it's doors are still open. The local stadium owners got loans from the public pocket at incredibly low rates and with a 99 year term. It's making money, but the lack of the money being paid back for the cost of construction has similar implications. There are many other examples to draw from, and I'm sure you're all aware of similar things where you are. You probably just thought of a few while you read. In all of this, we have failed to exercise our powers to think of the reasonable costs of any benefits/projects when we let them go thru. In many cases, our compassion overruns our thoughtful analysis of what can really happen if we pass "program X?" One of the ones I see coming home to roost one day is one I think the Democrats did an outstanding job of strategic planning to get through: About 5-6 years ago, when the big deal was to hammer the tobacco companies for their purported (and I haven't followed this well enough to know the truth - please forgive me) intentional making smoking products more addictive, the big tobacco guys were being sued by all manner of governments in the feeding frenzy. Congress increased federal taxes on tobacco products. It seemed as though it would be a good method for helping people see the price increase, passed to them, to quit smoking/dipping/etc. At the same time, they designated the increased tax revenue go to fund medical insurance for under-privileged children. This is one of those things that makes sense at one level, and is part of our overflowing compassion. Look at this closely. Congress is trying to bankrupt the evil business that has a product that cause cancer. To do so, they tax it heavier. The adage is: If you want less of something, tax it! Congress, cheered on by many citizens and businesses, commence to try and eradicate the industry. Now, if this happens, the tax money from the increased taxes, and then the money from existing taxes will dry up and go away. OOPS! The tax money goes for a program that provides health care to the needy, but specifically to the children. But, we're trying to get rid of the industry. Our heads begin to explode, as the tax money goes away. The poor children aren't getting the medical we have been providing them (and this will be couched as though this program has been around for centuries, the dirty details above being left out), so we have to take some of the money for the moment, from another program, and then we'll have to find another taxation source to replace the lost revenues. BZ, democrats who planned this, for we'll not let the children, who will have been receiving the benefits from this program for many years now, go without, and it will just be a program that has been around for a long time... The point is not to discuss the rightness or wrongness of these programs being used as examples, but to use the reality of them to show the intricacies of the tax system and how it is manipulated. The other way to keep our governments thinking is to do this: Demand they quit looking for ways to help anyone who "shows up at the door" asking for a hand out. Intelligently decide, given the constraints how much is enough. Keep the bottom line within the positive range by managing the money. We're in this together because we don't seem to get involved enough. Let me say this: Getting involved is not merely reading a few headlines and making a sign, it's thoughtful research on the issues at hand and then working with the appropriate government officials to get the money under control. Once this discipline is in effect, then it will be far less likely that our elected people will be open to hunting up more tax revenues, by taking our property. No matter how “feel good” some “fix” to the issue of the moment seems to be, engage your brain and think how it will affect the community in the long run. Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the open posting!

Lessons from Vietnam - The Ripple Today

Something profound has happened in this country, as a result of the changes caused by the Vietnam War. I do know there was more support for the War than the HBM would have you realize, as I was present of a speech at the Naval War College in 1988, where the speaker proved, using notable polls, that the people were behind the war, and college educated people had some of the highest percentages. The analysis tracked the polls, such as Gallup, over about the last decade of Vietnam, and will things went down, noticably after the Spring 1968 Tet Offensive, the majority was always supposrtive of the war, except one group...Congress. The enemy had there ear then, as it has grabbed in now. For all the educational background and life experience of those who go to represent our personal, local and National interests, they are the ones I see that didn't get it then, and don't get it now. Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results... On the other hand, those of the American population, with out all the connections and campaigning, and education, it appears they "get it" and in an amazing way. Marine Corps Mom shares an email on her blog from Capt Steve Alverez, USA. If you're prone to getting teary eyed, grab your kleenex, if not, you just might be a little, for this man tells us how he has been supported, and it is nothing like the "support" our fathers received when they came home from Vietnam. It will give you hope and a warm feeling, knowing "we" care for our troops....

SCOTUS Ten Commandments Decision

CNN News on the Ten Commandments Decision....
"Supreme Court bars Ten Commandments at courthouses Justices allow Commandments at state capitol Monday, June 27, 2005; Posted: 11:32 a.m. EDT (15:32 GMT) story.generic.scotus.jpg RELATED • CNN/Money: High court victory for cable • Court refuses to hear reporters' appeals YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS Supreme Court or Create Your Own Manage Alerts | What Is This? WASHINGTON (AP) -- A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutionality of displaying the Ten Commandments on government land, but drew the line on displays inside courthouses, saying they violated the doctrine of separation of church and state. Sending dual signals in closely-watched cases, the high court said displays of the Ten Commandments -- like their own courtroom frieze -- are not inherently unconstitutional. But each exhibit demands scrutiny to determine whether it goes too far in amounting to a governmental promoting of religion, the court said in a case involving Kentucky courthouse exhibits. In effect, the court said it was taking the position that issues of Ten Commandments displays in courthouses should be resolved on a case-by-case basis. In that 5-4 ruling and another ruling, involving the positioning of a 6-foot granite monument of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas capitol, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the swing vote. The second ruling, likewise, was 5-4.
Chase the link at the top of the page for the entire story...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

A Message from the Ghost of Patton

This is a flash presentation worth seeing... General George S. Patton updated for the new millenium, complete with recent pictures and salty languages to get his point across... Hat Tip: moonbatslayer in an open post comment section on Little Green Footballs. Thanks for Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

"Convoy of female Marines Struck" - St Pete Times

That's the headline on today's paper. I think it communicates the utter confusion this nation is suffering from. Since this news broke, where a Marine convoy, which happened to have some female members assigned to it, was attacked by the terrorists, the not so subtle message in the HBM is the complete HORROR that our females are being killed and wounded. Maybe they don’t read each other’s reports. What I can’t find are the details where the operation order had the Marines load up a bunch of women to deliver them to some location. To me, that would be a convoy of women. Think about this: if a group of trucks had been hauling fuel to a FOB and it was attacked, then the HBM would have run a headline like “Supply Convoy of Fuel Attack – Big Explosions Resulted,” They wouldn’t have reported it as a “Convoy of Men.” The headline also implies the convoy was made up of women, as opposed to having had some women service members with the men, who also were part of the force. In addition, the women were part of the convoy in order to be able to search any Muslim women they may have encountered and suspected of wrong doing. It’s amazing that our military can bend over backwards to minimize cultural conflict, and all we hear about is how some of our women are killed. Women Marines is what they were. I suspect that if they were here to speak for themselves, they might correct me and say they were simply “Marines.” It would have been a nice balancing point in light of how badly the military is accused of treating the terrorists in GTMO. Sorry, no good news for us! Please excuse me for doing something so un-“PC” as to replay a little history for the masses: It's called equal rights. I'm not talking about the equal right to be killed, I'm talking about the push through the 70's and 80's that said women are required to have every opportunity that the men of our society do. This is still a work in progress, more often played out in much less contrasting ways, when we see surveys saying women are still not earning as much as the men. Thankfully, in many ways, we have come to grips with the equality issues and there isn't the acrimony in the discussions that there was a few decades ago. We have come a long way indeed. Part of the equal rights for women has been a long standing push for women in the military to have every field opened up to them. In the attack yesterday, we see the outcome of such a societal desire. I mourn for their loss, yet am saddened that the liberally leaning media, which was always on the side of the women being treated equally equation, now seems so incredulous when women share in what men had traditionally had for themselves. The military has been enriched by the addition of the women, but it has not been without it's problems. Like everything else, we learn to deal with the right thing to do. My own career took me about 16 years to accept women as equals, and when I was "taken to school" by a very competent officer, I realized I had been wrong. If I can admit that, I'd hope the press can do that much. To pull a few threads together, the women were there particularly in order to make our presence less obtrusive in the Middle East. I think it is logical to say the very policy of equal rights had two impacts here: 1) The fact they were serving members of the armed forces gave our commanders an ability to be sensitive to local cultural issues. The women in the military concept most likely never envisioned this as a capability. It is an “unintended consequence” in a very positive way. 2) The equal rights requirements put these women in a position to be killed. That certainly has not been a unforeseen consequence, yet it has had a very negative impact on our nation and their families. I ask, which is the greater consideration? Open note to the HBM: Make up your mind, for your hypocrisy is showing. You are either for women’s rights and ALL that that means, or you must admit you are no longer in favor of that. You can't have this one both ways. Thanks for Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Back to the Age of Sail?

Back to the age of sail. Geez, think of the fights the CHENG and the 1st Lt are going to have over who is more important! Innovative new sail kite system could halve maritime diesel usage

"WHERE ARE THE WMDS?!?!?!!?!?" - Here.....

Remember the Jordanians who were gonna set off a few fire works? Well, there's some WMD reality. The trial of those caught planning to kill about 80,000 people is getting ready to begin....I bet we find out all sorts of stuff.....

Life At Sea

This turned out to be a long post, but if you'd like a "flavor" of what it's like working aboard a Navy ship, get something to drink, and make sure your chair is comfortable, and you won't be interupted for about 20 minutes, and you'll find out from some of those who have been there, the little things that define the moment to moment realities of this lifestyle. Yankee Sailor is becoming quite a good read, with a daily "read log" posting, a great summary of news. I commented on one of his posts, where he described a watch rotation, which was very different from what I was familiar with for 24 years. I knew watches on a ship as: Written as, Actually Stood, Called: 0000-0400, 2345-0345, Mid Watch 0400-0800, 0345-0700, Morning 0800-1200, 0700-1145, Forenoon 1200-1600, 1145-1545, Afternoon 1600-1800, 1545-1745, 1st "Dog" 1800-2000, 1745-1945, 2nd "Dog" 2000-0000, 1945-2345, Evening This schedule is pretty much as "old as the sea" and goes back to the British Navy, and I'm sure well before that. The watches were marked by a bell being rung every 30 minutes (yes, in the days before we all had watches), with each bell representing 30 minutes, so a watch was 8 bells long. The bells are sounded in a pattern of pairs, and I'm sure this remark will make you recall the backround of the bells ringing in all those navy documentaries and movies. Sometimes, usually when you only had two shifts of people, it wasn't uncommon to shift to 6 hour watches, beginning at midnight. The new watch rotation I wonder about. Since Yankee Sailor is on a "Big Deck Gator," and the aviation influence abounds, it might be something unique to that type of ship's culture. We all are aware some of our brown shoe brethren have a fondness for doing it differently to show they are "different." What's most humorous in this is that in the link above, another SWO guy, Cdr Salamander posted this comment, as a short testimonial to the realities of the watchstanding life. It's far funnier if you have found yourself in the similar thoughts/situations, and I'll vouch for the accuracy of his report (any notes I put in here are in "[]" for clarification):
Ahhhh.... 2200-0300: Watch 0330: Headbreak if needed or not["head" = bathroom] 0345: Rack 0-something too bleary-eyed to see: Revelry [Reveille]. Close eyes. +15 minutes: needle gun [meaning someone is chipping paint with an air powered tool, that has a bunch of little rods that hammer the paint free of the metal, and yes, the metal structure is quite efficient at transmitting this noise with full fidelity and volume, far better than air, to be precise - envision LOUD and without rhythm - making sleep impossible, unless you are about 2 minutes from dead]. Feeling of hopelessness. 0715: Stale corn flakes, milk, coffee. 0730: Coffee, need smoke. 0740: Feel bad for the folks waiting in line at the Enlisted smoking sponson [smokers are banned to the far corners of the vessel in designated areas, on the "weather" (outside) decks. Sponson is a blister type thing sticking off the side of the basic hull form of the ship, where they mount weapons and extra electronics stuff, out of the way of aircraft decks] 0750: Working on third smoke. Think about buying more Cuban cigars. More professional. 0755: Don't give a damn about professionalism right now. Lighter busted and just spilled your last bit of coffee. 0810: Some guy from the TACRON [Tactical Air Control Squadron - people who make sure the close air support from the ships is properly integrated into the battle - if not doing this, they have little to do besides be in the way, from a SWO's perspective, since they don't help make the ship go]is bitching about his career [we all like to do this, conversations usually begin with some reference to questionable lineage of the "detailer" who is "working" for us - topic of completely separate series of posts]. Starting to get another headache. Need more coffee. Leave sponson. 0815: Nail head on overhead [ceiling] valve [these things are all over the place on the bulkheads (walls) and overheads and decks] on the 02 Deck right after you remember your 0800 meeting. 0820: Try to look alert as you walk in to your meeting late. The boss shows up at 0822. You try to look like you have been there the whole time. Don't notice he keeps looking at that big red spot on forehead. You think he is trying to catch you falling asleep [and you thought only GTMO detainees suffered from sleep deprivation]. 0935: Remind yourself to shoot whoever decided to make RM into IT [CDR S, if you're reading this - I helped. Are you wearing an "E" on your pistol ribbon?]. Your Outlook Personal Folders are hosed again [I never had this luxury. Paperwork with cellulouse fibers was king - the real deal]. 1010: You realize you have been talking to your Chief for the last 20 minutes with your fly open [in "the OLD Navy" not too much cause for alarm - it was all guys, at worst a cause for a nickname or "callsign" for you to be referred to as that wouldn't be permitted in polite company; in the "New Navy" possible courts-martial for exposing yourself]: at the same time you notice that everyone can see the goofy underwear your wife bought you. You have been wearing them for the last 3 days. Don't care [the laundry cycle, planned with military precision many times was anything but regular]. 1115: Manage to make it back to your room. Look at the rack. Think about lunch. Needle gun goes off again. Curse. Leave your room listening to your bunkmate snoring [roomie is taking a "nooner" - term for the nap you grab after you slam down lunch, sometimes even when you cheated and ate with the on going watchstanders, to avoid small talk and the XO running the list of things to get done while you tried to eat, so you could get about a full hour in the bag before "Turn to" was passed at 1300]. Go back to smoking sponson. The head nearest is secured. You get to the head port forward and realize you left your smokes in your room. Get to room realize your zipper is open again. It’s quiet. You look at rack. Needle gun starts again. Feeling of hopelessness. Grab smokes. 1230: Your "buttphone" goes off [must be one of those fancy FRS like systems so your boss can tag you anywhere on the ship. I know we had walkie talkies for the deck guys and then for damage control we sometimes used like this, but that was before the cell phone era]. The boss wants to know why you missed the 1200 Human Capital Strategy brief. You mumble something about TQL [AHHHH..Thank you Adm Kelso and Dr Deming for such a wonderful gift that keeps on giving!] and make your way to frame 49 [ships have a method of labeling places by using references to the ship's structure, e.g. 49-02-0-L would be the "room" called a "space," with it's forward bulkhead at the 49th frame of the hull, on the second deck above the main deck, being set on the centerline of the ship and it is a berthing (living) space. This system helps for finding your way around during routine and emergency times, sure as when you hear "FIRE, FIRE, FIRE, Class BRAVO Fire in Compartment 130-5-0-M."] 1232: You walk into the boss’s office to discuss other non-HCS [human capital strategy, I'm guessing - what a "girly man" way of saying personnal issues] issues and realize you still have a pack of smokes in your hand. Boss asks how you’re doing. "Heck, I can go 40+ hours without sleep..." 1250: Buttphone goes off again. Your Chief reminds you of the stack of evals [enlisted people's performance reports] waiting for you and needs to talk about the urinalysis results with you. Rinse-Repeat. CDR Salamander
While there is a degree of humor mixed with the reality CDR Salamander presented above, it's a story of a hard profession. Here is a account written by a Neptunus Lex describing the life of an enlisted sailor, and it is exceptionally well detailed with those things that define the environment for our service members at sea. I need not comment on it further, as the Captain writes it well enough that all can comprehend it. Please take the time to read it an know what those young men and women face, on any Navy vessel that leaves port in defense of this country, wheter it is a sub, aircraft carrier, oiler or destroyer. Here's the teaser:
"A day in the life aboard an aircraft carrier at sea. 0330 – the alarm goes off in a coffin rack in the Ops berthing. A hand gropes in the darkness behind the rack curtains to silence the alarm. The curtains serve as a demarcation line – they mark this space as the owners. This space is his only privacy, the only thing that is truly his own in a berthing area shared with 100 other men, themselves stacked in bunk beds three high, arrayed in cells that fade into the greater darkness."
Much has been written about the living condtions of our Army and Marine counterparts "on the beach," which help us understand what they deal with, but Neptunus Lex will introduce you to the life of those who make it possible for the F/A-18s to be lurking overhead to deliverprecisely guided ordnance on the bad guys, when the call goes out for air support. These people face a degree of danger themsleves, not from hostile fire, but incredibly complex machinery, which, when it fails, generally takes out peple and equipment on a large scale. Thank you, the GreyHawk Team, for Open Posts. I'm close to the 10,000th visitor to my blog now, and most of the hits have come because of the graciousness of the founders of the MilBloggers Web Ring!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Why Didn't We Attack Saudi Arabia?

The answer is simple and complex, but this irrational question, which is usually made as a statement is just plain...ignorant to the core. What people fail to grasp, is that this is a war unlike any other in modern history. In the international arena, war is conducted between sovereign nations. While most of the 9/11 attackers were Saudis, they were not wearing, nor were they a part of the established military of the Kingdom. Really basic, for in the context of interantional law, they were doing nothing more than if a bunch of plain old US citizens went to some country and blew some stuff up. They are criminals and subject to the laws of the country in which they committed their crimes. Being Americans alone does not then give the attacked nation the right to declare war on the US and head our way. This, of course, does not satisfy these people, for they are going "tilt!, Tilt!" since we are engaged in fighting in Iraq. This is where you have to remind them of history (the real stuff, to include even the MSM reports of 2002, and not the twisted things of the MSM's current reporting) on how Saddam had WMDs, the UN told him they had to go, then he still refused, so we suited up, on the assumption that the UN meant what they said, and then the UN lost their courage (they needed Dan Rather to get them motivated). Simple analysis for the moment. More ideas stored on my cell email (as a handy voice recorder) of other topics to come....

GTMO Exercise plan

Bad news. I fear we are harming the "detainees" in GTMO Camp X-Ray. It seems they have put on an average of 18 ponds during their torture. Here's the scary part: Will they come back and sue the US Govenrment in civil court for clogging their arteries with the stuff we eat, which will cause them to suffer from heart disease? I was posting a comment elsewhere and it occured to me we have taken away their main source of exercise: Dodging JDAMs raining down from above. What an exercise program we made for those trying to kill us. Think of the cadio workout you get, when you are roused from sound sleep (on the floor of your cave) to run like crazy from the sound of impacting 250, 500 and 750 (and possibly 1000)lb MK 80 series bombs rigged with GPS guidance systems. That surely has to keep the arteries clear of any plaque build up. We can't really offer and easy alternative for this form of exercise, because the people on Puerto Rico got enough support to close down the range at AFWTF on Vieques Island. That's reasonably close to GTMO, yet still is OUTCONUS. We could have shuttled the "detainees" over about once a week, or all the time when a carrier battle group was working up for cruise. The "detainess" could have the run of the island during these fleet exercises, and have plenty of practice for this new skill set. The best part for the "detainees" is they wouldn't have to sign any long term contracts, wondering how soon before the Government would sell the "exercise area" and sell it to competitors, and reopen it under a new name, and demand new membership. No fees either. We would just be nice to not bill them for each month. Just call it a gift from the American (compassionate) taxpayer... The next closer spot may be Avon Park near central FLorida, but then we'd have the ACLU trying to kidnap the helpless detainees.....

In the Market for Land Walker?

Ever think it would be cool to be the first one in your neighborhood to have a land walker? Jus think, you cold get out and get real exercise instead of sitting in front of a computer playing Mech Warrior... Chase this link and get out your check book!

They Understand it Not At All, Or Too Well

Vietnam, a word burned into our collective memory, even for those who were not old enough to experieince it. The name of that far away country conjures up powerful demons.... I sit back and watch the current lines of "debate" and it occurs to me that the liberals of our country either know nothing of what they are doing, or are "dumb like a fox." The "demands" are growing for us to withdraw from Iraq. In daily conversations, I have been asked by friends "how much longer should we be there?" with the issue of "we need to set a deadline" hanging in the air so thick you can cut it with a knife. I take to expalining we should be there as long as it takes and then launch into the discussion regarding how you never tell your enemy when you're leaving, for they merely get deeper in their foxholes, knowing they will soon be able to proceed on their mission with impunity. Somehow, I don't think they want to hear that. So they call for a pull out, most likely figuring that we can just deposit a bunch of munitions and arms, and supplies for the fledging Iraqi Army and Police and run, ala "Vietnamization." Possibly good idea, but the timing they ask for makes for bad execution. Sort of like pulling all the teachers out of elementeary schools, and telling the kids "hey, you're on your own now, but never fear, there are books in the library and food in the cafeteria. Do great things." Now, this being the set up, I look at the situation like this: 1) Either they recall the circumstances that prevailed at completion of Vietnamization, and are counting on the same thing to happen here (Failure) OR 2) They are completely clueless about what the likely outcome of their demands may produce. If we leave now, or announce a timeline that has a terminal date, we are bound to meet with more failure. I would be cynical to believe that the liberals are purposely after this course of action because they need to find a way to allow the time to pass and show a massive failure, as the Sunnis and Baathists return to take control. This would tube the President for the remainder of his time in office, and damage the next Republican to make the run for the Oval Office. I'm more likely to concede that the libals are doing this completely unconsciously. It fits their "MO" like a glove. Besides, the accepting that this would have been planned indicates there is someone with an ability to think strategically in the DNC, but that seems like a long shot. We should go when the Iraqi government is able to stand enough to show they can take care of themselves, and not a moment sooner.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Just a Little Humor

Big Boys does it again... Video clip of a guy on a garbage truck trying to pick up a it all...and don't be drinking anything.. Check later tonight for my idle thoughts on the Liberals understanding of history...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Excuse Me, But I Think I See Your Hypocricy Showing..."

BFOs...I just had one about the end of the work day. That's a "blinding flash of the obvious." Just to toss a little more fuel on the Dick Durban fire, but I think it's legit. What used to be the wonderful slogan the Democrats held up in our faces during the 2004 campaign and many times since then? Yep, it came back to me today... "We don't support the war, but we support "OUR" troops." HHHHmmmmmmm...I think it was merely slick campaigning, grasping for a few more votes that drove that line of their two faced antics. First off, as I typed that, I choke on the fact they even have the gall to call them "our" troops. If they were your troops, and I'm speaking to the Democrats, you'd prove you cared for them by your actions, not your words, or in this case, by not using such words as Dick Durban did. There it is, without a lot more analysis. The Democrats say whatever it takes to get a vote, and this is proof positive. No one who supports our troops would have ascribed the bad actions of a very, very few, to all the rest of them. It's even harder to comprehend that this comes from a man with a law degree. I guess the rules of evidence only apply when you're in court. On the other hand, I seem to recall that the Congress is exempt from being sued for slander/libel. Very nice perk of that office, don't you think? They demand military and governmental leaders who are fully accountable for each and every action they take, yet they seem resistant to apply this rule to their own lives. It also bothers me to hear talk show hosts and their guests, discussing how "I know Senator XXXX personally, and he's a great guy" and we all know that "great guy" is spouting off like a moron. Some one said Ted Kennedy is a great guy at a party, very personable. Great, just what we need, acceptance of a blatantly two-faced personality in charge of decision making... Congressman Drubin, your hypocrisy is showing...

"A Military Meme for All My Friends" - Yankee Sailor

Yankee Sailor started this meme. I'm debating whether it will help him retain "friends" if he keeps this sort of behavior up.... I now pledge I will never "raise new memes." That is a solemn promise to the blogsphere. I will, if I feel the urge, respond to memes.... Here goes:
"It's a slow duty day here on the ship, so I thought I would play with fire and start a meme of my own. As someone once said, those that aren't part of the solution are part of the problem - but it's almost always more fun to be part of the problem."
I get the "slow duty day" part. Been there, done that, a lot...and in retrospect, thank God for slow duty days, not the ones where the voice on the other end of telephone says: "Sir, the beach clean up crew driver just drove over a woman's legs (note plural)." or "Get FC3 XXXXX up, I got a message from Red Cross and his mom died (it was early Sunday morning when that call came)."
"This one is is designed to ilicit sea stories, or whatever those of you in the military services (as opposed to the naval services) call them. Members and veterans of other services feel free to substitute TAD/TDY locations for ports. One last thing, don't forget to fill in the "whys", because that's the best part. On with the meme...."
Number of ports I've visited: about 50, and if I can hop a ride on the sea surface from Singapore to Okinawa, I'll have circumnavigated the globe in a surface waterborne mode. Most recent port I visited: Pearl Harbor (for INCONUS) was my last one, and Haifa, Israel (the OUTCONUS). On the trip to Pearl, I finally got a chance to get to the USS ARIZONA. See here (scroll down to it, he posted pics one post at a time) for an upcoming, soon to be a 90 day wonder Naval Officer's photolog and story of his recent visit. Haifa was a bustling place and I flew in, met a US DDG, rode it for a week doing my "I'm a contractor now" thing, then a night there and back thru Tel Aviv and home. Nice place and remarkaable because, while I saw soldiers, I didn't see everyone with a Galil or Uzi hanging from their shoulders as they went about their business. Port I never want to see again: Lagos, Nigeria. A body flaoted by the ship (yep, the human kind) and the poverty was horrifc. They'd kill you for a can of fruit. I sure hope things have improved, as that was 1983. Three ports that were the most memorable: Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia. Yes, I was there when it was still under Tito and the Communists. It wasn't a high profile visit from the press interest, but I'll say this: It was the most picturesque city I have been to. Clean, and you couldn't snap a phot and not have post card quality images. The sailors had to wear their uniforms and grumbled about it, until they came aboard after the first night on the beach. They all wanted the SHs to wash their uniforms, as they couldn't buy a drink. The people were excpetionall courteous, and not in a plastic way. The women were head point of getting a sore neck. The walled city, which I believe was shelled heavily in the civil war. I recall seeing solid rock polished to a glossy finish by the foot traffic of centuries. If it's destroyed, that's a shame, for it was a marvel. Lagos, Nigeria. That visit was part of the West African Training Criuse (WATC) in 1983. The first night in, the Apapa Boat Club (an ex-pat crowd) hosted a big BBQ, which was great. I met the man who ran the world's largest flour plant (it was there in Lagos). He and his wife were German, and invited myslef and afew others to have dinner with them the following evening. While we still had to put on our whites, I convinced the CO to let a few of us out of "mandatory fun" at the embassy, so we could go to my new found friend's compund. They picked us up and, as we drove back to the compound, we got lots of local info. It was pretty bad to see the many people surviving on about nothing. The compund had high wall, with glass imbedded in the top layer of concrete, to comliment the barbed wire. They had their own well and generator, in case the local utilities gave out. Yep, loked gate, too. Once inside, it was a little island of normalcy in it all. Dinner was great and the stories better. When we pulled into port, there was a tall building in the downtown area, visible from a good ways out, as was the burned out floor, maybe the 5th or 6th one. The story was it was the national telephone exchange. It seemed they computerized the long distance system, allowing billing to be done automatically. Before that, you had to call the overseas operator, and they would connect you to the other party. They also got your name and logged in that info, and the cost of the call in their little notebooks. At the end of the month, they would come around, knock at your door, and you would pay them (directly, if you're following where I'm going) half the cost of the calls you made. It was a really sweet deal. The goverment paid for the equipment and services, the operator didn't bill you via the system, you just got a 1/2 price discount. That's the set up. One day, a fire "broke out" in the computer center of the phone company, shortly after the operators were not able to run their side businesses anymore. When the fire department arrived, they promptly went to the floor where all the accounting records were maintained, and proceded to put the "fire" out there for a while, while the computer center burnt longer. Net result: The records from the time when the system was automated were destroyed, and the computers were gone, too. The power of graft... That fire had occurred about 5 years before our visit in 1983.... UPDATE 06/26/2005: Sadly, it sounds like it's worse than it was back then... Trieste, Italy. Naples had it's purpose, but it help no charm for me. The ship we rode aboard as the embarked staff in 85 was sent up there. I was working for the hard driving Wes Jordan, who I blogged about here. The Ops Boss, LCDR Steve Nerhiem and I had the day off together, so he took me up to the plaza of this quiet city, and introduced me to cappucino. We just sat at an outdoor table, enjoying the moderate weather, and drinking cappucino. The extra benefit, besides the sheer relaxation of it all, the women in that part of Italy look very much like the ones I saw in Dubrovnik many years before. While not as many were head turners, there were plenty of them to make it pleasant to just "watch the world go by." Yankee Sailor said:
"Okay, time to tag some people. Let's start with Chapomatic for the periscope depth view, CDR Salamander for a sanity check on my picks, Skippy-san for the pure entertainment value and Scott D. for an Army perspective."
I think I'll pass this along to the Pirate watching Captain at EagleSpeak(done), Bill at Bow Ramp, and I think Bubblehead (done) needs to tell us some stories...enjoy, gentlemen! Bow Ramp is still UA, as of 06/26/2005 2035Z.... Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the open posting!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Desert Sky - Movie Review

Desert Sky: The Untold Story of the 159th Avaiation Brigade in Iraq is available on DVD. My copy came in Friday's mail. I watched if Saturday afternoon, when I had no distractions to deal with. It is a well done film, which is a documantary of the people of the 159th and their tour in Iraq. What you won't see is combat action footage. What you will see, is the humanity that makes up our armed forces. You see humorous, despite the circumstances, moments, for instance, every one in the large tent holding onto to something to keep "the roof over their head" intact in a raging windstorm. You see sad moments when the Brigade honors the fallen. The backdrop of these people on the front lines is the places they went, and what they did there, so from a military history viewpoint, there is some meat here. You see sandstorms and their aftermath, in both wreakage, and cucoons on large peices of exepensive military equipment. There are some aerial scenes, but mostly this is a story of men and women making things work, in thier own words, and from the camera's view point. I recommend it highly. The proceeds are going to the scholarship fund for the children of the soldiers who have fallen. I commend Eric Simon for his excellent work in bringing us living history. Eric has his own blog, which was kept while he served with the 159th in country. Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the open posting!

"The Palestinian woman’s womb is a factory for the conflict..."

Little Green Footballs posted an article about an interview with Syrian historian and author Dr. Georgette ’Attiyya, who described how their culture is working. Her quote:
"The Palestinian woman’s womb is a factory for the conflict; it produces fighting children. After this fighting child is produced, he is taught: “This is your land, this is your country, you will fight for it, stand on it, and die for it.” Therefore, a very important connection exists between motherhood, land, and blood."
This article reminded me of an interesting presentation by a Marine Major in my philosophy class in 1987. We had all done a paper for the class and one evening, instead of going to the classroom, we went to one of the pub/restaurants along 2nd beach in Newport, RI to do our presentations. His story captivated me by the horror of this short recounting of a conversation he had. As a military attache assigned to the Embassy in Beruit, he had the occassion to meet the locals. He said he had been at a party where he asked an officer of the Christian Militia how it was that he could kill a pregnant woman. The answer: "If I don't kill her now, in 16 years I will have two people to kill." Chilling. I found it hard to grasp the concept, but I knew the reality is that this was in fact, occuring in Lebanon at the time via the MSM. The article I linked to above essentailly vinciates this thought process in the realities of the Middle East. It's certainly out of the park for my morals, but when it comes to plain, old, raw survival, the look of the interview now, and the comment from back then, I think you can understand why.... Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the opportunity to share this posting!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Ignoble Ease and the Strenuous Life

Consider the words of a great man: “I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires a mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these things wins the splendid ultimate triumph.” It is the calling to which the compassionate rise to….the young men and women who are serving around the world and stateside right now. “The timid man, the lazy man, the man who distrusts his country, the overcivilized man, who has lost the great fighting, masterful virtues, the ignorant man, and the man of dull mind, whose soul is incapable of feeling the mighty lift that thrills ‘stern men with empires on their brains’ – all these, or course, shrink from seeing the nation undertake its new duties; shrink from seeing us build a navy and an army adequate for our needs; shrink from seeing us do our share of the world’s work, by bringing order out of chaos…These are men who fear the strenuous life, who fear the only national life which is worth leading. They believe in that cloistered life which saps the hardy virtues in a nation, as it saps them in the individual; or else they are wedded to that base spirit of gain and greed which recognizes in commercialism the be-all and end-all of national life, instead of realizing that, though an indispensable element, it is, after all, but one of the many elements that go to make up true national greatness.” We have too many timid, lazy and distrustful people. Huge houses, many cars, far too many vacations, and too much adoration showered on them, because they can get it right after multiple takes, among others. And don’t forget the manicured and properly dressed “talking heads” of the HBM, who think their job is not reporting but changing the world… “A man’s first duty is to take his own home, but he is not thereby excused from doing his duty to the state; for if he fails in this second duty, it is under penalty of ceasing to be a freeman.” For those who fail at the second duty, try this form of “math”: (SU)3…Do you value freedom more that personal comfort or the mirror image of that statement? Duty need not be running out the door of a C-17 to jump with the 82nd Airborne Division, it can come in many other forms, which are all part of serving the nation. I’d submit making a profession, or even avocation, of opposition and picking everything apart, particularly for the reason to be contrary, when you have no solutions does not qualify as serving any nation. The verb “to serve” requires action, not inaction. “..and there should be no parlaying, no faltering, in dealing with our foe. As for those in our own country who encourage our foe, we can afford contemptuously to disregard them; but it must be remembered that their utterances are not saved from being treasonable merely by the fact that they are despicable.” Congressman Durbin, are you listening to the wisdom of a great man? The “foe” certainly understands this. Maybe they read this speech and grabbed onto the calling. “If we stand idly by, if we seek merely swollen, slothful ease and ignoble peace, if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at the hazard of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and will win for themselves the domination of the world.” Sounds like a warning of what will become if we hold back, put more importantly, if we pull back. Not that domination is the goal, but to ensure freedom becomes a common experience. “Let us therefore boldly face the life of strife, resolute to do our duty well and manfully; resolute to uphold righteousness by deed and by word; resolute to be both honest and brave, to serve high ideals, yet to use practical methods.” Solution to the “problem:” (SU)3…Roll up your sleeves and get dirty to serve a higher calling that yourself. “Above all, let us shrink from no strife, moral or physical, within and without the nation, provided we are certain that the strife is justified, for it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavor, that we will ultimately win the goal of true national greatness.” I want this guy to “lead the charge.” He certainly has my vote. He speaks to those who want to back away from the GWoT, because it’s too hard, too messy, not “PC” to not blame America. He exhorts us to “do it” the right way, and to be sure of our reasoning. He calls out those who would verbally “provide aid and comfort to the enemy” and uses the correct adjective for their action: Treasonous. Treason in war can be punished by death. That’s Federal law. Woodrow Wilson had a candidate who opposed him and made anti-War statements charged with sedition and, when convicted, he served 10 years in Federal Prison. I think Congressman Durbin should be making calls to Martha Stewart right about now. Who gave this speech? Theodore Roosevelt, April 10th, 1899. Leave with this thought: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” Amen to that....

Friday, June 17, 2005

Don't Try This at Home!

A really funny security camera vid.... Disclaimer: I in no way endorse this type of activity...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

How Senator Durbin Defamed the Torturers of the Past.

Over on Right Thinking Girl, there is (another) "debate series" going on. The regulars include some very well read and spoken people, but, as the case is in the wonderous land of the 1st Amendment, it gets "sporting." If you desire to join in, I'm sure the wealth of understanding anyone else may bring would add to the debate. Of course, Senator Durbin was a topic today. It's the comments that are the main show on Right Thinking Girl's blog.... I'm posting a teaser remark, which is my response to Karen: "Karen; [this following quote from Karen] "...The senator is saying "This treatment of *detainees*, if you didn't know it was an American force doing it, at first blush would be the work of a totalitarian regime (such as Hitler's, Pol Pot's, etc)."[end of quote] Nah...if any one of Hitler's old buds, or Pol Pot's cronies came along to comment here, I suspect they would be launghing their butts off, thinking our troops were a bunch of rank amateurs compared to them. In fact, once they got over wiping the tears from their eyes and took a breath, I'm convinced they actually would exceptionally insulted. Given that scenario, then they could come and get ACLU lawyers and begin proceedings against the US Congress for damaging their "self esteem" by comparing them to guyw who held the Koran's of the enemy with clean white gloves, and "like a delicate piece of art." They could shop the case around to find the best district to place it in, preferably one in the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit. This would then cost the taxpayers untold millions being paid out (unbudgeted, I might add) for pain and suffering. Thank you, far less than brilliant Senator for opening your mouth before you thought. Then the class action suits to follow.... But, finally, when it was all said and done, They would be seething in anger, for the "sensitive guys" won and are in a position of power, and not those who have abused thier own people and those around them in such ways that would turn the stomach of any American service member. Put yourself in the shoes of those Sen Durbin defamed by his intemperate speech...." Here's the link to the party...come on in, there are some liberals in the pool already.... Thanks to the Mudville Gazette for the open posts!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I wish I could find out more on the USS Neosho (AO23)

The comment is buried back in a post I did a while back titled "Survivors of the Battle of Coral Sea - USS NEOSHO.", Jayna left her comment for information on her Grandfather. Here's her comment/request:
"I wish I could find out more on the USS Neosho (AO23). My grandfather died on the 68 man raft, less than 2 weeks before my father was born. If anyone knows of any survivors or has letters from the crew of the AO23, please contact me at"
I tossing this up with a prayer that through the "six degrees," someone reading this will be connected with someone who knows. Do you know a WWII Navy Vet? Pass it along, maybe collectively, the community of bloggers can pass her some valuable leads. Thanks to Mudville Gazette's open posts!

"The Stringer" by Steven Vincent

MilBlogs of the people "in country" give a compeltely different perspective than the HBM tries to spoon feed us.... from National Review Online, Steven Vincent reports on this man, a native Iraqi, tells a story that is horrifying, and heart warming, all at the same time. "Ali" speaks of what the mood on the street is in Iraq. It's worth your time to see what the HBM refuses to report....

"Tough Talk from Gutless Wonders"

A Vietnam veteran speaks his peace. Thanks to the open post on Little Green Footballs, I found this post from The American Thinker. Thank you, Capt Dave St. John, USMCR, for your insightful analysis....

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Frank J at IMAO: Know Thy Enemy - Amnesty Intl

Frank is at it again. I wonder how soon before the T-shirt is available? Know Thy Enemy: Amnesty International

How to Bury a Hero by HM3 James Pell, USN

I've not been posting too much the last few days, for I was "teaching history" to those who want to equate the "WHERE are the WMDs?!?!?!?" discussion to the moral equivalent of "hate" crimes against the transgendered. It really wore me out. I was a little discouraged, realizing the emotional toll that occurred trying to have an actual discussion with a bunch of animated Democratic talking points. In a few moments of surfing this afternoon, I found the following comments just a few minutes ago. I was chasing links to read about a young Marine, LCpl Antoine Smith. He was killed by hostile fire at Fallujah. I chased the links to Pull on Superman's Cape and under this post, titled The Heros of India Company, I found the words of a junior enlisted Navy Corpsman who had been at the side of LCpl Smith when he was killed. He recalled that moment like this:
"Forgive my spelling. I was next to Lcpl Smith as he took his last breath. As a US Navy Corpsman I am there to help trasition heroes into the next life. I was flipping through the TV Sunday night and came across "Heroes of India Company". I wasn't aware that this documentary existed. I paused and watched as I relived the fight. I was with 3/5 untill I was shot Nov 15, 2004. I am the Sniper platoon Cormpsman. After Smith went down and the bombs were dropped we pushed on. We engaged in a fierce fight with five insurgents across the street. It was roof top to roof top. Then out of no were the house next to us opened up and pinned us down. My Sniper partner and myself stormed the third story roof killing two insurgents. Once ontop of the third story the Marines started moving across to the second deck. First over was Shane. No sooner had he crossed over the wall I heard him scream for help. I looked over the edge and saw him holding his head, still screaming. I did what any true Marine loving Corpsman would do, I went after him to pull him out of the line of fire and treat his wound. I never made it to Shane though. I hung my feet over the third deck to jump to the second were Shane was no lying motionless. As I started to slide off It felt like a sledge hammer smashed into my right thigh, and it went limp. No sooner the same feeling in my right calf. It hit me, I'm being shot! I looked for a way to get out of the insurgents path and chose to jump off the side of the building. Before I could make the move My left leg went limp as more AK-47 rounds went through the upper thigh, calf and foot. As I was falling the insurgents rounds found target again, two round to the lower right abdomin and two round to the upper groin. I fell two stories and dislocated my right shoulder. Because of the medical training I gave my Snipers every day, Lcpl James Powers saved my life. He prompty stopped the massive bleeding from my legs. From the beginning to the end I was with both Smith and Shane. Everything medicaly possiable was done to preserve life. I am now training others that are heading to combat, awaiting my Marine Corps family to return from Fallujah this month. EMCEE: James, I cannot express in words just how much brave Marines like you mean to me. Everything I can think of just fails to say to you what I feel. Let me just say: Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. On behalf of the American people I thank you. On behalf of the brave men and women that you serve I thank you. Your courage and valor inspire me. I thank God for patriots like you sir. God Bless You! Posted by: HM3 Pell, James at March 1, 2005 09:36 AM"
That was powerful to read the after action report of a comrade in arms. A few comments down, here was something that speaks with even great power about the bond that combat forges between warriors by the same young man. This was not said by a Marine General, or a Pentagon Press Briefer, but by one who has been "there:"
"How to bury a hero. Andrew Keeler was one of the best SS [Scout Sniper] I ever knew. He was dedicated to his country and his brother in arms. He died outside of of the capital in early April. Killed while participating in convoy operations. We, his military brothers, flew to the funeral to be the his honor guard. Once at the cemetary the uligy was read and flowers placed on the casket. The five of us wated until all the public had left the site and we, the people that knew more about Andrew than his own family, opened his casket and pinned on the medals he earned in combat. We closed the casket and together lowered it into the ground. Before we landed for the funeral we all agreed that no minumum wage cemtary worker was going to touch this heros coffin, or the dirt that was to cover it. So the five of us picked up our shovels and burried Andrew shovel by shovel. We tamped the dirt and relaid the sod, then stood over the sight silently for a few minutes to honor Andrews life. Then we got smashed on the plane ride home. This is how I wanna go when the time comes... Posted by: HM3 Pell James at April 12, 2005 01:59 PM'
As HM3 James Pell is now forever a part of the brotherhood of the USMC, despite his beginnings at a Navy Boot Camp, I'm sure his brethern will honor his wishes. I hope you find it in you to pass these words along to those who haven't yet comprehended what the real meaning of friendship is. Please make sure the credit to Hospital Corpsman Third Class James Pell, USN of the Fleet Marine Force, is always included with this quote. To reconnect with my opening remarks, while the subject matter above is sad, knowing these young men have passed from our presense, I am overjoyed to see that there are those in the younger generation who truly "get it." More amazing still that HM3 Pell shows wisdom beyond his years. I'm hopeful for the future of the US and the western world as a result. Email HM3 James Pell here Thanks to Mudville Gazette's Open Posting!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

I Meme, You Meme, We All Scream for Book Memes!

You just have to love "copy and paste"...and see my post By the Book, Yes, I am.. to figure out why this post looks so much like Yankee Sailor's... Memes, memes, what would we do if it weren't for memes? Probably get something productive done, I suppose. The Yankee Sailor tagged me, so I must comply. I guess there's utility in it, because it gives us a collective knowledge of one another, and helps us put things in context. Today it's books. I am also a book person, and I've got a lot, though not as many as I'd like, nor the time to even read all that I have. Here's the reply to today's tasker: (1) Number of books I own: About 30-40. I keep them on shelves, in boxes, in drawers, in the back of my car, you name it. (2) Last book bought: The Language of Leadership by Marlene Caroselli. Bought it because I once sat through this course with Dr. Caroselli. It was an outstanding week, and I got to thinking about some of the material covered back in 1993, and realized some of what I did in my presentation has resurfaced. Think "buckyball." Long story for another time. (3) Last book I read: To Be Told by Dan Allander. Have about 50 pages left to go, and then...there is a workbook, which also was purchased, so that's next...I'm counting it as done. It's making me really think... (4) Five books that mean a lot to me: - The Bible. An old standby, perhaps a cliche, but I do read it a lot and it keeps me away from shoal water....most of the time. (Yankee Sailor says this,...and ditto for me) - The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors : The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour by James Hornfisher. Besides being a well written documentary of the last ship-to-ship sea battle in history, my own life has become linked to this battle. I was XO on CARR (Paul Carr died in this battle), my college professor on computers was Cdr Amos Hathaway, who was CO of HEERMAN at this battle and was awarded the Navy Cross for the action, I trained the Combat Systems crews for the pre-comm units for both CLIFTON SPRAUGE (FFG-16) (named for Taffy 3's commander) and COPELAND (FFG-25)(CO of SAMUEL B ROBERTS (DE-413)) and, I was born again on Oct 25th, 1998 when I was 44 years old. The battle was Oct 25th, 1944. As you might see, it's a little more than a good book to me, it's a connection to that day. By the way, the Battle of Agincourt, memorialized in the St Crispian's Day Speech in "Henry V" by Shakespeare was Oct 25th, 1415. The Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War was on Oct 25th, 1854 and memorialized by Lord Tennyson's poem. My analysis may be shakey, but Oct 25th seems to be a special day for epic battles around the world. - Into the Mouth of the Cat: The Story of Lance Sijan, Hero of Vietnam. I read this about 20 years ago and it is my inspiration whenever I think I'm having a bad day. I don't have a prayer of ever having a bad day like his last few months alive. - "Our Own Worst Enemy" by William Lederer (co-author of "The Ugly American"). There are many lessons for us, even today, in this book that was later proven to be accurate in the postulations of the author. The book was written about Vietnam, published in June 68, with a thesis is we had not carefully studied the Vietnamese culture well enough to be able to fight the war effectively. His investigative reporting is deadly accurate. - The Creature from Jekyll Island : A Second Look at the Federal Reserve. An intriguing view into the history of money and cetral banking. It's like taking a college course, so don't take this one on lightly. You will have a comprehensive understanding of how money, inflation, the "Fed" and the IMF interact with our daily lives. And, like most social diseases, memes are best when shared, so I will tag Dr. Sgt Foley's Fire-Eaters, The Irish Lass and the 74 at the Bow Ramp.

The French Military In Korea - Heroism and Commitment

I just found GI Korea Blog... I scrolled down a little and found this post on a battalion of French soldiers sent to the war. Read it. These men fought with ferocity, and great courage, including against massed Chinese divisions. The battalion commander had been a 3 star general and about to retire, but took a demotion to LtCol in order to lead this unit in battle. At 59 years old, it sure sounds like he had the guts and stamina of many of our current youngsters in combat.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Col. Hunt and Us Stuck in the Fulda Gap

This post on Mudville Gazette about the current discussion between the left and the right (and those who thing neither side has it right yet) regarding the present military force structure and strategy. In an interview with a Fox Military Analyst, Col Hunt (retired Army), I found on Ankle Biting Pundits, there is some discussion saying the officers at the top are still "fighting the last war." That stirred up my rememberances of this issue from the 1987-88 time frame, right after I had recently participated in the strike on Libya in Spring 86, then headed to Naval War College, where the entire cirriculm was having to be retorqued, for we had just fired the first salvos of the GWoT, when we sent the Air Force and Navy fighter bombers over a soverign nation offensively. We still hadn't shed some of the Vietnam war fighting, as the books I have linked to point out. I did a lot of reading in those days, some directed, some on my own, and here's some of what I came away with as a result:
This problem is not a new one. GH, I agree with your comment that there haven't been many wars since the Cold War, it's just that strategic inertia on the "view" of the forces on hand and their employment that tend to carry on. "The Army in Vietnam" by Krepinivich used to be required War College reading. His basic premise was we took a central European, armor heavy mentality to the jungles of Vietnam. He did a fine job of explaining it. So, what's old is new again. From my own Navy Surface experience, I know the last great sea battle was held Oct 25th, 1944. While I served from 76-96, "we," the guys with black shoes, still were sort of spoiling to fight the great Mahanian sea battle, or at least be there to do a modern day Trafalger. The reality was, the submariners, and the brown shoes were going to be the lead in the fight, and we surface guys would have something to do, but in actuality, it may have been more to mop up, or rescue the CV sailors who took the brunt of the AS-4/5/6s and SSN-3/12/19s from the Soviet Naval Air Forces (SNAF) and surface and sub units. I'd also observe from my reading of military affairs, there most likely some Navy Officers who still think surface ships are "where it's at" for the next big shoot 'em up and I'm the dinosaur who had the "blue water Navy" attitude... Col Harry Summers wrote "On Strategy: A Critcal Analysis of the Vietnam War" to frame the conflict under the priciples of Clausewitz. His second book in the "series," was "On Strategy: The Gulf War". In this work, he described how the middle grade and junior officers, who had slogged thru the rice paddies, used that experience to redistribute the fighting force of the Army (in particular) between the active duty, USAR and NG units, so as to invlove the entire nation. Two names came up in his writing: Powell and Schwartzkopf as some of those who worked for this. It's that "will of the people" concept from Clausewitz they so masterfully engaged. All these books are worth the read, if anyone is interested in seeing how the old seems to become the new, over and over, or you could even say it the other way around. Col Summers shows there will be a lag in coming to grips with the real warfighting for the GWoT, and I believe shows how the agents of change are the very men and women who are wearing "railroad tracks" and gold oak leaves at this very moment at some FOB or FSB. ROCs and POEs and all sorts of requirements will have to be redone, and it will take some of the pointy end of the spear guys getting assigned to the 5 sided funny farm and then having what it takes to step up and begin presenting their ideas, otherwise, we're sort of screwed. We will need the more senior officers and civil servants in high places to listen attentively and take on board those ideas whose time has come and the re-direct the procurement and training "machinery" to be aimed to support that. That's a lot of the inertia to overcome, not the people's mindset, but the logistics train to produce the right weaponry and support equipment to make it happen. Contractors, particularly ones who used to be flag/general ranks, out there will be stumping to keep building what was "normal" to them, and major industry player are using these people to keep the $$$ flowing based on the "status quo." Solid leadership will save the day, when everyone gets the op order and rogers up for the plan....
Lately, current events sure have made me get off the dime and write what I think's exciting and...motivating...

The Unseen Warriors

BlackFive has an amzing post up called The Third Rule of War. It is a story by itself, about the staff at the present day version of a M*A*S*H. This writing will give you a prespective where battlefield medicine has progressed to, since the version presented about the Korean War. The story stuck with me, and this morning, then I felt there is something more intriguing to this well written report... We love the warrior tales, across history. Washington crossing the Deleware, Stonewall Jackson on the Civil War battlefields, the men who assaulted the beaches of Normady and Iwo Jima. The "fighting man" is honored by the telling of their stories of victory and sacrifice. We also hear of the combat medics and corpsman, such as PFC Desmond Doss and HM3 Wayne Caron, but we don't often hear about those professionals behind the lines, who are every bit as dedicated, and every bit as essential. That's what this story highlights. In this story, titled "The Last Full Measure" by Col. Brett Wyrick, USAF, it is the doctors and nurses who fight a battle. Their skills are not honed in the skies above the Mojave Desert, or at Ft. Irwin or Ft Bragg, but in medical facilities. Add to the crucial work of such medical teams, that of the engineers, the supply/quartermaster corps, the mechanics, the vast array of the "team" that wears the uniforms of our nation. Add to that the deciated civil servants who handle the paperwork, and pull the shore power cables to a ship arriving from sea, then help rearm it, and at DFAS in Cleveland, and a thousand other offices around the country and the world. Next are the contractors, the legendary ones like Boeing, Grumman, General Motors, and so many others who rolled up their sleevs and turned their plants to manufacturer the "Arsenal of Democracy," as well as little ones like Blackhawk Industries making specialized equipment for guy who can't tell you where they got "that medal." The final layer of our effort to support the troops doing the dangerous and hard work, are the families and friends, writing letters, sending shaving cream and DVDs, and money to buy school supplies for Iraqi and Afghan children. We're all in it together, and it looks like we're doing well....

Friday, June 10, 2005

CH-47 Pulverizes Itself

CH-47 Chinook and "ground resonance", Watch and enjoy on

"What so Proudly we Hail" from One Who Lives it Daily

Fine words, from a man on the front lines, dealing with the nasty business of finding out who knows what....Lt Rusten Currie is your guide.

Chapomatic is Thinking Once More, but He's Stuck

Chapomatic is "typeless" on the issue of the enemy using our own systems against us. He made only a few remarks, and mostly quoted material that displays how the detainees in GTMO are having a field day with us. His comment is:
"I don’t know how to beat this. I don’t know what to do, besides try and push for some kind of coherent information warfare policy. And I don’t think we have as good a chance of winning until we figure it out."
His post, This Is What We Need To Beat To Win is a good read, before working through my comments below. I responded in his comments section, but it's a post I have had rattling about in the brain cage, just hadn't gotten out of the starting blocks with it (Chap: Thank you for the motivation to spend some time at the keyboard):
I find myself thinking the same thing. I believe it is because we have such a different world view from that of "the enemy," that we can no longer connect the dots. We are blessed with a literate society, and while I may strongly feel the NEA has done a fine job of taking important things out of the educational process, and replaced them with fluff and trash, we still have smart kids coming up in this world. Look at the "kids" (and I mean that with the highest respect) who are at the pointy end of the spear.. Iraq has one of the most educated populations in the ME, yet our "enemy" seems to be coming from many other countries, most of which where education is not a common thing, and therefore, the tenants of Islam are the only education put forth. Our non-Constitutionally based belief in a 'separation of church and state' limits us further in having a hope of understand those who are bred into a "poligion" (I claim this term, too, as I have never seen it anywhere else, and it came to me about a year ago, along with the concept of "religitics."). They cannot separate the two. Under these conditions, our "filters" thus effectively become "blinders." Regardless of how far I think the ACLU and others of that mindset are going off the deep end, it is in the very example of the Islamic State model presented to our front line soldiers, airmen and Marines daily that helps me appreciate the wisdom of our Founding Fathers more so. While in War College, I stumbled across "Our Own Worst Enemy" by William Lederer (co-author of "The Ugly American"). It was amazing to see the copyright date of 1968, and how he had postulated then that we had not studied the culture of the people in who we were now locked in a war. Our cluture had existed less than 200 years. The Vietnamese once fought 1000 years (no typo there) against the Chinese...and won. It may have been in antiquity from our view, but it was part of their culture, and very much an image of what we faced in SE Asia. Lederer's main thesis was we didn't have the understanding of the history, language, or the cultural issues, and therefore we were in over our heads. His speculation of the depth of the VC penetration may have seemed like hyperbole in 1968, but later, when "A Vietcong Memoir" by Troung Nhu Tang was published, the former Minister of Justice for the National Liberation Front clearly discussed this issue, in this case, as a mere matter of fact in his story. The VC had pretty well gotten all the way to the top of the ARVN. This book certainly vindicates any criticism of Lederer's. Somewhat with Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and now with OIF/OEF, I began to believe we as a nation have developed a better model of how warfare is a multi-faceted thing. The North Vietnamese handed us our butt in the media war, yet our military smashed them on the battlefield. We have gone to embeds and greater access for the media, yet the facet of culture is not one we seem to be able to address. Evidence: We see the ACLU getting not just the Bible itself out of the public arena, but even references to it, contrasted with something out of I can't figure where, that tells us we must handle the Koran "like a delicate piece of art." Another set of "filters/blinders" (maybe we can just call these "F/Bs" from here forward) is we hold concepts dear. The American Flag is the easiest example. We don't like seeing it burned, yet we have a developed sense of the abstract, and therefore we know the colored threads merely represent our ideals of freedom. I read a few days back that to a Muslim, the Koran was the equivalent of not the Bible, but of Jesus. For a nation with a strong heritage of Christianity, once more we go "tilt! tilt!" when we see something like this in print. More F/Bs: We look down in disgust at the proclaimed "Christian" (known by the bumper sticker) that cuts you off in traffic by driving like a maniac, so they can get to work before you. Rightfully so. The HBM (see my blog for recent post) loves to point out a rich Christian buying a large home, and belittles them for not giving it to the poor. Contrast: Muslims use the Koran to try and stop up the sewer system (yes, a far better set of living conditions that in the mountains of Afghanistan) and, once more, there is no similar references to the demonstrated hypocrisy. As I read the 2003 DoD rules for handling the Koran, I just shook my head and thought: "we're losing this one big time." What "they" and even some of the intelligent people I see daily, don't seem to get, is we have chosen to not exercise our rights under the Geneva Convention to summarily execute the non-uniformed combatants, and that being the height of our compassion, only to not realize that no concession, short of our demise is acceptable to the Islamic thought process. A few months back, you commented on a piece by a Muslim writer, saying they revered all the books of the Bible, and the "prophets." I'd invite you to read further, as if this was the case, why do they say "there is no God but Allah." The Old Testament certainly doesn't say that. If they consider Moses a prophet worthy of their respect, they'd have something like the Ten Commandments, and not an offshoot that declares murder is only murder when it's another Muslim that is killed. The list goes on. I'm stating this for the record, for the religion began by the forced conversion of the many people from the caravans of the desert, and, as we see today, continues to have a foundation of "join us or die." The best book I have seen to concisely show the differences in the clash of religions is "Unveiling Islam" by the Caner brothers, who are son's of a Turkish Muslim father. His father was a devout, practicing man, who passed his religion to his sons. They have become Christians, as has just about every one else in their families. I have seen Ergun in person and I will tell you he is a compassionate man, and knows his Koran and his Bible well. My point: We may be in it over our heads again, because I see the momentum shifting towards mercy for the killers. I often find it interesting how we also do the "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" thing when we discuss, in lowered voices, of the violence within our own prison system, saying "well, they deserve it," yet think a barking dog at close range is the moral equivalent of the Holocaust. I think we all can agree many of our inmates would think an entirely different set of thoughts if someone came to their cell to put panties on their heads... We have indeed come to a strange place. Maybe it's worth circulating William Lederer's book to a whole lot of people, who can grasp the parallels.
It's far beyond an "information policy" to work through this one.