Wednesday, November 30, 2005

They're All The Same To The Left

I don't know if the television ad ran in your area, but it did in mine. It was the emotional Thanksgiving ad that they put on the air decrying the U.S. "Occupation" of Iraq. They show pictures of families crying together, an empty chair at the table, and then there is a picture of troops in line for chow. It is during the last picture that the line "150,000 U.S. soldiers are stuck in Iraq" is flashed on the screen. Now here's the funny part. The troops in the picture, well, they're British! The Brits have lighter uniforms and shorts. Shorts are not issue for U.S. soldiers! tried to change it by darkening the picture and photoshopping the shorts into pants, but that didn't work too well, so MoveOn ended up pulling the ad.

Check your pictures to make sure you're showing the correct troops! DUH!
Who's that Soldier in the Uniform?

Liberal activists at have yanked an anti-war ad blasting the administration for leaving U.S. troops in Iraq over the holidays after the Pentagon pointed out it used British soldiers to represent Americans in Iraq. The picture appeared as the ad's narrator says, "A hundred and fifty thousand American men and women are stuck in Iraq."

But a Pentagon spokesman tells Cybercast News that American men and women wear darker fatigues with a different pattern and don't have shorts as part of their combat uniforms. After trying to fix the error by doctoring the original photo to darken the uniforms and put long pants on the soldier in shorts removed the ad from its Web site.
Info from Special Report with Brit Hume

Michelle Malkin has the pictures!
h/t: Bookworm Room

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Beyond Words, Beyond Understanding

The hackers are at it again! Grey Eagle's been attacked again. This time it is her polls. Why do people do this? Does it give them a thrill to ruin a tribute to a fallen friend? Do they feel more powerful for doing it?
I will hope and pray this will be the last time I have to post another message like this. But if not, know that I will not be defeated. I will not let your emails refering to me as a "baby killer", your calls for me to walk away from my duties, your questioning of my loyality to this country discourage me. I will not let your small minded attacks to my website deny me my voice, I have earned that right. And I will not continue to allow you to insult the visitors who come to this website to read or learn about life here. This is not a political website so please refrain from making it one. I will begin to delete your comments, I will backup this website so as to overcome your attacks, and I will await the completion of the new website.

Grey Eagle
"Air Assault"
They deny the First Amendment rights of a soldier who fights for their right to the same freedoms!

Thanks for the trackback &/or link:
Budgie-Red Hot Cuppa
Small Town Veteran
The Paladin

Cross-post at The Right Place

Monday, November 28, 2005

An Interesting Comparison

I was watching the news today (as I do everyday) and there was a lot of talk about Ramsey Clark going to Iraq to defend Saddam Hussein. It is interesting, though not surprising, that this former Attorney General is all for giving Saddam Hussein a "fair trial." As far as I can see, Hussein is guilty. Much of the proof is on film because Saddam is egotistical and narcissistic. The commands for torture and mass murder came from his own mouth. This is exactly the type of person Ramsey Clark likes to defend. Then it dawned on me that in many ways, Clark resembles a fictional character. See if you can figure out who it is.

1) He's a power seeker. (true of Clark)

2) He postures as a humanitarian. (true of Clark)

3) He is a Marxist intellectual with visions of a collectivist dictatorship. (Clark has strong ties to Workers World Party, a socialist group a la Marx.)

4) He is a cult leader on par with David Koresh, Jim Jones, or Sun Myung Moon. (Clark defended David Koresh, as well as Slobodan Milosevic, the PLO leaders who hijacked the Achille Lauro, among other terrorists and genocidal maniacs.)

5) He is not a brute, but wants to be the puppet master behind the brute. (Clark seeks power through defending the brutes.)

The fictional character is a main character in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead:
Ellsworth Toohey.

Blatant Begging!

I interrupt your blogging for some blatant begging!

If you are stuck, with no idea what to get someone for Christmas, please check out and click on the Perfect Holiday Gifts from Amazon link here or any of the Amazon links in my right sidebar. And just so you know, Amazon carries much more than books, DVDs, and CDs. There is a huge selection of electronics, toys, jewelry, apparel, accessories, and on and on! It doesn't cost you anything to use my link, but it could give me a small pittance for showing you the way there, so please, just consider it. Thank you!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging!

Oh, the Pain

UPDATE #2: (1:38 pm) There's a bit more of an explanation at TTLB, but apparently the bugs aren't all ironed out. Though, we may have reached our new levels...stay tuned.
Most of the changes are complete, but some are not, so bear with me for a few days as I complete the work. In particular, a significant change to Ecosystem ranking was implemented last night, so you may have seen significant shifts in particular blog's rankings.
UPDATE: Okay, so I panicked! How was I supposed to know? But this just went up at TTLB.
11/28/05 Early AM
Ecosystem maintenance is currently in progress. Do not be alarmed. Breathe deeply. Don't panic!
I am crushed! I am depressed! The Truth Laid Bear has changed the Ecosystem and I have gone from a Large Mammal to a Wiggly Worm! The horror....I think I'll go cry in my pillow.....

Oh, and my other home (The Right Place) has gone from a Large Mammal to a Crunchy, so sad.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

An In-The-Sandbox Commentary

CJ at A Soldier's Perspective has a letter from a friend/contributor's friend. (friend of a friend). Regardless, the letter is about what this particular soldier thinks and feels about our MSM and their reporting of the war, as well as the protestors of the war. It is another letter that needs to get out there. So please read and go visit CJ's site often.
May God bless those in harms way
And may he enlighten those objectors
Who never sacrificed their own personal time or comforts
For the freedoms they enjoy the most


What is war? Does anyone know or care anymore? What happened to the patriotism that so many had back in 9/11? When stores sold out of flags and memorabilia, and when shipments were back dated to meet supply and demand. Have we forgotten why we’re over here? What about the friends and family members we all have lost?

Many of us have held our fellow brothers in arms while they breathed their last, the sound of their cries echoing through our minds in a never ending nightmare. Comrades we had never met before, but through the fate of war, brought us close. These are the horrors of war. These are the terrors that we live with.

Times are hard. Mothers have lost sons and daughters. Children have lost parents. Sisters have lost brothers, brothers have lost sisters, and the plaguing question on top of everyone’s mind is, “Will it ever end?” That is a question not soon to be answered.

Many Marines go into battle, not with thoughts of losing our lives, but thoughts of fighting for our country, fighting for the freedoms that so many take for granted, hoping, that in some small way, we can be valiant and steadfast, following in the footsteps of our forefathers. Leathernecks, as a whole, can think of nothing better than to die SERVING our land in its time of need.

I find it heartbreaking that the true reasons we are over here have been lost. 9/11 has come and gone in many minds. What’s worse is the reality that the news has corrupted our good name and the amazing efforts we ALL have accomplished in the last three years of Iraq. So many people think that this war doesn’t concern them, but it does.

Every day our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Baghdad, and elsewhere are fighting, not just to liberate despairing countries, but to also take the fight to the terrorists. It is true, our objective is to spread freedom, but it is not solely motivated by concepts of an oppression free Middle East (we know that may never happen), but self defense.

Was this war really a mistake? Try telling that to the mothers that have lost their sons, as they sob into the flag that represents who they stood for. Tell it to the children, as they cry themselves to sleep, still thinking their dad is out there, waiting to come scoop them up in his arms. Tell that to everyone else that has lost a loved one.

People criticize our government, saying the President is responsible for the death of every troop overseas, protesting that this war is unjustified. This is a hefty burden for our leader to bear, especially knowing it is partially true. The deaths of our soldiers are on him. But to me, as a United States Marine, it is better to withstand the deaths of our warriors, than to let our civilians perish, and have our homeland dishonored. Yes, it is unfair that our service members must die, but they die in honor, assuring YOU that no future generation will ever have to suffer the pain of that fateful day again.

And the stakes of this war are higher than you think. It is NOT as simple as just pulling out of Iraq. Yes, this would bring home our men and women, it would preserve countless American service members’ lives, for a time. But what happens when our enemies come at us again? Will we get off as easy next time? 9/11 was tragic. But what if the next time the death toll is even higher? What if we suffer not 3000 casualties, but 30,000? We cannot afford to take that risk. The war must go on, but not on our turf. We will fight and kill every insurgent, terrorist, and extremist, until our people can live free of the fear of oppression. Remember who you are and what you stand for. Remember the United States of America, and the liberty for which she stands.

Written by:

Cpl. Odem, Richard J. (0861-Scout Observer)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Money Doesn't Buy Happiness

Five years ago Virginia and Mack Metcalf won the $65.4 million Powerball lottery. The couple was in the midst of a split when they won, but they worked the money issue out. Now, though, they are both dead. Mack had multiple run-ins with the law including a child support dispute and a drunk driving charge before he died in 2003 at the age of 45.

Then today, Virginia was found dead in her house by her son. She had apparently been there for days. Over the last five years she had also had her share of legal problems. A dispute with a tenant of her rental property and a mysterious death in her own home, which is still under investigation. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

I read this article and it just made me think about how I had wished we had more money just this morning. We aren't poor, but money is tight right now and with Christmas coming I wish we had more to spend on the kids. Not to mention I would have loved to have sent much bigger care packages to my soldiers. But you know, we have a lot of love in our house and I would rather scrimp and save and have belt tightening times than to live what apparently was a reclusive and sad life that ended far sooner than it should. It just brought the "Money doesn't by happiness" philosophy into perspective.


Friday, November 25, 2005

Grey Eagle Update

I just wanted to let everyone know that Grey Eagle of (A Female Soldier 2), loves all the comments and emails. Here is a bit of her latest post, but you should really go and read the whole thing. (I think I should put a "tissue warning" here!)
"...I want to report that someone was able to repair the program or script that does the tribute. While I will not confuse you with the details that I do not understand myself, it had something to do with a command line in the script that says something like “print this” and the hacker’s comments. So when I typed something in the program instead of printing it to the website it printed the other message instead. This is the extent of my understanding of what happened. However, they also told me that because of the way I set my little website up I am vulnerable to all sorts of attacks. So if you are one of the people who offered to help me build a better website, you will be hearing from me… lol. I will be adding to the tribute soon in the upcoming days to bring it to date.

Finally in closing, I wish to thank all of you who left comments and email, and invited me into your hearts and into your prayers. I am a simple soldier, a combat medic, who has had the honor of serving with the 101st and with the proud soldiers who make up Charlie Company. I am not a hero, there are way too many other men and women here who wake up every morning to face the dangers in the streets, in the cities, and in operations that await who deserve that title. But, for me each soldier I treat is a hero, I am honored to have been a part of their lives, even for a moment and to have cared for them and treated their wounds. Each soldier that lies before me seeking comfort is a piece of my heart, and together these pieces give me strength and give me pride and to face the holidays before me not with sadness but with spirit and dignity with the knowledge that I shared in their courage. Feel proud America, for your children, your husbands, your wives, your brothers and sisters, your fathers and mothers have shared their blood, their sweat, their tears on this soil side by side with the Iraqi people and have etched in the sand a voice greater than all who oppose freedom and the soldiers those who serve it. We Shall Prevail!"

Happy Thanksgiving
Grey Eagle
“Air Assault!”
She has a great site, so if you've never been there, you should really check it out. There is a lot to see and read and take in. She is doing such a great job over "in the sand box" but she says that she is not a hero...I don't believe that!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

One More Thing...

One more thing to be thankful for...

The Valour-IT total is in and official and it is INCREDIBLE!


That's right folks, almost $100,000.00! That will help a lot of soldiers and I would like to thank everyone who helped, donated, supported in anyway, this endeavor.

The largest THANK YOU of all goes to Fuzzybear Lioness! All the work getting team leaders and keeping track of all the donations and getting the information out there even though she was a sick kitty! So for all you did...THANK YOU!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

5 Things I Am Thankful For

Five things. That isn't very many, so it should be easy, but it isn't. It isn't enough! How about five things other than family, friends and, health? Okay, here goes...

1) Home. We live in an area that doesn't have the hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes, so we are able to spend Thanksgiving in our home with our family and be warm, safe, and dry.

2) The USA. We live in a free country. We may not agree with what other people say, but we are free to do that. This country is something that we take for granted with all our privileges and we need to be thankful that we were born here or that our family came here to live free.

3) Our Military (both currently serving and veterans!). I don't think enough people realize just how amazing these men and women are and all the sacrifices they have made so that we can live in this free country. I should really have put the military as #2 because without them we wouldn't be free!

4) My Senses. The ability to see my beautiful daughters, the blue sky, the sun. To hear the beautiful music that my oldest plays on her clarinet (she has two solos in the Christmas concert!), music of just about any kind, the voice of my husband saying "I love you". The ability to touch the soft fur of my dog, and Valour-IT has made me realize how thankful I am for my hands and how much I have taken them for granted. The ability to smell not only the roses in life, but the luscious smell of Thanksgiving dinner cooking (my husband is making the sausage stuffing tonight to save time and it smells delicious!). And, of course, the ability to taste that meal, the spicy coolness of pumpkin pie...yum!

5) The Internet. I know, it seems funny, but what if you didn't have it? This is where I can come and express myself with a bit of anonymity and I have the freedom to say more than I probably would in person. It has also given me the opportunity to learn that I am not alone in my beliefs or feelings and that they are beliefs held by people in other countries, too. That it is here in the last few months that I have learned more about passion for personal beliefs, compassion for others, individuality, and the true meaning of freedom of speech.

That is what I'm thankful for in addition to my family, my friends, and my health. What are you thankful for?

Daly Resigns!

Yes, the completely intolerant professor who wrote this email to a student, Rebecca Beach has resigned! (I say GOOD!)
I am asking my students to boycott your event. I am also going to ask others to boycott it. Your literature and signs in the entrance lobby look like fascist propaganda and is [sic] extremely offensive. Your main poster "Communism killed 100,000,000" is not only untrue, but ignores the fact that CAPITALISM has killed many more and the evidence for that can be seen in the daily news papers. The U.S. government can fly to dominate the people of Iraq in 12 hours, yet it took them five days to assist the people devastated by hurricane [sic] Katrina. Racism and profits were key to their priorities. Exxon, by the way, made $9 Billion in profits this last quarter--their highest proft [sic] margin ever. Thanks to the students of WCCC and other poor and working class people who are recruited to fight and die for EXXON and other corporations who [sic] earning megaprofits from their imperialist plunders. If you want to count the number of deaths based on political systems, you can begin with the more than a million children who have died in Iraq from U.S.-imposed sanctions and war. Or the million African American people who died from lack of access to healthcare in the US over the last 10 years.

I will continue to expose your right-wing, anti-people politics until groups like your [sic] won't dare show their face [sic] on a college campus. Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors and fight for just causes and for people's needs--such freedom fighters can be counted throughout American history and they certainly will be counted again.
Prof. John Daly
Now I didn't post about this event, but I read a lot of blogs that did. I cannot see how someone can say that "the professor" didn't impinge her free speech. Death threats and verbal threats would cause me to fear speaking out especially when it comes from a professor at the college I am attending. I think that Ms. Beach was right in bringing his email to the press. Professors are supposed to be defenders to free speech and free thought, but apparently it doesn't apply to those who are on the very edge of the far left wing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Tragedy That Never Should Have Been

If you've never read Laura's work over at Lost In Lima Ohio then you haven't seen all the hard work she has been doing to help put sex offenders and child abusers behind bars. This particular story will make you cry:
At only 2-and-a-half-years-old, Kelsey Briggs' tiny body had already endured more injuries than most people see in a lifetime. She had broken bones and bruises from head to toe. The DHS report states that Kelsey had a broken collarbone and faded bruises on her thighs and bottom. A doctor said those bruises were the result of abuse, likely from a beating with an object such as a hair brush. Kelsey's mom, Ray Dawn, said she didn't know how the bruises got there. At that time, DHS told a judge that Kelsey needed to be removed from the home and she was. In February the DA went to court to establish Kelsey as a deprived and abused child. The DA said Kelsey's mother and step-father either perpetrated the abuse or failed to protect Kelsey. Two months later, the judge, acting on a DHS recommendation, allowed Ray Dawn unsupervised visits. Given the history some people wonder why DHS thought that was a good idea. Department of Human Service official George Johnson says, Until you can prove a person has done abuse or neglect to a child, at whatever level; until you can prove that, the courts say you need to be certain of things and that there is enough evidence to prove otherwise. If that means returning a child to a childs home you have to do that. Kelsey's guardian, her paternal grandmother, insists the mothers visits only took place if Michael Porter was not around. Within a month, Kelsey was back in a DHS office. She now has more bruises and what's described as a sprained ankle. DHS staff noticed that Kelsey whimpered and would not walk or crawl. They tell her mom to take the little girl to the emergency room right away. Doctors eventually find broken bones and say the injuries are the result of abuse. DHS remove Kelsey from her grandparents home and continue to investigate. Because of Kelseys broken legs, within a month, the Lincoln County DA is back in court and files a petition saying, in part that Ray Dawn, "either perpetrated the acts of abuse or failed to protect Kelsey. However, a month later, in June, the court allows Ray Dawn to have physical custody of the little girl.
Because custody was given back to her mother, Kelsey had very little time left to live. And she died just hours before her father was to come home from serving in Iraq.
By the end of august DHS workers had noticed Kelsey was refusing to eat, had lost weight and was having night terrors. The last time we saw her she wasnt a normal little girl anymore. She had lost a lot of weight, her eyes looked glazed, she didnt have the light in her eyes she had, says her grandfather, Royce Briggs. She was sad. She was a sad little girl and before that, she never had any reason to be sad. It was like she wasn't even in there. But still, she remained with her mother and stepfather. The question is who messed up? The person who messed up did all these things. That is the person who messed up, period. says DHS, official George Johnson On October 11th at 1:30 p.m., a state worker visited Kelsey for the last time. That worker said everything looked fine, but two hours later, Kelsey was dead.
And a hero comes home, longing to see his little girl, only to find that he will never hold her again.
The little girl in the photo is Kelsey Briggs she was two, that hero beside her is her father, Lance. He was with the 1864th Motor Transportation Company from Nevada. While overseas he stayed at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. Lance was a truck driver. They went on convoys all over Iraq delivering supplies. He was injured in August in an accident while his truck was being pulled by another truck after it had mechanical failure. He spent 30 days on medical due to his back being injured.
Hours before he was to return home, his mother called him with the news that his only child had been murdered. After suffering nine months of horrifying abuse, her life was stolen from her by her step father.
The information was there, the proof was before their eyes and yet they sent her back to a certain death. This cannot be allowed to happen again. When abuse is documented over months, the judge should not be allowed to give custody back to the abusers.

This story is also posted at:
The Right Place
The Conservative UAW Guy
Stop the ACLU
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
The Mudville Gazette
as well as other sites listed on Lost in Lima, Ohio

Iraqi Welcome

If you have any doubt about how the Iraqis feel about us, you need to read Michael Yon's website. These pictures, in particular, are so awesome, please go and check them out because you won't be sorry!

"Why I Serve"

Air ForceI wanted to continue with the military theme because Thanksgiving is this week and we need to keep our soldiers at the top of our list of people and things to be thankful for! While looking for places to send messages to the troops, I came across this page on the US Air Force website. It is a place where soldiers can publish their reason or reasons why they serve. For some it was a call to duty, for others it was 9/11, or a family tradition, or yes, a way to get out of a small or poor town. I've posted several of these letters, but I encourage you to go to the US Air Force site and read more. They are inspiring.
"I serve because a member from every generation of my family since the Civil War has served. Why should my generation be any different? I serve because I had an excellent role model, my father, Senior Master Sgt. Gary Smith, who retired after 28 years of dedicated service. I serve because my brother, Senior Airman Mark Smith, dedicated six years of his life to serve. I serve with my husband, Tech. Sgt. James Woods, who has been deployed four times in six years for a total of 18 months, who sacrificed witnessing the birth of our two children for the greater good of the mission...our people, our country. I serve because it has been my life, it is all I is my past, my present and my children's future. I serve because I am proud of our "family business." I serve because it is a time-honored tradition. I serve because I love to serve."
Senior Airman Tiffany Woods
Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas
"A year and a half ago, I didn't know what I was going to do with my life. I just graduated with a bachelor's degree from the Philippines, and with the economic situation in my country, my future was vague, foggy and indefinite. Then, I was given a chance to live here in the United States. Being able to live and work in this country is a pride in itself for my fellow countrymen. Filipinos yearn to come here to live, yet I was lucky because I didn't ask for it, but destiny was on my side. When I came here, I had a lot of plans about my life. I wanted to be in a medical school, be a doctor and live my life. However, sometimes life's path is surprising, least to say unexpected. I was in a mall one day when an Air Force staff sergeant was approached by an old lady. She went to him and said, "Hi, I just want to say thank you for serving." She was crying. That scene stuck on me. I was amazed that there is this kind of job. From that moment on, I said to myself I want to be in the Air Force. I want a job that will make me proud of what I do."
Airman First Class Julius V. Delos Reyes
Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
"I serve because of a great role model, my father, Col. (Ret.) Gary R McCurdy. He spent 32 years in the Air Force, going from airman to colonel. I grew up in the military and am the fourth generation to serve in the Air Force. I serve so my wife can sleep safe at night; so those who came before me will be honored; so my country will remain free. As a pallbearer for the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, I see the families left behind, who thank me with tears in their eyes for the honors we render for their loved ones. That is why I serve."
Airman First Class Casey K. McCurdy
Bolling Air Force Base, D.C.
"The first day I graduated from basic training and went to downtown San Antonio, Texas, a man came up to me while I was wearing my "blues" and said, "You military folks are wrong. We have no business in Iraq. Why would you join military of bullies and idiots?" I turned around, unshaken, determined and calm (thanks to my training instructor) and said to that man, "Sir, I joined this military to defend my country against enemies foreign and domestic. I joined in because of 9/11. I joined in order to ensure you would have and will continue to have the RIGHT to say what you've just said." With that, I stood at attention and wished him a good day. He stood there as I walked off, dumbfounded and in a humble silence. THAT'S WHY I SERVE."
Senior Airman EliSamuel Quinones
Langley Air Force Base, Va.
"Coming from a small town with little economic interest I knew I had to escape. The Air Force was a great opportunity. After 12 years and five commands I can say with certainty that we write history on a daily basis. From Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan we have given the gift of choice through elections and freedoms that were only dreamed of before. That’s job satisfaction."
Staff Sgt. Kyle Brown
Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
These men and women are so amazing and for whichever reason they joined the Air Force, I am more grateful than I can say.

If you want to leave a Holiday message for the soldiers, you can have one published in Stars & Stripes or something of a bulk email at America Supports You. Don't forget that you can adopt soldiers through Soldiers' Angels or Adopt-A-Platoon among others.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Supporting Our Troops

UPDATE: 11/21/05: Okay, I am in a bit of a shock. A few people had told me to check out Michelle Malkin's blog and I just got around to it...I'm on her blog!!! I'm not worthy!! Sorry, but I feel like I've glimpsed the holy grail! A very heartfelt thank you to all who have helped lift the morale of Grey Eagle and her fellow soldiers (270 comments and counting) and thank you to whoever tipped Michelle off to the post because now everyone will know and they will think about all the other Milblogs they read and will be even more likely to leave encouraging comments. It's a good day! (Cross-posted at The Right Place)

As you know by my previous posts, I often write about our troops and asking for my readers to support them. Recently, I wrote a post over at The Right Place asking for help in supporting Grey Eagle and her blog A Female Soldier 2. She had been not only receiving horridly nasty comments, but someone had actually hacked into her computer making it impossible for her to update her tributes. Not only was I overwhelmed by the response, but also with the rapid growth of links and trackbacks! When I first wrote about it last night there were only a handful of comments, now there are over 150! The outpouring of support is so wonderful and I wanted to share Grey Hawk's response to it with all of you:
UPDATE: I was more than amazed when I logged on this morning and saw the comments and my email. Thank you all so much. I cannot tell you how much it all meant to me, and I confess to having more than one tear in my eye after reading them all. I am so deeply moved by the response.

Just to explain, as it seems to be a big question. When I add a new soldier to the tributes script/program it prints to the website "you have been hacked....Bush lied..." no matter what I type. So while it does not seem to have affected what I previously did, I cannot add anymore soldiers to my tribute. I can delete, but not add. But there have been many offers to fix or rebuild the website, which I hope to accept their offers and never have this happen again.

Thank ALL of you for your support. I have shared many of your stories and comments with the soldiers here already. It made our day. When you read all the comments and all the email, I know as I sit here this moment I am proud to be an American and honored to serve each and very one of you.

Grey Eagle
"Air Assault!"
I would personally like to thank each and every one of you from our wonderful blog community who stepped up and left comments, emails, anti-hacker ideas, and suggestions. Just like Grey Eagle, I had tears in my eyes reading those comments! Thank you all so much!

Original posts at The Right Place here and here

Is He Dead?

In a raid yesterday in Mosul, several al Qaeda were killed or opted to be human explosives. What makes this interesting is there are forensic tests going on in order to identify the members. Could one of them be al Zarqawi? That is the question!

In an interesting aside, 57 members of al Zarqawi family have published a letter in the three major newspapers in Jordan disowning Abu Musab al Zarqawi! This is a very big deal because his family has been known to hide him and support him in the past. Now that the purse strings are cut off, not to mention the disgrace of being disowned, did al Zarqawi take the suicide bomb route? Time will tell!

Info from Fox News: Insurgent Ambush Kills 24; Two U.S. Troops Among Dead
and Family Severs Ties to Al-Zarqawi

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Calling all voters!

We (as in Mr. Right, Stephen , T.M., and I) are trying to make it as one of the Spades in Aaron's Deck O' Bloggers! Please vote for The Right Place

Please follow the link to Aaron's and vote for us...please, please, please!

Here's Mr. Right's begging plea:
Aaron's cc: is voting for SPADES in the Deck o' Bloggers. Someone, who shall remain nameless, promised to nominate me - they didn't! Okay, write me in - if not I want a Diamond! I want to be on a card!!! {crying} (Voting is done in the poll section of the lefthand margin.)
There's always the Weblog Awards! The Right Place is official for the 501-1000 in the TTLB ecosystem awards! (hint, hint, wink, wink!)

No Surprise Here

Why am I not surprised that these first three voted for withdrawal from Iraq immediately?
The House on Friday overwhelmingly rejected calls for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq, a vote engineered by Republicans that was intended to fail. Democrats derided the vote as a political stunt...

Three Democrats, Jose Serrano of New York, Robert Wexler of Florida and *Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, voted for withdrawl. Six voted present: Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, Jerrold Nadler of New York, Maurice Hinchey of New York, Michael Capuano of Massachusetts, Major Owens of New York and William Lacy Clay of Missouri.
And the rest apparently, just couldn't make up their minds!

*Has Cynthia McKinney ever done anything that was remotely coherent? Last time I saw her, she was on a stage with Cindy Sheehan spouting lies about the war.

Source: Fox News

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Soldiers

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Sgt. Hook as been informed that the soldier who wrote this letter has been given permission to disclose his identity as well as permission to have his letter forwarded to anyone.
After checking with his commander regarding OPSEC, you’ll be glad to know that SGT Walter J. Rausch has authorized anyone to send his letter to whomever they see fit in helping to get his word out.
This is something of a follow-up to my post at The Right Place. That post is about the lies and propaganda coming out of the mouths of our own political leaders. I finished the piece with a quote from a Marine about what's really going on. It is this respect that I follow-up...with what another soldier has to say. This is a letter that Budgie at Red Hot Cuppa Politics has posted on her blog which she found on Sgt Hook's blog. It is a letter that was given to him specifically to post so that people will know why our soldiers are in Iraq and what they are fighting and dying for.

Be my voice. I want this message heard. It is mine and my platoon’s to the country. A man I know lost his legs the other night. He is in another company in our batallion. I can no longer be silent after watching the sacrifices made by Iraqis and Americans everyday.Send it to a congressman if you have to. Send it to FOX news if you have to. Let this message be heard please…

My fellow Americans, I have a task for those with the courage and fortitude to take it. I have a message that needs not fall on deaf ears. A vision the blind need to see. I am not a political man nor one with great wisdom. I am just a soldier who finds himself helping rebuild a country that he helped liberate a couple years ago.
I have watched on television how the American public questions why their mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters are fighting and dying in a country 9000 miles away from their own soil. Take the word of a soldier, for that is all I am, that our cause is a noble one. The reason we are here is one worth fighting for. A cause that has been the most costly and sought after cause in our small span of existence on our little planet. Bought in blood and paid for by those brave enough to give the ultimate sacrifice to obtain it. A right that is given to every man, woman, and child I believe by God. I am talking of freedom.

Freedom. One word but yet countless words could never capture it’s true meaning or power. “For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know.” I read that once and it couldn’t be more true. It’s not the average American’s fault that he or she is “blind and deaf” to the taste of freedom. Most American’s are born into their God given right so it is all they ever know. I was once one of them. I would even dare to say that it isn’t surprising that they take for granted what they have had all their life. My experiences in the military however opened my eyes to the truth.

Ironically you will find the biggest outcries of opposition to our cause from those who have had no military experience and haven’t had to fight for freedom. I challenge all of those who are daring enough to question such a noble cause to come here for just a month and see it first hand. I have a feeling that many voices would be silenced.

I watched Cindy Sheehan sit on the President’s lawn and say that America isn’t worth dying for. Later she corrected herself and said Iraq isn’t worth dying for. She badmouthed all that her son had fought and died for. I bet he is rolling over in his grave.

Ladies and gentleman I ask you this. What if you lived in a country that wasn’t free? What if someone told you when you could have heat, electricity, and water? What if you had no sewage systems so human waste flowed into the streets? What if someone would kill you for bad-mouthing your government? What if you weren’t allowed to watch TV, connect to the internet, or have cell phones unless under extreme censorship? What if you couldn’t put shoes on your child’s feet?

You need not to have a great understanding of the world but rather common sense to realize that it is our duty as HUMAN BEINGS to free the oppressed. If you lived that way would you not want someone to help you????

The Iraqi’s pour into the streets to wave at us and when we liberated the cities during the war they gathered in the thousands to cheer, hug and kiss us. It was what the soldier’s in WW2 experienced, yet no one questioned their cause!! Saddam was no better than Hitler! He tortured and killed thousands of innocent people. We are heroes over here, yet American’s badmouth our President for having us here.

Every police station here has a dozen or more memorials for officers that were murdered trying to ensure that their people live free. These are husbands, fathers, and sons killed every day. What if it were your country? What would your choice be? Everything we fight for is worth the blood that may be shed. The media never reports the true HEROISM I witness everyday in the Iraqi’s. Yes there are bad one’s here, but I assure you they are a minuscule percent. Yet they are a number big enough to cause worry in this country’s future.

I have watched brave souls give their all and lose thier lives and limbs for this cause. I will no longer stand silent and let the “deaf and blind” be the only voice shouting. Stonewall Jackson once said, “All that I have, all that I am is at the service of the country.” For these brave souls who gave the ultimate sacrifice, including your son Cindy Sheehan, I will shout till I can no longer. These men and women are heroes. Their spirit lives on in their military and they will never be forgotten. They did not die in vain but rather for a cause that is larger than all of us.

My fellow countrymen and women, we are not overseas for our country alone but also another. We are here to spread democracy and freedom to those who KNOW the true taste of it because they fight for it everyday. You can see the desire in their eyes and I am honored to fight alongside them as an Infantryman in the 101st Airborne.

Freedom is not free, but yet it is everyone’s right to have. Ironic isn’t it? That is why we are here. Though you will always have the skeptics, I know that most of our military will agree with this message. Please, at the request of this soldier spread this message to all you know. We are in Operation Iraqi Freedom and that is our goal. It is a cause that I and thousands of others stand ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice for because, Cindy Sheehan, freedom is worth dying for, no matter what country it is! And after the world is free only then can we hope to have peace.

SGT Walter J. Rausch and 1st Platoon
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
Iraq is important. The people there have the right to be free and to form their own destiny and they are asking for our help. We cannot let them down!

Couldn't Pass It Up

I needed a break from all the depressing garbage coming out of Washington, so I've been taking some silly quizzes. I saw the title of this one and had to take it...I was a teen in the 80's!

Ducky: You're like Ducky in Pretty in Pink played
by Jon Cryer. You are an outcast. You are or
have been in love with your best friend who
doesn't even know it. You don't care what
anyone thinks of you. You use humor to alienate
people you don't like. You're the typical 80's
funny and dorky best friend.

What 80's teen movie Charecter are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I have to say that I liked Ducky a lot better than the rich, nasty snobs! And the "don't care what people think of you", "humor to alienate people you don't like", and "dorky best friend" all fit, but not the "outcast" and "in love with your best friend."

Middle Earth

Seems that Mike of Mike's America took this test instead. Hmmm, Entish. I don't look very good, do I?!


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Harry Potter

In honor of Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire opening tomorrow, here is a quiz! I don't think I could have gotten a better combination!

You scored as Albus Dumbledore. Strong and powerful you admirably defend your world and your charges against those who would seek to harm them. However sometimes you can fail to do what you must because you care too much to cause suffering.

Harry Potter


Remus Lupin


Albus Dumbledore


Hermione Granger


Ron Weasley


Severus Snape


Ginny Weasley


Sirius Black


Lord Voldemort


Draco Malfoy


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with


As a follow-up to my ACLU post on the First Amendment, I would like to post Neil Cavuto's "Common Sense" segment from his show yesterday (11/16/05). I have always enjoyed this segment of his show and it was striking to hear his view on our fear to show our Christmas spirit and express our First Amendment rights.
Freedom From Religion?

This whole "Merry Christmas" debate isn't about Christmas. And it isn't about being merry.

It is about our past and how we're forgetting it.

It's about religion and how we're burying it.

And it's about life and how we're trivializing it.

We're eager to talk up "gifts," afraid to talk about "giving."

We live in a society so afraid of offending others that we only end up offending ourselves. Whether it's trying to take "God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance or our "trust" in a higher being out of our currency.

A tiny sliver of Americans are free not to like religion, but they cannot dictate life for the overwhelming majority who do. Yet they have and they do.

They make us afraid to say "God," even more afraid to say "Christmas."

They treat prayer as if it's a dirty word. But will defend to the death their right to utter all dirty words.

And so it goes.

The tiny minority of priests who are bad is front-page news. The overwhelming majority who are not are nowhere in the news.

We seek out hypocrisy in the religious and find it. We see it more everyday in our secular press and ignore it.

No, God is not dead. We just live in a society that increasingly wants us to think, he never existed in the first place.

Some say it's about "not" ramming religion down our throats. Pity, it's left us instead with emptiness and indifference in our lives.

All I know is a society afraid to even talk of prayer, is a society that doesn't have a prayer.
He really makes us think about what will happen if we don't stand up against "political correctness" and those that would take our free expression of religion away from us, we really "don't have a prayer."

Neil Cavuto "Common Sense"

ACLU's War on National Security

Crossposted From Stop the ACLU
In conjunction with the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the ACLU has lobbied hard against Arab-profiling at airports for years. "Profiles are notoriously under-inclusive," says ACLU legislative counsel Gregory Nojeim. "Who knows who the next terrorist will appear as? It could be a grandmother. It could be a student. We just don't know."Source
The airline industry's fear of such lawsuits is based on solid historical precedent. In 1993, for instance, the ACLU joined forces with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) to sue Pan American World Airways for having detained a man of Iranian descent during the first Persian Gulf War.
So, the ACLU says political correctness trumps common sense. They block that route of securing ourselves from being blown up. What to do? Hmmm.. I've got it! Lets do random searches!
ACLU Files Suit Over Random Subway Searches.The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the New York chapter of the ACLU, has announced that they intend on filing a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan today. The suit claims that the random bag searches before boarding the subway system is unconstitutional.
City lawyers have noted that an al-Qaida training manual advising terrorists to avoid police checkpoints gives the city some justification for its random searches of bags entering the subway system.

Ok, so the ACLU says no profiled searches, and no random searches. What about searches across the board? Nope. Raymond James Stadium tried it, and the ACLU sued. So, where does that leave us with searches? I think we can conclude that the ACLU are against all searches. Is this because they stand by the principle of the fourth amendment? The irony and hypocrisy here is that, the NYCLU HQ has a sign warning visitors that all bags are subject to search. Apparantly their war against searches is not based on principle.

But searches are not the only that brings criticism on the ACLU on the topic of National Security.

The ACLU and CAIR have actually taken up quite a number of cases together. In 2003, the Ohio chapter of the ACLU awarded its yearly "Liberty Flame Award" to the Ohio chapter of CAIR "for contributions to
the advancement and protection of civil liberties." This same Ohio chapter, in August of this year, refused contributions from the United Way, as to not complete a required counterterrorism compliance form.

But it isn't isolated to one rouge chapter.
In October of 2004, the ACLU turned down $1.15 million in funding from two of it's most generous and loyal contributors, the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, saying new anti-terrorism restrictions demanded by the institutions make it unable to accept their funds.

"The Ford Foundation now bars recipients of its funds from engaging in any activity that "promotes violence, terrorism, bigotry, or the destruction of any state."

The Rockefeller Foundation's provisions state that recipients of its funds may not "directly or indirectly engage in, promote, or support other organizations or individuals who engage in or promote terrorist activity.
What is this all about?
Although its website proclaims that it does not receive "any government funding," it does get money from a program that allows federal employees to make charitable contributions through payroll deductions. Last year it got $470,000 from the program. (The ACLU's 2002 annual budget, the most recent available, was $102 million.)

Now it had a choice: give up the money, or sign a promise certifying that the ACLU "does not knowingly employ individuals or contribute funds to organizations found on" government watch lists of suspected supporters of terrorism.

Trouble was, the ACLU had strongly opposed the lists, saying they were often inaccurate and violated the constitutional rights of some people.

But it really hated the idea of giving up the money.Source
So what did they do? Well, at first they decided they would try to trick the government. They decided to keep the money, AND keep hiring anyone they pleased, by what Nadine Strossen called a "clever interpretation." Their solution was that if they remained ignorant of who was on the list, then they couldn't "knowingly" hire anyone on the list. Anthony D. Romero, the ACLU's executive director, tells the New York Times: "I've printed [the lists] out. I've never consulted them."

To make a long story short, when The New York Times outted them, they caved in. But they didn't cave in to the government, they just decided to forgoe the money, so they could still ignorantly hire people on the government watchlist. Isn't that nice?

However, this isn't the end. The American Civil Liberties Union and 12 other national non-profit organizations successfully challenged Office of Personnel Management's Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) requirements that all participating charities check their employees and expenditures against several government watch lists for "terrorist activities" and that organizations certify that they do not contribute funds to organizations on those lists. This is something the ACLU finds worthy of celebrating. In my opinion this is reason to be suspicious of what the ACLU does with its funds.

It isn't a far fetched idea to wonder if the ACLU uses its funds to support terrorism. The ACLU's history is tainted in this arena.
In 1985 Samuel L. Morrison, an employee of the Naval Intelligence Support Command was convicted and sentenced for stealing classified spy satellite photographs from his office, cutting off the "secret" designation and selling them to a foreign publication. The ACLU claimed that Morrison had the right to steal and sell these classified documents and the under the First Amendment.
Positions like these might be easier to understand if we look at ACLU Policy #117. They title this policy "Controlling the Intelligence Agencies". "

Limit the CIA, under the new name of the Foreign Intelligence Agency, to collecting and evaluating foreign intelligence information. Abolish all covert operations. Limit the FBI to criminal investigations by eliminating all COINTEL-PRO-type activity and all foreign and domestic intelligence investigations of groups or individuals unrelated to a specific criminal offense.

Prohibit entirely wiretaps, tapping of telecommunications and burglaries. Restrict mail openings, mail covers, inspection of bank records, and inspection of telephone records…."
The ACLU Defends the P.L.O.
"I'm afraid even the good guys on civil liberties are going to be against us on this one." Those are the words of ACLU Executive director Ira Glasser on the ACLU's decision to represent an agent of Yassir Araftat's Palestine Liberation Organization.
I wonder if his definition of "good guys" meant American citizens who care about their country and are not willing to grant sworn terrorists complete freedom within our borders. If so, he is absolutely correct. We are against that one.
"Arafat's group of ruthless murderers had set up an "information office" in Washington D.C, only a few blocks from the White House.
The ACLU Defends "Mad Dog" of Libya, Muammar Qaddafi.
"In 1985, the ACLU learned of an alleged plan by the CIA to engineer Qaddafi's overthrow. Outraged, they put together a "strenuous" public protest against this proposed action.

In a letter fillled with self-righteous indignation, Morton Halperin, Director of the ACLU Washington office, expressed his opinion of that plan to Sen. David Durenberger, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, with copies to everyone imaginable.

And to make sure no one was left out, the ACLU also issued a press release trumpeting it's opposition to any attempt to oust Qaddafi."
The ACLU has also shown itself a willing tool of the terrorists, waging a massive anti-anti-terrorism legal campaign. This pillar of the legal Left denounced the government's requirement that men aged 16-25 holding "temporary visas" from nations with known ties to terrorism register with the INS; represented Sami al-Arian, the North American fundraiser and co-founder of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (filing a brief upholding his inalienable right to fresh briefs!); rallied on behalf of convicted al-Qaeda benefactor Maher Mofeid Hawash; urged local communities not to cooperate with federal anti-terror investigations; and opposed the FBI's monitoring Islamist mosques. As David Horowitz notes in his book Unholy Alliance, radical Center for Constitutional Rights lawyer Ron Kuby notes the "passionate…identification" most lawyers feel with their clients, such as that of convicted terror enabler Lynne Stewart for World Trade Center bomber Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. Given her aid for international Islamic terrorism, the government is right to keep a watchful eye on those who perpetually side with the enemy. Front Page Magazine
They have fought hard for the release of Abu Ghraib images depicting sickening torture of our enemies, further inflaming the propaganda war on the side of the enemy. The ACLU also submitted a 37-page report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee describing specific U.S. breaches of the political and civil rights covenant.

The report included sections on "Excessive Government Secrecy"; "Racial Profiling of the U.S. Arab, South Asian, and Muslim Communities"; "Criminalization of Political Protest"; "Increased Surveillance Powers"; and "Random Searches."

Recently the ACLU have decided to represent two detainees who claim the U.S. Military threw them into lions dens. Somebody is lion alright. They have also accused the U.S. military of outright murdering 21 detainees. They have even advised the majority of the prisoners at Gitmo that they did not have to answer questions from military interrogators.

Actions like these have enraged groups like The American Legion, and Christians for Reviving American Values, who are asking Congress to investigate the ACLU. The American Legion is already mobilizing its members to fight the ACLU over issues such as the Boyscouts. The sympathy for the enemy also has them fired up. To many of these groups, and to many Americans, the perception is that The ACLU cares more about terrorists than it does about America.

As you can see, balancing national security interests with a respect for civil liberties is not the goal of the ACLU. Its goal is the absolute pursuit of civil liberties, without regard for its consequences. Gone are the the carefully worded policies that guided Union thinking during World War II. Gone, too is any kind of talk about the enemies of the United States. It is hard to imagine a person vile enought, or a crisis serious enough, to shake the ACLU from its absolutist position during wartime. The tragedy is it is not just the nation's security that stands to lose as a result, it is the cause of liberty itself.

This was a production of Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to join us, please email Jay at or Gribbit at You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll. Over 115 blogs already onboard.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Twisted Thinking

*The ACLU is on a crusade (and yes, I used that word deliberately) to banish religion as completely as they can from our everyday lives. No religious symbols on or around government buildings or public schools. No references to religion in those places either. And why is this? Because they believe that the First Amendment specifically says that there should not be anything religious within the government. Yes, that dreaded "separation of church and state" club that they use to beat over the heads of US citizens or any city, business, or school that would dare to show religious symbols or icons in any public way.

Here is the First Amendment:
Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression Ratified 12/15/1791.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Now, I'm not a historian or a constitutional law professor, but I'm pretty sure that I understand history and the way I read this is that Congress cannot set up a religion and then force citizens, by law, to worship it. This goes back to Henry VIII. When he did not get his annullment he broke with the Pope, created the (Protestant) National Church of England, and forced that religion on the citizenry, thereby banning Catholicism from England. Since Catholicism was banned, Henry VIII and the nobles decided they wanted the land that the monastaries were on, so they took those as well.

Now, back to the present. I certainly don't remember Congress creating and enforcing a religion on me. Do you? Yes, there is the phrase "In God We Trust" on our money (since 1864), but it is not a specified Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish, Lutheran, Baptist, Hindu, Buddist, or any other organized religion's god.

The ACLU would have you believe that the use of the word "God", in any respect, in any public building, is wrong and unconstitutional. Okay, then, shall we destroy all the historical buildings across the country because the cornerstone, mantel, lintel, facade, stain glass window, statue, floor medallion, city seal, et al show the word "God" or any other religious figure? Shall we then change the names of cities such as Los Cruces (the crosses), Corpus Cristi (body of Christ), Bethlehem, Sacrmento (sacrament), Los Angeles (the Angels), etc. because they refer to a religious belief? When will the ACLU stop?

Another thing. Do we not live in a country where majority rules? This is a democracy, right? Why is it that when 91% of the population of the United States believes in a god, we must bow to the wishes of the other 9%? I personally know professed atheists who could care less if "In God We Trust" is on money, or anywhere for that matter. If the above precepts are true, then why are we, as a society, allowing the ACLU and people like Michael Newdow to dictate if, how, or where historical symbols and icons can be shown and whether or not we can say "God" in public? We must ban together and fight back!

Acknowldgements: * Painting called "Knowledge" in the North Hall of the Library of Congress from the website Scripture in Washington
Human Events Online
US Department of the Treasury
Renaissance Faire
US Constitution

This was a production of Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to join us, please email Jay at or Gribbit at You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll. Over 115 blogs already onboard.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Very Interesting Article-A Must Read

Mark over at Boots in Baghdad posted an article by Melvin Laird, Nixon's Secretary of Defense during Vietnam. The article is called Iraq: Learning the Lessons of Vietnam. Mr. Laird makes a point that yes, there are similarities, but not in the way the media and protestors would have you believe. It is a long article but well worth the read. The entire article can be found at Foreign Affairs.

When Mr. Laird became Secretary of Defense, he found that there was a lot the public didn't know about the war in Vietnam (secret documents that did not remain secret) and that Nixon did not have a plan to get out of Vietnam as he had stated during his campaign for President in 1968. As for now, he reprimands those who should know better about comparing Iraq to Vietnam.
Some who should know better have made our current intervention in Iraq the most recent in a string of bogeymen peeking out from under the bed, spawned by the nightmares of Vietnam that still haunt us. The ranks of the misinformed include seasoned politicians, reporters, and even veterans who earned their stripes in Vietnam but who have since used that war as their bully pulpit to mold an isolationist American foreign policy. This camp of doomsayers includes Senator Edward Kennedy, who has called Iraq "George Bush's Vietnam." Those who wallow in such Vietnam angst would have us be not only reticent to help the rest of the world, but ashamed of our ability to do so and doubtful of the value of spreading democracy and of the superiority of freedom itself. They join their voices with those who claim that the current war is "all about oil," as though the loss of that oil were not enough of a global security threat to merit any U.S. military intervention and especially not "another Vietnam."

The Vietnam War that I saw, first from my seat in Congress and then as secretary of defense, cannot be wrapped in a tidy package and tagged "bad idea." It was far more complex than that: a mixture of good and evil from which there are many valuable lessons to be learned. Yet the only lesson that seems to have endured is the one that begins and ends with "Don't go there." The war in Iraq is not "another Vietnam." But it could become one if we continue to use Vietnam as a sound bite while ignoring its true lessons.

I acknowledge and respect the raw emotions of those who fought in Vietnam, those who lost loved ones, and those who protested, and I also respect the sacrifice of those who died following orders of people such as myself, half a world away. Those raw emotions are once again being felt as our young men and women die in Iraq and Afghanistan. I cannot speak for the dead or the angry. My voice is that of a policymaker, one who once decided which causes were worth fighting for, how long the fight should last, and when it was time to go home. The president, as our commander-in-chief, has the overall responsibility for making these life-or-death decisions, in consultation with Congress. The secretary of defense must be supportive of those decisions, or else he must leave.
He states that 30 years of revisionist history has ignored the fact that we were helping the people in Vietnam hold their own and had Congress not pulled funding in 1975, South Vietnam would be a different place today. But by pulling funding we fundamentally abandoned the South Vietnam to the Soviet money backed North Vietnam. This gave the United States a reputation of running out on allies.
Vietnam gave the United States the reputation for not supporting its allies. The shame of Vietnam is not that we were there in the first place, but that we betrayed our ally in the end. It was Congress that turned its back on the promises of the Paris accord. The president, the secretary of state, and the secretary of defense must share the blame. In the end, they did not stand up for the commitments our nation had made to South Vietnam. Any president or cabinet officer who is turned down by Congress when he asks for funding for a matter of national security or defense simply has not tried hard enough. There is no excuse for that failure. In my four years at the Pentagon, when public support for the Vietnam War was at its nadir, Congress never turned down any requests for the war effort or Defense Department programs. These were tense moments, but I got the votes and the appropriations. A defense secretary's relationship with Congress is second only to his relationship with the men and women in uniform. Both must be able to trust him, and both must know that he respects them. If not, Congress will not fund, and the soldiers, sailors, and air personnel will not follow.
Mr. Laird talks about how Vietnam became "Americanized" when it never should have been and we need to realize this and keep this part of the war on terror "Iraqized." This is about making Iraq an independent democracy and not "a puppet government of the United States" as South Vietnam was touted to be and actually was in many ways. Mr. Laird points out that we do need to have a plan of withdrawing troops from Iraq, but we also need to show our confidence in the Iraqi forces being able to handle their country's safety on their own. This does not mean we need to stay until they are 100% ready militarily, but strong enough that they can handle the insurgents without us. We must look at the big picture.
Even with the tide of public opinion running against the war, withdrawal was not an easy sell inside the Nixon administration. Our first round of withdrawals was announced after a conference between Nixon and South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu on Midway Island in June 1969. I had already softened the blow for Thieu by visiting him in Saigon in March, at which point I told him the spigot was being turned off. He wanted more U.S. soldiers, as did almost everyone in the U.S. chain of command, from the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on down. For each round of troop withdrawals from Vietnam, the Joint Chiefs suggested a miserly number based on what they thought they still needed to win the war. I bumped those numbers up, always in counsel with General Creighton Abrams, then the commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam. Even Nixon, who had promised to end the war, accepted each troop-withdrawal request from me grudgingly. It took four years to bring home half a million troops. At times, it seemed my only ally was General Abrams. He understood what the others did not: that the American people's patience for the war had worn thin.

Bush is not laboring under similar handicaps in his military. His commanders share his goal of letting Iraq take care of itself as soon as its fledgling democracy is ready. And for the moment, there is still patience at home for a commonsensical, phased drawdown. In fact, the voices expressing the most patience about a sensible withdrawal and the most support for the progress of Iraqi soldiers are coming from within the U.S. military. These people are also the most eager to see the mission succeed and the most willing to see it through to the end. It is they who are at high risk and who are the ones being asked to serve not one but multiple combat tours. They are dedicated and committed to a mission that ranges from the toughest combat to the most elementary chores of nation building. We should listen to them, and trust them.
The next sections of the article should be read in their entirety and I will not quote them all here (too long), but the topics he covers are The Pretext for War, Marketing the Mission, Building a Legitimate Government, this is where he speaks of the puppet government and that Iraq is not a puppet government.

Mr. Laird does tackle the topic of the insurgents and gives some hope that they can, indeed, be defeated.
Insurgents were and are the enemy in both wars, and insurgencies fail without outside funding. In Vietnam, the insurgents were heavily funded and well equipped by the Soviet Union. They followed a powerful and charismatic leader, Ho Chi Minh, who nurtured their passionate nationalist goals. In Iraq, the insurgency is fragmented, with no identifiable central leadership and no unifying theology, strategy, or vision other than to get the United States out of the region. If that goal were accomplished now, they would turn on each other, as they already have done in numerous skirmishes. Although they do rely on outside funding, their benefactors are fickle and without deep pockets.
There are traps, though, that we must keep in mind and deal with, such as prisoner abuse. Mr. Laird states that soldiers are more likely to abide "by the rules" if their commanders and leaders are strong. The commanders are stronger with their troops if they have the incentive of being held accountable when their troops don't follow expected protocol. The US also needs to put more money into military defense whether or not we are at war. The "robbing Peter to pay Paul" mentality about military spending of the past few decades have cost in not only well-trained soldiers, but also in well-equipped soldiers.
Yet, because of pandering to the butter-not-guns crowd, we still do not spend enough of our total budget on national defense. The annual U.S. GDP is in excess of $11.5 trillion. The percentage of GDP going to the Defense Department amounts to 3.74 percent. In 1953, during the Korean War, it was 14 percent. In 1968, during the Vietnam War, it was nearly 10 percent -- an amount that sapped domestic programs and ended up demoralizing President Johnson because he could not maintain his Great Society social programs. Now our spending priorities have shifted to social programs, with 6.8 percent of GDP, for example, going to Social Security and Medicare. That is more than twice what it was during the Vietnam War.
Lastly, Mr. Laird covers the necessity of the Bush administration to shore up relations with our allies. This include NATO and the UN despite the problems these alliances. He outlines some of the problems we could have if we do not mend relations with these allies.
Three decades later, we have fallen into a pattern of neglecting our treaty alliances, such as NATO, and endangering the aid we can give our allies by throwing our resources into fights that our allies refuse to join. Vietnam was just such a fight, and Iraq is, too. If our treaty alliances were adequately tended to and shored up -- and here I include the UN -- we would not have so much trouble persuading others to join us when our cause is just. Still, as the only superpower, there will be times when we must go it alone.

President Bush does not have the luxury of waiting for the international community to validate his policies in Iraq. But we do have the lessons of Vietnam. In Vietnam, the voices of the "cut-and-run" crowd ultimately prevailed, and our allies were betrayed after all of our work to set them on their feet. Those same voices would now have us cut and run from Iraq, assuring the failure of the fledgling democracy there and damning the rest of the Islamic world to chaos fomented by extremists. Those who look only at the rosy side of what defeat did to help South Vietnam get to where it is today see a growing economy there and a warming of relations with the West. They forget the immediate costs of the United States' betrayal. Two million refugees were driven out of the country, 65,000 more were executed, and 250,000 were sent to "reeducation camps." Given the nature of the insurgents in Iraq and the catastrophic goals of militant Islam, we can expect no better there.
Mr. Laird concludes with a warning that we must not allow the downfalls of Vietnam to become the downfalls in Iraq and he leaves it with this warning.
As one who orchestrated the end of our military role in Vietnam and then saw what had been a workable plan fall apart, I agree that we cannot allow "another Vietnam." For if we fail now, a new standard will have been set. The lessons of Vietnam will be forgotten, and our next global mission will be saddled with the fear of its becoming "another Iraq."
I am sure that I have not done justice to this article and I think it is important for us to get an "inside" view of Vietnam, the pitfalls there, and how we can avoid them in Iraq. So, please read the article and let me know what you think.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Case of Hypocrisy

December 16, 1998:

Bill Clinton is President and he is in the midst of the Monica Lewinski scandal. Whether it is a legitimate necessity or just a way to take the public eye off his infidelity, Clinton decides that the US needs to take on Saddam Hussein.

Intelligence has shown that despite UN sanctions, Saddam has continued in his quest for weapons of mass destruction. This is not in dispute. The Democrats and the Republicans are all aware of the threat that Saddam poses to not only the people in his own country, but to surrounding countries as well.

Nancy Pelosi, despite some reluctance, backs President Clinton’s choice to initiate a military strike against Iraq. Here is her statement:
As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.

The responsibility of the United States in this conflict is to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, to minimize the danger to our troops and to diminish the suffering of the Iraqi people. The citizens of Iraq have suffered the most for Saddam Hussein's activities; sadly, those same citizens now stand to suffer more. I have supported efforts to ease the humanitarian situation in Iraq and my thoughts and prayers are with the innocent Iraqi civilians, as well as with the families of U.S. troops participating in the current action.

I believe in negotiated solutions to international conflict. This is, unfortunately, not going to be the case in this situation where Saddam Hussein has been a repeat offender, ignoring the international community's requirement that he come clean with his weapons program. While I support the President, I hope and pray that this conflict can be resolved quickly and that the international community can find a lasting solution through diplomatic means.(1)
Beginning with the resolutions of 1998 #1153 through the final resolution #1483 in May of 2003, Saddam continued with illegal weapons activities as well as becoming a profiteer in the Oil for Food campaign that was meant to feed the Iraqi people. This is what was decided at the end of the resolution line:
The Security Council formally ended all sanctions, except those related to the sale or supply to Iraq of arms and related materiel, other than those required by the occupying powers to serve the purposes of Security Council resolutions, in Resolution 1483 (2003), which was adopted on 22 May 2003 by a vote of 14-0 with one country not participating in the vote.

The resolution states that, with the exception of the arms prohibitions noted above, all other sanctions established by Resolution 661 and subsequent resolutions "shall no longer apply."

It also requests that the Secretary-General will continue the exercise of his responsibilities under Resolutions 1472 and 1476 for a period of six months, and will terminate within this time period, in the most cost effective manner, the ongoing operations of the "Oil-for-Food" Programme.(2)

January 28, 2003:

President Bush gives an intense State of the Union address. He speaks of the issues of the economy, health care, etc. But the pivotal point of his speech and what is being thrown around today is his proposal for Iraq. Here is the relevant part of his speech (emphasis on the infamous “16 words”):
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.

The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary; he is deceiving. From intelligence sources we know, for instance, that thousands of Iraqi security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the U.N. inspectors, sanitizing inspection sites and monitoring the inspectors themselves. Iraqi officials accompany the inspectors in order to intimidate witnesses.(3)
President Bush knows that there is descent about the decision to go to war in Iraq, so he addresses this as well:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages -- leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained -- by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape. If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning. (3)
The democrats back President Clinton fully in his decision to attack Iraq just over four years before. Saddam has not stopped lying about his weapons and ignoring the UN resolutions and sanctions not for any amount of time between 1998 and 2003 when President Bush made his State of the Union address.

Why, then have the Democrats changed their minds about the threat from Iraq? Nancy Pelosi has a statement regarding President Bush’s State of the Union address and it is completely different in tone than her approval of President Clinton’s statement. Here is a part of that statement:
"President Bush’s words tonight were polished and his tone resolute. But that is precisely the problem. His rhetoric bears little resemblance to the harsh reality of his real agenda. That agenda will be reflected in the federal budget that he submits next week, which must outline our national priorities and values.

"Americans tuned in tonight in the hope of getting straight answers to their most urgent questions -- what is the justification for putting American lives at risk in Iraq now? What are the next steps in the war against terrorism? How can we jump start the economy and make the American Dream real for all our people?

"President Bush used strong words, demonstrating once again that Saddam Hussein is a menace, and made a convincing case for disarming Iraq. But he did not make a convincing case that the use of force now is the only way to disarm Iraq, or that removing Saddam from power would guarantee that a new regime would not pursue the same policies. The clear and present danger that our country faces is terrorism, and the President did not explain how a war with Iraq would not compromise our efforts against terrorists.(4)
Because Bush is a Republican, one that has dealt well with all that our country had been through since 9/11; he is intensely disliked by the Democrats. The party that claims they are all inclusive, that they have the best interest of the American people in mind, has shown their true colors. They are actually a party acting in such a partisan way that they cannot see that Saddam is no less evil, no less dangerous because it is not a Democratic president in the White House.

In the years since President Bush led us into Iraq and gave Iraq freedom from Saddam, the Democrats have not stopped in their vitriolic mantra of “Bush Lied.” It does not matter what they said in 1998, that doesn’t count, that doesn’t exist, it is all Bush’s fault and he lied to the American people in order to attack Iraq. Why can they not take responsibility for their own words and deeds?

A Quiz

While I work on a couple of posts, I thought I would post this quiz. I'm cool! I'm BATMAN!

You scored as Batman, the Dark Knight. As the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman is a vigilante who deals out his own brand of justice to the criminals and corrupt of the city. He follows his own code and is often misunderstood. He has few friends or allies, but finds comfort in his cause.

Batman, the Dark Knight




Lara Croft


William Wallace


The Amazing Spider-Man


Neo, the "One"


Indiana Jones


Captain Jack Sparrow


The Terminator


El Zorro


James Bond, Agent 007


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
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