Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Since the moment Secretary of State Robert Gates finished his heartfelt, tearful salute to a fallen U.S. Marine last Wednesday in Washington D.C., political pundits and prognosticators have argued over what exactly the rare emotional showing by a characteristically somber figurehead means for the future of the War in Iraq and Gates’ level of support for it.
The “prevailing wisdom” and sentiment from the likes of Newsweek’s Eleanor Clifton, and Huffingtonpost.com’s founder and editor Arianna Huffington (both recently on PBS' Mclaughlin Group) has been that Secretary Gates was sending a subtle message to the American people that he is sick of supporting what Clifton calls a, “bloody, un-winnable mess in Iraq.”
Hmm. Alright, I guess I can see how someone might get that idea from the Secretary's comments.
Huffington said that President Bush’s attempts to “white-wash and sterilize this war” by what she describes as “showing absolutely no emotion in five years” were no longer going to work because Gates had let the proverbial cat out of the bag. She added that it must be “hard-liners in the White House, like Dick Cheney” who are requiring a stiff upper-lip at the news and images of nearly 3,700 dead American soldiers in Iraq.
Now that just may have gone a little bit further than I care to agree with, Ms. Huffington.
“These soldiers are dying in vain and this administration doesn’t care,” Huffington compassionately exclaimed.
Wow! You lost me.
Equally as lost on nearly all the commentators who offered their misguided opinions was the underlying, and vastly more important question. What kind of man could bring the Secretary of Defense to tears during a public speech?
On May 10th, 2007 this country lost a hero and heaven gained a saint.
At 34 years old, Major Douglas A. Zembiec was one of the most respected and revered soldiers fighting in Iraq. When he was killed-in-action, it was in his fourth tour of duty as E Company’s commander, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. His nickname, emanating from an interview he had done with the Los Angeles Times in 2005 in which he described the determination and ferocity of his men, was the “Lion of Fallujah.”
Zembiec’s funeral was held in Annapolis, MD nine days after his untimely demise on the field of battle in Iraq. Over 1,000 people, including his adoring wife Pamela, came to remember the tragically short, yet undeniably full life of a real American patriot.
The recent context for Secretary Gates’ poignant homage to Major Zembiec was in speaking at a Marine “Tribute Banquet” where the crowd was comprised of soldiers past and present and their families. He was humbly attempting to express the gratitude so many of us wish we could offer directly to our fighting men and women.
Gates explained that he keeps a photo of Zembiec on his desk at the Pentagon to remind him of the very real sacrifice young Americans are making every day across the globe to procure our precious freedom.
“Don’t think for a minute that we (civilian commanders) do not mourn the loss of every single soldier,” Gates explained to the receptive audience. “I write letters to those kids’ families each night and pray for their strength. They aren’t just statistics on a website to me.”
The anti-war press and far-Left defeatists in Congress have done their best to see that Americans’ reaction to the daily reminder of U.S. causalities be expressed in one way, and one way only: “This was a mistake and we must surrender.”
Disheartening stories such as the debacle surrounding the friendly-fire death, and subsequent alleged “cover up” by the Army, of former NFL-star Pat Tillman are never accurately put into the context of a soldier who tragically, but heroically gave his or her life for their country.
“Bush lied, people died,” is generally all you can expect even from the most respected Liberal journalists and politicians.
But let us for a moment examine the all-too neglected thoughts of the most important character in this politically-charged play which is Zembiec himself.
What did the good Major think of the war? Where did his own allegiances lie? Was he prone to verbal fits of disgust toward his Commander-in-Chief and the mission for which he voluntarily enlisted to fight in? Did he regret enlisting? What motivated him to join in the first place?
Major Zembiec’s best friend, Eric. L Kapitulik, offered the eulogy back in May for his fallen comrade. Granted access to Zembiec’s personal journal and diary, Kapitulik read aloud excerpts from the hand-written entry entitled “Principles my father taught me” to further convey the type of human-being and American his best friend truly was.
“Be a man of principal. Fight for what you believe in. Keep your word. Live with integrity. Be brave. Believe in something bigger than yourself. Serve your country”
“Teach. Mentor. Give something back to society. Lead from the front. Conquer your fears. Be a good friend. Be humble and self-confident. Appreciate your friends and family. Be a leader and not a follower. Be valorous on the field of battle and take responsibility for your actions.”
(Describing his first time fighting insurgents in Iraq) “[It was] the greatest day of my life. I never felt so alive, so exhilarated, and so purposeful. There is nothing equal to combat, and there is no greater honor than to lead men into combat. Once you’ve dealt with life and death like that, it gives you a whole new perspective.”
There is much more, but you get the idea.
This was a man of conviction, of fortitude, and of bravery. He loved his family. He was loyal to his country. He was resolute in his actions.
In short, Major Douglas Zembiec epitomized the greatness we seem to currently believe exists only in summer movies about Comic Book superheroes.
No one had tricked Zembiec into joining the military as John Kerry (D-MA) accused last October. To contradict Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) own comments, no empty promise of fame, riches or glory had lured Zembiec unsuspectingly into combat’s harmful way. He was not even there for George Bush or Hillary Clinton.
It was personal responsibility, civic duty, and the desire to be apart of something bigger than himself that drove this man (and the hundreds of thousands like him) to take the fight to our enemies each and every day half-way around the world.
Of course most of us back here in the safety of these United States will never fully appreciate the strain our armed forces have had placed on their sturdy shoulders. How could we?
The problem as I see it entails a complacent, complaining citizenry and Press here in America that is more interested in expressing grossly under-informed opinions and emotional outbursts of pent-up frustration toward a war and a fight that they have done little to nothing to contribute to.
We should know enough to know we don’t know too much.
But where do we look for solace and an accurate assessment of the war? The extent of the blind bias against all-things-Bush is clearly exhibited in the swarm of mainstream media commentaries regarding the categorically misinterpreted Gates-on-Zembiec quotes from that Marine dinner last week. Anyone with an internet connection, a phone line, and the desire to get the whole story would have followed up on who this dead soldier that made the Secretary of Defense weep really was.
That inquiry would have resulted in, whichever pessimistic journalist had actually gone beyond reading Liberal talking points from Howard Dean, abandoning the story altogether for fear of rousing what little patriotism and good sense remains in Blue-State America.
Zembiec: “Never forget those who were killed. Never let rest those who killed them.”
Perhaps we should start listening to the people our journalists and reporters claim to know so much about, and we may just come to the stark realization that it’s really been about “us”, instead of “them”, all along.
Apparently Man vs. Wild isn't all that is claims to be, and now the BBC is upset. The New York Post this weekend tells more of the sorted details.
At least I still have WWE wrestling...
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Please read the columns by Cal Thomas and Ken Connor linked below to gain some clarity on this issue.
Will "Text" voting be an option in 2008? This mockery of the Presidential election process has gone far enough. Why are there 10 candidates from each Party on up on that platform? Pick five or six legitimate contenders, give each candidate more than the current allotment of twenty seconds where pre-fabricated, sound-bite response cheapen the exchange altogether, and let the American people decide who is best to lead this great country going forward based on what is actually said by each politician; not simply how they say it.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
“The middle way is no way at all. If we finally fail in this great and glorious contest, it will be by bewildering ourselves in groping for the middle way.”
-John Adams, regarding the ill-fated attempt by some Congressional delegates to make peace with the British before the eventual signing of the Declaration of Independence
In case you’ve been lost-at-sea or wandering aimlessly in the Sierra Nevada’s since last December, the Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild has become the best show on television during that time.
The basic premise entails a man who is purposely dropped into the Wild of remote places around the globe such as the Kimberly Outback in Australia or the jungles of Ecuador. He then has five days or less to survive, all while attempting to find some outpost of civilization and subsequent rescue.
Best part: we get to watch him do it. (Usually with Central Air roaring through a well-stocked home.)
One of the most consistently stressed forewarnings issued by Grylls, himself an ex-member of British Special Forces, is for any potentially stranded hiker, camper, or climber to immediately make up his or her mind that survival is the only goal that matters. Doubt and emotional distress is just as much a killer in these situations as the weather or predatory animals.
With the affirming objective of survival in mind, a plan must be formulated. Decisively quick action is paramount. Grylls adopts a “no plan worse than bad plan” motto. Indecision becomes more an enemy than poor decision when your life is at stake.
Often in life and politics, what Founding Father John Adams would call the “middle way” of compromise can impede the necessary progression toward a stated, required goal. In his case, that goal was our liberty and right to freedom.
The fall of 1775 and winter and spring of 1776 found Adams in Philadelphia as the preeminent voice advocating for Independence from King George and the suffocating English rule.
Responses to his epic orations on the floor of the Continental Congress were not out-right oppositions to his pleading for unanimity in the decision to break free from, what Winston Churchill would one day call, the “Old World”. No, what hindered the eventual Declaration of Independence from being made earlier than July 4th of 1776 (the actual vote took place on July 2nd) were the irresolute and undetermined words coming from the mouths of bold patriots who themselves knew liberty to be Divinely granted, and personally longed for: sovereignty apart from Britain and autonomy inside a newly created Union of States.
In John Adams, pulitzer-prize winning biographer David McCullough tells of the influential statesmen from middle and southern colonies like John Dickinson of Philadelphia who attempted to offset the “rebellious, treasonous” rhetoric of their more zealous counterparts from New England. This even after an army had been commissioned by that very Congress, with George Washington selected to command it.
Ironically, Dickinson not four years earlier had written a stirring pamphlet entitled Letters from a Pennsylvanian Farmer, illuminating the evils of British policy in the colonies. He was well known in Philadelphia as an eloquent attorney, but Letters made him a legend. This, in addition to being a statesmen-solider (a Colonel in the Continental Army), rendered the man near infallible in many Americans’ eyes.
John Adams, however, knew him to be dead wrong on this most important matter.
Adams also knew, confoundedly, the Congress at this time was split into thirds. One-third were Tories (those still hoping for a return to British rule), another third Moderates (Dickinson-led “undecided” representatives), and lastly, the “Blue” patriots (those ready for the fight they understood to have had already begun).
Dickinson’s plea for continued dialogue with, and appeasement to, the British manifested itself in the form of the Olive Branch Petition of 1775. Adams publicly and correctly predicted that King George would emphatically reject it. Adams’ worst fears were then realized because England now sensed indecision among the Congressmen, the fact of which was confirmed to Parliament and the King by British spies shortly thereafter.
Important to the story here is the fact that the battles at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill had already taken place. In fact, at that very moment Washington’s disheveled Continental Army laid siege to Boston in a standoff that would culminate months later in a Colonial victory. The idea that Congress could now avoid war and that independence could be kept from being proclaimed by America and her people was “delusional” to those who understood the “realities on the ground”.
Adams had personally witnessed much of what had already taken place militarily in the colonies of New England. He privately lamented in letters to his wife Abigail the horrendous prospects that war brought with it, but feared much more the prospects of a war fought with “half-measures and hesitancy”. He understood the risks and costs involved, but it remained decisively clear to himself and General Washington as to which path the Americas, her Congress, and her Army, were to take.
The time for dialogue, as it pertained to the question of war with England, had long passed and no two individuals appreciated this fact more than Adams and Washington.
Dickinson and other men like Robert Morris who had opposed the secession from Britain eventually gave-way to the all-but-unanimous consent of Congress (New York abstained from the final vote) and most of the delegates would sign the Declaration of Independence on August 2nd, 1776. Morris appropriately wrote in his diary at the time, “I think an individual that declines the service of his country because its councils are not comfortable to his ideas makes a bad subject.”
What is more, when the first Continental troops marched out of Philadelphia that fall to reinforce their colonial comrades fighting the British in New Jersey, none other than anti-war delegate John Dickinson himself rode at the head of the company. Sick, ill, and exhausted from the past months of debate concerning independence, Dickinson served his country proudly till his death.
What can we learn from such bravery? What can be said that fairly articulates the gratitude we, who daily reap the blessings paid for by the sacrifice of men who might not even have agreed with the decisions to bring the country to war, ought to express?
Once the decision for war has been made, and particularly in cases such Lexington and Concord, Pearl Harbor, and 9/11 when it has been made for you: To waver then, in search of a “middle road,” is to have already failed.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
"In America, public opinion is in no mood for war with Iran. In Washington, Congress is focused on finding the most politically advantageous way to lose in Iraq. In Europe, they've already psychologically accepted the Iranian nuclear umbrella. In the Western world, where talks are not the means to the end but an end in themselves, we find it hard despite the evidence of 30 years to accept that Iran talks the talk and walks the walk." -Mark Steyn
"Last summer, many of Hizbullah's rocket batteries were located in unpopulated rural areas, where the guerrillas dug networks of tunnels and fortifications, the officials said. But the army's new intelligence indicates that those positions had now largely been abandoned in favor of populated villages, which provide better cover for the group's activities. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity. "
How soon after Israel would justifiably retaliate will radical Muslim leaders and the Euro-American Press condemn the State of Israel for "excessive force" and for "murdering" the same women and children the maniacs from Hezbollah are now preparing to use as human shields (and tools for propaganda)????
Think through this now so when that time comes you are prepared for the tragic pictures CNN and MSNBC and Al Jazeera will run to paint Israel the guilty party. Remember that it is countries like Israel and America who warn civilians before attacking known enemy hide-outs. Remember that it is in Israel and America where captured POW's are given a trial, not beheaded. Remember that the inevitably tragic deaths of innocent Muslim children in a South-Lebanese village is the direct result of the cowardly terrorism emraced and performed by their fathers, uncles, and brothers.
Pray for the moderates and peaceful among the Lebanese in this region. Pray for Israel. We must stand with her as the rumblings of another war sound throughout the Middle East.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
How are we going to spin this and take credit for it (all while making Bush somehow look dumb) Democrats???
Federal tax revenues are up (despite lower taxes), the Dow is breaking a new record every month, the surge is starting to work in Iraq, there have been no terrorists attacks on American soil in six years, the Cubs have turned their season around, and I just had Chipotle for lunch.......and Senators Hillary Clinton, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and Edwards want to tell me that "change" is needed??? It's called denial, people. Detachment from reality also accurately describes the Left's lame attempt to paint their typical doom-and-gloom scenarios.
Optimism, in conjunction with thoughtful, considerate, compassioante, intelligent, fiscally-responsbile policies is what makes being a Conservative so much fun.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
For those of you who aren't aware, I am in NYC for the rest of the summer working for the afore mentioned World as an intern. I'll be posting any of my columns that get picked up by the magazine, and keeping my readers appraised of any interesting encounters, situations, or meals I happen upon. (Don't worry, the weekly blogs will still be coming.)
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Michael Medved, himself an Orthodox Jew, recently debated the brazenly atheistic Christopher Hitchens (author of the provocative best-selling, god is not Great: How Religion Ruins Everything) on Medved's nationally syndicated radio talk-show. The encounter was epic and some of the main points of contention are summarized in this greatly important article linked here below.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Responses from both Left and Right were predictable and uninspired. Democrats elbowed their way to the front of the microphone line to accuse the administration of lying, incompetence, and for stirring up the Islamo-fascists hornets nest by even being in Iraq. (As if radical Islamic terror did not exist before a guy from Texas became President). Un-enthusiastic Republicans dutifully (and correctly) defended our presence in the Middle East and stressed once again the need for staying the course.
This upcoming September was decided upon back in January as the designated month when assessment of the results from the surge, and pronouncements on the way forward, would and should be made. Everything else until then is anecdotal and in essence meaningless. There is a whole lot of barking going on in the Beltway, but the threat of a substantial “bite” isn’t really even an option for at least another month and a half.
So what are we left with until then?
There is much to be considered when discussing the current status of our involvement in Iraq. The debate over why we went and if we should have gone is now almost entirely inconsequential. What’s done is done and the reality is that 160,000 United States armed forces are on the ground in a hostile country in a hostile part of the world.
We are now fighting: Sunni and Shiite insurgents, Al Qaeda, Iran, Syria, propagandistic Arab television and news reporting (i.e. Al Jazeera), the editorial pages of the New York Times and those of most major newspapers in the Western civilized world. The White House report says that Al Qaeda is back up to pre-9/11 levels in terms of numbers and capabilities. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Cherktoff recently relayed his fear that an attack on American soil may be imminent.
Apparently the world remains, for now, a complicated, dangerous place.
Realizing full well that the race for Election 2008 is already in full swing, and along with it the never-ceasing pandering to “the base” (i.e. whichever group of people that happens to be in the room at the time) at each campaign stop, what is truly needed now more than ever are voices of clarity and reason. Preferably ones who are able to see the problems we face by taking off the judgment-crippling blinders of partisanship.
But alas, instead of sound judgment and discerning wisdom we are subjected to tiresome out-right claims and subtle insinuations that none of our current problems would exist if only we had not gone into Iraq. In some strange and bizarre twist of self-dilution many on the Left and a growing number on the Right are attempting to water-down and over-simplify our predicament in the Middle East as being nothing more than the fruitions of an obsessive Texan and his bumbling administration.
It does not help when you have allegedly legitimate Presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama promising campaign rally attendees that they would immediately withdraw our forces because “it’s the right thing to do.” Convinced? Yeah, me neither. To make matters worse, out of the other side of their respective mouths, both candidates assure the saner amongst us that they really won’t pull out of Iraq because, as everyone knows, it would be an all-out bloodbath and unparalleled boost for terrorism’s morale around the globe. So what are we to think?
It helps the situation even less when you have a Democratically-sympathetic media determined to refrain from calling-out such candidates on the fact that no President, Democrat or otherwise, is going to want to be the one known in history for signing the death warrant of millions in Iraq who were naïve enough to trust an America and her Congress again after what we did to those we abandoned in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in 1975.
One of the most inane arguments used for why we need to “bring our boys home” (the same “boys” who dutifully volunteered, served, and are re-enlisting at a rate of 98%) is that our involvement over there makes so many Muslims really angry and that helps recruiting for groups like Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. As if in any war that same standard would be applied.
Imagine the Continental Congress dispatching correspondence to General Washington at Valley Forge, in his toughest hour as Commander-in-Chief, to say that he should stop fighting because young men in Britain were being recruited on an anti-American mantra.
What if Abraham Lincoln had listened to the Copperhead Democrats during the Civil War and decided just to make nice with the South and compromise the purpose of his struggle altogether? After all, wouldn’t it be fair to say many-a-Johnny Rebel was recruited via anti-Union propaganda down in Dixie?
How different would history have played out if FDR’s biggest concern was how the Nazi soldiers felt about American G.I.’s storming the beaches of Normandy, or how many Aryan fighters in Germany had enlisted to fight after the United States joined the conflict in 1941?
The refusal to apply common sense and historical standards to this War on Terror and in Iraq befuddles me. I am a young man with much to learn, but when I hear Senators and Congressmen and women harking back to points that even I can much too easily refute, I am forced to ponder the authenticity of their claims and intentions.
Any fight you engage in will be difficult. War is hell. Of course the hornets will be angry when you first attempt to clear out their hive on your deck at home, but to ignore the fact that your children and neighbors are repeatedly being stung is a dereliction of your duty as a homeowner and as a responsible human being.
Our strategy for victory in Iraq and in the broader war against the irreconcilable wing of Islam should remain flexible and innovative, but we must not lose heart as a nation every time we hear our sworn enemies are upset that we are doing something about their inability and unwillingness to co-exist in a world where not everyone will adhere to Sharia Law.
If you cannot agree with anything else, at least be content with the fact that we are fighting our enemies in Basra and Baghdad instead of Boston and Boca Raton. Al Qaeda and Iran have publicly confirmed that their respective presences in Iraq are purposeful. They want to defeat and humiliate us in order to garner even more support among the Muslim world.
You think recruitment levels are high right now while the insurgency is barely escaping extinction in Iraq? Wait and see how many young Muslims join the jihad if and when Congress loses what spine they have left and decides to de-fund (lose) the war.
The President must do what he can to prudently protect us. The military must continue to bravely follow the orders and mission prescribed. The press must suppress its Liberal urgings to find any word or deed associated with George Bush as being foolish and worthless and return to a pro-American worldview. (Whether Liberal or Conservative, shouldn’t we all still be more interested in winning the war more than we are worried about losing the White House in ‘08?)
We as concerned citizens must demand our elected representatives not waste the already-great sacrifices of our fighting men and women and their families by prematurely pulling out of a fight that requires unique endurance and fortitude from every person who calls America “home”.
God Bless our troops and may God grant wisdom to our elected representatives.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
Sure, what we need more of are children without both parents. That's worked out just great for society the past four decades. I realize not everyone is lucky enough to have that situation, but statistics and common sense tell us it is the best possible circumstance for a kid to grow up in.
Either don't get married or don't have kids....OR, be a normal, responsible human being and help out the species by getting married (easy for me to say) and then bearing and rearing normal children who can grow up and pay for your social security.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
The stigma of terrorists as solely being poor, disillusioned thugs who've been forced into the chaotic life they have chosen is now debunked. Great Britain finds itself the victim of terror at the hands of doctors who secretly plotted jihad while studying and living amongst normal, Westernized, English citizens.
George Bush can't be blamed as the only reason for these madmen. Dick Cheney wasn't the root cause of their hatred of, and disdain for, human life. Not even the trickle-down economics of Reagan can be brought into this discussion.
It was pure evil and hatred that spurred these men on. Maybe, just maybe, the threat from radical Islamists is real and Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton, and the Far-Left are exploiting that part of the human heart which seeks the good in all Mankind in order to confuse the difference between prudent profiling and discriminatory racism. We are looking for Muslim males, between the ages of 18-40, from Middle Eastern and South-East Asian countries with prior connections to radical groups or mosques. They are sent as sleeper cells to live amongst the good people of freedom-loving nations in order to "bring honor and glory to Allah."
I think it's time we start making sure they meet their maker quicker and sooner than we meet ours.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Sunday, July 01, 2007
There is only so much a President can do, but nominating justices to the Supreme Court ranks as the most important behind being Commander-in-Chief.