Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Debate - Bush and Kerry

First, you know I am a Bush supporter. Having said that, I will try very hard to give an objective view and act like an undecided voter

President Bush: my issues with his performance:

  1. He said "uummmm" too many times. I believe some folks were warning him about this. When you say "uuummm" in a meeting or in public speaking, or particularly when answering questions, you will appear to be searching for answers.
  2. In a continuation of above, he appeared to be searching for answers as if he was not prepared for the debate.
  3. He had some answers, but he used them over and over again. Which would be good accept that it was like a boxer that only has two moves and couldn't remember how to deliver the upper cut.
  4. He tried to go "nice". I mean, he is usually a nice likable guy, but he only let out a few belts against his opponents behavior and capabilities. Kerry was not as nice. Bush tried to recover, but he was already angry and tried to come up with responses that he was not prepared to make. He also appeared to be straining at the leash. He wanted to say somethings, but it was like his people had beat him over the head about keeping "positive" when this was a no holds barred debate and he should have known that based on the attacks the Democrats had been putting out.
  5. He did not respond directly and with facts to a number of Kerry attacks.
  6. He acted distracted at times. Possibly he came into this debate thinking he had the "security" and "foreign policy" issues all sown up.

Candidate Kerry: my issues with his performance:

  1. His hand movements seemed rehearsed, but not in conjunction with his points. It seemed a bit like the guy at your business party that had one or two drinks and gets in your space. It reminded me a bit of the photo where it looked like he was poking the Marine in the chest while trying to make his point. That doesn't always come off well with folks who like their "personal" space.
  2. I know it's been said, but who ever told him to go get that tan, or make up, or whatever it was, that was a mistake. He seemed a bit "fake". Like some housewife who is getting ready to go on a cruise and prepares by going just a little too long to the tanning salon or puts on that fake tan stuff in hopes she doesn't look like a dead white fish the first time she goes to the pool. He should have avoided that.
  3. He said he had a plan and did not really outline it but told people to go to his website to see what it was. The debates are supposed to help you figure out what the candidate stands for and that was not helpful. Maybe he was counting on people NOT looking and just listening to how he presented?
  4. A lot of talk about what was wrong or done wrong with only a few snippets of his own thoughts. A lot of "I agree, but I would have done it better" without exact points about how that would happen in Iraq. Seems like the guy that is always bragging at the company party about how his boss stinks and he could do his job better.
  5. He only separated himself from the President on a few points. Most of his plan is the same as the President's aside from getting more countries involved. But he did not outline how he would do that and still hasn't. Undecideds may still have a hard time figuring out what is different.
  6. He alluded to two things that would not go over well: The first would be the "global test" and the second, which his handlers probably beat him over, was his near fall into the "I was in Viet Nam" talking points.
  7. He made some verbal mistakes which will be picked apart. For instance the "I was in Russia at the KGB headquarters in Treblinka Square". He should have avoided that because now he will be researched and folks will point out that he is no better than the President at remembering people and places. Treblinka is not a square in Russia. It was a Nazi death camp where some of his relatives were killed. They will be killing him on that as well as reviewing the visit to Russia. He has a tendency to try to put stories into context of the here and now and that often leads to over exaggerations of his own performance. Another instance would have been when he did his brief mention of "the war" (ie, Viet Nam) when he claimed to know first hand what it was like to lose troops. No one died in his unit while he was in Viet Nam although I'm sure his group can spin it to make it look like he was talking in general. But he wasn't. These types of things can get him into trouble.
  8. Occassionally seemed to be a lecturer, like a father telling his children that they did bad, now he must fix it and they should never do that again. Still a bit condescending. That didn't resonate well with me.

Over all, Kerry seemed more prepared, took notes and used them to address the President. The President seemed more like he was relying on his talking points, didn't respond to as many of Kerry's hits, seemed more on the defensive than offensive.

The issues...Point Scoring Lines:

  1. Bush: We have a duty to defeat this enemy. We have a duty to protect our children and grandchildren. The best way to defeat them is to never waver, to be strong, to use every asset at our disposal, is to constantly stay on the offensive and, at the same time, spread liberty.
  2. Kerry: (About Usama bin Laden)But we didn't use American forces, the best trained in the world, to go kill him. The president relied on Afghan warlords and he outsourced that job too. That's wrong.
  3. Kerry: The president moved the troops, so he's got 10 times the number of troops in Iraq than he has in Afghanistan, where Usama bin Laden is. Does that mean that Saddam Hussein was 10 times more important than Usama bin Laden
  4. Bush: (on inspections in Iraq)That wasn't going to work. That's kind of a pre-September 10th mentality, the hope that somehow resolutions and failed inspections would make this world a more peaceful place.
  5. Bush: But to say that there's only one focus on the war on terror doesn't really understand the nature of the war on terror. (...)And when Iraq if free, America will be more secure.
  6. Kerry: The president just talked about Iraq as a center of the war on terror. Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror before the president invaded it.
  7. Bush: First of all, what my opponent wants you to forget is that he voted to authorize the use of force and now says it's the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place.
  8. Kerry: Let me just quickly say, at the current pace, the president will not secure the loose material in the Soviet Union -- former Soviet Union for 13 years. I'm going to do it in four years. And we're going to keep it out of the hands of terrorists.
  9. Bush: But the best way to protect this homeland is to stay on the offense(...)But again, I repeat to my fellow citizens, the best way to protection is to stay on the offense.
  10. Kerry: And the test is not whether you're spending more money. The test is, are you doing everything possible to make America safe? We didn't need that tax cut. America needed to be safe.
  11. Bush: A free Iraq will be an ally in the war on terror, and that's essential. A free Iraq will set a powerful example in the part of the world that is desperate for freedom. A free Iraq will help secure Israel. A free Iraq will enforce the hopes and aspirations of the reformers in places like Iran. A free Iraq is essential for the security of this country.
  12. Kerry: You know, the president's father did not go into Iraq, into Baghdad, beyond Basra. And the reason he didn't is, he said -- he wrote in his book -- because there was no viable exit strategy. And he said our troops would be occupiers in a bitterly hostile land. That's exactly where we find ourselves today
  13. Bush: My opponent says help is on the way, but what kind of message does it say to our troops in harm's way, "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time"? Not a message a commander in chief gives, or this is a "great diversion."
  14. Kerry: Well, you know, when I talked about the $87 billion, I made a mistake in how I talk about the war. But the president made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is worse?
  15. Kerry: The terrorism czar, who has worked for every president since Ronald Reagan, said, "Invading Iraq in response to 9/11 would be like Franklin Roosevelt invading Mexico in response to Pearl Harbor."
  16. Bush: Plus, he says the cornerstone of his plan to succeed in Iraq is to call upon nations to serve. So what's the message going to be: "Please join us in Iraq. We're a grand diversion. Join us for a war that is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time?"
  17. Kerry: Secondly, when we went in, there were three countries: Great Britain, Australia and the United States. That's not a grand coalition. We can do better.
  18. Bush: You cannot lead the world if you do not honor the contributions of those who are with us. He called them coerced and the bribed. That's not how you bring people together.
  19. Kerry: We need to be smarter about now we wage a war on terror. We need to deny them the recruits. We need to deny them the safe havens. We need to rebuild our alliances.
  20. Bush: The intelligence I looked at was the same intelligence my opponent looked at, the very same intelligence. And when I stood up there and spoke to the Congress, I was speaking off the same intelligence he looked at to make his decisions to support the authorization of force.
  21. Kerry: I've had one position, one consistent position, that Saddam Hussein was a threat. There was a right way to disarm him and a wrong way. And the president chose the wrong way.
  22. Bush: The only consistent about my opponent's position is that he's been inconsistent. He changes positions. And you cannot change positions in this war on terror if you expect to win.
  23. Bush: That's what distinguishes us from the enemy. Everybody matters. But I think it's worth it, Jim.
  24. Kerry: So the choice for America is, you can have a plan that I've laid out in four points, each of which I can tell you more about or you can go to and see more of it; or you have the president's plan, which is four words: more of the same.
  25. Kerry: Now that's what we have to do. There's no inconsistency. Soldiers know over there that this isn't being done right yet. I'm going to get it right for those soldiers, because it's important to Israel, it's important to America, it's important to the world, it's important to the fight on terror.
  26. Kerry: I will make a flat statement: The United States of America has no long-term designs on staying in Iraq.
  27. Bush: The way to make sure that we succeed is to send consistent, sound messages to the Iraqi people that when we give our word, we will keep our word, that we stand with you, that we believe you want to be free. And I do.
  28. Kerry: But I think the president, again, still hasn't shown how he's going to go about it the right way. He has more of the same.
  29. Bush: They understand that a free Afghanistan or a free Iraq will be a major defeat for them. And those are the stakes. And that's why it is essential we not leave. That's why it's essential we hold the line. That's why it's essential we win. And we will.
  30. Bush: But by speaking clearly and sending messages that we mean what we say, we've affected the world in a positive way.
  31. Kerry: Saddam Hussein didn't attack us. Usama bin Laden attacked us. Al Qaeda attacked us. And when we had Usama bin Laden cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora, 1,000 of his cohorts with him in those mountains. With the American military forces nearby and in the field, we didn't use the best trained troops in the world to go kill the world's number one criminal and terrorist.
  32. Bush: And secondly, to think that another round of resolutions would have caused Saddam Hussein to disarm, disclose, is ludicrous, in my judgment. It just shows a significant difference of opinion.
  33. Kerry: Thirty-five to forty countries in the world had a greater capability of making weapons at the moment the president invaded than Saddam Hussein
  34. Kerry: (on world credibility/leadership)You have to earn that respect. And I think we have a lot of earning back to do.
  35. Bush: Let me -- I'm not exactly sure what you mean, "passes the global test," you take preemptive action if you pass a global test. My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure.(...)But I'm not going to make decisions that I think are wrong for America.
  36. Kerry: With respect to Iran, the British, French, and Germans were the ones who initiated an effort without the United States, regrettably, to begin to try to move to curb the nuclear possibilities in Iran. I believe we could have done better.
  37. Bush: The minute we have bilateral talks, the six-party talks will unwind. That's exactly what Kim Jong Il wants
  38. Bush: You cannot lead if you send mixed messages. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our troops. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our allies. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to the Iraqi citizens.
  39. Kerry: But this issue of certainty. It's one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong.
  40. Bush: But what I won't do is change my core values because of politics or because of pressure.
  41. Kerry: (on major threats-nuclear proliferation)And this president, I regret to say, has secured less nuclear material in the last two years since 9/11 than we did in the two years preceding 9/11.
  42. Bush: (on Russia)And I think it's very important for the American president, as well as other Western leaders, to remind him of the great benefits of democracy, that democracy will best help the people realize their hopes and aspirations and dreams. And I will continue working with him over the next four years.
  43. Kerry: Just because the president says it can't be done, that you'd lose China, doesn't mean it can't be done. I mean, this is the president who said "There were weapons of mass destruction," said "Mission accomplished," said we could fight the war on the cheap -- none of which were true.
  44. Kerry: (back to Iraq)It was a threat. That's not the issue. The issue is what you do about it.
  45. Bush: (closing)We will continue to stay on the offense. We will fight the terrorists around the world so we do not have to face them here at home.

If you count it up, Bush has 22 scoring lines and Kerry as 23.

What the candidates should do next...

What Kerry Should Do:

  • If he can get away from just having that part quoted, he can possibly hammer away at some undecideds who are worried that this IS the wrong war. Not because they don't believe Saddam was bad, but because they believe we have started something that was better left alone.
  • He needs to get the message on constantly that it is going wrong. If certain cities are pacified in the next 30 days (which is starting to happen), he will have to hammer the point that it is FINALLY happening and the President made many costly mistakes on the way to this action.
  • He needs to talk more about the President's inability to explain to the AMERICAN people what the situation is. Frankly, except for the east and west coasters, the whole UN, European allies thing doesn't really sink in. We don't care what they want or know or understand. It is what the American people understand or know and the President hasn't been good with this message. He has not done a significant job of linking Iraq to the war on terror outside of the lost cause of WMD. Kerry can keep on about not telling the people the plan.
  • Misleading. Here he is only talking to his base. The rest of the country is not so quick to jump on the "misled" or "lied" to because they don't like to believe that of their country. He needs to get on message about "the plan" that didn't work and why the President can't tell the AMERICAN people how Iraq connects to terrorism.
  • For security, he needs to constantly talk about getting the nuclear materials of other countries secured in order to keep them out of the terrorists hands. This will go a long way towards shoring up his security stance. He needs to be clear on how he will do that.
  • He needs to talk more about how he will subdue Iran's nuclear ambitions through multilateral discussions. Everyone knows that war with Iran is not optimal at this time so everyone knows we have to have an alternative to slow up their progress.
  • He's behind the eight ball because he has taken too long to get his message squared away.

What Bush should hammer Kerry on:

  • Kerry has a plan. He says so. Where is it? On his website? He can't explain it in KISS? (Keep it simple stupid). If he can't explain it well and tells people to look it up themselves, they will disregard his message. This has been his problem all along.
  • Nuclear proliferation. Giving Iran nuclear material and "test" them. Use the UN. This is not going to sit well with people who are already concerned about the possibility of Iran getting nukes. Bush needs to hammer away at the potential dangers this "plan" has.
  • Nuclear proliferation. Stopping US nuclear bombs building. This is a point that Bush can definitely score the "security" issue on. With Kerry constantly talking about North Korea and Iran getting nuclear weapons, he then wants the US to stand down it's arsenal as an "example". Bush can make this a major issue along with Kerry's other stands to decrease intelligence spending and voting "no" on certain weapons programs. Bush can make it seem like Kerry is weak on security by telling folks he would give away our advantage over countries like China or North Korea or Iran. He also should concentrate on the history of countries like North Korea and Iran to disregard the US and international requests to stand down their nuclear capabilities and how canceling these programs would put us at a disadvantage.
  • Passing the Global test. This has been an issue all along. Who decides the US security plan or actions? The UN? Our European or NATO allies? Kerry just handed it to the RNC and they should hammer on this repeatedly. He keeps saying that he won't give our decisions away to these people and in the same breath he says "pass the global test". Very bad senator.
  • He's anti-war. Stay on that message. He'll sale out US security for "summits"
  • International Treaties and organizations. The point about not joining the ICC in order to protect US citizens and US sovreignty is part of a whole parcel, but is a very good point. People are going to want the US to be the big dog. Not be subject to international laws at the whimsy of folks who may or may not like some action we take. He needs to refer to the constitution about the thoughts of our forefathers: we never give up sovreignty and we don't allow foreign countries to control the lives of our citizens. Not just on security, but every thing including the ICC. he can steer clear of the Kyoto treaty because people here in Missouri, for instance, don't understand, know or care what that treaty is about (except me of course). It doesn't do a thing for us. Although, the President might be able to get behind points like "unnecessary regulations that will raise the cost of things like fuel" and we aren't going to let some international voodoo control our economy or ability to produce.
  • Did I say hammer home our Independence?
  • Success in Iraq. Even though the President is on campaign, one thing he has not done and needs to get on message with is conditions in Iraq. Yes, he is optimistic, but he has been letting the media and the DNC define our status there. He needs to get back in front of Iraq and what's going on. Needs to point out successes and heroes. He can cut off Kerry's "failure" screed by getting his own message out.
  • Get the message out about terrorism. It's been slipping. He needs to go full tilt at the fact that Osama bin Laden is wanted "dead or alive", but there are many out there who we need to round up as well. What is it that the terrorists want? Explain it better and how the war in Iraq works against the terrorists. Every speech needs to be about that.


One other area I found disingenuous but actually penned the President: France and Germany as allies and failing to bring them in. Now, folks like you and me reading this blog know that they were worms of the worst sort, but some common folks that don't really listen to all the "UN Food For Oil" scandal stuff, or selling Iraq arms, etc, don't know that these folks are very near to back stabbers and the President would probably like nothing better than to call them on it, but he can't because he is the President, we are at war and he needs allies in the future if he is re-elected. So, this is a point that Kerry can hammer endlessly without the President being able to give a good response as it will do exactly what he accuses Kerry of: undercutting our allies.

The President is stuck there, but he might be able to circumvent it a little more than just relying on our "30 nation" coalition which many folks look at in tangible and visible support, not the back end things (as important as they are) that some of these nations are doing. In which case, issues about getting other people involved only matters to the east and west coast. In the fly over world, we still have a deep sense of independence. Not as cosmopolitan. He should keep on message that he will get a coalition when it's possible, but if it's not, he will not hesitate to go it alone.

In regards to Darfur in Sudan. This won't get much traction for Kerry. Sadly for the Darfur refugees, people being killed in a country that has not direct impact (in people's perceptions) on them don't really count. Frankly, it has little to do with skin color and everything to do with the insular nature of folks who really just want to live quietly and make a living and care for their families. Darfur is only an issue on the coasts.

That's my take on the situation. The race will now tighten up unless the President can come back strong in his campaigns and in the next Presidential debates. I don't see the Cheney/Edwards debate getting as much attention from ordinary folks. They are mostly concerned with the head hancho position. The President will have to be a little more prepared and a little less reactive on the next debate.

Fox made an error: Bush: Actually, we've [decreased] funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation about 35 percent since I've been the president. [the president actually said "increased"]

Update: Fox has corrected their website. I sent an email this morning(3 AM) to FOX online and received the following reply at 9:03 AM:

You're right. I don't have to review . . . I watched it and remember it.

Thanks for pointing this out. It's being fixed immediately.


Steve Bromberg
Executive Editor

The Strawman of Political Dissent and First Amendment Rights (Part I)

Let's talk about this again. I keep wanting to post something really interesting about Middle Eastern Universities and their programs of indoctrination, but some really interesting comments have been made in this blog and I like to refer to them. Put them up front.

First, I want to express a thought here that is not a political statment, but more a statement of how exciting it is to actually be discussing these issues, however we feel about them. Seriously, in your day to day life, getting up, going to work, getting the kids off to school, going to your church, mosque or synagogue, how often have you actually considered what laws gave us protections to do these things? That ordinary people, now more than ever, actually have access to this information and look at it and think about it, is very exciting to me. I can think back to my American history and politics classes and thinking about how boring some of the topics were (and I loved history) or how often I thought that these laws were great, but, in my youth, did not understand their importance as much as I have learned or understand today.

So, for those that come to discuss it here, whatever our differing views, I thank you for allowing this opportunity for this kind of debate. Through these discussions, we actually can LEARN what those laws and amendments mean. What the constitution meant in 1787 or the First ammendment when it was ratified in 1789 and how they apply to us today.

I want to put here the first amendment as it is written:

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.

From this site Findlaw: US Constitution: First Amendment

Some folks like to interpret this to mean they can say anything and the government cannot stop them. They can say anything about the government, the President, war, conditions, etc.

Other folks like me think that you can say whatever you want as long as it is not a lie, insights violence, undermines a war effort, damages the United States, etc.

Who is right or wrong? Is it both? Go to the inner sanctum for further discussion.

Some of the issues and background for this amendment can be found here at Findlaw: Freedom of Speech and press: Adoption and Common Law.

Debate in the House is unenlightening with regard to the meaning the Members ascribed to the speech and press clause and there is no record of debate in the Senate. In the course of debate, Madison warned against the dangers which would arise ''from discussing and proposing abstract propositions, of which the judgment may not be convinced I venture to say, that if we confine ourselves to an enumeration of simple, acknowledged principles, the ratification will meet with but little difficulty.''6 That the ''simple, acknowledged principles'' embodied in the First Amendment have occasioned controversy without end both in the courts and out should alert one to the difficulties latent in such spare language.

Ok. Let's face it. Our fore fathers were more like libertarians than modern day democrats or republicans. The issue here was to keep the language simple, because "proposing abstract propositions, of which the judgement may not be convinced" means, making too many specific laws could either apply too much restriction or in reverse, allow for people to point and say "this is not included on the list" therefore, it is allowed under the law. They left it open for a reason.

The commentary goes on with a quote from Sir William Blackstone, an english jurist (lawyer) who gave lectures at Oxford (in England), starting in 1758 concerning "common law". His lectures were the basis of many points in the Declaration of Independence and subsequent amendments to the Constitution:

''The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press: but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he must take the consequences of his own temerity. To subject the press to the restrictive power of a licenser, as was formerly done, both before and since the Revolution, is to subject all freedom of sentiment to the prejudices of one man, and make him the arbitrary and infallible judge of all controverted points in learning, religion and government. But to punish as the law does at present any dangerous or offensive writings, which, when published, shall on a fair and impartial trial be adjudged of a pernicious tendency, is necessary for the preservation of peace and good order, of government and religion, the only solid foundations of civil liberty. Thus, the will of individuals is still left free: the abuse only of that free will is the object of legal punishment. Neither is any restraint hereby laid upon freedom of thought or inquiry; liberty of private sentiment is still left; the disseminating, or making public, of bad sentiments, destructive to the ends of society, is the crime which society corrects.''7

But, there is some history that makes many leary of applying certain laws when free speech is involved:

Whatever the general unanimity on this proposition at the time of the proposal of and ratification of the First Amendment,8 it appears that there emerged in the course of the Jeffersonian counterattack on the Sedition Act9 and the use by the Adams Administration of the Act to prosecute its political opponents,10 something of a libertarian theory of freedom of speech and press,11 which, however much the Jeffersonians may have departed from it upon assuming power,12 was to blossom into the theory undergirding Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence in modern times.

The real issues stemmed from the Alien and Sedition Act, several tenets of which Madison strongly objected to, one in particular:

a sedition actstipulating criminal prosecution for conspiracy against the government or for interfering with its operations. This law, as entrusted to the federal courts for enforcement, defined nearly any criticism of the federal government or any member of it as a criminal libel. It had a chilling effect on citizens as well as the press

Interesting point of history, Madison presides over the war of 1812, which many in government and private life, did not support this declaration. While Madison was assailed on every side, he began to pressure his opponents of the war for acting against the interests of the United States, even though he himself had been a vehemenent objector to the problems the Alien and Sedition act might cause.

However much his opponents objected to this treatment, they did not hesitate to attempt to use the laws in their favor:

. Levy, Jefferson and Civil Liberties--The Darker Side (Cambridge, 1963). Thus President Jefferson wrote to Governor McKean of Pennsylvania in 1803: ''The federalists having failed in destroying freedom of the press by their gag-law, seem to have attacked it in an opposite direction; that is, by pushing its licentiousness and its lying to such a degree of prostitution as to deprive it of all credit. . . . This is a dangerous state of things, and the press ought to be restored to its credibility if possible. The restraints provided by the laws of the States are sufficient for this if applied. And I have, therefore, long thought that a few prosecutions of the most prominent offenders would have a wholesome effect in restoring the integrity of the presses. Not a general prosecution, for that would look like persecution; but a selected one.'' 9 Works of Thomas Jefferson 449 (P. Ford, ed. 1905).

In simple terms, whoever was in power, often sought to use the laws to their advantage, regardless of how they felt about the use of such laws against them when they were out of power.

In other instances though, the Supreme Court has asserted that certain acts during certain times could be considered criminal:

But in Schenck v. United States,16 the first of the post-World War I cases to reach the Court, Justice Holmes, in the opinion of the Court, while upholding convictions for violating the Espionage Act by attempting to cause insubordination in the military service by circulation of leaflets, suggested First Amendment restraints on subsequent punishment as well as prior restraint. ''It well may be that the prohibition of laws abridging the freedom of speech is not confined to previous restraints although to prevent them may have been the main purpose . . . . We admit that in many places and in ordinary times the defendants in saying all that was said in the circular would have been within their constitutional rights. But the character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done. The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. . . . The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.''

Simply, the Supremem Court giveth and takes away. If a man presents a leaflet telling his fellow soldiers to desert, if he does it during peace time, it is still illegal as it might cause problems within a government institution. However, as their was not "clear and imminent danger" his punishment or even consideration of it, must be contingent on this being a "peace time" act and no threat to the government being able to present an army against an enemy.

As opposed to taking the same action within the context of a government at war and being a legal representative thereof (elected official, member of the military, etc), in which case, these actions actually fall under the Amendment 14:

Section. 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Get that last part? If you did commit such an act, Congress can remove the stigma by a vote of 2/3.

And, Article III, section 3 of the Constitution:

Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

So, who is right? Those that claim they can say anything they want (1st Amendment)and those that claim that they can say what they want, up to a point and considering the conditions (1st Amendment + 14th Amendment + Article III)?

The test, as is attempted to be applied by the Supreme Court is the test of "clear and present danger" (no, not the Harrison Ford movie).

''[E]ven advocacy of violation [of the law] . . . is not a justification for denying free speech where the advocacy falls short of incitement and there is nothing to indicate that the advocacy would be immediately acted on . . . . In order to support a finding of clear and present danger it must be shown either that immediate serious violence was to be expected or was advocated, or that the past conduct furnished reason to believe that such advocacy was then contemplated.''

The test of clear and present danger was further placed into context:

The test, rather, must be one of balancing of interests. ''When particular conduct is regulated in the interest of public order, and the regulation results in an indirect, conditional, partial abridgement of speech, the duty of the courts is to determine which of these two conflicting interests demands the greater protection under the particular circumstances presented.'

A very simple balancing test of clear and present danger has been used throughout our history. That test is the test of "declared war", in which advoctaing the demise of government representatives, giving aid and comfort to the enemy (including materials or spoken propaganda), or straight forward passing secrets of weapons or military plans to the enemy, is the simplest test. It also adheres to the test of Interference with war effort"

At this point, it is easy to see that these folks actually have the protected right, according to the first amendment, to say whatever they like about the government or the President as long as it does not invoke or prepare an "iminent" danger or substantive evil.

For instance, if protestors suddenly ran towards the Senate, carrying clubs and shouting "kill the senators", that would be an imminent threat.

The law, is relatively clear based on the decisions of the Supreme Court, that people may march in the streets carrying "bush=hitler" signes. As long as they do it without causing an actual riot, damaging property, etc, they are within their rights. Once they begin to break windows or overturn cars, they have now posted an "imminent threat" and have lost their first amendments rights.

So, today's screeds regarding "freedom of speech" by those dissenting the war, is legal.

My take on the subject is that "it may be legal" but it's one of the stupidest activities we could be undertaking at this time. The demand to uphold the First amendment has somehow taken over our good sense about how best to defeat our enemies.

Go figure...

Monday, September 27, 2004

Divide and Conquer (part VI) - Propaganda: Indoctrinating The Youth

Madrassah To University

We've been talking for a bit about the issues in the Middle East and I've been researching information about University studies in countries such as Saudi Arabia. I'll be posting some more detailed information about programs and the kind of "students" (taliban) these universities turn out.

In the meantime, I've come across a couple of sites that I suggest you start reading on a regular basis if you want to get a load of our friends and neighbors in the big sand box. Go to the inner sanctum for connections and examples of these sites.

Terrorism Unveiled is a young American woman on a four month study program in a Jordan University. She plans to study the middle east and put her knowledge to work as an analyst or other specialist for the government. She has already posted some insightful information about what she is learning:

Today a Muslim lady who has her doctorate in Islamic studies came and lectured my class on the Revival of Islam and the changing roles of Islam. (...)

2.) The concept of Jihad and Shahada is only if an act of aggression is made against you, then you fight. Well, according the leading Islamic jurist manual in Sunni Islam, in this case, it is acceptable to kill civilians. So, do civilians exist in Islam? (Her answer to this is that she doesn't believe these scholars if they say this, but yet she said she believes Ibn Taymiyyah's scholarly discourse (later in the questioning period, which clearly advocates political Islam and many terrorists trace their ideological roots back to him. She's clearly contradicting herself.(...)

10. This bin Laden is a myth and I do not believe he is behind all of these things. Most Muslims do not even know of him, who is this bin Laden? I had asked her why there was no fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden. Her reply pushed me near my tipping point. I replied, "Well, the people cheering in the streets after the attack, holding his picture surely know of him."

This woman is living in denial. As are many Muslims, Christians, Jews, Westerners, Easterners, and the list goes on.

This gentleman at Crossroads Arabia collects articles from the Arab news sources and gives some interesting analysis with a background of some of the players:

It’s been a bad week for the US in Arab News. Actually, no… that’s not quite right. It’s been a bad week for the editorial writers of Arab News in their assessment of the US. The truly don’t understand a thing about it. They take cases from Dafur to the Kurdish areas of Iraq and find things to blame on the US.

This piece, by Amr Al-Faisal, grandson of the former King Faisal, is simply so full of invective that all one can get out of it is “I hate America". A point-by-point argument is somewhat useless, not to mention tedious. Al-Faisal simply grabs whatever pieces of rhetoric he can from his quiver and fires it off at his target. I suppose that’s enough for an ignorant readership, but I suspect Arab News readers are smarter than that.

I highly recommend that you keep a watch on our young friend in Jordan. She is on the ground and getting a first hand look at the lifestyles, education and opinion of her hosting country.

Enjoy and I will continue to research the curriculum at Saudi and other country universities.

Un-Declared War, Treason and Sedition

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Somebody else figured out that just maybe, saying negative things about the US, the military, commenting on potential force structure or capabilities (or lack thereof, even if it's true), calling our allies "frauds", etc, etc, etc might be....


Ralph Peters, retired Army officer, rights in the NY Post, opinion page:

September 23, 2004 -- IMAGINE if, in the presiden tial election of 1944, the can didate opposing FDR had in sisted that we were losing the Second World War and that, if elected, he would begin to withdraw American troops from Europe and the Pacific.
We would have called it treason. And we would have been right.

In WWII, broadcasts from Tokyo Rose in Japan and from Axis Sally in Germany warned our troops that their lives were being squandered in vain, that they were dying for big business and "the Jew" Roosevelt.

Today, we have a presidential candidate, the conscienceless Sen. John Kerry, doing the work of the enemy propagandists of yesteryear.

Is there nothing Kerry won't say to win the election? Is there no position he won't change? Doesn't he care anything for the sacrifices of our troops in Iraq?

And if he does care about our soldiers and Marines, why is he broadcasting remarks that insist — against all hard evidence — that the terrorists are winning?

Go read the rest here

The only reason it is not "treason" is that we are not in a declared war. IE, congress may have authorized the use of force in Iraq, but they did not "Declare War" against Iraq. Had they done so, Mr. Kerry would have shut up or been put up. This is also why Jane Fonda, John Kerry and any number of other people were not arrested for their little trips to Vietnam or meeting with the North Vietnamese in Paris. Vietnam was not a "declared" war. Also why Sean Penn was not immediately thrown into the "pen" (pun intended). No declared war.

At this point, the only thing that might get these folks what they probably deserve is if they are found actually handing battle plans or blue prints to "dirty bombs" to a terrorist or other country. Say....Iran maybe?

But hey...that wouldn't happen? Right?

Friday, September 24, 2004

At What Temperature Does The Brain Begin To Die?

No, this isn't a political commentary (although, it might explain some of the crazy things people are want to say), but something that was on a movie trailer for "Celsius 41.11". It's a move that is to be justopositioned against Michael Moore's F 9/11 hoax. The trailer looks pretty good actually. But, very serious. Go to this site and take a look.

Also, FYI...Friday evening I'll be off for a weekend adventure of fishing in the Ozarks, so, don't expect to see postings until Sunday or Monday night, depending on how late I get back.

To my friends in Florida...would you stop messing with Mother Nature! Haven't you had enough already?:D

Enjoy the weekend!

Divide And Conquer - (part V)

Propaganda: Indoctrinating The Youth Madrassah to University

Many "regular" folks in the United States have a certain opinion of our Middle East brethren. Largely that they are poor and uneducated and, therefore, easily swayed by fanatical religious leaders. Many have pointed to madrassas (private religious schools with some funding from state governments, but largely funded by and controlled by mosques) and mosques (religious houses of prayers; similar to a synagogue or church) as the main conduit for creating the base of the Islamist movement. The reality is, most of the leaders of these groups and their lieutenants are often educated at university. It is there where they often take advanced studies in Islamic schools of thought and our approached by recruiters to join and work their way up to leadership roles in the specific organizations.

Go to the inner sanctum for further discussion of the indoctrinization of Islamic youth...

To be sure, this does not negate the probability that "foot soldiers", particularly those that are running around with AK47s, running RPGs and suicide bombers, are not pulled from the upper age group of boys (usually) within the madrassahs. Recall that madrassahs are similar to our own primary schooling system, kindergarten through twelfth grade. The madrassahs curriculum is selected by the governing body of the schools, is based on religious themes and controlled by the Islamic organization supporting the schools (mainly through or attached to mosques):

  1. Basic reading, writing and arithmetic
  2. Reading and writing largely consists of memorizing the Qu'ran and writing it's passages for the younger crowd
  3. History lessons based on the Qu'ran with some modern day history texts largely touting the Arab version of history
  4. Science: from one particular website, I gathered that the teaching of science is also related to the Qu'ran, again, at least for the younger children. Much like teaching creationism at Christian schools
  5. Religious classes

In short, thoroughly indoctrinating their youth into Islam and it's belief that it (Islam) is the only true path, all other religions are heresies.

It is important to note something before we go on. There is more than one Islam, even if the Muslims would like to disagree. We will be exploring that soon. I just wanted you to understand, while I post generically about "madrassahs" indoctrination of Muslim youth, the same teachings (or sects) of Islam are not taught in these madrassahs. By far, however, Sunni Islam is prevalent. And within that, Sunni/Wahhabi, the foundation of the enemy, is strong. It garners the most state support from Saudi Arabia as Sunni/Wahhabi is THE state sponsored religion. This is also supported in many countries from Saudi Arabian funds, charities, and training and/or exporting teachers to these schools.

Recruitment in these schools actually starts when the boy is young. First getting him to do simple things like running messages or keeping a look out for the group. This is not simply because the boy goes to a religious school. Many gangs in the United States and other countries use a similar technique for their criminal endeavors. They select children who are vulnerable due to the loss of a parent, particularly a father figure or even parents who are not home during critical hours. These are the same techniques that the Muslim groups use, particularly Hamas and Hezbollah, in the Palestinian territories. Pakistan and even Iraq today have similar patterns of drawing children as young as 10 into their organizations for these kinds of jobs.

In a recent HBO documentary about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, a crew followed a young boy of 12 as he and his friends played and went to school during the day and in the evenings would go to the local hide outs, hang out with the terrorists (not what they called them), play look out or bag men carrying money, ammunition or other items for the group. He and another boy actually made explosive devices out of cardboard tubing and TNT powder for the video. The terrorist group treated him like a little brother. The journalist asked the terrorist group if they did not feel like they were putting the boys life in danger. Their reply was rather chilling: "If something happens to him, he will be a martyr, but there will be a thousand who can take his place". They spoke in English when they said this to the reporter, although all communications between the boy and the journalist were through an interpreter. Which lets you know that they did not think that was an appropriate subject for their potential sacrificial lamb to hear.

When the journalists spoke to the mother, she basically threw her hands up. She pleaded with with him to grow up, get an education and get married. Give her grandchildren. Not to leave her alone. There was no father in sight. Simply, she was a single mother with children, doing the best she could. Just like here in the United States. And, like here, it is all to easy for older, magnetic and "heroic" figures to prey on the children and convince them to work with them. Barely caring whether they become casualties. Looking on them as "shahid" (martyrs) with no greater value than what they do now and might become later for the group. And just like gang members here in the United States, this path is all too often a "dead end".

It would be inappropriate for me not to mention that not ALL schools are madrassahs. There are private schools, some even ran by Christian religious organizations. These schools are largely limited to Christian enclaves within these countries. Schools of this nature are limited to the foreign enclaves in Saudi Arabia. Countries like Iraq, Jordan and even Pakistan have small populations of Christians (largely Assyrian) within their countries where these types of schools exist as well. Certainly, the wealthy of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the like can afford to send their children to private schools, either within the country or outside.

However, by far, the normal population has limited choices. In an article of the Christian Science Monitor, the issue is brought to the fore:

"RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN - In Pakistan, a nation divided between militant Islam and Western-leaning modernity, Mehreen Shahid represents an increasingly unpopular yet pivotal minority.(...)

Ms. Shahid and her classmates dream, individually, of being highly educated, working as surgeons, engineers, software developers, architects, and physicists. Together, they dream of a better Pakistan, where the best and brightest don't have to leave the country to get ahead(...)

Those who "can't afford to go outside" include the estimated 600,000 to 700,000 children attending the large and growing number of madrassahs, or religious schools, where the focus is on study and memorization of the Koran, Islam's holy book.(...)

For more than a generation, Pakistan's social divide has been drawn in this Muslim nation's schools. Westernized middle- and upper-class families send their children to private schools like St. Paul's, which, despite its name, is nondenominational. The poor attend either inadequately funded public schools or the madrassahs.(...)

Education is one of the key factors that will decide which direction Pakistan heads, whether toward the outward-looking secular state envisioned in 1947 by founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah or toward a more inward-looking path of Islamic conservatism, similar to that of Afghanistan's isolated theocratic rulers, the Taliban. For many Pakistanis, the outcome of this longer-term war is of primary concern.(...)

As Pakistan's 141-million population grows, and public schools fail to keep pace, it is madrassahs that are taking up the slack, and shaping the next generation.

While there are no official figures, the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, a New Delhi-based think-tank, estimates that there are more than 15,000 madrassahs in Pakistan today, up from fewer than 2,000 in 1979.

"What's the price of ignorance? It's more costly than educating people," says Ardeshir Cowasjee, a longtime columnist for the Dawn, a leading Pakistani newspaper.

"In Pakistan, we have eight births a minute. That's almost 500 births an hour, 12,000 a day, 4 million a year. You need funds to build schools for all these children, and the funds don't match," Mr. Cowasjee says.

In 1994, a group of madrassah students answered the call of a charismatic recluse, Mullah Mohammad Omar, to overthrow Afghanistan's unruly mujahideen warlords and purify the country.

Even today, Pakistan's madrassahs frequently empty their halls to send young men to fight for the Taliban during Afghanistan's warmer warring season.

The Christian Science Monitor goes on to assure us that not ALL madrassahs are the same:

Not all madrassahs are alike, however. While many offer only the most rudimentary math and science, others are more sophisticated, aiming at the same level of education found in Pakistan's more-elite schools.

One of the better-funded madrassahs is the Anjuman Faizul Islam in Rawalpindi.

Here, boys and girls - nearly 700 of whom are orphans - study together up until fifth grade, and then continue their studies separately until grade 10.

This madrassah's library is full of books in both English and the national language, Urdu, from "Gone with the Wind" to "How to Build a Hydropower Dam." The chemistry lab would not look out of place at any American public school. The curriculum includes Islamic studies, to be sure, but the emphasis is on achievement, not on Islamic political causes.

Even the children know that their future, and the future of Pakistan, is directly attached to education:

"We are the future of Pakistan, we have to make it a better country," says Ali, who attended a madrassah for two years before coming to St. Paul's last year.

"We'll try our best, and in 10 years, Pakistan will be a great country."

Behind him, a number of students whisper reflexively, in unison, Inshallah, "If God wills it."

This points to two things, major things, that the United States can and should assist with:

  1. Funding SECULAR public education
  2. Funding after school SECULAR programs

According to CSIS reporting(pdf), the United States has tied it's aid to Pakistan with expected reforms within the country. Part of the aid provided was in the form of $34million for social reform funds. The administration has pledged an additional $100million per year for education reform specifically.

Another project underway under the auspices of CARE:

Nancy J. Powell, Ambassador to Pakistan:Earlier today, I was pleased to announce another U.S. government grant, this one for an exciting new program that will be administered by the non-government organization, CARE, under the stewardship of Ms. Seema Aziz. Starting next month, CARE will begin teaching English to 60 fifteen-and sixteen-year olds from underprivileged urban neighborhoods here in Lahore. The goal of this two-year program is to adequately prepare bright, disadvantaged students in written and spoken English so that they can gain admission to Pakistan's universities, thus permitting them to compete more effectively with more privileged students fortunate enough to have studied in English medium schools.

(...)Our flagship is the five-year, $100 million education program with the Ministry of Education to provide quality education for the girls and boys of Pakistan. Just within the last year, we have trained 2,500 Pakistani teachers both here and in the United States; introduced early childhood education programs in more than 200 schools; provided classroom materials and playground equipment; refurbished 1,200 schools; and established 100 literacy centers for out of school youth and adults. We are helping District Education Officers in Sindh and Balochistan improve planning, budgeting, and management. We are also rebuilding and furnishing 130 schools in FATA. We will expand these programs in the coming year.

And this is only Pakistan, but surely, Pakistan border lands are supplying the most young men to the Taliban who continue to attempt to take back Afghanistan, the country which sponsored Osama bin Laden and his terrorist training camps. According to The Center for Contemporary Conflict, many of the madrassahs are privately funded, but some are funded by the state through a yearly 2.5% tax on Sunni Muslim bank accounts:

One of the unique characteristics of the Pakistani educational system is the reliance on religious schools commonly known as Madrassahs. Historically these schools were founded as centers of learning for the next generation of Islamic scholars and clerics. As Singer (2001) notes, however, during the 1980s the Madrassah system changed significantly. First, as part of its Islamization policy the Zia regime stepped up funding for the schools. Funds were dispersed at the local level to institutions deemed worthy of support by religious leaders, creating new incentives for opening religious schools. At the same time, the war in Afghanistan produced millions of refugees and the radicalism of a jihad movement.

Today, the schools are funded both by private donations from Middle Eastern countries and by the "zakat," a 2.5 percent tax collected by the Pakistani government from the bank accounts of Sunni Muslims once a year. The tax results in millions of dollars each year being directed to the schools. Foreign donations come mainly from rich individuals and Islamic charities in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

A major reason for the popularity of the Madrassahs in Pakistan is that the country's public school system is in shambles, and many families cannot afford the small fees that are charged. Madrassahs offer an attractive alternative: free education, free meals, free schoolbooks and even in some cases a stipend. While the exact numbers are unobtainable, estimates are that over a million and a half students study at more than 10,000 of these schools.

A number -- probably a significant fraction -- of these schools have built extremely close ties with radical militant groups. In this capacity they have increasingly played a critical role in sustaining the international terrorist network

Several suggestions are made by the CCC on how the United States can assist with the education reforms as well as the difficulties of the project being a longterm investment and not seeing immediate success:

Given the limited reforms likely in the Madrassahs in the near future, the United States and other donor countries should seriously consider using foreign aid and assistance to facilitate educational reform in Pakistan. As a start, the United States plans to provide nearly $35 million in 2002 to bolster the country's state school system. At this juncture, the critical questions involve the most effective and efficient ways to proceed.

Singer has explored several of the options that might be worth considering. Logically, the United States could help the Pakistani government with one or more of the following options:

  1. Developing a public Madrassah system as an alternative to the current private Madrassahs.
  2. Developing a secular public education system that provides Pakistani families with a superior alternative to the Madrassahs.
  3. Developing alternatives and supplements outside the formal educational system
  4. Obtaining educational aid from a variety of international sources.

If you read the entire paper, it gives more specifics about what the Unites States could do to augment this program, the challenges and possibilities of success. This type of policy will work in some countries, but has to be augmented and shaped based on that country's fiscal and population structure.

Similar education dollars are given to Egypt and even Jordan. While not as much aid goes to Saudi Arabia for this issue, certainly there is pressure from the United States to reform their educational system. According to Mr. Simon Henderson to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept 10, 2003:

Since Afghanistan there have also been the issues of Somalia, Chechnya and Bosnia that have emerged as concerns for the “Islam strand” of Saudi foreign policy. In each case Saudi Arabia allowed or facilitated hundreds, if not thousands, of young Saudi male volunteers to go as relief workers or fighters.

This transfer of Saudi volunteers had, to my understanding, both a domestic and foreign policy purpose. These young men were graduates of the Islamic universities in Saudi Arabia, colleges where religious degrees are obtained rather than a technical qualification more conventionally useful for the job market. Apart from a religious education, the graduates are also imbibed with an Islamic spirit and energy with which the kingdom has difficulty coping. Sending these men abroad re-directed their energies. Some died in the fighting, others eventually returned home. For those still determined to be Islamic activists, jobs were found for them in the mutawa, the religious police, who administer such restrictions as making sure shops are shut at prayer times and women wear appropriate clothing. Others, who had perhaps matured and no longer wanted to be zealots, married, found jobs and settled down.

We'll be looking at Saudi Arabia and the roll of universities in developing Islamist terrorists in our next look at "Indoctrinating the Youth". To be sure, what this points to is that we are fighting against a well established mechanism for developing the leaders and foot soldiers of organized terror and we must work harder and faster to interdict this development.

The most important fact we must all come to terms with: this will not end with the capture or death of Osama bin Laden and Aiyman al Zawahiri. They are but steps on the ladder. We must be able to cut the legs out from underneath this organization. This will be long. It may even encompass more military action, even in countries we did not expect to.

Whatever it is, this will not be over soon.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

This Ain't Your Daddy's War - Part II

We Have Nothing To Fear, But Fear It's Self

Well, I had another post about "divide and conquer" all ready. Actually, I've got two, but, I know there is a limit to how much folks can read when I post my 10 page thesis on the subject. :)

But, someone stopped by to leave a comment and I wanted to bring it front and forward so we could talk and responses wouldn't get lost in the multiple postings I am want to do sometimes.

Peg Gartz writes:

Kat, The disrespect of the fallen soldier's family is a horrid story. I thought through Vietnam we had learned to protest the action of war while honoring those willing to fight for our country's policy.
I hate this war! My son spent 16 months there in a humvee. He also was decorated and brought all eight of his guys home. He'll probably go again after Jan 1. But he hates this war! He will fight it, but believes its pointless and is weakening the U.S. in the world. Disagreement with our government is our perogative, no OUR DUTY, as Americans. Patriotism is not determined by political party. Michael Moore's radical film does not represent all or even a majority, of democrats.

Go to the inner sanctum to see the rest of Peg's comments. I make some responses, but the first response is: Thank you.

I would not believe that a single Republican radical making nonsensical charges, such as Ann Coulter or Tucker Carlson, represents the entire party.
We should be able to disagree respectfully in America. Those of both parties serve. Those of both parties love our country and way of life.
BTW: As a lifelong Democrat, I would (and have) vote Republican, if a thoughtful, tolerant, moderate candidate a John McCain or Colin Powell. But four more years of lies like WMDs and imminent threats, followed by proclamations of false victory, rationalization and fear mongering, scares the hell out of me!
Peace to you

My first response was "Thank You" for many reasons. First, Peg's son is serving in the military and is returned from Iraq. Maybe "thank you" is too hollow or seems meaningless. Some soldiers have contended that they need no thanks because they are doing their duty. In this regard, I must respectfully decline that request and continue to say it: "Thank you".

I could say so much more. Maybe it would seem cheap and meaningless to someone who is far away and does not know me or I them. It is so little and costs nothing. But here, in this moment, it is what I can offer and I do so now with all my heart.

I also say "Thank you" to Peg for writing her comment and I hope she does not mind that I post it here. It is one of the few times that I have seen reasonable comments from someone that opposes the war and she brings up some important points.

First, I would like to discuss Michael Moore. I'm sure many people could say many things about him. Normally, I try to avoid any discussion of this guy because I think he has done our country a serious disservice. I liken him to Lord Haw Haw in World War II; Tokyo Rose; and the woman radio broadcaster from Vietnam (whose name escapes me right now; I'm sure somebody that reads this might remember and remind me in the comments). These folks all had something in common with Michael Moore. They created media methods in order to dishearten our populations and our troops, undermine our efforst during a war and, simply put, I refer to them as traitors. If we were in a declared war, Michael Moore would be tried for sedition and treason. But, we're not, so he is allowed to go on his merry way.

I also think that he has perpetrated one of the biggest hoaxes on a part of our population. No, I'm not talking about F 9/11. Certainly, that was a piece of work that will go down in the annals of history as the most publicized and lauded piece of garbage ever perpetrated on the film industry. I remember when he was booed at the Oscars and I think back to how many people that booed him then ran to his side of the argument as soon as what they thought they knew turned into something they did not expect.

The hoax that Michael Moore perpetrated on the American people is bigger than that film or the fact that it was lauded by "film critics". The hoax is that Michael Moore went around the world and told people in other countries that Americans were stupid. And then, he proved it by putting out this most egregious piece of garbage ever created and, not only did people believe it, but they paid money to see it. And he became the filthy rich capitalist he's been decrying all this time.

Some folks called him stupid. I hate to say it, but it has to be one of the most brilliant slight of hands ever done by a master magician. Bravo Mr. Moore.

In regards to the Democrats, I would like to point to several posts in archives where I discuss my lifelong adherence to this party. Yes, I have even confessed to voting for Al Gore in 2000. I had many grievances against Mr. Bush (I thought) regarding his domestic policies which I, now feeling foolish, believed were the most important areas of concern. I wrote many times how I had no idea that 19 men could come into my country and live among us and then slaughter us like cattle. But, even that was not what turned me away from the party.

Peg, if you read this, there is a long post in archives I was once a card carrying democrat - epiphany if you would like to hear why I turned away from the party we once shared. There were other posts about this, what I believe about taxes and abilities of people to be self sufficient. But I won't go into those. It is this post that puts it together.

Some would blame the Republicans for the division in our country. I must respectfully disagree. If you read my post from archives, I outline about three years worth of issues that I have with them and everyone of them is in regards to security and the future of this nation. I have been called a liar to say the least. People have insisted that there is no way that I could be a Democrat and say that I support President Bush or would vote Republican.

Every time they said that, it drove me away from the party even further, because, in the end, it was not the Republicans telling me that I was stupid or a liar. It was fellow Democrats.

Peg makes a comment about not putting all Democrats in the same boat with Mr. Moore. He and his ilk do not represent the party. Here again, I must respectfully disagree for several reasons. The first of which must be the mistake of placing Michael Moore in the President's box with Jimmy Carter at the convention. Or maybe that isn't a mistake. However one looks at it, it surely said to me that this is who the Democrats have chosen to represent them. It said to me that, even if they don't really buy all the things he put in the film, they are willing to use it, no matter how hurtful it is to some people or to our country, in order to win this election.

I am not blind.

I have also heard the Democrat talking crowd use his "talking points" from the film in their attacks. Things about "how many Congressmen or women's children serve in Iraq?" and "Haliburton/military/oil complex - this war is for them." Things that I have personally looked up and disproven as any indicator of this war.

Peg, if you would, there is a four part series that I investigated and wrote in this blog called "Blood For Oil" in which I specifically disprove that Halliburton received any special treatment beyond their known contracts with the Pentagon which they have held for over 12 years. Each time they were renegotiated. Every four years. They held this last contract since before the current administration.

You see, I didn't just take somebody's word for it. I looked it up myself. I also looked up how much oil Iraq produces or could even produce within the next 10 years. Let us just say, Iraq could never repay us for the expenses of our war in that time period.

So, when you implore me not to look at Michael Moore as a representative of the Democrat party, as much as we might wish it not to be, I'm afraid that he is. At least the base of the party. Certainly, some of it is watered down a bit by time it reaches the more centrist folks, but I'm afraid it's still there.

Shall we talk of WMD? I researched that, too. I researched everything that the President said about it and everything I could find about Senate committees and everything I could find from UNMOVIC (the UN body that was supposed to be monitoring Iraqs WMD) and whatever the intelligence agency would release for review. I won't argue with you about the existance of WMD "stockpiles" in Iraq today. Certainly, there has been limited reports on the subject. But I will state this simply, I don't believe the President lied or purposefully misled us into this war.

If you read the UNMOVIC papers, even the last report made in May of this year was still vague. There is this and that information, but they feel that they could not make a definitive report because there is still too much missing information. Intelligence agencies around the world agreed with them, right or wrong.

As a person that must make decisions everyday that effects people's lives, I understand about taking ten years worth of information and having to make a decision. And, I'm afraid, when I look at that coupled with the 10 years of "on again off again" contacts with Al Qaida (as tenuous as they maybe regarding 9/11), I would have made the same decision. This man was a threat. He was known to have WMD and he had contact with the people that attacked us on 9/11. Or the fact that we'd been flying missions over Iraq for nearly twelve years. Our planes targeted by them regularly. He regularly threw out the inspectors.

It seemed very clear to me and still does today. There are risks involved in doing nothing just as there are risks involved in doing something. Being someone that has never really been a "do nothing" person, I had to support and I still support going to this war.

Hindsight is 20/20. I know, old cliche, but there it is. One thing that strikes me today is how many people (Democrats included) supported the war and were on TV supporting the need to go to war (including the right honorable Mr. Kerry) having seen the same information and then, later, when we had boots on the ground and it became apparent that these "stock piles" were not forthcoming, how fast these same folks tried to distance themselves from their earlier support. Distance themselves after we had already gone in. While we are still there.

Now they claim that, yeah, they supported the war, but, you know, they tried to warn people or, you know, the President misled them. We're talking about people that we elected to represent us. They are supposed to know. When they came on TV and told me that we needed to do this, I expected that they did their jobs and knew what had to be done. Certainly, I was not party to the intel committees.

Looking at this now, I can come to these conclusions: these folks were either extremely gullible and the President is an evil genius for being able to dupe so many of them into voting for this action or they are as completely incompetant as they claim the President to be. In either case, I'm afraid it does not inspire me to vote for them.

And all the things I said the Democrats said during the last three years, they are still saying it. Saying it while we are at war.

Peg, you said that "patriotism" does not belong to one party. That it is our "patriotic duty" to protest our government. I will not deny anyone the right to have free speech. But, I find it a little ironic. If I were to practice a little psuedo psychology, I would have to say that sounds like some sort of guilt complex whenever I hear someone trying to assert their patriotism by saying it is our "patriotic duty" to protest. Particularly, when the only people I hear talking about "unpatriotic" or even "un American" are the Democrats and the "protestors". In which case, let me make sure that I am clear here that I am not calling you "unpatriotic". To do so would be the height of hypocracy considering that one can be no more patriotic than to have a son who has served his country and well.

Does the fact that your son has served in Iraq give your ideas more credence than mine? On first instinct, I might have said yes. In a far away time, before I knew who Osama bin Laden was. But, today, it is not just about your son or Iraq, today it is about the future of me and my family. In which case, I must respectfully disagree. And having said that, I will make clear also my feelings about "protesting the war".

In this world of 24 hour news coverage, seven days a week that is beamed around the world, when any one of our enemies can turn on CNN, see that they have caused us to be divided and feel some sort of joy at our angst and their possibility of winning this conflict, I must say that I am extremely unhappy about the protests. If you have read any of my other posts, you will see me talking about "divide and conquer". I don't blame our division on Republicans or Democrats. I blame our division on the people that deserve the blame: the enemy. You see, "divide and conquer" is not just a tactic on a battle field with battalions moving against each other, groups being cut off from their support and supply, "divide and conquer" is also a political tactic.

To divide us from our allies, like Spain and the Phillipines, their attempts on South Korea and Japan and now Britain, with holding their hostage for last, is their very desire. Even more so, to see us divided amongst ourselves and see the possibility that we might weaken and withdraw, allowing them to do as they wish, in Iraq or any other country, must be the answer to their dreams.

Peg, I'm not just saying this because I heard somebody else say it. I'm saying it because, from my point of view, it would make me no less than ecstatic to see bin Laden and Zawahiri on the outs. To know that Zarqawi is persona non grata in Al Qaida. To find out that Iran will no longer allow them to cross their borders and that all the Pakistani government now hates their guts and will chase them from one end of the earth to the other. To know that all of the Saudi Arabians finally discover that they have been supporting a serial killer with their "charitable" donations and won't do it anymore.

Alas, those are just dreams. Because our enemy knows better than we that they must stick together in order to win and that we must fall apart to lose. And since I feel that way about them, divide and conquer, it is no hard leap for me to know that they feel the same. And we play into their hands oh so easily while at the same time we speak of "free speech" and "patriotic duty".

Now let us speak of "fear mongering and victory".

Peg, it was not a Republican nor a Democrat that has made me fear. It was a cloudless Tuesday morning when 19 men taught me to fear for my life for the first time in my life. To be sure, I have been in situations that I once considered dangerous. I have ridden across the United States on a motorcycle on highways filled with cars. If you want an adrenaline rush with a little "fear" thrown in, you couldn't find a better example. I have flown in little tin pot planes in thunderstorms with lightening striking around me and the plane shaking and rattling, dropping 100 ft or so in the turbulence. That has made me afraid.

But nothing made me more afraid than to wake up one morning, prepare for work and turn on my TV to see airplanes dropping out of the sky and thousands of people dead and missing. Peg, I fly for a living. I mean, I must fly just about every other week for my job. It can't be helped. For weeks after I had to get on a plane and look at who was boarding with me. Watch where they sit. Watch what they do. I had to think about what I would do if somebody tried to take over the plane. I had to pray that I would be ready to act like the people on flight 93, be prepared to sacrifice my life in order that the plane not make it where ever these possible high jackers were wanting to go. And just maybe, my life would save hundreds or thousands of others.

Does this sound melodramatic? In my world, this is a reality that I might have to face some day. Not a story line in a book or a movie. I might get on a plane and never come back. Of course, there are those that will remind me that I have just as much chance getting hit by a bus, but, since I don't like either of those possibilities I prefer to be a afraid and ready to act than to be just another victim.

What else makes me afraid? I watch the TV and I see trains blown up, discos, embassies, schools with small children, car bombs and beheadings.

Peg, I don't need President Bush to tell me that I should be afraid. I have only to look, to hear, to read and know but for the grace of God go I. It is that simple.

And the most fearful thing is the future. Peg, this enemy is not just some man named Osama bin Laden and a few of his lieutenants. They have many men willing to die in order to kill us. However we feel about starting this war in Iraq, it is the simple fact that the enemy is there now and we are confronting them head on with our military and, hopefully, destroying any number of their minions, our would be killers. Not to say that we won't be attacked, because I don't feel that we are "safe" as in "never to be attacked again". I only feel "safer" because the enemy has chosen to attack our military which is quite capable of defending itself as opposed to a two year old on an airplane taking their first trip with their grandmother.

I wrote this on July 29, 2004:

I read the declaration and understood the nature of our enemy. His hatred. His total commitment to our destruction. That was when I realized that we must be just as committed to their destruction. We cannot take half measures. We cannot treat for peace. Negotiate a cease fire. The enemy does not ask that of us. They ask for our total submission or our total destruction.

I posted that one other time on my blog. A commenter left a message. Something like: Your sick! That is just sick! My first thoughts weren't anger. They were surprise and then pity. Because in their paragraph of spewing, I recognized a small part of me. Fear. Fear that, just by saying it, I am committing myself to something terrible. Something that cannot be simply rectified with a few bullets. A few well placed words. Fear that I must recognize this to be as the President said; long and brutal war where we should expect to see people die. No quick wins like Gulf War I; Panama; Grenada.

Peg, if I may be so bold as to make an assumption, I believe that the fear for our future is what we share, even though you accuse the President (I assume that's who you meant) of "fearmongering", it is not he that makes us afraid. It is "them" and "us". They make us afraid because we don't know if we are doing the right thing. If this war is going to turn out good or bad. If it will have the desired consequences or if it will be just the beginning of a long, dark time. A time when we will see more people die. When our fathers, brothers, sons, sisters, mothers and daughters in uniform might pay the price for this thing that we have wrought. We are two sides of the same coin. You not supporting this war and fearing for your son's life should he return to Iraq and wondering if this thing has actually made us less safe, and me, supporting the war and knowing even as I write this that my support means that your son may fight again and be wounded or even, God forbid, killed because of my decision.

Certainly, there are some who would say, "Kat, it's not YOUR decision, you take too much on yourself or display arrogance when you proclaim it such." But it is. It's my decision because I support this action and I will vote to keep this action. In saying that, I, like many around me that support this action, must be ready to take that responsibility in the same way that we demand the President to do so. If we cannot accept that responsibility, we have no business supporting this war.

And, Peg, when I say I must accept responsibility for the possibility that my support might mean our soldiers will die, I don't speak only of soldiers I don't know or even your son. I speak of my own brother who serves today. And that, Peg, is probably the most fearsome similarity and responsibility that we have. People that we know and love might pay a very high price for this thing that we do.

But there, I think, our similarities end. Where as your son does not agree with this war and only sees it as his duty because he is in the service and it is his job to fulfil the policy of the United States, I have the comfort of knowing that my brother feels that this is a necessity, that he is doing the right thing and would have it no other way. That is little comfort should word come that he is a casualty of this war, but it is more than having no comfort and wondering what it is all for.

Now, having spoke of fears, I want to speak of victory. How will we measure it? How will we know this war has ended? What if it goes on and on?

On my office wall is a flag. It is folded neatly in a triangle and hanging in a shadow box. It covered the casket of a man I once knew. He didn't die in battle, but he served his country. He died an old man in his home. He told me once of a war far away, long before I was born. It was a long and hard war. Many men died. He saw things he never spoke of and some things he talked about. He spoke of Pearl Harbor and having to wait another year before he could enlist because he was too young. He spoke of the adventures and the hardships. Of seeing men die when he was barely a man himself. It was the year before he died that he told me some stories about his time in the Pacific. I couldn't take them all in. You know, I was young and didn't understand it.

He said there were times when he thought the war would never end. But it did. When he spoke we had the luxury of knowing that we had won. Victory in Japan. Hundreds of thousands of men died in order to give the world peace. For a while at least. But, he was just one man on a ship in the Pacific. He could only tell me what he saw and did. I read many books on the subject because I wanted to know him more and try to understand. The story goes, there were hard times. Battles that we lost. Men who died for a patch of ground that was oft times retaken by the enemy. But eventually, they were able to move forward and conquer the enemy. Unconditional surrender.

I said that this is not our father's war. It's not Vietnam no matter how many times someone says it. It's not World War II. It's not Gulf War I. This is our war. We could pull our troops from Iraq tomorrow and let it all go to hell and the war would not be over. Instead, we would be sitting here, waiting and wondering. Who was the enemy? Where is he? What does he plan?

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "We have nothing to Fear, but Fear itself." That's the truth. We can pretend that, had we not gone into Iraq, or, if we just left now, we could turn this thing around. Stop this war. It won't stop no matter how much we wish it. It was declared years ago the first time a young Arab man screamed "Allahu Akbar" and blew himself up or killed some innocent person that was just minding their own business.

So, I took my fear and I put it away. I only take it out once in awhile to show you that I am not a robot that is just saying some words because I heard it on TV. Parroting the latest talking points of one candidate or another. I don't need anyone to tell me what I should fear. It is plain as day. But, I will refuse to allow that fear to guide my decisions. It is not fear that makes me suppor this war. It is knowledge that I have only two choices: to sit here and do nothing and be eternally afraid of the next thing, or to insist that we move forward, push this thing to the enemy and make sure that the "next thing" is very, very hard to do when the enemy's last vision is a man or woman with an M16 and an American flag on their shoulder and not some scared grandmother saying the Lords prayer with her granddaughter as the plane swoops in for the kill.

There is no fear, but the fear that keeps us sitting still in the dark, praying that the bad men won't find us. It is best if we turn on the light and go forward into this battle, lest we wake to find we have lost already.

It is "Victory in Iraq" or nothing. I'll take victory if you don't mind.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Divide and Conquer - The Enemy Knows Best

If you've been reading any of my posts, I've been saying for sometime that the enemy is practicing "divide and conquer" techniques. Wedge a political issue between the allies and watch them fall apart. This was the purpose of the Madrid bombing (yes, I know it was planned in advance, but you notice that it didn't occur until AFTER Spain was in Iraq) and then the demand for the Phillipine contingent (all 51 of them) to leave Iraq and pay money in exchange for their hostage.

I was just commenting to someone Tuesday morning on the interesting fact that they had killed the two Americans first: Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensely; and left the British hostage for last. Obviously to stir up unrest in the UK against Tony Blair.

The terrorist demanded the release of "all Iraqi women" from US prisons. There are only two in custody: Rihab Rashid Taha (Dr. Germ) and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a biotech researcher known as “Mrs. Anthrax,” in exchange for the hostages.

It turns out I was right. The Iraqi authorities are now considering a deal where they let these two out on "bail". Allegedly as no connection to this hostage issue, but we know better. We also know why they would want these women out. The terrorist have their own ideas and we are playing into them.

Go to this connection to read the rest of the story. Then, continue to the inner sanctum for a few more speculations about "divide and conquer".

So...who knows how to play this game better? Can you believe that our two hostages are beheaded and NOW we are going to make a deal to get the British guy loose? I mean, I really don't want to see this guy beheaded, but I certainly didn't want to see our own hostages beheaded either. What stupid ass negotiating team do we have over there? That's what this is. This is tactical bullshit they play in America whenever there is a hostage situation.

This is playing right into the terrorists hands and I don't like it one bit. This is Britain asking for a favor because there are rumors that there will be a big ass riot in the UK if this guys is beheaded and guess who would be the target?

Two guesses: 10 Downing Street and any mosque within blowtorch reach.

Do you see it differently?

After saying it had killed Hensley, Zarqawi's group said Bigley would die next "if the British government does not do what must be done to release him."

But they did not set a new deadline, raising a glimmer of hope there might be time to save him. (...)

A Foreign Office spokesman said the British government would look into reports of Taha's release "to establish the facts."

"The UK is not involved in the detentions. It's in the hands of the Iraqis and the Americans," a spokesman said.

A deal that appeared to secure Taha's release in return for Bigley's freedom would be controversial in Britain, which has a long-standing policy of refusing to negotiate with people it deems to be terrorists. (...)

Bigley's family have hit out at Blair's policy in Iraq, his brother Paul calling the war unfounded and stupid.

British officials say the government is using all possible channels to secure Bigley's release, but will not give details

And there goes our best ally. Good-bye Britain. It was nice knowing you. Thank you for leaving us out here with our asses in the wind.

To the negotiating team and the Interim Iraqi government: thanks for nothing. Thanks for letting our two hostages get killed and THEN negotiating with these assholes so they know they can win this game.

Stupid bastards. Excuse this blasphemy, but I feel like Christ on the cross: Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.

This Ain't Your Daddy's War

I was ready to post my next little ramble through the "divide and conquer: propaganda" sphere when I found a story about a soldier being beat up at a Toby Keith concert of all places. When I read that, I was so angry, I wanted to beat on something myself.

As friends or readers of one sort or another, you may know that I am a family member of an armed service person. In short, my brother is a 16 year veteran of the Air Force and Air National Guard. Without a doubt, the most disturbing thing to me is the behavior of some in America today, acting as if this was 1971 and either, reliving their past scumbag activist life or wishing they had been born back then so they could get their "peace" on.


Hopefully, that does not offend any Vietnam Vets or family there of. I just had to say it because I cannot believe the ignorance and sheer cowardly behavior of some people in this country. Most of it by people who wouldn't dane to put on a uniform, carry a gun into battle and face their enemy head on. They can't even face one soldier head on without sucker punching him in the back of the head.

I've started a letter writing campaign on behalf of this soldier. I do not have direct contact information, but I forwarded my letter to the news director at the channel: I am hoping that all of my friends or anyone else who is interested will write a similar letter and ask it to be forwarded to the soldier and his family.

For details of the story and another recent incident, please go to the inner sanctum. And thank you in advance for your help in this matter.

Decorated Soldier Reportedly Attacked At Concert

If I ever catch anyone doing this, they will find out how redneck we can get here in the state of Missouri.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A local soldier back from the war in Iraq said he was beaten at an area concert because of what was printed on his T-shirt, NBC 4's Nancy Burton reported.

Foster Barton, 19, of Grove City, received a Purple Heart for his military service in Iraq. He almost lost his leg last month after a Humvee he was riding in ran over a landmine.

Barton said he was injured again Friday night in a crowded parking lot as he was leaving the Toby Keith concert at Germain Amphitheatre. The solider was injured so badly that he can't go back to Iraq as scheduled.

"I don't remember getting hit at all, really," said Barton, a member of the 1st Calvary Division. "He hit me in the back of the head. I fell and hit the ground. I was knocked unconscious and he continued to punch and kick me on the ground."

Barton and his family said he was beat up because he was wearing an Iraqi freedom T-shirt.

"It's not our fault," Barton said. "I'm just doing a job."

According to a Columbus police report, six witnesses who didn't know Barton said the person who beat him up was screaming profanities and making crude remarks about U.S. soldiers, Burton reported.

One witness, a friend of the alleged attacker, said Barton hit first. Police said they do not think that witness is credible since the six other witnesses said Barton was hit from behind.

Barton's mother said she has a message for her son's alleged attacker, who police said ran into the crowd after the incident and was not arrested.

"He needs our prayers, just like the insurgents, because he's a coward," Cindy Barton said.

After a two-week leave, Barton was supposed to return to Iraq Tuesday. But his broken nose will delay his return.

Barton is waiting for doctors to tell him when he can return to active duty. He said wants to go back as soon as possible because his unit was just attacked. Eleven soldiers were wounded and two were killed, he said.

There is no end to the stupid behavior of some people. According to the news reel, the perpetrator was able to run off into the crowd. That irks me as well that no one at this concert actually helped this soldier. There were plenty of witnesses, but no one to help. What kind of world do we live in? I know it's a fucked up world, but it's hardly a world completely without civility and compassion. No one in the city of Columbus, Ohio could help this guy? At a Toby Keith concert where he probably sang "Angry American" and threatened to put a boot up the ass of the terrorists or even "American Soldier" which talks about their sacrifice? Was this some sort of left over hippy asshole who just listens to country music because he can't dig rap or grunge or metal or pop? Did he have LSD in his pipe?

Probably not. Probably just your normal everyday asshole that hasn't had his ass handed to him in awhile. I hope they get this guy. I hope that he is bragging it up somewhere and somebody gives him a little quid pro quo. Or, just send him to jail one night and hope the the police remind the inmates what kind of asshole he is. I'll bet you he won't be such an asshole anymore.

On a similar note, Blogs of War brings up an incident that occured Sept 9 to the family of Chad Drake at an alleged peace rally in Dallas.

DALLAS -- A candlelight vigil took place Wednesday night to remember U.S. war dead in Iraq during the week of the 1,000th casualty. One North Texas family whose relative -- Chad Drake -- was killed outside Baghdad on Monday, was among the mourners at Dallas City Hall Plaza.

A family friend said the vigil turned abrasive toward the family members. The friend sent an e-mail message to NBC 5 News that described the alleged treatment some vigil attendees directed at the family.

The family friend's message alleges Drake's mother was "harassed and yelled at, booed and hissed, told her son died for nothing."

Drake's mother reportedly left the event in tears.

The family attended the vigil because they thought it was meant to honor U.S. casualties. The event was organized by the Dallas Peace Center, which opposes the war.

The Drake family says they were upset about the antiwar tenor of the assembled crowd. The director of the Dallas Peace Center said the event was not intended to be an antiwar rally, but said e-mail notifications of the vigil were sent to a broad audience. Because the venue is a public place, he said, a variety of people with various views on the war in Iraq attended.

He also said the event was planned to include political overtones, but the Drake family should have been informed.

The center, however, did issue an apology to the Drake family.

"I want to be clear in issuing an apology to the mother of the recent victim of that war," Lon Burnam, of the Dallas Peace Center, said. "I can certainly understand why she would not feel comfortable in that particular venue with that particular group of people."

Peace Center officials said they believe the Drake family left before the scheduled events started, and the family might not have seen the planned ceremony.

Drake's sister told NBC 5 News that the family thought some of the crowd was hostile, so the family departed the vigil.

From the Blogs of War:

Spc. Chad H. Drake, 23, of Garland, Texas, died Sept. 7 in Baghdad, Iraq, when his patrol vehicle came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire. Drake was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Just another little reminder why I don't vote Democrat. Wouldn't support Kerry if my life depended on it and think that people like Michael Moore should be drafted and tied to the front of a stryker unit as RPG deflectors (probably bounce off his fat ass and fly back at the enemy; new secret weapon).

Fortunately, I know that there are people like me in this world who truly appreciate the sacrifices of our soldiers and their families. Comments from soldiers and others at Blogs of War:

Two days ago I posted a story about the family of fallen soldier SPC Chad Drake. They were harassed by anti-war protesters at a memorial service in Dallas. Two soldiers, both claiming to have served with Chad, have responded to the post:

SPC Drake was my soldier, he fought and died, and I continue to fight here in Iraq not just for the new found freedoms of this Country, but to preserve the rights and freedoms of all Americans. One freedom you all should cherish..your freedom of speach. Your welcome! Drake died for it, and I would too. To the Dallas Peace Center- You should meet Drak’s daughter..what a cutie. She lost her daddy and it wasn’t for nothing.
- SSG Lazzari

I am another soldier here in Baghdad, Iraq. SPC Chad Drake was in my platoon and I new him well. I grew up as a child watching the demonstrations again Vietnam and their Vets. I thought that the lesson had been learned and burned into our memories. I listen to my father talk about his treatment when he returned and thought that cannot happen to us. I was wrong! SPC Drake was a soldier, husband, and a father. The man was a hero having received 1 Purple Heart during this deployment. The actions of this medal are of a far more noble action then a current Presidental Canidate. This man who was driving a Hummer that was hit by a bomb. He was wounded and bleeding but didn’t leave his friends when the front passenger couldn’t open his door. The soldiers legs had been burned by ammuntion going off in the truck so SPC Drake broke the steering column and pulled the man through the drivers side. He then returned for the gunner who was seriously wounded and rendered first aid. SPC Drake then returned to the mission rescuing downed pilots without getting looked at…But you are free to offer your opinion because of soldiers like him. To his family Randi and Kaylee I am so sorry for your loss and pray for you everyday. We are doing the job that most people don’t want to do but we are proud to do it! We are American Soldiers!
- SFC Mault

His sister posted a comment on Blogs of War on 9/15...

would like to say to all the soldiers in Iraq that I am proud of all that you are doing for our country and for the people of Iraq. I am SPC Chad Drake’s Sister. I can tell you that the past few days have been verry hard for me and my family. When we heard of my brothers death it was the saddest days of my life. We just new that Chad was going to come home and tell us all the stories and all the good things that had happend. I will tell you that I am proud to say that Chad Drake was my brother and that he died for you and for me. I know that if he was writting this that he would want me to tell you “Cowboys” to RIDE or Die and be strong for eachother. My brother did not die in vain, he died as a hero. When he would e-mail home he always was proud of what he was doing and he never took it lightly. He never complained and he was always positive. So I would just like you to kow that we suport you 100% makes us proud and come home safe. We “THE GIRLS” are praying for all of you daily. From the Heart Of A Fallen Soldier Jennifer Ott

Comment by jennifer ott — 9/15/2004 @

Let that be a lesson to all that would defame a soldier or insult their family. Not on my watch. Not in my town. Not anywhere I can see it. They will suffer extreme prejudice at the hands of a very pissed off Missourian.

A Marine wrote a comment after attending Chad Drake's funeral:

I attended a funeral today for a Chad Drake. I did not have the wonderful pleasure of getting to know Chad. But, from what I heard about him I felt I could have easily been a friend to him. I went on behalf of the United States Marine Corps. Myself and two other Marines were present. See Chad Drake was a Specialist in the United States Army. He was killed in action in Iraq. I felt a new since of pride when it comes to family… See, Chad also had a wife and a daughter about the same age as Kaitlyn. I thought about how I come home each night and see my daughter and wife greet me with a hug and a kiss and love. I thought about how sometimes we all take that for granted. And how Chad’s wife Randi is going to miss getting to do that… along with his daughter Kaylee.

His Company Commanders who served with him in combat in Iraq were there and spoke… but even more so… a fellow Soldier whom was wonunded along side Chad… Chad wounded himself still made sure that this Soldiers life was safe once this happend… Chad took his final breaths. See Chad I think is what is in all of us. A person whom is willing to lay his life on the line not just for a fellow Soldier but for a country and people that will never know the sacrifice that Chad made in the simple hope that they too will be FREE.

Riding to the grave site where Chad would be layed to rest I could not help but think of the song that was sang during the service. Butterfly Kisses… how his daughter will grow up and not be able to have her Dad walk her down the isle or see her complete school… or the simple pleasure of a smile that could make the darkest days bright again. Sadly but Chad saw his daughter grow up through video and pictures considering he was serving his country in Iraq.

At the grave site the volley of gun fire was shot in the air and Taps was played… what a honor it was to feel for a brief moment Chad’s life. Again, I did not know Chad but I ask that each of you tonight say a prayer for Chad and think of his family and think that there is a little Chad in us all. For we all love the simple pleasures of love and I think that is what Chad lived for…

For all who get this… love is sent with it… and remember that For those who have fought for it… FREEDOM has a flavor the protected will never know. God Bless Chad Drake and his family and may God Bless America.


Comment by Bryan McNeal — 9/17/2004

If you are like me and realize that there are men and women sacrificing every day, living in the heat and the sand and in constant danger of their lives so that I can sit here and write on this stupid blog, you will write a letter to Foster Barton and his family in care of the: and thank him for his service. Then, pop over to Blogs of War and write a note of appreciation for the Drake family.

Let our troops know we love them and appreciate them, regardless of the stupid jackass behavior of the Michael Moron crowd.

Because, when the soldiers are gone, who will they come for next?