Sunday, October 31, 2004

Open Letter To Osama Bin Laden

To the Mass Murderer Of Citizens of America and Assundry Nations of the World,

Your offer of truce is rejected.

Surrender Or Die.

On second thought....just die.


Loyal Citizens of the United States of America

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Open Letter To Michael Moore

Osama Bin Laden and F9/11

Mr. Moore,

You are a scurrilous, obese, disgusting, treasonous dog. A stinking boil on the ass of humanity.

How did it feel when you heard Osama Bin Laden, the arch enemy and single most prolific mass murderer of 3000 Americans, quote your movie? Did it give you a vicarious thrill? You piece of shit.

Not enough that your poisonous filth was distributed by the terrorist "minutemen" of your fantastical nightmare, Hezbollah, or shown in Iran, that "free" country that hangs little girls for speaking out against the religious fanaticism of her country while you decry the faith of the President of the country which you infamously claim citizenship to. You must now believe yourself some Godhead, having captured the attention of your favorite celebrity, the same scum which you declared justified in his acts only a day after your fellow citizens were burned to a crisp in two towers by an inferno of jet fuel, or forced to jump to their death from 100 stories, crushed beneath the weight of hundreds of thousands of tons of steel and concrete. Nothing left to identify them but a shard of a leg bone, a tooth, a finger.

And the patriots and soldiers at their duty stations in the Pentagon, who have forever protected your odious right to free speech and produce the filthy lie you call a documentary. Or the men and women on flight 93 over Pennsylvania, who understood better than you, a piece of offal not worthy of gracing the bottom of their shoes, what it meant to be real patriots and minutemen. Giving their very last breath to protect this country you so despise.

In your imposter of a documentary, you claim that Halliburton was a war profiteer and yet, there you live in your mansion, bought with the money you made not only from the blood of those 3000 victims, but the blood of the Iraqis and the blood of the soldiers. You evil, bleeding, puss ridden hemorrhoid on society.

You declared that Americans were stupid and then you proved it to yourself by producing propaganda for their very killers and they watched it with glee, filling your pockets with the thirty shekels of silver for a Judas. How appropriate that image is. If only you would hang yourself like Judas and save us the the ignomy of your presence in the same world as the heroic families of those victims.

How you must have laughed up your sleeve as they bought the tickets, DVD's or rented your movie. Wallowing in your blood money like Caligula at an orgy.

Zell Miller once declared that he wished we lived in a time when a man could challenge another to duel when confronted with the smirking face of Chris Matthews. For me, I wish we lived in a time when men like you were whipped, tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. Of course, to remove you in such a fashion would require that the rail be a fifteen inch steel I-beam, the Las Braes tar pits would have to be drained to cover your fat, postule ridden body and the number of chickens that would need to be killed to cover your humongous, sweaty ass with feathers would be nothing short of genocide. Lastly, to carry you from our presence would require two F350 pick up trucks with steel re-enforced frames.

You think yourself Prometheus, bringing fire and light to humanity. It is my hope that your everlasting damnation be the same as his, chained to a mountain while vultures eat your liver out every day, only to regenerate and have it happen again from here to eternity. Ahh...but that would still not be good enough as the vultures would probably choke on the putrid fat and flesh of your body before they ever reached the only functioning organ you ever possessed.

You will go down in infamy as the Goebbels of the twenty first century. Benedict Arnold without the grace or past heroic endeavors of even a traitor like he.

What words are there to describe you? A traitor. A murderer. A pig. A viper at the breast of America and her sister Liberty.

In your last days, as you lay dying in the stinking heaping sty you will call a bed, my fondest hope is that you die screaming at the ghosts of your cruel hypocrisy, choking on the evil bile that is your whoring, decrepit soul.

And don't think that I want you to die too soon. No, that would be too easy. I want you to live and see what you have wrought with that duplicitous, blackened lump of coal you call your mind. Live well off your blood money, you pompous hypocrite, the better the demons to torment you in the rejected, lonely future I foresee for you. Because even that traitorous bastard ex-President Jimmy Carter will be forced to abandon you to your own ignomy once the next attack of your pernicious hero is perpetrated having spoken your very words. All those who once lauded you at Caanes will speak your name in a hushed, harsh whisper, lest they be reminded of how they once bowed down and kissed your hairy, amorphous ass.

As you have no heart and no love for your fellow man, I see you dying, unloved and unwanted by the very society you wished to pervade with that perverse pornography you called the "truth".

Sleep easy tonight, for I am sure that no nightmare will disturb you as you must first have a soul to be so tormented. I am sure if you ever read this you would shrug and wash your hands, like Pontius Pilate, of the blood of the innocents you helped to kill. Keep scrubbing, their blood will never wash off, because it is a stain forever branded on the stinking ass of your life.

You are reviled and remain so, forever more.

Proud Citizen of the United States of America

Friday, October 29, 2004

Patriotism, Liberals, Conservatives and Bigotry

Conversations About the New Revolution

As a young person, my politics were derived from two fronts: my parents were Democrats and social conscience. My first election, I believe I voted Democrat because that was what my parents voted and I really didn't know anything about the candidates. I knew that we had hit a period of prosperity during President Reagan's time. He spoke at the Berlin Wall: "Mr. Gorbechav, tear down this wall." We had the beginnings of Glasnost. We lost the space shuttle Columbia. I watched it live on TV in my advanced World History class.

My family was "lower middle class". Just above the poverty line. Keeping a family of five on a police officer's salary is no mean feat.

I think back to the things that my parents taught me and look around and see that it's not being taught to many young people today. Respect was one thing. My folks were sticklers about saying "sir" and "ma'am" when we were talking to them or anyone "older". "Thank you", "you're welcome", "please". Honor, integrity, loyalty and patriotism.

Funny thing that last word, it scares the hell out of some people. Go on to the inner sanctum for further conversations about patriotism, conservatives, liberals and bigotry.

I was recently having a discussion with someone I would refer to as a "moderate liberal" on this subject. For context, the word "liberal" doesn't necessary mean that they believe in liberty in the strictest sense of the word, like a "libertarian". Frankly, the difference is stark. I'm not sure how to word it, but to me, a modern day "liberal" means they are liberal with your tax money. I'm not even sure "liberal" should be used in regards to these folks. But I decided to look it up before I went on with the rest of my discussion:

lib·er·al ( P ) Pronunciation Key (lbr-l, lbrl)

a)Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
b)Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
c)Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
d)Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.

Funny about (D), in Canada and Great Britain, a liberal is more like the American libertarian. But I read this and thought, "yeah, I know some folks that fit that description". Except maybe the bigotry part, but that plays into my discussion later. The funny thing about bigotry, when you disclaim somebody else's ideas or attitudes and call them "Nazis" or "fascists" or "fundamental Christians", doesn't that go against the "liberal" doctrine?

Strangely, I would believe myself a bit of a liberal. People may have their own religion, be an atheist for all I care, don't comply with the "orthodox" view of society. You want to pierce your nose 20 times and each eyebrow 10? Go for it. I'm not planning to do it myself. Then again, maybe that makes me a conformist or a conservative? Unfortunately, I think when I look back, even at my youth, I was probably more of a "conservative" with a "bleeding heart liberal" anxiety about society and tolerance. I'm not sure I've totally gotten over that.

But, I digress. What I found most interesting was the second description of the word:

Tending to give freely; generous: a liberal benefactor.
Generous in amount; ample: a liberal serving of potatoes.

I think that is where I have some of my problems with the words and thoughts of a "liberal". While being open and progressive and tolerant of other's ideas, the second half of the liberal mind set "to give freely" is where my liberal heart dies and my conservative mind takes over. I think some folks are a little too free with my money. I've come to that opinion more of late and I guess that means that my "liberal" credentials will be stripped away.

The last definition, is "obsolete" supposedly but seems utterly to apply in a number of people I've run across from the "liberal" side of the sphere:

Morally unrestrained; licentious.

I don't want to use this as too wide of a brush to paint with. Not every liberal I've ever had the pleasure to meet would I call "morally unrestrained", but let's face it, there are some folks riding around on the liberal train who have taken this concept to heart: anything goes. And they don't even apply the rule "as long as no one gets hurt." It's kind of a "use and abuse" situation. Like miniature Marquis de Sades running around, doing whatever they want.

And, if any of my "liberal" associates object to this description, let me assure you, ten years ago (which isn't that damn long ago) I knew some people that fit just that description. Screwed anything that moved, drank 'til they puked, popped pills, snorted, smoked an amazing array of products, stayed out all night, went to work bleary eyed and started all over again at 6pm, soon as they clocked out. Some didn't even work. The only day of rest wasn't even Sunday. Sunday's still had beer specials at the local tavern. Monday, that was the day of rest. No beer or shot specials. It wasn't "ladies" night. You had to do laundry and sleep some time.

It wasn't long before I realized that I might not belong to the nihilist, self destruct part of society. The parents voices were still in the back of my head. Telling me about courtesy, moderation, blah, blah, blah. That's what I thought for the first year. Although, while I will admit to spending a few nights in a moshe pit and drinking myself into a coma, I never could do the drug scene. Those people seemed a little too f-d up if you know what I mean. And frankly, I was still a country girl in the big city and my latent morals kept me from joining into any freak show of the bedrooms.

So...What does that mean? I was just a conservative dancing on the fringes of the morally bankrupt? I suppose that means that I thought I was "bad" and could never be that bad. Getting my vicarious thrill. Not long after that, I was probably converting to conservatism, but just didn't recognize it. And when I think about it, my parents weren't liberal Democrats. They were conservative Democrats. They believed in hardwork, taking care of your own, courtesy and religion.

And honestly, they weren't too damn tolerant of other people. Still not today although I am working on them. I suppose that bit of tolerance is my left over liberal self reminding me that I am not the only person walking around on the face of this planet. Liberals are good for something, if nothing else than to remind you that you are not perfect. By a long shot. And they take extra pride in reminding you. Like that little niggling conscience that tells you to stop staring just because the guy is wearing a Nehru jacket and a turban in the middle of Kansas City (which is a pretty odd occurrence, frankly, we don't have many Sikhs in the mid west). Fortunately, I did spend some time away from the farm and it broadened my experience enough that I don't totally fall into a stuttering, gaping mouth episode when I see a guy in drag or daisy duke leather shorts with matching suspenders and a pair of roller skates as his only clothing (alright, I still stare. I can't help it).

Come on, I know you've done it too and don't tell me about tolerance and acceptance, I know plenty of my so called "liberal" friends who are all about gay rights and marriage and still get grossed out when they see two men or two women kissing each other. And, yeah, me, too. I can't help it. Does that make me a bigot? Whatever. If I say it's "not natural", am I now some crazy, witch burning Christian fundamentalist? Hey, I don't really care what people do to themselves or with themselves as long as it doesn't hurt anyone, cause death or destruction. And now I will do my little poser liberal, qualifying statement and say I have some gay friends. What the hell, maybe I'm a soft bigot after all.

So, I'm having this conversation with a liberal guy on a blog commenting section. Generally, he's a moderate, but he does get on his high horse about some things. His particular issue lately is the morality of war in general as it causes civilian casualties and the apparent unfeeling behavior of some commenters on the blog who appear to be "cheer leaders" for the war and "Bush Fanatics" who are brainwashed. Mind you, he supports the liberation of Iraq, but he can't seem to swallow how war is prosecuted. Torn you could say. Anyone that says that the war was "good" he jumps on like a rabid dog smelling fresh blood. Some how, I have the impression he thinks that people that say this don't have any feelings for the innocent victims caught in the cross fire or accidentally killed by errant bombs.

Just typing that, I'm sure, if he read that statement, he would be pretty sure that I go to bed at night praying to God to deliver the blood of the "infidel children" to me in a goblet to drink. Because I did not give the issue it's due deference.

My point to him was that a) he was mistaking patriotism for blood thirsty, brutish insensitivity and b)he doesn't really know much about any one posters belief because it's just a narrow comment section with a finite limit to characters, a finite subject matter (Iraq) and their is no inflection to be found in the printed word unless you actually type something like: I AM VERY ANGRY; and c) he was painting a really wide swath with the brush he often gives the conservatives crap over.

His answers were a) patriotism is bigotry (could have knocked me over with a feather); b) People are really blunt on the comment section and say what they mean (so true, but it's a wonder if he could find any comment section that literally says "It's good to bomb Iraqi children and drink their blood"); c) he was doing the painting with a wide brush because the conservatives on the blog kept talking about "lefties" like they were criminals (totally your own perspective of course) and painting with just a wide brush so he was doing it in self defense.

The conversation went on for probably two hours, believe it or not. Basically, they were discussions about morality. For instance, how can one claim to have the moral high ground in a war when the war you are committing has civilian casualties, particularly women and children? Well, a very good question, but my theory is that not prosecuting a war at all against somebody who is already a mass murdering megalomaniac is even more morally reprehensible as you don't even try to stop the murders he was committing, en masse. It's moral relevatism. But it's also the conscience. One should be reminded that war has consequences beyond blowing up tanks. It does kill people. So it should never be undertaken lightly.

I was reading Thomas Paine, Common Sense, The Crisis, The Rights of Man, etc. And I read his words and understand that a man over 230 years ago understood it just as well:

'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to "bind me in all cases whatsoever" to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other

If you understand what he is saying, he once felt as my friend did, that war is murder. But should he stand by and do nothing about the threats to himself, his property or his people? Does it matter who commits the crime against him? And lastly, but most importantly he tells us exactly why moral relevatism doesn't really work. "If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference". When you cut that out by itself, it makes perfect sense. If you look at both sides of the Warring parties and drill down to the "root cause" you could find some reason why both parties are equally bad and war then has no reason. "neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other". Thomas Paine was actually a bit of a pacifist, by no means a warmongering patriot of the American Revolution.

As a matter of fact, if you read the letters of the Crisis, you understand that several of his letters are appeals, as a patriot, for General Howe to leave off the war. Of course, the letters probably pissed off General Howe (the British General) because they also told Howe that he could not defeat them (the colonial rebels) because he did not have the enough men to occupy the vast lands of the colonies. But, we understood well that there was a moral to the issue after all:

There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both
The Crisis 1777

In other words, there are worse things than committing war and that is to do nothing and hope that the enemy will be merciful. And to trust to that is to allow the worst sort of fate and ignomy.

So, what about "bigotry". My friend insists that, to insist that your type of government or your way of life is better than another's, is bigotry. For instance, the "neo-con" plan to spread freedom and liberty around the globe is bigotry. Particularly, assuming that people everywhere want to live free, regardless of their culture or religion. Unfortunately, my friend went that extra step and insisted that it was also "racial" bigotry because we are inflicting this cause on other countries where the people are not "white".

The reasons I was so flabbergasted by that last statement was because, to me, it seems the height of bigotry to insist that men who are not "white" would not long to be free and he makes that assumption. Of course, the other assumption that America is "white" (and so is he by the way) it is the reason that we wish to impose our government on our "little brown brothers" or whatever the newest term is. Of course, this totally negates the entire premise of the United States as being a melting pot that has nearly 50% population as "non-white". What then can we say about the "non-white" people that believe that this government and this country are the best?

So, while applying the term "liberal" to himself and making the connection that he is "open minded" about other people's ideas, it seems also so close minded to believe that, based on people's race, religion or historical culture that they do NOT want to be free. In essence, if they are living in slavery and oppression, maybe they like it and we shouldn't interfere? And if they don't like it, they will rise up and solve their own problems.

The major problem with that assumption is that any citizenry can rise up against their oppressive government and defeat it even if they do not have the ability to match that government force in weapons. This isn't the revolutionary war when the greatest weapons advancement was the musket and the cannon and the people could obtain the same weapons capability. We're talking about governments (like Iraq) that have helicopters and tanks and the common citizenry, unless they can convince an armed unit to defect to their side, does not have access to equalizing weapons.

In short, one must either convince the military (like in Russia or Lithuania) to side with the citizenry en masse (and risk the military committing a coup in the name of the people, like Pakistan, and inserting their own person) or obtain assistance from outside that would have similar capabilities as the government that the people wish to overthrow. And, remembering history and reading Thomas Paine, we did just that ourselves, requesting the French to loan us some foot soldiers, but mainly, to provide us assistance on the sea. Mr. Paine points out in "Common Sense" that the colonies, without a sufficient navy, could not hope to compete with Britain. In a sense, that we could kick the British out of the continent, but then we would be crushed economically because the British men of war could blockade shipments of materials to and from the colonies, destroying the economy and, basically, destroying the nascent independent colonial government. That was the appeal of the colonials to the French. Provide us with assistance on the sea. Recall if you will, Jean Paul Lafayette, one of the great heroes of the Revolutionary War was not even a citizen of the colonies.

In short, it seems an awkward thing to bemoan the intervention of a free country against a tyrant. Particularly when that tyrant has acted against, not only his own people, but the countries around him.

Those bands of robbers having parceled out the world, and divided it into dominions, began, as is naturally the case, to quarrel with each other. What at first was obtained by violence was considered by others as lawful to be taken, and a second plunderer succeeded the first. They alternately invaded the dominions which each had assigned to himself, and the brutality with which they treated each other explains the original character of monarchy. It was ruffian torturing ruffian. The conqueror considered the conquered, not as his prisoner, but his property. He led him in triumph rattling in chains, and doomed him, at pleasure, to slavery or death. As time obliterated the history of their beginning, their successors assumed new appearances, to cut off the entail of their disgrace, but their principles and objects remained the same. What at first was plunder, assumed the softer name of revenue; and the power originally usurped, they affected to inherit.
The Rights of Man; The Origin of the Present Old Governments - Thomas Paine

This was written over 200 years ago. Sad that it is still so true today.

But, on patriotism being bigotry, if that is how some people would like to portray it, then let them I suppose. To me, it doesn't take much to look around and see, even with the election issues brewing, the discussions of war and peace, protestings, taxes, the economy, etc, I wouldn't trade this country or it's government for a palace and all the gold in Fort Knox. As long as I am free and have the right to choose my representative government, I will be happy to remain just me. A middle class person, struggling to make the ends meet. That means that I do believe this country and this type of government are the best among men and countries. With but a word, a vote, I can change it to suit my needs.

And, herein, I lay claim to the part of the title "liberal" that I feel the current "liberals" have abandoned in their quest for moral relevatism: that is to say, that I am open minded to the point that I can recognize other cultures, religions etc, but I am open minded enough to understand the basest of human desires, to live in a free and "liberal" society without fear of persecution from those that would control them for their own nefarious purposes.

Thomas Pain, in "The Rights of Man" goes on to explain the difference:

All hereditary government is in its nature tyranny. An heritable crown, or an heritable throne, or by what other fanciful name such things may be called, have no other significant explanation than that mankind are heritable property. To inherit a government, is to inherit the people, as if they were flocks and herds.(...)

As the republic of letters brings forward the best literary productions, by giving to genius a fair and universal chance; so the representative system of government is calculated to produce the wisest laws, by collecting wisdom from where it can be found.(...)

It appears to general observation, that revolutions create genius and talents; but those events do no more than bring them forward. There is existing in man, a mass of sense lying in a dormant state, and which, unless something excites it to action, will descend with him, in that condition, to the grave. As it is to the advantage of society that the whole of its faculties should be employed, the construction of government ought to be such as to bring forward, by a quiet and regular operation, all that extent of capacity which never fails to appear in revolutions.(...)

It is wholly characteristical of the purport, matter or object for which government ought to be instituted, and on which it is to be employed, RES-PUBLICA, the public affairs, or the public good; or, literally translated, the public thing. It is a word of a good original, referring to what ought to be the character and business of government; and in this sense it is naturally opposed to the word monarchy, which has a base original signification. It means arbitrary power in an individual person; in the exercise of which, himself, and not the res-publica, is the object.

Every government that does not act on the principle of a Republic, or in other words, that does not make the res-publica its whole and sole object, is not a good government. Republican government is no other than government established and conducted for the interest of the public, as well individually as collectively

In short, yes, as a Patriot of the United States and a believer in the need for governments to be "by the people, for the people" I do believe that our system of government is the best system of government. I do believe, based on the numbers of immigrants, both legal and illegal, who pay the price of leaving homeland, family, risk life and limb or pay tens of thousands of dollars to be spirited into this country and experience this way of life, that this country, this type of government is the best. If one must refer to that as bigotry, then by all means, call it what you will.

Frankly, I feel that any person aspiring to the label "liberal", who does not recognize that they have actually closed their minds to the thought that other people in other countries desire to be free, should be stripped of the title "liberal" and verbally whipped with their own inconsistency. Of course, in the definition of "liberal" we find the word "tolerance", but I believe that our current "liberal" brothers and sisters have completely mistaken of what one should have "tolerance" for.

To tolerate another mans religion, culture, the number of tattoos, his clothes, his very life style, is one thing. But to tolerate a man who steals, kills another in cold blood, abuses his family or the people to whom he is set to govern, is quite another. If you ask me to have such tolerance, then I will have to respectfully decline.

To tell me that I should not interfere in the worst endeavors of another because I might cause some damage to the very people that I mean to protect is a moral ambiguity that makes men take no action. And frankly, that is the worst sort of immoral behavior I can think of. To do nothing. To sit like Pontius Pilate upon the throne of judgment and wash my hands of the blood of another because I might cause something worse to occur, makes me just as evil as the one committing the crime.

I turn with the warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out: I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but "show your faith by your works," that God may bless you.

It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. The Crisis 1777 - Thomas Paine

So, will you, nil you, call me patriot, bigot, conservative or liberal, don't tell me that my government, my country is only as good as another. In the long history of governments upon this world, even in it's imperfection, it is more perfect than any other. Don't ask me to tolerate in this world, that which I would not tolerate for myself, for my family, for this country because someone lives "over there" and does not share my race, religion or heritage.

Give yourself the label of "liberal", but strike from the definition tolerance for dictators, oppression and slavery.

This then is the "new revolution". A reminder to patriots that patriotism is not a nationalistic evil. Patriotism is the love of your country, in the system which we chose to govern it. Patriots believe that this way of life is the best way of life and should not be traded for a moments peace. They call it "neo-conservatism" or new conservatives. It is not new by any means. It is as old as Aristotle and Pluto. It is not "conservative" by any means as a conservative is bound to hold on to the old traditions, to be conservative in his actions. Takes little or no action on the belief that it would upset the status quo. Conservative.

Rather, this new revolution has no label as it takes from the core values of both liberal and conservative definitions. To be open to new ideas and cultures. To not be bound by orthodox thinking. To give freely to others. To be a "liberal benefactor". While at the same time to believe in freedom as the desire of all men. That it is an unalienable right, given by the Creator and not reliant on the laws of men to bestow it on another at their whim. To believe that republicanism, government for the good of the people, by the people, is above any monarchal or authoritarian government, is the new patriot.

It's a new revolution. An evolution if you will. The once proud rebels of the old revolution are now the conservatives, trying desperately to hold back the tide and maintain the status quo as the "new liberal" advances having co-opted the best of both ideologies, re-constituted his morality as something less vague than gray nuances and complexities, reshaping that which is "right" and "wrong" to his new understanding of the world.

That is to say, that the new revolutionary understands that there are injustices in this world and that peace and tolerance are the ultimate goal, but the new revolutionary understands that more than words, sometimes actions are necessary to effect the change and wipe out the injustice. Feeling something is not the same as changing it. The new revolutionary is similar to the old in feeling that the slow pace at which the world was changing is not acceptable. So they will change it by force if necessary.

Who or what created the new revolution? Frankly, the same people that created the old. That is to say, the previous generation, the old revolutionaries, the old liberals, who by dent of their long persuasion on our conscience, to insist that we open up to other ideas, cultures and countries, has forced the conservative to stop looking inward and begin to look outward and see what they see. Having succeeded in pushing the conservative out of their safe, blinkered and inward contemplation, the old revolutionaries are now loath to admit to the old maxim: be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.

What we have now is the new revolution. Don't be afraid to embrace it. It is but the next step on the ladder of evolution. The new revolutionary will become the old soon enough. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Patriots and Soldiers: Iraq

The Fallen 49 and Patriots

On Sunday, October 24, 2004, the new martyrs of Operation Iraqi Freedom were massacred on their way home on leave after having graduated from the Iraqi Army training camp in Kirkush, northeast of Baghdad. Forty-nine newly minted Iraqi Army soldiers from the 17th Battalion, 7th Brigade, 5th Division were ambushed not far from their base as they returned home on leave on civilian buses.

Based on information from CBS and other news sites, the first of three mini buses was hit with an RPG. All of the twelve off duty Iraqi Army soldiers in the bus were either killed on impact or burned alive in the bus. The other 37 off duty Iraqi soldiers were offloaded from the buses, made to lie on the ground and were then executed. According to Joe, a soldier in public relations with the Army, those that resisted did not have a chance to go far:

All who tried to escape were shot down. The bodies were stripped of money and valuables – they had just been paid – and even shoes were stolen as the blood of those lifeless, young bodies drained into the sand.

According to additonal information, the buses may have been stopped at a fake checkpoint manned by men in police clothes or military uniforms. The investigation is still ongoing and allegations of infiltration within the ranks is rife.

Go on to the inner sanctum to read more from Joe about the story and the struggle to rally the Iraqis around their fallen patriots.

Joe over at Able and Kane was on assignment that day, taking pictures of graduation day, Sunday Oct 24. Later that day, some of the same soldiers he photographed were gone:

Then, in the evening, back to the photos. Which of these young soldiers were now dead? Which face no longer beamed with pride, which boot would never march again, which salute was the last, which smile gone forever, which of these digital ghosts reflected only a memory rather than a life? My computer all at once became a casket and a mausoleum; my flat-screen monitor a memorial gravestone displaying a final rendition of men who volunteered to become the protectors of a new Iraq. The benign photo cut lines seemed pitiful epitaphs.

Joe has pictures of the graduation day here.

What strikes me most is the crisp uniform of the young officer carrying his sabre, looking very smart and proud. The creases in his trousers and the perfection of his tan beret, aligned just right. He looked very proud and professional.

The other photo is a close up of three men out of the marching cadre and the man in the middle looked like he was in his early twenties and he was trying to look serious but obviously supressing a smile. He looked very excited to be there.

Looks like the “Fallen 49” is now officially the “Forgotten 49,” as the Prime Minister of Iraq Ayad Allawi blames everyone but the perpetrators of the massacre of 49 soldiers and three bus drivers Saturday.

Joe and I exchanged an some emails where in I asked where were the slogans like "Remember the Alamo!" and the charismatic leaders of Iraqi Nationalism on this point. This last post answers my thoughts about what the "fallen 49" could mean to the war effort:

It’s amazing how one day can change the whole course of a war, and possibly of history. Consider what would have happened if the following course of action had been taken after the massacre:

1) The PM and the Minister of Defense issue a statement within an hour or two of the report saying that murderers have attacked unarmed Iraqis on their way home on leave from the army. A press conference will follow later in the day to answer questions from the press. An investigation into the killings is being conducted but right now we are trying to contact and offer condolences to the families of these fallen heroes who volunteered to protect the new Iraq.

2) The next day issue more details along with statements from the commanding general of the Iraqi army saying that “we will not be intimidated by terrorists” and we will hold the perpetrators responsible and either capture and kill them in due course.

3) A national day of mourning would be announced along with a memorial procession to honor the “Fallen 49” to take place within the next week. Representatives from the families and all the Iraqi security forces would attend along with Iraq’s allies from the coalition and multinational forces, who are helping us to build the new Iraq.

4) A new medal/award would be created to honor any soldier killed while serving on active duty service and would be called the “Martyr’s Freedom Medal” with a “49” as part of the design scheme. It would be awarded to the families of the fallen. (Iraq currently has no awards or medals of any kind for their forces).

5) The Fallen 49 would become a rallying point for all Iraqis to start taking back their country from the insurgents.

Joe talks about what the public relations office thought should have happened:

More importantly was what happened after the attacks. If there were any attempt to implement the plan above – yes, that was the plan we had ready to go (summarized) – perhaps a tragedy could have become a turning point for the better and those fallen 49 soldiers would not have died in vain, but instead would have been remembered in Iraq as the straws that fractured the camel’s spine, the point where Iraqi began fighting back and taking control of their country.

But before the plan had any chance of being implemented, the Iraqi leadership took what appears to be the wrong path, and we now find ourselves with internal problems that just complicate the situation more than anything.

And the Fallen 49 heroes of the 17th Battalion have now become the Forgotten 49.

After reading Joe's comments, I thought very strongly about it. What feels wrong from this side of the ocean is what appears to be a missing Iraqi national will or concensus about who they are, what they are fighting for and who it is all for. Seems like every group has their own agenda and can't see to the first agenda, the national agenda.

Where then are the patriots? Are they there but we just can't understand them? It's damn confusing from this side of the ocean. Frustrating as hell. But then my frustration is tempered because, after all, I am not there and there are many who are living with greater frustration and taking their lives in their hands. I just wish that I could see some patriot rise up and tell the Iraqis to live for Iraq and freedom.

Is that too much to hope for?

Who writes the stories of the Iraqi patriots? The fallen 49?

Soldiers And Patriots: The Iraqi Pampleteers

Thomas Paine Would Be Proud

I think about our own country and it's creation and I realize that the forefathers spent hours and hours arguing amongst themselves while the rest of the colonies went on almost as usual except for the men who made up the continental army. And how did George Washington keep the men at Valley Forge together? What were the inspiring words of the patriots?

"Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in that field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me give me liberty or give me death!"

Patrick Henry

Where are the Iraqi patriots? Do they write? Do they dream? The American patriot might seem but folklore to some, but we have their written words to remind us. Go to the inner sanctum for a comparison of American and Iraqi patriots. The Iraqi pampleteers.

But if you say, you can still pass the violations over, then I ask, hath your house been burnt? Hath your property been destroyed before your face? Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie on, or bread to live on? Have you lost a parent or a child by their hands, and yourself the ruined and wretched survivor? If you have not, then are you not a judge of those who have. But if you have, and can still shake hands with the murderers, then are you unworthy the name of husband, father, friend or lover, and whatever may be your rank or title in life, you have the heart of a coward, and the spirit of a sycophant.

The present time, likewise, is that peculiar time which never happens to a nation but once, viz., the time of forming itself into a government. Most nations have let slip the opportunity, and by that means have been compelled to receive laws from their conquerors, instead of making laws for themselves. First, they had a king, and then a form of government; whereas the articles or charter of government should be formed first, and men delegated to execute them afterwards; but from the errors of other nations let us learn wisdom, and lay hold of the present opportunity — TO BEGIN GOVERNMENT AT THE RIGHT END. - Common Sense, Thomas Paine

And Thomas Paine again on patriotism, service and the price of freedom:

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated (...)

'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. (...)

Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment! Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world. Crisis 1776- Thomas Paine

I have been wondering for some time, where are the patriots of Iraq? Can we not hear them simply because we are here, in a land so far away that, even with the advent of 24/7 news, international newspapers and the internet we cannot see them?

But I should not despair. I've seen some of the finest examples of patriots, of the new pamphleteers, right here on the internet:

An Iraqis Thoughts

For those who still defend the ‘resistance/terrorists’ in Iraq.

I feel great shame whenever I hear of Iraqis or non-Iraqis who defend the terrorists destroying my country. I do not know how kidnapping, beheading, suicide bombings and mass executions of the security apparatus can be seen as resistance. Please spare me the conspiracy theories that US is doing all these attacks to prolong their stay in Iraq. I think if any person was sane they would not actually believe that the US would play a hand in operations that make them look as if they have no security over the country. The game is over, we realise that the loose coalition of Iraqis enemies have one goal in common, to make sure Iraqis suffer so much that they long for the return of the days of dictatorship were security was only achieved by force. Thankfully the numbers of Iraqis supporting these acts are few and far between and from my time spent in 3 different continents I do not bump into too many of these types, but also they have a habit of being two faced. You can almost tell whose who in the Iraqi community when they say the phrase, ‘ yeah Saddam was bad but the US is worse’ That alone makes me realise that its not the Iraqi people they ( perople who defend the terrorits) care about but some over expired feeling of nationalism and pride that failed with the Saddam experiment.

The next Thomas Paine of Iraq? Or one who is much more eloquent:

The Messopotamia

Now those who have eyes can see, but the blindness of the heart is blacker than the blindness of the eye. And all those who shed crocodile tears over the “invasion” of an Islamic land, and raised such a din of noise about the injustice perpetrated against “fellow Muslims”, and all that; all those, do they learn from the “message” of the silent lines of thousands of Afghans waiting at polling stations. Can they get it through their sculls? The people have spoken, loud and clear, they have spoken; the silent majority has spoken at last when given the slightest chance. (...)

What say you, oh pundits and wizards who have talked so much and pontificated so much, you who claimed to know all there is to know about these people, and told us so often of how wrong it was to interfere, how wrong it was to rid them of the Taliban and Al Qaeda etc. etc. Do you have some little decency left in you to eat your words? I guess not. And are all those millions of Afghans not pious Muslims? - But they are; and a thousand times more so than all the terrorists and murderers, the beheaders of the innocent, the kidnappers, the killers of children. The simple millions of the Afghan people understand true religion a million times better than you, and have voted for hope and the future, and are happy to “collaborate” with the “crusading” Americans and their friends. What more justification for the “Great Campaign” do you want? Allah ( Subhanhu Wataala) shall reward America and her allies for the great charitable act that has freed these people from a most terrible tyranny and horror. That was a good deed, no matter what motivation lay behind it. And one day, sooner or later, the “Message” will come also, loud and clear, from the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people.


The men who stand in defiance of the terrorists, the three brothers, Omar, Ali and Mohammed Fahdil, who created their own political party talked about a meeting of the Iraqi artists about politics and what it means:

We’re changing so quickly and the concept of one opinion and one point of view is becoming part of history.
Who said that nothing has changed?! Who claimed that the present is worse than the past?!
I wish they could attend even one of those meetings or lectures to see the progress we’ve so far made, and let them know that these meetings and discussions are much more in number and in effect than the car bombings but unfortunately they don’t attract the same attention.

Many people describe Iraq these days as a hell, and I want to say that this 'hell' is my paradise despite all the dangers and difficulties and even losses, as these struggles make the process itself a real life, a joy that only oppressed people with dignity can sense when they become free, and I truley feel sorry for anyone who doesn't see it this way.

Or the man I would describe as the Paul Revere of Iraq, Sam at Hammoraibi:

The terrorists group of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi kidnapped a Japanese citizen Shosei Koda, 24 yrs old today in Iraq. Zarqawi is a Palestinian Jordanian Sunni-Wahabi-Salaffi belongs to Al-Qaeda terrorist's organisation.

The PM of Japan Mr Junichiro Koizumi position by rejecting any concession to the terrorists and refusing to bow to pull out troops right from the beginning is a heroic position. Mr Koizumi said; "I cannot allow terrorism and cannot bow to terrorism,".

Japan foreign minister Nobutaka Machimura said: "Japan is Iraq’s friend and the entire Japanese nation demands the immediate release of Mr Koda."

We hope that the Japanese government now to declare that they are going to send more troops and special help in forms of forces or equipments or detectives to hunt the terrorists and kill them

Here then are the Iraqi patriots. The pampleteers of the new revolution. They aren't heard everywhere, but they try to be heard both on the internet and to the people that they speak to.

Who will deny them their voice?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The New Revolutionary Soldier

When I was young, I knew not what I did not know.

Is that confusing? In short, I thought I knew everything and no one could persuade me from it. Of course, if you ask some folks today, they will tell you that I never got over that.

Truthfully, I did as all people do: grow up, realize that your parents were right about somethings and wrong about others; that everything you learned in school applies in the real world, but only in pieces, not in the grand scheme of connectivity that they appear to you in a class room.

For instance, 1 + 1 = 2, but, in the real world, somebody is always out to get one of your ones or both of them if they could and you might be left with zero, zip, nada. That's what they don't teach you when you're young. Or maybe we're just too cocky at 18 or 22 to pay attention to the warnings?

Either way, I'm always impressed by someone who is willing to look around at more things than I did when I was young, particularly in politics.

I have a young friend who does some occassional blogging over at Onein. Marc has been newly bitten by politics and I think, from my perspective and based on the dwindling number of voter percentages this last half of the century, it is important to encourage the young to become involved in politics.

In this case, looking at some of Marc's posts, I can't help but be impressed by some of the insights you wouldn't necessarily find from the young. Go on to the inner sanctum to review some of these insights and why I call Marc "The New Revolutionary Soldier"

I know when I was in my early 20's politics were anathema to me. Couldn't have articulated a position on foreign policy, budgets, etc. The most I could talk about was "social injustice" whatever that means.

Looking at some of Marc's posts today, I noticed some very good points:

Originally, the U.S. was founded by settlers who couldn't take it in Europe any more. Today, many in this country think we need to be more like Europe. And Europeans want to paint the U.S. as an imperialist, largely so that people forget about the reckless imperialist globe trotting they did for hundreds of years.

When I read that, I thought, "wow". I hadn't even thought about it in that context. Pretty good point. Or this one:

France and Germany hope that with John Kerry and the U.N. they can continue to expand their entitlement societies at the expense of the world. They don't want to recognize the realities of a new global competitive environment. And they don't want to compete.

The words seem very insightful. In essence, when you review the actions of France and Germany over the past decade and a half, whatever they have supported or not supported have been largely in regards to their desires to expand or hold on to the economic planning of the EU. A point in fact, that is exactly the purpose of the EU. To create an economic powerhouse on the continent that would compete by population and economic demand with countries like the US, China, Russia, etc.

The problem, as pointed out by Marc, is that the EU has forsaken it's capitalist background and replaced it with a socialist dogma that is insuring, even today, that they provide benefits to their citizens that we do not dream of providing for ours while at the same time, limiting the funds from which it could pay for these programs. And when you give away so many things, somebody has to pay for them. The EU is overburdened with taxes and social benefits and has a smaller working class than most industrial countries. In otherwords, 60% of the people are working to support about 30% of the population. And this divide is estimated to become even larger in the next few decades as the population grows older.

We have that same dilemna here, but a different mindset. And that is that it is not the government's job to insure that we are taken care of when we get old. That is the old revolution's idea of the "Great Society". People who have depended on Social Security as their only means of retirement funds in the future are finding out that Social Security does not provide enough to live on without additional savings. And the young are finding this out today as they realize that their only hope to be protected in the future is to save some of their own money in addition to Social Security or not to rely on it's existence at all.

In this regard, the US is different than their European counterparts because we recognize that, while we are bound to take care of the elderly and ill by the social contract that we hold with each other, we, in general, do not believe that it should be a burden on our children. Call it the streak of independence we are renowned for or call it "selfish" if you will. But it's not my parents I'm worried about supporting. It's who will support me when I'm old that concerns me.

So, when Marc talks about the "entitlement society" of the EU, he is pointing out one of the significant differences in our policies that will most likely force the EU to change tracks or become defunct before it has really even started. And it's a warning to us and others who will look at the EU and become starry eyed at their "Great Society". When you turn over a shiny rock, it's likely you'll find some bugs under it.

Why do I call Marc the "new revolutionary soldier"? Because we are in a time of revolution today, where we come to the cross roads with the old revolution and the best hope for the new revolution is the young. We need to shake off or shake up some of our old ideas. The new revolutionary should recognize that We are responsible for ourselves. Nobody is responsible for me but me. The government of France nor Germany, not even the Unites States is responsible for making us safe or economically sound. It's an old idea. The idea our founding fathers believed in. The pioneers who risked everything to travel in a hostile and undeveloped land understood this well. It is our own responsibility and no one else's. If we don't do it, who will?

In some respects, it's not really a revolutionary idea. It's an old idea that our ancestors understood and lived by. The new revolutionary should be on the look out and see what has become of the old revolution. It's stagnating on the European continent. The new revolutionary should recognize it and insure that we turn on to a different path, lest we go the way of those dinosaurs. The old idea of self reliance is now the new revolution.

The new revolutionary looks around at the doom and gloom and the lambasting of the American dream and looks for a brighter future. He has some recent history to look at to help him realize where the old revolution has taken us:

What to make of all the short-term claims of doom and gloom to win an election?

You don't say its going bad. You don't say there is no reason to be there. You definitely don't say soldiers are dying for no reason.

George W. Bush is optimistic about the future. If we played through every possible bad scenario as a basis for our decisions--- none of us would ever get out of bed.

I could trip and fall down the stairs. I could get run over by a car. I could spill chocolate syrup on my pants. So why ever try anything?

What kind of person runs a campaign on hatred and pessimism?

Believe in a better future.

It's time for a new revolution. And we need to develop the new soldiers. They don't come fully equipped out of a can, although they already understand some of the score. They run a gauntlet of the old revolutionaries in order to get here. We need to embrace them and insure they have the tools to face the future.

Those tools are education, resilience, self reliance, self respect and hope.

It's time for a new revolution and the new revolutionary soldier is here

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Undecided Voters: When We Dreamed Of Camelot

The Old Revolution

There once was a place called Camelot. It was inhabited by good kings, beautiful and gracious queens, loyal knights in shining armor and, of course, the black knight and a dark prince.

It was meant to be "utopia". Where men were seated equal at the round table. Where good and justice reigned. Where good deeds were rewarded and the bad were expelled. Where men practiced chivalry and gave surcease to the enemy when asked. Compassion for the poor. Mercy for the weak. Freedom was defended at all costs and evil unto men was not tolerated.

There was a time when we dreamed that dream. Here in America. We elected a good man who had a beautiful and gracious wife. Men believed in patriotism, hard work and sacrifice. The civil rights movement was pushing us forwards to equality and justice for all. We created the "Peace Corps" to give aid and comfort to the down trodden of the world. We were a member of the round table called the United Nations. But, of course, the enemies of freedom were not far away. They tested our resolve regularly, but we stood firm on the walls of Camelot and refused them entry.

In 1961, President Kennedy gave his inaugural address:

Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens, we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom—symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning—signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago. 1

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God. 2

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. 3

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. 4

This much we pledge—and more. 5

I've placed the entire inaugural speech in the "inner sanctum". Please enter there and be reminded what the dream of Camelot was about.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder. 6

To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom—and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside. 7

To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. 8

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge—to convert our good words into good deeds—in a new alliance for progress—to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house. 9

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support—to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective—to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak—and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run. 10

Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. 11

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed. 12

But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course—both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war. 13

So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. 14

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. 15

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms—and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations. 16

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce. 17

Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah—to "undo the heavy burdens ... And to let the oppressed go free." 18

And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved. 19

All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin. 20

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe. 21

Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation"—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself. 22

Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort? 23

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. 24

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. 25

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. 26

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.

Like that long ago dream, the dream of Camelot was ended with the premature death of the president. Ended at the hands of a dark prince. His wife went away into seclusion and the kingdom fell into confusion and chaos.

I placed his entire speech here because I believe that we need to be reminded of Camelot.

What he said so long ago is still true today. He could be talking about today with the only exception being the threat of Communism as no longer the adversary we face, but an enemy of freedom no less.

While he spoke of peace, he understood that it could only be guaranteed by a strong and well armed country. When he spoke of freedom, he was not just talking about here in America alone. He was speaking about the oppressed all over the world. When he warned our adversaries that we would bare any burden or pay any price, he meant that we would use force of arms if necessary. A warning to all that would place themselves against us and stand against freedom.

When he was gone, we learned things that reminded us that he was just a man. With the failings of man, the desires of man, the greatness and yet the shortcomings that are inherent in all men.

But it didn't make his words, his deeds, less important. It did not negate the message that we were to learn.

This same man sent ambassadors to the UN and tried to negotiate with the USSR. Nikita Kruschev banged his shoe on the table in the UN and walked out. The USSR tried to place nuclear weapons on Cuba. And when the time came, this man sent ships to blockade Cuba and brought us to the brink of nuclear war.

For what? You might ask. For an idea that was bigger than that one moment. For an idea that was predicated on our founding fathers' belief that we should never again tolerate oppression, threats against our freedom or against our nation. He stood up to the enemy while many stood in fear and whispered he was endangering the world. They whispered that he was not following his own inaugural address where he talked about negotiating and peace. That he was not living up to the promises of his campaign. But, when you read his entire speech, you understand that he did live up to it's tenets. And he did it, because it was right.

It wasn't long after he passed that Camelot fell into chaos and then revolution. It was not the revolution of peace that he had envisioned:

But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house. 9

In the 60's we went to Viet Nam. First we sent advisors and then we sent our army. For the purpose of opposing the spread of Communism and protecting freedom. Because we understood when others are not free, we are not free.

And Viet Nam became our own battle with Mordred, who challenged our beliefs, questioned our morality and wondered at our loyalty to Camelot when Camelot was not perfect.

It was a revolution. And they revolted against Camelot.

The revolution insisted that the war in Viet Nam was not necessary. That we should seek peaceful resolution with our greatest adversary. That we could live in peace with any country, regardless of their ideology, regardless of their desires to spread their ideology around the world. The revolution preached tolerance and acceptance of others. Not just on a personal level, but at the international level.

The revolution took their cue from the words of John F. Kennedy, "a peaceful revolution" and determined that they could change the world with words.

I did not live in that revolution, but I was born in it.

The revolution was, at it's core, a grand idea. A change from the warring of our fathers to the belief that we need only hold out our hand in friendship and understanding to mitigate the warmongering. A belief that we could sacrifice some things for the sake of peace. It was peace at any cost.

I believe, looking at the words of President Kennedy, that he understood something that the revolutionaries did not: Peace is desirable, but freedom is more important and it must be protected at any cost.

The revolutionaries thought that they could change the world. In reality, they did not. They only succeeded in changing us.

Some will beg to differ, of course. Didn't they end the Viet Nam war? Didn't they create an atmosphere where inclusive statesmen like President Carter were elected? Where we spent more time negotiating and talking with other countries? Where we found the moral back bone to stop supporting dictator regimes, like the Shah of Iran, and let the people of these countries decide their own course?

As I said, the world did not change, only we here, in the United States did. The world went on as it always did. Creating states, warring countries, revolutions, dictators came and went. You cannot change the world because you cannot change human nature.

In all humanity, there is a capacity for good and a capacity for evil. The ideology of the revolution was that all men, having this capacity, could be changed to work for the good. They believed that we must only understand the point of view of the other man in order to understand their goals and desires and this would better enable us to negotiate and tolerate and avoid war.

In this ideology of the revolution, they viewed the strength of arms represented by the United States as anathema to the peace. They believed that the force projected around the world was the cause of many of these wars and that power should be reduced and withdrawn.

Reading this, it still seems like a beautiful dream.

But, reviewing President Kennedy's words, it was not the dream of Camelot.

In Camelot, the king and the knights of the round table knew best what was in the hearts of men. They well understood the capacity and necessity of good in man, but they also understood that men who were want to do evil could not always be turned away with words and acts of kindness. It is in the hearts of evil men to see that good as weakness and press home the advantage for their own gain. They well understood the dream that was Camelot must also be protected at the point of a spear. That it might be necessary to ride forth and confront the enemies of freedom, justice and peace. They understood that they could not rest in the environs of Camelot while men stood oppressed, whether in close or distant lands.

Camelot was pragmatic in it's understanding, while they dreamed of peace, that it might require war to protect it's existence.

"Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum."

If you want peace, prepare for war.

As I write these words, I feel the conflict inside of me. The one that says "war is not the answer" and the other that says, "freedom must be protected".

It would be so easy for me to abandon my post at the walls of Camelot and retreat back inside. No longer to look at those other lands where men are not free, but to withdraw to the inner sanctum of Camelot and think only of my own peace and safety. Let them exist so long as we are not at war. Peace at any cost.

I feel strongly that I am not the only one that is conflicted about this. But, as I look around, I see that the walls of Camelot have been breached. Two great towers that once stood on the parapets have fallen. In the revolutionary world of peace in Camelot, we ignored the enemies that repeatedly attacked the walls, our emissaries to other lands, our caravans of trade and our citizens in distant lands. We ignored the plight of our fellow men in far off lands because our enemies could not breach our walls and we were safe inside.

It is not hard to find inside of me the yearning to return to that time before our walls were breached. Back to the illusion of peace and security. I want that dream back.

We would like to live as we once lived, but history will not permit it.-John F. Kennedy

But standing here, I can see clearly the breached walls. I can look out beyond the bounds of Camelot and see the other lands that are grey and oppressive. I can see that the enemy knows we are torn about this conflict and prepares to press home the advantage. Because that is the nature of man.

Our allies, once staunch in their own defense of freedom, have now been found to be dealing with the oppressors. To be sure, we in Camelot did the same. We made deals we claimed for self protection, commerce and a general peace. But today we have found that the enemy does not adhere to any treaty. They disregard the peace as a fallacy and believe that the existence of Camelot is a direct threat to their own. Having found that, some in Camelot understood this to mean that we could no longer deal with tyrants and demagogues and called our allied nations to assist us in destroying the enemy, protecting our freedoms and liberating the oppressed from their masters.

Only a few of our allies responded. The rest chose to take their own treaties and peace as more important and decried our call, insisting that the only enemy was in the land of Afghanistan and that we should not commit any war against the others, even if they had allowed our enemies to use their land, obtain money, train their men or send men to the enemy to shore up their numbers. They chose their own peace and commerce over our safety. They have chosen to ignore it at their own peril, for surely, if Camelot falls or is weakened, so too shall they fall.

The freedom of the city is not negotiable. We cannot negotiate with those who say, "What's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable." - John F. Kennedy

And now that the battle has been joined, some inside Camelot see the difficulty of the battle and wish to withdraw. They think that we should emulate our allies and try once again to shore up the treaties, so long as we can have peace.

A house divided against itself, cannot stand. - Abraham Lincoln

This is the old revolutionary guard. The ones that believe that Camelot is not by itself as important as our relationship with our our other allies. The ones that believe peace is more important than freedom. That the security of our nation is dependent on these other allies and cannot stand alone.

A nation which has forgotten the quality of courage which in the past has been brought to public life is not as likely to insist upon or regard that quality in its chosen leaders today - and in fact we have forgotten. - John F. Kennedy

What the old guard has failed to realize, just like in the days of the dream of Camelot, WE are our own security. Only WE can insure our freedom. And it is WE who have insured the security of the rest, not the other way around. And, like the old days of Camelot, WE cannot be safe nor consider ourselves free as long as men in distant and not so distant lands are not free.

We are at a changing time in Camelot. The old revolution is dying. It is time for a new revolution. The revolution that reminds us what was once the calling of Camelot.

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it.

It is time to be reminded that, when our forefathers wrote:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

They were not speaking of themselves alone. We know this because they addressed the Declaration of Independence to the known world. And we understood, in the old days of Camelot, that we are not safe unless freedom reigns among all men. That we are not free unless all men are free. And we knew that as our calling:

We stand for freedom. That is our conviction for ourselves; that is our only commitment to others. - John F. Kennedy

And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God (...)

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. 3

To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.-John F. Kennedy

It is time for a new revolution. No longer should we tolerate the oppressors. No longer should we negotiate from fear. No longer do we stand by and watch our fellow man suffer. No longer to seek peace at the price of our fellow man's misery. No longer should we fear taking action because it might not be viewed favorably by other nations.

A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality. - John F. Kennedy

Rise up Camelot. It is time for a new revolution.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Faces of War: Do You Know These Men?

They Are My Brother

This election, for certain, has stirred up the passions among the partisans. There are few, according to the media, that are "undecided". Maybe that is so, though I think it is hard to not have an opinion on the position and condition of this country at this time. I know that there are a few people in my immediate family who are torn on the subject.

My mom is a liberal in most senses of the word. But she is truly a person that will listen to reasonable points. We've had plenty of conversations. She doesn't like war. She particularly doesn't like it because my first brother (second born) is in the military and, about five months ago, was scheduled to go to Iraq. He was ready to go. Had finished all his paperwork, signed his will and his insurance policy. Had his shots. Took leave from his civilian government job (he is in the Air National Guard). It was three days before he had to report to base when they told him that the position that he was to fill was double slotted and the other officer had already reported.

He didn't go. He was disappointed, but of course, my Mom was relieved. Before the news came that he was not going, my Mom had went on a little tirade around the house. Lambasting the government for this war: "Why did they have to start a war? Why couldn't those people (Iraqis) take care of it themselves? If something happens to your brother, I am going to the White House and protesting!" and some other choice words to that effect.

I knew she didn't really understand the reasons for this war at all. Not even in the sense of the Kerry camps understanding. I also knew that she did not understand my brother's pride at being called to go. He wanted to go. When he tried to explain it to my mom, she got upset and started ranting about the government "sending married men with children" or something to that effect. I could tell my brother was frustrated, but he tried very hard to explain something to her. He said: "Mom, I'm nobody special. There are a lot of men and women that have already been there for a year or more who have families. I am no different."

Read more about the men who are my brother in the inner sanctum.

But, of course he is different, he is my mother's son. He is also the husband of a very nice woman who works, goes to school to be a Licensed Nurse Practitioner and raises two daughters together. His wife was not too excited either.

I felt for my brother. He is not a wimp, but when two of the women in your life that are very important, hold on to you and cry, I don't know many men that can hold out against that. Kind of put him between a rock and a hard place, wanting to please the women in his life, but wanting very much to feel good about serving his country. He's very proud of his accomplishments in the Air Force and the National Guard.

He started out as an enlisted man, where he served for 10 years and worked up to a "Tech Sgt". He went to night school to get his degree after he went into the Guard. He was then sent to OCS (officer candidate school) and became a lieutenant.

After these hard conversations with our mom and his wife, he asked to speak to me privately. I wasn't 100% sure what to expect, but I knew by his request, it was something important to him. After witnessing the difficulties he had with the other two women, I resolved to be supportive and raise no questions about his deployment. I later learned that he had put his own name forward to go. I had a suspicion that was the case as no one else in his unit had been called up. He was going to go replace a lieutenant that had been killed on a base in Balad by a mortar attack. He didn't tell anyone else about this as he knew that it would be even harder if they knew he was going to a dangerous base (Balad was being regularly mortared and had suffered plenty of casualties).

My brother believes in this war. He believes it is important to take out any regime that sponsors terrorists, harbors them or has any intent to do so. He also believes that we must change the middle east faster than it is changing now in order to change the atmosphere in which the extremist Islamists are created. He believes that it will not change through diplomacy or economic pressure. It hasn't worked for the 80 years we have been engaged there. He believes it will require force of arms in several areas. He told me this before he got into the meat of his request to me, but he didn't have to. We had been talking about it for sometime and I agreed with him totally.

These are the quiet conversations that are had all over the country, every time we deploy our men and women. Some are full of tears and recriminations and some are full of quiet pride and courage.

I read several soldiers' blogs and one in particular reminds me of my brother. His name is "Greyhawk" and he runs The Mudville Gazette. He was active duty posted in the US and went to Iraq in late September where he now posts from. I read his last post before he left, where he left a message his children and tried to explain to them why he must go and fight the dragons:

I awoke in the quiet watches with my youngest in my arms, wondering what I might say to her and her brother and sister and their mom and knowing I was done with sleeping for this night.

Here is why: Some must go to fight the Dragons. And if you think such things don't exist then it must be I read you the wrong sorts of stories when you were young.

If you ask only why I and not some other than I can tell you this;


"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

The President of the United States said that when I was very young. Now some will tell you that such thinking is out of fashion these days and that the causes we turn our energies to are unjust. I can tell you only that I don't think so, and that I'm quite certain the dragons themselves would raise such concerns were we to give them voices.

This is for us all: Have faith, not fear. Trust God. Stand fast, be strong.

For me the time is here to leave precious things behind for just a while, and that cost is not too great to bear. After all, what things could be called precious if not worth any price?

For you it's simply time to be brave, as so many of your friends have. Think about this: Without bad there could be no good. Hard times pass. Be kind to one another in every possible way; lift the burdens that others bear and I think you'll find your burden's lighter too.

Worrying helps nothing, try not to do it. Don't feel bad when from time to time you do. And please do fun things and enjoy doing them - you owe me nothing more than that.

And never tell me anything's too hard.

Take pictures.



See you soon.

My brother said nearly the same to me about his own children. He will not stand for his two girls to be in danger and he believes that September 11 proved that, even they, in far away Arizona, were not safe until the extremists are defeated.

Another soldier at American Soldier talks about leaving last year for Iraq:

I remember thinking about when I left would everything be ok? I was not so worried about being placed in a combat environment. I'd been in one before and to be quite honest, you trust in your training and you rely mostly on luck. All the training in the world can't stop a bullet aimed in the right spot. So it was way in the back of my mind worrying about the war. I'd faced my mortality a long time ago.

For the moment I was enjoying my wife and the comfortable silence we were sharing.


Before I got in line to go through security I gave my kids a hug and kiss goodbye. Each one receptive and emotional in their own way. I fight to keep the tears back because I want to be the strong daddy. Woo, that made me tear up just now just thinking about it. So I smile and tell them that I would talk to them soon and will send them pictures. I turn up to my wife and we hug. I tell her that I love her and she squeezes me tight. All of a sudden reality really hits me and feeling her touch is something I am going to miss. The question of will I ever feel that again pops up. But my mind is brought back to reality with her saying I love you and to call her. To be careful.

I sneak a smile in there and tell her that it'll be fine. I kiss her and I get in line.

These scenes are repeated a thousand times every day and month of the year. Some of them are long time warriors, others do the weekend route and some are young and have barely started out in life before they must learn to do and cope with hard things.

A young soldier, who is not so young anymore, posted on Friday at The Questing Cat. They were out on an op when they were mortared and he had to put his skills as a combat life saver to work:

You want to know the most terrible moment of a disaster? It is that split second when it begins. When all of a sudden there is a bright flash, that is nothing special except that it is the big break with reality to the fucked up world you are about to begin. A split second of bright light, and for the briefest second, there is no thought in your head, everything in you braces for....for what?

Glass and sound rain down on me...I know it was bad, I have NEVER heard anything so loud and light debris is falling all around me. I get off the stairs, and get my fucking helmet on. wouldn't it fucking figure, walk around ALL THE FUCKING TIME WITH THAT THING ON AND THE ONE TIME I MIGHT REALLY HAVE NEEDED IT, I WAS RELAXING.

What the FUCK happened?

VBED goes around in shouts around our perimeter, Casualties go around. Then MY name goes around. Our convoy has no medics and 3 CLS. 2 of those CLS are on the CO's Bradley crew. I'm the third. FUCK. My name is being screamed. Someone is hurt. You’re on kiddo. FUUUUUCK.(...)

I'm running...I'm trying to remember my training...and even as I move, some piece of me is awake and thinking without me. Some piece of me sees that I am going to a Bradley's drivers hatch. Some piece of me knows that cowboy [his friend and co-blogger] was driving one of these Bradleys. FUCK. My mind feels like it can't grasp anything. This is a very shitty day.

The casualty is not the Cowboy. But it is almost as bad. A 20 year old kid from Tennessee who once asked me if I knew when our company would get "combustible" butt stocks for M249 saws. He meant collapsible, so of course we gave him a huge ration of shit for it. But he took it in good humor. He wasn't always the sharpest knife, but he'd work hard. His face was a maze of blood...he quivered and we lowered him off the Bradley. But he could walk. Confusion is everywhere...we are in dead spot for coms, we need to move. The first humvee we load him in has room, but it has a flat tire from shrapnel. I steal their CLS Medical Bag, and cram into the other humvee...we take off flying. Well kiddo, you’re on.(...)

The Cat later explains that he is only two years older than this wounded soldier he is treating, but feels light years older than he. I recommend reading the rest if you want to get an idea of what these men face when they go to war.

Well, I've talked all around it, so now I will tell you what my brother wanted to speak to me about. It was about this very topic: what to do if he dies or is seriously wounded. I sat quietly listening. He was back in Arizona and we were on the phone. He took my silence to mean to go on with the discussion, but I was actually a little stunned and didn't know what to say when he said it. It was a punch of reality after all our abstract discussions about the meaning of the war and it's necessity.

He tells me that, after telling everyone that he would deploy, he realized that most of our family would not be able to help if something happened. He is sure that they will fall apart emotionally, particularly his wife, and there are a lot of things to attend to and arrange if that moment should come. He is talking to me very matter of factly about dying. He says that he thinks I am the only one that will be able to hold it together and he trusts me to take care of things.

What do I say? That I'm honored by his request? Believe me when I tell you that the first thing that goes through your mind is not about "honor" so much as the question of whether you will be any more capable of handling the situation than the rest. So I tell him, of course I will do whatever he asks. I don't add that I realize, in the scheme of things, that it might be the last thing I would ever do for him on this earth.

Then it hits me that this is no longer my "little brother". He is a man with a man's responsibility and we are adults. We aren't playing stick ball in the field behind our grandparents' farm or riding our bicycles up and down the street jumping ramps. This is real life and that life is not infinite. We aren't immortal, though we thought it when we were young and did crazy things like jumping out of the hayloft or daring each other to run up and ring the door bell of the spooky house inhabited by "mean ol' Mr. Barry".

He tells me about the will and the life insurance policy. About the savings account at the credit union and the deed to the house. He explains that he and Theresa have a joint will and, if something should happen to her, too, while the girls are still young, they are to go and live with Theresa's parents since they are the closest relatives the girls associate with regularly. I am trying to be practical so I ask him where I should have him buried? Is that in the will? Does he want to come back to Missouri or be buried in Arizona?

He tells me "Arizona" and that he wants a full dress military funeral. I thought that a little strange as, although my brother loves the military, he has always been a little informal and I tell him so. Then he adds a little levity to our conversation and says that, if he had to go and stand in full dress in 110* at a funeral, those "other bastards" can do it for him, too.

When we were done with the conversation, we talked a little about current things and politics and finally said good-bye. When I had hung up the phone, I sat there for a little while and stared at the computer. I can't say that I had many thoughts. My mind was still busy compartmentalizing the information and putting it into perspective.

It wasn't until recently, having read Greyhawk's post at the Mudville Gazette, that I realized someday I might have to explain this war to his children and to my nephews (our youngest brother's boys) who adore their uncle. What will you tell them? How do you explain what was so important that daddy didn't come back? I think if that time ever comes, I will remember Greyhawk's post and try to explain to them about "dragons".

As I wrote earlier, my brother was not deployed. He is now on the list of rotations along with the main body of his unit, but he won't say when that is. I won't look it up either. I intend to wait because I do not want to spend this whole time agitating about it. He hasn't told the rest of the family either and I understand his reasons.

It is a very strange thing, these ups and downs. You prepare yourself for the deployment. Depress yourself with the "what ifs". Relief that it is not right now. And know that you will repeat the cycle when the time comes.

I said "relief" right? I've said many times that I support this war. I am very proud of my brother and support him 100%. Yet I feel this guilty relief that he has not gone. It's guilt because I know that there are men and women there now, who have families, who are sacrificing, not only some time out of their lives, but serving, being wounded and sometimes dying. And my brother said that he is nothing special.

But he is. He is my brother.

Today, I read something disturbing and it's what made me think of this post, even though I was deep in review of the President's proposed permanent tax cuts that I have been promising to write about.

What I read tells me that we are a long way from VE (victory in Europe) and VJ (victory in Japan) day and not so far away from Viet Nam. It's that bump in the road between those long ago wars that we think as honorable when we threw the returning boys ticker tape parades and honor them in history as victors over evil and defenders of our freedom and this war which many cannot understand or do not know if they believe it is honorable or not.

During the Viet Nam war, particularly at the end, the anti-war peace movement had taken on a new, virulent attitude. It was no longer about peace, but militant anti-war in a bizarre paradox where the protestors now became the agressors. They spit on the soldiers. Called them "babykillers" and "murderers". Soldiers were afraid to wear their uniforms in public. Some had human feces thrown on them. These are painful memories of that war and what was endured by soldiers who had already sacrificed so much at the behest of their country. Serving as they swore the oath to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

This is what they came home to. Since then, the country has made a concerted effort to never experience that again. At least most of us. The shame of it is that we have to make a "concerted effort" at all. There are many things about Viet Nam that can be debated about it's efficacy, it's reasons, it's results. But if there is one thing that seems to echo from there that I count as a serious blemish on our psyche, it is the actions of some of the anti-war protestors against the men who did their duty and the bizarre mythical belief that acting like those protestors is some how "righteous".

The mysticism and myth of the "bloodless revolution" that has been passed down to our current generation, that some how feels jealous of having missed that time and are attempting to repeat it today.

I haven't posted most of these incidents here because I hoped, I thought, that these were just isolated incidents and should not let it effect our discourse with those who don't agree with this war. But Friday, when I read this note on a debate in Milwaukee, I decided not to hold it in anymore. It made me angry.

I had read previously about a wounded soldier who was an amputee, marching in his home town fourth of July parade in Washington state, carrying a "vets4Bush" sign. I posted about this in my July archives under the heading "Excuse Me?". The soldier was called a baby killer and a few other things besides from the crowd on the sidewalk. In my post on the subject, I had an argument with a person that insisted the crowd was responding to his "vets4bush" sign and that it was not directed at the soldier himself. After pointing out that the sign was inanimate and the insults were obviously meant for the soldier, they switched tactics and told me that the soldier had made himself a target with his sign. Which is why that particular post is titled "Excuse Me?"

More recently, in September, a young man on medical leave from Iraq was home in Ohio and went to a Toby Keith concert. He of the famous "Angry American" and "American Soldier" songs. The soldier was wearing an "Iraqi Freedom" T-shirt. As he departed the concert, he was attacked from the back, hit in the back of the head, knocked to the ground and beaten unconscious, while his attacker hurled insults at the army and the soldier. Nobody in the crowd came to the soldier's aid except his sister. The attacker ran off without impediment.

So, when I read this last article, I began to understand that we had not insulated ourselves against such behavior and it has made me quite angry. Not indignant. Angry, because these men are my brother:


I would like to relay to you a disturbing and unsettling incident which happened tonight at the Alverno College debate between Gwen Moore and Jerry Boyle.

Boyle has attended every debate and forum he has been invited to, even ones where it has not been the friendliest of audiences receptive to his Republican message.

Last night's debate at Alverno College was one attended by mostly people which will not vote for him in next month's election, but was a well run and fair debate none the less.

The questions were pointed and thoughtful and the answers were equally to the point. The topics ranged from foreign policy to the economy. The stark contrast between Moore and Boyle was pretty clear to those in the audience. Boyle was to the point and made it evident that although his was not the most popular opinion in the room, this is what he believed in.

Many people approached him following the debate to discuss the topics and their views and several said although they did not agree with his stance, commended him on making great arguments and being forthright in his presentation.

One man, unfortunately took the opportunity to ruin the evening.

As Boyle was walking from the stage to the reception, a graduate student from UWM spit on Boyle as he passed by.

Boyle, restraining himself, went to the restroom to clean up let this incident go.

I, however, did not.

After seeing Jerry wipe the spit from his jacket, I asked him what was going on and asked the young man why he spit on him.

Although it was witnessed by several people (at least five) he denied it and approached me looking for a confrontation. He walked up to me and got right in my face.

I asked him why he spit on Jerry and he said he didn't but should have because Jerry didn't answer his question to his satisfaction.

He called me an imperialistic pig and said that I was a puppet for an imperialistic regime. I asked him if that was a new term he had just learned in school and that I was very proud of him for using it in a complete sentence.

To make a long story short, after a little more verbal back and forth, he was ushered away by his teacher and escorted from the building.

My point is this. Are we now at a time when, even at a debate with dissenting views have the right to spit on each other?

Will he go home and brag to his friends that he spit on an Iraqi War veteran?

Is that the culture we live in now? This is not Kerry vs. Bush, its a small debate at Alverno College on the south side of Milwaukee.

He liked that fact that Gwen Moore is against bunker busting bombs (which she repeated) but will spit in the face of someone who helped liberate a country of 25 million people from a homicidal madman and made the world a safer place in the process.

To their credit, the people at Alverno apologized, but the damage was done.

If there are any liberals listening to your show, please ask them to take a step back and think before they act like this. Political discourse is what our country was formed on, but actions like this are all too common and its time to rein it in.

This was indeed a sad day for Milwaukee and America as a whole.

Sincerely yours,

Matt Lambert

Mr. Lambert has it correct. It was a sad day for America. We have proven once again that we do not honor our soldiers. Do not believe in the right of America. Do not believe in the mission. And invariably, do not believe in the honor of the men who fight for us. People tear them down in an effort to tear down the mission. But it is no more justified than it was 30 some years ago.

People march in the streets with signs villifying America as the great evil in this world. They protest the war. They protest the government. They burn the flag. And though it grieves me, I will not say that they do not have the right of free speech, although they abuse that right in my eyes.

Surely, they do not have the right to spit on our soldiers. They are our brothers, our fathers, our sons, our mothers, sisters and daughters and they serve like the countless others before them, sacrificing family and sometimes themselves in standing by the oath they gave to defend us.

Today, I call on you to read about these few soldiers I have listed on this blog. Read who they are and what they stand for. By a majority, they believe in this mission. And the few that question it, still believe in doing their duty. In either situation, they are the few that stand before us in the winds of a hostile world. So I ask you to learn about them and spread the words that are so often used, but just as often ignored: Never Again.

Don't spit on our men and women. They might not be special to some, but they are my brother.