As I sit here in the cube farm where I work, I’m privy to a lot more conversations than I’m used to. My previous job was doing network engineering in conditions that were, shall we say, less than conducive to quiet contemplation. OK, it was a noisy place where someone sitting literally on the other side of my same cube wall could be having a relatively normal conversation and I’d just barely hear it. This is a very different environment. If someone 3 cubes down as a “voice-lowered” comment for their neighbor in the 4th cube down, I’ll hear it with very little difficulty. It’s a nice office here and that’s one of the side effects of having a quieter environment.
So, about 5 minutes ago I heard one of the folks hurriedly tell another one to go look, “right now,” at CNN.com. They sounded rather urgent about it and, after the other person made a disgusted “Oh, my God” comment, I figured I’d go have a look. The story is headlined, “Cheney: Iraq War Will End Before 2009,” and goes on to quote the VP saying the insurgency is in its final thoes. So what comment does this elicit from my co-workers?
We’re not in a war!
I should be stunned. I should be sitting here in disbelief that anyone would say something so colossally stupid. I should have on my face the same look that someone would have had in 1944 hearing some moron claim the US wasn’t in a war. But I don’t. I’m shaking my head at the sheer ignorance of the comment, but I’m not surprised that someone’s saying it, openly and proud. The African embassy bombings, the USS Cole, the Saudi dormatory bombings, and – oh! – let’s not forget 4 aircraft hijackings and 3 impacts into buildings killing 3000 people in 2001. (That’s not a definitive list, by the way.) Just how many times does an organization have to launch lethal attacks against this country’s citizens before you get to say we’re at war? These people, and people like them, are living in a fantasy world where we can’t possibly be at war with anyone not flying the Nazi swastika. Even then, those people absolutely must overfly our terroritory with heavy bombers and level 6 or 7 blocks with iron bombs, which must be followed up with impassioned speeches in Congress and a unanimous declaration of war. (Said declaration must include an exact timetable of when, where, and how the war is to be fought along with the overriding “exit strategy” clause which will delineate precisely when the war will end.)
We are at war and it’s a war we didn’t start. The enemy – and that’s what they are – aren’t fighting us to right a wrong we did them. They’re fighting because they don’t want us breathing air. They don’t want us taking up space. They don’t want us any way but dead and forgotten so they can go back to their halcyon days of the 6th century, where men had it good and women knew their place as property. Denial of our state of war is ludicrous and a willing self-deceit by those who utter such denial. As Mr. Mill said, they are miserable creatures kept free by the exertions of better men.
I don’t have a link to the transcript of the interview but, in reading the report there on CNN, I note that they don’t actually quote him saying “the war will end by 2009.” Did he actually say that or is this a little poetic license with the headline by CNN. I’ll keep looking.
In my generational line on the ancenstry chart, there’s only 1 veteran I know of, my brother-in-law, Ed. Beyond that, you have to go back a couple of generations to find any men in uniform. I nearly went into the Air National Guard myself, but I got a phone call literally hours before going to the recruiter and went into the commercial airline sector instead. Paths chosen, and paths not taken, as they say… The past few years have brought to the fore a realization that my life and the lives of my family have been permitted to go the way they’ve gone because of the nature of the nation we live in. That nature has been protected by the thin line of olive drab, camo, white and blue that comprise the Services within the United State Military. Today, we recall the sacrifice of those in uniform who stepped out in front to stand between the greatest experiment in governance the world has ever known and the darkness of those who would see it fail and be destroyed. I stand literally in their debt, and I will remember that forever.
To those who serve, I offer my civilian salute and my thanks. To those who have gone before, all that and my promise to be faithful to your memory. We enjoy this day because of your work. We will not let it go to waste.
Have a safe and enjoyable holiday, everyone.
I don’t read Doonesbury any more. Trudeau used to be talented and funny. Now he’s just a self-absorbed jerk who uses his Sunday-morning comics pulpit to spew on about his hatred of George Bush and his incomprehension that we’re in a war we didn’t start. It was a little hard to miss what he’s doing over this week, however. In a gratuitous abuse of the fine men and women who have lost their lives serving in the military during this war on terror, he’s pulling his own little “Vietnam Wall” by filling the frames of his weekly allotment of space with the names of the fallen. I salute and honor them, unlike Mr. Trudeau. He only cares about them for the length of their names.
The list Trudeau never seems to want to publish is the other casuality list. The one containing the names of the men and women in uniform who died that sunny morning in September 3½ years ago at the Pentagon. Don Surber of West Virginia has. More than that, he’s done the homework to provide links to the bios of each and every one of them. Well done, sir.
I will not forget.
Hat tip: Michelle Malkin
The French voters have spoken, and the word is “non”.
|::::::::||French voters rejected the European Union’s first constitution Sunday, a stinging repudiation of President Jacques Chirac’s leadership and the ambitious, decades-long effort to further unite the continent.
Chirac, who had urged voters to approve the charter, announced the result in a brief, televised address. He said the process of ratifying the treaty would continue in other EU countries.
“It is your sovereign decision, and I take note,” Chirac said. “Make no mistake, France’s decision inevitably creates a difficult context for the defense of our interests in Europe.”
In other words: yes, you had your say but, man, have you so totally screwed things up and I can’t believe how stupid you all are. Funny – now where have I heard left-wing politicos say that to a majority of an electorate before?
Update: Just heard a quick headline from a local news rep as they were going to commercial. He said something like, “EU Constitution defeated by the French, details when we return.”
“Defeated by the French.” Wow. Now that’s something you don’t hear every day.
Not content to disarm their populace by making private ownership of handguns illegal, a group from West Middlesex University Hospital thinks “long, pointy” kitchen knives should be next on the list. I’d love to say I’m making this up, but…
|::::::::||A&E doctors are calling for a ban on long pointed kitchen knives to reduce deaths from stabbing.
A team from West Middlesex University Hospital said violent crime is on the increase – and kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings.
They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon.
The research is published in the British Medical Journal.
The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all.
They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen.
Those of us who have fought for the Second Amendment here in the States have long claimed that the second a so-called “gun control” group managed to get a handgun ban passed, they’d keep right on going by trying to ban more and more items they feel are too dangerous for slack-jawed morons like, well, the rest of us clearly are. The kitchen knife thing usually comes up as a ludicrous joke. Obviously we weren’t taking ourselves seriously enough. So an implement available to Britons for literally centuries has suddenly become so dangerous that Britons can’t be trusted with them? I also love the BBC’s accompanying photo on the story, showing a slice on a person’s face from the corner of their 1 eye around to the ear with the caption, “Kitchen knives can inflict appalling wounds.” I could produce exactly that kind of injury on a person using a dime-store keychain cutter with a blade less than 1 inch in length. How is that kind of injury germane to the discussion of “long” kitchen knives? No mention in the story about how long a knife has to be to qualify, either. Five inches? Six? Ten? And how pointy is “pointy”?
And do you love the authority they go to on the matter? Chefs! Oh, and not just “chefs”, but a whole 10 of them. Out of millions of Brits, they get the opinions of 10 of them – not identified, of course – and that’s good enough to start shouting about confiscating the cutlery. Note also that they don’t actually tell you what the chefs said, or even what they were asked. I’d also like to know why, if such knives have little practical value in the kitchen, do such knives seem to always be present in the kitchens of “top chefs” like those who were supposedly asked about this?
The worst thing is that the current climate in public discourse demands that the government actually expend time and effort addressing such lunacy. How about this: prosecute the people who commit the crimes? Put. Them. In. Prison. Make them pay off the medical bills – in their entirety – that are generated dealing with the injuries they caused. Put their pictures in the paper with big, bold headines showing all their friends and neighbors that they’re untrustworthy nutcases who thought it was a good idea to punctuate their arguments by perforating their opponents. Make them have to answer in the affirmative on the job applications when the question comes up, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony? Give dates and details.” (Yes. I was convicted of assault and battery with a deadly weapon because that frothing idiot William said something wonky about Manchester United. Will that be a problem getting hired on here?)
In short, address the crime by addressing the criminal, not the law-abiding citizenry of your nation. The issue isn’t the knife, it’s the decision that sticking it into someone is a reasonable response to the situation. The next joke in the line we 2nd Amendment folks bring up after the kitchen knives deals with banning screwdrivers. I wonder if the West Middlesex University guys have come up with that one yet.
Blogger and soldier Dadmanly calls the media’s antagonism like it is:
|::::::::||As a member of the U.S. Military in Iraq, let me say something very clearly to Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, CBS, ABC, and any other media organization of any integrity.
You are creating greater risk for me personally. You are creating incredible hostility in Muslim countries due to incessant negative reporting out of context and ignoring orders of magnitude of good news in doing so. Yet, in your jaded imaginations, you believe every misconception you spin is ever more confirmation of what you always knew about the U.S. Military. These unrelenting Vietnam analogies are like press versions of drug addled flashbacks.
You create added danger for my soldiers. You feed into enemy (yes, enemy) propaganda efforts in yielding unlimited access to pre-staged voices with calculated intent. You are entirely ignorant of the countries you claim to cover, and you know as little about the U.S. Military, its culture, climate, training, procedures, and ways of operation. You diminish and demean our service.
You cause greater concern, fear and worry for our friends and family. You expand pinpoints of data into grossly distorted exaggerations of fact, and paint broad brush strokes of violence without any context or comparison to relative levels elsewhere. You have no sense of proportion or equivalence. You have no regard for collateral damage, and yet see imagined carnage with every surgical strike, precision bomb, or targeted raid. You can speak of cities destroyed with the destruction of a single building.
We daily see the gross distortions. We cannot recognize the caricatures you scratch out, neither in our fellow soldiers, nor in the battlespace we inhabit. Your vain and callous search for what you indignantly claim as objectivity is really nothing more than neutrality in the face of absolute evil. Even though you are neither architect nor sponsor of that evil, you are accomplice in its result. And you continue to ignore the consequence.
We are proud of our Military, our Country, and how, for over 200 years, the U.S. has tried to improve both ourselves and the world around us, usually for little thanks and much scorn and insult. We police ourselves. Every scandal you report, from My Lai to Iran Contra to Abu Ghraib, has been first reported to authorities by military personnel. And that has resulted in prosecutions and punishment. And what do you stress in your reporting? The sins, crimes, and misdemeanors and rarely if ever remark on the ability and willingness for us to identify and correct malfeasance in our ranks.
Never, never claim to support the soldiers, you don’t, you never will in any meaningful way until you can see your prejudices for what they are, work to eliminate them, and for once try to view the world with an open and not a closed mind. You need to rethink how you consider the idea of a just war after 9/11. You need to acknowledge that you don’t know the modern U.S. Military or the men and women who serve.
I have neither the words nor the standing to say it better. Read the whole thing. You deserve it, and so does he.
|::::::::||In a truly amazing display of anti-Americanism and bias, presenters of BBC Radio Scotland’s “Off the Ball” football coverage are heard denigrating the US Senators who recently questioned George Galloway and at one point referred to them as “American twats”.
Now, there are many, many definitions of the word “twat“, about half of them inappropriate for a family show. Fortunately, I think we have a situation here where the 1st set of definitions one thinks of is quite different from the perspective of an American versus a Scott, so I’m guessing the broadcasters weren’t comparing our Senators with varying degrees of female genitalia. I must also be completely honest and say that my initial thought on the matter was the merest bit of indignation not because I thought the description was inapt when applied to a certain section of our Senate populace but due to that bit of nationalistic pride that causes me to rise in defense of most things American because I’m American. (Sure, they’re twats, but they’re our twats, boyo, so back off!)
You must, however, ask about the mindset of the BBC’s management to allow that kind of commentary to not just slip out, but be bandied back and forth (and back and forth, and back and forth) on the radio during – if I read this right – a sports show. I’m certain that the commentary of John Madden and Terry Bradshaw during a Monday Night Football game expounding on the moronic ineptitude of British Parliament and the Scottish government in their slide into socialism wouldn’t be appreciated by our friends across the pond, either. My apologies to Neverdock, however, in that many of us aren’t expecting the BBC to be unbiased any more.
Following a suggestion at Major K‘s site, I sent an e-mail to the Gold Star Moms expressing my opinion that they should rethink their decision to deny membership to Ligaya Lagman, a non-citizen whose son was killed while in the US military in Afghanistan. Just so there’s no confusion, here’s the text of the e-mail I sent, in its entirety:
|::::::::||To the Board,
Ladies, you’re doing yourselves a serious disservice by not changing your rules to allow non-citizen mothers of US soldiers membership in your organization. Assuming she still wants to be a member, you should apologize and admit Ligaya Lagman immediately. This stubborn adherence to a ruling virtually no one in the public is supporting is eliminating all the good your organization has done or will ever do. You will be painted as arrogant and not truly supportive of the people you claim to be standing for.
I’m not a mother nor am I a parent of a member of our military. I’m just a bystander hoping you’ll not destroy yourselves over something so obvious. Take the advice or leave it.
Within seconds I received an automated reply, the text of which I am also going to reproduce here since it’s an e-mail and I can’t link to it otherwise:
|::::::::||Please visit our Press Release temporarily located at http://www.goldstarsiblings.com/goldstarmothers.html.
Also note: The Associated Press has just released a follow up article relating to this story, which is also linked on this page.
OK, fair enough. Before sending the e-mail, I had already checked the Mom’s web site to see if they had posted a release on it, and they hadn’t. Note that the link here goes to Gold Star Siblings, not to the Mom’s site. The release says that their web site is maintained by a volunteer, a Vietnam vet who is unavailable due to the Memorial Day holiday. Fair enough. May I suggest the Mom’s start a blog that can be added to and edited without the assistance of a web-development saavy individual? These things happen, though, and kudos to the Gold Star Sibs for helping the Moms out.
The release itself is no short, 1-paragraph item. After a quick summary about what the “gold star” lapel pin is, they launch right into the matter:
|::::::::||As to the accusation that Mrs. Lagman’s application was denied does not tell the complete story. The application for membership with American Gold Star Mothers was received by the Department of New York. It was not completed or signed by the applicant, nor did it have the required copy of the death certificate and the payment of the first years dues. There were several inaccuracies on the application as to the dates required. A certified letter was mailed to Mrs. Lagman requesting the application be completed in full and returned for approval. To date, we have not heard from Mrs. Lagman, nor have we received any form of communication to the status of her membership application.
To say that the application has been denied is not an accurate statement.
OK, these are all legitimate concerns. After all, an application that isn’t even signed can’t be authenticated back to the individual in question. You’d like to think it would never happen in this case, but I can’t say there aren’t people who wouldn’t make an application for someone whose son isn’t dead just to stick a red-hot poker into the back of a woman they had some kind of beef with. And if this were the end of the situation – that the Moms had declined the application because it wasn’t complete – then I’d be offering a retraction of my previous comments on the matter. Unfortunately, it’s not the end of it. Further on down the release, we get this:
|::::::::||In the article there is mention to the fact that the membership board voted and discriminated against Mrs. Lagman. It was not a vote taken for membership, nor a change in the constitution. It was only from an outside source that the discussion took place regarding an upcoming applicant situation, and at that time, the board decided not to make an exception to the rule without proper investigation.||::::::::|
Now, wait a minute. If the Moms weren’t really “denying” the membership – if all they were doing was returning an incomplete application with an invitiation to resubmit it – then what’s the vote on the exception to the rule for? In the referenced AP story titled, “New Leader Says Gold Star May Change Rules,” they confirm what the current president said in response to the question on the matter:
|::::::::||“There’s nothing we can do because that’s what our organization says: You have to be an American citizen,” [current president Ann] Herd said Thursday. “We can’t go changing the rules every time the wind blows.”
[National Service Officer Judith C.] Young said that the national board did not specifically vote on Lagman’s application, but rather, “We only voted not to make an exception to the rule we already have as to citizenship.”
But earlier in the article, Young basically says they can’t vote such an exception in:
|::::::::||But Young said the change must be proposed in an amendment from a mother or chapter, then be voted on by all members. “It’s not something you just Wite-Out or change overnight,” she said.||::::::::|
Begging your pardon, Ms. Young, but it sounds to me like your board can, indeed, make such a change – an exception – overnight, if they choose to. They chose not to. That takes the onus back off the application and puts it back onto the board. So which is it? Can the board make an exception or not? If they can, what’s the possible justification for not doing so? The release ends with the traditional non-apology apology:
|::::::::||The Executive Board would like to take this opportunity to apologize for anything taken out of its context in the dissemination of information while being investigated by the media and improperly reported. They would also appreciate the time to seek a remedy to this situation and handle it internally so that the best interests of all, and to future Mothers, can be addressed.||::::::::|
I don’t see a damned thing taken “out of context” here. The issue isn’t why the application was made, or whether it was complete. No one’s going to have an issue with the Moms not granting an incomplete application or not accepting one without the dues, etc., etc., etc. But when an issue of this magnitude comes up and you get an organization’s president – their president, for Pete’s sake – tossing off a snippy comment about not being able to change the rules “every time the wind blows” then stubborness and arrogance is, indeed, the issue, and there was no mistaken reporting about that. I stand by my comments. The Moms need to make this change, if they still want to claim to be serving their membership of mothers of American soliders, and they need to apologize to Ms. Lagman. One can only hope that their new president is more adept at public speaking and more compassionate of spirit than their current leadership has proven to be.
(Heard in passing on the Net…) What’s in a billion?
A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
A billion days ago no-one on earth walked on two feet.
A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate the government spends it.
Truth hurts, kids.
You may recall “Easongate Redux” being launched by Linda Foley, international president of the Newpaper Guild. Foley repeated the same claims that got Eason Jordan in hot water, namely that the US military was deliberately targeting journalists. Like Jordan, she offers absolutely no proof of this statement and seems content to sling unsupported allegations to the delight of America’s enemies. There’s a ray of hope in this one, however. Seems one of her fellow Guild members is stepping up publicly to demand she either prove it or retract it. I give you Hiawatha Bray, reporter for the Boston Globe:
|::::::::||I’m a reporter for a major newspaper in the northeastern US. I’m also a member of the Newspaper Guild. As a reporter at the Detroit Free Press in 1995, I participated in a strike against that newspaper, a strike which cost me my job, because I would not cross the picket line.
I take my membership in the Guild very seriously. That’s why I was dismayed to learn that you, the president of my union, made a speech on May 13 in which you asserted that the US military has deliberately killed journalists. The relevant portion of the speech was videotaped and is available for viewing here.
Since then, you have failed to provide supporting evidence for your remarks, but neither have you retracted them. I spoke with you at 11:10 AM today by telephone; union secretary-treasurer Bernard Lunzer was also on the call.
When I told you that I would publish your response to me on the Internet, you declined further comment–except for the following: “I am not going to discuss this with you on the eve of Memorial Day weekend.”
This remark strikes me as extremely odd. I can’t think of a better time to redeem the honor of the US military by beginning a serious investigation of outrageous conduct on its part. If our soldiers are deliberately killing journalists, it’s our duty to publicize it, so that such a terrible stain on our nation’s integrity may be quickly cleansed.
If, as I believe, your charge is false, I can think of no better time to retract this slander.
Well done, sir. Bray is a technology reporter for the Boston Globe, so I’m interested in his stuff in any regard. But this – this – is interesting for everyone. Foley has done nothing to clarify her comments. Her absurd statement that she said the “military” was doing the targeting, not the “troops” is one of those comments that literally stops people cold and makes them say, “Huh?” Note to Ms. Foley: the military is comprised of troops. You don’t get a military without them, and a “military” doesn’t target anything unless the “troops” do. Your little semantic backflip is entertaining for certain people, I’m sure, but hardly convincing after the 5 seconds of puzzlement you provide.
I applaud Hiawatha Bray for his actions and I join his call for Foley to provide evidence of her allegations or make a clear, unambiguous retraction that she has no knowledge that any such thing has ever occurred. While she’s at it, she can tell us all where she got such a notion. And today would be a perfect day to start.
Hat Tip: Instapundit