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June 12, 2006

Re-Establishing the LRB

After being closed the last several months - more like a year - the Little Red Blog is returning shortly. Older archives will be available in a re-sorted manner. And other features will be added.

All archives listed prior to this entry are from the prior versions of the LRB.

April 1, 2005

Shepherds Lost

While sitting with a determination to write on subjects that have come, shifted, realigned and even come and gone over the past two weeks, when I’ve written little for this space, I have once again been unable to do so. Earlier today I heard that Pope John Paul II had passed away. Within minutes the story was retracted, yet the news that he was close to death has stayed with me. Keep writing I would say, so many significant events have passed and despite their importance I’ve not commented on them. Just keep writing… whether it is Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Ukraine, Sudan or any other part of the world facing the challenge of reform, the terrible weight of bigotry, the unyielding passion of fanaticism, or the struggle to find hope in an increasingly dangerous world, I had something to say. But again, I was unable.

The imminent death of a man of character and influence like few others in our recent history binds my mind and heart just as two weeks ago I was bound by concern for the unheard voice of one soul in Florida. Why is it that distant loss reaches so deep into my heart that breathing becomes a challenge? Just keep writing, even if it has nothing to do with the spread of democracy, I tell myself again. Just keep writing.

I don’t know any more about the passing Pope than you or many others. What I know is that he held firm to his beliefs at a time when the world needed a man willing, able and ready to do just that. Like Ronald Reagan he stood for something and by doing so played a significant part in the ending of the Soviet Union. But many stand for something, that can’t be it. It must be what he stood for. At a time when self supplants selflessness, Pope John Paul II was a selfless servant of his faith and the traditions of the Catholic Church. Had I been a Catholic, perhaps I’d been more able to express the cause of my admiration and respect for the man. I can’t.

All I know is that the sight of this frail man over the last few weeks has wrenched my heart. It is simply a great loss for the world to see him leaving us. A shepherd of men and women of all faiths, standing on a foundation of moral and ethical thought with a depth beyond my capacity is about to leave the flock. Did we learn the value of life, the significance of liberty, the necessity of responsibility or the promise of hope that this shepherd of men so ardently taught? It must be the fear that not enough has been learned and that another of the simple, yet profound, men who stood guard over a flock more concerned with fool and fancy will be lost. Our world is in need of more men with an eye toward good, a forgiving ear, an eloquent and sharp way with words and most of all a love for us all.

March 31, 2005

Terri Schiavo Has Died

Just heard on the radio that Terri Schiavo has passed away. To her family, I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences. May God bless her soul.

UPDATE: First AP report online.

March 22, 2005

Back to Blogging

To all those who visited, emailed and commented over the weekend and yesterday, thank you. As a general rule, I blog very little on weekends. Mondays, however, are usually filled with rambling post. I didn't have it in me yesterday to write (blog or otherwise), so I worked on the new non-blogger based version of this site. It's not quite done, but I'm getting there.

Now it's Tuesday, Terri isn't being fed, the federal judge who heard the case yesterday has turned down her parent's request. There are lots of other issues I'd like to discuss, and will today, if things go as expected. Back soon with much more.

March 19, 2005

About Last Night

Yesterday was a conflicting day in many ways. The day starts out hopeful, as do all, but with an odd heaviness upon me that I’d not anticipated. Terri Schiavo was on my mind. Throughout the day while I tried to go about writing on this or that topic, reading about the potential for good or bad around the world, and waiting on the gangly near-seven footers to take the floor in Carolina blue, I was unable to express my concern for Terri. And for myself. Or you. Or all of us.

I managed to post a few pieces of little real note, mind and heart still filled with concern. Afterwards, Carolina blue having been victorious, Terri being without her feeding tube, Marvin being concerned, perplexed, tired and yet somehow wanting to believe that hope remained, I headed out to Blogfest with Hugh Hewitt and the Rocky Mountain Alliance of Bloggers.

At 4, when I arrived, Hugh was about to take the air, the crowd was settled into the chairs and, as is the norm, I felt… well, out of place. I had decided that I would stay and hear the show live, speak with the RMA bloggers, and any others I could meet, so I stood between the middle earth master writings of J.R.R. Tolkien and colorful books that couldn’t find a place in my memory. No names, no topics, just small colorful potential additions for those so inclined. I wasn’t.

Hugh’s primary topic for the day, Terri Schiavo. After a little more than a half hour, I was not sure I’d make it. I walked around during breaks hoping that somehow the topic would shift. That my heart would be diverted from this matter to one of more lightness, one where hope seemed appropriate and moreover, one that didn’t hold such damnation for us all. Hugh prevailed. His everyday optimism and energy brought the story to those present and far away and he pressed on and on. And on. His guest by and large were superb, more on them perhaps later. Hugh had won me over again. I’d stay longer and moreover, I got in line to get my book signed.

When I walked up to Hugh, he shook my hand and asked what I did. Blog, I said. Duh. After telling Hugh where I blog, he recognizes the title and has very kind words to say and encourages me to keep going. I tried to express my appreciation. Tried. It didn’t really come out that well. Back to middle earth I head. And with a chocolate milk from the bookstore’s coffee shop.

Later during the show, Hugh mentions the Little Red Blog on the air, and again has nice things to say. He is kind and generous with his praise for others. An honorable trait, unless you are a headmaster. Perhaps he isn’t really cut out for leading CU. I remind myself to email the regents, just as Hugh has reminded us all. Several times. Terri is again the topic as the show closes with a beautiful poem by Tarzana Joe. I have to bite my lip and cover my eyes.

Shows over. Time to mingle. An art I once felt I’d mastered, but after years of inactivity and isolation, I was sorely in need of assistance. Hugh’s mentioning the LRB so kindly would help, even if he did say I looked like ZZ Top. Several folks came by and chatted. That was another big help. After a time, I met with Ben, Jared, Clay, Jim, Bob, Jonathan and Lisa, and many other bloggers and readers. Then off to dinner at Tucano’s. It was excellent, as was the company. And finally, the return home.

While driving home, I couldn’t help but think that Terri is hungry by now. This morning while I type this, having not yet had breakfast. I’m sure Terri is hungry. And thirsty.

Follow the links from family.org and let the Florida legislature know that something must be done. And then pray. Pray for Terri, for her family, for her comfort during her ordeal, and for our leaders who have as of yet not led us to a better place.

March 17, 2005

St. Patrick's Day

There was plenty to blog about yesterday. Unfortunately, my "news and notes" post was lost by blogger, and other projects prevented further attempts. So long as blogger cooperates, I'll have several posts to add today. If you dropped by and were disappointed, please accept my apology.

For St. Patrick's Day, here are a couple of poems from W.B. Yeats.

PEACE

AH, that Time could touch a form
That could show what Homer's age
Bred to be a hero's wage.
'Were not all her life but storm
Would not painters paint a form
Of such noble lines,' I said,
'Such a delicate high head,
All that sternness amid charm,
All that sweetness amid strength?'
Ah, but peace that comes at length,
Came when Time had touched her form.

HER PRAISE

SHE is foremost of those that I would hear praised.
I have gone about the house, gone up and down
As a man does who has published a new book,
Or a young girl dressed out in her new gown,
And though I have turned the talk by hook or crook
Until her praise should be the uppermost theme,
A woman spoke of some new tale she had read,
A man confusedly in a half dream
As though some other name ran in his head.
She is foremost of those that I would hear praised.
I will talk no more of books or the long war
But walk by the dry thorn until I have found
Some beggar sheltering from the wind, and there
Manage the talk until her name come round.
If there be rags enough he will know her name
And be well pleased remembering it, for in the old days,
Though she had young men's praise and old men's blame,
Among the poor both old and young gave her praise.

Back soon.

February 23, 2005

Valedictorian of Terror

Yesterday I posted the story of an American citizen indicted for plotting to assassinate the President and being a supporter of al-Qaeda. The press reported that Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was a high school valedictorian.

Rusty reports, at the Jawa Report, that the valedictorian attended the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA). Not a public school in Virginia but a Saudi run school that teaches first graders how to condemn Judaism and Christianity as false religions. And lots more.

He notes that the MSM is picking up the details, with a Philadelphia Enquirer report that quotes Daniel Pipes: "It's like the Nazis having little Hitler schools in America during the 1930s."

Excellent work Rusty! [HT: LGF]

February 22, 2005

George Washington

He set the standard. 42 others have held the title, few have met the standard.

For years his birth was remembered on this day. No longer a holiday, we should remember him individually still.

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a 23 year old U.S. citizen, has been charged with conspiring to assassinate the President and being an al-Qaeda supporter. From the AP:

"The federal indictment said that in 2002 and 2003 Abu Ali and an unidentified co-conspirator discussed plans for Abu Ali to assassinate Bush. They discussed two scenarios, the indictment said, one in which Abu Ali "would get close enough to the president to shoot him on the street" and, alternatively, "an operation in which Abu Ali would detonate a car bomb."

[snip]

According to the indictment, Abu Ali obtained a religious blessing from another unidentified co-conspirator to assassinate the president. One of the unidentified co-conspirators in the plot is among 19 people the Saudi government said in 2003 was seeking to launch terror attacks in that country, according to the indictment."

Counsel for Abu Ali, Ashraf Nubani, told the court that his client had been tortured while held in Saudi Arabia, and offered to show the magistrate the defendants scars. FNC has the indictment [pdf - 456k]. [HT: LGF]

Terri Schiavo

Get the facts and you too will support Terri Schiavo. [HT: Curtis]

February 19, 2005

Iwo Jima - 60 Years Later

Arthur Herman has an excellent column in the WSJ.

I once lived next door to an Iwo Jima veteran. He had lost a leg on Iwo Jima, had throat cancer of one sort or another, drank beer as a primary source of nourishment, and despite being as stubborn as the summer day is long, he was a gentleman through and through. Tough as nails and sharper than a knife, he was a good neighbor and a fellow Marine.

Clarence is no longer alive. But the memory of him, and the many who served with him on that island will never be lost.

February 18, 2005

Waiting

Today, the eve of Ashoura, has seen a marked increase in the number and scale of attacks by terrorist on the people of Iraq, and particularly on Shi’a Muslims. This is Muslim on Muslim violence and yet, the worldwide Sunni population has not stepped forward to demand it stop, to stand between the terrorist and their intended victims or to support the brave American, Iraqi and allied troops who are doing so.

How long must we wait?

Before I go on, I am aware that there are small groups of Muslims, in the U.S. and abroad, who have spoken out against the terrorists and their tactics. Yet they’ve not taken to the streets, the governments (none democratically elected and representative of their citizenry) have remained silent and absent in Iraq, and no cry or call to admonish their behavior has been made. Is it because they fear being next? Perhaps some do, Faud and company for example, but clearly that isn’t the totality of the reason.

For far to many years the Muslim people have silently and not so silently supported the Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israel. Having made the arguments that the murder of Israeli people, attacks on the military, government and civilian targets are warranted and even called for by their faith and its demand for struggle against those who oppose the will of God. This jihad has now been turned against fellow Muslims and the voice of the majority is absent.

So I ask again: How long must we wait?

I believe that we’ll have to wait a very long time. Imams, mullahs and sheikhs around the world have abandoned reason, moral and ethical teachings within the Qur’an, and the real and terrible consequences of sitting in silent support of evil. And in response, that evil now strikes at their own. The streets of the world have been filled with men and women who believed they had been wronged, that injustice was being done, and that their voices must be heard. Whether in protest of war, electoral shenanigans, or political corruption the memories are clear. Yet the last time we recall the Muslims taking to the streets it was in celebration of the worst attack ever on this nation. How many Muslims will die at the hand of terrorist before they see the terrible error of their past and present and take to the streets to demand an end to such acts. How long will Muslim children have to wait before their parents and grandparents demand an end to terror in their names or in the name of their god?

I’m waiting, but not holding my breath.

February 16, 2005

Armed Robots

The NY Times has a lengthy piece on the development of combat ready robots. It's an interesting look at a portion of our future arsenal. It does, of course, eventual question the idea of robots fighting instead of men, and the doctrine of use that is yet to be developed. The following image is copyrighted by the New York Times Company.

February 15, 2005

Journey and Course

A national journey is underway. And like any journey, a national journey requires the knowledge of not only where one wants to end up, but also, from what point one begins the journey. Who among us would question that the Iraqi people more than any foreign observer or policy maker knows both the starting point of their journey, and where they would like to be?

Our character at the outset of our nation was set and firm. It had been forged by years of economic repression, religious persecution, and various ignoble attacks on the very nature of those who made the colonies their home. No matter what course of action the crown had taken, the character that had developed within the hearts and minds of the colonial leaders was such that their course could be set not just against the crown, but rather toward their own objective. They knew were they wanted to be and where they were.

The setting of the course within, as seen in the founders of the United States, took place prior to the first efforts at creating a nation. Over the years that have come and gone, many within our borders have lost sight of the necessity for such an internal course setting. They represent a hodgepodge of special interest groups lost but for their singular vision for the issue de jour and as such are bound together wandering toward no particular destination. Thankfully, there are those whose course remains firmly set nearly the same as our founders. They defend the true principles held in the founding documents. And in a similar vane, the people of Iraq are soon to set their course and pass on to their progeny the values for which their course should use as guideposts.

We know little of what the course will hold for Iraq. Its guiding values will most certainly be the creation and extension of their various ethnic and religious heritages into a national heritage. Like our founding fathers, the Iraqi people have known repression in any and all areas of their lives. This too will have an impact on their choice of guiding principles and on their aspirations for untangling the biases that have previously caused dissension between them. And with newfound bearing, the Iraqi’s will set out to become that which they’ve never been.

Of course, there are those who are not yet adjusted to the new reality, or who hold no course settings for which to guide them toward something new, seeking rather to return to the old. They too will be heard. The point is that Iraq’s course is to be determined by the hearts and minds of Iraq’s people, putting their values into action, and setting sail on a course of their choice. And to guide them, the course within. We may not know, or ever understand the destination they chose, who around the world understands the American ideal so well as Americans, but our guiding principles should assure us that it is right and honorable that they are at the helm. Finally.

February 9, 2005

Reagan Stamp

As previously discussed here, the stamp to honor President Ronald W. Reagan is now available. Be sure and purchase them, to use or save.

January 30, 2005

See[ing] Arnold Run

I may be in the minority on this one. The A&E movie, See Arnold Run, was not fine fare. It has its moments of positive depiction, it left the general feeling that all the negatives thrown out, by the LA Times, where true, and that by political savvy and manipulation, Arnold persevered. Perhaps having lived in LA at the time, and seeing the level of animosity that the Times and others showed toward Arnold, I am overly sensitive to the issue. Either way, the acting, Arianna and the younger Arnold, in particular were excellent, and Arnold's girlfriend from the 70's was excellent as well. It was a challenge to see Mariel Hemingway as Maria, but even that became less challenging as the movie wore on.

January 29, 2005

To Iraq and Her Friends

The vote in Iraq is nearly 3 hours from beginning. In 14 countries it has begun. There are few things I’d like to offer prior to the elections. To the coalition forces in Iraq, to the men and women who are working to build a free nation, to the citizens voting for a free and democratic nation, to the morally confused media, and finally, to the terrorist who are threatening those who vote, I have a short number of things to share with you.

No matter the nation that sent you, no matter your service, religion, race, or political ideology, I want to thank those who serve in the coalition of the willing. Your efforts are not forgotten. Your sacrifice, and the lives of those who’ve been injured or died beside you, will not be forgotten. What was once a despotic regime of terror is no more. And in its place, the people of Iraq will build a more free and hopeful nation. Thank you.

To the American military who serves in Iraq, or elsewhere, a special thanks, for you are leading the effort to do that which is right and just in defense of your nation, and for those who may not recognize your sacrifice. Thank you.

To the employees and aid workers of all sorts who have taken to the streets of Iraq, your hours of toil, your personal risk, and your desire to be a part of something greater than yourself will not be in vain. You too, have lost friends and coworkers to the hands of villains of the worst kind, and they too are not to be forgotten. I will not, nor will those who stand with me, forget your diligence and perseverance. Thank you.

To the Iraqi voters, I don’t know where to start. You, like the brave men who liberated your nation, are heroes. Vote! Hold your blue tipped index fingers in the sky in defiance and yell to the heavens that you’ve voted. While night envelopes my home and you will be in my prayers; morning on your streets will be a new beginning for you and your nation. And here at home, far from the danger you will face, I will be thankful to those of you who will brave the streets and take what is yours. Take Iraq and make her anew.

To the media… I will not read your headlines, no matter what violence may or may not occur; I will not fall for your condemnations or your dour predictions. I understand that you are supposed to be free and objective. I await evidence of your ability to be.

And finally, to the filth of man, the most abhorrent of all, the supposed holy warriors fighting against the occupiers or the new government, to you I offer but one thing. Be warned. You had the gall to threaten those who vote not out of vice or avarice, but out of duty to build, where there was nothing, something great. You have attacked and killed men, women and children who serve the same god that you claim to serve, but we know better. You serve yourself and none other. Be warned! Our brave Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are looking for you. They’ll bring you to justice. And long after they’ve gone, the good people of Iraq will recall your warnings, your bombs and your murder, it is you who will perish. The eternal desert of hell will be your home. For Iraq will again rise to be an oasis, a blooming flower for all to see that hope is never to be lost. Not while we remember.

January 27, 2005

Remember or Learn

Israpundit is leading a blogburst to remember Auschwitz and the anniversary of its liberation. The list of participants is available here. Joseph Alexander Norland has an excellent remembrance available for those seeking to participate, and as you’ll see, he is welcoming your thoughts, essays and posts as well. I didn’t request inclusion, although I should have.

In Pogrom, I noted how the United Nations had commemorated the anniversary in an attempt to deflect criticisms of being anti-Semitic. That, along with the UN’s inability to recognize, prevent or end other genocides, remains a heavy concern and one this space has often been used to discuss. It is a simple gesture hold a ceremony of remembrance; of much greater value though would be to act upon the lessons learned and strive not only in words but also in deed to never forget. Among the nations taking part in the ceremonies today, nearly all have at one time or another ignored the actions of those who have persecuted the Jews, and today most are unfortunately ignoring the persecution of other innocents in Darfur and elsewhere, either at the hand of the government or the heel of the ignorant and bigoted.

We should all be pleased by the progress shown between Israel and the new Palestinian leadership, we should be hopeful and proud of the people of Iraq standing at the ready to vote, and we should demand, at all times, that the world body, if it is to remain such, act with an appropriate and just focus to call evil by its name and to fight it with all available means. Otherwise, we have not yet learned, we only remember.

January 26, 2005

Mourning the Morning

Some mornings are, well, not the sort that make you happy that you got out of bed. This morning, I’d expected to see the vote on Dr. Rice’s confirmation and to finish a post covering the grandstanding, or debate in Senate speak, which lasted 10 hours. It will come, but first news of the helicopter crash that killed 31 Marines, and of the train crash in LA where apparently someone purposefully parked an SUV, of course, on the tracks. This led to the derailment of a commuter train and the death of 10 people.

In choosing to comment on the news and politics, it doesn’t take long to realize that much of what will be discussed is negative, often tragic, and only rarely positive. There is good news, I’m sure.

January 25, 2005

Pogrom

Yesterday the United Nations marked the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz with a special commemoration ceremony. Over the last 30 years the U.N. has been seen a progressively becoming more anti-Semitic and the commemoration was an effort to deflect some of that criticism. The same U.N. which still has not determined if genocide is taking place in the Sudan, or defined terrorism due to the unwillingness of Arab and Muslim nations to come to terms with Islamist and Palestinian terror. And then there is the news that a group of Russian lawmakers are attempting to outlaw Jewish religious and ethnic organizations as extremist.

The pogroms of years gone by are quickly forgotten in much of the world where men attribute their woes to those who, for no other reason than being Jewish, are seen as the cause of all ills. Putin, and the Duma, should act immediately to secure the religious freedom of Jews in Russia, or else, the sentiments of a minority, given the inaction of men of good will, will once again have a foothold in a nation known for its history of persecuting Jews. In just the last 130 years, the Russian’s under the Czar, guided by Constantine Pobedonostev, or the Soviet Union, and it’s state sponsored anti-Semitism, the Jews of Russia, and allied states, have been under nearly constant attack.

Pobedonostev advocated that one third of all Jews be converted to Christianity, one third be expelled from Russia, and one third be put to death. Being a Jew in Russia was to be illegal. In the Soviet Union, from its outset, being Jewish was a high risk, even among the non-practicing Jews, three of the five leaders of the Revolution where non-practicing Jews, the Jewish people and Judaism where seen as a threat to the state.

---

Today, we fight an islamofascist movement hell-bent on destroying Western civilization, both from within, and from afar. One of the primary characteristics of this movement is its anti-Semitism. And at a time when many of us are concerned that Vladimir Putin has taken steps that limit freedom and public participation in government in Russia, we witness a reminder of the fickle nature of man and his ability to forget the lessons of history. Our silence on the murders in Darfur, the moral ambiguity of the United Nations, and our inability to recognize the nature of islamofascism, whether in the Palestinian territories or Iraq, are not signs that bode well for our ability to recognize the warning signs of a renewal of anti-Semitic movements around the world. Our eyes and ears must remain attuned to the threats within us, just as we are watchful to the threats from abroad. Link via Sherry.

January 19, 2005

Boston

As you've no doubt heard or read, a new threat has the FBI and other agencies focusing on a potential "dirty bomb" in Boston. The stories are available here, here, and here. And no doubt, the San Diego office of the FBI continues to seek more info from the informant in Mexico.

Winds of Change has all the latest news and a roundup of the blogosphere's response thus far.

January 16, 2005

Promised

If nothing more, David Gelernter’s Commentary column is provocative and challenging. While its titled Americanism -- and Its Enemies, the column serves primarily as a means to present a theory of Americanism as the continuation of Puritanism. The questionable contention is that Americanism is a religion, as is anti-Americanism. It is powerful stuff, as Gelernter states, and no less than G. K. Chesterton said that America is "the nation with the soul of a church." Is this enough?

Clearly not, yet Gelernter moves on as if for no other reason that his stating it, it should be enough. While this may be that no other evidence exists, unlikely, it is more likely that Gelernter recognizes that those who share his view of America, and her place in the world, are likely to share his creedo for Americanism. We may share it, many will, yet we do not all achieve the same understanding from the same basis, as he notes in admitting that those from outside the Judeo-Christian religions are capable of sharing in the beliefs of Americanism, although he states it is harder than most recognize. The reason - Americanism, as he defines it can be found in a creed built upon "one fundamental fact [that] creates two premises that create three conclusions."

The fundamental fact: the Bible is God’s word. Two premises: first, every member of the American community has his own individual dignity, insofar as he deals individually with God; second, the community has a divine mission to all mankind. Three conclusions: every human being everywhere is entitled to freedom, equality, and democracy.
Had Gelernter described Americanism as a value system, a moral belief system, or an ethos, anything short of a religion, much of the challenge would have been alleviated. We would consider how Puritans evolved into the mainstream of America just as did the many other peoples making up the melting pot, and more importantly, we could seek to find the influence of Puritan thought on the fundamental makeup of Americanism. Yet, as a religion, moreover, the religious continuation of Puritanism, Americanism is somehow defunct and unacceptable to many. Perhaps this is because many of those who are advocates of Americanism, even as defined above, are incapable of considering the notion as a religion. To share the conclusions of Gelernter’s Americanism creed, it is not a necessity that we share faith in God, only that we share the belief that in the conclusions and the moral value of Life and Liberty. This is quite different than religious teachings whereby the believer is expected to believe not only the conclusions, but to believe in, if not understand, the genesis of the faith or the source, God.

It was with that clarity, that the founders made the statement in the Declaration of Independence:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
As this statement shows our allegiance to the truths that preceded it, rather than to the government that we are both subject to and participants in.

It would have been grand had Gelernter chosen to examine Americanism and anti-Americanism based on the communicated and un-communicated values associated with both. In lieu of that discussion, we are discussing Americanism as an evolutionary extension of Puritanism. Of course, it is possible that had the column not focused on the religiosity of Americanism; little would have been made of it. As for this blogger, a discussion of our moral foundations, and that of our enemies, is always welcome; as is Americanism, by any definition.

It is arguable that we are hated for the values we hold. The ideals we accept, and in many ways seek to extend to others are foreign and dangerous to many, and in as much so are likely to generate hatred and rivalry on par with religious bigotry. While we did experience the now politically incorrect notion of Manifest Destiny, we are now, even more so, advocates of our ideals beyond our borders. It isn’t that men, Afghan or Zimbabwean, are more entitled to freedom today than in previous generations; it is that we recognize that our continued success as a nation requires that we foster a system of beliefs similar to our own throughout the world. The reason lies in the defense of our ability to live free. As nineteen islamo-fascist have shown us, our world is no longer made safe by distance or lack of armament; our enemies from so far away, and with so little in the form of weaponry are able to inflict immeasurable damage and for this reason, Americanism, religion or not, is spread by word and deed, to all people that they too may see life and liberty as virtues above all others.

Again I would recommend that you visit the Evangelical Outpost and the many fine entries.

January 14, 2005

Friday's Reading

Hugh Hewitt has an excellent post on the two Howards. Fineman, from Newsweek/MSNBC, who actually recognizes, at least partially, the MSM as a political force with an agenda, a.k.a. a political party. And Kurtz, who takes issue, although very poorly, with the idea.

Currently reading the NIC Report: Mapping the Global Future. Can't let the press tell us that is says Iraq is the new breeding ground for terrorist, without verifying what it says, and moreover, how it came to its conclusions. Only halfway through, so not to the terrorism section yet.

Along with the NIC Report, I'll post on Gelernter's column, and my thoughts on Tom's Just War Theory series, both mentioned yesterday, either tonight or Saturday. And a few more things that I've been thinking about, should time permit.

UPDATE: (1/15 23:00) - Well, Saturday didn't work out for writing. So Sunday it'll have to be. Until then...

January 13, 2005

Long List

There are times when there is far too much high quality discussion in the blogosphere to be taken in within a reasonable day, or week.

In late December, Lawrence Auster, of View from the Right, challenged the assertions of David Gelernter in the January issue of Commentary. The piece, entitled Americanism - and Its Enemies, was for Auster, if I read him correctly, far from mainstream as he saw the Gelernter column as a defining a new American religion. As he put it – “Gelernter redefines Americanism as no longer merely a civic religion, but (I kid you not) as a "Judeo-Christian religion" (you heard right: he defines Americanism as a "Judeo-Christian religion"), the central belief of which is that every person in the world is "entitled" to "democracy, freedom and equality," because "freedom comes from God."” Unfortunately at the time, the original article wasn’t available online, so I just earmarked the piece as something to return to at a later date.

Next comes Joe Carter, of the Evangelical Outpost, and his first blog symposium to discuss the article. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Bernstein opens the doors and the column is now available online. The window of opportunity to respond to the symposium closed on Tuesday night, and since I’d been remiss and failed to visit Joe’s site until late that afternoon, I had no entry. The good news is that I’ve now read the original column, and several of the responses to the symposium, in particular those from folks listed on the sidebar or members of the Homespun Bloggers. I highly recommend that you read them, and join in on the discussion as time permits. As for my response, it’s forthcoming, even though it will not be an official part of the symposium.

There are several other items that are must reads, and that I’ve not been able to comment on thus far this week, so I hereby share the links:

Tom, the Redhunter, has begun an excellent series on Just War Theory. Thus far he has the Intro, and Parts I, and II.

From John J. Tkacik Jr., writing for the National Review, a column entitled The Invasion of Taiwan. Toss in Mark Noonan's post at Blogs for Bush and you'll have a fair view of the concern many share over China's ambition for Taiwan, and their doubt of our willingness to intervene.

A Sandy Berger update from the NY Post or Washington Times.

Norman Podhoretz follows up his WWIV column from last September with The War Against World War IV.

An excellent Winds of War post at Winds of Change. There are many different directions that we could take from here.

Frank Gaffney on the upcoming budget proposal from the White House. If the President takes the course Gaffney is describing, we should be troubled and should make it clear to Congress that it is a mistake. One we cannot afford.

There are many more that I'm sure I'm missing. Until next time...

January 6, 2005

A Tad More Bliss

Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, the Marine who has been charged with desertion and theft, among other charges, after claiming to have been kidnapped by terrorist in Iraq only to turn up in Beirut, is missing once again. Get this, he was given leave for the holidays and did not return to his post in Camp Lejeune, NC. Shocking... yes, it's shocking that he wasn't being held in the brig awaiting trial. Who is the SJA for the 4th MEB?

More... of course.

The son of a Saudi diplomat, formerly the head of the Saudi diplomatic mission in the Sudan, of all places, has been identified as the murderous islamo-fascist responsible for the Mosul bombing which killed 22 others. The news comes from the Saudi owned paper Asharq al-Awsat and is covered here.

January 5, 2005

Thanks be...

While there are terrible and tragic events in our age, strife and tribulations abound, and yet we are more capable and adept at managing the turmoil of the day than ever before. We are fortunate beyond our recognition and thankfulness to live in such an age. This evening, while Denver is blanketed in snow and frigid cold envelopes our homes; the overwhelming majority of us are warm and safe inside. And on a webcam, via the Internet we can view the Western Wall live (link via Rishon Rishon). This evening, one supplicant sits alone, rocking in prayer and worship.

No matter our faith or lack thereof, there are many things that we take for granted in our daily lives. So in this minute… I pause in thanks and humility.

December 31, 2004

Happy New Year

2004 draws to an end. For those seeking the pundits review of the year, or the predictions for the next year, there are many available. My willingness to toss my own into the forum is greater than my time or resources to do so, thus a reprieve is granted to those who are, for unknown reasons, compelled to read the LRB.

However, I do have a couple quick things to say.

The American people have responded with great generosity to the tragic tsunami. It strikes me that while many writers immediately called for this to be a politics free issue, it has become increasingly clear that the left is seeking to attack the President based on their view of his reaction. This is an unfortunate turn of events.

While we will each determine how to bring in the New Year tonight, it will certainly be a more sober and heavy hearted event for any compassionate being after hearing, seeing and reading of the destruction in Southeast Asia.

Lest we forget, there are also many things for which we should be thankful. I'll not list them, but will say that you are among them for me.

The new year brings, for me, a sense somewhat similar to that of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Of course, I'm not comparing it in significance, religious or otherwise, but noting that the mindset the new year brings for me is one of reflection and of aspiring to right the wrong in me. If you've been disappointed or wronged by me this year, and I'm aware of it, I assure you it'll be on my mind and heart. In that way, the new year presents me with an opportunity to aspire to a better me, and to plan for my continued growth and success in meeting and surpassing my obligations, responsibilities and understanding. No matter what the new year means to you, my hope is that you will find happiness in it, and that you will wish the same upon all others.

Well, that's it for now.... Have a Happy and blessed New Year.

December 29, 2004

Hewitt's Latest - Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation that is Changing Your World

If it's not on your wish list, you haven't received an early copy, and you aren't hounding your local bookstore for it.... why?

The year is coming to an end and Hugh Hewitt's latest bestseller Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation that is Changing Your World is a necessity for those seeking to participate and understand why blogs, or more aptly the blogosphere, are important as a new median for information decimination. Whether you blog, read them often, or are a first time reader, you'll want to see a glimpse of what's only just begun.

Credibility matters... buy Hugh's book and let me know if I'm right.

And while you are at it, read his latest column for the Weekly Standard.

December 28, 2004

Holly Berry and I

The last couple of hours have been a mix of attempting to catch up on the news via the many blogs I frequent, listed on the sidebar, and keeping Holly Berry, the newest addition to the family, happy. Holly is a sweet and engaging Calico, who seems enthralled by the warmth of my lap and the movement of my fingers while I write. Pictures may be in order soon, as she isn't camera shy. Can't say thanks enough to the Jizba's for the gift, and I'd like to let them know that Holly is well and happy in Denver.

And on to the news....

Professor Bainbridge and Jeff Quinton both have links to the news of the Sino-Russian military exercises underway, and first reported here a couple of weeks ago. I have to agree with the Professor's remarks:

So how worried should we be about this development? Are the Russians helping the Chinese practise a response to a US strike in defense of Taiwan? Are the Russians making a point about US "meddling" in places like the Ukraine? I don;t know the answers to those questions, but it's hard to imagine a scenario in which this is good news.
The Ukraine elections are over... and yet the battle for their future is far from over.

And in Iraq, the terrorist continue their efforts to prevent credible elections, and the largest Sunni party has basically aligned themselves with the terrorist rather than taking part in forming a new Iraqi government. Is anyone really surprised by this? (Via Jawa Report.)

December 22, 2004

Merry Christmas

It is unlikely that I'll add much between now and Christmas, although it'll be little different than my general rate of posting of late.

Here's hoping that each of you have a joyous and blessed Christmas. May it be safe, find you in good health and spirits, and serve to remind us of the grace of God in good times and bad.

Have a Merry Christmas!

December 16, 2004

Homespun Symposium V

Yet another important and challenging question from the Homespun Bloggers for the weekly Symposium. The question(s) posed this week, by Marc at Hubs and Spokes, relates to racism in the United States. Here it is:

What do you believe is necessarry for true racial reconciliation to take place in American society? Does your solution involve coercive governmental remedies? Do you believe that Churches have an important role to play in this process?

Following such a question, and prior to the follow-up questions, a look at race in the US today. If by racial reconciliation the questioner means citizens of varied races behaving and acting in a race neutral or color blind manner, only a small minority of Americans retain a racist view, and frankly, it is unlikely to be changed by external actions. If the questioner refers to economic or social racism, the vast majority of such forms have long been addressed. Not by government effort but by the consistent application of our moral and ethical foundations and teachings over time and through the active participation of citizens who have recognized the error of their neighbor, family, church or business partners and sought to do better.

So what racial reconciliation remains to be addressed? Political and government reinforced racism. Political parties on the left and right have followed the government’s model of addressing racism through race advocacy and the underlying belief that race is significant. The government continues advocacy positions through affirmative action and supposedly innocuous programs such as the EEO, the Census Bureau, and in its general pandering for political backing of either values or culture.

To address the issue of race, it must become a non-issue for those whose livelihood today is built upon racism and discrimination. So long as minority populations permit racist men to represent them, racism will remain a significant political issue. And so long as political power is availed to those using racism, the government will continue to support its race-oriented policies. Being black, Hispanic, Scots-Irish or Arab before being American is a result of the governments support for minority status rather than its adherence to the ideal that all men are created equal. As for the role of churches, the continued reinforcement of biblical teachings has a positive effect on our ability to erase race as an issue, but the moral basis of Declaration of Independence and the Constitution must be applied in governance to a far greater degree to properly remove race as an political tool for the manipulation of otherwise free people within the great land of opportunity.

Other Homespun Responses:

Dagney's Rant
Mud and Phud
A Physicist's Perspective
Bunker Mulligan
Weapon of Mass Distraction
Ogre's Politics and Views
Slarrow
The Commons at Paulie World.... by Paulie
Major Dad 1984
The Redhunter
Mad Poets Anonymous

December 10, 2004

Homespun Symposium IV - The Divide

Old divides expand and become more readily apparent when issues of significance are presented on the world stage. It has been a common thread of this blog to discuss the divide between the United States, and its allies in the fight against Islamo-fascism, and the European and other nations who feign contempt for Islamists, yet are unwilling to stand against the terrorism, dictators, economic impoverishment and the religious leaders holding a vast portion of the world hostage. It is exasperated when the U.S. determines to hold not only those who’ve attacked the U.S. responsible for their actions but to move against those who through anti-U.S. or anti-Israeli sentiment may lend their power to those who are willing to die in an attack on the U.S. And as a final inflammation, the divide swells when economic advantages and exploitations are exposed linking those who oppose our efforts directly with the oppressor mistakenly believed to be under “united” scrutiny and constraint.

The divide isn’t new. It is as old as jealousy, and as rampant as the hypocrisy of secular humanism, socialism and moral relativism. It’ll last so long as hypocrisy does, only moving between nations as their understanding of liberty, and the sanctity of life, shifts over time. Our role is clear. We must remain vigilant at home to refrain from becoming a member of the clan of the corrupted, and seek at all times to expand the coalition of the courageous.

Of particular interest for those who recognize the divides around the world should be the risks associated with our continued support of the enabling organizations associated with the spread of, and possible encouraging the spread of, the moral and political worldviews behind anti-U.S. policy and public opinion. This week the Bush Administration announced their continued support for Kofi Annan. It is one thing to hold out hope for the United Nations, although this blogger maintains no such delusions, it is reprehensible that we continue to support the leadership of the UN that has presided over it during the most egregious corruption and feeble execution of justice.

Congress and the President should move immediately to withdraw U.S. financial support of the UN and to withhold support until such time that full disclosure and transparency takes hold in the office of the Secretary General. It will not happen until Annan is no longer UNSG and that will not happen until the taxpayers of the U.S. withhold our support for the UN.

Pragmatically it is understood that we are unlikely to take a stand on all the issues of injustice or immoral action around the world. This does not excuse us from the responsibility to choose those where we will have the most impact in preserving what remains of liberty and moral affirmation of life. The UN should be our next target or as we’ve seen in the Sudan, and much of Africa, death and destruction will continue at the hands of those in power while those who proclaim the role of protector of the innocent, meek and unheard masses are impotent, an impotence that grows from within, not from lack of resources, understanding or alternative courses of action.

In this week’s Homespun Symposium our question was posed by Arthur Chrenkoff, it has been answered by others, all of which are worthy of our thought and discussion.

Others responding:

Mud and Phud
Dagney's Rant
Mad Poets Anonymous
A Physicist's Perspective
Bunker Mulligan
Chrenkoff
The Commons at Paulie World... by Nathan Hale
The Radical Centrist
The Redhunter

December 7, 2004

Infamy - December 7, 1941

Today we remember the "day that shall live in infamy."

We remember the service, the sacrifice and the honor of those who served during the attacks and in response to them. This day in 1941 set the course for the U.S. to no longer stand alone without regard for the horror or transgressions others have perpetrated against men and women for no other reason than race, religion, creed or nationality.

If you know someone who took part in the war, remember them and let them know we haven't forgotten their sacrifice.

November 30, 2004

The Threat

Before attempting to respond to this week’s symposium question, one that strikes a particularly strong cord with those on the right apparently more than those on the left, it is incumbent upon us to review what is at stake. The question this week:

What, in your mind, represents the single greatest long-term threat to the United States of America, and what should be done about it?

The author of the question, limits our discussion to the single greatest threat to the United States of America, and challenges us to offer a solution. Threats to the US come in many forms, from within and without, from direct attack, unintended consequences and subversive undermining, and from the governed and the government. When discussing the threats, current or long-term, our view of what is at stake is reflected by our assessment of the threats. Should we look at the threat from the view of ending our nations existence, there are relatively few threats. Should we instead look at the nature and character of our nation, there are many threats and more significantly, these threats weaken our ability and willingness to recognize and defend ourselves against threats to our very existence.

So the answer was apparent. The threat of single greatest significance must be a threat to the character of the nation and its ideals. If you are so patient, let me add that I’ve included the list of current and possible long-term threats here, should you be interested in it.

Islamo-fascism – the perversion of Islamic thought and doctrine in support of a bigoted, intolerant, arabesque world-view. Primary concerns are the current militant Islamo-fascist of al-Qaeda and associated terrorist organizations, secondary concern is the enormous support of and adherence to the Islamo-fascist view of Islam held throughout the world, and dominant in the Middle East (whether Sunni or Shi’a in inclination). Affiliated issues include the propagation of anti-Semitism or anti-Israeli thought and action, an enormous amount of propaganda and a willingness to accept lies and conspiracies as truth, an inability or unwillingness to permit cultural assimilation, and a birth rate far exceeding European and North American non-Hispanic growth rates.

Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism – the spread of nuclear weapons and technology to unstable, rogue and hostile nations possibly willing to aid terrorist in acquiring them or incapable of adequately securing them.

China – the increased economic and military reach of China and their attempt to construct a Chinese hegemony in Asia and beyond as a counter-American force in the world.

Indo-Pakistani belligerence – two nuclear capable nations with a breadth of immoral and unjust hatred and bigotry for the other. Socialist/Communist ties and the general inability of each state to extend liberty to their citizens creates the greater incentive for public dissatisfaction and instability.

Iran – essentially a theocratic oligarchy of Shi’a Islamo-fascist. The gravest threat here is the development of nuclear weapons and technology, the support for terrorist outside Iran and the open hostility towards Israel and the US.

Middle Eastern Kings and Emirs – the kingdoms and emirates of the Middle East have used islamo-fascist thought as a means to control their populations and are limited in their ability to reform out of fear of a true islamo-fascist take over as in Iran.

European Socialism – primarily in Western Europe, unlike the firm opposition to Communism, their Socialism has gained support over the years and influences all aspect their lifestyles, thought and culture.

Russia – Vladimir Putin and other remnants of the former Soviet Union continue to show a return to Soviet styled governance rather than encouraging Liberty and fighting the corruption that followed the fall of the USSR through rule of law and vigilant economic and intellectual openness.

Of course, there are other risks and areas of concern.

The single greatest threat to the United States comes from within. Not just within the nation, but within each of its citizens. As noted in a previous post, the course within is the most significant and it is measured by our understanding, acceptance and acting on a moral basis. Some respondents to the question will make the issue a religious issue, a possible cause for the reactionary steps of those attacking the foundation of our nation today; others will find a particular symptom of our weakened moral state and attribute the danger to it. We might instead seek to prevent the disease itself from further spread to future generations and to cure it among the many (millions) currently afflicted.

In a post on the danger of moral ambivalence, and others, we’ve noted that one must recognize that while religion is often a precursor to our understanding of moral or ethical issues, as a nation we must resist the religious argument as a means for establishing rules of governance. We have the moral truths of our unalienable rights, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, and upon these we should be able to debate and determine the proper course of governance for a strong and moral people. The trouble, of course, is when we are no longer a moral people, capable of living up to the responsibilities associated with Liberty. The danger lies therein.

The larger the role our government, the federal government in particular, plays in our lives, the less we as a people are responsible to each other and to our progeny for our decisions and actions. Federal activism in education, health, social character and what should be state or local issues remains not only a symptom of our failing moral compass but a cause for its further decay. The solution is to aim for a return to the federalist approach of our founders and to re-establish the sovereignty of the state, the community and the family. The good news is that while we are falling toward complete moral irrelevance and the loss of the most basic of truths, we have far to fall before hitting ground, and the parachute, our Constitution, remains as a means to recover.

Other Homespun Symposium Responses

A Physicist's Perspective
Bunker Mulligan
Bill's Big Bloviating Blog
Ogre's Politics and Views
Mud and Phud
The Commons at Paulie World
The Terriorists
The Redhunter
Never Sway
Mad Poets Anonymous
Considerettes
In Search of Utopia
Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates

Addendum: We are, whether perilously or not may be debated, divided in our understanding of the nature of being American, of being a free people, and of the nature of our government’s responsibilities to us as citizens. We may, or rather will, debate, on many occasions, the extent and nature of the divide in our nation. Those who see a divide may lament its existence, while others likewise seeing it, will see it as a sign of our health and prosperity. Partisan we are, some by reason and principle, others for reasons neither they nor their counterparts can discern. In the end, the truth of the divide may be seen not by our debate or acknowledgement of its existence, but by our vocal and active support for altering the direction of the nation, whether our party, or the closest in similarity, is in power or not.

Everyday...

Okay, perhaps not everyday. I don’t usually give it much thought on Saturday and Sunday, but during the week, I generally write 8 to 12 pieces and post fewer, sometimes far fewer. The cause, most often is my dissatisfaction with the post, dissatisfaction with my writing, or the feeling that it has been stated better or adequately elsewhere.

A friend would say that it’s okay to state it again, or in my own words. This due to my own recognition that it isn’t likely to be read by many nor is it required that it be read even if someone visits this blog. And it records my thought at that time. Now if only blogger would cooperate. That being said, more to come.

Cartoon by Cox and Forkum via The Commons at Paulie World.


November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving Day

Have a great Thanksgiving Day!

May you find and remember many things worthy of your gratitude and thanks today.

See you tomorrow.

November 23, 2004

Blog On

What to do with a rarely read blog after the storm of interest, minute as it was, has passed with the election? As a gnat, Paulie’s description of bloggers, our individual influence was never great, in fact it may have been non-existent beyond the decision to spend our time, money and intellect at the keyboard blogging away. The storm has passed. Those who were in the millions or hundreds of thousands of readers have noticed the decline in readership. Blogs like this one, with few if any regular readers may have seen their primary source of readership, central sites such as Blogs for Bush, all but evaporate as a source for daily readers. So the question is inevitably asked, what next?

Let’s think through the phenomena a bit and look at the nature of the blogosphere. There are communal blogs, often-large communities of like-minded individuals, driven by a few bloggers, and a large number of readers, trolls and serial commenters. This type of blog will persist, and likely flourish as the commitment of the reader or commenter is limited, the number of authors is great enough to fill in during a single authors quiet time. In addition, the political activism behind those who drive such blogs is generally well established and unlikely to wane.

Professional bloggers will continue, if for no other reason than the fiscal and political influence they have established, and as a continuation of the influence prior to the next cycle political mini-storm only a scant few months away in the mid-term elections of 2006.

The real gnawing question is where will the rarely read go. Some will no doubt fly off to other venues to express their view, others will fly in and out as the smell of blog worthy news hits their tiny nostrils (do gnats have nostrils), and yet others will fly off completely.

Dialogue, between those with opposing views, as of yet, is not the norm among blogs just as it is not the norm in society. If you listen to talk radio, the norm is one side or the other advocating, of defending, their view, not a dialogue between the two. If you watch television news or read a newspaper, you are subjected to a view of the sensational, or the sensationalization (probably not a word) of the only semi-important or minimally interesting, and far too little information about the important. This week for instance, we have the Pistons and Pacers skirmish turning into a brawl with the fans, the hullabaloo about the ABC TV show Desperate Housewives, or Target’s undue sensitivity resulting in hurting those who are in need of sensitivity. The various sides have taken their stand to decry the falling virtue in America, the out of control culture of music, sports and entertainment personalities, and the irresponsible or weak kneed corporate leadership.

If the blogosphere becomes an extension of the news media, and nothing more, then it too will cease to be of significance to many. The good news is that the personal nature of blogging permits the interest of the minority and the majority to be expressed and when done solely for the expression, rather than for the response or for external gain, found in fame or fortune, it is more worthwhile and substantial. Only the foolish gnat believes that he'll be the next vulture (hired pundit) and all gnats buzzing about for their own joy of doing so are likely to find their aim fulfilled.

So where will this rarely read blog go. Right where it has been all along, blogging to express a single view, consistent or inconsistent, as the issues prompt. The joy of doing it will remain whether or not you respond, whether or not dialogue sprouts, and thankfully, whether or not this blog remains forever, rarely read.

November 11, 2004

Joshua Micheal Palmer

There are many men of valor, moral courage and resolute faith in our nation. Standing for what they know to be the highest of callings, to defend the life and liberty of not only their American families but to bring hope of similar prosperity and freedom to others.

Remember Joshua Palmer, a Marine 1st Lieutenant, who died in Fallujah in April of this year. And remember those who he served with who remain behind. Remember his family and their incredible sacrifice.

Tears do not come easy for many men or Marines, but the inspiration found from his story will move you. Take the time to read Hugh’s posting of an email from Josh’s fiancé. And to say another prayer for those for whom the credit belongs. Thanks to Bunker.

Veterans' Day 2004

On this day in 1918, World War I ended. From our resolve to not forget those who answered the call to defend our nation, and indeed the world, came a day of national recognition and remembrance of those who have served in our nations military services. On this day we now recognize and honor all men and women who have served as Veterans. And neither our gratitude or our cause will fail so long as American's stand ready to serve and protect our Life and Liberty.

To all the 25 million Veterans - Thank you for your service, and may God bless you on this day.

November 10, 2004

Happy Birthday Marines

To Devil Dogs, Leathernecks, and Jarheads;

May this message find you in good health and proudly serving in the tradition of those who preceded you. You are at this very hour serving your nation in a time of great need, combating enemies unlike any we’ve faced before. Rest assured that we who have served in the Corps or otherwise and we who live free and secure in this great nation are confident in your unequaled ability, courage and devotion to the cause you serve. On this day, we will take special care to remember your contribution to our nation, and likewise to remember the Marines who’ve served from the American Revolution to the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Kuwait, Afghanistan and around the world every day of our nation's history.

Much of who I am today came to be at the hands, hearts and minds of Marine leaders who served as my mentors and examples of that which I aimed to be, as well as through the amazing young Marines who served along with me, even if some of the messages didn’t fully sink into my "grape" until after my service was complete. My gratitude to you all is unmatched and cannot be expressed fully here. In addition to the Marines, my gratitude extends to those who've supported them as husband or wife, child or parent, or friend, and to the many service men and women in the Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard. May God bless you all this day and everyday.

For more messages on the Marine Corps Birthday, read the Commandant’s message to the Marines and General Lejeune’s message, which is shared by all Marines every November 10th.

November 9, 2004

In Honor of Ronald Reagan

On February 9th, 2005 the U.S. Postal Service will release the commemorative Ronald Reagan stamp. Via the Patriette.

UPDATE: The stamp has been released on February 9th, 2005.

November 5, 2004

The Counsel of the Citizens

In their post-election anguish, many on the left and extreme left have shown both their disdain for the average American as well as their more troubling disdain for America. We must look no further than the editorials, essays and commentaries of the blogs, magazines and newspapers to see it. In exposing their scurrilous vitriol the left is determined, even if unknowingly, to slide further from the realm of influence and toward a seat alongside the openly socialist, communist, neo-nazi, or Aryan militiamen watching but not participating in the governance of the nation. Some will inevitable believe that it is their rightful position in obscurity. It isn’t so.

One of the greatest benefits of living in the new media, in as much as the internet and the blogosphere are concerned, is the ability of the everyday citizen to offer opinions, counsel and commentary on the issues before our leaders throughout the election cycle and beyond. In making derisive and inflammatory comments beyond the realm of reason, many Democrats have essential made their voice less likely to be heard. We should not celebrate this, as there are many issues before us that justly need the voice of both the center-left and center-right to be heard. The further loss of the left of center voices will not prevent the resolution of the issues by any means; it simply leaves many who had been spoken for by the left no longer with a reasoned voice in the chamber of counsel.

The proper course for those on the left, just as it is for those on the right and in the center, is to seek and advance the voices which best reflect their beliefs and values to the largest possible audience. There was a time when the religious right held men such as Reverends Falwell and Robertson up as their voices. Both men lost support and influence as they lost sight of the nation’s guiding principles and pressed for their personal and religious ideals to be those of the nation. Many on the religious right now will readily admit that while they may still hold their religious beliefs, they are unwilling to follow their political views. The black or African-American community has shown a similar response to Reverends Jackson and Sharpton. Perhaps to an even greater extent as both men have failed by taking positions naturally opposed to the values of the faith of those they once held sway.

We all have at our means now the ability to be self-appointed counsel to the political leaders of our nation. In addition, our counsel is shared among the many seeking to further understand their views or to find truth in a world filled with non-sense, whimsy and vice. It is striking that so many would take for granted the liberty of this nation, the technology behind our communications, and the willingness of so many to take the time to read their words only to repay them all by offering abuse of truth, revisionist histories and inciting outright disregard for the very foundation which permits their insolence.

It remains to be seen who among the many self-appointed leaders of the left today are capable of maintaining civil discourse and advancing their ideas in government. What we do know is that many, who are now lashing out, may be gaining a name for themselves and a sense of fame, but fame without excellence, good works, and values often comes as infamy. Time alone will tell. What is certain is that while no one voice is particularly likely to be heard, the ramifications of spreading truth or untruth and freeing those willing to do likewise are always heard. So how will the left respond in the coming days? And how will you?

November 4, 2004

To Unite the Divided

One of the most significant challenges of leadership, particularly in the political arena, is to advance an agenda beyond those who without invitation offer agreement and bring forth those who have professed disagreement or divergent views. This is the challenge before the newly re-elected President not, the commonly called for, reaching out to the opposition to close the divide. One of the greatest factors in the success of the U.S. over the last 100 years is our willingness to stand together against the odds and in the face of danger. We are not the lone super-power in the world because we slid toward the communist, socialist or fascist ideologies of our enemies. No, we defeated them in the arena of ideas, and we defeated them both politically through strategic and military efforts. Why then does the press clamor for the President to close the divide between in this nation by working on the agenda of the opposition party?

As is far too often the case, the call of the press for the President to appeal to the left, to work with the Democrats in Congress, is self-serving and not in the interest of the nation. We have seen, in this election, the vested interest of the media and their desire to see the left take power in this country. Their incessant adherence to the micro issues before our nation, rather than to the macro issues, shows not their desire for ratings but rather their affliction or affiliation with the same micro view the left subscribes to. The people of the nation have elected a man not beholden to those views and capable of eliminating the alligators by clearing the swamp.

President Bush is not the cause of the divide nor is he the cure. The media and the punditry may spend the next four years describing the divide and how he has failed to move toward the middle. And in this space, and many like it, we will applaud his convictions and his willingness to act thereupon. In addition, we will continue to seek those who today hold divergent views, whether by worldview, faith, political ideology or misguided compassion, and attempt to bring them back into the political mainstream. The alternative they face is to follow the left as it scampers further from the majority and toward political insignificance within their own country.

In the future, we should continue, as the President will, to stress the moral and uplifting significance of liberty for Americans and to share these ideals with our neighbors both in the U.S. and abroad. Whether it be tax policy, property rights, foreign affairs or war, the central themes remain the same. Our government is to provide for the defense of our liberties, not to constrain them, and we, Americans, should seek an understanding of the rightful place of government in our lives and the merit of personal virtue despite the liberty to live in excess and vice. With an understanding of these ideals, we are not only more capable of divergent ideologies, we are capable of shared ideologies.

October 30, 2004

YES!!!

October 27, 2004

Calling Liberals not the Left

Indeed one of the most distasteful aspects of our current hyper political mood is the willingness of the left, whether affiliated with Senator Pander or in the guise of an objective media, to seek and even encourage the gullible to support their candidate. While the Senator has taken no real stand other than to oppose to the President, the media and his open supporters have presented him as being for nearly all-possible positions. In this space I’ve lamented the loss of a real discussion of governments role, of policy and politics. In its place we have a party and a candidate who portrays himself as all things to all people. Is there anyone who believes the impact of his tactics, whether successful or not, is a positive turn of events? Is there anyway that this election will spark a renewed and earnest discussion of the issues?

Many pundits and political operatives will chastise the American voter for their gullibility or worse they’ll deny the gullibility of the voter and claim that the American voter is more informed in this age of constant communications than ever before. The reality is that while more data is available than ever before, the basic knowledge to decipher it remains at a low point. In response, the media disseminates untruths at a rate far exceeding the ability or time available for the average voter to deal with it. Our system of government requires, of the voters and of the candidates, a willingness to deal with truths and to build upon our limited working knowledge of political matters towards a sustainable set of principles for governance by the people. In lieu of truth, we have lies and deceits, arguments for positions in direct contradiction of voting records and a big tent ideal that brings those susceptible to the tomfoolery into the same camp as those they have nothing more in common with than being duped.

Will we return to a discussion of the issues? Not until liberal candidates arise within the Democratic Party with a willingness to be liberal, to espouse their convictions without hesitation, and with a moral grounding to campaign based on truth, win or lose. One of the first steps that the DNC can make is to distance themselves from the morally bankrupt left, which comprises the most vocal and energetic forces within their camp. Men like Ed Koch, Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman are supporting President Bush because there is no moral and sane alternative within their party. I for one, long for the day when once again there is an alternative, for we all will gain, win or lose, from political choice.

October 22, 2004

Security Mom on Guard

One of the many fighting against terrorist, Shannen Rossmiller, from her kitchen in Montana makes us more secure and keeps a vigilant watch on those who would do us harm.

CONRAD, Mont. — In small-town Montana, one woman has taken up arms in the fight against terrorism.

Shannen Rossmiller, a municipal judge and mother of three, spends her free time hunting down terrorists on the Internet using 23 different aliases.

"Of course I can't fix the War on Terror, but I may be able to do something to help out," Rossmiller told FOX News.

Rossmiller, who learned Arabic, wakes up early in the morning and pores over the various e-mail accounts she's created. Any information about attacks in the works is handed to the authorities.

"A lot of times I'm from Pakistan, but if I'm not sure I always say I'm from Germany," she said.

Rossmiller has been able to use her skills to dig deep into the most secretive terrorist Web sites and communicate with people overseas, but one contact came as a surprise.

National Guardsman Spc. Ryan G. Anderson, a Muslim convert from Fort Lewis, Wash., who was weeks away from being deployed to Iraq, made the mistake of offering Al Qaeda classified information on how best to attack American troops.

But the person he had exchanged some 30 e-mails with wasn't on the other side of the globe – it was Rossmiller, just two states away in her Montana kitchen.

With her help, military prosecutors were able to convict Anderson, who was sentenced to life in prison.

Thank you Shannen!

October 20, 2004

In lieu of my ramblings...

Here are a few items I've not been able to discuss yet today.

Backcountry Conservative points out the possibility or improbability of MCRD Parris Island moving to Ft. Jackson. The summer of '86 was one of the toughest of my life, and one of the best, it would be a terrible thing to close PI.

Lebonese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has resigned, and while there is reason to doubt it, claims he'll not lead the next government. I may have to come back to this one.

The Evangelical Outpost has reposted a piece exploring the principles of libertarianism and Christian libertarianism. I will have to come back to this also.

Several bloggers have noticed the comments of John Martinkus, an Australian journalist and former hostage in Iraq.

“There was a reason to kill (British hostage Kenneth) Bigley, there was a reason to kill the (two) Americans (kidnapped with Bigley). There was not a reason to kill me.”
How are we supposed to react to such ignorance?

A Divided World | A Divided Nation

It appears the entire world has an opinion, or a candidate, in the race for the White House. This is not by chance. A straightforward analysis of the world today reflects that the world is divided sharply, just as this nation is, hence the willingness of political leaders from around the world to state their beliefs about the proper man for the Oval Office. We are apt to pin the divide both at home and abroad on one issue. When we do so, we are wrong.

Foremost among the commonlly recognized divides is the Global War on Terror or the Iraqi campaign in particular. However, the greater divides have led to the GWOT divide, just as they’ve led to the divide of Israel and the Palestinians. The greater divides are more esoteric to some, and unmentionable to others. They include issues such as virtue or vice, excellence or mediocrity, man or mankind and individual liberty or societal equity. Do all people or nations who fall on one side or the other of any particular divide see things alike? Of course not, yet those who follow the general path of opposition to the war also tend to be of the opposition in each of the other areas.

The divided world arises from several issues. The most commonly discussed is, as noted above, the Global War on Terror or the removal of Saddam Hussein from Iraq and the ensuing effort to build a free and democratic Iraq. In addition we are divided by our very nature as a society from much of the world, this divide is between virtue and vice. Indeed, the U.S., a nation where most any vice can be found, stands as the beacon of virtue, while the defenders of the most terrible of vices stand against us. The world is also divided by its expectations for its people and their fulfillment. Here we see excellence against mediocrity. And of course, fueling each of these great divides, the churning battle between liberty and socialism.

While we might enjoy an exploration of how we came to this divide, our current attention must be the battle at hand. The fronts in the undeclared war of liberty and socialism are many, so many that we are each involved in not just one, the personal battle to elevate ourselves to the most noble of human characteristics, rather we are involved, knowingly or not, in a majority of them. Thankfully so, as our votes are a testament to our stand in this war.

In the United States, the most significant of the battles is taking place. It isn’t the most significant because the writer of this blog lives in the U.S., but rather because the U.S. is the spearhead of the defense of liberty, even while the war wages on within the U.S. President Bush, his supporters, and like-minded people around the world, are the leading proponents for the liberty of man over the limitations of societal whimsy. The President represents a belief that the individual determines his success or failure not the government or the collective view its citizens. He espouses entrepreneurial effort, a disciplined work ethic, self-reliance and a value system that honors rather than limits man’s capacity to succeed. The Senator from Massachusetts offers the more globally prevalent, socialist inspired view which has led to the decline of Western European influence, economic stagnation, moral ambivalence and stirred the more base nature of man to prominence and broad acceptance.

In Europe and the U.N., the war also has many fronts as the French, German and new Spanish governments represent the Islamophobic Socialist for Appeasement, while the recently liberated, and those holding any remnants of moral clarity remain staunchly supportive of the U.S. and of liberty. The much-maligned Coalition of the Willing is comprised not of traditional Allies of the U.S. rather it is comprised of the few who remain true to the cause of liberty, as many former allies were not so much advocates of liberty as they were self-serving tag-a-longs while the threat of the Soviet Union stood at their doorstep. What we’ve seen in recent months is that the much larger Coalition of the Coerced, Corrupt and Condemned will do or say anything to prevent the recognition of their money trial to terrorist, while at home they take measures to deny religious freedoms, constrain individual rights and maintain power within their governments. The French, builders of the Statue of Liberty, are expelling children who wear religious garments to school, and are unwilling to come to the defense of the people of Iraq fighting terrorist in their nation. The fear of Islamic terror has blinded them to their own hypocrisy, just as their greed blinded them to the moral injustices of their support for Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat, Syria, and the Sudan. They have become default leaders of the Axis of Ambiguity, soon to be the Axis of the Irrelevant.

When we re-elect President Bush, we are sending a signal to the world that the U.S. is not about to cede our rightful place as leaders of the free world. The task afterwards will be to continue to develop new allies in the lands once occupied by our enemies, to stand resolute, when the U.N. will not, and to work to defend liberty at home and in our enemy’s backyard. The U.S. has a noble calling, let us answer it well.

October 19, 2004

Turn off the TV

Hot Air. The fuss over ABC's new sitcom, 'Desparate Housewive's', amounts to little more than hot air. CNN/Money reporter Krysten Crawford paints the picture:

"Tyson Foods, Lowe's Cos., and Kellogg have all aired spots on the weekly prime time soap that debuted late last month. And none plan to air any more.

Officials at two of the advertisers -- Arkansas-based Tyson Foods (up $0.16 to $15.15, Research) and North Carolina-based Lowe's Companies (down $0.11 to $56.40, Research) -- confirmed that the decision against buying more commercial time on "Desperate Housewives" was based on the hit show's cheeky script, which centers on a tony suburban neighborhood where four middle-aged women live in misery and a fifth who committed suicide narrates from the grave."

This is perhaps where many "conservatives" fail the principles of conservativism. If you disapprove of the show, consider it too "cheeky" or suggestive, then turn the TV off or change the channel. We espouse morals and values, and chief among them is liberty and freedom. Express your liberty by not watching. Sponsors follow viewers not the other way around.

Like many activist on the left, some people have nothing better to do than complain about every possible misdeed or societal woe. And I know, this pot just might be black, right.

Answering Neu

Just in case you don’t know I will let you in on a not so well kept secret, we are at war. Not a single day since September 11, 2001 have I doubted it or forgotten it. It sorrows me that I didn’t know prior to that horrible day. I had reason to know, but I did not permit myself to see it as such. In a way, I was much like Senator Pander; I convinced myself that terror and terrorists were a nuisance. With the knowledge that our political, intelligence, military and law enforcement communities were on the case, I slept well and believed the matter to be under control. As we know now, it wasn’t.

The single greatest factor to our winning the global war on terror will not be our destruction of their ability to commit acts of terror, but the removal of their desire, will and belief that terror is an alternative, or more properly said, that terror is necessary. There are voices on occasion in the Arab world that cry out against terrorist and terrorism. Our military forces in Iraq have met many who understand and appreciate our role in Iraq as that of liberator rather than occupier. Yet I believe that too many retain the inability to see it.

The most popular story emailed from the al-Jazeera website is described as a look into the political roots of American insecurity. This is not by chance. It is a symptom of the plague of amoral at best or immoral ideological views held by Arab and Muslim men. While some attribute the problem to Arab identity, legitimacy and authority, or lack thereof, the majority continue to attribute the problem to the policies of the U.S. and primary among those our policies with regard to Israel.

The reporter points to Richard Neu’s words in a report from the RAND Corporation. Neu says "Understanding the root causes of Islamic anti-Americanism and crafting policies to discourage its violent manifestations will require consideration of at least seven fundamental questions".

As some may say is always the case, I have an opinion and here are my thoughts regarding each question (the questions are quoted for your easy reference).

"1. How extensive is anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world? Is a proclivity toward anti-American violence characteristic of only isolated rogue groups that might, at least in theory, be hunted down and destroyed? Or are such sentiments widespread in the Muslim world, requiring a broad campaign of action and public diplomacy to win over hearts and minds?"
1. The extent of anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world is greater than represented by terrorist and should not be seen as a direct indicator of the size or scope of terror organizations, just as in the U.S., or Europe, anti-American sentiment does not equate to terrorist. In addition, it should not be the determining factor in the tactics used to combat terror, nor in the strategy employed to defeat the ideology that spews forth terrorists.
"2. Too much modernity, or not enough? Some writers have focused attention on the disappointments and humiliations suffered by Muslims—and especially Arabs—in recent years. Many Muslims recognize that something has gone wrong with their once-proud and once-successful culture. And an increasingly strident debate has sprung up about the causes of recent impotence and dysfunction. Often, this debate pits Western-oriented modernizers against Islamic fundamentalists who seek closer adherence to traditional Muslim principles. How much of what is manifested as rage against America grows out of a desire to recapture past Arabic and Islamic glory? Can Americans help to reconcile Western modernity with Muslim tradition and achievement?"
2. While we look to tomorrow, to a brighter future, to opportunity and the fulfillment of dreams, the Arab and Muslim world looks to the past and seeks a return of their romanticized glory days. We may play a significant role in the reversal by bringing liberty to the Arab world, while respecting the traditional social morays of the religion. The greater task will be for the Muslim cleric to alter the methods of both education with regard to their faith and the means by which men are valued in their society. Our churches and synagogues teach the moral lessons of Judeo-Christian heritage, while in the mosque, the Khutbah states without equivocation the expected behavior of a Muslim. If you have submitted to God, Allah in this case, are you seeking the moral lessons of Islam, or rather the direct law (as seen in Fiqh or Jurisprudence) and guidance of personal, business and state behavior.
"3. Are American values a threat? In many eyes—and not just in the Muslim world—America represents an aggressive manifestation of a particular set of political values: democracy, economic liberalism, individual rights and responsibilities, strict separation of religion and governance, and a willingness to question established beliefs and practices. More invasive may be American popular culture with its secularism, consumerism, promiscuity, freedom for women, and suspicion of authority. America's dominance in the modern world makes American values impossible to ignore. Can modernist American values and traditional Muslim values coexist? Or are Muslim fundamentalists correct that the dominance of American values poses an existential threat to Muslim societies? We cannot, of course, change our values. Can we convince Muslims that our values pose no threat?"
3. American values and the traditional Muslim values can coexist, with one very significant caveat. The traditional Muslim must broaden their values to include liberty, remembering that their can be no compulsion in religion, seeing the broader value of individuals choosing to live righteously in a world of unrighteousness. Are we capable of convincing Muslims of the value of liberty? No. However, that will come from within as those who experience liberty, and the freedom to misbehave, chooses instead to live a life within the framework of traditional Islam.
"4. Does poverty breed terrorism? Not all those who wish to harm Americans come from the ranks of the poor, the unemployed, or the uneducated. Yet it is hard to dismiss the hypothesis that forced idleness, little or no hope for a materially better future, and the sense of impotence that comes from deprivation will breed at least sympathy for those who attack the richest and most powerful country in the world, a country whose wealth and power depend crucially on energy resources derived from the Muslim world. Can economic development and poverty reduction decrease support for terrorists?"
4. I do not believe that poverty creates terrorism, however, I do believe that economic opportunity and a political voice will impact the ability to recruit and develop terrorist removing the barriers that create the current captive audience.
"5. Is it the company we keep? Some Muslims find themselves estranged from their own governments, which they see as corrupt, oppressing their own peoples, and selling out to false Western ideals. U.S. support for these regimes is sometimes seen as a cynical exchange for access to energy resources and military basing rights. To what extent does anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world reflect not a rejection of American values and policies but outrage at American support for regimes of dubious competence or legitimacy? Can we—should we—push these governments toward effective reform?"
5. We not only should but we must push for reform in the governments of the Middle East. It would be hypocritical and immoral for us to state the failings of those governments and the impact they have on repressing liberty within the Muslim world, and do nothing to change the situation. In Saudi Arabia for instance, the Wahabi, and for that matter many who do not consider themselves Wahabi or Salafi, regularly ridicule the Royal family’s hypocrisy as they proclaim to be keeper of the two holies and practice the most repugnant of behaviors usually associated with American liberal excess. This is by no means a call for overthrow, but rather a statement that we should press for a greater liberalization across the society and an increase in both individual liberty and participation within the government. Some of which has begun.
"6. Can Americans be secure if Israelis and Palestinians are not? Certainly, the continuing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis complicates relations between America and the Muslim world. If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict persists, must America remain a target for terror? And if this conflict were somehow resolved, how much Muslim antipathy toward America would still remain?"
6. The use of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict by Muslims, and yes it is use, abuse, and outright untruth, will remain a point of contention and inflame anti-American sentiment. The change necessary, toward truth, acceptance and liberty, among the Arab and Muslim states and their citizens will not occur overnight. The political forces of each Arab nation play a significant role in fanning the fires of resentment. Only when they accept Israel, will the citizens begin to erase the now state and religious sponsored bigotry prevalent in the Middle East.
"7. How can we fight terrorists and still win friends? Military action against terrorists, pressure on foreign governments to round up suspected terrorists and their sympathizers, and more aggressive efforts to defend Americans against terrorism will inevitably harden some hearts against America and create propaganda opportunities for those who portray America as unjust, biased, or evil. Indeed, suspicion of—if not hatred for—the United States in the Muslim world may well have increased in the past year. How can we pursue the necessary war against terrorists without losing the broader struggle against anti-American sentiment?"
7. The question presumes that the cause of terrorism is our action. No matter the propaganda efforts, our pursuit of a just cause must not waiver. Only our strident pursuit of terror, while preserving the lives of the innocent and providing liberty where none had been will close the doors to those who recruit new terrorist. As to the anti-American sentiment, it is a self-imposed prison and one that each Arab or Muslim possesses the key to.

As always, it is possible that I am completely off the mark, and while I’d like to write much further on each of the seven questions, I’ll refrain for now. Instead, I offer a summary of the theme of my opinion on the issue in general. It is the Arab and Muslim world that has failed to fight terrorism, so now we are. It is the Arab and Muslim governments and clergy that must wash away the ideology behind the terrorist. It will happen through their efforts or after we’ve removed their authority through our efforts.

October 11, 2004

Have a Coke and a Smile

Will the army of Islamo-fascist defeat the army of peace nicks? Only if those of us who are armed not just with intelligence, but also with moral conviction, intellectual honesty and courage allow it. The war today is not between the peace nicks and the radical Muslim forces of al-Qaeda or the Mahdi Army. It is between those who believe in the inalienable rights of man, as typified by George Bush and his allies, and the Islamo-fascist who seek to control or kill all men who do not subscribe to their beliefs. This battle stands as the only barrier between those who worship peace, such as Senator Pander, the EU, the UN and their supporters, and the threat of radical Islam. Should the Senator become President, the war will take a different turn.

The left, led by the worshipers of peace, will seek to negotiate with Islamo-fascist, buying into the non-sense that it is economic injustice that has led to the attacks on Israel, the United States, and the many other nations who’ve been attacked over the last few years alone. Nowhere in the Islamo-fascist creed are there statements of support for the ideals of the left, multiculturalism, tolerance, and order attained by law. Yet the left believes that they, more than the men of moral courage will be able to broker peace with those seeking an idealist utopian world of Islam. What do they have in common?

Both the left and the Islamist believe in a utopian ideal of what the world should be, if only everyone followed their ideals. How is this a superior intellectual dream, as they would have us believe?

The reality of the world escapes them. I have been hesitant somewhat to see Senator Pander as a pacifist. Primarily because I have some respect for those who are pacifist out of a moral, albeit faulty, argument or out of an understanding of their faith, i.e. Tolstoy. While in the Marine Corps, I met several new pacifists, right at the time of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Needless to say, most of them were not conscientious objectors, and they weren’t missed while those of us who volunteered where in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. Senator Pander is not a pacifist by moral or religious argument. He is a pacifist from lack of courage, having served, and been scarred in the process, he now possesses no will or strength to stand for justice in times of war, as is shown by his failure to support the first Gulf War and his current track of appeasement towards Iran, North Korea and the nuisance of global terror.

The dream world does not exist. Only their continued lies and blind faith in the potential for man to exist in such a way extends their arguments at a time when the truth is that neither dream world, Islamic or liberal, would co-exist with the other, and that the Islamic militant forces, fueled by a greater fervor, higher birth rate, and lack of scruples would inevitably defeat the left and in doing set upon making the world into a model of their ideals.

No man who embraces liberty as a moral truth can submit to this course of action. Yet Senator Pander wants us to believe that he will defend our liberty, while he clearly does not understand what he would be defending it against, nor the threat that he posses to that very liberty.

October 8, 2004

I am thirsty.

Earlier this evening I wrote the following analogy in response to an essay by Alex Harris. I share, and expand upon it now as it has reminded me of my thirst, perhaps it will remind you of your thirst, or of your being satiated.

If we seek the solution to the ideological terror that is found in the Islamist or Islamo-fascist, we seek what he must find, and we seek in vain.

This is written not "as" but rather "from" the perspective of one who has submitted to the will of God, or in Arabic, a Muslim, a perhaps mythical believer who sees the error of the Islamist, as there seem to be so few or none on any given day. It might look like this.

---

Islam is the vessel that carries the water that all Muslims should drink. The water being the moral truths to guide a man or woman through life and to God's will. Whereas today, the vessel is dry and carries the dust of the forgotten truths, and the sand of bigotry and hatred.

So how would a Muslim refill the vessel, and once again drink from truth and righteousness. In a community that neither respects nor seeks to understand the moral basis of their faith, instead choosing to focus on the fiqh (jurisprudence) and the tawhid (oneness of God) as known and understood in years gone by, it will not be easy. The first step to refilling the vessel is the hardest. It is the recognition that the vessel is dry. After that, you will be able to understand that fiqh has a place, as do concepts such as tawhid. As the vessel fills, fiqh becomes, like sugar, something to help the water go down. And tawhid, it is the water frozen as ice cubes, making for a more refreshing drink and quenching the thirst.

Maybe not.... after all it is late and I am prone to ramble. If you are a Muslim, understand I meant no disrespect to you in this analogy. If you aren't, understand I meant none to you either. Good night all and as always, may God bless.

October 6, 2004

The Danger found in the Irrelevance of Moral Arguments

In previous writing here, I noted that I believe that what is legal is not necessarily moral, just as what is immoral is not necessarily illegal. And neither illegality nor immorality exclusive equates to sin. Why are these distinctions significant to me? As an amateur commentator on the political and social issues before our nation and the world, it has occurred to me on a consistent basis that a large portion of the peoples of the world and of the United States no longer look to a moral basis in determining a course of action or in the judgment of the actions of others. Individuals once were concerned with their godliness and considered sin a relevant concept. It isn’t sin I wish to discuss, as I believe that to be a matter between the individual and God. However, moral and legal issues are of man’s domain and must be discussed and understood in order to develop the finest characteristics in man, enabling our compassion, inspiring our dreams and suppressing our aptitude to harm each other.

There are many, on the left end of the political spectrum primarily, who argue that the right seeks to "impose their morals" on them. In response, the right now fails to make moral arguments and is held captive by the left’s view of us. Their alternative, to make arbitrary legal decisions and arguments that constrain us as individuals, restrict the debate and render the U.S. subject to the will of an immoral world.

We have, over the past three years, been very aware of the threat of an evil in the world that threatens the life and rights of all mankind. Yet we are often chided when we make such statements and are rebuked for proclaiming a man evil rather than accepting or using the euphemistic statement that “his actions are evil”.

Much of the world now holds as its highest accord that law and legality are what will free men from tyranny, end injustices and expand democracy. The U.N. fueled by this almost uniform belief, continually acts to legislate civility and equality rather than seeking the more powerful argument of moral justice and liberty as a basis for how man is governed and how nations interact. While the U.N. contemplates how to it may legally determine if genocide is occurring in Darfur, more innocent people are killed out of racial and religious bigotry. Particularly troubling to me is the prominence of this trend in the U.S., a nation I believe is the greatest advocate for liberty, justice and peace in the world.

While Senators Kerry and Edwards debate the justification for the invasion of Iraq, they miss the simplest of moral truths. They argue that it is wrong because of the lack of WMD’s found in Iraq, the U.N.’s failure to call the action “legal”, the lack of support of former allies in Europe, and of course, the new acts of terror in portions in Iraq. While doing this they fail to display any understanding for the moral value of liberty and the defense of it. The Presidents decision to liberate Iraq was driven by a clear understanding of our sovereignty, a responsibility to protect American lives, and the resolve to hold Saddam Hussein accountable for agreements he made with the U.N. in 1991.

The idea that Iraq had no direct relationship to the attacks of 9/11 should be resoundingly evicted from our conversation. The legal basis, that which they hold in such high regard, was clearly established by 17 U.N. resolutions and the agreement of Congress to permit the President to use force to enforce the regulations in question. More significant, and damning in their ignorance of it, is the moral basis for the liberation of Iraq. The U.S. is fighting a global war on terror, against an enemy which knows no political or national boundaries, and which after losing their base of operations in Afghanistan would most certainly seek not only other locations to train and plot, but would seek leaders willing to supply them with weapons and sanctuary. Iraq will no longer be such a potential home.

To this they respond, where does it stop? It stops when the terrorist, their ideology and nations that foster or support them are no longer in existence. The concern I have is that the world does not have the fortitude and moral resolve of President Bush or Vice President Cheney, and this will inevitably lengthen the war.

The world, and the United States, has suffered a great of loss. Of course, the terrible acts of terror committed by men who profess faith in and an interpretation of Islam have caused great loss of life to both the innocent who are victims of their terror, and the deaths of service men, American and others, contractors and employees, aid workers and citizens of a nation reborn into liberty. Remembering this loss is almost more than a man can take. Yet it is not the loss for which I reflect today. The loss that concerns me today is the loss of clarity and relevance of righteous and moral thought, dialogue and action in governance and daily life.

October 4, 2004

1 in 4 with anti-Muslim views

CAIR has announced the results of a survey of 1000 random adults from the U.S. 1 in 4 holds a negative opinion of Muslims answering affirmative to one of the following:

"Muslim religion teaches violence and hatred (26 percent agreed); Muslims value life less than other people (27 percent agreed); and Muslims want to change the American way of life (29 percent agreed)". from the JPost.
CAIR's analysis offers this summation of findings:
"* More than one-fourth of survey respondents agreed with stereotypes such as "Muslims teach their children to hate" and "Muslims value life less than other people."
* When asked what comes to mind when they hear "Muslim," 32 percent of respondents made negative comments. Only two percent had a positive response.
* Those with the most negative attitudes toward Islam and Muslims tend to be less-educated white males who are politically conservative.
* General knowledge of Islam is low but the presence of Muslim friends and colleagues drives more enlightened attitudes.
* African-Americans hold more favorable attitudes about Muslims than do whites.
* While half of respondents believed that American Muslims are "cooperating" in the war on terror, 50 percent did not believe that they are actively "condemning" terrorist acts.
* Most Americans believe that the terrorists are misusing the teachings of Islam.
* About half of Americans hold one or more favorable attitudes about Muslims, such as "Muslims have family-oriented values" and "Muslims have contributed to civilization."
* Those who believe they are knowledgeable about Islam tend to have more
positive attitudes."
The survey found that men, much like me, are most likely to hold anti-Muslim views.
"The poll found that people most likely to have negative attitudes were male, white, less educated, politically conservative and living in the South."
I am surprised that it is only 1 in 4. Shows how well the media has covered the realities of modern Islam (not at all). More than 1 in 4 Muslims should have anti-Muslim views, as to Americans, until the Arab street revolts against the institutional bigotry and hatred of Islamic schools, mosques and governments, it should be 100%. More in the morning. The morning list keeps growing and the night is well upon me.

September 30, 2004

The Swamps Must Be Cleared

Some years ago, nine or there about, a man whom to this day remains one of my favorites, not for his personality, of which he had much, or his authority, again he carried much, rather due to his character and wisdom, offered some advice regarding the accomplishment of strategic objectives. Of course, we agreed first after some discussion on what the strategic objectives were. His advice, "don’t get caught up in killing the alligators while your aim is to clear the swamp". Whether in business ventures, as was the case, personal matters or political objectives, our ability to see and address the real issues often serves as the determining factor in our success or failure. Having both succeeded and failed, the evidence, aided by the gift of hindsight, reminds me of this daily.

History is filled with examples of man’s willingness or inclination to address the symptoms rather than the cause. Terrible wars have been fought because men filled their day with tactical maneuvering rather than seeking, obtaining and acting on a strategic objective. Appeasement, a tactical effort to avoid confrontation, mars the history of man more so in the last century than in any before it. This century must see a return of our willingness to set and act on strategic objectives. Why?

Our nation has for 40 years or more killed alligators within our swamps in a futile attempt to defeat injustices, force equality, and sooth our emotional desperation or guilt associated with our prosperity. The greatest attribute of our federal republic may turn out to be its built in resistance to the efforts of those set squarely on moving the government toward active participation rather than its appropriate position on the sidelines and in defense of our lives.

Have we tackled racism through affirmative action? Have we defeated poverty through welfare? Have we conquered ignorance with public education? Have we ended violence by restricting gun ownership? Are truth, decency and common sense more prevalent today without prayer in schools or public acknowledgements of faith? For the answers, we need look no further than this year’s Democratic nominee for the Presidency and his aides. They offer a campaign of fear mongering filled with race baiting, class envy, untruths and a dependence on the gullibility of the electorate.

The result of the past forty years of alligator killing is not seen in the divide between the political parties or their supporters. The result is evident in their inability to recognize, describe and attack the real threats to this nation both internal and from afar.

So I ask, does John Kerry know where the swamps are?

First, We Set the Course Within

No original thought is found in this piece, of that I am confident. Yet, I am driven, or perhaps obsessed, with clearing away the muck left after a day observing political pandering, illicit coddling and the joyous acceptance of ignorance. The foolish among us, is it possible they out number the wise, will cry foul to hear that it is they who have given leave to our transgressors. And the wise, having not lost sight of our responsibilities, press on in the defense of the ignorant and perverse.

Forgive the illustration, but is a man without concern for morality, ethics, justice or right and wrong, likely to be a man of character. Or is he more likely to stray from character in a perpetual statement of his individuality, his freedom or in search for that which pleasures him. Listing in an ocean of freedom with no winds of responsibility, the tiny ship of a man without character is doomed to follow the circular currents of his whims and fancies. Without character, or guiding principles, he accepts the lies of the deceitful as truth, he seeks ease over effect, he passes personal responsibility on to government edict, and he seeks only to be legal rather than moral. A nation of such men will not seek just and proper governance, rather it will contrive to constrain men or other nations.

We are a nation in search of our character once again. To find our character, the moral and ethical standards we hold as truths must be reaffirmed. We must admit that we are a nation of just and righteous men, boldly and willingly in command of our responsibilities, sailing toward our destiny. Is it that I believe we are prepared for this? No. First, each of us must seek moral truths, understand that what is immoral may not be illegal, and what is legal may not be moral, and then be willing to act and vote on our beliefs. We know the risk of being up the creek without a paddle, do we know what it is like to sail without the wind. Our national conscience should be our greatest strength, if not, then our will to do the just and proper will fade, just as the wind does, and we will be adrift.

Noting that I’ve not slept, my eyes remind me that I too have responsibilities. The rested man presents his wares with keen eye and clear thought. The penitent man seeks forgiveness for his sins. Let me be among them.

September 24, 2004

Encouraging Words

Time and time again Americans of all walks of life are, often if not predominately, encouraging our enemies in their efforts to destroy our nation and our way of life. In stating this do I mean to say that many are committing an act of sedition? Some yes, but the majority no. Our enemies have a misunderstanding of the nature of the disagreements between the political forces within the U.S., as do many of those actively involved in the disagreement. To explore this we need to look at only a few areas of our political or social discourse. For brevity, and relevance, the ‘War on Terror’ and ‘Iraq’ will serve in this instance.

There are reasons, of varying degrees of merit, to oppose the “War on Terror”. Primary among those is the pacifist belief that all violence, including in self-defense, is immoral, unethical or unjust. There are those who would argue that no state has the right to act on behalf of its citizens in a military manner or even that the state does not exist. And finally there are those who support the Islamist effort to alter our civilization. Opposition based on policies, strategies, tactics or outcomes however are not an honest representation of the beliefs of those who state them.

An example here would be those who state that they oppose the war because of the way the President has handled it. An intellectually honest opposition to the manner the President has conducted the war would not oppose the war, but rather the effectiveness of his implementation. Critiques in this light would be not only more helpful to the nation, but would better represent the ideals of those who state them. The Democratic Party, Senator Kerry, in particular, has failed to such a degree in this area that not only does it leave him incapable of contributing to the war, or discussion of it, in a positive way, he has become an aid to those who we fight against. Note that this is not the same as acting to aid the enemy; rather an inadvertent betrayal of his values and nation, such as he has them.

To oppose the War in Iraq the same merit based arguments of the pacifist, the sympathizer and those who question the sovereignty of the nation are available yet rarely stated. The more common argument, and one that is worth discussion, is to address the cause, aims and outcome of the War in Iraq and whether or not it is a just path for the U.S. and our allies to pursue. The time for this was before the war began. And many, like Senator Kerry, supported the effort at that time. At this point they present themselves as having been duped into believing that the War in Iraq was justified based on weapons of mass destruction and direct ties to al-Qaeda. The record reflects the fault in their argument and supports the Presidents position prior to and since the war.

The war in Iraq is, and always has been, an extension of the War on Terror. The initial justifications for the war, to confront and defeat a lawless warmonger who threatens the free world via failure to abide by his agreement which ended the first Gulf War, his abuse of the citizens of his nation, his use and possession of weapons of mass destruction and the likelihood that he had or would at some point assist Islamist terror organization in their efforts to attack the U.S. and our allies, show the war as a component of the War on Terror, not a separate or disparate act.

As such, criticisms of the war, as it unfolds in Iraq, should be clearly communicated to be criticisms of the methods and means rather than of the ideals behind the war or broad statements of despair and failure, which are baseless and show the lack of perspective and intellectual honesty of the part of those making them. That same despair does and will continue to show up in the press of the Arab world, and fuels the enemy to believe that as we did in Vietnam, we are failing to have the will to win. A more truthful argument against the merit of our invasion, just as during the Vietnam War, has not been provided, and just as in Vietnam, our enemy seeks not to win on the battlefield, but rather to win by defeating our will to defend our proclaimed values.

In penning this, so to speak, my intent is not to state that Americans are committing sedition. My intent is to attempt to understand and relate my understanding, as much as I achieve any, of the issue. In doing this, the lack of a principled argument from our political opposition strikes me as a weakness that cannot be ignored. Our real enemies suffer from a lack of argument and discussion in their faith and it’s outlook on governance and life, and to see the Democratic Party and many of my friends become just as intellectually immobilized by their disagreement or hatred of the right, or the President, tears at the tattered bits of hope for our nation that I hold onto so dearly.

September 23, 2004

Faith before Truth?

The threat that faces the United States, in fact the entire world is not terror. Those who have written about the war on terror and issues related to Islam have gone out of their way to state that the U.S. is not at war with Islam. In many ways, some unfortunate, this is true. We have focused our efforts on the physical, financial and geographic battle against the Islamic organizations and nations, which have openly engaged the U.S. in war through the tactics of terror or the support thereof. As I’ve noted, our enemies are not at war with the United States they are at war with our inalienable rights. What has concerned me to a degree that I am severely struggling to articulate is the threat of Islam, as it is practiced by many Muslims, and their confluence with the Left is this country, Europe and the United Nations is far greater than the likelihood of terror attacks, military defeat or eventual nuclear confrontation. The ideological threat, found in modern Islam, is the greatest threat to us all. Why have I struggled to say this? I was a convert to Islam.

Earlier this week, the Chicago Tribune published an article by Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Sam Roe, and Laurie Cohen about the Ikhwan al-Muslimeen (Muslim Brotherhood) and their existence and aims within the U.S. This article and a recent column by Daniel Pipes have made it clear to me that while there are those who understand the threat of Islam in America and to America; many others continue to pursue relations with organizations, including the Ikhwan al-Muslimeen. Both Pipes and the Tribune article note the real aim of the Brotherhood is not to destroy the U.S. or for that matter any nation in battle, rather it is to make the United States an Islamic state. On first reading the Tribune article, my intent was to respond, as I am now, by describing the threat as I see it. The difficulty with doing so came from my personal experience and my desire to discuss the reality without making it personal. So I delayed and was prompted again today by Pipes excellent column.

In teaching Islam, the Imam, Sheikh, or others who take the mantle of leadership provide the believer not with a moral foundation for decision-making and actions, instead they offer a guidance through the actions and words of the Prophet Muhammad, and the words of the Qur’an. No guiding principles are offered to believers with which they are able, if not required, to study, contemplate and determine appropriate actions on their part. Curiosity is not a character trait of the adherent who follows the teachings of the modern Imamate. Instead, he believes what he is told to believe, no questions asked. This destruction of an innate characteristic of man, to question and seek truth for himself, leaves him incredibly susceptible to the lies, falsehood and propaganda of those who lead him. In addition, the leader, also not able or willing to question the morality of his actions, becomes more rigid and stubborn in his interpretation and implementation of Islam, just as the Taliban did in Afghanistan. Perhaps, giving them the benefit of the doubt, they did so to avoid the displeasure of God, fearing that they would be judged for allowing an action that is forbidden in the Sunnah or Qur’an. Either way, their failure becomes immoral as they fail to recognize or seek greater truth or understanding.

The results are evident throughout the Muslim world. A dearth of education beyond the fundamentals of Islam, no tolerance for opinion or individuality, and no incentive to neither seek nor achieve any success other than the highest honor of their brethren and their God; martyrdom.

It is my concern that many in the United States are being guided, often out of good intentions, toward an ideology that is similar not in its religious dogma but rather in its tactic of limiting man from seeking higher understanding and truth. The left, globally, describes themselves as tolerant and caring, while classical liberals, modern conservatives and neo-cons are described as dispassionate, racist, intolerant and greedy. Experience shows this to be false. It is in fact the left that recognizes and categorizes men by race, creed, religion, gender and orientation. The policies and ideals of the left have given us schools which do not seek to educate instead choosing to inculcate the doctrines and philosophies of the left into their students. And unmistakably, the left seeks not to free men from the binds of government or external authority, as their words and policies religate generations of men to a belief that societal obligations are greater than your individual obligation to seek truth, to live free, and to achieve the utmost with your ability and efforts.

Now as we recognize that the left seeks to coddle the Islamist, to appease Europe and the U.N. and to continue to expand government influence in the lives of Americans, it becomes even more apparent that the ideological war for our rights, given by God not man, requires our attention. For no matter how many victories we find on the battlefield, should we fail to defend our values and rights, fail to address the ideological infestation, and to seek real understanding of the task at hand, we may fail from within. Just as I have done on too many occasions.

September 22, 2004

Scott Taylor's - Five Days in Hell

Via Liberating Iraq the story of Scott Taylor held captive in Iraq for five days.

No matter what your thoughts on his previous writings or political views, his tale is gripping and filled with insights into the terrorist we face today in Iraq, and will face elsewhere should we fail.

A couple of passages follow:

"In the first hours, they had been very strict in enforcing the rules. I was to sit on a broken chair in the middle of my cell. However, as the temperature rose to a 45° Celsius and my sun-baked room turned into an oven, they had compassionately allowed me to venture outside. By nightfall everyone was so relaxed that Zeynep and I sat eating dinner and talking to our guards. The young boy stated that his only ambition in life was to “die a martyr.” Shortly past dark, the Emir returned and informed that he had confirmed that we were not spies. He gave a ‘Muslim promise’ to set us free in the morning. On this night Zeynep and I would remain his ‘guests’. We were also about to become front – row spectators to an intense battle between resistance and the U.S. forces.

---

As soon as everyone was settled around my bed, the interrogator said that I did not have to fear any torture as this round of questioning would be far more straightforward. “It is either life or knife – with each answer that you give us,” he said, “So please relax.” For over one hour I carefully answered all their questions – careful to avoid the obvious traps. For instance, when asked, “Have you ever visited the State of Israel?” I answered, “No, I have never been to the occupied State of Palestine”.

I have no idea whether or not my answers were convincing – in fact, I suspect that the decision to release me had already been made at some high level – but during one of my lengthy replies, the interrogator suddenly said, “Stop. Get your things. You will live. You are free”.

The website, Anti-War.Com, has an interview with him also.

September 19, 2004

America at War

The founders of the United States understood, and considered, the dangers of democratic rule. Men, given their innumerable flaws, self-interests, and prejudices are generally incapable of self-governance unless constrained by an outside force, education, a moral foundation, or government devised for a slow gate toward the fickle wishes of its citizens. These United States of America have proven to be of incalculable benefit to the people of the world in both economic and political terms. We've led the efforts of people around the world to find self-governance, to create political systems to encourage economic development and to feed man that which he should cherish most, his liberty.

The wars of the last century, like the current war, were against an enemy not of the United States, but of mankind’s inalienable rights. In combating those wars, the United States took a moral high ground, and suffered through a significant and long course of actions, which at any given date would leave one to believe success was impossible. Yet we pursued the cause with the aplomb that we must fight on, or the battle would end up on the streets of New York City, Washington, or rural Pennsylvania. Today, a portion of our government, and our populace fights on with the same assurance of both justice and inevitable victory, while remembering that the war has already come to our shores, yet it is only a portion of our nation, which does so.

In the wars of the previous century, the American character, that of independence, self-determination, loyalty, optimism and perseverance was evident in the majority of Americans and led the call for men to act responsibly and if necessary lay down their lives for Freedom. At some point, after World War II, and apparent by the late 1960’s that American character began to change and the ramifications of the change helped to instill the confidence that our enemies have today for their cause. Prior to 9/11, and for indeed most of the last quarter of the 20th century, American’s were driven toward a form of group think that weakened our individuality while claiming that the free spirited, make love not war, policies of the left where those of progress and liberalization in the U.S.  Instead, those efforts have led to an epidemic of boys, who are not capable of behaving as men, asking for more and more restrictions on our economic engine, more restrictions to our civil liberties, and an ever increasing intrusion into our lives by the government on all levels. Their pandering of entitlements, pseudo science, and class or gender based policies have created an education system which is focused not on creating the next generation of thinkers but on growing its economic and ideological impact on the United States. This has led to men such as John Kerry being the choice of a the party that once offered JFK and FDR, while the once conservative Republican party hawks the pre-1964 democratic agenda. The shift to the left reflects on our character and the character of our children, and the emasculated remains of the U.S. are seen as ill prepared to take on the hyper masculine ideals and will of an enemy which values nothing more than death in the struggle for their values.

Of course, the United States has every means needed to defeat this enemy. There are still men of strength and character who carry arms for the U.S. and our President has shown some understanding of the fortitude required for the task, yet we have not shown a willingness to put the enemy away, seeking first to begin to “win the peace”, a concept that should be removed from the discussion when fighting an enemy who does not value peace, liberty or truth.

Our politicians have failed us by their desire to secure votes and elections, rather than defending our values and our heritage. Republicans and Democrats alike have sat idly by while judges attack the constitution, state referendums seek to weaken the power of the voter, and men of good character are made criminal by the overly vocal few wielding power. Politicians seek the “issues” that the voters will respond to, rather than seeking to educate the voter as to the issues before our nation, they seek to resolve what we believe are our problems, rather than offering us the freedom to resolve them ourselves. Our nation is in jeopardy not because of our enemies great power, but because we have shown our weakness in the defense of liberty at home.

With this in mind, our enemies are fueled by an ideology that we make no moral argument against. The voice of the American, once found in the Press, has been replaced by an internationalist view, a view towards the sensational, and an outright denial of the truth as newsworthy. Instead of aiding us in the defense of the system that ensures their rights, they highlight the depravity of a people free to be as loathsome as their minds imagination. To thwart the efforts of our enemy, we have to be willing to call him by name, and to point him out when we see him. Our media no longer does this, our government is unwilling to restrain itself, and our people seem oblivious to the possible ramifications of our weakness.

Islam, as practiced by a majority of the worlds Muslims, allows for no such individual variance of thought. Our enemy is often described as economically or politically motivated, while the truth that his argument for his actions comes directly from his understanding of his faith and its teachings, is ignored. Not having such justifications, our enemy will not flinch in his attempt to destroy us. Islam, the religion, may or may not be agreeable with liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice. What is clear is that the people, who practice Islam, while waging war of terror on the United States and our allies, do not concern themselves with such things.

Should the U.S. fail to remember those values, our fight with Islamic terror will be questioned continuously, while our battlefield tactics are controlled not by military commanders, but rather by politicians concerned with votes. The success of our effort thus far will be for naught should we permit our politicians to waiver in their support of the effort. While politicians and pundits revisit Vietnam, it might be worthwhile for them to remember that the United States did not lose the war in Vietnam by force or strategy, but rather we lost our will as a nation to fight a battle against a spreading evil.

The debate over Vietnam isn’t won by continuing it; it is won by our resolve to not repeat the same mistakes. A resolve that is not clear in the Democratic Party, and unfortunately, that the Republican Party has not been able to show on either its foreign or domestic agenda for the last 10 years.

September 17, 2004

To the 'Believers'

To blog for the joy of doing so, to blog to learn, and to remember. The reasons I have for blogging are clear to me. And then there are days like today.

News of continued attacks on innocent Iraqi civilians, police and military forces. There can be no joy in the constant updating, or keeping account of the murderous tactics of those who claim their faith in God drives them to kill innocent parties. Of course, they, the believers, would argue that the police and military forces are not innocent but rather collaborators with the Great Satan.

The Great Satan has enabled the people of Iraq to chose for themselves a future course or a rule of law, even Shariah law if so inclined, and economic opportunity unrivaled in the Arab world.

The faithful argue that the Great Satan, in conjunction with the illegitimate state of Israel, has excerted an influence on the world that impoverishes the soul, by permitting, if not encouraging, a individual to chose his own path, rather than requiring a man to walk the straight path, الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ.

The Great Satan has no compulsion in religion. Neither does the faith the murderous believer claims for himself. What the Great Satan has offered the people of Iraq, and for that matter, the citizens who make up this land, is an opportunity to be exceptional or without merit, to succeed or to fail, to aspire or to disparage, and to live by the beliefs you hold or to be duplicitous.

In the believers prayers, it is common, that Sūrat al-Kāfirūn is recited. This Sūrat calls for believers to murder the unbelievers - الْكَافِرُونَ .... No. It calls for the believers to say "I do not worship that which you worship". Yet the believers, blowing themselves and others up with increasing frequency, worship that which they claim the Great Satan worships. The believer, through his actions alone, shows his true worship is not God, but rather Death.

And of the Great Satan, we, it's citizens and supporters, continue to strive to bring freedom, properity, and justice to those who have no voice, just as you had none in Iraq just a few short months ago.

September 16, 2004

Ivan Kills

Unfortunately, Hurricane Ivan has already begun his killing spree.

"At least 12 deaths were blamed on the storm.

For the millions of Gulf Coast residents who spent a frightening night in shelters and boarded-up homes, the worst could be yet to come: up to 15 inches of rain were expected as Ivan moved inland."

Prayers, condolences and relief assistance are on the way, while the storm has just begun.

September 15, 2004

L'Shanah Tovah

Happy New Year to all.

Dennis Prager's column at Townhall helps to describe the role of Rosh Hashanah and the next 10 days before Yom Kippur, but more importantly offers a guide to how it can be observed. It is called What American Jews need to think about this Rosh Hashanah and as a non-Jew who observes the High Holy Days, I found it thought provoking and insightful.

More after dinner.... and Apples and Honey.

UPDATE: Okay. Dinner's over. Watched 'The Question of God: Sigmund Freud & C.S. Lewis with Dr. Armhand Nicholi'. It was outstanding. As if that isn't enough TV for the night, I'm off to watch 'Nine Innings from Ground Zero'.

September 14, 2004

"Muslims Only" No More

It appears there is no longer a "Muslim Only" day at Six Flags Great Adventure. Per Dhimmi Watch:

"I just spoke with Kristin Siebeneicher, the public relations manager for Six Flags/Great Adventure, and she tells me that the "Muslims-Only Day" that has gotten some attention here and at WND is not actually that at all: non-Muslims will be allowed to buy tickets if they choose to do so.

But this wasn't always the case, at least in the mind of the Islamic Circle of North America. The event in question is the "Great Muslim Adventure Day," scheduled for this Friday, September 17. The ICNA originally stated on its website that "Alhamdulillah, the entire park is reserved for Muslims only!" But according to Siebeneicher, "Six Flags prevailed upon the ICNA to change that notice." And sure enough, now the ICNA website has been amended to say: "Alhamdulillah, the entire park is reserved for this event!"

Siebeneicher says that for thirty years, the park has been available for reservation groups on days when it would otherwise be closed. Jewish and Christian groups have reserved it, as well as political groups and others. But even these private events have always been open to anyone who wanted to buy a ticket, and the upcoming Muslim event — at least now — is no different.

I hope the publicity generated by this site and others played a role in Six Flags's getting the ICNA to change the notice on their site. We don't need a new Jim Crow era, and I applaud Six Flags for noticing and caring enough to make sure that no such event would be held on their grounds. "

Of course, I had to check the ICNA site, and it was indeed modified. I hope that non-Muslim guest on Friday enjoy the festivities, and if they get a chance to meet an ICNA representative, please ask them about Sayyid Qutb, is he truly one of the greatest Muslims of the 20th Century.

Fury over Muslim Only day at Six Flags Great Adventure

This Friday, the 17th of September, Six Flags Great Adventure, will be for "Muslims only." The event, sponsored by Islamic Circle of North America and the Muslim American Society, for Muslim Youth Day offers Muslims the full day at the amusement park without the presence of the non-Muslim revelers.

Three thoughts come to me.

First, the sponsors, ICNA, in particular, are far from being the peace loving American Muslim that the media continues to tell us are the majority of Muslims. As I’ve noted previously, ICNA links to an essay that calls Sayyid Qutb, as one of the Greatest Muslims of the 20th Century. And then there's this:

"WorldNetDaily attended a conference in Orlando, Fla., sponsored in part by the ICNA, which featured a main speaker who voiced empathy and support for suicide bombers, denied Muslims were involved in 9-11, characterized the war on terror as a conspiratorial Zionist plot designed to destroy Islam and Muslims, and blamed attacks on affirmative action on "the rise of the Jewish cracker."

Judicial Watch says the ICNA has ties to Hamas, and terrorism expert Steve Emerson stated: "The ICNA's hatred of the Jews is so fierce that it taunted them with a repetition of what Hitler did to them."

In his book, "American Jihad," Emerson writes: "The ICNA openly supports militant Islamic fundamentalist organizations, praises terror attacks, issues incendiary attacks on Western values and policies, and supports the imposition of Sharia [Islamic code of law]."
Second, while other groups have sponsored events at the park, none have claimed it exclusively and the company treads on thin ice when supporting such an exclusive engagement.

Third, while many will ask that the state and others get involved to prevent Six Flags from permitting this, it is wrong to do so. It tells us more about ICNA and Muslims than it does about Six Flags.

The original story is here.

UPDATE: Right Thinking Girl has a question of how the theme park would react -

"if a Christian group asked for a "Christian only day"."

And then this update - Six Flags and ICNA now claim it is no longer an exclusive Muslim's only event.

September 11, 2004

Remember.

There are many who will say it much more eloquently, who will relate stories of their own, and who will describe the horror and the fear, the sacrifice and the valor, the impact on every aspect of our lives. So today, September 11, 2004, three years later, I'll talk with my children about it, I'll be proud of our response, our unity of purpose, and our recovery. I'll read what others have to say, while I can.

Mostly, I'll just remember.

September 10, 2004

Free Muslims issue 911 apology

The World Tribune presents us with this from Free Muslims.

"We Are So Sorry for 9-11

This September 11 marks the third unforgettable anniversary of the worst mass murder in American history.

After September 11, many in the Muslim world chose denial and hallucination rather than face up to the sad fact that Muslims perpetrated the 9-11 terrorist acts and that we have an enormous problem with extremism and support for terrorism. Many Muslims, including religious leaders, and “intellectuals” blamed 9-11 on a Jewish conspiracy and went as far as fabricating a tale that 4000 Jews did not show up for work in the World Trade Center on 9-11. Yet others blamed 9-11 on an American right wing conspiracy or the U.S. Government which allegedly wanted an excuse to invade Iraq and “steal” Iraqi oil.

After numerous admissions of guilt by Bin Laden and numerous corroborating admissions by captured top level Al-Qaida operatives, we wonder, does the Muslim leadership have the dignity and courage to apologize for 9-11?"

The letter goes on to detail other incidents of terrorism by Islamo Fascist, and to apologize...
"Simply put, not only do Muslims need to join the war against terror, we need to take the lead in this war.

As to apologizing, we will no longer wait for our religious leaders and “intellectuals” to do the right thing. Instead, we will start by apologizing for 9-11.

We are so sorry that 3000 people were murdered in our name. We will never forget the sight of people jumping from two of the highest buildings in the world hoping against hope that if they moved their arms fast enough that they may fly and survive a certain death from burning.

We are sorry for blaming 9-11 on a Jewish or right wing conspiracy.

We are so sorry for the murder of more than three hundred school children and adults in Russia." - the list of apologies goes on.

The website of Free Muslims is apparently being overwhelmed, and thus far I've not been able to look into who this group is. Thanks to Bittersweet Me for the link.

More....

UPDATE: From Google's cache, it looks like the organization is "Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism" founded by Kamal Nawash. The cache offers this description.

"The Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism is a nonprofit organization made up of American Muslims and American Arabs of all backgrounds who feel that religious violence and terrorism have not been fully rejected by the Muslim community in the post 9-11 era.

The Coalition was created to eliminate broad base support for Islamic extremism and terrorism and to strengthen secular democratic institutions in the Middle East and the Muslim World by supporting Islamic reformation efforts.

The Coalition promotes a modern secular interpretation of Islam which is peace-loving, democracy-loving and compatible with other faiths and beliefs. The Coalition’s efforts are unique; it is the only mainstream American-Muslim organization willing to attack extremism and terrorism unambiguously. Unfortunately most other Muslim leaders and organizations believe that when it comes to terrorism, the end justifies the means.

Other Americans have spoken up against terrorism, but never before has this message come with such clarity from Muslims or Arabs. Muslims are the only ones who can solve the problem of terror in Islam, and sadly until the founding of this Coalition, they were the only group who had not definitively spoken up against the use of terror."

It is noteworthy, but not nearly so much as active demonstrations, revolt (in the Middle East) and fighting the terrorist within the Middle East would be. Still waiting on their site.

September 3, 2004

One question?

Image from the collection of Lileks.

Labor Day Weekend

Will be away for the weekend, so few, if any updates.

For the latest on the Russian hostages read Blogs of War. There is an interesting update that states:

"- Fox News broadcast reports that Russian forces did not storm the school. Hostages are reporting that the terrorists changed into civilian clothing, set off explosives, and tried to escape in the chaos."
This weekend, many of us will be on the road, at football games and having a last summer blast (or in Denver the "Taste of Colorado" festival).
Semper Fi

September 2, 2004

Tactics in war, represent the character of the Warrior

There are many who are willing to describe those we are at war with as insurgents, militants, and even freedom fighters. As I’ve stated before, I am not willing to do so. Those who fight against our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as those who are attacking innocent Russians, or Israeli’s have earned through their tactics one title and one title alone. They are TERRORIST.

These terrorist, whether they are ideologically Islamo Fascist, Iraqi Nationalist, Palestinian Liberation or Chechen Separatist, are clearly aligned in their means and tactics. The strategy that each employs in their war against the Free World is unmistakably terror based.

So in Iraq, hostages have become a far too common occurrence. The AP still reports on the taking of hostages as if it is an acceptable political purpose.

"Insurgents in Iraq have kidnapped more than 100 people of people in their campaign to drive out coalition forces and hamper reconstruction"
And despite the fact, that terror has become the primary weapon of choice for those who call themselves Muslim, we continue to attempt to relate to the Muslim community, offering our tradition of inclusiveness and seeking their approval here in the United States.

When will we ask, no, demand the Muslim world to stand up and join the war, or truly be deemed "against us."

Just so I'm clear, I applaud the efforts of General Parvez Musharraf in Pakistan, and Iyed Allawi in Iraq, but I am not convinced that the religious leaders of the Shi'a or Sunni communities are making any effort to end the behavior in question, and I for one, am fed up with our dancing around the issue.

Yet the American Armed Forces restrain their might in order to refrain from the killing of those who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Our strategy is correct, as defined by the Bush Doctrine, and our tactics are honorable. Yet we continue to see our innocents attacked, and the war spreads to other nations who do not possess the political forthrightness to defend themselves or to stomach the losses. Capitulation will cost the world, not just France, and I am not willing to pay that price without one hell of a fight.

Venting over...

August 27, 2004

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

We have all heard the words, and perhaps even read them in the document that declares them to be the purpose for our government. How many of Americans, whether they are Virginians, Nebraskans, Texans or Californians will remember the following as they vote on November 2, 2004:

"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. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, ..."
Following the Declaration of Independence, those who founded this nation stood behind their beliefs and fought a war in their own backyards to secure the right to form a government in accordance with that Declaration. After successfully winning that war, these founding fathers of our nation spent years working to establish a government that reflected the system of beliefs and values that had fostered that great effort and that cost so many lives. The eventual result was the Constitution of the United States of America.

From the great disharmony in their lives of the late eighteenth century to the enormous work of instituting a form of government never before seen, our founders managed to remain generally positive and to look forward to a bright future for this nation. More significantly, the founders thought highly of the American citizen and believed in the future of the people of the United States. Our leaders since then have generally been of similar outlook, even when their understanding of the reason for our government has faltered.

Yet, today, our nation sits just a few short weeks from an election and if you read, or watch the predominant media, the outlook is bleak. Whether it is the Democratic Party, or the media, that view is not predominant and may even be scarce. Few notable exceptions, such as Zell Miller, Ed Koch, and FoxNews, excluded.

The media, long since the days when objectivity and truth mattered most, has become a proponent of negativity. Learning at some point that good news doesn’t sell, and that the influence and power of the media is greater when it is able to move the citizens to one course of action or another. Negative polling data, stories of families in crisis, unemployment, illicit business deals, war and injustice are sought after and on occasion created to serve their needs. Is there any wonder that American’s would say the country is moving in the wrong direction?

The Democratic Party, once a champion of American opportunity and values, now seeks equality of results rather than opportunity, election victory without regard for truth or law, multiculturalism rather than unity and most painfully, world approval over American sovereignty. The collapse of the Democratic Party has followed years of pandering to group think rather than individual rights and responsibilities. Senator Kerry, the nominee for the Presidency has exhibited just such a mentality throughout his life, and as now evidenced in the positions he supports that directly diverge from his previous statements, he cannot be trusted to lead our nation. Senator Kerry supports the United Nations rather than the United States; he supports government over the individual; and by his actions alone, it is clear that he supports nothing and no one more than John Kerry.

No candidate today, or in our history, has or will be a perfect advocate of the citizen of the United States. What is clear to me, is that President Bush respects the sovereignty of the United States more than the opinion of the United Nations or the European Union; he understands that the individual must accept responsibility for themselves, in order to live with Liberty; and President Bush knows that the United States is not diverse because it sought diversity, but rather because our Liberty enabled opportunity and excellence. And lest we forget, President Bush knows so very well that it is better to take the war to the enemy, than to have the enemy bring it to you.

August 10, 2004

Kill them first....

Ralph Peters reminds us what "Mom" said:

"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today."
Or maybe the Marine's "My Rifle" with it's:
"I must shoot him before he shoots me."
Either way the premise is accurate, we must Kill them before they Kill us, which is their aim.

Here's the full text of the Marine Corps' "My Rifle".

This is my rifle.
There are many like it, but this one is MINE.
My rifle is my best friend. It is my life.
I must master it as I must master my life.
My rifle without me is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless.
I must fire my rifle true.
I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me.
I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will...
My rifle and myself know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our bursts, nor the smoke we make. We know it is the hits that count. We will hit...
My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life.
Thus, I will learn it as a brother.
I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its sights, and its barrel.
I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage.
I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready.
We will become part of each other.
We will... Before God I swear this creed.
My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country.
We are the masters of our enemy.
We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but PEACE.

To those in harm's way today.... Semper Fidelis and Godspeed.

August 8, 2004

Name and Endgame

Roger L. Simon has begun calling a spade a spade. Is it Islamofascism or Islamo Fascism? Or Islamism? per Daniel Pipes.

Either way, what we agree on is that it isn't a War on Terror. It is a war against those who would use Islam as a means to control, manipulate and kill for their own power and glory. It is a war against Islamo Fascism.

He offers the name in the "Dangers of Dawa". I'll have more to say on dawa at a later date.

For an update on the battle in Najaf, read Tacitus at RedState.
---
What I don't agree with is the "endgame" description used by Juan Cole.

It seems to me possible that this recent outbreak of fighting has initiated an endgame. It is hard to imagine Allawi and the Americans putting up with this challenge. The question is whether they can crush it without fatally wounding their own authority. I still think "Iran 1978" is the worst case scenario for Iraq, and a massive crackdown on the Sadrists, with Muqtada killed or captured, could set that ball rolling.
If it is an "endgame" in Najaf, it is only the endgame for Sadr and his compatriots. Sistani is still alive. The ideological component of the war is still far from over, and that being said, the next Sadr will arrive from Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia or internal to Iraq (Shi'a or Sunni) in due time.

Juan Cole asserts

"An "Iraqi official" fed al-Hayat some cock and bull conspiracy theory that tried to tie Muqtada, al-Qaeda, Fallujah, Zaraqawi and Iran all together into a tight terrorist network stretching from the Jordanian border throughout Iraq and into Iran. This attempt to relate all this movements or imply Muqtada is al-Qaeda would be hilarious if it were not so tragic. Zarqawi hates Shiites and Muqtada has threatened him; they aren't on the same side."
Of course there are issues that separate the IslamoFascist of Zaraqawi's ilk from the Shi'a regime in Iran. I'm certain that despite their religious convictions, these men are such that they would clearly permit and embrace: The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend. Just as we have accepted Saddam as a friend while he was at war with Iran, just as the Soviet Union was our friend in Europe during WWII, the IslamoFascist will tolerate the Shi'a Nationalist such as Muqtada Sadr, in this war.

August 4, 2004

Gratitude and Respect

It is impossible for us to be as grateful as we should be to those who've given so much.

Here is a story about the few surviving veterans of World War I on the anniversary of its beginning.

This comes via The Donovan.

August 1, 2004

A Spade is a Spade

For too long we have heard the apologist (whether they be sociologist, psychologist, or some other form of literati), suggest that the cause of Usama bin Laden's attack on the US and Western Civilization is hidden in our policy decisions, our support for Israel or our mere presence in Saudi Arabia. It is the same language as that UbL or any like-minded Islamist have used in Fatwa and propaganda for years. And it should outrage us all.

Victor Davis Hanson's article in the NRO notes that

"the genius of bin Ladenism is that to either applause or silent approval it promulgates lies that make Hitler's best perfidies seem mild. And such untruths do seem to galvanize an Arab world that is increasingly guilty of an inability to sort truth from fiction."

The United States, and Western Europe are suffering much the same way, as the Left is willing to believe any negative about our nation, and our leaders, in fact many seek to believe nothing else, while our history is turned inside out and our purpose is mangled into superfluous newspeak and humanist drivel.

War is not something we have wanted or sought. War came to us, evil is behind it. I especially appreciated Dr. Hanson's closing line:

"Sleep in peace, you ten thousand of St. Avold, and let us pray that we, the smug beneficiaries of your ultimate sacrifice, may still wake up from our own slumber."

What do you believe?

For me, I believe...

1. There are moral certitudes.

2. Liberty is the greatest moral certitude.

3. The Constitution of the United States of America, more than any document in history, captures the best of man's hopes and ideals, while laying the groundwork for attaining them.

4. The United States of America is the single greatest hope for mankind.

5. The greatest threats to the United States over the last 100 years have been ideological, as well as physical threats. These threats are Communism, as an ideology, and the Soviet Union/China as the physical threats; Fascism, as in Italy and Germany of the 1930's and 40's; and now Islamic Terror or Islamo Fascism.

6. The greatest internal threat to the United States at this time is modern Liberalism, as espoused by the political, secular and religious left. This form of Liberalism, unlike classical liberalism, weakens the character of man, distorts his moral compass, and supplants man's common sense with false sciences such as environmentalism, humanism, health, and peace.

7. The United States and the majority of the world's nations, including those nations who do not support the war against terror or the war in Iraq, are at war with the Islamo Fascist or at risk of being attacked. International organizations, led by the United Nations, are by their nature aiding the enemies of the United States through their capitulation, appeasement and warped sense of justice. In effect, these bodies are primarily a force for evil.

8. A battle between good and evil are effective terms for describing the clash of civilizations underway.

9. Winning this war is an absolute must for the sake of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Winning this war will require a government willing to engage the enemy on all fronts, capable of determining who that enemy is, and with the foresight to prepare for such findings.

As am I, this is a work in progress. Feel free to comment or send email.

July 28, 2004

Religious War Commentary

By far one of the more entertaining and well written commentaries on the nature of religious war as it is termed in this day and age, is this one by Paul J. Cella, who is often found at TCS.

If I understood Mr. Cella correctly, he would agree with those, myself included, who believe that modern liberalism has become the religion of the majority of the leadership in the Democratic Party, whether they might claim a religious orientation or that of athiest. Liberalism, in it's modern incarnation is the master of any other faith they may have.

Has led to our current war, and the many names we use for it?

July 27, 2004

Cheney tells the Marines...

When you are right, your right....

"Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness" Vice President Dick Cheney at Camp Pendleton.

I agree and have said so before. But it is worth saying again and again.

Read the Reuters story.

More American in China

If we can't beat them with our economy, or with our ideas, perhaps we'll beat them with our culture. The Chinese are taking some of our worst attributes and making them their own. For this I am sorry.

Western civilization is funny, it is both the only chance for humanity and at the same time a great risk to humanity.

But in all seriousness, this is a sad story of how Chinese children are going under the knife for plastic surgery to be more "western" in their appearance.

(for those who'll say the only chance is (insert your faith here). Don't bother. I am a man of faith and am speaking of the time we humans have left on earth).

July 24, 2004

Post 9/11 Steps by Bush Administration

For those who think that the Bush Administration has made no progress and done little in the way to make the world safer post 9/11. This was released as part of the administrations announcement of Project Bioshield.

Almost three years have passed since the last attack on American soil, but the danger is still clear. As President Bush reminded the Nation in his State of the Union address, "[I]t is tempting to believe that the danger is behind us. That hope is understandable, comforting - and false." President Bush has made winning the War on Terror and securing our homeland a top priority.

* Creating the Department of Homeland Security (DHS): President Bush has led the most extensive reorganization of the Federal government in 50 years by creating DHS. DHS brought together 22 entities and over 180,000 employees with critical homeland security missions and provided the Nation with a single Federal department with the primary mission to protect the homeland against terrorist threats.

* FBI Reform: President Bush transformed the FBI into an agency focused on preventing terrorist attacks through intelligence collection and other key efforts, while improving its ability to perform its traditional role as a world-class law enforcement agency.

* Homeland Security Funding: Since 2001, President Bush has:

  • Proposed a near tripling of FY 2001 funding for homeland security. The FY 2005 budget will increase homeland security funding by 9.7% over FY 2004 - not counting homeland security funding in the Department of Defense and Project BioShield.
  • Strengthened counterterrorism efforts through the Department of Justice, proposing a 19% increase in homeland security funding over FY 2004 to $2.6 billion. The FY 2005 budget also brings overall FBI funding to $5.1 billion, a $1.9 billion (60%) increase over the FY 2001 level.
  • Allocated more than $13 billion to help state and local governments prepare for terrorism. President Bush has sought and secured historic and massive increases in funding for first responder terrorism and public health preparedness since September 11, 2001. He feels strongly that these funds should be spent on training and equipping first responders for terrorism preparedness and response, which is one of our nation's top homeland security priorities.
* Transportation Security: The Bush Administration instituted a multi-layered strategy to enhance aviation security, from the curb to the cockpit. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens 100% of commercial air passengers and checked bags; TSA has trained and authorized hundreds of pilots to carry firearms in the cockpit, directed the hardening of cockpit doors on 6,000 commercial aircraft and stationed explosives detection canine teams at each of the Nation’s largest airports; and Federal Air Marshals ride aboard tens of thousands of flights each month.

* Border Security:
  • Three years ago, there were inspectors from three different Federal agencies at our ports of entry. Now, through DHS, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) consolidates all port inspection activities into a single workforce to create "one face at the border." The Border Patrol is also part of CBP, creating synergy between inspectors at the ports and those patrolling between them. More than 18,000 CBP Officers, 1,400 CBP Agriculture Specialists, and 11,000 Border Patrol Agents guard our Nation's borders.
  • The US-VISIT entry-exit system uses cutting-edge biometric technology to help ensure that our borders remain open to legitimate travelers but closed to terrorists. US-VISIT was launched at 115 airports and 14 seaports across the country and is expanding to all land ports of entry. This program has been very successful, processing more than 6.2 million travelers since January and over 850 individuals have been matched who are the subjects of a look out.
* Port and Cargo Security:
  • The Bush Administration has significantly increased funding for the Coast Guard, including dramatic increases for port security and acquisition of new resources. The Coast Guard is creating thirteen 100-person Maritime Safety and Security Teams, to provide point defense for critical infrastructure and high value shipping; employed armed helicopters to provide waterside security; and reviewed thousands of new vessel, facility, and port security plans. Funding for Coast Guard port security efforts has increased over 500% from the beginning of this Administration through 2004. The Coast Guard’s Deepwater fleet modernization project has received a total of $1.5 billion over the last three years, and the President has requested $678 million in his FY 2005 budget.
  • DHS has strengthened measures to protect the Nation from smuggled radioactive materials and nuclear devices, by equipping CBP inspectors, Coast Guard boarding personnel, and Border Patrol agents with portable radiation detectors and installing radiation detection portals at sea, land, rail, and air ports of entry, including mail processing facilities. The first radiation portals were installed in March 2003.
  • DHS established the National Targeting Center (NTC), which uses computer-assisted analytical protocols to determine which cargo and passengers destined for the United States present the greatest threat, focusing examinations and inspections on them. The NTC screens data on 100% of inbound seaborne shipping containers (nine million per year) to identify those posing a "high risk;" CBP personnel conduct examinations of 100% of high-risk containers.
  • DHS established the Container Security Initiative (CSI), deploying CBP officials to 17 major international seaports to pre-screen shipping containers for illicit or dangerous materials before they are loaded on vessels bound for the United States. CSI includes the ports that ship roughly two-thirds of inbound containers to the United States. Additional ports are being added over the next two years.
* Biodefense: Keeping Americans safe from the threat of bioterrorism has been a priority since the outset of the Bush Administration. Since 2001, over $10 billion has been invested across all aspects of biodefense. In addition to BioShield, the President has pursued aggressively a broad range of efforts to confront the biological weapons threat.
  • Approved "Biodefense for the 21st Century" - the first-ever national strategy against bio threats - that provides a roadmap for development of comprehensive U.S. biodefense capabilities.
  • Expanded international efforts to secure and keep dangerous biological materials out of the hands of terrorists.
  • Deployed early warning environmental sampling systems - the BioWatch program -- making it possible to detect biological weapons attacks against major cities. To date, the BioWatch program has analyzed more than half a million samples.
  • Increased biodefense medical research and development within the Department of Health and Human Services to more than $1.5 billion per year since 2003, thirty times the investment in 2001.
  • Expanded the Strategic National Stockpile of medicines for treating victims of terror attacks, ensuring that "push packages" can be anywhere in the United States within 12 hours.
  • Stockpiled enough smallpox vaccine for every American and vaccinated nearly 500,000 members of the armed services.
  • Trained hundreds of thousands of first responders to recognize and respond to the effects of WMD.
  • Created the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasure Center to systematically apply, for the first time, cutting-edge science to the study of classified intelligence about foreign weapons programs and develop first-class forensics in support of law enforcement investigations of biological crimes.
* Protection of Critical Infrastructure: Since its inception, DHS has visited several of the top chemical sites of concern nationwide and identified measures to improve their security. The Bush Administration continues to work with Congress and the private sector to develop security standards for all chemical facilities.

* Intelligence and Coordination: Since 2001, President Bush has improved intelligence collection, analysis, and sharing to obtain the best picture of the terrorist threat to the Nation.
  • President Bush established the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, integrating and analyzing terrorism threat-related information collected domestically and abroad, ensuring that intelligence and law enforcement entities are working together. Elements of the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Justice, DHS, and FBI work to close the "seams" in our intelligence analysis.
  • The Terrorist Screening Center was established to consolidate terrorist watchlists and provide 24/7 operational support for Federal and other government law enforcement personnel across the country and around the world. The Center ensures that government investigators, screeners, and agents are working off the same unified, comprehensive set of anti-terrorist information - and that they have access to information and expertise that will allow them to act quickly when a suspected terrorist is screened or stopped.
  • DHS launched the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN), a real-time collaboration system to report incidents, crimes, and potential terrorist acts to one another and the DHS Homeland Security Operations Center. The HSIN is now linked to all 50 states and more than 50 major urban areas.
  • DoD created U.S. Northern Command, to provide for integrated homeland defense and coordinated DoD support to Federal, state, and local civilian governments.
  • President Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act, which strengthens law enforcement's abilities to prevent, investigate, and prosecute acts of terror, facilitating Federal government efforts to thwart potential terrorist activity throughout the United States. President Bush continues to call on Congress to take action to ensure that these vital law enforcement tools do not expire.

Progress in the Global War on Terror

Three Commitments in the Strategy for Peace: To overcome the dangers of our time, America is also taking a new approach in the world. President Bush is determined to challenge new threats - not ignore them and simply wait for future tragedy. The strategy for peace has three commitments:

* First, the Bush Administration is defending the peace by taking the fight to the enemy - confronting them overseas so we do not have to confront them here at home by destroying the leadership of terrorist networks in sudden raids; disrupting their planning and financing; and shrinking the space in which they can freely operate by denying them territory and the support of governments.

* Second, the Bush Administration is protecting the peace by working with friends and allies and international institutions to isolate and confront terrorists and outlaw regimes. America is leading a broad coalition of nations to disrupt proliferation. The Bush Administration is working with the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other international organizations to take action to preserve our common security.

* Third, the Bush Administration is extending the peace by supporting the rise of democracy - and the hope and progress that democracy brings - as the alternative to hatred and terror in the broader Middle East. In democratic and successful societies, men and women do not swear allegiance to malcontents and murderers; they turn their hearts and labor to building better lives. And democratic governments do not shelter terrorist camps, or attack their peaceful neighbors.

Three Years of Progress: The Bush Administration has followed this strategy - defending the peace, protecting the peace, and extending the peace - for nearly three years, and the results are now clear for all to see.

* Afghanistan: Three years ago, Afghanistan was the home base of al-Qaida - a country ruled by the Taliban, one of the most backward and brutal regimes of modern history. Now, a presidential election is scheduled for this fall, the terror camps are closed and the Afghan government is helping the United States to hunt the Taliban and terrorists in remote regions. Now, because the Bush Administration acted to liberate Afghanistan, a threat has been removed, and the American people are safer.

* Pakistan: Three years ago, Pakistan was one of the few countries in the world that recognized the Taliban regime, and al-Qaida was active and recruiting in Pakistan without serious opposition. Yet the United States was not on good terms with Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders – the very people we would need to help shut down al-Qaida operations in that part of the world. Now, the United States and Pakistan are working closely in the fight against terror, and Pakistani forces are rounding up terrorists along their nation’s western border. President Musharraf is a friend of our country, who helped us capture Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the operational planner behind the 9/11 attacks. Now, because the Bush Administration is working with Pakistani leaders, Pakistan is an ally in the war on terror, and the American people are safer.

* Saudi Arabia: Three years ago, terrorists were well established in Saudi Arabia. Inside that country, fundraisers and other facilitators gave al-Qaida financial and logistical help - with little scrutiny or opposition. Now, after attacks in Riyadh and elsewhere, the Saudi government knows that al-Qaida is its enemy. Saudi Arabia is working hard to shut down the facilitators and financial supporters of terrorism, and they have captured or killed many first-tier leaders of the al-Qaida organization in Saudi Arabia - including one last month. Today, because Saudi Arabia has seen the danger and joined the war on terror, the American people are safer.

* Iraq: Three years ago, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America, who provided a safe haven for terrorists, had used weapons of mass destruction, and turned his nation into a prison. Saddam Hussein was a proven mass murderer who refused to account for his weapons of mass murder.

  • The Bush Administration, Members of Congress, and the United Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence on Iraq and saw a threat. The previous Administration and the Congress looked at the intelligence - and made regime change in Iraq the policy of our country.
  • In 2002, the UN Security Council yet again demanded a full accounting of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs. As he had for over a decade, Saddam Hussein refused to comply. So America had a choice to make: either take the word of a ruthless dictator, or take action to defend America. Faced with that choice, President Bush will defend America every time.
  • The United States was right to go into Iraq, although we have not found stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. The United States removed a declared enemy of America, who had defied the international community for 12 years, and who had the capability of producing weapons of mass murder, and could have passed that capability to terrorists bent on acquiring them. In the world after September 11th, that was a risk America could not afford to take.
  • Now, the dictator who caused decades of death and turmoil - who twice invaded his neighbors, who harbored terrorist leaders, and used chemical weapons, is finally before the bar of justice. Iraq is now becoming an example of reform to the region. Iraqi security forces are fighting beside coalition troops to defeat terrorists and foreign fighters. Now, because America and our coalition helped to end the violent regime of Saddam Hussein, and because we are helping to raise a peaceful democracy in its place, the American people are safer.
* Libya: Three years ago, Libya, a longtime supporter of terror, was spending millions to acquire chemical and nuclear weapons. Now, thousands of Libya’s chemical munitions have been destroyed and equipment to produce nuclear materials that could ultimately have threatened the lives of hundreds of thousands is stored in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Now, because the Libyan government saw the determination of the civilized world, and correctly judged its own interests, the American people are safer.

* Weapons Proliferation: Three years ago, a private weapons proliferation network, operated by Pakistani nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan, was selling nuclear plans and equipment to countries like Libya, Iran, and North Korea. Now, the A. Q. Khan network has been exposed, the United States has ended one of the most dangerous sources of proliferation in the world, and the American people are safer.

  • Breaking this proliferation network was possible because of outstanding work by the CIA. Dedicated intelligence officers were tireless in obtaining vital information, sometimes at great personal risk. Our intelligence services do an essential job for America.
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee has identified some shortcomings in our intelligence capabilities - and the Committee’s report will help us in the work of reform. President Bush believes that intelligence reform efforts should: 1) increase the number of intelligence agents to cover the globe; 2) invest in the best, cutting-edge technology to listen and look for dangers; and 3) result in better coordination among intelligence services.
  • President Bush proposed the establishment of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). PSI is a broad international partnership of countries which, using their own laws and resources, will coordinate their actions to interdict shipments of dangerous technologies to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern - at sea, in the air, and on land.
  • President Bush proposed and the United States led the effort to pass UN Security Council Resolution 1540 which requires states to criminalize proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery by non-state actors, enact and implement effective export controls, and secure proliferation sensitive materials.
* Missile Defense: The United States will soon begin the operational deployment of an initial capability to defend against long-range ballistic missiles from rogue states such as North Korea. While this initially will be a limited capability, it will provide a basis for improvements as the threats and technologies evolve.

Read the original Fact Sheet from the Bush Administration.

July 23, 2004

The 9/11 Commission Report

Now that I've had a little time with the report, I'm convinced that it'll really mean nothing to the future of our nation. If it does it'll be because it kept the press from talking about the real issue (the general inclination of the Democratic Party to weaken national defense). This should have been made clear by the hearings process and the way the media made it appear as if Condi Rice was the weak link in our system, while it should have been clear that Richard Clarke, Sandy Berger and President Clinton failed us all.

In this case the best news is that President Bush is holding al-Qaeda accountable. And the really good news is that those who've supported al-Qaeda, those who are inclined to support them and those who by their agression to the U.S. are allied with them, are being taken to task and destroyed in combat when necessary.

The report is available here.

July 15, 2004

Immorally Yours

The primary responses I've received to my "Religion on Sunday" note concerning former Secretary Robert Reich's comments, have been about my assertion that those with faith or a belief in a higher power are in fact the greater supporters of individual liberty. My example was simple - our founding fathers.

Those who doubt me point to modern moralist and ministers as those who are believers yet do not value individual liberty as a primacy. Why, because they don't support legalized vice of all natures? It's simple, the thinking lover of liberty, supports the individuals right to have his vices, what he doesn't support is the spread of them into his backyard. The moral virtue is greater to support liberty, and then to forbid for yourself that which you would permit another to partake in.

It used to be that Nevada was the land of vice and every good southern baptist new it. Each time he went with his church group he could see and participate in them all. Now that the vices are spreading, the so-called moralist has to deal with them being in his backyard, and unfortunately, in his kitchen, living room and his childrens school. So he seeks abolition. Not because he wants to rid you of liberty, but because your freedom is costing him his virtue and his children their innocence.

There was a time when a man could and would have the decency to take his vice in private, now that we no longer do so, many consider the vice to be no longer an issue injurious only to those who partake.

I for one, liked the days when Vegas was Sin City and my home town was for Mom and Apple Pie.

July 11, 2004

More Muslim than Arab...

The LA Times, paper of record for the left coast, ran this piece (registration required unfortunately) by Shibley Telhami.

This story again points the the lack of a clear understanding of how the Islam has been made more Arab and the Islamo Fascist have pushed that even further. And now non-Arab Muslims considering themselves more Muslim than their nationality or race, are behaving in a decidedly Arab manner....

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