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June 2005

Fallen Heroes Funerals Protested

This is so wrong and sad.  While SSG Christopher Piper was laid to rest properly and honorably (thanks to the Marblehead Police)...

Protest at Soldier's Funeral Brings a Massachusetts Town Together
A big turnout and police bagpipes drown out a Kansas group opposed to homosexuality

By Elizabeth Mehren
Times Staff Writer

MARBLEHEAD, Mass. — This proud old seaport, whose sons and daughters have fought in every American war, was grieving for Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Piper. The 43-year-old Green Beret died after his Humvee hit a roadside bomb June 3 in Afghanistan.

When word got out that demonstrators from Kansas planned to disrupt Piper's funeral Monday, residents vowed not to let them interfere with the tribute to their hometown hero.

"I was worried that it would fester anger," said Louise Moore, 39, fighting back tears and waving a small American flag. "Instead it got everyone together."

The 14 demonstrators from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., picketed Monday on a corner near the Old North Church, a Congregational parish founded in 1635, soon after Marblehead was settled. The followers of the Rev. Fred Phelps, who blame American tolerance of homosexuality for the Sept. 11 attacks and the resulting U.S. military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, have targeted Massachusetts for protests because it is the only state where same-sex marriage is legal.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, a lawyer for the Kansas church, said Monday that the funeral demonstration was nothing personal against Piper, who was not gay.

"We are protesting the sins of this nation," Phelps-Roper said. "That doesn't exclude him."

The group also has demonstrated at high school and middle school graduations across Massachusetts, contending that school curricula promote homosexuality.

On the corner of a narrow street lined with Colonial-era buildings, the Kansas contingent tried shouting its anti-homosexual message at mourners who overflowed from the church. But every time demonstrators spoke out, the 14-man Boston Police Department bagpipe band broke into thunderous sound....

This is the same group that protested Carrie French's funeral.  If you haven't been to Bubblehead's before, please see the link to understand the evil this group represents. 

It is a "church" led by Fred Phelps (his wife is their lawyer).

Phelps and his ilk have been spewing hate for a long time and this is one way of getting their message across and getting press.  Normally, I would say ignore them because that will irritate them more.  The Marblehead Police are to be commended for the bagpipe idea.  Good thinking, fellas.  I think you protected and served the rights of everyone.  I think this is the beginning of creative countering of Phelps.

But unfortunately they are making the families suffer indignities that should never be allowed.  SSG Piper and CPL French deserve better, too, but they would probably be more worried about the pain this causes their families.

Patrick from Gryphmon (who comments here occasionally) had a post about this for Carrie French.  He knows about Phelps and knows that the way to squelch Phelps is to ignore him.  Patrick has a very good post about the history and the evil of Phelps.

I call your attention to all of this for one reason - be vigilant.  More than likely, there will be more protested funerals.

If anyone knows of his groups plans in Chicago, please let me know.  We'll mount a peaceful but interesting psyops mission...I can think of 100 ways to drive Phelps crazy...Think of a truck breaking down on the street in front of the protesters... blocking their view...and, maybe...just maybe the truck will be painted with a giant "Phelps is Gay" sign (and someone should "own his site" with that, too)...and maybe inside the truck will be...

Evil Is As Evil Does

For those unfamiliar with the term "frag", it was "popularized" during Viet Nam and is now being bandied about by Asshat Extraordiare, Ward Churchill...

tr.v. fragged, frag·ging, frags (American Heritage Dictionary)

To wound or kill (a fellow soldier) by throwing a grenade or similar explosive at the victim: “He got fragged. Blown away” (Bobbie Ann Mason).

Trey Jackson video - Ward Churchill needs his chops busted.  While he is posing the context of "fragging" around a question of conscientious objectors, his underlying wish is for troops to frag their officers.

"For those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who's already been inducted in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal. But let me ask you this: Would you render the same level of support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?... Conscientious objection removes a given piece of cannon fodder from the fray. Fragging an officer has a much more impactful effect."

Trey Jackson also has a link to Churchill's email address.

Lance at RedStateRant has a post about emailing the Chancellor of the University of Colorado to have Churchill removed.  I suggest following through with a succinct and polite email to the Chancellor.

While some people might suggest a more martial approach to dealing with Churchill, removing his ability to teach young people, earn an income spewing hate, and getting a spotlight because he's "Professor" Ward Churchill, would be the best for all.

Let him throw his rhetoric from the street corner like any other conspiracy theorist, biggot whacko...

The Remedy

I knew that Durbin's comments would keep reverberating throughout the military community.  For all of you that wanted to let it go, there are simply those who will not or cannot let it go.

I think the storm is still gathering on this and still hasn't broken.  Half apologies from politicians like Durbin don't amount to the will of those who've served.

And what they are going to find, to the Democrats' dismay, is that there will be an awful lot of war heroes coming home...and they just might run for office.  Democrat or Republican.  Independit or Libertarian. 

For example, Illinois has had a lot of Soldiers and Marines deployed in the War on Terror.  The Mad Ghosts (2/24 Marines) that I featured here often are from Chicago.  I'm sure you'll find some of them interested in the possibilities of removing Durbin from office.  Note to Illinois Republican leadership:  If you EVER have to look outside of our great state for a political candidate again, then you need to be removed from leadership.  Capisce?

After all, not only could a Soldier have the opportunity to try to change things, that Soldier could make a lot more salary, too.  Nicer retirement package.  Extreme Per Diem.  Swimming Pool.  Movie stars...um, I digress.   

Suffice it to say that not being wet, cold, tired, or hungry ever again would also be a benefit.  And our military knows how to make things happen.

Which brings me to the point of this post.  For those of you serving, think about who represents you.  Are they doing the job that they were hired to do?  If not, you may want to follow Rusten Currie's lead.

Keep your eye on this MilBlogger.  He's going to go after Maxine Waters' seat in Congress when he gets home.

Currie for Congress!

[thanks to Debbie for the Washington Times link]

Update: I was remiss in not mentioning that I wouldn't be surprised to see Sergeant Missik in office soon.

Army Times - OIF MilBloggers Must Register

The Army Times just published another article about MilBlogging.  This time, it's in reference to the policy requiring all MilBloggers in Iraq to register.  For those who haven't read the policy, John Donovan at Argghhh! has a post about it and a copy of the actual policy for your reading, as well.

Bloggers in Iraq must register sites
By Joseph R. Chenelly
Times staff writer

Commanders want to know who is blogging from Iraq, and a new rule says soldiers have to ‘fess up.

A policy for all service members under command of Multi-National Corps-Iraq states that anyone who owns, maintains or posts to a Web site or Web log must formally notify his chain of command.

All service members who fall under MNC-I must register their sites or blogs or risk facing punitive action, under the policy signed in April by Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, MNC-I commander.

The new rules have had an effect on some military bloggers. At least a few have shut down, saying they’d rather stop blogging than reveal their full identity.

"I could keep going but under these circumstances, it would be a lie," wrote a soldier blogger who goes by Red2Alpha on www.thisisyourwar.blogspot.com, suggesting the soldier wouldn’t be able to post his true feelings if he had to tell his higher ups about his blog.

Although policy states that soldiers don’t have to submit each post for review before it goes online, the rules require commanders to regularly review each site maintained by a soldier under their charge....

The rest of the article is in the Extended Section where you'll see quotes from Phil Carter, Greyhawk, Watch Your Six and Jack Army:

Continue reading "Army Times - OIF MilBloggers Must Register" »

MilBlog Menagerie

ArmyWifeToddlerMom needs a favor.  Get over there and see what you can do to help.

There's been a fire at FOB St. Michael in Iraq.  The Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Brigade Combat Team is there and needs some support - Banter in Atlanter has the details.  And, of course, Soldiers' Angels is supporting the whole BCT.

Ron S. sends the link to this embedded photographer/blogger with the Marines in Iraq - Faces from the Front.  At FFTF, there are pictures, blog posts about Iraq and video, too.

One more reminder that Gunner Palace is out on video/DVD today.  Saw a prominent space for it at Borders yesterday.  Here's Amazon's link

By the way, saw that one of my paratrooper hero's has his biography out - Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters - The Man Who Led The Band of Brothers.  I bought it.  It's got a lot more information about the events before and after Band of Brothers and had some really poignant closing chapters including one on leadership (I read a bit of them at the store).  I wish we could have gotten a biography out of Carwood Lipton before he died. 

TWA Flight 847 - Terror in the Skies - Twentieth Anniversary

Over the last few weeks, I've bumped into more than a few vets.  Some are friends of mine but most are new acquaintences.  Usually, I've been fortunate enough to buy them a few drinks. 

At first, they downplay my attempt.  But then, I tell them, "Those aren't from me.  They're from Stuart Dahl."  And then I proceed to tell them the story of TWA 847 and how Stuart Dahl wanted to buy them a drink...

On the 14th of June, 1985, Hezbollah terrorists hijacked TWA Flight 847.  Last year, I posted a nineteenth anniversary piece:

The flight, flying from Athens to Rome, was hijacked by Hezbollah thugs and redirected to Beriut. The Islamic jihadis searched the plane for Jewish passengers and US military servicemen. They found five US Navy Divers and one Army Reserve Major. All military men were savagely beaten and tortured.

One diver, Robert D. Stethem was chosen to be executed. The Hezbollah chief put his pistol up against the diver's temple, fired one bullet and dumped Stethem's body on the tarmac.

Stethem was murdered because he was an American Sailor.  His memory lives on as the Navy Commissioned the USS Stethem - one of the most formidable ships in the world.

The Army Reserve Major's name was Kurt Carlson...

"One day, we were told we had to speak to a visitor from Hezbollah," Carlson recalled. "They took us into another room. There was a bunch of guys there. One was a short guy with a beard. He just looked at us. The Amal guys who were our guards kept close to us. I felt like they were trying to protect us. This guy started asking us questions. Where we're from, what unit. All of a sudden, he let loose with a tirade. He spoke some English. I remember that his eyes were like glass. You could feel the hate coming out of him. He started screaming about the Israelis, how they're supported by the U.S. The Israelis were so bad they wouldn't consent to Red Cross visits to the Shiite prisoners. He was just screaming.

"One of the divers, Stuart Dahl, answered him," Carlson went on. "He said, 'If you believe in the rights of prisoners, you'll let the Red Cross see us.' This guy, the one who was screaming, just about fell over. He didn't expect anyone to answer him...

In that post, I also left a message, "If anyone knows of Stuart Dahl's whereabouts, please send me an email.  I'd like to buy that Sailor a bottle of scotch." 

Stuart Dahl wrote me after awhile.  He's a great guy who finished his very successful career in the Navy and has a true-blue American family with two sons and a son-in-law serving in the military and the other son-in-law is a deputy sheriff. 

He doesn't need scotch.  He gave up drinking.  So, among other things, he asked me to buy some vets a drink for him.  I think I'll keep doing that around this time every year to remember Robert Stethem and to honor Stuart Dahl and Kurt Carlson and the other hostages.  Think about doing the same.

And, Stu, I'm going to bring a bottle of the good stuff with me the next time I hit the VA - probably in a few weeks

Babalu Turns Two!

Congrats to Val Prieto of Babalu Blog for blogging for two years (today).  Val's a hard-working blogger who's spent the last two years contributing his sense of decency, integrity and, upon occasion, humor to the blogosphere.   

That's quite an accomplishment - two years of giving hope to everyone for a better Cuba and two years of giving Castro the finger.

Get on over to Babalu and tell Val "¡Feliz aniversario!".

Chicken and Parakeet Feathers

Michael Yon just posted his latest in his series with Command Sergeant Major Mellinger, the senior enlisted man on the ground in Iraq.

This is by far one of my favorite posts from Yon, complete with awesome pictures,  an assertive and smart Lieutenant Colonel and a not-so-smart, sniper-attracting, Iraqi Rambo-parakeet.  You should always try to keep the Rambo-parakeets away from your fighting position...

Update:  Via Michelle Malkin - Attention NEW YORK TIMES:  Hire Michael Yon.  Give him one meeellion dollars to write for your fading paper...