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February 2006

Mindful of the cost - Verdun to Fallujah

Dan, The Gay Patriot West takes a somber but somewhat hopeful look back at Verdun, a mind-numbingly horrifying carnage, and the only major battle in Iraq, Fallujah.

"That World War I (WW I) battle began with a German offensive aimed at crippling the French and ended with the French pushing the Germans back and regaining lost territory. When the battle had ended, each side had suffered approximately 400,000 casualties, roughly half of that total being fatalities. (Some estimates put the total number of causalities closer to one million.)

More soldiers were killed at Verdun than the total number of U.S. troops deployed in Iraq."

Good lord! That hit me right in the guts. Imagine all of 'em gone...in one battle. I can imagine Dan reading that number and thinking the exact thing I did. It damn well better have been worth it, and that blood spent to gain peace. And yet:

"When the French finally succeeded in repulsing the Germans from Verdun and later, with the help of their British and American allies, in defeating their once-proud army, they had no interest in rebuilding a shattered nation and instead sought, through the harsh provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, to cripple the vanquished power."

And we all know how well that one worked out. So the flower of European manhood lay dead and we gained.....?

"Unlike the victors at Verdun, our leaders have, even before the war started, had an idea of the victory we wanted to achieve. Instead of humiliating Iraq as the Allies humbled Germany after WW I, we seek to rebuild our erstwhile adversary. On September 12, 2002, President Bush told the United Nations:

The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world. These nations can show by their example that honest government, and respect for women, and the great Islamic tradition of learning can triumph in the Middle East and beyond."

The whole calculus of war is changed when it is fought for noble goals rather than conquest. I already have my answer as to whether anyone died in vain in Iraq. Absolutely they did, everyone one of those 72 goat aspiring jihadi scumbags died in vain. We are undertaking a bold and difficult venture trying to nurture freedom in the most tyrannous part of our world, but that is how all great things are accomplished.

I also believe having a warrior class returned triumphant from battle will be a pacifying influence on the country as a whole. The tremendous sacrifices of WWII ensured that those enjoying the prosperity it brought would be mindful of never allowing it to happen again.

MN Democratic Party taking shots at supporters of Iraq war

That's the message that's being sent:  Powerline here, here and here.

In Minnesota we are in the middle of a story that has dropped from view in the media, but it is a story that should attain national prominence. The Democratic Party has undertaken a campaign to suppress two advertisements giving voice to the sentiments of Iraq war veterans and Gold Star Families who support the war...

A Marine Colonel and a Gold Star mother are being labeled as "un-American" by the MN Democratic Party for their participation in ads supporting the troops.  And Powerline provides links to a columnist taking his cues from the Daily Kos-sacks.

Almost unbelievable.

Update: I just watched the two videos (here) supporting the war in Iraq.  Both of them are good.  I encourage you to watch them and see if you can understand why the Minnesota Democrats feel the need to label them as un-American.  I don't see where this is a party issue.  Maybe they're just crazy from all of the cold weather this winter...

[H/T Michelle Malkin]

Moderate Muslims, Non-Partisan Press and other mythical beasties

Instapundit love, every online loudmouth's elixir. For clarification self-pimpage, the brilliant Op-Ed piece I link to is Uncle Jimbo, humble blogger, for the first time in the paper as my-own-self, Jim Hanson.

Every time Islamic violence erupts another ten places, we are told that these extremists represent a small fraction of Muslims and It really is a religion of peace. The problem is I don't hear any moderate Muslims. The best the press can find is apologists or appeasers. I don't hear any major Muslim leaders using their religious bully pulpit to call for calm, or tolerance or even human decency. If there are any moderate Muslims, they are scared of the jihadis just like the rest of the West. They all fear inflaming the irrational, religion-fueled, hate machine that carries the Islamist flag into battle.

I don't fear the person who has told me they wish to kill me; once that taboo is breached things become quite simple. I kill him first, no quibbling, no moral quandary. Matter of fact, I have an obligation to kill the man who has sworn to kill me. I have children and am obliged to provide for them,  and ignoring or appeasing someone dedicated to killing me, and by extension them is abdicating that resonsibility. In this case our government is my surrogate and I absolutely expect them to be actively engaged in anything likely to speed these savages along to their 72 goats.

It would be nice to get a little help though. I would love to read about a Muslim leader in any of these countries who climbed up the mosque tower and hollered "Chill out people! What is the matter with you? These are cartoons FFS, how can you expect to be treated as civilized when you can't coexist with cartoons? Jesus!" well probably not the Jesus.

The media has shown that they are not only partisan, but actively opposing the policies of our elected government. Perfect clarity shows in a refusal to print cartoons out of purported concern for Muslim sensibilities, then a shameless scramble to publish anything that again allows Abu Ghraib to tarnish the administration. All concern for Muslim sensibilities goes right out the window when a chance to hurt the administration is in play. What total disgraceful Bullshit!

Pictures from several years ago are vitally newsworthy while recent pictures from the US run hospital that now operates in Abu Ghraib are ignored. I am incapable of reconciling those actions with even the remote possibility that the actors are not my enemies. Those actions directly impact our ability to operate, and the perceptions of Muslims everywhere. The bad guys could not hire a better propaganda machine than the "free" western press. It's inability to look past W and Cheney and Rumsfeld and the neocons focuses all it's energy on exposing the evil they have wrought on the world. It also distorts the prism they use to determine what is newsworthy, as the newshounds chase every wild goose that screams abuse, but can't even find a spare minute for the many successes.

Continue reading "Moderate Muslims, Non-Partisan Press and other mythical beasties" »

National Guard Protecting Us and Saving Lives

Lieutenant General Steven Blum, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, spoke to journalists at the US Military at Home and at War Conference.  I summarized some of his comments about the National Guard in 2005:

  • About 75,000 National Guardsmen are in 40 different countries.
  • The National Guard made up half of the combat force in Iraq.
  • The Guard took over the entire mission in Bosnia, Herzegovia, Kosovo, the counter-terror missions in the Horn of Africa and the peacekeeping missions in the Sinai.
  • Before Hurrican Katrina landed, 8,500 Guardsmen were in place to respond.  LTG Blum admits that they were not nearly enough.
  • Eventually, 42,000 soldiers from the 54 National Guards (ie all of them) took part in the rescue, relief, and rebuild missions around Hurrican Katrina.
  • 133 National Guard helicopters and crews were responsible for saving 17, 443 people from drowning (not just transporting them, but saving them from rising waters).
  • When Katrina made landfall, Guardsmen were fighting floods in New Hampshire, Vermont and fighting forest fires in Idaho and Montana, blizzard conditions in North Dakota, securing the southwest borders of the United States and guarding critical infrastructure in New York.
  • About one of every two Guardsmen were activated for duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the Katrina ravaged south.

The one stat that jumped out at me was the saving of 17,443 people from the Katrina flood waters.  Later, the Guard would move about 90,000 people to other locales...but air rescuing 17,443 people?!

Nice job!

Got Chuck?

Hey, everyone, Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss of From My Position...On the Way! is marketing his own sense of style and humor with the proceeds going to Soldiers' Angels.

Below is a shirt that Chuck designed - he knows what he'd give his right nut for...because he already gave it (among other things) in the name of Freedom.

Buy this shirt!

You can go here to check out all of Chux Stuff.

Student Senate At U of Washinton Rejects War Hero - Part II

The military community at the University of Washington responds to the denial of a memorial for Pappy Boyington...

An Open Letter to the University of Washington Student Senate From The UW Military Community.

Student Senate,

       Of the many student organizations on campus, the military community often holds a negative image.  The various Reserve Officer Training Corp programs are frequently criticized by some as producing trained killers.  Yet these programs are designed with considerable effort to produce leaders of integrity, courage and dedication.  The individuals thats come out of ROTC are some of the brightest  leaders our nation is capable of producing.  They are exactly the sort of people the UW should strive to produce.
        The military community does not desire parades, monuments or banners.  We do our jobs not for thanks nor praise.  We do our duty because we believe we serve a purpose greater than ourselves.  However, we resent the fact that some members of the student government would liken us to criminals or murderers.  It is true that the profession of arms is a violent one. But as a professional military, our services put an unbelievable amount of effort to accomplish the mission with as little damage and loss of life as possible.  The world is still a violent place and the only thing that keeps violence off of our doorstep, is that other men and women stand ready to absorb that violence.
        Soldiers are not responsible for making policy.  We are assigned missions by the duly appointed civilian leadership, one not unlike the concept of the student senate.  Like the American public we each have our own political opinions and beliefs.  The ideas and politics of each person in uniform is as diverse as can be found anywhere on campus.  Yet we all share one commonly parroted ideal; that freedom of thought and liberty are divine rights to be enjoyed by all humankind.
       To this day there are millions of people who live under the weight of oppression.  Few people around the world enjoy the same security, luxury and freedoms that are so openly taken for granted in our nation.  Gregory Boyington and men like him literally bled to protect liberty from a growing oppressive empire.  Many before him, many of his peers, and many future graduates from his Alma Mater have, and will continue to pay the price of liberty with their own blood.
       So easy is it to condemn and criticize others.  And so easy is it to give way to ignorance and preconceived notions.  We are all guilty of it, all of us.  While it is not uncommon, it is also not fair that some confuse the necessity of violence with murder or fascism.  No American warrior fights for his appointed Commander in Chief.  No American warrior fights for oil.  Americans take up arms not to force their choices on others, but to give and protect the liberty of choice.
       Despite all the criticism and the apparent negative feelings of all involved parties, we are PROUD to be members of the University community.  The UW may not always support the military community, but we strongly support the University of Washington.  The UW is and will continue to be a main center of academic achievement, as well as a diverse community of politics and ideas.  We firmly support the University of Washington because great minds do not think alike.  Great minds think for themselves.

        With Genuine Respect,
                The Military Community of the University of Washington

Michelle Malkin has a nice way to remember Boyington, a scholarship fund for Marine veterans and their children is being set up:

The LtCol Gregory "Pappy" Boyington Memorial Scholarship Fund