Archive for August 2010
A short time ago, in an address from the Oval Office, President Obama announced the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. To be honest up front, I didn’t listen to the whole speech, and don’t care to. Reviews I am seeing and hearing range from “Meh,” to “bad.”
This isn’t about the speech, though.
In 2003, President Bush ordered troops into Iraq with the goal of removing Saddam Hussein from power. This goal was accomplished very quickly. Then, the hard work began.
You can count me as a full-on supporter of the mission in Iraq. Hussein was a monster, and needed to be removed. He had a history of development and use of Weapons of Mass Destruction, demonstrated by the use of gas on the Kurds in the north. So I don’t want to hear anyone bitch and fuss about “Bush Lied” about WMD. Saddam made his choice, he played his hand, and he lost. He could have remained in power with his plush palaces and other trappings of royalty had he been honest and come totally clean to the UN Weapons Inspectors. But he close to lie, hide, and dodge the truth.
Were there any weapons? I do not know. I suspect, however, there may have been some development programs, some crude leftovers, but the sanctions likely at least slowed down the widespread adaptation. If there were any left, though, I really wonder where they went? Lots of stories floating out there about truck convoys rolling towards Syria as we rolled up from Kuwait. Just saying.
He also had the chance to live. The ultimatum President Bush gave him said he had the chance to leave the country. He chose to still hang on to his bluff, somehow thinking that he could stand up the United States military. So if anyone wants to complain about “lies” in the lead up to the opening of hostilities, you can put those solely on Hussein’s shoulders.
We spent a lot of time, money, and lives during our time in Iraq. And for what it’s worth, regardless of what the Imperious Doofus told us tonight, we will spend more of everything before its over. There are still radical elements left who wish to murder and bomb their way to the top.
This was was coming, eventually, no matter what. The Iraqis must step up, protect themselves, and build themselves a nation. They must dig deep, set their sights high, and follow through. There are Iraqi patriots, and I wish them nothing but the best and success of their goals.
There were many things that could have gone much better in our time there. Totally disbanding the military was probably one of the biggest mistakes made, although I could see the thinking; no one really knew just how entrenched through the ranks the Ba’ath party was.
We went in, accomplished the main goal in very short order, and settled into almost a complacency. When the “surge” was being talked about, it had already become a nuclear political football. But in the end, it appears to have been the antidote to finally buy enough breathing room and take out enough terrorists to allow the Iraqis to get themselves together and step up.
Could things have gone much better? Of course. Hindsight is always better, however. We should learn from not only what we may have done wrong in that theater, but also learn from what we did right. And to be totally honest, I believe we have done a good thing, with the best intentions, for the long-term goal of creating as free a world as possible, where people are allowed to live their lives without threat of death for simple political views.
And let’s not forget one major thing: This “end of combat operations” thing? This was a segment of the Status of Forces agreement with Iraq negotiated more than two years ago. By President Bush.
When I finally decided to pull the trigger and find a “free” place I could blog, I had a vision of what I wanted to do. I wanted to express my opinion on topics of the day, news stories, gun news, funny stuff, and maybe do a little back-and-forth with MrsJamesLee, as she generally comes from the other side of the aisle.
Little did I expect to be drawn into the race relations debate. I’m probably one of the least “qualified” people to speak on that topic. But it seems that nearly every controversy in the news, particularly with politics, has some form of racial overtone.
First and foremost, I totally reject the notion that if someone criticizes or otherwise rejects President Obama, that it is based on racist notions. I suspect that 99.9% of that is totally false. Of course, there are racists left in this world. And absolutely it is possible to disagree with the Democrat Agenda without having race-based reasons for doing so.
The problem is that many, especially on the left side of our political spectrum, want to attribute any opposition to racism. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For example, I am totally opposed to government-funded bailouts for any private company. This includes General Motors and Chrysler, General Motors being my default “favorite” car company, and Chrysler being the one who made my current vehicle, the Dodge Dakota (unparalleled in the mid-sized truck market, for my money). If the company in question can not budget, predict the markets, and make enough sales to stay in business, then they should not be in business.
Anyway, before I sway too far off topic here, I am seeing a lot of coverage of Glenn Beck’s “8/28 Restoring Honor” Rally last weekend in Washington. And most of it is negative, condescending, and totally off base.
I was lucky enough to have a good internet connection, and listened to most, and watched nearly as much, on the Ustream/Facebook feed that went out live, as I don’t have CSPAN available on my TV at work. The interenet stream was fantastic, however, and the on-screen counter surpassed 130,000 people watching before it was over.
There was no political agenda at all during the entire time. There was scant criticism, if any, of President Obama, or anyone else for that matter. The focus was on honoring our fallen troops, honoring those (such as Albert Pujols) for their charitable work, and trying to wake people up to what is right and wrong.
Many criticized the event before it even took place; the date was the same date and the same location that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his “I Have A Dream” speech. For that reason, many felt it was inappropriate to do it.
Alveda King, niece of the late Dr. King, was a headline speaker. She gave a wonderful speech, in many ways an update, or sequel if you will, to the original. Absolutely wonderful.
Sarah Palin introduced members of the Military, who had sacrificed friends, comrades, shipmates, and limbs, to point out those who put Honor above their own needs, or even their own survival.
All day, it was the same story; we are Americans, we are one Family, we should work together, trust in God (with no demand on whose God we should trust in), and help to bring us all up.
No hate, absolutely zero so-called “racism,” and no politics. And, by the way, absolutely no trash left laying on the National Mall when it was over.
As I was watching it, though, I kept an eye on some of the Twitter and Facebook comments left concerning it. Some of the most vile, hate-filled, disgusting things you would think of another person. One that stood out to me, to paraphrase, was that “you would think Alveda King would at least take today off from spitting on her Uncle’s grave.”
Through the last 24 hours, pundits have pundificated, columnists columnated, and talking heads talked. Most, without a clue as to what it was all about, fell back into the familiar theme of “Beck is a hateful racist.” One, CNN’s Bill Press, even pontificated that the Lincoln Memorial was not an appropriate place to speak of God and Religion. Wonder what he would say about Dr. King’s speech 47 years ago?
For the record, I am not really a “religious” person. I was raised in the Methodist Church, I have a strong belief in God, Jesus, and the idea of Christian Salvation, which I feel can be accomplished without constant attendance at a particular building. And, also for the record, I don’t care if you believe otherwise; you want to go every Sunday, Wednesday, and special occasion, kneel 5 times a day, observe Passover, or not ever; you follow what works for you, I will me, and we will all get along fine as long as we are not actually causing harm to anyone else.
The point is, that Mr. Beck, in my opinion, likely gave a better, more honest, and more uplifting tribute to Dr. King than could have been accomplished by nearly any one else. Reverends Jackson and Sharpton, I’m sorry; I don’t disparage the work you may have done in the past, but your ties to the Liberal Establishment completely negate anything you do today. Just because one is opposed to Leftist Ideology, it does not mean you are somehow “racist.” I feel that sort of thinking has completely betrayed the “Dream” of Dr. King.
Recently, I put up a post on this blog about the King speech, and included a video. The course of that involved me looking through several versions posted on YouTube to find a good copy of the particular section I wanted, without it being too long, or in another language. I got to see several sections of that groundbreaking speech, several times, and believe me, the “I Have A Dream” section would send chills up my spine, and in some instances, I will admit to beginning to well up. Because it’s a truth that transcends time, that all would eventually be judged on the “content of their character, not the color of their skin.”
Those who would attempt to put a political backdrop to that in order to disparage Mr. Beck, who likely more than anyone active in today’s media, is actually living by Dr. Kings words, should be ashamed. You are taking the ideal, and twisting it suit your own prejudices.
Martin Luther King would not approve.
On October 12, 2000, suicide bombers packed a small boat with explosives, maneuvered it alongside the USS Cole DDG-67, while she was taking on fuel and supplies at a port in Yemen. The bombers detonated their payload, blasting a large hole in the side of the destroyer, killing 17 and injuring 39 American sailors.
Being a few years removed from the Navy myself at the time, I recall being very angry that this happened. I also recall being downright livid when speculation came out that they wanted to press charges against the Captain, or those who were deck guards at the time. Having been in exactly that same situation before, minus the explosives of course, I know what happened.
When moored, or even anchored out, in a busy port, there are sometimes hundreds of craft in the area, and many can be coming or going at any given time. We were not engaged in any open hostilities at the time, and any approaching civilian watercraft would have been likely noticed, perhaps watched, but even if the deck sentry had called in something suspicious, word would likely have come back to just watch and report. In most cases, the deck guards duty was to watch for anything getting close to the ship, particularly close enough to attempt boarding, and report such activity. Depending on the location, and “friendliness” of the port, weapons may not even be issued. And if weapons were issued, likely case was that rounds were not chambered and the magazine may not even be loaded into the weapon.
In the case of the Cole, I suspect several small boats had made approaches through the period of their time in port. It is very common for any civilian boat to try to get close for a better look; it’s not every day one sees a shiny, state-of-the-art American warship up close after all. And with no declared hostilities, especially with the country involved, a captain simply can’t order Weapons Free on any random vessel that crosses some invisible line on the water.
A commissioned warship is considered native soil of the nation whose flag it flies, the same with any nation’s official embassy. So if one wants to get technical, the “first” attack on the homeland came nearly a year before September 11, 2001. But it was a military target, so either way.
Many through the years have wanted to criticize then-President Clinton for doing nothing about the attack. I didn’t so much. While I would have loved seeing a rain of cruise missiles taking out anything and everything connected to the bombers, the fact is the election in 2000 was less than one month away, and Clinton was pretty much a “lame duck” since the impeachment hearings. Besides, I don’t think they had hard evidence on exactly who to target at the time anyway.
After the attacks on the World Trade Center, the War on Terrorism stepped into high gear. Obviously, the operatives on the boat have already met their maker, and cannot be prosecuted. But investigations found that Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was the ringleader for the al Qaeda cell that put the mission together, and he was picked up, taken to Club Gitmo, and was one of the three who were waterboarded.
Nashiri has been in the queue for a military trial for several years. So imagine my surprise when I read at Hot Air today that the Obama Justice Department has put off prosecuting him.
From the Washington Post:
In a filing this week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department said that “no charges are either pending or contemplated with respect to al-Nashiri in the near future.”
Leaks and “anonymous sources” seem to make up the bulk of the basis for this article:
“It’s politics at this point,” said one military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss policy. He said he thinks the administration does not want to proceed against a high-value detainee without some prospect of civilian trials for other major figures at Guantanamo Bay.
A White House official disputed that.
“We are confident that the reformed military commissions are a lawful, fair and effective prosecutorial forum and that the Department of Defense will handle the referrals in an appropriate manner consistent with the interests of justice,” said the official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.
I suspect that with all the clamoring from the Far Left about how horrible Club Gitmo is, the White House would like nothing more than just shutting it down and letting everyone go. Thankfully, cooler heads are prevailing, and most of the dangerous terrorists will be held where they can not cause any harm to others.
I also suspect that while many Administration officials also might sympathize with the Far Left’s position, they are also politically smart enough to understand that if this actually happens, they will be run out of town on a rocket sled on a rail. I believe that this bit of news out today may have been a trial balloon to see just how it might be received if it did happen.
Jake Tapper, ABC White House correspondent, reported a few minutes ago:
Am told DOJ is clarifying in a filing today that the Obama administration is still proceeding with military commission case v. Nashiri
I hope this is true. A fair argument might be made, although I think it is wrong, that standard terrorists attacks against civilian targets can and should be treated as criminal action in civilian courts. The Cole bombing, however, was a military target. I think in this instance, the military commissions are definitely the way to proceed against Nashiri. May justice prevail.
Once again, time to ask for a few prayers. SgtK is soon to be returning to their unit overseas after a brief time home on leave. We had a great time, lots of meat over open flames and cans of cold beer were had.
So if you have a second, include SgtK, his unit, and all our soldiers in uniform at home and abroad, in your prayers wishing them all safe until their return home to their families.
This morning, Ed at Hot Air puts up a story about campaigns paying bloggers for favorable coverage.
For the record, I would like to state that I have never been paid one dime, or any amount, for any of my blogging, opinionating, or other postings.
Also for the record, if there are conservative candidates who would be interested in forwarding some payment my way for mentions, I would be interested. I would, of course, disclose up front and often that I was working for a campaign or campaign committee, and would give my honest opinion. So it would help if I agreed with the candidate to start with.
Feel free to contact me in the comments, and I’ll discuss it with you.
**note** please note the (mostly) tongue-in-cheek aspect of this post
**Update** Just to be clear, I was making a joke. I would, however like to expand on that for a moment.
My own little corner of the blogosphere is rated at probably a little under nothing in terms of the other wonderful blogs out there, and if you could see the small number of reads I get on average, you would agree. I’m using a free account, and would like to thank WordPress.com for having this platform available to us. This is mainly a place for me to vent, practice my writing, and hopefully eventually get a little notice.
I have said for a long time that I would love to be involved in politics in some fashion as a way to make a living. But at the same time, I would only do it my terms. I am hesitant to actually get into the Party aspect of it, as there are many things I don’t care about the Republican party, although they are the best alternative out there right now.
My joking about taking money for posts is just that. I would not “sell out” any integrity I might have before I even develop it.
However, if there are larger blogs, newspaper folks, or others in a position to offer a paying position for me to write, I am more than open to that aspect. I would not relinquish editorial control of my work, at least not beyond proofreading and/or cleaning up writing styles and such, but not to the point of forcing a story, column, or post to push or suggest an idea I did not approve of.
But if there is anyone out there who likes what they read, and would like to see about perhaps adding me to a paying gig, that would be very open to my looking into.
Looks like its about time to weigh in on the Mosque at Ground Zero. I saw this story about Nancy Pelosi last night, and was livid. But the hour was late, and I thought I might get my thoughts better organized this morning.
Pelosi, in a long career of tone deafness, out-of-touchedness, stupidity, and ignorance, has seamlessly moved into outright tyrannical musings:
There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded,” she said. “How is this being ginned up that here we are talking about Treasure Island, something we’ve been working on for decades, something of great interest to our community as we go forward to an election about the future of our country and two of the first three questions are about a zoning issue in New York City.
Get that? She wants to investigate you if you oppose what the Imperious Doofus says is just fine. Obviously, this just like the Tea Party phenomenon where there is no way that like-thinking people can actually come together to express their beliefs and displeasure with their government without having someone with lots of money to get them to, right? And as we all know, if you expressed any opposition to the Health Control bill, you obviously were getting paid by Evil Insurance Companies.
I guess we have to forgive Pelosi for her suspicions; after all, she is very used to seeing what she is implying here. Case after case, as far as the eye can see, there is ample documentation of bankrolling ‘protest’ groups on the left, propping up “community organizers,” labor unions actually hiring non-union people at minimum wage with no benefits to walk picket lines, and funneling tax dollars into a plethora of “foundations” and “projects” whose sole purpose is to forward a leftist and progressive agenda. She’s probably confused, as she’s never had any actual experience with a true, honest, American movement without there being an organization with deep pockets behind it.
But the absolute insanity of her words doesn’t get forgiven. She wants to use the power of the government to root out who and what you are if you dare to question Dear Leader’s intentions. Suddenly, the leftists are so concerned about First Amendment religious freedom and Private Property rights, they are wanting to shut down your First Amendment Free Speech rights to promote it.
This is completely unforgivable. In a age where every little perceived ‘slight’ or ‘insult’ is met with a barrage of demands for apologies (or payoffs), how does this pathetic hag get away with calling for action that the very government she wants to turn on us was founded in opposition to? What is wrong in this nation that we no longer demand accountability from our elected officials? If there were ANY decency and justice left in Washington, Democrats themselves would be racing to the nearest microphone to denounce Pelosi and demand her resignation.
Somehow, I doubt this will happen.
If she’s really serious though, as Ed suggests, perhaps she should start with her counterpart in the Senate, Harry Reid. In a tough election fight, he too has said that Ground Zero is no place for a Mosque. Actually, would be sort of nice to find out exactly where he gets all his funding, no?
As I’ve said, there is no way she can be that stupid. (At least, I hope not, because that would say much more about our system that we allow someone of this level of stupid into the third highest office in the land.) Which leaves one thing: She really does believe it’s a good thing to sic the government on American citizens who disagree.
God help us all.