Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Let's talk ....Immigration

Welcome to America

Everyone has an opinion on Immigration, from the Mexican here on a work visa, the second generation Mexican-American to the European immigrants who arrived here in the early part of the 20th century. Each with a passion for their beliefs and an epistemological starting point that may we be difficult to argue with. Yet, this issue is one that needs to be address in the here and now as our national security truly depends on it.

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but former 1970's entertainer turned California Congressmen, Sonny Bono left me with a pearl of wisdom many, many years ago long before his death 1998. During a congressional sub-committee on immigration had linger on far too long and touch on topics that Bono felt irrelevant, he said something to the effect that if it is called "illegal" immigration than why are we even talking about it. It truly is and should be that simple. Unfortunately, there are so many mitigating circumstances that have developed over the last three decades that today immigration can only be called a labyrinth at best.

Here are some few know immigration facts. There are millions upon millions of illegal aliens in this country who obtained Social Security ID cards that were stolen from various government agencies or simply fabricated by individuals who quickly saw the marketability of such a business and charge anywhere from $300 to $1,000 for a card. Keep in mind that this illegal cards could have any Social Security number on it, it could be yours, mine or your next door neighbors. Suddenly, you have identity theft to deal with.

Then there is the issue of taxes. The next time you hear an advocate for illegal immigrants tell you that they pay taxes, know that is a half truth. While in college I worked in the restaurant business for a few years and while I was studying Spanish, I befriended many of these illegal aliens. They are usually good people, don't get me wrong, but more on that later. They have taxes taken out of their weekly pay, yes, that is correct but they claim a high number of dependents so that very little is taken out and, here is the kicker, they do NOT file taxes annually with the IRS. Meaning that they are never made to prove who their dependents are or made to repay if they under paid and etc. Yet, these same individuals are entitled to every type of federal program that you and I are. There children are entitled to an education in our schools, health care and the list goes on and on.

Sadly, for every illegal that comes her with honest intentions to carve out a new life in a new country, there are others with less than impressive intentions. Many come here, live at low levels only to save a significant amount of money that that send directly back to their mother country; part to help their family and part to build a home for them to return to in a few years. So many are here temporarily to take advantage of our system to then return home once they have achieved their financial objective. It is no secret that many who may well be here legally, are allowed to claim their family members in another country as their dependents, thus, through a Social Security loophole, billions, yes you read that correctly, billions of US dollars are sent to Mexico each year.

Mexico - ah yes - the land of sand and beaches. Well, it will be no secret to you that Mexico is a staunch supporter of the Immigration movement in the US. The Mexican government employs individuals in border towns to educate those attempting to cross over into the US on how and where to safely cross, where to find water as they cross and what to do once they get there. Face it folks, the Mexican economy needs illegal immigration to keep its poorer population at bay. If it weren't for the opportunities north of the border, Mexico would have another revolution on her hands.

Many US companies, large and small, depend on the illegal workers to do jobs that some Americans may feel is below them for a wage that is much higher than the same work would produce in Mexico. Therefore, it is more profitable to, for example, come to the US and work in a factory making $7 a hour vs. working in Mexico making half that for the same work. In the restaurant I worked in the management knew full well how this process worked. If an illegal came in to request work, after filling out their application, they would be asked to come back in a few days and if their Social Security number wasn't rejected by a "system" then they were allowed to begin work. If it was a bad number they were simply asked to "try again" with a different number. I had more than a handful of situation where I was asked to translate for the manager so this is not a secondhand story, and this happened all over in just about every restaurant in an area with a high Hispanic population.

The issue doesn't stop there. One co-worker asked me about my opinion on the following; his sister lived in Tijuana and she and her husband were expecting their first child. The husband worked in the US but lived in Mexico, crossing the border legally each day to work. Yet, his wife had yet to be naturalized. She was considering coming across the border into TX to have her baby because it would be free. This is a very regular occurrence in many of the border states and it is the direct cause for the high cost of health care in these states and the multitude of problems that the health care field is forced to confront due to this fact. Then the new twist is, of this baby is born in the US, he is now a US citizen and he is entitled to stay in the nation of his birth and later, this will serve as a way for the mother to receive naturalization in the US much easier than before.

Are you beginning to see the complications here?

Now let's open the door to the politicians! Those who would like to blame President Bush for everything from the war in Iraq, global warming and the death of Elvis, now after 9/11 want Bush to solve this problem without taking away a potential voting base for the Democrats. California in particular is the blue state that has the most to loose and also gain if immigration laws are implemented. But here is the thing, illegal immigration, for reasons obvious to national security should be quell immediately but this is the big mistake that many Americans make, the collectively lump Immigration and Illegal Immigration into one category. If you read here You will see that we need immigration to help in certain fields, medicine in particular but again, there is a gray area in regards to who gets the now famed "greed card" and who doesn't. The above linked article tells of abuses within the greed card system that prevents those who actually are needed here to work in place of those who use the green card to stay in the country with legalized family members without having to go through the process of naturalization. (Note: There cards are green anymore but the name is still used. Today's cards are pretty high tech with hallograms and the like to deter falsification.

How to fix this problem? It obviously cannot be fixed during the last two years of the Bush Administration but there are some thing that could be implimented to begin to better protect our borders. Immigration and Naturalization can being to crackdown on this illegal immigrants who are here without the proper papers and who are here without a family to complicate their status. They will be easier to return to their homelands and most likely will be a large number of individuals thus sending a powerful message.

We will continue with Immigration more I am sure as the months leading up to the '08 Elections approach.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Let's just go there .... my disdain for John McCain



I haven't written in a few days, simply because I didn't find anything of interest to write about. Then I was reminded that we all need to write everyday, no matter what. So being the perpetual student that I am, I went looking at the other great blogs, those that I admire and gained some insight, remembering that I can write an opinionated essay of sorts.

So here goes ....

Politically many consider John McCain a loose cannon, a hot head, unpredictable and so on. Within the small circle of the POW/MIA Community, he is on the same level as the treasonous John Kerry. Many consider him untouchable, he was a POW, held in the Hanoi Hilton for over 5 years and finally released in 1973 along with the other 591 released during Operation Homecoming. Many use the fact that he was offered an early release and didn't take it as some sort of shining example of his patriotism and his dedication to his fellow POWs. Well, there is another spin on this that few seem to want to consider; McCain would have been considered a traitor by his fellow POWs. There was a chain of command within the camps, the senior officer making policy and serving as the governing body if you will for the POWs. There was a unwavering policy, no one takes early release unless ordered to do so. There was one POW, Doug Hegdhal, who was ordered to accept early release because he has somehow memorized name, rank and branch of over 200 men being held. His release gave invaluable information to the military and the family members who were unaware of the fact that their loved ones were being held. Still to this day, he remembers the entire list. He, is a hero.

During his captivity, McCain gave multiple interviews with foreign correspondents in which he appeared well kept, jovial and enjoyed cigarettes,coffee and tea with the visiting reporter. Go ask the others being held if they ever enjoyed those luxuries. There are discrepancies in his book vs. the official documents of the USG as well as these news articles that the visiting journalist generated. You can find many of these documents here, as well as other interesting tidbits. You will see there that some of the SROs had no information about McCain ever being beaten or tortured.

Now, here is where things get interesting and this is the part that few publicly know. McCain, being a POW himself, has a hatred for POW/MIA Families that many would consider impossible to believe. He refers to them as zealots, conspiracy theorists and on and on. There is no need to go into details here because this info can be found all over the Net. So the question is, how could a former POW function as a barrier rather than an advocate for the family members who were not as fortunate as his own family? Why would he attempt to water down legislation that would help POW/MIA Families? There are many possible explanations for this behavior. He wanted to distance himself from his POW status and be considered a politician. He possibly was influenced by his captors, not necessarily brainwashed but the Vietnamese were master propagandists so the possibilities are endless as to what they could "have" on McCain. Lastly, he made a political decision that aligning himself with these family members would cripple his political career and for that reason has decided to join the majority in pushing the POW/MIA issue under the rug.

Taking all of this into consideration, the next question that is raised is why he would insist on being not just on the 1992 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs but being the Committee's Chairman (the Chairmanship was given to John Kerry of all people). During those session he took every opportunity to verbally dismantle anyone with a view opposite his own. There is actually video footage of his rant on Delores Apodaca-Alfond, the sister of a missing man, who serves as the president of the National Alliance of POW/MIA Families. His rant brought her to tears. For more on McCain and Kerry's conduct during the POW/MIA Senate Select Committee, please go here. The documentary "Missing Presumed Dead" will leave you in a fog for days after viewing it.

I just found a great piece by syndicated columnist Maureen Dowd, an op-ed piece here about McCain. I guess I'm not the only one seeing the same thing. Additionally, head on over to my favorite milblogger, Major Z, here and find out the details of McCain's visit to he and his wife while the Major was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It will amaze you.

You may be trying to connect all of this and may be wondering about the picture above. Well, in the well-known words of Paul Harvey, here is "the rest of the story". Somewhere in the above picture there is a Marine who is still MIA from Vietnam, his case has been systematically and negatively effected by the likes of John Kerry and John McCain. The Marine in the photo is part of my family and I want him home.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

More "he said", "she said" with Nancy Pelosi



Fox News is reporting:
Pelosi... said Cheney's comments wrongly questioned critics' patriotism and ignored Bush's call for openness on Iraq strategy.

"You cannot say as the president of the United States, 'I welcome disagreement in a time of war,' and then have the vice president of the United States go out of the country and mischaracterize a position of the speaker of the House and in a manner that says that person in that position of authority is acting against the national security of our country,"

Ok Nancy, well, what did he say? here

The question: “Because Congressman Murtha and Nancy Pelosi made it clear that what they would like to do is they would like to stop the surge. Can they do it, do they have the power to stop the surge, Mr. Vice President?”

CHENEY: I think he's dead wrong. I think in fact if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting, all we'll do is validate the Al-Qaeda strategy. The Al-Qaeda strategy is to break the will of the American people. In fact, knowing they can't win in a stand-up fight, try to persuade us to throw in the towel and come home, and then they win because we quit.

So what have you said?

Here is an interesting list


“Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”


“America will be far safer if we reduce the chances of a terrorist attack in one of our cities than if we diminish the civil liberties of our own people.”


“We must remain focused on the greatest threat to the security of the United States, the clear and present danger of terrorism. We know what we must do to protect America, but this Administration is failing to meet the challenge. Democrats have a better way to ensure our homeland security.”



The president led us into the Iraq war on the basis of unproven assertions without evidence; he embraced a radical doctrine of pre-emptive war unprecedented in our history; and he failed to build a true international coalition.


“I have absolutely no regret about my vote against this war. The same questions remain. The cost in human lives, the cost to our budget, probably 100 billion. We could have probably brought down that statue for a lot less.”


The new Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has told colleagues that her goal is to "end the war" source


Today in George Will's sindicated piece he has several very poignant ovservations.

-
Congressional Democrats aim to hamstring the president with restrictions on the use of the military. The restrictions ostensilby are concerned with preparedness but actually are designed to prevent deployments to Iraq.


-
Regarding Iraq, the Democratic-controlled Congress could do what Democrats say a Democratic president would do — withdraw U.S. forces. A president could simply order that; Congress could defund military operations in Iraq. Congressional Democrats are, however, afraid to do that because they lack the courage of their (professed) conviction that Iraq would be made tranquil by withdrawal of U.S. forces.


-
Indiscriminate criticism of President George W. Bush is an infectious disease. Some conservatives seem to have caught it, but congressional Democrats might be crippled by it.


-
They lack the will to exercise their clearly constitutional power to defund the war. And they lack the power to achieve that end by usurping the commander in chief's powers to conduct a war.


-
They can spend this year fecklessly and cynically enacting restrictions that do not restrict. Or they can legislate decisive failure of the Iraq operation — withdrawal — thereby acquiring conspicuous complicity in a defeat that might be inevitable anyway. A Hobson's choice? No, Nancy Pelosi's and Harry Reid's.




So Nancy, I really have to ask why you are running to the principal when you are strategically attempting to end the war in Iraq, be it through your posturing or through the threat of legislation, which is also Al-Qaeda's goal. You claim to put the national security of our nation above individual liberties and at the same time prevent the possibility of a terrorist attack on US Soil.

How then is pulling out of Iraq, giving a victory to Al-Qaeda thus emboldening the enemy, limiting the possibility of a terrorist attack on US Soil?

This woman is really starting to scare me.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Nancy Pelosi: Power vs. Responsibility


Hat Tip to Black Five, Point Five, Blue Star Chronicles and finally Charlie Daniels for an open letter to Nancy Pelosi that he has on his Soapbox and Message Board.

First a little about Charlie Daniels, he is one patriotic American, and I mean the true blue hero kind of American, the kind of American that Congress needs to emulate. His song, "In America" (lyrics here) should be blaring over any air wave that the troops can tune in to. The astonishing thing about this song is that is wasn't written since 9/11 or since the War on Terror started, it was written in 1980. "In America" ranks up there with Toby Keith's "The Angry American", that is just how powerful it is. Now, if you haven't gone back and read the lyrics, please do and I would truly appreciate it if you would find the tune on iTunes or the like and really listen to it. It Rocks!!

Now, on to the focus of this post. Daniels' letter to Reid and Pelosi plainly states what the Democrats should be thinking about; the fallout from leaving Iraq without the job being done. He lists quite a few realistic outcomes and asks if they have a plan to counter that effect. It is quite remarkable.

What I am seeing with Pelosi is that she is still on her Speaker Honeymoon. She is flexing her muscles, making sure that everyone knows she is in charge. Just take a look at many of her photos and in particular some moving footage, there is an obvious smirk on her face. She is loving the limelight. Sadly, she is, as Daniels pointed out, thinking short term and only honing in on way to inflict pain on the White House. In short, she is concentrating on power.

Looking back to recent weeks with the issue over her requested military transport, she was fixated on her status, appearance and place in history as the first female Speaker. A responsible person who protests to be concerned with the lack of armor and equipment for the troops would have conversely taken a smaller plane, or flown commercial flights and then ask that the saved funds be put into equipping the troops.

A responsible person would, instead of attempting to smear the Commander in Chief at every opportunity, quietly go to the White House and talk with the President to hammer out significant, real and valuable answers to the problems facing our country in private. Instead, she is behaving like a newly selected team captain of the cheer leading squad at the high school of your choice.

I shudder to think how she will react when the terrorists bring their attacks to US soil, when Iran takes over Iraq for Al-Qaeda, when the Kuwaiti oilfields are cut off, and on a deeper level, how we are perceived on the world stage considering we have not seen a military event to its end since 1945. Daniels makes some amazingly chilling points in this letter and I hope that Pelosi and her followers realize that power and responsibility are not mutually exclusive.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Vietnam

The humble Senator from NY


There are far too many reasons to deny being a New Yorker these days. From a Victory Caucus stand point, the top two reasons aren't really reasons, but names; Schumer and Clinton. Watching them muddle through their self-made minefield on the Iraq War was entertaining for a while but now it is bordering on shameful. Both this weekend have gotten press, Hillary for stating that redeployment needs to start within 90 days or Congress will start legislating and Schumer stating that even with this defeat of the non-binding resolution in the Senate, the Democrats will be "relentless" proposing resolution after resolution "just like in the days of Vietnam."

Now, if you stop by here often, it is quite clear that I know Vietnam. The simple fact that Schumer would correlate Iraq with Vietnam shows just how little he knows and understands about this quasi fictitious war. Now, I know it was a real war, I use the word fictitious because few know the real Vietnam. Many take their understanding of Vietnam from Hollywood and the likes of Oliver Stone or even worse, the ramblings of John Forbes Kerry as he systematically used these heroes as a springboard to his political career. For more fun on Kerry, I would suggest visiting this site.

The NY Times provides a Reuters piece that conveniently leaves out the Vietnam reference. In fact, I have been hard pressed to find the initial source of this quote. If anyone has it, please forward it to me. The best I could find was this article by McClatchy Newspapers.

So, at this point, we can tentatively come to two conclusions 1) it was a misquote or 2) the MSM has collectively decided to exclude that portion of the quote in the hopes that it will become dormant. Knowing Schumer like I do, I tend to believe the latter rather than the former. He, in typical down-state NY fashion, likes to showboat, give the heated comment to get attention of the crowd and get some press.

Why even make the Vietnam comment? Was it necessary? Do we really need more Vietnam references in this war? And, in case Chuck missed it, Vietnam didn't end very well or maybe in his mind, it did. If that is the case, then I may have more to worry about than I thought.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Numbers II : What McCain "knows" about Tet '68

Map of Vietnam ~ circa 1967

Numbers again come into play as Congress continues the debate over the President's troop surge plan. As you may recall, a few days ago I took a look at numbers comparing the number of homicides in major US cities vs. the number of casualties that we have thus far in Iraq. I then took those same numbers and compared them to our troop losses in Vietnam. A gruesome comparison, I know, but one that truly needed to be looked at as Congress relentlessly reminds us of the US casualty total in Iraq in their statements on H.Con. Res. 63.

It seems that John McCain (R-AZ), as an '08 presidential candidate, felt the need to step into the spotlight and get some press in the middle of the oncoming Surge storm. I will blatantly tell my readers, I do not like McCain, for reasons that ironically lead back to Vietnam. It has been reported earlier this week by the AP and expounded on here by Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily, that McCain feared a Tet '68-like offensive, the turning point in Vietnam, which wielded more propaganda than collateral damage. It appears that McCain was skilfully taking a page from his North Vietnamese captors' playbook by making such a comparison. The Vietnamese used propaganda at all levels during the war, Jane Fonda and her followers are just one sad example. The Iraq insurgency is obviously a student of this same Vietnamese propaganda machine.

Farah quotes AP's report of McCain's Tet analogy with this brief summary;

"Tet, a massive invasion in 1968 of South Vietnam by Communist North Vietnamese, inflicted enormous losses (my emphasis) on U.S. and South Vietnamese troops and is regarded as a point where public sentiment turned sharply against the war."


Farah criticizes this quote by giving a numbers analysis complete with stats that someone should fax to McCain's camp ASAP. Read on ...

Some 1,536 U.S. troopers were killed in the weeks-long campaign. South Vietnamese troops lost an additional 2,788 troops. But compare those numbers with enemy losses!

According to the best statistics now available, some 45,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong were killed in what was planned as a last-ditch, roll-of-the-dice effort to persuade Americans they could never win the war. Another 6,991 enemy soldiers were captured in the offensive.

In other words, no matter how you slice it, Tet was an unmitigated battlefield disaster for the enemy in Vietnam. But it proved to be an unmitigated media disaster for the U.S. at home.



As a student of the Vietnam War, I can assure you unequivocally that Vietnam was "lost" in the same fashion and with the same propaganda expertise that we are seeing today in Iraq. The positive is ignored while the press magnifies the casualties. Those of us old enough to remember will never forget the night that Walter Cronkite told America that we were losing the war in Vietnam. In that same vein today we see journalists beating their editors' doors down with gloom and doom at every turn of the page.

We see members of Congress referencing this same flawed gloom and doom journalism when they question high ranking DoD staff during hearings over the past few weeks, simply perpetuating the myth. Case in point, Sen. Carl Levin's (D-MI) obsession and later exaggeration of the intelligence community's use of the word "inappropriate" in a 2002 Pentagon briefing on the Iraq/Al-Qaeda connection, "has whipped into a political lather" as Douglas Fieth so appropriately states in the Albany Times Union today.

I highly recommend the Farah piece as it is overflowing with telling hindsight from Vietnam. McCain isn't the only one in Congress who should see this. Many of the "White Flag Republicans" need it as well. Along with a reminder, "Those who do not learn from History are doomed to repeat it."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

How do we define "Support"?




Reminiscent of Bill Clinton's "What is is" Word Game, it appears that Congress has decided to take a page from the Clinton playbook and now, in a much more defiant and detrimental move, are playing with the word "support".

In today's WaPo article by Jonathan Weisman,GOP Looks Beyond War Measure to Fight on Funding, outlines the course of action for the GOP in reaction to the debate that is unfolding on the floor of the House and Senate this week over the deployment of more troops to Iraq. Sadly, many Republicans are bowing to pressure from the left to join them in supporting that non-binding *cough* useless resolution for reasons that simply boggle the mind.

Weisman's piece gave his readership the following quote;
When Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.) charged that the resolution offers no support for troops not yet deployed to the battlefield, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) showed just how sensitive Democrats are to the charge.
"No one ought to hide behind the troops. No one ought to come to this floor and say that this Congress, 435 of us, will not support whatever soldier or sailor or Marine is deployed to Iraq," Hoyer said angrily. "Whether it is today or tomorrow, they will have our support."


Now, please go back and read that again. Hide behind the troops? By thinking in the best interest of the troops and their morale is an act of hiding behind the troops? They will have our support? If we take away belief in their mission, the funding for their operations and the trust that the Iraqi people put in our hands when they stood beside us at the start of this war, someone please tell me, what is left? What class of support is left? Again, mind boggling. It is abundantly clear that Congress needs an English Lesson on the meaning of the word support. There are obviously various shades to the dictionary definition yet I would like to specifically focus on definition 5;
to maintain (a person, family, establishment, institution, etc.) by supplying with things necessary to existence; provide for: to support a family.


This specific definition actually uses the example "to support a family". These troops truly are the deepest extent of family. Few Americans can say that they have no one whom they care for, whom they consider "family" that has put on the uniform of the USA. Is this how we treat family? Taking away things necessary to existence? Not truly supporting them by not providing for them? Of course not!!

As I write this I am watching the House debate on this non-binding resolution and I suggest that you ALL get your hands on the statement of Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), he is simply kicking ass! He has it all out there and he is making a stand. God Bless him! He is not leaving anything in the clubhouse! Screw NY, I am moving to Michigan!

One last comment on this, as McCotter called "idiotic resolution", if we truly want an idea of what to do, I suggest we get some ballots sent to Iraq and ask the men and women on the ground, they are the ones who are truly making the sacrifice, they are one who are giving their lives, ask them what needs to be done. They obviously have a better grasp on the reality of Iraq than anyone in Congress ever will. Therefore once I hear what the troops say ~ then we will know what support truly is. Are you listening Congress?

Amen!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The "Numbers" Game

Numb3rs

Uncle Jimbo over at BlackFive had an interesting idea of attempting to calculate the insurgent body count so we can get a better idea of how we are eliminating the insurgency, one bad guy at a time. I decided to spin off Uncle Jimbo's idea and take a look at numbers comparatively speaking from OIF, Vietnam and four major US Cities to attempt to put things in perspective as far as the left's obsession with "the rising toll of casualties in Iraq."

Just a quick thought on the body count that Uncle Jimbo requested. While researching for this post, something striking came to light. There are many organizations tracking casualties, both military and civilian who are actually counting civilian deaths and blaming them on the Coalition Forces indiscriminately. That is to say, if a suicide bomber walks through a crowded Baghdad market and kills 37 innocent civilians, that is, overall, blamed on the Coalition Forces in a twisted attempt to say that these individuals were some sort of collateral damage from Coalition operations. No one is tracking how many civilians are killed by the insurgency vs. Coalition operations, they are simply collectively attributed to the Coalition. This also is the case with those who are wounded as well.

This is always a delicate position because of the idea of making the lives of our military men and women appear as simply numbers devoid of human life, tragedy and the mourning of family and friends. Make no mistake about it, I am not, nor would I ever reach such depths of disrespect for these heroes. I personally know the sense of loss that family members are left with as I too have people close to me who still have yet to be found and returned from Vietnam, the pain never truly subsides.

Albeit, there are others who do not value these lives as most of us do, for others, these lives are merely numbers that they use to justify their arguments, either on the Senate or House floors, in the press, on Sunday Morning talks shows, on demonstration platforms or even here in the blogosphere. So, in order to defend those who are still on the battlefield eager to finish the fight and bring true democracy to the people of Iraq, I have attempted to put together some data that truly does substantiate the claim that we have suffered very few casualties in OIF.

At the time of this post, the number of US Casualties is at 3,125 in close to 4 years. The DoD gives an average of 170,000 troops on the ground at any given time (pre "Surge"). Now, to get into the stats:

2003

NYC - 596 homicides
LA - 505 homicides
CHI - 600 homicides
PHI - 347 homicides

total: 2,048 homicides

OIF - 486 casualties

*Nam - 2,000 casualties

*1965 first year with 175,000 troops on the ground



Our fighting men and women, who are in a war zone, fighting the insurgency yet they have less than an quarter the number of casualties with the same general number of troops on the ground. They also have less than a quarter of the number of casualties compared to homicides reported in the four most populated cities in the USA; New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philiadelphia. (NYC, CHI and PHI stats here)

So, where is the outrage? Where are the bills before Congress making more stringent sentences for homicides? Where are the government programs to help curb violence in out major cities? If these numbers are unacceptable for our military why is it not unacceptable for our civilians to kill each other on the streets of our cities? Why aren't stats like these front page news everyday?


Ready for more?

2004

NYC - 570 homicides
LA - 489 homicides
CHI - 445 homicides
PHI - 330 homicides

total: 1834 homicides

OIF - 848 casualties

**Nam - 5,300 casualties

**1966 Second year of war with 390,000 troops on the ground

=======================================

2005

NYC - 540 homicides
LA - 489 homicides
CHI - 448 homicides
PHI - 377 homicides

total: 1,854 homicides

OIF - 846 casualties

**Nam - 9,500 casualties

**1967 Third year of war with 490,000 troops on the ground

=============================


2006

NYC - 582 homicides
LA - 489 homicides
CHI - 423 homicides
PHI - 406 homicides

total: 1,900 homicides

OIF - 821 casualties

**Nam - 14,600 casualties

**1968 Fourth year of war with 549,000 troops on the ground

===============================

It is worth restating, that if the left is going to use the casualty number against us, even as uncomfortable as it is for us to use these numbers for any reason, we must defend the argument.

In the close to four years of this War on Terror we have lost (not "wasted" - รก la Obama) approximately 3125 American lives in Iraq. Yet on the streets of our major cities we have lost 7,636 lives. Keep in mind that these numbers come from just four US Cities.

So, again, we need to ask Congress to why they choose to focus on Iraq's numbers yet maintain blinders on with regard to the number of homicides. Is it because Iraq allows them a platform to throw knives at the Administration with the DoD as an added bonus? Could it be because threatening to control the troops' pursestrings is sexier than homicide? Could it be because the MSM finds it sexier as well? Dare I go on?

Point being, these OIF casualty numbers are a resounding HOOAH!! to US Troops on the ground, their training, their dedication to each other and most poignantly, their dedication to this nation. They want to finish the job and come home victors, which was something that Vietnam Vets were denied for the very same reasons that we see today. On the global scale, we need to be victorious to confirm our place as the true super power, maintain our foothold at the UN and most importantly, end the War on Terror with a deafening roar. After all, the world is watching.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Words





The guy has the right idea

The WaPo has been taking their hits lately with shoddy reporting and mixed up headlines and etc. and I am being very kind. But last Friday's op-ed by Charles Krauthammer was right on. It was basically, and obviously much more eloquently, what I had said a few days ago about this entire issue of the non-binding resolution and he even caught the same confusions regarding a "civil war" that I saw with the NIE's report that everyone was making so much hoopla about. I really have to take note with the entire idea of the NIE and the data that they generate with the disclaimer that is is all based on incomplete work and that it is not based on any evidence, it is merely an estimate and not a prediction.

OK, so here is the big question, then what is it? If the data is flawed, incomplete and imperfect at best, then where is its usefulness and efficacy? We have an agency within the US Government that simply mirrors Congress, it generates useless things that generate imperfect debate that doesn't amount to much of anything except wasted tax dollars and more dead trees.

The crux of Krauthammer's piece is really the heart of this debate that Congress is preparing to affront;
When it came to doing something serious about the surge, the Senate ducked. It unanimously (81-0) approved sending Gen. David H. Petraeus to Baghdad to do the surge -- precisely what a majority of the senators said they did not want done.


Congress had their chance to speak out and make an argument, and they curled up in the fetal position. Now, with the '08 elections on the horizon everyone is jockeying for position much like a NASCAR Nextel Cup race when the yellow flag comes out and everyone deciding if they should go to the pits or not.

Now, the American people have pit passes with the Congress on track and the entire world in the stands waiting to see who pits, when and with what needs. Then, everyone will roar back onto the track and this will all start again. Post ions will ultimately change and as more Congressmen and woman, in particular those with presidential aspirations, present their own resolutions, I find it hard for any one resolution to take center stage and have the kind of impact that the left would like it to have nor the wiggle room that many on the right would like as well.

Meanwhile, our fighting men and women sit in a political limbo attempting to implement a strategy that may have its funding pulled right out from under them while they are selflessly putting their lives on the line for a Congress that sees them as nothing more than pawns in thier political chess game. Sad, so sad.

Plans to Commemorate 1967 March on the Pentagon




A major hat tip to the Capitol Police! Your stupidity and lack of foresight has now fueled the flames of the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition. They have just announced on their Party for Socialism and Liberation website, complete with Che Guevara icon, that they have had their permits approved to demonstrate on March 17, 2007 and march on the Pentagon,here.

They are organizing, strategizing and getting ready to pump their fits in the air to Rage Against the Machine. They claim to have buses already coming in from 100 major sites across the country to converge on DC on St. Patrick's Day.

You may be curious as to how I would be aware of this so quickly. Since the demonstration is to form in the general vicinity of the WWII, Korean and Vietnam Memorials, POW/MIA Families have been asked to come to DC if possible to protect the Vietnam Memorial Wall from vandalism. I sit here with tears in my eyes and a promise. Let one of them, take one step near The Wall, and moreover, near the name of my family member on that wall and the expression, "Hell hath no fury ..." will take on a whole new meaning. Let one can of spray paint be lifted, I will defend The Wall at any cost. More here.

I place the blame squarely on the shoulder of Capitol Chief, Phillip Morse. If it weren't for his spineless order to not interfere with the protesters a few weeks ago, they would have easily been deterred from attempting this march.

The sheer irony is in their statement they say, "The First Amendment is not a gift that can be given or taken away by politicians or bureaucrats." My question to this group is who gave you that First Amendment right and who defends that First Amendment right still today? The American Soldier that's who. And instead of protesting, these people should be supporting these heroes as they defend all that is good about this great nation, yet they decide to continue on in their Kerry-esque behavior of providing aide and comfort to the enemy ....

***UPDATE*** 3:52 PM
Just found this letter on the Capitol Police website in which the Chief gives a very different summary of events during the most recent demonstration in DC. I would have found this story a bit more credible had he named this so called "splinter group". Additionally, if he were well aware of their tactics, why were they not better monitored and why were no arrests made.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

A Call to Arms ~ Falls on Congressional Deaf Ears

Oh, Muslim Youths ....




I really have to wonder what planet our Congress is living on. Has an alien race thrown an unknown force field over the Capitol District that is now sucking common sense out of their brains at a faster rate than what we normally are accustom? It would appear so. This Message has just come via the Middle East from the Middle East Media Research Institute credited to Al-Qaeda's proclaimed Head of the Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi entitled, "Victory from Allah, Victory is Near."

Uncle Jimbo over at B5 has a great reaction to this recent statement from Al-Qaeda's top man in Iraq here. I have no intention of taking away UJ's thunder, yet I'd like to add to his focus on this significant portion of the statement;
"Oh Muslim youths, remember the cut up bodies of the children, the voices of their bereaved [parents] and the anguished cries of the elderly. Let the volcano of your wrath burst forth. Burn the ground beneath the feet of the Jews and their helpers, eradicate their army, destroy their equipment, down their planes, ambush them in their homes, in the wadis and on the roads. Hide in the darkness of night and turn their morning into hell... We are not afraid of your coalitions...We have drunk blood [in the past], and we find no [blood] sweeter than that of the Byzantines [i.e. Christians]... Roast their flesh with car bombs, cut off their supply lines with [explosive] charges and tear out their hearts with sniper fire. Know that offense is the best [form of] defense, and be careful not to lay down your weapons before the war is over... We are not fighting out of nationalism, but with the aim of making Allah's word supreme.


Did the Head of the Islamic State of Iraq not remember that the cut up bodies of children and the voices of the bereaved were silenced for decades under the dictatorship of one Saddam Hussein? The only reason there is a voice today is so that the killing of those who align themselves with the Coalition can be murdered by their own Islamic brothers and blamed on the Coalition. Al-Jeezera says business is booming!

I find this portion extremely unsettling, "Burn the ground beneath the feet of the Jews and their helpers, eradicate their army, destroy their equipment, down their planes, ambush them in their homes, in the wadis [a type of riverbed] and on the roads." I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty bad to me and it surely doesn't give the impression that they will just be happy with watching us pack our bags and head back to the good Ol'US of A. They have goals, they want to "burn", "eradicate","destroy", and "ambush" us and let's not forget "down" our planes. Not to mention the fact that we have the sweetest blood which they intend to drink. Simply chilling words and how our Congress cannot grasp that this is not a war that we can turn our backs on leads me to no other explanation than some supernatural phenomenon.

The Speaker should be reading statements like these rather than worrying about the seating arrangements on her shinny new 757. It is crystal clear that this is not about Iraq, but about dominating the planet in the name of Islam. Nancy? Are you listening? There will be no shinny plane of you don't hear, "We are not fighting out of nationalism, but with the aim of making Allah's word supreme."

Life in Upstate NY

Notice the Yellow Ribbon ~ still hanging tough

The phone has been ringing off the wall this morning with many people asking about our welfare here as news of the hard-hitting lake effect snowstorm has made national news. First, thank you to all who have been concerned. Here in the Syracuse Area it isn't bad at all to be honest, as you can see by the picture above that I just took out of my front window. Just some snow and not much accumulation. It is darn cold though but I'm not complaining as many of my family and close friends are in those areas that are making the national news, some 20 to 30 miles north of here. My hometown, well actually the entire county, is in a state of emergency and no travel is allowed in or out of the city. I have been on the phone with my aunts and uncles who still live there and I am very concerned about them. They are in their early 70's and the snow is now at over 5 feet with more coming over night. Their street hasn't even been plowed yet and they need to get out to get perscriptions filled and etc. They are, for all extensive purposes, prisoners in their own home with anywhere from one to two feet more expected .....obviously a story in progress.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

God at His Computer: Fun with Amanda Marcotte


I have no self-control. I told myself that since I was relatively new to this blogging thing that I would let the experts have their fun with Amanda Marcotte and just watch from the sidelines. Even after various (see my views here) attempts to engage Amanda in the debate over the Gardasil vaccine controversy in Texas (my comments just never seemed to make it through her moderation process), I still decided to back off. Then, I checked our Pablo’s post at Protein Wisdom, was just LMAO and decided to throw caution to the wind.

Let’s play voyeur for a moment and imagine Amanda writing her first entries for the John Edwards '08 Campaign. Thanking God - oops - god for the back button vs. White Out because she would have gone through 2 bottles of the stuff by now having to erase all the four letter nouns, verbs, adjectives, as well as progressive and past participles.

Fast-Forward a day or two and Ms. Feminista is sitting in front of her computer getting text messages from a frantic Chris Clarke telling her to check her inbox, all those (fill in your favorite pejorative adjective) Conservatives are attacking her in the blogoshere. Amanda just brushes it off, “Hum, they are just jealous, that’s all!” she says to herself. Then continues on with the uber exciting entry on Edwards’ Heathcare plan. Curiosity takes over and she checks the inbox and starts reading what the warmongers have to say. She tells herself again, “green with envy is what those motherf***ers are.” “Oops! Did I say that word outloud? OMg, I hope no one heard me!”

That evening at home she decides to check the blogs to see if there is anything more out there. More expletives fly out of her mouth and once her tirade is over she slowly leans back on her couch and the realization that she has screwed herself royally begins to come into focus. She decides to do some CYA, grabs her laptop and heads over to Pandagon.Net and becomes her own revisionist. Alas in the throws of her clintonesque activity, in her flurry she forgets about the dreaded Google Cache. (Did she learn nothing from Linda Clarke and Monica Lewinsky???)

The days go by she acts like not a thing is going on as she passes every one at work, all smiles as the people huddled by the water cooler suddenly become awkwardly quiet as she walks by. “Just brush it off”, she tells herself. That night she falls apart on the phone with her boyfriend, tears and all, asking him how people can be so mean. She had arrived and was going to be at the forefront and was going to make a name for herself. These people are ruining her life, how could they?

Tuesday morning, sensing that her days are numbered she decides to keep a low profile in the hopes that it will all blow over yet, every time someone says, “Amanda, do you have a minute?” her heart falls into her stomach. OMg is this it?

Moral: Who ever said God didn’t have a sense of humor?

UPDATE:Thurs. 2/8
This topic is all over the blogoshere and I really like what Armed Liberal says over at www.WindsOfChange.net. Some rational thoughs without all of the drama. Must Read

The Pink Elephant


I have been watching the political landscape this morning and this op-ed piece by E. J. Dionne, Jr in the WaPo caught my attention and I started to look around at some of the other major US papers, news websites and etc. and discovered something "astonishing". No one was addressing the big question, it was as if it were the proverbial pink elephant. There are pieces, such as the one cited above, that spend valuable space disecting the debate in the Senate today over the non-binding resolution which could well lead to an attempt to cut off funding for the war in Iraq. Dionne says,
"They are saying that the resolution is meaningless and that true opponents of the war should prove their sincerity by cutting off funding altogether. But they are doing all they can to keep the Senate from even voting on a bipartisan anti-surge resolution that would send a powerful message to Bush that most Americans have lost faith in his bungled war policy."


OK, I have some MAJOR problems with this quote simply because;

1) this is a NON-BINDING resolution. It literally is meaningless. The only group to truly benefit from this resolution is ... oops! Maybe the enemy? I love my country more than most I can assure you all of that but I am to the point of nauseaum with our politicians shooting us in the foot over and over and over. Like the analogy of the hamster running like mad on his exercise wheel, we keep going in circles doing the same things over and over expecting different results.

2) all of this talk about cutting off funding for the war is just posturing. This is the one point where I agree with Dionne, no one wants to be the first to officially have it on their Congressional Record that they voted to cut funding. Just not a good political move. Alas, what does that say about those screaming defiance from the pulpit over ending this war? All smoke and no fire.

3) no one is thinking about the impact of all of this beyond the Beltway. This is what those soldiers in the NBC NEWS piece were talking about last week which lead to the William Arkin lunacy (ref. MM). Imgine being thousands of miles away from home watching the news, or worse the live debate on C-SPAN, hearing all of this arguing and political tongue-lashing. Meanwhile, you are thanking God that with the help of one of those patriotic "Angels" over at Soldiers' Angels, you and your men finally got some kick ass tactical gun mount lights for your weapons. No more door to doors with two lights for your entire platoon. So you are feeling pretty good, then you hear your very own Senator blowing smoke on the Senate Floor and you are wondering, WTF?

Point being, in none of the major news outlets could I find anyone asking about the Pink Elephant. What would early withdrawl from Iraq truly mean, politically, economically and most importantly globally?

My thoughts on the "Pink Elephant" question in tomorrow's post.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Why Support the Troops?




If I am anything, I am painstakingly honest, you all will soon learn that about me. With that said, I spent quite sometime this afternoon putting together an ever so eloquent post about why we should, unconditionally, support the troops. I went into detail about their decision to serve knowing full well that they may well lose their lives and that somewhere along the line they came to the sobering conclusion that they value their nation and all it stands for more than their individual life. I went on to say that this declaration alone should endear each and every one of these brave men and women to us. Alas, that is not the case and I listed some of the more infamous is this group; the likes of Jane Fonda, John Kerry, Cindy Sheehan and Jane Fonda again.

I continued on with one of the most amazing accounts of the familiar bond that serving together provides and how I was fortunate enough to witness the reuniting of some incredible Marines recently who had not seen each other in over three decades, yet their closeness and commitment to each other still remains unwavering.

I even went so far as to consider punishment for those who would dare degrade, insult or even spit on our beloved men and women in uniform. I concluded that nothing short of banishment from our borders was the just "reward" for such treason. Living in another country knowing full well that others were living the best life imaginable wrapped in the liberties that these brave heroes provide. And furthermore, the banished shall never ever set foot on the soil of the nation that they chose to desecrate.

The initial post was a thing of beauty in all honesty and I was exceedingly proud if it. Then, the unthinkable happened, my computer inexplicably turned off. I lost it all! I attempted to get my creative juices going again but it just wasn't to be. I even wove the unforgettable declaration from Lt. Cmdr. Galloway in "A Few Good Men" when asked why she was so vehemently willing to defend her clients. "Because they stand on a wall; and they say nothing is going to hurt you tonight, not on my watch."

I will end this abbreviated post with the same poignant message that I had originally, a message from one of these same men who proudly answers the call.

What is in the heart of an American fighting man? Listen

Sunday, February 4, 2007

WaPo's Karen De Young and Her Left Jab at Surge

In today's Sunday Edition of the Washington Post, Karen De Young takes another "left jab" at the Administration's enhancement to the Iraq policy, known affectionately or otherwise as "Surge".

"The success of the Bush administration's new Iraq strategy depends on a series of rapid and dramatic political and economic reforms that even the plan's authors have little confidence will work."


Is De Young seriously trying to convince the WaPo's readership that Bush's Senior Staff and some of the best military minds at the Pentagon got together under growing pressure from the Left and put together a lukewarm plan at best? Knowing all that was at stake, they just threw a plan at the wall and used what stuck? Knowing full well that political hats are being thrown into the proverbial ring all around the Beltway for '08 with Iraq as the focal point; that there would be no "do-overs" and that this plan would be critical for this administration's legacy and the success of Iraq, De Young stood by this story? With the overwhelming ramifications of this plan, delusional is the only word that comes to mind.

Now, a little more on the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that De Young references here from the Council on Foreign Relations. Before getting into the details of the NIE, it is important to note that the NIE defines itself as an entity that does not predict but estimates the possible course of future events. Huh? Even in the introduction of the report released Friday the NIE summarizes their ratonale as imperfect at best;
These assessments, which are based on incomplete or at times fragmentary information are not a fact, proof, or knowledge. Some analytical judgments are based directly on collected information; others rest on previous judgments, which serve as building blocks. In either type of judgment, we do not have “evidence” that shows something to be a fact or that definitively links two items or issues.
The NIE link above also goes on to describe it's process which usually takes two to three months for them to evaluate and report back on an item that they are asked to "estimate". It would appear that they fast-tracked their review of the President's plan just a bit.

As if the waters couldn't get muddier, on Friday, when the classified report was released by the NIE, De Young and Walter Pincus had an WaPo A1 page piece in which they stated;

At a Pentagon news conference, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, noting that he had not read the report, said he agreed with Hadley that "the words 'civil war' oversimplify a very complex situation."



Yet, here is what the unclassifed version of the report has to say in direct contradiction to the De Young-Pincus piece. This is what it said in the context of the "civil war" claim;

The Intelligence Community judges that the term “civil war” does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensive Shia-on-Shia violence, al-Qa’ida and Sunni insurgent attacks on Coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence. Nonetheless, the term “civil war” accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict, including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities, a sea change in the character of the violence, ethno-sectarian mobilization, and population displacements.


Now if you re-read the Sunday piece carefully, the above quote is somewhat contradictory or at the very least, an exaggeration compared to Friday's summary of the same classified report. It was not specified if the declassified report or classified report was used in the filing of either report. DeYoung and Pincus' source in Friday's piece is described as simply "a source familiar with the document". I don't know about you but I would have given much more credence to "a source close to the President" or "a source within the Pentagon" or something to that effect. "A source familiar with the document", could be the intern who drove the 90 page document from the Pentagon to the White House. So much for "classified" it appears.

Back to De Young's Sunday piece, she briefly critiques the President's public denial of the use of a "containment option" (pushing US troops back to the Iraqi borders to avoid sectarian violence). Although the Friday piece refers to Arizona Senator John McCain's sleep-rendering soliloquy about the failed policy in Iraq during Gen. George Casey's confirmation hearing as Army Chief of Staff, I guess De Young missed Casey's most significant statement in which he confirmed that 14 of the 18 provinces in Iraq have reported little or no violence over the past two months. Casey went on to say that there are already six provinces, three in the north and three in the south that are completely under control of Iraqi Forces and three more that will be doing so over the next few weeks. What is our measure for success again? I don't think I got the memo.

The irony of her closing for this piece actually caused a smile to creep over my face (sarcastic smile, but a smiles nonetheless).

But some officials worry that the expanded U.S. presence will repeat the mistakes of the past -- when the United States oversaw virtually every part of the Iraqi government -- and undermine the goal of turning the country over to the Iraqis themselves.

"It's the same old problem as in 2003," cautioned one official. "The same impatience that if they can't do it we'll step in and do it. There is a bit of that creeping into this dialogue."


"Impatience"? If there are signs of impatience within Iraq it is from pressure from the Left and the anti-war people who simply want us out of Iraq at any cost so they can turn around and tell the Bush Administration they failed.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

HPV, STD and Texas Governor Rick Perry

The Associated Press reported late yesterday that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has circumvented Conservative lawmakers and parents by issuing an executive order making it mandatory that school age females receive the vaccination Gardasil against the human papillomavirus (HPV) beginning in 2008.(article)

On the surface this may all seem well and good, we have all seen the ads touting that HPV is a virus that could lead to cervical cancer. Yet, there was no mention of the fact that HPV was a sexually transmitted disease (STD). A hat tap to the marketing team at Merck Pharmaceutical for leaving out that little tidbit of info. But the big question is, why did Gov. Perry step up to make this landmark order? He has direct connections to both Merck and others who are pushing the issue, AP says,
"Perry has ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company’s three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry’s former chief of staff. His current chief of staff’s mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government."


Pretty blatant for Perry to have such visible ties to the major players in this issue and still make the order in the name of what is best for the children. Oops, not the children, "the girls". When confronted on the issue Perry claims that this is no different than requiring a polio vaccination. Huh?

Q and A Time! If the vaccine is only required for females then it isn't just like polio. If the transmission of HPV is through sex activity then it isn't just like polio. If a female abstains from sex then she is "immune" to HPV, that isn't just like polio.

It would appear that the aforementioned women's groups have been caught up in quite a web of misinformation and I really have difficulty accepting the fact that this is considered a women's issue. Obviously many female conservative parents are going to be concerned that this is a "get out of jail free card" from the State to have sex. There will be the confusion as to whether or not this is also a form of birth control, no matter how much sex ed is throw at today's school. As well as the fact that not women, but girls as young as 9 will be required to receive this vaccination. But it appears to this writer that the role of men in the spread of HPV is somehow completely void in this discussion. What about their promiscuity? Where is there vaccine? Are they not a carrier of this virus?

As a parent, these would be my questions to the Gov. Perry:

1) Governor, why make this vaccine available for girls as young as 9?

2) Governor, why require it at all and not just make it an option with parental consent?

3)Governor, why is TX the first state to be embroiled in this debate? Is this about TX or your connections to those lobbying for the Pharmaceutical company?

4) Governor, what are the statistic for HPV and cervical cancer in TX? Are they more prevalent in TX? If so, why?

5) Governor, it would appear by your "just like polio" comment that you aren't well informed on the transmission of this virus. Would you care to expound?

6) Governor, obviously this vaccine has FDA approval, but are there any long-term independent studies that have been done that show any positive or negative effects on the females that received the vaccine? If not, don't you think you are taking a huge liability risk by making it mandatory vs. optional? Do you feel that the Great State of Texas is financially prepared for the litany of law suits that could abound if some long term effects do surface in say 10 or 20 years?

I really have to wonder what Merck is offering that would make such a gamble with the lives of millions of women acceptable.

**** UPDATE 2/4/07 from Fox News - More Trouble for Perry ****
Click here for more

Friday, February 2, 2007

What Redeployment and Protests Really Mean: A Lesson from Vietnam

Since Hanoi Jane is back in the limelight after her latest anti-war rally in DC, it’s worth looking back with a little 20/20 vision on Vietnam and what our pulling out did not just to Vietnam but to our nation as well.

There is a wealth of info out there on Vietnam that truly is amazing. Here are a few interesting ROE (Rules of Engagement) factoids for you.

1 – No matter the circumstances, do not shoot unless you are shot at first.
Translation: If you are out in the boonies with your platoon and see VC approaching across a rice patty. Keep those weapons down, Boys.
Yes, folks this was actually an ROE in parts of I Corps during the early phases of the war. Why? Because the enemy was not easily identified and civilian casualties were bad PR. Sound familiar?

2 – When an operation was going to be executed in a rural area that most likely had civilians in the vicinity, leaflets were dropped a day or two before to “warn” the locals that we would be coming. Hey! Nothing like letting the enemy know where to find you. No joke folks, I have actually seen copies of the leaflets. (Reminds me of that hilarious scene in “Heartbreak Ridge” when Gunny Highway blows a gasket because Major Powers has the ambush site pre-arranged for a training exercise)

I can tell you right now that these two ROEs did not come from the Pentagon but from those politicians in Washington who, for all extensive purposes left our fighting men with one hand politically tied behind their backs from the mid 60’s until the final pull out on 1975. Sound familiar?

The next step is to consider what the anti-war rallies did to the men in the field, those being held in POW camps and to the propaganda machine of the enemy. We are obviously seeing in recent days the beginning of what Vietnam Vets must have felt upon hearing Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden and others spouting what many believe equates to treason when we hear last Friday’s NBC Nightly News report from Iraq. In this report Staff Sergeant Manuel Sahagun was interviewed and stated, ”one thing I don't like is when people back home say they support the troops, but they don't support the war. If they're going to support us, support us all the way.” Here the Staff Sergeant is expressing frustration, which will most likely escalate to other, stronger emotions as the MSM has their way with the minds of the American people. The point that many reporters just refuse to accept is that the men in the field are more knowledgeable about what is going on in Iraq than they are and they don’t like it. What a reporter may see in the act of witnessing a tactical operation in the field will not have the same translation as the men who planned and organized the mission and who have the military training to know why they do what they do. A reporter, no matter how good, will not have the trained military eye to truly understand what is transpiring before their eyes. There is no “War for Dummies” book out there. The MSM just can’t handle this simple fact that a 19 year-old kid from Missouri has a better grasp of a given situation than a seasoned journalist who has spent the last ten years honing his/her craft. They aren’t about to let some snot-nosed kid show them up.

This next section is not well know outside of certain circles, and for those who don’t know a lot about the POW situation in Vietnam, please, pay close attention. When the anti-war machine started gaining momentum in the US, the North Vietnamese were quick to take advantage of this unsolicited propaganda and use it against the thousand or so US POWs that were held both in the North and South. Many misrepresent the Vietnamese as a ragtag loosely structured fighting force. We must not forget that the Vietnamese had been fighting off aggressors for decades before we arrived, the most recent aggressor before the US arrived in the early 60’s were the French and it is no secret that the French were paying off the Vietnamese behind closed doors long after their war ended in exchange for prisoners the Vietnamese held back after the French officially pulled out their troops. In short, these guys weren’t stupid, they knew exactly what to do and how and people like Fonda were just feeding the beast. Sound familiar?

Many uninformed Americans consider the insurgency to be a group of ragtag loosely structured fighting units. Today’s insurgency is fueled by more than our Vietnamese enemy was 40 years ago. In Nam it was the political threat of Communism yet the insurgency, because of the intermingling of their politics and their religion, have more at stake than their form of government. For those held in the now infamous Hanoi Hilton, tape recordings of Jane Fonda and others were piped right into their cells via a PA system. During torture sessions they were reminded that their fellow Americans considered them criminals by quoting these treasonous statement. Additionally, what I consider the most damning of statements, they attempted to drive home the fact that no one at home cared about them and claimed “we can keep you forever”. Even today, these former POWs question the short sightedness of these anti-war protestors and even many within our government. I highly recommend the DVD Stolen Honor which focuses on a series of present day interviews with former POWs from Vietnam who detail exactly what the anti-war movement meant to them when they were behind bars. Just imagine for a moment, knowing the kinds of excruciating torture that you were being subjected to both physical and mental only to have Fonda, Hayden and others come visit you in prison and reaffirm how thankful you must be for the kind treatment of your captors.

Now here is where Vietnam and Iraq diverge, once our troops were pulled out of Vietnam, we simply packed our bags and went home, left with the perception of having lost the first military conflict of our nation’s history. As false and untrue as that idea of defeat was, and as horrible as the reception our troops received upon their return home, at least it was definitely over for the US. The Vietnamese took their spoils of war and went home.

This is NOT the case with Iraq. Yes, if we pull out before the job is done as we did in Vietnam, there will be civilian atrocities that may well mirror Nam and many Vets of this latest conflict will have to deal with the difficult reality of the anhialation of their former counterparts who whom they fought the good fight. But Iraq will not end there. Many Americans have turned into perpetual ostriches refusing to accept the fact that the insurgency is about much more than who is in control in Iraq. The enemy will not stand up dust themselves off, pat each other on the back and go back home. They have been programmed to believe that their purpose in life is to destroy our way of life, our belief system and to either convert us to Islam or kill us for our defiance. They have openly stated this over and over.

This hasn’t been called the War on Terror for nothing, Folks. They will bring the war to a city near you in short order. And don’t think for a minute that pulling out of Iraq will not fuel their thirst even more giving them the perception, just as in Nam, that they were able to defeat the most powerful military force on the planet not by over powering them but by simply knowing the enemy and that we are a nation of instantaneous gratification. We are a spoiled people, always used to getting what we want at the drop of a hat. I think back to what my grandparents were asked to sacrifice during WWII in the name of the war effort, what has been asked of the American people today? “Support the Troops, all the way”, so little to ask compared to past generations yet the real question is, “What is the alternative?”

I don’t know about you but I like being able to pray to whom I want, when I want and that my daughters can be whoever they want to be.

How about you?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Trouble in Caucusville

Sorry for posting so late today, there was a lot to talk about and read about on lots of news outlets and blogs. I spent most of the day reading up on the fallout from the Washington Post's William Arkin blog claiming that the US military should be supporting America more vs. asking America to support them. It was as if I were reading the words, comprehending their meaning but I was reading a foreign language. I thought about blogging about that but decided that I would let my boys on the milblogs have their say on that, Lord knows they earned it. Uncle Jimbo at BlackFive.

Then, there is some "fun" brewing over at Michelle Malkin. It seems that NY Times reporter and a Getty Images photographer over in the Sandbox committed career suicide by reporting and airing on the NYT website footage of a dying US Soldier, Sgt. Hector Leija of Texas. Now, reporting on the death of the Texas hero wasn't the faux pas, the fact that they aired it well before the family was notified and give the usual 24 hour reprieve is what has them in big doo with the DoD.

This afternoon, I finally found something to 1) dig my linguistics teeth into and 2) that hasn't already been addressed by some of the other major bloggers so far. There have been accusations on the part of Rep. Loretta Sanchez,D (CA-47) that the Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joe Baca, also of California called her "The P Word". For those of you unfamiliar with Spanish, it translates to "The W Word" in English.

Now, being someone who has studied Spanish, lived in a Spanish speaking country and with Spanish speaking people for quite some time, it is quite possible, that if Baca called her the Spanish translation of this word, the contextual definitions are almost limitless. Without going into too much detail or stepping on the toes of George Carlin, "the P Word" in Spanish is almost as multifunctional as "the F word" in our beloved English Language. The context of the usage is more defining than simply the word itself. The issue remains, did he mean "the W word" or "The B word" or several other possibilities. Regardless, she resigned from the Caucus and denial is the word of the day from the Baca Camp.

This flap lead me to look into origin of the caucuses, both Hispanic and Black and what I found was rather intriguing.

Black Caucus
Hispanic Caucus

The Hispanic Caucus' Mission Statement is as follows:

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus aims to address national and international issues and the impact these policies have on the Hispanic community. The function of the Caucus is to serve as a forum for the Hispanic Members of Congress to coalesce around a collective legislative agenda. In addition to covering legislative action, the CHC also monitors Executive and Judicial issues.

CHC legislative priorities cover all areas that have a direct impact on the Hispanic community. In order to best address these diverse issues, members work in smaller task forces that draw on their expertise and develop priority legislation within each area.


The Black Caucus' Mission Statement is as follows:

The Caucus describes its goals as "positively influencing the course of events pertinent to African-Americans and others of similar experience and situation," and "achieving greater equity for persons of African descent in the design and content of domestic and international programs and services."

The CBC encapsulates these goals in the following priorities: Closing the achievement and opportunity gaps in education, assuring quality health care for every American, focusing on employment and economic security, ensuring justice for all, retirement security for all Americans, and increasing equity in foreign policy


In a previous post I have stated that I take issue with those who base their vote solely on someone's gender, race, color or even sexual orientation. Now, tread carefully, I said only,not that it isn't or shouldn't be a factor but it shouldn't be the only factor. People who only vote red or only blue, they too are questionable voters. We all must be educated voters and at the very least, learn a little bit about each candidate before pulling the lever.

The question has arisen, do we still need caucuses? Do they really serve a constructive purpose in the 21st Century? Do they make a positive difference? Do they have any impact at all? Going a step further, what's next? A Muslim Caucus? A Catholic Caucus? Why isn't there an Italian Caucus? An Irish Caucus?

Now here is the surprise for me, both the Black and Hispanic Caucuses historically are almost exclusively Democrats. According to the link above, in the Black Caucus there have only been three Republican members since its inception in 1969. My question is this, since minority groups tend to be Democrats, this is no big surprise but the point that needs to made is, aren't we just giving the Democrats another avenue to organize and influence?

Would we accept a Southern Caucus whose states are traditionally Republican? Hmmmmm ....

Here is more on this from Michelle Malkin
here