Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

I think that: 

  • Enforcing immigration laws isn’t racist.
  • Abortion does not “liberate” women.
  • If you want to be treated equally, don’t claim special privilege because you’re a minority.
  • I’d be interested to see what percentage of gun-related crimes are committed with a legally-purchased gun, by the owner of said gun?  I’m sure it’s out there somewhere.
  • On average, Christians treat women better than feminists do.
  • Of all the Blogs I read, if I had to list my top-10 favorites, I’d put myself about 6th.
  • The government shouldn’t be able to force me to buy Health Insurance.
  • The country has far more to fear from radical atheists than radical Christians.
  • Conservatives love their women because they are strong and independent.  Progressives love their women if they are obedient and conformist.
  • Children are a precious inheritance, not to be lightly squandered.
  • If you want to change the Constitution, amend it.  Don’t “reinterpret” it.
  • If I had a report about a possible terrorist attack in San Francisco, I’d be hard pressed to want to do anything about it.
  • I personally don’t feel the need to put a hyphen in front of my “American.”  Just being an American is enough for me.

This wasn’t really the article with which I planned to start off the New Year, but it would seem that SPC Jeremy Hall himself (about whom I’ve blogged in the past) has been posting some comments to one of those blarticles.   Which, if you must know, I think is pretty dang cool.  A celebrity. Posting.  On MY site. Suhhhweet!

Anyway, he was kind enough to provide a link to the actual lawsuit being filed on his behalf against Maj Freddy Welborn and Secretary of Defense Gates by the “Military Religious Freedom Foundation”  (the name of which becomes a bit of a non-sequitor once you’ve read some of the rhetoric on the site).

Having now read the details of the complaint (which I encourage you to do, as this post will make a lot more sense), I felt obligated to follow up my early posts.  Which, I will freely admit, were heavy on the snark, bile and sarcasm, and rather short on actual thoughtful analysis or objectivity.  For the sake of argument however, I will address this post to SPC Hall, I the hopes that he might respond.

For starters, the complaint breaks down right about para. 13, which states.:

Plaintiffs allege that defendant Welborn’s exercise of authority and conduct in disrupting the above-mentioned meeting and making threats against plaintiff Hall was done under the color of United States law (my emphasis).

Please provide what reference, what regulation, which article of the UCMJ or other official military policy manual requires, endorses, promotes or condones the actions of Maj Welborn in this case?  Your attempts to expand the actions of one grossly misguided individual to a formal military/government litmus test for service is simply ludicrous.  If these charges are true, and since I have no evidence to the contrary I will assume that they are, then Welborn was a loose cannon who had lost perspective and was abusing his authority to promote a personal crusade.   He was not carrying out the wishes or orders of his command, or Sec. Gates, either implicitly or explicitly.  So while his actions as a Commissioned Officer in the military might have legal weight in many contexts, his orders and actions in this case were not lawful.

And I’m not getting the part about “Constitutionally Impermissible.”  Where in the Constitution does it make impermissible most of the items listed in para. 14 of your complaint?  The so-called “establishment clause” of the Constitution prohibits the establishment of ANY LAW “respecting an establishment of religion or (as often gets omitted) prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  Notice that is quite clearly does not specify any one religion. No one religious view or dogma is singled out — it applies to all equally.   It certainly does not prohibit (or promote) any activities related to the Christian religion…although this seems to the primary context in which this statement usually gets invoked. 

So let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that the First Amendment DOES forbid the “promotion or endorsement” of religious practices by government organizations.  If the government is forced to prevent the “promotion” of religious views on any public or government-owned property, then wouldn’t your posting of fliers around the FOB have been an impermissible promotion of a private/religious organization?

By your logic, in order to be completely fair, the military would have to restrict or prevent ALL FORMS OF RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION.  So your idea of preserving rights is to deny those rights to everyone? That does seem to be at the heart of a lot of this “diversity” stuff that gets dished out — to make sure no one gets offended, everyone just needs to keep quiet.  Perfect diversity is only achievable if no one commits to anything which might potentially offend.  In other words, no views at all.  Silence – the great equalizer.

Therein lies the fundamental logic error present in so much of this “separation of church and state” kind of rhetoric; that being the distinction between allowing, promoting, requiring and establishing.

Simply allowing religious activities does not equate to endorsing, promoting or requiring those views.  If that were true, then the views and bylaws of every group that was “allowed” to use a public park, a school gymnasium, or a public library conference room could said to be condoned or endorsed by “The State,” right?  Does permitting a Buddhist group to practice Tai Chi in a public park in the mornings mean that the City Council or Department of Public Works is implicitly promoting and condoning everything in which that group believes?  Does letting the local chapter of the GLSEN use the school library after hours mean that the school board is trying to promote homosexuality to its students or is part of some conspiratorial move to require everyone to become a homosexual?  Of course not.  It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? 

The Constitution requires that I allow, that I permit these activities, whether or not I like them, agree with them, or want them to exist.  I cannot deny them that right.  In the interests of fairness, I am required to provide an environment wherein they may freely assemble.

So then why does permitting religious organizations to use military facilities have to equate to a government endorsement of that religion’s views?  Does providing facilitation for the practice of religious beliefs have to, by-definition, equate to promoting those beliefs?  Does spending taxpayer dollars to train and pay for military chaplains to minister to the spiritual needs of the men and women in service really, to any reasonable viewpoint, mean that the military as a whole makes a profession of such beliefs a prerequisite for enlistment or advancement?  Not even close.

The military does require that you list your religious preference on your dog tags. However, you can –  without fear of retribution — put “no preference” or “none.”  They’ve even gone so far as to break it down to denominations within the faiths. Why?  Part of it (I’m sure) is just plain demographic survey info, but part of it is also so that they can provide for specific religious needs/desires with respect to funerary rights, etc.  The military has gone out of its way in so many areas to ensure that the spiritual needs of its members are addressed and respected.

My next question is this, SPC Hall:  Where did you hold your meeting?  In what facility?  Who financed and built that facility?  Did not the military chaplain actively facilitate and enable you to hold the meeting?  If so, did those actions not equate to a comparable promotion or “endorsement” of YOUR religious views by the very military establishment you now seek to censure? 

You cannot invoke the establishment clause and then in turn insist that it doesn’t apply to you because your group isn’t “religious.”  Unitarian Universalists, Wiccans, and other groups qualify as religious groups for legal purposes, despite that fact that they don’t invoke a specific deity.  Therefore, by extension your group of atheists, anti-theists, free-thinkers, secular humanists or whatever should be placed in the same legal category as other faith-based groups for purposes of the First Amendment.  Which means that (if successful) this lawsuit would also abrogate YOUR ability to meet freely or to use “government” facilities for your club, right?  I believe that’s what we call a “self-inflicted wound.”

By making this complaint in the context which you’ve chosen, you are making the actions of the Chaplain who helped you equally as impermissible as the actions of Freddy Welborn.  By supporting/permitting (and by your logic, therefore condoning) your activities, the chaplain engaged in a “Constitutionally impermissible” promotion of a religious view.  It may not have been a traditional theist view, but your group’s “views with respect to religion” would probably still place them in the same category in a court of law, wouldn’t it?

Given what I’ve read, and based on the views I’ve presented here,  I would say that yes, SPC Jeremy Hall, you WERE quite clearly and obviously denied your rights, were subject to undue command influence, and have solid cause for redress.  However, these rights were denied by Maj Welborn, not by Sec. Gates or the US Military; and as such, he should be the sole defendant in your complaint.  The fact that he is not, that you’ve chosen to roll it all up into a larger “Michael Newdow-ish” sort of issue makes it hard to believe that this lawsuit is not so much about ensuring equality, as it is about gaining retribution, plain and simple.

One more question:  Did you first try to file charges for discrimination or harrassment against Maj Welborn via the military legal system?  

It occurs to me that I could potentially have done Spc Jeremy Hall a wrong.  Maybe.

A commenter huffed and puffed that I didn’t KNOW Spc Hall, so I couldn’t know what was going on in his head.  Maybe, maybe not.  But I CAN make a few educated guesses.

The way I see it, this could have gone two ways.

One, J. Hall gets his knickers all in a twist because his Bible-tumping CO  keeps stepping in the middle of his plans for setting up the Atheists and Free Thinkers Club.  So he makes a decision to turn this into a national event, and goes out with premeditation and aforethought to find the most egregiously partisan group he can find to prosecute his case.
Perhaps he sees himself as a valiant crusader who must defend the cause of Atheists everywhere, while already assuming the mantle of much-maligned martyr. Which would make Spc. Hall a prime candidate for membership in Code Pink, and likely a lifetime listener to Randy Rhodes.

Or…

Two, young Master Hall is genuinely hurt, angry and confused that his boss won’t let him set up his club, and so tries to find legal redress, believing (however incorrectly) that his chain of command won’t help him.  Only, no one will take the case.  He searches and searches, but no self-respecting lawyer, military or otherwise, will touch this baby.

Until Mikey gets wind of it.  So now Mikey (really now-”Mikey“?!) Weinstein has got a cause d’ celebre on which to hang his banner, and he’s off and running.  So now instead of Weinstein supporting Spec. Hall’s cause, Spec. Hall end’s up being a tool for promoting Weinstein’s cause.  Sort ofwhat Cindy Sheehan became to the anti-war set.

And so now he’s an outcast, living in fear, trembling in his bed at night.

Don’t know, haven’t talked to him.  Maybe he just wanted to go after Melborn, and then this Weinstein guy says, “No, wait.  Even better.  We’ll sue the Secretary of Defense too!  What a splash that’ll make!

And Jeremy is all, like, “Uh, well, okaaayyy, I guess so.”

I suspect the truth is somewhere in between.

 I dunno, like, Ghandi maybe. 

Now that Hall has gotten himself painted as this poor, persecuted minority, even going so far as to say that he fears being the victim of a “hate crime” while he sleeps, he’s managed to create an environment where ANYTHING that happens to him can be interpreted as discrimination or persecution.
 
If he’s told to clean the latrine, it’s not because he’s a snuffy, low man on the totem pole and it’s his turn…it’s because he’s a dirty, rotten ATHEIST! Ptooie.
 
If he doesn’t get promoted, it’s not because he violated the chain of command, exercised poor judgement, or is just plain a bird…it’s because he’s an ATHEIST!

If he experiences dirty looks or verbal abuse from his peers, it’s not because they resent the spotlilght he’s turned on their unit, or the way he’s turned himself into an Army of One…it’s because he’s an ATHEIST!
 
Maybe he can hang out with Scott Thomas and they can commiserate together about the trials of being a free-thinker in the intellectually stifling and repressive mire that is the military.
 
And since there is no draft, maybe they can figure out just what exactly it was they were expecting when they voluntarily joined the US Army?  During a time of war, no less?

Oh, and here’s a juicy little nugget.  A quote from Mikey Weinstein, Spec. Hall’s defense attorney:

“We’re fighting the Christian Taliban. That’s who I tell people we are fighting,” Weinstein said.

The Christian Taliban.  Meaty.

P.S. – Oh, and in case you missed it, I guess it was the unit’s chaplain which helped Spec. Hall set up his first meetings of the Free Thinkers. The c-h-a-p-l-a-i-n.

Military probes atheist GI’s harassment claims  

Perhaps you’ve heard of this guy, a one Spc. Jeremy Hall who has up and decided to sue his commanding officer and, yes, the Secretary of Defense.  That’s right.  E-4 Specialist Hall is suing the Secretary of Defense.  Although, to be honest, I’m not sure how an Atheist files a lawsuit for religious discrimination.

Nuance.

I’m very suspicious of this lawsuit. I’ve been serving in this man’s Marine Corps for over 14 years, and I’ve never seen any pressure to conform to any specific faith.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I’ve experienced quite a few deragotory comments toward Christians, not specifically directed at me, but made in passing, almost like is was some sort of conventional wisdom.  Christian chaplains, both Protestant and Catholic are available in the military.  They even go to the field. However, when they hold their services, they are usually attended by about 30% of the Marines.
 
So I find it very difficult to believe that this individual is facing persecution because of his lack of religious faith.
 
In my Reserve unit, we had a guy that up and decided he was a conscientous objector because of his Wiccan beliefs.  That’s right, Wiccan.  And we thought the guy was a turd.  Not because he was Wiccan.  Sure, we kind of smiled and rolled our eyes when he talked about being a Warlock, or saying that he needed some time off during a field op to go perform some Wiccan ceremony (which, by the way, we let him do).  We thought he was a turd because he decided half-way through his enlistment that he was a C/O.  We figured it was a dodge to get out of completing his tour.  So, we didn’t let him carry a weapon, what with him being a C/O, and all.  And yeah, he got a lot of shitty little details and jobs to keep him busy…not as punishment for being Wiccan, but more out of the fact that although he wasn’t getting out of his contract, he wouldn’t fight or train, so what else do you do with him?
 
I don’t know Spc. Jeremy Hall from Adam, but I suspect the harassment he is getting is not because he’s an atheist..trust me, there are lots of them out there…but because he’s a turd.  He’s making a huge stink out of something I suspect would otherwise be a non-issue if he hadn’t decided to file a lawsuit.  Trust me, taking that action has made him far more unpopular than merely taking an atheist stance ever would.  The military puts a strong emphasis on taking care of its own business.  Spec4 Hall had a lot of avenues open to him to get him concerns addressed…within his chain of command.  Taking it to the Big Tent instead, and pulling some dumbass stunt like suing the SecDef definitely puts young Mr. Hall in the “shitbird” category.
 
I’d really like to find out more about this guy’s case.  Why would you hold a meeting for atheists?  Let’s all sit around a talk about all the things we don’t believe about God?  When did he want to hold these meetings?  During duty hours?  It doesn’t say, but that could be a contributing factor.

What so many of today’s pampered youth fail to realize, as they wallow in their misguided sense of entitlement, is that you voluntarily give up a lot of your freedom of movement, so to speak, when you join the military.

Newsflash there, Specialist:  your chain of command owns your sorry ass.
 
That said, today’s PC military is also very sensitive about any type of accusations of discrimination.  The mere accusation of sexual harassment is enough to put your career to a grinding halt sometimes.  There are myriad resources this SPC could have used to address his issues. However, my suspicion is that he’s less interested in defending his beliefs/lack of beliefs, than he is in making a name for himself.
 
Unless I hear different, I put this character firmly in the same category as Michael Newdown, that atheist blowhard in California who got all pissy about “under God” in the Pledge.
 
Look at the “Urgent Issues” section of the group handling his lawsuit: Military Religious Freedmom.org.   Several links to the always balanced, totally non-partisan “Truthout.org.”  Links to titles like “An Evangelical Coup in America’s Military; An In-Depth Interview with Mikey Weinstein” or “Crusade and a Holy War in the US Military.”  Tell me there isn’t another agenda at work here than defending poor widdle Jeremy?

I suspect that the books deals are already lined up, not to mention the radio spots on Air America and the docudrama by Michael Moore.

UPDATE:

Let me gell it down here.  I’m sure it’s entirely possible that this individual might be or might have suffered discrimination at the hands of a particular misguided CO.  But to suggest that there is some sort of institutional bias against atheists, or some sort of radical Christian cabal infusing the US military is simply laughable.  And for someone in his position to sue the Secretary of Defense over it is just, well, stupid.

There are undoubtedly a lot of 9/11 posts out there today, some deeply emotional, some cavalier, even dismissive.  Some perhaps actively cynical.  And then there are the Truthers.

I believe that this date will always be a significant one in the hearts and minds of those who lived through those hours of disbelief and horror.  I belief that we should never forget those who died, or those who did the killing.  I agree with Jeff that we shouldn’t become mired in that one day, or allow it to continue to define us, or we risk becoming as ideologically myopic as those against whom we fight.  But I also agree with those who, even six years later, cannot quite bring themselves to see September 11th as just another day.

These are all rational, human responses.  And then there are the Truthers. 

I just don’t understand these people.  Ace has a collection of videos from that day, showing the strike on the second tower.  I don’t see how you can watch a full-sized airliner, plow full-speed into the middle of the building, see the giant gaping hole in the side, or how it burned for nearly an hour, and suggest that it took anything more than that to cause massive structural failure. To suggest that, not only did our government plan and condone the attacks, but wired the towers to blow as a backup to the plane strikes.  Or that someone fired a cruise missile at the Pentagon.

Or that the hundreds of passengers on those planes didn’t really die, and are in some witness protection programs somewhere.  Or, even worse, that the passengers DID die, just not on the planes…if you know what I mean.

So, I guess my suggestion for rememberance on this day is to remember who the enemy is.  No, sorry to say, the enemy is not George Bush.  Or Ted Kennedy.  Or Nancy Pelosi or Dick Cheney.

The enemy is those who would seek to destroy this country, who want to kill its citizens, and force it to conform to their way of life by violence and coercion. 

The Truthers want you to believe that “The Administration” is every bit as much to blame as Al Qeada.  Perhaps more so.   I say these people need help.  And they distract from the real issue.

As a nation we became complacent.  We became conceited.  We saw ourselves as untouchable.  And we were proven wrong.  Let’s not forget that.

But more importantly, let’s not forget that with great power, comes great responsibility, to both the world, and to our citizenry.  Our position of leadership and strength is a stewardship, one which we must wield with the greatest of discernment, courage, and equanimity. 

We did not “deserve” 9/11, as some would suggest.  No more that we deserved to have the barracks in Beruit bombed, or the Cole attacked.  The radical muslims do not hate us for what we are, but for what we aren’t.  We aren’t them.  We don’t want to BE them.  And so, we are the enemy.

So while this sober stewardship we hold should lead us to consider the ramifications and impacts of our actions, so also does it place a burden on our leaders to ensure the welfare and common defense of this nation.   We cannot allow a misguided sense of cultural or racial guilt to place us in a position of vulnerability.  Caution and considered action should not translate into squeamishness or cowardice.  9/11 was not a righteous judgement, but a wake up call to the costs of appeasement and capitulation.

We do not have to be brutal, but we must remain strong.  We can remain compassionate, without becoming soft.  We must remain vigilant, without becoming paranoid.  We must remain morally certain, without becoming imperious.

I would suggest, as well, that it would be deeply to our credit to refuse to give wackos like the Truthers the time of day.  Instead of thoughtful consideration or shrugging indifference, we need to laugh these wierdos off the stage.  These people are a cult, and should be treated as such.  They are not speaking the truth to power….they are waiting for the mothership to come in the tail of the next comet and beam them up.

Never forget….but remember the truth.

I received a comment on my last post, the content of which suggested a more, shall we say, “liberal-minded” individual, and so I took the liberty of clickin’ on over to his(her?) site.  Turns out, the guy’s not only a Progressive, but one who figures that people who let Pres. Bush finish his duly-elected term without taking matters into their own hands are getting what they deserve.  People like this guy confuse me.  He’ll be rolling along on a pretty good rant, actually making his case cogently, to the point that I find myself thinking that he might almost have something there, and then in the space of one comma and a preposition, he switches back to spewing the typical BushHitlerChristoFascist all-you-people-are-stupid claptrap.

It’s almost like some sort of Tourette’s syndrome.  Talking along, making headway, laying out a pretty good case, and then BAM, totally blows his credibility by spouting mainstream Prog party propaganda.  Frustrating.

But I digress.

This blogger, like so many others, can’t seem to see the philosophical disconnect between (on the one hand) suggesting that military service members accused of war crimes are prima facie guilty simply because they are in the military, and then on the other hand getting all twitterpated about someone holding much the same view towards a group of Muslim Imams behaving erratically before boarding a US airliner.

He/she also seems to suggest that holding a belief that service members accused of war-crimes or atrocities are entitled to a fair and capable defense in their trials is akin to being an apologist for their actions.  His view seems to be that attempting to provide for the defense of those accused of indefensible actions, equates to endorsing or condoning the actions themselves.

But, as said before, his view is also that these individuals are “CLEARLY” most likely already guilty, so why bother worrying about whether or not they receive a fair trial?  Dare I draw a parallel to the Duke Hockey-rapist case?  Hmmm, perhaps I dare.

To such as these (as a member of the military) my viewpoint about actions in Iraq are inherently suspect, as I’m “one of them,” and am probably incapable of being truly objective since I’m too close to the issue.

But apparently, being a heterosexual, I’m also unqualified to talk about gay issues, and being a male, I’m ill-equipped to opine on feminism.

Yet so many liberal commentators are so quick to assume a disdainful “those people” kind of attitude about the military, handily enabled by never having served themselves.  Of course not.  It would be morally reprehensible to support the Bush junta, and all that. Yada. Yada.

What seems inescapable to me in these cases is the fact that this viewpoint must therefore be based solely on socialization, on a progressive culturalization, as there is little-to-no personal experience on which to base the view.  This is also known as, “talking out your ass.”

You can see this same paradigm at play in the always-popular “church and state” debate.  Allowing religious (read: Christian) organizations equal access to public facilities is somehow equated to the Federal government prejudicially promoting or enabling the Christian worldview; some sort of special dispensation from the radical Christian syncophants who’ve taken over the government (I guess).  Again, in this case, “equal” access is gerrymandered into excluding certain groups, so that “public” and “equal access” applies only to those groups within the accepted milieu.

This is the country he wants to “rebuild” (after of course, tearing down the one we have now)?  I suggest that perhaps he does not want to “rebuild,” but in fact to create something new.  A phoenix from the ashes, asitwer.  I also suggest that this is rather like burning down a house to get rid of your termite problem; standing amidst the smouldering ashes, hands on hips and a proud smile on your face, as you state with a definite air of satisfaction, “THERE!”

You see these types of worldviews so often represented by editorialists and commenters at places like Democratic Underground, DailyKos, and Huffington Post.  Something akin to the idea that the country must be “rescued” from the vicious abuses of the Republicans, an oppressed people to be brought out of the Conservative dark ages into the Progressive’s New Dawn..if they can cure the sheeples of the ills wrought by years of right-wing mind control, making them see the errors of their ways, etc., etc.

As Jeff Goldstein is able to state so eloquently, by establishing yourself as the moral arbiter of what is right and good and true, and then in turn applying the same methods you so profess to hate against those with the temerity to disagree with your positions, you delegitimize your “moral authority,” whether you choose to see it or not.

There is a great divide between presenting a suggested worldview, and defending an acceptable worldview.  By establishing the narrative in the context of an acceptable worldview, you automatically discount any views outside the consensus.  You quickly transition from comparing viewpoints, to requiring conformity with a predetermined worldview – often with dogmatic intransigence.  Any dissent is labeled as radicalism, irrationality, and of course, bigotry, homophobia, et. al.

Is this the country our blogger friend wants to “rebuild?”  A country where conformity to the corporately established meme is rewarded, and viewpoints held outside the approved consensus are viewed as threats to be destroyed?  Wait a minute….isn’t that exactly the sort of thing of which the Progressives accuse the conservatives/Republicans?  Don’t they write about how Bush’s authoritarianism is putting gays and progressive editorialists at risk as He ratchets down on dissent?  You know, the Christo-fascists, “Rethuglicans” (Oooh, ooh.  You’ll love this one I saw on another site –”Rape-publicans.”  Nice.) and jack-booted stormtroopers rounding up the brave Prog underground and shutting down lefty websites wholesale?  You know, like they did with…uh….uh…..uh…

He seems to hold that dissent for dissent’s sake is a noble and encouraged undertaking. Activism for the sake of activism; not so much to seek change, as to express displeasure with the status quo.   Sure, whatever, ok.  Free Speech, and all that.  The problem lies when that activism, that dissent crosses from expressing your view to suppressing other views.  When you come to see your viewpoint as the only morally correct or defensible view, you are that much more likely to feel little compunction about shouting down counter protesters, defacing or destroying competing signage or handouts, or even physically threatening others.

You have gone from presenting your view to purging the marketplace of alternative views.  You have gone from the free exchange of ideas, to intellectual gatekeeping.

Therein lies the crux of my argument.  Progs do not want equanimity for all, but rather, THEY want to be the ones crafting the narrative.  They do not want a level playing field, they want to turn the tables.  On the surface they vilify what they see as conservative methods of thought control, disenfranchisement, and quelling dissent, when in fact, their real disgruntlement is not with the METHODS being used, but rather, that the “wrong” philosophical underpinnings are driving them!

Progs have no problem quelling dissent, and cutting certain “unacceptable” viewpoints out of the public forum, because they see themselves as “protectors” of the social narrative.  There is little room for any type of “dissent” among the progressive elite.  Whether it’s global warming, gay rights, abortion, or any number of other topics, there is an “acceptable” viewpoint, and then there is the “bigoted, hateful, exclusionary” viewpoint.  I think it’s pretty clear which is which.

This, to me, is the fundamental dissonance at play here.  In true Godwin-esque fashion, Progs continue to use the timeworn Nazi analogy to lay all manner of ills at the feet of the conservatives, equating the Patriot act to the burning of the Reichstag, and Homeland Security to the Brown Shirts.  Then, in the same breath, they will suggest that certain groups or religious viewpoints are inherently suspect, that soldiers accused of war crimes are presumptively guilty, and that the marginalization and exclusion of certain worldviews is not only accepted, but required for the preservation of a truly “enlightened” society.

I’m sorry, but I sort of lost track of the distinction between the two in there somewhere.

“If you won’t stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.”

 I like it.

…and maybe I’m a little too quick to jump onto the “bash-the-mainstream-media” bandwagon, but I find it interesting that in the MSNBC online article:

Contractors shot execution style, officials say

that the one of the accompanying graphics, though for an “unrelated” incident, turns out to be this one:

A photo of four iraqi men, on the ground, hands tied, one blindfolded, being approached by soldiers from behind.

Now, I know that’s SOP for dealing with suspected insurgents, but I just find it an interesting confluence of headline with associated imagery.

But, like I say, I’m probably just being overly cynical.

The President’s Speech

Posted: January 11, 2007 in Military, Politics, Rants

First off, let me say that Chris Matthews is a festering puss boil on the scrotum of the journalistic community, and that Sen. Durbin is a prime candidate for a retroactive abortion.  Matthews is just an idiot, but Durbin is downright dangerous.

Overall, I found the President’s speech to be like bubble gum that you’ve been chewing for too long.  Same consistency, but it’s lost all its flavor.  Didn’t hear much of anything new, just retreads of the same old “stay the course.” Of course, we’re charting a NEW course, but we need to make sure we stick with this new course.  I’m starting to wonder if there is some sort of Max Headroom deal going on here.  “St-st-st-stay the course.”

And  I must admit that I find it hard to get to inspired when I seem him struggling to read the tele-prompter, meaning that he’s not that familiar with the words, meaning its something cranked out by his speechwriter a few hours before.  I propose his speechwriter needs to get some new material.

Overall some valid points were made, but more re-iterated than made.  If you didn’t already agree with him, nothing about the content or delivery would move you to change your view.  It wasn’t a speech, so much as a recitation.

Then the echo fades, and Chris Matthews gets on, looking like he just chewed a lemon.  Keith Olberman can barely get a word in edgewise before Matthews starts ranting, “He’s invading Iran! He’s Invading Iran! He said it!  Yeeearrrgh!”  It was almost hilarious to watch him shudder and twitch. I swear I saw foam at the corners of his mouth.

Of course, then Sen. Durbin gets on, and now THAT boy had some fire!  Yeah, he really lit into the President!  Man, he let the Prez have it with both barrels, not pulling any punches.  Durbin was on FIRE baby, and he laid out a verbal beatdown that was truly awesome to behold. 

Of course, the target of his bile was the IRAQI president, not the AMERICAN one!

He essentially told the Iraqi’s that they’d had long enough to figure out this whole “democracy” thing, and that we’ve had it.  We’re pulling out, your on your own, and don’t come crying to us when you can’t solve your own problems.  “Don’t expect that every time you dial 9-11, well send in 20,000 troops,” were, I believe, his exact words.

What. An. Ass.

Someone once said that these days we have a great many politicians, and very few diplomats.  I think he was probably talking about Durbin at the time.

Let me clue you in on something here, Sen. Durbin.  We made some mistakes in Iraq.  One of them was disbanding the military and starting over from scratch.  Now we’ve got thousands of relatively new recruits.  We’ve been at this, what, four years?  In our military, in four years a new recruit might make Corporal.  A newly minted officer will make 1st Lt or maybe Captain.  There are 25 year old Battalion Commanders in the Iraqi Army right now! 

And you want us to just pull out and say that’s it?  That’s all the help you get?

Rather than “forcing” the Iraqis to solve their own problems, pulling out so precipitiously now will only further polarize the population.  Faith in the government’s long-term survival will plummet, and people will begin to align themselves with whatever faction they see as the most likely to come out on top.  It will devolve in to factional, tribal warfare, and you’ll have another Somalia.

And then Iran and Syria will roll in and fight over the pieces.  It will be a bloodbath that will make the Khmer Rouge look like girl scouts.

Senator Durbin, you are not just a caustic, partisan blatherskite.  You, sir, are an idiot.