Sunday, June 19, 2005

Are You Listening Sen. Durbin?

As one who was held in a North Vietnamese Prison for nearly seven years and whose definition of torture and bad treatment is somewhat at variance with yours, I deplore your senseless comments about alleged "barbaric treatment" at our terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo.

Your remarks comparing Guantanamo to the regimes of Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot are outrageous. I tried to think of why a rational human being could make such an outlandish statement but I keep coming up short. I thought I'd seen it all when Howard Dean performed his infamous scream in Iowa but your diatribe yesterday eclipsed Dean's moment of Hannibal Lecter lunacy. And your moment of pique will be infinitely more damaging to members of our Armed Forces serving in harm's way.

I noted, when searching for your contact information, that the first item Google came up with was al Jazeera's joy at your comments. You, sir, for having aided and abetted the enemy in time of war, have been relegated in my mind to the status of Jane Fonda and your colleague, John Kerry as contemptible traitors.

I hope not too many of our valiant members of the Armed Forces have to suffer for your stupid comments. Shame on you.
Paul E. Galanti, Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
POW for seven years in North Vietnam

Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged.
President Abraham Lincoln

Friday, June 17, 2005

Raven 42: Update

Back in April I wrote a post about an ambush involving a remarkable military police unit under the call sign Raven 42. This unit was part of the 617th Military Police Company, a National Guard unit out of Richmond, Kentucky. On June 16th, Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester and Spc. Jason Mike received the Silver Star for their actions during the ambush on their convoy.

Hester's squad was shadowing a supply convoy March 20 when anti-Iraqi fighters ambushed the convoy. The squad moved to the side of the road, flanking the insurgents and cutting off their escape route. Hester led her team through the "kill zone" and into a flanking position, where she assaulted a trench line with grenades and M203 grenade-launcher rounds. She and Nein, her squad leader, then cleared two trenches, at which time she killed three insurgents with her rifle.

When the fight was over, 27 insurgents were dead, six were wounded, and one was captured.

Hester, 23, who was born in Bowling Green, Ky., and later moved to Nashville, Tenn., said she was surprised when she heard she was being considered for the Silver Star.

"I'm honored to even be considered, much less awarded, the medal," she said.

Being the first woman soldier since World War II to receive the medal is significant to Hester. But, she said, she doesn't dwell on the fact. "It really doesn't have anything to do with being a female," she said. "It's about the duties I performed that day as a soldier."

As I noted in my previous post, the media (in what little coverage there is) will play up the fact that she is a woman. But the fact is, more than anything, Sgt. Hester is a damn fine soldier! And that goes as well for SSgt. Nein, Spc. Mike and the rest of the unit.

You can read more here and here.

Durbin and Rhetorical Excess

ShrinkWrapped, a practicing Psychoanalyst and Psychiatrist, has an interesting take on the rhetorical excesses of the left in which he has concerns that they could ultimately lead to violence. Here is a very salient part of what he wrote:

Durban (sic), et al, who assert that that Gitmo and Abu Graib have rendered us indistinguishable form Pol Pot, the Nazis and the Soviets, are objectively wrong. There is, in fact, no resemblance of what we are doing in Gitmo to what constitutes actual torture.

If Durban, et al, actually believe in the literal truth of their statement, then, at best, they have lost the ability to differentiate their own fantasied elaboration of reality and reality. This is to be expected in the fever swamps of DU, but is frightening coming from a United States Senator.

If Durban, et al, know they are making outrageously exaggerated statements, then they either are overtly opposed to their own country and are willing to risk the death of Americans in Iraq and at home in order to damage an evil administration that has plunged us into a horribly immoral adventure for reasons hidden to most of us, or they are cynically risking the deaths of American military people abroad and innocents in Iraq and elsewhere, in the service of their corrupt needs, for power and narcissistic gratification.

In the former case, their stupidity is dangerous. These statements offer reinforcements to our enemies in the information war, convince the Jihadists they can win if they persist long enough, and give impetus to the more radical elements on the left. Further, the risk of violence increases with every statement that legitimizes the kind of paranoid fantasies that are being supported by such talk.

Now here is the kicker:

If the Bush administration is the equivalent of Pol Pot, the Nazis, and the Soviets, all right thinking Americans must oppose the evil, even with violence. In fact, violence against such a state would be a moral necessity.

If they do not believe their own rhetoric, and recognize the hyperbolic nature of their assertions, their opportunism puts people in danger in the same way as above, but with even less justification; it is, if anything, more despicable.

You should read the entire post Dangerous Portents II and his previous post on the subject, Dangerous Portents.

(h/t: Roger L. Simon)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Senator Dick "Dumbass" Durbin

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) made a complete ass of himself last night during a debate on the Energy Bill -- and he did it on the Senate floor and therefore in the congressional record. During a debate of the Energy Bill, he managed to bring up the Guantanamo Bay "torture" issue. And this is what Durbin thinks is torture:

On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. ..... On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.
But he didn't stop there. He just had to continue and not only make a complete and utter fool of himself, but insult the United States, past victims of Nazi and Communist atrocities and the American military.

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime—Pol Pot or others—that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.
Can you believe this? He equates having no air conditioning and crappy music to victims of the Holocaust, the Soviet gulags and the mass murder of Cambodians! Man, does this guy need a reality check.

I am so glad this ignorant dumbass does represent me, but if he did I would be looking into impeachment possibilities. What a disgrace to Illinois, the United States and humanity in general.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Who Is The Real Star?

Noted Hollywood actor Sean Penn, member of Maoist anti-war front group Not In Our Name, supporter of web-based leftwing activist network, fellow traveler of moonbat anti-war activist Medea Benjamin, and all-around useful idiot, is continuing his "other" career as a journalist by visiting Iran on a brief assignment for the San Francisco Chronicle. Penn is covering the upcoming June 17th presidential election and undoubtedly will use his vast knowledge of Iran, his fluency in Farsi and his far-reaching education in Middle Eastern politics and foreign relations to do his job.
Penn, who has written at length about a visit to Iraq for the paper, was spotted in Tehran on Friday at a prayer service as worshippers chanted "Death to America." Penn, 44, confirmed he was in Iran to cover the June elections. Using a translator, “Penn took copious notes as hardline cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati urged the congregation to vote en masse ‘to make America angry,’” acccording to Reuters. The actor told Reuters he had decided to come to Iran because of growing tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Sean Penn checking out Friday prayers in Tehran.

Sean Penn carefully listening to chants of "Death to America."

Now, does any sane person really believe that Sean Penn has a clue about what is causing the "growing tensions between Washington and Tehran?" Does his ability to act and read lines from a script make him any more knowledgeable about Iran than the average American on the street? Has his previous stint as a "journalist" in Iraq for the Chronicle earned him the right to displace real journalists that have been denied the necessary accreditation from the Iranian authorities to cover the elections?

You must remember that this is the same Sean Penn that went to Iraq in December, 2002, before the war, for his "obligation to (at least attempt to) find my own voice on matters of conscience" and to "pursue a deeper understanding of this frightening conflict." I guess that he couldn't find his "voice on matters of conscience" for a government that built palaces while children went without medicine and food. And I guess a "deeper understanding" of a fascist dictatorship propped up by an internal security system modeled after that of Stalin was not possible for Penn.

Sean Penn in pre-war Iraq, November 2002. What you don't see in the picture is his Iraqi "minder."

With the constant barrage of political idiocy coming out of the mouths of Hollywood stars (believe me, Sean Penn is by far not the worst), one would believe that they are all far-left politically and even anti-American. In fact, many of them are. Whether it is Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Oliver Stone, Tim Robbins or a plethora of others too numerous to name, many of them actually support political movements that would not allow for their libertine lifestyles if implemented. But they still support them with money and sometimes their own valuable time. Although I guess you can't expect too much from a group of people in which, except for a very few, a high school diploma is the highest educational achievement reached!

Once in a while though, one of them shows that not only does he have a heart, but actually puts his money where his mouth is (and shuts up about it)! Take a look at the following pictures:

Denzel Washington with some of the troops on a visit to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio,Texas.

Denzel Washington meeting with a patient at Brooke Army Medical Center.

Star fulfills vow to Fisher House

Months after visiting a military hospital and promising to help families of wounded U.S. soldiers, actor Denzel Washington has come through in a big way.

Washington gave one of the biggest donations ever made to Fisher House Foundation Inc., which operates guest facilities for families with loved ones recuperating in military hospitals, an official at the nonprofit said Wednesday.

Washington and his wife also accepted the foundation's invitation to serve on its board of trustees, he said.

The actor's involvement with Fisher House resulted from a stop six months ago at Brooke Army Medical Center, where many troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been treated for injuries.

During the December visit, after learning Fisher House provides inexpensive lodging and other support for recuperating soldiers' families, Washington vowed to help the organization.

Now who is the real star here?

Oh, by the way Sean, Mr. Washington actually graduated from Fordham University with a B.A. in Journalism.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Is Europe Dying?

George Weigel, a Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, has an interesting take on Europe in a new article for the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

America's "Europe problem" and Europe's "America problem" have been staple topics of transatlantic debate for the past several years. Political leaders, media commentators, and businessmen usually discuss those problems in terms of policy differences: differences over prosecuting the war on terrorism, differences over the role of the United Nations in world affairs, differences over the Kyoto Protocol on the global environment, differences over Iraq. The policy differences are real. Attempts to understand them in political, strategic, and economic terms alone will ultimately fail, however, because such explanations do not reach deeply enough into the human texture of contemporary Europe.

To put the matter directly: Europe, and especially western Europe, is in the midst of a crisis of civilizational morale. The most dramatic manifestation of that crisis is not to be found in Europe's fondness for governmental bureaucracy or its devotion to fiscally shaky health care schemes and pension plans, in Europe's lagging economic productivity or in the appeasement mentality that some European leaders display toward Islamist terrorism. No, the most dramatic manifestation of Europe's crisis of civilizational morale is the brute fact that Europe is depopulating itself.

Read the whole thing here.