Never Forget
By Dan | June 6, 2008 - 9:26 am - Posted in Best Of, Foreign Affairs, Stars & Stripes, Today in History

Sixty-four years ago today, nearly one and a half million British, American and Canadian free men risked their lives to rid a continent and the world from Nazi oppression. These were the boys of Point du Hac, Omaha, Juno, Sword, Gold and Utah. These were the boys who jumped, for the first time, from perfectly good airplanes into combat with the most feared military force in history.

These young men had lived through the Great Depression, emerging just in time to see the world being swallowed by two brutally evil forces, spreading across Europe and Asia. They strapped on their boots and marched bravely into the face of an overwhelming, undefeated enemy. Their journey would take them through Normandy, Holland, Bastogne and, eventually, the horrors of Buchenwald and Dachau.

Having defeated Nazism in Europe, they turned, without flinching, to aid their comrades in the Pacific, ridding the world of Japanese imperial aggression. Only when a group of scientists harnessed the power of the atom, were they relieved of duty and able to return home.

On the backs of these heroes, America, and eventually the world, prospered. They took a society that was only one generation from horse-drawn carriages and the Wright Brothers, and they landed a man on the moon. Their contributions to our freedom, our economy and our history will never be forgotten.

By Dan | May 27, 2008 - 3:56 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Op Ed, Stars & Stripes, Edukashun

I had a uncle who was one of the, um, who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz, and liberate the concentration camps. And the story in our family was, is that, when he came home, he just went up into the attic and he didn’t leave the house for six months. Now, obviously, something had really affected him deeply. But at that time, there just weren’t the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain.

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, Las Cruces, New Mexico, May 26, 2008 (Memorial Day).

For those without access to the “right” wing of the internet, I will let you in on an open secret, U.S. troops never entered Auschwitz. The concentration camp at Auschwitz (Poland) was the largest in the German-controlled territories. Being east of Berlin (the furthest advance of U.S. and allied troops), it was liberated by the Soviet Union’s Red Army. Of course, Obama’s recent gaffes on geography may be signs he has “lost his bearings” completely, and he may have forgotten that Poland is east of Germany, just as he forgot that Kentucky borders Illinois. (Obama is apparently channeling Haley Joel Osmet in seeing dead people, so perhaps he’s not fit for the rigors of such a long campaign.)

It is true that the United States Army did, however, liberate several Nazi concentration camps, and I am sure that the horror of uncovering these camps in April of 1945 was overwhelming and lasting. It’s still early days in the latest Obama gaffe/whopper, but time will (hopefully) tell as to whether Obama was (a) merely misstating a (presumably true) family legend (certainly a mere gaffe, confusing Auschwitz with Dachau or another camp); (b) unknowingly repeating a false family legend or (c) making this up out of whole cloth (as he did his “claim on Selma“).

The first two are not so troublesome, as many of us take as gospel that which our grandparents told us (even if they are typical, white racists). For example, my grandmother (not a racist) told me that my late grandfather liberated the town in Italy where she was born. It’s a heart warming story, and I may repeat it in public one day. There’s no reason to issue a FOIA request for Grandpa Al’s records, but then again, I’m not claiming he liberated Auschwitz.

There are some troubling side stories here. There are questions as to whether Obama even has an uncle on that side. In addition, the fact that he would mention his grandfather’s tenuous connection (again to the wrong Nazi camps) in a 2002 speech and this (apparently long lost) uncle’s direct connection in 2008 also undermines the credibility of the uncle’s story. And finally, much like outing grandma as a racist, where is the compassion for this uncle’s suffering? If you had lived through the Great Depression, seen your country attacked by Japan, marched across Europe and Africa, watching your best friends die in combat, only to discover the truly disgusting depths of the human capacity for evil, would you want your slick nephew airing your dirty laundry, bragging about the most trying times of your long life to score political points?

In any case, I am sure that, if and when the media picks up on this gaffe/lie, we will be told that this is a “distraction” meant to keep us from “focusing on the real issues.”

On a less personal scale, of all things not to be taken lightly, the Holocaust should be at the top of anyone’s list. Auschwitz is a name that will live in the annals of evil for as long as humans walk the planet. If you’re going to raise the issue, if you’re going to connect yourself with those who, when earth’s foundation fled, took up arms against evil on Earth, you really need to get your story straight. Those who fought Germany and Japan, those who endured the Bataan Death March, the landings at Normandy, the shivering cold of Bastogne, they all deserve our loyalty and respect. To offhandedly make a claim on their legacy to make political hay is despicable. To fabricate such a claim is neigh treason to their memory.

Thank You
By Dan | May 26, 2008 - 6:30 am - Posted in Foreign Affairs, Stars & Stripes, Today in History

These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth’s foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling,
And took their wages, and are dead.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth’s foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

-A.E. Housman

Iran: WWRD?
By Dan | May 21, 2008 - 8:54 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Op Ed, Foreign Affairs, Stars & Stripes, Reagan

Obama supporters continue to cling (perhaps out of bitterness) to the notion of direct diplomacy with Iran. Their retort to the tidal wave of criticism is, “well, what would you do? Invade Iran.” This is part of the Democratic strategy of criticizing U.S. foreign policy. It takes an incredibly narrow view of the history of Iraq. Perhaps many Obama supporters cannot remember that far back, but the United States imposed sanctions on Iraq for 12 years. For many Obama supporters, this dates back to their kindergarten days. The notion that the United States reflexively invaded Iraq after 9/11 is as absurd as the most deranged Obama fantasy.

Iraq is a separate animal from Iran. Iraq was a brutal, but secular, dictatorship run by an aging psychopath. Iran, though run by equally brutal psychopaths, has a growing populist democracy movement. There are reformers, in some cases openly calling for democratic reforms in Iran, such a pro-American base did not exist in Iraq, certainly not with nearly the same strength.

Invading Iran is not a plausible scenario for many reasons. So what would I do about Iran? More importantly, what would Ronald Reagan do? Toppling an evil empire, as the old Cowboy from Tampico showed us, requires determination, restrained aggression, compassion and cooperation (and a little bit of luck).

Reagan showed us that determination (some would say “Cowboy diplomacy” or “stubborn refusal to be reasonable”) is not a weakness in the face of evil. A president needs to convince the enemy, the people under its oppression, U.S. allies and the global spectators (the United Nations, for example), that the full power of the United States will be brought to bear so that freedom, not tyranny, will win the day. Certainly, a president must be willing (and plausibly so) to commit the full might of the U.S. military to destroying Iran. This commitment must be broader than that. It must include economic policies and diplomatic efforts with other countries. Most importantly, this determination cannot waiver, it cannot be subject to the whims of pollsters or pundits. In 1987, after six years of “preparations”, Ronald Reagan demanded that Mikhail Gorbachev tear down the Berlin Wall. His speech writers objected. His Secretary of State objected. The media mocked him as a dottering old fool. Two years later, the wall came down.

Reagan knew that naked determination, however, was not enough. Just as in high-stakes poker, restrained aggression is key to brinkmanship. Reagan knew that placing Pershing II missiles in Europe would provoke the Soviets. He also knew they deserved it and would see it as a sign of strength. Reagan was roundly mocked for the Strategic Defense Initiative, a futuristic system that now protects the United States and its allies. But the old man knew that the floundering Soviet economy and years of brain drain meant the Soviets could not possibly keep up.

Reagan also knew that there was a fundamental difference between a Soviet and a Russian. He often spoke warmly of the Russian people, with compassion and empathy for their plight. He knew, and he was able to convey, that every man and woman were born with the same rights and that communism is an affront to basic human dignity. He said so, sincerely, publicly and often.

Finally, Reagan was a great communicator. He knew that, as powerful as the United States is, it cannot take on the entire world. Nor can the United States prosper in a world where our allies become embittered or isolated by our unilateral foreign policy. He knew that, even though the United States would bear most of the burden of promoting freedom, our allies and those who remained neutral should always feel welcome in the fight.

So, what would Reagan have us do?

  • He would never, ever, meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As former Reagan adviser K.T. McFarland points out, “negotiating without leverage is not negotiating, it’s begging.” You will know it’s time to meet with the Iranian leader when the Iranian leader is a moderate, not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Patience is a passive form of determination. Reagan would spend his first term in office publicly criticizing and ostracizing Iran until regime change became its only hope for survival. He would promote an aggressive domestic policy for energy independence and a strong U.S. dollar, along with sanctions crippling the Iranian economy (just as cheap oil crippled the Soviet economy).
  • Reagan would use our military gains in Iraq to occupy and frustrate Iran along its common border with Iraq. No Iranian would be able to cross the border without seeing an impressive display of American hardware and clear-eyed GI’s just waiting for Mahmoud to try something stupid. Just as the Soviet Union was unsettled by the Pershing II Missiles in West German, so Iran will be unsettled by 10 battalions of the U.S. Army amassed on its border and two carrier groups loitering off shore. Moreover, any Iranian agent found in Iraq will be treated as an invading force. Overly aggressive Iranian speedboats will experience the devastating accuracy of the American Navy, just as Gaddafi’s air force learned in the 1980s.
  • Reagan would also find compassion for those suffering in Iran. Radio Free Iran (and Video Free Iran) would give Iranians hope, and kind words appealing to the Iranian people’s basic humanity would embolden reformers and give the Iranian Lech Wałęsa the courage to challenge the mullahs. Americans would open their doors to Iranian families and word of American compassion and the benefits of freedom would be trumpeted throughout the broader Middle East.
  • Finally, direct diplomacy would be used, but not with Iran. Reagan would meet with our allies and those who trade with Iran. We would apply pressure against those who would deal with Iran and reward those who turn away.
“The Don’t Criticize Us” Dems
By Dan | May 15, 2008 - 1:03 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Liberals, Stars & Stripes

One of my coworkers here was surprised the other day when I mentioned I was in favor of a strong Democratic party. “You’re joking, right?” he said, impressed with my apparent deadpan. No, I’m not. While it’s true that I tend to vote Republican, and I support Republican principles of limited government, a strong military and I take pride in American values and history, I know that a strong Democratic party is necessary to keep the fat bloated idiots who represent us in check.

After six years of a Republican-controlled executive and six years of Republican-controlled legislature, the Republican party had become a disgusting reminder of the corruption of power. Look no further than yesterday’s interim election loss in the former stronghold of Mississippi. (A Democrat won the open seat by running on a limited government, socially conservative agenda.) Republicans have taken the American taxpayer for a ride, forgetting who it is that brought them to power. They have greedily stolen money from the public coffers in the hopes it would insure them against negative public opinion. Instead, it foments it.

Of course, had they had a true adversary, one who could stand on opposing principles and provide a legitimate challenge to their claimed authority, well, maybe the fall could have been prevented. In any event, two strong political parties provide Americans with what they really want, a government so tied up by political machinations it doesn’t have time or energy to screw with us.

Sadly, the Democratic party is as much a spoof of itself as the Hollywood liberal elitists it represents. Several commentators have noted in the past several days that the Democrats and the media are attempting to redefine “negative attacks” as any criticism of Obama (Abe Greenwald for example). And, as if to prove the point, the entire Democratic party has gone into a tizzy about President Bush’s comments today to the Knesset.

President Bush, without pointing to Obama or anyone else, noted that “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.” Obama was quick to object (too quick, if you ask me). But what is telling about Obama’s (and Nancy Pelosi’s and Joe “Foul Mouth” Biden’s) response is the complete lack of denial. Obama has campaigned, in part, on the promise to hold talks with Iran and others without precondition (Robert Malley, one of his advisors has even gotten a head start). Isn’t it fair for someone, anyone, to question the validity of such an approach? Didn’t Carter fail miserably as president and later, as Palestinian stooge? Why is it, exactly, that this is unfair and out of bounds?

Nancy Pelosi: the comments are “beneath the dignity of the office.” Okay, that’s your opinion, but do you deny that the Democratic party, (including you) have advocated direct talks with terrorist nations?

Rahm Emanuel: Notes that, “The tradition has always been that when a U.S. president is overseas, partisan politics stops at the water’s edge,” and whines that President Bush is not abiding by this time-honored tradition. Mr. Emanuel must have an exceedingly small capacity to recall recent events as the Democratic party seems to delight in attacking President Bush when he is overseas, even when he is visiting active war zones.

Joe Biden: Well, he’s nothing but a cranky bastard in need of a nap. There again, he blames Bush for an increase in terrorism, but doesn’t even attempt to defend the Democratic position of diplomacy at all costs.

Again, this speaks volumes of the weakness of the Democratic party. They are either unable, unwilling or unprincipled to such a degree that they cannot even bear to see a plank of their own presidential platform questioned by one of the least popular presidents in modern history. It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

Iraqi Revolution
By Dan | April 11, 2008 - 1:21 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Liberals, Media & Marketing, Foreign Affairs, 9/11, Stars & Stripes

Liberals in the media and in Congress have made many ill-rationed arguments against the war in Iraq. Among them is the contention that our presence in Iraq foments anti-Americanism and breeds more terrorists than it destroys. Not true says, of all sources, the New York Times: “After almost five years of war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach.”

Let that sink in for a minute. Not only do young Iraqi’s not want to join al Qaeda in Iraq (that’s the group’s own name, mind you) or any other militant Islamic terrorist group, they blame the clerics for the violence in Iraq.

The article goes on to frame the debate in terms of religious participation rather than what is, in my view, a rejection not of Islam, but of Wahabiism. The article does not report the kind of pro-American flag-waving gratitude you might expect to see from a liberated people, but we are talking about the New York Times reportage. They have rules about displaying American flags when they are not on fire.

The article does, however, expose as untrue one of the primary arguments liberals have for “getting us out of Iraq now.” If young Iraqis are turning away from violent Islam, we are decreasing the popularity of al Qaeda and Islamofascism, not increasing it. Yes, it is true that there is violence in Iraq, and it is true that our military personnel are still at risk, but as this blog has often noted that it took us almost four years of combat in Iraq to lose as many Americans as we did in one day of terror in America. Where is the acknowledgment that our efforts in Iraq are reaping rewards?

We are creating a democracy in a part of the world that has never seen one. We are attracting and killing foreign terrorists by the thousands. We are preventing attacks on American civilians by focusing the battle in Iraq. And, to top it all off, we are exposing Muslims to the realities of Wahabism and they are clearly rejecting it.

Where, exactly is the downside?

John McCain, The Opportunist
By Dan | March 31, 2008 - 11:44 am - Posted in Politics & Policy, Liberals, Foreign Affairs, Stars & Stripes

Democratic National Committee Chairman, Howard Dean, recently called John McCain a “blatant opportunist,” in response to McCain’s new ad. The ad shows a young McCain in Vietnamese captivity, calmly giving his name, rank and serial number to a (presumably North Vietnamese) questioner. (The voiceover, by the way is Powers Booth).

I realize that there is a personal history between these two men. Dean’s brother was kidnapped in Laos during the 1970’s. John McCain was by his side when then candidate Howard Dean received the recovered remains of his late brother four years ago. This makes the “opportunist” charge all the more disgusting. How can anyone call John McCain an opportunist for bringing up his war record? This page has taken issue with McCain policies, in particular on free speech and global warming, but we have never even hinted at McCain’s character being less than heroic in the truest sense of the word.

In contrast, John Kerry, who repudiated the military and slandered the troops with whom he served, can fairly be called an opportunist. When the prevailing sentiment was anti-military, John Kerry was the leader of the Winter Soldier movement. When the winds changed, Kerry was suddenly “reporting for duty,” and trumpeting his military credentials.

John McCain, on the other hand, had multiple opportunities to either end his personal suffering or avoid Vietnam altogether. His father and grandfather both reached the rank of Admiral in the Navy, surely strings could have been pulled. When John McCain was involved in the horrific accident aboard the USS Forrestal, he was seriously injured while trying to rescue another pilot. Surely he could have been quietly reassigned stateside, or stayed with the Forestall and her crew in drydock. Instead, he volunteered for a transfer to the USS Oriskany so that he could remain in theatre, fighting the Vietnamese. It was three months later, from this carrier, that John McCain flew the mission that resulted in his six years of captivity. During that time, McCain was subjected to torture and repeated beatings (including knocking out of his teeth, which liberal bloggers are all too happy to mock). Because of his father’s rank, McCain could have ended his ordeal at any time by simply saying what the Vietnamese wanted him to say. By simply ‘confessing’ the sins of his comrades and yielding anti-American propaganda, he would have been released.

By saying, under duress, what John F. Kerry said to serve his personal ambition, John McCain could have been home asleep in his own bed. John McCain never did that. He never caved, he never sought the easy way out. He never allowed his principles to take second place to his ambitions. John Kerry did. He’s an opportunist, John McCain is a hero. And Howard Dean? Well, he’s not just and opportunist, he’s a douche bag.

President Obama Regrets “Boneheaded” Move of Invading Pakistan, Causing Global Nuclear War
By Dan | March 4, 2008 - 3:09 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Best Of, Media & Marketing, Foreign Affairs, Stars & Stripes

June 8, 2009

President Barack Obama, speaking at a press conference in the Presidential underground bunker, recently expressed regret over invading Pakistan and generally causing the nuclear exchange last week that eradicated 95% of human civilization.   “Let me, let me, let me, let me just be absolutely clear what happened,” Obama answered, “it was a boneheaded move.”  The President was responding to questions from the three remaining journalists, several military personnel and a handful of the civilians that were spared the nuclear holocaust.

President Obama was clearly irritated by the prolonged questioning regarding the escalation of military exchanges that lead to the devastation.  “These requests, I think, could just go on forever,” the president said, before rushing off the broken crate serving as a podium.  “Come on! I just answered, like, eight questions.”

Gloria Steinem and the Growing Irrelevance of Identity Politics
By Dan | March 3, 2008 - 8:23 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Liberals, Op Ed, Clinton, Stars & Stripes

Gloria Steinem continues, in futility, to try to make herself relevant. Over the weekend, she made two comments that illustrate the intellectual dishonesty and moral equivalence that permeates the Left.
The Victim Card
First, not because it is more important, but rather more easily dealt with, is her assertion that women are and have been more oppressed than Blacks, and therefore women who do not support Hillary Clinton are betraying their own kind. This is pitiful indeed. Who a person votes for should not be determined by their sympathy for the type of person the candidate represents. If that were the case, the mentally retarded and maimed animals would win elections handily. I accept, of course, that many mentally retarded individuals have won elections by large margins, and this explains why Congress is what it is and has a 20% approval rating. Nonetheless, the weakest argument a candidate can make is “Vote for me because I’ve been tortured the longest.” Were that a valid argument, we could swear in John McCain tomorrow, notwithstanding what Mrs. Steinem says, referred to below.

McCain Slander
Second, Gloria Steinem actually mocked the torture Senator McCain received at the hands of the North Vietnamese. Torture that left him physically (and I would presume emotionally) scarred for life. She also noted that being tortured for eight years doesn’t qualify Mr. McCain to be president. There is an obvious emotional reaction to this for anyone with any common decency. There is also a strong temptation to further demean the whole political process and point out that, while Mrs. Steinem was getting groped at the Playboy Club before going home to a warm and cozy apartment, John McCain was being beaten every two hours because he wouldn’t say a bad word about the country for which he served.

Putting the emotions aside, this is clearly another intellectually feeble argument from the Left. First, the single most important quality in a President should be that person’s character. Character is the ability, not only to know right from wrong, but to summon the will to do what is right. John McCain could have, at any time, allowed the North Vietnamese to use him and his family connections for propaganda. (Propaganda that, it should go without saying, Steinem and her friends gave freely without coercion). John McCain’s time as a POW is one of the primary reasons so many Americans have such a deep and abiding respect for him. It shows strong moral character, determination and a willingness to sacrifice his personal comfort for the greater good, even when, most people would have given their capitulation.

Second, what is it about Mrs. Clinton’s experience that makes her qualified for office? Is staying married to a serial rapist and chronic liar suddenly a crucible through which good leadership is formed? Are shading real estate investments and cattle future windfalls the test of a born leader? Perhaps interning for the Black Panthers and cajoling the release of Puerto Rican terrorists is the mark of a President in the making?

As you would expect, upon public outcry, Senator Clinton’s campaign distanced itself, saying that Steinem’s comments “do not represent Senator Clinton’s thinking in any way.” Indeed. Nor do the comments represent that Gloria Steinem is thinking in any way, either.

On the wikipedia page for Mrs. Steinem, there appears a quote for which, I assume, she is famous: “Evil is obvious only in retrospect.”  How telling a philosophy.  I suppose, if that were true, you could get away with anything if you wrote the history books.

Barack to the Future: Obama Pledges Research Funds for Flux Capacitor
By Dan | March 1, 2008 - 11:53 am - Posted in Politics & Policy, Best Of, Foreign Affairs, 9/11, Stars & Stripes, Science, Today in History, Edukashun

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has made his name by promising “change” and to “look forward” on controversial issues like healthcare, Iraq and the economy. Specifically on the global war on terror in Iraq, Senator Obama has criticized Senator McCain’s plan for continuing the surge in Iraq as being “stuck in the past.”  Senator Obama’s plan would be to withdraw all troops, undoing the entire war, and only return if al Qaeda were found in Iraq.  Senator Obama has also noted that he would never have gone to war with Iraq. Critics have claimed that this is not a solution of the current situation, but merely bemoaning the current facts.

Today, Senator Obama clarified the inconsistency. “This campaign has been about change. Changing the way we work in Washington. Changing the way we think as a nation and changing the way the world sees us. Today, I pledge, that as President, I would change the past to bring us a brighter tomorrow.” Senator Obama’s “Change the Past” program includes $4 Trillion for research into a “flux capacitor” and $100,000 for a 1981 DMC-12 De Lorean. “With this technology, which will be built here in America by companies that hire only union workers and pay at least 60% of worker’s healthcare costs, we can change yesterday for a better tomorrow!”

Former Vice President Al Gore has raised issues about the plan, saying that he is “concerned about the carbon footprint of a 1.21 gigaWatt device.”

Senator Obama’s Change the Past platform would also:

  • Unelect president Bush;
  • Destroy the internal combustion machine (regardless of cost) before it begins its long history of polluting the environment;
  • Prevent himself and his wife from going to law school and making all that money; and
  • Ensure Reagan loses/lost to Obama’s personal inspiration, Jimmy Carter.