Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The more we hear about the incompetence of the Obama administration in dealing with this crisis, the more we continue to wonder how in the hell the American people could have elected this guy as our president:
* * * *
Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post · Saturday, Juan. 26, 2010
Some are attuned to the possibility of looming catastrophe and know how to head it off. Others are unprepared for risk and even unable to get their priorities straight when risk turns to reality.
The Dutch fall into the first group. Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. "Our system can handle 400 cubic met res per hour," Weird Oops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.
To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn't capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana's marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks.
The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of un preparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company's expense. "If there's a country that's experienced with building dikes and managing water, it's the Netherlands," says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston.
In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with "Thanks but no thanks," remarked Visser, despite BP's desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer --the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment --unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.
Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn't good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million -- if water isn't at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.
When ships in U.S. waters take in oil-contaminated water, they are forced to store it. As U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the official in charge of the clean-up operation, explained in a press briefing on June 11, "We have skimmed, to date, about 18 million gallons of oily water--the oil has to be decanted from that [and] our yield is usually somewhere around 10% or 15% on that." In other words, U.S. ships have mostly been removing water from the Gulf, requiring them to make up to 10 times as many trips to storage facilities where they off-load their oil-water mixture, an approach Koops calls "crazy."
The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer -- but only partly. Because the U.S. didn't want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.
A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out. With oil increasingly reaching the Gulf coast, the emergency construction of sand berns to minimize the damage is imperative. Again, the U.S. government priority is on U.S. jobs, with the Dutch asked to train American workers rather than to build the berns. According to Floris Van Hovell, a spokesman for the Dutch embassy in Washington, Dutch dredging ships could complete the berms in Louisiana twice as fast as the U.S. companies awarded the work. "Given the fact that there is so much oil on a daily basis coming in, you do not have that much time to protect the marshlands," he says, perplexed that the U.S. government could be so focussed on side issues with the entire Gulf Coast hanging in the balance.
Then again, perhaps he should not be all that perplexed at the American tolerance for turning an accident into a catastrophe. When the Exxon Valdez oil tanker accident occurred off the coast of Alaska in 1989, a Dutch team with clean-up equipment flew in to Anchorage airport to offer their help. To their amazement, they were rebuffed and told to go home with their equipment. The Exxon Valdez became the biggest oil spill disaster in U.S. history--until the BP Gulf spill.
- Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and author of The Deniers.
* * * *
While Obama plays golf and politics, an entire region of America is being ruined and millions of Gulf residents are watching their lives and their futures destroyed. What a disgrace...
Charles M. Grist
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Thomas Jefferson
The Supreme Court ruled on June 28 that the Second Amendment applies to all Americans. Here is the National Rifle Association article praising this ruling:
* * * *
National Rifle Association Hails Historic Victory on Second Amendment Freedom in McDonald v. City of Chicago
Monday, June 28, 2010
Fairfax, Va. -- The National Rifle Association of America today praised the U.S. Supreme Court's historic decision in another landmark Second Amendment case. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the Second Amendment applies not just to Washington, D.C. and other federal enclaves, but protects the rights of all Americans throughout the country. The opinion in McDonald v. City of Chicago brings an end to the nearly 30 year-long handgun ban that the city has imposed on its law-abiding citizens.
“This is a landmark decision,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “The Second Amendment -- as every citizen's constitutional right -- is now a real part of American constitutional law. The NRA will work to ensure this constitutional victory is not transformed into a practical defeat by activist judges defiant city councils or cynical politicians who seek to pervert, reverse or nullify the Supreme Court's McDonald decision through Byzantine labyrinths of restrictions and regulations that render the Second Amendment inaccessible, unaffordable or otherwise impossible to experience in a practical, reasonable way.”
As a party to the case, the NRA participated in oral arguments before the Court in March. The NRA persuasively argued that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment and that handgun bans, like those in the City of Chicago and the Village of Oak Park, are unconstitutional under any standard of judicial review. This same view was shared in friend of the court briefs by a bipartisan group of 309 members of Congress from both chambers, 38 state attorneys general, and hundreds of state legislators. Public opinion polls show that it is also shared by the overwhelming majority of the American people.
“This decision makes absolutely clear that the Second Amendment protects the God-given right of self-defense for all law-abiding Americans, period,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “Ironically, while crime in Chicago runs rampant and lawmakers there call on the National Guard for help, Mayor Daley has insisted on leaving the residents of his city defenseless. Today's opinion puts the law back on the side of the law-abiding. We will be watching closely to make sure that Chicago abides by both the letter and the spirit of the Supreme Court's decision.”
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.
* * * *
There are already rumblings that some cities and states will try to counter this ruling by implementing laws related to registration, insurance, or other requirements. Citizens must remain vigilant against further attempts to hamper the right to bear arms.
Charles M. Grist
Monday, June 28, 2010
This article sums up the challenges facing General David Petraeus and the obstacles America must overcome if we have any chance at all to succeed in Afghanistan. The bold highlights are mine:
* * * *
Petraeus' 3 Keys to Victory
Bing West | June 25, 2010
David Petraeus, who turned around a losing war in Iraq, is taking over as the commander in Afghanistan at an equally perilous moment in a more complicated war. He will confront three immediate issues -- the handling of which could well define whether NATO forces succeed or fail.
First, at the strategic level, Afghanistan can be stable only when Pakistan moves against the Taliban. The major technical problem is the 1,600-mile border with Pakistan that provides the Taliban and other terrorist groups with a sanctuary. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen, has cultivated a sound working relationship with the head of the Pakistani Army.
Elements of that army, however, want to maintain working relationships with the Taliban as a hedge. Meaning, if the U.S. abruptly withdraws and the Taliban take over, Pakistan wants to have some influence over a Taliban government in Kabul.
So Petraeus, along with other top officials, will be spending considerable time wooing Pakistan. If the Taliban do not feel squeezed, drawn-out negotiations about reconciliation and power-sharing will take place. As we saw four decades ago when Henry Kissinger negotiated with the North Vietnamese, reaching an agreement with an enemy that has not been defeated is perilous.
The second task Petraeus faces is at the operational level of war. He authored the Field Manual on Counterinsurgency, or COIN, that has become the textbook for waging this conflict. Its key premise was a two-sided social contract. On one side, we provide protection, projects and reasonably decent local administrators to support the civilian population; on the other side, the people reject the cause of the insurgents and point out the subversives.
However, so far the Pashtun tribes that gave rise to the Taliban movement have not bought into that contract. The Pashtuns have accepted projects, but rarely reciprocate by pointing out the Taliban hiding in plain sight among them or by urging their young men to join the government forces. This is the nub of the problem inside Afghanistan itself.
The third task awaiting Petraeus is at the tactical level. He must be very careful about the morale of his troops, who feel the rules of engagement have become too onerous. The worst outcome would be for our soldiers or Marines to avoid the hard areas because they felt they couldn't fight aggressively.
It's an incredibly complex, near-impossible balancing act: How much danger do our troops accept in order to avoid the risk of civilian casualties? Much of this is psychological and a matter of perception. Our soldiers need to know that the high command backs them up and is not judging them through constant investigations and second-guessing. More pressure must be placed on the enemy by killing and capturing insurgents.
In Iraq, Petraeus was out in the field -- the higherups call it "battlefield circulation" -- taking the pulse of his soldiers five out of every seven days. He's certain to do the same in Afghanistan, although the distances between forces are far, far greater. He can improve morale, but it'll take longer to connect with a critical mass of troops.
It's unlikely that he will quickly solve the rules-of-engagement conundrum either. Negotiations should come only after the coalition, not the Taliban, has the momentum.
But of all the challenges facing the new commander, the toughest will be persuading the Pashtun tribes to buy into the social contract that defines counterinsurgency.
There is no way counterinsurgency can yield such gains that major troop withdrawals can take place within a year, as intended by President Obama. Unlike Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Petraeus' great strength is that he is a political general in the good sense of the term. He knows how to include the press -- and not be trapped by unguarded remarks. Without the press, he cannot reach the American public and convince it that he knows what he is doing. He knows how to talk with politicians, foreign and domestic. He projects candor while being diplomatic, a rare combination.
Ultimately, whether the mission succeeds or fails will rest upon the relationship Petraeus establishes with Obama, who has been standoffish about the war. The President has to become more involved; he has to act as the commander in chief who is determined to prevail, as President George W. Bush was in Iraq. Petraeus will be a great asset to the President. But in the end, it is Obama's war, and so far, no one knows how committed he is.
(This op-ed originally appeared in The New York Daily News.)
* * * *
It is not enough to say that America must "stay the course." Our success in Afghanistan is directly proportional to the willingness of the Afghans and the Pakistanis to cooperate with our efforts.
If those in that region are not willing to help us, then no amount of money, determination, or American blood will build a self-sustaining, self-defending, and democratic Afghanistan.
In the end, it's not about US stepping up to the plate; it's about the Afghans and Pakistanis being willing to do so....
Charles M. Grist
Sunday, June 27, 2010
In an effort to expand the information and resources available on "American Ranger", I have added several pages (see the right side of this page.)
These pages will remain a work in progress. I hope you will visit them regularly, and I also hope you will make recommendations for additions to the pages.
Included on each page will be links to websites that provide invaluable information for active/reserve military (all branches), for military veterans of all wars, for law enforcement officers, and (last but not least) for American Patriots who care about preserving our Constitutional liberties.
Thanks again for visiting "American Ranger". I look forward to hearing from you.
Charles M. Grist
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The interesting interview below with Florida Senator George Lemieux reveals once again that President Obama is refusing to bring in the skimmers needed to pick up the oil in the Gulf. Only 20 are operating, but thousands more are available here and overseas. Until the oil is permanently capped, the effort to capture that oil before it reaches shore must be increased a thousand fold.
Perhaps it serves the radical agenda of Obama and his left-wing friends to simply let the Gulf oil spill destroy the ocean and the beaches. Then, more harsh actions could be explained by the Administration as justified, such as finding a way to stop ALL offshore drilling, nationalizing "uncooperative" or "inefficient" oil companies, and any number of other catastrophic measures that would further crush the economy, increase unemployment, and destroy the way of life of millions of Americans.
Although a judge ended the President's drilling moratorium for now, another attempt to handicap the citizens of the Gulf will surely raise its ugly head again.
After all, if "The One" dictates something, how could we possibly say no?
Easy. NO, Mr. President. As a matter of fact, HELL NO.....
Charles M. Grist
Monday, June 21, 2010
As my tour in Vietnam approached its end in mid-1971, I began receiving orders to "reduce" the use of artillery to "save" ammunition. During my missions with my infantry platoon, I would frequently "recon by fire" in the areas we would soon patrol. By telling me to not do so, my troops were put at risk. Since America was in the process of withdrawing from Vietnam, it was obvious to us that holding down the costs was more important than protecting the troops. Politics, once again, became the primary factor.
I have heard stories since 2004 from troops who were denied air support or other important needs during combat operations in Afghanistan. I have also heard the stories of unmotivated Afghan soldiers and police officers whose ranks are infiltrated with members of the Taliban.
Add to all of this the corruption that is rampant in the Afghan government, the advertising by the Obama administration that we are beginning our withdrawal next year, the lack of support of the Afghan people (unless we are building something in their village at the moment), the outright support of the Taliban by some factions in the Pakistani government, and the fact that the bad guys have safe havens in both Iran and Pakistan, and what you have is a situation not unlike what we faced in Vietnam. We are NOT on the offense; we are on the DEFENSE, plugging holes and reacting to the "threat of the week."
We did not lose the Vietnam war militarily; we will not lose militarily in either Afghanistan or Iraq. But these latest wars only happened because we were attacked on September 11th. The mission was to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda members who planned the attacks. Now we are embroiled in "nation-building". This may have worked in a Europe that was invaded by the Nazis, but the outcome in the Arab world may be very different among those who do not share our democratic values.
If our ultimate goals in either Iraq or Afghanistan do not succeed in the long run, it will not be because of the dedication, heroism, or initiative of our valiant troops. It will be because their leaders screwed it up, giving in to polls and politics and taking their eyes off the real objective: Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
* * * *
No bluffing in Afghanistan
Washington Post Writers Group
WASHINGTON -- Torrents of uninteresting mail inundate members of Congress, but occasionally there are riveting communications, such as a recent e-mail from a noncommissioned officer (NCO) serving in Afghanistan. He explains why the rules of engagement for U.S. troops are "too prohibitive for coalition forces to achieve sustained tactical successes."
Receiving mortar fire during an overnight mission, his unit called for a 155mm howitzer illumination round to be fired to reveal the enemy's location. The request was rejected "on the grounds that it may cause collateral damage." The NCO says the only thing that comes down from an illumination round is a canister, and the likelihood of it hitting someone or something was akin to that of being struck by lightning.
Returning from a mission, his unit took casualties from an improvised explosive device (IED) that the unit knew had been placed no more than an hour earlier. "There were villagers laughing at the U.S. casualties" and "two suspicious individuals were seen fleeing the scene and entering a home." U.S. forces "are no longer allowed to search homes without Afghan National Security Forces personnel present." But when his unit asked Afghan police to search the house, the police refused on the grounds that the people in the house "are good people."
On another mission, some Afghan adults ran off with their children immediately before the NCO's unit came under heavy small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades, and the unit asked for artillery fire on the enemy position. The response was a question: Where is the nearest civilian structure? "Judging distances," the NCO writes dryly, "can be difficult when bullets and RPGs are flying over your head." When the artillery support was denied because of fear of collateral damage, the unit asked for a "smoke mission" -- like an illumination round; only the canister falls to earth -- "to conceal our movement as we planned to flank and destroy the enemy." This request was granted -- but because of fear of collateral damage, the round was deliberately fired one kilometer off the requested site, making "the smoke mission useless and leaving us to fend for ourselves."
Counterinsurgency doctrine says success turns on winning the "hearts and minds" of the population, hence rules of engagement that reduce risks to the population but increase those of U.S. combatants. C.J. Chivers of The New York Times, reporting from Marja, Afghanistan, says "many firefights these days are strictly rifle and machine gun fights," which "has made engagement times noticeably longer, driving up the troops' risks and amplifying a perception that Marja, fought with less fire support than what was available to American units in other hotly contested areas, is mired in blood."
The value of any particular counterinsurgency must be weighed against the risks implicit in the required tactics. The U.S. mission in Afghanistan involves trying to extend the power, over many people who fear it, of a corrupt government produced by a corrupted election. This gives rise to surreal strategies. The Wall Street Journal recently reported U.S. attempts "to persuade (President) Karzai to act more presidential by giving him more responsibility for operations inside his country." Think about that.
Ann Marlowe, a visiting fellow of the Hudson Institute who has been embedded with U.S. forces in Afghanistan six times, says there have been successes at the local and even provincial levels "but nothing that has lasted even a year." And the election fraud last August that secured Karzai another five-year term was symptomatic: His "government has become more egregiously corrupt and incompetent in the last three or four years." Last month Marlowe reported: "The Pentagon's map of Afghanistan's 80 most key districts shows only five 'sympathetic' to the Afghan government -- and none supporting it." She suggests Karzai might believe that President Obama's announced intention to begin withdrawing U.S. troops next summer "is a bluff." Those Americans who say Afghanistan is a test of America's "staying power" are saying we must stay there because we are there. This is steady work, but treats perseverance as a virtue regardless of context or consequences, and makes futility into a reason for persevering.
Obama has counted on his 2011 run-up to re-election being smoothed by three developments in 2010 -- the health care legislation becoming popular after enactment, job creation accelerating briskly, and Afghanistan conditions improving significantly. The first two are not happening. He can decisively influence only the third, and only by adhering to his timetable for disentangling U.S. forces from this misadventure.
* * * *
When "political" considerations result in the "rules of engagement" being so restrictive that American lives are lost, then those rules better get fixed or the idiots in charge need to find new jobs. NOTHING is more important than giving our troops EVERY tool at their disposal to accomplish their mission and protect their lives.
Charles M. Grist
Monday, June 14, 2010
Today is Flag Day. Please take time to enjoy all the verses of the Star Spangled Banner. Also remember our sons and daughters who are fighting for it throughout the world:
* * * *
The Star Spangled Banner
by Francis Scott Key
O say! can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night, that our flag was still there.
O say! does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen thro' the mist of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream.
'Tis the Star-Spangled Banner. O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov'd home and war's desolation,
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n-rescued land
Praise the pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, "In God is our Trust."
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
* * * *
American warriors, thank you for your continued service and sacrifice.
Charles M. Grist
Thursday, June 10, 2010
With a lackluster effort toward resolving the oil spill crisis, by embracing the leader of the Palestinians while distancing himself from Israel, by pretending that the 400,000 plus "temporary" jobs created by the Census is an indicator of an improving economy, and by numerous other leadership failures, the real Barack Obama is finding that even those who supported him are turning away in disgust.
Here is an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal:
* * * *
The Alien in the White House
The distance between the president and the people is beginning to be revealed.
By DOROTHY RABINOWITZ
The Wall Street Journal
June 9, 2010
The deepening notes of disenchantment with Barack Obama now issuing from commentators across the political spectrum were predictable. So, too, were the charges from some of the president's earliest enthusiasts about his failure to reflect a powerful sense of urgency about the oil spill.
There should have been nothing puzzling about his response to anyone who has paid even modest critical attention to Mr. Obama's pronouncements. For it was clear from the first that this president—single-minded, ever-visible, confident in his program for a reformed America saved from darkness by his arrival—was wanting in certain qualities citizens have until now taken for granted in their presidents. Namely, a tone and presence that said: This is the Americans' leader, a man of them, for them, the nation's voice and champion. Mr. Obama wasn't lacking in concern about the oil spill. What he lacked was that voice—and for good reason.
Those qualities to be expected in a president were never about rhetoric; Mr. Obama had proved himself a dab hand at that on the campaign trail. They were a matter of identification with the nation and to all that binds its people together in pride and allegiance. These are feelings held deep in American hearts, unvoiced mostly, but unmistakably there and not only on the Fourth of July.
A great part of America now understands that this president's sense of identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike theirs. He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nation, because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his ideological class. He is the alien in the White House, a matter having nothing to do with delusions about his birthplace cherished by the demented fringe.
One of his first reforms was to rid the White House of the bust of Winston Churchill—a gift from Tony Blair—by packing it back off to 10 Downing Street. A cloudlet of mystery has surrounded the subject ever since, but the central fact stands clear. The new administration had apparently found no place in our national house of many rooms for the British leader who lives on so vividly in the American mind. Churchill, face of our shared wartime struggle, dauntless rallier of his nation who continues, so remarkably, to speak to ours. For a president to whom such associations are alien, ridding the White House of Churchill would, of course, have raised no second thoughts.
Far greater strangeness has since flowed steadily from Washington. The president's appointees, transmitters of policy, go forth with singular passion week after week, delivering the latest inversion of reality. Their work is not easy, focused as it is on a current prime preoccupation of this White House—that is, finding ways to avoid any public mention of the indisputable Islamist identity of the enemy at war with us. No small trick that, but their efforts go forward in public spectacles matchless in their absurdity—unnerving in what they confirm about our current guardians of law and national security.
Consider the hapless Eric Holder, America's attorney general, confronting the question put to him by Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas) of the House Judicary Committee on May 13.
Did Mr. Holder think that in the last three terrorist attempts on this soil, one of them successful (Maj. Nidal Hasan's murder of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, preceded by his shout of "Allahu Akbar!"), that radical Islam might have played any role at all? Mr. Holder seemed puzzled by the question. "People have different reasons" he finally answered—a response he repeated three times. He didn't want "to say anything negative about any religion."
And who can forget the exhortations on jihad by John Brennan, Mr. Obama's chief adviser on counterterrorism? Mr. Brennan has in the past charged that Americans lack sensitivity to the Muslim world, and that we have particularly failed to credit its peace-loving disposition. In a May 26 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mr. Brennan held forth fervently, if not quite comprehensibly, on who our enemy was not: "Our enemy is not terrorism because terrorism is just a tactic. Our enemy is not terror because terror is a state of mind, and as Americans we refuse to live in fear."
He went on to announce, sternly, that we do not refer to our enemies as Islamists or jihadists because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam. How then might we be permitted to describe our enemies? One hint comes from another of Mr. Brennan's pronouncements in that speech: That "violent extremists are victims of political, economic and social forces."
Yes, that would work. Consider the news bulletins we could have read: "Police have arrested Faisal Shahzad, victim of political, economic and social forces living in Connecticut, for efforts to set off a car bomb explosion in Times Square." Plotters in Afghanistan and Yemen, preparing for their next attempt at mass murder in America, could only have listened in wonderment. They must have marvelled in particular on learning that this was the chief counterterrorism adviser to the president of the United States.
Long after Mr. Obama leaves office, it will be this parade of explicators, laboring mightily to sell each new piece of official reality revisionism—Janet Napolitano and her immortal "man-caused disasters'' among them—that will stand most memorably as the face of this administration.
It is a White House that has focused consistently on the sensitivities of the world community—as it is euphemistically known—a body of which the president of the United States frequently appears to view himself as a representative at large.
It is what has caused this president and his counterterrorist brain trust to deem it acceptable to insult Americans with nonsensical evasions concerning the enemy we face. It is this focus that caused Mr. Holder to insist on holding the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in lower Manhattan, despite the rage this decision induced in New Yorkers, and later to insist if not there, then elsewhere in New York. This was all to be a dazzling exhibition for that world community—proof of Mr. Obama's moral reclamation program and that America had been delivered from the darkness of the Bush years.
It was why this administration tapped officials like Michael Posner, assistant secretary of state for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Among his better known contributions to political discourse was a 2005 address in which he compared the treatment of Muslim-Americans in the United States after 9/11 with the plight of the Japanese-Americans interned in camps after Pearl Harbor. During a human-rights conference held in China this May, Mr. Posner cited the new Arizona immigration law by way of assuring the Chinese, those exemplary guardians of freedom, that the United States too had its problems with discrimination.
So there we were: America and China, in the same boat on human rights, two buddies struggling for reform. For this view of reality, which brought withering criticism in Congress and calls for his resignation, Mr. Posner has been roundly embraced in the State Department as a superbly effective representative.
It is no surprise that Mr. Posner—like numerous of his kind—has found a natural home in this administration. His is a sensibility and political disposition with which Mr. Obama is at home. The beliefs and attitudes that this president has internalized are to be found everywhere—in the salons of the left the world over—and, above all, in the academic establishment, stuffed with tenured radicals and their political progeny. The places where it is held as revealed truth that the United States is now, and has been throughout its history, the chief engine of injustice and oppression in the world.
They are attitudes to be found everywhere, but never before in a president of the United States. Mr. Obama may not hold all, or the more extreme, of these views. But there can be no doubt by now of the influences that have shaped him. They account for his grand apology tour through the capitals of Europe and to the Muslim world, during which he decried America's moral failures—her arrogance, insensitivity. They were the words of a man to whom reasons for American guilt came naturally. Americans were shocked by this behavior in their newly elected president. But he was telling them something from those lecterns in foreign lands—something about his distant relation to the country he was about to lead.
The truth about that distance is now sinking in, which is all to the good. A country governed by leaders too principled to speak the name of its mortal enemy needs every infusion of reality it can get.
Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of the Journal's editorial board.
* * * *
Going to the polls in November is the most important way to begin fixing the mess in Washington created by the Democratic Party's "dictatorship". Americans need to send left-wingers like Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer - and anyone like them - into permanent retirement....
Charles M. Grist
Saturday, June 5, 2010
The extraordinary video (below) was forwarded by a friend in Kentucky:
* * * *
Should not be a man alive who doesn't get a wet eye watching this and thinking about those brave boys who fought for our freedom during WWII.
Here is background on this video as given on YouTube:
"While visiting the American cemetery in Normandy, a French gentleman and his friends came upon Amos, and when he realized that Amos was a World War II veteran who fought in Normandy, the French gentleman gave Amos a letter. My brother Joe read the letter to us and as we all listened, we all cried. You can see the thankfulness in the French gentleman, as he holds Amos's hand and thanks him as he leaves. A truly enchanting moment."
* * * *
On June 6, pause and offer thanks to those brave warriors of the Greatest Generation who fought their way ashore at Normandy and began the quest to re-capture Europe from the Nazis.
And if you see a World War II veteran at a restaurant - buy his meal....
Charles M. Grist
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
On this, my second day of retirement from the police department, I woke up at 3:30 AM in preparation for a day shift I no longer have to work. I guess it will take some time to adjust my sleep patterns.
Yesterday, Debbie and I met with the Chief and his command staff. I was given my retired identification card, my retired badge, my Glock handgun, and a nice display case with all my badges, ranks, awards, etc.
This morning, I went to the monthly breakfast of retired police officers from our agency. To be honest, it still doesn’t feel like I’m retired – only like I’m on vacation. After breakfast, I drove to the PD where I turned in all my uniforms, equipment, weapons, and other gear.
There are things I will miss about being a cop, but there are surely things I won’t miss. Here are a few of each:
* * *
Some of the things I’ll miss
Having coffee with my fellow squad members in the morning – including the jokes, the gripes, and the general good feeling of being with people I trust to watch my back;
The memorable arrests over many years of robbers, thieves, burglars, and other human predators in society who prey upon innocent people;
The opportunity to make little differences from day to day as you help people face and resolve some of their problems;
A few of those things I won’t miss
Dealing with petty thieves, punks, drug addicts, drunks, wise asses, professional transients (who love being transients), domestic violence calls, dead body calls, and a host of filthy, dirty, slimy situations involving people who just don’t get it.
* * *
Now I have to take a deep breath and discover what it’s like when you don’t have to punch a clock every day. After all, for the last 43 years it’s been either college, the Army, or work. Yes, I know I’m lucky to even have the chance to retire.
For me, it’s on to the next adventure – whatever that may turn out to be. I’ll also work on promoting the book, try to finish another one, and enjoy some carefree time with Debbie.
Stick around; this old man ain’t done yet……
Charles M. Grist