Monday, September 17, 2007

All Over the Map...

Interesting op-ed published in the Houston Chronicle yesterday… “Yellow ribbons on cars don’t measure real support.” Excerpts:

Out of a nation of now 300 million people, who really cares about the young men and women we send into harm's way?

Let's see. Those on active duty obviously care, their families care, veterans care, a small number in the media care, some states like Texas care more than others, and a minute amount of the national population actually cares. But for the vast majority of the rest America, the young men and women who serve on the front lines and protect us from evil are all but invisible. They don't exist in our lives, they occupy no space in our minds, and their sacrifice goes unnoticed and unappreciated.

Many on the far left think those in uniform are fools, puppets or even war criminals. Witness the already controversial ad run in the New York Times last week by that intimates Gen. David Petraeus — a nonpartisan professional soldier of impeccable reputation — may in fact be "General Betray Us." Is that their "support" for our troops?

Politicians who speak for the far left often say, "I support the troops but not the war." Proudly, liberal Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, often parrots that exact phrase. This is the same man who, while in the terrorist-sponsoring state of Syria, just denounced the Iraq war on Syrian television and praised Syrian President Bashar al-Assad— a dictator who, according to our intelligence agencies, allows and encourages Islamists to cross his border into Iraq to kill U.S. soldiers. Is that "support" as defined by Kucinich?


What about the far right? What about those who purport to speak for my party? Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and Steve Cambone were three high-level political appointees in the Rumsfeld Pentagon who were instrumental in planning the Iraq war and wildly underestimating the response. Do they "support" our troops? What price do these, never been in the military, ivory tower academics pay for their gross miscalculations?

As they move forward with their careers and makes hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, what support do they offer to the families of the almost 4,000 killed and 30,000 wounded?

The author, Douglas MacKinnon, used to work for Senator Bob Dole. Mr. MacKinnon makes some excellent points (especially about the media), but I’m not sure I agree with his conclusion. But then again, perhaps I’m just out of touch with mainstream America. Life in a small community with a very visible military presence just might skew my point of view. We here on The High Plains see our Air Force every single day…and we’re thankful for them, too… just as we are proud of, and thankful for, our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and Coasties. We just don’t see those guys as often. That doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about them.

Out of sight is NOT out of mind.

You may have read about that mysterious Israeli air strike on Syria that took place last week. The Times (UK) had an interesting article about it yesterday, but that article didn’t say a whole lot, in the final accounting. TigerHawk, on the other hand, has some very interesting speculation on the subject. I say “speculation” because I’m quite sure he doesn’t really know what happened…and those in a position to know certainly aren’t saying. Be sure to scroll down and read the comments, one of which also appears to be very well-informed. Osirak, redux…indeed. Except this time the Iranians might well be on the receiving end. And that ain’t a bad thing. Not at all.

My bottom line? Thank GOD for the Israelis.

Here’s a follow-up to yesterday’s post rant about that frickin’ Hamsher person…and I use the term “person” quite lightly… “witch,” or a term rhyming with same, just might be more appropriate. But I digress. Darleen Click, posting at Protein Wisdom, has more “greatest hits” from the comments to Hamsher’s post, and they’ll curl your hair. But be sure to go, if only to get a look at the cover of Hamsher’s new romance novel: “Disciplining Elizabeth.” Classic.

(h/t: Lex)

Performance Art I might could enjoy…maybe. And that’s a big maybe. I’ve always laughed at the concept of “performance art” in the past, but that was before (a) there were motorcycles involved in (b) a cause to save an historic building. Both those facts in combination just might change my mind about the concept. Well, that and nekkid women topless cello players. (ed: Did you really say that? Ummm, yep, I did. But I was joking.)

But then again, it’s a “by invitation” performance, and I wasn’t invited. But if I had been invited, the chances are that I, and most everyone else, would enjoy this. Assuming one doesn’t mind a little smoke and more than a little noise. Well, “noise” is in the ear of the beholder, ain’t it? One man's noise is another's music...especially in this case.

(photo credit: New York Times.)

Finally, apropos of not much… I heard this tune… which is new to me… yesterday evening. The lyrics struck a chord, but the music is just so-so, what with being described by RP listeners as reminiscent of Cake and/or Leonard Cohen. LC I like, Cake…not so much. But, as I said: it’s the lyrics. Herewith, lyrics to “The Wonderful Wizard,” by The Guggenheim Grotto.

I have been told
not by one but two of my lovers
that I've got a heart of gold
but I'm unable to share it with others
They call me a poet who'll never have a poem
a tiger with no taste for bone
I'm the wonderful, wonderful wizard of waltzing alone
And I have been told
not by one but two of my brothers
that a solitary soul
is a thorn in the side of all others
Just like a homeless, that hangs around your home
or a mother who'd give away her own
I'm the wonderful, wonderful wizard of waltzing alone
Haven't you been told
one man’s meat is the ruin of another
your Edgar Allen crow
is the very bird that holds me together
They call me a poet who'll never have a poem
a tiger with no taste for bone
I'm the wonderful, wonderful wizard of waltzing alone
We’re all off to see the wizard. The wonderful, wonderful,
wonderful wizard

“A solitary soul is a thorn in the side of all others.” You think that’s true, Gentle Reader? I’m not quite sure why, but I do.

Today’s Pic: SN3 on the bridge of USS Mason (DDG 87). Bobby was six years old. The Mason was pretty much brand-new.

April, 2003.


  1. Toby and I read and discussed the recent Israeli strike - very interesting. Thanks for the links. I had been wanting to read more on the subject.

    Being in small town America with an Air Force base and Army base nearby probably skews my views, too. Then again, it makes me wonder just whose view is really skewed.

    I don't think a solitary sole is a thorn in the side of others.

  2. So much to comment on...but I'll just say that I think that's the only performance art that I would like...wish I was invited.

  3. I'd like a national referendum on this: Do we want our military to be placed under civilian command? YES or NO.

    It seems a lot of folks, the author of your first link included, have lost sight of this. If the military is to be commanded by civilians, very often you're going to have executive decisions about that military made by people who have not personally served, either in or out of combat. This is not a False Dilemma. You allow things to be managed by civilians who lack military experience, now and then, or you don't allow civilian command at all. There is no in-between.

    All who doubt that, let them host a different national referendum: Should prior military service be a hard pre-requisite to eligibility for the Presidency? I know that sounds like a great idea to some at first blush...let that idea rattle around for a year or so, and I think folks would catch on to what's wrong with it.

    As to my first referendum, I don't think there's any substantial disagreement. Most people do not want an independent military, serving at the pleasure of its own commanders, free from oversight. I think most people find that horrifying. Instead, what I think we have is a disparity insofar as the quality with which folks are noodling this out. You want the civilians to direct the military, that will have to include non-military-experienced civilians...and from time to time, they're going to have to send the military into harm's way.

    It may make for a wonderful talking-point for the anti-war folks, but that is all it is. The decisions that are needed most urgently, are the ones that set up the "decider" for the greatest criticism down the road. That's life.

  4. Buck,
    With my son now in the Navy, I know that has dramatically changed my views, I think if it doesn't effect you directly then it is the head in the sand concept. I also live near the Air Force Academy, but never really appreciated what it stood for. I finally had to admit that my head has been in the sand.



  5. I don't think a solitary [strike]sole[/strike] soul is a thorn in the side of others.

    Thanks for that, Lou. Somehow I didn't think you would.

    Triple E: On wishing you were invited... You and me both!!

    Shelly: You live in Colorado Springs? I was just by your place in May. I have two observations: (a) There are danged few places in the US that are more beautiful than your town. (b) And danged few with worse traffic, too! It took me more than an hour to transit CS on I-25, due in part to bad timing on my part (rush hour), but mostly because of the god-awful construction chaos. And I was on the bike, too, which made it doubly miserable. I got a lot of time to look around, though. ;-)

    Morgan: That chickenhawk thing just doesn't fly with me. That said, I'm much more comfortable with a president who's been in the military...Jimmuh being the exception that proves the rule, of course. He danged near destroyed the military as I knew it. You could hear a VERY audible sigh of relief all over the Air Force when Reagan won in 1980...and I'm sure it was the same in the other services, as well.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.