General Commentary (May be military related) email: Kudzuacres1@juno.com
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
Talked to my daughter in Denver last night. She had been to Woodland Park to help a friend's dad move his things from his house about two miles from the fire front. She said he was able to get the important stuff out, his dogs, things from his parents, his clothes and some pictures. Funny how the definition of what is important changes when we are faced with something like the Hayden fire. Get the dogs and what your parents left you. The living things and the memories.
Israel has decided to occupy portions of Palestinian Territory each time there is a murder bombing. Good for them. I have never been a big supporter of Israel. I tend to look for the U.S. national interest and, frankly, always had trouble seeing where Israel fit in the national interest picture. I have never been too crazy about Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the other Arab countries either. The only difference between Saddam and the "royal houses" of Ibn Saud and the El Sabahs is he got there 40 years too late to be recognized as "king" by the US and UK. If anything, until recnt years Iraq may have been more free than either Saudia Arabia or Kuwait. It might still be.
Now it seems to me that Israel is on the frontlines of the war for western civilization. Actually, make that civilization. Saudia Arabia, Syria and Iraq are on the other side.
Israel must act decisively to make the life of the average Palestinian a living hell. The terrorists are recruited from and supported by the populace which must be made to understand that they cannot win. So the Europeans and the UN scream and yell. That is all they will do since they have the neither will nor means to do otherwise. Sooner or later we must come to the realization that we are in a non-conventional war. It will not be fought like WWII or even Vietnam, but in the streets of the western nations. To win, the West must root them out and kill them.
Ralph Peters, a retired Army officer and a prolific writer talks about the warrior culture as opposed the soldier culture practiced in the West. The warriors win as long as they can avoid direct confrontation with the soldiers. Israel has begun direct confrontation with the warriors and their supporters. Let us hope the US is not far behind.
Tuesday, June 18, 2002
From all the articles about Watergate, it must be some kind of anniversary. Darn, has it been thirty years since those wonderful days of yesteryear, Tricky Dicky and the gang? Dick Nixon was one of my favorite people of all time. I would have voted for him in 1968 if I had managed to register to vote, which I had not. The Board of Registrars in my home county in Alabama required you to appear before them and pick a party. Any party other than the Democrat was not an acceptable choice. Remember, this was Alabama. So no registration for me. Now for those too young to remember, Dicky had a plan to get us out of Vietnam. He was not very specific about the plan, but at least he had a plan. Actually, that sounds like several of our Alabama candidates this election season, but I digress. All we had to do was trust him, and a plurality of voters did. Now I did not expect instant results, so when the war or whatever was not over in November 1969, off I went to Southeast Asia, not to Vietnam but to Thailand where we diligently provided bombs and fuel for B52s. Aside from occasionally getting shot at, it was not a bad assignment. It was a little embarrassing to discover in April 1970 that the bombs we had been providing were dropped on Cambodia, but who would have suspected that a President of the good old USA would actually lie to his fellow Americans? After all, we had grown up in the Kennedy and Johnson Eras. There we were in the second year of Nixon and still in Vietnam. A couple more of my friends had been killed or seriously wounded. Ah, but Tricky still had a plan and I still had a few years left in the Army. Soon 1972 came rolling around and a new election. This time every candidate had a plan. I think Nixon's was more of the same, McGovern was into abject surrender and Wallace wanted to use nukes, but then no one was very specific.
Now, it would probably be hard to find someone today who would admit to having been a Nixon supporter in 1972, but where I was in Germany, George McGovern was considered to be only slightly less traitorous than Benedict Arnold and George Wallace was better not mentioned around the Army. Sometime between 1968 and '72, the federal government passed a law that allowed postcard voter registration for military people. Since I did not have to appear before the Registration Board, I registered and asked for an absentee ballot. Soon it arrived and I eagerly sat down to vote. My choices, an elephant, a donkey and a rooster. There were TWO Democrat Parties on the ballot and I had no idea which was which! I did not vote for Richard Nixon, but to this day I don't know who I voted for. I guess one of the Georges.
Soon after casting my ballot, I received a note from the Alabama Tax Office that I needed to file state income taxes. Seems they had cross-referenced the absentee ballots against the tax records. Cost me $500 in state income taxes to vote for someone other than Richard Nixon.
It was worth it.
Monday, June 17, 2002
An all around good day. Both my offspring remembered Father's Day. My wife mowed the lawn again. The market went up so I am down to being able to retire when I reach 86. I'm sure it will be back to 100 tomorrow. The firebug was nabbed in Colorado where both my offspring live and the Judge had the good sense to deny bail. I am a conservative tree-hugger. Cut'em when you need'em, but don't waste. Burning a 100,000 thousand acres is waste and if you are familiar with Colorado, it cannot afford to waste many trees. Ten years and $500,000. Seems pretty lenient to me. And the USA made it to the semi-finals of the World Cup. I don't watch soccer, finding it slightly less exciting than watching Kudzu grow, but I did coach youth soccer once upon a time. It is a great game for children and wannabee children. It is exciting to play, burns calories like crazy and sure beats running in the street for exercise. And in youth soccer, fake injuries are not allowed. There are some excellent American Soccer players and it is good to see them win.
Thanks to Mr. Possumblog for referring people here. As far as I know, there are no possums in the Kudzu. There is at least one large, fat groundhog and a family of birdseed thieving squirrels, but alas, no possums. The war on the squirrels is as futile as the war on the kudzu. I have become painfully aware that the furry creatures are smarter than I am. I erect barriers. They take a day and go around, through or over them. My wife has been wishing for an air rifle so that she can shoot the little beasts, but I am too softhearted (headed?) for such violence. Plus it is probably not squirrel season if such a thing still exists. Thus, my birds have been displaced. There is probably a moral in here somewhere, but I'll leave it to you to find.
Several years ago, there was a movie “Natural Born Killers”. Soon after it was released, Fred Reed wrote a column in which he described real natural born killers. He was talking about the small percentage of military people he had met over the years who were truly natural born killers with their innate abilities channeled to the Nation’s defense. Mr. Reed described the sensation of sitting and drinking with a guy who would instantly kill you if his Commander told him to. I remember thinking at the time that I had known a couple of those people myself.
I would use a different word to describe these people. Serious! I suspect that the Islamic Terrorist organizations have more than the normal distribution of serious people. Serious people cannot be dealt with in ordinary, everyday ways. By their nature, they are not normal people.
If you want to try to understand what it is like to be a serious person, try to plan some outrageous act such as breaking into some highly guarded facility you know of. Now plan it as if it does not matter if you or your compatriots survive the break in. See, it is a lot easier. This is what we face as a Nation; people who want to kill us, and who do not care if they personally survive.
The only way to deal with serious people is to be more serious than they are and be totally focused on the mission. We cannot be concerned about turf, not can we be concerned about the sensibilities and rights of the people who wish to do us harm. We must use every means we have to root these people out and destroy them. We care about our Nation’s survival, and must act as ruthlessly as the enemy if we are to defend it successfully.
He went to work in the Mobile Shipyards at 15 lying about his age and ability to weld. When WWII ended, he was laid off from the shipyard and went back to work at whatever he could get. His first child was born when he was 19. Four more followed With a fourth grade education, he worked most of his life at construction jobs working himself up to foreman of a thirty man heavy equipment maintenance crew. He played good Bluegrass guitar and better than good Mandolin. He died at 49 of brain cancer. He lived to see four grandchildren. Like much of his life, his death was painful. At his funeral, the Church over flowed. When you spend your spare time helping others however you can, people remember.
His eldest son went to college, earned an MBA, was commissioned in the U.S. Army and served 30 years. He received awards from the Army and traveled the world, but the best award ever was from his Dad who told a friend, “That boy can play the guitar pretty good.”
The world is full of things I don’t understand. Even worse, I suspect that everyday someone is thinking up something new that I will not understand. In the vast realm of things I do not understand are those things I understand even less than my usual first class lack of grasp.
For instance, acceptance of a religion other than one’s own and those who think that all religions have equal validity. That is a totally illogical premise. If Christianity is the true religion, then Islam is wrong. So are all other religions. A little intolerant am I? Not at all. It seems to me that anyone who holds religious beliefs should think the same way. This is not a choice between Coke and Pepsi. Religion is about connection with God. It is about eternity
Religion is a choice that a human makes. True, most people end up choosing the religion of their parents and the society in which they are reared, but most also practice that religion as casually as their society will allow.
However; if you are serious about your religion, you cannot give equal credence to mine if it differs. If all religions are equal, then logically I should pick the one which asks the least of me and so should you.
Is there a Church of the Beach?
My friend’s son has been notified that he will be deployed to Afghanistan in August. Another one hits close to home. I am reminded of my own first deployment over thirty years ago. My family and friends held a party for me. A man who I greatly admired attended. I had always considered him to be the most hardcore, macho men I knew. As I was preparing to leave for the airport, I noticed that he was crying. In shock, I asked him why. He told me he had fought in WWII so that his children would never have to go to war, and here he was sending me off to war only a couple of months after his own eldest son.
And so it goes. Every twenty years or so, we send our children to war. As the Nation’s population grows, a smaller percentage go each time and chances are you may not personally know any soldier being deployed. But look at the faces of the soldiers when they appear on TV or in the newspaper. They are young! My friend’s son is a Lieutenant. He is 23. His platoon is made up of 19-20 year olds. They are everyone’s children. Maybe you want to shed a tear for them.