If Everyone Cared

Today, SSgt. Tom Rabjohn was laid to rest here in Arizona. His memorial was held at the same enormous NW Valley church where we honored Tony Holly just two and a half years ago. Rabjohn was deployed with his National Guard unit to Afghanistan in April of this year. On October 3, as he was defusing a roadside bomb, he noticed a sister device about to go off. He managed to get everyone else away, and paid with his life.

He was also a Phoenix Police officer.

One of his best friends eulogized him by saying, “he put his trust in Colt, Glock, Jeep, Keystone Beer, Toby Keith and Nickelback.” I didn’t know him well, but I saw what kind of officer Tom Rabjohn was while on duty myself, and after the first time I met him, I was always glad to see him on the street.

He served his country and believed in his mission. He was in EOD–Explosives Ordinance Disposal/Detection–and his job was to do exactly what he was doing that day in Afghanistan. I’m sure if we had talked to him about what he believed, he’d have said what every other soldier, police officer, and public safety worker always says: that he wants this world to be a better place, but he has no delusions that it will come without sacrifice. He paid with his life, and his wife and three daughters lost the center of their entire world. They paid, too, whether they meant to or not.

The song “If Everyone Cared” by Nickelback is one of my favorites. The chorus goes, “if everyone cared and nobody cried/if everyone loved and nobody lied/if everyone shared and swallowed their pride/then we’d see the day that nobody died.” It’s a truth those of us who are capable of love wish more than anything we could make reality. And though I didn’t know him well, I can say with confidence that SSgt. Rabjohn likely wished with all his might that he could make it reality.

But the coldness of the reality we all live with every day, the reality I see etched in the lines on the faces of the police officers, firefighters and EMT’s I work with, is far crueler than most people will ever be willing to accept. The majority of the population only knows the dramatizations that they see on prime-time television. Many will never be directly touched by the evil in this world, a fact that may be a double-edged blade. While I’m glad that our society is still holding on to right and wrong somewhere deep in our psyche, it seems that most of those who want to ban guns, stop all wars, and believe that utopia is attainable are often those who have never experienced the deepest darkness that a human being can experience.

Tom Rabjohn loved his country. Despite what so many Americans are unwilling to accept about Afghanistan, he served with distinction. And while here at home he served our city with a quiet dignity that those who are quick to cry “police brutality” will never believe. If everyone cared, we would never have to see a sight like the one that left a hole in the City of Phoenix today–that of a good man being laid to rest, having died a true hero to help save us from the evil that so many refuse to believe exists.

Thomas Rabjohn, PPD badge #7803, you did a good job. I promise we won’t let you down. And to Nikki Rabjohn, and Kylee, Koree and Kelsee, our hearts are with you. I know none of us can never wish more than you that this world wasn’t the place where Tom had to face evil so we didn’t have to.

Obama to Taliban: Let’s Make A Deal!

Democrats are saying some amazing things right now…and they’re ensuring their pending demise with their words. Today, it’s come out that President Obama is talking about only sending enough extra troops to Afghanistan to effectively fight Al-Qaeda. Worse yet, he’s talking about making the Taliban “a partner in the political process.”

I’m sorry…since when did we recognize any difference between Al-Qaeda and the Taliban?

They may go by different names, but in ideals they are the same. They both believe that America is the great satan. They both believe that jihad needs to be carried out against America. The Taliban may be a government while Al Qaeda is a paramilitary organization, but I can’t tell where one begins and the other ends. And I cannot believe that we’re talking about actually trying to make a deal with the Taliban.

The Taliban gave Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda shelter, resources, and the ability to train for jihad. They helped 9/11 happen. While I may agree that we needed to have a better plan before taking action against Iraq, we should have taken out the Taliban before they got a foothold back in the 80’s. There was no excuse for allowing them to take power. We have pictures and video of human rights violations that make my blood run cold, and our President wants to make a deal?

I don’t suppose this has anything to do with his Muslim upbringing. Or his desire to find some way to apologize to the world.

I hear liberals all day telling me how even the war in Afghanistan is wrong and needs to end. It’s their culture, they say. It’s not up to us to tell other people how to live.

This is where Philip goes, “Oh, REALLY?”

If it’s not our job to tell anyone how to live, then what’s the point of hate crimes legislation (which, by the way, you’ll get your wish for today when Congress votes to add sexual orientation to the list)? If we don’t have any right to tell anybody else what’s right and wrong, then why do we as a society have any laws to begin with? If it’s not up to us to determine what constitutes a punishable human rights violation, then what the hell gives you the right to call waterboarding torture? And please, explain to me WHY you’re demanding a global response to the genocide in Darfur. Explain this to me. Tell me why Israel is so wrong for doing what they do and defending themselves, why you’re so ready to support Palestinian suicide bombers.

If it is not our business what another nation does because that’s their culture, then why do you point fingers at us here at gayconservative and say that we must be a group of self-loathing closet cases and liken us to Jews trying to be Nazis?

You can’t have it both ways. Either there’s a clear right and wrong and we’re willing to stand up for it or everything is gray and there should be no societal law.

Oh, and I have to point this one out, too–GOP members issued a statement about the kerfuffle over the proposed troop surge in Afghanistan, saying, “If Nancy Pelosi’s failed economic policies are any indicator of the effect she may have on Afghanistan, taxpayers can only hope McChrystal is able to put her in her place.”

Pelosi, on cue, made it a women’s rights issue and was completely aghast that Republicans would dare make such a statement. She just couldn’t believe that they’d say that to the first woman speaker of the house, and she hasn’t heard that language in decades.

Get a clue, Pelosi. We don’t give a damn what’s in your jockeys. What we care about is the fact that you have zero military experience and no concern whatsoever for what’s best for our nation and the future. That comment had nothing at all to do with your gender, so please, quit trying to make this a civil rights game. You’re proving that you’re incapable of using your brain to respond intelligently. You’re only playing politics, the same partisan game you accuse Republicans of.

One more thing…if any Republican had done what Charlie Rangel has, you’d be calling for his head. You’ve done it for far lesser offenses. Once we take the reins, you can bet your gender- and race-baiting ass he’ll answer for what he’s done.

Greater Love Has No One Than This

On June 28, 2005, the members of US Navy SEAL team 10 were sent on a reconnaissance mission in the mountains of Afghanistan in the Hindu Kush. Mike Murphy, Danny Deitz, Matt Axelson and Marcus Luttrell were following a known Taliban terrorist to gain intel; they were hidden just off a mountain path when, out of nowhere, three goatherders came up the path and nearly stepped on one of the men. Out of necessity, the SEALs detained the goatherders and discussed their options.

The options were slim. They knew by the way the Afghanis were looking at them and interacting with them that the instant they let them go, they’d tell the Taliban where to find them and they’d be dead. But the other half of the conversation was even more disgusting: these highly-trained SEALs were more afraid of the press than they were of the Taliban. They knew that if they didn’t kill the goatherders right then, right there on that mountain, Taliban fighters would swarm the area and snuff them out. If they did kill the three Afghanis, however, they would be castigated by the liberal media back home–and, in the words of Lt. Mike Murphy, “we’ll be tried for murder shortly thereafter.” A situation that would have been a no-brainer during WWII became a political quagmire on the side of a mountain in Afghanistan.

Lt. Murphy had a choice. He could kill the goatherders (effectively ending any threat of the Taliban knowing they were there), save his men, and complete his mission, providing valuable intel on a major Taliban leader. Or, he could give more importance to the political aspect, let the goatherders go alive, and face almost certain death to protect their reputations from the ravages of the press.

They were more afraid of the press in the country they were fighting to protect than they were of the enemy that threatened to kill them.

Anybody who paid attention to the news at the time knows what the outcome was. They released the goatherders, and within minutes they were set upon by hundreds of Taliban soldiers. They fought like hell, like the SEALs they were, and in the middle of the fight Lt. Murphy took the radio from a badly wounded Danny Dietz with no regard for his own safety and moved to an open location to radio for help. This single act resulted in Murphy being mortally wounded. Lt. Murphy, Danny Dietz and Matt Axelson died on the mountain that day, and 16 more–including four of their fellow SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers sent to rescue them–were killed when their Chinook helicopter was shot down by the Taliban.

Marcus Luttrell was the single survivor of the battle. With cracked vertebrae, gunshot wounds and shrapnel in both legs Luttrell managed to drag himself seven miles before a group of Afghani villagers took him in and cared for him until the village elder could get a message to US forces. He was rescued on July 3, days after the battle, having been fiercely protected by the Afghani villagers who took pity on him.

It is a travesty that the bravest of all of us should have more fear for their own countrymen than they should of the murderous enemy. Each one of them knew what they were doing. They knew what they were fighting for, and they willingly paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms. Lt. Michael P. Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2007 for his courageous act to protect his men, made necessary by the political correctness that pervades our culture. Given any circumstances, though, he’d have done no different. Nor would any of the men who gave their lives that day, including the four SEAL teammates who were the first to board the chopper to help them.

Any American who does not understand the significance of Memorial Day should be ashamed of themselves. I have met more than a couple. Today is a day to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who have fought, bled and died for our freedom. We should never forget. And any person who feels it necessary to demean those who still fight to the point that they would put these heroes in danger should feel suicidally guilty. There should never be any reason for our heroes to fear any of us more than they fear our enemies. I wonder how the reporters who break these half-baked “stories” sleep at night.

“Greater love has no one than this: that he would lay down his life for his friends.” –John 15:13

Stop The Christian Taliban?

Ugh…I can’t believe I just read that. Now that I’ve just suffered the blow of watching former WWE playboy Brock Lesnar top the legendary Randy Couture, I’m trying to distract myself. With this story, it’s not hard.

Nationwide protests were held today by gay rights activists across the country. In response to the passage of Proposition 8 in California–which overturned the CA supreme courts’ decision that allowed gay and lesbian couples–there was a huge turnout by GLBT people and their supporters in every corner of America. Attention has been called anew to the cause of gay rights, and as usual, the hysterics rule the day.

The most insane thing I saw came from pictures and video of the march through Hillcrest (the gay neighborhood in San Diego). You can see them here. One woman painted “stripped of human rights” on her nearly-bare torso. Signs included such sayings as, “stop LDS preaching hate,” “we the str8 people,” “love will triumph over h8” and “is a gay vote only 3/5 of a vote?”. The most outrageous, however, said “stop the Christian Taliban!”

Yep, it really did say that. Stop the Christian Taliban.

Lemme tell you folks something. Any of my family and friends who have been to Afghanistan can back this up, not to mention those who survived the Taliban. The Taliban was the most cruel dictatorship known to the modern world. Saddam hardly held a candle to these monsters. They were (and still are) widely known to take such a hardline approach to Sharia Law that only three countries in the entire world recognized the Taliban as the ruling government of Afghanistan, and Iran and Iraq were NOT among them. The Taliban was so horribly strict in its enforcement of Sharia that their religious police were given power to viciously beat women in the streets for the slightest offense–even being caught in a taxi without a male relative escort was grounds for a sound thrashing.

We have all seen by now the video footage of a Taliban enforcer executing a woman, her crime unknown, by shooting her in the back of the head with an AK-47 while she knelt on a soccer field. Under the Taliban, women were not allowed to be educated; the only job any female was allowed to hold was in the medical field as men were banned from examining women. The traditional burqa was taken a step further under their regime, requiring all skin to be covered–even the eyes–with little more than a cloth screen to see through. Most disgusting of all was the proliferation of the practice of female circumcision, or the forced semi-surgical removal of the clitoris, which is believed by Muslims to create lust in women.

Are you disgusted yet? I sure as hell hope so.

There are far worse things that cannot be described here, crimes committed by the Taliban that the nightly news can’t report. The people of Afghanistan, particularly the women, suffered horrors untold at the hands of the Taliban. And much like comparing George W. Bush to Hitler, comparing American Christians to the Taliban cheapens the reality that they brought and the true horror they embody. It’s a slap in the face to the survivors to liken your struggle to have “equal rights” to the hell they endured.

Completely aside from that, it cheapens our message. I believe Arkansas was wrong for banning homosexuals from adopting children; some of the gay couples I know are far better parents than some of the straight families I know. I believe that eventually, we will realize our right to marry, but until then we need to accept civil unions as a stepping stone. Sexual orientation is far more difficult to prove than actual physical race and we’re fighting an uphill battle that we need to be wise about.

Calling American Christians the “Christian Taliban” certainly isn’t going to get us where we want to be. It is purely, truly and wholly an insult that takes absolutely no insight into the enormous difference between the two struggles. We’re not fighting for our survival, folks; we’re arguing to be equal. Christians (other than Phelps, of course) don’t wish to kill us, torture us, or even jail us for living our lives freely, loving who we are naturally going to love. If we’re to have any hope whatsoever of being taken seriously then we have got to quell such outrageous statements, elsewise we only lend credence to their cause.

A False Ally

This blurb from FoxNews.com got me going a bit.

 NEW YORK —  Pakistan’s top diplomat says there are no U.S. or other foreign military personnel on the hunt for Osama bin Laden in his nation, and none will be allowed in to search for the al-Qaida leader.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told The Associated Press Saturday that his nation’s new government has ruled out permitting any such military operations, covert or otherwise, to catch militants.

In the interview, he said that “any foreign intrusion would be counterproductive,” and that it will create “an anti-U.S. feeling.”

The United States, increasingly frustrated as al-Qaida, the Taliban and other militants thrive in Pakistan’s remote areas and in neighboring Afghanistan, has offered U.S. troops to strike at terror networks.

Let me replay one sentence of that for you.

In the interview, he said that “any foreign intrusion would be counterproductive,” and that it will create “an anti-U.S. feeling.”

Anti-US feeling?  Roam the streets of Karachi or Islamabad and figure out what the “feeling” is concerning the US.  THEY HATE US ANYWAY.  I fail to understand how we need the permission of these foreign aid leeches in order to kill our public enemy number one. Why do we care that our approval rating amongst the Pakistani populace might fall from 8% to 3% if we attack killers on their soil?

I had a lot of hope for the new government of Pakistan.  But they have shown themselves to be spineless pacifists who are NOT dedicated to the eradication of terrorist elements in their nation.  Even after these elements assassinated their beloved leader (Bhutto) and have continued to kill innocent citizens within their nation, the Pakistani government has shown little resolve or intestinal fortitude.  Instead, they hope that “negotiation” will solve their problems.

What a joke. Ronald Reagan was right.  You don’t negotiate with terrorists.  It gets you nowhere.


Another Wayward Organization

I have always felt, and I think most conservatives would agree – that the United Nations is a pointless organization, a waste of US taxpayer dollars and a waste of some decent real estate in New York City.  Let them move the UN to Caracas or Moscow or Tehran – somewhere where the host nation is more supportive of their leftist, anti-US agenda.  But, growing up a Reagan baby and watching the final confrontation of the Soviet empire, I never dreamed that I might one day say the same thing about NATO.  Unfortunately, the day has come.

I don’t know a damned thing about Los Angeles Times columnist, Andrew Bacevich.  So I don’t know where he’s coming from here.  I just know that he makes a valid point in his latest article.

Once the Soviet threat disappeared, the European nations making up the core of the alliance wasted no time claiming their peace dividend. They cut defense budgets and shed military capacity. For example, the German army, which had 12 divisions in 1989, today maintains the equivalent of three.

Meanwhile, back at NATO headquarters, the iron law of bureaucratic self-preservation kicked in. Justifying the alliance’s continued existence became a cottage industry. Even as armies shrunk, new missions proliferated.

One of the new missions was to expand. Today, NATO consists of 26 members, with Albania, Croatia and Macedonia lined up to join next. Still more candidates — Serbia, Montenegro, even Georgia and Ukraine — are knocking at the door. Adding members provided a mechanism for incorporating what had been Eastern Europe and even parts of the former Soviet Union into Europe proper. But enlargement diluted NATO’s actual ability to defend itself. Rather than a collective security organization, the alliance became something more akin to a political club, far more adept at convening conferences than at organizing itself for war.

You have to wonder.  I’m not saying that NATO is inherently useless.  It has the potential to be a significant organization – especially in the light of Russia’s desire to reassert its bellicose, military dominance on the world stage.  And I am not against including Eastern European nations in the organization.  Just the fact that NATO expansionism pisses Putin off is enough to make me smile a little bit.

What I am against is the fact that NATO membership just seems to be a status symbol for new European democracies aspiring to membership in the European Union.  Most of these guys have no intentions of honoring NATO’s goals or participating in the miltary aspects of the organization.  I can think of a few exceptions such as Poland.

The more saddening aspect of this is that older members such as Germany, France and Spain have sought to scale back their roles while simultaneously desiring to retain membership.  They want to be members; they just want the United States to do all the hard work.

The ongoing Afghan war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban is now providing a second and more demanding test case. This test demonstrates just how much the alliance’s capabilities and solidarity have withered.

In Afghanistan, NATO is failing. Nominally, all 26 alliance members are contributing to the war effort, with some 43,000 total troops deployed. In reality, stripping away the forces provided by the United States, Britain and Canada, the alliance has fielded barely 20,000 soldiers — this to pacify a country that is 50% larger than Iraq. Many national contingents, Germany’s being the most prominent, operate under restrictions that make them unusable except in areas where relative security exists.

U.S. officials call for the allies to do more — more troops with fewer strings attached. But Europe lacks trained soldiers, lacks adequate stores of equipment and above all lacks political will. European publics have an exceedingly limited appetite for sending their fellow citizens to chase insurgents in other parts of the world. European governments, with Germany again providing a good illustration, reflect the will of their people.

I think Afghanistan is an excellent illustration of NATO’s ineffectiveness.  Europe isn’t the same.  The US and Ronald Reagan took care of the Soviets.  So the member states don’t feel like there is much reason to keep up the effort.  Add to the equation the fact that their citizens are increasingly liberal, pacifistic and anti-American – you are left to wonder about the point of it all.

I don’t want to be a reactionary, but as I eye some budget cuts – I look to NATO.  Our “partners” were pathetic in Kosovo and are balking in Afghanistan.  Now I’m left to be a little cynical in asking – who needs them?  They certainly need us more than we need them.  Maybe it’s time to show a little tough love. 

Of course, I’m just an arrogant American.  My opinion probably doesn’t mean much to them.