Libertarian Pacifism: A Pacifism by Any Other Name Wouldn’t Smell as Sweet

Note:  This post is not aimed at all Libertarians.  There are some Libertarians who are not pacifist.  I am only discussing those who advocate pacifism while hiding behind the Constitution.  I am in agreement with many who state that wars should be declared and stated with a clear purpose by our government; to do anything less and drag a war out longer than necessary is, in and of itself, immoral.  This post isn’t meant to be a discussion on war-gaming.  It is, instead, a philosophical post.

Ayn Rand correctly identified the source of all conflicts in the world when she said:

Wars are the second greatest evil that human societies can perpetrate. (The first is dictatorship, the enslavement of their own citizens, which is the cause of wars.)

As long as there are societies on earth who endorse collectivism or dictatorships in any form, whether secular or theocratic, then there will always be wars.  Collectivism is any system of governance defined as that which demands the sacrifice of the individual to the collective with altruism (or in some cases simply the psychosis of its dictator) as its justification. 

My inspiration for this post came after reading an article entitled Glenn Beck’s Lincoln Contradictions by Thomas J. DiLorenzo.  Mr. DiLorenzo utilizes the term “Neo-con” quite a bit.  I want to state upfront that the proliferation of all these new terms, Neo-Con, Neo-Liberal, Neo-Keynesian, Neo-Communist, Neo-Fascist, are simply attempts at continued muddying of the real argument which is between collectivism vs. individualism.  That is the only descriptive consideration that matters when discussing man’s inalienable right to be free; the rest is simply meant to confuse people’s minds and complicate the issues.

Let’s be frank–there is no discernible difference between Libertarian pacifism and Left-Wing pacifism.  Pacifism is pacifism and the justifications for it no matter from which group it arises are equally misguided.  Ayn Rand had this to say about pacifism:

The necessary consequence of man’s right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. All the reasons which make the initiation of physical force an evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative.

If some “pacifist” society renounced the retaliatory use of force, it would be left helplessly at the mercy of the first thug who decided to be immoral. Such a society would achieve the opposite of its intention: instead of abolishing evil, it would encourage and reward it.

Leftists justify their pacifism usually by intoning their committment to peace.  Peace cannot be achieved by the absence of all conflict.  It can only be achieved by the destruction of all collectivism.  Human existence is defined by conflict; the hiring of one person over another who is better qualified, the victory of this hockey team over that hockey team, the victim of a robbery or rape who pulls his gun against his victimizer in order to defend the value which is his or her’s continued existence.  Those who wish to pretend that in order to live one’s life by trying to ignore conflict simply because they don’t like it–will never learn how to achieve the greatest value of all which is their life and by default their happiness. 

Pacifist Libertarians tend to justify their pacifism on the grounds that all cultures are equally valuable and have the right to exist on their own terms without interference from other cultures.  However, the notion of multiculturalism is equally flawed in its premises.  The idea that all cultures are equal in their value necessarily demands that you therefore believe all collectivist cultures have value.  You cannot claim, as many Libertarians do, to stand for individual freedom while at the same time trying to justify the existence of collectivist cultures; that is called “wanting to have your cake and eat it too.”  That is a demand reality imposes on any individual who wants to stand for individual freedom.

From the article Diversity and Multiculturalism:  The New Racism at The Ayn Rand Institute:

Advocates of “diversity” are true racists in the basic meaning of that term: they see the world through colored lenses, colored by race and gender. To the multiculturalist, race is what counts—for values, for thinking, for human identity in general. No wonder racism is increasing: color blindness is now considered evil, if not impossible. No wonder people don’t treat each other as individuals: to the multiculturalist, they aren’t.

Advocates of “diversity” claim it will teach students to tolerate and celebrate their differences. But the “differences” they have in mind are racial differences, which means we’re being urged to glorify race, which means we’re being asked to institutionalize separatism. “Racial identity” erects an unbridgeable gulf between people, as though they were different species, with nothing fundamental in common. If that were true—if “racial identity” determined one’s values and thinking methods—there would be no possibility for understanding or cooperation among people of different races.

Some ask, “What about America’s melting-pot?  Isn’t that multiculturalism?”  No.  It’s not.  America was devised by its Founders to elevate the individual over the government.  All other nations throughout history elevated the government over the individual.  Freedom of the individual over the government provides a country where all men, of all cultures, backgrounds, and religions come to be free “as individuals” within the American culture of individual freedom.  Can they uphold their roots and honor and celebrate them?  Absolutely.  But, America is not defined by those various cultural roots–she is defined by the individual which is, in and of itself, a “culture.”

I will agree with Mr. DiLorenzo’s statements, as well as Ms. Rand’s statements, that many times war is used to justify the theft of liberty by a nation against its own people.  He says:

Of course, all of this high-handed talk about the Republican Party supposedly being “the party of great moral ideas” is also a convenient smokescreen for the economic greed that is its real motivation, and has been ever since the party first gained power. As Rothbard further explained: “On the economic level, the Republicans [in 1860] adopted the Whig program of statism and big government: protective tariffs, subsidies to big business, strong central government, large-scale public works, and cheap credit spurred by government.” It hasn’t changed much since.

I am in complete agreement with this assessment; both parties are guilty of crony capitalism which is the politically correct term for Fascism.  The only difference is–the Democrats are more open about it while the Republicans like to pretend they are not engaged in it.  Presidents Wilson, FDR and George W. Bush, to name a few, were all guilty of growing government under their administrations during a time of war.  I have no argument with that assertion.  What I do challenge is the notion that a  nation’s citizens cannot demand limited government at home, which necessarily entails separation of the state and economics for the same reasons and same purpose we have separation of church and state, while at the same time protecting itself from threats over-seas.  Many Libertarians say that’s what they want too but then reveal themselves by saying the phrase “protecting itself from threats over-seas” means “bring the troops home from everywhere and cease and desist active conflict”.  Yes.  That’s called “pacifism”.  If you are not actively fighting but instead you are sitting on your weapons–that is pacifism.  If your enemy has already declared war (which the Islamists have) and you are not acknowledging the need to fight back actively–that is pacifism.  If you are not fighting–you are being “passive.”     

What complicates America’s situation is–we are not living in a fully free society under true laissez-fair capitalism.  That is the reason we keep growing government every time we find it necessary to wage a battle against collectivist threats from elsewhere.  I submit, it most certainly is possible to have and maintain limited government and fight necessary wars against collectivists who threaten their free-state neighbors.  The pacifist Libertarians promote the false premise that war must necessarily equal big-government.  These are mutually exclusive concepts; they are not dependent on each other for their existence–necessarily.  A free-nation can remain an economically free nation under laissez-faire capitalism and fight a war to defend itself; the keyword is defend —in other words–not subjugate–which is what tyrannical nations feel it necessary to do against their neighbors when losing their grip on power.  The promotion of the idea that a free nation engaged in a war to defend itself will necessarily result in the growth of its government–is simply a false premise.  Whether that free nation’s leaders grow government or not is another matter entirely and those issues can be dealt with apart from the issue of war itself.

Another aspect that is problematic for America is that we have spread ourselves too thin.  I am in complete agreement with most Libertarians who assert we have too many troops stationed in too many areas of the world where we should no longer be; the Middle East is not one of them, however.  There is no discernible difference between Adolph Hitler, a secular collectivist, and the collectivist theocratic tyrants of the Middle East.  Hitler was driven by national socialism and his irrational hatred for the Jews.  The collectivist theocrats of the Middle East are driven, not only for their hatred of Israel (take note also a free-society–though with a similarly mixed economy like the U.S.), but also by the notion they are doing the will of their God by fighting the infidels for the purpose of creating the conditions of the return of the Twelfth Imam.  Libertarians often state that the Islamists hate us because we are “occupying their land”–but, they rarely, if ever, address the theocratic reasons the Islamists give us in their own words as to why they are fighting us.  Usually the Libertarian will just say, “Those are just words” or “That’s just an excuse”.  Ironically, those are the same excuses the Left-Wing pacifists give in regards to their reasons for upholding pacifist ideas.

All collectivist societies need war to uphold their control on their populations.  That is why it is so imperative that America beat back the march towards statism in our own country and restore true laissez-fair capitalism as opposed to the mixed disaster we currently employ.  If America’s leaders are indeed using war as an excuse to uphold crony capitalism then that is an issue we as citizens need to confront them with; it doesn’t necessarily translate into “therefore, we can’t fight necessary wars anymore.”  From Ayn Rand:

Observe that the major wars of history were started by the more controlled economies of the time against the freer ones. For instance, World War I was started by monarchist Germany and Czarist Russia, who dragged in their freer allies. World War II was started by the alliance of Nazi Germany with Soviet Russia and their joint attack on Poland.

By no means am I implying that it is the duty of America to transform all of the collectivist societies of the world into bastions of free-market capitalism–no matter how appealing that notion may be.  In fact, that is the only way there ever will be peace in the world–the supremacy of free capitalist societies upholding freedom of the individual.  What I am saying, however, is that it is the duty of the American government, indeed it is the one primary duty of any government of a free-society, to protect its citizens from collectivist tyrants who now need to turn their attention to warring with the free-societies around them in order to maintain their power and hold over their own citizens.  By no means am I even suggesting that the citizens of our country who do have problems with armed conflict from a moral or religious perspective should not be allowed to reserve their tax dollars from being used for that purpose just as those who don’t approve of abortion shouldn’t be forced to have their tax dollars used for that purpose.  However, we do not have that ideal system at the moment and that is a discussion for another time.

Pacifism is driven by guilt over the necessity of justifiable war.  It is an unearned guilt.  Many people are driven in their objection to war by the deaths of “innocent” people.  The truth of the matter is, any “innocent” deaths created in the Middle East by America and it’s allies–i.e. other free-societies–are not on the heads of America and its allies.  The deaths of those people are on the heads of the tyrannical collectivists who enslaved their people to begin with.  A free-nation, just as a free-individual, has the right to protect itself from the force of others who would impose their tyrannical will.  The death of innocent people in a war is no different than that of a woman stepping between you and the mugger you were aiming your gun at and who happened to get shot in the cross-fire.  The mugger’s death is called justice.  The woman’s death is called an “accident” and the guilt of that accidental death is not on the head of the one defending himself but instead lies with the mugger. Whether tyrannical force stems from a tyrannical dictator against it’s more free neighbors or from a mugger in Central Park against a jogger–is irrelevant.  The morality and ethics of the two situations are the same; and it always, without exception, boils down to the individual over the collective, and since capitalism is the only economic system which upholds the freedom of the individual it is only capitalism that can save the world from the constant threat of war.  From Capitalism:  The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand:

     Observe the nature of today’s alleged peace movements.  Professing love and concern for the survival of mankind, they keep screaming that the nuclear-weapons race should be stopped, that armed force should be abolished as a means of settling disputes among nations, and that war should be outlawed in the name of humanity.  Yet these same peace movements do not oppose dictatorships; the political views of their members range through all shades of the statist spectrum, from welfare statism to socialism to fascism to communism.  This means that they are opposed to the use of coercion by one nation against another, but not by the government of a nation against its own citizens; it means that they are opposed to the use of force against armed adversaries, but not against the disarmed.

It is those who, like our friends Cindy Sheehan and Sean Penn, uphold collectivist economics, socialism, communism, or fascism while at the same time preaching peace.  They hold the incorrect premise that we have wars because various populations are poor or subjugated by the more free societies.  Free societies under laissez-fair capitalism have no “need” for war since their citizens and government have plenty of creative fuel on which to draw derived from the very freedom of its citizens.  It is Cindy and Sean who are the hypocrites.  It is they who want to “have their cake and eat it too.”  Reality, from a philosophical perspective, cannot and will not ever allow opposing ideas to occupy the same philosophical space.  They want peace–but, they promote tyranny; and it will always be the reality of that dichotomy that will not let them, in the end, have their way.  It is they who are promoting tyranny.  It is they who stand with the likes of Hugo Chavez.  It is they who, by virtue of what they advocate, are actually continuing that which they say they hate the most–war.

The Realities of War

Before my lights go out, I have to post about something that I’ve been following for a little while.

About a month ago, US Marine LCpl. Joshua Bernard was fighting the Taliban in the Helmand province of Afghanistan when he was mortally wounded. AP photographer Julie Jacobson was embedded with the Marine unit during the firefight that claimed Bernard’s life, and as he lay dying, with his fellow Marines trying desperately to save his life, Jacobson snapped a photo. It likely isn’t the first time a photographer has taken such a picture. This time, however, the AP decided to run the photo.

They tried to excuse themselves by bragging that they waited until Bernard had been laid to rest to publicize the photo. What they didn’t reveal, though, was that the decision to run the image of the dying Marine was made despite the wishes of the Bernard family. Let’s forget that Defense Secretary Gates admonished AP head Tom Curley “in the strongest language I can” not to post the image for the world to see. To me, that is almost a side issue. Bernard’s family, those who had the highest rights to what they had experienced in losing their son, explicitly told the AP that they did not want the image to be published.

In the end, AP senior managing editor John Danisczewski said, “We understand Mr. Bernard’s anguish. We believe this image is part of the history of this war. The story and photos are in themselves a respectful treatment and recognition of sacrifice.” Jacobson, the photographer, excused herself from wrongdoing with statements typical of her profession–that the journalists are there to record the realities of war, this is part of that reality, and the people need to know. Oh, and it was also important for her to point out that when she allowed Bernard’s fellow Marines to look at her photos of the firefight, none of them showed outward anger: “none of them complained or grew angry about it. They understood that it was what it was. They understand, despite that he was their friend, it was the reality of things.” She said that “to ignore a moment like that simply would have been wrong.”

Let’s talk about what’s wrong. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Technically, they have the right to publish whatever they want as long as they’re not giving away classified information or posting the images before the wounded’s family has been notified. But does the fact that they have the right to mean that they should? When they ask the family for permission to run the photos and the family unequivocally says NO, what on Earth could possess these people to think themselves so much better, so much more enlightened, to believe that they had a moral imperative to go against said family’s wishes and let the whole world see the last moments of a hero’s life?

Greg Mitchell, writing for the Huffington Post, had the tacit nerve to talk disdainfully about the press’ previous refusal to “carry graphic images of the true cost of our wars, to Americans, in Iraq and Afghanistan — fatally wounded U.S. soldiers and Marines.” Since when does the freedom of the press give you or anyone else the right to exploit these incidents for your own political purposes? It may give you the ability, but what makes you think it’s okay? Because you have some kind of moral duty to let people know what the realities of war are?

If you are so interested in showing the realities of war, then be more balanced. Show the reality of allowing a despot to remain in control. Show more pictures of the mass graves uncovered during the Iraq war, graves containing hundreds–sometimes thousands–of Saddam’s victims. Show pictures of the women, homosexuals and children executed by the Taliban for crimes such as being in public without a male relative escort…or even for the crime of being a rape victim. Show the pictures you’ve refused thus far to show of those executions because, as Kathleen Carroll said, “we don’t distribute content that is known to be offensive, with rare exceptions.”

If you’re so interested in showing the realities of all that’s wrong with our world, then why not focus on issues closer to home? Between 15,000 and 16,000 will have died in alcohol-related MVA’s by the end of 2009. Between 30,000 and 35,000 will have died by suicide, with most of the completed suicides involving the individuals either shooting or hanging themselves. Guess what the leading cause of accidental death is for children? Drowning. In what I do for a living, I have seen these and many other major issues that plague our society today tear lives apart. The most gut-wrenching sound I have ever heard is not the crunch of metal and glass, not the last gurgling breaths of a gangbanger riddled with bullets and blood pouring from his mouth, nor the sound of dismembered body parts being pulled from the pavement.

It is the anguished cry of a mother or father who has just been told that their child is dead.

There is nothing in this world that can bring me to the brink of losing my calm and cool the way that sound can. The mother who woke to the sound of her only son shooting himself, the father who searched for his youngest son only to find him face-down in the murky backyard pool, and the parents who had to be notified at an ungodly hour that their teenaged daughter had been killed by a drunk driver will remain with me forever. I cannot fathom trying to show that couple a picture of their daughter after the collision that took her life. Because I have experienced their pain, I cannot imagine what manner of extreme greed could possibly drive any reporter to show that sort of thing to any parent–and then ask to publicize it.

If you holier-than-thou pricks are so concerned with putting the realities of what’s wrong with our world out there for everyone to see, then start with the wars in our own neighborhoods. Let’s see you post pictures of the scores of good people being killed every day by things we have begun to ignore. Let’s see you talk about that with the same zeal with which you ardently preach about the realities of war.

Until you are capable of doing that, tell yourself whatever the hell you want if it’ll help you sleep better…but spare us the sanctimony. What you did to the Bernards was wrong, plain and simple, and no amount of hiding behind your First Amendment rights will absolve you of that. This wasn’t about right and wrong for you. It was about what would pull in the readers, and with them the money. You’re a brood of jackals waiting to feed on the wounded.

I hope you choke on it.

The Media’s Very Different Spin on War Casualties

What do liberals and the media think?  If death from war comes during the same wars in which they harangued Bush for, that the deaths are more worthy under the annointed one?

Two points: Jeremy (my buddy on Facebook) posted the death toll from Afghanistan.  Since the overthrow of the Taliban, 2009 has been the deadliest year.  That’s right!  The deadliest year was not under GWB, but under Barack Obama.

Coincidentally, Mr. Obama is loving life at Martha’s Vineyard while anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan has showed up to protest Mr. Obama’s continuation of both the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War. 

I apologize for everything I said about Sheehan in the past – and I was quite harsh on her.  Unlike the tens of thousands of other anti-war protestors we heard from during the Bush administration (also known as jobless-liberals) who were simply anti-Republican and using the death of an American soldier for political gain, Sheehan actually whole-heartedly cares.

That’s why the bulk of the liberal disease has begun to shut up over the casualties.

Suddenly now, Charles Gibson who covered Cindy’s anti-war protests all the way through during the Bush administration proclaimed “enough already” once he was informed that Sheehan was indeed following Obama to Martha’s Vineyard to protest the wars.

The hypocrisy and lies from this administration are staggering.  I am sure Robert Gibbs would have a memorable answer, but I am sure the reporters have been directed to not ask the question to begin with.

They’re Just Soldiers…

Yesterday, something happened that should have shocked our collective conscience and brought us to tears. It seems, however, that it’s not important. American Muslim convert Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad drove up to a US Army-Navy recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas and opened fire on two hometown recruiters as they were about to enter the recruiting station. Pvt. William Long, 23, was killed and his friend, Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, was wounded in the attack that was apparently carried out for “ideological reasons.”

They were just a few weeks out of basic training.

The shooter’s vehicle was pulled over on the freeway and he was arrested–the rifle used in the attack was recovered from the vehicle. Today, the shooter pleaded not guilty. As predicted, nary a word from most of the MSM; the only place I’ve been able to find anything about this was FOX News. Now please, someone have the cojones to tell me that FOX makes their own news. Please. I dare you.

What’s more, not one soul in the Obama administration has uttered a word about the attack.

Within hours of the murder of Dr. Tiller on Sunday, both President Obama and AG Eric Holder made public statements soundly condemning the attack carried out in a church, and well they should. But it has now been a full 24 hours since the murder of one US soldier and the wounding of another, and not one peep. Not a syllable. They haven’t even breathed into a microphone about this cowardly, dastardly act or appeared to so much as think about these two brave souls. They were ambushed and shot in their own country before they even had a chance to put themselves in harm’s way, proving that there is still a grave threat on our soil.

Obama has said NOTHING.

I am beyond appalled. I am beyond angry. I don’t think there is an appropriate word to describe just how I feel about this. As if it weren’t enough that a militant Muslim extremist shot two of our soldiers and killed one of them, the man charged with leading our soldiers hasn’t made a move to level the same indignant condemnation at their attacker as he did for the man who murdered an abortion doctor.

If my (BIG) little brother were ever attacked in such a balless act of pusillanimous violence–especially if he were to be killed by the bastard holding the gun–there is not a law enforcement agency in the country that would keep that worthless flab of human debris safe. I cannot describe the depth of sadness I feel for the families of the young men shot yesterday, nor the incredible fury I have over Obama’s absolute failure to support his men. Who cares, right? They were just soldiers. And as we all know, American soldiers aren’t important. This is the kind of thing that happens when you elect a president who has NEVER LED ANY MILITARY UNIT IN HIS LIFE.

Hell, it’d be nice if he’d just go to basic and get some feel for it!

I’m done looking for an ounce of positive work from Barack Obama. I have no hope for him. To the families of those soldiers, all you need to do is ask and there are millions in this country who would drop everything to help you. To the shooter…if you weren’t already familiar with the American prison system, take a big bottle of lotion with you.

And Obama: try to dredge up at least a flimsy shred of concern for your men. If you dare come out and say anything that amounts to being sorry for making the shooter feel that way, I will make it my mission in life to be certain you never serve in public office again. I will help see to it that the most you’re ever able to get is speaking engagements for the New Black Panther Party.

Oh, wait, you’d actually LIKE that.

Winter Soldier Syndrome

More than one reader has suggested that I go to a website hosted by Iraq Veterans Against the War to read about the “reality” of the Iraq war. It actually started before I joined Steve and Philip here on last year–people began emailing me on MySpace and telling me to read IVAW articles and quit talking about what I don’t understand. At least one was a person I knew; he had served in the Marines, but his boots never left U.S. soil. Others quoted names such as Jessie MacBeth and Josh Lansdale and suggested that I was fabricating knowing several people who had served and believed in their mission.

What’s hilarious to me now is that every single name quoted to me by those folks has been debunked as a fraud. And the list of said frauds continues to grow as time wears on. Let’s start at the beginning:

Shortly before the Iraq invasion, comic book author Micah Wright published a book called You Back the Attack, We’ll Bomb Who We Want! In it he claimed to be a former Army Ranger who’d served in Operation Just Cause (the 1989 invasion of Panama meant to depose drug lord and Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega) and had been forever changed by war. He was exposed as a fraud by Richard Leiby in the Washington Post and later recanted his story, resulting in his publishers dropping his material before his contract was set to expire.

Jimmy Massey claimed that, during his service as a Marine in Iraq, he and his comrades committed heinous atrocities. Among them were that his unit had fired on unarmed, peaceful Iraqi protesters, American Marines had shot a 4-year-old Iraqi girl in the head, and that at one point, his unit had killed so many civilians that they had to call in a tractor-trailer rig to carry the bodies away. He went on a speaking tour with Cindy Sheehan to warn parents of the evils of military recruiters and wrote a book called Kill, Kill, Kill that was a big hit in France. The Associated Press took Massey’s claims and ran with them, trumpeting them from every media outlet that would carry the story. They never checked their facts: they had a reporter, Ravi Nessman, embedded with Massey’s unit, and Nessman wrote in excess of 30 pieces about the unit’s activities. Nessman was never consulted, nor were the Marines ever asked to respond to the story before it was published as the gospel truth. To this day, however, he maintains a website where he peddles his lies and they are swallowed whole.

Jessie MacBeth was once the darling posterboy of IVAW. He claimed to be an Army Ranger who served in Iraq and, like Massey, claimed he had either carried out or witnessed unspeakable acts of horror on innocent civilians in Iraq. He even posted a picture of himself in uniform with a flag backdrop. But as soon as the picture was released, real Rangers were all over MacBeth like flies on a cowpie. His beret was worn backwards, his BDU undershirt was the wrong color, his sleeves were rolled up (Rangers don’t do that), and his unshaven face was completely outside of Army regulations. A tiny bit of digging turned up MacBeth’s form DD-214 (his record of honorable discharge): he served from January to June, 2003, and never left basic training. He certainly never went to Ranger school or Iraq. To be fair, IVAW later began requiring proof of service and no longer endorses MacBeth.

Josh Lansdale, through Wesley Clark’s VoteVets organization, spoke up on behalf of vets by claiming that the Bush administration’s slashing of VA benefits left him unable to access care for his severe PTSD and “busted ankle” (as he put it) for six months. A VA spokesman raised the first red flag when he said that a soldier such as Lansdale would have been bumped to the top of the list and would have been treated within less than 30 days. Clark’s VoteVets group featured Lansdale in an ad designed to smear the Republican incumbent Clark was running against and claimed that soldiers were being sent to Iraq with “Vietnam-era body armor” (a patent lie). Lansdale disappeared shortly after the ad aired; his 1Sgt, Gary Kuehn, spoke about Lansdale’s claims after he retired and shot down every single one. He even pointed out that Lansdale’s busted ankle came from playing volleyball.

Scott Thomas Beauchamp wrote Shock Troops, a diary series, in The New Republic. In it he claimed that he had taken part in ridiculing a woman disfigured by an IED blast, laughed at a fellow soldier as he supposedly marched around with the skull of an Iraqi child, and helped another soldier use a Bradley vehicle to run over dogs. It was the claims of jerking the Bradley “hard to the right” to run over a dog that caught the attention of several reporters; a Bradley is a big, bulky vehicle incapable of sharp turns. Beauchamp later recanted, admitting that he had hoped that his time in the war would earn him credibility as a writer–after claiming “absolute moral authority” on the grounds of simply being a soldier.

Last but not least, today Michelle Malkin and This Ain’t Hell have exposed another fraudster used by the anti-war crowd to push their agenda. Rick Duncan claimed to be a former Marine. He claimed he survived the attack at the Pentagon on 9/11 and later served three tours in Iraq with the Marines. He claimed to have been a Marine Captain and said he’d graduated the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. He also claimed that during his third tour in Iraq, he was badly injured in an IED attack that killed four Marines and left him with a plate in his skull and blew off a finger (which was miraculously reattached). This week, members of the Colorado Veterans Alliance–a group that “Duncan” founded–discovered that he was actually Richard Glen Strandlof, and he’d actually been a patient in a mental hospital in Nevada during the time he supposedly survived the IED in Fallujah. He’s now in custody and is being investigated by the FBI for stealing money from the coffers of the CVA.

I can’t remember the last time I heard such a fable being fabricated by someone who supports the war.

Media fact-checking faux pas aside, the IVAW, Winter Soldier, VoteVets and other similar organizations have put people just like this up on their pedestals to speak for them before confirming the veracity of their claims. Not only is it damning to our country, but such fairy tales demean the thousands upon thousands who have served honorably (and the many who have bled and died) in the war, having never witnessed or committed any atrocity like the ones claimed by these charlatans. Winter Soldier began with a political wannabe named John Kerry and his cohorts lying to Congress about witnessing similar atrocities in Vietnam. Winter Soldier Syndrome lives on today.

Tengo Una Remera del Che y No Sé Por Qué

“Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become …”  –Ernesto “Che” Guevara


This image, of Cuban Marxist revolutionary Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, often known by his nickname “Che” Guevara, is a pop culture phenomenon.  We have it plastered on t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, mouse pads, bumper stickers, flags, sweatbands, you name it.  I work with a guy who has Che tattooed on his forearm (not at my EMS job–my bank job.  Go figure.).  In Central Park there stands a life-sized Che statue atop a base that says, “viva la revolucion!”  In 2004, Robert Redford made The Motorcycle Diaries, a movie about Che as a young man in South America, a work that romanticized Che’s beginnings and attempted to lend credence to Che’s beliefs and actions later in life.  Last year, the movie Che was released, starring Benicio del Toro.  In an interview about making the film he said, “playing Che is like playing Jesus Christ…except Christ turned the other cheek.  Che didn’t.”

Che did far more than refuse to turn the other cheek.  Who was this guy, and why is he so idolized?  I’d read a few things here and there, but I hadn’t really delved into the subject.  Until now.

I’d heard my coworker talk about Che, and I decided to read both sides of the Che legend–from viewpoints of those enamored with him and those who think he was evil.  I learned quite a bit.  We can learn as much about any period of time by studying myth as much as truth, and it seems the same legend that followed Che in the 1960’s follows him still today.  Berkely, California, is well-known for its liberal population and extreme protests.  Zombie took this one at an anti-war rally in Berkeley:


Che’s image has been captured at pro-gay rights rallies, pro-abortion demonstrations, anti-war protests and all manner of other such public displays of political leaning.  His image has become even more prevalent at anti-Israel demonstrations of late.  Any time there’s a protest against anything conservative, Che shows up on someone’s clothes, often accompanied with the famous “viva la revolucion” warcry.  If any of these people had any idea what the truth was, they’d burn everything they have with Che’s likeness on it.

His current followers describe him as an Argentine physician and a revolutionary.  That’s usually the extent of what they know.  We know that Che went to medical school in Argentina, however there’s no evidence that he graduated and actually became a doctor.  If you really dig into his history, you find that he pretty well failed at nearly everything he did.  The only thing he seemed to be really good at was killing.  After helping the Castro brothers overthrow the Batista regime in Cuba, Che was sent to govern the La Cabana prison.  There, he appointed himself the magistrate and began “trials” of those accused of being counterrevolutionaries.  The trials (if you can call them that) were a joke.  They were short, the accused were not given the opportunity for a defense, and within hours of conviction their sentences were carried out by firing squad.  Che himself liked to deliver the coup de grace (a bullet to the back of the neck) to certain prisoners.  The quote at the beginning of this writing was part of Che’s “Message to the Tricontinental.”  He often described himself as bloodthirsty, hateful, willing to do anything necessary to protect the revolution.

And this is the guy the culture is holding up as their hero.

In Camaguey, Che began the gulag system where those deemed “unfit” were imprisoned in concentration camps.  Homsexuals and AIDS victims often populated these camps, as did anyone who had the temerity to question what was going on.  These prisoners were systematically tortured, raped, and often killed.  Any who survived were traumatized for life.

We’re wearing this monster on our clothes.  We make movies glorifying his life and leave out the parts we don’t like.  We protest in support of gay rights wearing the image of a guy who made it illegal to be gay or lesbian and imprisoned and/or killed anyone who broke that law.  We protest “the Bush regime” and decry as Nazis anyone who disagrees with our liberal ideals, and we do it waving a banner proclaiming as a hero a man who made it his mission in life to execute (read: murder) anybody who disagreed with the Marxist revolution.  Che’s own journals expose his violent nature where he describes in vivid detail how he put a .32 caliber pistol to a man’s head and pulled the trigger after he asked to leave the country.  He even talks about staging mock executions, using it as a form of psychological torture to scare any potential dissidents into shutting up.

If I were to walk around wearing a shirt with an image of Adolf Hitler on it, I would be immediately lynched and possibly beaten to death.  Hitler’s crimes are well-known and he is so despised in America that even the possibility that you may hold him up as a believable man evokes violent reactions in the public.  Yet even though we have documentation coming out our ears about Che’s crimes, we’re erecting statues of him and using him as a symbol of revolution, fighting back against things we disagree with.  It’s like presenting Hitler as a hero because he was a vegetarian and an animal lover.  Unfortunately, he was also a mass murderer.  So was Che.

Che chic has so overwhelmed America that I can’t go anywhere without seeing this guy plastered on something.  I went out to dinner with my roommates earlier this week and saw at least three people wearing Che shirts.  We should be taking it as a personal affront when we see people wearing his image, because he hated gays and liberals (not to mention conservatives, who were the first to be killed).  The dichotomy of it mostly being liberals who wear Che paraphernalia is not lost on me.

Not long ago, a 73-year-old man in New Jersey was waiting for a bus when he spotted a street vendor selling Che t-shirts.  He went and bought one, then immediately set a piece of newspaper on fire and burned the shirt.  A police officer who responded asked him why, and he related the story that he was a Cuban exile whose father had been killed by Che at La Cabana.  The owner of the stand where he bought the shirt openly said he thought older Cubans like him are crazy; you can take a lesson from this.  The younger Latinos who idolize Che think they’re crazy, but the Cubans who survived Che’s part in the revolution are absolutely flabbergasted at the phenomenon of Che becoming a new hero.  There’s a reason for that.  It’s because they remember what he was like and what he stood for.  I agree with them.  I don’t understand why we’re not doing more to educate ourselves on the truth about Che Guevara.

So, in reality, we’re wearing Che t-shirts and we have no idea why.  Vladimir Lenin had a name for people like this in America who hold violent revolutionaries up as heroes:

Useful idiots.

Think Before You Vote

I ended up too busy with guests at home yesterday to post…so I’ll do it today.

I’ve talked before about the difference between thinking with one’s emotions and thinking with one’s logic.  Some of the conversations I’ve had lately have once again put this issue in the forefront of my mind, as I think there are still far too many people who base their reactions to certain things–such as politics–on their emotional feelings rather than logic.  I met a lady yesterday who is an absolute joy to spend time with, but one of the conversations we had reminded me starkly of the same conversation I’ve had with several people.

There are a handful of reasons why several of those I know are voting for Obama, but the same two keep being paraded out by everyone: abortion rights and “diplomacy”.  I have to say, there are many much larger reasons to consider before voting this year, and the diplomacy argument isn’t being considered past your own living room.  You have to really think, and genuinely expand what you know before you can say you really know why you’re voting a certain way this year.

Abortion is a big reason for a lot of women.  This, I say again, is NOT serious enough to be the sole reason to vote for any candidate, let alone our next President.  Personally, I believe abortion should be outlawed past a certain point; I believe partial-birth abortion should be outlawed as cruelty and there should be laws (ones that Obama has never supported) that protect babies delivered alive during certain abortion procedures.  I think the morning-after pill is perfectly acceptable.  Too many women, though, say they don’t want Palin to be one step away from the Presidency because they think her religion is her “agenda” somehow.

Let’s talk about Palin’s religious agenda.  That argument is stricken dead by Palin’s own record.  In her first year as governor of Alaska, the people of her state overwhelmingly voted to approve a ballot measure that would have banned gay partners of state employees from receiving benefits the way married couples do.  Yet when the resolution hit her desk, Palin unequivocally vetoed it.  If her religion is her agenda, she hasn’t shown it.  There’s no evidence of this.  Try again.

What about the War on Terror?  Has anyone considered this?  Another issue commonly raised is that we’re somehow not being “diplomatic” enough in our dealings with other countries.  I beg to differ.  We’ve been nothing but diplomatic with Iran.  Part of diplomacy means that when you’re done talking, if nothing has been accomplished, you let the other guy know that you will use force if necessary.  We’ve been very diplomatic with North Korea and Russia.  We’ve been diplomatic with everyone–even Iraq.  Bush gave Saddam the opportunity to snap to and start following the terms of surrender laid down for him in the first Gulf War, and he refused to do it.  So, Bush told him that he had until a certain date to have a change of heart, lest he be invaded.  Two days before we invaded, a massive movement of something into Syria was recorded by US military intel on satellite images.

We’ve tried diplomacy.  Where it doesn’t work, you have to be willing to stop talking, roll up your sleeves, and take a huge swing at the bad guy’s proverbial chin.  You can only talk so long before diplomacy becomes useless.  We tried diplomacy with Jimmy Carter back in the ’70’s, when Iranian radicals took the American Embassy in Tehran and held the employees hostage for over a year.  The day Reagan was inaugurated, they let the hostages go without precondition.  They knew that Reagan would beat them to death if they didn’t.  When diplomacy didn’t work with Moammar Quaddafhi, Reagan bombed the guy’s complex; he stopped supporting terrorism immediately because he knew we weren’t kidding.

Barack Obama wants to downscale our military the way Clinton did.  Clinton spent eight years downscaling our military; by the time he left office, military spending had been cut by more than 35%.  Nine months later we watched the towers fall in New York.  Coincidence?  I think not.

You have to stop feeling and start thinking.  You have to read both sides of every issue before making a decision based on a gut reaction.  If you’re not making an attempt to be logical about it, you may be making the most grave mistake of our generation.

Peace In Our Time

I’ve come out of my cave long enough to catch the VP debate, and I have to blog about what I’ve just heard Joe Biden say.  In being asked about foreign policy, he remarked that we should “listen to our friends and allies” about “sitting down with the leaders of these dangerous nations to diplomatically solve the issues at hand.”

Translation?  APPEASEMENT.  Time for a history lesson.

World War I was brutal.  It was bloody, it was huge, and it was unbelievably unpopular in the United States.  20 million people total died, another 20 million badly injured; it was nasty as nasty can be.  The assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (yeah, the band got its lousy name somewhere) only sparked the fumes that were already building between Germany and Britain.  Germany, along with Austria/Hungary and the Ottoman Empire (what is today the Middle East, Muslim countries) fought the majority of Europe and nearly won.

It was so ugly that nobody wanted to even think of acting on the threats made in the treaty Germany was forced to sign when they surrendered.  In 1918, Germany was driven into an agreement that forbade military expansion and annexation and demanded enormous reparations; this was humiliating for the German people.  So when Adolf Hitler came along, his firey, passionate, I-promise-you-change speeches were extremely popular.  Nobody wanted to stop the guy when he took a risk sending a small contingent of soldiers–on bicycles–into the Rhineland in flagrant disobedience of the Treaty of Versailles, which banned Germany from occupying a region between Germany and the Belgium/France border.  France had 12 entire divisions ready to march in, and all they’d have had to do is walk in and look at the Germans…they would have turned and fled.

That might’ve stopped Hitler.  But since nobody wanted to fight, they just said, “oh, it’s just the Germans going into their own back garden.”  Then, with a little more time, Hitler decided to take military action against Czechoslovakia; Neville Chamberlain of Britain scurried out to Berchtesgaden, met with Hitler, and deliberately left the Czech people out of the negotiations.  He came back to London like some kind of conquering hero, waving the Munich Agreement and proclaiming “peace in our time.” 

The Munich Agreement was the most unbelievable thing Britain and the other allies could have allowed; it handed all of Czechoslovakia over to Germany for the sole purpose of making Hitler happy.  If he was happy, they figured, they wouldn’t have to go to war.

Appeasement only emboldened Hitler and we all know how it ended.  With every move he made, he was more brazen than before and became exponentially stronger.  He started out with a Germany that was nearly destitute from a previous war and built it into a nearly unstoppable war machine that almost swallowed Europe whole.  We look back at it and feel pride that we beat him; at the time, the whole world was scared to death that he’d win.  He almost did.  And appeasement helped him get there.

You can only talk so much before the world leader-version of the schoolyard bully has to be beaten down.  Saddam stood a good chance of becoming the next Hitler.  Ahmadinejad could, too, if he sees fit.  There are plenty of people in this world who’d like to see America fall, and Biden, Obama and the Pelosi-led Democratic party will talk us right into the chasm.

I look at it this way: if someone comes into my house and threatens me, I’ll point my .40 cal Ruger at him and tell him to get out.  If he refuses to do what I tell him, I’m going to squeeze the trigger and let God sort out the mess.  Talk softly and carry one hell of a big stick.  Not being at war does not mean we’re at peace.  It only means we’re holding our breath.  I want to know what Biden and Obama intend to do when talk doesn’t work any more and Iran is pointing nuclear warheads at one of those “friends and allies” we should be listening to.

Because as I recall, we did listen to those friends and allies before…their way of dealing with things gave us Hitler.

The Great American LoveFest

Good readers, I missed my Sunday philosophy missive!  Overtime be damned!

Tolerance.  It’s a word we hear every day.  Be more tolerant.  We need to show more tolerance.  Intolerance should be banned.  YOU need to be more tolerant.  I can’t stand you, you’re SO intolerant!

Sound a little sillier as it goes on?  It should.

You’ve likely seen the banner/t-shirt/mailing label with the four interlinked hands of different colors that comes with the words “teach tolerance.”  I always want to violently regurgitate when I see it, because I have this image in my head of a group of anti-war protesters in Berkeley wearing keffiyehs (the scarves worn by Palestinians to show solidarity against Israel) screaming about “tolerance” while they literally spit on and otherwise assault conservative counter-protesters.  I can’t stand the symbol because it is indicative of two of the biggest hypocrisies in America.  Between the two, I think this one is the worst.

I’ve talked to people whose families have cut them off and shown the utmost contempt for the sin of thinking as a political conservative.  I’ve had coworkers and former friends turn their backs on me for not seeing things from their liberal point of view.  I’ve read articles about liberals who claimed that the Bush Presidency actually pushed them into a state of depression that required medication.  Am I the only one who thinks there’s something that really stinks about all of this?

I’m sorry, but if politics can ruin your day, you need to get a hobby.  If they can ruin your life, you need to be on a thorazine drip.  And if you have the temerity to demand that others be more tolerant when you are incapable of giving what you demand of others…you’re likely a Barack Obama supporter.

Where’s YOUR tolerance?  Is that reserved merely for those you think to be somehow put upon by society?  Yes, I believe in gay rights, but not so much so that I’m willing to cross over to the legions of liberal soldiers demanding tolerance only for themselves.  “War is wrong!  Stop it!  Bring our troops home now, you murderers!  Learn to be more tolerant of other cultures!  I HATE YOU!!!”  It’s absolutely ludicrous when you look at their behavior and match it to the message they espouse.  It’s a living, breathing oxymoron.

The whole “hands across America” thing, I guess, is for liberals only.  Get indignant, get hysterical, scream until you can’t scream anymore then have your kids do it for you–all to make sure that you’re the only one in the room that anyone can hear.  Yep.  That’s tolerant.

I guess the message here is that resistance is futile.

A Nail Through the Obama Campaign’s Heart?

If it’s true, it should send shockwaves through the country, particularly those who were undecided in battleground states.  The New York Post has printed an article claiming that while Senator Barack Obama was visiting Iraq, demanding General Petraeus for a solid withdrawal timetable, he was going behind everyone’s back and asking the Iraqi government to hold off on negotiations for a US troop pullout.  I don’t always agree with or believe the New York Post, but they’re still a member of the Associated Press and they’re quoting a credible Iraqi official.

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama pressed the Iraqis to cease all negotiations with the Bush Administration for a troop pullout, telling them that US Congress should be involved in the deal.  Verbatim, the Post quotes him saying, “he asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington.”  He went on to say that Obama had said “it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush Administration in its ‘state of weakness and political confusion’.”

This after Obama, here in the good ol’ USA, has lambasted George W. Bush for NOT having our troops out of Iraq already.  That’s aside from the aforementioned visit to Iraq–the same one where Barry O refused to visit wounded troops in Landstuhl because he wouldn’t be allowed to bring the media with him into the hospital.

It’s a strong accusation to make, announcing to the public that a Presidential candidate is deliberately attempting to sabotage the safety of our troops for his own gain.  But it’s equally strong to accuse a well-founded news organization of making up quotes and attributing them to real people, which you would have to do with the Post.  They may twist quotes on occasion, but there are some things that are nearly impossible to take out of context.

What this means, once again, is that Barack Obama was making public demands at home that he knew his constituency wanted to hear, and turning around and trying to play the game to make it look better for him in Iraq, where he thought nobody would rat him out (or that nobody would believe him).  He did this potentially at the cost of the safety of our loved ones, something I take very, very personally.  This could prove him to be every ounce the spineless weasel he’s accused everyone else of being.

Paging Lindsay Lohan…you still thing Obama’s the freakin’ messiah?  What about you, Matt Damon?  Chevy Chase?  Candace Bergen?  Hell-ooooo…?