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.

Reputations vs. Reality

US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan spent a sleepless night calling friends and neighbors, telling them goodbye and saying he’d miss them. He handed out copies of the Qur’an. He went to morning prayers, got his usual coffee and hash brown from a local convenience store, smiled at other patrons, then went home and changed into his ACU’s (Army fatigues). He arrived at the processing center at Fort Hood and at 1330, he jumped onto a desk, shouted “Allahu Akbar!” and began a shooting rampage that would end with 13 dead–12 fellow soldiers and one security guard–and 40 wounded, 28 seriously.

Saturday Hasan was removed from a ventilator. Today it is reported that he is talking. He has already asked for a lawyer and the lawyer has ordered federal investigators to stay away. And while some of the reports coming out of the Fort Hood tragedy are still being investigated as possible leads, there are some that have been confirmed as absolutely true by investigators.

-While stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Hasan attended a mosque led by Anwar Al-Awlaki, a radical Islamist who was the spiritual advisor to three of the 9/11 hijackers, including Hani Hanjour.

-Hasan attempted to contact recruiters for jihad militant group Al Qaeda. At least one US Intelligence agency–as yet unnamed–notified the Army that he was contacting anti-American extremists.

-Classmates at the military university where Hasan received his training in psychology have all gone on the record as having complained that Hasan was openly anti-American and frequently made statements that gave the impression that he was a ticking time bomb.

-Hasan actually gave a presentation in one of his psych classes that was meant to justify suicide bombings, a belief that was echoed both in person and over the internet.

-Hasan told many people both in the Army and out that he was a Muslim first and an American second–and he held Sharia above the Constitution of the United States.

-In a class on environmental health–where an assignment to give a speech on things such as water contamination and the effects of mold was given–Hasan stood up and gave a speech about the War on Terror actually being a war on Islam. The instructor refused to question him.

-Osman Danquah, a leader at the Islamic Community of Greater Killeen, was so concerned about Hasan’s extremist rhetoric that he denied his request to be a lay Muslim leader at Fort Hood.

In the two days immediately following the shooting, one of Hasan’s uncles was interviewed in the West Bank–his family is of Palestinian origin and he claimed his citizenship as Palestinian–and a string of so-called “experts” were paraded on MSM channels saying that, based on the family’s reaction, we can’t call Hasan’s actions terrorism; it was too early for that, they chided. Larry King’s idea of a “balanced panel” was to have one single Iraq war veteran up against a slew of liberal windbags so he could be yelled at for calling a spade a spade.

One such PC voice was Shoshana Johnson, the Army Specialist who has earned the distinction of being the first-ever black female to be a POW. She rolled her eyes and shouted at the former JAG officer, saying, “I was a POW! You were a JAG officer in Iraq, you didn’t do anything!” Well, miss Johnson…it’s not like you were in the infantry. You were a food worker. And it’s worth pointing out that you were a taken along with Jessica Lynch, whom liberal reporters castigated as a posterchild for the Republican war effort when she supposedly didn’t suffer the real harm of what they deemed a “real” POW. So I have to ask, when did Johnson and Lynch become legitimate to the MSM?

That JAG officer on Larry King was trying to talk people into contemplating the idea that Hasan really was acting out his personal version of jihad just like the 9/11 hijackers. Johnson, along with Dr. Phil, shouted him down, with Johnson screaming that his knowledge was worthless. This is what the MSM calls balance?

In the meantime, it was a British newspaper–the UK Telegraph–that first broke the story that Hasan had attempted to contact Al Qaeda. While the American media dithered about the subject of Hasan’s ties to extremists and the very real possibility that he might have committed his crime in the name of waging jihad against Americans, a country that can’t even allow its citizens the natural right to defend themselves called this whole brouhaha exactly what it was.

Earlier this year a friend of mine, now serving in the Army, called me late at night to tell me an incredible story. His unit was called together for an announcement: effective immediately, all US Army personnel were to cease use of the term “swine flu.” Complaints from Muslims were too great; they were to refer to the new flu strain as H1N1 or risk disciplinary action.

This sounds absolutely silly, but it’s standard operating procedure for the US military these days. Everything (except the idea of gays in the military, mind you) has to be absolutely politically correct, elsewise we might offend someone and we just can’t have that. I have heard several soldiers in the Army say in the open that they didn’t join to go to war, and if deployed they would go AWOL. And in this case, with Maj. Hasan, a Muslim extremist, can spew seditious vitriol for years without anyone questioning whether he should still be allowed to draw a paycheck. In everything I’ve read so far it seems the general concensus among those who served with Hasan is that the Army was both desperate to keep an officer and afraid of being seen as discriminating against a Muslim.

My friend Jennifer, a military wife, brought up a very good point. Obama was quick to tell us that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions or act rashly. Yet the first words out of his mouth about a police officer in Cambridge the day after an incident were that the officer “acted stupidly.” We shouldn’t rush to judgement, and need a measured response to this tragedy, but when it comes to something like the stimulus or healthcare reform, we need to get it done NOW–without reading the bill.

Oh, but don’t offend the Muslims. Even if the next Nidal Malik Hasan is among them, we can’t upset them. Worry about their reputation now. Screw reality.

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.

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.

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

Pearl Harbor: 67 years later

Throughout the 1930’s, America negotiated with Japan for the cessation of hostilities in the Asian Pacific. Japan had taken Manchuria by 1931, then grew to all-out war with China by 1937. They then took French Indochina to open better supply routes in 1940. In response to their tacit refusal to stop invading other Asian countries (atrocities reported in China were a major factor), America placed an oil embargo on the Japanese. The Japanese then began to take over oil production in the Dutch East Indies, though it did not give them the resources they needed to continue their war efforts. Japan needed to hit America where it hurt, and they had a brilliant plan. Their diplomats began presenting our politicians with “friendship medals” to hold American suspicions at bay.

Then, on December 7, 1941, the suspicions of Naval Intelligence were confirmed as reality arrived in the skies over Pearl Harbor–90 Nakajima B5N bombers, 54 Aichi D3A dive bombers, and 45 Mitsubishi A6M fighters (also known as “Zeros”) began dropping bombs on US Navy Destroyers, Minelayers and Cruisers as well as US fighter planes on the airfields at Hickam, Kaneohe and Ewa. The first wave consisted of a total of 183 planes. The USS Arizona was the first ship to be sunk early in the attack when a modified 16″ shell hit her forward magazine.

The USS Oklahoma, USS California and USS West Virginia were all sunk; the California and the West Virginia were able to be raised and repaired, but the Oklahoma had capsized. For days after the attack, sailors could be heard rapping on the hulls of their sunken ships, hoping to be freed before the air ran out in the lower compartments. During the second wave of the attack, American anti-aircraft defenses had dramatically improved. As a result, Admiral Nagumo decided against a third wave. Japanese honor held that maintaining strength was preferable to total destruction of the enemy, and Nagumo faced the possibility of abandoning two carriers en route back to Japan if he launched the third wave. It was his honor that stopped the third wave, and as a result American munitions, storage, maintenance and dry dock weren’t hit. If it had, Pearl Harbor would have been far more devastating.

The USS Arizona as the forward magazine was hit:

pearlharborcolork135131

The USS Arizona today:

ussarizonatoday

The attack on Pearl Harbor drew America into World War II after a decade of attempting to avoid fighting. American involvement in World War I had been remarkably unpopular; today’s anti-war protests pale in comparison to the protests then. The idea was that Europe’s problems didn’t concern us, and we should just stay out of it. But when news of atrocities being committed by the Japanese made American headlines, popular opinion wanted our government to try to find a peaceful end.

The lesson we should take from this is that peace should be attempted; you should try diplomacy. However, when it becomes clear that peaceful negotiations aren’t getting anyone anywhere, you must be willing to roll up your sleeves, pick up your weapon and fight. This world will always have its share of evil men, willing to kill as many innocent people as they must to get what they want. When intelligent reasoning fails, you have to take it a step further. If we are unwilling to fight, we do not deserve the freedom we have. It’s that simple.

We lost 2,335 sailors, soldiers and marines during the attack; we also lost 68 innocent civilians. Japanese Zeros strafed near at least one hospital, showing the cowardice and the low levels to which they were willing to sink. Raise a glass today to those souls. Thank them for the price they paid to make sure we remained free. And the next time you think about how horrible war is, think of what it could be like if nobody’s willing to stand up for what’s right.

Making Sense of the Phelps

I try not to make it a point to discuss things that seem silly.  I did comment on this horrid crowd of people at one time, but I always make it a point to thoroughly investigate and read up on people that make me very sick – which explains my dislike of Obama incidentally.  So, I read some articles, watched an entire documentary on the Westboro Baptist Church where they allowed a man to come in and spend a few days with them.  He got to know the entire family and other than the picket scenes where they go, they turned out to be a normal interacting family that were courteous to him.

They lost my interest though after a few things:  1.) When asked a series of questions, Fred Phelps (the originator) was condescending and rude, avoided answering questions, and basically told the fella he was doomed for hell.  2.) The fact he was so unlike them, yet, it was okay to bring him in sort of proved to me that this was a crusade of folks looking for media attention – and searching it out every chance they get.

Finally, tonight I stumbled upon three videos.  The first was a parody of “We Are the World” where the Phelps re-wrote the words to the same melody and re-titled it “God Hates the World.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4-_Z79d098]

In the video – they depict everyone from Jerry Falwell, to the US Military, to President Bush as people doomed for hell.  What I found interesting was the comment sections where extremist atheist types commented on why Christianity is bad and why God is a crock.

It all began to make sense of why the popularity of these lunatics has increased so much.  Two things are served.  First, the apparent starving media whores they are – in search of their own riches – will do ANYTHING for attention.  Second, it gives the irreligious basis for denouncing religion and Christianity as a whole.  While Shirley Phelps-Roper remarks about “fags eating feces” it seems they are licking the behinds of the atheists and vice-versa.  (Sort of like Democrats in Congress that love for blacks and gays to continue feeling like victims to prey on both communities for votes.)

That, plus the fact that Christ died for all sins.  Can you imagine the poor Lord (according to the gospel of the Westboro Baptist Church) having these folks as His eternal company?  Talk about wrath!

Moving ahead, there was one final 2-part video that caught my attention of a street evangelist who called the Westboro Baptist Church over one of their latest websites entitled “God Hates Ireland!”  The fella was Irish and apparently had a bone to pick with Fred Phelps’ granddaughter, Sarah.  You can tell by her jumpiness that he gave her a biblical run for her money. 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfKV1A5Qdo8&feature=related]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiCOura-zQ4&feature=related]

In ending, he makes an excellent point.  If God had this “wrath” as they proclaim, why would He selectively destroy one person, slowly, at a time?  Could he just wipe all the “bad people” out at once?

Part of their rationale explains that soldiers in Iraq are dying solely because of God’s wrath on America particularly for accepting homosexuality.  This doesn’t make sense on the basis that we lost 600,000 in the Civil War, 300,000 in WW2, and 60,000 in Vietnam.  We now know the war in Iraq is being won, the terrorists are running for cover, Iraq’s army is stronger than ever, violence has dropped massively to the point where even the media has stopped writing about the war since there is barely anything negative to report.

Everything accomplished by our great military, at the cost of 3,000 greatest Americans, and comparing this to the numbers of Americans lost in previous wars, wouldn’t this mean that God must be in a pretty good mood now?

They’re attention whores and liberals love them because it allows them to denounce Christianity.  Beware of future conversations with liberals as they use this in their arsenal of irreligious arguments. 

Fact or Fiction? Appauling Nonetheless

In scanning the latest news articles on Iraq, I stumbled upon a few disturbing articles regarding U.S. Soldiers hurting animals in Iraq.  One makes light of a video with an alleged Marine throwing an alleged real puppy off of a cliff.  The other shows U.S. Soldiers purposely throwing rocks at a wounded dog.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAe6ZYehlG4]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2pexEd_H-Q&feature=related]

Sickening as it is, these videos are being posted by liberals and liberals of course are using this as part of the “bad news from Iraq” fest they love to keep spewing. 

As an animal lover, it’s hard to watch these and imagine if indeed these are real American soldiers and if indeed these videos have not been mocked up somewhere by a group funded by rich and powerful liberals.

I’m curious as to AirForceWife’s opinion of this.  These videos almost bring tears to my eyes and fill me with anger as I am totally unable to argue back against the liberals bashing these troops who are adding this to their “list of things Americans denounce in Iraq.” 

An article in the Sun Times states that “Military officials are investigating” the video.

These people cannot represent our troops and must be punished if indeed these videos are true.