Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

War is Hell. Losing is Worse.

There's a million words or more being written about how "George Bush is mishandling the War against Terror, and we're all gonna die", mostly by people on the left who have never worn a uniform, have never done anything but been in government office, or who have no concept of today's military. I think it's about time I put in my two cents' worth.

First, some credentials: I served in the Air Force from 1964 onward, in one capacity or another. As someone who has been transferred from the active force to the retired reserve, I continue to serve, and am ready and willing to be called back to active service, bad back and all, at the President's pleasure. During my 26 years' active and reserve service (22 active, 4 reserve), I served in the imagery intelligence career field. There, I helped develop the information used in constructing war plans, and on several occasions supplied key information necessary for operations plans and emergency response activities. As the saying goes, "been there, done that, have the t-shirt" - or in this case, the medals, ribbons, and performance reports to back up what I say.

I served in Vietnam from October, 1970, to October, 1971 - just one year, not the two or three tours some of the Army people put in. Yet I was there during some of the most interesting events of the war. I had a chance to 'get my feet wet' before the Dewey Canyon II excursion into Laos in February, 1971. I had the unique position of being a part of the Briefing Support team. That unit looked at EVERY SQUARE INCH of imagery taken by all in-country and Navy units, EVERY SINGLE DAY. On several occasions, we received SR-71 imagery and other special imagery that most others didn't get a chance to see. We had a bird's eye view of the entire war - something only a few generals had access to, and most of their information came from us.

The United States didn't "lose" the Vietnam war: Congress and the "leadership" lost the courage to win. We all know what happened after that. The death toll from that cowardice is in the millions, with tens of millions more losing what little freedom they had.

President Bush is in a difficult situation. He's the President, but the Pentagon, the State Department, Congress, and half a dozen other agencies are always trying to second-guess him, and to protect their own turf - and ideas.

The Pentagon has been training officers to fight a land war in Europe for 50 years. It's going to take a decade for the officers that are now fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, developing new tactics and new methods of fighting, to work into leadership positions. They will be fought every inch of the way by the "oldtimers". That's going to cost us people killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's already costing us support from "home". It's costing the President "approval", although the majority of that is from the constant hammering he's receiving from the mainstream LEFTIST press.

And there are, and have been, some bad ideas. Why al-Sadr is still breathing air, and his "militia" - the privately-owned and supported army not-so-covertly sponsored by the Iranian mullahs - continue to exist is beyond me. At the same time, I'd have nuked Tehran and Qom the first time I found Iranians in Iraq. I don't have the President's patience, and I believe that nutjobs should be handled with the biggest hammer I can wield. Unfortunately, I'm not in charge.

Right now, the best possible result the President could get is for the Iraqi government to give the finger to the Sunnis, go ahead and approve a constitution, and accept the civil war that will result. The US should side with the legitimate government of Iraq (those that approve the new constitution), and waste the Sunnis, chasing them all the way to the Med through Syria, while at the same time crushing Sadr's minnions once and for all. Once that's taken care of, we should build up about eight divisions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and push toward Tehran from east and west. The problem is, we don't have a big enough army to do that, and Congress isn't going to approve a huge expansion, along with the huge cost that would incur. All of us that fought in Vietnam and after are mostly too old to be effective in combat, although we could possibly relieve a few locals to pick up the fight.

We also have to get the rest of the nation to understand that the war on terror is more like the Cold War than World War II. Occupying ground and crushing governments is one thing, but the biggest outcome MUST be a change in the attitude of the Arabs that live there. That's going to take time - possibly decades. Until they can accept that there is the possibility of a government that's NOT made up of the Mullahs or Royals, and that the people will be better off under such government, including the leaders, nothing's going to change. We've seen some of that change taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan. We see moderation, appreciation of others, and the acceptance of ideas from others than the fiery spewers of hate in the mosques. It CAN work, but only if we take the long view, and MAKE it work.

Unfortunately, there are those in this nation that want to destroy it. They believe that everything we've ever done as a people is bad, evil, wicked, and wrong, and it all has to be scrapped if the "world" is going to be a better place. They have no proof of this, but facts don't matter to them, only feelings. Those feelings have gotten a minimum of 60 million people killed in the last century, and appear to be heading to an even higher number in this one.

This nation has lots of problems it needs to deal with, both internally and externally. Trying to tear the foundation out from under it isn't going to make anything better for anyone. The people that preach such hate and destruction need to be told forcefully and offen to STFU. They should either offer an alternative that will work - not pie in the sky, but something practical - or get out of the way and let the rest of us continue to make things better for as many as possible. Hate, however, is incompatible with honest thinking. That leaves the left in a very difficult place: all they can do is destroy, and that destruction will destroy them as much as it does anyone else. They're too blinded by their rage to realize that.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Vets Honored

As Cindy Sheehan gets all the media attention nationally, a little-reported event took place in Cripple Creek, CO, over the last four days - the annual " Salute to American Veterans Rally and Festival". The Colorado Springs Gazette was probably the only newspaper in the nation to give it full honors.

In addition to the soldiers from Fort Carson, 35,000 bikers from around the nation came and participated in their seventh annual salute to veterans. Thousands of veterans crowded this small mountain gaming town for the celebration.

I don't attend rallies and marches, although I enjoy them. It's just too much noise, and it drives me literally into my bed with a migraine-level headache. I hate to miss any salute to veterans, though - there are all too few of them these days. Some people still understand, however, that their freedom isn't free - it was purchased by veterans - alive or dead, healthy or wounded - from the Revolutionary War to today.

May God bless all veterans, and keep them and those that remember them, in His healing hands, for all time.

Monday, August 15, 2005

God and Creation

A Scientific, Analytical Approach

I just finished reading the note by John Derbeyshire on The Corner about an article in The New Republic (registration required) that once again has me shaking my head with the illogical conclusions some otherwise well-educated, intelligent people can come to.

I believe in God. I've had a personal relationship with Him for more than 45 years. God has answered my prayers, not once or twice, but hundreds of times. He's also guided and protected me through a life that should have ended when I was less than a year old. I KNOW He's real, that He cares, and that He fulfills His promises to us, because He's done so with me, time and time again. That's the ONLY proof that can truly convince anyone that He is real - to experience Him on their own.

I also have a very firm foundation in the sciences, ranging from geology and geophysics to astronomy to chemistry to zoology and paleontology. I spent a lot of time in conflict over the account in Genesis and what I see in the real world around me. Apparently, UNLIKE most people, I prayed about it, earnestly. I also listened, and heard God's words to me.

Right there, most people will write me off as a religious nut, or a delusioned fool. I am neither. The explanation I received from God is truth. Science, too is truth. The problem arises with how people approach simplistically the most complex chapter in the Bible.

When God created the "heavens and the earth", in effect He created the entire known universe - and perhaps even some unknown parts that mankind hasn't discovered yet. God is orderly, not chaotic - His "six days" are metaphor, but establishes a firm reference to deduce this (Argument about the "six days" and fundamentalist interpretation is available - write me). When He created the universe, He also created all the "natural" laws that govern how it works, from the weak binding force of the atom to the gravitational forces between bodies that affect the entire universe. Therefore, the study of science is the study of God's laws that control and bring order to the universe we live in. There can be no separation - if God created the universe, and the laws that govern it, studying how those laws work is studying how God created them.

Using that framework, there can be no conflict between "science" and "creationism", because they're both talking about the same thing: the natural laws that govern how the universe works, from the macro to the micro. The only difference is between accepting that those natural laws come from God, or whether they're the product of "random chaotic behavior".

Accepting that God created the universe, that He established the "natural laws" that we're so fond of, also explains many other things both within the Bible and in everyday life. "Evolution" isn't the be-all of species "creation", but a process that allows God's creatures to adapt to the changes God Himself set in motion for our world - a simple, effective feedback loop. Jesus' miracles are understandable, because the Creator knows His creation better than anyone else, and can certainly do a simple molecular transformation to turn water into wine, clense a body of disease, turn five loaves and two fishes into a feast to feed a multitude, or even reverse entropy and bring the dead back to life. WE can't do it, but God can, because He created the rules that govern the universe, and knows how to use those rules to do things we cannot.

The entire argument over "creationism", "intelligent design", or "science" is nothing but a battle of semantics. In all three cases, we're talking about the same thing. Only the stubbornness of people who refuse to accept the TRUE magesty and power of God keeps us arguing.

Friday, August 05, 2005


It's been awhile since I've posted. I've used that time to do some things that were critical to my poor health and questionable sanity. About the time I had made some key decisions, my mother-in-law died, and we had to go to Louisiana for her funeral. That led to even more key decisions about our (me and my wife's) future. Around the same time, we received my back disability pay, and had to begin all over.

The death of someone close to you is always a good time to reflect and re-assess one's own life. I also found a couple of comments from center-left folks on this site when I came home last night. They're both complaints, so I must be doing something right.

There's always plenty to comment upon on the Internet. Between a dozen or so "news" sites, fifty or more blogs, and a few message boards, I could generate a dozen or so articles a day, IF I had the time and energy. Both of the latter are in short supply. Articles, therefore, will be limited to those I consider truly important, not only to me but also to my friends and family.

I grew up with family all around me. My grandparents lived next door. I had uncles, cousins, and more distant relatives living next door, across the street, down the road in each direction, and elsewhere in the same general area. "Family get-togethers" meant when the out-of-town relatives came, not just my aunt from across the street dropping in for a visit, or the cousin from three houses down coming to borrow some eggs. My family today is spread out all across the United States, and family get-togethers are less frequent. They've also become more important, at least to me. My mother-in-law's funeral was the first time I'd met my nephew's wife and children, including their 18-year-old daughter who will start college in the fall. My wife and I will be going to my family's annual reunion this September, for only the second time in 21 years. I'm hoping to meet an aunt and first-cousin I haven't seen in 40 years.

Duty came first for me during my Air Force career; family was a close second, not by my choice, but by military demands. Once I retired, it was money that was always in short supply and limited our involvement in family affairs. We missed being involved in whole chapters of our family history. At the funeral, we learned that two of my nephews had become fathers in the last year, and a niece was six months pregnant. Another niece couldn't attend because she was in the hospital recovering from a caeserian, and had a new daughter. That was all my wife's side of the family. I have no idea what changes we'll discover at my family's upcoming reunion.

My family has a long and varied history in the United States, going back to the founding of the Ogleghorpe colony in Georgia. Few know that history, and there are still major gaps in the sequence. How can we pass on this history to our children, if we don't understand it ourselves? There's also the lack of roots. There isn't a "homestead" to draw family members back to. The major attraction at the moment is an uncle who has the time and energy to do everything that's necessary to bring us together. Before that, it was Grandma, who died in 1984 at the age of 85, plus several of her children who all lived in the same area. My parents' home has been sold, the home Grandma lived in has been sold, and only my uncle's house remains in family hands. The local cemetary is full of relatives, but it's not the dead that draw us together, it's the living.

I have a new "family", also - a family of close friends and associates on the Internet. I correspond with some of them frequently, others only occasionally. The frequency of "connecting" isn't as important as the ideas and beliefs that we share. Most of my Internet family hold strong religious beliefs, are conservative in their thinking, and love their homeland, whether it's the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, or some other nation. They love freedom, as I do, and believe that any more government than the minimum necessary is too much.

If life weren't complicated enough, we're trying to get my wife seen by a neurologist. Our local PA thinks she needs to be tested for Multiple Sclerosis. Unfortunately, there are only two or three neurologists in Colorado Springs that take Tricare, and they're not taking any new patients.

My back disability payment was enough to cover our trip to Louisiana and to pay off all our outstanding loans except our home loan. We're not completely out of debt, but the expenses are greatly reduced! Now we need to start thinking about what we need to do to our home to make it livable for us for the next 30 or 40 years. My disabilities aren't going to get any better, and if my wife is diagnosed with MS, she's not going to be able to take care of both of us. We're spending a lot of time on our knees in prayer these days. While the answers are coming, they're in "God's time", not necessarily ours. And yes, we ARE sure that God answers prayer. There was no problem getting my Social Security disability approved, while other people wait months, even years. We received my back disability pay within five weeks of the judgment, which is practically unheard of. It came the same time we needed it for my mother-in-law's funeral. A half-dozen other things we've been praying about have been resolved. God answers prayer - not necessarily in the way we'd expect, but in His way, and in His time.

How will all this affect posting to my weblog? I have no idea. I know that I will post when and if I have time, energy, and a suitable subject. I may post several posts in a single day, and then go a week or more before posting again. If you read my weblog, just keep coming back. Sooner or later, I'll post another article. In the meantime, if you're the praying sort, I'd appreciate any prayers for my wife you might be willing to make.