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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Defending the Republic

There's an excellent article in the WSJ Opinion Journal today by Brendan Miniter. I've never read anything by this person before, but he(?) seems to know how to turn a well-thought phrase. Read it all, then come back - it's worth it.

Being weak is bad: appearing to be weak is worse. People have no respect for a nation that's weak. We cannot allow the Islamofascists to believe we're weak - the next "9/11" may be nuclear or chemical. If we appear weak, we will DEFINITELY have another such incident.

The United States was weak in the 1930's. Germany and Japan took advantage of that fact, along with the apparent weakness of Britain and France, to begin building empires. It took the United States almost three years to build enough strength to begin fighting back. Two years later, both Germany and Japan were conquered.

Today, the United States has an unparalleled military force, capable of deploying anywhere in the world in short notice, to fight against any foe and win. That same military delivered unprecedented humanitarian aid following the horrendous tsunami that devastated large parts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. There is no apparent, or real, military weakness. Yet the Islamofascists take great glee in the apparent POLITICAL weakness expressed by the Democratic Party leadership. The willingness of the United States to continue the fight to the finish will be decided by whether the American people have the stomach for a long war.

The problem of Islamofascism didn't begin in a day. Its roots go back to the establishment of modern Saudi Arabia in 1928. It was nurtured and encouraged by the German NAZI movement, and by "independence movements" throughout Southwest Asia and northern Africa. It's been strengthened by the creation of the state of Israel, and by five defeats at the hands of the Israeli military in the last 60 years. It's backed by Saudi and Iranian oil money, and by the teachings of fanatic Saudi and Iranian religious "leaders".

American inaction in Southwest Asia, dating back to the 1973 Arab/Israeli war and Saudi Arabia's shutdown of oil exports have encouraged our enemies. They were further encouraged by the weak and ineffective Carter administration and the failed hostage rescue attempt at the end of Jimmy Carter's presidency. Nor is it just American weakness: the response of Europe to the 1972 Olympic Village hostage-taking, and dozens of others since then, plus an open immigration policy, have also provided encouragement to those who wish to impose their will upon all of the world.

There can be no compromise with evil. Imposing a religion AND a government upon an unwilling population are both evil, and must be opposed. Yet the United States is currently unable to conduct a worldwide war against that evil. It must pick its battlegrounds carefully, to increase its strengths and nullifying or reducing its weaknesses. Nor can it merely conquer and rule: in order to ensure the evil we face doesn't restart, we must convince the people of those nations we liberate from their religious or secular oppressors that there is a better way to live. That takes time, and energy, and resources. This is going to be a long war - possibly lasting for several generations, much as the Cold War did. The one thing that we CANNOT do is stop fighting it: our only viable option as a nation, and as a free society, is to win the whole war, not just bits and pieces.

Those who oppose the war usually have high ideals, but those ideals do not correlate to the society we're fighting. Those ideals are part of what our enemy hates. Nor is any of our current behavior (or even past behavior) the reason for that hatred. Their hatred is based upon one thing, and one thing only: we aren't like them. We don't worship as they do, we don't believe what they believe, we don't act subservient to them as they believe we should, and we don't accept whatever they do as "legitimate", especially if it's painful or deadly to our citizens.

Those who try to exact "concessions" from the Government, the military, and others to be more "humane" to our enemies are effectively undermining the power the US projected in destroying the Taliban and Saddam Hussein's army. Those who continue to object to the war because it's "unjust" have no concept of what war is about, or why it's necessary. These people refuse to learn the lessons of history. Because of that, they will be forced to repeat them. That's quite often a painful process. Unfortunately for our nation, that pain isn't felt by those most responsible for causing it.

The death and destruction caused by the refusal of the United States Congress to support our ally in Vietnam is a good example: those who opposed the war in the United States felt none of the consequences of that defeat. Only the millions that died, and the other millions who were either enslaved or were killed trying to escape suffered for the arrogance and illogical behavior of the antiwar fringe. The same would be true in Iraq or Afghanistan, which is why those governments wish to establish a long-lasting relationship with the United States, including the stationing of US military forces on their soil. This is THEIR request, not our prodding. They have learned the lessons of history our own left has refused to absorb.

Only a nation willing to defend its freedom against any attacker, who is willing to sacrifice today for peace tomorrow, can continue to live in peace. As George Washington said, "to live in peace, prepare for war". Sometimes preparation isn't enough, and you have to actually engage in war to keep your enemies at bay. Those who "ain't gonna study war no more" usually don't last beyond the next round of empire-building someone who has NOT forsaken war decides to engage in.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Questioning the Democrat's Patriotism

Many high-ranking Democrats have derided the Republican Party and many rank-and file citizens for "questioning" their patriotism. I'm not a Republican, but DAMNED RIGHT, I question their patriotism. I think we ALL should. Between Howlin' Howard Dean, Nancy "the Nothing" Pelosi, Hillary "anything to become President" Clinton, Harry "it' plays well in Nevada" Reid, Robert "KKK" Byrd, Chris Dodd, Ted "I can swim" Kennedy, Barbara "the vapors" Boxer, Dick "They're all NAZIS" Kuchinick, and a hundred other "prominent" Democrats whose only purpose is to bring down the current Republican government AT ANY COST, I DO question their patriotism, and their loyalty to the United States of America.

Patriotism isn't about political parties. It's about loyalty to the Constitution and the nation whose government it establishes. It's about being true to the principles of our founding fathers, and honoring and protecting the rights and responsibilities that go with citizenship of this great nation. It's not about tearing it down, it's not about bad-mouthing it overseas, it's not about ignoring the consequences that might occur from such ruthless, ridiculous, and dangerous words and deeds that have been uttered repeatedly by the before-mentioned cadre.

The only loyalty most, perhaps all, Democratic party politicians seem to hold is to power - their power. They have no concern for the average citizen, for the people they are ostensibly elected to represent.

The recent decision to fillibuster EVERY judicial nominee of the President's that isn't first "approved" by the Democrats is a case in point. The recent Supreme Court decisions on Taking and the extent of the Commerce clause are others. The declaration by the Massachusetts Supremes on gay marriage is a third. There are at least 30 more I could name, just from the 9th Circuit Court, and another half-dozen from the US Supreme Court.

The Democrats have vowed that only THEIR agenda will get through the Senate. This is after the PEOPLE have expressed their disagreement with the Democratic agenda as loudly as they could. There could be no better bellweather of public thought than the party of the President gaining seats in both houses both at midterm and again upon re-election. The people - the majority of the people - don't want the Democrat's agenda, and don't want the Democrats. The only way Democrats can get elected is by lying to the people, like hopefully-one-term Ken "Sleeze" Salazar.

So yes, I question their patriotism. Also their sanity, and their integrity. What they are breeding will probabaly come back to bite them, bloodily, in the near future. Idiocy, gross stupidity in the pursuit of power, usually brings with it its own rewards. Woodrow Wilson, Neville Chamberlain, and Lyndon Baines Johnson come readily to mind. Unfortunately, they won't be the only ones that pay a price for their nonsense.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Working Toward the Tipping Point

There's a lot of commentary on the web right now about many things: political hate, property rights, individual freedoms, arrogance of government, judicial advocacy, and many, many other issues. The government, and the people, should pay close attention to what's being written and said. This is the same kind of behavior that preceded the collapse of the Soviet Union, the "Orange Revolution" in the Ukraine, and the liberation of Lebanon from Syrian domination.

Society usually functions smoothly, with social graces providing lubrication between differing groups. Today, there are many different groups doing everything possible to strip our society from those graces, impinging upon the freedoms of the individual (think Political Correctness, for one, property rights, gun rights, home ownership, the right to move freely throughout the country, the security of our borders, and the capability and loyalty of our military and its civilian leaderships are others), and antagonizing those who the "anointed" feel are "wrong".

There's a point in a potential energy system where the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy through external force. In Physics, it's referred to as the "tipping point". It also works in politics. In fact, it's a prime mover of political change.

When one group impinges upon the rights and liberties of another, the first reaction is annoyance. As the pressure increases, the annoyance turns first to disgust, and then to anger. Pushed beyond that, the tipping point is reached, and you have rebellion. The left has already begun to stir anger.

Not all rebellion need be bloody: we noted how the Soviet Union collapsed because the people no longer believed in that government, and refused to support it. The "Orange Revolution" led to new elections that were more in line with the will of the people, rather than a reflection of the desires of those in power. There have been dozens of revolutions in the last twenty years - from El Salvador and Nicaragua to the Ukraine and Lebanon, and on to the Philippines. The people will tolerate only so much, and then they rebel.

In today's society, the people referred to as being on the Left have staked a claim to represent "what the people want", and demand it be implemented. The people are not as universally for what the Left wishes to do, and feel the Left is pushing them in a way they don't want to go. The divide was pretty even. Events lately have pushed many who were in the middle in various directions, but mostly to the right. The people have, generally, pretty well established what they will and won't accept. The left isn't listening, hell-bent on establishing their vision of "Utopia" upon the rest of us.

It's time for the Left to wake up. Their lies, their shady dealings, their pushing and shoving, their demand for more and more power over the common man, are not being well received. Their verbal display of hatred for those that oppose them, vented by Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, and Harry Reid, are beginning to turn more and more Americans against them. Either the Left learns to listen to the people - to ALL the people - or they will reap the anger of those they've pushed too far. That will probably result in the total destruction of the Left, and those in politics that represent and promote it's message. We're not too far from the tipping point, beyond which compromise isn't possible.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Democrat's America

I'm beginning to understand how our founding fathers felt. Between the bull the Democratic Congresscritters spew and the unbelievable arrogance of the "justice" system in the United States, we're almost back to the point we were with the British Parliament in 1775.

The Democratic Dick Durbin accuses the United States military, of which I'm a proud retired member, of running something akin to "Hitler's death camps, Stalin's gulags, and Pol Pot's killing fields". Funny thing, NOT ONE SINGLE DETAINEE has died. Senator Durbin owes every member of the military an apology, and should be forced to resign from his position in the Senate. He has proven he's far too interested in exercising power than in supporting the Republic who writes his check.

Karl Rove identifies exactly what the Democrats are doing with the War on Terror, and why they're doing it, and is attacked for speaking truth. Now the Democrats are calling for President Bush to fire him. I guess telling the truth is one more thing the Democrats (and a few disgusting Republicans In Name Only) don't believe should be allowed in this nation.

Ward Churchill compares people making money, helping others invest, helping run big companies that employ tens of thousands, and ensuring that those companies and their people can safeguard their money and even invest for the future, with Adolf Eichmann, the German "mastermind" that ran Hitler's death camps, and implemented the NAZI "final solution" for the Jewish people. I guess someone with a Masters' Degree in "ethnic studies" certainly never had to take a history course, or an economics class. The sheer stupidity of that comparison is unbelievable.

Howard Dean says he "hates" Republicans, and that Republicans are "just a club of old, white, Christians". Yet the first Black Secretary of State (and the second) was a Republican nominee. There are more minority staffers, and in higher positions, in the Bush Administration than in the Clinton one.

Ted Kennedy wants universal, single-payer health care. We can just look to our northern neighbor and see what a resounding success Canada is having with that kind of system. The average wait for ANYTHING is six months, and for rare tests, use of high-tech, state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, may be as much as eighteen months to two years. Even life-saving surgery such as transplants may be postphoned for a year or more for lack of staff, equipment, and bedspace. If they're rich enough, Canadians come south to have needed testing and medical treatment in the United States that they'd have to wait months, maybe even years, to get in Canada. We want to copy THAT?

The Supremes gave us Roe vs Wade, and unlimited, unquestionable abortion, in many places without parental notification for minors. Today they overturned the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Eminent domain can now be used for any purpose the local, state, or national government THINKS will result in a more "productive" activity. Period.

Courts in Massachusetts say the state legislature MUST pass a law granting single-gender couples the same rights as married couples, and that anything else is "discrimination".

Our forefathers took the same kind of abuse from the government of their day. Finally, they became fed up. They met at Lexington and Concord, at Boston Common, at Breede's Hill, and at hundreds of other places. They shot, hanged, and imprisoned those who opposed them, and created the best form of government the world has ever seen. They were determined to protect the God-given rights they believed were the possession of every man against any that would take them from them, including the British government, and any US government that failed to recognize and protect those rights.

Today our rights as free men and women are under incessant attack by a large segment of the American government, and an even larger segment of society. That attack is led by members of the Democratic Party in Congress, the court system, and in our colleges and schools. It's time to stand up to them and say, "ENOUGH". Either back off, or we'll hit the reset switch, and return our government to the principles in place under George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. It might get a little bloody, and a little violent, and maybe even a little desperate, but with the determination of our forefathers, we WILL win.

Count on it.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Dick Durbin, Dipwad

It's obvious that the Democrats will use any language, any activity, any means possible to gain even the tiniest of politically favorable position. Senator Durbin's comparison of the US Military garrison in Guantanamo, Cuba, to the NAZI death camps, to the Soviet Gulag, and to Pol Pot's killing fields was one such utterance. There's only one problem. That is the greatest slur against the US military ever uttered by a member of the US government in the military's entire existence.

My father was one of the people that liberated Dachau in 1945. I served ten years in Germany, and invited him to come visit. His reply was that he'd seen Germany, and seen what the German people were capable of, and would never set foot back in that nation again as long as he lived. He kept that promise. I've seen the photos of Dachau. There is nothing even remotely similar to that anywhere in Iraq or the US zone of Cuba. Even Castro's prisoners are better treated than the inmates at Dachau.

As a photo interpreter working at command-level units, I saw photos of the camps in Russia that were part of the "Gulag". There are no mass graves at Guantanamo. The prisoners there are getting three meals a day, and none of them consist of "potato soup".

I also watched the events that took place in Cambodia between 1973 and 1980. Nothing like that is taking place anywhere in the world, even Darfur, much less Guantanamo. Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe is beginning to resemble some of the lesser activities of the Pol Pot regime, but even it isn't to the same level as the massacre in Cambodia.

Dick Durbin has access to about the same information I have. He is supposed to be a rather intelligent person. Yet he's made these outrageous comparisons between the activities of US forces in Guantanamo to those of Eichman's "final solution", Stalin's death squads, and the worst of the rampages of the Khmer Rouge. That isn't just a mis-speaking, that is a deliberate attempt to slime the entire US military and all its members. It's a gross exaggeration to try to damage and bring down the current Republican government. It's a political act of the absolutely worst kind, one that no one who holds the Constitution above their political aspirations would ever utter.

The Democratic Party has reached bottom, and started digging. Dick Durbin, Howard Dean, and dozens of other Democratic (and a few Republican) senators have chosen to wage politics over serving the people of the United States. There is no longer any reason to continue to allow that to happen. The rest of the Senate MUST expel at least Durbin, and possibly a handful of other Senators who have inflicted great harm on the United States military and the capability of the United States to wage successful foreign policy, including the GWOT. Durbin has committed a grave offense, and only his leaving public office for good will be sufficient to redress these grievances.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Michelle Malkin has an article about "Operation Homecoming", an event in Branson, MO, for Vietnam Veterans. It's a good idea, but for far too many of my friends from those days, it's too late. They're no longer around to receive the belated "welcome home", 30 years after the fact. While it's appreciated, it's also not going to erase the anger, hurt, and utter disgust that most of us felt upon our return, when we were called "baby-killers", murderers, and a few names no self-respecting blog would publish.

The main problem for many of us is that the Vietnam War was warped and twisted by everyone not directly involved in it into something unclean. That's been the major impression of the majority of American citizens ever since. Maybe the United States needed a "Vietnam" to learn that excessive political control of combat operations destroys the effectiveness of those operations, but for those of us involved in it, it was a nightmare that lingers until this day.

The war was mis-managed and ill-defined from the time Lyndon Johnson became president until Richard Nixon removed the last American troops. We should have been doing the same thing in Vietnam we're now doing in Iraq: helping the Vietnamese develop a representative government, building up the Vietnamese military to respond to the attack from the North, and keeping them supplied and equipped to fight a protracted guerilla war. Instead, we backed one despot after another, half-trained the Vietnamese while keeping them dependent upon American forces for heavy support, and failed to gain the "hearts and minds" of the locals.

Even these half-efforts would have succeeded if Congress had had the courage to provide the necessary material support to the Vietnamese military. Instead, Congress chose to cut and run, and all the sacrifices made by 59,000 men and women were nullified. That leaves a bitterness in the mouths of tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans that no amount of parades and celebrations will ever remove.

Thank you, Branson, and all the people involved, for finally thinking of us, and deciding to honor us. But until Congress apologizes, until the people who trashed us (and still do) in a thousand ways can give up THEIR hatred, and until people like John Kerry and John McCain can stop treating Vietnam Veterans as mindless trash, it's too little, far too late.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

These People Call Themselves "Americans"?

A political group known as the "International Freedom Center" want to decide what is a fitting memorial for those killed at Ground Zero, the World Trade Center, on September 11, 2001. They feel their ideas "best represent the lessons learned here". Their idea is to establish a memorial "shrine of shame" depicting the worst of American and Americans. Yet Ground Zero illustrated profusely the BEST of what Americans are, and what being an American means (and has meant for 200+ years).

I have a pretty good idea, based on my own experience and what I've heard from the previous generation, of what being an "American" is all about. I think most of the mental morons on the Left not only don't know, but are afraid to find out.

I grew up in a small rural area in central Louisiana. My parents moved back there after a tornado destroyed my grandparents' house and killed at least one of their children. Dad had always set aside his life to help his parents - this wasn't the first time, but the third. I benefitted as much as they did. I grew up among friends and relatives, people of different ages, and people who'd lived through ten times as much as I would.

My family is descended from Scottish Highlanders who came to the Georgia Colony in 1735 to help James Oglethorpe secure his colony. My ancestors fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War, and a handful moved to the Bahamas after the Colonies won independence. My direct ancestor, a Creek warrior, tried to keep a bunch of hotheads stirred up by Cherokee braves from killing everyone they could during the War of 1812. My family's roots are evident all across the South, from Georgia and South Carolina to Texas and Oklahoma. There are dozens of Native American ties, not only in our primary lineage, but throughout both sides of my family tree.

Dad was a grown man during most of the Depression. He regularly quit school to help support his family. It took him eight years to graduate from high school - at age 22. He had a chance to go to college, free. He turned it down because he still had to help his parents support their growing family.

My parents both served in the military during World War II: Dad in the Army in Europe, Mom in the Navy in Washington, DC. Dad was part of the 9th Artillery Regiment that distinguished itself as part of Patton's Third Army. Mom decrypted Japanese Naval code for three years.

My mother took me to church at the local Baptist church until she began working when I was 12. After that, I usually went with my grandmother who lived next door. I went to the same school, Tioga High School, for twelve years, from first grade through graduation. I learned to hunt, fish, raise a garden, and lend a helping hand, at an early age. I also learned other things as well - to care for and defend those younger, less fortunate, or significantly older than myself. I learned that there's no shame in being poor, only in ACTING poor. I also learned that there was a massive difference between being poor financially and being poor emotionally or spiritually.

After graduation from high school, I entered the military, three months before my 18th birthday. At 19, I married a wonderful young woman I met in Denver. By the time I turned 21, I was a father. The Air Force in its infinite wisdom sent me to Panama, Vietnam, Germany and England. On my own, I used those assignments to learn how others lived. I also took advantage of the military's educational opportunities. Today at age 58, I'm retired and disabled. There's not much of my life that I'm ashamed of, and I don't "blame" anyone for my physical problems. I'm not a "victim" - my physical disabilities were "earned" doing what had to be done in the easiest, fastest, best way possible. Sometimes military service and circumstances leaves you little choice other than to do whatever it takes to survive, or to die.

I'm proud of my life, and I'm proud of my family. I have great pride in my family's accomplishments, and forgiveness for their failures. In the end, each of them did their small part to make life better for their children than it had been for them. Along the way, many of them made life better for everyone, not just family. That's what being an "American" means - people working to make life better for themselves and their families, and thus for every citizen of our nation. It also means doing whatever it takes to help save lives, help rescue people and things, and help protect others from harm - the very things firemen and police officers lost their lives doing on 9/11. It means sacrifice when sacrifice is called for, and fighting to the last breath or bullet when there's no other option. It means standing tall when the flag passes, both in pride and humility for the deaths of those who kept that flag and the nation it represents alive and prosperous. It means passing on to our children that sense of duty, devotion, honor and humility that ties us all together, and to the generations before us.

It doesn't mean shame, it doesn't mean victimhood, and it doesn't mean defeat. Anyone who believes that's what it means to be an American doesn't have a clue.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Tom Harkin's Temper Tantrum

Opinion Journal's "Best of the Web Monday featured an angry screed from Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa against Judge Priscilla Owens and the Christian Right.

Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, though, is following the Dean example, to judge by this report from columnist Robert Novak:

Harkin, appearing on liberal Randi Rhodes's national radio talk show, became animated as he said of [Priscilla] Owen: "This is not a person to put on the bench for a lifetime appointment. This person is wacko! She's wacko!"

On the same program, Harkin said Christian broadcasters are "sort of our home-grown Taliban." He added: "They have a direct line to God. And if you don't tune into their line, you're obviously on Satan's line."

Tom Harkin is dangerous to the United States. He's not dangerous because he might foment a rebellion, or because he would sponsor attacks upon this nation, but because he's filled with Democratic Party-sponsored hate.

Looking back over Judge Priscilla Owens' long tenure in the Texas judicial system shows no "wacko" behavior. There are no FBI files that show her involved with any extremist groups, or issuing any extremist statements, on the left or right. She appears to be an intelligent, capable legalist, well-versed in both the laws of the United States and the laws of Texas. Tom Harkin's labeling her a "wacko" demands that he provide some type of proof. Don't hold your breath waiting for it, though.

Harkin also spews the party propaganda by identifying Christian broadcasters and alternative media as "America's Taliban". Excuse me? I read my local newspaper, the Gazette, in its dead-tree edition, and a half-dozen other newspapers on the Internet. I've never seen a word about Baptists stoning anyone for alledged adultery. The Methodists have never blocked either female children or grown woman from attending public school, up to the Doctorate level. The Catholics don't require women to dress in head-to-toe body coverings, and only allow them out of the house accompanied by an adult family member.

Using such rhetoric not only demeans the torture imposed upon people by the Taliban, but also cheapens a certain US Senator who made such a correlation.

The truth is, the Christian Right has held its hand for 60 or more years while the left had continuously attacked, vilified, and marginalized religion. That they will finally begin to respond to such institutionalized, demeaning marginalization sets people like Tom Harkin frothing at the mouth in rage.

Too bad. Times change. People change. The world changes. It's time for the Democrats to recognize that such a change has taken place, and accommodate itself to those changes. The world certainly won't change to accommodate the Democrats. If the party refuses to acknowledge these changes and respond to them, it will be further and further marginalized until it no longer exists.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Remembering the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Chester, of The Adventures of Chester, takes the New York Times writer John Burns to task over comparing the Ho Chi Minh Trail to the Euphrates river valley in Iraq as a "pipeline of insurgents". I can't talk much about the Iraqi route, but I remember the Ho Chi Minh Trail vividly.

I only spent twelve months in Vietnam during that war, and most of it was spent watching for traffic on the Ho Chi Minh trail. There are a host of myths about this particular road network, beginning with the "trail" part of the name. At the time I was in Saigon, the Ho Chi Minh Trail was a series of gravel roads, often two lanes or more wide, that ran from three entry points in North Vietnam, and ended up somewhere in central Cambodia - a distance of about 300 miles.

Supplies coursed down the Trail from Vinh and Dong Hoi, and crossed the border into Laos over three passes: Mu Gia, Ban Nape, and a third I can't remember now. The US military divided these up into "Route Packs", numbering all the segments of the road for easier reporting and targeting. The entry into Laos joined just north of the former Laotian village of Tchepone, where it intersected the old French-built Route 9 from Da Nang to Savannaket, on the Mekong River separating Laos from Thailand.

There were dozens of karst caves at several places along the upper Trail which were all but impervious to attack. These were used as transshipment points and protection by troops and vehicles moving south along the Trail. It was also the first of many staging areas along the Trail as it followed the Vietnamese border, more or less. From the area of Tchepone weapons, ammunition, and personnel were sent east toward Khe Sahn and Da Nang.

There was one major route and at least two alternate routes south from Tchepone. Some of these routes were painstakingly hacked out of the red earth of central Laos, others wound back and forth along valleys draining toward Vietnam.

The next major staging area was a network of camouflaged trails, truck parks, weapons storage areas, and bivouacs along the central spine of the southern Laotian mountains near Saravan. The Trail split, going west and east of a large (but not very high) group of mountains. We discovered one of their camouflaged truck park/storage areas near the mountain in April, 1971, and hit it with everything available - fighter-bombers, B-52 strikes, and even carrier aircraft from the South China Sea. The military destroyed over 150 trucks and several tens of thousands of pounds of supplies and equipment. Unfortunately, there were probably a dozen other places we never discovered. The Saravan area was the staging point for attacks on Chu Lai and infiltration into the A Shau valley and points south.

From the Saravan area, the trail rejoined and continued south to Attopeu. Here the Trail became indistinguishable from the old French Indochina road network. The only differences were the unbelievable increase in traffic south and east. The area around Attopeu was a major staging point for attacks against Kontum and Pleiku.

The North Vietnamese were extremely clever at building road networks almost impossible to find. One of the ways we did discover these roads were where they crossed small streams which were plentiful in the area. One of the key recognition factors was usually a line of poles planted in a stream, showing where a ford had been built and maintained, allowing trucks to traverse the streams without damage. Sometimes we spotted dead vegetation, or an area that appeared to have changed overnight. Discovering such areas took hundreds of hours of searching the same area.

The North Vietnamese were also cleaver in other ways. They built dozens of raft-like ferries to cross some of the larger rivers in Laos. It was a favorite pastime to find and attack these ferries, which were heavily camouflaged and frequently located several miles away from the point where they were used. Unfortunately, it took little time to rebuild a damaged ferry, and quite a bit of time to find them again.

I was in Vietnam for Dewey Canyon II, when the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) attempted to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Tchepone. We watched the North Vietnamese build hundreds of miles of additional roads to transport troops and supplies to counter this threat. The North could literally build a mile of road a day through the heavy jungle, and along precipitous mountainsides.

I've never read or heard of any statistics on casualties along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, but they must have been in the tens of thousands. Fighter aircraft, "Spooky" and "Spectre", and Vietnamese A-1E's destroyed over ten thousand trucks, about a half-million tons of supplies, and broke at least three pipelines running close to, but not exactly parallel to the trail, dozens of times. A figure of 10,000 would probably be the base estimate, with numbers going higher from there toward 50,000 or more.

I spent so much time working the Ho Chi Minh Trail that I can close my eyes almost 40 years later and 'see' sections of it in my mind. I know I'm not alone. There are hundreds of us who spent our Vietnam war tour searching the Trail, and who remember it vividly.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


The War of Ideas

The Demoronic Party held a high-level meeting recently to develop an agenda to "Take Back America". Intellectually, it was a bust. Everyone with any intelligence at all has told the Democrats what their problem is. Unfortunately, since they deny having a problem, they're not working toward a solution.

America - the majority of its citizens, anyway - changed after the collapse of the World Trade Center twin towers on September 11, 2001. The Democratic Party not only DIDN'T change, they don't recognize the change that has happened to most voters.

The focus of attention for most Americans begins with themselves and their families, then moves outward to their friends, then their associates, and finally their community, their city, their state, and their nation. At each level, the individual's needs are heierarchical - security, safety, personal stisfaction, and so forth. President Bush ran on an agenda that was aimed at what most concerned the average voter - jobs, taxes, security, freedom, and so forth. The Democrats ran on an agenda that they weren't President Bush, and that they'd "do things differently". That agenda was soundly rebuffed.

Most voters are worried about jobs. Those that have them are worried about losing them, those that don't have them are worried about getting one. Americans have finally learned that taxes are a drag on the economy, and raising taxes destroys jobs. They've also learned that increasing the minimum wage only drives the marginally employed into the unemployment lines. Intelligent Americans understand that tax cuts improve the economic picture for everyone, and that raising taxes conversely hurts everyone and impedes job creation. They've seen how tax cuts have spurred the economy three times now - under President Kennedy, President Reagan, and now President Bush. They've seen how tax hikes hurt - under President Carter, President Bush (I), and President Clinton. Most Americans want low taxes and a stable minimum wage. Anything else will hurt both them and the overall economy.

Security is the second most important worry of most Americans. They worry about personal security, homeland security, defense, crime, and terrorism. A clear majority of Americans feel that the Democrats aren't serious about national defense. They've seen the Democrats rage against defense spending, against missile defense, against ending the ABM treaty, against funding needed military improvements, and much more. They have a well-founded perception that the Democrats are soft on crime, against minimum sentencing, against the death penalty, and all too friendly with such groups as Amnesty International, the ACLU, and other reactionary groups pushing for less punishment and more "rehabilitation" of criminals.

The Democratic Presidential contender wants to treat the terrorism threat as a "criminal" matter. The biggest problem with that approach is that a crime has to be committed before you can try to arrest anyone. The crime in this instance is another attack against the American people and our nation's economy. President Bush is engaged in a proactive, preventive war against terrorists on their soil, not ours. He understands we're at war - a war of physical, psychological, economic, ethnic, social, cultural and religious dimensions.

President Bush is pushing for strong action against "rogue" states acquiring nuclear capabilities, including Iran and North Korea. He understands that deeds, not words, will win the battle, and that strength, not weakness, are needed to stand firm against these emerging threats. The Democrats want to return to the appeasement and "carrot, not stick" approach that gave the North Koreans and the Iranian mullahs almost eight years to work on nuclear arms and the missiles to deliver them, under a cloak of Madeline Albright "reasonableness".

Americans want their government to protect them from foreign threats, rogue states, criminals, and gangsters. They want a government that recognizes all the threats against us, and is willing to do what's necessary to protect our nation and its people. They don't believe the Democrats will deliver on any promise they might make in this regard.

Americans want a government that acknowledges their values, and works to protect them. Most Americans have strong religious beliefs. They feel threatened by the constant attack by secular groups that want to limit their freedom of worship. They feel alienated by the constant pressure to remove any mention of religion from everyday life. A majority of Americans are gun owners, and feel threatened by the dozens of highly vocal anti-gun groups. More than 50 million Americans have been Boy or Girl Scouts at some point in their lives, and feel angry at the constant attack on these groups just because they insist on a moral code. Americans in general have experienced true good and evil, and hate the constant attempts to force them to believe it's only a matter of perspective. Most Americans believe that the only legitimate form of marriage is between one man and one woman, and feel their beliefs are held in contempt by a small segment of America that wishes to impose its will upon the rest of the nation.

The Democratic Party has long been in the forefront to secularize every aspect of American life. They back the ban on prayer in schools. They back the ban on the presence of the Ten Commandments. They support gun control, wish to force gun registration, and demonize gun owners. Democrats have tried repeatedly to crush the Boy Scouts of America, and have some modest success in forcing the government to restrict support to the organization. Democrats are staunchly behind the push by gay and lesbian groups to change the meaning of marriage. The most vocal supporters of the Democratic Party also push "political correctness", one of the most vile of free speech restrictions, and "gay and lesbian rights". These groups are also the most vocal supporters of situational ethics, abortion, "free sex", and all the other feel-good ideas of the anti-establishment hippie generation of the 1960's and 1970's. Too many of them act like children who have never been forced to grow up.

The mainstream American is heterosexual, married, and has strong religious beliefs, a good understanding of right and wrong, and feels that their rights and beliefs are not only misunderstood, but held in contempt by the Democratic Party and its members.

Most Americans these days feel their children are getting a worse education than they themselves received. The education establishment and the unions that protect its territory have failed over and over again to improve the statistics of educational development in America's public schools. Today the number of people who teach their children at home is higher than at any time in the last 60 years. There are more private schools, charter schools, and even online schools opening every day to counter the poor education offered in the public school arena. The deterioration seems to have accelerated since the creation of the Department of Education, and the unionization of teachers. Almost every parent of a child in public school has at least one horror story to tell. Discipline is nonexistent, drugs, sex, and alcohol are prominent, and teachers are ineffective. Parents have found that many of today's school books warp and twist the truth about our past, our heritage, and many of our most famous people over the past 300 years.

The education unions, college faculty, and school "administrators" back the Democratic Party almost exclusively. The only cry seems to be for more and more money, and every attempt to impose any form of accountability is met with outrage, anger, and defiance. Our colleges and universities are hotbeds of radical liberalism, socialism, and disdain for the United States, its role in history, its achievements, and its people. The constant demand for more and more money for a shabbier and shabbier product is beginning to fall on deaf ears. Americans want their children to receive at least as good an education as they received, and hope they will receive an even better one - a hope being crushed at an alarming rate throughout this nation.

Most Americans are descendants of immigrants, and understand the worth of new blood, new ideas, new ways. They welcome those from other lands - but only those that come here legally, who assimilate into the stew that is called "Americanism". There's a growing backlash against unrestricted illegal immigration and the problems it brings with it. Americans eagerly greet willing workers, but not those that learn to "game the system" for a free ride. They also want SOMEONE to know exactly who is coming into this country, how long they intend to stay, and whether they plan to act in a lawful manner when they get here. They want criminals and terrorists excluded. That can only happen when the government controls the borders of our nation, and its ports of entry via air or ship. Most Americans feel the government isn't doing anything, much less enough, to control the flow of illegal immigrants. Americans want secure borders and an orderly, controlled flow of immigrants. They'll accept a guest-worker program, but not blanket amnesty for illegals. Both parties need to pay attention!

Most Americans are tired of radical groups attempting to scare them into doing stupid things. They're tired of the environmental extremism, from global cooling to global warming, from the DDT scare to the Alar "menace". They're tired of "scientists" warping and twisting data to suit their agenda. They're frustrated with greater and greater restrictions on where they can go, what they can do, and how they do things. They're tired of being abused for the automobile they drive, whether they smoke cigarettes or not, how they dress, or where they live. As more and more people become familiar with computers and the Internet, as more and more households "come online", they have access to the skepticism of others, and the truth about much of the "data" being fed to them by environmental groups wishing to impose their will upon the American people. Most Americans want the truth. They're intelligent enough to make reasoned decisions about just about anything, and feel lied to, manipulated, and outright defrauded by the constant flow of scary stories about the environment, their personal behavior, their habits, and their daily activities. The majority of adults link the behavior of these groups to their chief supporter - the Democratic Party.

On the same track, most Americans are tired of getting warped views, opinion stated as fact, and a daily dose of prejudice served up by the television "news", their morning newspaper, and many if not most of the magazines they read. They're becoming more and more skeptical of the daily dosage of pablum being pushed by the "mainstream media". Those that can turn to alternate media for more accurate reporting - talk radio, the Internet, and alternative television news. Most Americans feel the major media outlets lie to them daily, and they HATE it! Since the majority of mainstream media consistently support the Democrats, that hatred is also being directed toward them.

The Democratic Party has been moving leftward for 90 years. They've pulled a majority of the citizens of the United States with them since 1932. The morning of September 11, 2001, changed the direction the American people were moving, but not the Democratic Party. Each day, the gulf grows wider. The Democratic Party is responding by screaming their message louder, and embracing their agenda even more tightly. The American people in the meantime are finding their voice, and learning that a quiet voice in the right ear does more than all the screaming. That quiet voice is saying "support what we believe in, and we'll reward you with our vote". I hope someone is listening.

The Fruits of Appeasement

There's a long article in both my local newspaper and on NewsMax about a huge bunker found in Anbar Province:

Marines Find Weapons, Huge Bunker in Iraq Wires - Sunday, June 5, 2005

LATIFIYAH, Iraq - Hundreds of Iraqi and U.S. troops searched fields and farms Saturday for insurgents and their hideouts in an area south of Baghdad known for attacks, and the Marines said they discovered 50 weapons and ammunition caches and a huge underground bunker west of the capital fitted out with air conditioning, a kitchen and showers.

< - - - - - >

To the west of the capital, the 2nd Marine division said its forces had discovered 50 weapons and ammunitions caches over the past four days in restive Anbar province. The military said the find included a recently used "insurgent lair" in a massive underground bunker complex that included air-conditioned living quarters and high tech military equipment, including night vision goggles.

That bunker was found cut from a rock quarry in Karmah, 50 miles west of Baghdad. The Marines said the facility was 170 yards wide and 275 yards long.

In its rooms were "four fully furnished living spaces, a kitchen with fresh food, two shower facilities and a working air conditioner. Other rooms within the complex were filled with weapons and ammunition," the announcement said.

The weapons included "numerous types of machine guns, ordnance, including mortars, rockets and artillery rounds, black uniforms, ski masks, compasses, log books, night vision goggles, and fully charged cell phones."

This bunker wasn't built after the US invasion. It probably wasn't built during the six months of useless argument as the US tried to get the United Nations and America's European allies to back a resolution allowing the use of force to topple the Iraqi government. This bunker was probably built between the time the US and its allies forced Hussein to withdraw from Kuwait and the current war.

Nor is it likely this is the only one of this type of bunker in Iraq.

Saddam Hussein began preparing for the "second" Iraq/US war as soon as the first one ended. Everything he did was aimed at preparing for a strategic showdown between Iraq and the United States. Unfortunately, while he was ruthless with his own people, and managed to keep dictatorial control of the country, he wasn't able to instill into his conscript army a sense of pride in the defense of the nation, and it fell apart against a superior armed force.

Hussein was allowed to build up his defenses and resupply his select troops through bribes, coercion, and fraud. He was actively aided by France, Germany, Russia, and perhaps some dozen other nations, and by greedy men in dozens of places throughout the world. The rest of the world spoke words without meaning, and pretended to care about what was happening in Iraq, but lacking the willpower to actually do anything constructive. It was Munich time again. In the meantime, Hussein stockpiled weapons, ammunition, supplies, and huge sums of money that could be used against an invading force.

It's apparent that Hussein believed the United States was defeated by an insurgent force in Vietnam, and planned his defense to model that of the Viet Cong activities. Unfortunately for HIM, we know this war MUST be won, and on our terms. Nor did the US military "lose" the war in Vietnam. In the end, the US government cut its support for the South Vietnamese government, which was then overrun by the North Vietnamese army, backed and supplied by Russia and China. There's a massive propaganda campaign, pushed by those aligned against the US government and its allies, aimed at the United States to persuade it to cut its support for the fledgling Iraqi government, just as the United States did with Vietnam in 1975.

The new Iraqi government is not the corrupt government of Saigon in the 1970's. It's a duly elected government of the people of Iraq, who not only support its activities, but hate the Ba'ath party and Saddam Hussein. A growing number of the people support the new Iraqi government, the US, and its allies. They want the current democratic government to succeed, and for the Ba'athists to be defeated.

This is probably not the only bunker of this type that exists. All of these weapons caches, bunkers, "safe houses", and other places of concealment for those attacking the Iraqi government will eventually be discovered and removed. The number of places the terrorists can hide has already been greatly diminished. Each day, Iraq becomes a little bit more safe for the people, the military, and the many aid groups active there.

However, just as it was impossible to win a war when there is a constant flood of fresh bodies and supplies pouring in from the north in Vietnam, it's going to be impossible to win the war in Iraq without stopping the flow of money, men, and arms from Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The United States will eventually be forced to be nasty to the leaders of these nations in order to shut down that flow. None of these nations are our friends. The sooner we realize this, and the sooner we start treating these enemies as what they are, the sooner we will have peace in Iraq.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'm Tired

Truthfully, I'm totally exhausted. Not physically, or mentally, but intellectually and emotionally exhausted. I'm tired of the lame excuses, the phony arguments, and the false accusations of the people who don't have a clue what the United States of America means to most of its citizens, and many of the people around the world that envy us, and yes, even hate us.

I'm tired of "political correctness", that false agenda that strangles freedom of speech, tries to rip sexually explicit words from the English language, and turn plain speaking into "enlightened" garbledegoop.

I'm tired of the attack on religion, disguised in the many forms such attacks come in. I'm tired of the First Amendment being mis-interpreted to mean freedom FROM religion, rather than freedom OF religion. I'm tired of the word Jesus being considered an expletive, except when it's being misused AS an expletive. I'm tired of being constantly fed the stupidity that there are "no moral absolutes", that "all religions are equally true", and that atheism is the highest achievement of man. I'm tired of people attacking my God, my beliefs, and my sincerity.

I'm tired of politicians from both parties that are far more interested in advancing their party than serving this nation. I'm tired of people trying to limit freedom in the name of "diversity", "affirmative action", and "social responsibility".

I'm tired of people in the ivory-tower Academic community that warp, twist, misrepresent, misidentify, and mangle clear history into some form of anti-American slop. I'm tired of these people demanding that I apologize - for everything this nation has ever done - just because I'm white, male, and heterosexual.

I'm tired of the twisted viewpoint displayed on television, in the movie theaters, in newspapers, and anywhere else the "sophisticated" can find to spew their idiocy. I'm tired of having to defend everything I've ever done from these idiots that have never done anything constructive.

I'm tired of being hated and despised because I wore the uniform of our Nation proudly for more than 25 years. I'm tired of being called a baby-killer, a mercenary, and stupid because I believe in this nation, it's Constitution, and the way of life I served to protect.

I've had enough. From now on, I'm going to be the meanest, nastiest, grouchiest, SOB in the world, and dead set against everything the lunatic fringe believes in or stands for. I'm going to boo them, I'm going to expose their idiocy, and I'm going to call them unflattering names at the top of my voice. If they instigate violence, some of them will be carried from the field of battle to the mortuary, whether I survive or not.

I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same. I will continue to do that 'till my dying breath. I will not flinch, I will not retreat, and I will not stand down. This is a battle to the death - either the death of the nay-sayers, or the death of freedom. I will not stop until freedom has won. I will not support any politician who does not obey the laws of the United States, and who will insist on those laws be enforced once implemented. I will not support any government program that surrenders power from the government to the liberal "elite". I will not hold any of my brothers and sisters blameless for giving in to the mob, nor will I abandon them when they fight alongside me.

It's time to take a stand. Either you're willing to do battle on behalf of freedom, or you're a slave. You may not wear any chains, nor bow to any master, but slave you are when you blindly accept the idiocy of those who've abandoned truth for inclusion, and turned from faith to self-agrandisement. Samuel Adams lives again!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Death of a Republic

One of the foundations of our Republic is that everyone is to be treated equal under the law. Yet this facet of our Republic is under attack from the very people who are sworn to apply that equal treatment - jurists. From the courtroom at the lowest level to the Supreme Court, the judiciary are making decisions that have little relationship to what's in the lawbooks, or the products of the legislatures of our local, state, and national elective bodies. This is both destructive of our legal profession and our nation, and must stop.

The Constitution of the United States established three branches of government: the legislative (House and Senate), the Executive (the President and his cabinet), and the judiciary (Supreme Court and whatever other courts the legislative branch deems necessary for the effective operation of our justice system). Each has unique duties: the legislative branch creates laws, the President enacts them, and the judiciary verifies non-compliance. The judiciary also is required to evaluate the work of the legislative branch to verify it doesn't violate the prime legal foundation of the United States, its Constitution and other founding documents.

For laws to be just, they must be applied equally in every case - the basis of "equal protection under the law". In order to be applied equally, lawyers, judges, and the people must be able to accept the same meaning of any law. For that to happen, the law must be well enough written that it doesn't contain any confusing ambiguities. The law gains greater stature the longer it's in force, as precedent is followed in its implementation and application.

The process works pretty much the way a grocery store operates: a shopper comes in and chooses certain items from the shelves, and pays for them at the check-out counter. Anyone else shopping in the store that day and choosing identical items will also be charged the same amount for that item. Imagine the chaos that would result if two people bought the same brand of cereal, in the same size box, yet one was charged $2 and the other charged $5, while the shelf advertised the price as $3.50. The clerks and managers would be lynched!

Judicial activism does much the same thing as charging different prices for the same item. It inserts something else into the equation other than the law as it was written. The "meaning of is" changes, catching both the prosecuter and the defender by surprise. Equality of justice is destroyed. Rather than applying the law, judges create the law by their decisions, usurping the legislative branch's duties and responsibilities.

In this respect, judicial activism is unconstitutional. It totally destroys the "equal protection under the law" that is a basic right of the individual by redefining the law, or replacing it altogether. It usurps the duties of the legislature to pass laws agreeable to the majority of the people, destroying the right of the people to choose who will make their laws. It bypasses the legislative debate process that is essential for a free people to govern themselves.

There are several answers to the problem. The first is to punish activist judges. They should be removed from the court and not allowed to hold any position in the judicial system - at any level - ever again. The second answer to the problem is for the legislative body to over-ride a judge's decision that is not based in Constitutional law. This, too, is a form of punishment for activist lawyers, as it tells them they are NOT the final arbiter the judiciary presumes themselves to be. It also corrects the problem caused by the judicial activism. Only the people, the overall body that establishes legitimacy of a government, can be the final arbiter of the laws adopted by that government. That duty cannot be delegated or abridged. The third and final answer is to educate the American people on the extent - and the limits - of the duties and responsibilities of each branch of government. This type of education has been all but eliminated from school curriculums since the mid-1960's.

In the end, it's the duty of the individual, working together en masse, to hold the judiciary accountable, both for their behavior and their adherence to the Constitution. For it to work, the Consitution must be considered a static document, capable of being changed only by amendment, not by the wishes of a handful of judges. That's the only way this nation can continue to be a nation with equal justice for all.