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.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I just finished an article by Jim Dunnigan with the title "Why People Hate the Invasion of Iraq". While I agree with some of Mr. Dunnigan's findings, I also find that I disagree with the majority of them. I think Mr. Dunnigan missed some very important aspects of President Bush's plans and their implementation.

I spent 26 years as an imagery analyst for the Air Force, and retired as a MSgt (E-7) in 1991. I spent several years of that time helping to develop and test various contingency war plans. I haven't had access to classified information since then. Still, I can deduce much of President Bush's plans by the actions he's taken.

We've been at war with militant Islam since at least 1972 (Munich Olympics - I was stationed in Germany at the time), possibly even longer. The 9/11 attack was the first major attack against our home soil, and finally forced Washington to a) admit there was a problem, and b) determine a proper response.

The attack on the Taliban government was crafted to achieve a number of different goals. Among those goals was the elimination of the ability for Al Qaida to operate openly in training further jihadis. A second goal was to remove the Taliban government and replace it with one that was less inimical to the United States. A third goal was to send a clear message to Islamic terrorists that the "law enforcement" method of responding to terrorist attacks was no longer the chief foreign policy of the US government. While the Taliban (and al Qaida) can still stage terrorist attacks, the majority of the people, the government infrastructure, and the majority of facilities and equipment are no longer available to our or Afghanistan's enemies.

The policy with Iraq is another story. Again, there were multiple goals, and an equally numerous reasons for establishing them. The primary goal was to remove Saddam Hussein from power, but not just to thwart his ability to manufacture and/or distribute chemical, biological, and/or chemical weapons, or to keep them out of the hands of terrorists. There are a handful of other nations where the same types of weapons can be acquired: Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Sudan, even to some extent Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Algeria and Libya. No, the main reason for attacking Iraq was twofold: to rid the world of another state sponsor of terrorism, but more importantly, to establish a base of operations in the heart of the Islamic world.

The President had a choice between three locations for such bases - Syria, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia. The rationale for attacking any of those bases except Iraq would be hard to explain to the American people. We had plenty of reasons to attack Iraq, however. Hussein had never complied with the conditions for the cease-fire following the Kuwait invasion. He'd attacked US aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone. There were already a number of Security Council resolutions he was in non-compliance of. He supposedly had the largest, best-trained army in the Middle East, and crushing it would give concern to anyone else that might oppose our operations in that part of the world. Finally, Saddam Hussein was a slimebag who had threatened the life of George Bush's father and a number of other US citizens. He was not only the least objectionable target, he was also centrally located. Overthrowing Hussein would give the United States greater flexibility in how we might fight the rest of the war against militant Islamists.

The war itself went very well. The follow-on was more chaotic and disorganized than it should have been, but the US forces (and the government leadership) adapted and overcame most if not all of those difficulties. Attacks are down, and are usually less successful, from what was the "norm" a year ago. The Iraqis just conducted their third free, democratic election, in a year. The people are optimistic about their future, and al Qaida and the Ba'athist insurgency are both in decline. This battle's over, and now we're beginning to win the peace.

Today, the US has 150,000 people in Iraq, and an admitted 19,000 in Afghanistan. Iran lies between these two nations, and must keep its eyes on both areas AND the Indian Ocean. The United States could also strike Syria, invading from Iraq and the Mediterranean with an amphibious landing anywhere from Latakia to Tartus. Just as the US military moved out of Kuwait to attack Iraq, it could just as easily move out of Iraq to attack Saudi Arabia, if that was considered necessary.

There have been many unexpected consequences, both positive and negative, as the result of our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq has become a center for militant Islamic attacks against US forces, resulting in the deaths of more than 16,000 "jihadi warriors" and suicide bombers, with growing difficulty in recruiting their replacements. The United States sent a clear and unambiguous message that we will respond to all future attacks, in the manner we deem most appropriate. There have been tremors sweeping the entire Islamic world, from Morocco to Indonesia, with militant Islam becoming less and less appreciated - or even defended. There are growing trends toward democratic revival throughout the Muslim world. Syria is out of Lebanon, there is a democratic government in the Ukraine, and even Egypt is relaxing its grasp on political dominering and allowing more open elections.

The people of the United States are becoming much more aware of the potential for violent behavior from Muslims, even the so-called "moderate" ones. There is a growing consensus among English-speaking nations that western culture must have a strong deterrent capacity, which requires the ability to operate offensively anywhere in the world. The United States and its allies have a much firmer understanding of who our "allies" are, and also who cannot be trusted to secure our flanks, much less our backs. Our military is learning the difficult tactic of flexible response, becoming battle-tested veterans that will be invaluable in any future conflict.

We've also exposed some weaknesses. There are too many self-imposed restraints upon how we deploy and use our military forces. There are far too many members of Congress that put party loyalty above national survival. There are far too many generals that are not adequately flexible to respond to new demands in non-traditional ways. We have a military that was "downsized" too fast, with too little thought toward consequences.

The war against militant Islam will be a generational war, longer than the Cold War, and far more likely to require sacrifices of both men and money. Western civilization and individual freedom are just a small part of what is at stake. We need a plan that can protect us against such losses, whether that plan takes a decade or a century to succeed. Our government at the moment is moving in the right direction. We all must understand what's at stake here, and how we fit in the current war. We must also accept that there IS a plan, that it's based on reality, and it's currently working. We must strive to continue to let that plan work, for all our sakes.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I am Ashamed

I am ashamed that certain people are not only citizens of the United States of America, but hold high office in its government. Most of them have one thing in common: they belong to the Democratic Party. Many hold something else in common as well: they loathe and dispise the United States military. Finally, they also hold one other thing in common, one that cannot be forgiven: they place party above the Nation, and scoring political points above the law and the Constitution. These people include:

  • John Kerry: This man should have been tried for treason sometime during the mid-1970's, and hanged. Instead, he's been the US Senator from Massachusetts for 20 years. He not only lied about what he did in Vietnam, he lied about what every other soldier, sailor, airman and Marine did in Vietnam. He went to Paris and met with members of a foreign delegation, discussing how to achieve the results that foreign nation wanted, while still being a member of the military reserve - an act punishable by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and a number of federal laws. Since then, he's done nothing but try to destroy the US military, and since 2000, the sitting president, solely because that president is a Republican. Neither he nor his party has considered what terrible consequences their action, if successful, would have for this nation and its people. I guess once you've committed treason once, it's much easier to continue doing it.

  • Howard Dean: This man is just plain crazy. Nothing else could ever explain the number of times he's opened his mouth and spewed statements that make the majority of his own political party cringe because they're so off the top. He acts like a manic depressive off his meds. He's not a danger to the Republicans, but he's certain to badly damage his own party, the Democrats.

  • Ted Kennedy: The most polite view one could have of Ted Kennedy is that he's a man stuck in the 1970's. No matter how stupid or wrong he's ever been, he's been protected from the consequences of his own words and deeds, for the sake of his brothers John and Robert. As a result, Ted has done more to destroy their legacies than any other human being. Ted never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. He's against war when it's fought by a Republican, but praises innefective gestures that accomplish nothing as if they were the greatest acts of diplomacy ever undertaken by the United States. He has proven repeatedly that he's a sham of a man, and a sham of a senator. The man is a disgrace both to the government of the United States and the State of Massachusetts, but to anyone who has ever had to pay the consequences for their poor judgment, lapses of forethought, and behavior. Hanging's too good for Ted - he should be deported to Paraguay - broke.

  • Harry Reid: Little known before Tom Daschle's stunning defeat, Harry Reid has done little to make his name shine. He's proven to be almost as much of a handicap for the Democrats as Howard Dean. Harry Reid has grasped every opportunity to oppose the Republicans, even at times when it would have been in his, in the country's, and in his party's best interests to accept and go along with the opposition.

  • Nancy Pelosi: This woman may lead the Democrats in the House, but she lags behind every other person elected to the current congress in political intelligence. She has consistently put her foot into her mouth up to the knee on virtually every subject, but most especially about the War against Terrorism. She is a defeatist snob who hates the military and its integrity. Nancy Pelosi is doing her best to destroy individuals within the Republican Party by inuendo and smear tactics, ranging from Tom DeLay to President Bush. She hates Karl Rove, and would do anything she could to destroy him personally. That does not represent the degree of integrity we demand of sitting Congresscritters.

  • John Murtha: I hadn't heard of John Murtha until he started shouting "bring the troops home" so loudly no one could miss it. Unfortunately for Congressman Murtha, this puts him deeply into the "moonbat" category. I find this surprising, since Cong. Murtha was a Vietnam Vet. Most of the Vietnam Vets I know are dead set against leaving until the job's done in Iraq, and deeply resent the Government's retreat from Vietnam that spelled defeat for that nation.

  • Barbara Boxer: This woman needs to spend a month in Iraq, and not one minute of that inside the so-called "Green Zone". She needs to see what's actually taking place on the ground in Iraq, to meet some of our military face-to-face, and to see the conditions they're living in, before she spews any more nonsense about "American perfidity" and "wanton destruction". I don't quite classify her as a moonbat, but certainly an uninformed, opinionated fraud that desperately needs a hands-on education before she opens her mouth again.

  • Hillary Clinton: The best thing I can say about Hillary is that she's done some of the right things, but for all the wrong reasons. Hillary is a calculating, scheming, underhanded, crooked politician that will do whatever it takes to win, legal or otherwise. This is not the kind of person we need in the White House under any circumstances. It's certainly not the kind of person we need there in time of war, and the War against terrorism will last for dozens, if not hundreds of years - as long as one group of people believe it's their religious duty impose their will upon others.

At the same time that I'm ashamed of these Democrats, I find there are republicans worth castigating, as well, although frequently for other reasons than pure stupidity. John McCain is one. Arlen Spectre is another. Add to that list Lincoln Chaffee, Ted Stevens, and a half-dozen others. These are people whom the Republican Party must purge from their ranks if they want to be taken seriously as a party of ethical and honest people. The people I've named above fail that test.

There are also Democrats worth praising, primarily Joe Lieberman, who is a man of integrity who understands the dangerous divisitive role the Democratic Party is currently playing, and the dangers to the US Constitution and our form of government that divisiveness engenders. He and Zell Miller were the heart of the "good" Democrats. There aren't many others. Those that are left need to get together and form a new party, excluding those that need to be weeded out of the former Democratic Party, but can't be.

Politics is a crazy business. It needs to either be self-clensing, or the people will do what they need to to impose that cleansing. The current political climate has occurred because neither party was willing to do the dirty, hard work of keeping the party within bounds. Much of what is wrong in politics is due to the delusion that political power is "due" one party or another, instead of being earned. The only way political power can be earned is by using it only to the extent necessary to do what's needed, rather than squandering it on anything and everything.

Unless the political parties do some housecleaning, and soon, the people will decide the parties are both so corrupt they can't be saved, and will do what THEY feel necessary to return control to their hands.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

John Murtha - Stuck on Stupid

Proving once again you don't have to be born French to be a cheese-eating surrender monkey.

I retired from the Air Force in April, 1991 as a Master Sergeant (E-7). During my 26 years of military service between 1964 and 1991, I served as a Cadet at the Air Force Academy, as enlisted active-duty, and as an enlisted Reservist. My overseas tours include Panama, Vietnam, Germany (three times), and England. I have no medals for valor, and no purple hearts - after all, few Air Force personnel other than flying officers and Security Police are involved in harm's way. I say this to acknowledge that I don't have the "credentials" John Murtha has as a "veteran" or as a "war hero". But I'm NOT stupid.

We are currently engaged in another world war, whether we wish to be or not. We don't have a choice - there are people in this world that want to kill American citizens, destroy American freedoms, and end our way of life. We have two choices: oppose them, or surrender. There is no "third way" - it doesn't exist. Anyone that says otherwise is either a fraud or a fool.

The terror war against Western civilization began in 1972 with the attack on the Israeli athletes in Munich, Germany. Since then, it has claimed several thousands of innocent victims. The list of terror attacks would fill a dozen pages, ranging from the Achille Lauro to the Iran hostage crisis to the Marine Barracks in Lebanon to the Berlin disco bombings to the Lockerbie tragedy to 9/11 to Madrid and London. Each of these attacks was a military strike in the terror war against the West. Finally after 9/11, we began to strike back - almost 30 years into this current war.

The attack against Afghanistan and the Taliban was an effort to criple the basing of terrorist training being conducted by Al-Qaida. It has been a qualified success in that respect, but more still needs to be done. The attack against Iraq was another strike against state-sponsored terrorism, and a defensive measure designed to eliminate the possibility of terrorists acquiring chemical, biological, and/or nuclear weapons. It, too, has been a qualified success. Each of these, however, is just a battle in a long and exhaustive war that we MUST win if our kind of civilization, government, and personal freedom is to survive.

We have three enemies: the terrorists, those that sponsor them, and those that fail to acknowledge the war and fail to support it. We're fighting a war with one foot in a bucket and one arm tied behind our backs, limited by rules of engagement pressed upon the US military by "public opinion" and a congress hyper-averse to any negative statistics. Our military has suffered exceedingly few casualties in this war - less than the number killed on Omaha Beach alone on June 6, 1944, less than the number of casualties from the air drop during Operation Market Garden, and less than a tenth of the 25,000 casualties from the assault on Tarawa in 1942. More than 40,000 Americans are killed each year on our nation's highways - twenty times the number of Americans killed in combat over a two-and-a-half-year span. Yet many members of Congress want to surrender, to pull our troops from the Middle East before the job's done.

We can fight the terrorists, and are succeeding in killing thousands of them in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We're also hunting down and capturing thousands of others, and helping our allies in this war kill and capture thousands more. We've taken out one state sponsor of terrorism, and eliminated the ability of the terrorists to openly recruit and train in another state. There are still many states that both harbor terrorists and allow them to raise money to equip, arm, train, and employ terrorists against the West. We know who they are, and what they're doing. Once things are stable in Iraq and Afghanistan, I'm sure our attention will be redirected to those other states, either one at a time, or against several. That's the next logical step in this war, and one as essential as the first.

Fighting the people who refuse to acknowledge that the entire West is at war, not just the United States, and that all democratic, free nations and their people are in danger, is a more difficult task. There is no coherent strategy to wage this war because too few believe it actually is a war. Even many in the United States who, in the aftermath of 9/11 agreed to go to war, now wish to stop, and "bring the troops home", irregardless of whether the job is done or not. John Murtha is one of those people.

The war against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is not going to end with the conquering of territory or the destruction of state sponsorship. It will only end when there are no more fundamentalists, or when those that survive understand they cannot win this war. When people like John Murtha, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, and a host of others in the government of the United States fail to grasp this basic fundamental and act against the necessities that face us as a nation, they are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. When France refuses to crack down on Muslim destruction of personal property, to break heads and hands to secure the rights of the French people to live in peace, they give aid and comfort to the enemy. When elected officials in Great Britain ban the wearing of "George Cross" pins by police officers, bend over backwards to defend "multiculturalism" and fail to insist on some common basic requirements for continued citizenship, they give aid and comfort to the enemy.

John Murtha wants the troops to come home "now". He claims the US military is "broke, worn-out". I live in a military town, with Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force in abundance - active duty, Reserve/Guard, and retired. I hear no such talk from them. Instead, they speak of pride in getting a job done, in what they've accomplished in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how they look forward to seeing the job through to the end.

The United States did a "cut and run" once before, in 1975, when the Democratic-controlled legislature refused to come to the aid of South Vietnam, as a treaty between the United States and South Vietnam said we would. Over three million people died because of that, and it set us up for the Iran hostage situation and a dozen other incidents around the world. The old saw says that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, secondly as farce. It's a shame that John Murtha and other Democrats cannot see the falacy of their behavior. There cannot be any unilateral surrender this time. Our current enemy has never stopped at a national border, and will not stop at one this time. There is only one course of action that this nation can follow to secure the peace and prosperity we insist upon, and that is to defeat our current enemies, and deny them the opportunity to rise again.