Dumb question

I’m about to show my youth and ignorance here with regard to the Vietnam War (’cause even though I lived through it, I was truly a child then). But first, let me back up a bit. Mr. Bookworm rented Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a film with an interesting conceit: Ms. Taymor takes 33 of the Beatles songs and interweaves a story around them. As a musical, it’s pretty successful. Bucking trends in musicals for the last 40 years, she chooses actors who actually have really good singing voices. Also, showing her background in theater and puppet work, it’s a visually impressive movie, if you don’t mind that she goes over the top sometimes. That’s the praise.

Now for the criticism: The movie is set during the Vietnam War era and is totally anti-War. American soldiers are shown as brutal robotic types who work for a military that takes sweet, innocent young men and throws them into the maw of hell. Anti-war protests are shown as seminally important events that simultaneously reveal the grossness of American policy in Vietnam and that allow wholesome, moral young Americans to find a place for themselves in opposition to the evil war. In this regard, the movie is both a babyboomer nostalgia trip and a nudge-nudge wink-wink anti-Iraq War movie. So, even as the movie is beautiful to look at and lovely to hear, it offends me. It’s blithe acceptance of the 60s Leftist tropes is so facile as to be almost grotesque — but it did leave me thinking.

The street protest I mentioned above culminates with a speaker talking about American imperialist aggression and Americans as baby killers. What I wondered very much was how and where this angle on the war started. Truth to tell, it sounds precisely like the kind of talking points you can see brooded over by a handful of people attending some secret Communist meeting in a grimy NY basement apartment.

Looked at objectively, from the point of view of a whole nation, the “our nation is evil” idea is kind of fringey. That being the case, how did it gain so much currency? Why did Americans embrace this paradigm about the war instead of viewing the War — as John F. Kennedy, their hero, viewed it — as a necessary (for America) way to stop worldwide Communist aggression and as an act of decency to keep the Vietnamese free? Where did Americans get the idea, stated in this movie, that the Vietnamese wanted us to go? Maybe the North Vietnamese, who were Communist puppets did, but I was under the impression that the South Vietnamese were desperate for us to stay there and protect them from a Communist takeover — a takeover that, when we pulled out, was even more horrific than anyone had anticipated. (One of my most vivid pre-teen memories is of the extraordinary panic on the ground, amongst ordinary Vietnamese, when the Americans pulled out.)

In the current War, from the first second, the Leftists just leapt upon the Vietnam War template, dragging their old signs out, and replaying the identical scenario, with a sympathetic media to help out and spread it amongst people who normally wouldn’t give too much of a rat’s ass one way or another. It’s been like watching a re-run. But who created the original 1960s script, and how did it spread so rapidly and effectively that it became the accepted view that our American men and boys were brutal, imperialistic babykillers — end of story?

Did the original script come from the Kremlin, which was gleefully spreading misinformation, or was it an organic, homegrown Leftist process? Was it embraced so quickly because, after the Korean War, we were sick of getting involved in jungle fighting in the Far East? Or was the draft the problem, with articulate, well-read, generically liberal/Leftist students suddenly having a vested interest in saving themselves — and shooting further Left in the process? And if it’s the latter explanation — that is, the draft created self-interested young people who would rather attack their own nation and leave the Vietnamese in hell than put themselves at risk — why didn’t the draft create precisely the same problems with WWII?

I know I’m asking a lot of questions, but it suddenly occurred to me that, while I’ve always seen the end result of anti-Vietnam War agitation, I’ve never understand how the theme came into being and how it got a toehold in the American psyche and the American body politic.

UPDATE: I’ve switched to a new server, so you can feel free to look around here or check out my new site, which not only has the old stuff, but also will move forward into the future with all my new material.

Letting Berzerkley hear from you

My expectations of Berkeley have always been low.  Already when I was a student there many, many moons ago, I figured out that few people there actually engaged in independent thinking.  They were simply radical liberal lemmings.  I was also pretty disgusted by the professors who lived in their multi-million dollar homes in the hills; who commanded huge taxpayer funded salaries for working a few hours a week; and who had their black and Hispanic maids and Japanese gardeners, but who nevertheless felt comfortable preaching Marxist class warfare and castigating students for their middle-class upbringings.  Still, even for a town that normally functions at a low intellectual and moral level, Berkeley’s government seems to have found new depths to plumb with its council resolution likening a Marine recruiting station to a porn shop — the only difference being that, while Berkeley would no doubt welcome a porn shop, it’s doing its damnedest to rid itself of the Marines.

If you think there’s good reason to slap down this newest candidate in Berkeley’s perpetual game of “How Low Can You Go,” you now have the perfect opportunity:  a petition that Move America Forward’s Melanie Morgan intends to submit to the Mayor and City Council next week.  Of course, since Berkeley follows the paranoid style of American politics, it will only cement them in their belief that they’re right and everyone else is wrong.  Nevertheless, it seems like the right thing to do so feel free to go do it.

Hat tip:  Michelle Malkin

The War at home

When I say “the war at home,” I’m not taking of the home front, a la WWII. I’m taking about Americans at war with the War. One young American, fighting (and, ultimately, dying) in Iraq, had his fill of that war:

Published: Oct 19, 2007

A Soldier’s Last Words: Listen Up CBS, CNN, Cindy Sheehan, Al Franken by Louisa Centanni

SGT. Edmund John Jeffer’s last few words were some of the most touching, inspiring and most truthful words spoken since the tragedy of 9/11 – and since our nation went to war.

SGT. Jeffers was a strong soldier and talented writer. He died in Iraq on September 19, 2007. He was a loving husband, brother and son. His service was more than this country could ever grasp – but the least you can do for the man who sacrificed his life for you … is listen to what he had to say. Listen up and pay attention to all of the Cindy Sheehans and Al Frankens of the world. To MSNBC, CNN, and CBS. To all who call themselves Americans … Hope Rides Alone.

Hope Rides Alone

By Eddie Jeffers

I stare out into the darkness from my post, and I watch the city burn to the ground. I smell the familiar smells, I walk through the familiar rubble, and I look at the frightened faces that watch me pass down the streets of their neighborhoods. My nerves hardly rest; my hands are steady on a device that has been given to me from my government for the purpose of taking the lives of others. I sweat, and I am tired. My back aches from the loads I carry. Young American boys look to me to direct them in a manner that will someday allow them to see their families again…and yet, I too, am just a boy….my age not but a few years more than that of the ones I lead. I am stressed, I am scared, and I am paranoid…because death is everywhere. It waits for me, it calls to me from around street corners and windows, and it is always there.

There are the demons that follow me, and tempt me into thoughts and actions that are not my own…but that are necessary for survival. I’ve made compromises with my humanity. And I am not alone in this. Miles from me are my brethren in this world, who walk in the same streets…who feel the same things, whether they admit to it or not.

And to think, I volunteered for this… And I am ignorant to the rest of the world…or so I thought. But even thousands of miles away, in Ramadi , Iraq , the cries and screams and complaints of the ungrateful reach me. In a year, I will be thrust back into society from a life and mentality that doesn’t fit your average man. And then, I will be alone. And then, I will walk down the streets of America , and see the yellow ribbon stickers on the cars of the same people who compare our President to Hitler.

I will watch the television and watch the Cindy Sheehans, and the Al Frankens, and the rest of the ignorant sheep of America spout off their mouths about a subject they know nothing about. It is their right, however, and it is a right that is defended by hundreds of thousands of boys and girls scattered across the world, far from home. I use the word boys and girls, because that’s what they are. In the Army, the average age of the infantryman is nineteen years old. The average rank of soldiers killed in action is Private First Class.

People like Cindy Sheehan are ignorant. Not just to this war, but to the results of their idiotic ramblings, or at least I hope they are. They don’t realize its effects on this war. In this war, there are no Geneva Conventions, no cease fires. Medics and Chaplains are not spared from the enemy’s brutality because it’s against the rules. I can only imagine the horrors a military Chaplain would experience at the hands of the enemy. The enemy slinks in the shadows and fights a coward’s war against us. It is effective though, as many men and women have died since the start of this war. And the memory of their service to America is tainted by the inconsiderate remarks on our nation’s news outlets. And every day, the enemy changes…only now, the enemy is becoming something new. The enemy is transitioning from the Muslim extremists to Americans. The enemy is becoming the very people whom we defend with our lives. And they do not realize it.

But in denouncing our actions, denouncing our leaders, denouncing the war we live and fight, they are isolating the military from society…and they are becoming our enemy. Democrats and peace activists like to toss the word “quagmire” around and compare this war to Vietnam . In a way they are right, this war is becoming like Vietnam . Not the actual war, but in the isolation of country and military. America is not a nation at war; they are a nation with its military at war. Like it or not, we are here, some of us for our second, or third times; some even for their fourth and so on. Americans are so concerned now with politics, that it is interfering with our war.

Terrorists cut the heads off of American citizens on the Internet…and there is no outrage, but an American soldier kills an Iraqi in the midst of battle, and there are investigations, and sometimes soldiers are even jailed…for doing their job.

It is absolutely sickening to me to think our country has come to this. Why are we so obsessed with the bad news? Why will people stop at nothing to be against this war, no matter how much evidence of the good we’ve done is thrown in their face? When is the last time CNN or MSNBC or CBS reported the opening of schools and hospitals in Iraq ? Or the leaders of terror cells being detained or killed? It’s all happening, but people will not let up their hatred of Bush. They will ignore the good news, because It just might show people that Bush was right.

America has lost its will to fight. It has lost its will to defend what is right and just in the world. The crazy thing of it all is that the American people have not even been asked to sacrifice a single thing. It’s not like World War Two, where people rationed food, and turned in cars to be made into metal for tanks. The American people have not been asked to sacrifice anything. Unless you are in the military or the family member of a service member, its life as usual…the war doesn’t affect you.

But it affects us. And when it is over, and the troops come home, and they try to piece together what’s left of them after their service…where will the detractors be then? Where will the Cindy Sheehans be to comfort and talk to soldiers and help them sort out the last couple years of their lives, most of which have been spent dodging death and wading through the deaths of their friends? They will be where they always are, somewhere far away, where the horrors of the world can’t touch them. Somewhere where they can complain about things they will never experience in their lifetime; things that the young men and women of America have willingly taken upon their shoulders.

We are the hope of the Iraqi people. They want what everyone else wants in life: safety, security, somewhere to call home. They want a country that is safe to raise their children in. Not a place where their children will be abducted, raped, and murdered if they do not comply with the terrorists demands. They want to live on, rebuild and prosper. And America has given them the opportunity, but only if we stay true to the cause, and see it to its end. But the country must unite in this endeavor…we cannot place the burden on our military alone. We must all stand up and fight, whether in uniform or not. And supporting us is more than sticking yellow ribbon stickers on your cars. It’s supporting our President, our troops and our cause.

Right now, the burden is all on the American soldiers. Right now, hope rides alone. But it can change, it must change. Because there is only failure and darkness ahead for us as a country, as a people, if it doesn’t.

Let’s stop all the political nonsense, let’s stop all the bickering, let’s stop all the bad news, and let’s stand and fight!

Eddie’s father, David Jeffers, writes:

I’m not sure how many letters or articles you’ve ever read from the genre of “News from the Front,” but this is one of the best I’ve ever read, including all of America’s wars. As I was reading this, I forgot that it was my son who had written it. My emotions range from great pride to great sorrow, knowing that my little boy (22 years old) has become this man.

He is my hero. Thank all of you for your prayers for him; he needs them now more than ever. God bless.

Though Eddie is no longer with us, you can help to let his voice be heard.

Thanks to News Media Journal and David Jeffers for print permission.

Hat tip: W “B” S

The failed Democratic anti-Surge

I’m not giving away anything by quoting here the concluding paragraph from Noemie Emery’s long and fascinating article about the Democrats’ desperate and, at the moment, unsuccessful anti-Surge efforts in the last year.  If you read only this paragraph, good as it is, you’ll have missed all of the really interesting stuff:

As they took control of Congress at the start of 2007, the Democrats vowed this would be a year of historic importance, and it seems they were prescient: Seldom before in the annals of governance have so many politicians fought so long and so hard to completely screw up a winning strategy being waged on their country’s behalf. Some cruelly define this as treacherous conduct, but this is imprecise and unkind. They tried, it is true, to do serious damage, but were compromised in the event by their chronic incompetence, as well as by being too above-board and open to try to do things on the sly. A stab in the back as a concept was wholly beyond their capacities. This was not a stab in the back that works via guile and subterfuge. It was 41 different stabs in the front, that always fell far short of serious damage, unless you count the damage they did to their own reputations (the approval ratings for Congress are now in the twenties). It was the Stab in the Front, the Surge-against-the-Surge, the Pickett’s Charge of the Great War on Terror. It was a year to remember, that will live in the annals of fecklessness. It was historical. It was hysterical. It was the Stab that Failed.

The brainwashing worked

Michelle Malkin has a good photo essay about the gathering in front of the Marine Recruiting Station in Berkeley the other day. The San Francisco Chronicle also ran a story about the protest, which I found interesting only because of this quotation from one of the anti-War protesters:

“They represent the social base that’s giving rise to this imperialistic war. Their so-called patriotic attitude,” he said, “just shows their blatant disregard for humanity and what the flag stands for. The very fact that they’re holding it up is enough for us to be out here.”

You caught that those few sentences have all the familiar Progressive bullet-points: imperialistic war, xenophobic patriotism, disregard for humanity, etc., etc. It would be an unremarkable statement from the Progressives if it weren’t for the person who said it: “David Santos, 15, of Oakland.”  Do you wonder, as I do, where a 15 year old got such a firm grasp of Leftist rhetoric?

Giving aid and comfort to the enemy today and yesterday

During any other war, the following list that Vasko Kohlmayer complied would show treasonous conduct. In this War, it’s politics as usual:

• They have repeatedly conceded defeat in Iraq with Harry Reid claiming ‘this war is lost;’
• They purposefully downplay any and all American military successes;
• They have sought to portray our troops as violent and brutal thugs;
• Jack Murtha accused our soldiers of being cold-blooded murderers while John Kerry alleged they terrorize women and children at night;
• Dick Durbin compared our military personnel to Nazis and Pol Pot’s henchmen;
• The have sought to paint our military commanders as stooges of a manipulative president (the Petraeus hearings);
• They have called our Commander-in-Chief ‘stupid,’ ‘loser,’ ‘incompetent;’
• They seek to extend constitutional protections to foreign terrorists and enemy combatants;
• They have outed and obstructed an important eavesdropping program designed to monitor terrorists’ phone calls and e-mails;
• They are trying to eliminate crucial components of the Patriot Act;
• They have repeatedly leaked classified information;
• They lobby for the release of most Guantanamo Bay detainees most of whom are dangerous terrorists;
• They have sought to destroy the reputation of the American military by making scandals out of minor incidents (Abu Ghraib);
• They have portrayed America’s main terrorist detention facility (Guantanamo Bay) as a torture chamber even though it is the most supervised and inspected prison in the history of warfare;
• By manufacturing bogus scandals they have seriously damaged their country’s reputation in a time of war;
• They have forced the resignation of an effective defense secretary (Donald Rumsfeld) and a number of other administration officials committed to winning this war;
• They visit and praise America’s enemies even those responsible for the deaths of American troops (Nancy Pelosi in Syria);
• Dennis Kucinich called the Iraq war ‘wrong’ and ‘immoral’ in the presence of Bashar Assad, the head of the Syrian regime that is a sponsor of terrorism
• They want to run and cut from the battlefield in the middle of a war.

You can read here the rest of what Kohlmayer has to say.  (H/t:  American Thinker.)

We live in a topsy-turvy world.

In a somewhat similar vein, because it involves dealing with the enemy — although I’m thinking of dealings, not during the war, but once victory is achieved — I have to comment on something that flashed through my head yesterday as I was watching Ken Burns’ The War (which I’ve been slowing getting through, courtesy of TiVo).   One of the guys interviewed was a Marine pilot during the War, and for that, he gets kudos forever.  However, the things he said during the show make him sound as if, in the here and now, he’s a kind of ordinary anti-War Democrat.  Since I haven’t walked a mile in his battle tested shoes, I’m loath to criticize his viewpoint, but I can and will criticize something stupid he said.

Speaking of the enemy, he said that, by 1944, word was getting out about the atrocities the enemies were committing.  He added, though, that he wasn’t rushing to blame them, because he always wondered what Americans would do under similar circumstances.  A little “stupid bomb” popped off in my head, because we don’t need to wonder, we know.

During World War II, when it came to the Japanese taking over a territory, official policy (not the aberrant behavior of individual troops) resulted in the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan death march, and the civilian concentration camps in which tens of thousands of civilians were tortured and died.  (No link for that last.  I grew up hearing those stories from my mother, who survived the camps.)

During World War II, when it came to the Germans taking over a territory, official policy (not the aberrant behavior of individual troops) resulted in the Death Camps, which not only wiped out 6 million Jews, but sought to enslave and/or destroy whole populations of Gypsies, Poles, Communists, Homosexuals and other “undesirables.”  That doesn’t even count the horrors the Nazis visited on civilian populations without the bother of a death camp.  Mass graves still reveal themselves today outside of forgotten villages once under Nazi control.

During World War II, when it came to the Russians taking over a territory, official policy (not the behavior of the much tried Red Army troops, behavior that was indescribably cruel, but perhaps understandable after what the Germans did to the Russians) was to turn the territory into one giant Communist prison.

During World War II, when it came to the Americans taking over a territory, official policy was the Marshall Plan.   And you can’t downplay American humanity in this regard by saying that the Americans hadn’t suffered the way the Russians had, for example, so they were going to be softer and kinder to their defeated enemies.  To begin with, when the Japanese and Germans engaged in their inhuman conduct, they were on the ascendant in their wars, and hadn’t suffered either.  This was their standard M.O., and not the results of soldiers pushed to the brink.  And to end with, the Americans had suffered terribly.  The Marines and Navy in the Pacific, the Army in Europe, and the Air Force all over, had suffered unimaginably.  But at the end of it all, our goal, the American policy carried out by American troops, was to build up the countries taken in war, not to engage in the wholesale slaughter and enslavement of the civilians.  (The same holds true, by the way, for the Brits.)

And so I’ll say here and now that American and British values, at least as they played out during their peak during WWII, were better than other values.  They’re still better, although most Britains, and many Americans (notably House Democrats) seem to have forgotten that fact.  You won’t hear any moral relativism from me.  When American values are good, they’re the best.

Livening up the Presidential elections

I complained yesterday about tightly constrained, programmed Presidential candidates. I can stop complaining now. We’re about to have a candidate who says anything that comes into her head, no matter how stupid. FogCity Journal, citing “reliable sources,” says that Cynthia McKinney is planning on throwing her hat into the ring as Green Party candidate for the Presidency:

According to a reliable source, former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga) will officially announce her candidacy for U.S. president as early as next week. According to the source, the Green Party has been actively courting McKinney to switch party affiliation and run as a Green. (*)

McKinney has been outspoken about the Iraq war, AIPAC’s lobbying influence over U.S. foreign policy, the 9/11 Commission Report, and the partisan decision by a partial body of the Supreme Court to elect George W. Bush to the presidency in 2000.

She is also trumpeting the call of millions of Americans calling for the impeachment of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for perpetrating war crimes against humanity.

McKinney is in San Francisco this weekend. Her schedule includes an appearance at a CodePink party tonight at El Rio, and an appearance tomorrow at a campaign rally to elect mayoral candidate Ahimsa Sumchai.

(*) Update 3:10 p.m: According to a source, McKinney officially registered as a member of the Green Party yesterday.

This should be fun, especially since I suspect that she’ll leech some moonbat energy away from the mainstream Democratic candidates.

By the way, if you haven’t been thinking about McKinney lately, let me remind you of why you’re familiar with her, when most minor former Congress people don’t cross your mental radar. She’s been in the press for:

  1. Assaulting police officers.
  2. She’s got a reputation for being anti-Semitic and supportive of radical Islamists. (In this, sadly, she is entirely in step with the Democratic party’s problem with anti-Semitism.)
  3. She inadvertently criticized one of her aides on air, and then tried to censor the remark.
  4. She’s been a Truther since at least 2002.

And there’s more and more and more, some of which is detailed in a 2002 Slate article. The bottom line is that she is a perfect reflection of the angry, extreme end of the Democratic party. Her candidacy, assuming she is able to garner some media attention, should be amusing.

Naomi Wolf continues to weave her conspiracy fantasies

A few weeks ago, I used Naomi Wolf’s latest anti-American article as the springboard for a larger post about the new conspiracy theorists among us.  Well, she’s back, and this time the Confederate Yankee is leading the attack, exposing her ignorance about matters historic, as well as her logical fallacies and paranoid fears.  She’s very, very smart (and always has been), but my God, does that girl lack common sense.

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