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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Some old "patriotic" forwards

A sampling of the hyper-patriotic rhetoric circulating after the WTC tragedy.

The connection is the feel of all the forwards I received after 9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq. They all encouraged supporting the president because of course he's right, called dissidents unpatriotic, and threatened disaster if we didn't shut up and get in line.

Getting all these forwards that mentioned God, God Bless America, and our "Christian President" (apparently the only one we ever had) that also urged us to support crushing another country and punching peace activists in the face just seemed wrong...

I didn't check snopes on any of these at the time. I either wasn't that familiar with it or there were too many forwards. Don't know which.

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America: The Good Neighbor.

Widespread but only partial news coverage was given recently to a remarkable editorial broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television commentator. What follows is the full text of his trenchant remarks as printed in the Congressional Record:

"This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.

Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.

The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans.

I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States
dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American Planes?

Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon - not once, but several times - and safely home again.

You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.

When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.

I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those."

Stand proud, America!
Wear it proudly!!

and one more item I've saved from this morning:

Received this from several sources today, and I pass it along to all, written by Ann Hampton Callaway:

On the Morning of the Unthinkable

Let us pray
Beloved friends
On this day that has forever changed our nation And our world
Let us pray for blessings of protection
For our fragile, fragile home
That we live in together
We now live in a war zone
And we must succeed in keeping peace in our hearts
Or the terrorists will have succeeded
In winning their inexplicable war
If there was a day to pray
It is today
Already the symbol of New York has fallen
And the symbol of our government has been crushed
We cannot know what may be next
Let us unite our hearts in prayer
And form a holy circle around us
Of love and blessings
Almighty God,
We beseech you to give us mercy
We are awake as we have never been
And ask for your guidance in this dark hour
Keep us safe from harm
Stop the hideous violence
The senseless destruction
And hold us
In your tender hands
Hold us and heal us
Our hearts are broken
We do not feel safe
Anymore
Ann Hampton Callaway

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President Bush our leader

This was the same man who came within a hair's breadth of losing an election in November, who withstood the political chicanery of the Florida Democratic machine to fix the vote count.

This was the same man who admitted to having a drinking problem in younger years, and whose happy-go-lucky lifestyle led him to mediocre grades in college and an ill-fated oil venture. This was the same man who mangled syntax even more than his father, and whose speaking missteps became known as"Bushisms."

And on Friday, this was the man who bore the weight of the world and the responsibilities of a generation with dignity, class, confidence, appropriate solemnity, and even much-needed wit. One thing struck me during the campaign, that difficult, roller-coaster campaign that now seems years ago. It was that George W. Bush never seemed to get ruffled. Whether the theft of a campaign debate video or the sudden (some would say, vicious) release of a DUI arrest two decades ago at a key moment, "W" did not lose his cool. At times, his staff seemed overconfident, as did many of us. A 350-electoral-vote win, they quietly implied . . . and we optimistically believed. Then they counted the votes, miscounted others, and re-counted still others. At the end, he was still there. Whereas Al Gore almost frantically huffed
and puffed, trying to gin up something out of nothing, Bush quietly but confidently waited at his ranch. He didn't do nothing: that is the mistake people have constantly made with this man, confusing lack of bluster for absence of action. No, his team of attorneys and the iron-willed James Baker were carrying out his orders, but W stayed in the background, confident and faithful.

You see, it is this faith business that confounded everyone. We have had such actors and liars in public office that we have looked skeptically whenever anyone used the term faith. But this was the same man who was the first politician ever in recent memory to name Jesus Christ as the lord of his life on public TV. Not an oblique reference to being "born-again" or having a "life change." He said the un-PC-like phrase, "Jesus Christ," to which his handlers and advisors, no doubt, off stage, were also saying, "Jesus Christ" in a much different tone. God has a way of honoring those who honor Him. David learned that while he was on the run from Saul's armies. Job learned that after his time of horrible tribulation. The Messiah said so Himself, many times.

So this was the man who actually put faith into practice. He actually loves those who hate him. It is a staggering concept, so foreign in daily occurrence that few thought it anything but grandstanding. Even one of W's biggest supporters chided the President for adhering to his "new tone." Yet there he was, again and again, thanking the Democrats.
Appointing his enemies to high places in his government.

Inviting his former foes and their wives to private movie screenings, and (I know, this is hard to stomach) even treating them with dignity. See, this was the man who learned early on how faith worked: by praying for his enemies, you "heap burning coals upon their heads."
This was the man who named the absolute top people in national security and defense, then caught barbs from the politically righteous that this one didn't have the right views on abortion or that one didn't have the right position on guns.

And on September 11, at mid-morning, this was the man thrust into a position only known by Roosevelt, Churchill, Lincoln, and Washington. The weight of the world was on his shoulders, and the responsibility of a generation was on his soul. So this same man---the one that the media repeatedly attempted to tarnish with charges of "illegitimacy," and the one whose political opponents desperately sought to stonewall until mid-term elections---walked to his seat at the front of the National Cathedral just three days after the two most impressive symbols of American capitalism and prosperity virtually evaporated, along with, perhaps, thousands of Americans.

As he sat down next to his wife, immediately I knew that even if his faith ever faltered, hers didn't. I have never seen a more peaceful face than Laura Bush, whose eyes seemed as though they were already gazing at the final outcome . . . not just of this conflict, but of her reward in Heaven itself. In this marriage, you indeed got two for the price of one.

Then came the defining moment of our generation. Some people fondly recall their Woodstockany. This conflict would end, he noted, ". . . at a time of our choosing." It certainly wasn't his emotion. What had to have been one of the most stunning exhibitions of self-control in presidential history, W was able to deliver his remarks without losing either his resolve or his focus, or, more important, his confidence. It was as if God's hand, which had guided him through that sliver-thin election, now rested fully on him.

His quiet confidence let our enemies know . . . and believe me, they know. .-. that they made a grave miscalculation. Now, this same man who practiced his faith through a tough election, who steeled his convictions even more in a drawn-out Florida battle, and who never once gave in to the temptation to get in the gutter with his foes (well, ok, maybe the "Clymer" comment is an exception), this same man now lifted the weight of the world and the responsibility of a generation and put it on his modest shoulders as though it were another unpleasant duty.

As he walked back to his seat, the camera angle was appropriate. He was virtually alone in the scene, alone in that massive place of God, just him and the Lord. But that's the way it's always been in his life recently. In that brief time it took him to return to his seat, I believe he heard words to the effect of, "You can do this, George. I am with you always. And you can do this well, because I am going before you. And don't worry about the weight. I've got it." And I saw in his eyes a quiet acknowledgement. "I know. Thank you, Lord."

Back at his seat, when W sat down, George H. W. Bush reached over and took his son's hand. The elder Bush always struck me as a religious man, but not someone who shared his life on a daily basis with the Lord. George H. W. treats the Father like a respected uncle, visiting Him on appropriate holidays and knowing the relationship is real, but not constant.

Anyway, I believe that in that fatherly squeeze George H. W. said, "I wish I could do this for you, son, but I can't. You have to do this on your own." W squeezed back and gave him that look of peace that Laura had kept throughout. It said, "I don't have to do it alone, dad. I've got help." == What a blessing to have a professing Christian as President - one who is not ashamed to admit it! Please take a moment after you read this to pray for him - he truly does have the weight of the world on his shoulders. Pray that God will sustain him and give him wisdom and discernment in his decisions. Make no mistake about it - the decisions he makes in the coming days, weeks and months will literally define the future of our country and the free world. Pray for his protection and that of his family.

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An academic advisor at the USAF Academy wrote this. He was not only brilliant, but also an individual who combined that brilliance with common sense to lead others. His words are the ones that haven't been heard yet but will come to be true before we have the chance to recover from this initial tragedy.
From: Dr. Tony Kern, Lt Col, USAF (Ret) Who was asked to look at the recent events through the lens of military history and wrote an "open letter to Americans."

Dear friends and fellow Americans 14 September 2001

Like everyone else in this great country, I am reeling from last week's attack on our sovereignty. But unlike some, I am not reeling from surprise. As a career soldier and a student and teacher of military history, I have a different perspective and I think you should hear it. This war will be won or lost by the American citizens, not diplomats, politicians or soldiers.

Let me briefly explain. In spite of what the media, and even our own government is telling us, this act was not committed by a group of mentally deranged fanatics. To dismiss them as such would be among the gravest of mistakes. This attack was committed by a ferocious, intelligent and dedicated adversary. Don't take this the wrong way. I don't admire these men and I deplore their tactics, but I respect their capabilities. The many parallels that have been made with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are apropos. Not only because it was a brilliant sneak attack against a complacent America, but also because we may well be pulling our new adversaries out of caves 30 years after we think this war is over, just like my father's generation had to do with the formidable Japanese in the years following WWII.

These men hate the United States with all of their being, and we must not underestimate the power of their moral commitment. Napoleon, perhaps the world's greatest combination of soldier and statesman, stated, "the moral is to the physical as three is to one." Patton thought the Frenchman underestimated its importance and said moral conviction was five times more important in battle than physical strength. Our enemies are willing - better said anxious -- to give their lives for their cause. How committed are we America? And for how long?

In addition to demonstrating great moral conviction, the recent attack demonstrated a mastery of some of the basic fundamentals of warfare taught to most military officers worldwide, namely simplicity, security, and surprise. When I first heard rumors that some of these men may have been trained at our own Air War College, it made perfect sense to me. This was not a random act of violence, and we can expect the same sort of military competence to be displayed in the battle to come. This war will escalate, with a good portion of it happening right here in the good ol' U.S. of A. These men will not go easily into the night. They do not fear us. We must not fear them. In spite of our overwhelming conventional strength as the world's only "superpower" (a truly silly term), we are the underdog in this fight. As you listen to the carefully scripted rhetoric designed to prepare us for the march for war, please realize that America is not equipped or seriously trained for the battle ahead. To be certain, our soldiers are much better than the enemy, and we have some excellent "counter-terrorist" organizations, but they are mostly trained for hostage rescues, airfield seizures, or the occasional "body snatch," (which may come in handy). We will be fighting a war of annihilation, because if their early efforts are any indication, our enemy is ready and willing to die to the last man. Eradicating the enemy will be costly and time consuming. They have already deployed their forces in as many as 20 countries, and are likely living the lives of everyday citizens. Simply put, our soldiers will be tasked with a search and destroy mission on multiple foreign landscapes, and the public must be patient and supportive until the strategy and tactics can be worked out.

For the most part, our military is still in the process of redefining itself and presided over by men and women who grew up with - and were promoted because they excelled in Cold War doctrine, strategy and tactics. This will not be linear warfare; there will be no clear "centers of gravity" to strike with high technology weapons. Our vast technological edge will certainly be helpful, but it will not be decisive. Perhaps the perfect metaphor for the coming battle was introduced by the terrorists themselves aboard the hijacked aircraft -- this will be a knife fight, and it will be won or lost by the ingenuity and will of citizens and soldiers, not by software or smart bombs. We must also be patient with our military leaders.

Unlike Americans who are eager to put this messy time behind us, our adversaries have time on their side, and they will use it. They plan to fight a battle of attrition, hoping to drag the battle out until the American public loses its will to fight. This might be difficult to believe in this euphoric time of flag waving and patriotism, but it is generally acknowledged that America lacks the stomach for a long fight. We need only look as far back as Vietnam, when North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap
(also a military history teacher) defeated the United States of America without ever winning a major tactical battle. American soldiers who marched to war cheered on by flag waving Americans in 1965 were reviled and spat upon less than three years later when they returned. Although we hope that Usama Bin Laden is no Giap, he is certain to understand and employ the concept. We can expect not only large doses of pain like the recent attacks, but! Also less audacious "sand in the gears" tactics, ranging from livestock infestations to attacks at water supplies and power distribution facilities.

These attacks are designed to hit us in our "comfort zone" forcing the average American to "pay more and play less" and eventually eroding our resolve. But it can only work if we let it. It is clear to me that the will of the American citizenry - you and I - is the center of gravity the enemy has targeted. It will be the fulcrum upon which victory or defeat will turn. He believes us to be soft, impatient, and self-centered. He may be right, but if so, we must change. The Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz, (the most often quoted and least read military theorist in history), says that there is a "remarkable trinity of war" that is composed of the (1) will of the people, (2) the political leadership of the government, and (3) the chance and probability that plays out on the field of battle, in that order.

Every American citizen was in the crosshairs of last Tuesday's attack, not just those that were unfortunate enough to be in the World Trade Center or Pentagon. The will of the American people will decide this war. If we are to win, it will be because we have what it takes to persevere through a few more hits, learn from our! Mistakes, improvise, and adapt. If we can do that, we will eventually prevail. Everyone I've talked to in the past few days has shared a common frustration, saying in one form or another "I just wish I could do something!" You are already doing it. Just keep faith in America, and continue to support your President and military, and the outcome is certain. If we fail to do so, the outcome is equally certain.

God Bless America


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Subject: 'Solution' to 'Peace Rallies'


What to do if you happen upon a peace rally by stupid naïve hemp-shirt-wearing college idiots, to teach them why force is sometimes needed:

1) Approach dumb rich ignorant student talking about "peace" and saying there should be, "no retaliation."

2) Engage in brief conversation, ask if military force is appropriate.

3) When he says "No," ask, "Why not?"

4) Wait until he says something to the effect of, "Because that would just cause more innocent deaths, which would be awful and we should not cause more violence."

5) When he's in mid sentence, punch him in the face as hard as you can.

6) When he gets back up to up to punch you, point out that it would be a mistake and contrary to his values to strike you, because that would, "be awful and he should not cause more violence."

7) Wait until he agrees that he has pledged not to commit additional violence.

8) Punch him in the face again, harder this time.

Repeat steps 5 through 8 until they understand that sometimes it is necessary to punch back.

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