Sunday, November 28, 2010

Letters to Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, re: DREAM act


November 23, 2010
Dear Mr. Rodgers,
Thank you for contacting me regarding S. 729, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2009. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

Currently, there are thousands of children of undocumented immigrants who seek higher education or wish to join the military after graduating from a U.S. high school.

This year, there will be about 65,000 high school graduates, who, despite their academic accomplishments and strong motivation to succeed, will have to seek alternate routes to achieving success in America. Many believe that providing additional training to these kids will help our overall economy, the individual seeking to improve his or her life, and improve military recruitment and retention.

S. 729 would amend current law to allow children of parents who entered the country illegally to qualify for higher education benefits based on state residence. Additionally, S. 729 would allow certain undocumented immigrants the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Military legally, which could dramatically increase the pool of highly qualified recruits for the U.S. Armed Forces.

Only individuals who entered the United States before their sixteenth birthday, are currently under the age of thirty-five, and have been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of the bill would be eligible for these benefits. In addition, these individuals must also be of "good moral character," and must have earned a high school or equivalent diploma, or been accepted to an institution of higher education. After completing all of these requirements, those who remain in good legal and moral standing after finishing two years of higher education or military service, will earn the chance to obtain legal status as U.S. citizens.

Senator Richard Durbin (IL) introduced the DREAM Act on March 26, 2009. After introduction, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

As you may be aware, Senator Harry Reid (NV) planned to offer the DREAM Act as an amendment to S. 3454, the fiscal year 2011 (FY11) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). However, on September 21, 2010, despite strong support from the Armed Forces and many civic and religious groups, Senate Republicans unified in their opposition, and S.3454 failed by a vote of 56-43 to gain the 60 votes necessary to allow the Senate to debate the measure. I voted to proceed to the measure because the NDAA provides the necessary and critical funding for equipment and resources for our service members currently in harm's way. Giving our men and women in uniform, the resources that they need to continue their important work is a priority of mine, and I am disappointed that this funding is being tied up by partisan politics.

Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind should this or related legislation come before the Senate for consideration.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

To Rep. Martin Heinrich

Congressman Heinrich,

I would like to comment on two specific points in your letter to me, dated 19 Nov.. These points illustrate either astonishing ignorance or utter depravity – both on your part.

Your letter says that New Mexicans depend on tax cuts to survive - that our survival depends on the government’s giving back to us some of our own money. In actuality, we depend on our ability to work, generate income, and to manage that income effectively.

The government takes an outrageous percentage of my income and uses it to finance programs and individuals - such as criminal aliens - who further corrode my lifestyle. Then the government says, “Wess is having a tough time. Let’s refund some of the money we shouldn’t have taken from him, in the first place.” Then I’m supposed to be so grateful for this that I approve and support the government and those members of it who have perpetrated this economic sodomy.

I think not.

You imply axiomatic enmity between honest people and wealthy people. This is a page taken from the despicable book of a contemptible president who attempts to sustain his power by setting Americans at each other’s throats – by stimulating class hatred and warfare. It is evil, itself, not wealth, that makes some people evil.

Here are two excerpts from your letter: "Washington made a mess of the budget during the last decade, so naturally the best place to look for solutions is outside of Washington…we must get serious about reducing the budget deficit by letting tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires expire and using this revenue to balance the budget and pay down the deficit."

You are dead wrong on two crucial points. 1 – the ONLY place to look for a solution to the budget problem is in Washington, because the problem isn’t a lack of revenue; the problem is pathological spending by you people in Congress! 2 – The premise that it is moral to destroy innocent people, whose only crime is success, in order to pay for your insanity is so contemptible, so utterly despicable as to beggar description.

The effort to destroy the wealthy class expresses an astonishing ignorance of one very basic, pragmatic fact: no poor person has ever offered me a job! In fact, I’d like to be very wealthy some day. You claim to be my friend and benefactor today. At what point will become my mortal enemy?

If you want to destroy an evil rich person, you might start looking under rocks for Barney Frank.

Heinrich's letter to which I am responding follows.

November 19, 2010
Dear Friend,
Thank you for contacting me regarding federal spending and middle-class tax cuts. I appreciate knowing your thoughts and concerns on this important issue.

On September 24, 2010, I signed a letter urging the Speaker of the House to pass a permanent middle class tax cut. New Mexicans who have worked hard and played by the rules depend on these tax cuts to make ends meet and to support their small businesses. At the same time, we must get serious about reducing the budget deficit by letting tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires expire and using this revenue to balance the budget and pay down the deficit.

We've seen the results of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for the wealthy--record deficits and a tax code that encourages wealth stagnation rather than innovation. Returning to the same failed policies of the Bush administration, which took our country from surpluses to record debt, is completely unacceptable. Instead, I support cutting taxes for middle-class working families, seniors, and small business owners.

As you are well aware, the United States national debt currently stands at more than $13 trillion. In Congress, I am working to build a strong foundation for long-term fiscal responsibility. That is why I voted for statutory Pay As You Go legislation that forces the federal government to live within its means, the same way New Mexican families must balance their checkbooks. This means new programs or tax cuts do not add to the federal debt.

I am a supporter of the SAFE Commission Act, which would set a timeline for Congress to act on the nation's fiscal crisis. The SAFE Commission would be tasked with holding town hall meetings around the country; getting ideas from working families, small business owners, and local government officials; and submitting a report that balances long-term spending and revenue for the nation. Washington made a mess of the budget during the last decade, so naturally the best place to look for solutions is outside of Washington.

I am also a supporter of the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act of 2010, which would allow the president and Congress to work together to come up with a package of spending cuts that will eliminate wasteful and unnecessary spending.

Again, thank you for contacting me. For more information and additional details about legislation, please visit my website, While you are there, you can also sign up to receive periodic updates on my work in Congress.
As always, I value your input and hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues important to you.

To my Congressional delegation

I would like to ask you to support my values and principles on a few specific points.

First, please do not support, advocate, or vote for the DREAM act. It is an abomination of the greatest magnitude. It would wreak even greater havoc on the economic and cultural fabric of this nation. It is very clear that the vast majority of legal American citizens do not approve it. To pass a bill like this during a lame duck session would be an act of despicable passive aggression against the American people.

Second, please do not support, advocate, or approve in any way the appointment of Andrew Traver to the post of director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The man is a degenerate political hack on the best days, and a fascist thug the rest of the time. His appointment would be without virtue or advantage of any kind to anyone – with the possible exception of Al Queda.

Third, please support, advocate, and approve the extension of the so-called “Bush tax cuts.” Our goal should be to eventually enlarge these cuts and make them permanent. The idea, expressed by Obama, that the revenue from these taxes is the rightful property of the government rather than of the citizens who earned it is staggering in its dishonesty and cynicism.

Finally – for today – please resist pressure from the President and leaders of the Democratic party to push through any punitive, spiteful, or vengeful legislation during the lame duck session.

I’ll be in touch later.

Wess Rodgers

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Review of "Unhearalded Victory - the Defeat of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army - 1961-1973"

Before I say another word, I want to go on record as saying that I was not a combat Marine in Vietnam. I was a radio repairman with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine regiment, 1st Marine Division. I was never in combat, and fired my weapon in anger only one time – well, more in fear than in anger – and the target was a solitary figure in the wire about 2- or 3 o’clock in the morning. My Vietnam experience was endless guard duty, 24-hour workdays, and getting drunk on my nights off. I spent a few days under six months in country at LZ Baldy, near the town of Hoi An, south of Da Nang.

For years, I had what I suppose was akin to survivor’s guilt about not having been in combat. I was just an REMF (ask a veteran about that) and didn’t feel I really deserved to call myself a veteran. The feeling was made stronger by a couple of smart-mouthed jackasses who, upon reflection, probably had even less claim to the title than I. In the early ‘80’s I was attending UNM, and met a fellow who had served two tours with the 5th Marines as a machine gunner. Whether he really had or not is not relevant to this anecdote, because he gave me something very, very valuable. I told him of my feeling of unworthiness and he shut me up right quick. “Look,” he said. “You put your [sensitive masculine body part] on the block. The axe didn’t fall. It’s not your fault. Get over it and get on with your life.” Thinking back on that fellow, I don’t recall his ever telling a single war story. I think he was probably the genuine article.

For my 58th birthday, my brother gave me a gift certificate for Border’s Books. With that certificate, I bought a book called, “Unheralded Victory – the Defeat of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army – 1961-1973,” by Mark W. Woodruff, Ballantine Books, 1999. The back cover says that Woodruff was a Marine in Vietnam, and that his book puts forth the idea that the war was an overwhelming victory for American arms. With an eye wary for revisionist propaganda, I started the book. By the time I’d finished it, I was proud, enraged, bitterly depressed, furious, really, really proud, and madder than a sonofabitch.

The book is 344 pages of text with a few photographs, 28 pages of footnotes, and 6 pages of bibliography. It does NOT include the famous photo of the naked little girl running from an American napalm strike, nor of the ARVN general blowing the brains out of a Viet Cong.

Woodruff sets the stage for America’s involvement in the war with a very brief history of the region, and a description of the world political atmosphere in the mid-50’s. To wit, there had been bad blood between the north and south for generations – bad enough to include several wars and a good deal of bloodshed. The French had tried to reclaim their colony after WWII, but couldn’t simultaneously feed that war and keep a legitimate army in France to bolster NATO. The Russians were rattling cages all over the world, and the US was extremely anxious that France be a major player in NATO. The French said they could only do that if we’d support them in Indochina. We supported them with money and material, but no troops. (I have read elsewhere that Ike’s cabinet discussed using tactical nukes to relieve the siege of Dien Bien Phu, but Woodruff does not bring this up.) After the French walked out, we already had many of millions of dollars invested in the region, and a vested interest in stopping the spread of Soviet and Chinese communism. The South Vietnamese asked us for help, and we gave it.

The first myth that Woodruff demolishes is that the war was a civil war. It was not. It was a war of conquest by the North. Period. Funded and equipped by the Russians and Chinese, the North Vietnamese recruited, trained, and equipped entire divisions of Viet Cong. The early VC were NVA in all but uniform and name – a far cry from the barefoot, freedom fighter militia the world press loved to paint them.

The second myth Woodruff tears up is of the efficiency of the VC as fighters. They were dangerous, and given an advantage, could do some damage. But the US and Australian military knocked the snot out of them on a regular basis. The main force VC were especially well-equipped and trained, but never learned to cope with the lightning reflexes of American company and platoon leaders, nor the savagery of the American air-ground team. (Woodruff is also generally complimentary of the ARVN, and especially so of the South Vietnamese Marines and Paratroops, and backs up his opinion with quotations and statistics from both sides.)

The first action that saw US troops meet NVA was, likewise, a serious butt-whuppin’ for the North: The Marines’ Operation Starlite. The Aussies gave them a shellacking at Long Tan. The US Army killed more than 3,000 NVA in the series of actions generally called the Battle of Ia Drang. Americans and Aussies died in those actions, but they gave better than they got, by orders of magnitude. Woodruff offers a list of 66 actions in which the enemy lost more than 500 men each, prior to June of 1968!

Typical of Woodruff’s analysis of these events is a quote by Army general Kinnard: “When General Giap says he learned how to fight Americans and our helicopters at the Ia Drang, that’s bullshit! What he learned was that we were not going to chase him across a mythical line in the dirt.” I have read Giap’s claim in many books, but never Kinnard’s refutation of it.

I have long known that the Tet offensive in January and February of 1968 was an unqualified catastrophe for the Communists, especially the VC. What amazed me was the degree to which I have been misled by the American media reports of that action. For example, I’d always believed the VC had taken most of the US embassy in Hue. In fact, they never got into the buildings. The Marine guards and a couple of soldiers on the grounds shot them down like dogs as soon as they crossed the fence. Another example: how long after the war was it made generally known that the VC murdered many hundreds of civilians in Hue and the surrounding area? We were finding the graves for years. The Tet offensive was not the masterfully organized thunderbolt we’ve been lead to believe. Some NVA outfits jumped off a full day early, so poor was their organization, due in no small part to the intense pressure put on their supply and communication lines by aggressive patrolling. Woodruff does not take a particle from the fighting ability and spirit of the NVA. He shows the courageous stand in the Citadel of Hue for what it was, and gives them full credit. But he doesn’t perpetuate the myth of their being superior to us in any way.

The Allied commanders were congratulating themselves on a brilliant victory, and were dumbfounded to read in the world’s press that they’d been defeated! General Giap, likewise, was amazed to see what the press had made of his debacle. It was at this point that he realized he had divisions and corps unnumbered in the copy rooms and news-stands of the world. He began to attack US troops with the specific intent of causing casualties in order to play his new-found ace for all it was worth.

Khe Sanh gets a chapter of its own, and, like Tet, Woodruff tells a story I’d never heard before. Grossly underestimating the resolve, toughness, and flexibility of the Americans – and their willingness to carpet bomb entire grid squares - Giap figured he’d blow past the little post at Khe Sanh and flood the south with men and supplies. As the American press was portraying the Marines at Khe Sanh and the Special Forces at Lang Vei as demoralized, whipped, and scared, Giap’s divisions were being more than decimated. In the end, he pulled in his horns and slunk back across the DMZ and into Cambodia and Laos, being saved only by the totally arbitrary and whimsical sense of propriety of Washington. Unlike Meade at Gettysburg, the victorious Americans and South Vietnamese were more than ready and able to annihilate the routed enemy.

The reason so many Blacks were killed? According to Black writers and leaders, it was because they volunteered to go where it was hottest. They’d found a way to be, not just equal, but superior, and they took it. Where else have you heard this perspective?

Did the American’s fixation on body count lead to wildly exaggerated claims of enemy casualties? I heard from one of our grunts that if they found a foot, a hand, and a head, they counted three enemy dead. Based on that, I’d always looked with contempt on the published figure of 500,000 enemy dead. However, in the late ‘70’s, Hanoi admitted to more than 1.1 million! Hanoi admitted that!

According to Woodruff, drug use in the US military was less than in the general population in the States, especially in combat units. This is one particular point that has challenged me. I have said that in the six months I was in country, my battalion lost 16 men to drug overdoses. Now I know for a fact there was at least one, because it was a fellow from my platoon. However, being encouraged by Woodruff to really ask myself where I got that number, I must admit it came from scuttlebutt. I have thereby resolved to do some research and see just what the real number was. [As of Nov., 2010, I have not investigated this. One more thing I need to do! WAR]

There is a short chapter on men who lied about their service – some of them so convincingly that they became leaders of veterans organizations, or even counselors to veterans! How many times have we all heard claims of individuals having been in the SEALS, Recon, Green Berets, LRRPS, Operation Phoenix, or other elite organizations? I have met not less than 100 men who claimed to have been in one – or sometimes two! – of these elite groups. I’ve met a dozen Navy Cross claimants, but not one of them appears on the official list of recipients – ditto Silver Stars. Oddly, I’ve never met anyone who claimed to have the Medal of Honor. Could it be that at least one thing is held sacred by liars? I’ve probably met two dozen who claimed to have been assassins with Operation Phoenix. Unfortunately, some of these clowns have received a great deal of attention from the press, and even after their lies have been made known, the press has never recanted or withdrawn the articles and programs.

Woodruff goes to some length to discuss the stories of American troops being abused on their return to the States. This is one item on which I’m unwilling to grant his point. He says that documentable cases of people spitting on veterans or otherwise assaulting them are extremely rare. He posits that most of the stories are hearsay – “A buddy of mine said…” or “…the buddy of a buddy said….” Until, over time, the stories have achieved the status of unimpeachable fact. Now, I know for a fact that when we landed at Seattle for refueling, we were allowed to walk through the terminal for a little while. A few people threw garbage at us and sneered. At least one bitch yelled, “Babykillers!” to the group I was with. That is not hearsay. Other than this, though, I must admit to believing without questioning what I’ve heard from other veterans. Perhaps Woodruff has a point, but I’ll have to see some more serious research done by someone who has no political axe to grind.

In chapter after anecdote after statistic, Woodruff lays down an unassailable case to show that we not only whipped the VC and NVA, we utterly destroyed their will and ability to wage war. This was not, as it has been patronizingly called, a case of winning the battles but losing the war. We won the stinking war, too! The NVA withdrew from the fight. The VC were reduced to starving bands of hobos and bandits, able to do nothing more than mine a footpath or murder the odd schoolteacher.

Giap, with his allies in the press and the US antiwar movement, broke our government’s will to win. No, that’s not exactly it. They convinced our government that we’d lost the war, after we’d already won it! Woodruff devotes several chapters to exposing specific lies and mythology about the war, from “combat correspondents” who never left the Saigon whore houses, or who deliberately and knowingly fabricated stories about the wily Viet Cong making fools of the fat Americans, and on and on and on. Eddie Allen, the man who took the photo of General Loan killing the VC, bitterly regretted what had been made of his photo. (The VC had just confessed to having slit the throats of Gen. Loan’s best friend and entire family, including several children.) Other correspondents and photographers are quoted expressing regret about how their work was either ill-advised, inaccurate, or twisted for propaganda’s sake. Where have you ever heard anything like that?

And you know what makes me just absolutely pig-bitin’ mad? The bastards are doing the same thing again in Iraq! Exactly the same thing! Treason is too weak a word for what they are doing.

This book was obviously a very powerful experience for me. I don’t know just yet what I’m going to do about it, but I think I need to take some action to get Woodruff’s message out. I wish to goodness my own kids would read this book, because it gives a stunning portrait of the power of the press to manipulate a nation’s resolve. This is not just a history lesson; we are seeing this same thing again every day. It is absolutely current events!

I recommend “Unheralded Victory” without reservation to veterans of Vietnam or other wars. (My own father, a Marine veteran of WWII, once sneered at me and said, “At least my generation never got their asses kicked by a bunch of gooks!”) I recommend it to all Americans, including Americans of Vietnamese descent. I recommend it to all members of the press, including those who would write books or produce video works on the present war, whether fiction or non-fiction.

And I’ve just got to say it again: We whipped those suckers to a fare-thee-well, and we didn’t lose the war. The war was won before the politicians went back and gave it away later.

To my fellow Vietnam veterans, “Well done and welcome home.”

Better Men Than I - For My Fellow Veterans of Vietnam

I received this essay in an email from a dear friend and Army veteran. It moved me deeply, and it seem right to post it here. Semper Fidelis!

Former Secretary of the Navy James Webb, and now Democratic Senator from Virginia, was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star medals for heroism as a Marine in Vietnam. His novels include The Emperor's General and Fields of Fire.

Here he offers a very personal, first hand, relatively short, but ever fascinating, history of the Viet Nam era and, more importantly, of the War in Viet Nam.
Find a quiet place and take the time to read this gritty story! It is very introspective about a generation and a war that is remembered, by so many, both as a gallant battle and a pointless struggle. Their mixed emotions have been greatly influenced by frequently inaccurate reporting; by politicized characterizations by an agenda-driven, elite gentry of the day; by current historians, who cut their teeth during that time, and who were shaped by poor communications of the facts of the War in Viet Nam.

Heroes of the Vietnam Generation by James Webb

The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought World War II is receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called 60s generation. Tom Brokaw has published two oral histories of "The Greatest Generation" that feature ordinary people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was historically unique.

Chris Matthews of "Hardball" is fond of writing columns praising the Navy service of his father while castigating his own baby boomer generation for its alleged softness and lack of struggle. William Bennett gave a startling condescending speech at the Naval Academy a few years ago comparing the heroism of the "D-Day Generation" to the drugs-and-sex nihilism of the "Woodstock Generation." And Steven Spielberg, in promoting his film "Saving Private Ryan," was careful to justify his portrayals of soldiers in action based on the supposedly unique nature of World War II.

An irony is at work here. Lest we forget, the World War II generation now being lionized also brought us the Vietnam War, a conflict which today's most conspicuous voices by and large opposed, and in which few of them served. The "best and brightest" of the Vietnam age group once made headlines by castigating their parents for bringing about the war in which they would not fight, which has become the war they refuse to remember.

Pundits back then invented a term for this animus: the "generation gap." Long, plaintive articles and even books were written examining its manifestations. Campus leaders, who claimed precocious wisdom through the magical process of reading a few controversial books, urged fellow baby boomers not to trust anyone over 30. Their elders, who had survived the Depression and fought the largest war in history, were looked down upon as shallow, materialistic, and out of touch.

Those of us who grew up, on the other side of the picket line from that era's counter-culture can't help but feel a little leery of this sudden gush of appreciation for our elders from the leading lights of the old counter-culture. Then and now, the national conversation has proceeded from the dubious assumption that those who came of age during Vietnam are a unified generation in the same sense as their parents were, and thus are capable of being spoken for through these fickle elites.

In truth, the "Vietnam generation" is a misnomer. Those who came of age during that war are permanently divided by different reactions to a whole range of counter-cultural agendas, and nothing divides them more deeply than the personal ramifications of the war itself. The sizable portion of the Vietnam age group who declined to support the counter-cultural agenda, and especially the men and women who opted to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, are quite different from their peers who for decades have claimed to speak for them. In fact, they are much like the World War II generation itself. For them, Woodstock was a side show, college protesters were spoiled brats who would have benefited from having to work a few jobs in order to pay their tuition, and Vietnam represented not an intellectual exercise in draft avoidance, or protest marches but a battlefield that was just as brutal as those their fathers faced in World War II and Korea.

Few who served during Vietnam ever complained of a generation gap. The men who fought World War II were their heroes and role models. They honored their father's service by emulating it, and largely agreed with their father's wisdom in attempting to stop Communism's reach in Southeast Asia.

The most accurate poll of their attitudes (Harris, 1980) showed that 91 percent were glad they'd served their country, 74 percent enjoyed their time in the service, and 89 percent agreed with the statement that "our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in Washington would not let them win." And most importantly, the castigation they received upon returning home was not from the World War II generation, but from the very elites in their age group who supposedly spoke for them.

Nine million men served in the military during Vietnam War, three million of whom went to the Vietnam Theater. Contrary to popular mythology, two-thirds of these were volunteers, and 73 percent of those who died were volunteers. While some attention has been paid recently to the plight of our prisoners of war, most of whom were pilots; there has been little recognition of how brutal the war was for those who fought it on the ground.

Dropped onto the enemy's terrain 12,000 miles away from home, America's citizen-soldiers performed with a tenacity and quality that may never be truly understood. Those who believe the war was fought incompletely on a tactical level should consider Hanoi's recent admission that 1.4 million of its soldiers died on the battlefield, compared to 58,000 total U.S. dead.

Those who believe that it was a "dirty little war" where the bombs did all the work might contemplate that it is was the most costly war the U.S. Marine Corps has ever fought, five times as many dead as World War I, three times as many dead as in Korea, and more total killed and wounded than in all of World War II.

Significantly, these sacrifices were being made at a time the United States was deeply divided over our effort in Vietnam. The baby-boom generation had cracked apart along class lines as America's young men were making difficult, life-or-death choices about serving. The better academic institutions became focal points for vitriolic protest against the war, with few of their graduates going into the military. Harvard College, which had lost 691 alumni in World War II, lost a total of 12 men in Vietnam from the classes of 1962 through 1972 combined. Those classes at Princeton lost six, at MIT two. The media turned ever more hostile. And frequently the reward for a young man's having gone through the trauma of combat was to be greeted by his peers with studied indifference; of outright hostility.

What is a hero? My heroes are the young men who faced the issues of war and possible death, and then weighed those concerns against obligations to their country. Citizen-soldiers who interrupted their personal and professional lives at their most formative stage, in the timeless phrase of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, "Not for fame or reward, not for place or for rank, but in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it." Who suffered loneliness, disease, and wounds with an often-contagious elan. And who deserve a far better place in history than that now offered them by the so-called spokesman of our so-called generation.

Mr. Brokaw, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Spielberg, meet my Marines. 1969 was an odd year to be in Vietnam. Second only to 1968 in terms of American casualties, it was the year made famous by Hamburger Hill, as well as the gut-wrenching Life cover story showing pictures of 242 Americans who had been killed in one average week of fighting. Back home, it was the year of Woodstock, and of numerous anti-war rallies that culminated in the Moratorium march on Washington. The My Lai massacre hit the papers and was seized upon the anti-war movement as the emblematic moment of the war. Lyndon Johnson left Washington in utter humiliation.

Richard Nixon entered the scene, destined for an even worse fate. In the An Hoa Basin southwest of Danang, the Fifth Marine Regiment was in its third year of continuous combat operations. Combat is an unpredictable and inexact environment, but we were well led. As a rifle platoon and company commander, I served under a succession of three regimental commanders who had cut their teeth in World War II, and four different battalion commanders, three of whom had seen combat in Korea. The company commanders were typically captains on their second combat tour in Vietnam, or young first lieutenants like myself who were given companies after many months of "bush time" as platoon commanders in the Basin's tough and unforgiving environs.

The Basin was one of the most heavily contested areas in Vietnam, its torn, cratered earth offering every sort of wartime possibility. In the mountains just to the west, not far from the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the North Vietnamese Army operated an infantry division from an area called Base Area 112. In the valleys of the Basin, main-force Viet Cong battalions, whose ranks were 80 percent North Vietnamese Army regulars, moved against the Americans every day. Local Viet Cong units sniped and harassed. Ridgelines and paddy dikes were laced with sophisticated booby traps of every size, from a hand grenade to a 250-pound bomb. The villages sat in the rice paddies and tree lines like individual fortresses, crisscrossed with the trenches and spider holes, their homes sporting bunkers capable of surviving direct hits from large-caliber artillery shells. The Viet Cong infrastructure was intricate and permeating. Except for the old and the very young, villagers who did not side with the Communists had either been killed or driven out to the government controlled enclaves near Danang.

In the rifle companies, we spent the endless months patrolling ridgelines and villages and mountains, far away from any notion of tents, barbed wire, hot food, or electricity. Luxuries were limited to what would fit inside one's pack, which after a few "humps" usually boiled down to letter-writing material, towel, soap, toothbrush, poncho liner, and a small transistor radio.

We moved through the boiling heat with 60 pounds of weapons and gear, causing a typical Marine to drop 20 percent of his body weight while in the bush. When we stopped we dug chest-deep fighting holes and slit trenches for toilets. We slept on the ground under makeshift poncho hooches, and when it rained we usually took our hooches down because wet ponchos shined under illumination flares, making great targets. Sleep itself was fitful, never more than an hour or two at a stretch for months at a time as we mixed daytime patrolling with night-time ambushes, listening posts, foxhole duty, and radio watches. Ringworm, hookworm, malaria, and dysentery were common, as was trench foot when the monsoons came. Respite was rotating back to the mud-filled regimental combat base at An Hoa for four or five days, where rocket and mortar attacks were frequent and our troops manned defensive bunkers at night. Which makes it kind of hard to get excited about tales of Woodstock, or camping at the Vineyard during summer break.

We had been told while training that Marine officers in the rifle companies had an 85 percent probability of being killed or wounded, and the experience of "Dying Delta," as our company was known, bore that out. Of the officers in the bush when I arrived, our company commander was wounded, the weapons platoon commander wounded, the first platoon commander was killed, the second platoon commander was wounded twice, and I, commanding the third platoons, fared no better. Two of my original three-squad leaders were killed, and the third shot in the stomach. My platoon sergeant was severely wounded, as was my right guide. By the time I left, my platoon I had gone through six radio operators, five of them casualties.

These figures were hardly unique; in fact, they were typical. Many other units; for instance, those who fought the hill battles around Khe Sanh, or were with the famed Walking Dead of the Ninth Marine Regiment, or were in the battle of Hue City or at Dai Do, had it far worse.

When I remember those days and the very young men who spent them with me, I am continually amazed, for these were mostly recent civilians barely out of high school, called up from the cities and the farms to do their year in hell and then return. Visions haunt me every day, not of the nightmares of war but of the steady consistency with which my Marines faced their responsibilities, and of how uncomplaining most of them were in the face of constant danger. The salty, battle-hardened 20-year-olds teaching green 19-year-olds the intricate lessons of the hostile battlefield. The unerring skill of the young squad leaders as we moved through unfamiliar villages and weed-choked trails in the black of night. The quick certainty when a fellow Marine was wounded and needed help. Their willingness to risk their lives to save other Marines in peril. To this day it stuns me that their own countrymen have so completely missed the story of their service, lost in the bitter confusion of the war itself.

Like every military unit throughout history, we had occasional laggards, cowards, and complainers. But in the aggregate, these Marines were the finest people I have ever been around. It has been my privilege to keep up with many of them over the years since we all came home. One finds in them very little bitterness about the war in which they fought. The most common regret, almost to a man, is that they were not able to do more for each other and for the people they came to help.

It would be redundant to say that I would trust my life to these men. Because I already have, in more ways than I can ever recount. I am alive today because of their quiet, unaffected heroism. Such valor epitomizes the conduct of Americans at war from the first days of our existence. That the boomer elites can canonize this sort of conduct in our fathers' generation while ignoring it in our own is more than simple oversight. It is a conscious, continuing travesty.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

To Rep. Martin Heinrich

Thank you for this response to my note about the Lame Duck session of Congress. Please be kind enough to forward this note to the Congressman, too.

I will not go into the complexities of people being told by Congress how much to pay their employees. Instead, I will discuss the concept of “playing politics.”

You use the term to dismiss the positions of others whose positions you cannot refute by reason. In a word, if they agree with you, it’s called “integrity.” If they disagree with you, it’s called “playing politics.”

When so many Republicans were collaborating with the Obama regime and helping to hasten the destruction of our republic, they were called, “visionary,” and, “bi-partisan,” and “cooperative.” They were explicitly playing politics, but it was YOUR politics. The things they were collaborating on were strictly and militantly promoted by the regime.

Now that some Republicans might have developed some guts and integrity, and are rejecting the manically strict line of the Democrats, they are, “playing political games.” I reject absolutely your criticism of them; they have done precisely what I’ve been hounding them to do for years: to impede this nation’s plunge toward a degree of absolute statism that would have the fascists of the ‘30’s and ‘40’s weeping in joy.

Your president has said the election was a mandate from the American people to end the obstructionism and logjams. The man is insane. The election was a mandate from the American people to shove a stick in the spokes of this tax-and-spend velocipede. At this point in our history, the slower we go, the more progress we make.

If you would contribute to the economic well-being of American families, stop promoting programs and ideas that corrupt and destroy the very thing that provides that well-being: capitalism. The vast majority of Americans do not wish to be the kept lapdogs of government, nor to live off the stolen dreams and souls of their countrymen.

I am just getting started, and will stay in touch. Please, Sir, reconsider your support of your president’s self-destructive insanity.

Rep. Heinrich's letter follows.

Dear Wess,
I am disappointed to inform you that Senate Republicans blocked a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act today, which passed the House nearly two years ago.

The Paycheck Fairness Act gives teeth to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and is designed to combat wage discrimination on the basis of gender.

The fact that there is still not equal pay for equal work in this country is unacceptable. In an economic climate where every penny counts, rewarding work fairly is critical. We must close the gender wage gap by ensuring equality in the workplace—creating a fairer, more just society and strengthening the economic stability of our families.

It is time for Congressional Republicans to stop playing politics with something as fundamental as equal pay for equal work. Americans want and deserve concrete and immediate action to improve the economic security of working families, not political grandstanding.

It’s an honor to serve you in Congress.


President Barack Obama
Re: Lame duck session

You have made no secret of your intention to push through Congress as much legislation as possible before the will of the people can be asserted in January. Sir, I beg you not to do this. Our ancestors – well, the ancestors of some of us, at least – engaged in mortal combat over the idea that “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”

The lame ducks in the Congress are not the representatives of the people, except in the most disingenuous, twisted way. The people of the United States have spoken, and those members of Congress, along with your policies, have been very soundly and irrefutably rejected. Those of us who have thrown off the yoke of the Democratic party find ourselves, quite literally, with no representation in the Congress. Anything done by you and that Congress is illegitimate at best, probably illegal, and most emphatically immoral in the extreme.

I submit that if you pursue what seems to be your determined course to brazenly spit on the will of the people of this nation, you and your followers will reap a bitter harvest. You will earn the enmity of all who love freedom and the liberties that our fathers – well, the fathers of some of us, at least – fought and died to define and keep. You will be spitting in the faces of the good men and women of all races who built this nation so that their children might be free, and better of than they.

Unemployment and disgrace will be your lot, and your children will live in the shadow of your depravity - and in the wreckage of nation which will be your legacy to them.

I beg you, Sir, in the names of decency and justice, to abandon this plan of yours to do as much spiteful hurt to this nation as possible. It is an evil plan, Sir. Please give it up!

to Senator Jeff Bingaman, 18 Nov., 2010

Thank you for replying to my letter to the Senator. Please be kind enough to forward to him this letter, as well.

The claim that the Congress has done any of the things listed herein is false. Congress has done none of these things, and has, in fact, done the opposite by slowing or blocking the economic recovery, adding trillions to the cost of health care, and shoved the middle class very close to the edge of a cliff. I shudder to think what damage Congress can wreak in the realms of education and energy!

Here is a news flash, Senator: Congress can NOT do any of these things! Only the American people, acting as free agents for their own good, can do these things. The answer to all these problems is a free market, and a government that protects that freedom. The government can not give anything to anyone without first having taken it from someone else. The entire thrust of the Obama government has been to openly and mockingly rob some people and give a tiny portion of the spoils to others.

There is an old, old proverb that says, "He who robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." The Obama government - and, yes, much of the Bush government - has been dedicated with a singleness of purpose to destroy Peter. The Pauls of this nation are all those who are willing to be the lapdogs and kept serfs of a patron-state.

Senator, there is only one thing you can give us that you do not first have to steal from someone else, and that is Liberty. Please, PLEASE! Do your best to stop this suicidal plunge into the kind of state control that the fascists of the '30's and '40's could only dream of.

And speak of DREAM, I vehemently oppose this obscene act, and urge you in the strongest possible language to oppose it!

Thank you,
Wess Rodgers

The note from Sen. Bingaman's staff is shown below.

Dear Mr. Rodgers:

Thank you for sharing your concerns with me regarding various issues. I appreciate your taking the time to write.

I believe that we must advance a forward-looking agenda that will rebuild and strengthen America. Congress has passed legislation to create jobs, restore economic growth, strengthen America's middle class, and provide affordable and accessible healthcare. I believe that we must also focus on promoting an energy agenda aimed at conservation and renewable energy initiatives, and providing quality education opportunities for all Americans. To this end, I will continue to work to pass responsible bipartisan legislation that produces tangible and quality results for New Mexico. I will continue to work to ensure that the values and policies that have made this country great are not undermined. These values center around improving the quality of life for all Americans and upholding the rights embodied in our Constitution. As always, the public plays an important role in our democracy by voicing concern and keeping the government in check, and I encourage you to stay engaged.

Again, thank you for writing. Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any other matter of importance to you and your community.


United States Senator

Friday, November 5, 2010

to my Congressvermin

Congressman Lujan,

I didn't realize until I got my ballot on the 2nd that I am in your district. We live in that little gerrymandered protuberance where district 3 herniates into Paradise Hills. I spent a great deal of time and money fighting against Martin Heinrich, and let you off scott-free. Well, I'm your companion for the next two years.

It is my most sincere hope that, as you look at the shattered remnants of the Democrat population in the House, you will realize that the people have spoken. The fact that you won against an opponent who was ignored by his party (and many of his supporters, like me!) does not mean that you have a mandate to persist in your support of immoral policies.

I read some of your literature, and it is filled with attempts to buy loyalty with money stolen from those who earned it. The government cannot give anything to anyone without first having taken it from someone else. You - and I mean YOU, personally, Sir - cannot legitimize the wanton destruction of some people by giving their looted wealth to other people.

Please vote against the president in all matters. The man is utterly without scruple, virtue, or saving grace. He will lead you to the unemployment line. He said the voters have spoken and their demand is for an end to squabbling and logjams. He's insane. We demanded that he and his party stop their mindlessly savage rape of the American nation and its people. We demanded that HE stop! And by association, that YOU stop!

No human has the right to live at the expense of another. I suggest you begin voting on that principle

Friday, October 29, 2010


With the exception of what people like John Murtha, John Kerry, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi have said about our present-day military, the fellows who fought in the Mexican War have taken the worst and most unfair treatment of any troops in US history. I’d like to share with you a quick summary of their story.

First,: The Treaty of San Jacinto VERY clearly stated that the border between Texas and Mexico would be the Rio Grande.

Second: The US tried for more than a year to negotiate a peaceful agreement on the Nueces Strip.

Third: The US smuggled Santa Ana back into Mexico after he promised to use his influence to get their government to negotiate said agreement.

Fourth: After taking over the government, Santa Ana sent troops across the Rio Grande and began to forcibly evict settlers and burn their homes.

Fifth: Zachary Taylor was sent into the Strip to protect US citizens. Col. Cos, of the Mexican army pulled back across the Rio Grande and began to build siege works, with siege artillery – for you civilians, that means big freakin’ cannons - that dominated Ft. Brown, the only military post on the US side. Such works were entirely offensive in nature, and clearly had only one purpose - the destruction by fire of Ft. Brown.

Cos was using the river to haul his artillery to his position, so Taylor ordered a couple of ships sunk in the mouth of the river to block his passage. This is considered, by modern academics, to have been an act of war, and justified what happened…

Sixth: Cos sent cavalry across the river a few miles south of Ft. Brown and began destroying homes and terrorizing citizens. Taylor sent a squad of dragoons down to see what was going on, and Cos' men ambushed them ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE RIVER!.

Seventh: the Americans were overwhelmed and the survivors surrendered, whereupon the Mexicans executed them.

Eighth: later that day, Cos sent Taylor a note saying that a state of war existed between the US and Mexico. Taylor sent a courier to Washington, DC, and one full month after the murder of US soldiers ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE RIVER, the US reciprocally declared war on Mexico. ONE FULL MONTH LATER! So much for the treasured myth that the US started the war.

Ninth: The first two battles of the war, Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, were both fought on the US side of the Rio Grande. When Abe Lincoln and US Grant said, "Show me the spot where American blood was shed on American soil, they wouldn't have had to look far. And Grant should have darned well known better.

Tenth: At both Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, the Mexican forces outnumbered the US forces by more than two to one, and were on the defensive. In muzzle loading combat, being able to pick your ground and stand in good formation to receive the enemy’s attack is a huge advantage. The badly outnumbered Americans whipped ‘em both times. After the fight at Resaca, the Mexican force was so badly whipped that they surrendered.

Eleventh: Taylor’s officers accepted the surrender and paroled the whole lot. In those days, being paroled meant you were released to go about your business, but were honor-bound to not rejoin the fighting. So basically, the Mexicans promised to be good and not fight any more, and the Americans turned them loose.

Twelfth: After going back across the Rio Grande, the paroled Mexicans immediately rejoined Cos’ and resumed arms against the US. Cos immediately began shelling the daylights out of Ft. Brown. The shelling continued until Taylor received confirmation from Washington of the declaration of war, and…

Thirteenth: …crossed the river and whipped Cos’ entire army, again capturing the lot, and again paroling the lot. The Americans, again exposed and in assault, were outnumbered more than three to one, but outfought the Mexicans by a large margin.

Fourteenth: Taylor moved into the interior of Mexico, again fighting the same Mexican soldiers who had again violated their paroles and resumed the fight. This second time, after a really savage street fight, he declined to parole the prisoners, and put them in a prison camp where many of them died from disease. For this, he has been labeled a war criminal.

Fifteenth: Talking about death from disease… of the more than 12,000 Americans who died in the Mexican War, fewer than 1500 died from enemy action. The others died of disease, which sort of hints that maybe the Mexican prisoners were no worse off than their captors. At least they didn’t have to face the Americans again at…

Sixteenth: Buena Vista! In this battle, the Americans were at last in the position of standing to receive the Mexican assault, but were outnumbered more than five to one! At this battle, a regiment of infantry from Mississippi, armed with those new-fangled rifled muskets and commanded by a skinny kid named Jefferson Davis, butchered the pride of Santa Ana’s army in a matter of minutes at what is known in military history as “The V at Buena Vista.”

After Buena Vista, Taylor, his army in terrible condition from fatigue, starvation, and disease, went into camp and pressed no further into Mexico. General Winfield Scott landed with a real American army at Vera Cruz and began a campaign against Mexico City from there. A real army? Well, that brings us to…

Seventeenth: The Mexican army was almost 10 times the size of the US army. They had better, more modern small arms, better ammunition, more and heavier artillery – a LOT more! – and their officer cadre was trained and seasoned by service with the French and Spanish in Europe. By contrast, not a single officer in the field with the US Army had ever fought against any enemy save Indians, and while the American Indian was nobody’s easy meat, fighting them was a vastly different proposition from fighting a trained, disciplined, well-equipped Napoleonic army. The world was much amused that the Americans thought they could whip the Mexicans. The Duke of Wellington said, “Winfield Scott will never leave Mexico except with Santa Ana’s permission,” meaning that Santa Ana would control Scott completely. So…

Eighteenth: The idea that the big, strong, mean ol’ bully United States was picking on a bunch of illiterate, staving peons is a load of crap. Santa Ana would never have started the war unless he was darned sure he could win it. The whole world agreed with him. This is crucial to the story of those American soldiers: THEY WERE IN WAY OVER THEIR HEADS IN EVERY SINGLE RESPECT: numbers, weapons, supplies, experience, training, and knowledge of the terrain. You’ll never hear THAT on an American college campus!

Nineteenth: Scott began his campaign and fought several pitched battles, in each of which his men were in assault against fortified and entrenched Mexicans. A supply officer and an engineering officer teamed up to find trails or build them where none existed, and to move artillery into places that would weaken the knees of any self-respecting cannoneer. The clerk was a slob named Ulysses Simpson Grant, and the engineer was a quiet, reserved fellow named Robert Edward Lee. The US forces were victorious on every field where battle was joined, against all those odds, against all those superior weapons, against all those professionally trained soldiers and seasoned officers.

Twentieth: At the fortress of Chapaultepec, in Mexico City, a company of US Marines scaled the walls of the fort on ropes and ladders, went over the top and kicked the tar out of the defenders. That’s why the Marine’s Hymn speaks of “…the Halls of Montezuma.” And when you see a Marine NCO in his dress blues, notice the red stripe down the leg of his trousers; it remembers the blood of Marine NCO’s at Chapaultepec. Semper Fidelis, Brothers.

Twentyfirst: After Mexico City was captured to the amazement of the world, the Mexican government scattered like quail and had to be rounded up. They were finally all corralled at a town called Hermosillo and presented with a treaty. The treaty offered the cessation of hostilities, and said that Mexico would SELL – NOT GIVE – California to the US. California was worth most of the 11 million dollars the US paid, but the howling, worthless wilderness of Arizona, New Mexico, and part of Utah and Colorado were also part of the bargain. A soldier in New Mexico during the War Between the States observed that, “This territory will be a tax on the nation that owns it.” It’s hard to believe, but in those days, there was some doubt as to who came out on top of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. And something that I’ve never seen listed in a discussion of the treaty is….

Twentsecond: Not only did the US relieve Mexico of the crippling expense of managing a huge and worthless territory, we assumed over $20 million in debts owed by Mexico to European powers. Today, 20 mill wouldn’t wipe the excess make up off Nancy Pelosi’s face, but in 1848, it was a pretty fair chunk of change. But there’s one more thing here that really, REALLY sticks in my crop when I hear the men who fought against Mexico slandered.

Twentythird: After Mexico started the war by murdering American prisoners on American soil – after Mexican soldiers violated virtually every code of honorable warfare – after we paid good money for terrible land – after our men suffered unspeakable torment in battle and hospital, and whipped to a fare-thee-well the largest and finest army in the New World – after we had to force their government to agree to stop the killing - after we saved them from catastrophic debt to European imperialists – WE GAVE THE SORRY SODS THEIR STINKING COUNTRY BACK! SCOTT AND TAYLOR PULLED ALL US FORCES OUT OF MEXICO AND BASICALLY PAROLED THE WHOLE SORRY COUNTRY!

So from now on, when somebody starts trashing the United States about the Mexican War, you might have something to offer to the conversation. Remember those men – those American soldiers – and honor them by not letting the forces of cynicism in America heap upon the veterans of our present conflicts the same post-mortem humiliation that has been suffered by the men who fought a series of doomed battles against an unbeatable foe – and whipped him right down to the ground.

Green grow the lilacs, all sparklin' with dew.
I'm lonesome, my Darlin', since partin' with you.
But by our next meeting I hope to prove true,
And change the green lilacs to the Red, White, and Blue.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Every one of us - every, single, individual human - holds a unique and unduplicatable record of the world. Of all those who have lived, not one has seen precisely what we have seen, from precisely the same angle, at the same time, in the s...ame light. As the repositories of memories and knowledge beyond price, it follows that each of us offers to all we meet, comfort, perspective, and testimony that could come from no other living being.

I formulated this idea when I was an atheist, but have seen nothing in my conversion to Christianity to change my mind about it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Of Sex and Battle Flags.

A young lady friend, whom I met through one of my daughters, posted a photo of herself on Facebook. She was sitting on the hood of my daughter's jeep, covered in mud. She was wearing shorts and sleeveless shirt, and was leaning back on her hands with one leg drawn up. The picture struck me in its resemblance to some of the famous cheesecake art from the 1940's, and I commented that the young lady would look great on the nose of a bomber. My daughter replied that this was NOT a compliment because in those days, women were seen as meat. Well, my daughter has been right about enough things that I always give serious thought to what she says, especially when she calls me down like that.

So, first of all, the remark was meant as a compliment. The photo was not immodest or in appropriate in anyway; it showed a beautiful woman enjoying herself. There are two elements in this which require comment: 1940's pinup art, in general, and bomber nose art, in particular.

The pinup art of people like Gil Elvgren is absolutely symbolic of the time. Elvgren did some nudes, but they were not as widely circulated as his calendar art, which is trenchant. In fact, I'd never even seen an Elvgren nude until a few years ago. The art to which I was comparing my young friend was innocent and fun-loving. The women were all lovely and dressed in what was, at that time, stylish, modest, and flirtation fashion. They were generally showing a lot of leg or cleavage, and were always in situations where their exposure was unintentional. I'd not be so disingenuous as to say no male ever looked on them with lust, but they were in no way similar to the porn stars or centerfold models of today.

The fact that Elvgren's nudes were not as well known is indicative of the attitude of the time. The vast majority of pinup art represented nice girls, and even a nice girl might have her skirt blow up, or not realize it had hiked up over her back, much as a nice girl today might be leaving church, turn to wave at a friend, and have her skirt blown clear up around her head. They weren't seen as meat, but as ideals to be sought after and dreamed of. If it had been a matter of meat, the nudes would have been more common, and more explicit. Even the pinup nudes of day were immeasurably more modest and prurient than many modern entertainers who are not primarily known as porn models. In fact, I have seen far more skin displayed in VASTLY more provacative ways on women in church. And don't even TALK about the mall! I say, without fear of repudiation, that the idea of women as meat is much, much more prevalent today than in 1943 - and I include modern women in this!

Hardcore porn existed back then, as it has for generations, and some of it was really vile. The popularity of the classic pinup was not because of a lack of anything more explicit. No decent man, possessed of any upbringing, at all, wanted one of those women.

There is no doubt that the standard of what stimulates people who like porn has changed dramatically. It would be fair to say that Elvgren's bare-legged innocents stirred, in some men, the same feelings that modern porn stirs in their grandsons. Fair enough. But that is not an indictment of the genre, itself. If we are to judge the men by modern standards, it is only fair to judge the art the same way. The world in which those men lived was several orders of magnitude more innocent and chaste than ours today. The intent of the art, and the art, itself, was different. A good friend of mine, who has long since passed on, said, "We looked at those girls and thought, "Man! If she were my wife, I'd never leave the house!" How many men today think about having porn models for wives? And that's the difference.

Nose art, or bomber art as some call it, was an outgrowth of the pinup of the day. And for the record, pinup nose art was actually in the minority. A lot of nose art was cartoon characters, song titles, pictures of wives or sweethearts (like Richard Bong's "Marge") and themes of survival (like the B-17, "Round Trip Ticket"). Nose art gave the crew a way of identifying themselves as a unit: "I'm a gunner on "Outhouse Mouse." It also gave them a way of identifying with the machine that would carry them into hell, itself, and hopefully bring them home. The art was like a battle flag - a symbol for rallying. Men have always named their weapons after the women in their lives - or women they wished were in their lives, for instance, the classic American icon of the frontiersman with a squirrel gun named, "Ol' Betsy" . Maybe Betsy wasn't always so old.

Young men would paint a beautiful girl on the side of an airplane, then get in that airplane and fly it into a level of savagery that can scarcely be imagined. On many occasions, the US 8th Air Force lost over 600 men in a single afternoon. The odds of survival were slim. That girl was what gave them hope. She was a symbol of what they'd come home to - if they came home. Yes, they were testosterone-laden horn dogs. It goes with being young and male. Why, even today's young men fit that description. Fighting like that requires the strength, reflexes, and endurance of youth. It requires the sense of rectitude that allows a man to kill others and see his own friends die, and go back the next day and do it again - and again - 25 or 50 times.

A man can't face death like that, day after day, without some affirmation of life and beauty. Those girls gave them that. "They knew what they were fighting for." "Two Beauts" wasn't just a piece of meat. She was a battle flag - a talisman of luck and courage - a woman to ride the river with - a valkyrie who would not only fly with them into hell, but be waiting for them at home. She inspired ten men to do what men should never have to do, and she went with them ever inch of the way

So, my precious, insightful daughter, and my dear, generous young friend, it wasn't with thoughts of lust or carnality that I said you'd look great on a bomber. That particular picture put me in mind of those innocent beauties who inspired our fathers and grandfathers to do the impossible. I said it with the thought that if the young men of your generation have to go into the fire called battle, they could do far worse than fly under your image. It was, most emphatically meant as a compliment. I love you both.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


At the age of 53 years, I married a younger woman, and became step dad to her three daughters. Over the years, I've written several letters to them, most of which have never been delivered. Sometimes, the situation for which the letters were intended passed. More often, I realized the letters would do no good, and just filed them away. Writing like this as always been a good release for me, and a way to organize my feelings.

So the letters here - reproduced in no particular order, are what I've written to the little girls that I have loved more than I never knew I could love human beings. Almost none of these will ever be read by the people for whom they were intended. Maybe - and it's a long shot - your daughters will read them, and, since I am a stranger, perhaps your daughters will learn from them. The Scriptures tell us that a prophet is without honor in his own land. So be it.

Sic Semper,

Sunday, July 18, 2010


This is the text of a talk I delivered to the Albuquerque, NM, West Stake singles branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Don't expect hard corps historiography; I was talking to intelligent young people, not to professors.

I would speak to you tonight on the hand of God in the coming forth of the United States of America. My life has made me more qualified to speak on historical things than on Scriptural things, so we shall all be witness to the work of The Spirit in guiding me. It is my testimony to you that any inadequacy tonight is due to my insensitivity to His promptings.

Just so y’all understand where this is coming from, I am an American, first, last, and always – unabashedly so – unapologetically so – lock and load, come and take it if you think you can so.

Why should we consider the matter of the Scriptural context of the founding of this nation? Because we are being challenged daily on the legitimacy of our nation. We see challenges to our right to our own institutions – including our religion – to our right to stand as equals among the nations of the earth – indeed, to our very right to live. We see challenges to the legitimacy and even the decency of those who founded this nation – and not just the Founding Fathers, but the farmers and shopkeepers and tradesmen who built her up out of mud and wood and iron. We’d better have a pretty good idea of whence we came and why. Our sense of rectitude will be put to every test imaginable, and to some we mercifully cannot imagine.

L. Tom Perry, in the June, 1976 Ensign – “The United States represents the major source of human and financial resources that go into the expansion of the Lord’s work throughout the world. It is very essential that America remain strong in order that the Church can continue to support the Lord’s work in all corners of the earth. It’s true that Saints in other nations are beginning to come to the point where they can be “independent” in the sense that they can supply their own leadership and resources—but there are few nations in the world where the Saints are of sufficient numbers and have available means to be able to support even among themselves the expansion of the Church in a very significant manner.

“In addition to that central idea we have a basic religious message, a unique message to tell the world—and that is that God’s hand was in the founding of America. America is the cradle of the Church. We know that the great reformation of centuries ago was God-inspired. The rediscovery of America by Columbus was God-inspired. The founding of this land with a form of government that would permit the gospel to be restored and be established was God-inspired. This is a great message. A message of fulfilled prophecy. A message that God lives—that he is in our lives, that he is involved in the shaping of history in ways that many people do not know. I tell you, this is great news! The Lord himself said that he raised up “wise men” for the purpose of founding the United States’ constitutional government, a form of government that has been modeled and patterned after all over the world because it provides the kind of freedom, agency, and opportunity our Father’s children need in order for them to grow, mature, and develop.”

There were many prophesies of the discovery and development of the New World.
Nephi had a vision of Columbus: “And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.” (1 Ne. 13:12.)

And of the Pilgrims: “And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations.” (1 Ne. 13:18–19.)

There are many Scriptural references to the fact that the New World was a choice land, given to The Lord’s chosen people, but only on condition of their continued righteousness: : “Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.” (Ether 2:12)

The Book of Mormon, quoting Jesus as he spoke here in America, reads:
“This land shall be a land of liberty … and there shall be no kings upon [it]. …

“… For I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words. …

“… For it is a choice land, saith God … wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me.” (2 Ne. 10:11, 14, 19.)

Lehi, the patriarch of the colony divinely led to America in 600 b.c., prophesied that “there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord” (2 Ne. 1:6).

The Old Testament offers this oblique prophecy, which applies to us this day, as well:

“And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of” (Gen. 28:13–15).

We know that we were created with a level of agency, “In His Own image.” Because of that gift, it is right and just that we be allowed exercise of it. Only through the freedom to use our God-given minds and creative faculties can we be fully human. This is a critical point! Freedom must include both intellectual and physical freedom! To be free to learn and think, but not free to act on what we’ve learned is an obscene contradiction; it would reduce us to roughly the equivalent of spirit beings, whose lack of a physical bodies prevents their acting on the world around them.

To be free to act, but not to learn and think is equally obscene; it would make us blind and dumb beasts, stumbling through life on the guidance of glandular squirtings or raging whims.

Man is a being of integrated mind and body, and if either is constrained, he ceases to be fully human. He has been, as a human, murdered. As we go along in this talk, look especially for points that recognize this principle in the founding of the United States. Observe how the principles of freedom, both intellectual and physical, were established and protected.

After more than a thousand years of intellectual and spiritual stagnation, several things happened with breathtaking suddenness. There was an awakening of learning, brought about through several channels at almost the same time: Marco Polo’s reports of the science of China, Guttenberg’s press, the emergence of strong monarchs who could unify large parts of Europe into nations, and finally, the reformation of the Church by men like Tyndale and Luther. All these things served to generate pressure, like boiler, that had to have an escape. But where could such a relief valve come from?

Was there a place on Earth that recognized the need for agency? Not a one. Every nation then in existence was ruled by tyrants or gangs. The only freedom available was out on the frontier, away from the power of the tyrant; but if one got that far from one tyrant, one was almost surely getting closer to another. Indeed, the idea of mankind being free was looked upon with astonishment; one needed only to look around to see what horrors had come from people being free! Tyranny was a very natural and comforting – if not comfortable – alternative. The most powerful forces in philosophy were unified against freedom, and against the very idea that Mankind was capable or worthy of it.

Thomas Hobbes taught that it was literally criminal for a person to even question his monarch. Emanuel Kant taught that the moral was whatever the state chose to force people to do. Germany, called, “The land of poets and philosophers,” produced a whole string of so-called “idealists.” GFW Hegel taught that mankind truly exists only as a fragment of the state, and the soul of man was a myth outside the context of the state. Schoppenauer recognized pre- and post-mortal existence, and taught that Mankind’s only hope for happiness lay in murdering all women so that the species could become extinct and return to the companionship of God. Serious academic courses on the ideas of these men may be found on any modern college campus. They really did espouse this kind of stuff, and people really did eat it up. They still do.

Thomas More’s Utopia featured a benevolent, totalitarian government and a society in which every person looked, dressed, and acted the same way. There was no theft because everyone had the same thing, and none of it was worth stealing. There was no contention because the government made sure all were the same, and had the same prospects – ie, none to speak of.

De Montaigne expressed a pretty low opinion of mankind: “Democritus and Heraclitus were two philosophers, of whom the first, finding human condition ridiculous and vain, never appeared abroad but with a jeering and laughing countenance; whereas Heraclitus commiserating that same condition of ours, appeared always with a sorrowful look, and tears in his eyes… I am clearly for the first humor: not because it is more pleasant to laugh than to weep, but because it expresses more contempt and condemnation than the other, and I think we can never be despised according to our full desert.”

(Going back to the ancient Greeks, Heraclitus taught that the only thing that really exists is “flux,” or change. In his model, there is no absolute reality, and therefore, no right or wrong. You’ll see him referred to glowingly in the writing of the Colonial period, and his ideas were central to those of William James, the American pragmatist and founding father of the Progressive movement.)

Jean Jacque Rousseau posited the idea of the “noble savage,” a primal man of great strength and drive, who is seen by the rest of Humanity as a threat to their simpering mediocrity. He said that law, custom, manners, and concepts of decency were merely contrivances of the mediocre masses to keep the Noble Savage in check, and that Mankind’s only progress came when the Savage got the bit in his teeth. (For a look at a modern application of Rousseau’s philosophy, I would direct you to Cambodia in the time of Pol Pot, who was a self-described Rousseauan.)

In England, France, Spain, Portugal, the German states, the Ottoman Empire, these ideas were the heart of government. There were kings and sultans and pashas, but the common denominator was that individual human beings were the property of the ruler. The English, with the Magna Carta, viewed themselves as free, but in religion, economics, and property rights, they held that freedom only at the whim of the monarch.

Against this intellectual and political monolith, a Virginia farmer had the brazen gall to say it was self-evident that all men were created equal, and that they weren’t equally depraved or revolting. This is a critical concept. The United States was not the end result of a long string of causality. It was an outrageous, totally preposterous deviation from the direction taken by the rest of humankind. There were a few tiny sparks – Adam Smith, who wrote of economic freedom, and John Locke, who wrote that the right to life was a “natural right,” based on the nature of Man, but until the 1760’s, they were virtually alone in a cesspool of tyranny and corruption.

I think we need some intellectual Listerine to swish that stuff from our minds. Try this on for size:

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

There follows a long list of abuses, some of which could be published today, and the closing paragraph, the thunder of which reverberates through the soul in the passion of truth. Listen for reference to God:

"We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

The United States was, from the beginning, a point well off the line – an improbability of staggering magnitude. Unless, of course, you consider the hand of God in all this. All of these widely disparate forces and factors worked together in a subtle, exquisite symphony, drawing slowly toward an earth-shaking climax. In fact, the process was so subtle it has totally eluded historians and sociologists for 200-odd years.

Great, pagan old China didn’t discover the New World, though they were far, far ahead of Europe in exploration and trade. They had the means and the skill, but, for some reason, lost the will, and folded back in upon themselves, changing from the world’s most outgoing nation to a recluse, muttering in its self-imposed exile.

France had the means and the skill, but the King was too absorbed with his petty wars and court intrigues. He turned Columbus down. Great Britain had the means and the skill, and probably the drive, but, like the French, were busy with little things. The Portuguese were too intellectual to be bothered. The Spanish, at first influenced by the same sort of learned fools who hobbled their neighbors, decided to give it a try. They’d turned Columbus down repeatedly, but he kept trying them, and finally, inexplicably, Isabella let him have his go. Had he been commissioned by any of the others, he would have started from their home ports, straight into the teeth of the prevailing westerlies, and would have stumbled back into port, exhausted and beaten by weeks of endless tacking and wearing. Spain owned the Canary Islands, and, departing from there, Columbus slipped into the east winds, which bore him to the New World. Any other choice would have doomed his effort.

The very processes of establishing the colonies that became the US was anomalous. The Spaniards were intent on looting the New World, and saw their colonies only as marshalling points for plunder. (At the sharp end of the stick – the explorers, themselves - there was a tremendous desire to bring Christianity to the native peoples.) The French also wished to exploit the natural treasures of the New World, but lacked the sanguine drive and grand vision of the Spainish. Theydidn’t want to alienate the native peoples, and, while New France enjoyed mostly cordial relations with them, restrictions on immigration kept the colony small, and barely viable. Spain and France were both practicants of a mercantile economy, which sharply limited speculation, risk-taking, and growth.

And Queen Elizabeth I… who saw her coming? Talk about a point off-the-line! Under her, the English Navy became an unimaginably powerful force around the world. Her privateers – Drake, Hawkins, and others – wreaked havoc on the Spanish treasure fleets, further slowing the growth of the Spanish colonies.

The English pattern of using joint stock companies to fund colonies rewarded risk-taking and innovation. The Virginia Company made fortunes for its stockholders, which enabled them to keep pouring resources and humanity into that putrid death trap called Jamestown, the survival of which is another outrageous improbability. At one point, two ships, traveling in opposite directions, in a thousand square miles of ocean, in a dense fog, actually met each other. One was evacuating the last survivors of the winter of 1609-10, and the other was a relief ship. If either of those ships had varied her course by 100 yards, or her time of arrival at that crucial point by 5 minutes, Jamestown would have become another New World cemetery, filled with broken dreams and untold suffering.

Those who settled New England were driven to establish a religious dictatorship. They weren’t here for religious freedom. They had nothing against absolute theocracy, as long as it was their theocracy! Southern settlers were, in many cases, treasure-seekers and gentlemen-adventurers who were allergic to work. How ironic that they ended up here, where the work was brutal and endless! In fact, the early history of the United States didn’t show us much other than an incredible courage and toughness. That courage and toughness were exactly what was required to bring into existence what amounted to a whole new subspecies. The vastness of the American continent made it possible for people to get away from the theocrats and the slackers, and exercise their own agency. Insulated from any possibility of royal favor or nepotistic coddling, the New World rewarded the do-er. It’s written of the settling of the American west that the cowards never started and the weak died along the way. It was equally so of the settling of the eastern seaboard and the first colonies.

Once the colonies were established, it is almost as if the English crown were carefully creating a race of irascible, stiff-necked, free-thinking Yankees. The unpredictable, often irrational combination of neglect and heavy-handed regulation combined to create a highly flammable environment, and then fill it with incendiary characters.

The colonists, themselves- especially those who moved west -were rabidly independent and allergic to constraint. Their leaders possessed some of the most outrageous and individualistic personalities ever catalogued, much less ever brought into one room for the purpose of discussing their passions, and agreeing on who had the best ones! The odds of that bunch of prima donnas agreeing on the color of a horse were near zero. But they did agree, and on some of the most magnificent political abstractions ever put on paper.

From the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (101: 77-80)

“According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

“That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

“Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
“And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”

The Scriptures tell us that God the Father assembled this group of individuals for the express purpose of founding the United States, and, considering the odds of that many men of that caliber in one room at the same time… There were good leaders in the early days, but nothing to foreshadow the blinding brilliance of the Founders. They were all born within a 50-year period, and within a thousand miles of each other. Nowhere else in human history is there anything even remotely like it.

Consider this about the republic they created. It was a government of law, with strict constraints on that government. But what good is law? Plenty of people break the law, some of them not in government, at all! The law tells us how to act, and the consequences if we misbehave. Where do those consequences come from? From the government. What if the government breaks the law? Is it likely to levy consequences on itself? Not likely. So the law is no constraint on the government, at all. It is like shouting at the wind; you can do it all you want, but you’ll only get hoarse.

There’s an old saying that the only real safety device on a car is the nut behind the wheel. So it is with the law. The only binding parameter on the law is the character of those charged with enforcing it. Character. If those in government are of good character – honest, with integrity – they will keep the law because they believe it is right to do so. If those in government are not of good character, they will not keep the law because they believe it is inconvenient or unprofitable to do so. In the end, it is not the law, but the commitment to it of those in authority who make a government work.

Our Founders gave us a government that is absolutely and explicitly dependent on the character of those elected to office. They believed so much in the inborn common sense and sagacity of the American people that they set up a government that recognized and operated on character. Of course, they also gave us the 2nd Amendment, in case we needed to correct a bad decision, but that is a topic for a wiser man than I.

This government of character and law recognizes Human agency. It leaves us free to choose and to act. It leaves those in government free, too, though I can’t believe the Founders could have foreseen the depravity this would unchain in the world. There is no prior restraint placed on Americans. We are free to decide. We can make deposits in the bank, or we can rob it. However, according the law, at least, there are consequences of misbehaving, and if we choose the action, we also choose the consequences. The man who introduced me to this church once observed that you can’t pick up just one end of a stick. If you pick up the end called action, you also get the end called consequences. In the entire, sorry catalogue of political ideas by which men have tormented themselves, the ideas upon which this nation was based are the only ones to recognize the essential nature and agency of Mankind.

And this brings us back to the starting point: a large number of our countrymen, and a majority of the rest of the world, hate us for our freedom. They see freedom as bad. All that freedom and expression is so untidy! It gets in the way of organization and system. They say the world would be a better place if we’d all surrender our precious FREEDOM – emphasized with little claw marks in the air – and let the real professionals – academics and bureaucrats – run our lives in a way that would benefit everyone. It’s as if More, Kant, Hegel, James, and all the other over-educated idiots were brought back for a cast encore.

We believe that our Father in Heaven is loving and just. Think of a creature, created with very specific traits and abilities – the greatest of which, and those that literally define the creature - are the ability to think, learn, and decide its course in life. Now think of an environment, created specifically for that creature, that clasps shackles upon those great abilities, and forces the creature to deny its creation and the very things that define it. Could this possibly be the work of a God that is loving and just? I’ll answer that for you.


In 1831, the French writer, de Toqueville, wrote, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world of commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

I will close with L. Tom Perry, again from the bicentenniel year of 1976:

“The success of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War came about through men who were raised up by God for this special purpose. You must read the Declaration of Independence to feel its inspiration. You merely need to study history to recognize that a group of fledgling colonies defeating the world’s most powerful nation stemmed from a force greater than man. Where else in the world do we find a group of men together in one place at one time who possessed greater capacity and wisdom than the founding fathers—Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and others? But it was not to their own abilities that they gave the credit. They acknowledged Almighty God and were certain of the impossibility of their success without his help. Benjamin Franklin made an appeal for daily prayers in the Constitutional Convention. In that appeal he said, “If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? I believe without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the building of Babel.”

“The Constitution was and is a miracle. Both Washington and Madison referred to it as such. It was an inspired document, written under the divine guidance of the Lord. James Madison, commonly called the Father of the Constitution, recognized this inspiration and gave the credit to “the guardianship and guidance of the Almighty Being whose power regulates the destiny of nations whose blessings have been so conspicuously displayed to the rising of this republic.” (Prologue, p. 95.) We believe that the Constitution was brought about by God to insure a nation where liberty could abound, where his gospel could flourish. Joseph Smith said, “The Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner.”

As we pray daily to God for guidance, we could do worse than to make the same plea that George Washington made in his prayer for our country. Notice how many points of the Gospel he touched on, though this was many years before the restoration.

“Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage, we humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will.

“Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning and pure manners.

“Save us from violence, discord and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way.

“Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought out of many kindreds and tongues.

“Endue with the spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be peace and justice at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.

“In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail.

“All of which we ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

Sunday, March 28, 2010


28 Mach, 2010

There is an explicitly held myth among the American people, promoted shamelessly by the media and the current administration, that only our side is capable of violence. We hear, daily, about threats against some legislator or bureaucrat. Some of it is petty, like the fellow on a radio show who said he’d like to slap Nancy Pelosi off the podium. Some of it is more serious, and some threats may even be credible, but it doesn’t matter if they are serious or credible. People believe they are true.

First and foremost, I want to urge all who read this to turn away from violence or threats of violence. At this point, we are talking about a few individuals who are closer to the edge than the rest of us. I believe that any man can be pushed or cornered into a violent act, but some folks are a lot easier to corner, and require a much shorter push. We all know a few of these. I urge you to talk to those people and calm them down. Get them back from the edge. If the government or the media wish to fabricate an incident, they will. We all know about a certain radio station on the German-Polish border, and in my opinion, our present administration is capable of something like that.

But let’s not give them anything legitimate. If they fabricate something, their lies will be exposed to the world, and even if they aren’t we will still have that certainty that we are innocent of wrongdoing. At the end of the road, that certainty will be worth more than you can imagine. I pray daily they don’t take this road, and I don’t seriously believe they intend to. They are opportunists, and if we give them an opportunity to pass some whirlwind, draconian, Stalinist gun control measure, they’ll do it. But let’s not see devils where they aren’t. There’s enough real ones out there; we don’t have to invent them.

And by the way, there was a poll a few day ago that supposedly revealed that a huge percentage of the American people – I heard numbers from 20-50 percent – believe that Obama is the anti-Christ. Horsehockey. First of all, things aren’t nearly bad enough now for Satan to play his ace. Second, while I do think Obama is a thoroughly evil man – a fascist, a racist, a liar, and a megalomaniac – he’s a two-bit damnyankee punk. Anyone who thinks that little slime is the best Satan has is REALLY kidding himself!

At this point, we are talking about a few individuals, but if there is an action of sufficient magnitude or violence, our enemies can use it to launch a campaign of oppression like we’ve never seen in this country. If that were to happen, there are some very thoughtful, reasonable, and ethical men and women who would fight back. Violence feeds on itself, and before long, we’d have a sure ‘nuf war on our hands. The horror of such a thing cannot be described in human language, and at this point, even if we were to bring the government to terms, what good would it do us? The voters would be so traumatized by the bloodshed they’d turn right around and elect another control freak who promised to enslave them into safety. Of course, there’s always the option of just installing someone and keeping him in office by force of arms. Yeah, right. That’s a real moral solution.

I have not read a single syllable about violence coming from the left, and there are two reasons for that. First, the media doesn’t print it when it happens. Second, the left uses violence as an everyday tool of political action, but they don’t do it themselves. They are not like us. If an individualist gets mad enough, there’s a good chance he’ll engage you directly. That doesn’t mean the violence will be measured or appropriate! Consider Tim McVeigh. He took direct action, on his own. He was a punk, too, and a discredit to our side, and there’s others like him. But McVeigh did it himself. A statist won’t do that. A statist will have the police, the military, the FBI, the IRS, or the UN do their killing for them. I don’t know if Stalin ever killed a single person with his own hands, but he used the power of the state to kill millions. If the statists want to kill you, they’ll arrange a wrong-house drug bust, or set up a scenario like Ruby Ridge or Waco.

After Waco, especially, there was a cry of rage against the FBI and BATF, and it was fully justified. However, the real cry should have been for the head of Janet Reno. She was the murdering liberal monster who signed off on using the armed might of federal law enforcement to incinerate innocent citizens on the grounds of the most preposterous of fabrications.

When the media says the left, or the progressives, or whatever they call themselves, don’t hurt people, don’t you believe it. During the 20th century, alone, almost 100 million human beings were murdered by their own governments, and not one those governments was based on the principles upon which our own government used to rest. It was not individualists or capitalists who did the killing; it was statists who were convinced they were justified in killing people who wouldn’t go along with their despotic schemes.

Now someone is going to say, in a snarky, NIGGYSOB tone of voice, “Well what about Hitler? What about the KKK and all their lynchings?” Right. Hitler was the darling of American Progressives. A lot of them thought we were on the wrong side in WWII. When our troops started finding the Dachaus and Treblinkas, American Progressives never said, “Holy crap! Were we ever wrong about that dude!” No, they quietly abandoned the stage for a time and waited for the American people – grossly mis-educated by the Progressive public school system, I might add – to forget about their love affair with fascism. Now they’re back again, trying to convince us that Hitler was actually an individualist and a capitalist. This is why it is so dangerous to use a model of “left-vs-right.” Those terms are meaningless in this context. Hitler killed a lot of socialists because he was a socialist and didn’t like them hooking on his corner.

And as for the KKK, they are fascists, pure and simple. A lot of people claim the Klan is the extreme of right-wing, or of conservative. Bull crap. On the continuum of political thought, they are right down there on that end with the Obamas, the Hitlers, Mussolinis, and the Pol Pots. Whether it’s the left end or the right end is irrelevant; it’s the statist/fascist end. You will never hear one of them urging his fellows to moderation and peaceful resistance as I am now urging my friends.

Statists, by whatever name you wish to call them, have killed a hell of a lot more people than individualists. Don’t you be hanging your head about being on the end of the continuum opposed to the present administration.

Sic Semper Tyrannis,