Sunday, April 29, 2007

Oregon's New Basketball Arena Project.

The picture above is of the model that has been produced for the new University of Oregon Basketball arena for the Oregon Ducks to replace McArthur Court ( Mac Court). The design may change. The smaller arena in the upper right corner is a practice court and the building in the lower right is an academic building for athletes that will now be built someplace else. The arena will be built on the old Williams Bakery property. The Basketball Arena will be surrounded by the Bean Dorm complex to the rear and the Hamilton Dorm complex to your right as you look at the picture. The Hirons store will be to your left on the other side of the small parking lot as you look at the picture.

In today's Register Guard Newspaper Ron Bellamy's column had some additional information on new AD Pat Kilkenny and the Basketball Arena project. Without posting posting the entire column the main points are:

1. "He's reorganized the upper management of the athletic department.... administrators had to apply for their old jobs, they underwent extensive interviews with Kilkenny and a consultant. Some have new roles"

2. He's reach out to the academic side of the Willamette river and has"drawn on the athletics-oriented perspective and institutional history of former assistant football coach Neal Zoumboukos, now a special assistant to Kilkenny"

3. In addition to Jim Bartko, who is commng home from Cal, he will hire "a full-time" fundraiser and will also soon advertise to hire a special assistant to focus on strategic planning."

4. On the basketball arena these are the key points of the column:

(a) He is "determined to build something grand, if the donations support that vision, or something more modest, if that's what the finances dictate, but determined to build an arena, period...."

(b) "The Knights have been considered the
potential source of an "extraordinary gift" to the arena project, and that kind of gift - from them or elsewhere - will determine whether Oregon builds an arena that costs as much as $175 million, based on last year's estimates, or an arena that costs between, say, $75 million and $100 million.

Which Kilkenny is prepared to build, if he must."

"Assuming we didn't get a world-class gift, I thought $75 million with a certain amount of debt would be something the University of Oregon could handle," he said.

Of course, prices go up, almost daily, whether Oregon thinks practical, or thinks grand.

"I'd love to have Phil and Penny involved, and from that perspective they'll let us know if they want to," Kilkenny said. "I think it's fairly clear to him that we'd love to have his help. On the other hand, I'm not going to insult his intelligence by asking for the order, if you will...."

"I'm a big believer in listening to customers. If he's involved, or if anybody gives a very meaningful gift, I would like to know what it is they think we should be doing. I don't think they're going to drive the bus, but I think they're going to have a lot of input."

In a month, Kilkenny hopes to know where this is going, to have a plan. In a month, after all, he'll have, by contract, just 25 months left at Oregon, and you sense he's determined to make every one count, so that he can walk away and "feel really good that 'Gee, wasn't it good that I did that.'

(c) in summary, if Knight kicks in within the month we go "grand" and if not we go "modest" He will know in a "month"

(To read the rest of Bellamy's column click on the title for a link)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

University of Oregon's Spring Football Game

Just got back to Medford from the Spring Game. My wife and I left for the game at 9:30 am this morning and got back home at 8:30 pm It was a nice drive to Eugene and we had a nice dinner in Roseberg at the Elmer's Windmill Inn. I don't claim to be an expert in evaluating football talent but other than a few running plays I didn't see much that gave me a lot of hope next year in view of the Las Vegas Bowl fiasco. I sure hope I am wrong. It was a nice day and I had a good time at Autzen.It was fun listening to Zummer do football commentary with Jerry and Jorgie on the radio.

What I am excited about is the model of the proposed new basketball arena. I went by the Cas Center and saw it on the 2nd floor. The pictures in the newspaper and on the Internet do not do it justice. The seats are very steep in the arena. The arena as proposed will be right in back of the Hamilton Dormitory complex. The entrance will be approximately were the Williams Bakery discount store used to be located. The Arena will have Franklin Blvd on the front, Hamilton complex on the right, with the Bean complex in back and Hyrons to the left as you look at it from Franklin. Of course the layout could change. Pat Kilkenny paid over a million dollars for the plans and this model. Former AD Bill Moos apparently showed this to the big donors but kept it under wraps for the rest of us. My guess he was afraid to show it to anyone else until he had Knight on board as he didn't want to raise expectations . New AD Pat Kilkenny must be more confident he can get it done.

I remember back in 1966 seeing the model for Autzen at the Lane County Fair the year before Autzen stadium was built.

Haven't been to the Cas Center for a few years and it was nice to see the changes. Also went to the "Duck Shop" at the Mo Center and bought a new Oregon Duck tie for work on the days we have our Duck lunches for the Oregon Club of Southern Oregon.

All in all a Good Day!

Now I have to wait four months till Oregon's first football game in Eugene against Houston on September 1, 2007. Go Ducks!

Thursday, April 26, 2007


VETO the white flag Democrats in Congress!

Article I Section 7 of the United States Constitution

Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a law.

Article II Section 2 of the United States Constitution

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States and of the Militia of the several States,....

UPDATE: CAMP DAVID, Md. Apr 27, 2007, President Bush warned Congress Friday that he will continue vetoing war spending bills as long as they contain a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

UPDATE;Vice president Dick Cheney goes after Democrats Friday night.

"Their prevailing mindset, combined with a series of ill-considered actions in the House and Senate over the last several months," Cheney said, "causes me to wonder whether today's Democratic leaders fully appreciate the nature of this danger that the country faces in the war on terror -- a war that was declared against us by jihadists; a war in which the United States went on offense after 9/11; a war whose central front, in the opinion and actions of the enemy, is Iraq Opponents of our military action there have called Iraq a diversion from the real conflict, a distraction from the business of fighting and defeating bin Laden and the al Qaeda network," Cheney said. "We hear this over and over again . . . Yet the evidence is flatly to the contrary. And the critics conveniently disregard the words of bin Laden himself: 'The most serious issue today for the whole world,' he said, 'is this Third World War [that is] raging' " in Iraq.

Opponents of our military action there have called Iraq a diversion from the real conflict, a distraction from the business of fighting and defeating bin Laden and the al Qaeda network," Cheney said. "We hear this over and over again . . . Yet the evidence is flatly to the contrary. And the critics conveniently disregard the words of bin Laden himself: 'The most serious issue today for the whole world,' he said, 'is this Third World War [that is] raging' " in Iraq.

At one point during the 15-minute speech, Cheney singled out "my friend Senator Harry Reid" for criticism, noting as his audience laughed that he "was one of the many Democrats who voted for the use of force in Iraq."

"And they are entitled to now oppose the war," Cheney said. "Yet Americans are entitled to question whether the endlessly shifting positions he and others are taking are a reflection of principle, or of partisanship and blind opposition to the administration."

was one of the many Democrats who voted for the use of force in Iraq."

"And they are entitled to now oppose the war," Cheney said. "Yet Americans are entitled to question whether the endlessly shifting positions he and others are taking are a reflection of principle, or of partisanship and blind opposition to the administration."


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

John McCain's Announcment Speech

Today in New Hampshire John McCain formally announced his candidacy for President of the United States. This is the full text of his announcement speech

Today, I announce my candidacy for President of the United States. I do so grateful for the privileges this country has already given me; mindful that I must seek this responsibility for reasons greater than my self-interest; and determined to use every lesson I've learned through hard experience and the history I've witnessed, every inspiration I've drawn from the patriots I've known and the faith that guides me to meet the challenges of our time, and strengthen this great and good nation upon whom all mankind depends. "We've begun another campaign season earlier than many Americans prefer. So soon after our last contentious election, our differences are again sure to be sharpened and exaggerated. That's the nature of free elections. But even in the heat of a campaign, we shouldn't lose sight that much more defines us than our partisanship; much more unites us than divides us. We have common purposes and common challenges, and we live in momentous times. This election should be about big things, not small ones. Ours are not red state or blue state problems. They are national and global. Half measures and small minded politics are inadequate to the present occasion. We can't muddle through the next four years, bickering among ourselves, and leave to others the work that is ours to do. Greatness is America's destiny, but no nation complacent in its greatness can long sustain it.

"We are fighting a war in two countries, and we're in a global struggle with violent extremists who despise us, our values and modernity itself. If we are to succeed, we must rethink and rebuild the structure and mission of our military; the capabilities of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies; the purposes of our alliances; the reach and scope of our diplomacy; the capacity of all branches of government to defend us. We need to marshal all elements of American power: our military, economy, investment, trade and technology. We need to strengthen our alliances and build support in other nations. We must preserve our moral credibility, and remember that our security and the global progress of our ideals are inextricably linked.
"We all know the war in Iraq has not gone well. We have made mistakes and we have paid grievously for them. We have changed the strategy that failed us, and we have begun to make a little progress. But in the many mistakes we have made in this war, a few lessons have become clear. America should never undertake a war unless we are prepared to do everything necessary to succeed, unless we have a realistic and comprehensive plan for success, and unless all relevant agencies of government are committed to that success. We did not meet this responsibility initially. And we must never repeat that mistake again.

"We must also prepare, far better than we have, to respond quickly and effectively to another terrorist attack or natural calamity. When Americans confront a catastrophe, natural or man-made, they have a right to expect basic competence from their government. They won't accept that firemen and policemen are unable to communicate with each other in an emergency because they don't have the same radio frequency. They won't accept government's failure to deliver bottled water to dehydrated babies or rescue the infirm from a hospital with no electricity. They won't accept substandard care and indifference for wounded veterans.

"That's not good enough for America. And when I'm President, it won't be good enough for me.

"Government spends more money today than ever before. Wasteful spending on things that are not the business of government indebts us to other nations; deprives you of the fruits of your labor; fuels inflation; raises interest rates; and encourages irresponsibility.

"That's not good enough for America. And when I'm President, it won't be good enough for me.

"No government program is the object of more political posturing than Social Security and Medicare. Here's the plain truth: there are too few workers supporting too many retirees, and if we don't make some tough choices today, Social Security and Medicare will go bankrupt or we'll have to raise taxes so drastically we'll crush the prosperity of average Americans. Too many politicians want to ignore the problem, and run for re-election by threatening anyone who wants to fix it.

"That's not good enough for America. And when I'm President, it won't be good enough for me.

"Our tax code is used to game the system for some at the expense of the many instead of encouraging the thrift, investment, innovation and industry of all Americans. It's complexity and waste costs Americans $140 billion in preparation and compliance costs each year.

"That's not good enough for America. And when I'm President, it won't be good enough for me.

"Our dependence on foreign sources of energy not only harms our environment and economy, it endangers our security. So much of the oil we import comes from countries in volatile regions of the world where our values aren't shared and our interests aren't a priority.

"That's not good enough for America. And when I'm President, it won't be good enough for me.

"We're not a country that prefers nostalgia to optimism. We're not a country that would rather go back than forward. We're the world's leader, and leaders don't pine for the past and dread the future. We make the future better than the past. Opening new markets to American goods and services is indispensable to our future prosperity. Lowering trade barriers creates more and better jobs; keeps inflation under control; keeps interest rates low; and makes more goods affordable to more Americans. We won't compete successfully by using old technology to produce old goods. We'll succeed by knowing what to produce and inventing new technologies to produce it.

"But open markets don't automatically translate into a better quality of life for every American. While most gain, some are forced to struggle with very difficult choices. Right now we have a half dozen programs to help displaced workers and another half dozen for people who aren't working at all. We have an unemployment insurance program that's right out of the 1950s, designed to assist workers through a few tough months during an economic downturn.

"That's not good enough for America. And when I'm President, it won't be good enough for me.

"These are some of the challenges that confront us. There are others just as urgent, and during this campaign I'll travel across the country offering my ideas about how we should address them and listening to the concerns and advice of Americans. The American people aren't interested in an election that offers platitudes instead of principles and insults instead of ideas; an election that results - no matter who wins - in four years of unkept promises and a divided government that is little more than a battleground for the next election. They're tired of the old politics. Americans are acutely aware of our problems, and their patience is at an end for politicians who value incumbency over principle, and for partisanship that is less a contest of ideas than an uncivil brawl over the spoils of power. I want my presidency to be an opportunity - an opportunity to fix what we all know needs to be fixed:

"To strengthen our military, intelligence, diplomacy, and law enforcement and use the power of American ideals and commerce to win the war against violent extremists, and help the majority of Muslims who believe in progress and peace to win the struggle for the soul of Islam;

"To balance the federal budget not with smoke and mirrors but by encouraging economic growth and preventing government from spending your money on things it shouldn't; to hold it accountable for the money it does spend on services that only government can provide in ways that don't fail and embarrass you;

"To save Social Security and Medicare on our watch without the tricks, band-aid solutions, lies and posturing that have failed us for too long while the problem became harder and harder to solve;

"To make our tax code simpler, fairer, flatter, more pro-growth and pro-jobs;

"To reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign sources of oil with an energy policy that encourages American industry and technology to make our country safer, cleaner and more prosperous by leading the world in the use, development and discovery of alternative sources of energy;

"To open new markets to American goods and services, create more and better jobs for the American worker and overhaul unemployment insurance and our redundant and outmoded programs for assisting workers who have lost a job that's not coming back to find a job that won't go away;

"To help Americans without health insurance acquire it without bankrupting the country, and ruining the quality of American health care that is the envy of the world;

"To make our public schools more accountable to parents and better able to meet the critical responsibility they have to prepare our children for the challenges they'll face in the world they'll lead.

"When I'm President I'll offer common sense, conservative and comprehensive solutions to these challenges. Congress will have other ideas, and I'll listen to them. I'll work with anyone who is serious and sincere about solving these problems. I expect us to argue over principle, but when a compromise consistent with our principles is within reach, I expect us to seize it. Americans expect us to disagree, but not just to win the next election. They want us to serve the same goal: to ensure that a country blessed with our matchless prosperity, ingenuity, and strength can meet any challenge we confront.

"I won't judge myself by how many elections I've won, but by how well I keep my promises to you. To keep those promises, I can't just win this election by a few votes in a few counties in a few states. I need a mandate from you big enough to convince Congress that Americans want this election to be different. You want to change the politics of selfishness, stalemate and delay; move this country forward and stake our claim on this century as we did in the last. Then I ask you for the opportunity to devote every day of my presidency to making this government work for you, and for a mandate big enough to get the job done.

"I'll challenge myself and each member of Congress to wake up each morning and ask ourselves: will we remember today as the finest day of our public life; the day we worked just for you, not for us? And I'll challenge the American people to reject phony soundbite solutions that have failed us in the past, and hold us accountable for the work you have given us.

"We face formidable challenges, but I'm not afraid of them. I'm prepared for them. I'm not the youngest candidate. But I am the most experienced. I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it should not do. I know how Congress works, and how to make it work for the country and not just the re-election of its members. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it. I know how to work with leaders who share our dreams of a freer, safer and more prosperous world, and how to stand up to those who don't. I know how to fight and how to make peace. I know who I am and what I want to do.

"I don't seek the office out of a sense of entitlement. I owe America more than she has ever owed me. Thirty-four years ago, I came home from an extended absence abroad. While I was away, I fell in love with my country. I learned that what's good for America, is good enough for me. I have been an imperfect servant of my country ever since, in uniform and in office, in war and peace. I have never lived a single day, in good times or in bad, that I haven't thanked God for the privilege. "You can't sell me on hopelessness. You can't convince me our problems are insurmountable. Our challenges are an opportunity to write another chapter of American greatness. We must seize it, and those of us privileged to lead America must remember the principles that made us great, have the faith to stand by them, the integrity to honor our public trust, and the courage to keep our promise to put the nation's interests before our own. Don't tell me what we can't do. Don't tell me we can't make our country stronger, and the world safer. We can. We must. And when I'm President we will.
"I'm not running for President to be somebody, but to do something; to do the hard but necessary things not the easy and needless things. I'm running for President to protect our country from harm and defeat its enemies. I'm running for President to make the government do its job, not your job; to do it with less and to do it better. I'm not running to leave our biggest problems to an unluckier generation of leaders, but to fix them now, and fix them well. I'm running for President to make sure America maintains its place as the political and economic leader of the world; the country that doesn't fear change, but makes change work for us; the country that doesn't long for the good old days, but aspires to even better days. I'm running for President of the United States; not yesterday's country; not a defeated country; not a bankrupt country; not a timid and frightened country; not a country fragmented into bickering interest groups with no sense of the national interest; not a country with a bloated, irresponsible and incompetent government. I'm running for President of the United States, a blessed country, a proud country, a hopeful country, the most powerful and prosperous country and the greatest force for good on earth. And when I'm President, I intend to keep it so."

War on terror by Tony Blackley

Watching (and participating in) the intense Iraq War and War on Terror debate both in the United States and in Europe -- and the politics that flows from it, a sense of futility is increasingly hard to resist. Our nation and Europe seem to have hardened in their divisions on those topics....

For those of us who support the great struggle against radical Islam, the world reality could not be plainer. The threat of radical Islam is not merely a few thousand terrorists using small explosives to kill a few dozen people at a time -- usually in the faraway Middle East. Rather, it is an historic recrudescence of a violent, conquering old tradition of Islam that almost overwhelmed the world from the Seventh Century until as recently as the 17th century. It is radicalizing the minds of increasing numbers of the world's 1.4 billion Muslims to be very aggressive culturally, as well as violent -- from Africa to Indonesia, to Cairo to Ankara, to Paris, to Rotterdam to London to Falls Church, Va.

To us, no fair and objective assessment of the state of radical Islam can deny these implications. One must not see the denouement of the Iraq War outside that context. To those who disagree with our view of reality, we are quite ready to impute anything from ignorance, to willful ignorance, to moral cowardice to treason. Those who disagree with us find our alarmism as noxious as we find their willful blindness to reality.

And so the debate stands. Every political decision -- from the Iraq war appropriation vote this week, to the Patriot Act, to the status of Guantanamo Prison, to NSA intercepts, to the presidential election -- is seen through our conceptual squint of the threat or non-threat from radical Islam.

Neither side seems remotely capable of persuading the other of the accuracy of our respective foresights.....

Thus, while others and I will continue to make our case in public, it seems probably inevitable that the correctness or incorrectness of our views will only become persuasive to the multitude when history teaches its cruel, unavoidable lessons. It was ever thus, which is why history is strewed with broken nations and civilizations that couldn't read the writing on the wall. Of course, it is also strewed with sad hulks of false predictors of doom.

(To read to rest of Mr Blackley's column click on the title for a link)

Bartko and Arena Project

Ron Bellamy in today's Eugene Register Guard has a good review of Jim Bartko and the basketball arena project. Where we have been and where we hope to go in getting it done. Needle to say there has been a lot of politics. It also states that a scale model of the proposed basketball arena will be taken out of mothballs and will go on display on the 2nd floor of the Casanova Center.To read the Bellamy column click on the title for a link.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Knights Templar

In a play on words Oregonian sports columnist John Canzano likened the gathering together of Phil Knight , Jim Bartko and Pat Kilkenny, to build a new basketball arena for the University of Oregon, to the return of the Knights Templar's to Eugene a little history lesson is in order.

The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Latin: Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici), popularly known as the Knights Templar or the Order of the Temple, were the first and among the most famous of the Christian military orders. The organisation, which existed for approximately two centuries in the Middle Ages, was created in the aftermath of the First Crusade of 1096 to ensure the safety of the large numbers of European pilgrims who flowed toward Jerusalem after its conquest.

Officially endorsed by the church in 1129, the Order became a favoured charity across Europe, and grew rapidly in membership and power. Templar knights, easily recognisable in their white mantle with a distinct red cross, made some of the best equipped, trained, and disciplined fighting units of the Crusades.[3] Non-warrior members of the Order managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, innovating many financial techniques that were an early form of banking,[4] and building numerous fortifications throughout Europe and the Holy Land.

The success of the Templars was tied closely to the success of the Crusades. When the Holy Land was lost and the Templars suffered crushing defeats, support for the Order's existence faltered. Rumours about the Templars' secret initiation ceremony caused mistrust, and King Philip IV of France, deeply in debt to the Order, began pressuring Pope Clement V to take action. Things came to a head on Friday, October 13, 1307, when King Philip caused many of the Order's members in France to be arrested, tortured into "confessions", and burned at the stake.[5] In 1312, Pope Clement, under further pressure from King Philip, forcibly disbanded the entire Order. The sudden disappearance of a major part of the European infrastructure gave rise to speculation and legends, which have kept the name "Templar" alive in modern fiction.

The above information is from the Internet encyclopedia wikipodia to read the rest of it's listing click on the title for a link.

Oregonian: " Bartko's Back"

The Oregonian has also now confirmed that Jim Bartko is coming back to the University of Oregon Athletic Department starting on May 14.

EUGENE -- University of Oregon Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny confirmed Tuesday that Jim Bartko has agreed to a position as senior associate athletic director, a hiring that could turn plans for a basketball arena into reality.

Bartko, who left Oregon less than a year ago for a similar position at the University of California, will be in charge of men's and women's golf and lacrosse and will assist in the fundraising efforts for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field. But his main focus will be securing the help of key contributors in efforts to build an arena to replace 80-year-old McArthur Court.

"He will certainly help provide a lot of energy to that relationship," Kilkenny said of Bartkos close ties with Nike and co-founder Phil Knight. "It's a significant advance over my relationship."

Bartko served as liaison between Knight and then-athletic director Bill Moos before leaving UO for Berkeley, Calif., in July 2006.

Bartko's starting date is May 14.

Oregon Athletic Director will also hire an additional fund raiser:

Kilkenny said there will be a job opening posted within a week for another fundraising position. He hopes to fill that spot by July.

(To read the rest of the Oregonian news story click on the title for a link)

Jim Bartko's Back... Jim Bartko's Back!!!! ( or " the Knights Templars are assembling in Eugene" )

In an update on their web site the Eugene Register Guard newspaper has confirmed, with Jim Bartko, that he is coming back to the University of Oregon.

"I think there are some great things that can be done and that I can be a small part of,” Bartko told The Register-Guard."

"In his role as senior associate AD, Bartko will be involved with the arena project, with planning for the 2008 Olympic Trials and with funding long-term sources of funding for the athletic department."

"More details in Wednesday’s Register-Guard."

An official announcement is expected as soon as Wednesday.

To quote Oregonian sports columnist John Canzano in today's Oregonian:

With Knight on board with the arena project, and booster/friend Kilkenny serving as athletic director, and Bartko seemingly headed back, it feels as if the Knights Templars are assembling in Eugene.

A Good day for the Ducks! Go Ducks!

(To read the update in the Register Guard click on the title above for a link)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Come Home Jim Bartko

For some time I have heard rumors that former University of Oregon Assistant AD is coming home to the Ducks. Oregonian sports columnist John Canzano is now reporting it on his blog.

Whisper from Eugene is that Jim Bartko will be hired as Senior Associate AD later this week in Eugene. I'm told, if it happens, he'll work under AD Pat Killkenny, who's aim is getting that arena built. Nobody will give official confirmation of this yet, but multiple sources tell me Bartko is a lock.

Remember, he left to help Cal fundraise as an associate AD there, and this ends up as an interesting potential hire for a couple of reasons... A) Bartko knows where the money is buried in Eugene; and B) He's likely the front runner for Killkenny's job when Mr. K leaves his post in two years.

Keep in mind, Bartko was the guy walking around charged with making sure Phil Knight was happy and taken care of all those years.

Jim is a good guy and this is great news. This is what I posted on this blog on February 21 of this year when Pat Kilkenny was hired as AD :"A good hire for Kilkenny would be to get Jim Bartko to come back from Cal in some capacity. I understand they are close." Jim will be a big help in getting the new basketball arena built. I am of the opinion that the beginning of the end for Bill Moos as Oregon AD was when he let Jim Bartko leave the Ducks for the University of California at Berkeley.Many fans saw that as the end of any chance of getting the basketball arena built as long as Moos was AD. Not soon thereafter Moos was given an almost 2 million dollar golden parachute to leave. To read the rest of Canzano's blog click on the title above for a link.

V J Day ( Victory over Japan Day)

For various reason I have always been interested in V J Day. Here is a recollection of what it was like on V J Day in Salt Lake City, Utah:

And it was a celebration.

GIs on leave and in uniform were the center of attention. Soldiers, sailors, marines and pretty girls. . .snake-danced up and down Main from South Temple to Broadway.

And in the early evening, as I watched from the second-floor windows, I could see the Salt Lake City Police Department paddy wagon, the ``Black Maria,'' used to cart drunks to jail, trying to drive across Main at 200 South, but finally slowed to a halt in front of the Owl Drug under the Walker Bank Building on the southeast corner.

The officer, doggedly trying to do his duty, had a wagon full of inebriates.

And as I watched, I could see him being surrounded by a score of partying celebrants, chanting for the officer to join them. Before he knew it, a couple of soldiers had pulled his keys from his belt and opened the door to the police wagon.

Once the passengers were repatriated, so to speak, the revelers tossed the officer's keys into a U.S. mailbox nearby, leaving the patrol wagon stranded and empty.

The whooping and hollering went on well into the next morning.

The war was over

Of course the picture of the sailor and the nurse was taken in New York City on V J Day over 61 years ago.( Click on the title above for a link to the full story of one man's recolection of V J day in Salt Lake City, Utah.)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lottery Winner!

"The greatest gift we can leave the generations to follow is to school them in the values and ideals that set America apart, and to instill in them not only a love of country, but also a fierce pride.

They should see the word "America" on their birth certificate and know they're holding the supreme winning lottery ticket."
Nolan Finley
(To read the rest of r Finley's column click on the title above for a link)

Hillary & Taxes

According to the Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation, 53.7 percent of all federal income taxes were paid by those with incomes over $200,000 in 2006.
Those with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000 paid 28.3 percent of all individual income taxes.
Consequently, those with incomes over $100,000 paid 82 percent of the total; they also paid 44.4 percent of all payroll taxes.
For tax year 2004, the top 25 percent of earners paid 84.86 percent of the total taxes.

Hillary Clinton, April 21, during her campaign stop in Iowa.... said she would raise taxes for the wealthy, who she said "aren't paying their fair share."

"We need to get back to fiscal responsibility," she said.

Yes, the old "Class Warfare" argument... the Democrats love to go after the "rich". As Reagan used to say:
We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion that the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one!

(For a link to the statistics on taxes outlined above click on the title above)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Movie Review: The Hoax

This afternoon my wife and I went to Tinseltown to see "The Hoax". It's an excellent movie based on the controversial true story. Clifford Irving (Richard Gere) was a failed writer in the 1970s who couldn't sell a book to save his life. That is, until he claimed reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes dictated his life to him, which was, of course, a flat-out lie. As The Autobiography of Howard Hughes got published and became an instant hit, Irving had to continue to spin an increasingly convoluted web of lies to prove his book was authentic. I followed the story in the early 1970's while a student at the University of Oregon. The movie has as a back drop Watergate and the Vietnam war. The movie has a good feel for the times and is a very fascinating story that really happened. I enjoyed the New York publishing business's aspect of the movie. I give it *****. After the movie I ask my wife why the movie had not received more hype since I thought it was "Best Picture" material and she said the movie had limited appeal to mostly "Older folks" like me. I did notice that the audience at our showing was made up almost exclusively of people in their 50's & 60"s who were alive in the early 1970's. Go see it you will like it! To read more about the movie click on the title for a link to the IMDB page for the movie.

"Roaming Ambassador to the World"

Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday that if she is elected president, she would make her husband a roaming ambassador to the world.
Anything to get him away from the house .... the White House.... yes, Hillary we understand.

History Provides a Lesson on the Present!

To protect our children's privacy and to not link them to their opinionated dad I don't mention them much on this blog. However, I received special permission for this post.
Our son is a graduate student working in the Midwest as a teaching/research assistant for the History department of a university. He is pursuing his goal of becoming a college history professor. His major area of interest is Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation of slavery by Lincoln. This last weekend he flew home to Oregon to speak at the convention of the Oregon College Republicans being held at Sun River near Bend. He was asked to give the preliminary introduction to a speech by Don Malarkey one of the real "Band of Brothers" portrayed in the HBO mini series about World War II of the same name. His Introduction was as follows:

Greetings my fellow College Republicans,

Many of you might remember me as the former Chairman of the Willamette College Republicans. Currently I’m in my first year working towards a graduate degree, hoping to eventually become a professor in history. Even though my area of focus is in the past, I can’t help but be an active observer of today. Yet with my understanding of today, I’m also an observer of the past.

Let me begin by describing the opposition faced by a past wartime president.

Coming into office he was criticized for not having any foreign policy experience.

The eastern establishment despised his plain spokeness, colloquial manner, and backwoods accent.

His intelligence was mocked, described as a ‘first rate second rate.’

Opponents referred to him as a primate, calling him the ‘original orangutan.’

He was described as a fanatic, blood thirsty and despotic.

He was described as a tyrant running roughshod over civil liberties, trampling constitutional protections in his conduct of an illegal war.

His political opponents resented the fact that in his political speeches the President invoked his own faith in a supreme creator of the Universe.

During the war, the original self-interest justification for the war was modified so that the new aims were to set other men free; a move irksome to more than a few.

Political cartoons showed the President with his foot on the Constitution being consulted by the devil.

Also during the war, the president wrote a consoling letter to a bereaved mother of the conflict. The mother, opposed to the President and his cause, in tern spoke out against the President.

During the President’s reelection campaign, in the middle of the war, a former member of the army ran against the president, nominated by a party advocating a cut and run platform.

The opposition the President faced was not just from the opposing party. He received criticism from within his own party, as they criticized him for not supporting the party ideology rigidly enough.

With exception to a small loyal base of the population who maintained their faith in the President, observers on all sides of the political spectrum expressed their disillusion and lack of faith in the president.

Indeed, the first part of his last year in office was his darkest, his popularity (while not scientifically calculated like today) was at its lowest. His prospect for reelection was heavily doubtful. Yet Union victories changed all that. We in America like a winner. Sherman’s capture of Atlanta, and eventual destruction of the Confederacy turned public opinion around on the President.

His assassination both shocked and silenced his critics. His legacy now belongs to the ages. His accomplishments in protecting the United States and spreading human freedom enshrine him in the hearts of nearly all Americans. His likeness is printed on our currency, adorns monuments around the Capital, and etched on our mountains.

I am of course talking about Abraham Lincoln. Yet in a general sense, my description of the opposition to Lincoln is exactly the same as those of our current president.

Of course, it’s not my intention here to place President Bush on the same pedestal as Lincoln. It would be a cruel exercise for anyone to be measured up with him. However, it must be known the criticisms and unpopularity directed towards President Bush today are not new. Our greatest President faced these same kinds of criticisms during his war time experience.

Yet, let me make one last comparison with the Civil War and the war on terrorism, and that is the change in nature of the war. The original justification for the war in Iraq was of course the acquisition by Saddam Hussein of WMDs. These justifications were of course made in good faith. Yet in retrospect the questions over the actual existence of new WMD’s, a judgment originally of consensus by all sides of the political spectrum, remain an open question.

However, the war in Iraq was not just about WMD’s. It was also about removing an unstable dictator of the region, and changing its nature. The war on Terrorism is not merely a punitive action toward the perpetrators of 9/11, if indeed it is about that at all, rather it is about attacking the root cause of terrorism—the Middle East’s culture of despotism. By removing an unstable dictator and sewing the seeds of liberalized democracy, we can put greater pressure on the region for change. By effecting this change not only do we restore the natural rights of people abroad, but in ensuring for them a politically satisfying life, we remove the passions and depravity which has allowed sinister leaders to turn their followers against the West. Thus, freedom for the Iraqis and beyond is not mere altruism, but within our own self interest.

In a certain sense, this is much like the reasoning for the Civil War’s turn in aims. In order to save the Union and preserve the liberties established by the American founding, Lincoln found it necessary to expand freedom to the enslaved as a wartime necessity.

In his message to Congress on December 1862 Lincoln writes:

“We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we know how to save it. We—even we here—hold the power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free—honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”

Of course, one of our speakers to follow knows all to well the need to expand freedom abroad, to protect our own homeland. Don Malarkey fought against the fascist Nazi regime in Europe, bringing freedom to the Western half of Germany—the American and British occupied half, and stabilized the western half of Europe. Of course I will let Vance (Vance Day Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party) give you the full introduction for this real life member of the “Band of Brothers"

Needles to say his mother and I are very proud of him.

Oregon Duck Football Tickets

This week I ordered my 2007 Oregon Duck Football tickets for section 13. We have had two season tickets for the University of Oregon Ducks for the last 17 years. They have 7 home games this year including U$C and the Oregon State Beavers for the Civil War game. They open against Houston in Eugene on Saturday September 1st.(Labor Day Weekend) The Spring game will be next Saturday April 28th. Go Ducks!

William Kristol: I stand with John McCain

McCain v. Reid
Friday, Apr. 20, 2007 By WILLIAM KRISTOL

"We, who are willing to support this new strategy, and give General Petraeus the time and support he needs, have chosen a hard road. But it is the right road. It is necessary and just. Democrats, who deny our soldiers the means to prevent an American defeat, have chosen another road. It may appear to be the easier course of action, but it is a much more reckless one, and it does them no credit even if it gives them an advantage in the next election. This is an historic choice, with ramifications for Americans not even born yet. Let's put aside for a moment the small politics of the day. The judgment of history should be the approval we seek, not the temporary favor of the latest public opinion poll." Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), speaking at the Virginia Military Institute, April 11, 2007

"We're going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war. Senator Schumer has shown me numbers that are compelling and astounding." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), speaking to reporters, April 12, 2007

"This war is lost." Reid, April 19, 2007

Usually, politics is a murky business — gray upon gray, one set of mixed motives jostling with another. But sometimes there is a time for choosing — between courage and cynicism, between honor and disgrace.

John McCain's speech to the cadets of the Virginia Military Institute is the best single analysis by any political figure of where we stand in the war in Iraq. It is a serious and sober attempt to persuade the American people that the war is winnable, that we should give Gen. Petraeus a chance to win it, and that accepting defeat would be both ignoble and disastrous to American interests. With this morally and intellectually impressive speech, John McCain took leadership of the fight for victory in Iraq.

McCain was hard on the opponents of the war here at home. He didn't just describe troop withdrawal proposals as unwise. He derided "the fanciful and self-interested debates about Iraq that substitute for statesmanship in Washington." And he suggested that the Democrats had decided "to take advantage of the public's frustration, accept defeat," and hope that "the politics of defeat" would benefit them.

McCain continued: "In Washington, where political calculation seems to trump all other considerations, Democrats in Congress and their leading candidates for President, heedless of the terrible consequences of our failure, unanimously confirmed our new commander, and then insisted he be prevented from taking the action he believes necessary to safeguard our country's interests....I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering."

Tough words — especially because, here in America, much of the mainstream media was also cheering. McCain, a onetime media favorite when he last ran for president, was effectively forswearing the possibility of regaining their favor.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media paid little attention to Harry Reid's comments quoted above. Republican criticisms of them were treated as the normal tit-for-tat of partisan politics. Reid's cynicism wasn't thought noteworthy, and his defeatism wasn't thought extraordinary. Apparently, cynicism in the service of the defeat of Republicans is no vice. Undercutting the efforts of American troops you have voted to send to fight in a war is a virtue.

Earlier this month, the "surge" was beginning visibly to work. Al Qaeda fought back, with massive slaughter of civilians, whose purpose was in part to undercut support for the war against al Qaeda on the home front. Harry Reid followed script.

Now we are at a moment of truth. There is McCain's way, a way of difficulty and honor. There is Reid's way, a way of political expediency and dishonor. McCain may lose the political battle at home, and the U.S. may ultimately lose in Iraq. But some of us will always be proud, at this moment of choice, to have stood with McCain, and our soldiers, and our country.

Friday, April 20, 2007

History Repeats Itself

Latter-Day Copperhead

"I believe . . . that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week."--Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, April 19, 2007

"Resolved, that this convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretence of military necessity, or war power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ultimate convention of the States or other peaceable means, to the end that at the earliest practicable moment peace may be restored on the basis of the federal Union of the States."--1864 Democratic platform

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Top 15 Movies Directed by John Ford

The following are my favorite movies Directed by the "Old Master" John Ford. I have listed them in the order in which they were made.

1. Stagecoach (1939) Movie that made John Wayne a star.

2. Young Mr Lincoln (1939) Henry Fonda as Lincoln as a young lawyer in Illinois

3. Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) Henry Fonda again. The Revolutionary War on the frontier

4. The Grapes of Wrath (1940) The American depression. Henry Fonda (Awarded the Academy Award for Best Director)

5. How Green Was My Valley (1941) A Welsh coal mining village.He patterned the family after his Irish family (Awarded the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture)

6. The Battle of Midway (1942) Documentary about the World War II battle. Ford was in the navy and was there and filmed the battle as it happened. Later in life he wore a patch over one eye due to injuries he suffered during the battle that turned the tide of the war in the Pacific.(Awarded an Academy Award for Best Documentary)

7. They Were Expendable (1945) With John Wayne. A bitter sweet story about the use of PT boats in the hopeless defense of the Philippines in the early days of World War II. Ford drew on his own war time experiences. My favorite Ford movie. I can and do watch it over and over. Donna Reed is wonderful as a Navy nurse who is left to be captured by the Japanese at Corregidor.No whiners in this movie just stoic courage and loyalty.

8. My Darling Clementine(1946) Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp at the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Filmed in Monument Valley

9. Fort Apache (1948) Wayne and Fonda. The first of the Calvary Trilogy

10. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon(1949) My favorite John Wayne movie about the U.S Cavalry

11. Rio Grande(1950) Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in the last of the Calvary Trilogy. Ford drew upon his feelings of loyalty, comradeship and sacrifice he had learned in World War II. The Calvary was a true "Band of Brothers".

12. The Quiet Man (1952) Wayne and O'Hara in the movie Ford always wanted to make about his family's home in Ireland. Ford was in love with O'Hara and used Wayne as a stand in.(Awarded Academy Award for Best Director)

13. The Searchers (1956) Wayne in one of his best roles.Filmed in Monument Valley and it has never looked better. I love this movie.

14. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne in a western about fact and legend. When legend becomes fact print the legend.

15. How the West Was Won (1962) Ford directed the Civil War segment.

Ford also won a 4th Academy Award for the Informer in 1935

For more on John Ford click on the title for a link to his Wikipedia page. As long as people love film John Ford will be honored and remembered. An American original!

Democratic Leader: War in Iraq "Is Lost"

While American troops are in battle against the enemy the Democratic Majority Leader in the United States Senate, Harry Reid said:

The war in Iraq "is lost" and a US troop surge is failing to bring peace to the country,

The same party that brought us defeat in Vietnam (see picture above) now wants to bring defeat to the United States in Iraq and all the middle east.

As John McCain said last week at VMI:
Before I left for Iraq, I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering. A defeat for the United States is a cause for mourning not celebrating. And determining how the United States can avert such a disaster should encourage the most sober, public-spirited reasoning among our elected leaders not the giddy anticipation of the next election. Democrats who voted to authorize this war, and criticized the failed strategy that has led us to this perilous moment, have the same responsibility I do, to offer support when that failure is recognized and the right strategy is proposed and the right commanders take the field to implement it or, at the least, to offer an alternative strategy that has some relationship to reality.

I will give Senator Reid the benefit of the doubt as to his sincerity. However the enemies of freedom and the terrorist of the world are happy to see the white flag of surrender by the Democrats in Congress.

(Picture above is the evacuation from the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam after the Democrats in Congress brought defeat in that war by cutting off the funds to the South Vietnamese and would not even allow the United States to provide them with air support. Will history repeat itself?)

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” — “The Crisis”, Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Heroes in Hell's Midst" by Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher has a column about the murder of 32 students at Virginia Tech. She talks about the heroes of that day and ends the column:

Why do they kill? Who cares? The explanation varies in the details, but the basic script is the same: They are men who choose murder to combat humiliation, to reign for a few ghastly moments in hell, rather than to serve in heaven.

How do some facing hell find the courage to act to stop it? That's what I want to know

(To read the rest click on the title for a link)

The Evil Men Do

Helle Dale in an Op-Ed column in today's Washington Times makes a good point at the conclusion of the column:

Does blame attach itself to the actions of the university leadership? The decisions that were taken do indeed seem incomprehensible in the light of what followed. Further investigation is certainly warranted of those actions. This is a tragedy for the entire university community.
In terms of American foreign policy and Iraq, blame invariably attaches itself to the White House and the president whenever violence takes place. As the going has gotten tough in Iraq and sectarian violence escalated, the United States has tended to get blamed, rather than the perpetrators of the violence itself. As the nation grieves so many young lives being lost, it crucial that we recall who the real culprits are, those for whom fellow human lives mean absolutely nothing as they take their anger out on the world.

(To read the rest of the column click on the title above for a link)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Bittersweet

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal has an Internet column today in which he tells of the heroism of a professor at Virgina Tech who sacrificed himself when a nut case killed 32 people. He Quotes from the Jerusalem Post:

Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, threw himself in front of the shooter when the [murderer] attempted to enter his classroom. The Israeli mechanics and engineering lecturer was shot to death, "but all the students lived--because of him," Virginia Tech student Asael Arad--also an Israeli--told Army Radio.

Several of Librescu's other students sent e-mails to his wife, Marlena, telling of how he had blocked the gunman's way and saved their lives, said Librescu's son, Joe.

"My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," Joe Librescu said in a telephone interview from his home outside of Tel Aviv. "Students started opening windows and jumping out."

Taranto points out that Librescu was a Holocaust survivor who escaped communist Romania for Israel in 1978 and moved to Virginia in 1986. By coincidence, he was murdered on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Monday, April 16, 2007

33 dead at Virginia Tech

One man murders 32 people in cold blood! On days like this I sure hope there is a Hell where killers like this will burn forever! No one is at fault and no one should be blamed other than that piece of scum! There is evil in this world and we should not forget it.

Profiles in Courage vs. Profiles in Defeatism

Newt Gingrich the former Speaker of the House is not too secretly thinking of running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. This is what he had to say about one of his potential opponents, John McCain.

By Newt Gingrich:

There's been a lot of talk lately about what's wrong and small and corrupting about our culture. It's the talk of a culture of defeatism. Today I want to talk about some of the people who are getting things right -- often in the face of extreme pressure to do otherwise.

What do I mean by a culture of defeatism? I mean the growing tendency among some to put politics ahead of principle, to put narrow self-interest ahead of the national interest, to play on the understandable frustrations we're all feeling about the war in Iraq for partisan advantage.

And I'm going to start by doing something that may surprise the mainstream media: Offering high praise for a man I consider a patriot.

The Courage of McCain vs. the Defeatism of Edwards and Obama

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and I disagree about some things, not the least of which is the so-called campaign finance reform law that bears his name. But Sen. McCain's speech last week at the Virginia Military Institute was a profile in courage, not just for its defense of the current war in Iraq, but for putting this war into the context of what he called "a broader struggle in the Arab and Muslim world, the struggle between violent extremists and the forces of modernity and moderation."

Many of Sen. McCain's former friends in the elite media make no secret of their belief that his support for the war is dooming his presidential bid. The smart politics, they seem to be saying, is to end his support for America in Iraq. But instead of doing the short-sighted political thing, Sen. McCain devoted part of his remarkable speech to calling out those who have abandoned our national security interests for political expediency. But they are not simply making a calculated political risk, they are gambling with the lives of our men and women in Iraq: Those who, in the senator's words, "accept defeat but not the responsibility for its consequences."

Here's just part of what he said:

"Before I left for Iraq, I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering."

When Democratic Defeatism Becomes Self-Fulfilling

For his courageous remarks, Sen. McCain was attacked by some Democrats as being "overly optimistic." But is the danger for America today in excessive optimism about progress in Iraq or excessive pessimism about our chances for victory there?

In fact, the senior military commanders I talk to confirm that the threats coming from Washington to withdraw support for the troops are having a negative effect on the morale of our troops in the field. And why shouldn't they? Why should our men and women in uniform be asked to risk their lives to win a war that some politicians in Washington are trying to find a clever way to lose?

In fact, the cynicism and defeatism of Washington is no longer an inside-the-Beltway political abstraction. It's directly undermining our chances of victory in Iraq and in the wider War on Terror.

The Better Model: Lincoln and the Mexican War

There is a much better model for those who oppose the war in Iraq but who are determined not to let their opposition harm our troops in the field and our chances for victory.

When Abraham Lincoln was a young congressman in 1848, he was a harsh critic of the Mexican War (although, it is important to note, Lincoln was not vocal in his criticism of the war until most of the fighting had ended).

But Lincoln drew a bright line between his opposition to the origins of the war and his support for the troops once the war had begun. He consistently voted to give the troops the support they needed. And when Democrats attacked him for opposing the war and opposing Democratic President James Polk's rationale for it, this was his reply:

"The distinction between the cause of the President in beginning the war, and the cause of the country after it was begun, is a distinction which you [Democrats] cannot perceive."

Too many on the left today have the same problem: They can't distinguish between their claims of opposition to the origins of the war (and for some, the seemingly pathological desire to oppose President Bush), and the ongoing need to support our troops in middle of battle. For the good of the country and our troops in Iraq, opponents of the war should follow the lead of Abraham Lincoln.

The Courage of the Iraqi Parliament vs. the Death Cult of al Qaeda in IraqThe final profile in courage I want to talk about today is the Iraqi Parliament. It held an unprecedented meeting on Friday -- the Muslim day of prayer -- in a show of defiance against terrorists.

The day before, a suicide bomber from al Qaeda in Iraq had detonated himself in the Parliament dining hall. One lawmaker was killed and dozens were injured. The Parliament speaker said the extraordinary Friday session was meant to send "a clear message to all the terrorists and all those who dare try to stop this [political] process that we will sacrifice in order for it to continue."

Contrast the Iraqi speaker's words with those of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

'We're Going to Pick up Senate Seats as a Result of This War'

Speaking the same day that the Iraqi Parliament met in courageous defiance of terrorists who are trying to strangle their democracy in its cradle, Democratic Sen. Reid held a news conference to excitedly tell reporters how his party is benefiting politically from the violence in Iraq.

Citing what he called "compelling and astounding" polling data, this was Sen. Reid's distasteful prediction:

"We're going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war."

That's right. "We're going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war."

This is not a sentiment -- and these are not words -- worthy of the leadership of a great nation. While lawmakers in Iraq risk their lives to defend a freely elected government from terrorist threats -- while American young men and women fight and die to help a nation rise in the Arab world that can govern, sustain, and defend itself -- American lawmakers play politics. They literally play politics with these lives. And in doing so, they demean the cause for which our armed forces and the armed forces of our allies (including free Iraqis) are sacrificing.

We can do better than this. America is not about defeatism and cynicism. Abraham Lincoln knew this in 1848. John McCain knows it today. American profiles in courage are not commonplace by any means. But they define our nation in a way that profiles in defeatism never have and, God willing, never will.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bill Buckley

In view of the news about the death of Bill Buckley's wife Pat (see post below) I thought I would re post an article I wrote here in 2005 when Bill Buckley turned 80.

Monday, November 7, 2005: William F Buckley Jr Turns 80 this Month

Boy does that make me feel old. When I was a teenager he was my hero. Most boys may age idolized Mickey Mantel or Johnny Unitas or John Kennedy, but John Wayne and Bill Buckley were my hero's. I still have a large poster of Bill hanging in our family room(it's still there) , my wife won't let me hang it in the living room. I bought it in Berkeley California, of all places, on a spring vacation trip while I was a college student at Oregon in 1969. Back in those days Buckley's show on PBS, Firing Line, was one of the few conservative shows broadcast. I still remember when he ran for Mayor of New York and debated John Lindsey. Buckley pretended to be bored or sleeping while Lindsey was speaking. My mom thought he was rude but I though he was cool. Back then he was the conservative "young rebel." We YAF ers (Young Americans for Freedom) all wanted to be like him.In those days the conservative movement was fun... it's hard to explain how much fun we had as young conservatives in the early 60's before Kennedy was shot and Vietnam was lost. In the days before talk radio, Fox News, and the Internet we always had National Review and Bill was our leader.. Happy Birthday Bill..... How far we have come . Thanks!

Pat Buckley RIP

Patricia Buckley the wife of William F Buckley and the "Den Mother" of the conservative movement died today. She died of septic poisoning following a vascular operation on her left leg.

Pat had been married to WFB since July 1950 and is mother of the acclaimed writer Christopher Buckley.

She's been a core part of the National Review family — hosting editorial dinners in her home, among many other intrusions — since its conception and her loss will be felt by many. Young Americans For Freedom was founded at their home in Sharron Connecticut.

Condolences to Bill and Christopher and the entire Buckley family.

Michael Barone: Of Victims and Virtues

April 16, 2007
Of Victims and Virtues
By Michael Barone

"We believe these three individuals are innocent."

The words, soberly spoken by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, bring to an end the unjust prosecution of the three former Duke lacrosse players.

"We have no credible evidence that an attack occurred."

The motives of the "overreaching" prosecutor, as Cooper called him, are obvious: Prosecuting three white men on charges brought by a black accuser helped him win black votes he needed in an election. The motives of those who rushed to believe the charges -- and continued to believe them 366 days after DNA testing implicated none of the players -- are something else.

The "Group of 88" Duke professors, journalists for The New York Times and the Durham Herald-Sun, and heads of black and feminist organizations all seemed to have a powerful emotional need to believe. A need to believe that those they classify as victims must be virtuous and those they classify as oppressors must be villains. A need to believe that this is the way the world usually works.

Except it doesn't. Cases that fit this template don't come along very often. In this country, black-on-white crime is far more common than white-on-black crime (black-on-black crime is far more common still). You won't see the characters exercised by the Duke case looking at the recent case of three University of Minnesota players accused (whether justly or not) of rape -- they happen to be black.

This need to believe that the victim class is always virtuous and the oppressor class is guilty is widespread, and perhaps growing, in this country and abroad. It is particularly strong among those lucky enough to get paid to observe the way most people work and live -- academics, journalists, apparatchiks of advocacy organizations.
We can see the impulse in the rejection by the Public Broadcasting System of a film about moderate Muslims confronting Islamists. PBS says the film isn't ready yet and was tainted by the presence of two conservatives -- imagine! -- on its board of advisers. But lurking behind PBS's decision, I suspect, is a distaste for Muslims who embrace the values of Western oppressors along with sympathy, or something like it, for the Islamist victims.

Or consider two events in Britain. First, the Ministry of Defense's decision, since rescinded, to allow the sailors and marines who groveled before their Iranian captors to sell their stories to the press. After all, they are victimspeople placed in the line of fire in what many consider an unjustified war.

At just about the same time, another pillar of the establishment, the BBC, canceled a documentary on Pvt. Johnson Beharry, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroism in Iraq. The story, a BBC source said, was "too positive." Or it would antagonize Muslims or war opponents. Beharry, you see, although a West Indian by origin, has joined the oppressor class by serving heroically.

Meanwhile, far from Britain, in Littleton, Colo., some citizens are trying to prevent the erecting of a statue honoring Navy SEAL Danny Dietz, a local son who died while serving heroically in Afghanistan. It sends the wrong message, these worthies argue, to honor someone wielding a gun in a community that suffered a massacre in its high school in 1999. That's an argument that only makes sense if you suppose that Dietz was in the oppressor class, no more morally worthy than the maniacs who murdered their fellow students and teachers.

This urge to see the victim class as virtuous and the oppressor class as villainous leads people in countries like the United States and Britain to sympathize more with our enemies than our defenders. This is not new.

"England is, I believe, the only country in which, during a great war, eminent men write and speak publicly as if they belonged to the enemy," said Lord Salisbury a century ago. Now you can add America to the list."Before I left for Iraq," John McCain said in a speech last week at the Virginia Military Institute, "I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering."

McCain just doesn't get it. Our enemies are virtuous victims. We are the evil oppressors. Just like those Duke lacrosse players.

Goodby G I Joe's

The G I Joe's sporting goods store chain, here in Oregon, has been bought out by a large corporation and they are changing the store names to just plain "Joe's". I feel a touch of sadness for two reason. First, G I Joe's was an Oregon based chain and there are getting to be fewer and fewer. Fred Meyer and Meier & Frank two other Oregon based chain stores have also been bought out in recent years by out of state conglomerates. They even chanced the name of Meier & Frank to Macy's. There was something uniquely Oregon about these stores. Second, changing the name of G.I. Joe's is a brake from its roots as an Army/Navy surplus store. After World War II stores sprung up all over America selling old Army/Navy surplus. Just about ever town had one. As a kid growing up in the 1950's I loved to go into these stores . They had "neat stuff" like canteens, backpacks, leggings, and ammo boxes. Merchandise was piled high and the places smelled of canvas.For me they were as much fun as toy stores. We liked to played "army" and we could get all our stuff there so we could be just like Audie Murphy.I just watched a documentary about "Saving Private Ryan" and Steven Spielberg made his first films as a kid filming his friends playing "army" with a home movie camera he got from his dad. G. I Joe's started out as an Army/Navy surplus store . I remember as a kid growing up in Coos Bay/North Bend saving up my money so I could buy a yellow two man raft at G I Joe's to sail on the Coos River.Back then the store was only in Portland and I can remember blowing up the boat by mouth at the motel I was staying at with my parents. They had gone out and I was watching Ron Tomkin (the Portland car dealer)hosting a movie on TV called "Godzilla". He always had good looking models helping him! In any case I loved those Army/Navy surplus stores. One by one they closed down in the 1960's as World War II surplus ran out. G I Joe's didn't close but evolved into a great sporting goods store. However, every time I went into G. I Joe's I remembered those stores and the times. My guess is the new owners for "PC" reasons wanted to change the name so liberals would shop there. Next thing they will be removing the gun sales! Good by G. I Joe's.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Someone else had my same dream!

The Post-west
A civilization that has become just a dream.

by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

I recently had a dream that British marines fought back, like their forefathers of old, against criminals and pirates. When taken captive, they proved defiant in their silence. When released, they talked to the tabloids with restraint and dignity, and accepted no recompense.

I dreamed that a kindred German government, which best knew the wages of appeasement, cut-off all trade credits to the outlaw Iranian mullahs — even as the European Union joined the Americans in refusing commerce with this Holocaust-denying, anti-Semitic, and thuggish regime.

NATO countries would then warn Iran that their next unprovoked attack on a vessel of a member nation would incite the entire alliance against them in a response that truly would be of a “disproportionate” nature.........

(To read the rest of Mr Hanson's dream click on the title above for a link)

Too bad the nightmare is when you wake up! The West has lost it's will to stand for anything but the continuance of the "good times".

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Oregon Ducks New Basketball Arena

John Canzano, a columnist for the Portland Oregonian in today's column about the renewal of Ernie Kent's contract as basketball coach had this to say on the basketball arena to replace Mac Court:

Certainly, the release wasn't for arena donors, because if you'd been staking out the airport, you'd know that project is apparently off the ground again -- as the Kansas City-based design firm was in Eugene last week and flew back again early this week.

Go Ducks.... make it happen!

"McCain's Churchillian address"

From the Washington Times:TODAY'S EDITORIAL
April 12, 2007

In Washington, nothing comes easier to some political pundits than mindless cynicism. But some politicians advocate certain policies because they believe them to be the right thing for the country, even if they don't play tremendously well with the focus groups. In his address yesterday to cadets at the Virginia Military Institute, Sen. John McCain demonstrated that kind of genuine statesmanship -- a willingness to tell unpleasant truths regardless of the political consequences.
In many ways, Mr. McCain delivered the speech on the war that President Bush should have given months ago, challenging congressional Democrats to do the right thing and approve adequate funding for the war effort without imposing conditions that will likely result in an American defeat. "Responsible political leaders, statesmen, do not add to the burden our troops carry. That is what Democrats, intentionally or not, have done by failing to provide them with the resources necessary to succeed in their mission," Mr. McCain said. "Every day that passes without the necessary funds appropriated to sustain our troops, our chances of success in Iraq dwindle and our military readiness declines further."
Mr. McCain also said: "What struck me upon my [recent] return from Baghdad is the enormous gulf between the harsh but hopeful realities in Iraq, where politics is for many a matter of life and death, and the fanciful and self-interested debates about Iraq that substitute ... for statesmanship in Washington. In Iraq, American and Iraqi soldiers risk everything to hold the country together, to prevent it from becoming a terrorist sanctuary and the region from descending into the dangerous chaos of a widening war."
The senator watched with regret last month when the House "voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission" in Iraq. He noted that "Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender?" Politicians of both parties have the responsibility to offer support "when the right strategy is proposed and the right commanders take the field to implement it, or at the least to offer an alternative strategy that has some relationship to reality." But instead of working with Mr. Bush to develop a winning strategy, the Democrats insist on debating whether Iraq is a "sideshow" or part of the "real war on terror," Mr. McCain said. But "whether or not al Qaeda terrorists were a present danger in Iraq before the war, there is no disputing they are there now and their leaders recognize Iraq as the main battleground in the war on terror."
Any voters who think that preventing defeat in Iraq should be a central concern should give Mr. McCain's brave, defiant and wise VMI speech a careful reading.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

John McCain's Speech at VMI...... "a voice in the wilderness "

April 11, 2007

By Senator John McCain

"Thank you. I know that seated in the front of this hall are VMI cadets who have served in Iraq. I am grateful for your service, honored by your presence, and mindful that I speak to an audience that can discern truth from falsehood in a politician's appraisal of the war. You know, better than most, whether our cause is just, necessary and winnable. You have risked much to make it so. Thank you. I'd also like to salute a few old comrades of mine, Orson Swindle, Jim Berger and Paul Galanti, whose example of steadfast courage helped to sustain me in a difficult time.

"This institution is steeped in the ideals of service and sacrifice exemplified by the veterans here today. VMI has helped to form the character of many fine patriots, none greater than George Marshall, whose long, selfless service to our country was of inestimable value in some of the most consequential moments of the last century. As we celebrate this year the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan, VMI's Corps of Cadets should take renewed pride from their association with his good name and in knowing the lesson of his character and patriotism has been a part of your education.

"I just returned from my fifth visit to Iraq. Unlike the veterans here today, I risked nothing more threatening than a hostile press corps. And my only mission was to inform my opinions with facts. We still face many difficult challenges in Iraq. That is undeniable. But we have also made, in recent weeks, measurable progress in establishing security in Baghdad and fighting al Qaeda in Anbar province. To deny the difficulties and uncertainties ahead is an egregious disservice to the public. But as General Petraeus implements his plan to correct the flawed strategy we followed in the past, and attempts to spare the United States and the world the catastrophe of an American defeat, it is an equal disservice to dismiss early signs of progress. And now we confront a choice as historically important as any we have faced in a long while. Will this nation's elected leaders make the politically hard but strategically vital decision to give General Petraeus our full support and do what is necessary to succeed in Iraq? Or will we decide to take advantage of the public's frustration, accept defeat, and hope that whatever the cost to our security the politics of defeat will work out better for us than our opponents? For my part, I would rather lose a campaign than a war.
"However it ends, the war in Iraq will have a profound influence on the future of the Middle East, global stability, and the security of the United States, which will remain, for the foreseeable future, directly affected by events in that dangerous part of the world. The war is part of a broader struggle in the Arab and Muslim world, the struggle between violent extremists and the forces of modernity and moderation.

"In the early days after 9/11, our country was united in a single purpose: to find the terrorists bent on our destruction and eliminate the threat they posed to us. In the intervening years, we have learned the complexity of the struggle against radical Islamic ideology. The extremists - a tiny percentage of the hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims - are flexible, intelligent, determined and unconstrained by international borders. They wish to return the world to the 7th century, and they will use any means, no matter how inhumane, to eliminate anyone who stands in the way. But the vast majority of Muslims are trying to modernize their societies to meet the challenges of the 21st century. While al Qaeda seeks to destroy, millions of Muslims attempt to build the same elements of a good life that all of us want - security, opportunity, peace, and hope.

"The war on terror, the war for the future of the Middle East, and the struggle for the soul of Islam - of which the war in Iraq constitutes a key element - are bound together. Progress in one requires progress in all. The many complex challenges we face require more than a military response. This is a contest of ideas and values as much as it is one of bullets and bombs. We must gain the active support of modernizers across the Muslim world, who want to share in the benefits of the global system and its economic success, and who aspire to the political freedom that is, I truly believe, the natural desire of the human heart. No matter how much attention their ruthless tactics receive, terrorists are not the true face of Islam. Devout Muslims in Lebanon, Indonesia, Pakistan and Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, and in Iraq, aspire to progress for their societies in which basic human needs are met for more than the privileged few and basic human rights are respected.

"The United States needs stronger alliances, coalitions, and partnerships worldwide to engage this long and multidimensional struggle. We need to pay careful attention to America's image and moral credibility. And in this broad effort, the outcome of the war in Iraq will play a pivotal role.

"On my trip, I traveled to Baghdad, Ramadi, and Tikrit, met with Iraqi cabinet officers, our top military leadership, including Generals Petraeus and Odierno, and with embassy officials, including our new ambassador, Ryan Crocker. I also had the privilege of spending time with our soldiers, from generals to privates. Their courage and resolve in this frustrating war is an inspiration, and serves as a reminder of our obligations to avoid the expediency of easy, but empty answers or the allure of political advantage to choose the path in Iraq that best honors their sacrifices.
"We're going to need their courage more than ever. The divisions in Iraqi society are deep, and the need for greater security critical. Innocent Iraqis are still being murdered, and our soldiers are braving dangers no less threatening than in the past. Every day we read about or watch on television the latest car bombing, IED explosion or sniper attack. But something else is happening, too. There are the first glimmers of progress under General Petraeus' political-military strategy. While these glimmers are no guarantee of success, and though they come early in the implementation of the new strategy, I believe they are cause for very cautious optimism.

"For the first time in my visits to Iraq, our delegation was able to drive - not fly by helicopter-- from the airport to downtown Baghdad. For the first time we met with a Sunni tribal leader in Anbar province, who is working with American and Iraqi forces to fight al Qaeda. Sixteen of the twenty-four Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar are now working with us. We visited Iraqi and American forces deployed together in Baghdad - an integral part of the new security plan - where they maintain a presence in a neighborhood cleared of militias and terrorists, and hold the ground they have retaken rather than return to base, after which the enemy returns to impose its will again on a defenseless population. The government of Prime Minister Maliki is delivering on its promise to deploy Iraqi brigades to Baghdad. A plan to share oil revenues equitably among all Iraqis has been approved by Iraqi ministers and is pending approval by the parliament. After an important visit by Prime Minister Maliki to Ramadi in Sunni dominated Anbar, he promised a new policy to allay Sunni fears that they will be excluded from sharing in the political future of the country. An important result of the new security plan is the cooperation we are receiving from the Iraqi people, who are beginning to provide us with actionable intelligence about the whereabouts and plans of the enemy. These welcome developments have occurred even though only three of our five additional brigades have arrived.

"These and other indicators of progress are encouraging, but they are not determinative. I understand the damage false optimism does to public patience and support. I learned long ago to be skeptical of official reports that are long on wishful thinking and short on substance. As we make progress in some areas, the enemy strikes where we do not have as great a presence. But security in the capital is indispensable to a greater level of security throughout the country so that political and economic progress can occur. And in Baghdad, we are making progress. We have a long way to go, but for the first time in four years, we have a strategy that deals with how things really are in Iraq and not how we wish them to be.

"After my first visit to Iraq in 2003, I argued for more troops. I took issue with statements characterizing the insurgency as a few 'dead-enders' or being in its 'last throes.' I criticized the search and destroy strategy and argued for a counter-insurgency approach that separated the reconcilable population from the irreconcilable. That is the course now followed by General Petraeus, and the brave Americans and coalition troops he has the honor to command.

"It is the right strategy. General Petraeus literally wrote the book on counter insurgency. He is a determined, resourceful and bold commander. Our troops, many of whom have served multiple tours in Iraq, are performing with great skill and bravery. But the hour is late and, despite the developments I just described, we should have no illusion that success is certain. But having been a critic of the way this war was fought and a proponent of the very strategy now being followed, it is my obligation to encourage Americans to give it a chance to succeed. To do otherwise would be contrary to the interests of my country and dishonorable.

"Many in Washington have called for an end to our involvement in Iraq. Yet they offer no opinion about the consequences of this course of action beyond a vague assurance that all will be well if the Iraqis are left to work out their differences themselves. It is obviously true that no military solution is capable of doing what the Iraqis won't do politically. But, my friends, no political solution has a chance to succeed when al Qaeda is free to foment civil war and Iraqis remain dependent on sectarian militias to protect their children from being murdered.
"America has a vital interest in preventing the emergence of Iraq as a Wild West for terrorists, similar to Afghanistan before 9/11. By leaving Iraq before there is a stable Iraqi governing authority we risk precisely this, and the potential consequence of allowing terrorists sanctuary in Iraq is another 9/11 or worse. In Iraq today, terrorists have resorted to levels of barbarism that shock the world, and we should not be so na?ve as to believe their intentions are limited solely to the borders of that country. We Americans are their primary enemy, and we Americans are their ultimate target.

"A power vacuum in Iraq would invite further interference from Iran at a time when Tehran already feels emboldened enough to develop nuclear weapons, threaten Israel and America, and kidnap British sailors. If the government collapses in Iraq, which it surely will if we leave prematurely, Iraq's neighbors, from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Egypt, will feel pressure to intervene on the side of their favored factions. This uncertain swirl of events could cause the region to explode and foreclose the opportunity for millions of Muslims and their children to achieve freedom. We could face a terrible choice: watch the region burn, the price of oil escalate dramatically and our economy decline, watch the terrorists establish new base camps or send American troops back to Iraq, with the odds against our success much worse than they are today.
"To enumerate the strategic interests at stake in Iraq does not address our moral obligation to a people we liberated from Saddam Hussein's tyranny. I suspect many in this audience, and most members of Congress, look back at America's failure to act to prevent genocide in Rwanda with shame. I know I do. And yet I fear the potential for genocide and ethnic cleansing in Iraq is even worse. The sectarian violence, the social divisions, the armaments, the weakened security apparatus of the state - all the ingredients are there. Unless we fight to prevent it, our withdrawal will be coupled with a genocide in which we are complicit. Given our security interests and our moral investment in Iraq, so long as we have a chance to prevail we must try to prevail. As General Petraeus has repeatedly stated, it will be several months or more before we know with any confidence whether we can turn this war around. Elements of the new civil-military strategy are still being drafted, almost half of the additional troops have yet to arrive, and many of the new civilians have yet to take up their posts. We are off to a good start, but significant results will take time.

"What struck me upon my return from Baghdad is the enormous gulf between the harsh but hopeful realities in Iraq, where politics is for many a matter of life and death, and the fanciful and self-interested debates about Iraq that substitute for statesmanship in Washington. In Iraq, American and Iraqi soldiers risk everything to hold the country together, to prevent it from becoming a terrorist sanctuary and the region from descending into the dangerous chaos of a widening war. In Washington, where political calculation seems to trump all other considerations, Democrats in Congress and their leading candidates for President, heedless of the terrible consequences of our failure, unanimously confirmed our new commander, and then insisted he be prevented from taking the action he believes necessary to safeguard our country's interests. In Iraq, hope is a fragile thing, but all the more admirable for the courage and sacrifice necessary to nurture it. In Washington, cynicism appears to be the quality most prized by those who accept defeat but not the responsibility for its consequences. "Before I left for Iraq, I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering. A defeat for the United States is a cause for mourning not celebrating. And determining how the United States can avert such a disaster should encourage the most sober, public-spirited reasoning among our elected leaders not the giddy anticipation of the next election. Democrats who voted to authorize this war, and criticized the failed strategy that has led us to this perilous moment, have the same responsibility I do, to offer support when that failure is recognized and the right strategy is proposed and the right commanders take the field to implement it or, at the least, to offer an alternative strategy that has some relationship to reality.

"Democrats argue we should redirect American resources to the ˜real' war on terror, of which Iraq is just a sideshow. But whether or not al Qaeda terrorists were a present danger in Iraq before the war, there is no disputing they are there now, and their leaders recognize Iraq as the main battleground in the war on terror. Today, al Qaeda terrorists are the ones preparing the car bombs, firing the Katyusha rockets, planting the IEDs. They maneuver in the midst of Iraq's sectarian conflict, sparking and fueling the horrendous violence, destroying efforts at political reconciliation, killing innocents on both sides in the hope of creating a conflagration that will cause Americans to lose heart and leave, so they can return to their primary mission - planning and executing attacks on the United States, and destabilizing America's allies.

"It is impossible to separate sectarian violence from the war against al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is following an explicit strategy to foment civil war in Iraq. The only way to reduce and finally end sectarian violence is to provide greater security to the population than we have in the past, as we are doing now in Baghdad; to encourage Iraqis to abandon their reliance on local militias, and to destroy al Qaeda and other truly irreconcilable enemies of the United States and the Iraqi people.

"Our defeat in Iraq would constitute a defeat in the war against terror and extremism and would make the world a much more dangerous place. The enemies we face there harbor the same depraved indifference to human life as those who killed three thousand innocent Americans on a September morning in 2001. A couple of days before I arrived in Baghdad, a suicide car bomb destroyed a large, busy marketplace. It was a bit unusual, because new U.S. and Iraqi security measures in Baghdad have reduced the number of car bomb attacks. But this time the terrorists had a new tactic: they drove their car to a security checkpoint and were waved through because there were two small children in the back seat. The terrorists then walked away from the car, leaving the children inside it, and triggered the explosion. If the terrorists are willing to do this terrible thing to Iraqi children, what are they willing to do to our children?

"Some argue the war in Iraq no longer has anything to do with us; that it is a hopelessly complicated mess of tribal warfare and sectarian conflict. The situation is complex, and very difficult. Yet from one perspective it is quite simple. We are engaged in a basic struggle: a struggle between humanity and inhumanity; between builders and destroyers. If fighting these people and preventing the export of their brand of radicalism and terror is not intrinsic to the national security and most cherished values of the United States, I don't know what is.
"Consider our other strategic challenges in the region: preventing Iran from going nuclear; stabilizing Afghanistan against a resurgent Taliban; the battle for the future of Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others; protecting Israel's security; the struggle for Lebanon's independence. Does any honest observer believe those challenges will be easier to confront and at lesser cost in American blood and treasure if the United States accepts defeat in Iraq?

"We all agree a military solution alone will not solve the problems of Iraq. There must be a political agreement among Iraqis that allows all groups to participate in the building of their nation, to share in its resources and to live in peace with each other. But without greater security imposed by the United States military and the Iraqi Army, there can be no political solution. As Americans and Iraqis sacrifice to provide that security, Iraq's leaders must do the hard work of political reconciliation. We can help them get there, but we cannot assume their responsibilities. Unless they accept their own obligations to all Iraqis, we will all fail, and America, Iraq and the world will have to live with the terrible consequences. We are giving Iraq's leaders and people the chance to have a better future, but they must seize it.

"In the many mistakes we have made in this war, a few lessons have become clear. America should never undertake a war unless we are prepared to do everything necessary to succeed, and unless we have a realistic and comprehensive plan for success. We did not meet this responsibility initially. We are trying to do so now. Responsible political leaders - statesmen - do not add to the burdens our troops carry. That is what Democrats, intentionally or not, have done by failing to provide them with the resources necessary to succeed in their mission. Every day that passes without the necessary funds appropriated to sustain our troops, our chances of success in Iraq dwindle and our military readiness declines further. We have sent the best Americans among us to fight in Iraq, at the least, we must give them the tools they need to do their job. When the President vetoes, as he should, the bill that refuses to support General Petraeus' new plan, I hope Democrats in Congress will heed the advice of one of their leading candidates for President, Senator Obama, and immediately pass a new bill to provide support to our troops in Iraq without substituting their partisan interests for those of our troops and our country.
"I know the pain war causes. I understand the frustration caused by our mistakes in this war. I sympathize with the fatigue of the American people. And I regret sincerely the additional sacrifices imposed on the brave Americans who defend us. But I also know the toll a lost war takes on an army and a country. We, who are willing to support this new strategy, and give General Petraeus the time and support he needs, have chosen a hard road. But it is the right road. It is necessary and just. Democrats, who deny our soldiers the means to prevent an American defeat, have chosen another road. It may appear to be the easier course of action, but it is a much more reckless one, and it does them no credit even if it gives them an advantage in the next election. This is an historic choice, with ramifications for Americans not even born yet. Let's put aside for a moment the small politics of the day. The judgment of history should be the approval we seek, not the temporary favor of the latest public opinion poll.
"We all respect the sacrifices made by our soldiers. We all mourn the losses they have suffered in this war. But let us honor them by doing all we can to ensure their sacrifices were not made in vain. Let us show an appropriate humility by recognizing that so little is asked of us compared to the burdens we imposed on them, and let us show just a small, but significant measure of their courage, resolve and patriotism by putting our country's interests before every personal or political consideration.

"In closing, I'd like to bring to your attention the gallantry and patriotism of one American who served with distinction in Iraq, a Navy SEAL, who refuses to quit his mission and let the country he loves so well suffer the terrible harm our defeat would entail. A few days ago, Petty Officer First Class Mark Robbins' unit was ambushed outside Baghdad. During the ensuing firefight, he spotted an insurgent with an RPG, and immediately stepped out from cover and exposed himself to enemy fire to take out the terrorist before he could fire. He saved the lives of his comrades, but was gravely wounded as he did so. He was shot in the eye by another insurgent with an AK-47. The bullet exited the back of his head about three inches behind his ear. He was initially knocked unconscious but came to, continued to fight and then, despite the severity of his wound, walked to the evacuation helicopter. He was eventually taken to Landstuhl military hospital in Germany. As is the custom of Navy SEALs, he was accompanied by one of his comrades, Petty Officer Second class McLean Swink.

"On our way home from Iraq, our delegation stopped in Germany for refueling and crew rest, and I had the privilege of visiting some of our wounded at Landstuhl. I briefly stopped in Mark Robbins' room, but he was sedated and unable then to communicate. I spent a few moments there, and talked to his buddy, before I went to visit other wounded soldiers. Not too long after I had left Mark's room, Petty Officer Swink found me and told me Mark was awake and had asked to see me. So I returned. When I entered his room and approached his bedside, he struggled with great difficulty to sit up, stiffened his body as if he were trying to stand at attention, grasped my hand tightly and wouldn't let go. And then he whispered to me not to worry, ˜We can win this fight. We can win this fight.' Mark, as another person observed, looks like the ˜toughest kid on the high school football team.' He is tough, and brave, and very young. But more than that, he's an inspiration to those who are only called upon to subordinate a temporary political advantage to the security of our good and great nation. Petty Officer Mark Robbins, an American hero, believes we can still win this fight. I'll take his word for it, and accept my responsibility to help the cause he sacrificed so much to defend. Thank you."