Saturday, May 30, 2009
In the last few days I have been thinking about my time in the army. This is a reworked version of a post I made about four year ago.
Drafted- September 1969
I thought I would write about my experiences in the US Army some 40 years ago. In the spring 1969 I graduated from the University of Oregon with a BS in Political Science. My dad brought my draft reclassification notice to my graduation. Some graduation present! A few weeks later I received my "Greetings" letter telling me I was drafted. This is the same summer Bill Clinton received his draft notice. Like Bill I explored the possibility of joining the ROTC while I started Law School. I had been admitted into the University of Oregon School of Law for the fall of 1969: However, there were no draft deferments for law school. The ROTC folks could only guarantee me two years of ROTC before I would have to go into the Army and Law School was three years. So I enlisted in the army a few weeks before I was to go in as a draftee and signed up for Officer Candidate School(OCS) . Because of my political beliefs there was never any thought of not going (ie going to Canada or faking a physical problem). I was a Hawk, but felt we were not fighting the war in Vietnam to win. I left for Basic Training in early September of 1969 .
Basic Training- Fall 1969.
After going through the Armed Forces Examination Station in Portland Oregon I was sent by commercial airlines to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Or as we liked to call it "Fort Lost In the Woods". Basic was not fun for a guy who is not coordinated, short and not an outdoorsy type. I learned to fire an M-16 rifle, throw a grenade, run, march and march. I still remember the night we had to crawl under barbwire while they fired live machine guns over our head. The course had mud as thick as a milk shake and it got into our rifles and down our necks and it was cold. One guy got caught in the barbwire and so they turned on these big light to get him out while the rest of us laid in the mud and all I could think about was going back to the UofO. It took a lot of effort to get the mud out of that rifle. In fact we had to take them into our showers and then oil them down.In, the last few weeks of Basic training, we were given our orders for OCS. There were three possibilities. Infantry OCS at Fort Banning Georgia, Artillery OCS at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and Engineer OCS at Fort Belvoir outside of Washington DC in Virginia. We all knew by then that Infantry and Artillery OCS were quick trips to Vietnam and an infantry platoon in the field either as a Platoon Leader or a Forward Observer for the artillery. However, Engineer OCS, put officers in the other branches of the army like Ordinance, MP's, and Military Intelligence. They took us into a large classroom and handed out the envelopes. My friend from Michigan who sat in front of me got infantry. Luckily my envelope said I was going to Engineer OCS in Virginia. Better yet it was close to Washington DC. Toward the end of basic we got a rare pass one night to go to a nearby PX for some 3.2 beer. I went with this farm kid from Kansas who had just graduated from high school. He wasn't going to OCS but was going to go to Infantry AIT and then he knew he was going on to Vietnam. After a few beers he told me he knew he was going to die over there. The passage of time has erased his name from my memory but I still wonder what happened to that kid from Kansas.
Advanced Individual Training- Fall 1969 & Winter 1970.
After, Basic training,in Missouri the Army sent me and a lot of other guys by chartered bus, to Advanced Individual Training or AIT at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Even though I had orders for Engineer OCS, after AIT, the Army sent me to an Artillery AIT to learn Fire Direction Control. In other words, how to calculate how to elevate artillery pieces so it will hit the target. For a guy who had not taken a math course since his sophomore year of high school it was another case of trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Worse, our unit sergeant was trying to run the program as an "OCS prep school" and there was lots of harassment. Worse yet, our commanding officer was an Oregon State Beaver. While at Fort Sill the draft was changed to a lottery system. I had a low lottery number so it would not have made any difference. This is when Bill Clinton bugged out of ROTC as he had a high lottery number and knew his chances of being drafted were very small.
Officer Candidate School- Winter, Spring & Summer 1970.
(I found this picture on the Internet but it sure looks AND feels like it did then!)
After AIT, I received leave to fly home to Coos Bay/North Bend.On the way home my buddy from Portland and I were delayed in Seattle at SeaTac Airport and a nice man bought us dinner. After leave, I flew to Washington DC and met up with some of my buddies from Basic and AIT. We had a few hours to see the sites in Washington DC.The first place we went was the Lincoln Memorial. The next morning we took a cab to Fort Belvoir for Officer Candidate School.(Class 24 Bravo 1) There was lots of harassment as they tried to make us into officers that would lead men in combat. To start with we did not have "sidewalk privileges", no coffee and had to eat every meal, except on Sunday, sitting at attention.In my OCS unit there was a group of college guys that had been with me since Basic at Fort Leonard Wood.There was a kid from Massachusetts who was married and explained to me what a "ninfo" was; there was a football player from Kansas State who loved the Saint Louis Blues hockey team; there was a married former Peace Corp member from South Dakota; there was a basketball player from Oklahoma City ;there was a kid from Portland Oregon who walked like John Wayne;there was a kid who wanted to go to medical school who's father was a professor at Oregon State.We tried to help each other through this experience. We all knew if we dropped out of OCS we would get leave and then a ticket to Vietnam.The football player from Kansas State couldn't take the strain and dropped out. I can still remember us saying good bye to him. He had been placed in a unit next to ours and said if he had been with his buddies he could have "made it".I became our companies "Command Information Officer" so I could read the Washington Post and keep the bulletin board updated with news. I got to report to our unit current events such as the incursion into Laos and the Kent State deaths and John Wayne winning an academy award for "True Grit". I worked very hard at building up my muscles and got into the best shape I have ever been in before or since. For the 4th of July we got a rare pass to go into Washington DC. We were required to wear our dress uniforms and every hippy and school kid gave us the "Peace Sign" with their fingers.My friend who walked like John Wayne said he wanted to shoot their fingers off. It was very hot.... We went to the Capitol and an aid for House Speaker Carl Albert of Oklahoma came over to talk to us as we walked around the outside of the Capitol.We went to Georgetown and then rented a car to drive down into Virgina. On the night of July 4th I watched the fireworks and a nice family invited us to share their blanket and gave us some cookies. During our training our unit was taken to Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia near Fredericksburg by bus for a week of infantry training. We spent the week in the woods training as an Infantry platoon in Vietnam. One night we were required to travel cross country all night to avoid capture by the VC. Well, I was captured and taken to a POW camp and rubbed from head to toe with axle grease because I would only give my name, rank and serial number. I was never able to wear that uniform again no matter how many times it was washed. When we got back to Fort Belvoir they started training us for "riot" duty in Washington DC in the event the "peace" demonstrators got out of hand. Keep in mind this was after the killing at Kent State and the incursion into Laos. Toward the end of our training in the summer of 1970 there was a rumor that the Army was going to offer an "Option" to OCS candidates that if we would forgo our commission, as a Second Lieutenant, the army would give us "state side" duty for one year. We had already been in for one year, and we would then be honorable discharged after two years service. The Army was cutting back in Vietnam and they had too many officers. With about two or three weeks to go before I was to receive my commission, in August of 1970, as a Second Lieutenant the rumor turned out to be true and every OCS candidate at all three of the OCS schools were offered the "Option". It was a very hard choice for me to make! I had been working and training for almost a year to become an officer and a gentleman. I had given it everything I had and was going to make it!I had finally passed the Physical Training (PT) test.I was going to be sent to Korea as an Ordinance Officer. On the other hand, I had been admitted to law school and the admission was only good for two years, as I had been drafted. If I became an officer I would have at least two more years in the army for a total of three. After those three years I would have to reapply to law school. By that time everyone and his dog wanted to go to law school and it was hard to get admission.The night before I had to make my choice I was on CQ duty(Charge of Quarters)and had to stay up all night in the company headquarters office.That night on the radio I heard the Sandpiper's song "Come Saturday Morning" which made me think of my time at the University of Oregon and I then decided my main goal was to become a lawyer.Funny, how a song can cause you to make a major decision. I and about 2/3rds of my unit accepted the "Option" and I became an E-4 enlisted man for the last year I was in the Army.
Fort Carson, Colorado- Fall 1970 & Winter, Spring & Summer 1971
I spent my last year at Fort Carson, Colorado. By this time in 1970/71, and the Army was not a happy place. The draft had ended and the Army was moving toward an all-volunteer Army. Many of the soldiers at Fort Carson had served their tour in Vietnam and just wanted out.Others were waiting for orders to go to Vietnam. Moral was very low. The army didn't know what to do with me. I was sent to an artillery unit. I eventually became a "supply sergeant". At one time I volunteered for permanent KP as I would work one day and get two days off. I worked as a dining room orderly.... ie I cleaned tables. Colorado Springs is a very nice place but it gets very cold on guard duty in the middle of winter and Army pay didn't go very far in those days. Just before I got out I made E-5. In Late August 2001,I got an "early out" for law school. I left after surviving my two-year to go to law school at the University of Oregon. When I got back to the University of Oregon I let my hair grow as a protest to my days in the Army. The GI Bill paid for most of Law School.
In thinking back on my two years in the Army I am glad I served. The Army taught me discipline, organization and how to handle stress that I have used to this day. I didn't like it at the time but the Army made me a better person. Even when you are not in a combat zone overseas there is something about being in the military in time of war. Things stand out in primary colors in your mind. Life was very full and had an edge to it. When I got to law school some of the students couldn't take the strain. I always said as tough as the professors are they can't "grass drill" or run you till you throw up. No one is going to shoot at you. Considering the sacrifice many made in going to Vietnam, my time in the Army was very uneventful, but I met many nice people from all over this country. In those days the Army was truly a melting pot.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Two of my favorite movies of all time have been released this month on DVD:
NORTH WEST FRONTIER(1960)
(Also known as "Flame over India" in the United States). A rousing English made colonial adventure about the British in India in 1905 trying to keep the peace between the Muslims and the Hindus with a a good cast that includes Lauren Bacall and Kenneth More. Bacall is the American governess of a young Hindu prince who Muslim rebels are trying to kill. (Somethings never change) Kenneth More is a "stiff upper lip" British officer trying to protect the prince and they end up on a long train trip to escape the Muslims. In some ways a rehash of John Ford's Stagecoach,and originally written by John Ford associates including John Wayne's son Patrick Wayne! I love British Colonial movies.Liberals hate this movie because it is not politically correct.( British are the good guys and the Muslims play the part of American Indians to carry through the Stagecoach analogy)
Director Hugh Hudson and Al Pacino reedit their 1985 tale of a woodsman and his son drafted into the Continental Army during the American Revolution. The British don't come off as well in this movie! With Nastassja Kinski and Donald Sutherland (mean British officer). One of the best movies of the American Revolution ever made. Unfortunately there have been few modern movies made of this important historical event. The movie bombed at the box office in 1985. Ted Marhar, the movie reviewer of the Oregonian newspaper at the time, was one of the few reviewers that liked this movie. I love it. It is very realistic. For DVD the movie has been re cut with about 10 minutes removed and a voice over narration added by Pacino. The movie takes you to Valley Forge and some of the important battles of the Revolutionary War including Brooklyn Heights. However the war is as seen through the eyes of a father and his young son.
(Some of the descriptions of the moves are from Internet sources).
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” Judge Sotomayor
From the New Republic:
The most consistent concern was that Sotomayor, although an able lawyer, was "not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench," as one former Second Circuit clerk for another judge put it. "She has an inflated opinion of herself, and is domineering during oral arguments, but her questions aren't penetrating and don't get to the heart of the issue."
(click on the title for a link)
Update from the New Republic's Jeffrey Rosen:
I was satisfied that my sources's concerns were widely shared when I read Sotomayor's entry in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, which includes the rating of judges based on the collective opinions of the lawyers who work with them. Usually lawyers provide fairly positive comments. That's what makes the discussion of Sotomayor's temperament so striking. Here it is:
Sotomayor can be tough on lawyers, according to those interviewed. "She is a terror on the bench." "She is very outspoken." "She can be difficult." "She is temperamental and excitable. She seems angry." "She is overly aggressive--not very judicial. She does not have a very good temperament." "She abuses lawyers." "She really lacks judicial temperament. She behaves in an out of control manner. She makes inappropriate outbursts." "She is nasty to lawyers. She doesn't understand their role in the system--as adversaries who have to argue one side or the other. She will attack lawyers for making an argument she does not like."
Sunday, May 24, 2009
The advantage of a long holiday weekend is you can get a lot done. The weather is perfect here in Medford Oregon. It's been sunny and the temperature is in the low 80's.
Friday night I did my yard work in order to get it out of the way. I mowed both lawns and cut the weeds down by the creek.
Saturday my wife and I drove out to the Bass Shoe store and the Van Heusen store at the shops in Phoenix and did some clothes shopping for work and for a trip we are taking to the east coast to see our adult kids. Both stores had a big sale with most things were 75% off. I only go clothes shopping about once a year and it's probably been a year and a half since I last went so we got some good deals with will last me another 18 months or so.We then had lunch a Abie's and then my wife went grocery shopping as I washed all the clothes. I then had to drive back to Phoenix to perform a wedding ceremony for a nice couple at a trailer court. My wife and I then watched a Netflix movie in blu ray..... "Marlie and Me." I always cry in dog movies since I saw "Old Yeller" die when I was a kid. I can watch thousands of people die in a movie but have one dog die and I get all chocked up.
Sunday I scraped paint on on our deck overlooking the driveway and then sanded the boards. I then used wood filler to fill in the cracks and will put an undercoat on them when it gets cooler. I restrained both of our garage doors. I also restrained the front door. My wife is repainting the metal railings going up to our bedroom changing the color from black to dark brown. The first paint she used was very runny so we went out to Home Depot to get a different brand and it did the trick and looks great. On the way back we stopped for a treat at Dairy Queen. After dark I will watch another Netflix Movie.
Monday I will finish the deck painting by putting on the final coat and generally touch up the rest of the house on the outside with paint.
This weekend we have a guest. "Cruiser" our male office cat came home for the weekend because of some work the building owner is doing to our office. Our cat "Gabbie" a female does not like other cats so we have had to keep "Cruiser" in our son's old room except when "Gabie" is in our bedroom or outside. We introduced them to each other and "Gabie" was less than a gracious host.
Not to forget what this weekend is all about "Old Glory" has been flown each day.
Tuesday back to work?
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
"Two speeches, two very different men. Former Vice President Cheney seeks no political future. He speaks from the vantage of one who witnessed the killing of our fellow citizens, who deliberated and defined the strategy that would successfully prevent further murders of our fellow Americans.
His address today was direct, well-reasoned, and convincing.
President Obama, on the other hand, continues to speak as a politician. Contrary to the advice I and others gave him, he has placed two of his top political consultants in the West Wing, looking to them to opine on matters of national security. Barack Obama is having a hard time going from politician to president. His speech and his policies have one foot in campaign mode and another in presidential mode. He struggles to explain how he is keeping faith with the liberal advocates who promoted his campaign but in doing so, he breaks faith with the interests of the American people. When it comes to protecting the nation, we have a conflicted president. And his address today was more tortured than the enhanced interrogation techniques he decries.
It is laughable to suggest that Guantanamo is a meaningful aid in terrorist recruiting. Before Guantanamo came the first bombing of the World Trade Center, the bombing at Riyadh, the attacks on Khobar, the bombing of our embassies, the Cole. There will always be rallying cries for recruitment whether it is the existence of Israel or the freedoms enjoyed by Americans. Appeasement has not ever, does not now, and will never satisfy a foe who looks to destroy freedom and rule the world.
Vice President Cheney has been the target of every media, from mainstream to comic. But he spoke today as before without regard to the politics but with abiding respect for the truth. Barack Obama is still hanging on to the campaign trail. He said that the last thing he thinks about when he goes to sleep at night is keeping America safe. That's a big difference with Vice President Cheney—when it came to protecting Americans, he never went to sleep."
Best quote from speech with many great quotes:
And to call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American lives, and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims. What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation methods in the future is unwise in the extreme. It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness, and would make the American people less safe.
Now, the entire speech (long but well worth reading by every American):
Thank you all very much, and Arthur, thank you for that introduction. It’s good to be back at AEI, where we have many friends. Lynne is one of your longtime scholars, and I’m looking forward to spending more time here myself as a returning trustee. What happened was, they were looking for a new member of the board of trustees, and they asked me to head up the search committee.
I first came to AEI after serving at the Pentagon, and departed only after a very interesting job offer came along. I had no expectation of returning to public life, but my career worked out a little differently. Those eight years as vice president were quite a journey, and during a time of big events and great decisions, I don’t think I missed much.
Being the first vice president who had also served as secretary of defense, naturally my duties tended toward national security. I focused on those challenges day to day, mostly free from the usual political distractions. I had the advantage of being a vice president content with the responsibilities I had, and going about my work with no higher ambition. Today, I’m an even freer man. Your kind invitation brings me here as a private citizen – a career in politics behind me, no elections to win or lose, and no favor to seek.
The responsibilities we carried belong to others now. And though I’m not here to speak for George W. Bush, I am certain that no one wishes the current administration more success in defending the country than we do. We understand the complexities of national security decisions. We understand the pressures that confront a president and his advisers. Above all, we know what is at stake. And though administrations and policies have changed, the stakes for America have not changed.
Right now there is considerable debate in this city about the measures our administration took to defend the American people. Today I want to set forth the strategic thinking behind our policies. I do so as one who was there every day of the Bush Administration –who supported the policies when they were made, and without hesitation would do so again in the same circumstances.
When President Obama makes wise decisions, as I believe he has done in some respects on Afghanistan, and in reversing his plan to release incendiary photos, he deserves our support. And when he faults or mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years, he deserves an answer. The point is not to look backward. Now and for years to come, a lot rides on our President’s understanding of the security policies that preceded him. And whatever choices he makes concerning the defense of this country, those choices should not be based on slogans and campaign rhetoric, but on a truthful telling of history.
Our administration always faced its share of criticism, and from some quarters it was always intense. That was especially so in the later years of our term, when the dangers were as serious as ever, but the sense of general alarm after September 11th, 2001 was a fading memory. Part of our responsibility, as we saw it, was not to forget the terrible harm that had been done to America … and not to let 9/11 become the prelude to something much bigger and far worse.
That attack itself was, of course, the most devastating strike in a series of terrorist plots carried out against Americans at home and abroad. In 1993, they bombed the World Trade Center, hoping to bring down the towers with a blast from below. The attacks continued in 1995, with the bombing of U.S. facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the killing of servicemen at Khobar Towers in 1996; the attack on our embassies in East Africa in 1998; the murder of American sailors on the USS Cole in 2000; and then the hijackings of 9/11, and all the grief and loss we suffered on that day.
Nine-eleven caused everyone to take a serious second look at threats that had been gathering for a while, and enemies whose plans were getting bolder and more sophisticated. Throughout the 90s, America had responded to these attacks, if at all, on an ad hoc basis. The first attack on the World Trade Center was treated as a law enforcement problem, with everything handled after the fact – crime scene, arrests, indictments, convictions, prison sentences, case closed. That’s how it seemed from a law enforcement perspective, at least – but for the terrorists the case was not closed. For them, it was another offensive strike in their ongoing war against the United States. And it turned their minds to even harder strikes with higher casualties. Nine-eleven made necessary a shift of policy, aimed at a clear strategic threat – what the Congress called “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” From that moment forward, instead of merely preparing to round up the suspects and count up the victims after the next attack, we were determined to prevent attacks in the first place.
We could count on almost universal support back then, because everyone understood the environment we were in. We’d just been hit by a foreign enemy – leaving 3,000 Americans dead, more than we lost at Pearl Harbor. In Manhattan, we were staring at 16 acres of ashes. The Pentagon took a direct hit, and the Capitol or the White House were spared only by the Americans on Flight 93, who died bravely and defiantly.
Everyone expected a follow-on attack, and our job was to stop it. We didn’t know what was coming next, but everything we did know in that autumn of 2001 looked bad. This was the world in which al-Qaeda was seeking nuclear technology, and A. Q. Khan was selling nuclear technology on the black market. We had the anthrax attack from an unknown source. We had the training camps of Afghanistan, and dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists.
These are just a few of the problems we had on our hands. And foremost on our minds was the prospect of the very worst coming to pass – a 9/11 with nuclear weapons.
For me, one of the defining experiences was the morning of 9/11 itself. As you might recall, I was in my office in that first hour, when radar caught sight of an airliner heading toward the White House at 500 miles an hour. That was Flight 77, the one that ended up hitting the Pentagon. With the plane still inbound, Secret Service agents came into my office and said we had to leave, now. A few moments later I found myself in a fortified White House command post somewhere down below.
There in the bunker came the reports and images that so many Americans remember from that day – word of the crash in Pennsylvania, the final phone calls from hijacked planes, the final horror for those who jumped to their death to escape burning alive. In the years since, I’ve heard occasional speculation that I’m a different man after 9/11. I wouldn’t say that. But I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.
To make certain our nation country never again faced such a day of horror, we developed a comprehensive strategy, beginning with far greater homeland security to make the United States a harder target. But since wars cannot be won on the defensive, we moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and sanctuaries, and committed to using every asset to take down their networks. We decided, as well, to confront the regimes that sponsored terrorists, and to go after those who provide sanctuary, funding, and weapons to enemies of the United States. We turned special attention to regimes that had the capacity to build weapons of mass destruction, and might transfer such weapons to terrorists.
We did all of these things, and with bipartisan support put all these policies in place. It has resulted in serious blows against enemy operations … the take-down of the A.Q. Khan network … and the dismantling of Libya’s nuclear program. It’s required the commitment of many thousands of troops in two theaters of war, with high points and some low points in both Iraq and Afghanistan – and at every turn, the people of our military carried the heaviest burden. Well over seven years into the effort, one thing we know is that the enemy has spent most of this time on the defensive – and every attempt to strike inside the United States has failed.
So we’re left to draw one of two conclusions – and here is the great dividing line in our current debate over national security. You can look at the facts and conclude that the comprehensive strategy has worked, and therefore needs to be continued as vigilantly as ever. Or you can look at the same set of facts and conclude that 9/11 was a one-off event – coordinated, devastating, but also unique and not sufficient to justify a sustained wartime effort. Whichever conclusion you arrive at, it will shape your entire view of the last seven years, and of the policies necessary to protect America for years to come.
The key to any strategy is accurate intelligence, and skilled professionals to get that information in time to use it. In seeking to guard this nation against the threat of catastrophic violence, our Administration gave intelligence officers the tools and lawful authority they needed to gain vital information. We didn’t invent that authority. It is drawn from Article Two of the Constitution. And it was given specificity by the Congress after 9/11, in a Joint Resolution authorizing “all necessary and appropriate force” to protect the American people.
Our government prevented attacks and saved lives through the Terrorist Surveillance Program, which let us intercept calls and track contacts between al-Qaeda operatives and persons inside the United States. The program was top secret, and for good reason, until the editors of the New York Times got it and put it on the front page. After 9/11, the Times had spent months publishing the pictures and the stories of everyone killed by al-Qaeda on 9/11. Now here was that same newspaper publishing secrets in a way that could only help al-Qaeda. It impressed the Pulitzer committee, but it damn sure didn’t serve the interests of our country, or the safety of our people.
In the years after 9/11, our government also understood that the safety of the country required collecting information known only to the worst of the terrorists. And in a few cases, that information could be gained only through tough interrogations.
In top secret meetings about enhanced interrogations, I made my own beliefs clear. I was and remain a strong proponent of our enhanced interrogation program. The interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other efforts failed. They were legal, essential, justified, successful, and the right thing to do. The intelligence officers who questioned the terrorists can be proud of their work and proud of the results, because they prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people.
Our successors in office have their own views on all of these matters.
By presidential decision, last month we saw the selective release of documents relating to enhanced interrogations. This is held up as a bold exercise in open government, honoring the public’s right to know. We’re informed, as well, that there was much agonizing over this decision.
Yet somehow, when the soul-searching was done and the veil was lifted on the policies of the Bush administration, the public was given less than half the truth. The released memos were carefully redacted to leave out references to what our government learned through the methods in question. Other memos, laying out specific terrorist plots that were averted, apparently were not even considered for release. For reasons the administration has yet to explain, they believe the public has a right to know the method of the questions, but not the content of the answers.
Over on the left wing of the president’s party, there appears to be little curiosity in finding out what was learned from the terrorists. The kind of answers they’re after would be heard before a so-called “Truth Commission.” Some are even demanding that those who recommended and approved the interrogations be prosecuted, in effect treating political disagreements as a punishable offense, and political opponents as criminals. It’s hard to imagine a worse precedent, filled with more possibilities for trouble and abuse, than to have an incoming administration criminalize the policy decisions of its predecessors.
Apart from doing a serious injustice to intelligence operators and lawyers who deserve far better for their devoted service, the danger here is a loss of focus on national security, and what it requires. I would advise the administration to think very carefully about the course ahead. All the zeal that has been directed at interrogations is utterly misplaced. And staying on that path will only lead our government further away from its duty to protect the American people.
One person who by all accounts objected to the release of the interrogation memos was the Director of Central Intelligence, Leon Panetta. He was joined in that view by at least four of his predecessors. I assume they felt this way because they understand the importance of protecting intelligence sources, methods, and personnel. But now that this once top-secret information is out for all to see – including the enemy – let me draw your attention to some points that are routinely overlooked.
It is a fact that only detainees of the highest intelligence value were ever subjected to enhanced interrogation. You’ve heard endlessly about waterboarding. It happened to three terrorists. One of them was Khalid Sheikh Muhammed – the mastermind of 9/11, who has also boasted about beheading Daniel Pearl.
We had a lot of blind spots after the attacks on our country. We didn’t know about al-Qaeda’s plans, but Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and a few others did know. And with many thousands of innocent lives potentially in the balance, we didn’t think it made sense to let the terrorists answer questions in their own good time, if they answered them at all.
Maybe you’ve heard that when we captured KSM, he said he would talk as soon as he got to New York City and saw his lawyer. But like many critics of interrogations, he clearly misunderstood the business at hand. American personnel were not there to commence an elaborate legal proceeding, but to extract information from him before al-Qaeda could strike again and kill more of our people.
In public discussion of these matters, there has been a strange and sometimes willful attempt to conflate what happened at Abu Ghraib prison with the top secret program of enhanced interrogations. At Abu Ghraib, a few sadistic prison guards abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulations, and simple decency. For the harm they did, to Iraqi prisoners and to America’s cause, they deserved and received Army justice. And it takes a deeply unfair cast of mind to equate the disgraces of Abu Ghraib with the lawful, skillful, and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men.
Those personnel were carefully chosen from within the CIA, and were specially prepared to apply techniques within the boundaries of their training and the limits of the law. Torture was never permitted, and the methods were given careful legal review before they were approved. Interrogators had authoritative guidance on the line between toughness and torture, and they knew to stay on the right side of it.
Even before the interrogation program began, and throughout its operation, it was closely reviewed to ensure that every method used was in full compliance with the Constitution, statutes, and treaty obligations. On numerous occasions, leading members of Congress, including the current speaker of the House, were briefed on the program and on the methods.
Yet for all these exacting efforts to do a hard and necessary job and to do it right, we hear from some quarters nothing but feigned outrage based on a false narrative. In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists.
I might add that people who consistently distort the truth in this way are in no position to lecture anyone about “values.” Intelligence officers of the United States were not trying to rough up some terrorists simply to avenge the dead of 9/11. We know the difference in this country between justice and vengeance. Intelligence officers were not trying to get terrorists to confess to past killings; they were trying to prevent future killings. From the beginning of the program, there was only one focused and all-important purpose. We sought, and we in fact obtained, specific information on terrorist plans.
Those are the basic facts on enhanced interrogations. And to call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American lives, and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims. What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation methods in the future is unwise in the extreme. It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness, and would make the American people less safe.
The administration seems to pride itself on searching for some kind of middle ground in policies addressing terrorism. They may take comfort in hearing disagreement from opposite ends of the spectrum. If liberals are unhappy about some decisions, and conservatives are unhappy about other decisions, then it may seem to them that the President is on the path of sensible compromise. But in the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed. You cannot keep just some nuclear-armed terrorists out of the United States, you must keep every nuclear-armed terrorist out of the United States. Triangulation is a political strategy, not a national security strategy. When just a single clue that goes unlearned … one lead that goes unpursued … can bring on catastrophe – it’s no time for splitting differences. There is never a good time to compromise when the lives and safety of the American people are in the balance.
Behind the overwrought reaction to enhanced interrogations is a broader misconception about the threats that still face our country. You can sense the problem in the emergence of euphemisms that strive to put an imaginary distance between the American people and the terrorist enemy. Apparently using the term “war” where terrorists are concerned is starting to feel a bit dated. So henceforth we’re advised by the administration to think of the fight against terrorists as, quote, “Overseas contingency operations.” In the event of another terrorist attack on America, the Homeland Security Department assures us it will be ready for this, quote, “man-made disaster” – never mind that the whole Department was created for the purpose of protecting Americans from terrorist attack.
And when you hear that there are no more, quote, “enemy combatants,” as there were back in the days of that scary war on terror, at first that sounds like progress. The only problem is that the phrase is gone, but the same assortment of killers and would-be mass murderers are still there. And finding some less judgmental or more pleasant-sounding name for terrorists doesn’t change what they are – or what they would do if we let them loose.
On his second day in office, President Obama announced that he was closing the detention facility at Guantanamo. This step came with little deliberation and no plan. Their idea now, as stated by Attorney General Holder and others, is apparently to bring some of these hardened terrorists into the United States. On this one, I find myself in complete agreement with many in the President’s own party. Unsure how to explain to their constituents why terrorists might soon be relocating into their states, these Democrats chose instead to strip funding for such a move out of the most recent war supplemental.
The administration has found that it’s easy to receive applause in Europe for closing Guantanamo. But it’s tricky to come up with an alternative that will serve the interests of justice and America’s national security. Keep in mind that these are hardened terrorists picked up overseas since 9/11. The ones that were considered low-risk were released a long time ago. And among these, it turns out that many were treated too leniently, because they cut a straight path back to their prior line of work and have conducted murderous attacks in the Middle East. I think the President will find, upon reflection, that to bring the worst of the worst terrorists inside the United States would be cause for great danger and regret in the years to come.
In the category of euphemism, the prizewinning entry would be a recent editorial in a familiar newspaper that referred to terrorists we’ve captured as, quote, “abducted.” Here we have ruthless enemies of this country, stopped in their tracks by brave operatives in the service of America, and a major editorial page makes them sound like they were kidnap victims, picked up at random on their way to the movies.
It’s one thing to adopt the euphemisms that suggest we’re no longer engaged in a war. These are just words, and in the end it’s the policies that matter most. You don’t want to call them enemy combatants? Fine. Call them what you want – just don’t bring them into the United States. Tired of calling it a war? Use any term you prefer. Just remember it is a serious step to begin unraveling some of the very policies that have kept our people safe since 9/11.
Another term out there that slipped into the discussion is the notion that American interrogation practices were a “recruitment tool” for the enemy. On this theory, by the tough questioning of killers, we have supposedly fallen short of our own values. This recruitment-tool theory has become something of a mantra lately, including from the President himself. And after a familiar fashion, it excuses the violent and blames America for the evil that others do. It’s another version of that same old refrain from the Left, “We brought it on ourselves.”
It is much closer to the truth that terrorists hate this country precisely because of the values we profess and seek to live by, not by some alleged failure to do so. Nor are terrorists or those who see them as victims exactly the best judges of America’s moral standards, one way or the other.
Critics of our policies are given to lecturing on the theme of being consistent with American values. But no moral value held dear by the American people obliges public servants ever to sacrifice innocent lives to spare a captured terrorist from unpleasant things. And when an entire population is targeted by a terror network, nothing is more consistent with American values than to stop them.
As a practical matter, too, terrorists may lack much, but they have never lacked for grievances against the United States. Our belief in freedom of speech and religion … our belief in equal rights for women … our support for Israel … our cultural and political influence in the world – these are the true sources of resentment, all mixed in with the lies and conspiracy theories of the radical clerics. These recruitment tools were in vigorous use throughout the 1990s, and they were sufficient to motivate the 19 recruits who boarded those planes on September 11th, 2001.
The United States of America was a good country before 9/11, just as we are today. List all the things that make us a force for good in the world – for liberty, for human rights, for the rational, peaceful resolution of differences – and what you end up with is a list of the reasons why the terrorists hate America. If fine speech-making, appeals to reason, or pleas for compassion had the power to move them, the terrorists would long ago have abandoned the field. And when they see the American government caught up in arguments about interrogations, or whether foreign terrorists have constitutional rights, they don’t stand back in awe of our legal system and wonder whether they had misjudged us all along. Instead the terrorists see just what they were hoping for – our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity.
What is equally certain is this: The broad-based strategy set in motion by President Bush obviously had nothing to do with causing the events of 9/11. But the serious way we dealt with terrorists from then on, and all the intelligence we gathered in that time, had everything to do with preventing another 9/11 on our watch. The enhanced interrogations of high-value detainees and the terrorist surveillance program have without question made our country safer. Every senior official who has been briefed on these classified matters knows of specific attacks that were in the planning stages and were stopped by the programs we put in place.
This might explain why President Obama has reserved unto himself the right to order the use of enhanced interrogation should he deem it appropriate. What value remains to that authority is debatable, given that the enemy now knows exactly what interrogation methods to train against, and which ones not to worry about. Yet having reserved for himself the authority to order enhanced interrogation after an emergency, you would think that President Obama would be less disdainful of what his predecessor authorized after 9/11. It’s almost gone unnoticed that the president has retained the power to order the same methods in the same circumstances. When they talk about interrogations, he and his administration speak as if they have resolved some great moral dilemma in how to extract critical information from terrorists. Instead they have put the decision off, while assigning a presumption of moral superiority to any decision they make in the future.
Releasing the interrogation memos was flatly contrary to the national security interest of the United States. The harm done only begins with top secret information now in the hands of the terrorists, who have just received a lengthy insert for their training manual. Across the world, governments that have helped us capture terrorists will fear that sensitive joint operations will be compromised. And at the CIA, operatives are left to wonder if they can depend on the White House or Congress to back them up when the going gets tough. Why should any agency employee take on a difficult assignment when, even though they act lawfully and in good faith, years down the road the press and Congress will treat everything they do with suspicion, outright hostility, and second-guessing? Some members of Congress are notorious for demanding they be briefed into the most sensitive intelligence programs. They support them in private, and then head for the hills at the first sign of controversy.
As far as the interrogations are concerned, all that remains an official secret is the information we gained as a result. Some of his defenders say the unseen memos are inconclusive, which only raises the question why they won’t let the American people decide that for themselves. I saw that information as vice president, and I reviewed some of it again at the National Archives last month. I’ve formally asked that it be declassified so the American people can see the intelligence we obtained, the things we learned, and the consequences for national security. And as you may have heard, last week that request was formally rejected. It’s worth recalling that ultimate power of declassification belongs to the President himself. President Obama has used his declassification power to reveal what happened in the interrogation of terrorists. Now let him use that same power to show Americans what did not happen, thanks to the good work of our intelligence officials.
I believe this information will confirm the value of interrogations – and I am not alone. President Obama’s own Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Blair, has put it this way: “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al-Qaeda organization that was attacking this country.” End quote. Admiral Blair put that conclusion in writing, only to see it mysteriously deleted in a later version released by the administration – the missing 26 words that tell an inconvenient truth. But they couldn’t change the words of George Tenet, the CIA Director under Presidents Clinton and Bush, who bluntly said: “I know that this program has saved lives. I know we’ve disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us.” End of quote.
If Americans do get the chance to learn what our country was spared, it’ll do more than clarify the urgency and the rightness of enhanced interrogations in the years after 9/11. It may help us to stay focused on dangers that have not gone away. Instead of idly debating which political opponents to prosecute and punish, our attention will return to where it belongs – on the continuing threat of terrorist violence, and on stopping the men who are planning it.
For all the partisan anger that still lingers, our administration will stand up well in history – not despite our actions after 9/11, but because of them. And when I think about all that was to come during our administration and afterward – the recriminations, the second-guessing, the charges of “hubris” – my mind always goes back to that moment.
To put things in perspective, suppose that on the evening of 9/11, President Bush and I had promised that for as long as we held office – which was to be another 2,689 days – there would never be another terrorist attack inside this country. Talk about hubris – it would have seemed a rash and irresponsible thing to say. People would have doubted that we even understood the enormity of what had just happened. Everyone had a very bad feeling about all of this, and felt certain that the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Shanksville were only the beginning of the violence.
Of course, we made no such promise. Instead, we promised an all-out effort to protect this country. We said we would marshal all elements of our nation’s power to fight this war and to win it. We said we would never forget what had happened on 9/11, even if the day came when many others did forget. We spoke of a war that would “include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success.” We followed through on all of this, and we stayed true to our word.
To the very end of our administration, we kept al-Qaeda terrorists busy with other problems. We focused on getting their secrets, instead of sharing ours with them. And on our watch, they never hit this country again. After the most lethal and devastating terrorist attack ever, seven and a half years without a repeat is not a record to be rebuked and scorned, much less criminalized. It is a record to be continued until the danger has passed.
Along the way there were some hard calls. No decision of national security was ever made lightly, and certainly never made in haste. As in all warfare, there have been costs – none higher than the sacrifices of those killed and wounded in our country’s service. And even the most decisive victories can never take away the sorrow of losing so many of our own – all those innocent victims of 9/11, and the heroic souls who died trying to save them.
For all that we’ve lost in this conflict, the United States has never lost its moral bearings. And when the moral reckoning turns to the men known as high-value terrorists, I can assure you they were neither innocent nor victims. As for those who asked them questions and got answers: they did the right thing, they made our country safer, and a lot of Americans are alive today because of them.
Like so many others who serve America, they are not the kind to insist on a thank-you. But I will always be grateful to each one of them, and proud to have served with them for a time in the same cause. They, and so many others, have given honorable service to our country through all the difficulties and all the dangers. I will always admire them and wish them well. And I am confident that this nation will never take their work, their dedication, or their achievements, for granted.
Thank you very much
(As posted on Weekly Standard Blog)
"Obama's is the speech of a ..... a part-time law professor--platitudinous and preachy, vague and pseudo-thoughtful in an abstract kind of way."
From William Kristol of the Weekly Standard on Oboma's speech this morning on closing Gitmo and ending enhanced interrogation of foreign enemy combatants.
I've read both speeches.
Obama's is the speech of a young senator who was once a part-time law professor--platitudinous and preachy, vague and pseudo-thoughtful in an abstract kind of way. This sentence was revealing: "On the other hand, I recently opposed the release of certain photographs that were taken of detainees by U.S. personnel between 2002 and 2004." "Opposed the release"? Doesn't he mean "decided not to permit the release"? He's president. He's not just a guy participating in a debate. But he's more comfortable as a debater, not as someone who takes responsibility for decisions.
Cheney's is the speech of a grownup, of a chief executive, of a statesman. He's sober, realistic and concrete, stands up for his country and its public officials, and has an acute awareness of the consequences of the choices one makes as a public official and a willingness to take responsibility for those choices.
Posted by William Kristol
Dick Chaney wrote this before Obama's speech but this is the best description of Obama's speech in which I will slightly paraphrase:
It was recklessness cloaked in righteousness, and will make the American people less safe.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Click on the title for a link to the youtube video. A thing of beauty and a thing to remember in tough times.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Happiness Is ... Being Old, Male and Republican..... that is the result of a Pew Research Survey. The survey also found that money was NOT a factor in older Republican Males being more happy.
"If you're thinking that Republicans are happy just because they perhaps make more money, that does not seem to be the case. The study that found Republicans to be happier than Democrats also showed that it held true even after adjusting for income."
I feel sorry for you unhappy Democrats.... maybe we need a government program to help out!
(Click on the title for a link to the news story on the survey)
Newsweek is cutting their circulation by 50% from 3.1 million to 1.5 million and joining the ranks of the New Republic in becoming an opinion journal of the left. They are also, in a recession, raising the newsstand cost from $4.98 to $5.98.
I let my subscript to Newsweek run out weeks ago. I have been receiving Newsweek for the last 40 years. I can remember before the Internet waiting for the postman to deliver my weekly Newsweek to devour the political news from Washington DC. No More. The liberal slant on the news, which was always there, has given way to outright opinion over news.I have seen this trend for several years but this last year it became very obvious. In fact, a little over a year ago I let my subscription expire only to renew it when they offered me a years subscription for $20.00 ($.39 per issue)However, even that became too much! In the last year my secretary when she brought me my office mail would purposely not bring in Newsweek because she became tired of my expressions of outrage over another Obama "puff piece". So long Newsweek it was nice knowing you. Now, if only I could get a years subscription to National Review for $20.00 !
The Golden Age of Track & Field has returned to Eugene, Oregon aka Track Town, USA! This last weekend both the Men's and Women's teams won the PAC-10 Championship at Hayward Field in Eugene.Last year the Olympic Track & Field Trials were held in Eugene.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
On Saturday I had a seven hour job of washing our house windows inside and out. Because of the heat I started at about 9 am outside and got our upstairs bedroom window and then had the outside done by noon. We have a three story house and it takes a long pole and a ladder to get the top floor windows. I then took a short brake and then as temperatures hovered in the upper 80's I did the windows inside. It's a job I hate but I like clean windows. My wife was a big help when I was on the ladder ....holding it and handing me my equipment so I could save a few trips up and down the ladder. However, it was a beautiful day in Medford, Oregon.
From the Weekly Standard Blog:
For weeks now Democrats -- particularly the DNC -- have been embracing Cheney's high-profile attacks and pointing to his low public approval numbers as evidence that the strategy would backfire. Left-wing blogs happily echoed the party's message and amplified every statement Cheney made on the assumption that Cheney's support for a policy would be toxic, and public support for that position would necessarily erode.
Well, it didn't happen like that. Cheney had boxed Obama in, and the aggressive response from Democrats inside the administration and out has only made the box tighter. Even now, Cheney's unapologetic and strident defense of the Bush administration's interrogation tactics is driving the left to ever more preposterous arguments not against torture, but in defense of the very terrorists subjected to those tactics. Andrew Sullivan writes today that the "Bush-Cheney administration pesided over the worst attack on US soil in history and failed to capture or bring to justice any of its perpetrators." Is it possible that Sullivan has become so deluded as to believe that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, whose rough treatment Sullivan has obsessed on for months now, is a victim and not a perpetrator, indeed the mastermind, of that horrible attack?
Some liberals are starting to catch on. Mike Madden describes today how Cheney set the torture trap and snared not just Obama but also the once untouchable Speaker of the House.
As a result Obama has changed course and will not release the "interrogation photos and will keep the "tribunals" for the terrorist. This is driving the left craze.Pelosi then has her Thursday press conference and starts a war with the CIA over the fact she new about the interrogation tactics as early as 2002. Bad move!
AS Bill Kristol writes:
...while GOP operatives were wringing their hands about whether Republicans could recover from the Bush years, and while most senior Bush alumni were in hiding, Dick Cheney--Darth Vader himself, Mr. Unpopularity, the last guy you'd supposedly want out there making the case--stepped onto the field. He's made himself the Most Valuable Republican of the first four months of the Obama administration.....
Two Republican "strategists" spoke "on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid." Profiles in courage! One of them opined that Cheney is "entirely unhelpful." The other elaborated, "Even if he's right, he's absolutely the wrong messenger. . . . We want Bush to be a distant memory in the next election."
To have such a juvenile understanding of political dynamics, you'd have to be a prominent "Republican strategist." You might actually have both the Dole and McCain campaigns under your belt. Or perhaps you were one of those who encouraged the Bush White House to assume a fetal position on most issues in its second term and not fight back against slanders or defend their people, because to do so would spotlight the "wrong" issues or people.....
Now it's of course the case that Republicans have to do more than fight back. They need a forward-looking agenda in all areas. They can't just defend themselves against slanders or point out the flaws of their opponents. But they do have to fight back first.
After all, if you're behind on the scoreboard, and your defense is on the field--there's nothing better than to jam up a couple of running plays, sack the quarterback on a blitz, and force a punt from bad field position. The momentum changes as your offense takes over with a shot at putting some points on the board. Dick Cheney probably won't be the glamour quarterback of the Republican comeback. But he's proving to be a heck of a middle
Put down Dick Cheney as one of my heroes!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Former Speaker of the United State House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, said today that current Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, of San Francisco:
"has lied to the House” in claiming that she was never briefed by the CIA about the Bush administration’s use of waterboarding and other harsh tactics.
"I think she has lied to the House, and I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her. And I think this is a big deal. I don't think the Speaker of the House can lie to the country on national security matters,” Gingrich said.
He continued: "I think this is the most despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort I've seen in my lifetime."
"She is a trivial politician, viciously using partisanship for the narrowist of purposes, and she dishonors the Congress by her behavior."
"Speaker Pelosi's the big loser, because she either comes across as incompetent, or dishonest. Those are the only two defenses,” Gingrich said. “The fact is she either didn't do her job, or she did do her job and she's now afraid to tell the truth.”
Leon Panetta,CIA Director, appointed by Barack Obama responds to Pelosi:
There is a long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business. It predates my service with this great institution, and it will be around long after I’m gone. But the political debates about interrogation reached a new decibel level yesterday when the CIA was accused of misleading Congress.
Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing “the enhanced techniques that had been employed.” Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened. My advice — indeed, my direction — to you is straightforward: ignore the noise and stay focused on your mission. We have too much work to do to be distracted from our job of protecting this country.
We are an Agency of high integrity, professionalism, and dedication. Our task is to tell it like it is — even if that’s not what people always want to hear. Keep it up. Our national security depends on it.
If it wasn't so damaging to this country it would be funny.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
From William Jacobson's blog:
a full blow investigation and hearings will turn mostly on what the Democrats knew, and when they knew it. The Republicans mostly couldn't care less if they were "blamed" for keeping the country safe even if it necessitated waterboarding the mastermind of 9/11 to prevent further attacks. When faced with sacrificing a city versus using harsh interrogation methods, most voters would opt for harsh interrogation.
That the Democrats have more to lose is demonstrated by the looming fight between Democrats in Congress and the CIA. The Democrats are complaining that the CIA is out to get them through selective leaks of documents. These are the same Democrats who cheered when the CIA leaked information damaging to Bush administration policies. So that complaining is going to go no where
( To read more of Mr Jacobson's analysis click on the title for a link)
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
A University of Oregon Professor has withdrawn her appeal of a city decision allowing the University of Oregon to place a large “O” on the south side of Autzen Stadium without first meeting government requirements. The O is eight times larger than the city zoning rules allow.
(Click on the title for a link to the Register Guard story)
"O”! Say can you see from the Fairmount Hills
What so proudly we hailed at each fall football game.
Whose broad “O”and Yell “O”w through the replay of “The Pick”,
“O”er the back deck we watched was so gallantly shining.
And the roar of the crowd, the football bombs throwing in air,
Gave proof through the game that our Ducks was still there.
“O”! say does that “O” still stand high on Autzen
“O”er the land of the green and Yell”O”w and the home of the Ducks?
Monday, May 11, 2009
Obama laughing when someone wishes Limbaugh dead? Hard to take from the man who promised a new era of civility and elevated debate in Washington. (Click on the title for a link to the vidio)Note the others at the head table don't think it's quite as funny as the President of the United States! But then again they didn't spend twenty years at Reverend Wright's church.
Friday, May 08, 2009
Best line from Jack Kemp's Funeral today at the National Cathedral in Washington DC.
Click on the title to a link to a web site that has a very nice video on Jack Kemp. He was and always will be one of my heroes!
President-elect Barack Obama names Louis Caldera Director of White House Military Office
WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama announced today that Louis Caldera will serve as Director of the White House Military Office. Caldera brings a lifetime of military and public service to the Military Office, which coordinates all military support for Presidential operations.
“Louis has served his country with distinction in uniform and in government, and his pedigree is second-to-none. I know he’ll bring to the White House the same dedication and integrity that have earned him the highest praise in every post, from Secretary of the Army to university president,” said President-elect Obama.
Louis Caldera, Director, White House Military Office
Caldera has had a distinguished 30-year career as a soldier, lawyer, legislator, high ranking government official, university president and professor of law. In 1992, Caldera was elected to the California State Assembly, and later served in the Clinton administration. From 1997 to 1998, Caldera was managing director and chief operating officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service. From 1998 to 2001, he served as the nation’s 17th Secretary of the Army.(Clinton Administration) He has served as a vice chancellor for the California State University system and president of the University of New Mexico, after which he joined the faculty of the UNM School of Law as a tenured professor. Caldera is a member of the Board of Trustees of Claremont McKenna College and of The National World War II Museum, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Caldera is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and earned his law and business degrees at Harvard University in 1987, later practicing law in Los Angeles.
5 MONTHS LATER!
Today he resigned over the flap of flying Air fore One low over New York City for a photo shoot and scaring a lot of New Yorkers!
The incident, which cost over $328,000 in taxpayer dollars, frightened a broad swath of lower Manhattan, site of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center towers, and neighboring New Jersey,
With apologies to Francis Scott Key, but not Professor McKay Sohlberg or should I say S"O"hlbert!
"O”! Say can you see from the Fairmount Hills
What so proudly we hailed at each fall football game.
Whose broad “O”and Yell “O”w through the replay of “The Pick”,
“O”er the back deck we watched was so gallantly shining.
And the roar of the crowd, the football bombs throwing in air,
Gave proof through the game that our Ducks was still there.
“O”! say does that “O” sign still stand high on Autzen
“O”er the land of the green and Yell”O”w and the home of the Ducks?
Thursday, May 07, 2009
The campaigning between supporters of Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin has already started for 2012. I am conflicted between the two of them. My head is in favor of Mitt Romney and my heart belongs to Sarah Palin. However, this pro Palin video is one of the funiest I have seen in a long long time.
Click on the title for a link.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Michale Barone one of the best political reporters in the United States has a column today about how the Obama White House strong armed some bond holder who held bonds for Chrysler into subordinating their secured debt to the United Auto Workers unsecured claims as Chrysler went into Bankruptcy. Secured debts have priority over unsecured debts in Bankruptcy.
.....bankruptcy lawyer Tom Lauria said on a WJR talk show that morning. “One of my clients,” Lauria told host Frank Beckmann, “was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight.”......
The Chrysler negotiations will not be the last occasion for this administration to engage in bailout favoritism and crony capitalism. There’s a May 31 deadline to come up with a settlement for General Motors. And there will be others. In the meantime, who is going to buy bonds from unionized companies if the government is going to take their money away and give it to the union? We have just seen an episode of Gangster Government. It is likely to be part of a continuing series.
McKey Sohlberg, a University of Oregon associate professor of communications disorders and sciences,has filed a complaint with the City of Eugene that the yellow "O" on Autzen stadium is a violation of the city's sign code. Click on the title above for a link to the Eugene Register Guard Story.
I love the "O" and when it was put up I wondered what took them so long! It enhances the architecture of the stadium. It is beautiful and I wish I could see it from my front window.... it gives me a warm glow every time I see it. Unfortunately, I have to drive three hours from Medford to see it. Even if the professor doesn't like it she is attempting to ruin a symbol that gives a lot of people pleasure and brings a community together for 6 or 7 Saturdays each fall. Why would she do this?
One tongue-in-cheek theory is she is a Husky. I plugged Professor McKay Schlberg into "Google" and discovered she has a Ph.D.,in Educational Psychology, from the hated University of Washington in 1990 and a M.S.,in Speech-Language & Hearing Sciences, from the University of Washington,in 1984.
She may be right legally, I won't hazard a guess on that, but she is a "party pooper"!(Slang for One who declines to participate with enthusiasm, especially in the recreational activities of a group)
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
This is my day for finding people writing about movie director John Ford. During the lunch hour I went to the Jackson County Library here in Medford and found a cover story in the May 14, 2009 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine about "Bob Dylan's America" written by historian Douglas Brinkley. He has a long interview with Dylan in Europe during his spring concert tour. Among a lot of other topics, he talks about movie director John Ford.
Dylan considers director John Ford a great American artist. "I like his old films," Dylan says. "He was a man's man, and he thought that way. he never had his guard down. Put courage and bravery, redemption and a peculiar mix of agony and ecstasy on the screen in a brilliant dramatic manner. His movies were easy to understand. I like that period of time in American films. I think America has produced the greatest films ever. No other country has ever come close. The great movies that came out of America in the studio system, which a lot of people say is the slavery system, were heroic and visionary, and inspired people in a way that no other country has ever done. If film is the ultimate art form then you'll need to look no further than those film. Art has the ability to transform peoples live, and they did just that."
To read the entire cover story get the magazine as a newsstand or library near your.
David Brooks the token conservative at the New York Times has an interesting column today arguing that the Republicans can learn a lot by watching western movies directed by John Ford. He writes in part:
Republicans generally like Westerns. They generally admire John Wayne-style heroes who are rugged, individualistic and brave. They like leaders — from Goldwater to Reagan to Bush to Palin — who play up their Western heritage. Republicans like the way Westerns seem to celebrate their core themes — freedom, individualism, opportunity and moral clarity. But the greatest of all Western directors, John Ford, actually used Westerns to tell a different story. Ford’s movies didn’t really celebrate the rugged individual. They celebrated civic order..
For example, in Ford’s 1946 movie, “My Darling Clementine,” Henry Fonda plays Wyatt Earp, the marshal who tamed Tombstone. But the movie isn’t really about the gunfight and the lone bravery of a heroic man. It’s about how decent people build a town. Much of the movie is about how the townsfolk put up a church, hire a teacher, enjoy Shakespeare, get a surgeon and work to improve their manners
He points out that people who live in densely populated cities and suburbs want protection and community protection and not rugged individualism and that the Republican Party needs to appeal to these folks. To read his entire column click on the title for a link.
Jonah Goldberg of National Review online in "The Corner" blog offers this rebuttal:
Yeah, I suppose Western cowboy movies support that point — to a point. But Brooks seems to be arguing with strawmen and leaving out all sorts of important considerations.....
What is left out here is that most Republican talk of untrammeled freedom (which, I confess to hearing less of than David does) is in relation to the federal government. One of the binding convictions of conservatism and the Republican Party generally is the idea that the federal government is too intrusive on civic order and community norms. Certainly, one can add big government and high taxation to that long list of challenges to the family and local community without becoming a radical invidualist.
My larger problem with Brooks's approach is that it is corrupted with category errors. Local communities are different than sprawling continental nations. Sure there are themes of both community and individualism in Westerns, but how anyone could anchor a column around the movie My Darling Clementine, and see it as an inspiration for a Washington-led political agenda is beyond me. I've seen a lot of Westerns. Few of them support the idea that people should look to Washington for guidance — never mind orders — on how to organize their lives. Of course, David is right that Westerns celebrate civic order and community life. But he misses the point that they also celebrate localism and actual communities. David talks about how people feel like they want to belong to a community and then ticks off stuff about environmentalism, class status, and capitalism. These are all worthy issues, but they have little to do with what most people have in mind when they talk of community, or at least most conservatives.
I suspect this stuff is in his next book, because it's a theme he keeps revisiting. I do hope he spends at least a little time differentiating between his idea of a community-driven approach to politics from Hillary Clinton's, because this sounds an awful lot like a Republican version of It Takes A Village.
I tend to agree more with Jonah; but, I think Brooks has a point that "Rugged Individualism," as mush as I love it, may not appeal to the guy in a large suburb who has to drive two hours to work each day and is afraid his kid is joining a gang.In any case they are still talking or writing about director John Ford and he has been dead for 36 years. He would love it. His movies live on!
Put this in the category, that is becoming a trend with the Obama Administration's foreign policy ,that it's better to be an enemy of the United State than a long standing friend.
According to The Jerusalem Post, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Obama "Enforcer" has said, according to sources in Washington,that the task of forming an international coalition to thwart Iran's nuclear program will be made easier if progress is made in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Israeli TV stations had reported Monday night that Emanuel had actually linked the two matters, saying that the efforts to stop Iran hinged on peace talks with the Palestinians. The remarks were reportedly made in a closed-door meeting previous day with 300 major AIPAC donors on Sunday.
Of course, this this is bad policy for both the United States and Israel for three reasons:
1. Even if Israel were to make large concessions to the Palestinians this would not bring peace to Israel,the Middle East nor would it stop Iran from their progress toward nuclear weapons. Only destroying Israel will satisfy the Palestinians and Iran.
2. It is just as much in the United States interest to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program as Israel's. No amount of concessions by the Israel will cause the "international coalition" to do anything meaningful regarding Iran's nuclear weapons program.They just don't have the courage or will. They use the Palestinian issue as an excuse and cover for their unwillingness to act.This is a "smoke screen" by the other Arab countries, Western Europe, Russia and China.
3. Regardless of what Israel does or doesn't do the Obama Administration will not do what is necessary to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program. The Obama Administration finds it much easier to pressure our friends than our enemies.
If Israel wants to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program they will have to do it themselves without any help from the United States.
Click on the title for a link to The Jerusalem Post news story.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Tonight I recived the following email from the Oregon Club of Southern Oregon:
DUFFIN' FORE THE DUCKS '09
Join the University of Oregon coaching and athletics staff in a great day of golf/fun and socializing on Friday, June 5, at Rogue Valley Country Club. Prizes awarded.
$195.00 for non Southern Oregon Duck Club Members and $160.00 for members. (Join now and save)
Entry fee includes, Golf, Tee Package, evening Dinner/Auction, Drinks on course, Pre-golf lunch Buffet, and an Oregon Duck apparel item.
Call Dave Schott at 773-3661 for reservations and more information.
Feel free to put a foursome together and register as a team. Or, invite your spouse to join you after golf for dinner by registering for the dinner/auction.
Brunch: 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Shotgun Start: 12:30 pm
Social/Silent Auction: 5:30 pm
Dinner: 7:00 pm
Oral Auction: After dinner and coaches' remarks
I then recived a second email on the Dinner/Auction:
OREGON DUCK DINNER/AUCTION at Duffin for Ducks
Come have dinner with new Oregon Football Coach Chip Kelly on Friday, June 5, at the Rogue Valley Country Club.
This will be Coach Kelly's first trip to Medford as Head Coach. There will also be an oral and silent auction with lots of Duck Trips and fun items. $40.00 per person.
Call Dave Schott (541) 773-3661 for more information and reservations.
Feel free to forward this message to your Duck friends, or other local sports fans who would like to hear Coach Kelly in Medford.
Sounds like a fun time, Go Ducks!
This weekend had "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:"
The Good, was my sister came down from Portland for a visit and we took her up to Callahan's lodge on Mt Ashland for lunch on Sunday. We don't get to see her very often and we had a good visit with her and her dog Obie. Thanks for coming down.
The Bad, was I missed going to the Oregon Duck Spring Football Game in Eugene. The weather forecast was for rain in Eugene and from reports from the game it was like a monsoon in the first half so I made the right choice but I sure miss Duck Football.To make up for missing the game I went over to my favorite music stores in Ashland on Saturday and got a rare Bob Dylan CD, "The Gaslight Tapes 1962." The CD is based upon a bootleg recording of an appearance at the Gaslight club in New York's Greenwich Village in 1962 before he became famous and is very good.
The Ugly, is the rain storm we had Saturday night. It poured very hard and the creek near our house got very high. It is now rainy here in Medford and we wonder where the beautiful Spring weather of last week went.