Friday, February 23, 2007

My final word (hopefully) on Jim Zumbo

David E. Petzal, a writer for Field & Stream Magazine speaks on Jim Zumbo. I agree 100% with what he says. I only hope that many of the people he's talking to, take it to heart.
ZUMBOMANIA: David E. Petzal’s take on the Jim Zumbo fiasco

In case you just emerged from a coma and have not heard, the shooting world is agog over a blog posted by Jim Zumbo, former contributing editor at Outdoor Life, over the weekend of February 17. In it, Jim stated that any semiauto rifle with an AR or AK prefix was a terrorist rifle, had no place in hunting, and should be outlawed for that purpose. Then, courtesy of the Internet and all its blogs and chatrooms, the roof fell in.

The speed with which Zumbomania spread, the number of comments it drew, and the rabid nature of same were a revelation. Overnight, this thing became as big as Janet Jackson’s clothing failure or—dare I say it?—Britney Spears’ shaved head. Jim Zumbo is now as employable as the Unabomber, and Sarah Brady will no doubt adopt his comments to her own gun-control purposes.

For the last several days I’ve been visiting all manner of blogs and chatrooms, which has reminded me of when I used to deliver used clothing to the local mental hospital. I’ve tried to make some sense of it all, but because the waters are still full of blood and body parts continue to rain from the sky, I haven’t come up with any Great Truths. Lacking that, here are some Lesser Truths.

What Jim said was ill-considered. He’s entitled to his beliefs, but when a writer of his stature comes out against black guns, it sure as hell does not help our cause.

Even so, Jim made an immediate apology. He did not equivocate, or qualify, or make excuses. He acted like a gentleman and said he was wrong, and he was sorry. Apparently this is not enough anymore. We now live in the era of one strike and you're out.

For 40 years, Jim has been a spokesman and ambassador of good will for hunting. Through his tireless efforts as a teacher and lecturer on hunting and hunting skills, he has done more for the sport than any 250 of the yahoos who called for his blood.

Jim has paid dearly for what he said. He has lost his blog and his association with Remington. Cabela’s has suspended its sponsorship of his TV show; and Outdoor Life has accepted his offer to sever ties. To all the chatroom heroes who made him unemployable, I have a word of warning: You’ve been swinging a two-edged sword. A United States in which someone can be ruined for voicing an unpopular opinion is a dangerous place. Today it was Jim’s turn. Tomorrow it may be yours.

If Sarah Brady is smart—and she is very smart—she will comb through the same blogs and chatrooms I’ve been reading, excerpt some of the most vicious and foul-mouthed entries, print them up, and distribute them to Congress. Then it will be interesting to see how the men and women who wrote that stuff enjoy seeing their efforts being put to use by every anti-gunner in America.

Stay tuned.

Current Mood: Hopeful
Current Music: Village People - Key West
Current Pistol: Para-Ordnance P14 .45ACP

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The missing blog pages from Jim Zumbo

For your edification, here is Mr. Zumbo's Original post to his now defunct blog.
Assault Rifles For Hunters?

As I write this, I'm hunting coyotes in southeastern Wyoming with Eddie Stevenson, PR Manager for Remington Arms, Greg Dennison, who is senior research engineer for Remington, and several writers. We're testing Remington's brand new .17 cal Spitfire bullet on coyotes.

I must be living in a vacuum. The guides on our hunt tell me that the use of AR and AK rifles have a rapidly growing following among hunters, especially prairie dog hunters. I had no clue. Only once in my life have I ever seen anyone using one of these firearms.

I call them "assault" rifles, which may upset some people. Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity. I'll go so far as to call them "terrorist" rifles. They tell me that some companies are producing assault rifles that are "tackdrivers."

Sorry, folks, in my humble opinion, these things have no place in hunting. We don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them, which is an obvious concern. I've always been comfortable with the statement that hunters don't use assault rifles. We've always been proud of our "sporting firearms."

This really has me concerned. As hunters, we don't need the image of walking around the woods carrying one of these weapons. To most of the public, an assault rifle is a terrifying thing. Let's divorce ourselves from them. I say game departments should ban them from the praries and woods.

And the following was his apology
I was wrong, BIG TIME

Someone once said that to err is human. I just erred, and made without question, the biggest blunder in my 42 years of writing hunting articles.

My blog inflamed legions of people I love most..... hunters and shooters. Obviously, when I wrote that blog, I activated my mouth before engaging my brain.

Let me explain the circumstances surrounding that blog. I was hunting coyotes, and after the hunt was over and being beat up by 60 mph winds all day, I was discussing hunting with one of the young guides. I was tired and exhausted, and I should have gone to bed early. When the guide told me that there was a "huge" following of hunters who use AR 15's and similar weapons to hunt prairies dogs, I was amazed. At that point I wrote the blog, and never thought it through.

Now then, you might not believe what I have to say, but I hope you do. How is it that Zumbo, who has been hunting for more than 50 years, is totally ignorant about these types of guns. I don't know. I shot one once at a target last year, and thought it was cool, but I never considered using one for hunting. I had absolutely no idea how vast the numbers of folks are who use them.

I never intended to be divisive, and I certainly believe in United we Stand, Divided we Fall. I've been an NRA member for 40 years, have attended 8 national NRA conventions in the last 10 years, and I'm an advisory board member for the United States Sportsmen's Alliance which actively fights anti-hunters and animal rights groups for hunter's rights.

What really bothers me are some of the unpatriotic comments leveled at me. I fly the flag 365 days a year in my front yard. Last year, through an essay contest, I hosted a soldier wounded in Iraq to a free hunt in Botswana. This year, through another essay contest, I'm taking two more soldiers on a free moose and elk hunt.

When I started blogging, I was told to write my thoughts, expressing my own opinion. The offensive blog I wrote was MY opinion, and no one else's. None of the companies that I deal with share that opinion, nor were they aware of what I had written until this firestorm started.

Believe it or not, I'm your best friend if you're a hunter or shooter, though it might not seem that way. I simply screwed up. And, to show that I'm sincere about this, I just talked to Ted Nugent, who everyone knows, and is a Board member of the NRA. Ted is extremely active with charities concerning our wounded military, and though he's known as a bowhunter, Ted has no problem with AR 15's and similar firearms. My sincerity stems from the fact that Ted and I are planning a hunt using AR 15's. I intend to learn all I can about them, and again, I'm sorry for inserting my foot in my mouth.

I did not hear the podcast, but he was reportedly on Tom Gresham's Gun Talk. According to one listener, his apology was sincere. Too bad he's messed up his career now. He should know, guns are guns, are guns. If you support the 2nd Amendment, it doesn't just mean "sporting" firearms. It means ALL firearms.

We need to learn a lesson from this. NEVER post to your blog when you're tired, exhausted, intoxicated or just plain angry. (No, I'm not saying he was ALL of these, but I believe, he was at least tired.)

One other thing, Mr. Zumbo quoted a well known line, or at least, part of it. He said, "To err is human." Well, I think most of us know the follow up is, "To forgive, devine." How about some forgiveness folks? It won't hurt, he's already lost his blog and his sponsors.

Current Mood: Hopeful
Current Music: Q Lazzarus - GoodBye Horses (Music from "Silence of the Lambs")
Current Gun: Para-Ordnance P14 .45ACP

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

An Honest Confession by an American Coward

An Honest Confession by an American Coward
Pat Conroy
Author: Pat Conroy
Source: This essay is from his book, My Losing Season.
Date: November 7, 2006

The true things always ambush me on the road and take me by surprise when I am drifting down the light of placid days, careless about flanks and rearguard actions. I was not looking for a true thing to come upon me in the state of New Jersey. Nothing has ever happened to me in New Jersey. But came it did, and it came to stay.

In the past four years I have been interviewing my teammates on the 1966-67 basketball team at the Citadel for a book I'm writing. For the most part, this has been like buying back a part of my past that I had mislaid or shut out of my life. At first I thought I was writing about being young and frisky and able to run up and down a court all day long, but lately I realized I came to this book because I needed to come to grips with being middle-aged and having ripened into a gray-haired man you could not trust to handle the ball on a fast break.

When I visited my old teammate Al Kroboth's house in New Jersey, I spent the first hours quizzing him about his memories of games and practices and the screams of coaches that had echoed in field houses more than 30 years before. Al had been a splendid forward-center for the Citadel; at 6 feet 5 inches and carrying 220 pounds, he played with indefatigable energy and enthusiasm. For most of his senior year, he led the nation in field-goal percentage, with UCLA center Lew Alcindor hot on his trail. Al was a battler and a brawler and a scrapper from the day he first stepped in as a Green Weenie as a sophomore to the day he graduated. After we talked basketball, we came to a subject I dreaded to bring up with Al, but which lay between us and would not lie still.

"Al, you know I was a draft dodger and antiwar demonstrator."

"That's what I heard, Conroy," Al said. "I have nothing against what you did, but I did what I thought was right."

"Tell me about Vietnam, big Al. Tell me what happened to you," I said.

On his seventh mission as a navigator in an A-6 for Major Leonard Robertson, Al was getting ready to deliver their payload when the fighter-bomber was hit by enemy fire. Though Al has no memory of it, he punched out somewhere in the middle of the ill-fated dive and lost consciousness. He doesn't know if he was unconscious for six hours or six days, nor does he know what happened to Major Robertson (whose name
is engraved on the Wall in Washington and on the MIA bracelet Al wears).

When Al awoke, he couldn't move. A Viet Cong soldier held an AK-47 to his head. His back and his neck were broken, and he had shattered his left scapula in the fall. When he was well enough to get to his feet (he still can't recall how much time had passed), two armed Viet Cong led Al from the jungles of South Vietnam to a prison in Hanoi. The journey took three months. Al Kroboth walked barefooted through the most impassable terrain in Vietnam, and he did it sometimes in the dead of night. He bathed when it rained, and he slept in bomb craters with his two Viet Cong captors. As they moved farther north, infections
began to erupt on his body, and his legs were covered with leeches picked up while crossing the rice paddies.

At the very time of Al's walk, I had a small role in organizing the only antiwar demonstration ever held in Beaufort, South Carolina, the home of Parris Island and the Marine Corps Air Station. In a Marine Corps town at that time, it was difficult to come up with a quorum of people who had even minor disagreements about the Vietnam War. But my small group managed to attract a crowd of about 150 to Beaufort's waterfront. With my mother and my wife on either side of me, we listened to the featured speaker, Dr. Howard Levy, suggest to the very few young enlisted Marines present that if they get sent to Vietnam, here's how they can help end this war: Roll a grenade under your officer's bunk when he's asleep in his tent. It's called fragging and is becoming more and more popular with the ground troops who know this war is bullsh*t. I was enraged by the suggestion. At that very moment my father, a Marine officer, was asleep in Vietnam. But in 1972, at the age of 27, I thought I was serving America's interests by pointing out what massive flaws and miscalculations and corruptions had led her to conduct a ground war in Southeast Asia.

In the meantime, Al and his captors had finally arrived in the North, and the Viet Cong traded him to North Vietnamese soldiers for the final leg of the trip to Hanoi. Many times when they stopped to rest for the night, the local villagers tried to kill him. His captors wired his hands behind his back at night, so he trained himself to sleep in the center of huts when the villagers began sticking knives and bayonets into the thin walls.

Following the U.S. air raids, old women would come into the huts to excrete on him and yank out hunks of his hair. After the nightmare journey of his walk north, Al was relieved when his guards finally delivered him to the POW camp in Hanoi and the cell door locked behind him.

It was at the camp that Al began to die. He threw up every meal he ate and before long was misidentified as the oldest American soldier in the prison because his appearance was so gaunt and skeletal. But the extraordinary camaraderie among fellow prisoners that sprang up in all the POW camps caught fire in Al, and did so in time to save his life.

When I was demonstrating in America against Nixon and the Christmas bombings in Hanoi, Al and his fellow prisoners were holding hands under the full fury of those bombings, singing "God Bless America." It was those bombs that convinced Hanoi they would do well to release the American POWs, including my college teammate. When he told me about the C-141 landing in Hanoi to pick up the prisoners, Al said he felt no emotion, none at all, until he saw the giant American flag painted on the plane's tail. I stopped writing as Al wept over the memory of that flag on that plane, on that morning, during that time in the life of America.

It was that same long night, after listening to Al's story, that I began to make judgments about how I had conducted myself during the Vietnam War.

In the darkness of the sleeping Kroboth household, lying in the third-floor guest bedroom, I began to assess my role as a citizen in the '60s, when my country called my name and I shot her the bird. Unlike the stupid boys who wrapped themselves in Viet Cong flags and burned the American one, I knew how to demonstrate against the war without flirting with treason or astonishingly bad taste. I had come directly from the warrior culture of this country and I knew how to act.

But in the 25 years that have passed since South Vietnam fell, I have immersed myself in the study of totalitarianism during the unspeakable century we just left behind. I have questioned survivors of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, talked to Italians who told me tales of the Nazi occupation, French partisans who had counted German tanks in the forests of Normandy, and officers who survived the Bataan Death March. I quiz journalists returning from wars in Bosnia, the Sudan, the Congo, Angola, Indonesia, Guatemala, San Salvador, Chile, Northern Ireland, Algeria.

As I lay sleepless, I realized I'd done all this research to better understand my country. I now revere words like democracy, freedom, the right to vote, and the grandeur of the extraordinary vision of the founding fathers. Do I see America's flaws? Of course. But I now can honor her basic, incorruptible virtues, the ones that let me walk the streets screaming my ass off that my country had no idea what it was doing in South Vietnam. My country let me scream to my heart's content - the same country that produced both Al Kroboth and me.

Now, at this moment in New Jersey, I come to a conclusion about my actions as a young man when Vietnam was a dirty word to me. I wish I'd led a platoon of Marines in Vietnam. I would like to think I would have trained my troops well and that the Viet Cong would have had their hands full if they entered a firefight with us. From the day of my birth, I was programmed to enter the Marine Corps. I was the son of a Marine fighter pilot, and I had grown up on Marine bases where I had watched the men of the corps perform simulated war games in the forests of my childhood. That a novelist and poet bloomed darkly in the house of Santini strikes me as a remarkable irony. My mother and father had raised me to be an Al Kroboth, and during the Vietnam era they watched in horror as I metamorphosed into another breed of fanatic entirely. I understand now that I should have protested the war after my return from Vietnam, after I had done my duty for my country. I have come to a conclusion about my country that I knew then in my bones but lacked the courage to act on: America is good enough to die for even when she is wrong.

I looked for some conclusion, a summation of this trip to my teammate's house. I wanted to come to the single right thing, a true thing that I may not like but that I could live with. After hearing Al Kroboth's story of his walk across Vietnam and his brutal imprisonment in the North, I found myself passing harrowing, remorseless judgment on myself. I had not turned out to be the man I had once envisioned myself to be. I thought I would be the kind of man that America could point to and say, "There. That's the guy. That's the one who got it right. The whole package. The one I can depend on."

It had never once occurred to me that I would find myself in the position I did on that night in Al Kroboth's house in Roselle, New Jersey: an American coward spending the night with an American hero.

Pat Conroy's novels include The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, and Beach Music. He lives on Fripp Island, South Carolina. This essay is from his forthcoming book, My Losing Season.

Current Mood: Proud to be an American
Current Music: None
Current Gun: Para-Ordnance P14 .45ACP

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Big boo boo, followed by mea culpa

(link 1)
(link 2)

Mr. Zumbo of Outdoor Life magazine made a big mistake with regards to gun owners. He posted a personal opinion on use of military style semi-autos for hunting. Ok, he made a big mistake. But he apologized for it (Link 2). Still, there are more than a few "holier than thou" types among us gun owners, who just can't forgive an honest mistake.

Of course, many of them don't believe it's an "honest mistake." That's more the pity. They're not willing to give the benefit of the doubt. They are not willing to take the high road of forgiveness. For that, I truly pity them. They forgot, "To err is human, to forgive divine."

I just hope, for their sakes, they never find themselves in a similar situation. If any of you do, just picture me laughing my ass off at you. It's something that I think should happen to all hypocrites.

Due to the overwhelming number of protesters, it appears that Outdoor life has caved into the pressure and suspended Zumbo's blog. Only time will tell if this is permanent or not.

While I disagree with Mr. Zumbo's mistaken position on semi-automatic military style rifles, I fail to see how ANYONE can tell if a person is sincere or not in their apology, when said apology is in a typed format.

Apparently, not only do we have a large number of saints still living, we also have a large number of clairvoyant people among the gun owning public. Accordingly, the links no longer lead to Mr. Zumbo's blog, but to the notice from Outdoor Life, regarding the removal of the blog.

Current Mood: disappointed
Current Music: None
Current Gun: Para-Ordnance P14 .45ACP

From the Mustang Bobby's blog

I found this on Mustang Bobby's "Bark Bark Woof Woof" Blog. I thought it was worth sharing with everyone who reads this blog.
Contrition - a fundamental act

Do you think fundamental religious leaders and their followers will ever acknowledge the harm to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people -like certain denominations have apologized for once condoning racism in America?

How close is the day when they realize bigotry disguised as religious truth not only harms others but themselves? How close is the day that they say they're sorry?

I can't answer how close that day is.

But I do know that I can no longer wait.

I carried the Religious Right's anti-gay banner for many years but am thrilled to say today that I'm no longer held captive by bigotry disguised as religious truth. It's tough admitting your words, thoughts and actions were once guided by bigotry. It's more difficult yet to realize the harm you caused.

Three years ago, I was in a conversation with a dear family member. As a 43-year-old fundamentalist-leaning Christian, I was railing about how homosexuals were out to destroy America. My mother stopped me mid-sentence with a question: "Was the attitude I held toward gay men and women truly a Christ-like attitude?"

I had so often stated how I "loved the sinner but not the sin" but I never stopped to consider if I really meant that. More importantly, what did the gay co-worker actually feel when I spoke those words. It seems consistent with God's message of love and forgiveness that I should treat everyone with love and compassion. But being reared in a fundamentalist Baptist church, I was taught that the Bible says homosexuals are engaged in sinful behavior and that they want to bring about moral decay within our society.

Yet, can any student of the Bible say that the overall message - from beginning to end - is not one of forgiveness, love and redemption? God calls upon Christians to love as Christ did. God forbids us from judging or condemning people based on what we consider sin. That, I believe the Bible says, is God's job. As I pondered these questions, God began to slowly open my heart and mind to what I know as truth today - gay men and lesbians are not wicked and evil individuals and their sexual orientation is simply how God created them. They have jobs, homes, families and many desire a meaningful relationship with God just as I do. While I'm no theologian, I believe deeply that God grants us the ability to discern spiritual truths. One truth that God allowed me to discern is that judging a group of people as wicked and evil because of their sexual orientation - and deeming them as unworthy of my association and unworthy of a relationship with God - was wrong.

It didn't reflect a Christ-like love toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Certain religious leaders who espouse attitudes of discrimination and condemnation when it comes to the issue of homosexuality are quick to say they love the homosexual - it's just their sexual orientation they have a problem with. We cannot have it both ways. Christ accepts us just as we are? Shouldn't we do the same?

Over time I have had the opportunity to speak with numerous of my gay and lesbian neighbors - some Christians, some of other faiths and some who profess no particular faith. They tell me how the harsh and condemning language coming from certain conservative Christian organizations causes them great psychological and emotional distress. When they hear Christians espousing a condemning and judgmental message, they feel no love, compassion or respect. Each time I hear this from a gay or lesbian person it reinforces what I came to realize about my past attitude toward homosexuals - condemning people as sinners because of their sexual orientation prevented me from showing the type love and compassion that Christ calls us to exhibit in all our relationships. Sometimes we accept certain biblical teachings as truth without placing those teachings up against God's overall message of love, forgiveness and redemption.

It often takes a step out in faith to question a long-held religious belief. Perhaps we're afraid that changing our belief on something we've accepted as truth will lead us to discard other truths found in God's Word. It reminds me of how Christ was perceived as a threat by religious leaders of his time because he challenged many of their long-standing religious beliefs and practices.

At the end of my days, this is what I will know in my heart: As I discarded my attitude of discrimination and condemnation toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, my faith was strengthened as I realized the difference between genuine love and insincere words.

It's ironic. After years of wanting to change what I perceived as the hardened hearts of homosexuals, God changed my heart instead.

There's one thing I still must do and thus the reason for this post.

To all the wonderful, decent and loving gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the world, I have to ask your forgiveness?

I unfortunately know that I can't undo the hurt that I caused with my condemning words and hateful thoughts, so it seems very insufficient to say I'm sorry.

But I am.

Brent Childers

Current Mood: Awake
Current Music: None
Current Gun: Taurus PT92AFS 9x19mm

Friday, February 16, 2007

US House of Reps rebukes the President, and "UN-supports" the troops.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Democratic-controlled House issued a symbolic rejection of President Bush's decision to deploy more troops to Iraq on Friday, opening an epic confrontation between Congress and commander in chief over an unpopular war that has taken the lives of more than 3,100 U.S. troops.

The vote on the non-binding measure was 246-182....

No matter how you white wash this vote, it was a slap in the face to US Service men and women serving in Iraq.

Speaking as a former soldier, if you don't support the mission, you ARE NOT supporting the troops. The best way to support the troops is to help them finish the mission... SUCCESSFULLY. Do it any other way, and it's Vietnam, all over again. And I would not want our current service men and women to go through that. I did, and I didn't even go to Vietnam, but because I was in during that time, I got the same treatment that our combat vets did, including getting spat upon, and called "baby killer."

I don't care if you like President Bush or not. This "non-binding resolution," is just the first step in a very wrong direction. If you are like me, in that you want to support the troops, contact "Non-Stop" Pelosi, and let her know you're not happy with this, so-called, non-binding resolution.

Office of the Speaker
H-232, US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-0100

On the other hand, if you agree with her, go ahead, let her know you agree. But know this, you are not worthy to shine my boots, if you agree with this cowardly, "non-binding" resolution.

As with most statements on this blog, this one is my personal opinion, and I don't expect everyone to agree. But I hope that most of you do.

Current Mood: Sad
Current Music: None
Current Gun: Para-Ordnance P14 .45ACP


While not really surprising, it is more than a little disappointing that our police chiefs would prefer to ignore this vital report. I expect such treatment from the press. But I expect better judgment from our top law enforcement officers.

BELLEVUE, WA – For more than two months, a damning report on a five-year study by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about how cop-killing criminals ignore gun laws and where they get their guns has languished in the shadows, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms revealed today.

“The public has a right to know the contents of this report, which was revealed to the International Association of Chiefs of Police last year,” said CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron. “According to the Force Science News, research focused on 40 incidents involving assaults or deadly attacks on police officers, in which all but one of the guns involved had been obtained illegally, and none were obtained from gun shows.”

The study is called “Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers.” Waldron called it a “smoking gun” in terms of revelations about the sources of crime guns. Anti-gun politicians and police chiefs do not want the public to know as they campaign against the so-called “gun show loophole,” he said.

The newsletter quotes Ed Davis, who told the IACP that none of these criminals who attacked police officers was “hindered by any law – federal, sate or local – that has ever been established to prevent gun ownership. They just laughed at gun laws.” The Force Science News is published by the Force Science Research Center, a non-profit institution based at Minnesota State University in Mankato. The newsletter also stated, “In contrast to media myth, none of the firearms in the study was obtained from gun shows.”....

If you want to read the rest, click on the link, here or at the top.


Current Mood: sad
Current Music: none
Current Gun: EAA Witness .45ACP

Another American Traitor in the Press.

Another American Traitor..Oops, I mean Journalist...
Mr. Arkin says the troops need to support the American People. I thought the that's what American troops have ALWAYS done. Usually in battle, with their lives.

While Mr. Arkin has the right to express his opinions, I also have the right to disagree. I think Mr. Arkin owes the American service men and women a HUGE apology.

Below is just a portion of Mr. Arkin's post. You can click on the link above to read the whole thing. I included the "highlights," for your edification.
William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security
The Troops Also Need to Support the American People

I've been mulling over an NBC Nightly News report from Iraq last Friday in which a number of soldiers expressed frustration with opposition to war in the United States.

I'm sure the soldiers were expressing a majority opinion common amongst the ranks - that's why it is news - and I'm also sure no one in the military leadership or the administration put the soldiers up to expressing their views, nor steered NBC reporter Richard Engel to the story.

I'm all for everyone expressing their opinion, even those who wear the uniform of the United States Army. But I also hope that military commanders took the soldiers aside after the story and explained to them why it wasn't for them to disapprove of the American people.

Friday's NBC Nightly News included a story from my colleague and friend Richard Engel, who was embedded with an active duty Army infantry battalion from Fort Lewis, Washington.

Engel relayed how "troops here say they are increasingly frustrated by American criticism of the war. Many take it personally, believing it is also criticism of what they've been fighting for."....

...These soldiers should be grateful that the American public, which by all polls overwhelmingly disapproves of the Iraq war and the President's handling of it, do still offer their support to them, and their respect.

Through every Abu Ghraib and Haditha, through every rape and murder, the American public has indulged those in uniform, accepting that the incidents were the product of bad apples or even of some administration or command order.

Sure, it is the junior enlisted men who go to jail. But even at anti-war protests, the focus is firmly on the White House and the policy. We don't see very many "baby killer" epithets being thrown around these days, no one in uniform is being spit upon.

So, we pay the soldiers a decent wage, take care of their families, provide them with housing and medical care and vast social support systems and ship obscene amenities into the war zone for them, we support them in every possible way, and their attitude is that we should in addition roll over and play dead, defer to the military and the generals and let them fight their war, and give up our rights and responsibilities to speak up because they are above society?.....

.....But it is the United States, and the recent NBC report is just an ugly reminder of the price we pay for a mercenary - oops sorry, volunteer - force that thinks it is doing the dirty work.

The notion of dirty work is that, like laundry, it is something that has to be done but no one else wants to do it. But Iraq is not dirty work: it is not some necessary endeavor; the people just don't believe that anymore.

I'll accept that the soldiers, in order to soldier on, have to believe that they are manning the parapet, and that's where their frustrations come in. I'll accept as well that they are young and naïve and are frustrated with their own lack of progress and the never changing situation in Iraq. Cut off from society and constantly told that everyone supports them, no wonder the debate back home confuses them.

America needs to ponder what it is we really owe those in uniform. I don't believe America needs a draft though I imagine we'd be having a different discussion if we had one.

Why is it, when it comes to the American military service men and women, the vast majority will ALWAYS be graded according to the excesses and crimes of the pitiful minority? What I mean is, we have a SMALL number of people in our military who committed a small number of crimes. Barely a percentage, as compared to the vast majority of law-abiding troops. Yet we constantly have these few crimes tossed into our faces, as though we all participated in the crimes.

I guess when you have nothing else sensational to write about, you have to drag up the past, just so you can rub our collective noses in the dirt one more time.

Frankly Mr. Arkin, you can kiss my big, white, hairy ass.

Current Mood: Angry
Current Music: Dulaman (Irish Folk Music) - Altan
Current Gun: Taurus PT92AFS 9x19mm

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Global Warming = Junk Science

Don't believe me? Click on the link, check out their info. Makes sense to me.

First, if the world is getting warmer, WHY do we have so much snow? I know, global warming.

Second, if the world is getting warmer, WHY has it been so cold this Winter? I know, global warming.

Third...Global Warming makes NO SENSE, unless of course you're a left wing weenie trying to take over the world. It's about the only political weapon they have left.

Current Mood: Amused
Current Music: None
Current Gun: Taurus PT92AFS 9x19mm