Tobacco Road Fogey

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Saturday, January 04, 2003

New Victor Davis Hanson article

Here's the latest from Dr. Hanson, commenting on the recent ramblings of Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). A sample:
The suburban soccer fields of Seattle are not quite the same type of places as the wilds of Yemen, the palaces of Riyadh, or the barracks of the Republican Guard. Senator Murray in her own life talks as though she has never bumped into anybody quite like Osama bin Laden. But our terrorist nemesis thinks he has seen quite a few Senator Murrays in the last two decades of impotent American responses to his campaign of terror ? guilt-ridden, naïve, and ultimately either too "moral" or too worried to crush him. And so far, Mr. Bin Laden has proved the more astute since he really would understand a Patty Murray far better than she him.

Sadly, prosperous Westerners never seem to learn of the folly of honoring appeasement and naiveté ? the awarding of Nobel Peace Prizes to the likes of a Le Duc Tho and Yasser Arafat, as if global praise might make them statesmen rather than murderers, to a Kim Dae Jung as if his demonstrable kindness would pacify rather than embolden North Korea, or to ex-President Carter as if his well-meaning parleys with tyrants could bring peace. As chief executive emeritus, his saintliness now plays well; but we forget in the rough and tumble of his presidency that Mr. Carter's brag that he had no "inordinate fear of Communism" was followed by the brutal Russian invasion of Afghanistan, that sending Ramsay Clark to apologize to the Iranians did not win the release of the American hostages in 1980, and that U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young's praise of Cuban troops in Africa and his clenched-fist, black-power salutes to African leaders did not stop Communist intervention and bloodletting abroad.

The United States cannot lose the struggle on the battlefield, as we did not lose the Vietnam conflict in the strict military sense either. But we most surely can fail in this war if our citizens and leaders reach for their checkbooks as the fundamentalists reach for their guns ? or convince themselves that our enemies fight because of something we, rather than they, did.



Just "Thanks"

The response I've had to "Ground Control to Rep. Rangel" has been, in a word, overwhelming. I'd just like to say thank you to all of the folks who have sent email or commented directly to the post. The support you have shown to me, my son, and the rest of my family has been truly inspirational.

I'd also like to say thanks to some of the other bloggers out there who spotted my little corner of the blog world and mentioned the article on their blogs -- some large, some small. It was truly amazing to watch my referrer log at and see new URLs popping up in the logs.

Thanks to:

Susanna Cornett
Bill Quick
Rev. Donald Sensing
Glenn Reynolds
John Hawkins
Jerry Lawson
Ian S.
Bill Dennis
Brett Bim

for your links, your comments, and your readers. If there is anyone that I've missed -- and there probably is, since my referrer logs only give me information on the most recent 100 visitors -- please drop me a note or leave a comment, so I can add you to this list.

Finally, I'd like to thank the members of our armed forces. It's men and women like you that we all owe more to than we can possibly repay. My son won't be joining you for a few months yet, but you can bet that all of us here at FogeyBase will be remembering and praying for all of you in the coming months.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Ground Control to Rep. Rangel

John Hawkins and Sgt. Stryker have already done more-than-adequate takedowns of Congressman Charles Rangel's latest raving fantasy suggestion for improving the U.S. military. Let me toss in my two cents worth.

This holiday season has been a bittersweet one here at FogeyBase. Like most people, we've had our share of sick relatives and friends, and we lost a couple of them around Thanksgiving. That would be enough to take the festive edge off the holidays, but it's not the biggest reason why I'm feeling sort of wistful these days.

I'm the proud pop of two sons -- soon to be ages 18 and 17. Their mother and I separated and divorced years ago, when the Foglets were barely toddlers. She saw a need to return to her hometown up North and took the Foglets with her, where they've been living for about fifteen years, and I've been doing the summer-vacation-and-holidays thing with them ever since. They get along great with the present FogeySpouse -- even standing up with us at our wedding when they could've sat in the pew with their grandparents -- and Christmas has been an extra-special time for all of us.

In mid-September, I got a telephone call from NumberOneFoglet. "Dad," he said, "I've decided to go in the Army when I graduate from high school next June. I've signed the papers, I go to basic in July, and I'm gonna get $50,000 for college."

When my heart started beating again, I asked a few more questions and got some answers I didn't really want to hear. My oldest son, who last Christmas was talking about being a high-school history teacher, has now decided he's not ready for college and wants to travel. He talked to the recruiters and the Army gave him what he thinks is the best deal, in exchange for four years of being a tank crewman.

"Yeah, dad, I do my basic training and AIT at Fort Knox, Kentucky, then I get to go to Korea for armored training."

In September, the word "Korea" was an ordinary word. I had a former co-worker who had been an Army Ranger and had done a couple of tours in Korea -- even married a Korean woman -- and had survived to tell some pretty rollicking stories about his time there.

But now, Korea....

The thought of my boy being a new GI in Korea this time next year is almost more than I can stand. Don't get me wrong: I'm proud of my son, of his desire to serve his country, of his obvious patriotism, and his willingness to take on a dangerous and honorable job.


Congressman Rangel, I know you served this country bravely fifty-odd years ago in that same land. You were there with a varied bunch of guys -- some draftees, some volunteers, some older WWII vets, some career guys. You saw the hell of war up close and personal.

My boy's a volunteer. He wants to join one of, if not the best and most professional military organizations that this planet has ever seen. He wants to test himself against other proud professionals.

He's willing to risk his life for the chance to travel and for the GI educational benefits.

He wants to drive a tank someday.

Save the anti-war politicking for another time, Congressman

I want to know that, if my boy has to put his butt on the line for this country, he's going to be accompanied by other brave men like him. Brave men who believe in the mission and who believe in each other.

Highly trained men. Professionals.

All of them.

Sons and brothers, daughters and sisters of families who support them and pray for them to return safely home.

They are not bargaining chips in your cheap, rhetorical, political game.

One of them is my kid.

I'll give him to my country, even for tawdry and divisive people like you have become in the past fifty years, Congressman, because this country is worth fighting for and dying for.

But I'll never forgive your efforts to cheapen the value of that gift, Congressman.


Mooooovin' on up...

I see that my junior -- soon to be senior -- U.S. senator is zeroing his sights on the East Room, the West Wing, and the Oval Office, with a desire for a four-year lease starting in January 2005. After less than four years in the Senate, he thinks he has the right stuff to become the next Leader of the Free World.

Sorry, Senator Edwards. Given the recent electoral history of your current seat -- Morgan, East, Broyhill, Sanford, Faircloth, and Edwards have held the seat since 1975, none of whom was successful in getting re-elected (Morgan lost his re-election bid to East, East died in office, Broyhill was appointed to replace East and lost to Sanford for re-election, Faircloth defeated Sanford and was defeated for re-election by Edwards, and Edwards has not yet run for re-election) -- you might do better to work on re-election to the Senate. In my lifetime (11 elections since 1960), North Carolina's electoral votes have gone to a Democrat only three times -- JFK in 1960, LBJ in 1964, and Carter in 1976. Shoot, we even voted for Bush the Elder and "Viagra" Bob Dole over the Big Dog.

Seems to me that my fellow Tar Heels prefer our Presidents the same way we like our barbecue -- with a fair amount of seasoning. Carter was the exception, and we turned on him in favor of Reagan four years later. If the Republican party can field a good statewide candidate for Edwards' Senate seat, the "Man from Robbins" will probably become living proof of Andy Warhol's old saying about fame.

Of course, going back to being a multi-millionaire personal-injury trial lawyer wouldn't be such a tough life, either.



A belated Happy New Year to all, especially those of you stopping by after visiting Meryl's place. You show your good taste in visiting her stop on the 'Net -- I hope your visit here doesn't seem too much like slumming.

For the record, I'm a big fan of Meryl, too. If I'm lucky, sometime in the next few weeks or months I'll find my own voice for this blog, and if I'm really lucky, my voice will be as clear and clueful as Meryl's.

Enjoy the show, stop in again soon, and let me know what you think, even if you think I'm a wedgehead in need of a round or two with the Cluestick.

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Make a mountain out of a molehill dept....

Andrea and Meryl make note of this article by playwright David Mamet, which suggests that Clancy is an anti-Semite.

Might I suggest, ladies, that you read the books and decide for yourselves whether or not Mr. Mamet has accurately characterized them. I have read both of the books in question -- multiple times -- and can't see any anti-Semitism in either of them. I see plenty of anti-Islamism in The Sum of All Fears and plenty of anti-China sentiment in The Bear and the Dragon, but no anti-Semitism or anti-Israel sentiment in either of them.

It's obvious to me that Mr. Mamet didn't get past the first hundred or so pages in either book before tossing his snide little comments into his essay.



According to DEBKAfile, Hizballah had a minor problem with deployment of some of their latest military equipment:
Military sources consulted by DEBKAfile ascribe the missile explosion to three possible causes:

A. One of the recently delivered Iraqi missiles exploded accidentally while being unpacked and stowed in an underground bunker by Hizballah teams.

If this is what happened, then the missiles were armed when they made their way from northern Iraq through Syria to eastern Lebanon ? either because the consignment was approved by the Iraqi leadership in great haste, leaving no time to disarm them, or to enable the transport crew to target Israel if attacked from the ground or air.

B. One of the missiles was set up for launching against Israel and exploded prematurely. For the Hizballah, shooting even one missile into northern Israel would have gained the group enormous prestige in its Arab and Muslim milieu, while Israel would have found it hard to justify a large-scale response to a single missile. Had it landed in an open space, the Hizballah would have claimed it was misfired.

Our Lebanese sources report that the Iraqi ruler, Saddam Hussein, is leaning hard on the Hizballah secretary general, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, to open a warfront against Israel in the hope of easing US military pressure on Iraq.

C. The Hizballah was setting the missile up for a practice launch when it blew up. This is unlikely as the Beqaa Valley is not the logical place for testing medium or long range missiles. From there they can only be fired at Syria, Israel or the Mediterranean. Of the three, Israel would make the most sense.

Hizballah officials and media have been working overtime to play down the missile mishap and divert attention from the heavy casualty toll and massive destruction it engendered ? a far cry from the blaze of glory that Nasrallah envisioned would be his when he staged his first missile attack on the Jewish state, whether the weapon he launched was supplied by Syria, Iran or Iraq.
Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of folks. Thanks to Little Green Footballs for the link.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

End of an era

The home of the Big Red Machine is no more

Just as an aside, I remember where I was when Hank Aaron hit the home run that tied Babe Ruth's record at (then) Riverfront Stadium. I was sitting in my tenth grade World History class, passing notes back and forth with my JV baseball teammate who had smuggled a transistor radio into class so he could listen to the game. When Aaron hit the home run, my teammate couldn't help himself and let out a whoop, which drew the attention of our teacher back to our corner of the room. When the teacher asked what the problem was, Steve told him about the home run and we spent the rest of the class discussing the joys of baseball.


Must be an American expatriate

Great column in the Calgary Sun. Nice to know that there are a few folks with sense north of the border.

Here's a sample:
Although it may seem the 'peace missions' we are now seeing are just laughable, they are actually quite dangerous.

For, while we know the U.S. and Britain will carry the day and topple Saddam -- and ultimately neutralize other rogue nations, too -- the so-called 'peace missions' to Iraq are dangerous in that they give succour to these regimes.

They allow, as did the 'peace movements' in the Nazi and Communist eras, the likes of Saddam, Kim, Gadhafi and Castro to paint a picture to their peoples of substantial support in the West and substantial opposition to Bush and Blair.

Members of these peace missions are either witting or unwitting pawns of the dictators.

They are dupes, or as Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin would put it, "useful idiots."
Found via Daily Pundit.

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