Sunday, June 25, 2006

Blogfather on terrorism and the media

Been busy at work and with company, so light on blogging.

Glenn Reynolds had an excellent post about the GWOT and the media. Money quote: "Terrorism is an information war disguised as a military operation. The press plays a symbiotic role, and isn't willing to address that." Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Utah is #1 in volunteer service

AP story reports study ranks Utah #1, neighboring state Nevada last.

Good news day

President surprises Iraqi PM with a personal visit.

Karl Rove won't be indicted.

"In God We Trust" lawsuit is dismissed.

Kennedy pleads guilty.

Hillary is booed by liberals (for supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom...).

A UC panel recommends firing Ward Churchill.

Pretty good news day for a guy like me.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Iran protest squelched

A demonstration for women's rights was scheduled for today in Iran's capital. I told a few of my Iranian friends that I would be with them in spirit today, for which they expressed their appreciation. Unfortunately, the rally was suppressed violently by thugs employed by the regime, although it appears there were no deaths or serious injuries. A photo essay appears here, and a more detailed account may be found here, with additional information and updates elsewhere on the Regime Change Iran blog.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

America in Good Hands

My father-in-law was a member of the first graduating class at the Air Force Academy, the class of '59. He received the following email today from a classmate.

It's self-explanatory.

Having just completed a week of reserve duty, having watched the Thunderbirds arrive at the base in formation in preparation for an air show this weekend, and as I approach receipt of my 20-year letter later this year for my service as an Air Force JAG, it makes me proud to belong -- again:

[The email:]
Why return to the Air Force Academy after Winter Break?

First year cadets at the Air Force Academy are allowed to leave the Academy without penalty up through the end of year Christmas break. Returning freshmen had the chore come commissioned officers in the U.S. Air Force. I hope this kid's hands in an airplane turn out half as good as his brains as a freshman at the U.S. Air Force Academy:

So after our sunburns have faded and the memories of our winter break have been reduced to pictures we've pinned on our desk boards, and once again we've exchanged t-shirts and swim suits for flight suits and camouflage, there still remains the question that every cadet at U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has asked themselves at some point: Why did we come back?

Why, after spending two weeks with our family would we return to one of the most demanding lifestyles in the country? After listening to our 'friends' who are home from State or Ivy League schools chock full of wisdom about how our war in Iraq is unjust and unworldly, why would we return? And after watching the news and reading the papers which only seem to condemn the military's every mistake and shadow every victory, why would we continue to think it is worth the sacrifice of a normal college life?

Is it because the institution to which we belong is tuition- free? Anyone who claims this has forgotten that we will, by the time we graduate, repay the US. taxpayer many times over in blood, sweat, and tears.

Is it because the schooling we are receiving is one of the best undergraduate educations in the country? While the quality of the education is second to none, anyone who provides this as a main reason has lost sight of the awesome responsibility that awaits those who are tough enough to graduate and become commissioned officers in the U.S. Air Force.

I come back to the Academy because I want to have the training necessary so that one day I'll have the incredible responsibility of leading the sons and daughters of America in combat. These men and women will never ask about my Academy grade point average, their only concern will be that I have the ability to lead them expertly; I will be humbled to earn their respect.

I come back to the Academy because I want to be the commander who saves lives by negotiating with Arab leaders... in their own language.

I come back to the Academy because, if called upon, I want to be the pilot who flies half way around the world with three mid-air refuelings to send a bomb from 30,000 feet into a basement housing the enemy... through a ventilation shaft two feet wide. For becoming an officer in today's modern Air Force is so much more than just command; it is being a diplomat, a strategist, a communicator, a moral compass, but always a warrior first.

I come back to the Air Force Academy because, right now, the United States is fighting a global war that is an 'away game' in Iraq - taking the fight to the terrorists. And whether or not we think the terrorists were in Iraq before our invasion, they are unquestionably there now. And if there is any doubt as to whether this is a global war, just ask the people in Amman, in London, in Madrid, in Casablanca, in Riyadh, and in Bali. This war must remain an away game because we have seen what happens when it becomes a home game...

I come back to the Academy because I want to be a part of that fight.

I come back to the Academy because I don't want my vacationing family to board a bus in Paris that gets blown away by someone who thinks that it would be a good idea to convert the Western world to Islam.

I come back to the Academy because I don't want the woman I love to be the one who dials her last frantic cell phone call while huddled in the back of an airliner with a hundred other people seconds away from slamming into the Capitol building.

I come back to the Academy because during my freshman year of high school I sat in a geometry class and watched nineteen terrorists change the course of history live on television. For the first time, every class currently at a U.S. Service Academy made the decision to join after the 2001 terror attacks. Some have said that the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan only created more terrorists... I say that the attacks of September 11th, 2001 created an untold more number of American soldiers; I go to school with 4,000 of them. And that's worth more than missing more than a few frat parties.

Joseph R. Tomczak, Cadet, Fourth Class, USAFA

The above was verified by Mike McGrath, who wrote on another net: “I am so skeptical of stuff that comes in that I usually check to see if it is Internet myth. I am sponsoring a plebe at the USAFA. And I checked with him to see if a classmate of his wrote the essay about why they returned from Christmas to the cold dark halls of the imperial palace. Here is his reply:

"The guy who wrote the paper is real. I have heard about his legendary essay but this is the first time I've read it. Apparently this essay has gone pretty high up in the Air Force Chain of Command. My mom has already read the essay. I don't know where exactly she read it." Mike

[End of the email]

UPDATE: The essay in the email is quoted on the Association of Graduates USAFA website.

UPDATE2: Colorado Senator Wayne Allard read Cadet Tomczak's essay into the Congressional Record, and on 28 April 2006, presented Tomczak with a framed copy of his essay during a Board of Visitors meeting at the Academy.

73 virgins in waiting...not

Alert reader, (my father-in-law) Dave Anderson, brought this cartoon to my attention.

Called to Serve

Elder David Madsen has been called to serve in the Canada Toronto West (Spanish-Speaking) Mission. Olé, eh?!

So, a foreign country -- but as close to the U.S. as you can get.

Burgers and fries -- but he'll learn a language (actually, two: see here and here).

Bittersweet for parents: he'll be in the right place doing the right thing -- but two years is a long time.

BYU Jerusalem Center to Re-open

After 5 1/2 years, BYU's Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies will reopen this fall with about 40 students (its capacity is 175).

Iraq al Qaeda "beheaded": Zarqawi dead

"Allahu Akhbar!"

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

"prince of al Qaeda in Iraq"
terrorist butcher

is dead.

Isaiah speaks for me:

[H]ow art thou cut down to the ground
[two 500-pound bombs delivered by USAF F-16s . . .],
which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven. . .
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee,
and consider thee, saying,
Is this the man that made the earth to tremble,
that did shake kingdoms . . .
[T]hou art . . . thrust through with a sword, . . .
because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people:
the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. . . .
Prepare slaughter for his children. . .
that they do not rise, nor possess the land . . . .
-- Isaiah 14:12-13, 15-16, 19, 20, 21 (emphasis added)

Oh, and one more thing:

Death to Terrorists!

And Long Live Freedom and Democracy on the Earth!

Friday, June 09, 2006

When death brings a smile

Late yesterday afternoon I heard the news that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the loathsome super-thug hailed by none other than Osama bin-Laden as a "prince of Al-Qaeda," had fallen victim to a couple of well-placed 500-pound bombs dropped from F-16 jets flying over what was supposed to be one of his safe houses. The first image that came to my mind was not of Zarqawi, however; rather, it was of the cover of the May 7, 1945 edition of Time magazine, which featured a stark image of Adolf Hitler's familiar visage with a red "X" drawn through it.

Inside, the account of Hitler's death included the observation that after nearly six years of carnage and slaughter all over Europe, news of this particular death, coming on the heels of the millions of others which had preceded it during the war, was actually greeted with smiles of relief -- and appropriately so.

I, for one, understand that sentiment, because I felt it yesterday when I learned of Zarqawi's violent demise. I also thought of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Herblock cartoon which appeared when Joseph Stalin died in 1953; it featured Death, looming dark and sinister in his black robe and hood, with his scythe held over his shoulder, greeting the newest arrival in his realm by saying, "You were always a good friend of mine, Joseph."

For some of my favorite commentaries about this bit of unquestionably good news, click here, here, and here.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thoughts on Haditha

Fox News reporter Rick Leventhal was embedded with the unit that was replaced by the unit involved in the civilian killings in Haditha. His thoughts, and those of his readers, appear here. Read all of it.

For my part, the American media, dominated by the Left, lack any sense of proportionality: following Congressman Murtha's lead, the mainstream media has rushed to judgment, drawing damning conclusions from a single incident in a three-year long war.

Murdering civilians is the goal of the Iraq "insurgency", and the cowards who oppose a democratic state in Iraq have killed and maimed hundreds if not thousands of Iraqi civilians in the past three years.

On the flip side, avoiding civilian casualties is the goal of the coalition's rules of engagement. Indeed, it is our nation's policy to pay compensation to the families of civilian victims killed by U.S. troops.

Another key difference between the cowardly thugs of the "insurgency" and U.S. Marines is that, if the evidence warrants it, the Marines at Haditha will be prosecuted by the country they represent and, if found guilty, punished. That's how a democracy works.

That's why democracy is worth fighting for in Iraq and around the world. That's why antiwar Americans should should seek the defeat of an enemy whose policy and practice is killing innocent men, women, and children. If they want justice in the case of our Marines, then they should seek justice against Iraq's terrorist killers. And that means defeating them.

President Bush's policy is right: we need to find terrorists and kill them, and we need to change the environment that fosters terrorism. And that means creating democracies where tyrants now rule. And that means staying the course in Iraq and around the world.

Ironically, as I've stated before, it is the administration's success in preventing a terrorist attack in America since 9/11 that has its critics calling for a withdrawal from Iraq. With that success, complacency has replaced the immediacy of the threat five years after 9/11.

The most important front in the Global War on Terror is not the Sunni Triangle in Iraq. It's in the hearts and minds of the American people. If we have the will to win, our enemies can't win. If we don't, they will.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Good news at graduation

An Alta High grad thought she was going to see her deployed dad from Iraq on a video feed. Instead he surprised her, and showed up to hear her lead the Pledge of Allegiance. He returns to Iraq in a couple of days. But for now, savor the moment. Read all about it here

All 6's

Read about the 6'6" man -- he turned 66 today: 6'6" and 66 on 6/6/6. (He's from New Hampshire, or he could be driving Route 66. Still, he does take Exit 6 to get home...).

Wireless world and eating out

I'm blogging from the food court at the Layton Hills Mall, piggybacking on a realty office's net. Ain't technology grand!

I'm helping keep the world safe for democracy as an AF JAG at Hill AFB, and my Red Roof Inn room has dialup but no wifi (and my new MacBook Pro doesn't have a built-in modem...). So. Layton Hills Mall.

Been a good tour so far. Am managing to get AF work and some firm work done, too. Eating OK. Enjoyed a Delmonico steak and a baked spud with butter at Lonestar last night. I'm a steak and potatoes kind of guy. Denny's for The Super Bird dinner tonight. You gotta love a place that serves breakfast 24 hours a day. Best franchise breakfast in the biz.

Nothing like trip food. Actually, nothing like my wife's home cooking...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bush on the proposed marriage amendment

Over the weekend, I e-mailed both of Arizona's senators (McCain and Kyl) to express my support for the proposed amendment to the federal Constitution, which will define marriage as the union of one man with one woman. Today President Bush spoke in support of the proposed amendment, which is to be voted on by the Senate this week. Read his remarks here.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Steyn on Haditha

Mark Steyn examines whether the story of killing civilians in Haditha matters in the arguments for and against the war in Iraq. (Hint: it doesn't -- events there don't change the need for victory). His end quote:
A superpower that wallows in paranoia and glorifies self-loathing cannot endure and doesn't deserve to.
Read the whole thing.

Demolition derby, Stan's, and MI-3

My wife's parents are living with us while they remodel the home they just bought in Provo. We spent yesterday tearing out wallpaper, carpet, cabinets, tile, a few walls. Builder brother-in-law Pete and his twins, Hunter and Cole, drove out from Denver and he oversaw the demolition. Brother-in-law Gabe and his friend Mike came down from USU. David and his friend Austin, Jed, Caroline, Lauren, and Elaine (from work) all did an amazing job. We got a ton done.

After cleaning up, we went to Stan's for dinner. It's been in business since the '50s -- a class drive-in. Burgers and fries and shakes.

Then we went to see Mission Impossible 3. The perfect summer movie. Action. Pure adrenaline.

Great day.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

USAF rules

Air Force reenlistment rates are high, reports Strategy Page. America's Air Force -- Nothing Comes Close.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Incumbistan: how the GOP has betrayed its contract

Mark Steyn opines on the demise of the Contract With America and Reagan's "nation with a government" -- killed by incumbent Republicans.