Distinguished service

April 30, 2008

If you’re like me, that last post about Hamas-Nazis and their lies about the Holocaust probably left a sour taste in your mouth. So, as a palate cleanser, let me offer the amazing story of Green Beret Master Sgt. Brendan O’Connor, who today received the Distinguished Service Cross for exceptional bravery under fire from the Taliban in Afghanistan:

As the Taliban machine-gunners zeroed in, Master Sgt. Brendan O’Connor pressed himself into the dirt.

Then he did something that the manuals don’t teach: O’Connor shucked his body armor to make himself a smaller target for the gunners. Small enough to crawl 200 feet in a shallow ditch to the aid of wounded soldiers.

O’Connor says he did it because it was a job that needed to be done. He doesn’t think of himself as a hero.

But his superiors disagree. They say that his courage stood out on a day when many members of a Fort Bragg-based Special Forces unit showed extraordinary bravery.

Four of the soldiers have already been awarded the Silver Star for valor. That’s the Army’s third-highest award.

O’Connor is to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in a ceremony planned for April 30. Only the Medal of Honor ranks higher in recognition of courage in combat.

“Sergeant O’Connor’s extraordinary actions, performed at tremendous risk of life, successfully rescued two wounded comrades, saved the lives of 21 American soldiers and prevented his detachment’s destruction,” said Capt. Chris Augustine, a spokesman for the 7th Special Forces Group.

You can read the whole story here. If it doesn’t have your jaw dropping at least once, you’re not human. You can see video of today’s ceremony here, including his wife, who would probably kill him for being so foolhardy if she weren’t so glad to have him home. But don’t bother looking for this story in the major media; they’re not interested in uplifting stories from the war zone, which don’t fit their predetermined narrative of failure. Neither the Los Angeles Times nor The New York Times bothers with Sgt. O’Connor’s story, while the Washington Post carries the perfunctory AP wire story. A search of LexisNexis turns up just the AP article. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am disappointed.

But, enough of that. Master Sergeant O’Connor received a well-deserved reward, and his actions remind us that real heroes are often everyday people like us, the folks next door. They don’t make millions to throw a ball down-field or say a few lines in a movie, but they are terribly underpaid to put their lives on the line each and every day. I’m not ashamed to say I stand in awe of people like Brendan O’Connor.

Congratulations and welcome home, Sergeant O’Connor. This one’s for you: thumbs_up beer



But, of course!

April 30, 2008

Hey, kids! Did you know that the Jews planned the Holocaust so they could get rid of handicapped Jews? No? Then you must not be a regular watcher of Palestinian TV:



This is obscene on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin. There’s the monstrous distortion of the Holocaust itself, one of the great disasters of Human history. To argue with a straight face that Jewish leaders staged the massacre of their own people gain world sympathy and as part of some monstrous eugenics program boggles the mind. Then again, given the Nazi eugenics programs and the influence of Nazi ideology on modern Arab-Islamic society, perhaps we should be disgusted rather than surprised. This garbage, after all, is the predictable product of a death society.

My first reaction is that the  Palestinians can go rot, for all I care. But, the proper response in our modern world is to give them lots of money, a state of their own, and have a former US President visit their murderous leader.

Just amazing.

(hat tips: Jihad Watch and Israel Matzav)


Memo to Secretary Rice

April 29, 2008

Dear Condi,

Your boss seems to have no trouble using the word "jihadi" to clearly name our enemy. Maybe he has the right idea?


p.s., He should have been blowing up at the press like this for years.


She said what?

April 28, 2008

Unleashing the best example to date of her political “tin ear” (maybe that should be plural), Hillary Clinton, speaking before union members in Gary, Indiana, compared the outsourcing of jobs overseas to the Holocaust.

I’d hate to hear what she says when she really goes over the top.


What’s in a name, continued….

April 28, 2008

A few days ago, I posted in frustration at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s apparent determination to ban the words "jihad’ and "jihadist" from the American diplomatic lexicon. It’s my belief that you cannot successfully fight something if you cannot even bring yourself to call it what it is:

It does us no good to pretend that the acts of terrorism committed against us are not rooted in mainstream Islamic theology; the terrorists themselves are well-versed in Islamic theology and law. The see themselves as holy warriors  –jihadis or mujahideen– waging jihad in the name of Allah and as the latest executors of a religious duty stretching back more than 1,300 years to Muhammad himself. For our leaders to pretend otherwise is an act of ideological appeasement and intellectual self-disarmament.

(Equal time: be sure to look in the comments section of that post, where a Muslim believer takes me to task.)

Sadly, we now have confirmation that the intellectual disarmament continues. According to the AP, "jihadi" and "jihadist are now verba non grata not just at State, but throughout the Federal Government:

And don’t call al-Qaida a movement.

The Bush administration has launched a new front in the war on terrorism, this time targeting language.

Federal agencies, including the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counter Terrorism Center, are telling their people not to describe Islamic extremists as "jihadists" or "mujahedeen," according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. Lingo like "Islamo-fascism" is out, too.

The reason: Such words may actually boost support for radicals among Arab and Muslim audiences by giving them a veneer of religious credibility or by causing offense to moderates.

I should think the last thing jihadis need or want is credibility bestowed by us, when they take their whole reason for being from orthodox, mainstream Islamic theology and jurisprudence. This fear of causing offense or "hurting feelings" is ludicrous, because it circumvents open and honest discussion of the ideology that motivates those waging jihad against the West and against Muslims who want to live in peaceful coexistence. And it does no favors to moderate and secular Muslims to agree to avoid naming the problem plainly, for it cuts the legs out from any attempts they may make to stand up to the Salafists and their ideology of jihad.

Banning the use of words such as "Islamo-fascism" doesn’t make any less real the influence of Nazi thought on militant Islam, for example, and refusing to recognize the deep connection between Islamic thought and the renewed jihad is to bury one’s head in the sand so deep that an ostrich would be jealous.

(hat tip: Contentions, where Max Boot wonders what words we can use and has a suggestion.)

LINKS: In the newsletter of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy jabs at the willful blindness of many of our officials:

According to the State Department, the Intelligence Community,
the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the sundry other
components of government that are having our agents endure sensitivity
training from CAIR and its ilk, the "real" jihad has nothing to do with
violence. The real jihad is the internal struggle to become a better
person, right? Regardless of what such minor authorities as Mohammed
may have thought of it, and despite credible scholars who acknowledge
that jihad was ordained as a forcible, military struggle to establish
the supremacy of Islam, we very sophisticated, evolved geniuses now
know that jihad is really something we should all look at as a very
wholesome, positive obligation. Nothing to worry about.

(Original here.)

The Counterterrorism Blog, meanwhile, is justifiably sarcastic.


Sunday book review: Wrong on Race

April 27, 2008

This post is the first of what I hope will become a weekly feature here at Public Secrets: reviews of books I’ve read that I think will be of interest to you. Today we’re starting off with a book I just finished, Bruce Bartlett’s Wrong on Race:

I have to admit I was a bit wary of buying this book: not being familiar with Mr. Bartlett’s other work, just going by the title I was afraid this would be a red-meat tossing, conservative bomb-thrower of a book, meant more to entertain movement conservatives than educate and inform.

Fortunately, I was wrong.

Wrong on Race is an examination of the history of the Democratic Party with regard to the race question: How did the party respond to the challenge of dealing with non-White people? In the orthodox history we’re taught in school, written mostly by left-liberal historians, the Democratic Party is the party of civil rights, fighting for justice for the oppressed of all races. We learn of FDR’s push for non-discrimination in employment in the defense industry in World War II, Truman’s integration of the military, and LBJ’s ramming through of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the wake of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. This is the legacy the Democrats celebrate today and is the basis of their claim to an almost monolithic hold on the African-American vote. In this history, Democrats are always for the victim of racial discrimination, while the Republican is largely uncaring, if not actively hostile.

Not so fast, writes Bartlett. The real history of the Democrats and race is a lot dirtier than we are told, while the Republicans, albeit not perfect, don’t get enough credit.

He begins by looking at the origins of the Democratic Party under Jefferson and Jackson, recounting both Jefferson’s bizarre views on race and the ethnic cleansing of the Indians from Georgia under Jackson, which was strongly supported by Democrats and opposed by Whigs. He looks at the various sectional compromises between the North and the South prior to the Civil War, with the Democrats always taking the position of preserving and expanding slavery.

Post-war, Bartlett looks at Reconstruction and how an early incarnation of the KKK and other White paramilitary groups opposed Republican efforts to guarantee civil rights for the new freedmen, in effect acting as the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party. Indeed, after the end of Reconstruction in 1877, the South became almost wholly Democratic as the Black vote and the Republican Party were suppressed by means legal and terroristic. Bartlett points out that Jim Crow, the racial segregation laws that can only be described as apartheid, was constructed in the 1890s by Democratic governors and legislatures in the South.

Bartlett then looks at specific important racist political figures in three states: Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi — Democrats all. He discusses the segregation of the federal government under Democrat Woodrow Wilson, and the failure in reality of the FDR administration to do much of substance for African-Americans. Later chapters briefly cover the administrations from Truman to Reagan, taking a similarly revisionist view.

Wrong on Race doesn’t paint all Democrats as racist blackguards. Far from it. The author recognizes that, beginning in the late 40s, the Democratic Party gradually came to embrace civil rights as it became clear that the racist “Southern bloc” was crumbling and that liberal Democrats didn’t have to pander to their Southern colleagues on issues of race anymore. He lauds Truman as an under-appreciated hero of civil rights and gives LBJ, who once ran on a platform as racist as any, credit for the seeing how the political calculus had changed.

The author also demands fair treatment for Republicans, pointing to the various civil rights acts enacted during Reconstruction (and voided by Democrats); the acts passed under Eisenhower and his willingness to use federal troops to enforce school desegregation; and Nixon’s aggressive enforcement of civil rights. (That last surprised me.)

In his conclusion, Bartlett argues, correctly, I think, that the almost total adherence of Blacks to the Democratic Party has been bad for African-American interests in US politics. Democrats take them for granted, and Republicans write their votes off as forever lost. He lauds the growing movement to encourage Blacks to register as independents to encourage both parties to compete for their votes. Finally, he makes an interesting proposal on the touchy issue of reparations for slavery: a grand bargain in which the Republicans would offer a one-time round of reparations in return for ending all affirmative action and other race and gender-based preferences. I’ve been staunchly opposed to reparations for various reasons, but I have to admit I find this idea intriguing.

Finally, another point in favor of this book is the footnoting: perhaps in recognition of the controversial nature of his topic, Bartlett extensively footnotes every chapter. I admit I’m a footnote nut; I like being able to check an author’s sources and read explications of various side issues. Mr. Bartlett is to be commended, and this practice is one I wish other authors were as devoted to.

In sum, I recommend Wrong on Race as a necessary corrective to the unbalanced presentation of our political history on the question of race. Bruce Bartlett performs a laudable service by presenting facts we have forgotten and forcing Democrats to face the truth about their party’s past, and for posing thought-provoking proposals. Do yourself a favor and at least check it out from your local library.

Edit: Cleaned up old post, fixed broken links. 11/7/2011.

Distractions: Obama-speak for "tough questions not allowed"

April 26, 2008

Charles Krauthammer had a great column yesterday about the Prophet Barack’s dismissal of any serious questions as “distractions” and his water-bearers in the media who echo his whine:

With that, Obama identified the new public enemy: the “distractions” foisted upon a pliable electorate by the malevolent forces of the status quo, i.e., those who might wish to see someone else become president next January. “It’s easy to get caught up in the distractions and the silliness and the tit for tat that consumes our politics” and “trivializes the profound issues” that face our country, he warned sternly. These must be resisted.

Why? Because Obama understands that the real threat to his candidacy is less Hillary Clinton and John McCain than his own character and cultural attitudes. He came out of nowhere with his autobiography already written, then saw it embellished daily by the hagiographic coverage and kid-gloves questioning of a supine press. (Which is why those “Saturday Night Live” parodies were so devastatingly effective.)

Then came the three amigos: Tony Rezko, the indicted fixer; Jeremiah Wright, the racist reverend; William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist. And then Obama’s own anthropological observation that “bitter” working-class whites cling to guns and religion because they misapprehend their real class interests.

In the now-famous Pennsylvania debate, Obama had extreme difficulty answering questions about these associations and attitudes. The difficulty is understandable. Some of the contradictions are inexplicable. How does one explain campaigning throughout 2007 on a platform of transcending racial divisions, while in that same year contributing $26,000 to a church whose pastor incites race hatred?

What is Obama to do? Dismiss all such questions about his associations and attitudes as “distractions.” And then count on his acolytes in the media to wage jihad against those who have the temerity to raise these questions. As if the character and beliefs of a man who would be president are less important than the “issues.” As if some political indecency was committed when Obama was prevented from going through his 21st — and likely last — primary debate without being asked about Wright or Ayers or the tribal habits of gun-toting God-loving Pennsylvanians.

Read the whole thing. It’s worth the time.