Some Memorial Day Weekend Thoughts

The April/May issue of Imprimis (the publication of Hillsdale College) featured an article called “Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery.” The article was written by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, an Army war veteran. Please follow the link above to read the entire article, but here are some highlights:

The Thursday before Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery is known as “Flags In.” The soldiers who place the flags belong to the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment, better known as The Old Guard. My turn at Flags In came in 2007, when I served with The Old Guard between my tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Old Guard is literally the old guard, the oldest active-duty infantry regiment in the Army, dating back to 1784, three years older even than our Constitution. The regiment got its nickname in 1847 from Winfield Scott, the longest-serving general in American history. Scott gave the regiment the honor of leading the victory march into Mexico City, where he directed his staff to “take your hats off to The Old Guard of the Army.” Perhaps Scott felt an old kinship with the 3rd Infantry, because he had fought the British alongside them outside Niagara Falls during the War of 1812.

Among the few regiments to participate in both of the major campaigns of the Mexican War—Monterrey in 1846 and Mexico City in 1847—The Old Guard made history alongside American military legends. A young lieutenant later wrote that “the loss of the 3rd Infantry in commissioned officers was especially severe” in the brutal street-to-street fighting in Monterrey. That lieutenant’s name was Ulysses S. Grant.

The 3rd Infantry was part of the main effort again the next year at the Battle of Cerro Gordo, the last stand on the road to Mexico City by Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Mexicans had a numerically superior force on the high ground on both sides of the only passable road to the capital. But Santa Anna underestimated the Americans’ ingenuity and audacity. With a young captain of engineers blazing the path, the 3rd Infantry hacked through the jungle and crossed ravines to attack the Mexicans from their rear, finishing them off with a bayonet charge. That captain’s name was Robert E. Lee. And to this day, The Old Guard remains the only unit in the Army authorized to march with bayonets fixed to their rifles in honor of their forerunners’ bravery at Cerro Gordo.

The article goes on to explain how the land at Arlington became our National Cemetery:

George Washington’s adopted son—his wife Martha’s only surviving son—bought the land that became Arlington in 1778 to be closer to his mother and his stepfather at their beloved Mount Vernon. General Washington advised him on the purchase in correspondence from his winter camp at Valley Forge. But our national triumph three years later at Yorktown shattered the family’s dreams. Their son died of a fever contracted there, leaving behind a six-month-old son of his own. George and Martha raised the boy, who was named George Washington Parke Custis but was known as Wash. When Wash came of age and inherited the land, he initially christened it Mount Washington, in honor of his revered adoptive father. Though he later renamed it Arlington, Wash used the land as a kind of public memorial in his lifelong mission to honor the great man. From hosting celebrations on Washington’s Birthday to displaying artifacts and memorabilia to building the grand mansion still visible from the Lincoln Memorial today, Arlington got its start as a shrine to the father of our country.

A new resident arrived in 1831, when then-Lieutenant Robert E. Lee—himself the son of Washington’s trusted cavalry commander during the Revolutionary War—married Wash’s only surviving child, Mary. For 30 years, the Lees made Arlington their home and raised a family there between his military assignments. Because of his ties to Washington and his own military genius, Lee was offered command of a Union army as the Civil War started. But he declined on the spot. His long-time mentor—none other than the 3rd Infantry’s old commander, Winfield Scott, now the General-in-Chief of the Army—scolded him: “Lee, you have made the greatest mistake of your life, but I feared it would be so.” Resigning his commission, Lee left Arlington for Richmond, never to return. The United States Army occupied Arlington on May 24, 1861—and it has held the ground ever since.

The article explains how the government eventually obtained the land through a legal process:

Lee’s son inherited the family’s claim to their old farm. Himself a Confederate officer, his name nevertheless reflected the nation’s deep roots at Arlington: George Washington Custis Lee. Known as Custis, he petitioned Congress to no avail, then sued in federal court to evict the Army as trespassers. United States v. Lee worked its way over the years to the Supreme Court, which upheld the Lee family’s claim. Fortunately for the government, the nation, and the souls at rest in Arlington, Custis was magnanimous in victory, asking only for just compensation. In 1883, he deeded the land back to the government in return for $150,000. The Secretary of War who accepted the deed was Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of Abraham Lincoln. After that final act of reconciliation between the firstborn sons of the great president and his famed rebel antagonist, Arlington’s dead could rest in peace for eternity.

The article concludes:

No one summed up better what The Old Guard of Arlington means for our nation than Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey. He shared a story with me about taking a foreign military leader through Arlington to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Sergeant Major Dailey said, “I was explaining what The Old Guard does and he was looking out the window at all those headstones. After a long pause, still looking at the headstones, he said, ‘Now I know why your soldiers fight so hard. You take better care of your dead than we do our living.’”

It’s Memorial Day Weekend. Remember those who paid a high price for our freedom.

This Is Supposed To Be A Solution???

Last week we lost four valiant men in an attack on a recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and there are reports this morning that a fifth man has died. This is not the first time a recruiting office has been attacked by someone with links to Islam. In 2009, an Army recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas, was attacked by Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, born Carlos Leon Bledsoe. There is a documentary about how Carlos Bledsoe became Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad and how his family and the family of Andy Long, the soldier killed in the attack, have struggled with the loss of their sons. It is called, “Losing Our Sons,” and is worth watching.

We have a problem. The policy of making military bases a gun-free zone was signed into effect in February 1992 by Donald J. Atwood, deputy secretary of defense under President George H.W. Bush. Frankly, I think we have lost more soldiers because of this policy than we would have without it.

So what is the military going to do about the problem of Islamists shooting American soldiers in America? Well, the answer is further proof that government is not the solution–it is the problem.

Gateway Pundit posted an article yesterday about the military’s response to the shooting in Chattanooga.

This is a tweet sent by ABC News Pentagon reporter Luis Martinez on Friday evening:

chattanoogatweet

The article further reports:

Army chief of staff Gen. Ray Odierno said on Friday he has no plans to arm recruiters or add security patrols to military recruitment centers in the wake of the Islamist terror attacks on unarmed, unguarded military offices in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Thursday. Odierno basically said he doesn’t trust his troops to handle their weapons properly.

Also on Friday, the Marine Corps ordered recruiters to not wear their uniforms at work for ‘force protection.’

The whirring sound you hear is John Wayne spinning in his grave.

Equal Rights Means Equal Rights

Breitbart.com posted an article yesterday about a religious liberty bill passed by Arkansas this week.

The article reports:

Meanwhile, while everyone was focused on Indiana, Arkansas honored both the founding of our country and the First Amendment by giving legal standing to the conscience of the Religious. In the coming years, as the Left and media ramp up their attacks on Christians, it is going to be important for us to have a place to go if necessary.

The government forcing the Faithful into participating in the sacramentalization of sin (like a same sex marriage) is intolerable to people of many faiths. Now faithful Muslims, Jews, Christians and others have 21 states where they can escape persecution from those trying to tell us that the government forcing you to violate your religious conscience is equality and freedom.

As previously stated, “Everyone has equal rights, or no one does.

The campaign in the mainstream media against the Indiana law giving equal rights to Christians was unsuccessful because the new media exposed the lies. Not all of America actually heard the truth, but enough people did to blunt the anti-Christian lies of the mainstream media.

Common Sense Won In Arkansas

CBN News is reporting today that an ordinance that would have allowed transgender males to use women’s and girls’ restrooms, showers, and locker rooms in Fayetteville, Arkansas, was overruled by voters this week.

Michelle Duggar of the televisions show “19 Kids and Counting” campaigned against the ordinance.

The article reports:

Duggar argued that the ordinance affected “the safety of Northwest Arkansas women and children” because it would “allow men – yes, I said men – to use women’s and girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas, and other areas that are designated for females only.”

“I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls,” she said.

When it comes down to it, I suspect there are very few Americans comfortable with the idea of their teenage daughters using the same  restrooms at the same time as men claiming that they are female.

It’s About Time

The only good thing that I can find in the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) is the fact that soldiers killed in the ‘workplace violence’ at Fort Hood may actually receive Purple Hearts and have the events of November 5, 2009, actually regarded as the act of domestic terrorism that they actually were.

Yesterday the Military Times reported:

Victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shootings will be eligible to receive Purple Hearts and combat injury benefits under a provision included in the latest defense authorization deal.

The measure is expected to be approved by Congress next week, and would end a five-year quest by Texas lawmakers to get battlefield recognition for the soldiers killed in the deadliest attack on a domestic military installation in U.S. history.

It could also be a financial windfall for the families of the 13 people killed and 32 wounded in the attack.

The latest authorization draft stipulates that Purple Heart medals will be awarded to “members of the armed forces killed or wounded in domestic attacks inspired by foreign terrorist organizations.”

The article points out that decisions on awarding the Purple Heart within the United States after a terrorist attack have not been consistent.

The article reports:

Troops injured at the Pentagon in the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, received it. Two Army recruiters shot by a radicalized Muslim outside of a recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas, in June 2009 did not.

Generally speaking, the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) is a bad bill–it cuts military benefits at a time when we are making a lot of demands on our volunteer military (see rightwinggranny). President Obama is threatening to veto the NDAA, and frankly that would not break my heart. This bill needs to be redone after the new Congress is sworn in in 2015. If there is a week gap in funding, we can pay some things late–other than fixing the Purple Heart situation for Fort Hood victims, the bill needs to be changed. Also, if this bill is what the Republican leadership is going to give us, we need new Republican leadership.

This Story Could Have Had A Very Different Ending

Concealed Nation posted a story on May 16th about a mall shooting that had an ending very different from what would have been expected.

The article reports:

On May 10th 2014, a 34-year-old man named Fadi Qandil went to the Central mall parking lot in Ft. Smith, Arkansas to confront his estranged wife Tabitha while she was on her way to see a movie with two other people; 23 year old Grayson Herrera, and 27 year old Dustin O’Connor.

According to witnesses, Qandil approached the party and told them that he had a gun. He then raised his shirt to display a firearm tucked into his waistband. When he went to reach for his firearm, both Herrera and O’Connor, who are licensed to carry a concealed firearm in their state, drew their firearms and fired at Qandil.

Herrera suffered a non-life threatening wound, while Qandil was hit with multiple shots and pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.

It is unfortunate that anyone was killed in the shooting, but certainly the intended victims had every right to protect themselves. Had they not been carrying weapons themselves, there would have been three deaths–not one–and the three deaths would have been of people who meant no harm to anyone. Following their deaths, newspaper articles about the ‘alleged shooter’ would have followed, and then a trial and (hopefully) incarceration at the taxpayers’ expense. Justice was served in this incident–quickly and without a lot of fanfare. That is why individual citizens should be allowed to own and carry guns.

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A Surprise Victory For Republicans

Guy Benson at Hot Air posted an article today on the special election held in Arkansas on Tuesday. The election took place in Craighead County, which has not been represented by a Republican in the state senate since reconstruction. John Cooper, the Republican candidate, won the election with 57.21 percent of the vote.

On Sunday, the Daily Kos reported:

The Democratic nominee is Steve Rockwell, a businessman and political science professor at Arkansas State University. The Republican nominee is John Cooper, a retired businessman and former candidate for the State House of Representatives.

…On the politics side of things, this election is huge. Craighead County is a key area of the state for both Mark Pryor and Mike Ross to win (they need to get at minimum 49% of the vote in this county to win the state) If Rockwell can’t put up a decent showing, Democrats are going to have some serious issues going into 2014.

The article at Hot Air concludes:

So here we had a contested race in a traditionally Democratic area, the outcome of which held significant implications for Mark Pryor’s re-election bid.  An Obamacare-related controversy drove the campaign. Oh, and according to an email blast from the NRSC, the Republican candidate was outgunned on the spending front by a three-to-one margin.

There is hope.

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Using News Stories To Shape Public Opinion

Today’s Wall Street Journal posted an editorial that clearly shows how the major news media uses the way they report (or not report) stories to shape public opinion.

On Friday it was discovered that an old Exxon Mobil pipeline near Mayflower, Arkansas, was leaking. No one said exactly how much oil had leaked, but Exxon responded with enough people and equipment to handle as much as 10,000 barrels and had the flow stopped and cleanup begun by early Saturday. This event made the headlines–the major media used the leak as an example of the tragedy that would occur if the Keystone Pipeline were built. Well, wait a minute.

Last week a Canadian Pacific Railway train derailed in western Minnesota. The train was carrying crude oil and spilled up to 30,000 gallons. The spill was larger than the leak in Arkansas and took place near a town. The media somehow didn’t bother to cover the story.

The Wall Street Journal goes on to say that in 2008 U. S. railways transported 9,500 carloads of oil. In 2012 that number jumped to 233,811. There were 112 railroad oil spills from 2010 to 2012. From 2006 to 2009, there were 10 oil spills. Pipelines have fewer incidents per mile than rail cars.

Two of the things to keep in mind as the Keystone Pipeline remains in limbo are the fact that the Canadian oil is going to be shipped somewhere–either to America or China and that the person who is profiting by not building the pipeline is Warren Buffett (see rightwinggranny.com). One of the railroads that is in boom times because there is no Keystone Pipeline is Burlington Northern Santa Fe, owned by Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. As usual, the discussion of the Keystone Pipeline is not really about the environment–it is about the money.

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The Travesty Surrounding The Shootings At Fort Hood

In November 2009, American soldiers were killed on an American army base by an American terrorist. The incident has been called “workplace violence,” and the soldiers injured in that attack have been denied the Purple Heart and the benefits their families would receive as a result of awarding that medal.

PJ Media reported in May 2012 on the Obama Administration’s threat to veto a defense authorization bill. The article lists one of the reasons for the veto:

No. 26 on the list of veto-worthy offenses is objection to awarding Purple Hearts to the victims of the Fort Hood and Little Rock shootings.

“The Administration objects to section 552, which would grant Purple Hearts to the victims of the shooting incidents in Fort Hood, Texas, and Little Rock, Arkansas,” the veto threat states. “The criminal acts that occurred in Little Rock were tried by the State of Arkansas as violations of the State criminal code rather than as acts of terrorism; as a result, this provision could create appellate issues.”

On June 1, 2009, Muslim convert Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who had spent time in Yemen and was an avowed jihadist, killed one soldier and wounded another in a drive-by shooting on a military recruiting office in Little Rock. He pleaded guilty to murder, avoiding trial and the death penalty, and was sentenced to life in prison.

Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major who had email communications with senior al-Qaeda recruiter and Yemen-based cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, awaits military trial for the Nov. 5, 2009, massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, in which 13 were killed and 29 wounded.

After the Fort Hood shootings, the FBI quickly said there was no evidence of a greater terrorist plot at work, the Defense Department called it an “isolated” case, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Hasan’s actions were not representative of his Muslim faith.

This is the Clinton Administration’s policy on terrorism–treat it as a criminal action and ignore the problem. This was the thinking that brought us 9-11.

Reuters reported yesterday that the Army has formally declined to issue Purple Hearts to the victims at Fort Hood because it would interfere with a fair trial of Major Hasan. It has been more than three years since the shootings at Fort Hood–why isn’t the trial over?

PJ Media also reported:

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) introduced a bill at the end of April (2012) (H.R.5144) to amend Title 10 of the U.S. Code to provide for the award of the Purple Heart to members of the Armed Forces who are killed or wounded in a terrorist attack perpetrated within the United States.

It’s also retroactive. “The Secretaries of the military departments (and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard) shall undertake a review of each death or wounding of a member of the Armed Forces that occurred within the United States between January 1, 2009, and the date of the enactment of this Act under circumstances that could qualify the death or wounding as being the result of a terrorist attack.”

That bill has 13 bipartisan co-sponsors, including Texas Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D), John Carter (R), Henry Cuellar (D) and Mike McCaul (R).

That bill never made it out of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel.

If the Fort Hood incident had happened during World War II, would Major Hasan still be alive? If not, what has happened to our country?

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