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.

Sometimes Justice Takes A While

Last September I posted an article about Sergeant First Class (SFC) Charles Martland, a Green Beret who was selected for an involuntary discharge through an Army force reduction program. SFC Martland has served honorably, having been awarded two Bronze Stars during his time in the Army. He was chosen for release because he was charged with assaulting an Afghan leader.

This is the story:

In 2011, Martland was nearing the end of his yearlong deployment in northern Afghanistan’s Kunduz province when he and an officer became outraged with the behavior of some local leaders they were responsible for developing as police commanders.

Martland and his detachment commander, Capt. Daniel Quinn, lost their tempers when one leader near their base kidnapped a boy for more than a week, chained him to a bed, raped the child and then assaulted the boy’s mother, Quinn said.

The mother appealed to the Green Berets to help her son. Quinn said the soldiers brought the Afghan commander to their base and confronted him.

Quinn told The News Tribune that the Afghan admitted he had raped the boy. He angered the American soldiers by showing disregard for their concerns.

“He started laughing when we talked about what a big deal this was,” Quinn said.

Martland and Quinn proceeded to assault the Afghan. Accounts vary on how badly they hurt him.

Yesterday the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) posted an update on the story.

They reported:

The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ),  which has been advocating for Sergeant First Class (SFC) Charles Martland – a decorated war hero facing expulsion from the army for defending a child, calls today’s decision by the U.S. Army to retain the Green Beret war hero a “significant victory” and that “justice has been served.”

SFC Martland faced expulsion from the Army for defending a child from sexual abuse and confronting an admitted sexual predator in Afghanistan. The ACLJ argued that his actions – stopping the perpetrator who was violating Afghan law and forcibly removing him from a U.S. military base – were heroic.

“The decision by the Army to retain this hero is long overdue and represents a significant victory for SFC Martland,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ.  “Justice has been served. The U.S. military has a moral obligation to stop child sexual abuse and exonerate SFC Martland for defending a child from rape. The Army finally took the corrective action needed and this is not only a victory for SFC Martland, but for the American people as well.”

Pedophilia is not an American value. We should strongly discourage its practice in any country that we do business with.

 

Good News From The House Of Representatives

Stripes reported yesterday that the House of Representatives passed a bill that will allow a group of female World War II military pilots to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The bill now goes to the Senate.

The article reports:

The Army sparked a growing controversy last year when it reinterpreted a law from the 1970’s to exclude the female veterans who trained pilots and ferried combat aircraft from 1942-1944 from the national cemetery, where space is increasingly limited.

The WASPs were not considered active-duty troops at the time but have since received the Congressional Gold Medal, veteran benefits and renown as role models for female troops serving today.

McSally (Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz), an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot who flew combat mission over Iraq, has said they “opened the door for people like me being able to serve.”

A military pilot is a military pilot. Hopefully the Senate will pass this law quickly.

The article concludes:

The acting secretary of the Army said earlier this month that not even President Barack Obama has the executive power to change the rule excluding WASPs and that only Congress can make a fix by passing a new law.

The service reversed a national cemetery policy in place since 2002 that allowed internment.

I am old-fashioned enough to believe that women do not belong in combat, but I do feel that if they take the risks that men take, they should also be eligible for the honors and rewards.

Sending Terrorists Back To Battle

Fox News is reporting today that a Canadian judge has released Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, who in 2002 threw the grenade that killed U.S. Army medic Christopher Speer as Speer and four others cleared a building in the Khost province following an air raid. Khadr was fifteen at the time.

The article reports:

“Omar Khadr is a convicted Al Qaeda terrorist, guilty of war crimes,” Ezra Levant, author of “The Enemy Within: Terror, Lies, and the Whitewashing of Omar Khadr,” told FoxNews.com. “He murdered a U.S. medic in cold blood. A jury sentenced him to 40 years in prison, but President Obama offered him a plea deal for just eight years, and now parole will reduce that further. This isn’t sufficient, especially given that Khadr has never publicly renounced terrorism or Al Qaeda, or his own father’s terrorism.”

Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Myra Bielby said Thursday there is no evidence of risk in releasing Khadr, now 28, who has been serving his time in an Innisfail, Alta., prison, after being moved from Guantanamo Bay.

When we release prisoners from Guantanamo, we are no longer in control of their prison terms. Because Khadr has never renounced terrorism, I have no doubt that he will rejoin the ‘war on terror’ in some capacity fairly quickly.

The Inmates Have Obviously Taken Over The Asylum

Yesterday Bizpacreview reported that ROTC members were forced to parade around the Temple University campus in Arizona in red high heels. I am not talking about female ROTC members–I am talking about male ROTC members. The exercise was supposed to raise awareness about assault against women. I suspect that the only awareness they raised was an awareness of how miserable your feet feel after doing a lot of walking in high heels.

This is one of the photos:

rotc article

The article reported:

For every social media proponent of the event, there were many more who voiced their opposition.

“Who’s the rocket scientist that thought this up and how much did it cost the taxpayers and the soldiers?” said one Facebook user.

“Extremely offensive,” read another.

“I don’t get the point here,” wrote a frustrated Facebook user, and added possibly the most relevant question of all, “How does forcing a person in uniform to wear high heels relate to sexual assault against women?????”

The sound you hear is that of the Founding Fathers turning over in their graves.

Something Good From Washington

Senator Ted Cruz released the following statement today:

“On November 5, 2009, a brutal terror attack was carried out at Fort Hood. The lives of 14 people were taken, one of them an unborn child, and 32 were injured. Today, we are grateful that the U.S. Army has chosen to bestow the Purple Heart, and its civilian counterpart, the Medal for the Defense of Freedom, on these victims,” said Sen. Cruz.
 
“This attack was a clear act of radical Islamic terrorism, conducted on American soil – the original decision to designate it ‘workplace violence’ and deny these honors was a betrayal of the sacrifice of each of the victims.  It is well past time for them to receive these awards and I thank the Secretary of the Army for reaching this determination. We can never undo the events of that day, but we can properly honor the courageous patriots who protect our nation and remain forever grateful for them.”
 
Last year, Sen. Cruz introduced an amendment to the 2015 National Defense Reauthorization Act (NDAA), which was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee and passed by Congress, to expand Purple Heart eligibility to victims of the Fort Hood terror attack.

Thank you, Senator Cruz, for working hard to make sure the victims of the attack were properly treated.

I Guess This Is A Step In The Right Direction

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that the U. S. Army is ordering a halt to all briefings classifying Christian groups as domestic hate groups. Yes, you read that right. The army needs a memorandum to stop teaching soldiers that Christians are a domestic terrorism threat. Good grief!  A memorandum sent out by the Secretary of the Army, John McHugh ordered all Army leaders “to cease all briefings, command presentations, or training on the subject of extremist organizations and activities, pending promulgation” of a uniform instruction and training program.

The article reports:

As Fox News notes, the Army’s Equal Opportunity Advisor Student Guide highlights the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center). Troops at Fort Hood were recently advised that donations to evangelical Christian groups or Tea Party groups could lead to penalties. Also, in May, Fox says, an Army Reserve training memo called evangelical Christians and Catholics as religious extremists.

The irony of this, of course, is that an SPLC law center map was used by Floyd Lee Corkins to find the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., where his goal was to shoot as many people as possible. Thank God he was stopped by a security guard that he did shoot.

The First Amendment protects our religious freedom. Our military takes an oath to protect and defend our Constitution. Our training memos and lectures should reflect that oath.

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Would You Let These People Near Your Household Budget?

Yesterday’s Washington Examiner reported the following:

“In March, Gevo entered into a contract with the Defense Logistics Agency to supply the U.S. Army with 3,650 gallons of renewable jet fuel to be delivered by the second quarter of 2013,” Gevo announced this week in its first quarter financial report. “This initial order may be increased by 12,500 gallons. All shipments will be at a fixed price of $59 per gallon during the initial testing phase. These shipments are in addition to the renewable jet fuel supplied to the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and the U.S. Navy (USN).”

In plain English this means that the Defense Department is paying $59 per gallon for renewable jet fuel when regular jet fuel costs $3.73 a gallon. Note that this is called a ‘testing phase.’ I need someone to explain to me why you would test anything that costs almost 20 times what you are already using. I fully support green energy–but not until it is economically feasible. This is ridiculous.

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It All Sounds So Sensible…

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported that California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation aimed at taking handguns and assault rifles away from 20,000 Californians who acquired them legally but have since been disqualified from ownership because of a criminal conviction or serious mental illness.

Now on the surface, that sounds like a really good idea, but let’s take it apart for a minute. Who determines the disqualification? Can one person determine the disqualification?

The article reports:

“This bipartisan bill makes our communities safer by giving law enforcement the resources they need to get guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous individuals,” said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor.

This law allows for confiscation of guns from ‘potentially dangerous individuals.’ Gun confiscation is definitely not part of America‘s tradition. I have recently posted a few articles that really make me wonder about what this law would be like down the road.

On April 6, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about a U.S. Army training instructor listing Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism as examples of religious extremism along with Al Qaeda and Hamas during a briefing with an Army Reserve unit based in Pennsylvania, Would Christians have their guns confiscated under the California law because they were seen as ‘potentially dangerous?’

On April 12, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about a New York man who had his guns confiscated because his 10-year-old son talked to some his classmates about bringing a water gun, paintball gun, and BB gun with them to the house of a schoolyard bully. He was told he could get his guns back when his son is eighteen and moves out of his house. Needless to say, there is a lawsuit making its way through the courts.

On March 28, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about attempts to take Second Amendment rights away from America’s veterans.

There is a pattern here. The guns are being confiscated not only from criminals, but from law-abiding citizens deemed dangerous. The thing the lawmakers have forgotten here is that the guns most criminals have are not registered and they are not likely to be confiscated. Therefore, all you have done is to disarm law-abiding citizens because some authority considers them a threat. That is not a really good idea in a free society.Enhanced by Zemanta

Something To Think About

A friend sent me a link to the video below. I admit I wasn’t sure what to think when I watched it. Then I saw an article at Fox News that really caused me to wonder. Please watch, and draw your own conclusions:

The lead paragraph in the article at Fox News:

A U.S. Army training instructor listed Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism as examples of religious extremism along with Al Qaeda and Hamas during a briefing with an Army Reserve unit based in Pennsylvania, Fox News has learned.

…The incident occurred during an Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief on extremism. Topping the list is Evangelical Christianity. Other organizations listed included Catholicism, Al Qaeda, Hamas, the Ku Klux Klan, Sunni Muslims, and Nation of Islam.

The military also listed “Islamophobia” as a form of religious extremism.

Army spokesman George Wright told Fox News that this was an “isolated incident not condoned by the Dept. of the Army.”

There needs to be a serious investigation of who put this training brief together. This sort of ridiculousness is happening at a time when the American military is refusing to use the world Islamic terrorist and has declared the Fort Hood shootings as ‘workplace violence.’ Something is very wrong here.

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