Betraying the Troops

November 17, 2007

From Bill O’Reilly and billoreilly.com.

“Just in time for Thanksgiving, the vile movie “Redacted” is opening in a few theatres this week. The film, financed by billionaire Mark Cuban and directed by far-left bomb thrower Brian DePalma, features drunken American soldiers in Iraq raping and murdering a 14-year-old girl and then slaughtering her family.

As stated in this space two months ago, a depiction like this will be displayed prominently on jihadi websites, and will be used as a recruiting tool by terrorists. No doubt.

Both DePalma and Cuban are unrepentant and apparently could not care less about putting U.S. troops in even more danger. Cuban opines that it is wrong to condemn the film without seeing it, but that’s incredible nonsense. No one denies the movie puts American soldiers in the worst light possible. As one reader emailed, “Saying you can’t condemn ‘Redacted’ without seeing it is like saying you can’t condemn crystal meth without taking it.”

So what’s to be done here? In a free society, Mark Cuban is entitled to make this despicable movie. Our military people have fought and died to give him that right. Isn’t that ironic? Cuban uses his freedom and his money, made in America, to put our troops at further risk. How does the guy live with himself?

This isn’t about the Iraq war or the war on terror. This is about fellow citizens. Even during the ultra-contentious Vietnam conflict, Hollywood didn’t make films that aided the enemy. Jane Fonda made a personal appearance in North Vietnam that did that, and she is still paying for it to this day.

Mark Cuban owns the Dallas Maverick basketball team and has been seen gyrating on TV’s “Dancing With the Stars.” While Cuban is doing the cha-cha, almost 200,000 brave Americans are on far-away battlegrounds. Picture the image of Cuban dancing around juxtaposed with scenes of the hardship our troops face everyday. Sounds like it would make an interesting movie sequence, don’t you think?

There comes a time when good people must make a stand, and this is one of those times. Cuban and DePalma have done a bad thing; they have made life even harder for our troops. So Americans should stand in front of any theatre showing “Redacted” and hold a simple sign: “Support the Troops.”

There is no excuse for “Redacted.” The incident is based on a true story, but those who committed the crimes are in prison for life. You don’t celebrate this kind of aberration with a movie—you don’t brand the U.S. military with this stigma.

Charles Manson is an American too, but does he represent this country in any way? Of course not. And I believe even the odious Manson would not make a movie like “Redacted.”

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A Debt That Cannot Be Repaid: Honoring Our Veterans

November 13, 2007

From Chuck Colson and Breakpoint.

“In the mountains of Afghanistan, 29-year-old Navy Lt. Michael Murphy was leading a four-man team on a mission to capture a Taliban leader. Suddenly, some 40 insurgents opened fire from three sides. Lt. Murphy exposed himself to enemy fire to get a clear signal in order to radio for help. Despite being shot repeatedly, Murphy calmly gave his unit’s location and requested immediate support for his team. Lt. Murphy died of wounds that day two years ago. I was deeply moved by his story, which is recounted in Marcus Luttrell‘s riveting bestseller, but R-rated book, Lone Survivor. For his heroic actions, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor last month. As President Bush noted during the ceremony, attended by Murphy’s parents, “With this medal we acknowledge a debt that will not diminish with time and can never be repaid.”

The Medal of Honor—the highest of all military honors—is not often awarded. And yet, several of our biggest news outlets did not see fit to cover this event. This is appalling. When editors omit stories of heroism, they not only demean the sacrifice of our servicemen, they also deny America’s young needed examples of love of country.

Walter Berns, author of the book Making Patriots, argues that patriots are made, not born—that we have to be taught to love our country. He also believes that this love, though necessary to our nation’s very survival, does not come easily. That’s because it is human nature to put ourselves first.

And yet, cemeteries both at home and abroad are full of Americans who did give their lives for their country—and are doing so today in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their sacrifice reminds us that, in order for America and its ideals to flourish, we have to teach our kids that there are things more important than simply fulfilling their own desires.

It is not enough to show people that it is in their selfish interests that the country prospers. We have to remind them of what our nation’s creed says: that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Those words rang in my ears when I signed up to serve in the marines during wartime.

Our nation’s promise is a declaration of the rights and freedoms of everyone. So we each have a higher standard to meet than simply looking out for number one. Sadly, we have often fallen short of that standard, arbitrarily denying rights to one group or another. But whenever we did, we knew it was wrong; we worked to correct it; and most of the time, we have succeeded. If we truly believe in the ideal of freedom for all people, we will keep reminding our countrymen of what we stand for and why patriotism to our flag is noble—something for which any good citizen is willing to sacrifice.

How do we teach young people to love their country? Tell them about heroes like Michael Murphy and teach them to love goodness and freedom—and remind them that these are the ideals America was founded to preserve and promote. Talk to them about duty.

It is the only way we can guarantee that those ideals will survive, in America and around the world. What better time than Veterans Day to remind our youth of these precious truths—and of those who offer the ultimate sacrifice to preserve them.”


What Is A Vet?

November 12, 2007

Father Denis Edward O’Brien, USMC 

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg – or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul’s ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.

You can’t tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She – or he – is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another – or didn’t come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat – but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs.

He is the parade – riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket – palsied now and aggravatingly slow – who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being – a person who offered some of his life’s most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That’s all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, “THANK YOU”.

Remember November 11th is Veterans Day

“It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier,
Who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.”

Father Denis Edward O’Brien
USMC


Federal government bans flag-folding recitations following one complaint

October 27, 2007

From the American Family Association.

It is time for Christians to say enough is enough

“In the latest attack on Christianity, the U.S. government has banned the flag-folding recitations at all 125 national cemeteries. The banning came as the result of one complaint! The situation is similar to that in which one person removed prayer from schools.This article from The Associated Press explains the situation:

Complaints about religious content have led to a ban on flag-folding recitations by Veterans Administration employees and volunteers at all national cemeteries.

At thousands of military burials, VA volunteers have folded the American flag 13 times and recited the significance of each fold to survivors. The 11th fold glorifies “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” The 12th glorifies “God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.”

Citing a need for uniformity, the National Cemetery Administration has prohibited unpaid VA volunteers as well as employees from conducting the recital at all 125 national cemeteries.

American Legion attorney Rees Lloyd calls it “another attempt by secularist fanatics to cleanse any reference to God.”

Following one complaint, the Veterans Administration has made anti-Christian bigotry the law of the land. The U.S. government has bowed to pressure from one radical anti-Christian secularist. Allowed to stand, the action by the Veterans Administration, in essence, means that anti-Christian bigotry is now the accepted and approved law of the land.”

Click here for more information from OneNewsNow

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Conduct Unbecoming: How America Treats Its Military

October 23, 2007

From Chuck Colson and Breakpoint.

“One of the really formative experiences in my life was serving as an officer in the Marine Corps. I thought military service was an honorable profession, so much so that I urged my sons to consider military service—even though that was during the Vietnam War.

But after what I have been watching the past few months, I wonder if I would urge my grandsons to serve today.

One of the most disillusioning moments for me was when the New York Times ran that ad—at a discount, by the way—for MoveOn.org calling General Petraeus “General Betray Us.” This honorable West Point graduate with a distinguished military career: We do this to him? Unbelievably, a resolution in the Senate to disavow the MoveOn.org ad war was opposed by all the leading Democratic presidential candidates.

Equally bad is what the Senate did to General Peter Pace. The majority leader—who, by the way, ran an elevator in the Capitol during the Vietnam War—accused this most decorated marine officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, of being incompetent. Senate leaders attacked Pace because he had the audacity to express his view that both adultery and homosexual behavior are morally wrong.

The mainstream press has also done its share of harm to our service members. As General Ricardo Sanchez said, as described in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece last Thursday, “What is clear to me is that you [referring to the media] are perpetrating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war.” He lashed out at Congress for rank partisanship, undermining the confidence of the troops.

The general also faulted the Bush administration for its handling of the war—which, by the way, was the only thing the New York Times reported from his speech.

This is what we have come to in America: slandering our generals and undermining—even endangering—our troops.

Our cultural and political leaders have forgotten, if they ever knew, that the willingness to sacrifice on behalf of others is why serving in the military is considered such a high calling—and a part of what makes just wars just. Thomas Aquinas in his classic Summa Theologica puts his discussion of just war in the chapter on charity—the love of God and neighbor.

And reformer John Calvin called the soldier an “agent of God’s love” because “restraining evil out of love for neighbor is an imitation of God’s restraining evil out of love for His creatures.”

We are blessed that so many fine men and women are willing to wield the sword on our behalf in this country. But are we, in turn, willing to respect and honor those sacrificing for us? And if not, can we blame them if one day they decide to lay down their arms?

What kind of a world would this be if that happened? We would have a world where evil reigned unchecked by justice, and where the strong would be free to prey on the weak.

The problem is not with our service members who are serving us nobly and ably in Iraq; it is the political and cultural leaders who are dishonoring them. If most Americans share their attitude, then I say bring the troops home. Why should they risk their lives for an ungrateful nation?

If we want them to continue to lay down their lives to protect us, then I say it is time for the politicians and the media to get a hold of themselves and give our troops the respect, honor, and support that they deserve. ”

To read more click here.


A war on memory

July 6, 2007

From Michael Medved and the USA Today.

“Judges will rarely use their power to hide public sculptures depicting sadistic brutality, or to obscure billboards peddling sex and nudity, but in the California desert they’ve ordered the concealment of a simple white cross that has honored the nation’s war dead for more than 70 years.”

To read the full article click here.