I Have Made a Dreadful Mistake

Sunday, June 11, AD 2017

The young recruit is silly — ‘e thinks o’ suicide.
‘E’s lost ‘is gutter-devil; ‘e ‘asn’t got ‘is pride;
But day by day they kicks ‘im, which ‘elps ‘im on a bit,
Till ‘e finds ‘isself one mornin’ with a full an’ proper kit.

Rudyard Kipling, The ‘eathen




Ah, the first difficult day of military service.  You suddenly realize that military recruiters had better hope that lying is not a go to Hell sin.  Pride comes later.  Decades after the experience you realize, as the saying goes, that you would not repeat the experience for a million dollars, but you also would not take a million dollars and have the episode subtracted from your life.

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14 Responses to I Have Made a Dreadful Mistake

  • Anyhow, I feel sorry for Marine DI’s. The reason they need to scream so much is the typical marine recruit has the IQ of a bag of rocks. The DI’s are under a great deal of stress trying to teach them their left foot from the right.

    And, sometimes they forget to give them back their brains when they discharge them.

  • The reason they need to scream so much is the typical marine recruit has the IQ of a bag of rocks.

    The military is by law debarred from enrolling anyone who scores below the 9th percentile on psychometric tests an has had for a number of years a practice of not enrolling anyone below the 14th percentile. The median score for a recruit during the period running from 1992 to 2004 was around the 60th percentile of the general population.

  • T Shaw,
    You misunderstand the purpose of the yelling. Nearly every minute of training from the moment that DI steps onto the bus to the moment of graduation, has been studied and scrutinized to the nth degree. It is to maximize stress and reinforce to the recruit that they are no longer in control. The Army, which I am more intimately familiar with, uses similar techniques. EVERYTHING is planned, observed, and supervised.

    Look again at those men on the bus. Do they look like “typical” low IQ recruits? Do “low IQ people make it through? You bet. But they are more the exception rather than the rule. Even “knuckle-dragging” infantry and artillery personnel have many skills to learn, memorize, and be very proficient at.

    But that is just my view from my own foxhole.

  • Art and Arminius,

    I guess you should be Marine recruits because what I posted was a joke.

  • I wonder what kind of recruits Joshua got, and what kind of training he gave them for the invasion into the land of Canaan.

  • T. Shaw
    Sunday, January 2, AD 2011 at 4:45pm (Edit)

    MEMO FROM: God Almighty
    TO: Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines
    RE: Which Service is Best

    I’ve been watching and here’s what I think. All branches of the United States Armed Forces are truly honorable, courageous, well-trained and capable.

    Therefore, there is no superior service.

    God Almighty, USMC (Ret.)

    Best PR dept. in the world . . . the Church ought to hire them.
    Donald R. McClarey
    Sunday, January 2, AD 2011 at 6:53pm (Edit)

    T. Shaw, I’m sending you the bill if I have to buy a new keyboard. I was drinking coke when I read “God Almighty, USMC (Ret.)”. 🙂
    T. Shaw
    Sunday, January 2, AD 2011 at 9:19pm (Edit)

    Sorry, Mac! I read that in a Christmas gift book. It hit me that way, too.

    Catholic Chaplains go at “it” with zeal for the salvation of souls. Not sure what motivates protestant padres.

    PS: I’m boycotting Pepsi products, too. That’d be about $1.50 less in annual sales.

    PPS: I bet dollars to donuts Michelle didn’t give Barrack “Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Salutes the Armed Forces” as a kwanzaa gift. He might learn something.

  • A 40 year route march I believe.

  • I can’t honestly say the recruiters lied to me when I joined the Navy. Nothing they said could have dissuaded me from my naive preconceived notions as to what expect.

    Boot camp was actually one of easiest things I did in the Navy. After the first two weeks, we settled into a routine and since we were basically sequestered, there was nothing in the way of distraction.

    I found life aboard ship much more difficult. For one, a little freedom and the indentured servitude of military life is not an easy balancing act for an immature 19 or 20 something.

    I found marching, barracks and personnel inspections easier than crawling in and out of boiler drums, tanks, and cleaning somkestacks, as well as 16 to 20 hour days in 130+ degree heat often doing doing heavy manual labor. I never felt I ever got quite used to that, even five years of sea duty.

    Do I regret it? Hell, no! It was the formative experience of my life. The Navy let me see the world, perhaps a little more than I should have seen.

    But most of all, there is an inestimable satisfaction in knowing that I was able to serve this great country in such a way, although I didn’t see it that way at the time.

    As sailors, it our birthright to make fun of Marines, I have say that, at least as far as conventional forces go, they exceed the other three branches of service in terms of discipline and military bearing.

  • I come from a long line of veterans, most of them war veterans: WWI, WWII, Korea, up through Vietnam. My Dad ( who did his basic at Fort Knox) pushed for me to go to college instead. I would be the first on his side to go to college. I was thinking of joining, and was even in our local recruiter’s office. But my Dad wanted one of his kids to go to college, and so I walked. To this day, I sometimes wish I would have signed. Veterans are one of those rare groups who, in my view, begin with top respect in my book, and have to work backwards to lose it. And when I can, I’ll thank one if they have paraphernalia that says they served.

    Except once. We were at a local Irish Festival in 2001. We were in some Irish Heritage tent. I looked at an elderly gentleman and saw he had a cap that had some veteran designation. I walked around and saw that his hat said ‘U.S.S. Arizona.’ I was awestruck, but didn’t talk to him. I wasn’t sure if I should. A month hasn’t gone by that I don’t wish I had.

  • Greg Mockerige said, “I found life aboard ship much more difficult.”

    Life aboard a submarine was much more difficult than bootcamp.

  • If your dad did his job, one should find boot camp to be a delightful vacation. 😉 (that’s what I’ve joked with mine sometimes, drill sergeants would never let me get home sick)

    It’s a hard, mean, cruel world out there. Men have got to try and be harder and meaner without being crueler to survive. To all the new boots, don’t worry kid, you’ll live and become the best you ever. To all veterans, thank you – now and forever.

  • That first day of bootcamp was horrible– not because of anything that happened, but because there was no going back.

    After that, exhaustion took over for the next seven and a half years. *grin*
    I’m no good at explaining it, but the US doesn’t have four military branches. We’ve got the Army, the Navy, a social club and a cult.

    Going to pass on T. Shaw’s funny, too.

  • It’s a hard, mean, cruel world out there. Men have got to try and be harder and meaner without being crueler to survive.

    You don’t live in wartime Europe. You’re not an 18th century peasant, either. The world you live in is not hard, mean, or cruel. It’s just that your boss is not your mother. Neither is your landlord. Neither are police officers. Neither is the bank to whom you owe money.

  • Remember them.

    On 10 June, three American soldiers (our sons) “gave the last full measure of devotion” in the Peka Valley, Nangrahar Province, Afghanistan. The DoD released the names. Their family was called D (Dragon) Company, 1st Battalion, 187th Inf. Reg’t. (Rakkasans), 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Div. Ne Desit Virtus.

    My son commanded D Company until September 2015. He again worked with his “family” in 2016 at Fort Polk where he ran a task force team in their pre-deployment training (during Vietnam Fort Polk ran Tiger Land for deploying troops). Two of his former PL’s attended his wedding.

    Some of the older soldiers have done four, one-year deployments; some five.

    Tonight, I will remember them in my Rosary.

How’s this for “Diversity” and “Inclusion”?

Friday, December 2, AD 2011

The United States Senate has approved a defense authorization bill by a vote of 93-7 that includes changes to Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice: no longer banned are sodomy and sex with animals (bestiality).

Article 125 used to state:

(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.

(b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

The change in Article 125 ostensibly is due to President Obama’s support to remove the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Quite likely, the removal of the bestiality provision was not intentional.  But, the simple fact is that under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, there’s no longer a provision to prosecute military personnel who engage specifically in bestiality.

The U.S. Armed Forces have been touted by those on the political left as being on the vanguard of “social change.”  They cite, as the primary example, the demise of segregation in the U.S. military following World War I and officially when President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948.

So, if The Motley Monk “gets it,” any soldier who engages in sodomy with an animal cannot be prosecuted under the provisions of the Uniform Code.

Hopefully, the Conference Committee will deal directly with this particular “social experiment,” as the House version of the Defense Authorization Act includes reinforcing the Defense of Marriage Act and prohibiting same-sex marriage on military bases.

What is this nation coming to when U.S. Senators legislate something like bestiality in the U.S. Armed Forces?

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12 Responses to How’s this for “Diversity” and “Inclusion”?

  • When homosexual sodomy is legalized and sanctified as marriage, then why not marriage between multiple consenting people? Why not Mormon polygamy (we will now have to apologize to all those LDS members for discrimination against their life style generations ago)? Why not between adults and children? Why not between human and other species. If everyone is consenting and no one hurts anyone else, then what’s the problem?

    With liberalism there is no morality because everything is relative – if it feels good and everyone agrees and no one is hurt, then go right on ahead.

    I despise and loathe liberalism and the Demokratik Party of death.

  • “Quite likely, the removal of the bestiality provision was not intentional.”

    I want to believe whoever did it knew what he/she was doing and the political commissars missed it. Mark Shea often writes: “Sin makes you stupid.”

    Never misunderestimate the GI.

    Otherwise, this fuster cluck gives new meaning to the Vietnam war-era saying “F… the Army.”

  • Was this a parody of how the far right obsesses over extreme trivialities? How many cases of bestiality in the military were prosecuted before the ban was lifted? And how is lifting the ban “legislating something like bestiality”? Wouldn’t reintroducing the ban now be social engineering?

    @Paul P., lots of people are for legalizing polygamy though some have reservations because many times polygamy is a result of coercion. Children and non-humans can’t legally consent. The pro-gay-marriage side’s concept of marriage is a legal contract so all the normal rules of contracts would still apply. To debate them, you have to argue against their first principles. Why is marriage merely a contract? You can’t argue by bringing up things that don’t follow logically from their own definition.

  • Yes, you are logically correct, RR. Thanks.

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  • RR

    Same same the extreme left, justice and peace cadres obsess over trivialities like four water-boardings and 200 executions to rationalize providing material support for 45,000,000 abortions and taxpayer funding for millions more.

    FYI – among Real Catholics bestiality is as much a mortal sin as sodomy. Among the justice and peace cadres, there is no sin except tax cuts for the rich.

  • Be advised that the bill hasn’t gone through the House of Representatives yet. I’m sure they’re already aware of the problem. It’s just a question of whether only the anti-bestiality clause will be reinstated in the House version or whether they’ll put the whole thing back in and fight it out during the reconciliation process.

  • That first picture is brilliant.

  • What’s this nation “coming” to? I would suggest that we’ve been here for quite some time. We have dug quite a hole for ourselves and I think we’re still digging. God bless America.

  • It seems logical, fair, and inclusive.

    If it is licit for a male to stick his “member” into another male’s orifice (generally rectum, I hear) and pour in his seed; why the vicious hatred against someone that desires to do likewise to a beast?

    PS: I don’t buy the peta B S that animals are rational.

  • As the Catechism puts it, it is contrary to human dignity to cause unnecessary suffering or death to animals. To abuse them to offend against chastity is wicked, disordered and cruel.

  • These things to waste more time avoiding debt reduction, to so much further revile people, and to show our children and the world more atrocious depths of U.S. officialdumb. Senators and Representatives: Please read the short story about the origin of the word you are legislating in Genesis Chapter 19 and weep.

The Archbishop and the Concentration Camp

Tuesday, August 17, AD 2010

Retired Archbishop Philip. M. Hannan of New Orleans, still alive at the age of 97, discusses his service in the video above, made in 2007, with the 505th parachute infantry regiment of the 82nd Airborne in World War II.  Ordained at the North American College in Rome on December 8, 1939, he served with the 82nd Airborne as a chaplain from 1942-46, and was known as the Jumping Padre.  He was assigned to be the chaplain of the 505th Regiment with the rank of Captain shortly after the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.  He had many adventures during his time with the 505th, but perhaps the most poignant was what happened to him on May 5th, 1945, in the final days of the War in Europe.

On May 5, 1945, the 505th overran a concentration camp near Wobbelin in Germany.  Captain Hannan and his assistant James Ospital hurried to the camp to see what they could do to help.  A scene of complete horror awaited them.  Corpses were sprawled everywhere.  Dying prisoners lay in filthy bunks crudely made out of branches.  All the prisoners looked like skeletons, both the dead and the living.  The camp reeked of the smells of a charnel house and a sewer.

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10 Responses to The Archbishop and the Concentration Camp

  • Now this is a story worth posting! Thanks!

  • Stories such as these keep me returning to The American Catholic daily. Thanks so much for this many other posts!

  • Thanks for the kind remarks. The Church has a great story to tell and I like to do what I can to tell a minute portion of it.

  • Thank you for writing this tribute to Archbishop Hannan. I did not know about this WWII experience. Archbishop in Combat Boots shares a similar title with the canonizable Father Emil Kapaun’s biography: Shepherd in Combat Boots. Interesting aside: I read in Michael Davies book on Pope John’s Council that the outspoken Hannan made a statement to the press during the Council to this effect — the best thing that could happen to Vatican II is that it ends.

  • “I read in Michael Davies book on Pope John’s Council that the outspoken Hannan made a statement to the press during the Council to this effect — the best thing that could happen to Vatican II is that it ends.”

    I could imagine him saying that. The main hallmark of the Archbishop’s career has been courage and an unclerical willingess to call a spade a bloody shovel.

  • Hannan has had his memoir recently published, I think. Probably worth the read.

    The citizens of Ludwigslust were forced to dig the graves. Also per Eisenhower’s standing order, all adult citizens of Ludwigslust were required to take a tour of the concentration camp.

    An interesting punishment but I wonder if there aren’t some moral problems with “forcing” and requiring the citizens to do it. Is there anything in just war doctrine about this kind of stuff that anybody has?

  • It would be interesting if we as casual bystanders to the grave atrocity of abortion would be forced to dig graves for our dead and tour the grounds of the abortion mills

  • I wonder why Ike is not posthumously, indicted, prosecuted, convicted, disinterred and properly dishonored for his “crimes and lack of sensitivity”?

    God help us.

  • MD,
    I think you are working “Just War”, just a bit too hard. Just war is primarily about the decision enter into or to accept combat and the limitations to be placed upon the subsequent use of force. I know you want to disapprove of a US General’s handling of an issue, but the corpses posed a public health risk, and that primarily to the German populace. Having permitted, even encouraged their government to inititiate a global war on humanity, the German population had seen their dreams of world conquest come to naught, and themselves abandoned to the control of their defeated government’s conquerers. The graves needed to be dug, the martial administrators were under no obligation to provide the labor force, or to pay for it.
    Eisenhower also ordered every Allied General officer (and all senior field grades who could be spared) in Europe to visit at least one concentration or death camp.
    this was necessary to ensure that once they started coming out of the woodwork, Holocaust Deniers like Mel Gibson’s father would be immediately and universally known for the psychopathic liars they are.

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General Petraeus Replaces General McChrystal, Obamas Presidency on the Brink

Thursday, June 24, AD 2010

President Obama has replaced General McChrystal with General Petraeus.

I haven’t really thought too much about General McChrystal’s comments regarding President Obama, but I am of the mind that American generals should have complete respect for the authority and the office of the presidency while in uniform.  We are the United States of America, not a second rate banana republic.

General McChrystal should have been smarter than to express his negative opinions of President Obama, though harmless, it is a small step towards chipping away of the established civilian controlled military.

I am almost feeling sorry for my fellow Hawaiian Barry Obama.  His healthcare push has grinded to halt his legislative agenda and the oil spill is ruining his presidency.  He’s certain to lose one or both houses of congress this November and then General McChrystal’s expresses his private sentiments of an inexperienced presidency which most Americans are coming around to view him as.

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13 Responses to General Petraeus Replaces General McChrystal, Obamas Presidency on the Brink

  • It’s hard to image things getting better for the community organizer.

  • His arrogance and know-it-all attitude will do him in if the GOP takes one or both houses of congress.

    Clinton at least is a pragmatist.

    I see Obama shooting his foot and his mouth off.

    He’ll be like the Arabs, I mean, “Palestinians”, he’ll never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

  • Obama’s presidency on the brink? He just neutralized the greatest potential 2012 threat, David Petraeus, without spending any political capital. Obama is happy.

  • I doubt if Petraeus has any political ambitions. If he had, he wouldn’t have taken the assignment. I assume Petraeus thinks he can turn the tide in Afghanistan as he did in Iraq, and I pray that he can.

  • Our great, presidential genius:

    V.D. Hanson: “It is one of ironies of our present warped climate that Petraeus will face far less criticism from the media and politicians than during 2007–8 (there will be no more “General Betray Us” ads or “suspension of disbelief” ridicule), because his success this time will reflect well on Obama rather than George Bush. It is a further irony that Obama is surging with Petraeus despite not long ago declaring that such a strategy and such a commander were failures in Iraq. And it is an even further irony that he is now rightly calling for “common purpose” when — again not long ago, at a critical juncture in Iraq — Obama himself, for partisan purposes on the campaign trail, had no interest in the common purpose of military success in Iraq.”

  • I predict the following news item in June 2013, “Former President Obama indicted on corruption, fraud and tax charges.”

    That would be in addition to the “war crimes” charges Move-On.org brings in World Court.

    At least then, he’ll be able to wear his “Che” T-shirts.

  • He should have expected this, I know I did. If General McChrystal worked in the private sector, he would have been fired a long time ago.

  • I don’t believe Obama is on the brink as the headline says. In fact, I can think of no obvious reason yet to believe he won’t be re-elected.

  • “I don’t believe Obama is on the brink as the headline says. In fact, I can think of no obvious reason yet to believe he won’t be re-elected.”


  • “I can think of no obvious reason yet . . . ”

    Some obscure reasons:

    17% Real unemployment

    5,000,000 more home forelosures

    Wars unending

    Assassinations of innocent people by drones

    Gitmo still operating

    Oil spill to end all oil spills

    Inspector General-gate

    Bankrupt union pension funds

    Bankrupt community hospitals closings

    Bankrupt school districts

    Bankrupt cities

    Bankrupt counties

    Bankrupt states



    Does anyone know why the solution to the most urgent, gravest health care crisis, i.e., state control over health is held in abeyance until 2013? Does it have anything to do with November 2012 would have given we the people two years of that mare’s nest?

  • I thought to add my $.02 here. I posted a critical commentary of my own at Vox-Nova:




  • There are a lot of scenarios in which President Obama would get elected to a second term. One foreign policy success, a forgotten oil spill, and two years of campaigning against a do-nothing Republican Congress, combined with a lousy Republican presidential candidate who fails to inspire his own party while scaring the frustrated Democrats back in line…tell me that isn’t winnable for him.

  • To those who disagree with what I wrote: none of that matters if the GOP fails to post a good nominee; ie Clinton in ’96 and Bush in ’04. We have not reached an “anyody but Obama” stage yet.

    In fact, I will say that if the GOP takes back even just one house of Congress, his reelection prospects improve.

    Do not underestimate him, the power of incumency or the dedication of his supporters. And, if a new war or big military action occurs the nation might support him into a second term.

    Polls schmoll

Sergeant York and Gary Cooper-Part I

Friday, June 4, AD 2010

In 1941 the film Sergeant York was released.  A biopic on the life of America’s greatest hero of WWI, it brought together two American originals:  Alvin C. York and the actor Gary Cooper.

York arrived in this world on December 3, 1887, the third of the eleven children of William and Mary York.  He was born into rural poverty.  Although both of his parents were quite hard-working, the Yorks lived in a two-room log cabin at a subsistence level.  None of the York children received more than nine-months education, as their labor was desperately needed to farm the few hard scrabble acres that the Yorks owned and to hunt for food to feed the large family.

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13 Responses to Sergeant York and Gary Cooper-Part I

  • Great story… I have always loved this guy. I aspire to his humilty..

  • What few know is that on a per-day casualty basis, World War I was America’s bloodiest war. While I’ve always found Jehovah’s Witness theology risible-to-far worse, the argument Satan was thrown down to the earth in 1914 is one of their more effective ones.

  • It didn’t help that Pershing was a mediocre field commander at best. He had his gifts as an organizer and a trainer of troops, but when it came to operational command in combat he was a poor chooser of divisional and corp commanders over-all, and often made things worse by sacking men in the midst of operations and bringing in replacement commanders who had to sink or swim and all too many sank. The Meuse-Argonne was won by the troops and not by Pershing’s lack-lustre supervision of the offensive. Pershing gave a negative example that provided useful tips on what to avoid by many of the US army commanders in World War II.

  • The thing is, I’m hard pressed to think of a single great field commander in the First World War. The stalemate-ending breakthroughs were invariably a function of exhaustion, undermanning or flat-out stupidity by the other side.

  • What a horribly bloody and stupid war that was, but a fantastic story in Sgt York. I had never seen the movie from beginning to end until about 10 years ago when the wife and I rented it. Top-land(er) and bottom-land(er) became words we used often for a year or two. We somehow managed to fit it into many conversations. 😉

  • An excellent narrative of Sgt. York’s courage, coolness under fire, and marksmanship can be read in Laurence Stallings’, The Doughboys, an all around excellent book on the US in WWI.

    Here is the MoH Citation.

    Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company G, 328th Infantry, 82d Division. Place and date: Near Chatel-Chehery, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Pall Mall, Tenn. Born: 13 December 1887, Fentress County, Tenn. G.O. No.: 59, W.D., 1919. Citation: After his platoon had suffered heavy casualties and 3 other noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading 7 men, he charged with great daring a machine gun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat the machinegun nest was taken, together with 4 officers and 128 men and several guns.


    “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.”

  • Allenby and Plumer for the Brits were pretty good. Von Lettow-Vorbeck for the Germans was excellent. The Hindenburg and Ludendorf team using stosstruppen tactics came close to winning the War for Germany in 1918. Petain, of ever-lasting World War II infamy, with his concept of the elastic-defense at Verdun, probably saved France from defeat.

  • Allenby (Middle East) and Lettow-Vorbeck (Africa) were on peripheral fronts, but there’s no denying their success. The latter’s is something out of an epic, I grant. Plumer recognized the idiocy of British over-planning, to his credit, and was loved by his troops. Good, but not great.

    I’ll give you the stormtrooper tactics, at least in part. But Ludendorff and Hindenburg’s plans were assisted by the fact they had an additional 50 divisions freed up from the Eastern Front.

    I tend to think of Petain as more of a McClellan figure–good at organizing and motivating, which was what the French needed after the mutiny. I tend to think that after Nivelle wrecked the French Army in early ’17, Petain had little choice but an elastic defense. But he did save France, to be sure. A pity he obliterated himself by collaboration.

  • SGT York was a great example of rural America’s greatness.

  • Sometimes I truly think that 1914 marked the end of the West. It was certainly the end of the European Age. I agree with RL that it was a completely stupid mess and I am very sorry the US got involved in it. Nonetheless, I honor the valor and bravery of Sgt. York. (And the service of my maternal grandfather, who stares solemnly at me from a old photo which hangs on the wall next to my computer. Leo is in a WWI Army uniform – he made it to France, but was not in combat – and looks dashing. He is surrounded by his sisters, who look, frankly,dowdy with their long skirts and Victorian buns. I have noticed that in old photos that the men often look more ‘modern’ than the women.)

  • In regard to WWI, I tend to agree with G.K. Chesterton that Prussian militarism needed to be stopped. Kaiser Bill, with all his hysterical outbursts, was certainly no monster like the Austrian Corporal of WWII, but living under the Prussian Eagle in occupied France and, especially, Belgium was quite bad enough.

    “After the Battle of the Marne, the Western Front rapidly became a huge system of fortified posditions and trenches streaching from Switzerland to the Channel. Although the Germans were stopped, they had overrun most of Belgium which remained in German hands for most of the War. German authorities governed with repressive measures. The Germans confiscating houses and other property for the occupying troops. German troops killed civilans who resisted. While the German actions were nothing like those pursued by the NAZIs in World War II, they were bad enough and shocking at the time. They were effectively used by British to sway public opinion in America. The Germans also used civilians for forced labor. These laborers were poorly fed. The Germans also seized food supplies with little or no concern about the impact on the civilian population. The British naval blockade in the North Sea caused shortages in the occupied areas which eventually spread to Germany itself. Belgium like Germany was not self sufficent in food production. German authorities attempted to take advantage of the Flemish-Walloon division. They supported Flemish Activists–a radical nationalist group that agreed to work with the Germans hopeing to gain independence for Flanders. The great majority of the Flemish remained loyal to King Albert and Belgium. There was little support for the German-supported Council of Flanders. Nor was the German decesion to change the University of Ghent from a French-language to a Flemish-language institution well received. (The Belgian government made the State University of Ghent partially Flemish and then in 1930 fully Flemish.)”

    A good and careful report on atrocities committed by German troops during the sacking of Louvain in Belgium in 1914:


    There was a large amount of Allied propaganda during WWI that touted fake, or exaggerated, accounts of atrocities by the Germans, which made many people initially cynical as to reports of German atrocities in the Second World War, but there is a hard core of accurate reports that life under the German army was quite bad, especially for public opinion in the much more innocent days of WWI, not yet deadened by the type of savagery to come from fascism and communism in the rest of the 20th century.

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6 Responses to Video: Different Presidents, Different Responses

  • I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to deduce from this. I suppose your feelings on this greatly have to do with how you believe the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ought to be concluded…

  • Anthony,

    Nice try at a straw man and outlandish speculation.

  • Actually I was being totally genuine.

    “Supporting the troops” often means supporting war, or THE war, at least.

    I “support the troops.” I want them home safely with their families, etc. But I can’t, in good conscience, support the ill-defined mission they’ve been handed (by both administrations).

    So, hey, no straw man or speculation intended. I just don’t understand the value of saying the military loved Bush (why? because he was folksy?) versus disdain for Obama (why? because of his likely indifference?).

    Again, I’m just trying to understand your point, which as you say, is supposed to speak for itself.

  • Agreement with Anthony. The video means nothing. Our military men and women are professionals, not adolescents. Their likes and dislikes of the chain of command is irrelevant. They follow orders. They do their jobs. And when they return home, hopefully they have a federal government that recognizes their sacrifices and compensates them fairly for it all.

    Since Tito’s point is vague, I’ll substitute mine:

    Support the Troops: bring them home.

  • This is comparing apples and bananas.

    The first the troops were at “stan at ease” and couldd make personal responses and the President came in with an informal style. The second the troops were at attention the President came in with a formal approach, being good Marines they stayed at attention until told to sit. I suspect one of the reasons the second was more formal was that the local command did not want an incident, while in the first they were not worried.

    The military like every one else tends to react to others by the amount of respect they perceive and the attitude toward them.

    No one ever doubted that President Bush has great respect for the military, and even if they disagreed with him they felt he was acting in what he believed was their interests.

    Despite efforts to the contrary President Obama projects what is easily perceived as an air of distain for the military. It would not be difficult for them, even when they agree, to suspect the his decisions have nothing to do their interests

    The conclusion drawn in the post is probably correct, but the video does not support it.

  • Protocol wise, the second speech entrance is the one that an APOLITICAL (demonstrated bias towards NEITHER political party or for that matter ANY political party)
    Professional, restrained, the stuff you see the officer corps doing more than the enlisted ranks.

    That said, there was and is an overwhelming difference between the two men, more so than between Clinton and either Bush. And for as much as Obama is compared to Carter, Carter DID serve in the Navy, whatever else, he and Reagen both took their duties as Commander in Chief seriously.

    Obama has more disdain for those in uniform than even Hilary Clinton ever had her first year in the White House with her husband,

Lying to Join The Band of Brothers

Wednesday, May 19, AD 2010

I have never served in combat or been in a warzone for which I thank God.  However, many of my friends are veterans of combat in conflicts stretching from World War II to Iraq.  Such an experience marks them.  They tell me that they have some of their best memories from their time in service, along with some of their worst.  It is a crucible that they have passed through which is hard to completely convey to someone like me who has never gone through it.  Usually they do not speak much of it, although often I have seen a quiet pride when they do speak about it:  a knowledge that they were given a test on their passage through life and made it through, mingled with sadness for their friends who were lost.  They belong to the exclusive club of those called upon to put their lives on the line for the rest of us.  They are entitled to respect for their service, whether they are given that respect by the rest of us or not.

Therefore I take a very dim view of anyone who seeks entry into their ranks under false pretences.  The New York Times has revealed that Richard Blumenthal, Democrat Attorney General of Connecticut and candidate for the Democrat nomination for the US Senate is one such person:

At a ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut rose and spoke of an earlier time in his life.

We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”

There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.

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22 Responses to Lying to Join The Band of Brothers

  • What’s the difference between a couple of attention-seeking hard lefties like Richard Blumenthal and Jane Fonda?

    Jane Fonda actually went to Vietnam.

  • Lying is dishonorable. As is adultery. Over and over we have evidence that there is one aspect of human frailty both the Left and the Right share in equal measure. Sin.

    I would have more respect for a person who opposed the war on moral or ethical principles and accepted the consequences of that. But American politics is certainly not poverty-stricken for examples of individuals who dodged overseas military service, either legally, financially, or otherwise. The previous two presidents, and three of the last four, certainly.

    I will note that the first President Bush served with honor. The man didn’t need to make a big thing of it in his political life.

  • What? Isn’t Blumenthal sufficiently liberal for the NYT?

    Mr. Blumenstein misspoke. He meant to say, he did not spit on any Vietnam veteran as did Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jimmeh Carter (pardoned draft dodgers), and every VC sympathizer-Obama appointee of that age.

  • The previous two presidents, and three of the last four, certainly.

    About 1.9 million men were posted to Indo-China during the period running from 1965 to 1973. There were some 18 million men born during the years running from 1943 through 1952. Roughly 30% of the military of that era were vocational soldiers (e.g. John McCain). The probability of a randomly selected individual from those age cohorts serving in VietNam as a consequence of conscription or an enlistment for a discrete term was about one-tenth.

    As we speak, about 70% of the Armed Forces are stationed in the United States. That proportion has varied over the years, but at no time since 1945 have the majority of American servicemen been stationed ‘overseas’.

    There is no documentary evidence and there are no disinterested witnesses who can cast apersions on the military service of George W. Bush, which is why Mary Mapes was scamming around with forgeries.

  • I have not a clue why you are casting aspersions on Ronald Reagan’s service either. Except that that’s what you do.

  • Well … Ronald Reagan served stateside. So did my dad. He admitted he was fortunate not to draw overseas duty as his younger brother did. Mr Reagan was not beyond padding his military record in casual conversation. But I have no problem with an actor making military films stateside. He was about my dad’s age, and my father (as he reports it) was considered too old to be a first choice for overseas duty.

    But I see: you objected to my used of the verb, to dodge, because it is used in connection with those who illegally avoided military service.

    Mr Shaw, aside from your need to learn to spell, do you have proof of spitting, or are you just engaging in a blumenthalism here?

  • Ronald Reagan had an older brother; no younger brother. I object to the use of the term ‘dodge’ because you were insinuating a scheme on the part of the two men in question, and there was no scheme. George W. Bush, Patrick J. Buchanan, Hubert Humphrey, Dan Quayle, and Richard Cheney all had the disagreeable experience of being smeared over their service record. Their service records were perfectly in order (if unimpressive) and they availed themselves of no privileges that were not available to tens-of-millions of other similarly situated.

    I do not think you would have to look very far in the press corps to find folk employed therein who were happy to overlook genuinely hinky service records (e.g. B. Clinton’s) or impugn the motives of Mekong Delta veterans fed up with John Kerry. The whole discourse is disgusting.

  • I spent my “combat time” fighting the report shuffle wars and the battle of PowerPoint, or in pulling long watches “just in case” the order was given and the birds of death were to fly.

    I use terms like “served during” not “served in” although technically I “could” say “in” I was never during “active combat operations” in harms’ way. The standing guard on the Southern Watch, a little different. But that, like being in Korea, was a “cease fire” not combat actions.

    Had Mr. Blumenthal been “honest” he too would have used “served during” not “served in.”

    I had a supervisor that was stationed in the Philippines that was not “credited” for serving in Viet Nam, although she spent 3 days out of every 10 there (medical tech on Air Evacuation missions) and was under fire many times.

    She had EVERY RIGHT to say “served in Viet Nam” but didn’t because her base of assignment was NOT in Viet Nam.

    A couple points that the author got correct. We that served, DO CONSIDER IT AN HONOR. As well as many of the real heroes, did not make it home intact, and that is a burden that we carry. What we do, like Pvt. Ryan in the movie “Band of Brothers,” hope we live our remaining lives to bring honor and respect to those we served with.

  • Art, you’re not reading accurately, and I didn’t express myself accurately. My father indeed had a younger brother. Two, in fact; the other served with him stateside during WWII.

    Your point seems biased in your last post. Politicians of both left and right have served with honor, both as combat veterans and otherwise. Some of them, as I said, “dodged” dangerous service either by dodgy means or, as my older brother did, by serving before the Vietnam years.

    It is also true that politicians of both the right and left have attacked the service records of their opponents. Please don’t try to excuse Karl Rove and others of his ilk in the GOP. Republicans have not hesitated to malign the service records of Dems when it suited their purpose.

    I may be a pacifist, but I can respect the prudential judgments made by those who believe military service is honorable. What is less than honorable is to sin against truth by telling as it is not: and I would place my condemnation equally against a person who shares my ideology and those who do not.

    Mr Blumenthal is wrong for giving a false impression. Mr Reagan’s sin struck me as more of a kindly guy making embellishment for the sake of telling a story. His record wasn’t a key point in his political campaigning.

  • Todd,
    I acknowledge that your assertion that Reagan padded his military record may not constitute the sin of detraction since it does seem germane to the discussion. Whether it constitutes the sin of defamation cannot be so easily dismissed. It seems only appropriate that you provide some evidence to back up such an assertion. If you claim that you cannot because such instances occured only in casual conversations, please do explain how you know so much about such casual conversations. Thanks.

  • Let go of my leg. You made use of the term ‘dodge’ to impugn the character of two politicians who did not merit it.

    I made no partisan points, Todd. I remembered the names of several public figures who have been sliced up by their opponents (Humphrey) or by the press (Quayle) or by the combox chatterati (Cheney). If you can think of three additional Democrats who have received this treatment to balance the roster to your satisfaction, that is fine with me.

    Bill Clinton welshed on his ROTC service obligations. If acknowledgement of that bothers you, tough.

    You have repeatedly made a point of chuffering about the military service of Ronald Reagan, who hardly spoke of it.

    Mr. Rove is not responsible for John Kerry’s troubles. Kerry’s detractors are other Navy veterans who served in the Mekong Delta ca. 1970, one of whom has been a public nemesis of Kerry since Karl Rove was an undergraduate. Assessing Kerry’s service record is a more complex task because it involves granular knowledge of naval operations; memories decades after the fact; the degree to which a facially fine service record is blemished by the disdain of one’s peers, manifest tall tales, gamesmanship, and one’s troublesome public career after discharge. It really does not belong in a discussion of these other cases.

  • Here is a good overview of Reagan’s military service.


    I find it significant that Reagan held a reserve commission in the Army well before World War II, and apparently obtained it purely on his own initiative after he graduated from college. His eyesight prevented him from serving overseas, and he made films for the Army which was his assigned duty. As far as I know, he never claimed otherwise. Reagan of course clearly understood who the real heroes of the War were:

  • The spitting (and bags of crap) happened all the time.

    And, the anti-war demonstrations were not about pacifism. They were about the communists winning the war in which my buddies were fighting and dying; and about weed and sex.

    I was in the USAF from 1972 to 1976. I served with SAC (B-52’s/nukes) in California and with USAFE in West Germany.

    Re: Kerry. If the USMC (part of the Navy) in Vietnam applied the same three purple heart that Kerry used, no marine would have been in country more than three weeks. In the Army, you never got a purple heart unless you were med-evacked/hospitalized.

  • My apologies. The story that came to mind was that Mr Reagan recounted a movie plot as an actual story of heroism at some veterans’ event in 1983. I do recollect the famous account he gave of losing a football feed as a radio announcer and having to “invent” a game for the audience.

    The point is that fibbing like this is more akin to telling tall tales. Some of us wouldn’t do it. A few of us would. Personally, I don’t think Mr Reagan’s exaggerations are terribly harmful. And it was because of his nearsightedness that he was declined for overseas duty. He worked as an active duty officer making films in Hollywood for much of the period 1942-45.

    I think we’re all in agreement that Mr Blumenthal’s exaggerations are dishonorable. I think we can also agree that a person’s military service or lack of it is often a target, and often unfair. Former Georgia Senator Max Cleland strikes me as a guy who got a raw deal from the GOP. Senator McCain (among other Republicans) thought the dirty politics of Senator Chambliss “worse than disgraceful, it’s reprehensible.”

    As for Mr Kerry, my recollection is that he told his own campaign that Bush’s service record was not going to be part of his political strategy. Officers who did attack the senator during the campaign, if indeed one, as you report, Art, did have more of a personal vendetta against the man, seems to line up as well in the category of dishonor.

    These men were serving in their twenties, for the most part. Young men. Placed in extremely difficult circumstances. With their own flaws and immaturity.

    In judging a person of 40, 50, or older, I’m disinclined to criticize the events of young adulthood. Mature citizens, even the Kerry slowboaters, should be also. Even so, the president should have clamped down on that from the start. Letting out-of-control guys with personal issues get off leash is an indicator of his own lack of leadership. Or his approval.

    The fact is that the Right has no moral high road on this. Today Mr Blumenthal. Tomorrow somebody else.

  • Thanks for the clarification, Todd, but I’m not satisfied. I’ll let others decide whether the episode described below is comparable to “padding his military record” or even “inventing a game”, let alone whether the mysteriously plural “exaggerations” that are “not very harmful” isn’t just rich.

    “One of Reagan’s responsibilities was to give accounts of Chicago Cubs baseball games via telegraph. During one game between the Cubs and their arch rivals the St. Louis Cardinals that was tied 0-0 in the 9th inning, the telegraph went dead: An often repeated tale of Reagan’s radio days recounts how he delivered “play-by-play broadcasts” of Chicago Cubs baseball games he had never seen. His flawless recitations were based solely on telegraph accounts of games in progress. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/40_reagan/reagan_early.html

    “Once in 1934, during the ninth inning of a Cubs – St. Louis Cardinals game, the wire went dead. Reagan smoothly improvised a fictional play-by-play (in which hitters on both teams gained a superhuman ability to foul off pitches) until the wire was restored. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Reagan

    “Reagan says: “There were several other stations broadcasting that game and I knew I’d lose my audience if I told them we’d lost our telegraph connections so I took a chance. I had (Billy) Jurges hit another foul. Then I had him foul one that only missed being a homerun by a foot. I had him foul one back in the stands and took up some time describing the two lads that got in a fight over the ball. I kept on having him foul balls until I was setting a record for a ballplayer hitting successive foul balls and I was getting more than a little scared. Just then my operator started typing. When he passed me the paper I started to giggle – it said: ‘Jurges popped out on the first ball pitched.’” http://www.intellectualconservative.com/article3120.html

  • “My apologies.”

    Of course you’re not satisfied, Mike. Enjoy the day.

  • Polls showing Dodd’s seat just went from a safe Democratic seat to a tossup. And the story is only two days old. Gotta love the NY Times.

  • Former Georgia Senator Max Cleland strikes me as a guy who got a raw deal from the GOP.

    The political mythology machine just runs on and on. Here’s the bloody ad attacking Max Cleland’s Senate votes.

    As for Mr Kerry, my recollection is that he told his own campaign that Bush’s service record was not going to be part of his political strategy.

    1. There was nothing to attack;

    2. His political strategy was expressed in using his boat mates as campaign props.

    Officers who did attack the senator during the campaign, if indeed one, as you report, Art, did have more of a personal vendetta against the man, seems to line up as well in the category of dishonor.

    No, it does not. It is only dishonorable if they self-consciously manufactured a false narrative. It is a matter of record that Kerry had been dining off his military service for more than 30 years; that he was awarded a Purple Heart for an injury to his rear end that left him in the hospital for thirty six hours, a Purple Heart for a superficial injury that required no inpatient care, and a Maj. Frank Burns style Purple Heart for a trivial injury that may have been inadvertantly self-inflicted; that he had made repeated incredible claims to having been sent on intelligence missions to Cambodia; that he also claimed to have been an ear-witness to military operations involving the Khmer Rouges at a time what the Khmer Rouges were a trivial force operating hundreds of miles away from the Mekong Delta; that he claimed to have listened to a mendacious speech by his commander-in-chief concerning American incursions into Cambodia when no such incursion were undertaken until a year after he had been shipped home….

  • Some really good points and words by Art Deco, DRM and T. Shaw.
    For my part, I served twenty years between two services (Navy and Army). While I have ventured into harm’s way no less than four times, to include deployment to Operation Desert Shield/Storm, I cannot say with a straight face that I am a combat veteran. For most of my career in the Army, I was authorized to wear a “combat patch” (wearing on your right shoulder the shoulder insignia of the unit with which you deployed to a combat zone for 30+ days). But even the patch that I wore gave evidence that I was a card-carrying rear-echelon puke.
    I am trying to paint the picture that I had long service and some (very little) fairly risky service. That said, I would never intimate that I am a veteran of close-quarters combat. When anyone asks if I have ever killed an enemy, I say “Praise God, I have never had the opportunity!”

    Mr. Blumenthal sought and received five deferrments, then managed to wrangle an assignment to the USMCR to avoid any remaining risk of deployment to Vietnam. It was his right to do all of these things. Unless further examination of the facts were to indicate that he behaved in similar fashion to Slick Willie Clinton, you can call him a coward if you want to, but cowardice is not illegal.

    But he seems to present a pattern of attempting to associate himself with those who served on active duty during, or even fought, that war. This is not accidental. A lawyer who has risen to the position of a State AG (necessitating proficiency in both the written and spoken word) cannot then claim to be unaware of the effects of his carefully chosen words upon his listeners.

    So let me state, with absolute disgust toward the Con (yes, I think that’s the best way to spell it in this case) AG, that his conduct here and now, not forty years ago, demeans any military service he might have rendered.

    Given then opportunity, I would spit in his face in any airport, anytime.

  • “In judging a person of 40, 50, or older, I’m disinclined to criticize the events of young adulthood.”

    Todd, really? So explain your back-stab at GWB again…

    “Even so, the president should have clamped down on that from the start.”

    Sorry, but McCain-Feingold created the runaway special purpose group phenomenon. So the mechanism of direct control was simply not there. Bush distanced himself from the swift-boaters, who were not saying their piece on his behalf.
    Oh, and then there’s this almost extinct, clearly arcane Constitutional notion of freedom of political speech.

    “Letting out-of-control guys with personal issues get off leash is an indicator of his own lack of leadership. Or his approval.”

    Personal issues? Try Winter Soldier on for size- that was your boy Kerry’s baby. He testified to it before Congress by way of launching his political career. It was all lies.
    As for approval, do you believe that some level of veracity is to be expected of elected officials? If so, you should approve of flashlights focused on their paths. Shine the light on everything. Let the voters decide what is damning and what is not.

  • AD,
    Thanks for reminding everyone what a masterful job the Dems did at manipulating the public’s memory of that ad. By repeatedly accusing the rather unremarkable ad as questioning Cleland’s patriotism, they managed to manufacture a myth. Truly masterful.

  • Todd,
    Your apology was diminished by your subsequent dissembling. What exactly were the “exaggerations” that you were referring to? Of the two examples you seem to rely on the first seems more a case of harmless confusion and the second was at most a harmless fib; neither was an exaggeration.

Supremes: Mojave Desert Cross Can Stay

Wednesday, April 28, AD 2010

In a tribute to common sense, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a Cross raised in 1934 as a tribute to U.S. soldiers who died in World War I may stay at the Mojave National Preserve.  The depressing part of this news was that the vote was 5-4.  Stevens, who is retiring, voted with the four justices who viewed the Cross as a threat to our constitutional order.

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2 Responses to Supremes: Mojave Desert Cross Can Stay

  • 4 voted that it was a threat to our constitutional order? I don’t feel threatened? I drove past a (huge) Mosque in Ohio (near Maume) and felt uncomfortable but not threatened. I drove past countless synagoges in New York – never felt threatened. There is family in my town in Michigan that has a Budda in their yard with the flags – I think it looks neat and you know what – I am not threatened…

    I pray the people making decisions are God Inspired not fear inspired. I pray the understand the people they represent without hold some kind predeermend intelectual superiority… God bless tham and our GREAT country…

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A Merry Christmas To Those Who Guard Us While We Sleep

Friday, December 25, AD 2009

Hattip to Big Hollywood.  A film clip from Battleground (1949), a rousing tribute to the heroic stand of the 101st Airborne at Bastogne at Christmas 1944, which helped turn the tide of the Battle of the Bulge.  We should always be mindful of the men and women in our military who are far from their families today, celebrating Christmas often in dangerous situations.  May God bless them and keep them, and may we always remember the sacrifices they make for us.

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