My Blood Boils

Sunday, October 23, AD 2016

our-debt-to-the-heroic-men-and-valiant-women-in-the-service-of-our-country-can-never-be-repaid-war-quote

 

An example of how fouled up our priorities are:

 

 

The Pentagon is seeking to recover decade-old reenlistment bonuses paid to thousands of California Army National Guard soldiers to go fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

The paper reported that nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom risked their lives during multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay the cash bonuses after audits revealed widespread overpayments by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets at the height of the wars 10 years ago.

But soldiers say the military is reneging on old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on those whose only mistake was to accept the bonuses, which amounted to $15,000 or more.

The Army asked wounded Iraq veteran and former Army captain Christopher Van Meter, 42, to repay a $25,000 reenlistment bonus it said he was ineligible to receive. He was also asked to repay $21,000 in student loan repayments.

Van Meter told the paper that rather than fight the Army he paid back the money after refinancing his home.

“These bonuses were used to keep people in,” Van Meter said. “People like me just got screwed.”

Go here to read the rest.  Let’s see, these soldiers reenlisted, put their lives on the line in wartime, and after their honorable service these war veterans are asked to refund money they earned with blood and sweat because the California National Guard screwed up?  Congress needs to put a stop to this, pronto.

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17 Responses to My Blood Boils

  • So the Democratic govt can’t borrow any more money from the commies in China to finance its wars of aggression.

  • Similar demands have been made in the past of disaster victims who accepted FEMA aid for rebuilding their homes in good faith, having filled out all the necessary forms and provided all needed information and been told they qualified — only to be told years later that their applications were erroneously approved and now they have to pay all the money back. It’s one thing to demand repayment when there is clear evidence the INDIVIDUAL committed deliberate fraud in order to obtain the benefit; it’s another thing entirely to make them pay for some bureaucrat’s mistake. Demanding this kind of repayment from service personnel who risked life and limb to get it is disgusting but sadly not surprising.

  • President Trump would not let this happen.

  • According to Investor’s Business Daily, the Obamas have, on average,
    spent $10.1 million taxpayer dollars each year on their vacations. Each time
    they take Air Force One to vacation in Hawaii, the cost of the flight is $3.7
    million dollars. According to receipts uncovered by Judicial Watch, when
    Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House, she spent on average $1,000/week
    in taxpayer dollars for food and alcohol service alone on her taxpayer-funded
    Air Force flights.
    .
    Pelosi’s bar tab for one year’s worth of Air Force flights would exceed the amount
    that Captain Van Meter is being forced to repay the government. It’s a strange
    set of priorities at work, when it’s the Army Captain who’s being forced to pay
    back the treasury, and Pelosi’s annual in-air bar tab is considered a legitimate use
    of taxpayer dollars.

  • Refi his home because of the mistake of the government. To hell with paying back monies that were promised for reenlistment.

    This administration and it’s behavior is ludicrous.

    God bless these veterans and may the bureaucrats revisit this asinine decision.
    Obama should repay the US every single dollar he spent on taxpayer funded vacations.
    There’s your solution to this dilemma.

  • Thanks Clinton for the research from Judicial Watch.

  • Welfare and bankruptcy laws allow the person to keep one house and one car. Now, the government is demanding the one house and will probably make the veteran sign his house over. Is there not a statute of limitations on this matter? Is this the government confiscating payment to which they are not entitled? After all, this is their mistake, if it is a mistake. When a bank makes a mistake in your favor it stays. A budget for the Pentagon is made yearly. How can this matter be relevant now, except as swindle?

  • So California veterans have to pay back bonuses that were received during wartime….This is a disgrace. In a televised press conference the Governor Jerry Brown should apologize to the vets; then announce that he’s rescinded the order to repay bonuses, and that he will fire the state employees that made the mistake. For those veterans like Capt Van Meter who have paid in full or partially repaid, announce that the money will come back to them. Not sure if bonuses are taxable, if so add paid taxes to the refund.
    The state comptroller can find the money from funds that are given illegals as a start or tax pot and the growers or whatever.
    This will be cheaper in the long run for the state than when Archie Bunker’s seven hungry Jewish lawyers launch a massive class action suit. Legal fees will cost the state plenty.

    Again, this is a disgrace. Good luck recruiting when the next surge comes and the CA Nat Guard needs to fill their quotas.

  • According to Investor’s Business Daily, the Obamas have, on average,
    spent $10.1 million taxpayer dollars each year on their vacations. Each time
    they take Air Force One to vacation in Hawaii, the cost of the flight is $3.7
    million dollars.


    Off topic, but this problem can be ameliorated. (1) the next President remembers that Harry Truman traveled abroad 3x in 8 years, once for a courtesy visit to Mexico, once for a courtesy visit to Canada, and once for the Potsdam Conference. Both the Mexican and Canadian government in our time are irritants who merit little courtesy. Pray we’re not living in times Chinese-interesting enough to need a Potsdam conference. As for the President’s domestic travels, he’s too encased in a security bubble to actually meet ordinary people (something Truman could do when he walked across the street to the bank, as he often did), so there’s no point to that unless you cut the detail drastically. Which you can do if you quit broadcasting the president’s movements in advance. He’s likely never improved a single candidate’s chances by campaigning for them and it’s difficult to believe that speaking tours benefit the chances of any pending legislation he wants.

    Of course, the point of most of the travel is to appear at fundraisers whose frequency has been unseemly.

  • Yes, reenlistment bonuses are taxable unless, I think, they are issued in combat zones. When I reenlisted in the Navy in 1988, I took about a 20% tax hit on the first half upfront installment.

  • The hallmark and joys of a socialst government – it works well till they run out of other peoples money, so now they demand more.

  • If the statute of limitations for charging the people who made those erroneous payments for misappropriation of funds has run out, then in justice the time for the Obammunist federal government to claw back the erroneous payments has also run out.

  • Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” Changing the agreement with veterans ex post facto is unconstitutional. FEMA, another government agency went about after the hurricane Sandy demanding repayment from victims who were considered” ineligible” after the fact, ex post facto and other victims who were told that they were “over paid”. HUH? (My brother lost his house as did my granddaughter. Fema paid hardly half.)
    It really sounds like a scam designed by Saul Alinsky for filling the government’s pocket with tax payers money.

  • Just noticed something that didn’t jump out at me the last time– the guy had to repay student loans? This sounds like there might be something else involved. Getting the military education whatzit to pay at all can be a pain, but once it’s done, the only way I know for you to get charged is if you fail the class or if they find out there was fraud. (ie, you didn’t take the class)

    **********
    I just realize that this is about the time that I got out– and they were making the standards stricter so people wouldn’t stay in so much. The only folks I know who were getting bonuses were those who had really obscure, high-demand certifications.
    ********
    The only two guys they mention are unlikely to be “those who answered the nation’s call after 9/11.” They’re the guys who were already in; heck, even my husband and I didn’t answer the call after 9/11– I was in boot camp, and he had already signed up. My husband’s only 35.
    I really, really don’t trust a story that gets that manipulative that quickly, especially when if there’s a tiny hint of truth, it doesn’t NEED to manipulate to outrage people.

  • According to someone who was in the Cali Nat’l Guard at the time, they were fraudulently giving benefits– and covering it up when the Fraud, Waste and Abuse was reported.

    https://www.facebook.com/TheDarkSecretPlace/posts/1101221483247681

Various and Sundry, 8/15/13

Thursday, August 15, AD 2013

Biblical Roots of the Teaching of the Assumption

Msgr. Pope drops some knowledge on this Feast Day.

The actual event of the Assumption is not described in Scripture. However, there are “assumptions” recorded in the Scriptures and the concept is thus biblical.

  1. It happened to Enoch in the Old Testament The Book of Genesis records: Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away (Gen. 5:24). Hebrews 11: 5 elaborates: By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God.

  2. It also happened to Elijah as he walked with Elisha: And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven….And he was seen no more. (2 Kings 2:11 ).

  3. Some say Moses too was taken up since his grave is not known. As we read in yesterday’s first reading at Mass: He was buried in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is (Dt. 34:6). The text of course does not say his body was taken up and if it was, it occurred after death and burial. Jude 1:9 hints at the fact when is says, But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses….. (Jude 1:9) Some further credibility is lent to the view of him being assumed by the fact that he appears alongside Elijah in the Transfiguration account. Some of the Church Fathers held this view and there is also a Jewish work from the 6th Century AD entitled The Assumption of Moses that represents the tradition of his assumption. But in the end the Assumption of Moses only a view held by some and it not officially held by the Church.

More at the link.

Obama worse than Nixon? Well duh.

Presidential powers have been expanding almost exponentially for about a century. We have seemingly reached a point where the President can act without Congressional authority for any reason at all. George Will captures why Obama’s administration has been especially pernicious.

Explaining his decision to unilaterally rewrite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he said: “I didn’t simply choose to” ignore the statutory requirement for beginning in 2014 the employer mandate to provide employees with health care. No, “this was in consultation with businesses.”

He continued: “In a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the speaker and say, you know what, this is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law. . . . It looks like there may be some better ways to do this, let’s make a technical change to the law. That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do. But we’re not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to Obamacare. We did have the executive authority to do so, and we did so.”

Serving as props in the scripted charade of White House news conferences, journalists did not ask the pertinent question: “Wheredoes the Constitution confer upon presidents the ‘executive authority’ to ignore the separation of powers by revising laws?” The question could have elicited an Obama rarity: brevity. Because there is no such authority.

This inspires Will to compare Obama with Nixon.

In a 1977 interview with Richard Nixon, David Frost asked: “Would you say that there are certain situations . . . where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation . . . and do something illegal?”

Nixon: “Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”

Frost: “By definition.”

Nixon: “Exactly, exactly.”

Nixon’s claim, although constitutionally grotesque, was less so than the claim implicit in Obama’s actions regarding the ACA. Nixon’s claim was confined to matters of national security or (he said to Frost) “a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude.” Obama’s audacity is more spacious; it encompasses a right to disregard any portion of any law pertaining to any subject at any time when the political “environment” is difficult.

Wounded Warriors Unable to Eat at Dining Hall

You just sometimes have to wonder if people inside the government are capable of rational thought.

The Glories of the Arab Spring Continue Apace

Well at least the UN is on the case.

The UN Security Council is calling on both the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise “maximum restraint” and end the violence spreading across the country, which has claimed more than 600 lives.

Council members called for national reconciliation, expressed regret at the loss of life and sent sympathy to the victims.

Up next: a very strongly worded letter.

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Leave it to Major League Baseball to come to its senses regarding replay, and then ruin this moment of clarity by aping the NFL’s absurd challenge system.

Mmmmmm. Bacon.

I heartily endorse this recipe. Store bought bacon will just never suffice again.

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Before They Go

Saturday, April 27, AD 2013

And there’s one thing you’ll be able to say when you get home. When you’re sitting around your fireside, with your brat on your knee, and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you won’t have to say you shoveled s–t in Louisiana.

                       General George S. Patton

 

Hattip to Instapundit.  People at Reagan National cheering World War II vets on an Honor Flight to Washington DC to see the World War II memorials.  Here is a post from 2009 that I wrote regarding the urgent necessity to talk to our World War II veterans now.

Time is doing what the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese could not do:  vanquishing our World War II generation.  The youngest American veteran of that conflict would now be 86, and in the next two decades or so they will all be in eternity.  Time now to express our heartfelt gratitude for what they accomplished for the country.  They have been called the greatest generation.  I am sure that most of them would reject that title, maybe putting in a vote for the generation that won the American Revolution or the generation that fought the Civil War.  Modesty has been a hallmark of their generation.  When I was growing up in the Sixties, most of them were relatively young men in their late thirties or forties.  If you asked them about the war they would talk about it but they would rarely bring it up.  They took their service for granted as a part of their lives and nothing special.   So those of us who knew them often took it for granted too.  Uncle Chuck, he works at the Cereal Mills, and, oh yeah, he fought in the Pacific as a Marine.  Uncle Bill, he has a great sense of humor and I think he was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered to MacArthur.  When they talked about the war it was usually some humorous anecdote, often with some self-deprecating point.  They’d talk about some of the sad stuff too, but you could tell that a lot of that was pretty painful for them, so you didn’t press them.  They were just husbands and fathers, uncles and cousins.  The fact that the janitor at the school won a silver star on Saipan, or  the mayor of the town still walked with a limp from being shot on D-Day, was just a normal part of life, like going to school or delivering papers.

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5 Responses to Before They Go

  • Today, in the car at a stop sign, I saw a tag sale. On an easel was a yellowed newspaper with, at least, 5″ block letters reporting Hitler Dead. Those belongings must have been from someone that is under what you said about what “Time is doing”.

    ” The youngest American veteran of that conflict would now be 86, and in the next two decades or so they will all be in eternity. Time now to express our heartfelt gratitude for what they accomplished for the country. ”

    Thanks for the reminder – age 86. I just spoke with my mother about your post and the thankfulness you expressed. She is sitting nearby reminiscing still about those years. She will be 88 in August and has clarity and spirit. Her experience was waiting to become 18 in 1942 to work at the Armory, where she was a cutter grinder ($54/week) after 3 months training ($27/week).

    She spoke of some of the women who worked piecework on receivers for guns where there was a lot of oil, that they wore rubber aprons, boots, and kerchiefs on their hair – some who deburred barrels with rags tied around their fingers to prevent slivers. She remembers appreciating her desk, but being glared at when they walked by on the way to the Officer’s office.

    My grandfather walked to meet her for the walk home across the bridge. She gave my grandmother her pay envelopes. They read letters from my uncle who was overseas in the Air Force. Much more to tell while working until 1945.

    She was called back in 1950 during Korean for a couple of years and worked the nightshift when my father could be home for my brother and me.

    Anyway, I sorely miss family dinners and events and ‘conversations’ with people of that age and sense and humor.

  • My great Uncle Mike was a soldier in WWII. Like so many other young American men, he entered the Army, was stationed in England, fought on the beaches at Normandy and survived the Battle of the Bulge. Uncle Mike sent home German money, German Army medals and many other things. I remember my dad telling me of the things he had seen his Uncle Mike send home. Uncle Mike, a first generation American – my great grandfather fled partitioned Poland – came home, got married and had six kids.

    When I was two, my dad got a job in Cleveland. I did not grow up around my parents’ families, and what I know came to me secondhand. Uncle Mike died of a heart attack in 1981. I never had the opportunity to ask him anything.

    If you know someone who was in WWII, please talk to him or her. If you know someone who remembers the war years, talk to him or her. Personal experiences do a much better job than the documentaries on Military Channel and Military History, which, it is worth noting, is better than nothing at all.

  • “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.”

    The last of my great uncles who served in WWII has passed away.

    I was lucky to have spent many years with them.

    When they were young, they didn’t talk much. As the years wore on, they’d give dribs and drabs.

    Uncle John (RIP) survived D-Day Landing with the First. He had sent home a nazi belt that must have been worn by a kid. Only thing (I remember) he ever said was he and his buddies were disappointed they didn’t get into Berlin because they had lost so many.

    Uncle Tom (RIP) drove and was a gunner in tanks for Patton in North Africa and Sicily and was in the Italy fight up to the Po Valley. I knew him the best. He saw a lot of burned tanks and tankers. The shells would pretty much come right through. He saw his platoon shavetail get “it” by a German shell in his fox hole. He didn’t talk much. He’d give little bits here and there, more later in life.

    One thing in common: these men were the most lovely and wonderful tough men you can imagine. It was a sight to see them with little children.

    Envy is a vice. I confess I envy each and every one of them. They are/were better men than I am.

  • After thanking them start planning a trip to DC to give them a great gift, one more visit to the relatively new WWII memorial. (2004)
    My wife and I escorted twenty six WWII vets and spouses to DC in 2010 for Memorial Day weekend.
    Nothing can compare to the energy and emotion of this trip.
    Brisbane, Hawaii, Auckland….that was joyous however the Bus trip to DC with these heroes was the greatest trip we’ve ever taken.
    God Bless Our Vets.

  • My Uncle Ed’s Navy service in the Pacific was a treasure trove of stories for me. He didn’t talk about the serious side of things. He did survive, after all. He limited his tales to the humorous. Like the time an officer caught him with a red cross painted on his helmet, an obvious attempt to ward off machine gun fire from Japanese aircraft. He was told to “get that the heck off there-pronto”. He complied, and replaced it with a bulls eye. Again, the time at home on leave, he entered a bus using crutches. A civilian quickly rose up and gave him his seat. After my uncle settled in, the civilian asked, where did it happen? My uncle, who probably never told a lie, promptly answered, “Slipped on the ice, duck hunting”. Uncle Ed’s gone a dozen years. I miss him and look forward to seeing him again at the Resurrection. May God bless all the generous souls who put everything on the line for their country, especially those who lost everything of this world thereby. May their sacrifice not have been in vain. May God save and bless our beloved country, especially today when she is so much at risk. Amen.

Adagio for Brass

Saturday, November 19, AD 2011

Something for the weekend.  Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings performed with brass instruments.  It makes a fit accompaniment to the above video which reminds us of the veterans who ensured that we enjoy the freedom next Thursday to give thanks to God for that freedom and all the other blessings He has showered upon us in this land.  May we be worthy of their sacrifice.

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4 Responses to Adagio for Brass

  • Each evening, I remember and pray for them each and every one.

    “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.”

  • ‘ “May we be worthy of their sacrifice.” and “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.” ‘
    Your lips to God’s ears.
    So many lives entangled, past and present, in the ravages. I pray that we sober up as a people and open our hearts before we lose what’s left.

    Don’t know why it’s at the top of my mind at the moment, but I remember from 9/11 aftermath a time sitting in church. A mother, always a quiet steady person, whose son was deployed to the desert, stood up afterwards and tearfully asked us to realize that her son among others needed toothpaste. He is home now teaching in the military branch.

    That’s about as upbeat as anything I can think of to say about the depths of the cost of our freedom. Thanks giving to God and His people for it.

  • Indeed! Think of them on Thursday and on Christmas Day. Imagine Christmas Day in a COP in Afghanistan. Imagine the wives and mothers unsure if their husbands or sons are dead or maimed at any moment.

    At this moment, two young soldiers are in the next room watching TV. A third staying with us is attending a local college football game. There are at least five combat deployments between them. One told me his COP was hit with 200 rockets and RPG’s in the year he was there. My son spent a month in the Karangal Valley . . .

    One is a medic with the ranger battalion that is deploying this month. No complaining here.

    Merry Christmas!

    Love,

    Uncle Sam!

    A month ago as I was dropping one soldier at the airport to return to Fort Benning, I thanked him for his service. He thanked me.

  • May God keep them safe, body, mind and soul. We are indeed very fortunate to live in this free country. May we be worthy of their sacrifice.

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.

    http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/reference/military.html

    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.

Before You Go

Wednesday, November 11, AD 2009

Time is doing what the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese could not do:  vanquishing our World War II generation.  The youngest American veteran of that conflict would now be 83, and in the next two decades or so they will all be in eternity.  Time now to express our heartfelt gratitude for what they accomplished for the country.  They have been called the greatest generation.  I am sure that most of them would reject that title, maybe putting in a vote for the generation that won the American Revolution or the generation that fought the Civil War.  Modesty has been a hallmark of their generation.  When I was growing up in the Sixties, most of them were relatively young men in their late thirties or forties.  If you asked them about the war they would talk about it but they would rarely bring it up.  They took their service for granted as a part of their lives and nothing special.   So those of us who knew them often took it for granted too.  Uncle Chuck, he works at the Cereal Mills, and, oh yeah, he fought in the Pacific as a Marine.  Uncle Bill, he has a great sense of humor and I think he was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered to MacArthur.  When they talked about the war it was usually some humorous anecdote, often with some self-deprecating point.  They’d talk about some of the sad stuff too, but you could tell that a lot of that was pretty painful for them, so you didn’t press them.  They were just husbands and fathers, uncles and cousins.  The fact that the janitor at the school won a silver star on Saipan, or  the mayor of the town still walked with a limp from being shot on D-Day, was just a normal part of life, like going to school or delivering papers.

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18 Responses to Before You Go

  • Great post, Don. It is indeed very sad that we’re losing this generation of men. For many of us, WWII vets have always been there and it’s sad that their example is being lost – not to mention all the great stories!

    God bless them all.

  • In my Rotary Club we have several World War II vets Rick and I will today, as I have in the past, thank them. Then I will also tell them, as I have in the past, that, no, that does not mean I’ll give them free legal services! Keeping it light is often the key so that you don’t embarrass them or make them feel awkward.

  • Couldn’t have said it better myself, Don. Yes, that generation of vets was very modest, even tight lipped, about their accomplishments. My late father, a European Theater veteran, won two Bronze Stars, but never told anyone — not even my mom — what exactly he did to earn them. He never wanted a fuss made over him in any way. He and his best friend were the last two WWII veterans in our hometown, and now they are both gone.

    Another story: recently I came across an obituary for a well-known local figure that mentioned his having been a Marine lieutenant commander at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Midway, AND Iwo Jima! I cannot imagine the hell he must have gone through. The mere fact that this man came home in one piece and lived to be 82 years old seems like a miracle to me. May they all rest in peace.

  • Amen, Elaine!

  • Amen. My late great uncle, Fred DiLella, was a very young sniper in the Pacific. He rarely talked about details from the war other than the humorous bits. One story horrified us as kids. He said when he’d eat from his mess kit, flies would cover his spoon as soon as he put food on it.

    “What did you do, Uncle Fred?”

    “I got used to the crunch.”

    The year before he died, he shared some of the horrors of the war with me one late evening. It was painful for him all those many years later.

  • Sad to say, but our beloved country has a tragic history of treating our war veterans as refuse.

    When they return, they come home to an ungrateful, hurtful world of unemployment, endless tragedy and even outright rejection by not only the people they served to protect but also by the government itself.

    How is it that the country they risked their very lives for in the war they fought could be treated with such dignity even beneath that of lepers?

  • e. what you say is a common misperception but it simply isn’t true today. Veteran’s benefits are great and veterans generally have employment rates similar to non-veterans of a similar age group and eductional level

  • Well, from the memoirs of those who were involved in the great wars (at least, those I vaguely recall from a long-ago high-school history teacher whose obsession it was then), it would seem that this had been the case. The reintegration of such soldiers into society upon their return from war were possessed of a common tragic tale that were the result of outright negligence by both the U.S. government and by the very people of our great nation.

    The mistreatment of Vietnam war veterans at the hands of government and the general populace would seem to be simply a continuation of that sad history.

  • World War I vets had it rough. Other than a bonus to be paid in 20 years they received little assitance and they came back to a short but severe post war recession in 1919. GIs in World War II had the GI bill benefits, largely as a result of WWI vets wanting to see them treated better than they had been treated, and did very well as a group, especially due to the fact that there was a post war boom. Benefits for Vietnam Veterans were less generous than what veterans today receive, and their treatment by members of the public was often completely contemptible.

  • Not to mention the Bonus Army episode of 1932, which very few people seem to be aware of these days. When the Depression hit, the World War I vets didn’t want to wait the full 20 years to get their bonus, they needed it now, and organized a massive march on D.C. to that end. However it ended with fellow soldiers, led by none other than Gen. MacArthur, dispersing them with bayonets, tear gas, etc., and several were killed.

    Hoover was still president at the time and this incident probably destroyed what little chance he would have had of being reelected. In 1936 Congress agreed to let the WWI vets claim their bonuses early. Some say the Bonus Army fiasco was a big part of the reason Congress resolved to treat WWII vets better by passing the GI Bill.

  • There was a speaker yesterday at an event in commemoration of Veterans Day who mentioned that 1 in 4 homeless people are actually veterans and that only 1 in 10 receive benefits.

    Hence, it would appear as though the tragic history concerning the mistreatment of this nation’s veterans continues even to this day. Very sad.

  • Whoever told you that e was feeding you a line of advocacy bull to put it politely.

  • Donald:

    As you already know, I have both great admiration as well as deep respect for the wealth of historical knowledge you yourself possess, as evidenced by the numerous entries concerning historical matters you’ve personally authored on this blog.

    This is perhaps why I took what the man said (though he reiterated the same statistics at that evening’s news interview) with a grain of salt.

  • Donald,

    The following was just obtained, which would seem to corroborate what the spokesperson at last night’s shindig said:

    1 in 4 U.S. Homeless Are Veterans, Private Study Finds

    WASHINGTON — Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday.

    And homelessness is not just a problem among middle-age and elderly veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into shelters and soup kitchens seeking services, treatment or help with finding a job.

    The Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless veterans from the current wars and says 400 of them have participated in its programs specifically targeting homelessness.

    The National Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education nonprofit, based the findings of its report on numbers from Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau. 2005 data estimated that 194,254 homeless people out of 744,313 on any given night were veterans…

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,309416,00.html?sPage=fnc/politics/pentagon

  • The study cited e was politicized junk by an advocacy group. Here is Michael Fumento’s debunking of the study.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/the_homeless_vets_who_aren_CPWQpwN6eVpiPvgbK5b1dO

  • Funny thing about the afforable housing advocacy cited in the story. The VA has long had a program to make housing available and affordable to vets.

  • We have to be careful what we expect. There are voluntary vets and then there are conscripts. As a nation we have a duty to take care of all of them, but we are fools to expect our current government to do so.

    In regards to voluntary vets they should be protected by contract law and if the contract isn’t attractive then don’t sign it.

    In regards to conscripts, why should we expect an entity that presses men into forced service to provide for their care after their term of what is essentially slavery is up?

    I think we need to take stock of how our government wastes money, which is why we have so little to spend on our military personnel, which, in my opinion is the most legitimate and primary role of the federal government.

    This, like most other things in our modern culture, is upside down and inside out. I think you’d be hard pressed to find an American (extreme libertarians and leftists excluded) who would not gladly fork over tax money to take care of the fine men and women who provide for our defense. But it seems providing free health care to illegal aliens and better accomondations for arrested (word removed so as not to disparage extreme practioners of a false religion) terrorists is more of a priority.

  • Hi!
    As a memeber of the 101st in the 1980s I had the chance to meet some of my counterparts form WW II at a 40th anniversary D-Day dinner where we, the current troops, were the honor guard. What a GREAT bunch! Well, years later I had a miracle happen revolving around a Rosary. I wrote it up and here is the link:
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2411430/a_true_according_to_hoyle_recovery.html?cat=37

    Thank you, each and every veteran ESPECIALLY the ones from WW II still around…

Our Disappearing Heroes

Friday, October 9, AD 2009

HMNZS Achilles

A special guest post for American Catholic by commenter Don the Kiwi.

Last week I attended the funeral of my wife’s uncle, James William Foy. Jim was born on 21st. January 1926, and died on the 24th, September 2009, aged 83.   Jim died of bowel cancer, which was diagnosed too late for it to be operable, several months previously.  Though he was raised  Catholic, like some of his generation his war experiences tended to dilute the importance of our Faith to him, and though he had a crucifix, and pictures of the Sacred Heart  and of Our Lady in his home, he hadn’t practised his faith for many years.

The funeral service was conducted at the Matamata funeral director’s ‘chapel.’ It was a very secular affair, and the only part remotely religious was the recitation of The Lord’s Prayer toward the end of the service. Jim had joined the RNZ Navy as soon as he left school, and after his training, was posted to HMNZS Achilles (a light cruiser, of the 1939  Battle of the River Plate fame) in 1944. Part way through the service, which was attended by a number of aged war veterans – friends of his from the local RSA (Returned Services Assn.) – an old shipmate of Jim’s named James Craig, rose and walked to the rostrum. These are his words, as best as I can recall them.

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3 Responses to Our Disappearing Heroes