Saturday, June 18, 2005

Dealing With Our Ghosts

A generation ago, General Patton spoke for Americans in general when he said

America loves a winner, and will not tolerate a loser, this is why America has never, and will never, lose a war”.

Patton was using hyperbole, of course. The United States actually had lost wars before, against Canada and against Red Cloud’s Sioux warriors. In the long term, however, Canada’s influence and power waned against the rising American strength, and the U.S. Army eradicated the Sioux as a tribe. Patton meant that Americans may lose a battle, but in the end will stick with a fight until it’s won. Patton never knew Walter Cronkite and the subversive style of warfare by the press. There is no question that the Left not only was delighted by the collapse of South Vietnam, nor that many on the Left were willing to commit treason to make it happen. After Nixon’s resignation, the Democrat-controlled Congress took every support out of the treaty with South Vietnam, allowing North Vietnam unopposed entry and seizure of the nation. The Leftist press chortled with glee, as tens of millions of innocents in the region fled for their lives. A reign of terror, analogous to Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’, began in Southeast Asia, largely unchronicled and unanswered.

Bruce Kesler, who writes for the Augusta Free Press, has a great article prepared, on the need for President Bush to renew the initiative to free Southeast Asia for her people, not for the despots able to hold on to their palaces through thuggery and schemes. Kesler noted the respose from Jean Libby, an American History teacher to a transcript of an interview with Prime Minister Phan Van Khai of Vietnam in the Washington Post on June 16, 2005.

The government Phan Van Khai represents is in power because a Treaty was
violated—North Vietnam signed the agreement not to invade South Vietnam
in 1973, but invaded in 1975 because, very simply, they could. The
United States did not back up its ally, South Vietnam, because, very
simply, they couldn’t.”

“The Socialist government of Vietnam originated based on deception. The
revered hero, Ho Chi Minh, committed genocide on nationalists who wanted
a free Vietnam beginning in August, 1945. The teachers, the
intellectuals, the small property owners, the soldiers who had defeated
the colonial power, France, at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 but were not willing
to become communists were exterminated. This process began in most
earnest in June, 1961, with the establishment of concentration camps
(those were the words in Resolution #49) for the purpose of
“reeducation.” Those camps were enlarged in 1975 when an entire
population that worked and fought for democracy in Vietnam were
imprisoned, either in camps or in New Economic Zones that removed women
and the elderly from their property and confiscated it as a reward to
communist soldiers or government workers, particularly the ever-present

The cruel fact is, that this totalitarian regime is still very much in control, and has neither changed its methods nor its goals. Bruce’s article notes:

“- Dr. Pham Hong Son translated the article "What is Democracy?" from the
U.S. Embassy web site into Vietnamese and distributed it through the
Internet to his friends. He was arrested, charged with espionage and is
now in a 12 year sentence.

- Mr. Nguyen Khac Toan, a veteran, who simply helped the people write
petitions and appeals against illegal appropriation of land. He is now
serving a 4-year sentence for espionage.

- Mr. Nguyen Vu Binh, former ideology writer. He applied for permission
to form an opposition party. He's now in his 7-year sentence. Charge?

President Bush will send a message when his emissaries meet with those from Vietnam. They can condone the existing regime of malice and oppression, or they can make clear that the world has changed, and with it expectations from Vietnam.

Please send a message to President Bush, to be as strong for the people of Vietnam, as he has been for the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. The email address is, and the phone number is 202-456-1111.

Thanks to Bruce Kesler for highlighting the issue, and for remembering the victims. And especially Nguyen Chi Thien and Dr. Hai V. Tran. If you don’t know these two heroes of freedom, ask around.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Jack's Take On Dick


Vincent Flynn changed only three words to allow Colonel Nathan R. Jessep (as played by Jack Nicholson in the movie “A Few Good Men”) to explain his opinion of Senator Durbin:

"Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Senator Durbin? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Al Queda, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That the detainees suffering, while tragic, probably saved lives. And that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to. "

I sure wish a real Marine would get the chance to say something along those lines to the Senator.

Homeland Update

My series on Homeland will continue, but investigation and consideration of the factors and relevant trends makes it necessary to push back the next few entries.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

"By Any Means Necessary"

I saw this phrase on another board, used justify radical change in an area the poster believe had become extremely unjust. I didn’t like that phrase however; it bothered me on a deeper level, and I thought for a while about why that should be.

Don’t misunderstand me, please. I’m a student of History, enough to know that when reforms and corrections are not made within a certain frame of time, a backlash happens. I am also comfortable with sometimes-radical change, especially when the alternative is true disaster. But that phrase is far too easy to use to justify any sort of behavior. In fact, something very like it was used to justify the murder of thousands of innocents on 9/11, something very like it was used to justify napalming villages, something very like it was used to justify countless wars and purges. It was essentially the motive behind both the Jihad that swept across southern Europe in the 7th through 10th Centuries, and also for the Crusades that swept back the other way into the Middle East. It was the excuse for the Salem Witch Trials, and the pogroms against the Jews, Gypsies, Indigenous people in many places, and whenever an opposing force was met.

I simply cannot agree with the phrase; it’s too broad and too bloody. It’s used to justify anyone, anywhere, for anything.

Many people have commented on the unfortunate differences between the early Christians, and modern ones. Three major differences concern me the most. The first century of Christendom went fully after Christ’s example, becoming essentially a tribe of families who shared everything they had and considered each other equals regardless of race, social status or any other superficial element. Second, they went everywhere with the Gospel, spreading it quickly and far; evidence of Christendom spread throughout the Roman empire, as well as Africa and parts of Asia by the end of the 1st Century CE. But most of all, the Christians endured relentless and terrible persecution, dying rather than renouncing their faith, and enduring the worst sorts of torture ever known to man. Compare that to today, when many social Christians appear to begrudge charity, where the Gospel is not often take outside the neighborhood, and then usually by “prayer warriors” more likely to impose the Gospel on someone than share it with them, and the mildest insult becomes a prized battle scar for the contentious advocate. It is a terrible thing to consider that Jesus may have had many modern Christians in mind when He said, “They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.” (John 16:3).

My point is, a small group of believers, outrageously persecuted through no fault of their own, nearly wiped out simply for being who they were, survived not by retaliation or malice, but through devoted application of their faith, effectively showing the truth of their faith through endurance. Their way was not “by any means necessary”, but only by the means they accepted as right and good. I honestly believe that God protects those people who will not desert their faith in Him, holding fast against the lure of power and influence and wealth, and also against the torment of harassment, the oppression from mortal forces, and the loss of present gain. This is true, whether one is speaking of the Christians or another faith, Jews or another nation, dominant cultures or repressed ones. It is not the ends which matter, but the methods.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Jedi Businessman

It has been said of the new Star Wars movie, that the Empire is the Conservative Right, and the Jedis are, well, something else. That doesn't work for me, actually. Looking through all six movies, what I see is that the Empire is a focused effort to seize power for its own reward, while the Jedi serve a greater cause, and the world at large.

So, what do I mean by Jedi businesmen? We live in a world of corporations and trade agreements. The United States and China do not compete militarily very much, but are active partners and rivals in world commerce. The dominant question for most Americans is how well they can take care of their families, financially. And the definition for success in most eyes depends on the standard of living attained.

Clearly, this is a superficial way of thinking, but because of the number of people involved and the pervasive impact money has on lives in general, it needs to be considered., Returning to the movies' as an example, see how often the Jedi offered a deal, in place of conflict? Obi-wan did this in the bar at Mos Eisley, and negotiated well with Han Solo. Luke made the offer to Jabba the Hutt before taking him down, and Qui-Gon made offers to resolve conflicts with the Trade Federation. It may be reasoned that the Jedi kept their word, and so a deal would have been as advertised, good for all parties. So in Jedi, to be a businessman depends on keeping your word and seeking advantage for all parties. Even in a suit and tie, if one keeps honor, one may be Jedi.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Homeland: Race Relations

Almost two centuries after the nation’s founders wrote words promising equality for all men, the United States still had to address basic rights of minorities. Even with the Civil Rights Act, the clear disparity in how Race is addressed in the United States is one of the most dangerous long-term problems the country faces. Worse, the problem has grown in complexity, even as the initial issues are finally being settled.

Through advancements in the law, minorities enjoy the same rights as majority races, but that is not the same thing as equal conditions or opportunities. Unfortunately, this is not something which can be addressed with law, but which requires cultural adjustment.

During the first century of the United States, immigrants understood that to succeed they needed to assimilate. In the U.S., this should not mean losing the culture of their race, but it does mean accepting the American identity. Since the dominant culture has often expected participants to act in the fashion they found acceptable, there has been a clash about where the line is drawn; for many decades, immigrants were compelled to change their appearance and dress to conform to expectations, but now there has been a backlash, where minorities who attempt to succeed through excelling at the practices of the dominant culture are attacked and insulted for their success, as sell-outs. The determination of where to draw the line should depend on the individual’s decision and commitment, but there is a lot of work to do on that count.

Worse is the now-chronic problem of gangs. There is, simply put, no longer any race, neighborhood, or region of the country which is immune to gangs, and racist gangs are increasing in size, number, and violence. Predatory recruiting practices make families everywhere concerned, and the knowledge that a child may be attacked simply for their skin color, makes it that much harder to establish cooperation and trust between races. And that affects the nation's future at its core.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Homeland: The Dominant Culture

When the United States formed their Republic in the 18th Century, the notion of citizenship was restricted to White Land-Owning Men. In some measure, idealism was a healthy part of the new government, but self-service was certainly part as well. The advantage for the Americans, was that their own reluctance to advance their own ideals was no worse than the intransigence in Europe and Asia. It also helped that the Americans were willing to work together beyond state boundaries, where the other continents still fought wars over tariffs and trade disputes.

Whatever one thinks of the man as a politician, it is beyond debate that Andrew Jackson was a man of strong will and mind. The same fellow who invited the whole of the city of Washington to visit the White House upon his inaugeration, practically compelled the creation of a party to oppose the staid party of George Washington, and began the balancing act which has driven American politics ever since. The next upheaval came with Lincoln, the avatar of the party of true reform, the Republicans. While he meant to save the Union as his ultimate goal, Lincoln destroyed Slavery in the process, and began the forced acceptance of Equal Rights on a broader level.

Civil Rights in the United States has come a long way, but historically it is still very much in its infancy. To be male, white, and own property in the United States is still a clear advantage, culturally. Counter-culture is successful as a niche market, but the real money and power still comes from the same historical base. It’s why every President has been white, male, and a landowner. It’s why the image of American power still looks like something the founding fathers could have predicted. Overall, however, the dominance of power and money is becoming dependant on collaboration and mutual objectives by separate cultures.

Sunday, June 12, 2005



The United States is not understood by most of the world, which is why most of the world does not like or respect the United States. Unable to fathom American thinking, other nations find themselves applying their own perspective to our conditions, and when we do not do as they expect, they become suspicious and cynical of our stated goals and intentions, partly because of old U.S. history, and more often because of their own bitter experience.

In some ways, the United States is the senior partner for the planet. I say this not only because the United States has runs its country for the longest period under the same system of government (every nation on the planet besides the US, has changed its form of government since the US created its Constitution in 1783) , but because most nations which actually operate under the terms of their Constitution, modeled that Constitution after the U.S. Constitution. This means that nations are comparing an effectively short history of their own, to the relatively stable and trail-blazing standard of the Americans.

But it is also true that the United States is a new nation, in many ways. First off, while the U.S. form of government has enviable stability and success, as a people the Americans continue to grow and change. The most common thinking in 21st Century America was rare only a century ago, to say nothing of comparing the demographics of today’s average American to the colonial populace of 1781. The United States is also a strange bird to many other nations. The countries of antiquity are generally recognized by the nationality of their people - that is, the Greeks, Russians, Chinese and so forth are identified culturally much more than by their political functions. To most of the world, a country defined by its immigrants is beyond their comprehension. The United States, on the other hand, is constantly changing, as the races and nationalities of its people continue to change in proportion and interaction. It has been noted that only in America do Jews and Palestinians coexist peacefully, only in America do Serbs and Croats carry no feuds, only in America may people from both Taiwan and Beijing expect equal respect and treatment for their person.

After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. Government created a new authority for National Defense; the Department of Homeland Security. It was a strange sounding name for many people, but it identified a new self-image for America - we are a homeland. But where other nations are homelands for a race or ethnicity, America is a homeland for an ideal. We are a collaborative nation, made up of many parts and members, each worthy in its own right and possessing not only a unique identity, but a special place in the functioning homeland of the United States.

Over the coming week, I intend to examine the character and interests of some of the major groups participating in our homeland. But make no mistake; the emerging identity of America in the 21st Century is already coalescing, and this must be the focus of government planning and direction.