November 11, 2006
We honor today brave Americans who are willing to risk all to defend their fellow citizens' freedom. Americans like Private Joseph Plumb Martin and Corporal Jason Dunham.
When Joseph Plumb Martin was 15, he volunteered for the Connecticut militia in 1776 and served in the Continental Army for the duration of the Revolutionary War and fought in most of its major battles. After struggling so long for American independence in places like Brooklyn, White Plains, Valley Forge and Monmouth, it's fitting that Martin was present for the Revolution's climactic battle at Yorktown.
At Yorktown in October of 1781, Lord Cornwallis and the main contingent of the British army were trapped. American and French forces led by General George Washington, General Comte de Rochambeau, the Marquis de Lafayette and Admiral de Grasse prepared to lay siege from land and sea. The battle commenced when General Washington himself fired the first shot. In his 1830 memoir, The Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier, Private Martin describes what happened next:
As soon as the firing began, our people began to cry, "The fort’s our own!" and "Rush on boys!" The Sappers and Miners soon cleared a passage for the infantry, who entered it rapidly. Our Miners were ordered not to enter the fort, but there was no stopping them. "We will go," said they ... I could not pass at the entrance we had made, it was so crowded. I therefore forced a passage at a place where I saw our shot had cut away some of the abatis; several others entered at the same place. While passing, a man at my side received a ball in his head and fell under my feet, crying out bitterly. While crossing the trench, the enemy threw hand grenades (small shells) into it. They were so thick that I at first thought them cartridge papers on fire, but was soon undeceived by their cracking. As I mounted the breastwork, I met an old associate hitching himself down into the trench. I knew him by the light of the enemy’s musketry, it was so vivid. The fort was taken and all quiet in a very short time. Immediately after the firing ceased, I went out to see what had become of my wounded friend and the other that fell in the passage. They were both dead. In the heat of the action I saw a British soldier jump over the walls of the fort next the river and go down the bank, which was almost perpendicular and twenty or thirty feet high. When he came to the beach he made off for the town, and if he did not make good use of his legs I never saw a man that did.
All that were in the action of storming the redoubt were exempted from further duty that night. We laid down upon the ground and rested the remainder of the night as well as a constant discharge of grape and canister shot would permit us to do, while those who were on duty for the day completed the second parallel by including the captured redoubts within it. We returned to camp early in the morning, all safe and sound, except one of our lieutenants, who had received a slight wound on the top of the shoulder by a musket shot. Seven or eight men belonging to the infantry were killed, and a number wounded....
We were on duty in the trenches twenty-four hours, and forty-eight hours in camp. The invalids did the camp duty, and we had nothing else to do but to attend morning and evening roll calls and recreate ourselves as we pleased the rest of the time, till we were called upon to take our turns on duty in the trenches again. The greatest inconvenience we felt was the want of good water, there being none near our camp but nasty frog ponds where all the horses in the neighborhood were watered, and we were forced to wade through the water in the skirts of the ponds, thick with mud and filth, to get at water in any wise fit for use, and that full of frogs ...
In the morning, while the relieves were coming into the trenches, I was sitting on the side of the trench, when some of the New York troops coming in, one of the sergeants stepped up to the breastwork to look about him. The enemy threw a small shell which fell upon the outside of the works; the man turned his face to look at it. At that instant a shot from the enemy, which doubtless was aimed for him in particular as none others were in sight of them, passed just by his face without touching him at all. He fell dead into the trench. I put my hand on his forehead and found his skull was shattered all in pieces and the blood flowing from his nose and mouth, but not a particle of skin was broken. I never saw an instance like this among all the men I saw killed during the whole war.
After we had finished our second line of trenches there was but little firing on either side. After Lord Cornwallis had failed to get off, upon the seventeenth day of October (a rather unlucky day for the British) he requested a cessation of hostilities for, I think, twenty-four hours, when commissioners from both armies met at a house between the lines to agree upon articles of capitulation. We waited with anxiety the termination of the armistice and as the time drew nearer our anxiety increased. The time at length arrived — it passed, and all remained quiet. And now we concluded that we had obtained what we had taken so much pains for, for which we had encountered so many dangers, and had so anxiously wished. Before night we were informed that the British had surrendered and that the siege was ended.
Nearly 223 years later on April 14, 2004, another young American -- Marine Corporal Jason Dunham of Scio, New York -- was at war. While on patrol in Iraq's al-Anbar province, Cpl. Dunham gave his life to save the lives of his Marines.
Yesterday, the Marine Corps' 231st anniversary and what would've been Jason Dunham's 25th birthday, President Bush dedicated the new National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia and told the story of Cpl. Dunham's uncommon valor:
Like the Marines who have come before them, this new generation has also given some of its finest men in the line of duty. One of these fine men was Jason Dunham. Jason's birthday is November the 10th, so you might say that he was born to be a Marine. And as far back as boot camp, his superiors spotted the quality that would mark this young American as an outstanding Marine: his willingness to put the needs of others before his own.
Corporal Dunham showed that spirit in April 2004, while leading a patrol of his Marines in an Iraqi town near the Syrian border. When a nearby Marine convoy was ambushed, Corporal Dunham led his squad to the site of the attack, where he and his men stopped a convoy of cars that were trying to make an escape. As he moved to search one of the vehicles, an insurgent jumped out and grabbed the Corporal by the throat. The Corporal engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. At one point he shouted to his fellow Marines, "No, no, no, watch his hand." Moments later, an enemy grenade rolled out. Corporal Dunham did not hesitate; he jumped on the grenade to protect his fellow Marines, he used his helmet and his body to absorb the blast.
A friend who was there that terrible day put it this way: "Corporal Dunham had a gift from God. Everyone who came in contact with him wanted to be like him. He was the toughest Marine, but the nicest guy. He would do anything for you. Corporal Dunham was the kind of person everybody wants as their best friend." Despite surviving the initial blast and being given the best of medical care, Corporal Dunham ultimately succumbed to his wounds. And by giving his own life, Corporal Dunham saved the lives of two of his men and showed the world what it means to be a Marine.
Corporal Dunham's mom and dad are with us today on what would have been this brave young man's 25th birthday. We remember that the Marine who so freely gave his life was your beloved son. We ask a loving God to comfort you for a loss that can never be replaced. And on this special birthday, in the company of his fellow Marines, I'm proud to announce that our nation will recognize Corporal Jason Dunham's action with America's highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor.
As long as we have Marines like Corporal Dunham, America will never fear for her liberty.
Cpl. Jason Dunham gave his life to secure the freedom first won in the American Revolution by soldiers like Private Joseph Plumb Martin. These two men, separated by over 200 years, are part of what General George C. Marshall described as America's "secret weapon--the best damn kids in the world." And they are exemplary representatives of the veterans we thank on this day.
November 10, 2006
America's Enemies: "Hooray For The Democrats!"
In an audio tape released on terrorist websites, the leader of al-Qeada in Iraq announced his approval of the Democrats' electoral victories and then threatened to blow up the White House. The AP reports:
On the audio ... the al-Qaida in Iraq leader also welcomed the Republican electoral defeat that led to the departure of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. He added that the group's fighters would not rest until they had blown up the White House. "The al-Qaida army has 12,000 fighters in Iraq, and they have vowed to die for God's sake," a man who identified himself as Abu Hamza al- Muhajir said. Al-Muhajir, also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also urged the U.S. to stay in Iraq so his group would have more opportunities to kill American troops. "We haven't had enough of your blood yet," he told the U.S. "We will not rest from our Jihad until we are under the olive trees of Rumieh and we have blown up the filthiest house _ which is called the White House," al-Muhajir said.
And the supreme leader of Iran, the world's leading sponsor of Islamic terror, tipped his turban to the Democrats, too. From Reuters:
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday called U.S. President George W. Bush's defeat in congressional elections a victory for Iran ... "This issue (the elections) is not a purely domestic issue for America, but it is the defeat of Bush's hawkish policies in the world," Khamenei said in remarks reported by Iran's student news agency ISNA on Friday. "Since Washington's hostile and hawkish policies have always been against the Iranian nation, this defeat is actually an obvious victory for the Iranian nation."
To those who voted for Democrats on Tuesday: does the fact that Islamic terrorists are grateful for your vote bother you at all? If not, email me your reasons.
Don't Let The Door Hit You In the Ass!
"Sen. Lincoln Chafee May Leave GOP" -- AP headline
November 09, 2006
Riddle Me This
I've always wondered why Republicans insist on acting like Democrats in hopes of retaining political power, while Democrats act like us in order to win. -- Dick Armey, Former House Republican Majority Leader, writing in the Wall Street Journal, 11/09/06
November 08, 2006
The Grand Old Flop
Asked last month why his campaign for governor was polling far behind his Democratic opponent, Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell gave a characteristically frank answer:
People are frustrated that folks campaign like Ronald Reagan and then govern like Jimmy Carter.
And for the Grand Old Party that, rather than the direction of the war in Iraq, is the message of yesterday's election.
Lacking leadership, direction and focus from the president these last four years, the Republicans in Congress began freelancing and betrayed the voters who put them in the majority. They abandoned the party's core principles -- limited government, fiscal restraint, tax cuts, marketplace deregulation and strong national defense. (That last item in the series may come as a surprise. If you think the GOP was committed to a strong defense, read this.) Congressional Republicans spent like Democrats, stuffing federal budgets with billions in anonymous earmarks and other legislative foolishness. Even in the face of skyrocketing gas prices, the Republican majority joined the Democrats in refusing to lift bans on oil exploration in ANWR and the Outer Continental Shelf. Most egregious, the GOP lawmakers failed to make the Bush tax cuts permanent; this will ultimately result in a massive income tax increase once the tax cut law expires.
If voters had wanted Republicans to govern like Democrats, they would've chosen Democrats in the first place. Yesterday's election results were a repudiation of Republican hypocrisy more than an endorsement of Democrats. (Besides, how could it be an endorsement of the Democrats' campaign agenda when they offered no campaign agenda?)
So Ken Blackwell hit the nail on the head; when Republicans campaign as conservatives but govern as liberals, they will be held to account by voters. You would think that, of all people, President Bush would, in light of the election results, understand that now. Wrong.
What was the president's reaction to voters firing Republicans for acting like Democrats? To act like a Democrat! At his press conference today, the president, like congressional Republicans, betrayed the voters who put him in office. He surrendered whatever was left of his domestic agenda when he bizarrely announced that a minimum wage increase is an issue important to Pelosi and that he would be willing to work with her on it. Most disturbingly, he ceded control of the war to the Democrats by giving them the trophy they most desired: Don Rumsfeld's dismissal. (Imagine the message this sends to our troops and the terrorists.) Considering that the Democrats have all but announced their hope that the U.S. will lose in Iraq and that their foreign policy agenda is so anti-American that they are often in full agreement with the terrorists, you can bet our military will be prevented from winning the war.
Compounding the problem, the president is looking for assistance from leaders of an administration that decided to leave Saddam in power after defeating the dictator in Desert Storm. He nominated a retread from his father's failed presidency to be secretary of defense, former CIA director Robert Gates. (This is the same guy who believes we can negotiate Iran out of acquiring nuclear weapons. How Carteresque.) The president also mentioned the Iraq policy review panel chaired by James Baker, also a retread from Bush 41.
With his eagerness to give the Democrats anything they want, Bush rendered himself one of them. He made himself a lame duck today and ensured Democrat dominance at the polls for many years to come. But the political ramifications pale in comparison to the national security consequences. By throwing Rumsfeld under the bus to appease Democrats and replacing him with a discussion group facilitator, the president has invalidated the Bush Doctrine, undermined our troops and endangered the lives of his fellow Americans.
The clock has been turned back to September 10, 2001.
November 02, 2006
It's Bush's Fault!
After refusing to apologize for saying in Pasadena what he really believes, John Kerry initially blamed his slur against the U.S. military on President Bush, Tony Snow and Rush Limbaugh. He stopped short of explaining how those three men managed to force him to utter those words. Today, Kerry changed course and said his comments were a "botched" joke about President Bush. Considering that the now-infamous remark contained no mention of nor allusion to Bush, Kerry's clarification made a deep hole much deeper. What a colossal boob. (My eternal gratitude to the over 60 million American voters who, in 2004, denied this simpleton entry to the White House.)
Here's one of several interesting observations military historian Victor Davis Hanson blogged about the latest Kerryism:
How could John Kerry, born into privilege, and then marrying and divorcing and marrying out of and back into greater inherited wealth, lecture anyone at a city college about the ingredients for success in America? If he were to give personal advice about making it, it would have to be to marry rich women. Nothing he has accomplished as a senator or candidate reveals either much natural intelligence or singular education. Today, Democrats must be wondering why they have embraced an overrated empty suit, and ostracized a real talent like Joe Lieberman.
After a day of declaring that he apologizes to no one, Mr. Empty Suit was pressured by his fellow limousine liberals into issuing a non-apology apology:
I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member or American who was offended. As a combat veteran, I want to make it clear to anyone in uniform and to their loved ones: my poorly stated joke at a rally was not about, and was never intended to refer to any troop...I don't want my verbal slip to be a diversion from the real issues.
Kerry couldn't have been that sincere about "personally" offering this apology because it was issued as a written statement that he, no doubt, didn't write. Besides, it's not an apology. He's merely sorry that some people were stupid enough to have "misinterpreted" his words "to wrongly imply anything negative" about the military. In other words, it's YOUR fault for misinterpreting what Kerry goes on to claim is a "verbal slip." Shame on you!!
In truth John Kerry spoke his mind, small as it is. His comments were no verbal slip; if anything, they were a Freudian slip. After returning from Vietnam, Kerry falsely accused his brothers-in-arms of war crimes. Then in 1972, as the AP reports, Kerry expressed disdain for an all-volunteer military and the skin color of those who may volunteer to serve in it:
In 1972, as he ran for the House, he was less apologetic in his comments about the merits of a volunteer army. He declared in the questionnaire that he opposed the draft but considered a volunteer army "a greater anathema."
"I am convinced a volunteer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown," Kerry wrote. "We must not repeat the travesty of the inequities present during Vietnam. I also fear having a professional army that views the perpetuation of war crimes as simply 'doing its job.'
Why am I wasting keystrokes writing about this dick?
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