- A Page Dedicated to Those Who Serve Our Country -
Most of what you see here I've picked up along the way, through emails sent to me by friends (one in particular - thank you Dwayne!). It seemed that many of these needed compiled in one place, so here they are.
This page is constantly being added to .. last update was on March 28, 2003
Super Bowl Battle is Dwarfed by What Band of Brothers Faces
by Bryan Burwell
St. Louis Post Dispatch 1/22/2003
SAN DIEGO - It was just around midnight Tuesday night, and the outdoor courtyard at Dick's Last Resort was throbbing with the rowdy energy of a spring break bacchanal. There was loud rock music blaring out of the stereo speakers, and the air was filled with the distinct and somewhat revolting aroma of deep-fried bar food, cigarette smoke and spilled beer.
Dick's is the sort of bar-restaurant ideally suited for Super Bowl week mischief, because it has a down-and-dirty roadhouse feel to it. The waiters, waitresses and bartenders are charmingly rude, and the wood floors are covered with sand and all sorts of indistinguishable debris.
The clientele on this evening is a fascinating mix of twenty-something college kids, thirty-something conventioneers and 40-something Super Bowl high-rollers.
Yet there was one table in Dick's courtyard Tuesday night that was noticeably different from the others. There were six young men at the table and one young woman, and while they were drinking like everyone else in the room, there was something all too serious going on at this table that let you know that their thoughts were a long way from the mindless frivolity of Super Bowl week.
Maybe it was the close-cropped "barracks haircuts" that gave them away. All the men's heads were cut in that familiar look of a professional soldier, skin-close on the sides, and on top a tight shock of hair that resembled new shoe-brush bristles.
"We're Marines," one man told me. "And tomorrow we're boarding a ship for . . . well . . . I really can't tell you where, but you know."
Of course we knew. In less than an hour, they would report back to a ship docked along the Southern California coast, then on Wednesday head across the Pacific Ocean, bound for a potential war in Iraq. So this was no Super Bowl party for them. This was their last night out on the town.
One Marine was saying good-bye to his wife. The others were not so lucky. They all just sat around the table, throwing back beers and wrestling with the sobering uncertainty of the rest of their lives.
"We're going to war and none of us knows if we're ever coming back," said another Marine, a 28-year-old from Southern Illinois. They all requested that I not use their names. "Just tell 'em we're the men of (Marine Aviation Land Support Squad 39)," they said.
On Super Bowl Sunday, the men of MALSS 39 will be watching the game from the mess hall of their ship. "That is, if we're lucky and the weather is good and it doesn't interfere with the satellite signal," said the Marine with the bald head and burnt-orange shirt. "But I gotta tell you, I'm not that big a sports fan anymore. It's going to be the first pro football game I've watched in . . . I can't even remember."
Why is that?
"Well, here's my problem with pro sports today," he said. "I don't care whether it's football, basketball or baseball. Guys are complaining about making $6 million instead of $7 million, and what is their job? Playing a damned game. You know what I made last year? I made $14,000. They pay me $14,000, and you know what my job description is? I'm paid to take a bullet."
When he said those words, it positively staggered me. Fourteen thousand dollars to take a bullet.
Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of what a wonderful life I lead. I am paid to write about sports and tell stories on radio and television about the games people play. But sometimes, even in the midst of a grand sporting event, something happens to put the frivolity of sports into its proper perspective, and this was it.
Fourteen thousand dollars to take a bullet.
As I sit here writing from my hotel room, I can look out my balcony window and I see a Navy battleship cutting through the San Diego Bay, heading out to sea. I can see the sailors standing on the deck as the ship sails past Coronado Island, the San Diego Marina and the downtown Seaport Village, and I wonder if any of the men from MALSS 39 are aboard.
It was only 12 hours ago that I was sitting at the table with my guys, buying them beers, and listening to their soldier stories. The Marine from Southern Illinois who sat to my right pointed to the bald Marine in the orange shirt who was seated to my left. "You know, I don't even know this guy, can you believe that? We just met a few hours ago when we came into Dick's. Oh, I've seen him on the base, but I've never met him before tonight. But here's what's so special about that man, and why I love that man. He's my brother. Semper Fi. I know a guy back home, and he is my best friend. I'm 28 years old and we've known each other all our lives. But today, that friend is more of a stranger to me than that Marine sitting over there, who I've never met before tonight. That's why they call it a Band of Brothers."
The little Marine in the orange shirt lifted his glass toward the Marine from Southern Illinois and nodded his head. "That's right," he said. "That's my brother over there, and I'm gonna take a bullet for him if I have to."
He said it with a calm and jolting certainty. There was a moving, but chilling, pride in his words.
All around them, people were drinking, shouting and laughing. The college kids and the conventioneers and NFL high-rollers were living the good, carefree life. Across the street, a storefront that was vacant two weeks ago was now filled with $30 caps, $400 leather jackets, $40 mugs and $27 T-shirts with the fancy blue and yellow Super Bowl XXXVII logo embroidered on it.
From every end of the streets of downtown San Diego's fabled Gaslamp Quarter, Super Bowl revelers toasted the Raiders and the Bucanneers with grog-sized mugs filled with beers and rums. But just around midnight in the middle of the courtyard of Dick's Last Resort, a far more deserving toast was going up to the men of MALSS 39. We clicked our glasses together, and a few minutes later, they quietly slipped out the courtyard gates.
Suddenly, the Super Bowl didn't seem so important anymore.
God bless them all. They don't do it for the money. They do it for us.
No matter what your feelings about the future events that are unfolding, thank those that serve and protect us.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters serving our country and keep praying to bring them home safely.Back to Top
Stand Behind the Military
This piece was written by a Marine, but I'm sure that sentiments shared here are shared by all those in other branches of our military as well. Stand behind the men and women of our fighting forces that are putting their lives on the line so that you may have the freedom to "speak YOUR mind". (Received via email 2/9/03).
I am an active duty United States Marine Corps Officer and yes, I am due to leave soon to the Southwest Asia region. Of course it is difficult to leave my wife and two daughters at home while I'm off doing all manner of things; however, they have a clear understanding that this is my job - the call to arms - the Profession of Arms.
So why protest? Do you really want my six and two year old daughters to think their daddy is off doing something terrible?
Well you have succeeded. Every evening when I come home, the family watches one of many T.V. news programs, the problem is that recently my six year old daughter looked at me and asked why I had to leave and hurt little kids. Stunned - I asked, "What? Why do you think daddy is going to do that? I am leaving to perform my duties somewhere else for a little while - daddy would never do that." She replied with, "That's what some of the people said on T.V. today, that Marines were leaving somewhere and will hurt little kids like me".
I wish I would have watched that program so that I could point them out by name, and personally give them a piece of my mind - but I was preparing my young Marines for what's to come. I ask everyone to realize one simple thing - we value your sons and daughters lives - we have trained them, and we'll protect them. You must stand in support of them and encourage them.
The American public, regardless of demographics and political geography must speak with a supporting tone of voice and endorse the men and women (who are the son's and daughter's of America) for volunteering to serve their country - freely and faithfully. Do not protest in ignorance and scare our wives, husbands, children, mothers, and fathers based on your rose-colored stained glass window perceptions.
Finally, instead of randomly asking the American populous what they think -should we go to war with or without the U.N. and should it be preemptive - ask us, the military, our families. In short, we volunteered to do this, so if we don't mind and our families support us - then who cares what some randomly picked middle-aged woman or man with no children in the military thinks - or worse, a young (18 to 29 year old) civilian who never voluntarily served his/her country in the Profession of Arms - why should I entertain their opinion regarding my leaving and possibly being engaged in I am not a "war-monger", quite the opposite. I enjoy peace, coming home and taking off the uniform and being with my wife and playing with my kids; however, I took an oath of office, and I carry it out to the death if required.
Although that statement is a bit dramatic, that is the quickest and most honest way to sum up the severity in which we accept our office/rank to which appointed, commissioned, promoted. So for anyone who is reading this and saying, 'what is this guy rambling about?' well, it's simple. Thank God we have free speech, freedom of the press, etc, all of these are the reasons I volunteered to serve within the Profession of Arms - to protect it.
However, control what you think aloud, who you allow to give their 'point of view', and who you poll, because until you have spent multiple birthdays/holidays/anniversaries away from home, force marched beside me carrying my equal load, felt my pains, shared my glory, and cried my tears - keep your soup cooler closed and relay your profound and deep analysis of what the military should do to yourself.
Chief Warrant Officer F. Matt Williams, U.S. Marine CorpsBack to Top
Better Than a Frenchman
(Received via email 1/30/03)
A funny thing happened to me yesterday at Camp Bondsteel (Bosnia):
A French army officer walked up to me in the PX, and told me he thought we (Americans) were a bunch of cowboys and were going to provoke a war.
He said if such a thing happens, we wouldn't be able to count on the support of France.
I told him that it didn't surprise me. Since we had come to France's rescue in World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the Cold War, their ingratitude and jealousy was due to surface at some point in the near future anyway. That is why France is a third-rate military power with a socialist economy and a bunch of faggots for soldiers.
I additionally told him that America, being a nation of deeds and action, not words, would do whatever it had to do, and France's support was only for show anyway. Just like in ALL NATO exercises, the US would shoulder 85% of the burden, as evidenced by the fact that the French officer was shopping in the American PX, and not the other way around.
He began to get belligerent at that point, and I told him if he would like to, I would meet him outside in front of the Burger King and beat his ass in front of the entire Multi-National Brigade East, thus demonstrating that even the smallest American had more fight in him than the average Frenchman.
He called me a barbarian cowboy and walked away in a huff.
With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Mary Beth Johnson LtCol, USMCBack to Top
From England - Is America the Root of All Evil?
No matter what your views on President Bush's statement of upcoming war, this, from an English journalist, is very interesting. Just a word of background, for those of you who aren't familiar with the UK's Daily Mirror. This is a notoriously left-wing daily that is normally not supportive of the Colonials across the Atlantic.
Tony Parsons, Daily Mirror, September 11, 2002
One year ago, the world witnessed a unique kind of broadcasting -- the mass murder of thousands, live on television. As a lesson in the pitiless cruelty of the human race, September 11 was up there with Pol Pot's Mountain of Skulls in Cambodia, or the skeletal bodies stacked like garbage in the Nazi concentration camps. An unspeakable act so cruel, so calculated and so utterly merciless that surely the world could agree on one thing - nobody deserves this fate. Surely there could be a consensus: The victims were truly innocent, the perpetrators truly evil.
But to the world's eternal shame, 9/11 is increasingly seen as America's comeuppance. Incredibly, anti-Americanism has increased over the last year.
There has always been a simmering resentment to the USA in this country; too loud, too rich, too full of themselves, and so much happier than Europeans - but it has become an epidemic. And it seems incredible to me. More than that, it turns my stomach. America is this country's greatest friend and our staunchest ally. We are bonded to the US by culture, language and blood. A little over half a century ago, around half a million Americans died for our freedoms, as well as their own.
Have we forgotten so soon?
And exactly a year ago, thousands of ordinary men, women and children - not just Americans, but from dozens of countries, were butchered by a small group of religious fanatics. Are we so quick to betray them?
What touched the heart about those who died in the Twin Towers and on the planes, was that we recognized them. Young fathers and mothers, somebody's son and somebody's daughter, husbands, wives, and children, some unborn. And these people brought it on themselves? Their nation is to blame for their meticulously planned slaughter?
These days you don't have to be some dust-encrusted nut job in Kabul or Karachi or Finsbury Park to see America as the Great Satan. The anti-American alliance is made up of self-loathing liberals who blame the Americans for every ill in the Third World, and conservatives suffering from power-envy, bitter that the world's only superpower can do what it likes without having to ask permission.
The truth is that America has behaved with enormous restraint since September 11. Remember, remember - Remember the gut-wrenching tapes of weeping men phoning their wives to say, "I love you," before they were burned alive. Remember those people leaping to their deaths from the top of burning skyscrapers. Remember the hundreds of firemen buried alive. Remember the smiling face of that beautiful little girl who was on one of the planes with her mum.
Remember, remember - And realize that America has never retaliated for 9/11 in anything like the way it could have.
So a few al-Qaeda tourists got locked up without a trial in Camp X-ray? Pass the Kleenex... So some Afghan wedding receptions were shot up after they merrily fired their semi-automatics in a sky full of American planes? A shame, but maybe next time they should stick to confetti.
AMERICA could have turned a large chunk of the world into a parking lot. That it didn't is a sign of strength.
American voices are already being raised against attacking Iraq - that's what a democracy is for. How many in the Islamic world will have a minute's silence for the slaughtered innocents of 9/11? How many Islamic leaders will have the guts to say that the mass murder of 9/11 was an abomination? When the news of 9/11 broke on the West Bank, those freedom-loving Palestinians were dancing in the street.
America watched all of that - and didn't push the button.
We should thank the stars that America is the most powerful nation in the world. I still find it incredible that 9/11 did not provoke all-out war. Not a "war on terrorism." A real war. The fundamentalist dudes are talking about "opening the gates of hell," if America attacks Iraq. Well, America could have opened the gates of hell like you wouldn't believe.
The US is the most militarily powerful nation that ever strode the face of the earth. The campaign in Afghanistan may have been less than perfect and the planned war on Iraq may be misconceived. But don't blame America for not bringing peace and light to these wretched countries. How many democracies are there in the Middle East, or in the Muslim world? You can count them on the fingers of one hand - assuming you haven't had any chopped off for minor shoplifting.
I love America, yet America is hated. I guess that makes me Bush's poodle. But I would rather be a dog in New York City than a Prince in Riyadh.
Above all, America is hated because it is what every country wants to be - rich, free, strong, open, optimistic. Not ground down by the past, or religion, or some caste system. America is the best friend this country ever had and we should start remembering that.
Or do you really think the USA is the root of all evil? Tell it to the loved ones of the men and women who leaped to their death from the burning towers. Tell it to the nursing mothers whose husbands died on one of the hijacked planes, or were ripped apart in a collapsing skyscraper.
And tell it to the hundreds of young widows whose husbands worked for the New York Fire Department.
To our shame, George Bush gets a worse press than Saddam Hussein. Once we were told that Saddam gassed the Kurds, tortured his own people and set up rape-camps in Kuwait. Now we are told he likes Quality Street.
Save me the orange center, Oh Mighty One!
Remember, remember, September 11 - One of the greatest atrocities in human history was committed against America.
No, do more than remember. Never forget.Back to Top
Ramblings of an Old Man
Provided by Joe Galloway, author of We Were Soldiers and is an item of possible interest.
This one is definitely not tongue in cheek. The author, was a teen-aged Marine who marched and fought as a rifleman to and from the Chosin reservoir in Korea in 1950. He switched to the Army, and served as a Special Forces officer in Vietnam. After Vietnam he joined the CIA, and went back to Korea.
He's been there, done that, and has some specific thoughts on countries that don't "like" us.
"If you aren't interested in the ramblings of an old man, please delete now. If you're still there, pull up a chair and listen.
Is there anyone else out there who's sick and tired of all the polls being taken in foreign countries as to whether or not they "like" us? The last time I looked, the word "like" had nothing to do with foreign policy. I prefer 'respect' or 'fear'. They worked for Rome, which civilized and kept the peace in the known world a hell of a lot longer than our puny two centuries-plus.
I see a left-wing German got elected to office recently by campaigning against the foreign policy of the United States. Yeah, that's what I want, to be lectured about war and being a "good neighbor" by a German. Their head honcho said they wouldn't take part in a war against Iraq. Kind of nice, to see them taking a pass on a war once in while. Perhaps we needed to have the word "World" in front of War. I think it's time to bring our boys home from Germany. Outside of the money we'd save, we'd make the Germans "like" us a lot more, after they started paying the bills for their own defense.
Last time I checked, France isn't too fond of us either. They sort of liked us back on June 6th, 1944, though, didn't they? If you don't think so, see how nicely they take care of the enormous American cemeteries up above the Normandy beaches. For those of you who've studied history, we also have a few cemeteries in places like Belleau Woods and Chateau Thierry also. For those of you who haven't studied it, that was from World War One, the first time Europe screwed up and we bailed out the French.
That's where the US Marines got the title 'Devil Dogs' or, if you still care about what the Germans think, "Teufelhunde". I hope I spelled that right; sure wouldn't want to offend anyone, least of all a German.
Come to think of it, when Europe couldn't take care of their Bosnian problem recently, guess who had to help out there also. Last time I checked, our kids are still there. I sort of remember they said they would be out in a year. Gee, how time flies when you're having fun.
Now we hear that the South Koreans aren't too happy with us either. They "liked" us a lot better, of course, in June, 1950. It took more than 50,000 Americans killed in Korea to help give them the lifestyle they currently enjoy, but then who's counting? I think it's also time to bring the boys home from there. There are about 37,000 young Americans on the DMZ separating the South Koreans from their "brothers" up North. Maybe if we leave, they can begin to participate in the "good life" that North Korea currently enjoys. Uh huh. Sure.
I also understand that a good portion of the Arab/Moslem world now doesn't "like" us either. Did anyone ever sit down and determine what we would have to do to get them to like us? Ask them what they would like us to do. Die? Commit ritual suicide? Bend over? Maybe we should follow the advice of our dimwitted, dullest knife in the drawer, Senator Patty Murray, and build more roads, hospitals, day care centers, and orphanages like Osama bin Laden does. What with all the orphans Osama has created, the least he can do is build some places to put them. Senator Stupid says if we would only "emulate" Osama, the Arab world would love us.
Sorry Patty; in addition to the fact that we already do all of those things around the world and have been doing them for over sixty years, I don't take public transportation, and I certainly wouldn't take it with a bomb strapped to the guy next to me.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not in favor of going to war. Been there, done that. Several times, in fact. But I think we ought to have some polls in this country about other countries, and see if we "like" THEM. Problem is, if you listed the countries, not only wouldn't the average American know if he liked them or not, he wouldn't be able to find them. If we're supposed to worry about them, how about them worrying about us?
We were nice to the North Koreans in 1994, as we followed the policies of Neville Clinton. And it seemed to work; they didn't re-start nuclear weapons program for a whole year or so. In the meantime, we fed them when they were starving, and put oil in their stoves when they were freezing.
In a recent visit to Norway, I engaged in a really fun debate with my cousin's son, a student at a Norwegian University. I was lectured to by this thankless squirt about the American "Empire", and scolded about dropping the atomic bomb on the Japanese. I reminded him that empires usually keep the stuff they take; we don't, and back in 1945 most Norwegians thought dropping ANY kind of bomb on Germany or Japan was a good idea. I also reminded him that my uncle, his grandfather, and others in our family spent a significant time in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, courtesy of the Germans, and they didn't all survive. I further reminded him that if it wasn't for the "American Empire" he would probably be speaking German or Russian.
Sorry about the rambling, but I just took an unofficial poll here at our house, and we don't seem to like anyone. "
Quotes About France
"France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes." -Mark Twain-
"I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." -General George S. Patton-
"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion." -Norman Schwartzkopf-
"We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it." -Marge Simpson-
"As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure" -Jacques Chirac, President of France-
"As far as France is concerned, you're right." -Rush Limbaugh-
"The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee." -Regis Philbin-
"The French are a smallish, monkey-looking bunch and not dressed any better, on average, than the citizens of Baltimore. True, you can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but why this is more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large glasses of whiskey, I don't know." -P.J. O'Rourke (1989)-
"You know, the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who was still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it." -John McCain, U.S. Senator from Arizona-
"You know why the French don't want to bomb Saddam Hussein? Because he hates America, he loves mistresses and wears a beret. He is French, people." -Conan O'Brien-
"I don't know why people are surprised that France won't help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn't help us get the Germans out of France!" -Jay Leno-
"The last time the French asked for 'more proof' it came marching into Paris under a German flag." -David Letterman-
"How many Frenchmen
does it take to change a light bulb?"
Dateline Paris France - February 14, 2003.
Today it was reported that severe earthquakes have occurred in 10 different locations in France. The severity was measured in excess of 10 on the Richter Scale.
The cause was the 56,681 dead American soldiers buried in French soil rolling over in their graves.
According to the American Battle Monuments Commission there are 26,255 Yankee dead from World War I buried in 4 cemeteries in France.
There are 30,426 American dead from World War II buried in 6 cemeteries in France.
These 56,681 brave American heroes died in their youth to liberate a country which is guilty of shameful unspeakable behavior in the 21st century.
May the United States of America never forget their sacrifice as we find ways to forcefully deal with the Godforsaken unappreciative, forgetful country of France!
You can start, by NOT buying ANYTHING made in France, and by crossing Paris off your vacation list. Freedom isn't free. Thank an American war Veteran for yours!
Stand Up For America
Last week, the Shelby County Alabama Legislative Delegation hosted a "Stand Up for America Rally." More than 1,200 people attended including featured speakers Chief Justice Roy Moore, Adjutant General Mark Bowen and Alabama State Auditor Beth Chapman. Attached is a copy of Mrs. Chapman's speech, which resulted in five standing ovations, tremendous applause and an encore. It's a short read and well worth it. I hope you enjoy it as we continue to "Stand up for America!"
Up for America Rally Speech
I'm here tonight because men and women of the United States military have given their lives for my freedom. I am not here tonight tonight because Sheryl Crowe, Rosie O'Donnell, Martin Sheen, George Clooney, Jane Fonda or Phil Donahue, sacrificed their lives for me.
If my memory serves me correctly, it was not movie stars or musicians, but the United States Military who fought on the shores of Iwo Jima, the jungles of Vietnam, and the beaches of Normandy. Tonight, I say we should support the President of the United States and the US Military and tell the liberal, tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippy, tie-dyed liberals to go make their movies and music and whine somewhere else.
After all, if they lived in Iraq, they wouldn't be allowed the freedom of speech they're being given here today. Ironically, they would be put to death at the hands of Sadam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden. I want to know how the very people who are against war because of the loss of life, can possibly be the same people who are for abortion?
They are the same people who are for animal rights but against the rights of the unborn. The movie stars say they want to go to Iraq and serve as "human shields" for the Iraqis. I say let them buy a one-way ticket and go.
No one likes war. I hate war! But the one thing I hate more is the fact that this country has been forced into war-innocent people have lost their lives - - and there but for the grace of God, it could have been my brother, my husband, or even worse my own son.
On December 7, 1941, there are no records of movie stars treading the blazing waters of Pearl Harbor.
On September 11, 2001; there are no photos of movie stars standing as "human shields" against the debris and falling bodies ascending from the World Trade Center. There were only policemen and firemen - -underpaid civil servants who gave their all with nothing expected in return.
When the USS Cole was bombed, there were no movie stars guarding the ship -- where were the human shields then?
If America's movie stars want to be human shields, let them shield the gang-ridden streets of Los Angeles, or New York City, let them shield the lives of the children of North Birmingham whose mothers lay them down to sleep on the floor each night to shelter them from stray bullets
If they want to be human shields, I say let them shield the men and women of honesty and integrity that epitomizes courage and embody the spirit of freedom by wearing the proud uniforms of the United States Military. Those are the people who have earned and deserve shielding!
Throughout the course of history, this country has remained free, not because of movie stars and liberal activists, but because of brave men and women who hated war too. However, they lay down their lives so that we all may live in freedom. After all -- "What greater love hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friend," or in this case a country.
We should give our military honor and acknowledgment and not let their lives be in vain. If you want to see true human shields, walk through Arlington Cemetery. There lie human shields, heroes, and the BRAVE Americans who didn't get on television and talk about being a human shield - they WERE human shields.
I thank God tonight for freedom - - those who bought and paid for it with their lives in the past - - those who will protect it in the present and defend it in the future.
America has remained silent too long! God-fearing people have remained silent too long! We must lift our voices united in a humble prayer to God for guidance and the strength and courage to sustain us throughout whatever the future may hold.
After the tragic events of Sept. 11th, my then eleven -year-old son said terrorism is a war between them and us and if you're not one of us, then you're one of them.
So in closing tonight, let us be of one accord, let us stand proud, and let us be the human shields of prayer, encouragement and support for the President, our troops and their families and our country.
May God bless America, the land of the free, the home of the brave and the greatest country on the face of this earth!
Shall We Compare?
Who's Smarter? by Cindy Osborne
The Hollywood group is at it again. Holding anti-war rallies, screaming about the Bush Administration, running ads in major newspapers, defaming the President and his Cabinet every chance they get, to anyone and everyone who will listen. They publicly defile them and call them names like "stupid," "morons," and "idiots." Jessica Lange went so far as to tell a crowd in Spain that she hates President Bush and is embarrassed to be an American.
So, just how ignorant are these people who are running the country? Let's look at the biographies of these "stupid," "ignorant," "moronic" leaders, and then at the celebrities who are castigating them:
President George W. Bush: Received a Bachelors Degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He served as an F-102 pilot for the Texas Air National Guard. He began his career in the oil and gas business in Midland in 1975 and worked in the energy industry until 1986. He was elected Governor on November 8, 1994, with 53.5 percent of the vote. In a historic re-election victory, he became the first Texas Governor to be elected to consecutive four-year terms on November 3, 1998 winning 68.6 percent of the vote. In 1998 Governor Bush won 49 percent of the Hispanic vote, 27 percent of the African-American vote, 27 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of women. He won more Texas counties, 240 of 254, than any modern Republican other than Richard Nixon in 1972 and is the first Republican gubernatorial candidate to win the heavily Hispanic and Democratic border counties of El Paso, Cameron and Hidalgo.
Vice President Dick Cheney: Earned a B.A. in 1965 and a M.A. in 1966, both in political science. Two years later, he won an American Political Science Association congressional fellowship. One of Vice President Cheney's primary duties is to share with individuals, members of Congress and foreign leaders, President Bush's vision to strengthen our economy, secure our homeland and win the War on Terrorism. In his official role as President of the Senate, Vice President Cheney regularly goes to Capital Hill to meet with Senators and members of the House of Representatives to work on the Administration's legislative goals. In his travels as Vice President, he has seen first hand the great demands the war on terrorism is placing on the men and women of our military, and he is proud of the tremendous job they are doing for the United States of America.
Secretary of State Colin Powell: Educated in the New York City public schools, graduating from the City College of New York (CCNY), where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in geology. He also participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in June 1958. His further academic achievements include a Master of Business Administration Degree from George Washington University. Secretary Powell is the recipient of numerous U.S. and foreign military awards and decorations. Secretary Powell's civilian awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President's Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. Several schools and other institutions have been named in his honor and he holds honorary degrees from universities and colleges across the country. (Note: He retired as Four Star General in the United States Army)
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: Attended Princeton University on Scholarship (AB, 1954) and served in the U.S. Navy (1954-57) as a Naval aviator; Congressional Assistant to Rep. Robert Griffin (R-MI), 1957-59; U.S. Representative, Illinois, 1962-69; Assistant to the President, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Director of the Cost of Living Council, 1969-74; U.S. Ambassador to NATO, 1973-74; head of Presidential Transition Team, 1974; Assistant to the President, Director of White House Office of Operations, White House Chief of Staff, 1974-77; Secretary of Defense, 1975-77.
Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge: Raised in a working class family in veterans' public housing in Erie. He earned a scholarship to Harvard, graduating with honors in 1967. After his first year at The Dickinson School of Law, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served as an infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star for Valor. After returning to Pennsylvania, he earned his Law Degree and was in private practice before becoming Assistant District Attorney in Erie County. He was elected to Congress in 1982. He was the first enlisted Vietnam combat veteran elected to the U.S. House, and was overwhelmingly re-elected six times.
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice: Earned her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver in 1974; her Master's from the University of Notre Dame in 1975; and her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981. (Note: Rice enrolled at the University of Denver at the age of 15, graduating at 19 with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science (Cum Laude). She earned a Master's Degree at the University of Notre Dame and a Doctorate from the University of Denver's Graduate School of International Studies. Both of her advanced degrees are also in Political Science.) She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Morehouse College in 1991, the University of Alabama in 1994, and the University of Notre Dame in 1995. At Stanford, she has been a member of the Center for International Security and Arms Control, a Senior Fellow of the Institute for International Studies, and a Fellow (by courtesy) of the Hoover Institution.
Her books include Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (1995) with Philip Zelikow, The Gorbachev Era (1986) with Alexander Dallin, and Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army (1984). She also has written numerous articles on Soviet and East European foreign and defense policy, and has addressed audiences in settings ranging from the U.S. Ambassador's Residence in Moscow to the Commonwealth Club to the 1992 and 2000 Republican National Conventions.
From 1989 through March 1991, the period of German reunification and the final days of the Soviet Union, she served in the Bush Administration as Director, and then Senior Director, of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council, and a Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In 1986, while an international affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, she served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In 1997, she served on the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender -- Integrated Training in the Military. She was a member of the boards of directors for the Chevron Corporation, the Charles Schwab Corporation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the University of Notre Dame, the International Advisory Council of J.P. Morgan and the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors. She was a Founding Board member of the Center for a New Generation, an educational support fund for schools in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park, California and was Vice President of the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula.
In addition, her past board service has encompassed such organizations as Transamerica Corporation, Hewlett Packard, the Carnegie Corporation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Rand Corporation, the National Council for Soviet and East European Studies, the Mid-Peninsula Urban Coalition and KQED, public broadcasting for San Francisco. Born November 14, 1954 in Birmingham, Al abama, she resides in Washington, D.C.
++++ Now the "expurts" from Hollywood ++++
So who are these celebrities? What is their education? What is their experience in affairs of State or in National Security? While I willingly defend to the death their right to express their opinions, I think that if they are going to call into question the intelligence of our leaders, we should also have all the facts on their educations and background:
Barbra Streisand: Completed high school Career: Singing and acting
Cher: Dropped out of school in 9th grade. Career: Singing and acting
Martin Sheen: Flunked exam to enter University of Dayton. Career: Acting
Jessica Lange: Dropped out college mid-freshman year. Career: Acting
Alec Baldwin: Dropped out of George Washington U. after scandal. Career: Acting
Julia Roberts: Completed high school. Career: Acting
Sean Penn: Completed High school. Career: Acting
Susan Sarandon: Degree in Drama from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Career: Acting
Ed Asner: Completed High school. Career: Acting
George Clooney: Dropped out of University of Kentucky. Career: Acting
Michael Moore: Dropped out first year at University of Michigan. Career: Movie Director
Sarah Jessica Parker: Completed High School. Career: Acting
Jennifer Anniston: Completed High School. Career: Acting
Mike Farrell: Completed High school. Career: Acting
Janeane Garofelo: Dropped out of College. Career: Stand up comedienne
Larry Hagman: Attended Bard College for one year. Career: Acting
While comparing the education and experience of these two groups, we should also remember that President Bush and his cabinet are briefed daily, even hourly, on the War on Terror and threats to our security. They are privy to information gathered around the world concerning the Middle East, the threats to America, the intentions of terrorists and terrorist-supporting governments. They are in constant communication with the CIA, the FBI, Interpol, NATO, The United Nations, our own military, and that of our allies around the world.
We cannot simply believe that we have full knowledge of the threats because we watch CNN!! We cannot believe that we are in any way as informed as our leaders.
These celebrities have no intelligence-gathering agents, no fact-finding groups, no insight into the minds of those who would destroy our country. They only have a deep seated hatred for all things Republican. By nature, and no one knows quite why, the Hollywood elitists detest Conservative views and anything that supports or uplifts the United States of America. The silence was deafening from the Left when Bill Clinton bombed a pharmaceutical factory outside of Khartoum, or when he attacked the Bosnian Serbs in 1995 and 1999. He bombed Serbia itself to get Slobodan Milosevic out of Kosovo, and not a single peace rally was held.
When our Rangers were ambushed in Somalia and 18 young American lives were lost, not a peep was heard from Hollywood. Yet now, after our nation has been attacked on its own soil, after 3,000 Americans were killed, by freedom-hating terrorists, while going about their routine lives, they want to hold rallies against the war. Why the change?
Because an honest, God-fearing Republican sits in the White House.
Another irony is that in 1987, when Ronald Reagan was in office, the Hollywood group aligned themselves with disarmament groups like SANE, FREEZE and PEACE ACTION, urging our own government to disarm and freeze the manufacturing of any further nuclear weapons, in order to promote world peace. It is curious that now, even after we have heard all the evidence that Saddam Hussein has chemical, biological and is very close to obtaining nuclear weapons, their is no cry from this group for HIM to disarm. They believe we should leave him alone in his quest for these weapons of mass destruction, even though it is certain that these deadly weapons will eventually be used against us in our own cities.
So why the hype out of Hollywood? Could these celebrities believe that since they draw such astronomical salaries, they are entitled to also determine the course of our Nation? That they can make viable decisions concerning war and peace? Did Michael Moore have the backing of the Nation when he recently thanked France, on our behalf, for being a "good enough friend to tell us we were wrong"? I know for certain he was not speaking for me. Does Sean Penn fancy himself a Diplomat, in going to Iraq when we are just weeks away from war? Does he believe that his High School Diploma gives him the knowledge (and the right) to go to a country that is controlled by a maniacal dictator, and speak on behalf of the American people? Or is it the fact that he pulls in more money per year than the average American worker will see in a lifetime? Does his bank account give him clout?
The ultimate irony is that many of these celebrities have made a shambles of their own lives, with drug abuse, alcoholism, numerous marriages and divorces, scrapes with the law, publicized temper tantrums, etc. How dare they pretend to know what is best for an entire nation!
What is even more bizarre is how many people in this country will listen and accept their views, simply because they liked them in a certain movie, or have fond memories of an old television sitcom!
It is time for us, as citizens of the United States, to educate ourselves about the world around us. If future generations are going to enjoy the freedoms that our forefathers bequeathed us, if they are ever to know peace in their own country and their world, to live without fear of terrorism striking in their own cities, we must assure that this nation remains strong. We must make certain that those who would destroy us are made aware of the severe consequences that will befall them.
Yes, it is a wonderful dream to sit down with dictators and terrorists and join hands, singing Cumbaya and talking of world peace. But it is not real. We did not stop Adolf Hitler from taking over the entire continent of Europe by simply talking to him. We sent our best and brightest, with the strength and determination that this Country is known for, and defeated the Nazi regime. President John F. Kennedy did not stop the Soviet ships from unloading their nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962 with mere words. He stopped them with action, and threat of immediate war if the ships did not turn around. We did not end the Cold War with conferences. It ended with the strong belief of President Ronald Reagan... PEACE through STRENGTH.
From Canadian Gordon Sinclair - For America
Widespread but only partial news coverage was given to a remarkable editorial broadcast in 1973, from Toronto, by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television commentator.
Mr. Sinclair passed away in 1984.
"This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.
Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave others billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.
When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.
When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.
The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans.
I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country In the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American Planes?
Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles.
You talk about American Technocracy, and you find men on the moon -- not once, but several times -- and safely home again.
You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.
When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americas who rebuilt them. Then the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.
I can name you 5000 times when Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.
Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those."
My Heart On The Line
By Frank Schaeffer, Tuesday, November 26, 2002, The Washington Post
Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending me. Now when I read of the war on terrorism or the coming conflict in Iraq, it cuts to my heart. When I see a picture of a member of our military who has been killed, I read his or her name very carefully. Sometimes I cry.
In 1999, when the barrel-chested Marine recruiter showed up in dress blues and bedazzled my son John, I did not stand in the way. John was headstrong, and he seemed to understand these stern, clean men with straight backs and flawless uniforms. I did not. I live in the Volvo-driving, higher education-worshiping North Shore of Boston. I write novels for a living. I have never served in the military.
It had been hard enough sending my two older children off to Georgetown and New York University. John's enlisting was unexpected, so deeply unsettling. I did not relish the prospect of answering the question, "So where is John going to college?" from the parents who were itching to tell me all about how their son or daughter was going to Harvard.
At the private high school John attended, no other students were going into the military.
"But aren't the Marines terribly Southern?" asked one perplexed mother while standing next to me at the brunch following graduation. "What a waste, he was such a good student," said another parent. One parent (a professor at a nearby and rather famous university) spoke up at a school meeting and suggested that the school should "carefully evaluate what went wrong."
When John graduated from three months of boot camp on Parris Island, 3,000 parents and friends were on the parade deck stands. We parents and our Marines not only were of many races but also were representative of many economic classes. Many were poor. Some arrived crammed in the backs of pickups, others by bus. John told me that a lot of parents could not afford the trip.
We in the audience were white and Native American. We were Hispanic, Arab and African American and Asian. We were former Marines wearing the scars of battle, or at least baseball caps emblazoned with battles' names. We were Southern whites from Nashville and skinheads from New Jersey, black kids from Cleveland wearing ghetto rags and white ex-cons with ham-hock forearms defaced by jailhouse tattoos. We would not have been mistaken for the educated and well-heeled parents gathered on the lawns of John's private school a half-year before.
After graduation one new Marine told John, "Before I was a Marine, if I had ever seen you on my block I would've probably killed you just because you were standing there." This was a serious statement from one of John's good friends, an African American ex-gang member from Detroit who, as John said, "would die for me now, just like I'd die for him."
My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and insular to experience before. I feel closer to the waitress at our local diner than to some of my oldest friends. She has two sons in the Corps. They are facing the same dangers as my boy. When the guy who fixes my car asks me how John is doing, I know he means it. His younger brother is in the Navy.
Why were I and the other parents at my son's private school so surprised by his choice? During World War II, the sons and daughters of the most powerful and educated families did their bit. If the immorality of the Vietnam War was the only reason those lucky enough to go to college dodged the draft, why did we not encourage our children to volunteer for military service once that war was done?
Have we wealthy and educated Americans all become pacifists? Is the world a safe place? Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us? What is the future of our democracy when the sons and daughters of the janitors at our elite universities are far more likely to be put in harm's way than are any of the students whose dorms their parents clean?
I feel shame because it took my son's joining the Marine Corps to make me take notice of who is defending me. I feel hope because perhaps my son is part of a future "greatest generation."
As the storm clouds of war gather, at least I know that I can look the men and women in uniform in the eye. My son is one of them. He is the best I have to offer. He is my heart.