Archive for the ‘war’ Category

>Security does not come without a cost

December 15, 2009

>The following was written by a friend of mine, who gave me permission to reprint it here.

Recently, a few of our leaders have called for “war taxes” to help support our soldiers in the field and their efforts in the two wars in which our nation is involved. Typically, most of us don’t like taxes but we as Americans should stand behind those calling for such taxes because by so doing we will provide vital support for our soldiers who are serving, on our behalves, in dangerous places to defend our nation.

George Bush should have initiated those taxes when we went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq (instead he cut taxes) and Barack Obama and all Americans, particularly those who are for military action in these two regions, should be for them.

We say we are for our military. We say we want to defend America. We say we appreciate all who are sacrificing to defend our nation from enemies domestic and abroad. We say we want to stand by our soldiers who have paid painful sacrifices on our behalves. But when we are asked to make a personal sacrifice to help pay for the cost of all of that we say “No!”

What hypocrites we are.

Yes, I know we’ve got to pay for our groceries and housing and car repairs and medical care. Those are necessary. But are we willing to do without that 50″ TV – or 60 to 300 channels of cable TV – or going out to eat two or three times a week – or upgrading our computer to something with all the bells and whistles – or taking a cheaper vacation – or making our car last longer? Are we willing to sacrifice some of the “comforts” of our lives to pay for what we declare that we are for? Or are we going to pass those bills on to our children and grandchildren?

Shame on us! Shame on our leaders! Paying taxes, particularly those that provide for the vital and essential defense of our nation, is an act of patriotism!

Richard B. Hanna

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>Supporting the Pres re Afghanistan

December 2, 2009

>

Here’s proof that I’m not in lock-step with the left wing of the Democrats. Of course, those who claim I blindly follow president Obama will use this as evidence. But that notion has been disproved on numerous occasions, they just aren’t paying attention.

The picture above is of Marine One leaving the south lawn of the White House carrying the president to Andrews Air Force Base for the trip to West Point yesterday (official White House photo). The president can be seen reading in the ‘copter.
I listened carefully to the President’s speech last night. I was more attentive than many of the cadets in the audience, or maybe they just do their best listening with their eyes closed, I don’t know. I missed an event that I really, really wanted to go to (World AIDS Day at WorkPlay) so I could hear the president.
Just in case you were in a cave, or at WorkPlay, the president announced he will send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. Quickly. They will do their job and leave, beginning deployment in July 2011.
Obama, purposely or not, is following Powell Doctrine, named after Colin Powell. The Powell Doctrine includes having a plausible exit strategy, something the Bush Doctrine and the person it was named after never thought of.

If you have followed me from before the time I started this blog you would have read letters in the Western Star and elsewhere and know that I supported the invasion of Afghanistan soon after 9-11 to rid that country of its Taliban leaders.

You would know that I was 100% opposed to the invasion of Iraq as that was an unjust war of choice.

It was a huge mistake to reduce our presence in Afghanistan and refocus on Iraq. President Bush did not finish the job he set out to do, that the American public supported him in, and that would have saved gobs of money and countless American and allied lives.

President Obama was handed a hornet’s nest (one of many) when he took office.What would have been a relatively easy completion of the task in Afghanistan now is a much more complicated situation. But that does not mean we should just throw up our hands and leave to them to deal with.

There is still the problem of Al-Qaida, and the resurgent Taliban, and Pakistan, and India.

India? Yes, they will play a role and must be considered in the solution. What do you think the president was talking about with their leader while he was in Washington? Party crashers?

We cannot rid the world of Al-Qaida. But we can take away their ability to function effectively where they are (now). They will try to regroup somewhere, no doubt, but I believe that in many countries (including Afghanistan) that the people are beginning to realize that terrorist violence does not make their lives any better, and they will pressure their governments to resist the terrorists and that gradually Al-Qaida and their like will have a difficult time getting funding and finding places to hide.

That may sound simplistic, but I am an optimist (sometimes).

Now, about this “arbitrary deadline” that Richard Shelby and others have decried. The date set is not “arbitrary.” It was chosen with careful consideration, not by throwing a dart at a calendar. Any task, from planting a rose garden to restoring a kitchen or building a highway to Memphis to fighting a war should have a timetable including an estimated time of completion. The timetable can be modified as conditions change (highway to Memphis).

“Oh, but now the Taliban knows our plans and they will see us focusing on one city and respond to that by going to another, and…” Like they wouldn’t be doing that anyway?

“The Taliban will just wait until we leave and then resurge.” Not if they are dead!

The president said last night that we were united in 2001 behind the decision to go into Afghanistan.

“It’s easy to forget that when this war began, we were united — bound together by the fresh memory of a horrific attack, and by the determination to defend our homeland and the values we hold dear. I refuse to accept the notion that we cannot summon that unity again.”

The hall erupted in applause after this line. I agree. We should unite behind this president and his decision. (Photo – Reuters)

>Western Tribune column October 14, 2009, war memorials

October 14, 2009

>I am adding some pictures from my recent trip to DC to this column. For pictures from the National Equality March see my (first) article about the event here.

Western Tribune column

While in the nation’s capital I was able to revisit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and to visit for the first time the National World War II Memorial.

Having grown up during the Vietnam War I feel fortunate that none of my close friends or older brothers died in that conflict. But like most Americans who are old enough I remember watching day after day the news reports about the conflict, and anyone of my generation can’t help but be moved knowing that so many our lives were affected by it.

Nearby the more recently constructed National World War II Memorial stands as a testament to those of my father’s generation who fought and gave their lives to protect our freedoms. Water and structure combine to reflect the Atlantic and Pacific theatres of that war, and there is too much imagery to describe in this column.

But one aspect of the memorial deserves mention. On the walls are bas relief depictions of various aspects of the war effort in both Europe and the Pacific. On the Atlantic side the progression ends with a scene in which the American forces and the Russian forces meet with a handshake in Germany.

It is an interesting scene in light of the commie scare coming from a letter writer who claims that communists were accumulating in the State Department “from before World War II until today because of our support of Russia and her leaders.”

While cooperation between the United States and Russia was necessary to defeat the Germans it can hardly be said that we have supported Russia in all the years since. Ever hear of the “Cold War”?

I shouldn’t be wasting my time trying to refute someone who re-writes history to fit their agenda.

Over the weekend President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Everyone, including the president’s staff, was caught off guard with this recognition, and some are saying it’s a little early for a peace prize seeing how the president has yet to decide whether to ramp up the effort in Afghanistan or begin to bring the troops home.

But those who voted for that award are recognizing Obama’s commitment to peaceful solutions where possible. We will have to wait and see what he decides for Afghanistan.

And in a few decades, I suppose my children will be visiting a memorial commemorating the efforts in that war and the Iraq war.

>Violence in America

April 17, 2007

>The killings at Virginia Tech yesterday bring up the subject of violence in our country once again. Here’s my take: more guns, more violence.

A guest on the Glenn Beck show on Headline News last night (the only news I could pick up in my car other than Fox) said part of the problem was that the American public is not armed. Not one of those people in that class room was armed, and had they been, they could have stopped the killer was the message.

Yeah right, let’s arm all the college kids along with the rest of the general public. That would solve the problem. In my class last night my study group was scheduled to give a presentation part of which involved violence and injury on college campuses, and the question was raised “Do you feel safe on campus here.” Not many hands went up. Do you think more people would have responded positively if they knew their classmates were packing heat?

The guest on Glenn Beck must feel good about New Orleans. This from the Associated Press recently:

People across New Orleans are arming themselves — not only against the possibility of another storm bringing anarchy, but against the violence that has engulfed the metropolitan area in the 19 months since Katrina, making New Orleans the nation’s murder capital.
The number of permits issued to carry concealed weapons is running twice as high as it was before Katrina — this, in a city with only about half its pre-storm population of around 450,000. Attendance at firearms classes and hours logged at shooting ranges also are up, according to the gun industry.


Our nation is becoming more violent, in part because that is what we see from our President. As much as the public has come to distrust him, still we see that our government thinks the only solution to a major problem is violence. And if violence isn’t working, amp up the violence. We may not like what we hear, but it fills our heads and if we aren’t careful, we begin to believe what our government is teaching us: violence is the answer. Four years ago, rather than put all their effort in to seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis (well it wasn’t even a crisis before we got involved) in Iraq, our leaders ramped up the war machine. Bush is now looking for a “War Czar” without realizing (or admitting) that he already holds that position.


But why not a “Peace Czar?” Rather than promoting war, why not promote peace? Let’s get out of Iraq, and then let’s start talking about peace. Let’s frame the issues with Peace as the main heading, not conflict and see how the attitudes and actions of the American public change. It’s worth a try.

Violence in America

April 17, 2007

The killings at Virginia Tech yesterday bring up the subject of violence in our country once again. Here’s my take: more guns, more violence.

A guest on the Glenn Beck show on Headline News last night (the only news I could pick up in my car other than Fox) said part of the problem was that the American public is not armed. Not one of those people in that class room was armed, and had they been, they could have stopped the killer was the message.

Yeah right, let’s arm all the college kids along with the rest of the general public. That would solve the problem. In my class last night my study group was scheduled to give a presentation part of which involved violence and injury on college campuses, and the question was raised “Do you feel safe on campus here.” Not many hands went up. Do you think more people would have responded positively if they knew their classmates were packing heat?

The guest on Glenn Beck must feel good about New Orleans. This from the Associated Press recently:

People across New Orleans are arming themselves — not only against the possibility of another storm bringing anarchy, but against the violence that has engulfed the metropolitan area in the 19 months since Katrina, making New Orleans the nation’s murder capital.
The number of permits issued to carry concealed weapons is running twice as high as it was before Katrina — this, in a city with only about half its pre-storm population of around 450,000. Attendance at firearms classes and hours logged at shooting ranges also are up, according to the gun industry.


Our nation is becoming more violent, in part because that is what we see from our President. As much as the public has come to distrust him, still we see that our government thinks the only solution to a major problem is violence. And if violence isn’t working, amp up the violence. We may not like what we hear, but it fills our heads and if we aren’t careful, we begin to believe what our government is teaching us: violence is the answer. Four years ago, rather than put all their effort in to seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis (well it wasn’t even a crisis before we got involved) in Iraq, our leaders ramped up the war machine. Bush is now looking for a “War Czar” without realizing (or admitting) that he already holds that position.


But why not a “Peace Czar?” Rather than promoting war, why not promote peace? Let’s get out of Iraq, and then let’s start talking about peace. Let’s frame the issues with Peace as the main heading, not conflict and see how the attitudes and actions of the American public change. It’s worth a try.

>Tired of War (and posts about war)?

March 19, 2007

>Well I am. I was tired of this war before it started. But today marks a milestone, the 4th anniverary of the invasion of Iraq. Nothiing more needs to be said if you have checked out Ava Lowery’s site, www.peacetakescourage.com.

But just in case you didn’t look, here is a video created by 16 year old Ava, called “California Dreaming.” Remember Ann Coulter talking about Iraq? “Basically, um, it is like California with Bagdad as LA…” Every time she opens her mouth, she loses credibility. Good thing we have freedom of speech here, Ann. http://www.peacetakescourage.com/index2.php?subaction=showcomments&id=1171045569&archive=&start_from=&ucat=&page=blog

And for those who really can’t get enough, here are the death threats that Ava received when she was just 15 years old, for expressing her opinion. http://www.progressive.org/mag_mc042406

Ava contacted me yesterday and thanked me. I should be thanking her. Her site got over a million hits a month during recent months.

I want to apologize. I neglected to mention the AUBURN TIGERS women’s basketball team when I said no teams from the state made the NCAA tournament. Well, they didn’t make the NCAA but they are in the NIT, and beat UAB yesterday. They play Virginia Tech on Tuesday.

And how about the Auburn Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Teams. National Champions (again). Five in a row for the men. And two in a row, and five out of the last six for the women!

Cesar Cileo was named NCAA

division 1 men’s swimmer of

the year.

Steven Segerlin was named NCAA

divison 1 men’s diver of the year.

War Eagle!!! That is an acceptable type of “war.”

Tomorrow, I promise (unless something noteworthy happens) I will not write of war or scoundrels in Washington. Spring is approaching.

Tired of War (and posts about war)?

March 19, 2007

Well I am. I was tired of this war before it started. But today marks a milestone, the 4th anniverary of the invasion of Iraq. Nothiing more needs to be said if you have checked out Ava Lowery’s site, www.peacetakescourage.com.

But just in case you didn’t look, here is a video created by 16 year old Ava, called “California Dreaming.” Remember Ann Coulter talking about Iraq? “Basically, um, it is like California with Bagdad as LA…” Every time she opens her mouth, she loses credibility. Good thing we have freedom of speech here, Ann. http://www.peacetakescourage.com/index2.php?subaction=showcomments&id=1171045569&archive=&start_from=&ucat=&page=blog

And for those who really can’t get enough, here are the death threats that Ava received when she was just 15 years old, for expressing her opinion. http://www.progressive.org/mag_mc042406

Ava contacted me yesterday and thanked me. I should be thanking her. Her site got over a million hits a month during recent months.

I want to apologize. I neglected to mention the AUBURN TIGERS women’s basketball team when I said no teams from the state made the NCAA tournament. Well, they didn’t make the NCAA but they are in the NIT, and beat UAB yesterday. They play Virginia Tech on Tuesday.

And how about the Auburn Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Teams. National Champions (again). Five in a row for the men. And two in a row, and five out of the last six for the women!

Cesar Cileo was named NCAA

division 1 men’s swimmer of

the year.

Steven Segerlin was named NCAA

divison 1 men’s diver of the year.

War Eagle!!! That is an acceptable type of “war.”

Tomorrow, I promise (unless something noteworthy happens) I will not write of war or scoundrels in Washington. Spring is approaching.

>re: Western Star Editorial about Bush Library

February 18, 2007

>This is in response to an editorial regarding the proposed Bush library at Southern Methodist University. The Western Star refused to print this:

Editor:

The editorial “Bush is a Great American President” struck so many nerves with me that I hardly know where to begin. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when written opinion so grossly misrepresents the truth, I have to speak out.

It does not matter to me whether the Bush Presidential Library is built on the Southern Methodist University campus or not. But as a member of the United Methodist Church, I will take up for those who are questioning it. High ranking Bishops and other officials from the UNC have denounced the war in Iraq since 2003, and continue to oppose the surge in troops proposed by President Bush. The Methodist Church has a long history of fighting for social justice and upholding peace. The leaders of the president’s own faith, as well as those from several other denominations, view this war as unjust and unbiblical and it is right that they question the proposed library.

The editorial also comes very close to linking the homosexual community to terrorist groups, and this is an outrageous attack on many in the Bessemer community and the nation. Just because gays are opposed to and may hate Bush’s policies, and might even think that he is unqualified to lead our country, does not mean they hate the man. Homosexuals contribute a lot to our community and to the nation in general. Whether homosexuality is sinful, as you suggest, is debatable, as new insight in to biblical language and interpretation is revealed, but regardless, the gay community is playing a large role in the revitalization of our city. In practically every city in our country where historic restoration has taken place, gay men have played a big part. For various reasons, gay men are attracted to homes in historic neighborhoods and often restore them in impressive if not fabulous ways. And where gay men come, arts and culture follow. Bessemer is no different. I am not implying that everyone who is promoting restoration is gay by any means, but the gay community is playing a role, and should be appreciated.

Finally, the assertion that every person who has served would “return to Iraq in a second” is a blatant misrepresentation of the feelings of our veterans. I personally know of, and also often read of, soldiers who have returned who are now against the war and do not want to return.

It seems that this paper owes an apology to the United Methodist Church, the local gay community, and the good veterans of the Iraq war.

Sincerely,

Joe Openshaw

re: Western Star Editorial about Bush Library

February 18, 2007

This is in response to an editorial regarding the proposed Bush library at Southern Methodist University. The Western Star refused to print this:

Editor:

The editorial “Bush is a Great American President” struck so many nerves with me that I hardly know where to begin. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when written opinion so grossly misrepresents the truth, I have to speak out.

It does not matter to me whether the Bush Presidential Library is built on the Southern Methodist University campus or not. But as a member of the United Methodist Church, I will take up for those who are questioning it. High ranking Bishops and other officials from the UNC have denounced the war in Iraq since 2003, and continue to oppose the surge in troops proposed by President Bush. The Methodist Church has a long history of fighting for social justice and upholding peace. The leaders of the president’s own faith, as well as those from several other denominations, view this war as unjust and unbiblical and it is right that they question the proposed library.

The editorial also comes very close to linking the homosexual community to terrorist groups, and this is an outrageous attack on many in the Bessemer community and the nation. Just because gays are opposed to and may hate Bush’s policies, and might even think that he is unqualified to lead our country, does not mean they hate the man. Homosexuals contribute a lot to our community and to the nation in general. Whether homosexuality is sinful, as you suggest, is debatable, as new insight in to biblical language and interpretation is revealed, but regardless, the gay community is playing a large role in the revitalization of our city. In practically every city in our country where historic restoration has taken place, gay men have played a big part. For various reasons, gay men are attracted to homes in historic neighborhoods and often restore them in impressive if not fabulous ways. And where gay men come, arts and culture follow. Bessemer is no different. I am not implying that everyone who is promoting restoration is gay by any means, but the gay community is playing a role, and should be appreciated.

Finally, the assertion that every person who has served would “return to Iraq in a second” is a blatant misrepresentation of the feelings of our veterans. I personally know of, and also often read of, soldiers who have returned who are now against the war and do not want to return.

It seems that this paper owes an apology to the United Methodist Church, the local gay community, and the good veterans of the Iraq war.

Sincerely,

Joe Openshaw