“What other spot so fitting for their last resting place as this under the shadow of the Capitol saved by their valor? Here, where the grim edge of battle joined; here, where all the hope and fear and agony of their country centered; here let them rest, asleep on the Nation’s heart, entombed in the Nation’s love!”
On May 30, 1868, a crowd of 5,000 gathered at Arlington National Cemetery for the first Decoration Day exercises. Before strewing flowers upon the graves of the dead, the crowd listened to an address by James A. Garfield (1831–81), then an Ohio congressman who had also served as a major general in the Civil War. In this first of such annual addresses at Arlington National Cemetery, Garfield, who in 1881 would become the 20th president of the United States, sets a standard by explaining what Decoration Day is all about and why it should be commemorated.
I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung. With words we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue. Promises may not be kept; plighted faith may be broken; and vaunted virtue be only the cunning mask of vice. We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue. For the noblest man that lives, there still remains a conflict. He must still withstand the assaults of time and fortune, must still be assailed with temptations, before which lofty natures have fallen; but with these the conflict ended, the victory was won, when death stamped on them the great seal of heroic character, and closed a record which years can never blot.
I know of nothing more appropriate on this occasion than to inquire what brought these men here; what high motive led them to condense life into an hour, and to crown that hour by joyfully welcoming death? Let us consider.
In America’s cities and towns today, flags will be placed on graves in cemeteries; public officials will speak of the sacrifice and the valor of those whose memory we honor.
In 1863, when he dedicated a small cemetery in Pennsylvania marking a terrible collision between the armies of North and South, Abraham Lincoln noted the swift obscurity of such speeches. Well, we know now that Lincoln was wrong about that particular occasion. His remarks commemorating those who gave their “last full measure of devotion” were long remembered. But since that moment at Gettysburg, few other such addresses have become part of our national heritage—not because of the inadequacy of the speakers, but because of the inadequacy of words.
I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.
Yet, we must try to honor them—not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.
Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we—in a less final, less heroic way—be willing to give of ourselves.
It is this, beyond the controversy and the congressional debate, beyond the blizzard of budget numbers and the complexity of modern weapons systems, that motivates us in our search for security and peace. War will not come again, other young men will not have to die, if we will speak honestly of the dangers that confront us and remain strong enough to meet those dangers.
It’s not just strength or courage that we need, but understanding and a measure of wisdom as well. We must understand enough about our world to see the value of our alliances. We must be wise enough about ourselves to listen to our allies, to work with them, to build and strengthen the bonds between us.
It would take a “global” village to subjugate and sack America. That is what is being proposed by Jeffrey Sachs. And who is Jeffrey Sachs?
There was the sack of Rome by Alaric and his Visigoths in 410 A.D. There was the sack of Rome by Charles I, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1527. That pillage only ended when, after eight months, the food ran out, there was no one important left to hold hostage for ransom, and then a plague appeared caused by all the rotting corpses in Rome’s streets. When the destruction, rape, and looting stopped, only 10,000 residents were left in Rome.
Attila the Hun never sacked Rome, but did loot and destroy a great portion of northern Italy. It wasn’t for lack of trying to invest Rome. But his hordes contracted “camp disease” and fell too ill to pillage and loot. He had to withdraw his “freedom fighters” to try another day, but died about a year later before making another attempt, in 453 A.D.
Hackers claiming to belong to the Islamic State attacked TV5Monde, a French television network, and knocked it off the air globally. The network broadcasts in more than 200 countries. “Our websites and social media sites are no longer under our control.” — Yves Bigot, Director General, TV5Monde.
“We hate no one. We fight for our freedom and hence we object to totalitarian Islam, but we do not hate Muslims…. I am happy that we in the Netherlands and in Germany are allowed to demonstrate against each other. Without violence. Without hatred.” — Geert Wilders, Dresden, Germany, April 13, 2015.
WHAT A WOMAN….WOULDN’T SHE BE PERFECT FOR VICE PRESIDENT?
McSally earned her wings following graduation from Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin AFB, Texas and was initially assigned to Laughlin as a First Assignment Instructor Pilot (FAIP) in the T-37 jet trainer. Following the repeal of the combat aircraft restriction for female pilots, she completed Lead-in Fighter Training (LIFT) in 1993. McSally became the first woman in U.S. history to fly a combat aircraft into enemy territory when she flew into Iraq in support of the United Nations no-fly zone enforcement.
McSally completed Replacement Training Unit for the A-10 Thunderbolt II at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, and was assigned to an operational A-10 squadron and was deployed to Kuwait in January 1995. During that deployment, she flew combat patrols over Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. In 1999, she deployed to Europe in support of Operation Allied Force. McSally was selected as one of seven active duty Air Force officers for the Legislative Fellowship program, during which time she lived in Washington, D.C. and advised Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) on defense and foreign affairs policy.
Promoted to Major, she reported to Joint Task Force Southwest Asia (JTF-SWA) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2000 for an Operation Southern Watch temporary assignment. Promoted below the zone to Lieutenant Colonel, she took command of the A-10 equipped 354th Fighter Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB in July 2004, and was subsequently deployed to Afghanistan under Operation Enduring Freedom, where she employed weapons loaded on her A-10 in combat for the first time. In 2005, McSally and her squadron were awarded the David C. Shilling Award, given by the Air Force Association for the best aerospace contribution to national defense.
Lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense (McSally v. Rumsfeld)
McSally was represented by the Rutherford Institute in a successful 2001 lawsuit against the Department of Defense, challenging the military policy that required U.S. and U.K. servicewomen stationed in Saudi Arabia to wear the body-covering abaya when traveling off base in the country. At the time of the lawsuit McSally, as a Major (O-4), was the highest ranking female fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Her suit alleged “the regulations required her to send the message that she believes women are subservient to men.” In addition to the issue of religious garb, McSally noted that policies also included other requirements:
In a “60 Minutes” interview broadcast on CBS on January 20, 2002, she described the discrimination she experienced under the policy: “I have to sit in the back and at all times I must be escorted by a male … [who], when questioned, is supposed to claim me as his wife,” she said. “I can fly a single-seat aircraft in enemy territory, but [in Saudi Arabia] I can’t drive a vehicle.”
During this process, she was granted audience with several high level officials, including two Secretaries of Defense, William Cohen and Donald Rumsfeld, which was atypical of a service member of her comparatively junior rank and position, especially in light of her public protest. General Tommy Franks, then commander of the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), announced in 2002 that U.S. military servicewomen would no longer be required to wear the abaya, although they would be “encouraged” to do so as a show of respect for local customs. Commenting on the change, Central Command spokesman, Colonel Rick Thomas, said it was not made because of McSally’s lawsuit, but had already been “under review” before the lawsuit was filed. News reports noted that McSally had been fighting for a change in the policy for seven years, and had filed the lawsuit after she had been threatened with a court martial if she did not comply and wear the abaya.
Critics of the policy noted that while female U.S. military personnel had been required to wear the abaya outside of military installations in Saudi Arabia, the situation was not the same for “women diplomats” of the U.S. Department of State assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, who were actually encouraged not to wear the abaya when they were involved in official business, “…because they are representing the United States.” Embassy officials stated that, “…in their personal time, embassy employees can choose how to dress.” According to these U.S. officials, “…the Saudi government does not require non-Muslim women to wear a dark robe known as an abaya…. The official guidance, issued by the Saudi Embassy in Washington, says that foreigners should dress conservatively but they are not required to wear the robe.”
Eventually the U.S. Congress “approved legislation that prohibited anyone in the military from requiring or encouraging servicewomen to put on abayas in Saudi Arabia or to use taxpayers’ money to buy them.”
McSally has continued to speak out about gender relations in Saudi Arabia. McSally retired from active duty with 22 years of commissioned service in the U.S. Air Force on May 6, 2010. As of March 2011, she worked as a professor at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
The US military gets a bad rap from time to time, accused by the likes of Edward Luttwak of preparing for the last war while forever being caught on the hop by the present one, lambasted by congressmen for buying $600 toilet seats and, of current interest to Australian taxpayers, for pumping billions of dollars into gold-plated hangar queens. One thing on which the US military cannot be faulted, however, is the good manners of its military colleges’ students. President Obama’s visit this week to the Coast Guard Academy, where he welcomed graduates to their country’s service, makes the case.
In the Middle East, evidence of US impotence is rampant. How ever did ISIS manage to stage a full-fledged victory parade, in broad daylight no less, without seeing its festivities dispersed by loads of laser-guided bombs? Obama may know the answer to that; then again, maybe not. With this President, any cause that demands more than a bombardment of TelePromptered cliches probably isn’t going to get off the ground. So Obama dodged mentioning that situation, and the mess in Libya, plus the likelihood of a nuclear-armed Iran, and a good many other of his ongoing debacles.
Instead, he identified the real enemy: catastrophic climate change.
To their immense credit, not one of the Coast Guard graduates laughed out loud.
Denmark’s Foreign Minister, Martin Lidegaard, did not of course address the question: If your neighbor is trying to import weapons while threatening to kill you, what are you supposed to do about that? He also did not address the similar blockade of Gaza by Egypt, which faces the same problem. The more terror tunnels Hamas members build, the more respect they get from the West.
As someone born and raised a Muslim in the Middle East, and still living there, I can assure Europeans officials that if they think the recognition of Hamas and Palestinian statehood would encourage Hamas to change its charter and abandon its terrorists attacks, they could not be more wrong. Why then should Hamas change its charter or tactics, or commit itself to a peaceful resolution, when its current terror tactics seem to be working so magnificently?
“We do not distinguish between what was occupied in the 1940s and what was occupied in the 1960s… We will continue until the very last usurper is driven out of our land.” – Sheik Nizar Rayan, a Hamas leader, Gaza, 2005.
The EU authorities speak about “peace talks,” and a “two-state solution;” Hamas does not. Hamas openly rejects them. If one compares the language these governments use with the language Hamas officials use, they would appear to live on different galaxies. To Hamas, and apparently to many countries in Europe, Israel as no right to defend itself and no right to exist. But Europe is ready to prop up, with unconditional support, racist, anti-humanitarian organizations such as the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Is this really the spirit of pluralism, humanism and tolerance these “good,” “moral” European governments and the Vatican support?
This month, the Vatican signed the first treaty with “the state of Palestine,” which it had already recognized in 2012.
Dear Reader (including Josh Duggar who foolishly got a job at the Family Research Council rather than as a party planner on Jeffrey Epstein’s plane),
Bill Clinton is the greatest gaslighter in modern American politics.
This is from the Wikipedia entry on “Gaslighting”:
Sociopaths frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but typically, are also charming and convincing liars who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their perceptions.
Some physically abusive spouses may gaslight their partners by flatly denying that they have been violent.
Gaslighting describes a dynamic observed in some cases of marital infidelity: “Therapists may contribute to the victim’s distress through mislabeling the woman’s reactions. . . . The gaslighting behaviors of the husband provide a recipe for the so-called ’nervous breakdown’ for some women [and] suicide in some of the worst situations.”
A truly sociopathic liar (though his sociopathologies hardly end there), Clinton has a gift for making other people feel like there is something wrong with them for objecting to his deceptions.
At the outset of the 1990s, liberals had worked themselves into a moral panic about sexual harassment. If anything, it was a bigger obsession than the campus-rape panic we’ve been witnessing over the last few years (no doubt in part because there was more factual basis to the problem). Male politicians — Bob Packwood, John Tower, et al. — had their careers summarily ended because of their “womanizing” — a term popularized by Tower’s predations. (Ironically, the original meaning of the word was to “make effeminate,” i.e., to turn into a woman. Given the mainstreaming of sex-change surgery, maybe it’s time to rehabilitate the older definition?)
Then, the country was presented with proof, incremental and suggestive at first, overwhelming and indisputable by the end of the decade, that Bill Clinton was an irrepressible and irresponsible sexual predator, at least by the moral and evidentiary standards established by feminist activists and the press corps that loves them. And, rather than face the consequences of applying their own principles consistently, they prostrated themselves to the Oval Office. Gloria Steinem raced to the pages of the New York Times to advance the “one free grope” rule. Susan Estrich, Susan Faludi, and countless other professional feminists defenestrated their principles in a desperate attempt to defend Clinton.
There it was — the classic Hillary charm. Close to a month had passed since the Democratic frontrunner answered questions from the press. So this week, when reporters were invited to gawk at the spectacle of Clinton sitting with “everyday Iowans,” Ed Henry of Fox wanted to know: Would the former secretary of state take a moment to respond to inquiries from non-stage-managed reporters?
Before Henry was able even to finish his sentence, however, Clinton interrupted him, tut-tutting his impertinent shouting and raising her hand, empress-like, to quell her subject. After a few seconds of talking over each other Clinton must have realized that she had to give Henry an answer. Whereupon she said, slowly and sarcastically: “I might. I’ll have to ponder it.” What a kidder.