Wednesday, February 27, 2008


High priest of American conservatism William F. Buckley Jr. has finally retired, in the Big Sense, gone to his reward to sit, appropriately, at the RIGHT hand of the Father, for whose honor and glory he always worked.

As he might say in one of his native tongues, Requiescat in pace.

From Terry to K-Lo at National Review Online's Corner Blog:
I am saddened by the passing of William F. Buckley, but our loss is Heaven's gain, and I'm sure the Good Lord told his angels to "Bring me a dictionary, Buckley's coming."
.... with a few tweaks here and there

[scroll down to previous post for the back-story]

I never write anything that I don't want to see published, but I also know that there are certain elements the editors love to cut, so I always include at least one -- usually an opening or parting "shot" that could be seen as throw-away. Today's National Post fails to disappoint -- they clipped off my tag-line about "Let's pray that when the next plane touches down, there's time enough for a second opinion." The rest of the toned-down toned-down version made it through.

Was I being too harsh with Dr. John Ross?


I wonder what Marine Veteran Ty Ziegel would think, speaking as an "amorphous, waxy" thoroughly human being, made triumphantly in the image of God:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Andrew McCarthy
at National Review Online reminds us that today marks fifteen years into America's defensive war against Islamo-fascism -- that is, fifteen years ago today the first attempt to topple the World Trade Center failed spectacularly, but still cost seven lives and a thousand injuries. [h/t Captain Ed]

He said/I said --
my day with the NATIONAL POST

At the bottom of a page well into the main news section of yesterday's National Post was an article about how the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has occasionally (about half a dozen times since '03) served as an emergency stopover for wounded American military personnel who, on their way back from Germany, develop complications and need serious medical attention before they can make it to one of the U.S.-based veterans' hospitals. The transport plane touches down in Halifax, and the soldier gets attended to in a hurry, sometimes having an extended stay before going on to the States.

Nice story.

Then they inter
view one of the doctors, on a day when the soldier in question doesn't make it, and dies in the plane at the Halifax terminal. The young man was a burn victim, whose face Dr. John Ross describes as "amorphous, waxy," as if it were covered in drippings from a burning candle.

Thanks, fella. This is a doctor, mind you, who has had (one would think) plenty of opportunity to see the effects of diseases and disasters during his career -- is it not strange that he seems to be "creeped out" by what he sees?

However, he seems pretty convinced of at least one thing:

Dr. Ross figures the tragic death at least spared the maimed soldier's relatives another kind of ordeal.

Time and again these days, young troops in their prime are returning home alive, but with permanently mangled bodies or damaged minds, the physician noted.

"It made me think about all the families whose loved ones come back in an altered state," he said. "If he had survived ... the family would never get closure."

Ah yes -- closure. What could be better than that? A child, husband, brother, father, alive and by your side through thick and thin, sharing his needs and pain as well as his love while you work through the challenges together... well, hell, who needs that, when you could put him in the ground and get closure????!!!!

Needless to say, I wasn't happy with this grim little anecdote, so I wrote a letter to the editor of the Post. Interest in publishing it was expressed right away, but with some caveats. Here's the dialogue of the day:


To the Editors:

It's nice to know that injured military personnel have an emergency rest stop available to them in Halifax when they're in need. But there's something disturbing in learning that their attending physician might be Dr. John Ross, who has decided that soldiers' families should be spared the "ordeal" of having their wounded children survive. My own son's four months in Iraq have so far been quite uneventful (thank you, General Petraeus), but should he come back injured I would hope he won't fall under the care of someone who thinks he'd be better off dead than handicapped. Does Dr. Ross think this of all mentally or physically disabled people, or just those who got that way because of war? Let's pray that when the next plane touches down, there's time enough for a second opinion.

Thanks for the letter. I will try to get it in tomorrow. And to be clear: I presume your son is part of a U.S. Military division. Can you tell me which one??

He is a captain in the Marine Corps, a helicopter pilot stationed at Al Asad air base in Anbar Province... [yada-yada-yada.....]
I showed your letter to the reporter who wrote the story and another editor, and they think you’re being too harsh on the doctor, and your letter portrays him as heartless. Could you make your point differently, perhaps suggesting that families would prefer to have the injured soldiers back alive, no matter how damaged they are???

What I sent to you was the toned-down version of my thoughts about Dr. Ross. He is by no means the first person to speak as though the 90% survival rate for Iraq war wounded is one of the DOWNSIDES to the conflict, though one hears that kind of comment more often from politicians or journalists than doctors. It is particularly repugnant in a doctor, and gives one every reason to speculate on whether he thinks of the IED-disabled all that differently from people severely handicapped from birth. I have a few friends with Down's syndrome children who, I suspect, will think I was not harsh enough, as they have encountered this brand of tossed-off heartlessness way too many times themselves.

That having been said, I offer the toned-down version of the earlier toned-down version, below:

It's nice to know that injured military personnel have an emergency rest stop available to them in Halifax when they're in need. But their families are unlikely to be comforted by the idea that a wounded soldier's survival with permanent disabilities represents an "ordeal" they might prefer to be spared, as suggested by Dr. John Ross. My own son's four months in Iraq have so far been quite uneventful (thank you, General Petraeus), but should he come back injured I would hope he wouldn't fall under the care of someone who thinks that he'd be better off dead than handicapped, and that his family would rather know the "closure" of his death than rally him to fight for his life. This is no way for anyone, especially a doctor, to think of mentally or physically disabled people, regardless of how they came to be in that condition. Let's pray that when the next plane touches down, there's time enough for a second opinion.

Thanks for this version. It still seems harsh. How about these additional, minor changes.

Instead of "... but should he come back injured I would hope he wouldn't fall under the care of someone who thinks that he'd be better off dead than handicapped ..."

How about:"... but should he come back with severe injuries, I would hope he wouldn't fall under the care of someone who thinks that he'd be better off dead than badly handicapped ..."
Strikes me as a distinction without a difference, but I'm willing to go with it if it seems appropriate.

I guess for me the word "handicapped" already implies severe injuries, since most military people have the ability to shake off what would leave the rest of us prostrate and whining. Nearly 60% of those classified as "wounded" in Iraq are back with their units within 72 hours -- and many who have lostlimbs wish they could be. It's weird, but it's a fact. Some of the proudest young people I've ever seen in uniform have appliances where pieces of themselves used to be, or have scalps full of white zig-zag scars. Hence my disgust with the good doctor's willingness to let them go -- on the whole they are the first to rage against the dying of the light.

I sent the final reply about 11:30 p.m., so it was either too late to go to print, or they just decided to can the whole thing in the face of my intransigence. Will see tomorrow a.m.

Two of the Few and the Proud I had in mind in my last exchange, with whom we broke bread at a conference a couple of years ago:

Lcpl Steven Schultz (left) and SSgt Mark Graunke (right)


Sunday, February 17, 2008

(on the couch):

"MIRACLE" -- [2004] story of the 1980 American Olympic hockey team that whupped the Soviet posterior -- bunch of 20-year-old college boys who rolled over the hardened meaty Muscovites of Glorious Soviet Armsky. CSI-NY's criminally cute Eddie Cahill plays star goalie Jim Craig, whose flag-draped circumnavigation of the rink after the U.S.A. gold medal game (against some ridiculous snow-nation like Finland or something a few days after the Russky-smash) is a sight never to be forgotten by anyone who ever enjoyed being American. Kurt Russell plays hard-bitten super-coach Herb Brooks.

Those were the days -- "malaise days" during the reign of the toothiest and (second?) worst president of the 20th century, James Earl Carter, whose snivelling, sanctimonious voice-overs gum up the background of the film sound track, against archival footage of the hostage-taking in Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and re-enactments of gas station line-ups.

It's almost impossible to imagine (or, if you watched those games, as I did, to remember) how it felt to have a nation so united in the sheer joy of its own identity, in the knowledge that we had the character to survive defeat and humiliation, and to take on the neighbourhood bullies in the name of the neighbourhood. Today we stand in an arena against a team who play by no rules, who cheat and batter on every shift, while the good guys' team consists solely of Jim Craig and a towel boy against a thousand ruthless toothless forwards. But rather than uniting with our banner over our shoulders, roughly half the country is throwing pennies in our goal crease and and tying Craig's skate laces together. And no chants of "U.S.A" can be heard over the chorus of "We Are Scum".

/hockey metaphor off

Friday, February 15, 2008


Winefred disappears for a few days while caring for the Teufel-puppy, what with Daddy in Iraq and Mommy at a wedding.

Rocking baby to sleep to the distant Sounds of Freedom. (something in an F/A-18 Super Hornet?)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

(where? where?... huh? )

I just Google-mapped Israel to find a certain street in Jerusalem so I could a direct someone to shop there.

Good luck, sweetie.

Surprise --
Israel is blank.

The West Bank is delineated by a dashed line, but the country is otherwise uniformly grey -- no roads, cities, placenames, rivers, airports, features of any kind whatsoever.

Is this bigotry and hatred at work? Or just garden-variety cowardice? Or maybe Israel's just hiding, to save its scrawny neck from the bad guys.

Who cares. It's life. It's Google. It's a scandal. It's B.S., big-time. (screw 'em all -- Yahoo maps, Mapquest and Multimap are equally useless.)

Mostly it's Madmood Ahmadinnerjacket's dream come true -- that's the main point.

Israel -- POOF!!!! [Kaboom]

So nice of
Google to accommodate him.

Monday, February 11, 2008

URGENT AGENDA weighs in with some collected comments about the Canonization of Saint Obambi. Apparently an increasing number of folks are finding it just a bit creepy.

Obama -- rhetorical heights so content-free he could be a public school curriculum.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Attention Laura, Rush, Sean, Ann and company:


Why do so many politicians find the passion, and sink their teeth in the bread of sincerity and truth, only when they've dropped out of the race? I guess that tells us something about the consequences of putting oneself in that kind of pressure-cooker.

Anyhoo, Mitt got it, and while he was walking the plank he finally talked about a subject upon which he has been much too mute up till now. Words from his epilogue:
Today we are a nation at war. And Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the war on terror: They would retreat, declare defeat.

And the consequence of that would be devastating. It would mean attacks on America, launched from safe havens that would make Afghanistan under the Taliban look like child's play. About this, I have no doubt.

Now, I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, and finding and executing Osama bin Laden.

And I agree with him on eliminating Al Qaida and terror worldwide.

Now, if I fight on, in my campaign, all the way to the convention -- I want you to know, I've given this a lot of thought -- I'd forestall the launch of a national campaign and, frankly, I'd make it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win.

... in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

This isn't an easy decision. I hate to lose.

...I entered this race because I love America. And because I love America, in this time of war, I feel I have to now stand aside for our party and for our country.

I will continue to stand for conservative principles. I'll fight alongside you for all the things we believe in. And one of the things we believe in is that we cannot allow the next president of the United States to retreat in the face of evil extremism.



Wednesday, February 06, 2008


This is getting so painful. It appears increasingly that Republicans will have to choose between General McScrooge, the Rev. Elmer Gumtree, and a corporate C3PO [heavy on the robot data and way light on the charm]. This will be a "take your medicine -- eat your peas" election.

Or not. There's always the option of doing the rug-rat's lock-jaw thing, and flat-out refusing to take a bite of anything. Does your tummy sit and rumble? Or does it risk a big hurl?

Take your pick.

There has always been something about him that I don't "buy" -- the more I see of him, the more I realize that no amount of exposure permits you to know him in any meaningful way. Then there's this:

Or this, from a reader of one of the NRO blogs last night:
Mitt is an achingly conventional candidate...Conventional is a sure loser. Mitt Romney is the least dynamic, most programmed, and most conventional canddiate I've ever seen run for any office in any year. Therefore, he cannot win.

From Mitt's Vietnam Flip-flop: His Most Disturbing Yet by Deroy Murdock:
[He told the] Boston Globe last June 24. “I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.” ...from May 2, 1994. “I was not planning on signing up for the military. It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam,” Romney told the Boston Herald.

...for Romney to somersault on something so personal — his own non-involvement in the Vietnam War — makes one wonder if Romney is any different from an exterior set on a Hollywood back lot: Clean and pretty in the front and all flat, plywood planks in the back.
...the man who represents the only real hope that my two military kids and all their confreres won't be left without food and ammo, running around with a giant target on their backs.

From The McCain Mirage by Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online.
Sen. McCain suggests no strategy for winning the wider war. He talks about fighting radical Islam, but he doesn’t evince much understanding of radical Islam — he seems to think, like the Bush administration, that it can be democratized into submission.

This is the strategy of the Clinton years and the second Bush term: Islam is the religion of peace, and democracy conquers all. It is not a strategy for victory, but McCain appears fully bought-in. His record conveys little indication that he grasps the inevitable connection between the dominance of Islam in a region and the sustenance of radical Islamic action in that region. Indeed, in 1999, against the tide of conservative (and much other sensible) opposition, he tried to push the Clinton administration into a ground war in Kosovo, despite the absence of any vital American interests. He thought it would enhance our image in the world to show solidarity with Muslims — never mind that these Muslims included anti-Western fundamentalists.
Domestically, watch and learn:

Not to mention that General McScrooge is notoriously vengeful and vindictive over the merest of perceived personal slights, like f'rinstance having it pointed out to him that he has changed a number of major positions (or is at least pretending to) and that he flat-out lied about Romney's alleged support of a timetable for troop withdrawal.

Like the old TV ad used to say, "I can't believe we ate the whole thing" -- I can't believe a substantial chunk of the American electorate has taken this sanctimonious, over-rehearsed, intellectual featherweight seriously for one minute. And now he's gunning for the vice-presidency. If there is a God (and I believe it, no thanks to Rev. Huckabee), please, let this little man just go away.

Still, in our culturally impoverished era, we're told that Huckabee is the candidate with "wit"--



Self-embedded reporter Michael Totten (please hit the Pay-Pal button) files from Fallujah, where peace has broken out among the rubble, and the citizens have learned to care. Do not desert them -- any of them. A Marine speaks:

“I was lucky enough three weeks ago to go back to Karmah,” he said. “And my Iraqi Police were still there. The same guys from last year. As soon as I came into the station and they saw me they started jumping around, dancing, and yelling. There are four brothers who are all Iraqi Police at the Karmah station. One of the brothers was on shift when I got there. That night he called his brothers and his father – his father is a tribal leader – and they all came in the next day. Their father wanted to meet me.”

He choked up again slightly and had to pull himself together. “So…there's a lot more to this mission,” he said. “If you go into everything with an open mind, you can take so many lessons out of this mission, not only with community policing and the mission at hand, but with human relationships in general.”

I had heard this before. Maybe the majority of Americans who work closely with Iraqis feel something like this. Despite the corruption. Despite the incompetence. Despite the fact that some of them act like a bunch of third graders. The Iraqis really are brave, even if it doesn't look that way sometimes from far away or even up close. They are fighting for their survival in ways most Americans can barely imagine. Their enemy is possibly the most ferocious group of indigenous killers in the entire history of Mesopotamia. “We’ve actually become attached to these people on a personal level,” Army Colonel John Charlton said to me in Ramadi last summer. “We feel responsible for their safety. We’re concerned about what will happen to our Iraqi friends if we don’t succeed in this country.”

Commentor and Iraq veteran John writes at
I am sorry, but after 8 years of supporting the war and saying that the War in Iraq is the most important part of the agenda, and ignoring Bush’s surrenders on immigration and his big spending, the conservative media’s McCain rage doesn’t have much credibility with me.

If being pro-immigration is that bad, why did they support Bush? If McCain Feingold is so horrible, why did they let Bush off the hook for signing it? Yes Yes I know the war. Well, if the war was so important in 2004, why isn’t it important now? Why are they now willing to sit out and elect Obama or Clinton and watch them surrender when it was so important in 2004?

Are conservatives really going to sit out and let a pro surrender candidate win the Whitehouse after claiming for the last five years that Iraq and the war on terror are the most important issues of our time? Do they really care that little about the country? Is the idea to punish the country for having the nerve not to nominate someone who meets your ideological purity test?

Given a choice between a center left McCain Presidency that wins in Iraq, versus a leftist Clinton or Obama Presidency that loses in Iraq, I will take McCain every time, even if the alternative produces right wing paradise in 2012. People every day risk and give their lives for success in Iraq. As a veteran I risked my life in Iraq. Now conservatives want even bother to vote to ensure victory there because doing so might involve voting for someone they don’t like.

Yeah, that is real culture of sacrifice for you. Were you guys just lying when you said that Iraq was so important? If conservatives are willing to sit out this election and let Clinton win and make all of the sacrifices in Iraq go for nothing, they can all go to hell as far as I am concerned.


Just to keep things in perspective, let's give an ear to David Warren's Ash Wednesday piece for the Ottawa Citizen, on the use of mentally retarded women to blow up two Baghdad markets this week. The gist:
As the father of a Down's child myself, I can tell you just how innocent they are, and how loving. God made them without guile, and utterly in need of our protection. And in return for that demand upon our decency (Down's children in Canada today are usually aborted), He made them a light in this world. O Lord.

My friend, who told me to write about this, is himself a man with long experience working for people with mental disabilities. He told me I had to write about this case, because it was the final abomination. He said, “we should have an international day of mourning.” He said, “I give up my membership in the human race if these Al Qaeda terrorists are human.”
We are about to elect the leader of the (at the moment) free world, the last remaining superpower, the last best hope, perhaps the "forlorn hope" to stem the tide of jihadist insanity now doing its best to "assimilate" (Borg-like) the infidel world. And the candidates keep talking about global warming and universal teat-access for the flabby and prosperous American public.

Spare us, O Lord.

Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Miserere nobis.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Oh man, my head hurts.....

I've got three (or maybe five) words for these people: