Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Semper Fi John

John Murtha used to be a Marine. At one time in his life he understood the term "Semper Fidelis", but no longer. In his rush to judgment, he has branded fellow Marines as murderers without due process. Aren't these Marines deserving of the same rights that they have risked their lives bringing to Iraq? Maybe everything he says is true, but regardless, don't we owe it to them to be sure?

Rush to Judgment

A year ago I was charged with two counts of premeditated murder and with other war crimes related to my service in Iraq. My wife and mother sat in a Camp Lejeune courtroom for five days while prosecutors painted me as a monster; then autopsy evidence blew their case out of the water, and the Marine Corps dropped all charges against me ["Marine Officer Cleared in Killing of Two Iraqis," news story, May 27, 2005].

So I know something about rushing to judgment, which is why I am so disturbed by the remarks of Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) regarding the Haditha incident ["Death Toll Rises in Haditha Attack, GOP Leader Says," news story, May 20]. Mr. Murtha said, "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

In the United States, we have a civil and military court system that relies on an investigatory and judicial process to make determinations based on evidence. The system is not served by such grand pronouncements of horror and guilt without the accuser even having read the investigative report.

Mr. Murtha's position is particularly suspect when he is quoted by news services as saying that the strain of deployment "has caused them [the Marines] to crack in situations like this." Not only is he certain of the Marines' guilt but he claims to know the cause, which he conveniently attributes to a policy he opposes.

Members of the U.S. military serving in Iraq need more than Mr. Murtha's pseudo-sympathy. They need leaders to stand with them even in the hardest of times. Let the courts decide if these Marines are guilty. They haven't even been charged with a crime yet, so it is premature to presume their guilt -- unless that presumption is tied to a political motive.

Jacksonville, N.C.

The writer served as a Marine enlisted man in the Persian Gulf War and most recently as a platoon commander in Iraq.

Friday, May 26, 2006

An Inconvenient Movie

Al Gore's new movie An Inconvenient Truth was ripped by New York Times critic Tierney:

Tierney writes that a better title for the film would have been "Revenge of the Nerd" and notes that it based on “a slide show that he inflicts on audiences around the world, to no discernible effect.” Yet it will deserve an Oscar: “Getting anyone to voluntarily sit through 100 minutes of Al Gore and his slides is a historic cinematic achievement.”

He says the film is “not really true, and it's certainly not inconvenient for him or his audience.” Gore lays too much on the oil companies and the Republicans--and President Bush for not signing the Kyoto accords, when most nations that did sign “aren't meeting their goals because cutting emissions turned out to be so difficult.” And, anyway, “Gore's cinematic strategy for rousing them is to present doomsday scenarios and ignore the evidence that civilization may just survive after all. …But even as propaganda, the film is ultimately unsatisfying. Gore doesn't mind frightening his audience with improbable future catastrophes, but he avoids any call to action that would cause immediate discomfort, either to filmgoers or to voters in the 2008 primaries.”

For one thing, he “doesn't propose the quickest and most efficient way to reduce greenhouse emissions: a carbon tax on gasoline and other fossil fuels,” and also ignores salvation through nuclear power. “A few environmentalists, like Patrick Moore, a founder of Greenpeace, have recognized that their movement is making a mistake in continuing to demonize nuclear power. Balanced against the risks of global warming, nukes suddenly look good — or at least deserve to be considered rationally….

“Gore could have dared, once he enticed the faithful into the theater, to challenge them with an inconvenient truth or two. But that would have been a different movie.”

When will Al Gore just go away?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Lift Embargo Or Start Drilling?

U.S. Concerned By Cuban Oil Drilling Off Coast

Cuba is leasing oil drilling rights off its northwest shores. Some in the United States say the federal government should swallow its distaste of Fidel Castro and allow U.S. companies to bid on the rights. Others say no one should be drilling just 50 miles off Key West.

The U.S. trade embargo is 44 years old. The potential reserve that might be located in the area is more than one billion barrels.

The leading country in leasing Cuban oil rights? China

Does it make sense to allow China to drill for oil 44 mi. off of Key West with their poor environmental record?

At the same time, the House of Representatives have decided to continue the 25 year ban on offshore oil drilling in coastal waters outside the western Gulf of Mexico.

At a time of raising oil/gas prices, should we lift the embargo on Cuba and bid for the oil drilling rights or should we start drilling in our own territorial waters? Or any other combination?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


The singer Madonna kicked off her “Confessions” tour in Los Angeles yesterday. Between political statements and oral sex jokes, Madonna found the time to don a crown of thorns, hang from a mirrored cross and croon her ballad “Live to Tell” in front of a screen flashing images from the Third World.

Commenting on this is Catholic League president Bill Donohue:

“When the Material Girl first embraced Kabbalah, we thought her new-found faith would inspire her to show some respect for religion. It stands to reason that a woman whose faith is so important to her that she drags her rabbi to her concerts would not want to mock the faith of others.

“But I guess you really can’t teach an old pop star new tricks. Madonna has been spicing up her act with misappropriated Christian imagery for a long time now. Perhaps she can’t arouse any interest in her work without it. Poor Madonna keeps trying to shock. But all she succeeds in doing is coming across as a boring bigot.

“Do us all a favor, Madge, and stick to singing and dancing. Knock off the Christ-bashing. It’s just pathetic.”

Not Good With Women

It's usually not a good sign when you need to pay for sex, but it's really bad when even prostitutes turn you down.
That's apparently what happened in Uganda today when a dejected rejected Ugandan Camp Guard opened fire and killed at least 10 civilians and injured another 13.


A refugee camp guard in northern Uganda has shot dead at least 10 displaced people with 13 others in hospital, some with their legs shattered.

An army spokesman said the attack at Ogwete in Lira district, was carried out by a local defence militiaman. He is reported to be on the run.

The man apparently shot his victims after an argument over a woman.

The area houses around 1.5m people who have fled attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.

Army spokesman in Lieutenant Deo Akiki said people who knew the militiaman had no idea of the potential danger he posed.

He will face a court martial and a possible death sentence if apprehended.


The gunman is reported to be a member of the Amuka militia, one of several groups set up by the Ugandan army to protect villages against LRA attacks.

Whilst the militias have helped improve security, there have also been incidents of indiscipline with this latest being the worst, reports the BBC's Will Ross in Kampala. Earlier this month in another camp a civilian was shot and injured.

Lira District was hit badly by the LRA insurgency, with the worst incident being the massacre of more than 200 civilians at Barlonyo two years ago.

Frequent attacks forced thousands to flee to Lira town.

In recent months with security improved, people have been leaving Lira's camps - some heading back to their homes whilst others staying in the trading centres near their homes still preferring safety in numbers.

Hard to Stay Away

I wasn't planning on starting another blog until after July, but I have found that I miss posting my feelings and insights I have on events that are transpiring in today's world.
This will be very limited until after my daughter leaves but at least it will give me the occasional outlet.
Better this then punching holes in the wall.

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