Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Brave Stare Fear in the Eyes

Flowers nap above the body
As the spirit sets free to soar.
The voiceless sing through cries.
Love shells pain through the door.

We men gently settle the casket.
My thoughts draw around the widow
To the loneliness of love
And the wails for the parting that grow.

"Old men in gray suits lead them.
That's a web of a mess we coiled
In the wasteland of deserts
For pipelines of oil!",

The cynic free in shackled minds muse,
Never knowing the costs of the words they used.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nature Abound

The trees of green never showed their hue
As flagrantly as when Sun gave them truth
The Sun above never shone so bright
The purposeless wind blows the night
Birds chirp sweet melody, bears growl burly
While the desitute rocks lay there inertly
The river runs deepest where we cannot go
And nature abounds in truth and beauty untold

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nobody Can Say I Don't Know What I'm Talking About

You Got 9/10 Questions Right

You are a probably a news junkie, Obama fan, or both.

You know a lot about Barack Obama - including his politics, history, and family.

It's likely you're a very knowledgeable person and quite well read.

You can't stand ignorant people, no matter what their political persuasion is.

You Are Most Like George W. Bush

So what if you're not exactly popular? You still rule the free world.

And while you may be quite conservative now, you knew how to party back in the day!

You Are 95% Conservative, 5% Liberal

Social Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Ethics: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

You Are a Capitalist Republican

Money makes your world go round - and it's no surprise that you always vote your wallet.

You're financially successful (or plan to be), and your agenda is low tax and pro business.

You don't get fired up about abortion... but mention capital gains tax, and you go crazy.

You want government to be as small as possible - and to stay out of the way of business.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Image Over Substance

Television has played a critical role in the past 50 or so years in determining the President of the United States. It has brought about an attitude in America that image is more important than the person behind the image and has led to a decrease in American values particularly in the political arena.

Have you ever watched a great movie and wondered ‘Would I have rooted for the characters as much if they weren’t attractive?’ In today’s age of TV and internet politics, it’s no surprise that a relatively young, attractive looking man defeated an older, more decrepit and less physically attractive one for the Presidency of the United States. On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was popularly and overwhelmingly elected President, confirming our relatively new American value of image over substance. This new value was ushered in with the advent of television in nearly every home in America. Television has become the most damaging symbol to American politics, creating a society of thinkless followers and image obsessed people.

It was not always this way though. From the founding of this fledgling nation, arose many men willing to stand up and fight with blood, sweat and ink for the ideals they held as integral to all men. In the beginning these virtues of justice, vigilance and intellect kept their values of liberty, tolerance and equality in tact. It was their intent to pass these values and virtues down to their posterity in the hopes that what they had started would flourish into a great and industrious nation. And when once in its young history these values were challenged by its own sons and daughters, another virtuous man from a new generation rose to once again affirm that our foundings would prevail. These men lived in a time when pictures didn’t exist, much less television and film. They lived in a time when they were judged not by how they looked, but by how they thought. They were judged not by the image they portrayed on any screen, but by the “content of their character.”

When one thinks of the greatest Presidents in American history, the names George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln most assuredly come to mind. But if asked who the most memorable Presidents were, the names John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are sure to make the list as well. For obvious reasons, the first three were very influential and important figures in the formation of the United States. George Washington, as General of the Army, led an all volunteer Army to defeat one of the world’s great military superpowers of the time and as President, set the precedent and manner for which all later Presidents would govern. Jefferson, with his great intellect, wrote the first documents that this country materialized from. As president, Abraham Lincoln defended the ideals this country was founded on by going to war with those who opposed them. They were the embodiment of the American spirit, the quintessential Americans. Their status in history is unchallenged, earned by their actions, unequaled but by very few. However, in contrast, the latter men are very different. They will be remembered not for their ideas – save for Kennedy’s Civil Rights legislation – and not because their virtues were any more pronounced, but because they were able to exploit and portray a certain image that was to the liking of the American people. John F. Kennedy was the young, charismatic and attractive man with a strikingly beautiful and conspicuously fashionable wife and two young children much like our current President. Ronald Reagan a former actor knew the stage very well and was able to speak as though he were giving a monologue in a movie. His transition from screen to office was smooth. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both built a reputation on being a people person, someone we could all relate to because they weren’t just another suit and tie. These men were able to successfully exploit and distort their image to propel them into the Oval Office and television was the medium they used to get there.

And image distortion extends past individual politicians to the parties themselves. Both Republicans and Democrats use the media to their advantage in portraying themselves in a positive light and their counterparts as evasive, divisive and unethical. For instance, recently Republican radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh was quoted as saying that he hoped for the failure of President Barack Obama. One of his biggest critics to this statement, James Carville, a Democratic strategist and pundit, made a similar statement minutes before the attacks of September 11, 2001 in which he also wished for the failure of then President George W. Bush. Carville’s statement was not released by mainstream news media, while Limbaugh’s statement became the ‘talk of the town.’

The 2008 election followed the same pattern of media distortion and personal characterization of the candidates. As Gabler explains, “Candidates were the putative stars, the primaries open casting calls, the campaign was an audition and the election itself the selection of the lead, while the handlers served as drama coaches, scriptwriters and directors.” (Gabler, 100) Gabler also explains that the issues themselves, although not entirely absent, only served as a means to get the lead part. The stage was set and the two candidates vied for the part: the young, progressive promise of hope and change and the older, but wiser military hero and “maverick”. In the end, the American public had clearly spoken. They wanted to see the younger, attractive, and promising man take the lead role, the Kennedy of our time.

This past election will go down in history, not as a victory for the virtues of our founding fathers, but rather a victory for the entertainment of America. It was the movie played out in real life. In a letter written by Samuel Adams to James Warren dated February 12, 1779, he wrote, “A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once the lose virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.” The invader in this case has become television. We have subdued our ancestral virtues to those of a new technological age, an age vying for intellect to only create ignorance, an age where image trumps substance and aesthetics hold a higher value than virtue. Imagine if television was around during Lincoln’s bid for Presidency. He certainly would not have been the image we would have been drawn to, a lanky and peculiar looking man who went against the mainstream thought. It’s a good thing we didn’t have TV back then, we might not have ever known that the virtues our founding fathers instilled in us in the defense of American principles are paramount to who we are as a nation and what we can accomplish.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ignorant Consumption

Inconvenient Truth,Al Gore,Global WarmingWe immerse ourselves in the stories we hear in the news. We become a part of them. They play out like an engrossing movie or riveting novel. And because of this we have stepped into a dual role of consumer and producer of the news and entertainment we want to see. To this effect, we have also become ignorant consumers of the truth, dictating what we want our version of it to be. We have become the creators of our own reality, however untrue it may really be.

The question begs to be asked, with all the access to information and media that we have at our disposal, are we really more informed about the issues we face? One hot political debate for years now has been the issue of global warming and how to counteract it. Almost overnight, with the help of “An Inconvenient Truth”, a sensational film by former Vice President Al Gore, the global warming issue climbed to the forefront of political discussion. It paved the way for an entire “green” movement in the country. Soon, signs, billboards and advertisements told us to “Go Green” and so the race was on to develop cleaner burning fuel for our cars, cut back on our greedy energy consumption and become a more environmentally friendly society. We took the issue at face value. Nobody seemed to dispute it, and those who did we certainly didn’t hear about it; not from the media anyway. However, according to NOAA and NASA data, the Earth's average surface temperature has increased by about 1.2 to 1.4ºF in the last 100 years ( This may be an issue, but a 1.2 to 1.4 degree temperature increase over a 100 year span is hardly one that requires the immediate resolution we think it does, particularly given the fact that other issues held a higher precedence in the near-term such as the war in Iraq, the state of the economy, the security of our nation and several other issues.

So why was the issue of global warming so exaggerated? Because the media chose to exacerbate it. More specifically, we chose to make it worse through our consumption of the media surrounding the issue. What’s the remedy to a boring life? It’s entertainment of course, and what better form of entertainment than to put ourselves in the middle of a crisis. With global warming, we had our heroes, the knights in shining armor known as politicians and scientists, to rescue us from the dragon’s fiery breath – literally global warming. And we had our damsels in distress, the American public, who secretly want and need to be rescued from something, always crying out to a savior, “Help me!” Meanwhile, the story’s narrator, the media, painted the picture just how we wanted to see it because they knew we’d buy it.

So in this sense, we are not passive consumers of media, but very active ones. We determine what we read in the newspapers and see on television because we buy it. It’s what we want and the media knows it. We don’t question what’s on the news because we desire to hear it. The media is a business just like any other, out for profit and always trying to market and sell their product. In his song “Waiting on the World to Change” John Mayer says,

“And when you trust your television
What you get is what you got
‘Cause when they own the information
They can bend it all they want.”

And the truth is, they’re going to bend it until the supply meets the demand.

In the case of Terri Schiavo, we watched another drama unfold. This case was not exclusive in that Terri Schiavo was the only person to be in this Persistent Vegetative State (PVS) and not the only case in which a decision was made whether or not to discontinue life support for a person. So why was this case such a national headline for many years? It could clearly be painted as a portrait of good versus evil and the media had their villain in Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband. After all, he was the one that had petitioned for the discontinuation of her feeding tube which kept her nourished and alive. Terri’s parents argued that she was conscious and that her eyes could even follow a birthday balloon as it floated across the room. The media played the story out, and so the stage was set. They had cast Michael Schiavo as the villain in a struggle against Terri’s parents for her very life. And as the villain was winning the fight, in stepped the hero, America’s politicians and activists to pass legislation to replace her feeding tube that had already been removed. Legislation came too late and the heroes couldn’t save her this time. We all watched in horror as Terri passed away March 18, 2005 due to effects of dehydration. The public was outraged and appalled at Michael Schiavo’s diligence in insisting his wife’s death.

The side of the story the media didn’t tell was that of Michael Schiavo. He was a devoted husband that despite his wife’s PVS, refused to divorce her. This same man the media portrayed as a villain even earned a license in nursing to aid his wife while hospitalized. Oftentimes he was unemployed in order to care for his wife. They never told the side of the story in which Michael and Terri had previously discussed this same situation and that her wishes were to not be resuscitated and to let her die if she ever fell into PVS as she did. This was the Michael Schiavo the media forgot to mention. Can we really blame them though? After all that isn’t how we wanted to see him, it didn’t fit the story the American public wanted to hear. We needed a villain for the archetypal good versus evil story, so they gave us Michael and in some morbid way we were satisfied.

Unfortunately, Americans have created a society that trusts what we are given. This country was founded on challenging questionable norms and creating a society based on the principles of truth. However, we have become more complacent and reliant on the assumption that what the media produces is the truth. Truth, in our case, is really a relevant term in that we refuse to believe anything other than what we want to hear. Certainly the truth we want to hear is not the full truth, but borne of ignorance and an apathetic attitude towards finding the real facts and hearing all sides of the story. The media only perpetuates the version of the truth we want. We get what we ask for. We’re painfully ignorant that our consumption of the media is exactly the reason the exaggerated version of reality we get from our news is given to us like a story we tell our children at night.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Tribute to SFC Paul Ray Smith

SFC Paul Smith,Paul Smith,Sgt. 1st Class Paul SmithOn April 4, 2003, the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, attacked to seize Objective Lions, the Baghdad International Airport. As part of the Brigade scheme of maneuver, Task Force 2-7 Infantry was tasked to establish a blocking position against a brigade-sized counterattack on the main entrance to the airfield. Task Force 2-7 had been fighting for three consecutive days and had moved through the night before reaching the blocking position. Morale was high, but Soldiers were experiencing fatigue. B Company, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment (Knight) was in the east-most position oriented along the main avenue of approach ready for the main enemy counterattack. A Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment (Rage) was attacking to the southeast of the Highway.

The main entrance to the airfield was a four-lane highway with a median to separate incoming and outgoing traffic. Large masonry walls with towers approximately 100 meters apart bound the highway. On the morning of April 4, 2003, more than 100 soldiers from the Task Force 2-7 Forward Aid Station, mortars, scouts and portions of B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion were in the median behind the forward most blocking positions. The B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion 2nd Platoon Leader was on a reconnaissance mission with the B Company, Task Force 2-7 Infantry Commander. During his absence, 2nd Platoon received the mission to construct an Enemy Prisoner of War holding area. Sgt. 1st Class Smith was in charge of 2nd Platoon.

Sgt. 1st Class Smith assessed the best location to be behind the masonry wall bounding the highway. Two guard towers along the wall were ideally situated to provide overwatch to the holding area. An M9 armored combat earthmover (ACE) knocked a hole in the wall to create an opening to a large courtyard with a louvered metal gate on the north side. With the help of a squad leader and team leader, Sgt. 1st Class Smith checked the far side of the courtyard for enemy, found none, and posted two guards. From the guard post at the gate small groupings of buildings were 100-200 meters to the northeast. To the northwest, a large white building with a white dome was visible. The location seemed perfect as the courtyard was along the northern flank of the blocking position and enemy actions to this point were mostly from the east.

Sgt. 1st Class Smith's view from his position in the courtyard. Iraqi troops were firing from the tower on the left, and climbing over the wall in front. Click for a bigger picture.While an engineer squad began to clear debris in the courtyard, one of the guards saw 10-15 enemy soldiers with small arms, 60mm mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades (RPG). These were the lead elements of an organized company-sized force making a deliberate attack on the flank of Task Force 2-7. Sgt. 1st Class Smith came to the position and identified 25-50 more soldiers moving into prepared fighting positions. Sgt. 1st Class Smith instructed a squad leader to get a nearby Bradley Fighting Vehicle for support. While waiting for the Bradley, Sgt. 1st Class Smith had members of 2nd platoon retrieve AT-4 weapons and form a skirmish line outside the gate. By this time, the number of enemy identified rose to 100 soldiers, now a confirmed company-sized attack. Three of B Company’s M113A3 armored personnel carriers (APC) oriented .50-cal. machineguns toward the opening in the wall and the surrounding guard towers, now occupied by enemy soldiers.

Sgt. 1st Class Smith’s actions to organize a defense against the deliberate attack were not only effective, but inspired the B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion Soldiers. He then began to lead by example. As the Bradley arrived on site and moved through the hole in the wall toward the gate, Sgt. 1st Class Smith ran to the gate wall and threw a fragmentation grenade at the enemy. He then took two Soldiers forward to join the guards and directed their engagement of the enemy with small arms. The enemy continued to fire rifles, RPGs, and 60mm mortars at the Soldiers on the street and within the courtyard. Enemy soldiers began moving along the buildings on the north side of the clearing to get into position to climb into the towers. Sgt. 1st Class Smith called for an APC to move forward to provide additional fire support. Sgt. 1st Class Smith then fired an AT-4 at the enemy while directing his fire team assembled near the front line of the engagement area.

Running low on ammunition and having taken RPG hits, the Bradley withdrew to reload. The lead APC in the area received a direct hit from a mortar, wounding the three occupants. The enemy attack was at its strongest point and every action counted. Not only were the wounded Soldiers threatened but also more than 100 Soldiers from B Company, the Task Force Aid Station, and the Mortar Platoon were at risk.

Sgt. 1st Class Smith ordered one of his Soldiers to back the damaged APC back into the courtyard after the wounded men had been evacuated. Knowing the APC ’s .50-Cal. machinegun was the largest weapon between the enemy and the friendly position, Sgt. 1st Class Smith immediately assumed the track commander’s position behind the weapon, and told a soldier who accompanied him to “feed me ammunition whenever you hear the gun get quiet.” Sgt. 1st Class Smith fired on the advancing enemy from the unprotected position atop the APC and expended at least three boxes of ammunition before being mortally wounded by enemy fire. The enemy attack was defeated. Sgt. 1st Class Smith’s actions saved the lives of at least 100 Soldiers, caused the failure of a deliberate enemy attack hours after 1st Brigade seized the Baghdad Airport, and resulted in an estimated 20-50 enemy soldiers killed. His actions inspired his platoon, his Company, the 11th Engineer Battalion and Task Force 2-7 Infantry.

Sgt. 1st Class Smith’s actions to lead Soldiers in direct contact with a numerically superior enemy--to personally engage the enemy with a fragmentation grenade, AT-4, and individual weapon, to ultimately assume the track commander’s position to fire the .50-Cal. machinegun through at least three boxes of ammunition before being mortally wounded--demonstrates conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. His actions prevented a penetration in the Task Force 2-7 sector, defended the aid station, mortars, and scouts, and allowed the evacuation of Soldiers wounded by indirect enemy fire.

This narrative of SFC Smith's bravery can be found at the following link:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

“In Flanders Fields”
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

“We Shall Keep The Faith”
Moina Michael

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders' Fields
Sleep sweet - to rise anew;
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.
We cherish, too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led.
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
But lends a lustre to the red
On the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders' fields.
And now the torch and Poppy red
Wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught:
We've learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders' fields.

“To the Unsung”
Casey Robbins

In Arlington, white stones, mark endless rows
Of the greatest love man has ever known
That in the very end, noble women and men
Laid down their lives, to save their friends
Rest in peace brave of Flanders, valiant of Arlington
Look down from above on your daughters and sons
Help us to always remember, let us never forget
The sacrifices that the poppies and gravestones represent

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yes We Can... Win the War on Terror


9/11 was a wake-up call to America. We saw that there were people who want to destroy America and kill Americans. We saw that there was no conventional Army, but an open declaration of war was made against the United States of America.

9/11 was not the sole cause for the War on Terror, rather it was the catalyst that woke the sleeping giant and opened our eyes to the grim reality of an enemy hell-bent on spilling American blood for decades. September 11, 2001 changed our focus.

Throughout the history of this nation we have been engaged in many struggles and fought many wars. The current struggle in the War on Terror is no different in that regard. This generation’s war is similar to all those that preceded it in that “there is no substitute for victory.” It is unique in that the enemy we face is not a conventional military, but an enemy nonetheless. This generation’s struggle is marked by a new policy that was implemented after the attacks of 9/11 that no longer endorses appeasement of those who hate us and want to destroy us and it no longer requires a Cold War containment view. This struggle that we are engaged in requires the promotion, fostering and enablement of democracy in countries where it doesn’t exist and in countries where the views of anti-Americanism breeds hate and violence towards our nation. In order for this long war to be won, it requires the democratization of Middle Eastern nations and the full support of the United States and the voice of the Arab Muslim democrats of that region to accomplish victory.


It is plain to see that many are confused about whether or not the War on Terror can be won. The phrase “winning the War on Terror” connotes a decisive and clear victory over the enemy, as was the case in most wars before it. The American Revolution finished at the Battle of Yorktown, the Civil War ended with the surrender at Appomattox and the dropping of the atomic bomb signaled the final blow in World War II. However, no one single event will conclude the War on Terror, rather a combination of all efforts on all fronts of this war. Not the least of the efforts to win the War on Terror will require a pivotal role in spreading democracy throughout the Arab world and Arab street.

The War on Terror is now and will continue to be fought on many fronts. Just as the Cold War was fought at home, with a constant watchful eye on the Soviet Union, in Korea and Vietnam and in volatile areas like Cuba and on the other side of the Iron Curtain, the War on Terror will be fought on similar type fronts. We have already witnessed the first three fronts in this new War on Terror: on the home front, against Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and against Islamofascism in Iraq. The war on terror is being fought against two forms of a perversion of the religion of Islam. We are fighting against Islamic extremism in the form of terrorists who wish to push their views on the rest of the world and against Islamofascism or the single-party authoritarian rule which uses Islam as a cover for a political agenda.

Military action is necessary on some fronts of the war, but it cannot succeed without the democratization of Arab countries where people can be encouraged to voice their sentiments as a means of recourse instead of misguided violence against a scapegoat – America, Israel and the West -- for their frustrations. Through democracy, the Arab people, without the oppression of their governments, will be the driving force in keeping terrorism at bay. Terrorism cannot succeed unless it is able to control the masses with its paralyzing fear. With the implementation of democracy, and the expulsion of strangling dictators and their regimes, the voice of Arabs can be heard. They will undoubtedly say no to terrorism which threatens their security and stability. Terrorists would be forced to go underground even more so when they lose the state support of Islamofascists, severely crippling their ability to murder and inflict terror. Only through sustained democracy will the War on Terror be successful. And in many ways, the War on Terror may produce the greatest generation not only in America, but in the Middle East as we are engaged in one of the longest and hardest struggles the entire world has seen. This struggle cannot be won without understanding why these ideologies exist and how democracy doesn’t contradict, but rather compliments the true tenets of Islam.


In many ways, Islamofascism and Islamic extremism is no different than Nazism and white supremacy movements. Muslims are not terrorists. In fact to say that any Muslim is a terrorist is a falsehood. True Islam promotes peace, it doesn’t degrade it. A true Muslim does not inflict pain, suffering, terror and death upon innocent people, so a true Muslim is not a terrorist. And likewise a terrorist is not a true Muslim. Rather, the terrorist ideology as we know it, is a perverted pattern of thinking and behavior that is claimed by its progenitors to be based on Islam and the Koran. It is much like Hitler and the Nazis that claimed to be Christian and the Ku Klux Klan who also claim to be Christian and yet both operate specifically opposing true Christian beliefs and teachings. Theirs too is a perverted version of the religion they claim to represent. The overwhelming population of Christians do not agree and reject them as having any sort of Christian identity. They understand that to be Christian also means to promote peace as Muslims understand the same about Islam and reject terrorism.

What is difficult to understand in the case of Muslims is that a significant number support – or appear to support – terrorism against Israel, America and the West. The numbers vary in any given part of the world, however, as little as 2% and as much as 20% of all Muslims support Bin Laden, Zarqawi, al-Sadr and the likes. Given the size of the world’s Muslim population estimate at just over one billion (1,000,000,000) people, this is a significant number. To put it into perspective, the number of people who support terrorism is anywhere from twenty million (20,000,000) to two hundred million (200,000,000) people. That is a considerable number in itself and the question of why so many people support terrorism becomes even more noteworthy. The answer to that question is not quite so easy to define, however, we can gain a lot of insight by understanding the Arab street and Arab public opinion.


The role of the Arab street is debatable, but how much faith can anyone really put in Arab public opinion? Very little. This isn’t to say that we should disregard the Arab street, however, Arab public opinion is for many reasons distorted.

Saddam Hussein’s public opinion polls remained extremely high for any ruler, particularly one who used coercion, torture, criminal thuggery and murder as a common tool for suppressing his people. Given the degraded circumstances in which the vast majority of Iraqi people lived under Saddam – fear, famine, poverty, and lack of basic necessities – Iraqi public opinion should have been heavily against him by the same percentages it was claimed to be for him. Under his fascism, however, those who went against him feared the regime’s reprisal. Any unfavorable opinion could be easily negated by a man who controlled absolutely everything in his governance. This controlling of the public opinion could therefore be used to legitimize his power as much as it negated that of those who didn’t support him. When you can control every aspect of ruling a country, it can be safely assumed that the opinions – or lack thereof – have been controlled to make it happen. The fact that Iraqis cheered in the streets of Baghdad and jumped on, spit on, kicked and destroyed a toppled statue of Saddam is a testament to his unpopularity amongst his people. It is also a testament to his ability to control his people to his desired end.

So, the first and probably most obvious reason so many Arabs seem to favor terrorism is in the control of the Arab street. So much of the Arab world is still undemocratized, still living under one form of oppression or another. With no recourse for the cruelty and control by their despotic rulers under which they live and no freedom of self-expression and in some cases popular expression, much of the Arab world is forced to concede and openly support their fascist regime’s ideology. Their open support is done mostly out of a need for survival because often the repercussions for dissenters is prison, torture , exile or even death.

Such was the case of the Kurdish uprising in Northern Iraq in 1988. Saddam ordered his henchman, Ali Hassan al-Majid, otherwise known as Chemical Ali, to use deadly force and chemical weapons to suppress the uprising. Approximately 180,000 Iraqi Kurds died in one of the most egregious offenses of genocide in recent history. And again in the South of Iraq in the early ‘90s after Operation Desert Storm – more commonly referred to as the Gulf War – with the Shiite led revolt, Chemical Ali through the authorization of Saddam, murdered tens of thousands of Shia Iraqis.

In the undemocratized Arab world, even silence is viewed as a form of dissent and subversion (4). This is how many Islamofascists control their populations, create the mendacity of support and legitimize their power. In controlling the Arab street, these rulers gain a stranglehold on their populations, essentially holding them hostage. Over time the Stockholm Syndrome can take effect on enough of the population to make them actually buy into the propaganda and justification of the regime’s brutal views towards the West. These views stem from a number of sources, namely the need to exist.


The world is also becoming an increasingly more global society. As human nature dictates, we all want a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves, a validation that we exist (10). Of course it can be argued that this isn’t true for everybody, especially in the case of social rejects like Ted Kaczinsky who prefer to separate themselves from the rest of society. However, it is a human desire to want to belong to something in order to validate our existence, but when the rest of society doesn’t accept someone as a part of their own, the individuals have a tendency to lash out in anger and isolate themselves even further as a reactionary formation. This a ‘sour grapes’ type reaction influences the rejected to do just the opposite to then try to legitimize themselves. The need to belong exists still, but has been distorted into a backward thinking of ‘I don’t need you to validate myself’.

The Islamic extremist point of view is in many ways the same. They too feel the need to exist but because they feel rejected by the rest of the world, particularly the Western world, they lash out in anger to further isolate themselves from being a part of the whole. They adopt and promote the idea that they are superior to others, that there are significant faults with everybody but themselves. They long for a sort of satisfaction and religious affirmation that Muslims are God’s chosen people and are willing to prove it through victory over Israel (Judaism) and America (Christianity) which they perceive as the biggest threat to their existence.


From the Islamofascist regimes’ absolute control of their populations and a need to exist, arises a need second only to survival and existence: hope. And in times when the need for hope is created, heroes arise. All cultures throughout the history of the world have had their mythological heroes. In every society in any given time in history some sort of hero existed whether it was a real person, fictional character or a fictional character fabricated and embodied in a real person.

For the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks and Norsemen it was their gods and demi-gods and to an extent, their warriors. In Abrahamic mythology, heroes enjoyed a certain special relationship with God such as Noah, Moses, Jacob, Isaac, David, Jesus and Mohammed. In medieval Europe, knights served as the heroes as well as characters such as Beowulf, Robin Hood and King Arthur.
It began in America with the Patriots of the Revolution and continued through the explorers -- like Lewis and Clark -- of the new frontier and expansionism. In early 20th century America through two world wars, comics evolved into fabricated mythological heroes fighting in the name of justice for the ultimate good of mankind with characters like Superman. However, there is no prerequisite for a hero to be a do-gooder. A hero is a hero as long as the perception is that what they are doing is for a morally indignant cause, as long as the end justifies the means. And of course, the perception of moral righteousness is reliant upon culture.

Take for instance, D.B. Cooper who hijacked a plane and received $200,000 in cash and disappeared without a trace. He became a sort of folk hero and celebrated in ways for apparently carrying off with the large sum of money, something “common folks” can identify with and even wish for themselves. In a similar fashion, Albert Spaggiari, wrote: “sans haine, sans violence et sans arme” on the vault wall of the Societe Generale bank in Nice, France after robbing it for millions of francs worth of money and valuables. This phrase translates to “without hate, without violence and without weapons.” In doing so, Spaggiari and his gang of robbers became another story of the modern folk hero. One could even point to Robin Hood as one of the first examples of this type of hero whose methods, steal from the rich, are overlooked for the sake of the end result, to give to the poor.

The fictional character of the anarchist “V” in the comic book series and film V For Vendetta is a popular culture hero despite his methods of violence, terror and destruction. He is hailed as a freedom fighter, a term we see all too often in the violent outbreaks in Iraq by terrorists. It’s an ironic term actually, considering that these so-called freedom fighters use terror and chaos to fight against democracy and freedom. For some Arabs, these “freedom fighters” – including their leaders like Bin Laden, al-Sadr and Zarqawi – have become their folk heroes, regardless of the methods they use. What at least twenty million – probably more -- in the Arab world see is a person like them fighting the fabricated oppression by America, unable to see that the real oppression is coming from the same types of men who care more about weapons of mass destruction than feeding their own people, men who strangle their countries for fear of losing power.


I disagree partially with the idea by Mohamed Zayani of courting the Arab public opinion or Arab street (17). Instead the only way for Arab public opinion to be valid and credible is to allow democracy to take effect, allowing the public to have an opinion and its own at that. Allowing democracy to take effect is the only way to gauge the true Arab public opinion.
The suppression of the Arab peoples contributes to a manufacturing and distortion of public opinion and group ideology in favor of Islamofascists so that groupthink is more easily implemented. Democracy will undermine the group mentality and contribute to free thinkers less susceptible to influence.

The argument has been made that Islam and democracy are simply incompatible. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Actually it is democracy and Islamofascism that are incongruent, not Islam itself. Democracy affords Muslims the opportunity to continue to practice Islam in a free, un-oppressed society which is the goal of both Islam and democracy. “By democracy we mean not simply electoral majoritarianism, but liberal democracy, under which individuals and minorities have their equal rights respected” (7). The tenets of Islam do not forbid democracy. “The Koran and other religious texts contain nothing that bars democracy or liberty. Indeed, many theologians think that the central value of Islam is freedom of choice, even in matters that have historically admitted of various readings, and a reading of Islam that holds freedom and tolerance up as central values is certainly defensible” (7). Bin Laden also alludes to this: “It [Islam] is the religion of showing kindness to others, establishing justice between them… and total equality between all people, without regard to their colour, sex, or language” (12). Contrary to what Islamic fundamentalists and even some Western scholars and thinkers believe about the compatibility of Islam and democracy, there is no conflict between them. In fact, they appear to go hand-in-hand even by Bin Laden’s standards.


Iraq is a key element in the democratization process due to its geographic centrality to a huge part of the still Islamofascist region. With a successful establishment of a real democracy in Iraq, their success story can be a beacon of light and hope for democracy among all Muslims and in all Arab countries, especially considering its politically tumultuous history. However, a withdrawal of Coalition Forces from Iraq could potentially undo the progress already made there. The real quagmire of Iraq would be opened up if American-led security forces are withdrawn before Iraq is completely ready to fend for themselves democratically and militarily.

In his book Imperial Ambitions, Noam Chomsky opines that, “If you give up every time you don’t achieve the immediate gain you want, you’re just guaranteeing that the worst is going to happen. These are long hard struggles (2)." To put it in context, Chomsky was referring to the abolitionist movement, however, these words ring true in any generation and can apply to any struggle. Whether it be the Patriots of the Revolution, the abolitionist movement, two world wars, or the very tense so-called Cold War, generations of Americans have been asked to dig in for these “long hard struggles.” And this is especially true of the War on Terror, which may in fact prove to be even longer than the Cold War. With the War on Terror, another great generation of Americans must be called upon.

From the “shot heard ‘round the world” to the ratification of the Constitution – or even the withdrawal of the last British troops from American soil – American deomocracy took fourteen years by the best of calculations to be fully realized. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, in a time of great national support (not without its arguments, but we went through our own growing pains) with constituents fervent about democracy, it still took us about a decade and a half to achieve full-fledged democracy. And American democracy has grown over the last 234 years – starting from the Battle of Lexington and Concord -- and continues to grow today. With Iraq (the new Iraq as we know it) only six years young and with still unwilling opponents to democracy, it is nowhere near the progress of our decade and a half and 200 plus years. For their stability – and our own in the democratization process – we must ‘stay the course’, to use the words of George W. Bush. We must be willing to raise a generation of democrats to guide in their infancy or it will surely topple again to Islamofascism. It is this generation’s responsibility to ascend to the challenges we face in the world today and it is our responsibility to facilitate those Arab and Muslim democrats who are the patriots for liberty and democracy in the Middle East. We must enable them to enable the Arab street to rise up against oppression and know that they do belong with the rest of the world, not against it. These American and Arab and Muslim heroes must stand up for the good of all mankind and be prepared to see it through to the end.

REFERENCES:1) Behreandt, D. (2009, March 16). A “Just” War or Just a War?. The New American People, [25(6)], 27-28.

2) Chomsky, Noam. Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World (American Empire Project). New York: Metropolitan Books, 2005. Print.

3) Debal, D. (2006). Development Against Freedom and Sustainability. Capitalism, Nature, Socialism. [17(3)], 49-71.

4) Eickelman, D. (2002).The Arab “Street” and the Middle East Democracy Deficit. Naval War College Review. [55(4)], 39-48.

5) Fox, B. In Statement, 9/11 Suspects Say They’re ‘Terrorists To The Bone’. (2009, March 11). Virginian – Pilot, p. A12.

6) Harris, L. (2006).Jihad Then And Now. Policy Review. Iss 139, 71-81.

7) Ibrahim, S. E. (2007).Toward Muslim Democracies. Journal of Democracy. [18(2)], 5-14. (Ibrahim, 2007)

8) Iraq War, The Seventh Year. (2009, March 19). Bangor Daily News, p. 6. (Iraq War, The Seventh Year, 2009)

9) Jones, G. (2009).Islam and Violent Separatism: New Democracies in Southeast Asia. Journal of Third World Studies. [26(1)], 175-178.

10) Lachkar, J. (2006).The Psychopathology of Terrorism: A Cultural V-Spot. The Journal of Psychohistory. [ 34(2)], 111-128.

11) Lefabvre, Stephane (2008).In Defense of the Bush Doctrine. Air Power History. [55(4)], 63-64.

12) Payne, J. L. (2008).What Do the Terrorists Want?. The Independent Review. [13(1)], 29-39.

13) Podhoretz, Norman. World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism. New York: Doubleday, 2007. Print.

14) Rosenthal, J. (2008).The Mufti and The Holocaust. Policy Review. Iss 148, 69-77.

15) Rubin, B. Democracy Promotion in the Middle East: Good Idea, Wrong Place and Time. (2009, March 20). Jerusalem Post, p. 4.

16) Strauss, M. (Mar/Apr 2002). Attacking Iraq. Foreign Policy, Iss 22, 14-19.

17) Zayani, Mohamed (2008).Courting and Containing the Arab Street: Arab Public Opinion, The Middle East and U.S. Public Diplomacy. Arab Studies Quarterly. [30(2)], 45-64.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Abortion Holocaust

NOTE: I have included some pictures of actual aborted children and diagrams of procedures used for abortion. These images are very graphic. I am including them because I believe it is important for people to see these children that are being murdered every day. I think it’s important to put a face to this senseless and selfish violence against our children and our future. “May our hearts be broken enough to stir us to action to defend their lives.”

I'm a father of a beautiful and intelligent six year old boy. The day he was born was the happiest day of my life. The hospital room was full of doctors and nurses, myself, my then-wife and two of her close friends. His eyes were closed and he didn't make a sound for what seemed like forever. The doctors put him on the table to be weighed and as I stared at the scale that said 9lbs 6oz I noticed his little head turn back towards me and his big brown eyes opened. He had the most precious look on his face and he looked right at me. At that very moment my eyes began to well up with tears, my heart stopped beating and my breath left me. I helped make this miracle and here he is looking back at me as if to say "Thank you". He's been the biggest joy in my life ever since. Nobody has taught me more about myself and life than this little boy.

I couldn't imagine the world without him. I couldn't imagine my life without him. And frankly, I don't want to. I can understand why women wouldn't have a problem aborting a baby they've never seen. Simply because they've never seen it. It is a way to cope, a way to validate an abortion if a woman never sees the child whose life she is about to end. You won’t miss what you never knew you had. The thinking is that if you don't see it, it doesn't exist.

The problem is, it does exist. Inside a pregnant woman is a life, a child that wants to be born and deserves the right to be. From the first time that I felt my son kick and push his elbows into his mother's ribs to get comfortable, I knew there was a person inside there. Even though I couldn't see him, he was my son. I could see a personality coming through in him, even inside her womb.

Many people argue that the real debate about abortion is when life truly begins. However, that really shouldn't be much of a debate. Certainly there is life growing and moving inside a woman's body during pregnancy, how could anybody really dispute that. If you've ever felt that kick, you know. Life begins at conception. This is not just my opinion, but that of many medical professionals as well. According to Fritz Baumgartner, a cardiothoracic surgeon, "There is no more pivotal moment in the subsequent growth and development of a human being than when 23 chromosomes of the father join with 23 chromosomes of the mother to form a unique, 46-chromosomed individual, with a gender, who had previously simply not existed." (2)

On the other hand, there are those who would argue. Francis Kaplan, the emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Tours disagrees with an embryo as life. "The vital function it [embryo] needs to be a living being are those of its mother. It is thanks to the mother’s digestive function that it receives the digested food it needs and it would not get this food if it had not been digested by her ; it is thanks to the glycogenic function of the mother’s liver that it gets the glucose it needs ; it is thanks to the mother’s respiratory function that the red corpuscles of its blood contain the oxygen it needs ; it is thanks to the mother’s excretory function that it excretes the waste that would otherwise poison it" (2). However the definition of life doesn't include whether or not a living being has to be autonomous from its life support. In fact, parasites are considered forms of life and yet they require a host to feed off and sustain their life because life cannot be sustained by the parasite alone.

By the conventional scientific definition, life requires seven things: 1) Homeostasis, 2) Organization, 3) Metabolism, 4) Growth, 5) Adaptation, 6) Response to stimuli and 7) Reproduction. And in fact, a human embryo, actually possesses all of the characteristics that define life. One may argue that since an embryo doesn't have the ability to reproduce, then it therefore cannot be considered a life. Children before puberty do not have the ability to reproduce either. That doesn't make them any less human or alive than any adult, neither should it negate the life of a zygote, embryo or fetus.

The fact is, the only people who debate whether or not an embryo is life are those who try to justify abortion by doing so. To claim that an embryo is not life will give validation to the abortion rights claims of a woman and justify it in a doctor's mind. "The vocation of medicine and the vocation of motherhood are both profoundly sacred and should teach us that human life is of immense value. Abortion hijacks the vocations of motherhood and medicine and distorts them into something unrecognizable. Abortion takes ordinary pregnant mothers and makes them accomplices in – literally – murder" (2). It is a testament to how far we've pushed ourselves from true morals and principles when we are willing to merely shrug your shoulders at the thought of killing a human being simply out of convenience. Yes this is a holocaust on the unborn children. Since the Roe V. Wade decision there have been at least 30 million abortions in the United States. That number is at least five times more people killed in the Abortion Holocaust than in the Jewish Holocaust. That doesn't include illegal abortions performed and abortions across the globe. And if you think it's a stretch to call it a holocaust, I sincerely encourage you to investigate Margaret Sanger, the founder of planned parenthood. I encourage you to go as far as the rabbit hole takes you, through her views on eugenics and controlling the reproduction of “genetically inferior peoples”, the same social philosophy coincidentally adopted by Hitler in his Holocaust against the Jews.

As for me, I will forever be grateful that my son was given life. I will be forever changed by his presence, he is a part of me and helps make me who I am. But I guess the same is true for those who carry out abortions, their lack of caring for the sanctity and intrinsic value of human life speaks volumes about who they are.

This is a partial birth abortion. The description of the process follows, thanks to Dr. J.C. Willke (3):
1) The abortionist will put traction on the two legs and deliver the hips and body into the air.The baby's body hangs up at the shoulders with both arms internally pinned along side the head.
2) Now he must reach up with his finger and engage one of the arms, flexing the elbow and shoulder as he sweeps this arm down and out into the air, delivering the shoulder. He tugs on the child a bit more so that the entire body is delivered, leaving only the head, which is now through the cervix and lying in the birth canal.
3) He then turns the child's body so that the nose is facing the mother's tailbone. Now the abortionist, with two fingers, retracts the vaginal ring at the base of the skull, and then plunges a scissors into the neck at the base of the skull. This injures or severs the spinal cord and results in instant decerebrate rigidity, that is, a spastic arching of the back and spastic extension of all four extremities.
4) He then spreads the blades of the scissors and threads a large bore catheter between them and up into the skull. Attaching this to a powerful suction, he sucks out the brains. This kills the baby and with one more gentle pull, he delivers the head.


(1) Kaplan, Francis. Trnsltd by Isabelle Metral. "The Embryo Is Not a Potential Living Being" (English title), "L’embryon n’est pas un être vivant en puissance" (French Title), l'Humanite 20 Mar 2008. 25 Apr 2009.

(2) Baumgartner, Fritz, M.D. "When Does Life Begin?." Pro Life. 12 Apr 2005. Pro Life America. 25 Apr 2009.
(3) Willke, J.C., M.D. "Partail-Birth Abortion -- Killing the Baby During Delivery." Life Issues Institute. 26 Apr 2009 .