Forever Free…

mathew-brady-studio-abraham-lincoln-sitting-at-desk-1861_i-g-40-4017-fmlwf00z We often speak around here of overreaching executive orders but, it is hard to match the one whose anniversary we celebrate today. Today is the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. For a document that in practical terms did nothing, it only applied where the government’s writ did not run, it changed the world.

“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free;”

Amongst other thing, it guaranteed. that England and France would not intervene. Giuseppe Garibaldi the Italian soldier and diplomat said this about it:

giuseppe_garibaldi_1866Posterity will call you the great emancipator, a more enviable title than any crown could be, and greater than any merely mundane treasure…It is America, the same country which taught liberty to our forefathers, which now opens another solemn epoch of human progress. And while your tremendous courage astonishes the world, we are sadly reminded how this old Europe, which also can boast a great cause of liberty to fight for, has not found the mind or heart to equal you.” 

via Forever Free… | Practically Historical.

This Parallel Between LBJs And Obamas War Plans Will Terrify You

This is more than a bit worrying. Johnson did an outstanding job of messing up the war effort by his ridiculous micro-management. But one has to admit that he did pay attention. With Obama we’re likely to have the spectacle of micromanagement without supervision. Worse, unimaginably worse in every way.

From the Federalist.

Here’s where it gets spooky. Compare that paragraph to the following quote from the book “American Generalship: Character Is Everything: The Art of Command.” In it, the author recounts a passage from Gen. William Westmoreland’s memoirs about how political interference from a know-it-all president severely hampered the American campaign in Vietnam. The parallels are terrifying:

Westmoreland LBJ Outhouse

Via This Parallel Between LBJs And Obamas War Plans Will Terrify You.

Why would anyone still love Britain?

The version used by the Scotland Office.

The version used by the Scotland Office. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, tomorrow (British time) Scotland will decide whether or not to leave the United Kingdom. It will sadden me if they decide to. Of course as an American, like the Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders, I am a product of the United Kingdom, especially in my political and civic outlook, for all of my Norwegian heritage, life as an American is based in large part on the UK. Many of our tastes, loves, heroes, and basic outlook on the world are very similar to the cousins.

In fact the last quiz I took told me I needed to get the Corgis back in the palace. :-)

For all that as a conservative, nearly libertarian American, in many ways I think Scotland leaving might be the best thing to happen to England since the Union. Scotland has become, like our inner cities, a welfare drain on the country, one without a cure. In fact, Scotland has always been a drain on England. Scotland has always produced some really good men (including but not limited to the military) but it seems like they always had to go to England (or later the US) to make a living.

Scotland will do what it will do, you can find a poll to tell you whatever you want to hear, by all accounts if they leave they will have a hard road to travel, with their political tendencies, the most likely comparisons are to such places as Venezuela, although likely without the dictator.

For all the effects on the rest of the UK, they don’t get a vote, which strikes me as eminently unfair, but that’s the way it was set up.

So for a lot of us, it’s kind of like watching our cousins think about getting a divorce, we have our favorite ones but, we love them all, and will continue to do so, whatever they decide.

But I do think they are “Better together.”

Britain feels like a Christmas gift in August. In the debate over Scottish independence, it has been either ignored or mocked. For the ‘Yes’ camp, it’s an archaic remnant of an oppressive relationship. For ‘No’, it’s the great unmentionable, a baffling construction they seem to neither understand nor believe in. Britain is unloved and uninteresting.

The English are, if anything, even more critical of it than the Scottish. For the left it is an imperialist vehicle, a reminder of a shameful history. For the right it is a permanent disappointment, typified by the damn-it-all anger of Ukip voters. It is rare to find a right-winger with anything positive to say about their country.

For the rest of us, it is unseemly. It’s just not done to talk proudly about one’s country. It’s unBritish. Years of superiority and slaughter overseas have made us averse to banging our own drum.

But there are things about Britain which are worth celebrating. They are not values like ‘fair play’ or ‘supporting the underdog’, which politicians like to hark on about. No country on earth values cheating.

Our qualities are not in any way specific to us. But all countries have a specific mixture of attributes, in certain quantities, and that is what makes them unique, in the same way people are unique.

 

via Why would anyone still love Britain?.

This Is The Worst Thing Ever. And Were All Going To Die.

Heh! Perhaps we need to take a deep breath once in a while. I’m as bad as any of us, for what its worth. We’ll (most of us anyway) likely live through it, we always have.

We have the worst president ever. The worst congress ever. The worst Supreme Court ever. Every event is the most crucial thing to ever happen. Nothing will ever be the same. Government has never been more corrupt. Americans have never been more divided. Women have never been treated worse. The poor have never struggled more. America has, almost certainly, never been in more peril than it is this very second.

“We’re in the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in as a nation,” claimed Senator Inhofe, the top ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee not long ago. John McCain warns that the “Islamic State is the “biggest threat we’ve ever faced.” More dangerous than the strife experienced during the Civil War. More serious than facing fascism. Scarier than the atomic age. A greater existential threat than communism during the Cold War. That’s chilling, for sure.

So what happens if America fails to engage ISIS in the manner prescribed by these senators? Well, as Lindsey Graham recently noted, the “president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed here at home.”

All of us?

via This Is The Worst Thing Ever. And Were All Going To Die..

Keeping the Faith

I can’t speak for you but, this has been the longest summer I can remember. It has had many distractions in my life, and our lives as Christians and citizens of free countries and it seems like none of them were for the good, or at least they seemed to have little good at the time. My friends, and my God have pulled me through, sometimes nearly against my will. I’m not sure that the trials of ’14 are over, in fact, I’m quite sure they are not.

Still, as always, I find comfort in the music of my faith, in many ways, I think it one of the great contributions of Protestantism is in the awesome (in the real sense) hymns of faith that we have brought to our worship. These are some of my favorites, and I’m sharing them with you today mostly because maybe they will help you in your troubles as they do me in mine.

I was reminded today of a poem that Jess adores, and I’m going to use part of it but, I will let her introduce it. Jess’ words are all from Naught for your Comfort and are in italics

Chesterton’s Ballad of the White Horse deals with an episode in what must have seemed at the time the doomed attempts by King Alfred of Wessex to deal with the invading Norsemen. No one did historical-Romantic despair like GKC, and I adore the whole poem. It is far too long to quote in full, but the lines which came back to me as the result of reading the two posts were those Our Lady speaks to King Alfred at the lowest moment of his fortunes: Read more of this post

Remembrance and Resolve

Ultima Cumaei venit iam carminis ætas;
Magnus ab integro sæclorum nascitur ordo.
iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna,
iam nova progenies cælo demittitur alto.

From the  Eclogue of Virgil:

An American flag flies over the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 13, 2001

And so for the thirteenth time, we remember that day, that day of infamy, in New York, in Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, when we realized that while we may not be interested in war, war is interested in us. Once again, last night, we heard an American president vow retribution on those who would kill Americans. His words were not my words, nor is my background his background, but perhaps we are united in this. I think there is no more important duty than this

There is a sense of frustration in the very air of America these days. Many of us have the sense that the sacrifices and lives of many good men and women were thrown away to save the face of other men, and now we shall have to plow ground that we have worked before. But we know, as we always have, that politicians are vain, and sometimes even evil, and we have to do the best we can with what we are given. This is mostly the post I wrote for the tenth anniversary. It will serve again, I think, like many of those who have read it. Like the President’s speech, they are mere words, but I think them good words.


There isn’t one of us who doesn’t remember what we were doing. I was having a day off and was watching Good Morning, America and I will remember to my dying day Diane Sawyer’s “Oh, my God!”.

I was very lucky though, although I have family working in the financial district, I lost no one close to me. But in a very real sense they were all my family; the workers, the Firemen and Police doing their everyday heroics, the passerby. They were all our family: the family of the free. For this was an attack on freedom. For this was an attack on the free market system and the military that protects it.

To me then and now it hearkened back to another ‘Day of Infamy‘: 7 December 1941, both in the manner of the attack, a sneak attack on a peaceful country, and in how I instantly understood, as I never had, what my parents and their generation had felt on that awful Sunday afternoon.

And I knew something else, even as they had, I now lived in a country at war, where nothing short of victory was acceptable. I thought my country was united in that, I still think most of it is. I also knew that the retribution of America and her allies would be terrible and no interference by anyone would be tolerated. For indeed “They had sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat”.

And I was heartened by the reaction of the world, especially this:

Nobody ever showed their support better than the cousins, which is not surprising, after all the Queen has known us well since she was Princess Elizabeth driving an ambulance in the Second World War.

Another thing I understand now was my Dad’s and his generation’s respect for Roosevelt even if they disagreed with almost all of his policies, he was the war president. I now have that feeling, even love, for George W. Bush.

We really are an exceptional nation, nobody in the world, outside of the Anglosphere understood our determination, in Bevin Alexander’s words “to proceed door to door in the very heart of the Arab-Muslim world, to make clear that we were ready to kill and to die to stop our society from being undermined, and to say, gun in hand, to the people, and to the governments who permit terrorists to exist, “What is it that you don’t understand about leaving our country alone?”” And I find it notable that those stalwart Allies of the Anglosphere are marching forward to the battle in step with us, as it has been for nearly a century now.

And so, almost before we knew what was happening the first counterattack was underway. It ended in a smoking hole in Pennsylvania, it was a very expensive counterattack but it was successful. And like the targets of the attack itself, it was conducted by ordinary Americans, no different from you and me.  The counterattack launched with that simple command, “Let’s Roll”.

The time for our superb military had not yet come. But it would, with dire consequences for our enemies.

Bin Laden should have studied us better, for indeed the man who said this was half American:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be.

The American people are difficult to turn into an enemy, for we much prefer to be everyone’s  friend, but attacking the homeland will do it, every time. There is no more fearsome enemy in the history of the world than the aroused people of America.

A quick look back will show this. On 7 December 1941 the battleship USS Arizona was sunk on battleship row in Pearl Harbor. 35 months later, the other old battleships of the 7th Fleet, also sunk at Pearl Harbor, sank the Japanese fleet at Leyte Gulf, in the last surface gun action ever fought. The new battleships in 3rd fleet were off chasing the IJN’s aircraft carriers. Moored close to the Arizona is the USS Missouri on whose deck 11 months after Leyte Gulf, in Tokyo Bay, Imperial Japan surrendered. Yes, we are impatient, and sometimes fickle, but do not mess with our homeland.

It never fails to amaze me how much the enemies of the United States rely upon the goodness and restraint of the United States. The Taliban who supported al Qaeda knew that their sheer existence beyond the next 30 minutes depended exclusively on the forbearance of the United States.

If we were the imperial power that we are so often accused of being, Afghanistan would now be the world’s largest sheet of glass. If a city rebelled against Imperial Rome, the retribution was that every living thing, right down to the dogs, was put to the sword, the city was destroyed and the ruins sown with salt, so nothing would grow. I dare you to find Carthage on a current map.

Instead we very carefully target our retribution on those that we believe are guilty. Indeed, we have developed weapons that allow us to target an individual  from several hundred miles away. Instead of our massive air raids in World War II we now use a stealth aircraft with individually targeted missiles. I have seen reports that say that the Pakistanis, when they see one of our drones overhead, calmly go about their business, knowing that only the target is in danger, as opposed to the panic when their own air force is attacking.

This is the way that America, a country that values each and every human life makes war.

This is America the Avenger. Not on the innocent people of cities and countries, but upon the malefactors hiding in its back streets and hills.

This is America at war. Not destroying cities and countries but only individual enemies.

This is America, the superpower that can destroy any country on Earth in an hour, but chooses to put its own sons and daughters at risk to find only the guilty.

This is America, where steel from the World Trade Center now is incorporated into the bow of the USS New York, leading the ship into harms way.

This is America, the first revolutionaries, who learned to control the revolution, but not to let it die and slip back into tyranny, about whom our President said, long ago:

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

and who later that day also said:

Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.  Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

  In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

This is the America that I grew up in and love, and I will not allow the destruction of, from without or within. For above all others, this hill, with its city gleaming bright, is worth dying for and worth living for.

Many things have happened since President Kennedy said those words on a cold January morning.

The Berlin Wall was built up and torn down.

The World Trade Center was built up and knocked down.

The specter of the Soviet Union no longer threatens the world.

The threat of Islamofascism has arisen from the shadows.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain that had descended across the Continent, has now been lifted. Old and proud states of eastern Europe have been liberated. Many having seen what America believes, in action, have become proud allies of America.

Al Qaeda decided that the old American will had been eroded and has had that illusion shattered, and is on its way to destruction. Almost weekly we hear of the demise of more of its leadership as America again sorts out the guilty from the innocent.

Many things have happened since 9/11/01 also. How will it all work out? We will never know. This is the eternal war between liberty and slavery.

As Cassandra of Villainous Company put it on 27 June 2005:

Our own Revolution was not without blemish. Innocent men were tarred and feathered. Families torn asunder. People bled, and suffered and starved. There was even [shudder] terrorism. But it lit a flame that has burned brightly for over 200 years. There are signs that this is happening in the MiddleEast: Arabs are looking at election day in Iraq and Afghanistan and demanding democratic reforms in Egypt and Lebanon and Kuwait. The fire in men’s (and women’s) hearts is spreading.

We would like certainty. We would like painless progress. We would like closure. We will not get any of those things.

On July 4th we must ask ourselves, what do we believe? Our military – brand new immigrants who enlist before the ink is dry on their visas – believe in those words so strongly that they will lay down their lives to spread the fire of democracy. They also believe (as I do) that their purpose is to serve American foreign policy aims, no matter how abstract and long-term they may seem. No matter how difficult to explain to the American people. No matter how frustrating in the short term.

What kind of world will we bequeath to our grandchildren? It may be that long before we know. But our actions today will have an incalculable effect on that far-off tomorrow. And if our policy is not firmly grounded in the spread of those long-ago words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights

…then I wonder if we shall not be the first Americans who fail to pass the blessings of liberty on to the next generation?

“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph. is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke.

And so as we remember and celebrate the lives of the victims of that horrible day ten years ago, so we must also renew our determination that their sacrifice and the sacrifices of our military since shall not have been in vain. For as another President said:

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


 

And so once again the dread war tocsin sounds calling us forth to unfinished business. We cry that we are weary of this business, and truly we are, for we have been fighting this war overtly for thirteen years, but in truth we joined this battle against evil in the First Barbary War, back in 1801. Some would say this has been man’s battle ever since we left the garden, and it will remain our battle until the Lord returns. I think that is true.

But you know, in the last few weeks, I again saw Americans act as is our wont, when we saw two of our countrymen butchered  because they were American, our weariness was forgotten and a great roar went up, and the Americans will be seen again fighting evil in the middle east. And again America will have allies, and who those allies are will tell who is who, and the American people will draw their own conclusions.

But do mark this: America will be free.

:

Now comes the final era of the Sibyl’s song;
The great order of the ages is born afresh.
And now justice returns, honored rules return;
now a new lineage is sent down from high heaven.

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