Lead, Follow, or get the Hell out of the Way

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via ABC News, Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler

Is, of course, a very old American maxim. Back when the world was young and I had just met Jess, I used it in connection with a British academic who was irritating her. Jess, being a sensible girl, who loves America nearly as much as I love Britain, proceeded to mutter it at an academic function she attended, about some footless thing that nobody could decide, choice of wine or something like that. Needless to say, it raised a few eyebrows, leading the gentlemen with her to comment about the company she was keeping. Me.

4159So I’m going to do this story backward. On that train in France the other day, there was a 62-year-old British IT guy, an expat living in the south of France. Now, I don’t know about you but that is not where I’d first look for a hero – but that’s where we found one.  His name is Chris Norman He said he thought this:

“I saw someone running down the aisle to the front of the train. I stood up to see what was happening and saw a man with what I think was an AK-47,” he said.

“My first reaction was to sit down and hide. Then I heard an American say, ‘Go get him’. I decided it was really the only chance, to act as a team and try to take down the assailant.

“My thought was, I’m probably going to die anyway, so let’s go. I’d rather die being active, trying to get him down, than simply sit in the corner and be shot.”

“Either you sit down and you die, or you get up and you die. It was really nothing more then that,” he said.

Well, Kipling once wrote that:  “A brave heart and a courteous tongue. They shall carry thee far through the jungle, manling.” I hope Mr. Norman will forgive me if I call BS on that. I bet his thought process ran more like this, a toast by American general John Stark of New Hampshire. It goes, “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” because Chris Norman is by any standard a hero. He saw a chance to fix something and he took that chance, he didn’t lead, but he followed effectively, not many men would have, especially since we have all seen how docile the Brits have become. The same is true for that off-duty French train conductor. Damned good men, both of them.

But the Americans! Well, I happened to be listening to the BBC when the story broke, arriving with the information that the were marines. Without disrespect to anyone, I thought, of course, later the story changed that it was two soldiers and an American civilian. OK, if you look at the pictures they’re wearing their hair pretty high and tight, so it’s a more or less natural mistake, and besides no leatherneck could have done it any better. Think about that for a minute, a junior Air Force medic, an Oregon National Guardsman, in Britspeak, a territorial, and a civilian friend of theirs, running to the sound of the guns. Are they heroes? You’re damned right they are! It was nearly a perfect anti-terrorist operation. What flight 93 could have been with some more luck.

And that Air Force medic, Spencer Stone, who nearly had his thumb cut off by this thug, still had the guts and presence of mind to provide basic aid to a Frenchman who had either been either shot or knifed in the neck, I’ve read both, don’t know which is true, doesn’t really matter at the moment.

It was once written that:

“The truly amazing thing about me is that, as a product of this amazing country, I am utterly ordinary. However, once I leave the borders of these United States, I start to grow in power and influence until I become someone who can do anything; feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, protect the weak and clothe the shabby”.

And that pretty much applies here, utterly ordinary Americans, until some fool on a French train opened up with an AK, and then, well the adults in the train took over, three young American guys. And from what I read, he’s a lucky terrorist, he didn’t maintain his weapon, and it jammed, so they merely subdued him, instead of letting him tell Allah all about it, and his failure.

Kipling also wrote: “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack”. And that my friends is why terrorism doesn’t work on free men, it does not account for the sheepdogs, not all of whom wear uniforms.

And gentlemen in England now a-bed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks that fought with us.

A few years ago, in one of the documentaries about the war in Europe, they interviewed a Dutch woman about the day that the Americans liberated her town.

She stated she knew they were Americans because ‘they walked like free men’.

We still do.

 

Peace is Our Profession

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Stategic Air Command

Strategic Air Command; via Wikipedia

In still another demonstration of the consequences of decline of American leadership, as the seventieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki approach, we are once again forced to confront the horrific moral problems of the use of nuclear weapons.

As is, or should be, well-known, Truman and American leadership had no doubt at all about the morality of the use of atomic weapons in the case of Imperial Japan. As stated here:

It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam.  Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of  ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.

And the real justification is this:

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuked 70 years ago. 34 years ago Paul Fussell wrote this important essay, ‘Thank God for the Atom Bomb’.

21 year old 2nd Lt. Fussell commanded infantry in WWII France. Later, he had to sit around waiting to invade Japan and die. That was the general expectation of the vets of the European theater – they didn’t think they’d survive Japan.

Then Aug 6th happened.

When the atom bombs were dropped and news began to circulate that “Operation Olympic” would not, after all, be necessary, when we learned to our astonishment that we would not be obliged in a few months to rush up the beaches near Tokyo assault-firing while being machine-gunned, mortared, and shelled, for all the practiced phlegm of our tough facades we broke down and cried with relief and joy. We were going to live. We were going to grow to adulthood after all.

Do read that essay linked above, and the link here and think about that last line. One Million American soldiers and most of the population of Japan thought that in August of 1945.

The essay ends this way:

Harry Truman was not a fascist but a democrat. He was as close to a genuine egalitarian as anyone we’ve seen in high office for a long time. He is the only President in my lifetime who ever had experience in a small unit of ground troops whose mission it was to kill people. That sort of experience of actual war seems useful to presidents especially, helping to inform them about life in general and restraining them from making fools of themselves needlessly – the way Ronald Reagan did in 1985 when he visited the German military cemetery at Bitburg containing the SS graves. […]

Truman was a different piece of goods entirely. He knew war, and he knew better than some of his critics then and now what he was doing and why he was doing it. “Having found the bomb,” he said, “we have used it. . . . We have used it to shorten the agony of young Americans.” The past, which as always did not know the future, acted in ways that ask to be imagined before they are condemned. Or even simplified.

Paul David Miller writing in The Federalist did a pretty good summarization of the case for the moral use of nuclear weapons.

Because nuclear weapons are so big, they are hard to use in a discriminating way. Drop one bomb and you are almost guaranteed to kill far more people than is militarily necessary.

It would be easier to argue for the immorality of all weapons under the guise of pacifism—all weapons, all war, and all violence are always wrong—but that is neither what the president argued nor what most Christians or most citizens instinctively believe. According to the just war tradition, Biblical passages like Genesis 9 and Romans 13 permit—even obligate—states to wage war in pursuit of a just cause. As part of the covenant God established with Noah and his descendants after the flood, God mandated that we pursue violent offenders with the sword: “From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man” (Genesis 9:5). God specifically did not reserve for himself the duty to strike down violent aggressors, but chose to delegate the task to us. This is the foundation of the state’s legitimate coercive authority and the reason most Christians have not been pacifists. “Rulers do not bear the sword for no reason,” Paul wrote (Romans 13:4), “They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” The “sword” is a violent, coercive tool: states exist under God’s mandate to uphold order in this fallen world.

States can, therefore, wield weapons. Why not nuclear weapons? The best moral argument against nuclear weapons, as opposed to other kinds of weapons, is that they violate the just war principles of discrimination and proportionality. The principle of discrimination says that in fighting a war justly, we are obligated to discriminate between enemy combatants and civilians and avoid harming the latter as much as possible. This is a simple extension of our obligation to love our enemies and our neighbors: we should strive to kill as few of them as necessary. Because nuclear weapons are so big, they are hard to use in a discriminating way. Drop one bomb and you are almost guaranteed to kill far more people than is militarily necessary. Hiroshima was the headquarters of Japan’s Second General Army and Nagasaki was a major industrial center for war materiel, both legitimate wartime targets—but the nuclear bombing of those cities killed up to 250,000 people, almost all civilians.

Continue reading: In Defense Of (Some) Nuclear Weapons.

He does a good job here and I think you should read the whole thing. One place where I think he falls down a bit, is in making a clear delineation between tactical and strategic. What he says was true, in the early 60s and perhaps through part of the 70s, but with the deployment of Minuteman III, Peacekeeper, and Trident, American strategic warheads returned to around 120-800 or so kiloton range with a circular error probable (CEP) of approximately eighty to one hundred and twenty meters. They are the ultimate smart bombs, specifically designed to destroy Soviet missile silos, and thus actually fall under counterforce rules. The countervalue weapons are all gone from the American inventory.

Remember the heady days in the early 90s when history had ended, and we had a ‘peace dividend’ to waste on corrupt programs? Those days are gone, Father Time has restarted the clock, and the most horrendous part of recent American foreign policy is that now, seventy years after the first use of atomic weapons, we again must contemplate the moral way use them again.

Experience is indeed the best teacher, and we threw away ours in a dream of eternal peace, one hopes that relearning the lesson is not as expensive as it could be.

Justin Welby: ‘The abolition of the global – learning to live in the world in one city’

This is pretty good, albeit long. Note that Archbishop Welby starts at about the 18:00 mark.

Qualcomm Lays Off Americans While Simultaneously Seeking More Foreign Workers | The Daley Gator

By nation in 2005

By nation in 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So the tech guys continue their duplicitous course, firing American workers so they can import cheaper labor from overseas. This is one of the areas where special consideration for contributors has contributed greatly to corruption in American foreign policy and immigration policy. This has become pervasive in American industry, any time you hear whining about ‘jobs Americans won’t do’, you can bet there is an American business who doesn’t want to pay American rates, benefits, or provide American conditions while still advertising “Made in USA”

Don’t think it’s all people like Qualcomm, or Microsoft either, I’ve seen meatpackers bring in unskilled Somalians by the planeload, spending millions refitting their plants to accommodate Islamic practice (No not Halal slaughtering, that I haven’t seen, yet) such as prayer rooms, funny how there are no Christian chapels, isn’t it, or time for Christian prayer.

Incidentally, well over half of those people are let go within 90 days, and invariably end up staying in the US on welfare.

Another tech giant that says it must import foreign workers because there aren’t enough skilled American workers in the industry is laying off thousands of workers.

Qualcomm – a major producer of smartphone chips – announced last week it’s eliminating 15 percent of its workforce or about 4,500 employees, just weeks after fellow tech giant Microsoft announced a massive round of layoffs.

Both companies are top beneficiaries of the H-1b visa program, which backers say allows companies to temporarily hire foreign workers for jobs they can’t find qualified Americans workers to fill. Critics contend the program is really used to cut costs.

I simply don’t buy it, and one of the things I don’t buy is the belief that you need a piece of paper to combine electronic components to make something. Over the years, I’ve dealt with a lot of engineers, many of them outstanding. But the degree isn’t why they are good engineers, that mostly has to do with vision. For the most part, even the PE (Professional Engineer) test arose to safeguard life and property, in mostly structural and electrical work. (Yes, it’s a good thing, albeit often used as a blame shifting mechanism.)

“Qualcomm and other tech firms have argued that they turn to H-1Bs because there is a significant shortage of American talent available,” Hira told TheDCNF. “Given the recent large layoff announcements by Qualcomm, Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco, how can the tech industry continue to argue there’s a shortage of American workers?”

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hira also analyzed the skills of H-1b workers Qualcomm hired from Fiscal Year 2010 through 2012, and found most of the workers weren’t the highly skilled, U.S.-trained workers lobbyists imply make up the majority of H-1b holders.

Continue reading: Tech Giant Qualcomm Lays Off Thousands Of Americans While Simultaneously Seeking More Foreign Workers | The Daley Gator.

I’m by no means anti-immigration, in fact, I’m very sympathetic to people wanting to come here to work and improve their lives. I am however opposed to the fraudulent use of a corrupt system to gain an unfair advantage by an individual company, and especially it’s abuse of immigrants in the process.

And the overall key to reforming immigration in my opinion is the removal of programs like H1-B, as well as the determination that no governmental benefits whatsoever shall ever be paid to an illegal alien, and any committing any other crime will be deported, with no exceptions whatsoever.

 

Paglia on Trump: and Fiorina, Oh My

Donald Trump, Jon Stewart (Credit: AP/Richard Drew/Jacquelyn Martin)

In her recent Salon interview, Camille Paglia said this about Donald Trump, and the campaign in general so far:

So far this year, I’m happy with what Trump has done, because he’s totally blown up the media!  All of a sudden, “BOOM!”  That lack of caution and shooting from the hip. He’s not a president, of course. He’s not remotely a president. He has no political skills of any kind. He’s simply an American citizen who is creating his own bully pulpit.  He speaks in the great populist way, in the slangy vernacular.  He takes hits like a comedian–and  to me he’s more of a comedian than Jon Stewart is!  Like claiming John McCain isn’t a war hero, because his kind of war hero doesn’t get captured–that’s hilarious! That’s like something crass that Lenny Bruce might have said!  It’s so startling and entertaining.

It’s as if the stars have suddenly shifted–because we’re getting a mix-up in the other party too, as in that recent disruption of the NetRoots convention, with all that raw emotion and chaos in the air.  To me, it feels very 1960s.  These sudden disruptions, as when the Yippies would appear to do a stunt–like when they invaded Wall Street and threw dollar bills down on the stock exchange and did pig-calls!  I’m enjoying this, but it’s throwing both campaigns off. None of the candidates on either side know how to respond to this kind of wild spontaneity, because we haven’t seen it in so long.

Politics has always been performance art.  So we’ll see who the candidates are who can think on their feet.  That’s certainly how I succeeded in the early 1990s.  Before that, the campus thought police could easily disrupt visiting speakers who came with a prepared speech to read.  But they couldn’t disrupt me, because I had studied comedy and did improv!  The great comedians knew how to deal with hecklers in the audience.  I loved to counterattack!  Protestors were helpless when the audiences laughed.

From Salon, and yes, I going to have more to say about this interview later.

Basically, I agree with her on this (and some other things), she tends to be one of the most satisfying writers around, and this is no exception. Why? Because she thinks!

Trump is doing necessary work, in helping to blow the cover off the Democratic Party and its alliance (or perhaps tryst is a better word) with the old media. But Trump would not be a viable president, even if he got elected, not to mention the fact that he’s been (arguably) a conservative for about five minutes. People change, and most of us have, but usually fairly slowly, and over time. Trump is for Trump, and that’s his entire program. He spent most of his life supporting Democrats, especially the Clintons and is an exemplar of what a crony-capitalist, working through mob connected, corrupt unions can do. That history is not going to save the country.

Now, the other day, Carly Fiorina gave a speech at the Reagan Library. She’s an impressive lady. It’s much too soon to be deciding (for me, at least) on a candidate. but her blend of resume, experience, not excluding foreign affairs, and leadership, and a willingness to talk straight, is very appealing. It’s also low-key and pretty much devoid of histrionics while invoking both Reagan and Thatcher. I particularly like the way she handles questions here.

So, enjoy, and I’d be interested in what you think, as well.

 

“On Point” with Tomi Lahren

I thought this went up yesterday, but my files say different. So here it is!

Well, this may or may not be the way to win friends and influence people. But it is an excellent example of the use of a declarative sentence.

I couldn’t agree more with her

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