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August 16, 2005

Clarence Page's Feelings

Clarence Page is angry. Watching Cindy Sheehan camp out in Crawford, Texas, he feels he and other doubters are being stifled. He feels for the 30% of Americans who now feel we should withdraw all troops from Iraq.

There seems to be a bumper crop of feeling going on lately. A lot of feeling, and not much thinking. The title of Mr. Page's editorial is: Mr. President, can we talk about the war too?

Just who has been preventing you from talking about the war, Mr. Page? You and the hundreds of annoying, ankle-biting pundits who occupy the bully pulpit in America, who don't have to live with the consequences of your sniping and your thoughtless criticisms, who have done nothing but talk, talk, talk since we went into Iraq and Afghanistan? One can't help but wonder if all your talk doesn't have something to do with those poll results you so conveniently cite.

You talk, while the military fight, and die, and continue to slog onward in an uphill battle you undermine with every word you publish.

You snark away, while they bleed.

It seems to me that if anyone is having trouble getting a word in edgewise in this debate, it's the administration and the military. They don't control the cameras. They don't control the newspapers. When the President wants to address the nation, he has to fight to get an hour of prime-time airspace. The major networks, more often than not, don't carry the speeches he makes all over this country. His words don't get out to the general public, or if they do they are often twisted beyond all recognition.

And any good news from the military side of the house is ruthlessly strangled before it ever sees the light of day, while bad news is promoted 24/7 on the airwaves and in our newspapers by a media who are relentlessly anti-war and anti-administration.

Who was Cindy Sheehan's son? Casey - that was his name, wasn't it? I'll bet he was a good man. But was he a hero? Did he perform feats of honor and bravery on the battlefield? We all know her name - we hear about it everywhere we go. Yet the names of great Americans who have served this nation with honor and distinction are not considered newsworthy. When our troops succeed on the battlefield, when they earn medals, this news does not make it into the mainstream media.

And so I have a question for you, Mr. Page: you've had your say.

When do we get to talk about the war? The parents of the fallen who are not bitter and angry? Americans who support the administration? 9/11 families who don't blame President Bush?

Those who have served or died in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why are these voices not allowed to speak? Or doesn't the Bill of Rights apply to those who spend their lives defending it? Perhaps it is not President Bush who needs to listen.

124rafaelperalta.jpg Sgt. Rafael Peralta didn't have to become a United States Marine. And he didn't have to go to war. That's just the kind of man he was.

He joined the Marine Corps the day after he received his green card. On the walls of his bedroom, there were only three items: the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and his boot camp graduation certificate. You can see the mind of this hero in his letters he diligently wrote home to his younger brother and sister. Before he left America, he wrote his 14-year old brother Ricardo,

"be proud of me, bro...and be proud of being an American."

Ricardo and his sister would receive another letter from their brother:

"I was just doing my homework and there was a knock on the door," said Ricardo Peralta, 14. "The moment I saw them, I knew."

In his letter to Ricardo, Rafael said he was doing something he had always wanted to do. He asked Ricardo to be proud of him because the Marines were making history in Iraq.

Rafael had been killed during an assault on Fallujah.

His body took most of the blast. One Marine was seriously injured, but the rest sustained only minor shrapnel wounds. Cpl. Brannon Dyer told a reporter from the Army Times, "He saved half my fire team."

Most Americans have never heard of Rafael Peralta, and they never will.

In past wars, he would have been a hero. His name would have been a household word, his deeds an inspiration to small boys, their eyes growing wide with amazement at his sacrifice. The chests of old men would have puffed out in pride. Crusty veterans would have stood a bit taller, remembering their own service. Women would have grown misty-eyed, and young girls would have laid flowers on his grave, wiping away a tear as they dreamed of handsome heroes.

But they will never hear of him - his voice has been silenced. The mainstream media does not consider the sacrifices of men like Sgt. Rafael Peralta "newsworthy". The mainstream media do not seem interested in talking to Sgt. Peralta's family. Instead, we get to hear about Cindy Sheehan all day, every day.

Search results:

Chicago Tribune: Rafael Peralta: 0
Cindy Sheehan: 10

Washington Post: Rafael Peralta: 0
Cindy Sheehan: 27

NY Times: Rafael Peralta: 0
Cindy Sheehan: 20

I'll bet unless you happened to catch the single story in the Washington Post, you never heard about the heroics of three young Marines who single-handedly stopped a suicide bombing attack consisting of not one, but TWO trucks - a dump truck and a fire engine - full of explosives.

That, too, was not considered newsworthy by most of the mainstream media - since none of our forces were killed and the camp was saved from certain destruction due to the heroics of three men barely old enough to be out of high school. Contradicting the constant stream of stories about disgruntled troops on the verge of mutiny, their CO wrote home:

Once again the good Lord looked upon us, and the Marines executed flawlessly, which were the reasons for the enemy paying dearly for their decisions. The Marines are fine. I am so unbelievably proud to be here with them. Motivation and dedication to each other, our families, and our mission couldn't be higher. As a unit, as a company, we continue to grow each day, understanding and appreciating each individual effort to protect, serve, and strengthen the company as a whole. The Marines are at times tired yet tireless in their duties, enduring hardships yet hardened against weak mindedness, and exposed to tough conditions but have toughened in mind, body, and soul.


dunham.jpg Marine LCpl. Jason L. Dunham: greater love hath no man...

Lance Cpl. Dean told those assembled about a trip to Las Vegas the two men and Becky Jo Dean had taken in January, not long before the battalion left for the Persian Gulf. Chatting in a hotel room, the corporal told his friends he was planning to extend his enlistment and stay in Iraq for the battalion's entire tour. "You're crazy for extending," Lance Cpl. Dean recalls saying. "Why?"

He says Cpl. Dunham responded: "I want to make sure everyone makes it home alive. I want to be sure you go home to your wife alive."

Mission accomplished, Corporal Dunham. Semper Fidelis.

Jason Dunham was killed when a grenade exploded. What is unusual is that he placed his helmet on top of it and then rolled on top of the grenade to protect his fellow Marines:

"I deeply believe that given the facts and evidence presented he clearly understood the situation and attempted to block the blast of the grenade from his squad members," Lt. Col. Lopez wrote in a May 13 letter recommending Cpl. Dunham for the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor. "His personal action was far beyond the call of duty and saved the lives of his fellow Marines."

Chicago Tribune: Jason Dunham: 0
Cindy Sheehan: 10

Washington Post: Jason Dunham: 0
Cindy Sheehan: 27

NY Times: Jason Dunham: 0
Cindy Sheehan: 20

Robert_Whisenant.jpg Taking a licking and keepin' on ticking. Staff Sgt. Robert D. Whisenant racked up two Purple Hearts in two weeks.

NY Times... oh, forget it.















Pfc. Eric Paul Woods was killed by an explosion overnight when he stopped to help a wounded soldier on the side of a road in Iraq, according to his father, Charles Woods of Urbandale, Iowa...

He said his son relayed in a phone call that he had turned down an offer to be moved from the front lines of the war."He wanted to stay and help his fellow soldiers," Woods said...

He is survived by his wife, Jamie, of seven years, and his 3-year-old son.

Chicago Tribune: Pfc. Eric Paul Woods: 0
Cindy Sheehan: 10

Washington Post: Pfc. Eric Paul Woods: 0
Cindy Sheehan: 27

NY Times: Pfc. Eric Paul Woods: 0
Cindy Sheehan: 20

Although the media shows no interest in them unless they have an axe to grind, President talks regularly with the families of the fallen:

The most telling—and moving—picture of Bush grieving with the families of the dead was provided by Rachel Ascione, who met with him last summer. Her older brother, Ron Payne, was a Marine who had been killed in Afghanistan only a few weeks before Ascione was invited to meet with Bush at MacDill Air Force Base, near Tampa, Fla.

Ascione wasn't sure she could restrain herself with the president. She was feeling "raw." "I wanted him to look me in the eye and tell me why my brother was never coming back, and I wanted him to know it was his fault that my heart was broken," she recalls. The president was coming to Florida, a key swing state, in the middle of his re-election campaign. Ascione was worried that her family would be "exploited" by a "phony effort to make good with people in order to get votes."


Ascione and her family were gathered with 18 other families in a large room on the air base. The president entered with some Secret Service agents, a military entourage and a White House photographer. "I'm here for you, and I will take as much time as you need," Bush said. He began moving from family to family. Ascione watched as mothers confronted him: "How could you let this happen? Why is my son gone?" one asked. Ascione couldn't hear his answer, but soon "she began to sob, and he began crying, too. And then he just hugged her tight, and they cried together for what seemed like forever."

Ascione's family was one of the last Bush approached. Ascione still planned to confront him, but Bush disarmed her in an almost uncanny way. Ascione is just over five feet; her late brother was 6 feet 7. "My whole life, he used to put his hand on the top of my head and just hold it there, and it drove me crazy," she says. When Bush saw that she was crying, he leaned over and put his hand on the top of her head and drew her to him. "It was just like my brother used to do," she says, beginning to cry at the memory.

Before Bush left the meeting, he paused in the middle of the room and said to the families, "I will never feel the same level of pain and loss you do. I didn't lose anyone close to me, a member of my family or someone that I love. But I want you to know that I didn't go into this lightly. This was a decision that I struggle with every day."

As he spoke, Ascione could see the grief rising through the president's body. His shoulder slumped and his face turned ashen. He began to cry and his voice choked. He paused, tried to regain his composure and looked around the room. "I am sorry, I'm so sorry," he said.

And I believe he is sorry. But I am a military wife and daughter, and you don't run a great nation based on your feelings. I don't want my President to behave that way, and neither do the men and women who serve him in the armed forces. They want a strong leader who will focus on what is best for the future of this nation.

But some people can't see that. Like Cindy Sheehan, Clarence Page wants to talk to President Bush about his "feelings". How incredibly special - we all have feelings. Maybe we can have a sharing circle sometime and emote together. I'm sure we'll all be better people for the experience.

But for the moment, we are at war. There are more important things to do than sit around focusing on our emotions.

In his little screed, Mr. Page acknowledges all the reasons we can't leave Iraq right now. Apparently he is well aware of the difficulties, but right now his "feelings" seem to be holding the upper hand. He is "worried" that the President doesn't "have a plan".

It never seems to occur to people like Clarence Page that we are in a difficult and unpredictable situation. That grownup people (this means Mommies and Daddies) have to face the unpleasant fact that life is full of unknown quantities. That you cannot always plan everything in advance, especially when you are in a partnership with a sovreign nation that must be allowed to develop independently. But if we never take risks, then we also never have the opportunity to change the world for the better: to offer our grandchildren a world that is as much a better place as the world our grandparents offered to us.

How on earth does he think the America of today was created? By people who sat on their hands and never ventured anything? No - American history is full of bold risk-takers - full of pain and suffering and bad decisions and debacles and disasters and triumphs in equal measure. Full of Antietams where tens of thousands were slain in a single day - this is unimaginable to milquetoasts like Mr. Page - and yet, men rose up the next morning and pressed on. Full of routs like the disastrous Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. These are part of our glorious and, at times, miserable, history. But there has been one constant that has made this nation what it is today: no matter what obstacles stood in our way, we have pressed on.

How is it that we have suffered not a single bloody day like Antietam in the War on Terror - on the contrary, we have had nothing but military success - and yet men like Clarence Page are constantly whining that we are on the brink of disaster? How far we have fallen.

If we are defeated, it will be by our own weakness, our strength sapped from within by the cancer of our own self-hatred. We will be beaten by men like Clarence Page who do not recognize greatness, and would tear it down if they were capable of recognizing it.

Posted by Cassandra at August 16, 2005 07:32 AM

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Comments

Cassandra, I can add nothing to your fire and indignation. I just bow to you with respect and thank you. You move me, what words and efforts will ever move such people as Page. That's not a question, there are none, but fire such as yours can move others to understanding.

Posted by: Paul of York at August 16, 2005 10:27 AM

You humble me, Paul - you are far kinder than I deserve.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 16, 2005 10:37 AM

I told you so! You have the stuff kid. I plan on a lot of references to this hallowed ground. All that and drop dead gorgeous too. Thank you for a well written article. One day these so called newspapers will answer to the big reporter in the sky. I know on good authourity he likes soldiers. He quite often talked to them in the Bible. I also plan to help critque - but only because I am on the editorial board. ;)

Well done:

5 of 5 "Stuhlisims" - Dr.Harden Stuhl


PS. - Now that her family is literally dumping her - her husband is divorcing her and she has be-smearched her sons memory - I can only hope all the political leeches that are using her will be publically scorned to show the liberal crap/ spewing/ Bush hating/ nicompoops they really are. I honestly feel sorry for her misguided and wrong beliefs.


Posted by: Dr. Harden Stuhl at August 16, 2005 11:12 AM

As ever, Cassie, you make me despair of *ever* being a writer of your caliber.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at August 16, 2005 11:30 AM

I've got a rant coming on. I'll try and control it, but I'm so fed up with this. People are demanding that President Bush answer Cindy Sheehan's, "question."

"What noble cause did my son die for?"

They present this as if it's the first time the question has been asked, and as if it has never been answered. Excuse me, but if someone doesn't know the answer to this question, then they haven't been paying attention for the last four years.

I know a moonbat that hates the Iraq war. He gloms onto anything that will support his, "cause," and ignores anything that doesn't. Typical, I know, but what he is now harping on is how the American people, "feel," about the war, according to polls. I don't believe these poll results, for various reasons, but even if I did believe them, it makes no difference to me, what the American people, "feel," about the war. We elect representatives in this country whom we entrust to make decisions about our national security. These elected officials are privy to information that we are not. I do NOT want elected officials who will consult public opinions polls before they make decisions about the safety and security of my country! I want elected officials who will do what is necessary to keep this country safe.

"Bush's approval ratings are down on the Iraq war!" Well, IF this is true, could it just MAYBE have something to do with the fact that we are being inundated, night and day, with nothing but the negatives? Even the New York Times is waking up! Look at this!

Posted by: JannyMae at August 16, 2005 11:46 AM

By the way, great article, Cassandra!

Posted by: JannyMae at August 16, 2005 11:58 AM

5 of 5 "Stuhlisims"?

Gee, that sounds so ... nice?

Posted by: KJ at August 16, 2005 12:13 PM

President Bush may be sorrowful and regretful, feeling the weight of responsibility for the casualties of this war, but Clarence Page isn't.

President Bush may empathize with the grief and loss of the families of the killed and grievously wounded, but Evan Thomas and Holly Bailey don't.

I am really beyond being angry or upset at various members of the press, who periodically pontificate on this matter, but I am also beyond paying attention to their "insights" and "wisdom" regarding the discussion of battle casualties. This (the "media" discussions of what Pres. Bush does or does not feel) is part of a different struggle for political influence and the next election. And that's all it is.

I feel something close to stomach-churning disgust at some of my so-called countrymen from time to time, when I am confronted by the indolent stupidity regarding what is going on in the Middle East (Iraq and elsewhere).
Poor Cindy Sheehan is just a person, a stage prop to many, who is in deep depression and denial about her sons' death, and has gotten herself wound up in this media circus in Texas. One day she is going to wake up to this and be very regretful.

We either confront this growing problem now, on ground which we have some choice over, with some kind of upper hand to play in creating a desirable outcome, or we go back to the drowsy foolishness of the '90's (and earlier) in ignoring the threats of Salafist Islam. Until some city somewhere is incinerated with a terrorist a-bomb.

A man I used to work with lost his son earlier this year in Iraq, and the family got the news on Mother's Day, in May.
A young officer, a man I think very highly of, is in Iraq now on his second tour, and on both tours his unit has lost soldiers to IED's.
I am very much in touch with what is happening in Iraq.

This war is a tough, dirty job, as all wars are, when you strip away the veneer of rationalizations, etc. There are no "good wars" to the soldiers and Marines doing the fighting and dying. But you would think that some members of the so-called Media would realize that the future of our civilization is at stake, and find some place and time to honor those who have paid the maximum price to maintain our ideals, "liberty and justice for all".
But no, that would be "cheerleading" for the President. Back to Cindy Sheehan.

No "Stuhlisms" here, I hope :) (echh!)

Posted by: David at August 16, 2005 12:53 PM

Cassandra:

One of the greatest blog posts and or pieces of writing I have ever read!

I posted this at David Horowitz's and Richard Poe's Moonbat Central.

http://moonbatcentral.com/wordpress/?p=866

Posted by: Michael Lopez-Calderon at August 16, 2005 03:22 PM

Thank you Michael :)

Posted by: Cassandra at August 16, 2005 04:27 PM

KJ - ["5 0ut of 5 Stuhlisms"]?

In my bizarre world that is like winning a "No-bowl" peace prize..heheheh. Anyway I am so proud of Cass right now. I expect the same from you by the way.You also have the talent. You may have to hang up your lawyer-ing shingles. [No pun intended]

Trust me a Stuhlism is a good thing... ;)

Cheers...

Posted by: Dr. Harden Stuhl at August 16, 2005 04:30 PM

God Bless ALL our military Men and Woman

Posted by: Henry Agueros at August 16, 2005 05:00 PM

Even Cindy Sheehan's husband left her because of her anti war activites. The woman is the poster child for the left and the Susan Sontag moonbats.

Another one out of the park.

I would like to talk about this war, Ms. Sheehan and ask you why you haven't been listening and what the hell did you do wrong that your son volunteered to go? If you are so anti war, then why didn't you raise him to sing "Give Peace a Chance?" and hold hands and become a human shield?

The noble cause he died for? Freedom. The right to live free from fear. The right to be able to make a choice which is something the Iraqis never had under Saddam's purges and reign of terror.

He also died to make sure that the bad guys never come here again.

For that, I honor him and remember him.

Posted by: Cricket at August 16, 2005 05:44 PM

This country had better wake up. I know that sound cliche, but it's the best I can do at this moment.

Posted by: Jerry at August 16, 2005 05:58 PM

Jerry, I know how you feel.

A lot of days I am just speechless too.

And then some days I can't seem to shut up :)

Posted by: Cassandra at August 16, 2005 06:36 PM

Excellent post, Cass. Regrettably, there are no winners in this mother's tragic story, but your deft handling offers us respect and hope where little exists. Brava.

It is unforgivable that we have to failed to honor these men and women. It is more than regrettable that we talk of numbers instead of names. Your post reminded me about the wonderful series "Portraits on Grief" that the New York Times undertook following 9/11. The series, which I believe ran for 6 months or so or until each one of the victims was profiled, became required reading for a nation. Dozens of reporters were assigned to write the profiles that offered us a glimpse into the lives of the men and women who died. We learned of their families, their dreams, their struggles, sometimes even their last words. As painful and poignant as it was to read these stories each morning, the profiles offered a profound-- and necessary -- connection to the many simple yet extraordinary lives that were abruptly halted that day.

I would love to see the NYT or WaPo or LA Times devote its ink and resources to a similar
tribute for the nation to mourn--and celebrate--the sons and daughters, husbands, sisters, brothers and fathers, neighbors and heroes who are doing the fighting and the dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. We sorely need to put a face with a number, a story with a name, a prayer with a family, and we need to do it for our own healing as much as for theirs.

Posted by: portia at August 16, 2005 09:08 PM

I would have no problem with them doing that, Portia, if they could manage it without making them small.

Without turning them into victims. The media only want to memorialize the dead when they can make them victims - they never want to show us something inspiring: larger than life. And though not all of our war dead are larger than life - some of them got blown up just going about their everyday lives and some (let's face it) were not great people, even were schmucks, but they went over anyway and did their duty, which is more than we can say for many in this life - some are the genuine article: 100% true-blue heroes.

And we need to believe in heroes. There is nothing wrong with idealism. With believing in something larger than yourself. Ideals are nothing to be frightened of. They are what made this country great.

If we lose sight of our ideals, we lose the dreams that brought us here. We lose our way.

That would truly be a tragedy: to welcome a new generation of immigrants here, only to have them find that we have lost sight of our dreams and have nothing to offer them.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 16, 2005 09:23 PM

Great piece. The silent majority is with you.

Posted by: conductor at August 16, 2005 10:03 PM

You can wax poetic all you want and disparage Cindy Sheehan (who's stretching her PR stunt a little too far so it will backfire). . .

but my mid-level military contacts tell me Iraq has become a clusterf***

Spoke with a career soldier (over 17 years in the military) a few months ago. Told me most of the troops are not fighting for democracy in Iraq, they are not fighting for the U.S in its war against terrorism. The troops are fighting for themselves and their fellow soldiers and to just try and stay alive. This is straight from the mouth of a career soldier!

You see, most civvies have NO CLUE about the military bureaucracy and how it works.

Wanna know what my contact's directives and priorities from his superiors are? It's not "put down the insurgency" or "safeguard democracy in Iraq" or "find the insurgency leaders." No, his task is to "keep down casualties."

This may not mean much to a civvie but it's deja vu all over again to a 'Nam vet.

The savvier and better connected commanding officers are trying not to expose their troops to the insane conditions of patrol, convoy, and checkpoints and to get out with as few casualties as possible (hell, that's their directive). They know that Iraq, to quote Clint Eastwood, is a "Class-A cluster f***" They will not, of course, openly question their superiors. Instead they will keep thier heads down, give some lip service, and try to keep their troops out of danger if at all possible by using their seniority and knowledge of the system to circumvent an unnecessary war.

You can be patriotic all you want but sooner or later, you will have to deal with COLD HARD REALITY. And so will the neo-con hawks!

Posted by: turbo7x7 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 16, 2005 10:46 PM

I don't wanna hear anything on Clarence Page's feelings.That is the problem with people of his ilk,too much fuzzy crap and touchy feely liberalism.And then these guys wonder why they are losing readers.Apparently,he and the rest of the media are so lost in space,that even editors of local papers are complaining to the AP and critizing the bunker mentality of much of the press.Our guys are building schools,hospitals,and the like but because of Sheehan,we have heard absolutely nothing on this.Cassandra,great writing as usual and I hope to be able to right wittily as well as you one day.

Posted by: Lisa Gilliam at August 16, 2005 11:13 PM

Cassandra,

This is a tremendously moving post. God has given you a great gift. It would be so cool if the MSM news channels and cable networks would highlight one of these heroes every single week night -- you know how some of the shows on Fox News highlight special people. They should do exactly what you've done here. Show their picture and tell their story. This is what Americans yearn for. And all they hear (that is, if they don't read blogs or listen to conservative talk radio)is doom and gloom.

Thanks again!
Beth Barnat
Winters, CA

P.S. Found this blog via Michael @ Moonbat Central! (Thanks, Michael!) It's now on my desktop right next to Moonbat.

Posted by: bethtopaz at August 17, 2005 02:52 AM

What a lovely thing to say - thank you Beth. I wish I'd had more time to work on this - there were so many more I wanted to write about. I ended up focusing on Marines because those are the ones I know, but there are many heroes from the other services as well. I just didn't have the time before work to search, so I had to rely on my memory.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 04:56 AM

"You can wax poetic all you want and disparage Cindy Sheehan (who's stretching her PR stunt a little too far so it will backfire). . ."

Disparage? I don't see that from Cass. Now for me? I'll blast Sheehan in a heartbeat but then I have a son over there and don't think much of Ms. Sheehan giving aid and comfort to our enemies. You can call it disparaging but I'll call it something different entirely!

"but my mid-level military contacts tell me Iraq has become a clusterf***"

And your point? I speak with "MY" contacts regularly. From Full Birds to Grunts and the stuff I'm getting directly contradicts yours. I get nothing but positive takes, especially on this deployment.

"Spoke with a career soldier (over 17 years in the military) a few months ago. Told me most of the troops are not fighting for democracy in Iraq, they are not fighting for the U.S in its war against terrorism. The troops are fighting for themselves and their fellow soldiers and to just try and stay alive. This is straight from the mouth of a career soldier!"

Sorry to be sarcastic but that just rates one big DUH! Name one war in which the Grunts were NOT fighting only for each other? When the sh*t hits the fan NO ONE is fighting for Old Glory, policy, or anything BUT each other. You make it sound like this is something unusual but that dog won't hunt there Hoss!

A retired SF Officer by the name of Keni Thomas has an album out that is awesome. Keni is a veteran of the Mogadishu fight. He writes in his lyrics to "Send Me" from his CD "Flags of Our Fathers";

Well we stood upon the ramparts - we fought to save ourselves
But the price one pays for victory
Lord I know it all, I know it all too well.

And they may call us heroes - but only those who've been will know
I would give my life for the man beside me
Just to bring my brother, bring him home
Here am I

Send Me, Send Me

I see nothing in any form of denigration for our men and women fighting for each other contrary to how you want to portray it. Noble is as noble does!


"You see, most civvies have NO CLUE about the military bureaucracy and how it works."

If you are directing that at Cass you'd best take some reading comprehension classes. Cass is career military from Who Flung Da Chunk! Married to a career Jarhead and from a lifelong military family. It's in her bio if you care to check it out. Either way her opinion is solid. Period!

"Wanna know what my contact's directives and priorities from his superiors are? It's not "put down the insurgency" or "safeguard democracy in Iraq" or "find the insurgency leaders." No, his task is to "keep down casualties." "

I believe "keep down casualties" is PART of his directives but this idea you have of a bunch of Field Grade Officers hunkering down in fear of their enemy just simply reeks of bias. I do not know ONE Combat Officer that will assume this type of directive. Ever. We are at war and our guys are not cowards.

"This may not mean much to a civvie but it's deja vu all over again to a 'Nam vet."

This not Nam no matter how you may try to compare it! Not even close!

"The savvier and better connected commanding officers are trying not to expose their troops to the insane conditions of patrol, convoy, and checkpoints and to get out with as few casualties as possible (hell, that's their directive). They know that Iraq, to quote Clint Eastwood, is a "Class-A cluster f***" They will not, of course, openly question their superiors. Instead they will keep thier heads down, give some lip service, and try to keep their troops out of danger if at all possible by using their seniority and knowledge of the system to circumvent an unnecessary war."

Bullsh*t! I do not believe you for even a second. I know for a fact what the Ops are and how well the guys are accomplishing their missions. There is ZERO, NADA, ZIP morale problem and again you try to paint with a cowardice brush. It is the JOB of these guys to not expose their troops if at all possible. And there are very, very few in this all volunteer military that hold with your politically biased opinion of an "unnecessary war". Right here it becomes quite clear of what your goals are and I'm not buyin'!

"You can be patriotic all you want but sooner or later, you will have to deal with COLD HARD REALITY. And so will the neo-con hawks!"

I LIVE with COLD HARD REALITY every day there Hoss. I wake up with it. I go through my day with it. I toss and turn losing sleep with it. And this is the third time I've dealt with it. Don't try to twist what is and is not reality because of some bygone experience you've had. We know damn well what reality is thank you very much! And we stand behind that reality and give it our best. If you think for one minute that I'll sit here and listen to you denigrate the Sacrifice of these young men and women while you spit on their Honor then welcome to MY reality! Ain't gonna' happen!

Signed,
A Patriotic Neo-Con Hawk

Posted by: JarheadDad at August 17, 2005 10:27 AM

JHD,
Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Posted by: Cricket at August 17, 2005 10:37 AM

Heh...

JHD, I was going to address his comment but I had a feeling you'd let him have it with both barrels :)

IMO, any officer who doesn't try to "keep casualties down" isn't doing his job, but if that's code for not attacking the enemy, that's bull. And also in this wife's opinion, like attracts like.

I hate to be insulting, but the military is no different than any other organization. We have our share of deadbeats. There are always a few who shirk, sad to say. If this guy's "mid-level contact" is the type of man who would disobey an order but still take a paycheck then I have no respect for him. You do your job, you try to bring your people safe home, you don't get to second-guess how smart the policy is - that isn't your task.

And those few who take that tack just make it harder for the ones who *do* do their duty. They're the ones who get other people killed because they're sitting back in the CP on their butts when something goes down. Someone else has to pull double duty to make up for their slack.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 10:37 AM

Oh, and Cass, the Professym scooped you again. It isn't Cindy Sheehan, it is his mother. For the real, true story I suggest you get to BlameBush for another monitor cleaning post.

As to the 17 year career persyn, mid level is still midlevel. What midlevel people? The interns at the Pentagon?

Or the rear echelon? Either way it is the same thing...and I strongly suspect that they are not over there because they are not competent enough to deal with it.

I think JHD got it right and called you on it.

Posted by: Cricket at August 17, 2005 10:47 AM

good site thank you keep fighting the good fight

Posted by: daniel at August 17, 2005 01:03 PM

Terrific post. Additional detail about Peralta (from an Ollie North article):

"As Peralta lay near death on the floor of a Fallujah terrorist hideout, he spotted the yellow grenade that had rolled next to his near-lifeless body. Once detonated, it would take out the rest of Peralta's squad. To save his fellow Marines, Peralta reached out, grabbed the grenade and tucked it under his abdomen, where it exploded."

Posted by: Brainster at August 17, 2005 01:39 PM

And a minor correction: The Times did mention Peralta recently (8/7/05), ironically in an article claiming that the lack of stories about heroes in the war was caused by the White House and the Pentagon not pushing the stories on the media.

Posted by: Brainster at August 17, 2005 01:46 PM

So if the Pentagon and the White House aren't pushing the stories on the media, does that mean
(Heaven Forbid!)that content is up to the editors?
That they are running a free press? Who would have thunk it?

Posted by: Cricket at August 17, 2005 03:23 PM

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