Wednesday, December 29, 2004

What liberal press?

It's good to know that our nation's journalists are hard at work being unbiased, apolitical, and neutral purveyors of hard facts. Like this story about how Bush is uncaring and insensitive in the face of a "humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions."

...Bush's decision at first to remain cloistered on his Texas ranch for the Christmas holiday rather than speak in person about the tragedy -- showed scant appreciation for the magnitude of suffering and for the rescue and rebuilding work...


It's hard to imagine such an opinion piece being passed off as straight news, but there it is. Blatant political slant in virtually every sentence. Every word calculated for maximum negative effect. This is what I would expect from the DNC or the Blue column of Watchblog, not a story purporting to be news. Who knows, maybe the core of this piece did come from a DNC memo.


  • ...vacationing President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.

  • ...domestic criticism of Bush continued to rise.

  • ...Bush's decision at first to remain cloistered on his Texas ranch

  • ...showed scant appreciation for the magnitude of suffering

  • After a day of repeated inquiries from reporters about his public absence...

  • Bush's actions and words both communicated a lack of urgency...

  • ...they were surprised that Bush had not appeared personally..."It's kind of freaky," a senior career official said.

  • ...Bush was missing an opportunity to demonstrate American benevolence.

  • In Germany, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder cut short his vacation...



The last two paragraphs are by far the most misleading by repeating a statistic intended to 'prove' that the United States is a stingy country.

Still, the United Nations' Egeland complained on Monday that each of the richest nations gives less than 1 percent of its gross national product for foreign assistance, and many give 0.1 percent. "It is beyond me why we are so stingy, really," he told reporters.

Among the world's two dozen wealthiest countries, the United States often is among the lowest in donors per capita for official development assistance worldwide, even though the totals are larger. According to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development of 30 wealthy nations, the United States gives the least -- at 0.14 percent of its gross national product, compared with Norway, which gives the most at 0.92 percent.


Never mind that these reporters don't have time to check to see what these numbers are based on. The mindset that accepts this as truth naturally would not want to take into account any giving that is not governmental in nature. Because as we all know government dollars are all that counts, private money is tainted by the stink of commerce.

Mark Twain said that there are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics. The predominantly liberal press has mastered the art of lying with statistics. Let's examine the claim that the US gave the least out of among two dozen wealthy countries. First of all, according to the source cited, the US gave more, in dollar amounts, than any other country except Japan. Second of all, these figures are only, and I repeat only official government aid.

The total amount of all two dozen wealthy countries, "Net Official Development Assistance Flows In 2000" was $53.1 billion. The Official US Governments portion of that was $9.5 billion. By my calculations that's about 18% of the total.

Total US private donations to international charity is harder to measure because charity is an individual matter, but estimates range from $17.5 billion to $35 billion. Much more, in fact than just our government. Here's another article directly addressing this subject.

Let's see a revised OECD chart adding the total private international donations of their respective countries and then calculate it as a percentage of GDP. That would be a more accurate measure of stinginess.

Some even estimate the total charitable contributions of Americans equals $240 billion per year. Put that in your statistical pipe and smoke it, Mr. Egeland.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Agency of mercy or worthless fraud?

Pedophilia... Yes, child rape on tape. In just one country, 150 allegations of sexual misconduct, murder, prostitution, and, "sexually abusing the local inhabitants in exchange for food and other necessities." Billions skimmed out of humanitarian relief funds. Kickbacks. Bribery. Genocide.

The UN is utterly corrupt. Yet there is no outrage. No media blitz. No media attention at all as far as I can see. Not even one counterfeit document for a CBS news story.

The UN is just another colossal waste of approximately $3 billion dollars of taxpayers money. Enough to finish retrofitting every last US military humvee.

In the past decade, increasing numbers of accounts have surfaced of violations committed by peacekeepers against civilians, in a particular women and girls, during UN peacekeeping operations. To date, violations by peacekeepers have been documented in Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Kosovo, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Somalia (UNIFEM'S Independent Experts' Assessment). Currently, the UN is carrying out investigations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. peacewomen.org


Congo
Within a French UN logistics expert's home in the Congo, a pornographic studio was setup to tape the rape of little girls. Odds are that this man will not get the punishment he deserves. Nor will the UN.

When the police arrived, the man was allegedly about to rape a 12-year-old girl sent to him in a sting operation. Three home-made pornographic videos and more than 50 photographs were found in his home. theaustralian.news.com

Just one single isolated pervert? Sorry. There is more. More that the UN does not want you to know.

A book by three current and former U.N. employees about peacekeeping operations portrays wild parties with alcohol and drugs, and convicts and mental-asylum inmates passing as soldiers.

Embarrassed U.N. officials have threatened firing or other disciplinary action against two of the authors, Heidi Postlewait and Andrew Thomson. U.N. rules bar employees from writing about their work without approval, which had been denied in this case.
washingtontimes

What is it that liberals champion above all? The whistleblower. But apparently they only trumpet whistleblowers in the Bush Administration. Had Richard Clark wrote a book about the UN, he would not have gotten any press. But in the Congo there has been real damage to world peace, and perpetrator is the UN.

''I don't know whether they are normal or not," said Aziza, who did not want to use her full name out of shame. ''I wonder whether all white people are like that."

Certainly some, even many, UN peacekeepers and civilian officers in this war-plagued region were. Aziza's story and at least 150 others tales of sexual abuse in Congo have come to light in recent months, shocking an institution that considers itself an agency of mercy.

The shock has inspired action toward an overhaul of the UN's 16 peacekeeping missions around the world. In Congo, home to the largest operation -- with about 11,000 soldiers and 1,200 civilians -- the allegations point to nearly all of the major peacekeeping contingents. But they also involve senior civilian officials, including a top security officer, a chief on the UN special envoy's staff, and an internal oversight investigator.

The charges range from rape to exploitation -- sex for a bottle of water or a military ration -- to ''relationships" or solicitations that are marked by a severe imbalance in power. One case, involving a French UN staffer who took digital pictures of underage girls, has caused concern that it could become ''the UN's Abu Ghraib" if the photos get out.

Charges of sexual abuse have haunted UN peacekeepers for years, most notably during operations in Cambodia, the Balkans, and Liberia in the 1990s. But the cases in Congo may mark a tipping point. Two years after the first charges were made, top UN officials have finally denounced the problem openly and vowed to punish those involved.

Last month, Secretary General Kofi Annan addressed the issue publicly for the first time.

Somalia, 1997
Belgian UN troops admit to 'roasting' Somali boy. Don't worry though, the two UN soldiers were fined £200 and jailed for a month.

Italian, Canadian, and Belgian UN troopers were all found to have murdered, tortured, and humiliated Somali's, (mostly children), during Operation Hope.

  • "...forcing a young Somali to eat pork, drink salt water, and then eat his vomit."

  • "...[UN soldier] murdered a Somali whom he was photographed urinating on."

  • "...[another] boy, who had been caught trying to steal food, died after being locked in a container for 48 hours.

  • "Fifteen members of the regiment were investigated in 1995 for "acts of sadism and torture" against Somalian civilians."

  • "Canadian paratroopers were investigated for torturing a Somali to death and killing three others."

  • "...gruesome photographs ... of Italian soldiers torturing a young Somali youth, and abusing and raping a young Somali girl."

  • "Last week an Italian paratrooper said: "What's the big deal? They are just niggers anyway."

Kosovo
In Kosovo, some of these women "are threatened, beaten, raped, and effectively imprisoned by their owners," Amnesty International reported in May. "With clients including international police and troops, the girls and women are often too afraid to escape, and the authorities are failing to help them. It is outrageous that the very same people who are there to protect these women and girls are using their position and exploiting them instead - and they are getting away with it."

But the problem goes beyond Kosovo and sex trafficking. Wherever the UN has established operations in recent years, various violations of women seem to follow: csmonitor.com

Lax oversight. No real authority. Effort to cover up as much as possible. The UN is essentially an empty promise or worse, making a lie out of peace and mercy. The damage that follows in the UN's wake is worse than abu graib when you calculate the perversion of what they are supposed to stand for and the corrupt way they refuse to stop these acts by UN soldiers and employees.

Rwanda
The UN, with troops on the ground, failed to act in Rwanda and at least 800,000 people died. Most of them hacked to death with machetes over several months. The US and the UN stood by and did nothing.

The report highlights the role of Mr Annan, who was head of UN peacekeeping at the time, sharply criticizing his failure to act on a warning of the risk of genocide sent by the head of the UN peacekeepers in Rwanda.

It also criticizes Belgium for unilaterally withdrawing its peacekeepers after the murder of 10 of its soldiers.

The decision of peacekeepers to retreat from a school, leaving civilians inside to be butchered, is described as "disgraceful". bbc

Darfur
At least 70,000 people have been killed in Darfur already. Possibly 1.8 million homeless. Is there any reason to believe that the UN can keep that number from growing?

Oil for Food
We've been talking about the evils of corporations, the dangers of monopoly, and how much regulation should be applied to the business sector in order to avoid scandals and corruption. Enron et al pales in comparison to the oil for food scandal, yet I cannot find a single liberal voice calling for stricter controls and greater openness for the UN. What gives?

The oil for food program was constructed to restrict Saddam's freedom to reconstruct his weapons program. Yet, the UN allowed Saddam to profit off of the program by bribing UN officials and hundreds of affiliated business and government contacts. The purpose of the program was essentially thwarted. We might as well have not had the program. The UN not only proved itself incapable, it proved itself all too corruptable.

I find it highly ironic that the UN resisted the Bush administration's call to hold Saddam accountable in the run up to war by moralizing about how the US was flouting international law, when the UN overseers were complicit in trading Iraqi blood for oil so that they could pocket bribes and kickbacks.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list by any means, merely a topical search of google. Given time, I'm sure that the full details available in press accounts alone would be sufficient to chill the heart, not to mention what full first person accounts might reveal about the depth of depravity done by UN officials and soldiers.

In short the UN is a gutless, immoral, hypocritical organization that should be dissolved. It no longer serves the purpose for which it was created. We need to revise our rationale for dealing with international crises. The UN as it is currently constructed must not continue. End it don't mend it.

Monday, December 27, 2004

transformational freedom

I can't pretend to know all the who's who or the totality of what's going on politically in all the former soviet block countries, including Russia, but despite Putin's turn towards tyranny, the elections in the Ukraine are a sign of hope and victory for the forces of freedom.

Especially when you consider the vision of Mrs. Yushchenko who worked in both the Reagan and Bush administrations.

The challenge will be to move Ukraine towards a free-market economy. Mrs. Yushchenko makes clear that her husband makes all of his own political decisions, but she will no doubt be a valuable asset to him. "She is one of the brightest, most dedicated conservatives I have ever known," says Bruce Bartlett, a former official in the Treasury Department under the first President Bush. "Anyone who met Kathy quickly discovered that creating a free, successful Ukraine was her primary mission in life, to the exclusion of almost everything else."

Now the challenge facing Ukraine is to make the leap towards becoming a democratic society truly governed by the rule of law. Mrs. Yushchenko is realistic about the obstacles facing her husband and his team. "[Some] people are making a lot of money off the current system," she told ABC News. "The last thing they want is for the system to change and for the economy to be a free market economy where the general population benefits rather than a small group of people at the top." Wall Street Journal


Freedom is on the march. Afghanistan is now a free country that just held their first democratic election. Iraq, despite all of its problems, will soon have its own elections as well. Even though some still say that it's none of our business 'forcing' democracy upon them, I am convinced that most Americans left and right agree that supporting democracy and freedom in these countries and the inevitable drive toward more freedom in the world is a good thing.

I believe in the transformational power of liberty: The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom. As the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq seize the moment, their example will send a message of hope throughout a vital region. Palestinians will hear the message that democracy and reform are within their reach, and so is peace with our good friend, Israel. (Applause.) Young women across the Middle East will hear the message that their day of equality and justice is coming. Young men will hear the message that national progress and dignity are found in liberty, not tyranny and terror. Reformers, and political prisoners, and exiles will hear the message that their dream of freedom cannot be denied forever. And as freedom advances -- heart by heart, and nation by nation -- America will be more secure and the world more peaceful. (Applause.) whitehouse.gov


It is my prayer this Christmas and New Year that this next century will be the century of freedom.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Making a killing?

"This country is controlled by corporations and that is the root of all our problems." -Bill Maher, Oct. 22, 2004


Do corporations need to be 'reined in' or eradicated for the good of the world? It's no secret that some view corporations as the root of all evil and profit as a cardinal sin. The problem I have with those who believe corporations are the root of our problems is that their solutions embrace more government economic control at the expense of individual freedom and that is not a prescription for something better, but something worse.

From the Gracchus brothers to Karl Marx there have always been self-proclaimed revolutionaries who use the rich as a scapegoat to advance their agenda. The truth is throughout history the rich have generally been a pretty oppressive lot. But then 'the rich' and 'the government' were mostly one and the same. Meaning that he who had the reigns of government had total control of the economy too, and guess what, they always got the largest slice of the pie. This is precisely what I am against. The more economic control is separated from government the better.

The very definition of capitalism requires a government to safeguard private property, enforce contracts, and be a fair arbiter for criminal and civil affairs. What opponents so often characterize as capitalism is just anarchy and lawlessness. Sometimes they can't even explain their opposition except in nebulous terms of feelings and reflexive opposition.

Corporations are stifling our lives. Not only economically, where they can claim, arguably, that they bring prosperity (and, frankly, I'm certainly not schooled enough in economics to argue that point pro or con), but aesthetically speaking, culturally speaking, spiritually speaking. They flatten everything. They are the Big Empty.

...The war against the corporations is profound. They are deadening human existence. That, I think, is the buried core of the outrage people feel most generally. There is, after all, a profound difference between corporations and capitalism itself, at least so long as capitalism remains small business.

...To win this war will take, at least, 50 years and a profound revolution in America. Norman Mailer


That's Norman Mailer's contribution to why corporations must be fought-- in a war no less. But what is ironic to me is that this issue of 'aesthetics' is put in such stark terms of black and white, good and evil by those who claim in all other things that there is no such thing. Then on top of it point out that the enemy who is 'endangering our moral, cultural, aesthetic, and spiritual lives' is the one following a Nazi example of demonizing its foes to lead people to 'war'.

..."Naturally, the common people don't want war, but after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist government, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."

That was Hermann Goering speaking at the Nuremberg trials after World War II. It is one thing to be forewarned. Will we ever be forearmed?


So even though corporations arguably bring prosperity, they are at the same time 'destroying our minds, hearts, and souls'. I can't help but think that the real passion is not being fully disclosed.

"...at least so long as capitalism remains small business." So then the solution to the 'corporate problem' is to keep the business interest small and controllable. This issue is more one of rival economic control in the mind of progressives. Progressives do not want economic freedom, they want total economic control according to 'progressive' principles.

According to progressive ideology corporations should have no say in the political process. They would then be at the complete mercy of whatever arbitrary law progressives can dream up. They should not be allowed to advertise or make campaign contributions. In fact, the law giving corporations the legal right to do business and exist at all should be repealed. They should be prohibited from donating any money to anyone, including charities and schools. Should not be allowed to own stock of other corporations. Should not be able to go out of business without it and stockholders being made liable for any debts of the company, including vaguely defined 'environmental debts'.

Since they are essentially criminal by their very nature, proposing their abolition is no great stretch. Corporations like Clear Channel, Walmart, Monsanto, and McDonalds are considered some of the most criminal and in fact are the top four in this list of the most criminal corporations of the world. (American companies all. I guess Clear Channel is guilty of being conservative? Is that why it heads the list?)

As even Normal Mailer cannot argue that they've made us poorer, they are only 'spiritually' impoverishing us. I submit that they are guilty of competing with the progressive view of spirituality and therefore must be eradicated. Substitute any other spirituality for corporate and what you have is religious bigotry. If one says radical Islam must be abolished you are a religious bigot. Say corporations must be abolished, and well, you are enlightened.

In fact most us are worse terrorists than Abu Zarqawi for supporting our corporate led overconsuptive, unsustainable, culturally genocidal culture!

Most terrorists have mundane, apparently peaceful lives, but are just as cruel as those who behead for an internet audience. They are you and me, ordinary people consuming much too much, leading an unsustainable lifestyle, committing cultural genocide on the vast majority of humanity, plundering non-western economies in the name of free trade, and imposing our lifestyle and morality on the rest of humanity. Yes, terrorists r (also) us! adbusters.org


If it is wrong for corporations to have too much economic control why isn't it wrong for government, a true monopoly, to have too much economic control? Democrats and progressives rarely see any limit or principle of limitation to what kind of economic laws should be passed. In fact anything that detracts from the government from feeding the poor is by definition an attempt to starve people.

The truth is that corporations like Wal-Mart are enriching our world not destroying it. Making life easier for the masses, not more restricted. Perhaps if you wanted to get corporate money out of politics you should consider getting the politicians out of the business of meddling with business. Microsoft is a good example of a company that made no real political contributions until the government began it's shakedown. Bill gates got the message and Microsoft now contributes massive amounts of money to political causes, out of self-protection.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Watchblog

I can't emphasize what a great blog Watchblog is. If you haven't checked it out, please do. There is literally something for everyone there. Imagine left, right, center, and 'other' argueing about the current topics of the day and you can throw your 2 cents in as well! What more could you ask for?

The fact that I am a contributing author is no doubt part of it's success. Ha ha.

Here's a post with a few of my comments thrown in.

Dogpile, by 'AmericanPundit' is a post about Rumsfeld and the Armor controversy.

Bush selling SS same as Iraq war, by David Remer is a post about Social Security, of course.

#1 goal: defeat America, by Eric Simonson (that's me) is about the left's desire to see the US lose in Iraq.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Armor for Humvees

World's defense budget.

It is an expensive program, though, the general admitted. "As you look at our forecast both of what we have already spent and what we're immediately forecasting to spend here over the next six or eight months or so, it's several billion dollars."

According to Speakes, "several" is exactly $4.1 billion dollars. defenselink.mil


I'm calling a bluff on this 'Rumsfeld must resign' because 'there is no armor protecting our troops'. I want to see the left stand up and ask congress for more money in next year's budget for defense.

Historically it is the left saying our troops can do with less.

I feel certain that before too long I will be able to point out Democrats once again calling for budget cuts for one sector, and one sector only, of the Federal Budget to be cut. That being the military.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Should christians divest from Israel?

The Christian Science Monitor has this POLL asking if christians should divest (and boycott) Israel for it's 'oppressive' policies.

The Presbyterians' decision to consider divesting such businesses from its $8 billion portfolio, coupled with the prospect that the Episcopal Church and other churches might do the same, is adding to tensions that have risen over recent years between mainline Protestant churches and the American Jewish community over their differing views of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

It is also stirring Jewish groups to try to head off divestment - and to rebuild a rapport with these churches, with whom they have long worked to further civil rights and social justice.

"To call for divestment played into all the language of boycott, from earlier periods in Jewish history to the Arab boycott of Israel. It caused an explosion in the Jewish community," says David Elcott, director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

Insanity. There is a definition of evil that defines evil as calling evil good and good evil. This is basically what Presbyterians are considering.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

#1 goal: defeat America

So, as a U.S. citizen, I welcome the U.S. defeat for a simple reason: It isn't the defeat of the United States -- its people or their ideals -- but of that empire. And it's essential that the American empire be defeated and dismantled. Journalism professor, Robert Jensen


No doubt the manipulative reporter Edward Pitts, "I just had one of my best days as a journalist today," also learned from his Journalism professors that American defeat is always good and necessary for world peace.

When we admit defeat and pull out -- not if, but when -- the fate of Iraqis will depend in part on whether the United States makes good on legal and moral obligations to pay reparations and allows international institutions to aid in creating a truly sovereign Iraq.

We shouldn't expect politicians to do either without pressure. An anti-empire movement -- the joining of anti-war forces with the movement to reject corporate globalization -- must create that pressure. Journalism professor, Robert Jensen


This comes very close to treason in my book. At the very least this professor has a full-on case of 'Michael Moore's disease,' a debilitating and virulent strain of anti-americanism that quickly destroys its victim’s credibility, honor, and honesty. Something the predominantly liberal press corps seems to be epidemic with. Edward Pitts joins the likes of Dan Rather in manufacturing the news in order to advance their political agenda. The fact that this Professor Jensen instructs would-be journalists in the technical and moral aspects of how to practice 'journalism' says as much to me as the memo-gate scandal itself, that the left has no problems lying as long as it serves the higher purpose of "getting their truth out".

Is it a coincidence that so many on the left equate Bush with Hitler and America as the Fourth Reich? No, it's indicative of a suspension of critical judgment and reasoning that tells me we can no longer trust those who call for the resignation of Rumsfeld because every Humvee hasn't yet been upgraded with the new higher grade armor when a liberal like John Kerry actually voted against the money to 'up-armor' them.

To hear those like Howard Dean and Prof. Jensen American military action is always malevolent and selfish, never mind the philosophical implications of non-action in the face of tyranny.

...We must look at the reality, no matter how painful. The people of Iraq are better off without Saddam Hussein's despised regime, but that does not prove our benevolent intentions or guarantee that the United States will work to bring meaningful democracy to Iraq.

In Iraq, the Bush administration invaded not to liberate but to extend and deepen U.S. domination. When Bush said, "We have no territorial ambitions; we don't seek an empire," on Nov. 11, 2002, he told a half-truth.


To seek to overthrow the American 'empire' is part and parcel of the entire stream of leftist culture from Democrat to Green party, anti-globalist to anarchist, neo-liberal to classic anti-capitalist, the enemy is America and capitalism. As long as America is capitalist and free it will be opposed, slandered, and obstructed by the left as an evil influence in the world with the Vietnam War as a template.

...The Bush administration has invested money and lives in making Iraq a platform from which the United States can project power.

That requires not the liberation of Iraq but its subordination. But most Iraqis don't want to be subordinated, which is why the United States in some sense lost the war on the day it invaded. One lesson of contemporary history is that occupying armies generate resistance that, inevitably, prevails over imperial power.

When we admit defeat and pull out -- not if, but when -- the fate of Iraqis will depend in part on whether the United States makes good on legal and moral obligations to pay reparations and allows international institutions to aid in creating a truly sovereign Iraq.

We shouldn't expect politicians to do either without pressure. An anti-empire movement -- the joining of anti-war forces with the movement to reject corporate globalization -- must create that pressure. Journalism professor, Robert Jensen


I guess some ideology, however mistaken or misguided, is too deeply ingrained to be let go of so easily.

Our men

If you haven't already seen this you should consider watching it now.

If you've ever wondered where the heroes are in our society, whether or not there is such a thing as dedication, service, and integrity in our country, you need look no further than our men and women of our Armed Forces. My heroes.

Until Then

Friday, December 03, 2004

Silver Star awarded

What do you have to do to get a Silver Star? U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Ron Riling was awarded the Silver Star for this battle in April of 2004.

Riling quickly organized his forces and began moving to the embattled Marines. When they entered the main town of Rammadi, they immediately came under direct fire coming from every direction, he said.

"The insurgents were in all different types of buildings waiting for us with (rocket-propelled grenades) and small arms," he said.

The Marine squad had been pinned down by snipers and was in terrible shape when Riling, Connor and their physical-security detachment arrived on the scene. The squad leader was dead, lying in the middle of the street, and three of the seven Marines were seriously wounded. The senior remaining Marine was a corporal.

...The group fought its way through withering enemy fire and linked up with the Marines. Riling said he then absorbed the Marines into his team, and they fought their way out. "Some of the guys were laying there wounded. They had gunshot wounds to their legs, and some of them were hurt bad," he said. "One guy was dead and lying out in the middle of the street. They didn't want to leave him. I respected that about the squad."


Rescued marines. Check.

After Riling, Connor and their team evacuated the injured Marines and recovered the Marine squad leader's body, another Marine platoon in the area came under attack by insurgents. Riling and Connor witnessed Marine vehicles being fired on by an Iraqi insurgent armed with rocket-propelled grenades. Riling directed two Bradley Fighting Vehicles from the brigade's reserve into the fight to squelch the attacks.

They saw the insurgent run into a building and had one of the Bradleys knock down a fence surrounding the house. The building was heavily reinforced and had high brick and metal walls. Riling said he knew it was important to act fast, because his colonel and his troops were in a precarious position.

"I thought for sure that someone was going to come out of that house and just start spraying (AK-47 rifle fire)," he said. "I didn't want someone to come out and kill my commander and kill any of our soldiers."

The lead soldier on the door was Sgt. 1st Class Gibson, who was in charge of the colonel's physical-security detachment. Gibson was attempting to kick the door down but couldn't get it to budge. Riling said he was worried -- it was taking too much time. So the 6-feet, 2-inch Riling yelled at Gibson to move out of the way.

"As he moved out of the way, I just crashed through that door. I remember barreling through the door with my left shoulder, and I just knocked the door right off the hinges," said Riling, who weighs 198 pounds.

As a result, the insurgent hiding behind the door was mortally wounded and died.


Kill insurgent with door. Check.

"I felt bad; I mean, we lost 12 Marines that day," he said. "It's very depressing, and it makes you think. You always say to yourself, 'What could you have done better?' In my mind, we did everything we could."

Riling said his actions that day were just those of a soldier doing his job.

"I don't claim to be a hero for getting this award. I don't want to be labeled as a hero. I felt I was just another soldier on the battlefield, doing my job, helping other soldiers and helping Marines," Riling explained.defenselink.mil


True soldier modesty. Check.

That's why they're called the best.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

killing infants

Partial birth abortion? How about after birth abortion?


Four times in recent months, Dutch doctors have pumped lethal doses of drugs into newborns they believe are terminally ill,

...Under the protocol, assisted infant deaths are investigated, but so far all of them have been determined to have been in the patients' best interests.

Euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands since 1994. Under the law, any critically ill patient older than 12 can request an assisted death, including adults in the early stages of dementia. grandforks.com


This Dutch protocol is an attempt to 'provide guidelines' for applying euthanasia to those who cannot decide for themselves that they want to die.

What does death by doctor say about the concept of human rights, not to mention the Hippocratic oath? When we move responsibility from the person whose life is at stake to an impersonal third person in the form of a 'healthcare providers' judgment, aren't we creating the conditions for error, or the demented to seek out such positions because they want to have such power?


Dutch doctors have some intentional role in 3.4 percent of all deaths, according to statistics published in the medical journal The Lancet. About 0.6 percent are patients who didn't ask to be euthanized, the journal said.

Dutch courts often treat those cases leniently if an investigation determines that the doctor acted out of concern for the patient's well-being.

Opponents of expanding euthanasia to the young cite a recent Dutch court ruling against punishment for a doctor who injected fatal drugs into an elderly woman after she told him she didn't want to die.

The court determined that he'd made "an error of judgment," but had acted "honorably and according to conscience." grandforks.com


I don't believe this practice would ever be legal in the United States; unless there were some radical shift in the population of 'JesusLand'. But I think the issue does relate to the abortion issue, in that, I don't see any difference between infanticide and partial birth abortion. Certainly not for the child. In the instance where a mother's life is at stake there is certainly an argument to make that an abortion procedure might possibly be necessary. But I suspect that such instances are not the norm in cases of partial birth abortion.

When my wife was pregnant with our second daughter a sonogram prompted the hospital to call us to a meeting about the results. The sonogram showed evidence of brain cysts, we were told. At the meeting we were offered genetic counseling and invited to explore 'all the options' including information about abortion. Yet the risk, they admitted, was not certain. It was not terminal. They admitted that they couldn't even be sure that the brain cysts would persist. Maybe they would clear up.

I talked to another healthcare worker I know and it turns out that because of sonogram technology improvement such cysts are visible now where they were not previously. The consensus is growing that the appearance of such cysts are a normal part of some percentage of fetal development.

Eleanor was born healthy and whole I'm glad to say. My point is that the framing of such warnings and the viewpoint of a meeting like that might lead some percentage of patients to seek an abortion. How tragic for such a thing to happen if there were no real danger?

Worse than that, there doesn't have to be any danger to get an abortion procedure. Inconvenience is enough. What does it say about us as human beings when our solution to those among us who are 'inconvenient' is to eliminate them? Especially when animal rights groups are agitating for fish rights, and removing a mass murdering dictator is viewed as immoral.