Friday, November 13, 2009

Me, A Patriotic Rebel? I'd Kill to Preserve My Freedoms

In recent days and months I've had private conversations with influential men, colleagues and dearly trusted friends whom I would trust with my very life about the direction our country is headed. It is almost as if I speak with them surreptitiously, quietly and with stealth, away from the listening ears of the growing tide of a government that is beginning to swell out of control. It is as if I joined the ranks of the noble characters of those once passed, who vowed to give their very lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Yes, I would fight and rebel in order to preserve the right that is inherently ours to have as human beings.

In a bold effort to rid themselves from brutal oppression, the inspired creators of the Declaration of Independence, solemnly wrote the following words: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

At the conclusion of the Declaration of Independence, our Founding Forefather’s wrote the following: “…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Ezra Taft Benson, a one-time Secretary of Agriculture and an influential ecclesiastical leader, explained the future of these men. He said, “This Declaration was a promise that would demand terrible sacrifice on the part of its signers. Five of the signers were captured as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary War; another had two sons captured.” (“Our Divine Constitution,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 4.) Certainly the loyalty to their “cause which was just” was unmatched.

In the Saint John’s Church in Richmond Virginia, Patrick Henry eloquently and profoundly asked, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” (Speech before the 2nd Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775.)

I rue the direction our current leaders are taking this country. I will do all in my power to preserve and uphold the sacred and cherished documents of this country I so dearly love, even the United States of America and her heavenly banners, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Taps - Full Version

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Another dear friend of mine called today. We were on the same tight knit military tactical team together, along with Johnny. Our mutual friend, Johnny Linde, didn't make it home. Here is an amazing trumpet version of Taps...just for my red-headed buddy who died two years ago on November 5th.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Police Pursuit Overseas

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Media in War -- Photo of a Dead Marine

John Bernard is a retired Marine First Sergeant. I was introduced to him recently by his closest friend, retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major Jim Sauer. John's son, Joshua, who joined the Marines like his father, gave the ultimate sacrifice – his life.

The young lance corporal was hit directly by an RPG. Half of his body was blown apart. An AP photographer snapped pictures of the entire bloody and gruesome scene. His cold, pale, expressionless face was plastered on every major news outlet, against the wishes of his parents, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Imagine seeing the body of your son as if you were in war yourself. A mother could hardly stand the sight.

With instant communication and immediate image transmissions made available in the 21st Century, such defiantly, heartless decision-making by the Associated Press begs the question, is our society on the cusp of loving violence? Can we not get enough gore? When will it stop? Are we so yearning for bloody entertainment and so excited to see it that we go to extremes to view it on television, play it on video games, or in the case of Joshua Bernard, watch it as if death, war or killing were fun? It's despicable. It's dishonorable. It's uncivil at heart. By doing so our own media is unconsciously feeding propaganda to our enemy and breaking the hearts of our tender mother's who should in no way be exposed to the deaths of their sons in such manner.

Joshua was a good Christian who read the Bible, said his prayers and did his best to follow Jesus Christ. He received the call-sign of "Holy man" from his teammates – not because he was some overzealous do-gooder, but because he quietly, honorably lived his faith at home and in the battle zone.

Joshua's father began writing to members of the government weeks before his son's death. He wrote and told them about the dangerousness of some aspects of the counterinsurgency doctrine (COIN) with the new Rules of Engagement (ROE). He wrote about the crazy rules that were allowing the Taliban to escape for reasons like they were dressed in burkas, and the ROE wouldn’t allow Marines and Soldiers to stop women – or guys in drag. Also, the troops were being denied supporting fires. These ROE went against the better judgment of sound doctrine and battle-proven tactics. It was as if they were being denied the opportunity to win.

Mission Orders: Fight and win.

Caveat: Tie one hand behind your back and blind-fold yourself. Pretend the enemies will fight fairly or with the same moral beliefs any civil society will.

Results: You lose. You cannot put your moral code on an amoral enemy. You cannot believe they are anything less than terrorists with an entirely different mindset. You cannot think that fighting with trepidation or half-heartedly will ensure success. If you do, you'll lose every time.

I understand it was an aspect of those particular caveats John foreshadowed – too much friendliness to enemies who are seeking to kill and murder and maim our troops – that eventually got his son killed. Joshua's death was a direct result of being led into an ambush by their loosely vetted Afghan interpreter.

We cannot afford to cover our eyes and pretend there are no terrorists among us (like the FBI's uncanny announcement within moments of the shooting at Fort Hood, saying terrorism wasn't a factor). We cannot afford to let rulers and leaders of this Republic sit comfortably on their thrones while Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen die – whether on this land or on any other.

In order to do win, we must act wisely, deftly and, in times of war, viciously. We cannot afford to pacify or placate our enemy, or pretend he doesn't exist. We must root out the enemies among our elected officials who, whether by deliberate deceit or unconscious reason, tear down our beloved Constitution and guarantees of freedom. There's only two ways to ensure freedom: (1) Be good. There is great strength in a nation on its knees; and, (2) although paradoxically difficult for any moral person or civil society, we must fight and win.

Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard was the epitome of a brave Marine fighting to ensure our freedom. Yet his legacy, vicariously implemented by the AP, shows more of his real blood and guts instead of his noble-red blood and patriotic, courageous guts – the true inspired genius of any American Patriot, to include our Founding Fathers.

May God grant that our troops come home…and not in body bags.

Finally, I believe the Lord is very aware of some of the tragic decisions those in our great country has made of late and He puts good, honorable and wise men in positions of influence to help keep our troops safe, preserve our Constitution and our way of life, which is being attacked from multiple angles. May God grant each of us peace and comfort during this time of war, crisis and contingency, and may we all strive to be instruments in His hands to bring about good and lasting purposes.

For further reading, picture viewing or watching interviews of John Bernard, click on the links below:

http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/m/26208503/over-the-line.htm

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/09/04/gates-assails-appalling-decision-ap-release-photo-dying-marine/


http://www.nypost.com/t/John_Bernard


http://www.tampabay.com/incoming/article1033549.ece

http://news.aol.com/article/ap-photo-of-marine-lance-cpl-joshua-m/656039

John Bernard's personal blogspot, Let Them Fight or Bring Them Home:


http://www.letthemfight.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Air Marshal Misconduct - Rape Overseas

EXCLUSIVE: Backlash feared from sex trial of air marshal - Washington Times

Source: www.washingtontimes.com

The director of the Federal Air Marshal Service is warning that a criminal trial in Britain could have serious implications for the agency's international mission, including the possibility of its agents being barred from some overseas flights.


Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/nov/06/exclusive-backlash-from-air-marshals-sex-trial-fea/

Veteran's Day Thank-You's

Thank you all for your expressions of appreciation. It really means a lot to me. Those kind words truly melted my heart, especially over the days and weeks following my return from Iraq when the memories of one of my best friend's -- who didn't make it home -- was still fresh in my mind.

Suffice it to say, my wife surely deserves a medal for the year alone with all of our little kiddos. My oldest daughter, 10, wrote me a note in crayon today, which simply said, "Thank you. Happy Veteran's Day. I love you." That brought a big smile and nearly a tear.

God bless all our troops.

Veteran’s Day Letter


The following letter was written by Austin Hamner who was serving in Iraq in 2004. The letter is to his daughters, Mary, Laura & Sarah.

Hello girls, I have something very important to tell you about this war and the meaning of Veteran’s Day. We should never forget that Veteran’s Day used to be called Armistice Day. This particular day was chosen because that was the month, day and hour that World War I ended which was November 11, 1918 at 11:00am . This was supposed to be the “war to end all wars”, but of course we know that it was not the last one.

Sometimes on Veterans Day, we lose connection to the real meaning of the day. I’ve written a few words that may help you to understand what it is all about. Sweethearts, I’ve just returned from the memorial service that was held for two very special soldiers. These two men were taken from this world on Monday of this very week protecting our unit. They were very brave men who protected generals and your dad too.

The first man’s name is Specialist Don Allen Clary. He would have celebrated his 22nd birthday on the last day of this year, December 31. His mother must have wondered if she was to have a New Year’s baby when he was born in 1982. That’s the same year as your big brother John. Specialist Clary had a girlfriend, but they hadn’t married yet and so that part of the story will never be known. What we do know is that he built a house before he left and that he loved to fish. He was a tall man who worked with his hands and he was good at most everything he did. He was excited for the future, but first he wanted to serve his country.

The second hero’s name is Staff Sergeant Clinton Lee Wisdom. This hero just turned 39 in August. He was married and had three children who attended three different levels of school, namely: high school, middle school and elementary school just like our family. He also loved to fish even more than Specialist Clary, but he always took one of his children along so they could have ‘quiet time’ with dad. He wanted to run for mayor of his town once he returned to Kansas .

Both men had the job of leading convoys and protecting generals and other high ranking people so that they would be safe. This was a frequent mission to take several high ranking people to the American Embassy in the International Zone. A suicide bomber aimed a truck for the convoy and the VIP vehicles. These two soldiers placed their own vehicle between the suicide truck and the rest of the convoy to protect the riders. The truck detonated and instantly took these two soldiers away from this world. One of the men who was saved was appointed by President Bush and who is now returning to submit testimony before the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C. This high ranking man said that he owes his life to these two heroes and hopes that he can live to be worthy of the great sacrifice these two men made. I am sure that neither he nor the people with them that day will ever forget these two heroes.

Sooner or later all of us will pass on from this life, but those who willingly give their lives for others certainly are true heroes. Jesus once taught the world that, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. That is one way to know that these two men were real-life heroes.

We had a memorial this morning for these two heroes. You might think that Army soldiers are tough and don’t need to have time for this. It is exactly the opposite sweethearts. We too, need time to grieve over the loss of friends and family. A British soldier played the bagpipes as we assembled for the service. The memorial stand had two pairs of empty desert combat boots with M-16 rifles pointed down beside the shoes. Their Kevlar helmets were placed on top of the upturned rifles. The unit that lost the men was called to attention and then role call was made. Each man responded to their individual names. Only silence responded to the names of the fallen heroes. The names were called out three times according to custom before the name is marked as ‘not present’. Shortly afterward, a wonderful trumpet played the mournful notes of “TAPS” while the entire unit saluted. Upon conclusion, each soldier in the entire unit then had a chance to march up to the temporary memorials and render one final salute to their dear friends. Some spent time on their knees in quiet remembrance of their friends. There were many tears among this ‘band of brothers’ today. Yes girls, soldiers cry too.

Within another week, there will be another similar memorial, back in the state of Kansas . The difference this time will be the individual families that will say, “Goodbye.” Specialist Clary and his girlfriend and family along with the wife and children of SSG Wisdom and their close friends and family will say their final farewells. There will be a military funeral which includes a 21-gun salute. Once that is over, the respective families must then adjust their lives without their real heroes being with them anymore.

This is what we memorialize on Veteran’s Day. We remember the sacrifice of the soldiers themselves along with their grieving families. These men were just two of the more than a thousand heroes who have been taken during this conflict. This is the day to also remember all wars that have been fought on behalf of our country. It is important that we remember who these heroes are and that they are not forgotten. It is not just words spoken softly on one day of the year, but that we remember each time we see the wonderful flags flying along the light poles in Greenwood . Each one helps us to remember others who are no longer with us to enjoy the freedom that was given to us as a gift from those who sacrificed earlier in our country’s history.

I am nearing the end of my time here in Baghdad, Iraq and I am so looking forward to seeing you three as well as your brothers again and being together. I will give you extra hugs and kisses because I know that there are children who will not get them from their dad who was taken away on Monday.

Maybe we can visit the Soldier’s and Sailor’s memorial in downtown Indianapolis and remember the other families and heroes so that they are never forgotten too.

Love you,

Papa

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We've Already Had Our Cyber-Pearl Harbor. Yikes!

"If I were an attacker and I wanted to do strategic damage to the United States, I would either take the cold of winter or the heat of summer, I probably would sack electric power on the U.S. East Cost, maybe the West Coast, and attempt to cause a cascading effect. All of those things are in the art of the possible from a sophisticated attacker," McConnell explained.

"Do you believe our adversaries have the capability of bringing down a power grid?" Kroft asked.

"I do," McConnell replied.

Asked if the U.S. is prepared for such an attack, McConnell told Kroft, "No. The United States is not prepared for such an attack."

"It is now clear this cyber threat is one [of] the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation," President Obama said during a speech.

Four months after taking office, Obama made those concerns part of our national defense policy, declaring the country's digital infrastructure a strategic asset, and confirming that cyber warfare had moved beyond theory.

"We know that cyber intruders have probed our electrical grid, and that in other countries cyber attacks have plunged entire cities into darkness," the president said.

President Obama didn't say which country had been plunged into darkness, but a half a dozen sources in the military, intelligence, and private security communities have told us the president was referring to Brazil.

Several prominent intelligence sources confirmed that there were a series of cyber attacks in Brazil: one north of Rio de Janeiro in January 2005 that affected three cities and tens of thousands of people, and another, much larger event beginning on Sept. 26, 2007.

That one in the state of Espirito Santo affected more than three million people in dozens of cities over a two-day period, causing major disruptions. In Vitoria, the world's largest iron ore producer had seven plants knocked offline, costing the company $7 million. It is not clear who did it or what the motive was.

But the people who do these sorts of things are no longer teenagers making mischief. They're now likely to be highly trained soldiers with the Chinese army or part of an organized crime group in Russia, Europe or the Americas.

"They can disrupt critical infrastructure, wipe databases. We know they can rob banks. So, it's a much bigger and more serious threat," explained Jim Lewis, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies....

"In 2007 we probably had our electronic Pearl Harbor. It was an espionage Pearl Harbor," Lewis said. "Some unknown foreign power, and honestly, we don't know who it is, broke into the Department of Defense, to the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, probably the Department of Energy, probably NASA. They broke into all of the high tech agencies, all of the military agencies, and downloaded terabytes of information."

How much is a terabyte?

"The Library of Congress, which has millions of volumes, is about 12 terabytes. So, we probably lost the equivalent of a Library of Congress worth of government information in 2007," Lewis explained.

"All stolen by foreign countries?" Kroft asked.


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/06/60minutes/main5555565.shtml

See also: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/27/technology/27compute.html?emc=eta1

Think about the threats to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. Think about the possibilities of a Y2K-like terrorist disaster on a 12 million person city. No water, no electricity, no plumbing, no food. The looting and carnage would be insane. A well-planned, well-executed three-pronged attack could spin a city the size of Los Angeles into so much chaos it would make the Rodney King riots look like Romper Room. And, you could leave it to the FBI spokespersons to quickly say there's no link to terrorism within the first five minutes, just like they did directly following the November 5th shooting at Fort Hood. Pshaw. If that solider-killer isn't a terrorist, then I don't know who is.

November 5th was the day Johnny died while we were in Iraq two years ago. He and I served together many years ago on the police Special Reaction Teams on US Army posts in South Korea and at Fort Carson, Colorado.

I spoke with a senior instructor at the DOD Police Academy today who trained the lady cop who was shot -- and who shot -- the so-called Army Major who went on a shooting rampage. She's in good spirits, I'm told. Is it wrong to say I wished I could have shot the guy?

War as PlayStation: death by joystick

War from Cyberspace by Richard Clarke

http://www.nationalinterest.org/Article.aspx?id=22340

I only have one word about this enlightening article: Whoa....

In Iraq, after having returned into the military after era of maps and compasses for navigating, I was shocked at the amazing large screen GPS and computer capabilities within each gun truck! I was surprised at the immediate real-time feed of video surveillance from Predator and Reaper drones, and aghast that the reliance of computer systems and networks in a war zone that had become so heavily relied upon. My feelings then and today are if it's electronic, it can break.

Suffice it to say, the Internet and Secret as well as more cryptic data lines, occasionally went kaput when the weather wasn't just right or when something electronic went bankrupt. The fully dilapidated buildings we worked from were paradoxically outfitted with the latest and greatest super computers, video monitoring devices and communications technology. What a sight that was! Still, when I arranged for my troops to have compasses and maps (not the digital types) as back-ups, they said, "Sir, we don't use those anymore." Au contraire mon frere, we need to be prepared. We need to have plans in layers. The acronym PACE helps line up what plans ought to be made in war:

Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency.

Now, I'm not ignorant and I'm not necessarily caught in the past. I've graduated from the type writer to the electric type writer. And today I obviously use computers and the Internet. Some kid made fun of me recently when I called the Enter button on my laptop a Return button. "What's that?" he said with a sneer after I explained it.

When I worked for the government, I was issued a PDA instead of a notebook and pen, but I still carried the latter as a back up.

I choose to wear simple and easy-to-use analog watches. While digital watches, that can come with digital compasses, barometers and probably James Bond-type death ray lasers, are cool, they just don't do anything for me. Besides, they're not as nice as the indestructibly rugged Rolex anyway. I must confess I don't have one of those either.

When I went sky-diving, I liked the good old fashioned altimeter -- I didn't need one on my wrist that also recorded my heart BPMs, was solar-powered, probably had an internal staple gun hidden somewhere in its complex micro elements, had cellular phone capabilities and which was supposed to serve as "just a watch."

While technology is wonderful, we can't rely that it will work forever. Cyberspace has been attacked and is destined to fail -- at least intermittently -- in the future. Not that we shouldn't use it, but we must develop better defensive and offensive cyber-warfighting capabilities. We must have multiple layered plans for when things go awry, and certainly they will.

...Nevertheless, I now prefer using our tiny GPS in the car whenever going somewhere unfamiliar. Maps are just too expensive, cumbersome and, well, confusing.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Best Fictional Book Ever!!!



Watch out Vince Flynn and Brad Thor, I couldn't put down SHADOWLAND by Steve Williams. I can hardly wait for the rest of the series. Shadowland is like "24" on steroids. Wow!