Friday, July 28, 2006

"The One on the Right is on the Left"

Sorry about the light posting; and the lack of visitations from me to all my favorite blogs. Since I'm at the gymnastics club all day (due to summer camp hours), I barely even get the mainstream news. Just snippets here and there. I can assure you that in spite of some of the pro-Israel support out here (and I teach a lot of Jewish kids) in Los Angeles, American Jews still seem overwhelmingly liberal and anti-Bush.

Since it's TGIF and the weekend is upon us, here is a bit of entertainment (sorry Gayle):

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Homicide Bombing 101

Hat tip: Grouchy Old Cripple

City Troll left a link at Mike's America to some protest pictures out of London today, that have to be seen. There are some really effed up people in this world, living among us, twisting reality into something hideously evil, and calling it "good".

Photo shamelessly stolen from Gayle's blog.

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Saturday Morning Cartoon, Hamas-Style

I posted on this back in November of 2005: Iranian children's cartoon, about a boy whose family is murdered by Israeli soldiers, and grows up to become a homicide bomber.

Are we supposed to show cultural tolerance and understanding? Or can we go ahead and condemn this as evil and wrong?

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

"Moral Relativity", "Moral Equivalence", "Cycle of Violence", "Disproportionate Force", "Proportional Response".....?!?

"Let your opponent graze your skin as you smash into his flesh. Let him smash into your flesh while you break his bones. Let him break your bones as you take his life."
Bruce Lee

There are a couple of buzz phrases that are currently being kicked around: One is "Proportionate response/disproportionate force". The other is "cycle of violence".

This is due to the Israeli military response 8 days ago, to the Hezbollah incursion across the southern Lebanese border and the capture of two Israeli soldiers.

The EU is basically calling the Israeli response, "disproportionate".

So what do they expect the proper response to have been? The hostage taking of 2 Hezbollah terrorists to counterbalance the abduction of 2 Israeli soldiers?

Patriot at A Soldier's Perspective writes:

those same types of terrorists “only” collapsed a few buildings in New York City in 2003 and our country destroyed Afghanistan. There is no such thing as “disproportionate force” when fighting a war. Actually, it’s something you want. Wars aren’t won when each side counts what the other has and organized his force to ensure everything is equal. The reason America is the greatest military power on earth is because of our disproportionate force.

Exactly right. This isn't a game, where you fight with "fair play" in mind. In warfare, your objective is to overwhelm the enemy with superior and sustained firepower, in the hopes of bringing the conflict to a quick and decisive resolution, with minimal casualties to your side.

I've heard some ridiculous charges by some people who call the U.S. a cowardly bully for attacking a "weak" foe like Saddam's regime, and not go after a North Korea or China who have a "fighting chance" against our military might. These same people wonder why we're allowed to have nuclear weapons while others are not. I can only look for the nearest brick wall to hammer my head against, to relieve the pain of dealing with such idiocy. Warfare and global politics is not a sport. Can you imagine someone criticizing law enforcement officers as cowards, because whenever possible, they do not act alone to bring down a suspect? But might tackle and take him down by virtue of superior numbers? This is for the suspect's safety as much as for the safety of the officers'. In a prizefight, unless you like punishment, you don't stand there toe to toe, exchanging blow for blow; you go for the win and avoid as much as possible, any damage to yourself in kind. But because it is a spectator sport, the whole nature of the rules- such as having weight divisions- is to maximize and equalize the potential for punishment to be received by both combatants.

Old Soldier writes the following, in regards to "Proportional response":

War is the resultant associated with the breakdown of humanity. War is the final solution when diplomacy (read appeasement) fails. The military objective of each battle specifically and war in general is to soundly defeat the enemy. That is not done via 'proportional responses'. It is a complex task designed to remove the ability of the enemy to continue to wage war. It can be achieved by destroying the enemy's war making capabilities – like bombing the industrial complexes of Germany during WWII. Or it can break the will of the enemy to continue to wage war – like Nagasaki and Hiroshima did to the Japanese. Had we engaged our enemies of WWII with 'proportional responses', we would still be at war with Germany and Japan today and millions upon millions more people would be in graves because of it.

I think it was last week, that I listened to Dennis Prager make mention of the morally absent phrase, "cycle of violence".

Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, and suddenly we are "caught up in a cycle of violence". Why? Why must the ones who started the violence, be absolved of blame and the ones defending themselves, be held responsible for perpetuating the "cycle of violence"?

One of the interesting antidotes by Prager, was in relating how even as a child, he was bothered by the moral relativity inherent in how many adults solve disputes between kids. Rather than try and discover who was at fault, the parent will often punish both kids as being equally at fault. One kid hits another kid first, who then proceeds to defend himself. The adult comes along and what happens? Rather than seeking to meet out justice, the adult simply wants to "make the problem go away". As I wrote in Old Soldier's comment section, "[Prager] found it morally lazy and immoral that the adult would not care to find out" who was in the right and who was in the wrong.

Thomas Sowell puts things into perspective this way:

Of all the Western democracies, only two have no choice but to depend on their own military forces for their survival -- the United States and Israel. The rest have for more than half a century had the luxury of depending on American military forces in general and the American nuclear deterrent in particular.

People who have long been sheltered from mortal dangers can indulge themselves in the belief that there are no mortal dangers. Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran or North Korea -- and, through them, in the hands of hate-filled terrorists -- may be all that will finally wake up such people. But that may be tragically too late.

Those who keep calling for an end to the "cycle of violence" are what make such violence more likely. "World opinion" in general and the United Nations in particular can always be counted on to counsel "restraint" in response to attacks and "negotiations" in response to lethal threats.

What that means is that those who start trouble will have a lower price to pay than if those they attacked were free to go all out in their counter-attack. Lowering the price to be paid by aggressors virtually guarantees more aggression.
Dennis Prager outlines some of the reasons why Israel is the one who has consistently traveled the moral high ground throughout their conflicts with the Arab world:

Those who deny this and ascribe the conflict to other reasons, such as "Israeli occupation," "Jewish settlements," a "cycle of violence," "the Zionist lobby" and the like, do so despite the fact that Israel's enemies regularly announce the reason for the conflict. The Iranian regime, Hizbollah, Hamas and the Palestinians — in their public opinion polls, in their anti-Semitic school curricula and media, in their election of Hamas, in their support for terror against Israeli civilians in pre-1967 borders — as well as their Muslim supporters around the world, all want the Jewish state annihilated.

In 1947-48, the Arab states tried to destroy the tiny Jewish state formed by the United Nations partition plan. In 1967, Egypt, Syria and Jordan tried to destroy Israel in what became known as the Six-Day War. All of this took place before Israel occupied one millimeter of Palestinian land and before there was a single Jewish settler in the West Bank.

Two months after the Six-Day War of June 5-10, 1967, the Arab countries convened in Khartoum, Sudan, and announced on Sept. 1, 1967, their famous "Three NOs" to Israel: "No peace, No recognition, No negotiations."

Six years later, in 1973, Egypt invaded the Israeli-held Sinai Peninsula, a war that ended in a boost in Egyptian morale from its initially successful surprise attack. Though nearly all of the Sinai remained in Israel's hands, the boost in Egyptian self-confidence enabled Egypt's visionary president, Anwar Sadat, four years later (November 1977), to do the unimaginable for an Arab leader: He visited Israel and addressed its parliament in Jerusalem. As a result, in 1978, Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in return for which Israel gave all of the oil-rich Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt.

Three years later, in 1981, Sadat was assassinated by Egyptian Muslims, a killing welcomed by most Arabs, including the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization). Why welcomed? Because Sadat had done the unforgivable — recognized Israel and made peace with it.

The lesson that Palestinians should have learned from the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement was that if you make peace with Israel, you will not only get peace in return, you will also get all or nearly all of your land back. That is how much Israelis ache for peace.

As a lifelong liberal critic of Israeli policies, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman wrote just two weeks ago: "The Palestinians could have a state on the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem tomorrow, if they and the Arab League clearly recognized Israel, normalized relations and renounced violence. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't know Israel today."

Give Israel peace, and Israel will give you land.

Which is exactly what Israel agreed to do in the last year of the Clinton administration. It offered PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat about 97 percent of the West Bank and three percent of Israel's land in exchange for peace. Instead, Israel got its men, women and children routinely blown up and maimed by Palestinian terrorists after the Palestinians rejected the Israeli offer at Camp David. Even President Clinton, desirous of being the honest broker and yearning to be history's Middle East peacemaker, blamed the ensuing violence entirely on the Palestinians.

Israel's Camp David offer of a Palestinian state for Palestinian peace was rejected because most Palestinians and their Arab and Muslim supporters don't want a second state. They want Israel destroyed. They admit it. Only those who wish Israel's demise and the willfully naive do not.

Israel wages war by weighing into consideration, civilian casualties. Their aim is in taking out Hezbollah safehouses and military targets. The aim of Hezbollah and Islamic terrorists is to maximize civilian casualties on both sides. So where is the moral equivalence? It should be clear which side yearns for peace and which side rages to wage destruction.

Hat tip: The Dennis Prager Show
Also blogging the Prager mention of "Cycle of Violence": Green Pieces

More at Mike's America

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fidel Castro Assassinated by Covert Agent!

Sparks from the Anvil has obtained the real scoop on what Zidane really said to Materazzi. Even though I don't speak a milligram of French or Italian, my lip-reading skills are par extraordinaire.

This just in:

Hat tip:

(Click on the images to be taken to the Melissa Theuriau generators I sourced to bring you this late-breaking news).

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Moore Injustices

Sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong in a country where a despicable slimebag such as Michael Moore is able to generate wealth through lies and distortions; and by means of mischaracterizing and deceiving those who end up in his propaganda films. And when he sat at the 2004 DNC next to Jimmy Carter in the Presidential box, that said just about everything you needed to know about the state that the Democratic Party now finds itself in.

Back in May, the story of Iraq war-veteran Peter Damon was making its rounds in the news (and in the leftside of the blogosphere, a prime candidate targeted for character assassination).

Another soldier, unfairly portrayed in Moore's crapumentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, was Staff Sgt. Raymond Plouhar, who was killed in Iraq late last month. He was one of the Marine recruiters in the film:

Jul 8, 11:07 PM EDT

Marine Recruiter in 'Fahrenheit' Mourned

AP National Writer

LAKE ORION, Mich. (AP) -- He was a stern-faced sniper - and a soft-hearted Marine who handed out candy to kids in Iraq. He was a warrior who wrote poetry about life and death.

He was featured in Michael Moore's antiwar documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," portrayed as an overzealous Marine recruiter who targeted poor kids.

But Staff Sgt. Raymond Plouhar was far more complicated than that.

And it was that complicated man who died in Iraq in late June, as he served with some of the same men he had recruited years ago. It was that complex man who was buried Friday, by a family that honored his service but would never forget his humanity.

"He had a huge heart," says his widow, Leigha.

Plouhar was a Marine for 10 of his 30 years, but he had dreamed of joining the military ever since he was a little boy who liked to watch "M-A-S-H" on television and dress in fatigues and a camouflage shirt.

He entered the Corps straight out of high school, was trained as a sniper and traveled the world - Bosnia, Sudan and Israel. He had a ramrod posture and a fierce pride in his appearance: He once ironed his uniform and polished its brass buttons for two hours before allowing his mom to photograph him.

"He told me lots of times that he learned what could be accomplished .. if you put your heart and soul in it - and he put his heart and soul in the Marine Corps," says his father, also named Raymond. "He was gung-ho from the time he signed his name until the day he died."

His signature was a memorable one.

His birth certificate read Raymond James Byron Anthony Charles Plouhar - he was named after all his grandfathers. He followed a long family tradition of military service that included a grandfather who earned a Purple Heart in World War II and an older sister, Toni, who was in the Army.

Plouhar carried a Bible from his grandfather, Raymond, to Iraq. He kept it in his left shirt pocket next to his heart. Tucked inside was a photo of his wife and their two sons, Raymond, 9, and Michael, 5.

As devoted as he was to the Marines, Plouhar had a full life outside the military. He liked to hunt and camp, take canoe trips and fish with his boys.

He was known as a charmer, a good talker, a champion of the underdog (always defending and befriending kids picked on in school) and though he was trained to fight and kill, he preferred the role of peacemaker.

"He didn't like turmoil," recalls his mother, Cynthia. "He wanted everybody to be happy, to get along. ... He'd say 'Life's too short to sweat the small stuff.'"

As family members gathered last week in their lakefront home 30 miles north of Detroit, they lined the walls and windows with photo collages that tell Raymond Plouhar's life in chapters.

There's the grinning kid with the protruding ears (a coach once joked he looked like a Volkswagen with the doors open) proudly holding up the bass he caught.

There's the sturdy athlete grappling with an opponent around a wrestling circle and posing in the green-and-white football uniform of the Lake Orion Dragons.

There's the young man in love, sitting with high school sweetheart, Leigha, on his dad's Harley on their way to the prom, then years later, together again, he in Marine blue, she in white, on their wedding day.

Then there's the tough-minded Marine in helmet and combat gear - doling out candy from a plastic bag two months ago to schoolchildren in Iraq.

"He admired the Iraqi people," his father says. "He said, 'Dad, even though I can't understand a word they're saying, if we were back home ... we'd be buddies.'"

Plouhar was killed on June 26 by a roadside bomb in Anbar province in his second tour of duty in Iraq, weeks before he was to return home. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Plouhar's family says he had no qualms about returning to Iraq and he believed conditions had improved since his first tour in 2005.

"I never worried," Leigha says, "because ... in my head, he was indestructible and nothing could ever happen to him because he was so good at what he did."

His mother says her son preferred to be at the center of the action. In an undated entry in a blog on, Plouhar said "you can call me crazy" but he liked being in Iraq. "Someone has to do it plus I love what I do," he wrote.

Plouhar did step back from active duty for four years and worked as a recruiter in Flint so he could donate a kidney to his uncle.

It was as a recruiter that Plouhar was seen in Moore's award-winning "Fahrenheit 9/11." The segment shows Plouhar and another Marine in a mall parking lot in a depressed suburb of Flint; it suggests the two men were cynically hunting for poor teens to sign up, rather than go to a wealthy suburb where they'd likely be rejected.

Plouhar's father says his son told him he had been misled and believed he was being filmed for a documentary that would appear on the Discovery Channel. (Moore's office didn't return calls or e-mail messages seeking comment.)

"He cried when he found out what it really was," his father says. "He never dreamed that it was going to be something to slam the country, which he dearly loved."

The movie, to be precise, is primarily a criticism of the Bush administration's actions after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

And yet, the elder Plouhar also says he doesn't see anything wrong with his son's actions. "If you really watched just the part with my son in it," he asks, "how could you not say that he was standing tall and proud?"

His parents say they've seen only the segment featuring their son. Leigha Plouhar says her husband asked her not to watch the film - and she never has. Nor has Stephen Wandrie, his friend of 20 years, who says Plouhar was hurt by the film, but told him:

"'You know what? I know what I do is good for this country and every one of those people I'm recruiting - those guys are my brothers.' "

In the past month, the bloodshed that has become part of the daily life in Iraq seemed to edge closer and closer. He was shaken up in two explosions.

Two weeks before he died, his mother says, he called and she could hear the strain in his voice. But he tried to be reassuring. "He said, I'll be all right. I don't have much longer. ... I'm ready to come home. I'm ready."

And yet he seemed prepared for the possibility he wouldn't.

In a poem he sent to his family last year - a poem now enlarged to floor-to-ceiling size, and covering a wall of the Plouhar home - Plouhar said he knew he could die serving his country and was ready to make the sacrifice.

"I will leave my loved ones, my kids, my wife ...," he wrote. "Do not feel pity for me, for this is my choice. ... This is me. This is who I am. I am a Marine to the very end."

God rest your soul, Raymond Plouhar. Thank you for serving this great nation of ours where a vile stupahdist such as Michael Moore can have his disgusting lies and deceit exposed.

Hat tip: Patriotes

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"It's the Jihad, Stupid!"

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Monday, July 10, 2006

When Hollywood was Made of Nobler Stuff

In my previous post, I touched upon a celebrity who had briefly joined the military (it was either that, or face a 2-year jail sentence) before he attained celebrity status. What I'd like to do now, is focus upon those celebrities who served in the military after becoming rich and famous. The reason is, in a sense, they were living the American dream of success, along with the superficiality of stardom, and yet made a selfless choice to provide military service to their country. In some cases they may have been drafted instead of volunteering to enlist; nevertheless, when duty called, they answered that call, honorably and willingly, for love of country and patriotic duty.

In recent memory, there have been very few celebrities who have chosen to give up their multi-million dollar paychecks and life of luxury, comforts, and excess, to fight for the country that has made their wealth possible and given them so much. Since 9/11, only one name really comes to mind and that is Pat Tillman, although a couple of other star athletes have also chosen military service in their country's time of need over sports contracts and family obligations. As far as Hollywood name actors, there have been zero enlistments.

If Hollywood stars choose not to enlist, out of patriotic duty, that is their right. I don't expect them to drop everything and pick up arms and join the war on terror on the frontlines anymore than I expect myself or anyone else to do so. But it must be noted that citizens of almost every station in life are represented in our military, except for one demographic: the Hollywood entertainer. Contrast this with the Hollywood actors of the 40's generation who signed up to enlist after Pearl Harbor.

It might be argued that some of the Hollywood liberals are exercising their patriotism by opposing the War and This Administration. That might be well good and true; but in my opinion, some of them, because of the manner in which they express their dissent, are doing more harm to this country and to the War effort, than they are to helping bring about its conclusion.

What I do find strange is the shift in attitudes toward notions of patriotism and nationalism; and in what it means to support the troops. Can anyone imagine Ben Affleck signing up to wear an army uniform? Eminem at the Navy Recruiter's, inquiring about what it takes to become a Navy SEAL?

Not a single Hollywood actor gave up a movie contract to fight in the War on Terror. One might argue that there might be some who would, if it was a war that they believed in. But I remain doubtful.

Certainly, self-enlistment is only one way to "support the troops". Celebrities are in a position where their affluence as a civilian may be of greater use and positive influence to the military and the War effort, than if they were given an M-16 rifle and guard duty. Someone like a John D. Rockefeller, who avoided the draft by paying to have an unidentified man take his place, probably did more to help win the Civil War by supplying military goods than he would have done as a footsoldier.

John Wayne, an American icon and larger than life on the big screen, can be said to have done his part, through inspiration. And if he never actually served, it wasn't for a lack of trying:

According to Ronald Reagan: "Duke had hoped to attend the U.S. Naval Academy and was named as an alternate selection to Annapolis, but the first choice took the appointment. When war broke out, he tried to enlist, but was rejected because of an old football injury to his shoulder, his age (34), and his status as a married father of four.

He flew to Washington to plead he be allowed to join the Navy, but was turned down.

So he poured himself into the war effort by making inspirational war films.

To those at home and others around the world he became a symbol of the determined American fighting man. Duke could not be kept from the front lines.

In 1944 he spent three months touring forward positions in the Pacific theater. Duke went to Vietnam in the early days of the war.

He scorned VIP treatment, insisting he visit the troops in the field. Once he even had his helicopter land in the midst of a battle.

The Duke was also personally asked by the Marine Corp Commandant after World War II to make "Sands of Iwo Jima" after which recruitment went through the roof. When John Wayne was honored with a square at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, the sand used in the cement was brought in from Iwo Jima.
-Hollywood Heroes

Only a few celebs- such as Gary Sinese, James Wood, and Bruce Willis, have actively vocalized their support for American victory in the War in Iraq and in the overall War against Islamic Terror. Ron Silver, who I believe is a Democrat, also supports the war, and has been vocal about his support of President Bush in this regard. To their credit, war critics Robin Williams and Al Franken are two of the few Hollywood liberals who don't really support the war, but have made efforts to show support for the troops by going to Iraq on USO tours, and paid $50 a day. Unfortunately, recruiting celebrity talent these days has been difficult. Part of it is the disagreement that Hollywood leftists have with the war (and yet they still dare to say, "we support the troops!"); the other aspect is the ongoing dangers in Iraq.

[Robin]Williams said he'd like to see more comedians in their 20s entertaining the troops, most of whom are that age. Pop singer Jessica Simpson and American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson are among the few young stars who have visited war zones.

Williams — who like Franken has been an outspoken critic of Bush's management of the war — and Newton, a Republican who backs Bush, say some stars have turned down the USO because they thought such performances would amount to endorsing the war.

"And I say it's not," Newton said. "I tell them these men and women are over there because our country sent them, and we have the absolute necessity to try to bring them as much happiness as we can."

Williams said he tells stars, "Go, man. You won't forget it. You'll meet amazing people.' "

Newton said "the fear of danger, and pressure from wives and kids, more than the politics" keeps many celebrities out of today's war areas. He said one National Basketball Association star whom he would not identify asked: "How safe am I going to be?" After Newton assured the player that "you've got the entire U.S. military around you," the player agreed to visit Kuwait and Qatar, Newton said.

"They're scared," country star Morgan said after Wednesday's show. "It's understandable. It's not a safe and fun place, and a lot of people don't want to take the chance."

The Vietnam and Korean wars also were unpopular in show business circles, said Johnny Grant, 82, a retired Hollywood disc jockey who's made 56 trips overseas to emcee USO shows. "During the Vietnam War, I'd see a celebrity and they'd run to the other side of the room, thinking, 'Oh, God, he's going to try to recruit me.' "
-USA Today, December 22, 2005

In "America's Victories" by Larry Schweikart, there is a chapter entitled "Citizen Soldiers" in which the author runs through a list of notable and not so notable Hollywood "A" and "B" stars. Among my favorites:

Clark Gable, who was technically too old to serve. Yet he joined up, enlisting as a private before being promoted up the ranks and attending Officer Training School. Gable flew B-17's over Europe, as did Jimmy Stewart. After starting as a "buck private peeling potatoes," Stewart attained officer rank and led hundreds of men, including another future Academy Award winner, and Stewart's radioman, Walter Matthau, who was awarded six campaign stars. Another airman, Charles Bronson, was a tailgunner on B-29 bombers in the Pacific.

Humphrey Bogart, who had already fought in World War I, tried to enlist but was turned down because of his age.

The list of Hollywood pro-war victory support of a bygone era is an extensive one. You can find more here. Anna of A Rose by Any Other Name also did a great post not too long ago on this very topic.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Star-Spangled Ban Erred

Before the outcry surrounding the "Nuestro Himno" version of the national anthem back in April, which included some star-Spanglished tampering of the lyrics, there was a rejection by many Americans of another non-traditional interpretation of our national anthem. One that seemed to embrace the defiant anti-war attitude of the 60's hippies generation, was Jimi Hendrix' rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Jimi Hendrix went into the U.S. Army as the alternative choice to spending 2 years jail-time over a stolen car. He became a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, serving out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Despite sounding excited about being a paratrooper, supervisors often described him in this manner: "his mind apparently cannot function while performing duties and thinking about his guitar". There really doesn't appear to be much positive in the record books, regarding his conduct as a soldier.

According to Charles Cross, Hendrix was discharged from the military when he faked a love interest in another soldier. This was at a time before large deployments were being made to Vietnam; and before the anti-war movement manifested itself and gathered steam. So if not objections to the war, what was his motive then, for lying to get out of the military? Simply, it was his passion for playing the guitar.

Wayne Pemu writes:

More mundane, but no less relevant, was Hendrix's attitude towards the war. While people presume "Star Spangled Banner" to be defiantly anti-war, it is no such thing; such a notion limits the scope of the piece.

Friends were often surprised by Hendrix's pro-war stance on Vietnam. Eric Burdon recalled that when Hendrix arrived in England he spoke fervently about the need for the United States to subdue Chinese Communism before it overtook the world. It is important to remember that Hendrix had been on both sides of the fence, experiencing attitudes toward the war as diametrically opposed to one another as could be. It's not hard to imagine Hendrix thinking less about the hippies congregated at Woodstock than his old friends from the 101st Airborne (many of whom went straight from Fort Campbell to the jungles overseas to witness combat first-hand) when performing the song. At the same time, Hendrix possessed a pacifistic nature that certainly contributed to the work's radiant objectivity.

In "America's Victories", Paul Schweikart has this to say,

" 1969, when European interviewers badgered him about the Vietnam War, hoping he would make inflammatory statements, Hendrix shocked them by comparing Vietnam to D-Day: 'Did you send the Americans away when they landed in Normandy?...No, but then that was concerning your own skin. The Americans are fighting in Vietnam for the complete free world...Of course, war is horrible, but at present, it's still the only guarantee to maintain peace."

So, it looks like the military did have a positive influence on his way of thinking, after all, despite the reports on what a poor learner and lazy soldier he was. When this was news about a year ago, the lefty blogs were scratching their heads, confused on how to accept this revelation and how to reconcile and rationalize it in their heads, that one of their music gods of the anti-war generation was still one of them.

It is often the case, that musicians and artists in general, lean liberal. I suspect that unless an artist makes his political identity prominent and overt, overshadowing his identity as an entertainer, most people will not care what the person's political leanings are. So it was, that soldiers in Vietnam, reportedly, loved listening to Hendrix, even as he was claimed by the anti-war hippies as one of their own.

If I've gotten any of these facts wrong, or if my post paints an incomplete picture, feel free to fill me in on the straight dope. C'mon into the comments section, and shoot me up! I'm far from an expert on the life of the guitar legend.

Tradition keeps us rooted to some of the best parts of ourselves and to what made us great; but tradition can also lead to cultural stagnation. Americans sometimes love non-traditional renditions and innovations; but at other times, rejects it, if it fails the patriotic litmus test. Here are a few other star-mangled banners.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Post-Independence Day Saturday Afternoon ABC Schoolhouse Rock

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

What Happened After We Gained Our Independence?

America's First War with Islamic Terror

"In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e., Muhammad], the Egyptian, [.....] Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST.- TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE.... Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. The war is yet flagrant ... While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men."
John Quincy Adams, from The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam

Islamic Imperialism

Some people might consider "the problem with Islam" to be a recent phenomenon, as far as its dealings with America, goes. But this is not the case. The United States of America actually fought its first war with Muslim aggressors in 1801.

These days, many of our current and future generations are raised on the Howard Zinn version of American history. It's been described as brilliant scholarship by Bill Bennett, but also horribly skewed and lopsided in its depiction of America, slanting an unfairly negative impression upon the reader. Political correctness and multiculturalism has made it popular to malign the Crusades as a war of pillaging and murder, instigated by the Christians. White Europeans are made out to be imperialistic, racist, slave-owning societies. Swept under the rug of consciousness, is the fact that it was in the West, where the first anti-slavery movement began. And it was started by Christians. And as for the Crusades, according to Thomas Madden, they were in every way, defensive wars, waged as a response to more than four centuries of Muslim aggression; and were no more offensive than was the American-led invasion of Normandy.

We often hear of "western imperialism" and America's deep sin of slavery and racism. But how often is it noted that the institution of slavery was not exclusive to the United States of America? The slave trade was engaged in all four corners of the globe, throughout the torrid history of mankind. It is estimated that Muslims enslaved up to 1.25 million Europeans and Christians over a period of centuries. And even to this day, the slave trade has not been completely eradicated in the Arab world. When the Arabian Peninsula became the penultimate region to abolish slavery in 1962, a quarter of a million slaves were said to still exist in Saudi Arabia, years later.1

Muslim expansion was always achieved through the business end of a sword. By the 8th century, two-thirds of the Christian world was conquered by Islamists. This included Palestine, Syria, Egypt, all of Christian North Africa, and Spain.

An Axis of Evil

Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli were the North African seaports that came to comprise "the Barbary States". It became their habit to terrorize ships along the Mediterranean, and even further on. They kidnapped, murdered, ransomed, and enslaved merchant ships with impunity. If not sold into slavery or ransomed, Christian sailors could find themselves rotting away on a diet of starvation in the dungeons of the Pirate States. According to Joshua E. London,
"Piracy was deemed an acceptable and important component of the al-jihad fi’l-bahr, or the holy war at sea, and the ta’ifa, or community, of seamen became integral to the Muslim struggle with Christendom,"
By 1662, these Muslim pirates- Barbary corsairs- had refined piracy to a sophisticated, highly disciplined and well-organized racket. And,
“In that year, England revived the ancient custom of paying tribute, which meant that corsairs agreed to spare English ships for an annual bribe paid in gold, jewels, arms, and supplies. The custom quickly spread to all countries trading the Mediterranean."2
Not just England, but all European powers paid bribes and tributes to the Barbary rulers in order to avoid having their ships boarded and ransacked, and their citizens enslaved. France paid 200,000 annually, to Algiers alone. Britain, up to 280,000! When the United States gained its independence from Britain, it also lost the protective umbrella of Britain's protection payments to the Barbary rulers.

America Faces its First Major Foreign Policy Crisis

By the end of the Revolutionary War, America was desperate for trade. The British navy cut off any possibility of trade with Canada, the West Indies, and with the rejected Motherland, itself. Its economy in near ruins, the fledgling democracy was in dire straits. Militarily, it did not have a naval fleet. The Continental Navy was disbanded in 1784 as a cost-saving measure. So it was, that in 1783, the seafaring terrorists belonging to the sovereign Barbary States, the Barbary Corsairs, unprovoked, demonstrated how they recognized America's newfound sovereignty by attacking American merchant ships which no longer sailed the Mediterranean under the aegis of the British crown.

An American brig, the Betsey, was captured the following year by Moroccan pirates, and its crew put to slave labor. Shortly after that, the ruler of Algiers declared war on the U.S. Vessel after vessel was plundered and crews taken hostage. At one point, rumor had it that Benjamin Franklin, on a voyage from France to Philadelphia, was kidnapped by the Barbary Corsairs. It caused quite a sensation, even if it were untrue, for the problem of the Musselmen pirates of the Barbary States was the talk of the day.

Confronting the Dilemma of State-Sponsored Terror on the High Seas

In 1784, Thomas Jefferson was minister to France, and John Adams minister to England. They had the approval of the Continental Congress to negotiate for treaties with the Barbary States. For the life of them, they could not understand why they were so hated by these Muslim States.

And so in London, after an initial private meeting with him by Adams, both Adams and Jefferson confronted His Excellency, Abdrahaman, Tripoli's ambassador to London, who told them:
“America was a great nation, but unfortunately a state of war existed between America and Tripoli. Adams questioned how that could be, given there had been no injury, insult, or provocation on either side. The Barbary States were the sovereigns of the Mediterranean all the same, he was told, and without a treaty of peace there could be no peace between Tripoli and America. His Excellency was prepared to arrange such a treaty…The sooner peace was made between America and the Barbary States the better. Were a treaty delayed, it would be more difficult to make. A war between Christian and Christian was mild, prisoners were treated with humanity; but, warned His Excellency, a war between Muslim and Christian could be horrible.”3
Bill Bennett, in his new book, "America, the Last Best Hope", describes it this way:
The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners.
Joshua E. London's description of the meeting in his book:
"The response was unnerving. As Adams and Jefferson later reported to the Continental Congress, the ambassador said the raids were a jihad against infidels. Muslim privateers felt "it was their duty to make war upon them [non-Muslims] wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could as Prisoners, and that every Mussleman [Muslim] who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise."

The Americans now had two choices: pay tribute or fight the pirates."
Abdrahaman made it known that peace with all the Barbary States might amount to 200,000 to 300,000 guineas. Because it was such a vast amount, and Congress had only guaranteed them 80,000, they had to refer back to Congress.

“We ought
not to fight them at all,
we determine to fight themforever.”
-John Adams

The Republican pacifist, Thomas Jefferson, came away from this encounter, mongering for war as a matter of honor, and made an appeal to John Adams. Adams agreed with Jefferson in principle; but America, without a navy and the funds needed to carry on a war, decided it would be cheaper to go the example of the European nations, and pay into the extortion racket set up by the Barbary Corsairs, rather than opt for war. Adams cautioned Jefferson, “We ought not to fight them at all unless we determine to fight them forever,”4

Prophetic words, perhaps?

Appeasement is Not the Answer

Once America began paying ransom for hostages, and tributes to Barbary Corsairs, things only intensified and worsened. The U.S. now found itself having to pay other States along the Barbary Coast, besides the ones who initially began the attack campaigns in 1783 and 1784. By the time Thomas Jefferson took office as America's 3rd President, the United States had paid out 2 million to the Barbary States. At the time, that amounted to a fifth of our 10 million federal income.

All the while we were extorted out of large sums of money, U.S. merchant ships still fell prey to Muslim pirates.

Coalition of the Unwilling

While acting as Secretary of State under George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, who considered war to be a great evil, still saw war as the only logical solution to America's first, real foreign crisis. It was his belief that tribute money was "money thrown away" and that "the most convincing argument that these outlaws would understand was gunpowder and shot."5

Jefferson attempted to organize a coalition of European nations to resist the aggressors. This included a proposal for a multi-national effort at blockading North Africa, economically, and putting together a Coalition Force that could resist the seafaring terrorists. How did the European powers of Denmark, Holland, the Papal States, Spain, France, and Germany receive this bold plan? They chose to continue on with the status quo of paying tributes to the Barbary rulers, feeling it safer and far cheaper. They were resigned in the belief that this was simply the way trade was to be conducted in the Mediterranean. Even Britain, with its mighty navy, reputed to be "the mistress of the seas", chose to pay the bribes, leaving America to unilaterally make the right decision, even when it wasn't the popular one to be made.

Bedding with the Enemy?

Of course, there was also devious self-interest in allowing this "cozy cartel" to continue, unmolested:
"British, French, and Dutch ships could sail the waters with impunity, while relying corsairs of both complexions [Muslim Barbary Corsairs and Christian Malta Corsairs- Wordsmith] to harrass the shipping of their competitors. This cunning arrangement allowed British and French merchantment to take a substantial proportion of the Mediterranean trade. In France, there was clear and sometimes explicit understanding that the raids of the Barbary corsairs had advantages: 'We are certain that it is not in our interest that all the Barbary corsairs be destroyed, ' ran one anonymous French memo, 'since then we would be on par with all the Italians and the peoples of the North Sea.' " 6

America Perceived as "Paper Tiger"

In 1794, the Navy Act saw the rebuilding of America's navy, with six ships authorized for construction; and
"in anticipation of fighting the Barbary pirates. Yet, in 1795, Congress approved a treaty with Algiers that led to the release of the hostages the following year, but that cost the US nearly $642,500 in cash, munitions, and a 36-gun frigate, besides a yearly tribute of $21,600 worth of naval supplies! Ransom rates were officially set for those Americans already in Barbary prisons: $4000 for each passenger and $1,400 for each cabin boy."7
By 1797, the U.S. had 3 naval warships, including "Old Ironside" herself, the USS Constitution.

On December 14, 1799, one of the greatest Americans who ever lived passed away: George Washington. Upon receiving news of his death, the Pasha of Tripoli, Yusuf, sent word to President John Adams that custom demanded that when a great leader dies from a tributary state, which it regarded the U.S. as being, a tribute-gift must be made to the Sultan of Tripoli. Yusuf's estimate of Washington's value was in the amount of $10,000.

In 1800, the U.S. ship, George Washington, sailed along the Mediterranean to pay its annual tribute to Algiers. But the Bey of Algiers ordered Captain Bainbridge to sail on to Constantinople instead, to deliver the consignment of tribute directly to the Turkish Ottoman Sultan himself. To add insult to humiliating injury, Bainbridge was also made to take down the American flag and raise up the Algerian colors in its stead, aboard the George Washington.
"Upon viewing the Americans’ weakness, the other Barbary States stepped up their blackmail demands."7
By the spring of 1801, when Yusuf still did not receive his monetary "gift" from the U.S. for the death of George Washington, he sent for the U.S. consul to be brought before him. After making the consul kiss his hand, the Pasha proclaimed that the annual tribute that the U.S. was to pay Tripoli, would now be raised in the amount of $250,000; plus $25,000 in goods of his choice. Refusal to pay up would be taken as an act of war. On May 14th, he ordered that the flag staff at the American consul be cut down
“To make his point, Yusuf had his soldiers chop down the flagpole in front of the American consulate, a significant gesture in a land of no tall trees and one that meant war.”8
So why had America not paid up? Because by 1801, the Pasha was now dealing with President Thomas Jefferson....and the peace-loving Jefferson, itching for war for the past 17 years, was having no more of this nonsense.

"Millions for defense, not a penny for tribute"

Tributes came to an end. The Pasha of Tripoli became enraged. In 1801, May 10th, war was declared by Tripoli, in what has become known as "The Tripolitan War" or the "Barbary Wars". Morocco, Algiers, and Tunis subsequently joined in on declaring war against the U.S. "Millions for defense, not a penny for tribute", became the slogan of the day, in the U.S.

America's First Covert Op in Foreign Land

2 years into the War, the U.S. made little headway. On October 31, 1803, the USS Philadelphia ran aground on an uncharted reef off the coast of Tripoli. The crew and officers were taken captive. On February 16, 1804, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led 74 brave volunteers on a mission to rescue the ship, lest it be used against the Americans themselves. Sailing covertly at night in the Intrepid, a renamed captured Tripolitan ketch, Decatur and his men stole aboard the Philadelphia, were forced to set the Philadelphia ablaze instead of retaking her, and made their escape before an alarm was sounded. This heroic raid led the famous British admiral, Horatio Nelson, to call it "the most bold and daring act of the age". The crew of the Philadelphia, unfortunately, remained captives; and the asking price for their return was $200,000.

America's First Endorsement of Regime Change

3 years into the war, we meet William Eaton, the American consul in Tunis. Principled, self-righteous, a lover of liberty, Eaton had this to write to the Secretary of State regarding the nature of the enemy:
"Taught by revelation that war with the Christians will guarantee the salvation of their souls, and finding so great secular advantages in the observance of this religious duty [i.e. keeping captured cargoes] their inducements to desperate fighting are very powerful."9
At the same,
"Eaton also possessed the intellectual honesty to acknowledge that the cruelty of the Barbary slavery he witnessed was '...but a copy of the very barbarity which my eyes have seen in my own country. And yet we boast of liberty and national justice.'"10
Eaton came up with the plan of replacing then Pasha of Tripoli, Yusuf Karamanli, with his exiled older brother, Hamet Karamanli, who resided in Egypt. Eaton wrote to President Jefferson with the proposal of a military coup to set the rightful heir back into power. Permission was granted him.

Hamet commanded a force of about 500 men. On March 8, 1805, supported by this motley crew of 10 U.S. Marines and mercenaries made up of Greeks, Turks, Arab Bedouins, and Mamaluke Egyptian tribesmens, Eaton trekked his coalition force from Alexandria across 500 miles along the North African Coast. It was not an easy venture, and there were some concerns about the ability of the 10 Marines to get along with the 200+ Muslim mercenaries, as expressed in Eaton's personal journal, dated April 8, 1805:
"We find it almost impossible to inspire these wild bigots with confidence in us or to persuade them that, being Christians, we can be otherwise than enemies to Musselmen [Muslims]. We have a difficult undertaking."
Serving with Eaton was a Marine Lieutenant, Presley O'Bannon from the USS Argus. He was an Irish-American from Marshall, in Fauquier County, Virginia. On April 25, 1805, after 45 days, they came to Derna.
Surely by then, many in this small army must have been happy at the prospect of battle, as opposed to dying a miserable death in the desert. A message was sent to the governor of Derna to surrender. His defiant reply was, "My head or yours." Shortly after this, the attacking force was bolstered by the arrival of the USS Argus, USS Hornet, and USS Nautilus in the harbor.
On April 27, 1805, outnumbered 10 to 1, they attacked.
It was decided that Hamet and his Mamelukes would attack the governor's castle, while O'Bannon, with his Americans, along with the Greeks and Turks, would lead an assault on the harbor fort. The naval guns would assist by bombarding the objectives.

As the attack began, the firing from the governor's castle proved too much for Hamet's force, and they held back. With enemy reinforcements known to be on the way, the attackers were in dire need of a quick victory. Eaton ordered O'Bannon to lead his men in a frontal assault on the harbor fort. Two hours of desperate fighting ensued, but finally O'Bannon and his men drove the Tripolitans from the fort and captured the guns there before they could be spiked. This would prove to be important.

O'Bannon had carried a U.S. flag with him, and now, for the first time in history, the Stars and Stripes was raised over foreign soil. Seeing this, the defenders in the governor's castle took flight and Hamet's men took possession of it and the town. The victory was not complete, however, for now the feared enemy-reinforcements arrived, determined to recover what had been lost.

A number of vigorous assaults followed. All were repulsed, with O'Bannon's men able to use the captured guns of the fort to good effect. Finally the Tripolitans gave up, and the battle of Derna was over. Presley O'Bannon had led the first victory of American land forces on foreign soil. It had not come without a cost. O'Bannon lost 13 killed in the attack, including two of his Marines: Pvt. John Whitten and Pvt. Edward Steweard. The people of the town proclaimed Hamet the new ruler of Tripoli, but the victory was fleeting.
With Derna taken, providing the Americans with a backdoor to Tripoli, Yusuf Karamanli anticipated imminent defeat. He negotiated for peace with President Jefferson; and much to the consternation of William Eaton the fruits of victory gained by the blood of soldiers was robbed from them; the less than satisfactory outcome decided by politicians back at home, and one, Colonel Tobias Lear, Consul General to Algiers. Treaty negotiations included the release of American prisoners (Captain Bainbridge and the crew of the Philadelphia); and also payment to Pasha Yusuf Karamanli in the amount of $60,000, that no further attacks would happen to American vessels- the very reason why we went to war in the first place! Beyond that, no further tributes would be paid out. So Karamanli was left in power while Hamet was exiled to Sicily. Eaton felt betrayed and was outraged over the "sell-out". To our shame, the Muslim mercenaries who were our allies in this venture, went unpaid and were abandoned to face the wrath of the Pasha.

Despite the tainted victory, the success of the fledgling republic signalled to the rest of the world that America was an emerging power, capable of defending itself and not to be bullied into accepting the status quo.

As a historical footnote, even though the Tripolitan War had ended, the Barbary threat hadn't:
In 1807, however, the Algerians (not the Tripolitans) seized three American ships and again demanded ransom. Thus, the Barbary threat continued in this way for another seven years. “Following the War of 1812, Stephen Decatur entered the Mediterranean with ten tall ships and the steely determination that made him a hero. Like Preble before him, he let his cannon do the talking. Fighting fire with fire, he took 486 prisoners and forced the Algerians to pay a ransom of $10,000, to release all captives immediately, and to cease and desist all demands for further tribute from America forever. Such insurmountable logic was not lost on the Dey. Likewise the Dey of Tunis paid Decatur $46,000 to not hurt him, and the Pasha of Tripoli contributed $25,000 to see the last of the Americans. Decatur finally broke the Barbary threat with the only weapon the pirates understood.11

"Our Country Right or Wrong!"

The battle Hymn of the U.S. Marines is a tribute to their warrior-brethren of the past and to their proud history. That includes reference to the first land engagement of U.S. troops on foreign soil, commemorated at the beginning of the Hymn, in the lines: " the shores of Tripoli" (a reference to the capture of the rich seaport, Derna, and strategic location for taking Tripoli).

The Mamaluke dress swords carried by every Marine to this day, is a copy of the sword carried by Hamet at Derna (according to legend). Complete with ivory handle and gold eagle head, Hamet gave this to O'Bannon in gratitude for his service. It's said that he was greatly impressed by the bravery exhibited by O'Bannon.

From this conflict, Stephen Decatur also gave us this famous toast: "Our Country: In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country right or wrong!"

When I pieced this jigsaw together, I did so wanting to build a spirited, dramatic narrative with a patriotic flavor, and draw foreshadowing and a few parallels to the times we live in today. In so doing, I wish to caution readers that all history is open for interpretation; some even argue against calling the Barbary Corsairs "pirates" but rather, "privateers". If you've read this far, I encourage you to read just a little further, the following editor's statement from SEMP:
Some observers have drawn parallels between the Barbary Mussulmen pirates and Islamic terrorists of today. The two groups are similar in their considerable skill in wielding the hostage tool to gain their ends, but the Barbary pirates were not jihadists—they did not, as far as we know, terrorize merchant shipping in the name of Allah with the intent of eradicating infidels from the face of the Earth. Rather, they terrorized ships to acquire revenues to support their way of life. It is possible that the two groups are similar in that if they ever stopped terrorizing civilians, no one would any longer fear them.

Plagiarized, Pirated, Pillaged, and Plundered Footnoted Resources (other than links already embedded in the text):

1 "The Sword of the Prophet" by Trifkovic, Serge, pp. 175
2America’s First War on Terror” by Fallon, Paul October 17, 2002
3 "John Adams” by McCullough, David. Simon & Schuster, 2001, pp. 353-4
6"A Worldwide Illustrated History of Pirates", consulting editor- Cordingly, David. Turner Publishing Inc. pp. 99
8Terrorism in Early America: The US Wages War Against the Barbary States to End International Blackmail and Terrorism” by Jewett, Thomas.

Cross-posted at Flopping Aces

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

"Truth, Justice, and....All that stuff!?!?"

"I don't think 'The American Way' means what it meant in 1945. He's an alien from krypton...and he has no papers."
-Dan Harris, screenwriter

The new movie, "Superman Returns", drew in $21.04 million dollars on its opening day, Friday.

I grew up on comic book superheroes. As a very young child, I remember watching the old tv series, "The Adventures of Superman" every day after school. I remember a time when comic books were 35 cents. I think I began collecting them when they were at 50 cents, spending money on plastic bags and cardboard backings, specially coated, so as to keep the comics in mint condition; and if you wanted to actually read the comic again, you were supposed to buy a second issue, rather than get your corrosively oily fingers to risk damaging the value of the comic.

By the time I was in college, I had begun weening myself off of comic collecting. I had been a longtime reader of Marvel; but as time wore on, and I missed issue after issue of my favorites, it got easier to save my money. The only two comics I followed as a mature college student, were the Japanese translation, "Lonewolf and Cub", and a surprisingly well-written comic series about a samurai rabbit bodyguard, called "Usagi Yojimbo" (yeah, I know...that's what I said, until I took the time to read it).

In 2003, Captain America, a character whose very name should evoke flag-waving and who is the symbol and star-spangled epitomy of the best in American patriotism, turned into a guilt-ridden, Patriot Act-Bush-bashing, card-carrying Howard Zinn liberal. Thanks a lot Marvel. This is how our youth becomes indoctrinated into liberalism. Popular culture is the playground of liberal ideology, and even comic books are not spared. I guess they really aren't made for children, anymore and we should call them the more mature, meant-to-be-taken seriously, term: "graphic novel". The Captain America of the WWII era would have seen him punching out Osama bin Laden, the way he punched Adolf Hitler on the cover of one issue. Now, Captain America sees America as the problem, and our leadership as the real enemy; not the terrorists who want to kill us and destroy the freedoms that we enjoy.

Going back to the Superman TV series, the introduction of it is seared into my memory...including these famous words to describe the invincible hero: "[Who] fights a neverending battle for Truth...Justice...and the American Way."

This brings us to the new movie, where that last part is purposefully left out. I'm not going to blame it on liberal Hollywood elitism...but wtf(rak)? I realize that in the current world clime, where anti-American sentiments are running high, the part about fighting for "the American Way" grates on the nerves of the politically correct; and that the intentional decision to have those lines removed and make Superman a citizen-hero for the world, rather than a strictly American one, might be a purely business, monetary decision; but still, there's just something not right about remove the "American" from an icon and symbol of America and American culture.

Like Captain America, his character in comics, traditionally, has always been identified with and fought for, America. And now it appears the Kryptonite known as "liberal sensibilities", have neutered him of any sense of nationalism. I think this goes back to the self-loathing, blame and bash America sentiments that so many of our fellow blue Americans feel. The ones who always wring their hands over how "the rest of the world hates us". I am proud of our "American Way". And I will always regard Superman as an American hero.

I suppose I should see it first. I have no doubt that the absence of saying "...and the American way" is such a minor mole-hill, that I'm getting my underoos all bundled in a wad over nothing. Only a conservative like Sean Hannity and myself (yes, I happened to catch him review it on Hannity and Colmes...also "Your World with Cavuto") would even notice and be irked by such a subtle absence of the patriotic-stirring phrase.

Superman is now a global superhero; an international man of mystery, savior, and citizen of the world, fighting for all mankind. But isn't that really an "American" thing to do? Us "saving" the rest of the world, time and time again? Fighting global evil, helping foreign nations, etc.?

The Superman expression, "...and the American Way" should be something both liberal and conservative Americans can be proud of. The kind of stirring of pride and patriotism that is above partisan politics such as we experienced on 9/12/01.

As far as I know it's gotten mixed reviews. Still, because it is Superman, I'm sure it will do extremely well at the box office. Growing wealth, after all, is part of "the American way", if that was Hollywood's sole intent in eradicating "Americanism" from the content.

SuperDuper Update!!

Hat tip to Kyrie, who provided a link in the comments section to her friend Tallguy. The photo is shamelessly stolen from his post (click on it to be led to it), and here is an excerpt:
So if Superman "belongs to the world", why isn't he fighting for communism? Why didn't he fight for the Axis, just to keep a level playing field? Why doesn't he seem like he'd be particularly pro-North Korea? In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Superman gets rid of all of the world nukes, which plays into Lex Luthor's diabolical scheme. I'd like to have seen what happened when the world devolved back into full scale conventional warfare, myself. Germany could have been reunited in 1987! Maybe not how we had liked, but what can you do?

You can also read Tallguy's movie review of it here.

Another interesting movie review.

Also an interview with Bryan Singer. Both of these last two links touches upon Superman as a Christ-like savior.

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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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