In Washington D.C., last week, members of Congress again held public "hearings" to interrogate Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker on the progress of the War on Terror in Iraq.
If national security really was the purpose behind these interrogations, they could have been held behind closed doors, but national security had little to nothing to do with what transpired in Congress last week. It was all about political posturing by Senators and Congressmen who differ with President Bush on his approach to the War on Terror and will use any means they have to push their agendas, especially in a presidential election year.
It has been documented that every time American politicians go public with their criticisms of the war, the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan do everything they can, including suicide missions, to kill as many American troops as possible. The terrorists may be nothing more than rabid animals, but they are sophisticated enough to know that the bloodier their actions, and the more American casualties they cause, the more the media will pay attention to them.
This strategy is intended to pressure the Bush Administration into withdrawing, which will give the terrorists free rein to take control of Iraq, terrorize the neighboring states, and reestablish the terrorist network that American and allied forces have been successful in destroying over the past five years.
The terrorists have willing accomplices in Congress. They know this. Under the guise of political differences the terrorists' allies intend to dismantle America as we know it and replace with ... something less.
Thus far the Bush Administration has been steadfast in its pursuit of its goals to eliminate the terrorist forces, and despite some missteps and setbacks it has been successful. There is plenty of reason to believe that we will prevail. But you wouldn't know that to hear the anti-war forces in Congress talking last week.
Gen. Petraeus came supplied with facts and figures, statistics, charts and graphs showing exactly what has happened in the past year. But he may as well have appeared naked for all the good it did.
The hearings were held, the choose to lose, retreat to defeat statements were made, and Iraqi nutcase Muqtada Al Sadr, hiding safely in a fortified bunker in Iran, ordered his religious zealots to attack Americans. Iraqi Army forces stood up to Al Sadr - well 93 percent did, but the media focused on the 7 percent that didn't - naturally.
Al Sadr's forces were bashed in Basra, bloodied in Baghdad, and blitzed in between. Al Sadr has since been running around like a chicken with its head cut off, threatening one day, cajoling the next, offering a truce on one hand and holy war on the other. In other words he is acting like an inexperienced loser who doesn't have the wherewithal to know what to do so he is trying everything at once.
But while Al Sadr dithered, and members of Congress postured for the media, 19 American troops lost their lives. We know this because after months of NOT reporting American casualties, since they had dropped off considerably from a year ago, there now was some bad news to share so the media was all over it.
Nonetheless, American and Iraqi forces have dealt yet another blow to the terrorists, whether they are Islamo-fascist Al Qaeda members or homegrown zealots loyal to Al Sadr. But victory rarely comes without a price and this week that price was 19 American lives, in renewed terrorist attacks that coincided directly with anti-war posturing by members of the American Congress.
Who do I go see about that? When and where will a national leader emerge who has the backbone and other physical attributes to call this what it is - aiding and abetting the enemy, treason - and stand up to it? Are the lives of our armed forces so expendable, and the people who serve looked down upon with such disdain, even by those who claim to support the military and the war, that 19 lives can be tossed aside so callously?
It is shocking to see what happened in Iraq last week, and to understand the cause of it. It is shocking to see so many so-called leaders sitting on their hands and doing nothing about it.
Shocking, but not surprising.
I say that because I see little difference in the way Congress is acting now, and the way it acted in 1973 when it gave away all the victories American and allied forces had won in Vietnam. The actions of the US Congress, not the military, enabled the communists to go on a murderous rampage in Southeast Asia, killing millions.
For the previous decade American and allied troops had successfully battled communist forces, armed and supplied by the Soviet Union and China, and had driven them to the point of surrender. In the previous decade American forces had not lost a single major engagement and had put a horrendous beating on the communists, who ultimately lost approximately 1.5 million troops.
That is when Congress stepped in and threw all the victories down the drain. That is when Washington told the world that the lives of American troops are expendable if they conflict with political agendas.
That is what some politicians think. That is not what I think, and I am sure it isn't what most Americans think.
And just to drive that point home, I would like to thank my brother Marines Dane Brown and Bruce Bley who served in the First Battalion, 27th Marines in Vietnam, for remembering a deadly day in their unit's history
Forty years ago today, on April 13, 1968 the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, fought a bloody battle with North Vietnamese Army troops near Hue City. The Marines were continuing the destruction of communist forces that began in the Tet Offensive and were eliminating enemy troops that a month earlier had occupied Hue City. The North Vietnamese murdered thousands of civilians before being overrun.
Following the NVA defeat at Hue, the remnants of their attacking forces were pursued and destroyed by American forces. As they continued to engage NVA units, the Marines of 1/27 came under heavy enemy automatic weapons, small arms and rocket fire and were temporarily pinned down. The fight cost the Marines 26 dead, and 46 wounded, but helped to clear the area of remaining NVA/VC forces.
Just so this doesn't become a matter of statistics, the names of the Marines of 1/27 who died that day - courtesy of the Virtual Wall - are:
SSgt Glennis R. Kellams, New Albany, IN (Silver Star)
Cpl Kenneth M. Watson, Toledo, OH
LCpl Richard L. Embrey, Warren, AZ
LCpl Stephen J. Hinds, Osseo, MN
Pfc Raymond Armstrong, Cleveland, OH
Pfc Frank W. Atherton, Templeton, PA
Pfc Robert C. Healey, Trenton, NJ
Pfc Kenneth L. Hinnant, Johnson City, TN
Pfc Larry C. Hopper, Ontario, CA
Pfc Jerry A. Snipes, Albemarle, NC
2ndLt Alan A. Kettner, Springfield, MN
Cpl James E. Hodge, Macksburg, OH
LCpl Terry L. Fuhrman, Fort Wayne, IN (DoW 14 Apr 68)
LCpl Alfred V. Whitmer, Morenci, AZ
Pfc Roger A. Boomsma, Arcadia, CA
Pfc Douglas L. Long, Savannah, GA
Pfc Barry D. Lord, Findlay, OH
Pfc Paul L. Whitthorne, Memphis, TN
Pfc William W. Wilson, St Marys, WV
Pvt Ray T. Comfort, Northumberland, PA
Cpl Joseph C. Reid, Baton Rouge, LA
Pfc Donald L. Mansfield, Rockland, ME
Pfc William G. Parker, Detroit, MI
SSgt Fred J. Hayes, Walnut Creek, CA (Silver Star)
HN3 Robert L. Dodsworth, Franklin, IL
HN Richard E. Cawley, St Joseph, MO
Semper Fi Marines, may you rest in peace.
If my job in life is to be a communicator, then communicate this: 40 years ago today 26 Marines were killed in one action, in one operation in Vietnam, giving everything they had to the concepts of freedom and democracy that were disregarded and betrayed within the next five years by Washington politicians.
And last week 19 Americans were killed in action in Iraq, largely because a similar bunch of self-absorbed political blowhards would rather posture for the cameras and the rest of the media, pursuing their own political agendas in public instead of asking their questions in closed meetings.
So tell me, Mr. and Mrs. Politician, how does it feel to be responsible for the deaths of 19 Americans? How does it feel to have their blood on your hands?
Do you have any inkling that the deaths of these heroes will forever impact those they left behind? Do you understand that for friends and families there will always be a gap where those who were killed should be?
Or don't you even think about it at all?
Tell me, which of you will ever admit that you were wrong? Which of you will act to ensure that Congress will never again publicly discuss ongoing military operations while our troops are in danger?
Who among you will go to the families of those brave troops who died while members of Congress openly undermined their positions, to say you're sorry and beg their forgiveness?
I won't hold my breath waiting for an answer.
Sunday, April 13, 2008