In a recent campaign appearance Republican Senator and presidential candidate John McCain was asked about his support for victory in Iraq, as opposed to the 'choose to loose, retreat to defeat' positions taken by both Democratic contenders.
McCain prefaced his answer by making the point that he abhors war. Or hates it, or detests it, or thinks it is awful, or something along those lines.
Which got me to thinking, why on earth should a man who actually fought in a war, and will bear the scars of his service for the rest of his life, have to justify himself to the media or anyone else?
Saying he supports victory in Iraq does not mean that he is a warmonger, or that he loves violence, or that he can't wait to drop the next big one. It means he wants our country to win the War on Terror everywhere we are fighting that war because to lose is simply unthinkable.
I'm not saying he should start off his answer by speaking to the glories of war. We don't need to hear a future president say "War, God I love it! You never feel more alive than when you are on the battlefield, that close to death." No we don't need that.
McCain, more than most people, and certainly more than the Democratic presidential contenders, knows from harsh, brutal personal experience what happens when vicious animals, whether they are Vietnamese communists or Islamo-fascists, get control of the government and the populace.
You either submit to slavery, or you die, but death may not come quickly or easily.
McCain was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967, and held as a prisoner-of-war in Hanoi for more than five years until the POW release of 1973. He can tell you everything you need to know about being on the receiving end of torture, brutality and total disregard for humanity.
So why does he have to preface his remarks supporting victory in the War on Terror, including in Iraq, with a disclaimer that he hates war?
Possibly because the mainstream media has done such a bang-up job of convincing America that anyone who wants our country to remain free, and does not want to submit to Islamo-fascism, must therefore be a warmonger.
I have met thousands of veterans over the years, and have been to numerous reunions of the units I served with in Vietnam, as well as other military gatherings. I can tell you from my personal experiences, that if anyone at these gatherings started talking about how much he enjoyed combat, the rest of us would have some serious suspicions about that person's claimed service, or mental acuity.
That is because if you are a veteran, you probably know someone who died in combat, and you probably would rather that person still be among the living. People who have trained for combat know that it is brutal, indiscriminate, and that those who survive are fortunate. People who have been there shouldn't have to explain themselves to people who have not.
The truly naive, no make that idiotic, point of all this carping by the Democratic candidates and the mainstream media is that if the United States ever did lose the War on Terror, including Iraq, one of the first of our assumed freedoms to go right down the drain would be freedom of the press! Think not?
Then show me one totalitarian government, whether it be a communist dictatorship, Islamo-fascist dictatorship, or the regular old, "I'm in charge 'til someone knocks me off" dictatorship, where journalism is practiced freely and without fear of repercussions. Go ahead. I've got time.
The fact is, everywhere that totalitarianism rules, journalists are an endangered species. That rule of nature would hold true in our country if we lost to the Islamo-fascists, and effete journalists who think they could go on pumping out their version of propaganda without let-up would be the first to go.
Think about it. It's true.
And the next time John McCain talks about war, and why we must win in Iraq, and everywhere that terrorism rears its ugly totalitarian head, listen to what he says instead of imposing an arbitrary and pointless rule that he has to disavow war before he can speak about victory.
1: a descendant of Ham represented in Genesis as a mighty hunter and a king of Shinar
2: not capitalized: hunter
3: not capitalized slang: idiot, jerk
Let's get it right out front that I am talking about the first two meanings of Nimrod here, capitalized or not, meaning hunter. The third probably derives from Bugs Bunny cartoons and it is not my intent to imply anything from the slang version of the word nimrod. We are talking hunter, nothing else.
I am bringing this up because Hillary Clinton, who is not exactly seen as a friend of Second Amendment proponents - the right to keep and bear arms - now claims that she actually is an accomplished hunter.
Not necessarily experienced, because I can only find two references to her actually going out hunting, but accomplished because she says on one of her outings she shot a "banded" duck.
To most people familiar with ducks that is not a breed. In environmental circles a "banded" duck is one that has a band placed on it after it has been captured in one location, and wildlife experts in other locations keep track of its migrating habits by registering the band number when it shows up somewhere else.
Unless someone shoots it on the way from one place to another. Someone like Hillary Clinton.
I personally have never heard of a species called a "banded duck," and can't find reference to one either. It could be a local colloquialism, possibly referring to ring-necked ducks, but we don't get any help here from Mrs. Clinton's comments.
I was drawn to her story because while I once raised ducks, I am neither experienced nor accomplished as a duck hunter.
In fact, I only went duck hunting once in my life, in the fall of the year I returned from Vietnam. I went with my brother and some of his friends, using a borrowed 12-gauge shotgun.
We got up very, very early, went out to a spot on a river where ducks were known to congregate, and waited in near blackness for dawn. The other guys did this a lot and they had decoys and duck calls and all the associated gear.
I had just come from an environment where hunters and hunted changed places on a second-by-second basis, but to make things even for me, the Marine Corps had issued me an M-2, .50-caliber machine gun, which shot about 500-600 rounds per minute, so you got lots of second chances if you missed with the first shot. In fact, flying into a hot zone in a helicopter, shooting from a side window, which was my job, meant you had to deal with constantly changing angles, speeds and elevations, pretty much ensuring that you would use multiple shots on one target.
That doesn't happen much in hunting because often, if you miss on the first shot, the target heads for safety immediately.
Did I tell you that you aren't supposed to shoot ducks if they are sitting on the water? Did I tell you that they fly very, very fast?
So, in my one time at duck hunting I wait for hours until it gets light, then sunup, then well into daylight, until finally, one lone duck comes into sight, circles the decoys, adjusts for the crosswind and starts to come in for a landing. I was given first shot, which I took ... and missed.
The duck in question hit the afterburner, accelerated like a jet fighter, and crossed right in front of a row of hunters all of whom also opened up, all of whom also missed! Remember that scene in Dances with Wolves where Kevin Costner rides his horse down the line of shooting soldiers and they all miss? Yeah, just like that.
Score Duck 1, Nimrods 0.
So to hear that Mrs. Clinton whacked a duck on her first shot when she had little to no experience ... that is pretty remarkable.
Don't take my word for it. Here are hers:
"I've hunted. My father taught me how to hunt. I went duck hunting in Arkansas. I remember standing in that cold water, so cold, at first light. I was with a bunch of my friends, all men. The sun's up, the ducks are flying and they are playing a trick on me. They said, 'we're not going to shoot, you shoot.' They wanted to embarrass me. The pressure was on. So I shot, and I shot a banded duck and they were as surprised as I was."
I also found a passage on the Internet that says it was:
"Around Christmas, 1988, I went duck hunting with Dr. Frank Kumpuris, a distinguished surgeon and good friend of mine, who invited me to join him, his two doctor sons, Drew and Dean, and a few other buddies at their hunting cabin. I hadn't shot much since my days at Lake Winola with my dad, but I thought it would be fun. That's how I found myself standing hip deep in freezing water, waiting for dawn in eastern Arkansas."
I am not going to fall into a male chauvinism trap here and try to discredit Mrs. Clinton's hunting story just because she got a duck and I didn't. But, to hear this story, you get the impression that she thinks a banded duck is a species, not a migration issue.
I'd like to hear more about it. What kind of shotgun did she use, what size shell - meaning the load, not the gauge - and what kind of duck was it? Please, don't say banded. Was the duck on the fly, or had it landed? Did she use a retriever, or go get it in a boat? Did she field dress the duck on the spot herself? Or did she hand it to one of the men she was with, asking them to do the dirty work for her?
These are the kinds of things hunters talk about when they are successful, so a few simple questions and answers would be very helpful here.
The mainstream media probably would have asked those questions already if they didn't have such an anti-firearms and hunting bias that they wouldn't know the stock from the barrel.
But then again, maybe Barack is right, maybe Hillary is this century's Annie Oakley!
Since I just spent several paragraphs questioning Mrs. Clinton, I should at least give her a few kudos where they are warranted.
By all accounts she trounced Barack Obama in their debate on ABC television Wednesday night.
I didn't see it because I was watching Kristy Lee Cook getting booted off of American Idol, which means I won't be watching that show for the rest of the season. There were at least three other contestants on that stage who can't hold a candle to her ability, and that means I don't need to watch the show anymore because from here on out it will be less than it could have been.
Anyway, while I was engaged in that venue, Mrs. Clinton was slamming Barack on his background and his associations. The commentators also didn't hold back, and finally asked some questions that should have been asked months ago, not that they got any credit for doing their jobs.
I think it is 'Hillaryous' that the left, left, left-wing media is ripping the ABC moderators because they didn't do the usual job of tossing softballs. What a hoot! A candidate for president actually had to explain his points of view, his background, and why he thinks hanging with terrorists is cool!
The next day, Barack responded to his beating by whining that the debate wasn't fair because it went on for 45 minutes before he was asked any substantive questions that "the American people" want discussed.
Oh, really? Well, speaking just for myself, I want to see reruns of the debate, because if I am going to spend my night watching that kind of show, I'd prefer to see the fur fly! We can get stroking and pit-a-pat any day on the afternoon TV shows, like Oprah.
Debates should be a blood sport. And I am being absolutely non-partisan here.
I'd sure want to know it if John McCain was drinking buddies with Timothy McVeigh.
But we are not supposed to question Barack Obama's association with a member of the 60s Weather Underground who bombed government facilities and people and teaches college students today that his only regret is not doing more? I thought equality meant "equal."
Note to Obama: quit whining. For God's sake man, get yourself a backbone. I realize you come from an upper-class background and don't have much of a handle on how to deal with a real fight. But the fact is, even heavyweight champs lose a round or two on the way to winning the title.
Get back up on your feet and get in there. Stop with the "It's not fair," nonsense.
Life isn't fair. The world isn't fair. If you think the terrorists, the communists, the Russians, or any other potential enemies are going to play "fair" you are definitely in the wrong business.
Whining is not becoming. Keep this up and people are going to start thinking that your dismal display of bowling prowess was more reflective of your true capabilities than we first believed.
Suck it up and hit back, or go home.
Friday, April 18, 2008