The limits of government

You won’t be able to buy a Biggie sugar soda in NYC because we need to “war against obsesity,” but by gosh by golly, you’ll still be able to abort that boy if you don’t want him solely because of gender because it’s a “war on women” to suggest otherwise.

Is it just me, or have we lost something along the way?

 

I can’t decide

Surreal or absurd? Kafka?  It must be the English major in me, praying for order in chaos. Except this is real life:

Watching the public execution of his mother and older brother, Shin Dong-Hyuk thought the punishment was just. They had planned to escape the North Korean labor camp they were being held in until Shin overheard them and reported them to the prison guards.

Just 14-years old, Shin says he felt no guilt in condemning them to death. One of the very few North Koreans to be born inside one of the brutal prison camps, he says the concept of family that exists in the outside world did not exist in Camp 14.

“I had never felt that kind of attachment and love that people outside of prison camps feel towards them,” he told CNN. “So they were just one of many criminals in a prison camp.”

Can you call that life? That a 14 year-old cannot distinguish familial connections?

Maybe I should stick to fiction. It’s less unsettling than the news. Hitler was apparently more humane than the North Koreans:

“It was like Hitler’s Auschwitz concentration camp, not as large and there is a difference in the way people are killed. Hitler gassed people, Kim Jong Il sucked the life out of people through starvation and forced labor.”

Oremus.

H/t: HA headlines

Obama to military: Do as I say, not as I do

Says Obama who proclaims his L-O-V-E for the military while chasing votes. Heh. Fortunately, most folks know better. From National Journal, behold partisan rewriting of history at its best:

Obama is airing a television ad in those states and four other battlegrounds that references the killing of bin Laden and says “we have a sacred trust’’ to take care of soldiers when they come home. “It’s not enough just to make as speech about how much we value veterans. It’s not enough just to remember them on Memorial Day,’’ Obama says in the television spot.  First Lady Michelle Obama’s pet project is outreach to military families.

Sacred Trust, my ass. That’s what appointing a known budget hawk to head the Department of Defense will get ya. For a refresher:

This year: Obama budget proposal protects unionized civil servants, hits active-duty military. And retirees. Sacred trust. The National Journal article fails to mention that tidbit. Instead, the run-around:

Military voters, he claimed, more recently have tended to bend toward whichever party they feel is doing the better job of “keeping the faith” with the troops – possibly the year’s most repeated phase by lawmakers and senior defense officials.

Currently, both parties are getting high marks for looking out for military families. The White House has made veteran employment a high-profile mission. Congress, meanwhile, rejected many of the Pentagon’s cost-saving and revenue-generating proposals that lawmakers feared would hurt military families.  House and Senate authorization bills passed in the last two weeks omitted the Pentagon’s request to increase fees for Tricare, the military’s health plan. Defense department officials argued the raise was overdue since Tricare had not increased fees since 1995. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the most popular civilian defense leader of the last decade, tried to sell the idea as a practical way to offset spending cuts. The Pentagon also considered charging enrollment fees and raising deductibles for working veterans.

Emphasis my own. Funny that, no mention of the President’s own budget proposal.

More “Sacred trust” hard at work: archives of the past two years of “military + budget.” There’s a wealth of bedtime reading.

H/t: Hot Air headlines

Memorial Day

The sight of Arlington National Cemetary never fails to give me chills, regardless of season. Row upon row of neatly marked headstones in gently rolling terrain brings some sense of order to the chaos of death.  It is hallowed ground. It is haunting ground.

Arlington-National-Cemetery-Memorial-Day-John-Moore-Getty-Images-74345339

Copyright John Moore, Getty Images

Photographer John Moore captured this image in 2007. He writes:

The beauty and serenity of Virginia’s rolling hills and awe inspiring views of Washington D.C. clash with today’s reality of national loss, where grief is raw and in your face. You step over grass sods still taking root over freshly dug graves. You watch a mother kiss her son’s tombstone. Two soldiers put flowers and a cold beer next to the grave of a fallen buddy. A young son left a hand-written note for his dad. “I hope you like Heven, hope you liked Virginia very much hope you like the Holidays. I also see you every Sunday. Please write back!”

Section 60 is not about a troop surge or a war spending bill or whether we should be fighting these wars at all. It is about ordinary people trying to get through something so hard that most of us can’t ever imagine it. Everyone I met that afternoon had a gut-wrenching story to tell.

Mary McHugh is one of those people. She sat in front of the grave of her fiance James “Jimmy” Regan, talking to the stone. She spoke in broken sentences between sobs, gesturing with her hands, sometimes pausing as if she was trying to explain, with so much left needed to say.

Later on, after she spoke with a fellow mourner from a neighboring grave, I went over and introduced myself and told her I was photographing for Getty Images and had brought my family on our own pilgrimage to the site. I told her we had been living in Pakistan for the last few years, how we had come back to the States for a few months for the birth of our second child.

Mary told me about her slain fiance Jimmy Regan. Clearly, she had not only loved him but truly admired him. When he graduated from Duke, he decided to enlist in the Army to serve his country. He chose not to be an officer, though he could have been, because he didn’t want to risk a desk job. Instead, he became an Army Ranger and was sent twice to Aghanistan and Iraq – an incredible four deployments in just three years. He was killed in Iraq this February by a roadside bomb.

I told her how I had spent a lot of time in Iraq and Afghanistan, photographing American troops in combat. I told her that earlier this year I was a month in Ramadi and then a few more weeks in a tough spot called Helmand. I told her how I am going back to Iraq sometime this summer and that I was very sorry to see her this Memorial Day in the national cemetery, visiting a grave.

Mary said that they had planned to get married after Jimmy’s four years of service were up next year. “We loved each other so much,” she said. “We thought we had all of the time in the world.”

After a few moments more, my beautiful wife, Gretchen, now almost 9 months pregnant, walked over with our two-year-old Isabella. Our daughter started climbing over me, saying “daddy” in my ear and pulling on my arm to come walk with her. I felt awkward and guilty about the contrast, but if Mary felt it too, she was nothing but gracious and friendly. I told her that I would forward her some photos of her from that day if she would like and she gave me her email address. We said our goodbyes and I moved on with my family through the sea of graves.

Later on, I passed by and she was lying in the grass sobbing, speaking softly to the stone, this time her face close to the cold marble, as if whispering into Jimmy’s ear.

Some people feel the photo I took at the moment was too intimate, too personal. Like many who have seen the picture, I felt overwhelmed by her grief, and moved by the love she felt for her fallen sweetheart.

After so much time covering these wars, I have some difficult memories and have seen some of the worst a person can see – so much hatred and rage, so much despair and sadness. All that destruction, so much killing. And now, one beautiful and terribly sad spring afternoon amongst the rows and rows of marble stones – a young woman’s lost love.

Moore says we all owe Arlington some time. I’m inclined to agree.

See also Pundette’s Memorial Day post. UPDATE: linked by Pundette. Thanks!

Let’s Roll

Nancy Sinatra writes in the Washington Times:

For many years following my USO tour, I was looking for some way to continue to help our troops and veterans, and I needed to share with someone the profound feelings I came away with after seeing war firsthand.When Artie Muller invited me to join Rolling Thunder, I jumped at the opportunity to serve again, especially with this dedicated group of people. They work tirelessly to see to it that every last one of our soldiers, sailors, Marines, pilots, Coast Guard members and nurses are accounted for and that returning veterans are welcomed properly, with respect and the care they deserve.

Have you ever been in a foxhole where you can taste the dirt and smell the fear? They have.

Have you ever faced an enemy with a gun, a knife and fury in his eyes? They have.

Have you ever taken a bullet or two or three? Stepped on a mine? Been the recipient of an insurgent’s IED? They have.

Have you ever seen your friends die, some instantly and some excruciatingly slowly as you have tried to stop the bleeding with your hands, begging them to hang on? They have.

Have you ever waited for your husband, son, father, daughter or mother to come home, all the while terrified that he or she might not?

Did you say goodbye to a warrior and never get the chance to say hello again?That happened to more than 700,000 American families.

Have you ever lost someone to a war, blown to bits, beyond recognition, or slowly disappearing because of crippling injuries and disease caused by profound wounds or exposure to chemicals used in warfare? More than 600,000 American families have.

91,808 families are still waiting to learn what happened to their loved ones who are listed as missing in action or prisoner of war.

Prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl’s parents are waiting for him to come home. Can you imagine what that’s like?

Have you held wounded soldiers in your arms? I have. Do you know what they said? “I just want to go back to my buddies.”

Over 300,000 motorcyclists will converge at the Pentagon parking lot Sunday morning for the ride into D.C., for the 25th anniverary of Rolling Thunder. Cheer them on if you’re local, or find an old Vet with poppies this weekend. Regardless, remind yourself that Memorial Day exists to pay respect for our fallen, something our President doesn’t understand.

Recipe break: campfire cones

Cookout anyone?

Count me in.

Especially for one of these:

Yes, please!

And folks wonder why I blog anonymously, part II

I feel sick to my stomach after reading Patterico’s tale of extreme harassment–no terrorization– at the hands of lefties who can’t argue ideas, so they resort to violence to intimidate folks like Patterico into silence instead. They have targeted his employer, his wife, and his family, while bragging about the damage they’ve done to others.

I think about the baby rolling around in utero now, and the preschooler still tucked in bed sleeping upstairs. Of my husband, his career– and how easy it would be for someone to use me to defame him–and I question whether or not I have the gumption to continue in the face of what Patterico and others have endured. Of course, that’s  the reaction leftist terrorists Like Brett Kimberlin want me to have, and that’s why they pursue thug tactics: to silence the truth. They don’t expect the Army of Davids to rise against them.

I believe in free speech. I believe in truth and beauty, both of which fall on our side as we expose the underbelly of leftist thought and the culture of death as it shamelessly preys upon the weakest of society.

I stand with truth and beauty, not silence.

See also:

Michelle Malkin

Pundette

The Lonely Conservative

And, of course, The Other McCain, who is still in hiding from Brett Kimberlin and his cronies

UPDATE: I’ve never been linked like this. I’m proud to be part of the army, y’all. Thanks!

All American Blogger

Stop the ACLU

Iconic Surrealism

The Right Planet

The Lonely Conservative

The Daily Gator

Gulag Bound

Wyblog

Radio Patriot

The Return of Cincinnatus

Liberal Terrorist Pal

That Mr. G Guy

Pirate’s Cove

Hogewash

Ask Marion

And ol’ Stacy McCain on the run

All this led to my first link from Memeorandum yesterday. I should have taken a screenshot for posterity ; )

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