Friday, December 07, 2007

December 7, 1941 - A Perspective

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of American was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
---President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

66 years ago the Empire of Japan attacked the United States military bases in Hawai'i and dragged our country into World War II. With those words above as the preamble, President Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war for that dastardly deed. The rest, as they say, is history. I don't remember that date - I was four months old at the time - but I've studied World War II throughout my life and today, on this anniversary, I cannot help but compare that sneak attack on Pearl Harbor to the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 and the resultant conflicts.

World War II - which for the United States lasted four months short of four years - took more than 400,000 American lives. More than 16,000,000 Americans participated in that war. As terrible as those numbers are, worldwide the loss of life totaled more than 70 million. While no war is "popular", World War II was a unique time in this country - a time when most Americans pulled together, sacrificed much in terms of lives and treasure and united to fight the common enemy - and were successful.


That generation of Americans - my parents generation, which Tom Brokaw has defined in his books as "The Greatest Generation" - is passing on at a rate of around 1,000 per day. A few continue to try to give us some perspective on what it was like for them - like Daily Pilot columnist Joe Bell, who served this country as a Navy flier. He wrote another moving piece in the Pilot yesterday, which can be read here. That generation's story has been chronicled in many books, motion pictures and television series, like "Saving Private Ryan" and "Band of Brothers", but despite those excellent portrayals, I'm not sure many of "The Greatest Generation's" children and grandchildren really understand what they went through to defend this country more than a half century ago.

There was no American life that was not disrupted during World War II. The bloodlines of thousands of American families were severed at the roots with the death of so many young men in the flower of their youth. Fathers, sons and brothers were buried on foreign soil, thousands of miles from home. Those who survived came home very different men than those who volunteered to serve our country at the outset of the war. They came home with the ghosts of war in their heads, but also brought with them a resolve to make our country a better place - a place where their children wouldn't have to face the same horror of war that they experienced. Sadly, that was not to be.

In the six decades since the end of World War II the United States of America has experienced prosperity in such a short time unmatched in human history, but she also fought and lost two divisive "wars" in Korea and southeast Asia.

Today we face an enemy that is every bit as dangerous as were the Axis powers in 1941. On September 11, 2001 those extremists snuffed out more lives than the Japanese did at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Since President Bush declared a "War on Terror" more than six years have passed and, as I type this, nearly 4,000 young Americans have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every one of those brave young people volunteered to do what they perceived to be their duty - to protect this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Today this country is far from united about the War on Terror. This is probably due, at least in part, to the bitter memories of the unsatisfactorily-resolved Korean and Viet Nam conflicts. I'm deeply troubled by our apparent lack of resolve and unity regarding our battle against those terrorists who seem determined to exterminate us and our way of life. I find myself wondering just how many more "9/11" events it will take for the anti-war proponents to realize what this is all about.


Of course, it doesn't help that we have a federal election staring us in the face - a time which, under the best of circumstances, we see candidates routinely lie and misrepresent their opponents positions on every issue. This war will be the most contentious and emotional of issues this time around and some of those politicians will use it to further divide our country. Some of the current crop of candidates seem more than willing to yank our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, abandoning our allies in the area, to be slaughtered as our troops dust off for the last time.

Progress is being made in this war and no one who gives serious consideration to it expects our country to withdraw form either venue soon. In the meantime, we must continue to be vigilant to prevent other catastrophic attacks on our soil.

This is going to be a long battle, one not fought in the hedgerows of Normandy or on the decimated islands of the Pacific with visible and clearly defined enemies. No, this one not only pits us against Muslim extremists, but has many of those factions fighting among themselves for control - particularly in Iraq. There are some who think we should just pull out and let those factions fight it out among themselves. Others think we should abandon the arbitrary political boundaries established for that region at the end of World War I and re-align the area into their historic "tribal" areas. Most informed observers of the area know this would likely create an opportunity for even more instability in the area, with Iran, Syria, Turkey and maybe even Russia, all vying for partial or complete control. No, we can't leave yet.

So, on this anniversary, let's try to keep some perspective. 4,000 American lives over the past six years is a terrible loss, but it doesn't come close to the losses in World War II, or Korea and Viet Nam, for that matter. Regardless who ends up in the White House in fourteen months, we Americans must unite on this issue and give our leaders and military men and women the support they need to succeed. To fail to do so will only encourage our enemies to continue to plan our annihilation. The future of our country and our very way of life depends on a successful resolution to this war.

It doesn't seem as though negotiation will accomplish much in this conflict. We have no entity with which to negotiate, only ethereal bands of jackals - some of whom are likely to be state-sponsored - who seem more than willing to die in order to defeat us and be greeted by those 72 virgins promised to them. Until we can convince those states in the region who provide support for the terrorists to stop, we should use every resource and tactic available to us to help the terrorists find those virgins as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, we, as a nation, must strengthen our resolve. We need to reach deep and try to find the courage and determination that The Greatest Generation found to defeat the enemies of World War II.

Never Forgive and Never Forget

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007


You know, I really don't want to turn this blog into a venue dedicated to the illegal immigration issue. Despite the fact that Costa Mesa's young jailer/mayor, Allan Mansoor, has placed himself and our city squarely at the forefront of this issue and used it to get re-elected last year, I think it's been blown all out of proportion.

Yesterday, Los Angeles Times columnist Max Boot, shown above, hit the nail right on the head. In a column entitled, "Immigrants are a boon, not a curse", he articulated how I have felt about this issue for a long time - only much better than I ever could. As an interesting aside, in the print edition of the Los Angeles Times the editors chose to entitle Boot's commentary, "End the immigrant hysteria". Regardless the title, the message remains the same and was stated concisely in the sub-title, "Republicans should stop treating millions of people who want to better their lives as a threat." Well said!
You can read his column at this link.

Boot's a pretty smart fella. He's a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Opinion section and the author of "War made new: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World."

In his column Boot addresses many of the myths currently being foisted upon us by the more rabid anti-immigrant factions in this country, like Jim Gilchrist and his not-so-merry band of malcontents in the most recent iteration of his Minuteman Project - whatever they're calling it today. Among those are that illegal immigrants are taking jobs from "real Americans", and thereby stifling economic growth. Humbug! Read Boot's column!

He also addresses some solutions, among them the creation of a method of legalizing many of those illegal immigrants already here. Read Boot's column!

As I've said many, many times on this blog, in my view the first thing that needs to happen is that our borders need to be secured. Anything else comes after that. Once the borders are secured we need to develop a method of "earned amnesty" - a way those illegal workers already here can pay some form of restitution and be granted immunity for their "dastardly transgression" - trying to make a better life for their families. It is also likely that some method of providing "guest workers" will also be necessary to fill the ongoing demand for labor that is being filled by illegal immigrants. This is not rocket science - it was done in the middle of the last century through the bracero program and worked just fine.


It is also my view that illegal immigration is not what drives our mayor and his motley crew. I think it's something much darker than that - an abhorrence of those brown skins among us - the illegal immigrants just make an easy target for their wrath. I've chronicled just why I feel that way from nearly the first words I wrote on this blog and it's predecessor more than two years ago and in newspaper commentaries before that. I won't re-hash all that here.

I welcome comments on this blog, but before you go all apoplectic on me and melt the comments inbox with your rants, please take the time to read Boot's column. It will either provide you with some answers or give you more ammunition, depending on how firmly you've got your feet dug in. Remember, I'm the sole arbiter of what appears here. I'll publish your comments unless you use bad language or libel someone. Put a name on them, even if it is fictitious - no comments addressed as "anonymous" will be published. My blog - my rules.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Mansoor Endorses Ron Paul

My Google Aler
t system coughed up another political hairball this weekend. This time it was an entry by Irvine commodities broker and self-styled political pundit Allan Bartlett in his Powder Blue Report blog. You can read the entry here.

Bartlett's entry - a fawning little essay about our young jailer/mayor, Allan
Mansoor, that really tested my gag reflex - tells us that Mansoor has confided in him that he's endorsing Texas Republican Ron Paul for president - Big Whoop!


It sure looks to me as though our young jailer/mayor assumes that his position on the tip of the lance being used to force immigrants from our country has made his opinion valuable to a broader audienc
e. Puhleeze!

Mansoor rode to re-electon last year on the backs of the latinos in Costa Mesa, dragging his running mate Wendy Leece along for the ride - using the flames of intolerance fueled by a few Neanderthal "activists" in our city and fanned by out-of-town interl
opers like Minuteman Grand Pooba Jim Gilchrist and his frothing followers.

Anyone who has watched Mansoor during his reign on the City Council knows that the p
oor young man has great difficulty putting two un-scripted words together. His "aw-shucks" act got old very early. Here is a man who is an under-educated, under-achieving deputy sheriff who spends his work day in the bowels of the county jail system, dodging effluent and dealing with the very worst in our society.

Mansoor has talked out of both sides of his mouth, making it impossible to believe him on many issues. For example, he tou
ts the advantages of increasing the level of home ownership in Costa Mesa, yet he sold his own Westside home, took his profit and now rents an apartment.

He talks about being a strong advocate for law enforcement - something that shouldn't
surprise us, since he's a deputy sheriff - yet he consistently and frequently overtly ignores the wise counsel of his top law enforcement officers. The most recent three past chiefs of police in our city who represented more than 100 years of law enforcement command experience between them.

He's demonstrated that he is easily manipulated by his small cadre of Costa Mesa "improver" ma
lcontents and Orange County GOP mucky-mucks. He's also shown that he places his own political future ahead of the well-being of Costa Mesa residents by appointing carpetbagging GOP activist Jim Righeimer to the Planning Commission as political pay back, ignoring freshly coiffed and snappily dressed loyal foot-soldier Paul Bunney - who appeared to be prepared to accept that seat - in the process.

Why anyone would want Allan Mansoor's opinion anything, much less care about who he is
supporting for president, is beyond me.

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