Check out the previous installments in James Jay Carafano’s ongoing series exploring war films: The 10 Best Movies to Watch to Understand the Cold War, 10 War Movies Guaranteed to Make You Cry, America’s First Wars in 10 Movies, 10 Movies For Understanding the Civil War.
“Is America a weakling, to shrink from the work of the great world powers?”
Having asked the question, Teddy Roosevelt proceeded to answer it: “No! The young giant of the West stands on a continent and clasps the crest of an ocean in either hand. Our nation, glorious in youth and strength, looks into the future with eager eyes and rejoices as a strong man to run a race.”
Teddy was chomping at the bit for America to go out into the world. But not everyone was “bully” about it. Between the Civil War and World War II, the U.S. had been involved in more than a few scraps. Often called “small wars,” few Americans were itching for bigger ones.
Hollywood hasn’t paid much attention to the Small Wars Era, a largely forgotten part of American military history. Finding 10 films was tough. Still, there is a cinematic and martial legacy worth noting.
10. The Wild West
Not all of America’s small wars occurred overseas. The U.S. military spent a good deal of its days after the Civil War conducting constabulary duties in the western territories. As military historian Andrew Birtle notes, “The Army has spent the majority of its time not on the conventional battlefield.”
Perhaps the most iconic movie of the “Indian Wars” period is Fort Apache (1947). This John Ford film stars John Wayne and Henry Fonda in a fictional story that borrows from historical events, including the Fetterman Massacre (1866) and Custer’s Last Stand (1876). An American classic, this film should not be missed.
Crossposted from Asia Times Online
The late Leo Strauss (1889-1973) was a thinker sufficiently nuanced to allow a wide range of interpretation of his views, and a teacher broad-ranging enough to influence students with divergent interests. I am honored to contribute occasionally to the Claremont Review of Books, associated with the so-called West Coast Straussians (although I am persona non grata among some East Coast Straussians). In fact, some of my best friends are Straussians.
As my friend Peter Berkowitz argues in a recent essay for RealClearPolitics, it is silly and not a little mendacious to portray the late emigre philosopher as an arachnidan spinner of right-wing plots.  My problem isn’t simply with Strauss, but with the ancients whom he admired. He taught that we have something fundamental to learn about statecraft from the ancient Greeks. This in my view is woefully wrong.
Greek philosophy, to be sure, remains one of the ornaments of human endeavor – as it applies to epistemology, ontology, aesthetics and logic, among other fields. Plato and Aristotle, though, came into adulthood just as the Greek city-states destroyed themselves through their own cupidity. What was left of Athens after the disastrous Peloponnesian War was ruined by Alexander of Macedon, who employed Aristotle as a tutor. I do not mean to deprecate the importance of the Greek polis as an exercise in democracy, but Aristotle was hardly its advocate.
“Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim,” begins the Nichomachean Ethics. But Aristotle’s assertion that all men seek the good (or at least the good as they see it) is wrong on the face of it. Frequently men seek perversion, violence, and the destruction of themselves and all around them. That is typical of civilizations that have reached their best-used-by-date, and at some point has been true of every civilization west of the Indus during the past 2,500 years with the exception of Israel.
By the time the Romans walked in, all of Greece could not field two regiments of phalanx-men. The rational, logical Greeks chose not to have children and disappeared. They did so after Athens built an empire that looted its colonies to pay off the Athenian mob, relying on imperial exactions for half of its food supply. Athens was a slave society that preyed on its neighbors. What is the sum of Athenian wisdom after the war was lost? For Sophocles (in Oedipus at Colonnus) it was that the best of all possibilities is never to have been born (“But who has such luck? Not one in ten thousand!,” said Yankel to Moishe in the old Jewish joke). It was Sophocles more than Aristotle whom Hellas took to heart, and ensured that its next generations would not be born.
Let’s get one thing clear: this is not your grandmammy’s Iliad. You’ve probably snored through a few excruciating lectures about “the subtle mastery of Homer’s poetic scansion.” Please. This is not some prissy love sonnet. This is a poem in which 12-foot-tall he-men use rusty bronze spears, devastating serrated blades, and boulders the size of tractors to rip each other to shreds over a stolen girlfriend in the most brutal and gratuitous cage match known to history. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reclaiming the Iliad in the name of awesome, with a series of posts designed to brush the dust off of Homer’s epic proto-action-movie. First up: the 10 most stomach-turning kills in the war between Troy and Greece, from least to most disgusting. All the translations are my own. All the bloodshed is Homer’s.
1. Twelve Sleeping Trojans: Gutted by Night
The fact that this is the least gory item on this list should tell you something about the upcoming mayhem. When the Greeks lose their star fighter, Achilles, they’re playing at a serious handicap. In desperation, they send two undercover operatives, Diomedes and Odysseus, to slaughter the Trojans in their sleep. It’s a low blow, but it gets the job done: while the Trojans are cuddled up all snug, the two Greeks eviscerate twelve of them, spilling their guts on the ground. “Unholy shrieking rose from them as they died,” Homer says, “and the ground ran red with their blood.”
Right now, three Dolphin II-class submarines are under construction at Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems shipyards in Kiel. Once the submarines complete their trials and head towards the Mediterranean, they will become the most powerful Israeli submarines ever.
More than 225 feet long, the diesel-electric Dolphin II class is part attack submarine, part nuclear strike ship and part commando taxi.
They’re also painted in an unusual combination of black, blue and green colors. That’s “meant to make the ship less visible, and thought to be especially effective in Mediterranean waters,” Defense News noted after recently publishing new photographs of the fat, oddly-shaped boats in dry dock and on sea trials.
The most serious part comes further down in the story:
Although not admitted by the Israeli government, the Dolphin II is widely believed to soon possess nuclear-tipped Popeye Turbo cruise missiles. The submarine’s armament includes non-nuclear anti-ship Harpoon and anti-helicopter Triton missiles.
That’s a lot of hurt for the bad guys packed into one boat — and Israel is buying three of them.
Throughout our history, American women have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with fighting men, spied on the enemy, protected the fallen, even led troops into battle. Without our women’s active and aggressive participation, this country could never have become what it is today. Women built this land just as men did, cutting down trees and clearing land, killing dangerous animals and sometimes dangerous humans. With such a legacy, it’s no surprise that American women seem a little tougher, a little bolder than most other women.
Hundreds of women can be commemorated for their war efforts. The famous burlesque dancer Josephine Baker, for instance, worked for the French Resistance during World War II as a spy. Clara Barton worked tirelessly to heal wounded soldiers during the Civil War. In World War II, millions of American women went to work in munitions factories to free men for fighting. Without women as camp followers or running farm and businesses, even George Washington’s Continental Army might have failed, and the United States would never have been born.
But not all women were willing to take a secondary or noncombat role. Instead, these women picked up weapons and entered the battle alongside men. Most of these women have been forgotten. A few, however, have been remembered in the footnotes of history.
(image is Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Mary Read was British or Dutch, not American. Via Wikimedia Commons)
1. Anne Bonny
Born in Ireland, little Anne Cormac came to Charlestown as a child. She grew up tough, wild, and independent, the perfect mindset for the pirate she became. Anne met Mary Read, another female pirate, when they worked together on Calico Jack Rackham’s crew, and the two female pirates helped terrorize the Bahamas for over two years.
When the British Navy finally caught up with Rackham’s crew, the men were below decks and thoroughly drunk on brandy, the spoils of a recent victory. The women had been left on deck to guard. By themselves, Anne and Mary held off a British warship for a good while, yelling at the men to “come up, you cowards, and fight like men,” even firing pistols into the hold to get the drunk crew’s attention. Their efforts were in vain, and Captain Jonathan Barnet, commissioned by the governor of Jamaica, captured the ship and crew.
In Jamaica, all the pirates were sentenced to hang, though the two women were spared because they were pregnant. Jack, before his hanging, requested to see Anne one last time. According to legend, she said to him, “Had you fought like a man, you need not have been hang’d like a dog.” She refused to speak to him further.
While it is known that Mary died in prison, probably before giving birth to her child, the fate of Anne is a mystery. There is, however, good evidence that her father, a wealthy merchant, bribed her jailers to release her, then sent her to Virginia. Here she married a farmer, had children, told stories about her pirating days, and lived to a ripe old age.
In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville concluded that fractious republics were little good when a “nation must defend itself against other nations.” Still, he thought America would get along fine since in the new world, man “has no enemies other than himself. To be happy and free he has only to wish it.”
Boy, did Tocqueville miss the boat on that point! Even on a continent protected by two oceans, Americans have always found it necessary to fight for our freedom.
Most Americans give scant thought to the sacrifices made by the fighters who forged our nation. Filmmakers aren’t much different. But when it saw the chance to make a buck, even Hollywood couldn’t resist cranking out a few film gems that remind us of the heroism of the early republic.
10. The Shot Heard Round the World
Few Americans can name even one serious revolutionary war movie other than The Patriot (2000) with Mel Gibson. But four decades earlier, Hollywood produced a doozy: The Devil’s Disciple (1959). During the Saratoga Campaign, “Gentleman” Johnny Burgoyne (Laurence Olivier), the British general, takes time out from battling the Continental Army to root out revolutionaries in Websterbridge, New Hampshire. A brooding, black-sheep colonial (Kirk Douglas) finds his courage, risks his life, defies the British and puts the American cause above his own.
Before Ancient Rome was a titanic empire, it was a collection of huts, a tribe of outlaws, and a few unshakable ideals — courage, virtue, and duty. The defense of those ideals inspired some of the greatest war stories and acts of heroism ever written down. Here are the 10 most badass heroes, ranked in ascending order, from Rome’s legendary history and historical legends.
The legendary founder who gave his name to Rome also carved out the city’s place in blisteringly hostile territory. Etruscans to the North, Samnites to the East, and Latins to the South: Italy was no safe place for a little village made of mud and bricks to stake its claim. Romulus led his ragtag team of rejects and outlaws against the peninsula’s fiercest tribal armies, saving Rome from being annexed or enslaved. But he had an erratic, unheroic temper that kept him from making it higher on this list — legend has it he murdered his brother in a violent rage.
(Livy 1; Dionysius, Roman Antiquities 1-2)
See the first five parts of this ongoing discussion and you are invited to leave your ideas in the comments or submit via email: DaveSwindlePJM AT gmail dot.com
Dr. Helen Smith: Would You Want a Wife This Clueless About Sex and Your Emotions?
Dr. Helen Smith: A Classic Example of White Knighting
Francis W. Porretto: Some Thoughts on Sex and the Bonded Couple
I very much appreciate your contribution to the discussion about sex and marriage yesterday. As I made explicit in my answer to Dr. Helen Smith’s reply, I think these disagreements about marriage and sex are really expressions of more fundamental philosophical and religious conflicts. These comments of yours in particular jumped out, indicating that our worldviews start from very different places as I already knew from these years of enjoying your great comments and occasional pieces. Emphases mine:
Male orgasm — his spasmodic release of tension and seminal fluid — is not the reason a decent man cherishes his lover’s body and access to it. That there are a fair number of “indecent” men roaming about need not cloud the central issue.
Indeed, a mature, self-assured man, properly reared and past the urgings of adolescence, is less concerned with his own physical pleasure than with bringing pleasure to her. Her desire for his desire, with all that follows from that, gives him what he most wants: the opportunity to bring her pleasure, even if he gets little or none for himself. This has often been dismissed as merely a form of politeness, but in fact it’s the source of his greatest sexual fulfillment and, apart from progeny, his principal reason for wanting her to want him.
Yes, there are men so self-absorbed that a woman’s sexual desire is merely an opening through which to seek their own fulfillment, including the evanescent and essentially trivial pleasure of orgasm. Yes, there are men who never bother to learn “what she likes.” But in any decent society these will be a minority.
I’ve written over the years about my ideological shift from Nation-style progressivism to Tea Party conservatism. I’m not the person today that I was a decade ago at 20, in the middle of my undergraduate days when I expanded my studies from English to political science. Amongst the many shifts that I’ve made gradually over the years as life experiences and new philosophical influences chipped away at the ideology I was indoctrinated in from K-12 through college, one of the most fundamental has been my change in understanding human nature. It’s a change from what Victor Davis Hanson has described as the “therapeutic view” to the “tragic view.”
When I was a progressive who supported big government programs and a dovish foreign policy it was because I naively assumed that most human beings wanted the same things, were decent people at heart, and could be trusted not to deceive others. Multiculturalism taught that all cultures were equal and all religions expressed the same basic, universal moral values. Anytime someone did something wrong it was because they were ignorant or mentally unbalanced in a way that was distorting their perception of consensus reality. Sure, occasionally nature would make a mistake and burp out serial killers, child molesters, or Hitlers but in general such people were aberrations. Thus it was possible — and necessary — and moral to move forward with trying to reason our way to a perfect, peaceful world by convincing everyone else what was best for them to do.
But I don’t believe that at all anymore. Now I believe the exact opposite. The state of nature from which humanity escaped is chaos, cruelty, hatred and selfishness. More people in the world are evil than good, more of the cultures in the world will die through suicide rather survive. It’s more normal for humans to worship death than for them to pursue eternal life. And the pimp-prostitute, promiscuous, polygamous sexual culture is more natural and universal than monogamous marriage. The absolute nuclear family that powers American prosperity is an aberration that we take for granted — see James C. Bennett and Michael Lotus’s amazing America 3.0 for more on this. And in failing to understand and defend this culture today it’s slipping away.
Editor’s Note: This is the seventh collection of interviews and story excerpts spotlighting some of the most innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty Island. An index of 8 newly-released stories can be found here. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” Also see COO David S. Bernstein’s recent essay here in which he defines Liberty Island as, “an imaginative playground where brilliant and creative people can test their ideas without being harassed or threatened by the new breed of ‘community activists’ who police thought and speech in the media.”
Most importantly, support Liberty Island’s crowd-funding efforts here where you can pre-order the upcoming novels and learn about other incentives.
2. Steve Poling: Is Cthulhu Tastier Fried or Barbecued?
5. Keith Korman: ‘I Have No Friends: I Make My Mind My Friend.‘
6. Abbey Clarke: A Demon’s Heart: Can Evil Incarnate Ever Find Salvation?
7. Jamie Wilson: A Gen-X Gandalf Mom Casting Thomas Sowell Spells
8. Clay Waters: ‘You Obviously Feel This Ocean Mythos Deep In Your DNA…’
9. Todd Seavey: ‘It Was Star Wars That Taught Me to Love Science, Fantasy, Music, and Capitalism Simultaneously’
10. Stephen McDonald: ‘Long-Term, I’d Like to Hire Others to Produce More Content Set in This Shared Universe…’
11. Pierre V. Comtois: Golfing on the Moon
12. Aaron Smith: ‘I Spell ‘Magicks’ With a ‘K’ to Both Confound Proofreaders and to Signify It’s Not a White-Bunny-Being-Pulled-Out-of-The-Hat Kind of Magic.’
14. Ted Elrick: ‘When a Guy’s Got That Kind of Control, You Gotta Admire It.’
15. Frank J. Fleming: Who Murdered the Dinosaurs?
16. R.K. Delka: ‘I’m the Constitution, Dammit!’
18. Roy Griffis: ‘An Antidote to the Nihilistic Crap That Is Being Peddled’
19. David Churchill Barrow: ‘The Smoking, Dirty, Jagged Line of Rocks on that Ridge Seemed to Mock God Himself…’
20. Michael Sheldon: What Could Be Better Than Fresh Apricots?
21. Sabrina Chase: Women Can Be Mad Scientists Too
23. Erich Forschler: ‘The Road Might Be His Best Work, But My Favorite is No Country for Old Men.‘
24. Tom Weiss: In the Ashes: A War Screenplay
Editor’s Note: Discover innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty Island. See this collection of interviews and story excerpts from 22 of Liberty Island’s writers. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” An index of 8 more newly-released stories can be found here.
1. That In Those Times We Will Remember by David Churchill Barrow
2. Point Man by Ted Galacci
3. Shadows: A Danse Macabre in the African Desert by Roy Griffis
4. Even the Pilgrims Needed a Few Good Men: ‘By the Sword Seek Peace’ by David Churchill Barrow
John Phillip Sousa on 33 1/3 blasts from the Hi-Fi — yes, you heard right, “Hi-Fi” — conducted by my flag-waving Grandfather, proudly standing at attention at 8 o’clock in the morning in the doorway of his open garage, wondering why it took us so long to get there. We may have been at the shore, but Memorial Day was not about a barbecue on the beach.
My grandparents lived down the street from my Great Uncle and Aunt. My Grandfather idolized my Great Uncle (his brother), naming his only son after his brother who had spent World War II as a gunner on a Navy ship in the Pacific. Having broken his back before the war, my Grandfather wasn’t able to get into the military during the conflict. Instead, he busied himself crafting knives to send to his buddies overseas (yes, they censored letters, but allowed knives to be carried through V-Mail) with the instructions “leave them in the enemy’s guts and I’ll make you a new one when you get home.”
My grandfather also played a key role in the war effort, one that goes overlooked when we take the time to honor the troops on Memorial Day. Recruited by the FBI in 1940, my grandfather and his father played a key role in the creation of the Iowa Ordinance Plant, the largest shell and bomb loading facility in operation during the war.
In the autumn of 1940, when a fairly isolationist population still dismissed the idea of entering into Europe’s conflict, my grandfather was pulled out of his job as a tool and die maker by two fairly typical FBI mugs. They strapped secret plans for a military facility, designed by Day & Zimmermann, Co., to his body and handed him a train ticket and a gun with the instructions, “Don’t be afraid to use it.” At the age of 23, my grandfather was the perfect cover: “If anyone asks, you’re on your way out west to go to college.” His job was simple: Escort his father, recruited by the government for his skills as a tool and die maker, to San Francisco to convene with a number of highly skilled Americans engaged to prepare America for war.
We are getting used to tales of heroism from US Navy SEALs. They have become almost mythic in stature in both fictional and non-fictional accounts of covert ops and wartime derring-do.
But perhaps the bravest thing I ever saw was the last mission of Harry Dale, one of the first Navy SEALs, among the first in Vietnam—and it happened nearly a quarter century after his retirement.
I met Harry in the mid-1990s. The retired Naval officer had called the Flint Public Library because he was looking for a co-author. The librarians there said it sounded like it was right up the alley of a local book reviewer who liked that kind of stuff—me.
If you scratch a book reviewer, you will find an aspiring novelist. So when Harry called, I arranged to meet him at his home. I arrived about 15 minutes early, having misjudged the time the drive would take.
When I pulled in, I saw this wiry old guy climbing out of the lake. “Hi, Dave!” he greeted me. “Sorry, I thought I had time for a couple before you got here.”
“A couple?” I echoed, impressed. “You swam across and back a couple times?”
“Hell no, I’m an old man. I don’t go out that deep. What if I had a heart attack?”
Then it hit me. He was doing laps. Now I was impressed. Harry brushed it off: “Not much compared to my old frogman days.”
Frogman… the age… “Were you a SEAL in the Vietnam era by any chance?” I asked.
“Very good, I think the ladies sent me the right guy. Have a seat while I get some clothes on.”
“It is well that war is so terrible,” General Robert E. Lee lamented, “otherwise we would grow too fond of it.” On the other side of the Civil War, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman stated more simply that “war is hell.” They knew fighting for a cause always meant good soldiers suffer; some make the ultimate sacrifice; and often innocents get tragically caught in the crossfire. War always comes at a terrible cost.
Here are ten war films to watch this Memorial Day that will make you weep.
#10. Gunga Din
A 1939 adventure film “inspired” by the Rudyard Kipling poem follows the exploits of three British army lieutenants — Cutter (Cary Grant), MacChesney (Victor McLaglen), Ballantine (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) — on the Indian frontier. The movie is all dash and panache, except for the erstwhile native water carrier, Gunga Din (Sam Jaffe), whose only dream is to be a real soldier. In the end, it’s the regimental “beastie,” shot, bayonetted, but carrying on, who saves the day before he falls. Sob along at the end of the film when the colonel declares over the funeral pyre, “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!”
The smell of pork fat cooking with crushed hardtack over the supper fires is in the air, mingled with strong coffee and a hint of chicory. A chorus of frogs wafts in from the Chicahominy River and Boatswain’s Swamp. A harmonica is softly playing a tune that reminds the boys of life back home – a life many of them have not known for three long years of bloody fighting. There are other sounds in the night air; sounds that chill their souls. They are close enough to hear the Rebel axes and shovels building breastworks. It is no secret that they will be ordered to attack those works at dawn – ACROSS THE OPEN GROUND.
Why are several of them hunched over in their shirtsleeves, fiddling with their jackets? Is it mending time? No, they are pinning bits of paper or cloth to their backs with their names and home towns written on them. You see, there were no dog tags back then. In the morning, as they offer themselves up to be shredded by minie balls and canister, they don’t want their last thoughts to be that no one back home will know what happened to them. For there was a multitude of brave boys in grey and butternut on the other side who were willing to die for the idea that there was no such thing as the UNITED States of America, and no “Yankee government” was going to tell them how to live, or tell them they had to stop holding African Americans in bondage. So they built their ramparts that night and waited – ACROSS THE OPEN GROUND.
The next day the attack would fail to take the Rebel works, and and over 7000 Union soldiers would be killed or wounded – going ACROSS THE OPEN GROUND.
The man who called this nation “the last best hope of earth” admonished us to “take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave their last full measure of devotion.” Our unique way of life was purchased at a dear price; by men who somehow found it within themselves to get up, form up, and go ACROSS THE OPEN GROUND.
image via shutterstock / steve estvanik
A controversy erupted last week at the National September 11 Memorial Museum over exactly how the museum should depict what happened on that fateful day. So it’s time to give them a few unsolicited suggestions.
The New York Times reported that Muslim leaders in New York are angry about a film that is slated to be shown at the museum titled The Rise of Al Qaeda because it “refers to the terrorists as Islamists who viewed their mission as a jihad.” Sheikh Mostafa Elazabawy, the imam of Masjid Manhattan, wrote to the museum’s director: “The screening of this film in its present state would greatly offend our local Muslim believers as well as any foreign Muslim visitor to the museum.”
Wait – aren’t the “local Muslim believers,” as well as any given “foreign Muslim visitor,” supposed to be part of the vast majority of Muslims worldwide who abhor and reject al Qaeda? So why would a film about al Qaeda offend them? Because, Elazabawy explains, “unsophisticated visitors who do not understand the difference between Al Qaeda and Muslims may come away with a prejudiced view of Islam, leading to antagonism and even confrontation toward Muslim believers near the site.”
Akbar Ahmed, a professor at American University and a renowned and respected moderate Muslim, complained that people who see the film are “simply going to say Islamist means Muslims, jihadist means Muslims.” While he acknowledged that “the terrorists need to be condemned and remembered for what they did,” he warned that “when you associate their religion with what they did, then you are automatically including, by association, one and a half billion people who had nothing to do with these actions and who ultimately the U.S. would not want to unnecessarily alienate.”
But this is a sleight-of-hand: it is not the 9/11 Museum that is associating their religion with what they did. It was the 9/11 hijackers themselves who associated their religion with what they did. Elazabawy and Ahmed want the museum to ignore and whitewash that fact, and it will almost certainly comply: it has already begun to do so by removing mention of “Islamic terrorism” from its website.
In a just world, however, it would highlight these five truths:
Stories about World War II have been a major part of American popular culture for decades. From the Warner Bros. war films of the 1940s to Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan and beyond, there is a consistent magnetism towards America’s Greatest Generation and the war they fought against totalitarianism. Many people have relatives who were in the war or have met veterans that have made an impact on their life. Without question, WWII vets are a special, unique group whose stories deserve to be shared.
In The Fight in the Clouds, author James P. Busha organizes the many interviews he conducted with WWII fighter pilots over the years into one volume. Busha, a pilot himself, is also editor of EAA Warbirds of America, EAA Vintage Aircraft Association publications, and contributing editor for Flight Journal. The book opens with specifications about the P-51 Mustang that will be helpful to those new to the topic.
These pilots, like their planes, were tough as nails. The only accepted defeat was death. The tales range from fun practice runs, harrowing fights into enemy territory, and postwar musings. The Fight in the Clouds begins with a powerful introduction about the story of 2nd Lt. James Des Jardins and his brother, who both lost their lives serving our country in World War II. Their story is told, in part, through primary documents in the form of Western Union telegrams. Reading the words of the time always presents a unique and often influential response. This book, according to Busha, was written for those “who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country as they laid their lives on the line to ensure that future generations would enjoy the freedoms and liberties that have been bestowed upon us.”
One of the many stories that stuck out to me was that of Capt. Clayton “Kelly” Gross, who was in a dogfight with “one of Hitler’s wonder weapons,” a Messerschmitt Me 262:
I felt the stick budge as I tried to pull out of my screaming dive. I thought for sure was going to tear the wings off and dive the Mustang deep into German soil! As I pulled out, I found myself right on the 262’s tail. In a split second I lined him up. At a hundred feet away, he was hard to miss. I gave him a little squirt that tore up his left jet engine and shredded his left wingtip. With a moment of greater forward speed than the jet, I overshot him and pulled off to the right. The 262 pulled straight up and I knew the Mustang couldn’t catch him no matter how fast I was going. I thought I lost him as he pulled over a thousand feet away, but I was watching as he stopped in midair and began to tail slide back down. His canopy came off and out popped the pilot. I finally got my jet!
Have you ever been blamed for a murder? Speak out against jihad terror, and you probably will be. It has happened to me three times (so far):
3. Reza Aslan blames me for murder of Muslim woman in California.
Last Thursday in El Cajon, California, an Iraqi Muslim named Kassim Alhimidi was found guilty of murdering his wife, Shaima Alawadi, after she had told him that she wanted a divorce.
Before Alhimidi was arrested, this murder was widely reported as an “Islamophobic hate crime”: a note was found by Alawadi’s body that read, “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” Leftists and Islamic supremacists made a great deal of this, claiming that the murder was the work of an “Islamophobe” who hated Shaima Alawadi for wearing a hijab. They even staged a campaign, “One Million Hijabs for Shaima Alawadi.”
Reza Aslan, the celebrated author of Zealot, bashed out a sub-literate tweet blaming Pamela Geller and me for the murder: “If a 32 year old veiled mother is a terrorist than [sic] so am I you Islamophobic fucks Gellar [sic] Spencer et. [sic] al. Come find me.” When Alhimidi was arrested and it became clear that this was not an “Islamophobic hate crime” at all, I asked Aslan for a retraction and an apology, whereupon he showed yet again what a classy and mature individual he is, tweeting: “You owe me an apology for that beard you sexy walrus.”
In any case, the whole “hate crime” aspect of Shaima Alawadi’s murder was staged to deflect attention from the real murderer. Now that it has been definitively established that the murder was an Islamic honor killing, will the Leftists and Islamic supremacists who made so much of the hate crime now stage “One Million Hijabs Against Honor Killing”? Somehow I doubt it.
The danger in the Ukraine crisis was always that the Ukrainians — or some faction therein — would fight the Russians, escalating the crisis. Resistance from Obama was not in the cards. CNN quoted David Frum as saying that Obama had in effect gave Putin the “green light” to carve up Ukraine.
Obama’s admirers think so too, though they put it differently. Ronan Farrow has advised the president to do nothing as Russia advances. “So, President Obama waiting and exercising caution isn’t necessarily sitting on his hands. It may be the caution that we need right now.”
Farrow’s right. Obama’s not sitting on his hands. He’s waving Putin through. The effect is the same.
Even Obama’s former diplomatic appointees can see what’s happening. James Jeffrey, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq in the Obama administration, implored NATO to send troops to the Ukraine because nothing else would be believed. He said, “The best way to send Putin a tough message and possibly deflect a Russian campaign against more vulnerable NATO states is to back up our commitment to the sanctity of NATO territory with ground troops, the only military deployment that can make such commitments unequivocal.”
Interestingly Jeffrey doesn’t see Ukraine as an end-point of Putin’s plots but a way station to other “more vulnerable NATO states”. And he is anxious to prevent the action from shifting Westwards, may because he knows the stuff Brussels is made of.
The “fragile” EU, having expanded its remit East, now claims it is too fragile to resist Putin now that he’s on the counteroffensive. An article in Bloomberg says, “the U.S. readiness to impose new economic sanctions on Russia over Ukraine is offset by the European Union’s reluctance to introduce stronger measures that could threaten its already fragile economic recovery.”
Translation. They won’t even back serious sanctions. The soft-power superpower that is the EU has looked into its arsenal of diplomatic demarches and human rights declarations and found — nothing. So now they want Obama to ante up the lead in stopping Vlad. They’ll bring up the rear, maybe tomorrow. But Obama needs the EU in the van, with its greater market share of Russian goods. We have the classic tableau.
Alphonse: After you monsieur.
Gaston: No, no. After you.
Alphonse: But I insist. After you.
Commentary has printed some brilliant feminist insights by Jonathan S. Tobin on Brandeis University’s refusal to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
We have heard a great deal in the last couple of years from liberals about a “war on women” that was supposedly being waged by American conservatives. That meme played a crucial part in President Obama’s reelection and Democrats hope to repeat that success in this year’s midterms. Liberals have tried to mobilize American women to go to the polls to register outrage over the debate about forcing employers to pay for free contraception, a Paycheck Fairness Act that is more of a gift to trial lawyers than women, and attempts to limit abortions after 20 weeks. These are issues on which reasonable people may disagree, but what most liberals seem to have missed is the fact that there is a real war on women that is being waged elsewhere around the globe where Islamist forces are brutalizing and oppressing women in ways that make these Democratic talking points look trivial. It is that point that Hirsi Ali is trying to make in her public appearances.
But instead of rising in support of Hirsi Ali’s efforts to draw attention to these outrages, leading American feminists are silent. The only voices we’re hearing from the left are from men who are determined to justify Brandeis.
I recently commented on the nastiness that occurs when political passion jumps the shark into idol-worshiping territory. One need look no further for evidence as to how ugly and narrow-minded political idol worshipers can get than the quotes Tobin pulls from left-wing sources hellbent on defending Brandeis’s decision. A search of both Jezebel and Bitch Magazine websites turned up zip on the controversy, once again proving the theory that feminism really is all about white, upper class “rich” chicks and their pop culture fanaticism.
I stand before you as someone who is fighting for women’s and girls’ basic rights globally. And I stand before you as someone who is not afraid to ask difficult questions about the role of religion in that fight.
The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored. We do no favors to students, faculty, nonbelievers and people of faith when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect.
The fact that the mainstream feminist movement has no use for Hirsi Ali’s brave fight for women’s rights should come as no surprise. Her global campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and abuse of women within radical Islam is so far out of the realm of #FirstWorldProblem Feminism that it doesn’t even ping on their radar. Which is precisely why feminism is a joke and women continue to be the laughingstock whipping boys of Democrat men who keep them well oiled and distracted during election season before shoving them back under Oval Office desks where they belong. What can I say except submission sells.
Perhaps Muslim women aren’t the only ones who are being targeted and abused because of their gender after all.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in on April 19 of 2013 as “10 Depressing, Morally Confused Reactions to 4/15/13, the Boston Jihad” It is being reprinted as part of a weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists.
Reuters reported at 11:54 AM EST on the ideology inspiring the terrorists who murdered and butchered Americans in Boston on Monday:
His “World view” is listed as “Islam” and his “Personal priority” is “career and money”.
He has posted links to videos of fighters in the Syrian civil war and to Islamic web pages with titles like “Salamworld, my religion is Islam” and “There is no God but Allah, let that ring out in our hearts”.
He also has links to pages calling for independence for Chechnya, a region of Russia that lost its bid for secession after two wars in the 1990s.
The page also reveals a sense of humor, around his identity as a member of a minority from southern Russia’s restive Caucasus, which includes Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and other predominately Muslim regions that have seen two decades of unrest since the fall of the Soviet Union.
“I don’t have a single American friend,” one caption quotes him as saying. “I don’t understand them.” [emphasis added]
I will state my position about what has happened this way:
Al Qaeda’s Attack on America on September 11, 2001 = the beginning of World War 1
Two NON-ARAB, WHITE, WHOLLY AMERICANIZED Homegrown Millennial Jihadists Take America Hostage And Launch a New Template for How to Wage A DIY, Low Budget-Download-The-Instructions-Off-The-Internet Terror War = the beginning of World War II.
We are now entering a new phase of the Islamic war to replace liberal societies with Sharia law. This is World War IV, a multi-decade conflict that will be for our generation what the war against Nazism and Fascism was for our grandparents. Except it will probably be worse.
As such, I would like to primarily address those who have not yet given up progressivism, moral relativism, and the Democratic party — the three idols I grew up worshiping for the first two decades of my life. (I realize now that the reason I abandoned progressivism is simply that I didn’t go to graduate school whereas most of my friends did. My brainwashing gradually wore off after I got out into the real world and had to try and survive.)
This is not an oppressive, Corporate Imperial war waged against harmless Muslims. It is a war that Islam has declared against Enlightenment-based societies. The problem is not the Koran or Islam. The problem is radical (as in going to the root of the idea) Islam or Islamism, or Orthodox Islam, or the traditional Islam of history that requires the marriage of mosque and state accompanied by full implementation of chop-your-hands-off-style Sharia. Muslims who reject Koranic literalism and affirm Enlightenment philosophy are A-OK. (See Robert Spencer’s article this morning to see the great Jazz music some of them have made. And note Roger L. Simon today — Islam is not a race.) Muslims who embrace America instead of demanding American submission can enjoy the riches of Liberty just as every immigrant who has come to this land throughout the centuries to worship their God and work hard.
We need to stand with genuine Muslim liberals against both the terrorists and stealth (non-violent) jihadists rebelling against the Modern world.
That requires identifying those in the political and media classes who sabotage these efforts. Here are 10 examples of those whose ideas undermine the safety of Americans and the twin projects to nurture political liberalism in the Muslim mind and Enlightenment values in the Islamic soul.
1. Progressive Filmmaker Michael Moore:
“They know nothing.” It’s very important for Moore to try and undermine the credentials of anyone who can affirm that Sharia is a real threat. In Moore’s world Global Warming is more dangerous and cigarettes and car accidents cause more deaths per year than Islamists. Corporations have killed plenty more people than this “one teenager.”
“I guessed correctly. the bombings were not carried out by women.”
There will be more Jihad Janes, Mike…
Just a few weeks ago I wrote an article for PJ Lifestyle titled “5 Ways the Islamic War on Free Speech Advanced Last Week.” Since then, the Islamic supremacist enemies of the freedom of speech have racked up even more victories, in the United States as well as in Muslim countries.
5. Iran: British woman jailed for “insulting Islamic sanctities,” in danger of execution
A British-Iranian woman, Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, has spent the last five months in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison for writing on Facebook that Iran’s government was “too Islamic.” Arrested during a visit to Iran to visit family members, she has been charged with “insulting Islamic sanctities.” British authorities are indignant about this affront to the freedom of speech.
The British government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is “urgently” examining Nobakht’s case, but why? In Britain (and America as well) it is a de facto crime to insult Islamic sanctities. A British man, Mark Stephenson, ripped pages from a copy of the Qur’an and threw them onto the ground at a soccer match. He was arrested and recently fined £235 for doing so. If Britons must therefore pay proper Sharia-dictated respect for the Qur’an or face monetary penalties, the British government has no leg to stand on in complaining about the Iranians’ prosecution of Roya Nobakht.
This excerpt is from the book Rules for Radical Conservatives by the noted Leftist radical, “David Kahane.” If you don’t know who David Kahane is, click here. And here. Buy it, read it, weep, and enjoy it if you can:
Despite all the evidence of the past several decades, you still have not grasped one simple fact: that, just about a century after the last one ended, we engaged in a great civil war, one that will determine the kind of country we and our descendants shall henceforth live in for at least the next hundred years – and, hopefully, a thousand. Since there hasn’t been any shooting, so far, some call the struggle we are now involved in the “culture wars,” but I have another, better name for it: the Cold Civil War
In many ways, this new civil war is really an inter-generational struggle, the War of the Baby Boomers. America’s largest generation, the famous “pig in the python,” has affected everything it’s touched, from the schools of the 1950s (not enough of them) through the colleges of the 1960s (changed, changed utterly), through the political movements of the 1970s and ‘80s (revolution and counter-revolution), and into the present, where the war is still being waged. For the dirty little secret is that all those fresh-faced kids, crammed together in public-school classrooms, have hated each other almost from the moment they first drew breath, and realized that they were to be locked in lifelong, mortal competition with the dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of other kids their same age. From their first moment of self-consciousness, they were aware that they would have to fight for everything they got: for the love of their parents, for a desk in the classrooms, for a place in the elite colleges, for a job, for a title, for money, for everything.
It was back then, shoulder to shoulder in those crowded, stinky classrooms, benighted places where there was scarcely a grief counselor ever to be seen, where Attention Deficit Disorder and the whole host of other imaginary diseases we have since inflicted on you had not yet been invented (any kid claiming ADD would have been laughed at and, in Catholic school, probably slapped upside the head by the nuns), and where the idea of filing a lawsuit on just about any pretext would have been considered trashy, that our respective sides developed our deep antipathy for one other. My crew was resentful that we had to share space, not only in the classroom but on the planet, with inexplicably happy alien beings like you, who, at best, ignored us as you got on with your lives in pursuit of the chimerical “American Dream,” or worse, treated us with contempt as we whined, moaned, bitched and complained about the awful unfairness of life and the vast evil all around us and all that jazz. Just because you happened to be the so-called “majority” at the time didn’t mean we couldn’t start planning ways to take you down, to change things, to effect a fundamental transformation of your society. Which, in case you haven’t noticed, is now ours.
You admired strength, resolve and purposefulness; we were stuck with weakness and indecision. You saw the world as something to be conquered; we saw the world as a hostile force needing to be appeased. You dealt with life head-on, never complaining and never explaining; we ran home and told our mommies. You cheered when macho neanderthals like John Wayne or Steve McQueen kicked some “bad” guy’s butt, and swelled with pride at that whole faked “moon landing” charade, while we ogled Jane Fonda as Barbarella atop that anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi, and rolled around naked in the mud at Woodstock. Think of us as Cain to your Abel, hating you from practically the moment we were born, hating you for your excellence and your unabashed pursuit thereof while we were the ugly stepchildren. Well, Cinderfella – how do you like us now?
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in in November of 2013 as “The New Proof of the KGB’s Hand in JFK’s Assassination” and “11 Facts That Destroy JFK Conspiracy Theories” parts 1, 2, and 3. It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months… Click here to see the top 40 so far and to advocate for your favorites in the comments.
It has been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and most of the world still wrongly believes that the culprit was the CIA, or the FBI, or the mafia, or right-wing American businessmen. It has been also 50 years since the Kremlin started an intense, worldwide disinformation operation, codenamed “Dragon,” aimed at diverting attention away from the KGB’s connection with Lee Harvey Oswald. Not unrelated are the facts that Oswald was an American Marine who defected to Moscow, returned to the United States three years later with a Russian wife, killed President Kennedy, and was arrested before being able to carry out his plan to escape back to Moscow. In a letter dated July 1, 1963, Oswald asked the Soviet embassy in Washington, D.C., to grant his wife an immediate entrance visa to the Soviet Union, and to grant another one to him, separtably (misspelling and emphasis as in the original).
The Kremlin’s “Dragon” operation is described in my book Programmed to Kill: Moscow’s Responsibility for Lee Harvey Oswald’s Assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. In 2010, this book was presented at a conference of the Organization of American Historians together with a review by Prof. Stan Weber (McNeese State University). He described the book as “a superb new paradigmatic work on the death of President Kennedy” and a “must read for everyone interested in the assassination.”[i]
Programmed to Kill is a factual analysis of that KGB crime of the century committed during the Khrushchev era. In those days, the former chief KGB adviser in Romania had become the head of the almighty Soviet foreign espionage service and pushed me up to the top levels of the Soviet bloc intelligence clique. My book also contains a factual presentation of Khrushchev’s frantic efforts to cover his backside. Recalling that the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Serbian terrorist Gavrilo Princip had set off the First World War, Khrushchev was afraid that, if America should learn about the KGB’s involvement with Oswald, it might ignite the first nuclear war. Khrushchev’s interests happened to coincide with those of Lyndon Johnson, the new U.S. president, who was facing elections in less than a year, and any conclusion implicating the Soviet Union in the assassination would have forced Johnson to take undesired political or even military action, adding to his already widely unpopular stance on the war in Vietnam.
According to new KGB documents, which became available after Programmed to Kill was published, the Soviet effort to deflect attention away from the KGB regarding the Kennedy assassination began on November 23, 1963—the very day after Kennedy was killed—and it was introduced by a memo to the Kremlin signed by KGB chairman Vladimir Semichastny. He asked the Kremlin immediately to publish an article in a “progressive paper in one of the Western countries …exposing the attempt by reactionary circles in the USA to remove the responsibility for the murder of Kennedy from the real criminals, [i.e.,] the racists and ultra-right elements guilty of the spread and growth of violence and terror in the United States.”
The Kremlin complied. Two months later, R. Palme Dutt, the editor of a communist-controlled British journal called Labour Monthly, signed an article that raised the specter of CIA involvement without offering a scintilla of evidence. “[M]ost commentators,” Dutt wrote, “have surmised a coup of the Ultra-Right or racialists of Dallas . . . [that], with the manifest complicity necessary of a very wide range of authorities, bears all the hallmarks of a CIA job.” Semichastny’s super secret letter and Dutt’s subsequent article were revealed by former Russian president Boris Yeltsin in his book The Struggle for Russia, published 32 years after the Kennedy assassination.
No wonder Yeltsin was ousted by a KGB palace coup that transferred the Kremlin’s throne into the hands of the KGB—which still has a firm grip on it. On December 31, 1999, Yeltsin stunned Russia and the rest of the world by announcing his resignation. “I understand that I must do it,”[ii] he explained, speaking in front of a gaily-decorated New Year’s tree along with a blue, red and white Russian flag and a golden Russian eagle. Yeltsin then signed a decree “On the execution of the powers of the Russian president,” which states that under Article 92 Section 3 of the Russian Constitution, the power of the Russian president shall be temporarily performed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, starting from noon on December 31, 1999.[iii] For his part, the newly appointed president signed a decree pardoning Yeltsin, who was allegedly connected to massive bribery scandals, “for any possible misdeeds” and granted him “total immunity” from being prosecuted (or even searched and questioned) for “any and all” actions committed while in office. Putin also gave Yeltsin a lifetime pension and a state dacha.[iv]
Soon after that, the little window into the KGB archive that had been cracked opened by Yeltsin was quietly closed. Fortunately, he had first been able to reveal Semichastny’s memo, which generated the Kennedy conspiracy that has never stopped.
Dutt’s article was followed by the first book on the JFK assassination published in the U.S., Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy? It was authored by a former member of the German Communist Party, Joachim Joesten, and it was published in New York in 1964 by Carlo Aldo Marzani, a former member of the American Communist Party and a KGB agent. Joesten’s book alleges, without providing any proof, that Oswald was “an FBI agent provocateur with a CIA background”. Highly classified KGB documents smuggled out of Russia with British MI-6 help by KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin in 1993—long after the two U.S. government investigations into the assassination had been completed—show that in the early 1960s, Marzani received subsidies totaling $672,000 from the Central Committee of the Communist Party. That raises the question of why Marzani was paid by the party and not by the KGB, whose agent he was. The newly released Semichastny letter gives us the answer: on the next day after the assassination, the Kremlin took over management of the disinformation operation aimed at blaming America for the JFK assassination. That is why Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy? was promoted by a joint party/KGB operation.
The book’s first review, which praised it to the skies, was signed by Victor Perlo, a member of the American Communist Party, and was published on September 23, 1964, in New Times, which I knew as a KGB front at one time printed in Romania. On December 9, 1963, the “progressive” American journalist I. F. Stone published a long article in which he tried to justify why America had killed its own president. He called Oswald a rightist crackpot, but put the real blame on the “warlike Administration” of the United States, which was trying to sell Europe a “nuclear monstrosity.” Stone has been identified as a paid KGB agent, codenamed “Blin.”
Joesten dedicated his book to Mark Lane, an American leftist who in 1966 produced the bestseller Rush to Judgment, alleging Kennedy was assassinated by a right-wing American group. Documents in the Mitrokhin Archive show that the KGB indirectly sent Mark Lane money ($2,000), and that KGB operative Genrikh Borovik was in regular contact with him. Another KGB defector, Colonel Oleg Gordievsky (former KGB station chief in London), has identified Borovik as the brother-in-law of Col. General Vladimir Kryuchkov, who in 1988 became chairman of the KGB and in August 1991 led the coup in Moscow aimed at restoring the Soviet Union.
The year 1967 saw the publication of two more books attributed to Joesten: The Case Against Lyndon Johnson in the Assassination of President Kennedy and Oswald: The Truth. Both books suggested that President Johnson and his CIA had killed Kennedy. They were soon followed by Mark Lane’s A Citizen’s Dissent (1968). Lane has also intensively traveled abroad to preach that America is an “FBI police state” that killed its own president.
With such books, the Kennedy conspiracy was born, and it never stopped. The growing popularity of books on the JFK assassination has encouraged all kinds of people with any sort of remotely related background expertise to join the party, each viewing events from his own narrow perspective. Several thousand books have been written on the JFK assassination, and the hemorrhage continues. In spite of this growing mountain of paper, a satisfactory explanation of Oswald’s motivation has yet to be offered, primarily because the whole important dimension of Soviet foreign policy concerns and Soviet intelligence practice in the late 1950s and early 1960s has not been addressed in connection with Oswald by any competent authority. Why not? Because none of their authors had ever been a KGB insider, familiar with its modus operandi.
By its very nature espionage is an arcane and duplicitous undertaking, and in the hands of the Soviets it developed into a whole philosophy, every aspect of which had its own set of tried and true rules and followed a prescribed pattern. To really understand the mysteries of Soviet espionage, it will not help to see a spy movie or read a spy novel, as entertaining as that might be. You must have lived in that world of secrecy and deceit for a whole career, as I did, and even then you may not fathom its darker moments, unless you are one of the few at the very top of the pyramid.
Therefore, I have put together a short PowerPoint presentation of such darker moments that are crucial for understanding how the Kremlin has been able to fool the rest of the world into believing that America killed one of its most beloved presidents. Let’s step back together into that world of Soviet espionage and deceit. At the end of our tour d’horizon, I hope you’ll agree with me that the Soviets had a hand in the assassination of President Kennedy. I also hope that afterwards you will look with different eyes upon other documents relating to the JFK assassination that may turn up in the future. Perhaps you may spot additional Soviet/Russian maneuverings hidden behind them.