Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

I posted this last year. I don't see much to improve on this year.


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 2, 2000

Memorandum on the White House Program for the National Moment
of Remembrance

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

Subject: White House Program for the National Moment of Remembrance

As Memorial Day approaches, it is time to pause and consider the
true meaning of this holiday. Memorial Day represents one day of
national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died
while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these
heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to
securing our Nation's freedom, we should honor them especially on
Memorial Day.
In this time of unprecedented success and prosperity throughout our
land, I ask that all Americans come together to recognize how fortunate
we are to live in freedom and to observe a universal ``National Moment
of Remembrance'' on each Memorial Day. This memorial observance
represents a simple and unifying way to commemorate our history and
honor the struggle to protect our freedoms.
Accordingly, I hereby direct all executive departments and agencies,
in consultation with the White House Program for the National Moment of
Remembrance (Program), to promote a ``National Moment of Remembrance''
to occur at 3 p.m. (local time) on each Memorial Day.
Recognizing that Memorial Day is a Federal holiday, all executive
departments and agencies, in coordination with the Program and to the
extent possible and permitted by law, shall promote and provide
resources to support a National Moment of Remembrance, including:

* Encouraging individual department and agency personnel, and Americans everywhere, to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.
* Recognizing, in conjunction with Memorial Day, department and agency personnel whose family members have made the ultimate sacrifice for this Nation.
* Providing such information and assistance as may be necessary for the Program to carry out its functions.

I have asked the Director of the White House Millennium Council to issue additional guidance, pursuant to this Memorandum, to the heads of
executive departments and agencies regarding specific activities and
events to commemorate the National Moment of Remembrance.

William J. Clinton

Who do you remember today?

3 o'clock.

Lieutenant Colonel Jack Friedrichsen, US Air Force

Second bell.

Major Andrew Olmsted, US Army
Captain Thomas Casey, US Army

3 strikes for the hour.

Sergeant Ross Clevenger, US Army
Sergeant Jim Holtom, US Army
Private First Class Ray Werner, US Army

Today, I'll remember.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Acute Library, continued

Thanks to Jules Crittenden for the link last week. Jules has a great site, and he's a lover of books as well- Crittenden's Botique: Right-Wing Bookshop and General Store

I got two books in the mail on Tuesday- The Islamist and Horse Soldiers. Both look to be excellent- Horse Soldiers in the sense of the most timeless military history (by the way- check out In Harm's Way by the same author for the story of one of the most fascinating tragedies of WWII, the sinking of the USS Indianapolis). The Islamist reads worryingly. I'm only 70-odd pages in, but Ed Husain is already painting a picture of his path from bored western Muslim to extremist.

I had Army drill this weekend, and inbetween qualifying on my rifle and teaching new kids how to clean an M-16 (seriously... what do they learn in basic training now?), I read most of Militant Islam in Southeast Asia: Crucible of Terror by Zachary Abuza. Most of the book was good. I learned quite a bit about the religious and political history of Malaysia and Indonesia, and there is a wealth of extensively footnoted information detailing the spread of al-Qaeda in SEA and how AQ was able to co-opt local muslim extremists into part of the larger organization. That said, there are a lot of typos in the book- one (which is mentioned in an amazon review) made me laugh out loud when I read it out at the rifle range. The author claims that "15% of Cham Buddhists are Wahhabi", which makes about as much sense as saying that 15% of all trucks are bicycles. Overall, though... it was a good intro to the topic.

Speaking of Jules Crittenden and militant Muslims, here's Jules on Josh Marshall on homegrown terror:
It appears that this is one of those cases where the group was under surveillance for a very long time and helped along in what turned out to be a bogus plot orchestrated by federal authorities.

O, when will the feds stop persecuting Muslims and forcing them into man-caused-disasterism!

I'll tell you what... seeing "jailhouse converts" to Islam getting arrested while placing C4 bundles around a synogogue makes me real comfortable with the idea of moving Guantanamo detainees into American mainland prisons!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Library

I've always been a bookworm. My parents raised me in a house that had virtually every open wall covered up by a bookcase. I read through most of the Encyclopedia Brittanica as a kid, and I hit up old chemistry and linear algebra textbooks for what I could understand. We read classics at family dinners and on road trips- Swiss Family Robinson, The Wind in the Willows. I loved historical fiction, especially books from the age of sail.

Iraq was good to me on the reading front. I had a lot of spare time to fill, and instead of watching Simpsons, Girls Next Door or whatever $2 DVD the Iraqi vendor had just added to his lineup with a bunch of the other guys, I read. I got through Atlas Shrugged, The Face of Battle and The Mask of Command. I read Fiasco and The Golden Bough. I read through the Bible.

I haven't been as much of a reader since I've been home. College classes hit hard, and my perfectly delightful girlfriend occupies a good bit of my time as well. Still, though... I recently read most of the way through Martin von Crevelds The Culture of War (the library asked for it back before I quite finished). I enjoyed it, though longtime Clausewitz fans may disagree. The Al-qaeda Reader is on my nightstand, and Militant Islam in Southeast Asia is waiting for its turn. The Islamist and Doug Stanton's Horse Soldiers are in the mail.

Summer is coming.

Welcome, Crittenden Warmongers! Feel free to browse around.