Monday, February 12, 2007


I am a former Australian Army Sergeant and the excerpt below from Michael Ledeen about the current American military coincides with my observations of military men

I think the most impressive thing about this generation of fighters is their humanity, a point made to me by a senior official who has fought in many wars, and will soon retire. He points to the nature of the military community, which in many ways is the closest thing we've got to a classless society. If there is any group of Americans who truly believe in "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs," it's our soldiers. The officer corps brings some of our most talented and most fortunate sons and daughters into intimate contact with their less fortunate cohorts. Officers from wealthy families and elite universities live alongside kids from farms, bayous, and backwoods, and the sons and daughters of the rich and famous sleep, work, fight, and die with the children of the ghettos, slums and unemployed. It isn't always that way, to be sure; the underclass kids fight their way to high rank, and some of the rich and famous leave the Ivy League and enlist, but the basic point remains: There's little room for snobbery based on who's your daddy, or where'd you go to school.

It works quite well, from all accounts. Our officers - this is holy writ for the Marines, but it is pretty much canonical in the other services as well - lead from the front. And the basic rule of the community of warriors is that you don't want to let down the guy next to you. Everyone knows that, and so everyone works as hard as he can, not only to make himself worthy, but to be damn sure the guy next to him is up to the challenge. You don't want the guy next to you to come back to base and expose your failures, and you sure as hell don't want him to fail when you need him to save you.

So a community is created, and it's a caring meritocracy far more than you'd imagine, certainly far more than I'd imagined before our kids headed off for Afghanistan and Iraq and we started to spend time with people in uniform, or with the parents of people in uniform. It's totally counterintuitive, but I think it's largely true. And it turns my stomach when the no-nothings start calling them "mercenaries," as if they were in it for the money, and as if they were dehumanized killing machines.

Somewhere on the net I read an exchange between Milton Friedman and some general. They were arguing about the value of a volunteer Army, rather than the draft, which existed at the time. The general said he didn't want an army of mercenaries, and Friedman hit the roof. He pointed out that, on that line of reasoning, we bought our meat from mercenary butchers, went for treatment to mercenary doctors, and so forth. There's a big difference between volunteers and mercenaries. Our fighters are where they are because, by and large, they believe in something bigger than themselves, they have learned that you can live in a community where virtue does not equal narcissism, and they know that they are far more than a nuisance. They're in it for all of us, and if they lose it's going to be bad for all of us.

Machiavelli, the smartest of all of us, knew that true virtue is military virtue, because it enables virtuous people to work for the common good instead of self-indulgence.



GA: Atlanta drops land theft battle: "It didn't take long for outrage over Mark and Regina Meeks' story to take root all across Georgia. After officials in the suburban Atlanta city of Stockbridge tried to condemn the Meeks' tiny flower shop and supplant it with a town center, the couple spent two years and more than $200,000 fighting the move in court. Their battle became a symbol of Georgia's budding movement to rein in the government's power to seize property. And this week, the owners could finally claim victory: The city said it is dropping its battle to condemn Stockbridge Florist and Gifts."

MD: Court nixes expedited land theft: "In a decision likely to force Baltimore to rethink its economic development strategy, Maryland's highest court ruled Thursday that the city cannot continue using eminent domain to 'run roughshod over the owners of private property.' The state Court of Appeals, in a blunt opinion that harshly criticized the city's favored property seizure technique, found Baltimore had no good reason to take a Charles North bar called The Magnet last year with a sped-up version of eminent domain called 'quick take.' ... Quick take, the state court pointed out, requires an agency to prove that it needs property urgently and for the public good. In this case, wrote Judge Dale R. Cathell, the BDC demonstrated neither."

UK: MPs seek special exemption from freedom of information laws: "MPs are pressing for a special exemption from new powers that they brought in seven years ago in a popular attempt to open up government to public scrutiny. A private members' Bill introduced by a former Tory whip and considered by a Commons committee today will stop the public from using the Freedom of Information Act to find out how their MPs run their private offices. David Maclean's Bill, believed to have the support of prominent Labour ministers as well as the Leader of the Commons, Jack Straw, is the latest attempt to neuter Labour's much-trumpeted right-to-know legislation. It is the second attack on the new powers in four months. In October, ministers proposed new measures that would dramatically curb the access-to-information powers. They include proposals to restrict the number of requests made by the media and make it easier to refuse requests on grounds of cost."

How embarrassing for the Europeans (1): "The United States has extended its lead as the most attractive location in which to invest in renewable energy projects. The country's increasing desirability is directly linked to a conviction among investors that politicians are now firmly in support of renewable energy. The findings by Ernst & Young come just two weeks after President Bush used his annual State of the Union address to call on Americans to cut fuel consumption by 20 per cent over the next decade, giving warning that the country had been dependent on foreign oil for too long. Jonathan Johns, author of the E&Y report, said that the country's commitment to renewable energy was reinforced by the recent renewal of tax credits for large-scale projects until at least next year. "

How embarrassing for the Europeans (2): "The White House said on Wednesday the United States had done better at reducing carbon emissions than Europe, where U.S. President George W. Bush's stance on global warming has been sharply criticized. The Bush administration has taken steps that "demonstrate real seriousness, not simply giving the speeches, but walking the walk," White House spokesman Tony Snow said, adding that "We are doing a better job of reducing emissions" than Europe. "So the idea that ... we don't understand the arguments, or we're not contemplating or taking seriously the arguments about carbon caps, of course we are," he said. While many environmentalists have urged mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions, as imposed in Europe, Bush opposes the idea and advocates the development of new technologies to reduce dependence on oil. "I would point out that ... there is a carbon cap system in place in Europe, we are doing a better job of reducing emissions here," Snow said. The White House said Snow was referring to figures from the International Energy Agency that from 2000 to 2004, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion grew by 1.7 percent, while in the European Union such emissions grew by 5 percent."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason -- Details here and here

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