The Royals Get Their Man

The Kansas City Royals have finally fired Allard Baird (who, for the past week, has set an example of classy behavior in a bad situation) and hired Dayton Moore[*1] from the Atlanta Braves as General Manager.

Moore is the consensus “right choice” for the Royals, who are about as bad a professional sports franchise right now as can be imagined.

Murfreesboro Rises Up

Via[*1] comes this endearing story of Murfreesboro, Tennessee[*2] :

Usually criminals worry about beingcaught by police but in Murfreesboro criminals need to watch out fortheir victims. In the last two months, five different victims took boldrisks in stopping crime.

Tim Davis’ Salt and Pepper Christianbookstore is full of statements that mirror is own beliefs. Fromcommandments to bumper stickers, it all points to character and when aman tried to rob him, he believes he knows exactly what Jesus would do.

Tim pulled out a pair of scissors and chased his robber down the street holding him at bay until police arrived.

“If you roll over and take it, they will do it again,” Davis defended his action.

The theme is a powerful one in Murfreesboro these days.

Semper Fidelis

A statement[*1] from the U. S. Marine Corps Commandant General Michael W. Hagee:

“On Marine Virtue”
By Gen. M. W. Hagee

Recent serious allegations concerning actions of Marines in combat have caused me concern. They should cause you to be concerned as well. To ensure we continue to live up to General Lejeune’s description of a Marine as someone who demonstrates “all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue,” I would like to review the importance of our core values.

As Marines, you are taught from your earliest days in the Corps about our core values of honor, courage and commitment. These values are part of and belong to all Marines, regardless of MOS, grade, or gender. They guide us in all that we do; whether in combat, in garrison, or on leave or liberty.

To a Marine, honor is more than just honesty; it means having uncompromising personal integrity and being accountable for all actions. To most Marines, the most difficult part of courage is not the raw physical courage that we have seen so often on today’s battlefield. It is rather the moral courage to do the “right thing” in the face of danger or pressure from other Marines. Finally, commitment is that focus on caring for one another and upholding the great ideals of our Corps and Country.

The nature of this war with its ruthless enemies, and its complex and dangerous battlefield will continue to challenge us in the commitment to our core values. We must be strong and help one another to measure up. The war will also test our commitment to our belief in the rule of law.

We have all been educated in the Law of Armed Conflict. We continue to reinforce that training, even when deployed to combat zones. We do not employ force just for the sake of employing force. We use lethal force only when justified, proportional and, most importantly, lawful. We follow the laws and regulations, Geneva Convention and Rules of Engagement. This is the American way of war. We must regulate force and violence, we only damage property that must be damaged, and we protect the non-combatants we find on the battlefield.

When engaged in combat, particularly in the kind of counterinsurgency operations we’re involved in now, we have to be doubly on guard. Many of our Marines have been involved in life or death combat or have witnessed the loss of their fellow Marines, and the effects of these events can be numbing. There is the risk of becoming indifferent to the loss of a human life, as well as bringing dishonor upon ourselves. Leaders of all grades need to reinforce continually that Marines care for one another and do what is right.

The large majority of Marines today perform magnificently on and off the battlefield. I am very proud of the bravery, dedication, honor, courage and commitment you clearly display every day. And America is proud as well. Americans, indeed most people around the world, recognize that Marines are men and women of the highest caliber — physically, mentally, and morally.

Each one of you contributes in your own unique way to our important mission; I am proud of your dedication and accomplishments. Even after 38 years, I still stand with pride every time I hear the Marines Hymn. The words of that Hymn mean something special to me. Especially, “Keep our Honor Clean”. I know that means something to all of you as well. As Marines we have an obligation to past Marines, fellow Marines, future Marines and ourselves to do our very best to live up to these words.

As your Commandant, I charge all Marines to carry on our proud legacy by demonstrating our values in everything you do — on duty and off; in combat or in garrison. Semper Fidelis.

– USMC –

As a citizen of the U.S., this is exactly what I want my military leadership to be telling our armed forces.  Keep our Honor Clean.  Wherever the pursuit of truth leads, make sure that justice is done, both to our foes and ourselves as well.  Thank you, General Hagee, and thank you to all U. S. Marines.


From the Washington Times[*1] (via FreeRepublic[*2] ), a Letter to the Editor:

In the combat zone

The investigation into the Haditha incident is not even complete, no one has been charged, and no defense has been given to the charges, but politicians such as Rep. John Murtha and liberals in the news media already want to publicly hang some young Marines (“General to teach rules of war” Nation, Friday).

Before you pass judgment on these young men, you must step out of the fantasyland in which most Americans live and understand there is a war in Iraq and, as in any war, nothing is black and white.

There is no way to understand the Al Anbar Province of Iraq until you have lived here in this combat zone. The culture is different, and in this urban guerrilla war, jeopardizing the lives of your family members and neighbors is perfectly acceptable behavior for the terrorist insurgent.

There are many good people in Iraq. I have had the opportunity to work with some very brave Iraqi army soldiers and interpreters who risk not only their lives, but also those of their families for just a chance at freedom, but be aware that there also is an evil here that people in America cannot even imagine, let alone fully understand.

Terrorist insurgents constantly use civilians, their own people, as human shields, especially women and children. They know that American soldiers and Marines will hesitate to return fire in these instances, giving the terrorists time to retreat back into the population.

They will shoot from their own homes, plant bombs (IEDs) in their own markets and are more than willing to perform suicidal attacks for even a chance to kill an American or Iraqi soldier. Those are the facts, I have seen these things in Al Anbar.

If these Marines are guilty, they will have to pay the consequences for their actions, but at least allow them a defense and a fair trial before you pass judgment.

We in the military do not want your pity.

We are not victims, we are volunteers willing to serve in this extremely difficult situation in defense of our nation. If you want to direct your hate at someone, hate the evil terrorist insurgency that puts civilians, soldiers and Marines in these situations every day here in Al Anbar.

Al Anbar Province, Iraq

Those who are interested in justice will counsel patience. Those who are uninterested in justice will, as always, rush to ill-informed judgment.

On Tolerance

The other day I was thinking–thinking about “tolerance.” That most elusive of desirable human traits is the key to so many conflicts between people.

What is tolerance, anyway? We can start with a dictionary definition[*1] :

The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.

If you dig further into the definitions[*2] , you find more technical usages of the term describing the acceptable deviation from a norm–mechanical tolerances, or medical tolerance (the ability of the body to withstand an insult).

The problem with tolerance as it relates to human behavior is that it always seems to be the other person who needs to be “more tolerant.” You rarely hear someone saying “gee, I need to be more tolerant.” When they do, it’s usually a rhetorical club which really means “you’re being really really mean and nasty but see how much better a person I am than you by graciously allowing your contemptible behavior to continue.”

It’s easy to be “tolerant” of those in your own group (tribe, gang, ethnic group, etc.). It’s manifestly more difficult to be tolerant of other groups. They’re so . . . so . . . so different, don’t you see?

The reason why tolerance is a virtue is not because it is so common among humans, but because it is so rare. Once a person settles on a belief system and a set of behaviors, it is the most natural thing in the world for that person to want to convince his or her fellow human beings that his or her way is “right.” How intolerant is that? The fundamental and enduring assumption is that I know better than you, and I’m not being intolerant, I’m just “helping” you by showing you the error of your ways.

The origins of numerous wars throughout human history are found in this kind of “help.”

As with so many human traits, tolerance by itself can be taken to such an extreme that it causes the very problem it attempts to prevent. So, what counterbalances tolerance?

I would submit that it is found in the simple phrase: Mind Your Own Business. The Bible puts it as[*3] :

Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, `Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

There’s a reason why it’s called “The Golden Rule.” You don’t have to be a practicing Christian, or religious at all, to understand “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Most (or should I say “all?”) people fail to consistently apply the Golden Rule in their daily lives. In general, those people who do apply it most consistently tend, oddly enough, to be quite popular people with whom many others wish to associate. The Golden Rule is a high standard. But those who shout “tolerance! tolerance!” without being willing to themselves tolerate those who lead their lives differently are in no position to claim a moral high ground.

I think of all of the intolerance in the world today–from Islamic extremists, to today’s American Left, to the few remaining Christian fundamentalists, and wonder at what point does a person, a group, a country, a religion forfeit its expectation of tolerance from those outside the group, country, religion?

It seems to me that a clear dividing line comes when the person/group/country/religion turns from worrying about how it behaves internally to worrying about how others behave. This is a danger zone. The danger becomes critical when talk turns to action. An old libertarian saying goes “your right to swing your arms ends where my nose begins.” You are free to worry to your heart’s content about whether or not I’m living my life the right way, and you’re free to try to convince me through argument that I should change. But once argument becomes coercion, tolerance becomes oppression.

Tolerance becomes intolerance the instant that argument becomes action. So then you have the contradiction of using that most intolerant of institutions–the government–to “enforce tolerance.”

There is no solution here, there’s only the struggle. And so it goes.

Unrest in Iran

Gateway Pundit[*1] has an extensive roundup of a big story from Iran (not Iraq–Iran, the country with Crazy Ringo as President) you are simply not hearing from Old Media:

When 200 Islamist thugs are bused in from across the country by theIslamic Republic to hold a rally outside the Danish Embassy the westernnews medias (BBC, CNN, AFP, Reuters…) are quick to cover the storylive on TV making it seem like Iranians are crazy fanatics!

Whentens of thousands of Iranians come out denouncing that very same regimethat is doing these kind of acts, condemning them for the oppressiverule!!! EVERYTHING GOES SILENT!

The Appendix

OK So I’m Not Really A Cowboy[*1] meditates upon the (supposed) uselessness of the appendix:

Thegut is a highly specialized and complex organ system. It has its ownseparate nervous system, an amazing range of hormonal functionality,forms an important part of the immune system, and, of course, digestsour food. The appendix has lost the latter function, but retained therest. Which doesn’t necessarily make it an important part of the body,just means that it’s only truly vestigial in one respect.