Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Reality Check

I just saw the Cindy Sheehan commercial on TV, in which she accuses President Bush of lying about the war (among other things). It is a disturbing commercial, an odd mix of a woman working through the grieving process on national television, combined with a biting cynicism, typically indicative of the Left salivating for things to go bad in Iraq. On the one hand, the liberals claim to grieve over the death of soldiers in Iraq (and obviously Sheehan herself is genuinely grieving), yet their glee over things going badly for Bush is barely contained. The same people who lined up behind Bush after seeing the intelligence are now claiming he lied.

It’s one thing to say that we were mistaken and our intelligence should have been better. It’s also one thing to say that we have waged the war badly (though I would disagree). But it’s an entirely different thing entirely to say that Bush lied. That is preposterous. If he lied, then somehow he not only fooled everyone in this nation, but indeed, he is smarter than the whole world, and was able to convince us all that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction when he didn’t. It’s ironic that they call Bush stupid, but also claim that he pulled off the greatest conspiracy of all time.

I’m saying all of this on my behalf and not the Army or my church, but it saddens me that our nation has demonized Bush in the way that it has. It’s one thing to disagree with his policies (don’t forget that people like Hilary Clinton and John Kerry voted for the war), but it’s another thing to call him names, claim he lied, state that he is killing our kids, etc.

Here are some good words from columnist David Limbaugh:

Stripping the issue to its bear essentials, my simple contention is that we were justified in attacking Iraq, among other reasons, because:
We believed, based on the best intelligence available to us, that Saddam represented a threat to our security because of his lust to acquire and reacquire WMD, his prior use of them on his own people, and his willingness to use them against us and our allies. His abiding hatred for the United States and his harboring of and support for terrorists (from Palestinian suicide bombers to Al Qaeda) exacerbated his dangerousness to the United States. That we have been unable to find WMD stockpiles in Iraq doesn't mean President Bush lied about their existence, nor does it change the propriety of our decision based on what we knew at the time. The fact that Democrat leaders have conveniently denied they assessed Saddam's threat to be at least as grave as President Bush did, both at the time of the attack and years before (during the Clinton administration), does not erase from history their well-documented and forcefully expressed opinion to that effect. The only difference between Republican and Democrat leaders on the subject is that Democrats just talked about it. Republicans took action.
Saddam had repeatedly violated the post Gulf War treaty and U.N. resolutions and defiantly refused to honor his agreements or comply with international law, making a mockery of Gulf War I and the American lives lost during it. He played games with weapons inspectors, and, despite his burden of proving he'd complied with his agreement to divest himself of WMD, he filed a fraudulent 12,000-page document -- both of which led us to believe our intelligence assessments about his WMD were correct. If he didn't have WMD or wasn't trying to produce them, why on earth did he do those things?”

We need to come together as a nation, like we did after 9/11. We need to remember that Bush is not the anti-Christ, but a good man trying to do a very difficult job. When he is demonized as he is, it makes it so much harder to take the arguments coming from those people seriously. Maybe there are things we could do better. Maybe not. But name calling like kids won’t get it accomplished.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Glad to be back from the field

Photos: Upper left- the tent that housed my platoon, upper right- me in front of our tent, left- me and Chaplain Pina.

This was a great week! I would have posted sooner, but I’ve just been tired and recovering.

It’s hard to summarize a week, but I’ll try and give a few highlights. The week began with about a five mile road march, with all of our gear. Almost everybody made it, though I saw some chaplains who had to fall out and couldn’t make it. We arrived completely soaked in sweat, and set up our camp. Our tent was home to my platoon (24 of us), and we slept on the ground.

The days consisted of various training and simulation. For example, one afternoon, we had a simulated mass casualty situation, where everyone was given a role- either a victim, a medic, a chaplain, etc. We simulated a mortar attack, with loud explosives and smoke, and then had to treat and evacuate the casualties. It was intense and was great for us to go through.

Each night I got about 2-3 hours of sleep. Part of this was due to mortar attacks, in which loud explosives woke us up, and we had to don our gas masks and all of our gear and head into a bunker until we were given the all clear. I’m not alone in saying that I’m not a huge fan of the protective gas masks. You sweat like crazy in them, and there is the feeling that you can’t breathe while you wear them. Obviously you can; it’s just psychological.

Food was actually decent. We had warm chow in the mornings and at night, and MREs for lunch. One of the greatest pleasures in life is to get the crackers with jalapeno cheese sauce in your MRE. At least it feels that way at the time.

Overall the training was a good preparation for our work as chaplains, and it brought a lot of the whole course work together for me. It also reminded me of the reality of possibly being deployed. Simulated mortars attacks sometimes were startling, but they were not frightening because you knew they were fake. I wonder what it would feel like if it were real. I would bet there is a different level of urgency.

The other thing that sticks in my mind from Capstone is being sweaty for four days straight. Literally. The weather was much better than it could have been- thank God- but I sweat easily and for these four days it was sweat and no shower. I was happy to get a shower Friday night. It’s also been nice trying to catch up on sleep!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A week in the field

Tomorrow morning we leave for the Capstone FTX. I’ve talked a little about it in my last post, but essentially it consists of four day and three nights in the field where we put together everything we have learned. We leave at 0430, which is actually a little later than I would have thought, simply because of the heat, and the desire to get the TOC and our tents set up early. We have a 4.5 mile road march to the field, which isn’t too bad. We will be wearing our uniforms, with a Kevlar helmet and the body armor. I believe someone said today that the body armor weighs around 17 pounds. The helmet, I would guess, is maybe a few pounds. We also need to carry the pro-mask (protective mask) which is used against chemical or biological agents. The standard is that we must be able to put it on fully within 9 seconds. There will most likely be some sort of “situation” throughout the week where we will be required to put them on, and continue whatever we’re doing.

We will also be carrying our ruck sacks, which are metal frame backpacks containing everything we need for four days, including uniforms, wet weather gear, an extra pair of boots, towels, entrenching tools, t-shirts, underwear, socks, etc. I would guess that all of the gear weighs around 50 pounds total?

I’m really excited for this part of the training. Once we’re done, I’ve got less than a week left, so this final phase is going quickly.

I’ll be out of communication for the rest of the week, but will update this blog on Friday when I get back. Keep us all in your prayers. We’ve got some soldiers struggling with injuries, as well as some soldiers who didn’t pass their final APFT, and will have to do a make up before graduation. Overall is should be a great week.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A spider story

Next Week will be our capstone field training exercise. This will involve taking a long road march (4-5 miles?) out into the field and setting up our tents, TOC (Tactical Operation Center), and reviewing all that we have learned during a somewhat intense four day and three night period. We will most likely have scenarios in which we must respond to mass casualties, do a memorial service or ceremony, call for a medevac for injured soldiers, perform field worship services, face a mock chemical attack, be prepared for roadside bombs, and so on. It will be a tiring week, but it will most likely be the most exciting and fulfilling of the course.

There is one thing that will challenge me more than anything: the potential presence of spiders in the field. Ok- I’m joking when I say that, but I heard a spider story today that was unnerving. One of my fellow chaplains was unpacking his ruck sack (the metal frame backpacks we use in the field), when out crawled a hand-sized spider, which he killed right away. This took place in his room- here in the building in which I am staying. I guess it means that I will have to be vigilant, and check my boots and sleeping bag on a regular basis when we are in the field. I don’t look forward to that.

Tomorrow night we have a recall formation, in the parking lot of the Chaplain School. This has not been the standard practice on recent weekend. Normally, on Sunday evening we just check in with our squad leaders to let them know we are in the area and back from any trips we may have taken over the weekend. Tomorrow, however, they are requiring us to be there in uniform, at 1900 (7pm) for an in-person formation.

I have a theory: they might change the schedule on us to put us under realistic pressure. I doubt that is the case, but it is a theory that I have at least entertained. We shall see. According to the schedule, we head out to the field on Tuesday, early in the morning, but it wouldn’t shock me if they changed it and actually sent us out Monday in the morning. I guess I’ll just be ready either way.

Friday, August 19, 2005

I passed

I passed! Our final Army Physical Fitness Test was this morning. I did 52 push ups, 58 sit ups and ran the two miles in 15:38 seconds. I am not a super-athlete and will never win any competitions, but it was well above the Army standards I needed to pass (Chaplains have the same standards for physical fitness as the rest of the Army- we all take the same test and have the same minimums, etc.). What I feel good about is that I believe I have room to improve. If I continue to work on my cardio fitness over the next couple months I should improve on all three areas. I still have to remind myself that I had major back surgery less than three years ago.

The weather was interesting… we took the test at 0430, and it was around 80 degrees, with humidity at 93% (according to the Weather Channel web site). To those of you in Iowa: remind me not to complain about the weather any more. I still believe that I will retire to Duluth, Minnesota some day. But this is a beautiful state, and I think that no matter where you live, there are weather issues to complain about; those of you in the military, or retired from the military, know that complaining is part of life in the Army!

This should be a good weekend leading into a busy week in the field next week. Honestly, I wish I could be in worship at Church of the Cross this weekend. I miss it. I know there are a couple of LCMC churches here in South Carolina, but I don’t know that I’ll have time to get to them this weekend, since we have a platoon event in Augusta, Georgia this weekend. I think both churches are about 1-2 hours away.

Thanks to those of you that have been praying for me. You are in my prayers too!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Another good day

Well, we had another weigh-in this morning. Apparently I am both taller and heavier! That’s hard to believe, since my pants are fitting more loosely than last week, but it doesn’t really matter because I passed this weigh-in. It is our last weigh-in, and tomorrow is the final Arm Physical Fitness Test. For my age group, I have to do at least 39 push-ups, 45 sit-ups, and run 2 miles in less than 17 minutes. I am optimistic, but also know that nothing counts until you’ve actually done it!

Yesterday was a good day of instruction. Most of the day revolved around further preparing us to think critically about the ministry needs in a combat zone. For example, if I am with a unit that need to go recover a downed helicopter, the questions I have to ask will revolve around an examination of the ministry needs in that setting. So, I would be thinking about having to do a memorial ceremony. I would also need to be available to pray with injured or dying soldiers, and have a Catholic chaplain I could reach if a dying Catholic soldier needed last rites. I would also need to be prepared to conduct a defusing session, in which soldiers deal with the traumatic events they have just faced (such as wounded or dying soldiers, coming under attack, losing a friend, etc.).

It is interesting, but the more powerful aspect to it all is the possibility that it will be real for me. The chances of being mobilized are, of course, very, very high. That means that this instruction time is not just theory, but may be put into use in the next year or two. At that point, I guess the training is important, but even more important is the need to totally rely on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me. I pray that I will be willing to listen and follow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Reminder Of Why We're In Iraq

Here is an excellent quote reminding us of why we're in Iraq:

You know, as well as I, that Saddam Hussein launched scud missiles at Israel.
You know that he operated rape rooms and torture chambers.
You know that he launched chemical weapons at his own people.
You know that he housed terrorists as his guests in Iraq – terrorists such as Abu Nidal, who murdered Leon Klinghoffer on the Achille Lauro cruise ship.
You know that Saddam paid a bounty of $25,000 to the families of Palestinian homicide bombers.
You know that he was a threat to the stability of the entire region.
You also know that there were strong links between Saddam’s Iraq and Al Qaeda (for a new comprehensive summary of the latest evidence, check out

This is written by Matthew Brooks, of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Click here for the full article. At a time when America seems to be losing its will to fight, we have to remember that there are people in this world who want us, and Israel, to simply be dead, and how all of it- Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere- is linked together.

If we fail to finish what we have started, we will have truly let the people of Afghanistan and Iraq down.

Today was really interesting. We spent all day (from 9am to 9pm), in class learning how to use the FBCB2 communication device. Essentially it’s a device that combines real time GPS imagery, instant messaging and classic military overlays to helps soldiers to fight and communicate in battle better.

They basically gave us an overview, but it will be interesting to use it if I am deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

The time is going quickly for me. Graduation is two weeks from this Friday. I understand it’s only Monday, but I can see that the time is going quicker than it did at either of my last two sessions down here.

I look forward to next week, when we spend the week in the field, including sleeping, and put together everything we have learned. I don’t know all that it entails, and they have not told us a lot, but I assume we will do things such as land and night navigation (probably involving some sleep deprivation), along with running mock operations and responding to a mock mass casualty situation. We will head out into the field with a 4 or 5 mile road march, and I assume that I will be completely soaked with sweat from that point on for the rest of the week! It should be a good time.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunday Worship

I attended church this morning at Shandon Baptist Church ( It was wonderful to worship and not have to worry about leading worship. It is a large church, and parts of it reminded me a little of Church of the Cross (LCC). The service itself was very simple, but elegant. Worship was led by a choir of about 60 people, with a full band/orchestra. Traditional music, done with a lot of joy. Not as contemporary as LCC, but the simplicity of the service made me feel at home. They did communion before the sermon. Communion included a prayer of confession and time for reflection (!), and was served "family style," where each person is given the bread and grape juice while seated. Then, the Words of Institution are spoken, and everyone eats together.

The sermon was excellent, and I felt like I had been fed. The pastor, Dick Lincoln, preached on death, and how to be prepared for it. Good Scripture references, relevant stories, and a very calm yet engaging manner. The sermon ended with an altar call, though I didn't see anyone in a crowd of 500-800 (my estimate) go forward. Seemed like it was mainly believers in worship.

Total service time: 1 hour, 5 minutes. The sermon was a little more than 30 minutes, communion took about 15-20 minutes, so there was not much singing overall. Felt a little like the standard "Lutheran hour," and it would have been nice to have some more singing! But it was great to be in worship, and I could tell God was moving in that church.

Pictures of Charleston

Here are a couple of pictures of Charleston (see my entry below for more information on my trip there). The one on the left is a picture of a couple of typical homes in Charleston, near Broad Street. Apparently, there homes cost 2-3 million dollars each. The picture on the right is a view down Broad Street toward the corner of the Four Laws. It is so named, because on the four street corners there at the intersection of Broad and Meeting Streets, are located: City Hall (City Law), the County Courthouse (County Law), the Federal Courthouse (Federal Law), and an Episcopal Church (founded in 1681, representing Divine Law). My pictures don't do the beauty of Charleston justice!

It’s been a great couple of days! We did our road march on Friday morning, and that went well. We were out to the field about 0445, and marching by around 0500. We went about 2 miles before taking a break to drop our gear for a few minutes, and then we turned around and marched back. The rest of the day included classroom instruction which was not as interesting!

Yesterday I took a day trip down to Charleston. That’s one of my favorite cities. It’s the history of the place that intrigues me. It is one of the oldest cities in the United States, with buildings still standing from the late 1600s. The homes, churches and history of Charleston are incredible, and I encourage anyone who travels to South Carolina to take some time to visit. I went on a two hour walking tour through the oldest district of the city, and saw homes of famous Americans (for example, the home famous Confederate General Beauregard occupied during the Civil War), places George Washington had visited, old slave markets, and historic churches. It’s amazing to stand in a place and think that people have gone about their business in the same place for 350 years.

In addition, there is so much more to do. Last year I visited Patriot’s Point, which is across the harbor, and is home to old naval vessels including the USS Yorktown of World War 2 fame. There are great beaches in Charleston, old plantations, and lots of other things to visit.

This morning I’m going to church at Shandon Baptist Church. It’s a large church just outside the front gate to Fort Jackson. In the afternoon I may head down to visit the South Carolina State Museum.

Friday, August 12, 2005

A Good First Day

First of all, I should explain the picture to the left...I just wanted to update anyone who was wondering what has become of Saddam Hussein! I got this in one of my classes today. I think it reminds us of why we're doing our work in Iraq. This man will murder no one else, and no more mass graves will be created by him.

Anyway, it's been a good first day. I was up early this morning and we headed out to Darby Field. We new students then marched over to Company Headquarters for the weigh in. I passed. They measured me at 6’, and 192 pounds. I lost about 10 or 12 pounds in the last month in preparation for camp. I think I’ll feel better running and marching at this weight.

After that, PT (Physical Training) and then we headed back to change and have breakfast. Those of us who are new spent the morning in-processing, and receiving our TA-50 gear, which includes a rucksack (metal frame backpack), canteens, Kevlar helmet, flak vest, and a variety of other equipment for the field. Tomorrow morning, at 0445, we will be out for a road march. We will have all of our gear on, including helmet, flak vest, ruck sack filled with clothing and various equipment, and go for a 4 mile road march. I am just guessing, but it’s probably about 50-60 pounds of gear?

Tomorrow will be a relatively short day. After the march we will clean up, change uniforms, and go to worship. There is class work all day, but our platoon (2nd) will have the afternoon off because of a particular training schedule rotation.

Just as I mentioned in this morning’s post, it takes a mental/spiritual shift to give up control of my schedule and time. For a type-A personality like mine, it’s a good thing to give up some control.

Here is a quote that was included from class this afternoon that I thought was good:

“The enemies we are likely to face through the rest of the decade and beyond, will not be ‘soldiers,’ with the disciplined modernity the term conveys, but ‘warriors’ – erratic primitives of shifting allegiance, habituated to violence, with no stake in civil order.”
LTC Ralph Peters (ret.)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Early Wake Up Call

Wow. It’s 3:30am right now, and I’m up. I got up about 15 minutes ago. I had planned to sleep in to about 3:45am, but the guy in the room next to me is apparently having an important conversation on the phone. The building I’m staying in is essentially a bunch of hotel rooms or small efficiency apartments. But the walls must not be that thick. I can’t hear what he’s saying (and I’m not trying to listen), but he’s been going at it for about 20 minutes now. I’ll try and spin his actions in the best light possible, and assume it’s a family crisis or something. Then I’ll go over and meeting him this evening and see if he can pick a different calling time. Maybe his free nights and weekends start after 3am??

Well, I’m awake regardless and in a little more than an hour, I’ll be out at the field where we do physical training, and those of us that are new will head over and get weighed in. I don’t know what the rest of the day holds, but that is part of the mental shift that needs to take place at training: allowing your time to belong to someone else. That was a big change for me the first time I came down, but now that I know how it works, I’ve been much better prepared the last two times. It’s actually a big spiritual shift for me to be able to let go of my schedule.

Arrival at Fort Jackson

I’m here!

Well, I’m finally here at Fort Jackson. Ft. Jackson is located in Columbia, South Carolina. I drove from Des Moines to Knoxville, Tennessee yesterday, and then to Columbia this morning. What a beautiful drive coming through the Great Smoky Mountains on the Tennessee and North Carolina border.

Now, I just get to hang out tonight, and everything gets going tomorrow, around 0500. We have a weigh-in, apparently, so if I don’t pass (i.e., if I’m too heavy and have too much body fat), then I’ll be heading home tomorrow! I think I’ll pass though.

I don’t know what the next few days have in store. We have our APFT (physical fitness test) a week from Friday. Other than that, I don’t know. I’ll keep all of you posted on this site, if you’re interested.

The area here is beautiful, but hot. I’m staying in a building called Kennedy Hall. It is six stories tall, and surrounded by evergreen type trees which are taller than the building. It almost reminds me a little of northern Minnesota, but much more hot and humid.

The weather makes Iowa feel much cooler. The humidity almost feels as though you were in a steam room. It is the 90s today, but some strong thunderstorms just rolled in.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ready to Go

Well, I’m leaving for CHOBC late tonight/early tomorrow. My plan is to get a little sleep, and then leave around 3am. I don’t like driving at night much, so I’d rather have darkness at the beginning of the trip than near the end of the drive.

I’ll drive to Knoxville for the first leg. It should be about 14 hours, which isn’t too bad if I leave that early. It will give me time to get into Knoxville, grab some dinner and get to bed early.

I’ll keep everyone up to date on the training. I’m going with both excitement, but also an understanding that when this training is finished, there is a very real (likely) possibility that I will be mobilized overseas sometime in the next year. I don’t relish the thought of being away from my family, yet this is what I signed up for, and I’ll gladly serve.

If you're interesting in seeing the home page for the United States Army Chaplain Center and School, go to:

Monday, August 08, 2005

Heading Back to Camp

Well, it’s just about time to head back to Fort Jackson for the last module (phase) of my Chaplain Officer Basic Course (CHOBC). Last year I created this blog to keep family and friends up-to-date on my training. In the meantime, I haven’t posted much, but what I have posted has mainly been related to politics, sports and current news.

Over the next few weeks, I will spend time in a variety of setting, including morning physical fitness training, classroom work, and some time out in the field. On August 19th, I will take my final Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) which tests our ability to do push-ups, sit-ups and run two miles. I have passed it three times already, but please keep me in your prayers on that day. Passing this test is mandatory, and if I fail, I’ll be heading home early! I am confident, however, that I will do fine, so long as I stay healthy and don’t get injured before then!

I’m excited to go. I will miss my family and everyone at church, but I’m also excited for the training that lies ahead. I have enjoyed my previous time at CHOBC and I suspect this time will be no different.

I’m also looking forward to having the weekends off. Last fall I took advantage of the time off to visit some other parts of South Carolina, including Charleston, which is an incredible town. I’ll probably visit there next weekend, and I’ll post some pictures if I do.

A New Low

Well, the New York Times has done it again. The Drudge Report is reporting that the New York Times has been trying to dig into the adoption records for the children of Supreme Court Justice nominee John Roberts. His children are 5 and 4 years old. They seem to be hoping that they will find irregularities.

I understand looking at a nominee's record, his public conduct, and, to a certain extent, his private conduct. But his children? Have the "gotcha" politics of this nation sunk that low? Do we desire to personally attack and destroy anyone with whom we disagree/ It seems that the norm has become to try and destroy your political opponent rather than simple debate his or her beliefs. It is disappointing and sick.

There are people on both sides of the political aisle that operate in this manner, but it sure seems like more often than not, we see that this has become the normal way of operating for the liberals. From Michael Moore to Howard Dean, it appears that an honest exchange of differing opinons has been replaced by a desire to label and hurt those with whom they disagree.

It is refreshing to see former presidents Bush and Clinton hanging out on trips like their Tsumani relief efforts. If only more people coule get past the politics and remain civil.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Call for Civility

I just finished reading the book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, by Bernard Goldberg ( It is a fun, engaging read, and his main argument is a plee for the hysteria, incivility and anger in our nation, mainly coming from the left, to cease. He bemoans the lack of civility in political discourse, the desire to trash those that disagree with your viewpoints, and the declining tolerance for conservative viewpoints from liberals in the media and the academic world.

His book finishes up with a paragraph I'd like to quote. Goldberg writes:

"So, what is it that so many ordinary Americans want? It's actually pretty simple. We want a little more appreciation for the values that most of us- liberals as well as conservatives, Democrats as well as Republicans- used to take for granted: civility, mutual respect, a semblance of decency and yes... a little old-fashioned love of country, too. Is that asking too much?"

To which I answer: I hope not. It would be great to see America return to the civility and respect that Goldberg describes.

He also laments the constant America-bashing in our society...that always seeks to blame us for all the problems in the world. In fact, the #1 person on his list is Michael Moore, and Goldberg includes this quote from Moore, in which he (Moore) is speaking of Americans: "They are possibly the dumbest people on the planet...."

Admittedly, I disagree with just about every political belief that Michael Moore holds. But one would think that his political message is a little obscured with his obvious disdain, even hatred, for the American people.

I agree with Goldberg that we need a little more kindness and civility in our nation, particularly in the national discourse about so many important subjects.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Rafael Palmeiro and Truth

If you're interested in baseball, you've probably already read as much information as you care to read when it comes to Baltimore Oriole Rafael Palmeiro and his positive test for steroids. For those of you that don't follow baseball: Palmeiro is one of four people in baseball history to attain the feat collecting more than 3000 hits AND 500 home runs. He also testified emphatically before Congress that he never used steroids, and has been involved in anti-steroid efforts. Then, two days ago, he was suspended for 10 games for testing postive.

To be honest, I'm disappointed by the whole thing. I know that isn't a unique perspective. Either this man is a huge liar, or he has been grossly mistreated and unfairly accused.

But what is more disappointing is the usual indulgence in euphemisms and double-speak that is so common in our society. Palmeiro, in the statement he released, emphasized that he never "intentionally" took steroids. Huh? This sounds like the all-too-common apology we hear from every corner of our society that begins "IF I have offended anyone, I am sorry..."

We live in a time where we can't just take responsibility. If Palmeiro hasn't done steroids, then let him get angry, yell, talk about the false accusation, the fallibility of the steroid tests, and so on. If he is guilty, then....apologize! Without hesitation or reservation, apologize.

But please don't give me this garbage about never intentionally taking steroids. This man has been an anti-steroid advocate. He makes millions of dollars a year, and can afford the best supplements and trainers. He gets paid to take care of his body. How can he not know what he puts in his body.

It's no different than Barry Bonds, one of the strongest and most physically fit players in baseball, claiming he mistook a steroid cream for flax seed oil...a product you can buy at Walmart for a few dollars.

Why can't people just take responsibility when they screw up? I'd respect him much more if he said "Hey, I tried to take the short cut, and I was wrong."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

It's our fault

Here is what John Leo has written recently with regard to the London bombings:

"In the wake of the London bombings, New York City is now searching the bags of subway riders. As you might expect, this is provoking the usual cluster of perverse reactions. Someone on Air America, the liberal talk radio network, suggested that riders carry many bags to confuse and irritate the cops. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, normally a sane fellow, has ordered that the searches be entirely random, to avoid singling out any one ethnic or religious group. So if someone fits the suicide bomber profile—young Muslim male, short hair, recently shaved beard or mustache, smelling of flower water (a preparation for entering paradise)—the police must look away and search the nun or the Boy Scout behind him. What's the point of stopping a terrorist if you have to trample political correctness to do it? Besides, the New York Civil Liberties Union opposes all bag searches. No surprise there. The national American Civil Liberties Union still opposes passenger screening at airports. In a speech at the Brookings Institution, historian Fred Siegel said that the Democrats, pegged as the party of criminals' rights, are in danger of becoming the party of terrorists' rights."

Searching bags is common sense. We Americans hate to be inconvenienced, so in the name of "civil rights" we fight against common sense.

Racial profiling in certain circumstances can be an ugly and hurtful thing. For example, stopping a black person in their car just because he or she is black is wrong. But profiling potential terrorists in the wake of 9/11, 7/7 and 7/21 is common sense.

If we have nothing to hide, why should we care about an extra search here and there? Moreover, if all of the terrorism in the last four years had been committed by Swedish, Lutheran pastors, I would not mind being scrutinized a little extra. But the reality is that the terrorism aginst Americans and Brits has been exclusively carried out by Muslims, most often male, and most often young. So why pretend it is anything different?