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Sunday, March 19, 2006


My Grandfather, wise man that he was, once told me: “Tommy, lad, neither common sense nor common courtesy are common”. I had an opportunity recently to test my level of common sense.

I was putting up some pegboard around my workbench in the basement. I thought I had marked everything properly, and followed the “measure twice and cut once” rule. However, I failed to note a small cold water feeder pipe next to one of the studs to which I was affixing the pegboard. Sure enough, I put a nail through the pipe, resulting in a steady stream of water spraying out across the workbench, and rapidly creating an indoor pool in my basement. Fortunately, I was alone in the house, so my long suffering wife did not witness my latest do-it-yourself faux pax. Unfortunately, I was alone in the house, so I had to deal with the entire situation myself.

Enter common sense. I suppose I could have grabbed a sponge mop, and begun cleaning up the water which was fast approaching the stacked boxes of Christmas decorations. Even better, the wet-dry shop vac could handle the water faster than the mop. But in this moment of crisis, common sense kicked in. The first thing I had to do, I quickly realized, was shut off the water. Even in my embarrassment induced trauma, I understood that cleaning up the puddles was an activity that should follow only after controlling the influx of water. It would accomplish nothing if I allowed the water to continue its flow unabated while dealing with a continuously growing pool. And so, I turned off the water main, sleeved the leaking pipe, and then cleaned up the now stabilized flood.

I mention this story, not to add to my already damaged home improvement reputation, but to talk a bit about immigration. Or, more specifically, the influx of illegal immigrants.

I hear a lot of talk among our Washington representatives about how to deal with the issue of massive numbers of immigrants in this country illegally. I wish I were as smart as the politicians, and all of the talking heads and pundits who opine almost daily on how to deal with the issue. As I understand it, there are between twelve and twenty million people in this country illegally. Another five hundred thousand to one million illegals enter our nation each year. I understand that the majority seek only employment, and a chance for a better life. I also understand that a segment is not here for legitimate purposes. Gang members, drug dealers, rapists and other violent types are among the people who regularly cross our borders without any serious effort at regulation or control. Even terrorists are suspected of being among the multitudes entering America surreptitiously. The illegal border crossings seem to be centered primarily on our southern border with Mexico, as our boundary with Canada is not yet producing this vast number of illegal entrants.

As of yet, no serious action has been taken by our government to control this situation. Neither Democrats nor Republicans, Representatives or Senators, can agree on a “comprehensive” plan for addressing this deteriorating situation. And while the bickering and posturing continue, no action of any consequence seems to be taking shape. May I humbly suggest that we apply my solution to the leaking pipe incident.

I have heard about all of the different aspects that must be dealt with. Guest worker programs, amnesty, earned citizenship, expanded immigration quotas and the untaxed underground economy are all, I am sure, issues that are of great consequence. However, should not the first step in this entire process be to turn off the water? Smarter people than I can deal with all of the complexities of our immigration policies, but it seems to me that we should deal with them one at a time, in a reasonable manner, and in the proper order. And the proper order would seem to be to cut off the flow of people entering America illegally as a first step. Not doing so simply makes the problem larger, and the solutions more difficult with each passing day.

It is not my intent to discuss the morality of our nation’s policies, or the necessity of having the expanded workforce that immigration can supply. Nor do I wish to demonize those who seek to enter America for legitimate purposes, legally when they can, and illegally when they feel they must. I am simply saying that America should be in control of those who enter this country, and due diligence must be exercised in determining the legitimacy of those seeking entry. The leak must be stopped if any other action is to have any meaning. And the leak must be stopped now.

As Granddad also said “Waiting to climb will not make the hill any smaller”.

Friday, March 17, 2006


The words are not the only things that have changed in the Academy Awards. The announcement used to be “And the winner is”. At some point, it was changed to the more politically correct “And the Oscar goes to”. I suppose it was changed to make those who did not win feel better about themselves. If there are five nominees, and one is the winner, the other four must therefore be losers. Not good for the fragile egos of our Hollywood icons.

The Oscar show has become something of a barometer for America, and our culture. In recent years, there has been almost as much controversy about the host as there is about the nominees, and eventual winners. No longer do we get the gentle humor and satiric observations of our lives and times. I think that we shall not see the likes of Bob Hope and Johnny Carson again. Even the slightly sharper tongue of Billy Crystal was aimed more at Hollywood insiders, rather than politicians or America itself. Today’s hosts seem to delight in mean spirited witticisms, taking the cheap shot, or making blatantly political statements.

The winners themselves no longer use the public forum of an acceptance speech to thank those who helped them reach this plateau. Rather, they view this as another opportunity to show us where their political or social views lie, and where the blame should be laid for all of the worlds ills. And usually, the blame falls on America.

However, it is not my intent to discuss the politics of the elite of the entertainment world, but rather, to talk about music. More specifically, the music of the movies, as honored by an Academy Award. Allow me to take you on a brief review of Oscar music.

The 1930’s was a time of deep economic woe in America. The Depression affected almost every American family in one way or another. Movies were one of the few entertainments left to the working folks, and attendance increased steadily. The nickel admission allowed us two hours of entertainment, and an escape from the tribulations of daily life. Hollywood responded with musicals, comedies and lighthearted looks at life, accompanied by music that reflected a positive attitude. Oscar winning songs included classics like “Sweet Leilani”, “The Way You Look Tonight”, “Thanks for the Memory”, “Over The Rainbow” and “Lullaby of Broadway”. Songs that said, “Hey guys, stay positive and things will get better”.

The 1940’s were the years of World War II, with millions of Americans fighting for the very survival of our country. Many of the brightest stars in Hollywood actually joined the military, and saw combat. Some of those who could not join the fight formed the U.S.O., and took entertainment to the troops at the front. The entertainers who stayed behind made movies. Some were stories of the men doing the fighting and dying, while others were designed to lift the spirits of those left behind, and provide a respite from the hardships brought on by the war. Again, the music that won Academy Awards reflected these same feelings. Time honored tunes like “When You Wish Upon A Star”, “White Christmas” and “You’ll Never Know” reflected the war years; while “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah”, “Buttons And Bows” and “Baby It’s Cold Outside” were immortalized in the years following wars end.

The 1950’s brought in the new film noir genre movies, reflecting the more sophisticated tastes of a post war people. But the winning music in the movies reflected a positive attitude brought on by an increasingly affluent America. Romance, love, humor and sentimentality were reflected in such winning music titles as “Mona Lisa”, “Secret Love”, “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing”, “All The Way” and “High Hopes”.

The decade of the 1960’s was a time of radical change in American society. Again, Hollywood and it’s music reflected the times, with traditional song stylings like “Moon River” and “Call Me Irresponsible” at the beginning of the 60’s, and the haunting sounds of “The Shadow Of Your Smile” and “Windmills Of Your Mind” finishing the era. A sense of whimsy remained, as winners also included “Talk To The Animals”, and “Chim Chim Cher-ee”.

The 1970’s were a confusing time for many of us. We were in transition in our taste in movies and music. This eclectic phase bounced around the Oscar world, causing the “Theme From Shaft” to win one year, followed by “The Morning After”. Traditional sounds won the decade, however, with other Awards going to hits such as “The Way We Were”, “Evergreen” and “You Light Up My Life”.

The 1980s allowed for the inclusion of what we now refer to as soft rock into the world of the Academy Awards. “Fame”, “Flashdance”, “The Time Of My Life” and “Up Where We Belong” entered the mainstream, as did the generation that sang along. Some winners were hard to classify, but tunes like “Say You Say Me” and “Let The River Run” have outlived the movies in which they were featured.

Nostalgia must have ruled the 1990s, as love was featured in a preponderance of the movie songs that took home the Oscar. “You Must Love Me”, “My Heart Will Go On”, “Beauty And The Beast”, “Sooner Or Later” and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” led the way. Or maybe it was the cartoons. Six of the ten winning songs in the 90’s were from animated films, while one was from a film adaptation of a cartoon strip.

So now we are in both a new decade, and a new century. We opened this decade with an alternative rock song as the winner, in “Things Have Changed”. Boy, did that song get it right. It was followed by a rap song winning with “Lose Yourself”. And the 2005 winner of the Oscar for best song was “It’s Hard Out There For A Pimp”. I think this was the first time the words of an Academy Award winning song had to be altered to make it suitable for network television. The lyrics of “Lose Yourself” were not sanitized; as it was not played at all. That was also a first.

Even though I am just a casual observer, I am able to classify the music for most of the decades that the Motion Picture Academy has given its award for best song. I can identify the mood of the country, and the culture of the average movie goer, by the songs that became Oscar winners. But I must admit I am not able to quite get a handle on what this year’s winners says about movies, the movie makers, or the people who vote on the Oscar ballots. I simply cannot believe that a song about a pimp, and the problems he faces while managing his stable of hoe’s, is a reflection of American society, or a measure of the mood of the country. But I can draw my own conclusions about several issues that could be indicative of this trend. You may agree or not with these conclusions, as I claim them only as my own.

Hollywood no longer has any idea what is happening in the real world in which most Americans live. The movies that are coming from our entertainment industry have a definite disconnect from we the people.

Much of the music associated with these films is at best forgettable. Great tune masters and songwriters, while still among us, are being ignored by a Hollywood elite that is more interested in “cutting edge” and provocative themes than in popular trends.

Media moguls are lamenting the continued decline in attendance at their movies. I might point out that movie attendance actually increased during the Depression, when people were hard pressed to come up with the price of admission. Today, Americans have more disposable income that at any time in history, yet they are not spending it on movies. Could it be that they are not interested in the types of movies being made?

The American public is increasingly viewing the Hollywood elite as unpatriotic, anti-military, or just plain loony. The stars of yesterday were aware of their need to be role models during World War II; but today, it is difficult to get most stars to give any substantial support to the tens of thousands of service men and women serving our Nation in harms way. The U.S.O. has scaled back its entertainment of our troops overseas because most Hollywood stars just can’t be bothered. And how many of our current crop of leading men have joined the military?

Today’s Oscar winning music is a reflection of the disparity between the lives most of us live, and the rose tinted world in which today’s movie idols live. I know the music and movies of my parent’s generation, and can sing along with “Over The Rainbow” and “White Christmas”. And I naturally know the music of my own generation, and can appreciate the efforts of the writers, and the feelings they were expressing in their creations. My adult children know the tunes of many of the Oscar winners from sixty and seventy years ago, so timeless were these melodies. I find it very difficult to believe that my Grandchildren will be singing along with “Its Hard Out There For A Pimp” at any time in the future, let alone fifty years from now. But I could be wrong.


I have been letting thoughts about Islam, Judaism and Christianity roam about the back recesses of my mind. In particular, comparisons between these three religious philosophies have been plaguing me of late. As a Christian, a Roman Catholic to be precise, as well as a lifetime student of history, I am trying to come to grips with some paradoxes that I cannot reconcile. The completely inappropriate response (at least in Western eyes), to the fairly innocuous cartoons of Islam’s founder has given me pause to reflect on the response by different societies to perceived cultural ‘insensitivity’ and tolerance of religious diversity.

From a historical standpoint, I know that there have been periods in Christian history that should leave us less than proud. From a beginning as a new sect of Judaism, to the centuries when Christians were brutalized and demonized, Christianity ascended to the status of official religion of what would become the ‘Holy Roman Empire’. As the dominant religion, it was a short trip from being oppressed, to becoming the oppressor. Christianity became intolerant of other religions, particularly Judaism and Paganism. Institutionalized bigotry became accepted. With the rise of Islam in the 7th Century, this antipathy was extended to Moslems. However, because of the methods in which Islam was spread, primarily through conquest and forced conversion, there is arguably justification for this attitude. Later, during the Reformation, and the subsequent establishment of Protestant religions, hostility between the various Christian denominations became common, and is still with us today, although to a lesser extent.

What I find difficult to understand is the transition of the Christian and Jewish religions from intractable dogma to a more moderate stance of tolerance and understanding, while Islam seems to have taken the opposite course. All three religions are based on premises contained in the Old Testament, including the 5 Books of the Jewish Torah. Both Christianity and Judaism have kept the moral values contained in these tomes, but have disavowed the extremist positions on such items as adultery, diet, adherence to arcane rituals and restrictions, and many other areas of the Old Testament. No longer do Christians or Jews stone adulterers to death, imprison or execute ‘blasphemers’, or send people into exile for violating a dietary rule. In other words, the evolution of Western Society has allowed us to become more tolerant of both dissent and difference. Christianity and Judaism have espoused less violent methods of dealing with differences, and adopted the view that religion is both sacred, and personal.

Islam, on the other hand, appears to be regressing in its views. The rise of Wahabism within the Muslim world has led to a more extremist, less tolerant attitude towards non-Muslims. The use of the term “Infidel”, once rarely heard or understood by most Westerners, is now commonly understood as a point of reference to identify those of us who are now considered the enemies of Islam. What has made us a perceived enemy is not our attitudes toward Islam, nor our actions with regard to Islam. We have become the enemy simply because we are not Moslems. “Infidel”” is an all encompassing term used by the extremist Moslem. It includes all Christians and Jews, Buddhists, polytheists such as Hindus, and the Animist and Traditional theologies such as those found in Africa, Australia and America in their native populations. Quite a broad spectrum to direct animosity towards.

While broadening the scope of the worlds people they consider enemies, Islam has also taken a giant step backward with regard to its interpretation of how God wants sinners or transgressors treated. Islamic Law, as now practiced in a number of countries, includes stoning women for adultery, genital mutilation of female children, beheading for converting from Islam to another religion, imprisonment and torture for ‘disrespect’ toward Islam, and death by various means for blasphemy. While publicly calling itself the ‘Religion of Peace’, many Moslem clerics are telling their congregants in Mosques that Jews are the sons of pigs and apes; Christians, as the children of whores, are not worthy of any place in society; and Polytheists are heretics that must be exterminated. A quick comparison of two similar events, and the reactions to them, will illustrate the difference between Islam, and most other theologies.

How many remember during the early stages of the Palestinian Intafada, when a large number of terrorist Palestinian gunmen invaded the sanctuary of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem? These thugs took over one of the holiest shrines in all of Christendom. They even shot at Israeli soldiers from within the Church, since they had taken their weapons with them. While inside, they abused and intimidated the clerics trapped within, and deliberately despoiled and debased the religious symbols revered at this site. Defecating and urinating on relics; defacing icons, statues and other religious artifacts brought only laughter from these men. After a lengthy standoff, safe passage to other countries was arranged for the terrorists, and they finally abandoned their occupation of this shrine. The Israeli defense forces never attacked the church, nor shot at the terrorists while they were near the building. In other words, the Israelis respected the Christian shrine, which the Moslems defiled. As part of this respect, the Israelis allowed known murderers and terrorists safe passage, to insure the safety of the Church which most Christians consider the birthplace of the Christ, and well as those held hostage within.

During all of this, there was no outcry for vengeance against Moslems from any Christian sect, although all of Christianity was insulted, belittled and disrespected by these events. Indeed, the reaction of Christians was primarily one of patience, and cooperation with the authorities to achieve a peaceful resolution. Many of the Moslem criminals went to predominantly Christian countries as part of the agreements ending the siege. To my knowledge, there has been no retribution brought on them by any Christians.

As a counterpoint, the false report of a Koran being mistreated at the detainee facility at Guantanimo triggered worldwide Muslim protests, arson, rioting, and deaths. With this response as an example of the extremist reactions by many adherents of Islam, the cartoon response should not have come as a surprise. The murders, rioting, looting, arson and calls for the beheading of the Danish cartoonists and editors who published the drawings stand in stark contrast to the response by the West for the violations of the Church of the Nativity. Indeed, the publications by a Danish newspaper have resulted in the deaths of Christians in Nigeria, and the burning of their churches. Yet, by no stretch of the imagination, are Christian Nigerians connected in any way to the publications that have inspired the Moslem reactions.

In another study in contrast, the terrorists and their enablers in Iraq have repeatedly used mosques to store weapons, train killers, assemble bombs, recruit new members, and launch attacks against American and other coalition troops. Indeed, they often fire at our troops from inside the mosque itself. Yet, American commanders continue to honor the sanctity of the mosques, avoiding collateral damage to the edifice even if this puts their troops at risk. If a mosque is threatened by coalition forces, the clerics vow that any action against a holy place will bring massive retribution. Yet terrorists, who claim to be the true followers of Islam, continue to kill fellow Moslems by the score, even going so far as to destroy Mosques. But these offenses have yet to inspire any significant or sustained outcry from the Moslem world.

At last count, of the 18 main areas of armed conflict in the world, 15 of them involved Moslems. I have not read the Koran, and have no intention of doing so. The contents of the Koran are not relevant to any of the issues that face us today, and there is a simple reason I say this. If the Koran authorizes the beheading and brutal murder of defenseless people, enslavement of those deemed unworthy, genocide against those of another religion, forced conversion of people to Islam, the rape and murder of children, and all the other horrors that are even now being committed by these monsters, then Islam cannot claim to be the religion of peace. In fact, it cannot be called a religion, but rather a cult-like movement incapable of any rational tenets.

On the other hand, if these barbarous acts are being carried out by seemingly large numbers of Moslems in defiance of the teachings of the Koran, then the entire Moslem community shares responsibility for not stopping this insidious movement from spreading evil in the name of Islam. If they don’t vigorously and publicly take action against the beast within their faith, they have shown that they agree with the terrorists, their methods, and their goals. If that is the case, the Koran itself has become irrelevant, as the proponents of Islam are ignoring their own teachings.

I will be called intolerant for my thoughts. Many will say I am a bigot, a racist, or that I am Islamophobic. I can’t stop the name calling, and I won’t be drawn into debates with those who do not know history, and cannot see what is clearly happening. As my grandfather would say, I have been called worse names by better people. What I would say is where is a substantiated argument against what I have stated? And I am not referring to revisionist history, or what happened in the 12th century. I am talking about 2006, and what is occurring now. We cannot change the past (although some would rewrite it), but we do have control over the present, and can influence the future. So what say you, the sons and daughters of Islam? Are you an enabler of terrorists and their goals, or are you indeed part of the ‘Religion of Peace’? If the former, at least have the courage to say out loud what you mutter in the mosque. If the latter, where are the massive protests against the killers and the horrors they are bringing down on the innocent? Again, where do you stand?


I noted with interest the story of the six year old boy suspended from school for touching the waist of a female classmate. The charge was sexual harassment. This followed on the heels of the two first graders suspended for bringing their GI Joes to class, along with the rubber four inch long rifle that comes with the doll. The charge here was violation of the zero tolerance weapons policy at their school. You have also no doubt heard about the grammar school boy who was suspended for drawing a picture of his family. It showed his father holding a rifle. That his father is in the army, and is presently serving our nation in Iraq, did not seem to satisfy the school administrators, who said the picture violated school policy as it showed a weapon.

The venerable battleship, the USS IOWA, can’t find a home to serve out her days in dignity as a museum in San Francisco, since the Board of Supervisors doesn’t want to glorify the military. The University of Washington declined to approve a monument to Marine hero Pappy Boyington, the WWII ace and medal of honor recipient, because he did not display the characteristics that the University wants to ascribe to its graduates.

These occurrences are causing me to have grave concerns about my four year old grandson. In an America where political correctness is the rule, progressive education preaches relativity when discussing right and wrong, violent criminals spend less time in jail than their victims spend in the hospital, patriotism is a choice rather than an obligation, and religion is treated like a contagious disease; he is going to stick out like a sore thumb. I fear that he is destined to run afoul of the zero tolerance mania affecting schools, or go against the efforts to turn all of our young men into metrosexuals. You see, he is being raised as a boy.

My daughter, his mom, was an athlete in school, and encourages him to try any sport he has an interest in. She is quite willing to pitch to him and play catch with a baseball, run pass patterns when he wants to throw a football, serve as a tackling dummy when he wants to practice blocking and tackling, and play defense against his attempts to drive to the hoop. And if she is not available, grandpa will do as a substitute. Mom, who is a nurse, is also active in the Boy Scouts, serving as a Commissioner and medic at various Scouting functions. He is eager to reach 1st grade, so he can join the Cub Scouts. He already has said he wants to be an Eagle Scout, just like his uncle. He has been to the local Scout camp on numerous occasions for events in which either his mother or I have participated. He is already an experienced camper, and looks forward to being a real Boy Scout.

He also has a strong case of hero worship for two of his uncles. His mother’s oldest brother has a small acreage, and this four year old has been on the tractor, front end loader, and Bobcat. This uncle has an auto repair business, and the lad enjoys working with him, handing him tools, and learning how cars work. The other uncle is in the military, preparing for deployment to the Middle East. Because of his uncle’s status in the service, my grandson has had the opportunity to be in a tank, a helicopter, and a Humvee. He has been on the observation stand to watch the soldiers practice on the rifle range, and heard the 105’s and 155’s fire. He knows American soldiers are the good guys, and that they keep us safe from bad guys who hurt little children.

His other grandfather is a bow hunter, and is teaching the boy how to use a bow properly. A cut down reflex bow and shortened practice arrows have facilitated his enjoyment of this activity, and he can hit his target at fifty feet eight out of ten tries. I am a sport shooter, and my grandson has watched both skeet and stationary target shooting with rifles and shotguns. Two of his older cousins are police officers, and he has seen their pistols, and knows why they have a need for them. He thinks police are cool, and dressed as a policeman last October, during Halloween. He knows police are the good guys, and are there to help and protect us.

My grandson also joins us at church services, and has a healthy respect for the awesome power and love that God has for him. He says that God makes thunder so that we will get out of the rain that the plants need to grow. He thinks guardian angels are kind of like grandpas, because they are there to protect him, and keep him from getting hurt. He is beginning to understand that while hurting people for no reason is bad, protecting yourself and your family is OK, even if you have to hurt someone to do that. He kneels at church, and stands at attention and salutes when he sees an American flag. For a four year old, he has a pretty good set of priorities.

Yes, he is being raised as a boy, so that he will be ready to be a man when the time comes. That is, if he doesn’t have to change to accommodate the school rules. My grandfather told me fifty years ago that neither common sense nor common courtesy are all that common. I sure hope the common sense part doesn’t cause him problems.


I had long expected the call, but a chill went down me as I heard my youngest son Patrick’s voice on the phone. “Dad, I got confirmation today. I have some weapons refresher and other location specific training in March, and will be deployed to the Middle East in late April or early May. If all goes as expected, I should get a ten day leave before I ship out.”

Before I could ask, he volunteered that his deployment would be to Afghanistan, Iraq or Kuwait. As if he knew I was having trouble getting out a question, he continued that he did not have the specific dates yet, nor was he sure how long his deployment would last. Now I know, with frightening certainty, how my sister felt when her youngest son told her he was being deployed with his reserve unit to Afghanistan. A plethora of feelings all jumbled together, but with one overriding emotion. Fear. North Carolina and Iowa never seemed so far apart. I wanted to see his face, put my arm around his shoulder, tell him how proud I was, and that everything would be OK. But I couldn’t.

For 230 years, American parents have dealt with the reality of sending a child to war. For all that I have read about how a family copes, and all that I have written about the subject, I thought that I would be prepared to respond in a reasonable manner. But I was wrong. From the day he left for Basic Military Training, I knew this was a possibility. He had joined the military after the September 11th attacks, and after operations in Afghanistan had begun. We all understood that it was a perilous time, and would be so for many years to come. But somewhere inside me, I thought that he might draw an assignment in Europe or Asia, out of harms way. Perhaps, based on his education and experience, he might get a training post stateside. In other words, I avoided the possibility of his going to an area of conflict, and would remain in a safer environment.

In retrospect, I was a classic case of delusional avoidance. But now reality, and reality really does bite, has come to my household. I have several months to get used to the idea that my son will be in an area where people want to kill him. I have to learn how to talk about this with my wife, sons, daughters, and grandchildren. But mostly, I have to be able to talk to Patrick in a normal manner, so that he does not sense the fear in me. A fear that he does not share, and pray God, will never experience himself.

I should not be surprised at the choices he has made, because he has become the man he wanted to be. The problem is me. He is going where I can’t, and how can I be a proper parent if I am not there to protect him? As with all of my children, I have always been there when he needed me. Through Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, all the way to Eagle. I never missed a campout or high adventure trip. Little League, High School baseball and soccer, I seldom missed a practice, let alone a game. Whether a win or loss, through the inevitable injuries and occasional disappointing performance, Dad was never far away. College was an hour drive away, and I was there when he performed with his fraternity in the campus variety show, and when the frat house needed a fall cleaning.

Like all of my children, he is so much smarter than Dad. Four years on the honor roll attests to his intelligence. Spending his college Spring Break rebuilding a camp for children with disabilities is just one example of his humanity. Never shy with his family, always the first to hug his parents, brothers and sisters; his love of family is always visible. A leader born or made, he is nevertheless one who leads by example. In every respect, a better son than I was to my father. A better brother than I have been to my brothers and sisters. A better uncle than I am to my nephews and nieces. And a better example for others than I will ever be. And because of who he has become, he is going to a place I cannot go. To a place where people want to do him harm. A place where I can’t protect him.

So what do I do now? There is no manual for how a parent should act when sending a child off to a hostile place. There are no instructions on how you say goodbye to a child who has volunteered to do the things that most don’t have the courage or conviction to do. I can’t find a check off list on what a parent should do when you send a child off to war. We are on our own, and have to deal with the realities without any pre-determined action plan. So we do the best we can.

Instead of the twice a week phone calls, we will talk a bit more often before he leaves. My last words of every conversation have been “stay safe, and I love you”. I think we will find some extra opportunities to say “I love you”. I am proud of this young man, as I am of all my children. I am fortunate that my youngest daughter is outspoken enough to remind me that I don’t say that as often as I should. I will correct that with all five of them, as well as my son-in-law and daughter-in-law. I will make sure I never miss an opportunity to tell them I love them, and I am proud of them.

I will also continue to talk to anyone who will listen about the pride I have in the young men and women with whom my son and nephew serve. As they continue to honor us with their sacrifices, I will continue to be their advocate while the rest of my family is safe at home, always remembering that we are safe because of what they do. I will make sure that I understand what the implications are if we do not give these men and women the support they deserve. I will continue to give voice to the reasons they have chosen to do this necessary work. I will not hesitate to refute the scurrilous claims of those who make untrue accusations about our military men and women, demean their service, or doubt their resolve.

And I know that all of my family and friends will continue to pray for the safe return of my son, my nephew, former Scouts and Scout Leaders, schoolmates of my children, and all of the others who presently serve our nation. And I will take comfort in my son’s closing words during that phone call. “Don’t worry Dad; I have a lot of friends there.”


Did I get your attention? The heading may be a bit controversial, and is admittedly designed to be so. The anti war reader who denies the existence of the War On Terror will take note, because they think this piece will agree that there is no real war. The more conservative reader will also take a look, ready to refute the premise that we are not at war.

If you have read this far, let me make a further clarification. When I say we are not at war, it is a half truth, or ‘spin’ in today’s vernacular. But I will stand by the statement that we are not a nation at war. We have a military at war, and an administration that understands we are in a war; but for most Americans, war is an exercise in semantics, and does not touch their daily lives. While it may read like I am playing word games, I think the psychology behind my statement is critical to our well being as a nation.

In both the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War, the citizen soldier comprised the bulk of the fighting forces, as there was no professional American army in the Revolutionary War, and only a small corps of professionals in the Civil War. Most of the fighting and dying was done by volunteers, and later, draftees. Both wars were fought on American soil, and there were significant casualties among civilian non-combatants. Tremendous damage was done to homes, businesses, farms and other non-military properties. In other words, both wars were very personal to virtually every person who lived in America.

World Wars I and II were fought by a combination of professional military, volunteers, and draftees. While American soil was essentially untouched, a war economy coupled with shortages and rationing kept the overall population aware of the war and its consequences. Nearly every family in America had one or more members serving in harms way, and a personal involvement and commitment to victory was felt by the vast majority of citizens.

Korea and Vietnam saw a societal change in the perception of those wars. Combat operations were again conducted by a combination of a professional military, volunteers, and draftees. However, the American economy never had to accommodate a war footing, and there was no rationing of critical goods, or shortages of consumer products. American soil was never threatened, and there was no danger of civilian casualties or domestic property loss. The American population began to distance itself from direct involvement in these conflicts, except for the families of those actively serving in the military.

The current conflict has several aspects. We were involved in a conventional conflict in Iraq, and a somewhat conventional military operation in Afghanistan. Both of those are now asymmetrical conflicts, involving guerilla warfare against our military and the indigenous population by non conventional forces. In addition, we are faced with the terrorist campaign against American targets both domestic and abroad, by non military forces both foreign and home grown. But many in America do not seem to be aware of the threat, or particularly committed in the support of their own country. Why is that?

I think there are several factors to be considered. First and foremost, the American military is, for the first time, comprised entirely of a professional corps of volunteers, for whom military service is either a career or a supplemental employment. With no draft, and a reduced military force, only a small percentage of Americans have a member of their immediate family serving in any military branch. For most of us, there is no personal or blood involvement with the present conflicts. Note – In the interest of full disclosure, my youngest son is in the Air Force, presently stationed in the U.S. He has been informed that he will be deployed in the Spring, but has not disclosed the location or duration. My youngest nephew is in the Army reserve, preparing for deployment to Afghanistan, where he will serve a twelve month duty assignment.

The present hostilities also have little or no impact on the economy. Low interest rates, tax cuts, new job creation, and growing internationalism have led to a booming economy, with no shortage of consumer goods and services. Economically, the conflicts have had no negative influence on the quality of life for most Americans. We are insulated from feeling we have a stake in the outcome of this new type of threat. As a people, we have become uninvolved in the relationship between us, and those who protect us.

The media has played a large part in our lack of understanding of this new type of war, by using political correctness and sanitized coverage of events and their causes to push an agenda that is not in our best interests. For example, we have all seen the very graphic and embarrassing pictures of detainees in Abu Ghraib. Although the acts committed were humiliating to the detainees, no physical injury was visited upon those prisoners. Yet we have seen these photos again and again in the media. We also have seen many images, again replayed with unwarranted frequency, of civilian casualties, along with editorialized commentary. However, the media has sheltered us from pictures of the two jetliners flying into the World Trade Center, and never shown the photos and videos of scores of people either jumping or falling to their deaths from the twin towers. Nor have they ever shown the images of scores of helpless captives having their heads severed, or shot at point blank range, with the ensuing blood, screams and gore. The torture rooms operated by the Jihadists found in Fallujah during a sweep of that city some months ago received only the briefest of comment in the media, with no mention that these are common in areas of intense terrorist activity.

These factors, and others too numerous to mention in this piece, have created an environment where many Americans do not understand the nature of this conflict, have no sense of the threats directed at us, and have no personal stake in how the conflict is waged. As a result, we are witnessing events that would be unheard of in the recent past. A war that can impact every American is trivialized in the media, politicized by our representatives, mischaracterized by its opponents, and propagandized by our enemy. And what is the result of all this?

Members of Congress have falsely accused our military of committing war crimes and atrocities, comparing them to Nazis and the murderous regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia, with no mention of the thousands of real victims of the terrorists.

Media executives and reporters have accused the American military, with little or no refutation, of targeting journalists and deliberately killing them.

Political leaders have stated that the American military is broke, and is incapable of winning the present conflict.

Entertainers have stated that American soldiers are trained to murder civilians, and that committing atrocities is part of American strategy.

Advocacy groups claim that terrorists captured by our military on foreign ground, in direct combat with our troops, are entitled to the same rights and protections as an American accused of a civil crime, including attorneys, civil courts, and the restrictive rules of evidence used in American courts.

Protective and preemptive actions by governmental agencies to protect America from terrorist activities are decried in the media, as well as by political and social critics, as illegal, immoral and unnecessary.

Major news outlets routinely compromise the actions of both the military and security agencies by releasing sensitive information on strategies, tactics, allied assistance and intelligence gathering. While the leaking of this information is itself a crime, the media and many political and social leaders are targeting the very agencies which protect us, while ignoring the negative impact these stories have on national security.

A walk in certain cities will find signs posted in store windows and other public displays of support for the terrorists, and approval of the killing and maiming of American troops.

Many political leaders, educators and social critics publicly praise the activities of terrorists, even referring to them as freedom fighters, with no rebuttal and no consequence for the most inaccurate and outrageous comments.

Certainly, each of us could cite more examples of behavior that is at the least unpatriotic, and at worst seditious. Instances of college professors calling for troops to attack their officers, or students cheering the deaths of American soldiers, could be the subject of an entire book. But my main point is that those who fall into one or more of these categories do not seem to have any concern that their actions or views will be rebutted, nor that there are any consequences to their actions or comments. It is time that this course be reversed.

As a first step, BE HEARD! Free speech is a fundamental right of all Americans. However, with free speech comes the responsibility of accountability for what you say. If your congressional representatives say things with which you disagree, call or write them, expressing your disapproval. Remember, the primary goal of all politicians is to get reelected. If the position they adopt threatens their election prospects, they may very well change their stance.

Newspaper and television revenue is derived primarily from commercial sponsors via advertising. When news is reported in a biased, inaccurate or patently incorrect manner, let the editors know of your displeasure. Falling circulation in newspapers, and lower viewer ship of television news, has direct impact on advertising revenues, and consequently, profits. The possibility of continued loss of revenue could serve to encourage more accurate reporting.

As a final point, pay attention to the statements and actions of social activists, entertainers and teachers. While they too have the right of free speech, we have the right not to subsidize those who support anti American views, or who disrespect our military men and women. Again, let your voice be heard, so that they understand that there can be economic consequences to encouraging terrorists and showing support to those who would harm us by offering them aid, comfort or support.

Bad behavior by politicians, news media, entertainers and social leaders should no longer be tolerated without reproach, let alone be rewarded.

A Different Christmas Poem
By Anonymous

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
a lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light.
Then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother...
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?"
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

Thursday, March 16, 2006


“All the news that we think is appropriate for you to read.”

There has been a lengthy and often vociferously argued dialogue about the possibility of agenda driven news in the main stream media. Arguably, all reporters are human, at least by legal definition, and therefore have their own prejudices and biases. However, they often state that their reports are not contaminated by their personal beliefs, and opinion is properly ensconced on the editorial pages of our newspapers, and in the opinion segments of television news. Since I am not a journalist, I am not bound by the supposed boundaries which the professionals say guide their reporting. I am, alas, all too human. Therefore, what I write often expresses my own personal values, experiences, viewpoints, and priorities. To this I plead nolo contendre.

The recent disturbances in France, which have either ended or become so routine as to no longer be considered news, gave me an opportunity to follow a developing story using a single source, to determine if the news I was reading was accurate, complete, uncensored, and contained enough information for me to make a reasonable assessment of what was actually occurring.

The single news source was easy for me to select. As a resident of central Iowa, there is only one major newspaper, the Des Moines Register. For a small city paper, the Register has a long and illustrious history. The large number of journalistic awards it has received over many decades is way out of proportion to its size and readership, and would lead one to believe that it would present a clear and concise view of events, without prejudice and with no thought to directing it’s readership to a predetermined conclusion.

The following is a five day synopsis of the results of the stories contained in the Des Moines Register.

Saturday, November 5th. In the only story about the events in France, the following words were used to describe the perpetrators of the unrest. Marauding youths, attackers, rioters, troublemakers, youths, and gangs. The story was an A/P piece, under the byline of Jamey Keaten.

Sunday, November 6th. In an A/P story under the byline of Elaine Ganley, the disturbances were attributed to arsonists, youths, and Africans and their French born children.

Monday, November 9th. In the only story today, another A/P article by Elaine Ganley, the trouble was attributed to rioters, youths and minorities, arsonists and the French born children of Arab and Black Africans.

Tuesday, November 8th. The only story today was another A/P wire piece, under the byline of Jocelyn Becker. The ‘civil unrest’ was attributed to rioters, youths, vandals, teens of Mauritanian and Tunisian parents, and the French born children of Arab and Black African immigrants. It was the result of the death of two teenagers.

Wednesday, November 9th. The A/P story of today, again the only article in the Register, was under the byline of Sebastian Rosella. It mentioned immigrant suburbs, youth gangs, young vandals, gangsters, and extremists looking to expand their turf.

In reading the five articles in the Des Moines register, I got the impression that France was experiencing an unusual rise in teenage vandalism. Certainly, this is something Iowans can identify with. We often have to deal with out of control youths who throw rolls of toilet paper over the trees at the football coaches houses, use spray cans of paint to write their girlfriends names on highway overpasses, and knock over mail box posts as an end of graduation party exercise. We are a more urban population now than in decades past, so outhouse and cow tipping are now considered passé.

On closer reading, the French problem seemed to be centered on teens who are the children of African immigrants. This would be puzzling to us, since Iowa is home to a surprising number of immigrants from Mexico, Southeast Asia, Nigeria, the Balkans, and most recently, the Sudan. While we read of gangs like the Crips, Bloods, M13 and others; street gangs, immigrant or otherwise, are not a major threat in central Iowa. Beer parties resulting in teenage drunk drivers doing themselves harm is a bigger concern here.

Imagine my surprise when I read accounts from other sources, including main stream media, and discovered that the rioting involved scores of cities, thousands of rioters, scores of buildings burned, and tens of thousands of vehicles destroyed. Another surprise was that the rioters were exclusively Moslem youths. I was unable to confirm any acts of violence committed by Christian, Buddhist, Animist, Hindu or atheist teens.

None of the stories carried in our paper included photos. None of the stories mentioned that the rioters were Moslems. None of the stories gave an accurate picture of the scope of the riots, or the extent of the damage caused. No mention of the quotes from rioters that among the reasons for their actions was a rebellion against French culture. No sound bites of Molotov cocktails being hurled to the shouts of Allah Akbar. Of the deaths and injuries, not a word.

The Des Moines Register has a new editor, who wrote an inspiring opinion piece in the Sunday, November 6th edition. In it, Carolyn Washburn gave us her pledge, that we can depend on the Register to continue to be a part of the efforts to improve Des Moines. Her pledge included many promises to be active in the areas of diversity, equality, education and quality of life issues. I find it interesting to note that nowhere in her pledge was there a mention that the Register would provide accurate, complete, unbiased and uncensored news to central Iowa. It is sad to note the passing of another once great newspaper. The Des Moines Register now stands as an example of another institution that has accepted the sacrifice of accuracy in favor of political correctness, fairness in favor of opinion, facts in favor of slant, and integrity in favor of agenda.

The Register has adopted the mantra that the news should be sanitized according to their beliefs, so as not to offend anyone. If that means they will edit the news to fit their own ideas, it shouldn’t matter to the readers, because they (the editors) know better than we (the readers). That all of the French riot stories came from a single source, the Associated Press, is an indication that the Register has found a source that meets their idea of how the news should be presented, and no other source is necessary. Apparently, the use of another source might offer a conflicting view of the story, which would only confuse we poor plebeians. This seems to be the case in many of the media, but most noticeably in the traditional print media.

My father told me before his death in 1963 that to retire, I needed five different sources of income. I think that this rule is true of the news also. If we rely on a single source, we will only get the viewpoint of that source, and they may be wrong. I wonder if the polls ever ask how many news sources the respondents used in formulating their opinions?

Tom Glennon


In Mein Kampf, dictated by Adolph Hitler to Rudolph Hess during his 18 month imprisonment after the failed coup against the German Republic, a detailed plan for a future greater Germany was laid out. Included were plans for overcoming the limitations on the German military mandated by the Treaty of Versailles, a plan to dismember neighboring countries to expand the borders of Germany, the elimination of Jews from German territory, and the establishment of German hegemony over all of Europe.

When Hitler achieved political dominance, he promptly began the process of implementing those plans laid out in his book. The world, and in particular Europe, chose to view Mein Kampf as propaganda, meant to further Hitler’s political career. His rearmament program was ignored. The militarization of the Rhineland was ignored. The increasing segregation and marginalization of German Jews was ignored. His demands for the partition of Czechoslovakia, and the subsequent loss of that countries independence, were agreed to in a policy of appeasement. It took the outright invasion of Poland, with the assistance of the Soviet Union, before democratic Europe woke to the perils of a Nazi Germany. The most surprising aspect of this sequence of events is that so many people in positions of authority did not seem to be aware of the coming storm. Hitler had written exactly what he was going to do, yet the elite of Europe were surprised when he did it.

A recent policy statement from Iran’s new president should be a stark warning to all clear thinking people in the world, but in particular, to Europe and the United States. Israel, due to its history, already understands the sequence of events which even now is unfolding.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a major policy speech in honor of Jerusalem Day, one of the closing commemorations of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. This speech was essentially a foreign policy speech, outlining some very specific goals of the government of Iran. Ahmadinejad had some very interesting things to say about the future course of Iran’s relations with other nations, as well as how the government views other Muslims.

Not surprisingly, the speech contained the expected screeds against Israel, Zionism, and Jews. What were new were the very specific threats against Israel, the United States, and certain member states of the United Nations. And just what did the president of Iran say? Let’s take a look.

On Israel and the United States, Ahmadinejad was quite specific. “Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism? You had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved.” “Very soon, this stain of disgrace (i.e. Israel) will be purged from the center of the Islamic World.” The president of Iran is specifically threatening to attack and destroy not only Israel, but the United States as well.

On Europe, he was again pretty specific. Referring to Western Democracies as the “World of Arrogance”, he said “We are in the process of an historical war between the World of Arrogance (i.e. Western civilization) and the Islamic world, and this war has been going on for hundreds of years.” “This occupying country (i.e. Israel) is in fact a front for the World of Arrogance (i.e. The West) in the heart of the Islamic world. This means that the current war in Palestine is the front line of the Islamic world against the World of Arrogance”. The president if Iran is acknowledging that the invasions of Europe by Muslims over the past thousand years are a war that is ongoing, and will be continued.

With regard to those who are not Muslim, he said “In this very grave war, many people are trying to scatter grains of desperation and hopelessness regarding the struggle between the Islamic world and the front of the Infidels…”. The president of Iran is categorically stating that Muslims are at war with Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and any other non-Muslim.

When speaking of those Muslim countries which have reach an accord with Israel, Ahmadinejad had this to say. “…He is an egoist and his hedonism leads him to recognize the Zionist regime – he should know that he will burn in the fire of the Islamic Ummah (nation).” Egypt, Jordan, and any other Islamic nation which may agree to peaceful relations with Israel are now threatened with destruction by the president of Iran.

The parallels between the Ahmadinejad foreign policy speech, and Hitler’s articulated goals in Mien Kampf, should not be ignored. Yet, the few mentions in the media about this major address seem to focus only on his call for the destruction of Israel. An analysis of his entire commentary should be raising warning flags all over the world. Yet sadly, this seems not to be the case. President Ahmadinejad has articulated not only the future actions of Iran, but has done much to explain the Iranian government’s actions over the past 20 years, which appear to be unexplainable to most western governments and media.

Iran has been the chief enabler of terrorism by Islamic Jihadists for twenty years. This seems to be perfectly understandable if Iran considers itself at war with Israel, Europe and America. Iran not only supports many of the terrorist organizations in the world, but they even established their own vassal organization, Hezbollah.

Iran considers the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza as only the first step in the elimination of the Jewish state, and the creation of a greater Palestine. Doesn’t this seem to remind one of the fate of Czechoslovakia?

Iran is unquestionably on a course to develop nuclear weapons. They already have the necessary delivery systems to attack not only Israel, but much of Europe, thanks to the North Koreans, Communist China and Russia. The statements by the president leave little doubt that he will use these weapons when they are available, since in his opinion, a state of war already exists between Iran and the West. Do memories of the rearmament of Germany come to mind?

Despite these clear pronouncements of the official policies of Iran, we continue to treat these comments as just another political exercise, much like an American campaign promise. A member state of the United Nations has directly threatened two member states, as well as those who do not share a specific religion. Yet Iran remains a full member, with all rights and privileges intact. Iran is continuing its development of nuclear weapons, yet many of the western governments continue to use offers of aid and trade to get a voluntary discontinuance of their arms programs. Does the word appeasement ring any bells? Iran continues to subsidize any number of murderers and terror organizations, yet most countries continue to maintain diplomatic relations with this government. Iran is a major provider of supplies and personnel to the ‘Insurgency’ in Iraq, yet no condemnation of this support has been heard. Iran has stated its intention to continue the Islamic war against European civilization, yet the only thing the European capitals seem able to do is issue statements saying Ahmadinejad’s comments are “unacceptable”.

I think that the United States, Europe, and the United Nations need to get a healthy dose of reality, and respond to the Iranian government in terms it will understand. There may still be time to avoid a military confrontation, but that time is fast disappearing. The recall of Iranian diplomats from more than 40 posts so that any moderates can be purged is but the next step in the implementation of the policies so clearly enunciated. The replacement of suspected moderates by hard line Islamists will signal an escalation of demands and terrorist activities by a government committed to creating chaos. I would suggest that the following be implemented without delay.

Iran should be expelled from the United Nations. They have clearly violated the very basic membership requirements as listed in the UN charter.

Diplomatic relations with Iran by all European nations should be terminated. Iran has already stated that it is at war with Europe, and has been for centuries.

All economic and trade relations with Iran must be severed, and a total embargo on all incoming and outgoing goods should be enforced. No nation should continue ‘business as usual’ with a country with whom they are at war.

As with any infectious disease, the political manifesto expounded by Iran’s leadership must be isolated. While this will undoubtedly create hardships on the citizenry of Iran, a quarantine of this regime is necessary to protect the world from an ideology gone mad. If effective, these actions may result in the people of Iran taking back control of their destiny, rather than allowing fanatics to dictate their future. However, with the political will of Europe in doubt, and a mainstream media ruled by political correctness and blinded by an agenda of ‘understanding and tolerance’, I frankly doubt that any of these actions will be taken. It will be up to the mullahs of Iran, and their presidential front man, to decide the fate of Israel and Europe, with a potential death toll not seen since 1945.

The world did not believe Adolph Hitler when he said what he would do when he achieved power in Germany. And the world appears to not believe Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he states what his intentions are. Is 2006 going to be our 1939, or have we learned that the arrogance of power will cause extremists such as Ahmadinejad to tell us in advance exactly what they have planned? Will we listen?

Tom Glennon is a retired Manager with an international bank. A Chicago native, he retired at the location of his last assignment, in the Des Moines, Iowa area.

He is an award winning speaker for the Volunteer Oil Industry Communications Effort, an industry advocacy group, and writes essays and opinion pieces for a variety of on-line and print publications.

Tom has served on his County Republican Committee, as well as having served as the County Campaign Chair for Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). His volunteer work has covered a variety of community based efforts, including youth athletic organizations, Junior Achievement, Youth at Risk, and the Boy Scouts.


I am filled up and maxed out with the whiners, finger pointers, blame throwers, and professional victims who are featured on the daily newscasts, and in most of the print media. So many of the people we have put in positions of responsibility and authority have failed to live up to our expectations, and seem to diminish further even as we watch. At a time of national need, in the wake of Katrina and all that she wrought, we seem to have found an amazing number of unremarkable people.

We seem to have become a nation where no one takes responsibility for their own actions, anything that goes wrong is someone else’s fault, every tragedy is the result of some misguided policy, and scoring political points for your party is more important than the welfare of our fellow citizens. The flood waters in New Orleans were still rising when those who should know better began hurling unfounded and wildly inaccurate accusations at anyone they could think of, rather than offering substantive assistance. Charges of racism, political payback, and deliberate malfeasance were flying while our fellow citizens were clinging to life on rooftops. Excuses for looters taking appliances, guns, and jewelry were being made while residents in three states were wilting under extreme heat, with no water to drink. While children were looking for their parents, politicians were calling for inquiries, or demanding resignations. The only person thus far who has not been criticized in the very able General Honore. I suspect, from what I have seen of him, that no one has the guts to launch any spurious comments at the good General. He seems more than capable of correcting anyone who casts aspersions on him.

I don’t have the skills, or frankly, the energy of youth, to assist directly in any of the storm ravaged areas; so I do what I can. I make monetary donations to those agencies that I know will use the money wisely, to help those most in need. I pray, both for those already lost, and for those who will need so much in the coming months. I support my state and church efforts to supply the basic needs to those in the affected areas, as well as relocation, job and educational assistance to keep their lives moving forward. I thank God that we have so many brave people who are willing to put themselves in dangerous conditions to make heroic efforts to help their fellow citizens. And I am proud when I see the efforts of the people of Houston, and so many other areas, helping their neighbors through extraordinary circumstances.

I do these things because I am an American, and that is what we do best. We help others when they need help, our own as well as others around the world. Tens of millions of Americans are doing the same things, and yet we still feel some guilt that we cannot do more. And we cringe, mentally if not physically, when we hear the self-serving comments and blame gaming of those from whom we expect better.

As I write this, people are still dying in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Despite the best efforts of those brave souls working 20 hour days in the devastated areas, more will die still. Yet, to many of those to whom we look for leadership, we hear petty comments and cheap shots that are not suitable for political campaigns, and are downright shameful in the face of the effects of Katrina.

Maybe I speak only for myself, but just maybe, I speak for many. To all of the political leaders at every level, local, state or federal, Democrat or Republican, community, social or religious figures, I ask only the following. Shut up, and do your jobs! You can engage in all of the political positioning you want when the people are safe and secure. You can play blame games, or pass laws, or reorganize agencies all you want when our fellow citizens have been accorded the assistance they need and deserve. And maybe, after some time for reflection, you will think before you speak and consider consequences before you act. And if it is more important that you protect your reputation than it is to protect the citizens who elected you, maybe you should consider another line of work.

Tom Glennon


Tom Glennon recently retired as a Manager with an international bank. A Chicago native, he retired at the location of his last assignment, in the Des Moines, Iowa area.

He is an award winning speaker for the Volunteer Oil Industry Communications Effort, an industry advocacy group, and writes essays and opinion pieces for a variety of on-line and print publications.

Tom has served on his County Republican Committee, as well as having served as the County Campaign Chair for Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). His volunteer work has covered a variety of community based efforts, including youth athletic organizations, Junior Achievement, Youth at Risk, and the Boy Scouts.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


The main stream media, television, newspapers, and even news web sites and e-zines are neglecting meaningful stories that are critical to American morale as the War On Terror progresses.

All of the media are very quick to report each American casualty, killed or wounded, as well as Iraqi and Afghani civilians killed or wounded by the terrorists. Every bomb that disrupts the rebuilding of Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s infrastructure gets prominent attention. Any misconduct by American military personnel, whether real or imagined, is blared in headlines from coast to coast. Off the wall protesters, making unwarranted charges either against our government or our military, are featured newsmakers. Politicians disparaging our military with spurious charges are assured of a forum that makes the evening news cycle. With all of this, is it any wonder that many Americans are confused or misled about our progress in dealing with those who threaten us?

I have four very simple questions, which all of the media should know, yet I am confident that NONE can answer.

How many Bronze Stars, Silver Stars, or Distinguished Service Crosses have been awarded since operations began in Afghanistan and Iraq? What are the names and actions of those receiving this medal?
How many Unit Citations and Unit Commendations have been awarded since operations began in Afghanistan and Iraq? What units received these, and what were the actions of those receiving this recognition?

Either these awards for valor are presented at secret gatherings in undisclosed locations, or none of our military have performed any deeds of heroism in Afghanistan or Iraq. Or is it possible that the media is only interested in reporting news that is negative, and are not reporting details on commendations for bravery? We know how many Purple Hearts have been awarded, since the media keeps close count of casualties. We know how many terrorists attacks have occurred in both theaters of operation, as the media keeps close count of these on a monthly basis. However, any heroic actions by our troops, and recognized with commendations for valor, are regularly ignored by all of our media. Whether these actions resulted in inflicting enemy casualties, or were actions that saved others from harm, they are not considered newsworthy.

I am disheartened by this lack of recognition for those who daily face death and injury on our behalf. If the heroism of our young men and women were recognized as prominently as the allegations of mistreatment at Gitmo, perhaps the American people would get a more balanced view of our military operations. Since when has it become journalism’s job to influence public opinion by accentuating stories that are detrimental to America, while ignoring anything that might cause pride or recognition in our successes? Do we no longer have any real heroes, or is that designation only applied to sports figures, or actors who mouth uneducated opinions about subjects of which they have no knowledge? Have our news suppliers been so perverted by their political agenda that news is now more propaganda than information? Harsh words, yes, but I do not use them without some justification. If the media cannot answer my four simple questions, then their own ignorance is proof of their deliberate obfuscation of events.

The failure of the media to report on other areas of success is yet another example of the tunnel vision that is now accepted practice by our news providers, but would be too lengthy to discuss in this piece. For example, we should be demanding reports on how many schools have been built in Afghanistan, or how many hospitals have been staffed and supplied by America in Iraq.

All of us share the blame for this situation, by our failure to insist on accurate and complete reporting by the media. By accepting the news as provided, without any oversight or review as to accuracy and balance, we have told the media that we will believe what they tell us, and react as they expect. Until we voice our concerns to the parties charged with providing us news, we will continue to be fed information that favors a single viewpoint. And too often, that viewpoint is not in our nation’s interest.

All societies need heroes. We need examples of how to behave in times of danger, and how to react to stressful situations we may face. We need to see the faces, and learn the details of those who lead by example. But the most heroic of our fellow citizens continue to do their duty in shadow, and we know them not at all.

Tom Glennon

Tom Glennon recently retired as a Manager with an international bank. A Chicago native, he retired at the location of his last assignment, in the Des Moines, Iowa area.

He is an award winning speaker for the Volunteer Oil Industry Communications Effort, an industry advocacy group, and writes essays and opinion pieces for a variety of on-line and print publications.

Tom has served on his County Republican Committee, as well as having served as the County Campaign Chair for Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). His volunteer work has covered a variety of community based efforts, including youth athletic organizations, Junior Achievement, Youth at Risk, and the Boy Scouts.


They are all gone now, except the youngest, my Uncle Bobby.

Dad was in the Coast Guard, considered too old for active Navy duty. Uncle Roy was in the Navy, as was his brother Wally. Their youngest brother, Bobby, was a Marine pilot. He had begun flying at fourteen, using the money from the job my Dad got him at a drug store to pay for his flying lessons. Sneaking off to Palwaukee airport outside Chicago, where a sympathetic World War One veteran gave a young boy a chance to learn to soar with the eagles.

Wally and Roy served on aircraft carriers, with the hope they could watch out for their younger brother. But Bobby flew off fixed bases in the Pacific, flying the top line F4U Vought Corsair. What Wally and Roy wound up watching were Kamikaze pilots trying their damnedest to kill them. Uncle Roy had back problems the rest of his life from one of those pilots.

Dad went first, while I was still in High School. Uncle Wally was next, a few years after Dad. Uncle Roy held on until after I was married, and had transferred away from Chicago. But I went back, with my then small children, for his services. Two of my nephews blew taps at the cemetery. It was the first time I remember my retired career Marine Uncle Bobby crying. He is in North Carolina now, still playing his beloved golf, and still referring to my Aunt Helen as his bride.

Gone too is my oldest cousin, Bob. He landed at Utah Beach on D Day. Temporarily blinded by an artillery shell air burst, he returned to the front after only a few days of recovery. He lost a leg in France. His oldest son gave the eulogy. Until he spoke, most of the family never knew about the medals for valor Bob received. Like my other family members, they never talked much about the war.

I hear a lot of discussion about the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and the thermo-nuclear bomb dropped three days later on Nagasaki. It seems many historians, commentators, and pundits are still discussing the use of these weapons. Serious debates about the need for their employment, the moral implications, and the precedents set. Speculation, coupled with revisionist history, seem to make this an academic issue, open to many interpretations. However, to me, it is not academic. It is very personal.

You see, all of my family survived World War Two. Unlike 405,399 other American families, mine never received that dreaded visit from the Western Union man, bearing a telegram that started “We regret to inform you”. One limb lost, burns, scars and shed blood were all felt deeply, but at least they came back. But that could have been very different.

An invasion of Japan would have resulted in an estimated one Million American casualties, over a third of whom would have been killed. Based on the experience of Okinawa, up to twenty million more Japanese would have died. Would my Uncle Bobby, Uncle Roy and Uncle Wally have survived? Cousin Bob would have been here, as he had already been discharged with the loss of his leg. Dad too, would have survived, as he was never called to combat duty. But of the others, I understandably can’t say. But I can say that ending the war without an invasion of Japan insured that those who were still alive would remain so. Because the war ended when it did, I grew up with an Uncle Roy, Uncle Wally, and Uncle Bobby. And because the war ended when it did, 350,000 other American families welcomed back their sons, brothers, fathers and uncles. And twenty million Japanese survived to rebuild both their country, and their society.

Thank you, Harry Truman, for making the tough decision. Thank you, Harry Truman, for making the right decision.

Tom Glennon


Tom Glennon recently retired as a Manager with an international bank. A Chicago native, he retired at the location of his last assignment, in the Des Moines, Iowa area.

He is an award winning speaker for the Volunteer Oil Industry Communications Effort, an industry advocacy group, and writes essays and opinion pieces for a variety of on-line and print publications.

Tom has served on his County Republican Committee, as well as having served as the County Campaign Chair for Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). His volunteer work has covered a variety of community based efforts, including youth athletic organizations, Junior Achievement, Youth at Risk, and the Boy Scouts.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


“We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you the following breaking news.”

“A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security has informed this reporter that the threat level indicator has been raised to Orange, based on reports that four Amish men from Lancaster Pennsylvania are being sought as potential suicide bombers.” “It was reported that a particularly virulent sermon by one Elder Yost, expressing views determined as ‘anti English’, may have prompted the young men to take action against…”

Station News Anchor
“Uh, John?” “I think you have the wrong copy” “The report you are reading is marked Draft.” “I think you have a newer version of the announcement.”

“Sorry Brian, you are right.” “Here we go”. “A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security has informed this reporter that the threat level indicator has been raised to Orange, based on reports that four Boy Scouts from Troop 213 in Pleasant Hill Iowa are being sought as potential suicide bombers.” “It was reported that at a particularly virulent Court of Honor, the Scoutmaster mentioned the twelfth point of the Scout Law, that a Scout is ‘Reverent”. “As the Troop is sponsored by Charity Lutheran Church, it is feared that the Scouts are going to target any non Lutheran group…”

Station News Anchor
“John?” “I think you are referring to copy marked Revision 1.” “Please see if you have the newer copy.”

“Right you are again Brian.” “I have the proper copy here”. “A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security has informed this reporter that the threat level indicator has been raised to Orange, based on reports that four Grandmothers from the Scottish Rite Retirement Center in Duluth Minnesota are being sought as potential suicide bombers.” “It was reported that at a particularly virulent AARP meeting at the Center, a speaker denouncing the rise in the cost of blood pressure medication may have triggered a violent reaction by the suspects against drug industry targets, including…”

Station News Anchor
“Let me interrupt you, John.” “You apparently have Revision 2 at your location.” “Let me quote from the correct copy.” “A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security has informed this reporter that the threat level indicator has been raised to Orange, based on reports that four young men, recent immigrants from Afghanistan, are being sought as potential suicide bombers.” “It was reported that after a particularly virulent anti American and anti Jewish sermon at Friday prayers at the Newark New Jersey mosque of …”

“We interrupt this coverage of a breaking news event to bring you the following editorial from this stations management.”

Station News Director
“Good evening”. “In a news report yesterday, we carried a story from our Baltimore correspondent that stated the National Security Agency facilities at Fort Meade Maryland had announced that in a newly translated batch of electronic correspondence from certain foreign websites, it was determined by the Agency that ‘Islam’, previously identified as the Religion of Peace, actually translates as ‘Submission’. The NSA spokesperson further stated that, when placing this new meaning into context, identified the term as a call for submission of the entire world to the Islamic way of life.”

“This station aired the story without securing any input from additional resources. Since then, we have been assured by several other sources that Islam is indeed the Religion of Peace.” “We apologize for any misrepresentation of Muslims or the religion of Islam, and we deeply regret any confusion or distress this story may have caused to our Muslim viewers or the Islamic/American community.” “Thank you.”

“We now return you to our interrupted coverage of a breaking news story, which had previously interrupted our regularly scheduled programming.”

Station News Anchor
“This just in.” “A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security has informed this station that the threat level indicator has been raised to Orange, based on reports that four unidentified persons of indeterminate age and sex are being sought as potential suicide bombers.” “The four alleged suspects, of unknown national origin or citizenship, may have been encouraged by misunderstood statements uttered by a non denominational religious authority at an undisclosed location.” “The alleged suspects may be targeting an unidentified location for reasons yet to be determined.”

“This announcement is provided as a public service to our viewers, and to demonstrate our commitment to bringing you the latest news that may affect you, our audience.”

“We now return you to our regular programming, already in progress.”

Tom Glennon


Tom Glennon recently retired as a Manager with an international bank. A Chicago native, he retired at the location of his last assignment, in the Des Moines, Iowa area.

His 38 year career spanned numerous assignments with a major oil company, an international finance company, and lastly with a major banking company. Most of his working experience was with credit card operations and technology.

He is an award winning speaker for the Volunteer Oil Industry Communications Effort, an industry advocacy group, and writes essays and opinion pieces for a variety of on-line and print publications.

Tom has served on his County Republican Committee, as well as having served as the County Campaign Chair for Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). His volunteer work has covered a variety of community based efforts, including youth athletic organizations, Junior Achievement, Youth at Risk, and the Boy Scouts.

The continuing violence in and around Gaza caused me to revisit a specific occurrence that struck me in a very emotional way. The following is a personal view of the events in Gaza on May 2, 2004.

LEGACY – The Chaos Of Gaza

With the death of Arafat, and the election of Abbas as President of the Palestinian Authority, I thought perhaps the Palestinians could gain control of their own future, and insist that their leaders reach a fair settlement of the issues between themselves and the Israelis. Perhaps. But I think not. The election of Hamas to lead their political infrastructure guarantees that the Palestinians will continue to be represented by the faceless monsters who roam the through the Middle East bent on terror, mayhem and murder, regardless of who the nominal leader may be. So long as they continue to produce ‘freedom fighters’ capable of the most dastardly deeds, they will not realize their hope for their own place in the sun.

Let me illustrate the face that the Palestinians have shown to me, but in narrative form rather than as a wire service news clip.

This is the story most Americans read in May, 2004. The mainstream media sanitized it for our protection.

Dateline Jerusalem: May 2 – Five Israelis were killed on a road in the occupied territory of Gaza this morning. Both Fatah and Islamic Jihad claimed credit for the successful attack.

What happened that morning has a bit more to it than these two sentences. The following is a narrative of the probable events of that day, based on the evidence left behind, and similar attacks over the course of several years. While some of this reconstruction is conjecture, it is based on the best available evidence, as well as comments from both Fatah and Islamic Jihad members. Unfortunately, there are no witnesses to this attack, other than the gunmen, as there were no survivors among the targets.

Tali Hatuem was very careful to buckle the children securely in the car before leaving home. Very safety conscious, her car contained the proper restraints for each child. Her four young daughters were very precious to her.

Leaving the small settlement where they lived, she turned onto the main road, and drove into another beautiful May day. She did not expect the stinging pain from the gunshots that penetrated the car into the driver’s compartment. Both she and the car were crippled by the many shots that hit the small vehicle. The car rolled to a stop, with Tali’s wounds severe enough that she was unable to unbuckle herself, or make any attempt to flee. Of course, with their mother immobile, the children also stayed in the car.

The two hooded men arose from their place of concealment, their automatic rifles held at the ready. They approached the car carefully, knowing that some of the residents of the settlement carried weapons. However, as they came nearer, they noted with relief that there was no man in the car, and the female driver appeared gravely wounded.

Relaxed now, and feeling more confident, the two young men reached the disabled auto. In the drivers seat was 34-year-old Tali Hatuem. She was too weak to make any defensive move at all. The first man slowly raised his rifle, and placed it against Tali’s temple. The loud retort of the gunshot echoed through the car, bringing screams of terror from the back seat. Blood and brains splattered across the front passenger seat. The gunman then noticed the large bulge of Tali’s belly. Although she was clearly dead, the man wanted to take no chance the baby might be saved. He aimed the Kalashnikov at Tali’s abdomen, and squeezed off two more rounds.

The second man was now at the open window of the rear seat. He first noted 11-year-old Hila. She was starting to make a move to cover the other occupants. Seeing her as the most likely to cause a problem, the man shot her in the face, from a distance of perhaps 12 inches. Again, the car’s interior was sprayed with the gore of the now dead girl. Both men now brought their weapons to bear on the remaining occupants. 9-year-old Hadar was screaming, while 7-year-old Roni and 2-year-old Merav were both crying. None were making any defensive moves, and they were too scared to take evasive action. Merav was especially vulnerable, as she was safely strapped into a child restraint seat.

The two men took their time, calmly putting the muzzle end of their automatic weapons against the temples of the three girls. One at a time, they blew apart the children’s heads, silencing forever the annoying screams.

Smiling, the two shouldered their rifles, and calmly walked away from the acrid smell of cordite and the sickly sweet smell of massive amounts of blood and brains. They had done a good days work. In the name of Allah, they had eliminated 5 enemies of Islam. In fact, they had not only killed these hated Jewish infidels, daughters of pigs and monkeys; but in killing the female children, they had eliminated a future generation of these most hated of people. They would have been more pleased had they known that the unborn child of Hila was also a daughter. Later news reports would comment on the Israelis killing several suspected “militants” in another “targeted attack”. There was never a news report on the fact that the “targeted attack” was, in fact, the elimination of the men responsible for the slaughter of the Hatuem family.

Did we grieve for these dead, or are they incidental in the greater scheme of things? Did their deaths generate the same outpouring of condolences as that of Arafat? Is there a linkage here? What does this incident have to do with Arafat? Actually, they are directly connected.

The two men were members of the Islamic Jihad faction of the Fatah movement. Fatah and Islamic Jihad were both founded by Arafat, under the auspices of the PLO. Financial support, weapons purchases, salaries and reward bonuses were all paid directly by Arafat from funds received by the Palestinian Authority, from both the European Union, United Nations and the United States. The Fatah movement, and others, still run training camps where men learn the use of weapons, and the skills of ambush.

And what of the men themselves? Both were products of the schools run by the Palestinian Authority, where, from the age of 5, they had been taught that Jews are not human, but vermin to be exterminated. Both were raised watching television that pictured all non-Muslims as inferior, and all Israelis as enemies to be killed in any way possible. Both attended mosques where the Imam’s preached that killing any Jew, at any time, would be rewarded by special treatment in Paradise.

The chaos that is the Palestinian Territories pits at least six rival groups, all vying for dominance. The Palestinian Authority itself has police and security personnel. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Fatah all maintain armed bands of men and potential homicide bombers who are at war with each other, as well as continuing their attacks against Israel.

Arafat’s legacy of hated, murder, terror, and intolerance will live on long after him. The Palestinian educational system, entertainment industry, local media and the religious leaders have all worked hard to insure that the fanaticism they have constructed will infect generation after generation. And we can expect that this will not be the last time we hear of this kind of attack by the ‘freedom fighters’ of Islam. But the next time you read the one or two sentence news blurb, think about the actual events, and the participants. And if you can’t grieve for the victims, I would suggest you grieve for yourself. This is what the Islamic fanatics have promised they will bring to all who oppose them.

Dedicated with a heavy heart to the memory of

Tali – Mother – Age 34
Hila – Daughter – Age 11
Hadar – Daughter - Age 9
Roni – Daughter – Age 7
Merav – Daughter – Age 2
Unnamed – Daughter – One month from birth

Tom Glennon


Tom Glennon recently retired as a Manager with an international bank. A Chicago native, he retired at the location of his last assignment, in the Des Moines, Iowa area.

He is an award winning speaker for the Volunteer Oil Industry Communications Effort, an industry advocacy group, and writes essays and opinion pieces for a variety of on-line and print publications.

Tom has served on his County Republican Committee, as well as having served as the County Campaign Chair for Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). His volunteer work has covered a variety of community based efforts, including youth athletic organizations, Junior Achievement, Youth at Risk, and the Boy Scouts.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


A recent article in a European news source identified Osama Bin Laden as “A Saudi Dissident”. The New York Times has called the arch murderer Zarqawi “A Jordanian Fighter”. The BBC, Reuters, a large number of American and European newspapers, and other news services refuse to use the “terrorist” designations for anyone, lest they offend the sensibilities of murderers. London news services refered to the four men identified with the first London bombings as “bombers”. Frankly, this wimpy way of describing killers has put me over the edge. The recent arrest in Iraq of a man who admittedly has beheaded over one hundred helpless captives was profiled as an “insurgent”, by those few news services that bothered to report the story. According to a European wire service, an attack in Gaza was carried out by an Islamic Jihad “Field Operative”.

Language can be a very powerful instrument in shaping thought or opinion. When used properly, language can inspire, inform, educate, comfort and even amuse. However, when used to advance an agenda, language can confuse, mislead, propagandize, obfuscate and disguise outright fabrications. The words we use in communicating ideas, events, observations and information can affect the perceptions of those who read our words. In both North America and Europe, the use of politically correct adjectives and identifiers has often disguised or ignored potentially important information.

That being said, I have been irritated for some time by the use of the words “Insurgency” and “Insurgents”, as well as “Militants” and “Fighters” in describing the horrific actions of those persons the American, Iraqi and Coalition forces are opposing in Iraq. My dictionary defines insurgent as one who is rising in revolt against a political or governmental authority, or a member of a political party in opposition thereof. I don’t think this is accurate in the case of the Iraqi violence against the military, as well as the targeting of Iraqi civilian men, women and especially children. I think some other words can better describe the perpetrators of this violence, based on who they are, and their motivation.

Thugs/Gangsters – Those Iraqis who are committing acts of violence against indiscriminate and often innocent targets for money. A fair number of those involved are simply doing it for profit. They are paid to kill.

Psychopaths/Sociopaths – These are at least some of the bombers, assassins and beheaders. They are involved because they enjoy killing and torturing.

Religious Fanatics – Those committed Jihadists who are driven by their version of religion to kill any Infidel, as well as those Muslims who work with or associate with Infidels.

International Terrorists – Those non-Iraqis who are there to kill in order to advance their own political or social agendas. Their target is not important, only that more chaos is created.

International Criminals – Those who were involved in the former Baath Regime, and are guilty of crimes against humanity. They fear facing the justice that a stable government operating under a rule of law may impose.

I am not aware of anyone killed or captured thus far who meets the less inflammatory definition of Insurgent. Political Correctness has become a disease which is not only infecting the media, but many governmental leaders, who are now using the PC phrases to describe those defective individuals who are killing their fellow humans at an alarming rate. While I use the Iraqi situation as an example, I am aware that this trend to use misleading descriptions of violent acts is not limited to one country, or one event. The inability of the average person in the West to understand fully the nature of the challenges they face is at least partially due to the inaccuracies of media coverage.

I would like to see more accurate descriptions of the people involved in these acts of murder and indiscriminate violence, so that we can better understand both their motivations, and the nature of the enemies we all face. We should demand the media show some courage by calling these people what they are, rather than the sanitized language now in use.

Tom Glennon

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