Today’s Phrase for Latin Lovers

Rem ipsam dic, mitte male loqui.

Translation:
Speak out the whole truth boldly, but use no bad language. -- John Adams, 1775

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Ancient History

|Campaign 2012 | Political Prudence

The President Mocks Our Horse-Mounted Soldiers

In the final presidential debate of the 2012 campaign season, President Barack Obama tried to score points by lampooning Governor Mitt Romney’s criticism that under the Obama administration, our US Navy had fallen to levels not seen since 1916.

In doing so, Obama sneered that we don’t have many bayonets or horses in the military either because times change.

Yet, our Marines are indeed equipped with bayonets. And the soldiers serving in Afghanistan use military horses.

In fact, Vice President Joe Biden was in New York City at Ground Zero for the dedication ceremony for a statue heralding the proud service of our horse-mounted soldiers.

A NY1 story, “Horse Soldiers Statue Rededicated At WTC Site,” reports:

A statue honoring soldiers who served in Afghanistan on horseback was rededicated Friday at the World Trade Center site. The 16-foot-tall Special Operations Horse Soldiers statue, located on Greenwich Street near the Path Station, commemorates when U.S. Special Operations team members rode horses into combat during the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Riding with and advising Northern Alliance warlords fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda on steep terrain in Northern Afghanistan, it was the first time U.S. troops rode horses in a military operation since 1942.

“Having the terrorist attacks here, bringing this back home, it’s priceless, words can’t describe the pride and honor we all feel,” said U.S. Army “Horse Soldier” Master Sergeant Michael Elmore.

“Only one had ever been on a horse in his life. He is a no kidding cowboy. The other men had never been on a horse. In the spirit of great Special Forces guys they adapted and began to conduct a horse-mounted operation with their Afghan counterparts,” said Special Operations Deputy Commanding General Lieutenant General John Mulholland Jr.

The statue was made possible by private donations, with $750,000 raised in six weeks.

“Mulholland and his guys would never ask for anything and that’s the beauty of it. They’re the quiet professionals so we wanted to do something to recognize them and all those who went and served to fight the battle of 9/11,” said Constellations Group CEO Bill White.

“The message is that military service to your country is an honorable thing,” said Sculptor Douwe Blumberg.

Among those on hand for the ceremony was Johnny Spann, whose son Mike was the first American to die during the invasion while working with the CIA.

“Hopefully the dedication of this Horse Soldier Monument will make people more aware and maybe they will get interested in reading about it or whatever. It’s a part of our history, and it’s important people know exactly what took place,” Spann said.

The statue was first dedicated by Vice President Joe Biden on Veteran’s Day.

During the debate, Obama also noted that he’d been at Ground Zero. Apparently he paid no attention to the statue there. Or perhaps he walked by it and just laughed at how preposterous he thought it was—just like he did in the debate.

It’s even odder to know that celebrity-obsessed Obama didn’t know about the horse soldiers because Hollywood knows. According to a special report at the Daily Caller, “Secret Mission: The Horse Soldiers of 9/11,” “producer Jerry Bruckheimer is producing a future movie about America’s ‘Horse Soldiers.’”

The Daily Caller story begins:

It was the news the world breathlessly waited for immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks: a report of the first American troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

All at once the world’s attention focused on an iconic photo of those Special Operations Forces doing something no American military had done in nearly a century: They rode horses into combat.

Their secret mission: secure northern Afghanistan by advising the warring tribal factions that formed the Northern Alliance. During the 2011 Veterans Day Parade on November 11, a new monument to these men — and to all Americans in uniform — made its way down New York City’s famed Fifth Avenue on the way to its final home, a stone’s throw from Ground Zero.

What a fascinating, uplifting story. One that our President should never belittle with derision dripping from his lips to score political points. In trying to make Romney look small, he mocked our heroes.

And in doing so, he proved he is a very small man with a large ignorance of military equipment.

(hat tip to @LifeOnAHorse for alerting me to the statue story. Follow the retired Navy man. And thanks to @MissSaraEliza for alerting me to the Daily Caller story.)

UPDATE: @AnthonyBialy tweeted a story he found on the Fort Bragg, NC, training center for the horses. The HorseChannel.com post, “Military Mounts at Fort Bragg,” notes:

The rocky terrain found in remote areas of Afghanistan isn’t easy to traverse, even by jeep. Native horses become a mode of transportation. Pack animals, especially donkeys, also become familiar partners. For some of America’s elite troops, however, knowledge of horses and their four-legged relatives isn’t familiar territory. The first time they actually halter a horse, saddle it and ride it may be at Smith Lake Stables.

“That’s why the only horses we get, that the government buys, are what we call dead broke,” Rossignol says. “We can’t afford to have anyone get hurt.”

But there’s more to it than just learning about tacking up and riding a horse, Rossignol says. The troops also learn herd management and how to treat common equine health issues affecting equines.

“We teach them about anatomy and basic vet care,” he says. “That’s because many times these troops are working with the local people.”

That’s one side of the Special Forces that isn’t often seen by the Americans at home. In order to establish a good rapport with an agrarian or nomadic society, a Special Forces member might offer to help care for sick or injured animals owned by local peoples. It’s all part of spreading goodwill.

Yet despite the benefits of maintaining a select group of horses for military training, the horses associated with Fort Bragg have faced some budget cuts. Land originally used for pasture was deemed too valuable for grazing, and horses were moved from the actual military base to their current home at Smith Lake Stables, a few miles away.

|English Class | Prudence Potpourri

Correcting the Liberal Lexicon: War on Women

war on wo•men \ ‘wȯ(ə)r ‘än ‘wim-ən \ n phrase : an armed conflict against adult female persons

As the 2012 election draws closer, Democrats desperately want to divert the public’s attention away from President Obama’s abysmal record on the economy and jobs. It seems no attack on Republicans is too absurd or too low to make toward that effort. Case in point: The Democrats now preposterously claim that the GOP is waging a “War on Women,” and the  media is shamelessly going along with that fact-free propaganda slogan. With a straight face, they insist that Americans should be gullible enough to believe that Republicans truly hate women and want to enact laws to prevent them from getting any birth control.

The truth is, Republicans simply don’t want to have to pay for someone else’s birth control—or use government force to require a religious institution to violate its sacred beliefs. The GOP wants to stay out of bedrooms and churches. (To nip the standard liberal red herring in the bud: no, being pro-life is not being in your bedroom; it’s being pro-pre-natal care. Using the Democrat playbook, Republicans could easily, disingenuously ask: Why do Democrats hate pre-natal care?)

Women writers from across the political spectrum have documented the fact that when it comes to making vicious attacks on female political opponents, the Democrats take the cake…and then deny they ate it. Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers bravely penned a piece for the Daily Beast (“Rush Limbaugh Isn’t the Only Media Misogynist”), calling out liberally abusive commentators:

Did you know there is a war on women? Yes, it’s true. Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, and Ed Schultz have been waging it for years with their misogynist outbursts.

Right-wing author Michelle Malkin’s most recent syndicated column, “The War on Conservative Women,” chronicled the ugly side of being a conservative woman in the public eye from her own personal experience. In it, she also pointed out that it’s not just liberal men doing the name-calling and slandering:

Self-serving opponents argue that such attacks do not represent “respectable,” “mainstream” liberal opinion about their conservative female counterparts. But it was feminist godmother Gloria Steinem who called Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison a “female impersonator.” It was NOW leader Patricia Ireland who commanded her flock to only vote for “authentic” female political candidates. It was Al Gore consultant Naomi Wolf who accused the late Jeane Kirkpatrick of being “uninflected by the experiences of the female body.”

Conservative blogger Nice Deb has dug through the internet to compile another collection of left-wing venom and hypocrisy in her post “The Left’s War On Conservative Women.”

The Real War on Women
It all seems so important, proving our side is the truly aggrieved party—and it is, in terms of not letting a false narrative take root in the minds of the voting public. But when it comes to the phrase “War on Women,” it is utterly ridiculous for that phrase to be used in relation to any Western women. On this International Women’s Day, we need to turn our eyes to the true assaults on women.

One such assault was launched yesterday by the Afghanistan government and clerics. The US-sanctioned appeasement of the Taliban has begun blossoming in full, with women getting pushed back into the burqa and isolated in the home. As reported in the back pages of American newspapers (and on FoxNews.com):

Afghanistan’s president on Tuesday endorsed a “code of conduct” issued by an influential council of clerics that activists say represents a giant step backward for women’s rights in the country.

President Hamid Karzai’s Tuesday endorsement of the Ulema Council’s document, which allows husbands to beat wives under certain circumstances and encourages segregation of the sexes, is seen as part of his outreach to insurgents like the Taliban.

Both the U.S. and Karzai hope that the Taliban can be brought into negotiations to end the country’s decade-long war. But activists say they’re worried that gains made by women since 2001 may be lost in the process.

While the Democrats and their leader, Barack Obama, have taken to the microphones to phonily decry their ginned-up “GOP war on women” since this declaration was made, they have uttered no disapproval of the Afghan move. After all, if they were to complain, they might hinder the negotiations to turn the country over to the Taliban (ok, perhaps not officially, but does anyone doubt that will be the end result?) so our military can hurriedly leave by Obama’s political timetable.

Surely our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—who used to tout her daring to lecture China on women’s rights during her stint as First Lady—would feel compelled to speak out and issue a statement. But no, she didn’t, even though she, and Obama, had to have seen this coming.

Two years ago, she authorized $500 million to go to Karzai to grease the wheels in negotiating with the women-hating people killing our soldiers: the Taliban and other “insurgents.” Then, in May 2010 when Karzai visited DC and the public expressed concern over his Taliban negotiations, she vowed to a group of visiting Afghan women, “We will not abandon you, we will stand with you always.”

But feminist-hero Clinton’s State Department has been waffling and weakening on Afghan women’s rights ever since. Now, in the wake of this new and worrisome development, instead of taking Karzai to task, they have stuck their head in the sand and made not a peep about this reignition of a true War on Women.

Here’s a few things with which Clinton and the Obama State Department have no problem, as reported in the FoxNews.com story:

Among the rules: Women should not travel without a male guardian and women should not mingle with strange men in places like schools, markets or offices. Beating one’s wife is prohibited only if there is no “Shariah-compliant reason,” it said, referring to the principles of Islamic law.

Asked about the code of conduct at a press conference in the capital, Karzai said it was in line with Islamic law and was written in consultation with Afghan women’s groups. He did not name the groups that were consulted.

“The clerics’ council of Afghanistan did not put any limitations on women,” Karzai said, adding: “It is the Shariah law of all Muslims and all Afghans.”

According to the Guardian, Karzai’s Taliban appeasement could lead to the expulsion of women from the Afghan government and the loss of 10 years of hard-won gains:

The clerics renounced the equality of men and women enshrined in the Afghan constitution, suggesting they consider the document that forms the basis of the Afghan state to be flawed from a religious perspective.

“Men are fundamental and women are secondary,” the statement says, according to a translation by Afghan analyst Ahmad Shuja. “Also, lineage is derived from the man. Therefore, the use of words and expressions that contradict the sacred verses must be strictly avoided.”

The statement drew criticism in parliament, where some politicians took it as a direct assault on the constitution and the wider government. If a ban on men and women working and studying together were implemented, it would in effect dissolve the legislature. (emphasis added)

How ironic that just last week, Obama issued his annual proclamation declaring March as Women’s History Month, with today March 8 as International Women’s Day. What a history we have developing in Afghanistan.

Likewise, the UN issued an International Women’s Day statement from their United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan calling on the Karzai government to finally get around to implementing its anti-violence against women act:

Enacted in August 2009, the landmark Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law criminalises child marriage, forced marriage, selling and buying women for the purpose or under the pretext of marriage, baad (giving away a woman or girl to settle a dispute), forced self-immolation and 17 other acts of violence against women including rape and beating. It also specifies punishment for perpetrators.

In spite of these legal protections under the EVAW law and other constitutional safeguards for women, violence against women and girls remains pervasive in Afghanistan with an inconsistent response from Afghan authorities.

UNAMA found that judicial and law enforcement officials were implementing sporadically the two-year-old law and were not yet applying the law to the majority of cases of violence against women. The report determined that many cases of violence against Afghan women were withdrawn or mediated including serious crimes that would require prosecution with a low number of cases prosecuted.

“I have knocked all doors to get rid of violence but all my complaints had fallen on deaf ears. Instead, the prosecutor accused me of lying and warned me of dire consequence,” 15-year-old Sadat said while undergoing treatment in a Herat hospital. She had set herself on fire due to repeated and unaddressed domestic violence. Sadat later died in a hospital in Turkey where she was taken for further treatment.

They can quote a 15-year-old girl’s words from her deathbed, but the UN can’t bother to note the deal Karzai had just approved days before that will make life brutal again for all the other women and girls of Afghanistan.

But the real War on Women is not confined to Afghanistan. It is being waged on women around the world, as Nina Shea, co-author of Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide, showed in an excellent roundup at National Review Online, outlining the atrocities happening daily in:

  • China: “If the brave woman still refuses to submit [to aborting babies to conform with the one-child government], she may be held in a punishment cell, or, if she flees, her relatives may be held and, very often, beaten”
  • North Korea: “Pregnant women are forced to undergo abortions, even in their third trimester, for the crime of carrying ‘Chinese seed.’”
  • Saudi Arabia: Among the laundry list of outrages and horrors against women, “Women are also at risk of being charged with putting spells on men under laws against witchcraft, a capital crime. A Sudanese woman was beheaded in December for sorcery.”
  • Iran: Another laundry list that reads like an upgrade to a club membership (in addition to the Saudi Arabia-level benefits, you will also receive…), which includes “The law permits a man to kill his adulterous wife and women convicted of adultery can be sentenced to stoning.”
  • Pakistan: Even as a supposedly more enlightened Muslim society, Shea notes Pakistan’s “persistent practice of forcing rape victims to marry their rapists, a situation that becomes compounded by forcible conversion to Islam [when the woman or young girl is Christian].”

Shea didn’t have room to mention hundreds of other unspeakable offenses, including ones that occur outside the Muslim world, such as India’s pervasive problem with selectively aborting female babies, creating extreme societal problems that are also seen in China where they abide a similar practice as a result of the one-child policy.

The point is, those are the places that are conducting a real War on Women, not here in Chicago, El Paso and San Francisco. It is an insult to those women fighting real threats in distant lands to apply that phrase to a hyperbolic political argument between the Left and the Right in the United States, where we women have it cushier than anywhere else in the world.

 

*** Cross-posted at Politicalistas | Happy International War on Women’s Day. ***

|Greetings | Prudence Potpourri

Pay Tribute to Our Fallen Warriors

America suffered a great loss when the Taliban took out a Chinook helicopter carrying 30 people, including 22 from SEAL Team 6 on August 6 in the rugged terrain outside of Kabul, Afghanistan. In the largest loss of American life since the war began, not only did we lose those tough, brave men doing great service to their country, but we also lost all their experience and expertise, which now can’t be passed along.

As we keep them and their families in our hearts, if you’d like to pay tribute and assist them, Hugh Hewitt recommended two charities, both of which look very deserving to me:

  • United Warrior Survivor Foundation, which says that they are “the only organization exclusively dedicated to serving the needs of the surviving spouses of Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps Special Operations personnel killed in the line of duty since September 11, 2001.”
  • The Navy SEAL Foundation, which operates a SEAL heritage center, and provides a number of services for SEALs and their families, including “funding for monuments and memorials for fallen operators,” easing the burdens “when an active-duty member of the Naval Special Warfare community is injured or killed in action,” and providing computers every three years through primary and secondary school to children of operators killed in training or combat. The foundation has set it up so that you can also donate by texting “SEAL” to 90999 to give $10.

Update
WJLA, the ABC News television affiliate in the DC area, has published on its website the photos and brief bios of 20 of the 22 Navy SEALs who perished in the crash. Click here to view the somber tribute.

|Prudence Potpourri

Veterans Day News: Smitty Called Up For Duty

Over at TheOtherMcCain, Stacy McCain’s sidekick Smitty has announced that he has been called up for duty in Afghanistan as a Navy reservist.

He writes:

The attentive may recall that I’m a Navy reservist, and Afghanistan’s hasn’t much coast. Welcome to the modern, double-Jointed world, where Semper Gumby (always flexible) is the watchword.  Have you supported Project Valor-IT yet?

As a staff REMF, it’s unlikely that I’ll be in harm’s way. This is really one year in an isolated locale, supporting the a few doughty Americans.  Should some sort of combat situation come upon me, there in the capital, things shall have gone really awry. Unlikely. Also, as a 40-something ship driver from the Navy, there is no interest in reliving my non-existent Rambo days. Let’s be crystal clear on that. Besides PowerPoint, I’ll be doing staff officer sorts of things.

He will be missed during his tour. (A whole year without Smitty’s music references is going to be a touch less melodic.) I wish him a safe journey and a speedy return.

If you would like to do something in honor of Smitty and all our veterans and active duty military, go to Soldiers Angels and donate to Project Valor-IT.

Here are some other military charities that will help you brighten someone’s day and give thanks personally:

And some excellent military blogs:

  • MilBlogging … compilation of military blogs
  • Bouhammer … Afghanistan blog
  • This Ain’t Hell …But You Can See It From Here (probably my favorite military read…if forced to pick one)
  • Blackfive … general military, Team Army leader for Project Valor-IT
  • Mudville Gazette … general military, Team Air Force leader for Project Valor-IT
  • Cassy Fiano … the female perspective on military, Team Marine leader for Project Valor-IT
  • USNI … the US Naval Institute and Project Valor-IT leader for Team…..Navy

Thanks again to all our veterans. We remember.