Today’s Phrase for Latin Lovers

Rex in Regno suo superiores habet Deum et Legem.

The King in his Realm hath two superiors: God and the Law. -- Henry Care (1646-1688) on English liberties and the Magna Carta


Visit Prudy's Latin Lovers Store for textbooks, readers and fun Latin miscellany!

Support this site. Buy a book.*

@PruPaine Tweets

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 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.

|Nostalgia | Prudence Potpourri

Bits From My Time at Ground Zero

I had intended to do a post today about the three months I volunteered for the American Red Cross and Salvation Army at Ground Zero following the World Trade Center attacks. But I have waffled all around the emotional map today, from sadness and remembrance to annoyance and anger and back again, partly due to some of the television coverage, partly due to some of the politicians’ speeches, and partly due to unpacking a box I had sealed up long ago and stuck in the back of a closet to await this 10th anniversary.

Ultimately, my experiences of 9/11 were much the same as everyone else’s because even though the burning towers could be seen from the corner of my block in Brooklyn, I chose to stay glued to the television and phone for most of the day, watching the horror unfold as the tower dust drifted throughout the city and across the river to my own door.

It wasn’t until 9/12 that all my pent-up anxiety and anger and patriotism and desperation culminated in a frantic search to find some way to contribute to the rescue and clean-up efforts. So maybe I’ll get that tale out tomorrow on that anniversary.

For today, here’s a couple photos of small items left from my time spent at Ground Zero: my Red Cross and Salvation Army volunteer vests; a couple of my ground zero access badges and the hardhat I had to wear (such an attractive fashion accessory but so nice that many of the guys working on—and around—the pile with whom I had became friends ended up signing it on the night the Red Cross closed the last respite center); and many of the pins that everyone handed out and traded (including a few “jewelry” items from some firefighter and police uniforms, and pins from the Secret Service and Red Cross workers from around North America).



My heart goes out to all those that were lost on that tragic day and those that they left behind to carry on their legacies. My hand goes out to all those that put in so much blood, sweat and tears in trying to find anyone to rescue—and then continued on and cleaned the place up in record time, all with aching hearts and blistered hands and feet.

America is a country worth saving, worth fighting for.

Update: The photos are clickable to enlarge them if you would like a closer look at some of the items.

|Prudence Potpourri | The Left

The Audacity of Bloomberg

In response to an extrememly short post on Dan Collins’ website, Piece of Work in Progress (, about Andrew Breitbart’s latest pimp sting and its correlation to Bloomberg’s Arizona gun show sting, I went off on a bit of a rant. It’s something I’ve been meaning to say about the lousy Mayor Michael Bloomberg for quite some time, so I reprint it here for Prudence Paine Papers posterity.

Bloomberg. Argh! The quintessential example of an elite. Sticks his nose in where he has no business. Recognizes no boundaries to his power…because, of course, all little people need his guidance, should aspire to be like him. (He takes pity on them; they’re so laughably inept and moronic they’ll never be worthy of him. Yet he exudes beneficence in his toleration of them.)

9/11 occurred on local election day in NYC. Rudy Giuliani was not on the ballot because he was term-limited to 8 years. The horror of that morning shut down the polls. Before they were later reopened, a clamor arose to put Rudy on the ballot, to allow him to continue to heal and rebuild the city. Bloomberg was staunchly against it, saying no one was so important we couldn’t do without them.

Yet, 8 years later, Bloomberg convinced the astoundingly dumb NYC voters to change the city charter and grant him third term…and for what?!

Now, nearly 10 years since that first election day, Ground Zero is a perfect example of Bloomberg’s leadership of the city. It’s basically still a giant hole (despite Shepard Smith’s cheerleading in trying to claim significant progress), with the worst possible symbolic design to replace the solid, stolid design of the Towers. Costs have soared, disputes remain unresolved, the glory and vibrancy of the area has not been restored, a mosque is being encouraged by Bloomberg himself to desecrate the graveyard of the thousands that could never be recovered beyond their ashes and dust that still linger, and now comedian John Stewart has been appointed to the board of the 9/11 memorial. What a tragic joke.

Now Nanny Bloomers is off on a new crusade in which he has no authority, and can only nip and growl at consumer choice and Constitutional rights. Don’t you love how he selects a locale to attack that’s already being savaged and sued by the White House, media and losers like him?

Let this episode be fair warning to any fool who would think for even a millisecond that an “independent” Bloomers candidacy for President is a good idea. There’s little difference between him and Hugo Chavez when it comes to power grabs and self-opinion.

I made a horrid mistake and voted for him once. Then I had to move out of his jurisdiction to get away from his outrageous prohibitions and taxes. So he better get his grabby hands back inside his limo up there and leave the rest of us alone.

America will not become his personal fiefdom if I have anything to say about it. (And, as you can tell, I have plenty to say!)

Thanks for listening.