I like diversity. Without it, my life would be one boring continuous slog through sameness. I love trying different foods, meeting different people, seeing different scenery, and enjoying different experiences. But this diversity obtains because I desire it — there is no need for some bureaucrat to mandate it into my life. True diversity comes from the freedom to choose the best. In my professional life, I have worked with and befriended team members from Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Ireland, France, Italy, Turkey, Hungary, England, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Canada, and from all over the United States. These talented men and women were picked because they excelled in their chosen profession, not because of their looks or background. And because the companies I worked for wanted to pick the best people for the job, the natural outcome was a wide diversity of people, ideas and backgrounds. It was freedom, not the soft-racist cry for diversity at all costs, which made this outcome possible. And the companies were better off for having hired the best, not for filling some mandated quota.

That’s not how liberals see it, however. They believe diversity should be an end in itself. A hoary old chestnut of American liberalism is “Diversity is our strength.” Is that so? In my experience, it works the opposite way. When we look primarily for strength — the will and ability to accomplish the task at hand — diversity will be a natural side benefit. But when diversity is championed as the primary goal, it’s strength that suffers.

Don’t believe me? Well, let’s see what happens when filling quotas becomes more important than seeking out excellence. Let’s look at the police force of Dayton, Ohio.

The city’s Civil Service Board and the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed on a lower passing score for the police recruit exam after it was rejected because not enough blacks passed the exam.

Dayton has decided it is no longer seeking the best recruits for its police force; it’s more important for the police to look racially diverse. To fulfill this mandate, it decided to lower its standards, which means that less-qualified people are getting police jobs in Dayton. The quest for diversity for its own sake has resulted in lower-quality police officers. Diversity is our strength? Not in Dayton’s police force, it’s not.

This brings me to the main thrust of my article: the recent decision by the U.S. military to allow women into combat roles. I see this as another quest for diversity for its own sake, at the cost of getting the best soldiers for combat situations.

Lisa Benson

It’s often said that the primary purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. As a former military brat, I’d expand that saying: everything the military does should
fall under the rubric of its primary purpose. Whenever the military is asked to do something that reduces its ability to fulfill its primary purpose, the military should turn down that task. But since the American military is under the control of elected officials, it can easily fall prey to social experimentation and liberal do-goodery, such as putting women into combat.

In a scene from the cult film Joe vs. the Volcano, Joe’s boss Mr. Waturi asks repeatedly in a phone conversation, “I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?” Replace “he” with “she” and you have the key question to ask about placing women in combat roles. For the most part, women are neither as big nor as muscular as men. This means that women wanting to fill combat positions, where strength and endurance are key to survival, will be at a marked disadvantage from the beginning. If I were an army private wounded in combat, I would want my squad mate to be strong enough to toss me over one shoulder and run me out of danger. I wouldn’t care whether my mate’s first name were Sam or Samantha; I’m focused solely on the end result. But the likelihood of a Samantha being able to execute that life-saving task is far less than it is for a Sam.

“But Captain, there are strong women who can pass the physical requirements.” Sure, there are some very fit women who can pass the requirements, but they are the exception, not the rule. And I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that when the desired number of women fail to meet the physical requirements for military service, the number-crunchers’ first instinct will be to lower the requirements, just the way it was done in Dayton. End result: fewer prepared combat troops and more casualties in battle. How is this a good thing again?

Gary Varvel

There is also the question of unit cohesion and behavior of the troops during combat. John Luddy wrote the following for the Heritage Foundation back in July 27, 1994:

History shows that the presence of women has had a devastating impact on the effectiveness of men in battle. For example, it is a common misperception that Israel allows women in combat units. In fact, women have been barred from combat in Israel since 1950, when a review of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War showed how harmful their presence could be. The study revealed that men tried to protect and assist women rather than continue their attack. As a result, they not only put their own lives in greater danger, but also jeopardized the survival of the entire unit. The study further revealed that unit morale was damaged when men saw women killed and maimed on the battlefield.

Ignoring the lessons learned from 1948, Israel decided in 2000 to put women back into active combat roles. My response echoes that of Mr. Waturi: I know she can get the job, but can she do the job? Time will tell, but hopefully not at a high cost in blood and lives.

“Diversity is our strength,” liberals like to claim. But when they value diversity more than strength — more than human life — the end result is often weakness, and it can have a terrible cost. That’s what happened to the police force in Dayton, Ohio, and it’s what happens each time liberals push for diversity for its own sake. In the end, liberals prove Quinn’s First Law to be in full effect: Liberalism always generates the exact opposite of its stated intent.

Cross-posted at Rotten Chestnuts.

Like any birth, our nation was born in blood. The founding fathers had to fight the armed might of the British Empire to earn their freedom and establish this nation. From that day to now, brave people have stood between danger and America, often purchasing with their bodies and their very lives the continued freedom of this nation.

On this day we remember those men and women who have fallen in the defense of the United States of America. They sacrificed all they had that we might be free. Let us live in such a way that their sacrifice was not in vain.

Today you may see some old man wearing buttons, badges and a funny hat, and he may offer you a small plastic poppy flower. That man is a veteran. Shake his hand and thank him for his service. You are a free American because of his service and the service of thousands of brave men and women like him. Then buy that poppy from him and wear it with pride. On this Memorial Day, we remember those who are not around to barbecue and take the day off work; instead they lie in poppy-strewn fields.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, Canadian Army
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

November 11th is Veterans Day, saluting all the men and women who have served in the armed forces. Mere words are not sufficient on this day. Shake the hands of everyone you meet who has served and thank them for their service. And if you see someone in uniform, pick up their tab, whether it’s a cab, a drink, a meal, or groceries. It’s a small act of kindness for those who fill the role of defender as outlined in our anthem.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ’In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

“The Star Spangled Banner”, fourth stanza

Veterans Day

Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982, holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who had been killed in the Korean War. (from Wikipedia)

Today is Memorial Day, the day set aside to remember those who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Since the birth of our nation in armed conflict and again in each generation, brave men and women have stood “Between their loved home and the war’s desolation” to keep our nation and its people free. So as you enjoy your vacation from school or work, your barbeques, or your fun times today, remember that you are free to do so because millions of American men and women served in the armed forces to keep our nation free, and too many of them gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving.

Don’t mistake this day for Veterans Day, which honors all veterans, not just those who died. But nothing says you can’t (or shouldn’t) thank any member of the military you encounter today.

Here are several good Memorial Day links well worth visiting:

Michelle Malkin

Gateway Pundit

Hot Air

Below is a wonderful National Geographic special about Arlington National Cemetery hosted on Hulu titled “Arlington: Field of Honor”.

And to finish off this post and to list out their sacrifice, here is a table taken from the Wikipedia article on American casualties of war. I have edited the list to enumerate only the dead, not the wounded.

War or conflict Date Deaths
combat other total
American Revolutionary War 1775–1783 8,000 17,000 25,000
Quasi-War 1798–1800 20 20
Barbary Wars 1801–1815 35 35
Other actions against pirates 1800–1900 10 10
Northwest Indian War 1785–1795 1221+
War of 1812 1812–1815 2,260 ~17,000 ~20,000
First Seminole War 1817–1818 30 30
Black Hawk War 1832 60+
Second Seminole War 1835–1842 328 ~1,500
Mexican–American War 1846–1848 1,733 11,550 13,283
Third Seminole War 1855-1858 26 26
Civil War: total 1861–1865 212,938 ~625,000
Union 140,414 224,097 364,511
Confederate 72,524 ~260,000
Indian Wars 1865–1898 919
Korean expedition 1871 3 3
Spanish–American War 1898 385 2,061 2,446
Philippine–American War 1898–1913 1,020 3,176 4,196
Boxer Rebellion 1900–1901 37 37
Mexican Revolution 1914–1919 35+
Occupation of Haiti 1915–1934 146
World War I 1917–1918 53,402 63,114 116,516
Northern Russian Expedition 1918-1920 424
American Expeditionary Force Siberia 1918-1920 189
China 1918; 1921; 1926-1927; 1930; 1937 5
US occupation of Nicaragua 1927-1933 48
World War II 1941–1945 291,557 113,842 405,399
China {Cold War} 1945-1947 13
Berlin Blockade 1948-1949 31
Korean War 1950–1953 30,880 2806 36,516
Russia {Cold War} 1950-1955 32
China {Cold War} 1956 16
Bay of Pigs Invasion 1961 4
Vietnam War 1957–1973 47,424 10,785 58209
Invasion of Dominican Republic 1965-1966 13
El Salvador Civil War 1980–1992 9 20
Beirut deployment 1982–1984 256 266
Persian Gulf escorts 1987–1988 39 0 39
Invasion of Grenada 1983 18 1 19
Invasion of Panama 1989 23 40
Gulf War 1990–1991 148 151 299
Somalia 1992–1993 29 14 43
Haiti 1994–1995 1 4
Bosnia-Herzegovina 1995-2004 1 12
Kosovo 1999 1 19 20
Afghanistan 2001–present 463 214 677
Iraq War 2003–present 3,760 540 4,300

The horrible acts of September 11th, 2001, separated Americans into three groups. One group lives in a Sept. 10th world that has yet to see the horror. Based on their world view, they object to the fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world wherever terrorists lurk because they believe terrorists should be prosecuted as criminals by the justice department and police. During the Clinton administration, the terrorists responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 were tried in our courts, and the sad truth is that this response only emboldened other terrorists, leading them to further bombings in Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and Tanzania, and the ramming of the USS Cole. People living in a Sept. 10th world believe that talking to people who hate us will solve all of our problems, as if there were some magical phrase that, once uttered, would stop terrorists from wanting to cut off our heads.

Another group continues to live in a Sept. 11th world, with all the fear and mind-numbing shock of that terrible day. They are reduced to crying and hand-wringing over the acts of the terrorists–and worse, they see our military response to terrorists in the same way. They appear to be unable to differentiate between the deranged and indiscriminate violence of al Qaeda and the controlled and directed violence of our military. My wife thinks that many of the 9/11 “Truthers” are stuck on this day, which explains why they want to blame President Bush and the government for the attacks. Rather than focusing on fighting the terrorists who actually hijacked the planes, they direct their fear and hatred towards President Bush because deep down they know that their hatred of the President is safe from dangerous retaliation. To them, President Bush is the safer target.

Then there is a group of Americans who live in a Sept. 12th world. This group recognizes that there are terrorists who hate us, our freedoms, and our industry and prosperity. Yes, the terrorists who hate us and the countries that sponsor them could have their own freedoms, industry, and prosperity, but that would require work on their part. It’s far easier for them to hate us and try to destroy us. People living in a Sept. 12th world realize that terrorists won’t go away even if we wish for it extra, extra hard, nor will they go away if we try to buy them off. So as long as they want to kill us, we will have to keep them from their goal. And for seven years now, that has meant sending our military into harm’s way to do the job it does best: killing people and breaking things. It’s not popular with the terrorists, nor is it popular with people living in a Sept. 10th or 11th world. But it is necessary.

Regardless of which mental category we fall into, the sad truth remains that that we physically live in a Sept. 12th world. And we will remain in a Sept. 12th world until radical terrorists have given up trying to destroy us. That will in all probability take a while, but like most long-term endeavors, it’s a goal worth pursuing.

Sixty-three years ago, Allied military forces stormed the beaches at Normandy, gaining the toe-hold on the continent that the Allies so desperately wanted. Over 150,000 participated that first day, and the Allied forces suffered 10,000 casualties, but it was a success and the turning-point for fighting in the European theater.

I am too young to remember D-Day, but the History Channel has some videos that can give you an idea of what it might have been like. You can view some videos here, and you can see the entire two-hour special of “D-Day: The Lost Evidence” on YouTube. Just click the “Play All Videos” button on the right.

All of Europe and America are in debt to the bravery and sacrifice of these men. They are heroes, each and every one.

A while back I saw the following Pat Oliphant cartoon in a Newsweek magazine while I was waiting for a flat tire to be fixed. The political cartoon in question was printed December 11th, 2006.

Oliphant Cartoon

And now my gripes with this cartoon. Oliphant shows the two soldiers as being pretty ignorant about past military history. The military spends much time reviewing past wars and campaigns. A brand-new recruit might be ignorant of military history, but that reflects more on our public education system than it does military training. Ask the next Marine you meet to name the circumstances around the first deployment of the Marines overseas, and you’ll get an earful about the Barbary Wars. The common liberal belief that our military is filled with morons is far from the truth.

I am also annoyed by Oliphant’s take on the Vietnam War. Oliphant has one of the soldiers say we lost Vietnam disastrously, and the other says we should have just “declared victory and gone home.” This is a dig at President Bush standing on the USS Abraham Lincoln and telling the sailors, “Mission accomplished!” The U.S. didn’t lose the Vietnam War from a military standpoint, nor did it lose because of Presidential ego, as Oliphant states. Instead, Vietnam was lost “disastrously” when Congress chose to yank the funding out from under the troops. Guess what Congress intends to do now to the soldiers in Iraq. Talk about being doomed to repeat history.

And since we’re on the subject of not learning from history, the Vietnam-era military was hamstrung by Congress and by timid commanders who wouldn’t allow the military to do what it does best: kill people and break things. My father served in the U.S. Air Force as a fighter pilot during Vietnam. He has told me about some of the rules of engagement in that war that hampered the pilots from performing to their fullest. They were not allowed to blow up any enemy planes on the ground; the planes needed to be in the air first before our pilots could shoot them down. In a misguided attempt to lessen civilian casualties, an intended target area would be notified by leaflet drops about an upcoming American mission. This gave the North Vietnamese plenty of warning, so they could bring in anti-aircraft guns and surface-to-air missile launchers to mangle and destroy American pilots.

But historical realities don’t really matter to cartoonists like Oliphant. Any idea, however misguided, is a good excuse to denigrate President Bush.

Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) spoke to the House on Friday, Feb. 16th, 2007, about the House resolution recently passed that disagrees with President Bush’s plan to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq. Rep. Johnson’s remarks reached my attention thanks to a Power Line post. Below is a YouTube video of the Representative’s full comments.

If you don’t want to spend the almost seven minutes watching his speech, here is a hard-hitting part near the end of Rep. Johnson’s address to the House.

We POWs were still in Vietnam when Washington cut the funding for Vietnam . I know what it does to morale and mission success. Words cannot fully describe the horrendous damage of the anti-American efforts against the war back home to the guys on the ground. Our captors would blare nasty recordings over the loudspeaker of Americans protesting back home, tales of Americans spitting on Vietnam veterans when they came home, and worse. I don’t think we should ever, ever let that happen again. The pain inflicted by your country’s indifference is tenfold that inflicted by your ruthless captors.

Our troops and their families want, need, and deserve the full support of this country and the Congress. Moms and dads watching the news need to know that the Congress will not leave their sons and daughters in harm’s way without support.

Since the President announced his new plan for Iraq last month, there has been steady progress. He changed the rules of engagement, removed political protection. There are reports we wounded the number two of al Qaeda and killed his deputy. And, yes, al Qaeda operates in Iraq. It is alleged that top radical jihadist, al-Sadr, has fled Iraq maybe to Iran, and Iraq has closed its borders with Iran and Syria.

The President has changed course, has offered a new plan. We are making progress. We must seize the opportunity to move forward, not stifle future success. Debating nonbinding resolutions aimed at earning political points only destroys morale, stymies success, and emboldens the enemy.

The grim reality is that this House measure is the first step to cutting funding of the troops. Just ask JOHN MURTHA about his slow-bleed plan that hamstrings our troops in harm’s way.

I salute this brave American veteran. Would that we had more like him.

The talented duo Cox and Forkum have done another good job with their latest political cartoon.

A Soldier's Burden

On the soldier’s back, in full whine mode, are Cindy Sheehan, Rep. John Murtha, the mainstream media, and Muslims who are more concerned about someone mistreating the Koran than the mutilation of American infidel servicemen.

Forgive me if I don’t have much respect for these voices of negativity.

In the light of the recent murder and mutilation of three soldiers in Iraq, why should we show any concern for the sensibilities of the Islamic nutjobs we kill? If you understand that the aggressor sets the rules, you will recognize that the enemy has given permission for our troops to mutilate and desecrate the bodies of those whom they kill. No more whining from the liberals about soldiers burning bodies. The opposition did it first.

Oh, and I meant it when I called the death of our three solders murder. It would be a battlefield death only if the people who killed them had been soldiers. But the Islamist nutjobs who perpetrated these acts do not conform to the rules of war to be classified as soldiers and be accorded the rights of soldiers in wartime. Thus they are unlawful combatants, and when they kill our soldiers, it is murder.

Have you ever had a cavity in a tooth? Did the dentist drill it out and put in a filling, or did he chop off your head? And if you ever got a splinter in your hand, did you work it out carefully with tweezers or just remove your arm? Unless you were insane, you did only what you needed to fix the situation, but this wisdom doesn’t seem to apply when the media reports on the military.

If you haven’t heard the news already, some Marines in Iraq have been accused of killing 24 Iraqi civilians in the city of Haditha. Here are the first two paragraphs from this week’s Time magazine cover story:

The killings of 24 Iraqis one morning last November may mark a terrible turning point in America’s already shaky presence in Iraq

Like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal before it, what happened at Haditha threatens to become one of the war’s signature debacles, an alleged atrocity committed by a small group of service members that comes to symbolize the enterprise’s larger costs.

Notice how this story begins by painting the entire nation’s military personnel, based on the actions of a few. It’s like taking an axe to your leg to be rid of a hangnail. Assuming for the nonce that the Marines in question are actually guilty of intentionally murdering Iraqi civilians just for the thrill of it, the military investigation currently underway will uncover any wrongdoing and punish the guilty. It is not the media’s place to pre-judge the Marines as guilty, but they are doing exactly that. (Shouldn’t be all that surprising, really, since the people currently in the mainstream media are the same generation who spent the late ’60s and early ’70s spitting on returning soldiers and calling them “baby-killers.” They’ve had years of practice pre-judging the U.S. military.)

Now, assuming the Marines are completely innocent of the charges, what has the media done by dragging their story through the mud and pre-judging them as guilty? The media has successfully provided aid and comfort to the enemy, just like they did with their hyping of Abu Ghraib. Like throwing gas on a fire, these speculative news stories server to inflame the ire of those who hate America. Unlike the Marines, however, the media need never fear a court martial or other tribunal convened to punish their heedless actions.

I suggest patience, as I have done before. The truth will out. If there are guilty Marines, they will be punished. If they are innocent, they can return to their lives without having their good names dragged through mud and filth by an overzealous, anti-military media.

And that’s the appropriate response to these news reports.