#TFH on #VLR 3/19: Calling all #Trump supporters!

TFHRsquareVLR-SaturdayUPDATE: Replay Added!! Their Finest Hour returns live to Vigilant Liberty Radio at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific on Saturday, March 19! Please join the program using VLR’s chat room & show player! If you don’t want to join us in the chat (and why not?!), you can also listen using the other players you’ll find on the site, direct on Spreaker, or using a Spreaker mobile device app. On tonight’s program, I’ll be opening up the phones with the express desire of having supporters of Donald Trump’s candidacy call in! I’m far from a supporter of “The Donald”, but I promise all callers a courteous and respectful reception. I really do want to talk with you and engage in discussion!
Continue reading #TFH on #VLR 3/19: Calling all #Trump supporters!

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#TFH on #VLR 3/12: @AsheSchow & @MeredithAncret!

TFHRsquareVLR-SaturdayUPDATE: Replay added!! Their Finest Hour will be live tonight (March 12th) on Vigilant Liberty Radio at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific! Please join me for the program in VLR’s chatroom with show player. You can also listen using the other show players on the site, direct on Spreaker, or on a Spreaker mobile app! Besides chat, you can use the #TFH hashtag on Twitter to interact with the show!

Ashe&AllanCPAC2016
Allan Bourdius & Ashe Schow, CPAC 2016 (Personal photo)

In the program’s first hour tonight, I’ll be playing a conversation I recorded on Friday, March 11th with Ashe Schow (@AsheSchow), writer for both the New York Observer and the Washington Examiner. She also hangs out with our friends over on FTR Radio.  We discussed the “kinder, gentler” GOP debate that took place Thursday night and the state of the campaign looking ahead to “Super Tuesday II” (or is it III? Can’t keep track – LOL) on Tuesday, March 15th. It was a great talk, and we spun off into some culture and Ashe’s passion for reporting on due process in college campus disciplinary proceedings.

Meredith&Allan-CPAC2016
Meredith Ancret Walker & Allan Bourdius, CPAC 2016 (Personal photo)

Then in hour two, I’ll be talking live with Meredith Ancret Walker (@MeredithAncret). Meredith blogs at Gay, Conservative, and Proud, and just wrote her first book: A New Breed of Elephant: Conservative Outreach, Transcending Identity Politics, and Victory in the 21st Century (Amazon Kindle, $8.99). I think Meredith’s book is a must-read for anyone who takes reaching minorities and millennials with the conservative/libertarian message seriously, and it should find its way onto the reading lists of political activists and campaign staffers too! I reviewed the book for Hot Air, and we’ll deep dive into the points she raises. I expect we’ll also open up the phones during this segment! If so, the number to call is: (412) 206-6050.

Thanks all for your listenership and support! Please be sure you’re following/liking TFH on both Twitter and Facebook, as well as VLR (Twitter, Facebook)!

Here’s the replay of the show! Thanks all for your listenership!

#TFH on #VLR 3/5: #CPAC2016 & more!

TFHRsquareVLR-SaturdayGreetings! I will be doing Their Finest Hour LIVE on Vigilant Liberty Radio tonight, Saturday, March 5th, but not at my regularly scheduled start time of 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific. My family and I are going out to the local high school’s musical, so the show will begin no earlier than 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific, but there’s a bit of variability. Make sure you’re following me on Twitter, plus the feeds for TFH and VLR, and watch for the actual start time! Join me for the show in VLR’s chatroom with embedded player (or use the other players you find on the site, or listen direct on Spreaker).

I just got back from the American Conservative Union’s (ACU) Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, MD outside Washington, DC. I was there for the event’s first two days, and listened in while I was driving home on some of the events that transpired today, so I’ll give my thoughts and impressions.

There’s also another slate of primaries and caucuses tonight, so by the time I go live, we should have more results to report and analyze. And I guess I’ll talk about two of my recent posts at Hot Air:

Teacher fired for student’s crime

Why Reagan won

And maybe open phones too! Don’t forget to watch for the actual start time on Twitter!

The American Deficit of Victory

(This post originally appeared at Pocket Full of Liberty on May 25, 2014. As that site is no longer active, I have relocated it here, as this is something I don’t want to lose)

Memorial Day is the holiday on which we recognize the sacrifice of life by the American warrior in combat, regardless of who they were, where they were slain, and why they were sent to fight, and remember the debt owed to all of them by the rest of us.

Michael John Ohler was a 1977 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He opted to take his officer’s commission in the United States Marine Corps. Six years later, then Captain Ohler, a Naval Aviator and Sikorsky CH-53A/D Sea Stallionpilot, was a member of what was then known as the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit, deployed for United Nations-sponsored “peacekeeping” in Beirut, Lebanon.

Captain Ohler was killed in action by a sniper’s bullet on October 16, 1983. One week later, two truck bombs devastated both the American and French military missions in Beirut in separate but near simultaneous attacks. 241 American, predominately Marines, and 58 French servicemen were killed. By February of 1984, most of the American force in Beirut was withdrawn in defeat, leaving hundreds of American families who lost loved ones asking “Why?”, and causing lasting damage to American prestige and influence.

Recently, Kurt Schlichter laid out a scenario that he titled “The Nightmare of a Defenseless America”. In that article, the United States of the near future is left impotent and defeated due to our military and defense capabilities being downsized and ignored.

I will make a more damning statement: that nightmare is already here.

Tyranny is the normal state of human affairs. To think otherwise can most kindly be called ignorance, or perhaps utopian fantasy. There is one language, and only one, that tyrants understand: violence. Diplomacy should always be tried first, but diplomacy not backed by clear strength and national resolve to pursue violence if necessary to a victorious conclusion is futile, except with nations predisposed to be our friends in the first place.

In an earlier post of mine here at Pocket Full of Liberty, “Defense Department Cuts Are Fiscally Conservative”, I made the case that the issue is not so much what we spend on defense but the lack of comparative value we get from what is spent. I closed that piece with the following, and it’s a point that deserves expansion:

Our relative vulnerability – and by extension, our ability to react to threats and win wars – is entirely dependent upon our government having the political will to wage war when it is necessary and wage it fully, with all the resources and violence we can bring to bear. However, that isn’t how the United States has largely prosecuted combat since the end of World War II. Annihilating our enemies, or sending them to the brink of annihilation so they unconditionally surrender, has been taken off the table.

Our national resolve to wage war and attain victory in battle only has one currency in which it can ultimately be measured: the lives of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen.

War, and military action short of total war, is first and foremost a political exercise; it is an extension of diplomacy, not an alternative. It is politicians who take the decision to send men and women into battle to achieve their political goals in relations with other nations when diplomacy alone is unsuccessful.

This was best understood and articulated by 19th Century political/military theorist and German general Carl von Clausewitz in his posthumously published work On War. It should be required reading for anyone who aspires to run for Congress, Senate, or the Presidency.

Our politicians – regardless of party, Republican office holders are just as guilty as Democrats – have failed repeatedly at appreciating the consequences to the United States and the world for pursuing diplomatic or military solutions that fail to attain their goals. “Victory” is a dirty word; America no longer wins.

Frankly, the justification or righteousness of diplomatic or military conflict is irrelevant to the outcome that must be obtained once the decision to undertake it has been made. America must emerge victorious, otherwise we are left vulnerable and most tragically, the lives of our warriors are wasted.

Our adversaries, be they active or potential, look at the American record over the last several decades and draw one conclusion, to paraphrase President George W. Bush: “We can wait out the United States, even if they start shooting. They will tire, they will falter, and they will fail.”

When the first concerns out of an American politician’s mouth over military action are “rules of engagement”, “collateral damage”, or “exit strategy”, if you were the enemy, would you be concerned about being defeated if America decides to fight?

In his opening paragraphs, Clausewitz warned against such half-measures:

[P]hilanthropists may easily imagine there is a skillful method of disarming and overcoming an enemy without great bloodshed, and that this is the proper tendency of the Art of War. However plausible this may appear, still it is an error which must be extirpated; for in such dangerous things as War, the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst. As the use of physical power to the utmost extent by no means excludes the co-operation of the intelligence, it follows that he who uses force unsparingly, without reference to the bloodshed involved, must obtain a superiority if his adversary uses less vigor in its application. The former then dictates the law to the latter, and both proceed to extremities to which the only limitations are those imposed by the amount of counter-acting force on each side.

This is the way in which the matter must be viewed and it is to no purpose, it is even against one’s own interest, to turn away from the consideration of the real nature of the affair because the horror of its elements excites repugnance.

At times, even in recent memory, the United States has understood what it means to go to war, and that victory must result. Colin Powell, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was dead on target while giving a Gulf War press briefing at the Pentagon on January 23, 1991:

Our strategy in going after [the Iraqi] army [in Kuwait] is very simple. First we are going to cut it off, and then we are going to kill it.

A broader view of history demonstrates quite clearly that the United States will not do what it takes to win, whether we decide to fight or when we are attacked, regardless of the costs or implications: Korea (1950-53), Vietnam (1955-75), Iran (1979-1981), Beirut (1982-84), Somalia (1992-1993), Iraq (2003-11), Benghazi (2012), Afghanistan (2001-present).

Through all the misadventures, misguided policies, and failed engagements, the American warrior has fought bravely, and with very few exceptions, entirely with selflessness, honor, and unmatched valor. They are blameless for America’s failures. They have done all that has been asked of them and more, and have been sold entirely short by the civilians who have sent them into harm’s way.

If we are not going to do what it takes to attain victory, it is better to not fight.

Even when our responses are purely diplomatic or non-confrontational, American short-sightedness leaves us vulnerable. I’m sure it’s a complete coincidence that the withdrawal of American nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991-92 by President George H. W. Bush was followed rapidly by an acceleration of North Korea’s own nuclear ambitions.

Why should any nation take American strategic deterrence seriously when our last new nuclear weapon system was first deployed twenty-four years ago, and in recent years our Air Force has had a hard time keeping track of our nuclear weapons and demonstrating that it’s ready to use them or protect them if necessary?

Why should any nation take American conventional deterrence seriously even in absence of past and ongoing military failures when we are currently debating raising our minimum wage such that those workers will earn more than our warriors serving in enlisted pay grades E-1, E-2, and most E-3s, or when we fail miserably at providing care to those who have served in uniform both in combat and not?

The effects of American failures can be seen clearly in our inability to positively influence events and scenarios in the present from Ukraine to Nigeria whether a military solution is on the table or not. Fighting is not always the answer and should be the last resort, but demonstrating that if we do fight we will win no matter the cost is the ultimate deterrent, and the ultimate influencer.

In the speech he had prepared for November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy articulated the criticality of American might and resolve:

Above all, words alone are not enough. The United States is a peaceful nation. And where our strength and determination are clear, our words need merely to convey conviction, not belligerence. If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help.

Just over one year earlier in October 1962, President Kennedy brought the world to the brink of nuclear war over the Cuban Missile Crisis and back again, without firing a shot. The Soviet Union backed down because there was no doubt in their mind that the United States would not lose her resolve.

Today we are surrounded by danger while our allies question our resolve and our adversaries scoff at it. Perhaps we should hope that the “live and let live” approach to foreign affairs popular in libertarian circles is correct, even though it flies in the face of reason, backed by human experience and history.

Soon, all that will be left to us in defense against tyranny is, “Please, leave us alone.” Those words, however, are likely to be of no help.

Author’s note: as a symbol of the American warrior to whom we all owe so much, this post is dedicated to the memory of Captain Michael J. Ohler and to the family who had a husband and father taken from them all too early, and for a reason that defies explanation. To his widow Gail, and his children Sarah and Ben, I can not know your grief or loss but I, and hopefully all who will read this, will never forget, and will endeavor to hold all our politicians accountable for the debt of honor owed our warriors and their families: past, present, and future.

"Captain Michael J. Ohler, USMC (February 9, 1955 – October 16, 1983); photographed in Beirut, Lebanon shortly before he was killed in action. [Photo courtesy of Sarah Ohler]"

Captain Michael J. Ohler, USMC (February 9, 1955 – October 16, 1983); photographed in Beirut, Lebanon shortly before he was killed in action. [Photo courtesy of Sarah Ohler]

Captain Ohler rests in peace in the Barrancas National Cemetery on board Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.

First Lieutenant Charles P. Murray, Jr., USA (December 16, 1944)

Charles Patrick Murray, Jr. was born in Baltimore, Maryland on September 26, 1921. He moved with his family to Wilmington, North Carolina as a toddler, and was in his third year of studies at the University of North Carolina when he was drafted into the United States Army on September 7, 1942. He was commissioned as an officer, and arrived in France as a replacement platoon leader in Company C, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division during October of 1944.

Continue reading First Lieutenant Charles P. Murray, Jr., USA (December 16, 1944)

Technical Sergeant Vernon McGarity, USA (December 16, 1944)

Thomas Vernon McGarity was born in Right, Tennessee on December 1, 1921. He was drafted into the United States Army on November 24, 1942, one week before his twenty-first birthday. He was eventually assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 393rd Infantry Regiment, part of the 99th Infantry Division.

The 99th was one of the wartime divisions made up largely of draftees. They trained extensively stateside, and were deployed for combat in Europe on September 30, 1944. They arrived on the front lines in Belgium on November 9th. The “Battle Babies”, as the 99th became known, probed Nazi German defenses until December 16, 1944, when the enemy counterattack later known as the Battle of the Bulge began.

Continue reading Technical Sergeant Vernon McGarity, USA (December 16, 1944)

“Courage Without Fear” – Johnson & Vlug (December 15, 1944)

The 126th Cavalry Regiment is presently a unit of the Michigan National Guard. During World War II, the regiment was an infantry unit, and was part of the United States Army‘s 32nd Infantry Division. The regimental motto is “Courage Without Fear” (Latin: Courage Sans Peur).

On December 15, 1944 in combat near Limon, Leyte in the Philippines, two of the regiment’s soldiers embodied the motto and received the Medal of Honor. They were Sergeant Leroy Johnson and Private First Class Dirk J. Vlug.

Continue reading “Courage Without Fear” – Johnson & Vlug (December 15, 1944)

First Lieutenant Charles L. Thomas, USA (December 14, 1944)

Charles Leroy Thomas was born on April 17, 1920 in Alabama. He was working as an auto assembler for the Ford Motor Company and studying at Wayne State University in Michigan when he was inducted into the United States Army on January 20, 1942. Thomas, an African-American, was put into the segregated 614th Tank Destroyer Battalion, an all-black unit except for the senior officers, who were white.

Continue reading First Lieutenant Charles L. Thomas, USA (December 14, 1944)

Captain Robert B. Nett, USA (December 14, 1944)

Robert Burton Nett was born in New Haven, Connecticut on June 13, 1922. He enlisted in the Connecticut National Guard in 1940 while still 17 years old. He was activated for federal service with the United States Army on February 24, 1941 and attended Officer Candidate School during 1942 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.

Continue reading Captain Robert B. Nett, USA (December 14, 1944)

Private Lloyd G. McCarter, USA (February 16-19, 1945)

Lloyd G. McCarter was born in Saint Maries, Idaho on May 11, 1917. Very little is known about his life, and his enlistment record isn’t in those kept by the National Archives. From an article written years later by his commanding officer, Lieutenant William T. Calhoun, we do know that he had worked as a lumberjack in civilian life, had reached the rank of Sergeant in the artillery before volunteering for demotion to Private so he could attend jump school.

Continue reading Private Lloyd G. McCarter, USA (February 16-19, 1945)

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