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Andrew Breitbart: Better Friend to Gays than Barack Obama?

That’s what Cynthia Yockey thinks.

Breitbart welcomed gays into conservative coalition

Reporting on the passing of Andrew Breitbart at LGBT/POV, Karen Ocamb dubbed the new media mogul a “Conservative Gay Ally.”  Indeed, Breitbart very much represented the new face of conservatism, reaching out to gay conservatives and welcoming us into the coalition.  When I approached him last June, identifying myself as a blogger at GayPatriot and asking him to sign my book, he did so with relish.

Not only did he serve on GOProud’s board (leaving only, as Ocamb put it, “over the purported outing of an official in Rick Perry’s presidential campaign”), he criticized CPAC when the organizers of that conservative confab barred the gay conservative group. Calling Breitbart an “unexpected gay ally,” Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly reminded us what Breitbart said when CPAC announced its decision to exclude GOProud:

When the presence of GOProud at CPAC in 2011 was questioned by some on the right, it was Breitbart who told Metro Weekly, “If being conservative means rejecting gay conservatives because they are gay, then fine, I’m not a conservative.”

And yet some lefties contend he is part of the “racist, sexist, anti-gay” right.

Christopher R. Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia, Co-Founders of GOProud, mourned his passing, calling him “an amazing friend and ally to this organization.

Nice to see that some in the gay media recognize the changing face of American conservatism.  Andrew Breitbart was part of that change.  And we gay conservatives feel his loss most acutely.

The passing of Andrew Breitbart
A terrible blow to the conservative movement,
a devastating loss to his family

This past weekend, as a favor to my sister and brother-in-law, I drove up to the Bay Area so they could have an adult in the house with their three-year-old son while they shared a romantic evening at a nearby hotel.  Of course, this favor was a duty most pleasant as I had the chance to hike with my sister and spend countless hours playing trucks, running races, imitating pirates and dancing the dragatusi (sometimes known as the dragon-tusi) with my nephew.

When his parents were away, that precocious young man had a nightmare, waking in tears.  I rushed to comfort him, but he wanted his Daddy, asking me repeatedly where his father was.  I assured him that Daddy was coming back the following day.

None of Andrew Breitbart’s relatives will be able to provide a similar assurance to his children.  Today, we in the conservative movement mourn a man John Hinderaker called “irreplaceable“.  But, our loss pales in comparison to his children’s.  And his wife’s.  One hopes, one prays, that she has the strength to comfort them in this trying time.  And that she has relatives who can support her in the difficult task of raising children who have lost their father.

He was kinetic,” wrote Michelle Malkin, “brash, relentless, full of fight, the bane of the Left, and a mentor to the next generation of right-wing activists and citizen journalists.”  And a father to four children.

Other bloggers have talked about his contributions to the conservative movement, how in the words of one, he “lived large“, following “his own path” and doing what he thought to be right — “no matter whom it offended or how it affected his own personal bottom line.”  Another called him “a friend and mentor“, with his family losing “a caring husband, a wonderful father and their center of gravity.”

Indeed, as yet another put it, he was not just “a brave warrior” and a “great guy”, but also a “committed family man.”  And his family will feel his loss even more deeply than we do.

May he rest in peace and may the Holy One provide comfort to his family.

Contraception mandate, like Obamacare, is anti-choice

On the big issues of the day, Charles Krauthammer lays it out  the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to make sense of the subject.  And so it is today with his column on the contraception mandate.

Unlike others who have weighed in on the contraception kerfuffle, Krauthammer underscores what is truly at stake, not just the mandate itself, but also choice, yes, choice, the ability of insurance companies to craft a variety of plans and the freedom of the consumer to choose the one that’s best for him (or her).

It’s not just freedom of religion:

Under Obamacare, the state treats private insurers the way it does government-regulated monopolies and utilities. It determines everything of importance. Insurers, by definition, set premiums according to risk. Not anymore. The risk ratios (for age, gender, smoking, etc.) are decreed by Washington. This is nationalization in all but name. The insurer is turned into a middleman, subject to state control — and presidential whim.

Now, to be sure, Krauthammer also gets at the subterfuge of the compromise the president announced last week. As he puts it, “The president of the United States has just ordered private companies to give away for free a service that his own health and human services secretary has repeatedly called a major financial burden.

Simply put, Obamacare empowers the government to determine what kind of plans insurance companies may offer and to define how these companies may factor risk ratios into a particular policy’s price.

Read the whole thing. It’s Krauthammer.

Red Tails: This is why they make movies

I did not watch the State of the Union last night.  Instead of hearing a speech by a man of little accomplishment and great acclaim, I went to see a movie about men of great accomplishment and little acclaim, Red Tails, about the Tuskegee Airmen and their valor in World War II.

All I can saw is get yourself to the cinema and see this movie (and make sure to bring a handkerchief).

It’s cheesy and has, particularly at the outset, some really clunky dialogue, but later on, there are also some great lines.  And some amazing scenes.  In the end, you forget cheesiness and focus on the story, the hotshot pilot who just wants to shoot down Nazis, his commanding officer who has trouble with the booze.

Some of the film’s flaws, like those in our friends, make the film more endearing, like the imprisoned American officer who can’t disguise his Australian accent — or Cuba Gooding Jr.‘s attempt to imitate Douglas MacArthur by dramatically clenching his teeth on a curved pipe.  (Perhaps because Gooding is such a likable guy, he can get away with this — and, in my eyes, he does.)  In the end, it’s just a feel-good story about a group Americans who want to serve the country even as some in their country’s leadership question their ability to serve.

The pacing of the film is such that you’re drawn into the story and easily forget its shortcomings.  Director Anthony Hemingway focused on making it an action film, starting in the air rather than tell us about the Tuskegee program.  It is not as great a film as Glory to which I’m sure it’s been compared, but it doesn’t need to be.  It entertains us, it moves us — and reminds us of some forgotten men of the greatest generation, men who helped defeat one of the greatest evils of all time.

This is why they make movies.

From Steve Jobs to Walt Disney

Earlier today, I finished Walter Isaacson’s most excellent biography of Steve Jobs.  And highly recommend it, despite some glaring flaws.  At time, the book seems slapdash (which makes sense given how quickly the book was published after the death of the entrepreneur).  And he seems to treat Jobs’s wife with kid gloves — as if she were some kind of saint (which makes sense given how cooperative she was in Isaacson’s research–and that she’s still alive and grieving).

There is much to say about jobs, his prickly personality, his luck in finding peers and mentors who could help him find his way professionally and personally.  His ability to achieve his great success without federal funding or government encouragement.  His appreciation of design and attention to detail.  His charisma. His supportive stepfather.

When I was still reading the book a friend asked me what one thing stood out about the book (and by extension the man), I replied his persistence, his determination, his belief that he could achieve a certain project even when others told him it was impossible.  How he grappled with what one of his colleagues called the “reality distortion field.”

Toward the end of the book, Isaacson compares Jobs to such pioneers as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. I see his point, but don’t buy his argument.  As I was reading the biography, I kept thinking of another pioneer of the last century, Walt Disney.  Soon after finishing Isaacson’s book, I picked up — and started reading — Neal Gabler’s biography of the cartoon tycoon.

Slow Blogging/Remembering Dr. King’s American message

I apologize for the slow blogging of late, but my mind has drifted away from politics these past few days.  Do have something to say about Huntsman’s withdrawal basically revolving around the notion that he offered a conservative platform, yet campaigned as a moderate.  That, in the end, I believe did him in.

As today is Martin Luther King, Jr. today, let us remember that great man with his greatest speech, indeed, one of the greatest expressions of the American ideal:

Let’s run with Jeb away from the straight line of the statists!

Yesterday and today, the conservatives blogosphere has been abuzz about an op-ed a successful former governor of a large swing state penned in the Wall Street Journal.  In the Washington Examiner, noting Republican “unhappiness” with presidential field, Byron York wrote that “there is new speculation focusing on [Jeb] Bush after the former Florida governor turned heads [with his] a campaign-like economic manifesto headlined ‘Capitalism and the Right to Rise.’

Rush Limbaugh, York reports, loved the piece, quipping that he could have written it himself.

Although Jeb Bush e-mailed Karl Rove saying that he’s not running, Jim Geraghty writes that “among those who thought it was too late for anybody to jump in, but . . . boy, what made Jeb Bush decide to write an op-ed like that for the Journal? He has to know that lots of people will interpret that as a trial balloon for a presidential bid . . .

Rush is right to praise the editorial.  It’s a nice succinct case for capitalism.  Jeb understands rights.  He understands freedom:

We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn’t seem like something we should have to protect.

But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.

That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing. People understand this. Freedom of speech, for example, means that we put up with a lot of verbal and visual garbage in order to make sure that individuals have the right to say what needs to be said, even when it is inconvenient or unpopular. We forgive the sacrifices of free speech because we value its blessings.

But when it comes to economic freedom, we are less forgiving of the cycles of growth and loss, of trial and error, and of failure and success that are part of the realities of the marketplace and life itself. (more…)

Why do leaders like Havel not win more accolades*?

Don’t expect the media to make a big deal of it,” writes Rand Simberg about the passing of an artist who devoted much of  theatrical career to challenging Communism.

Although Vaclev Havel stood up for artistic freedom and defended the political systems which allowed for freedom of expression, he never achieved the accolades as did many with fewer accomplishments and a smaller vision.  He was, as Simberg put it,

. . . the wrong kind of dissenter, being too American for Europe. The fact that he never won a Peace Prize, while Yasser Arafat and Barack Obama did, says something very fundamental about the corruption and uselessness of that once-honorable achievement.

(Via Insapundit.)  Why do so many on the left so often champion those voices dissenting not just the systems which oppressed them, but also the Western ideals which promote the very idea of dissent?

Bruce Bawer thinks we need more leaders like Havel.   More on this great man, anon.  Much more.

*from Western intellectuals.

The World Has Lost A Champion of Freedom & Liberty:
Vaclav Havel, RIP

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 11:29 am - December 18, 2011.
Filed under: Freedom,Great Men,World History

From the NY Times:

Vaclav Havel, the writer and dissident whose eloquent dissections of Communist rule helped to destroy it in revolutions that brought down the Berlin Wall and swept Havel himself into power, died on Sunday. He was 75.

A shy yet resilient, unfailingly polite but dogged man who articulated the power of the powerless, Mr. Havel spent five years in and out of Communist prisons, lived for two decades under close secret-police surveillance and endured the suppression of his plays and essays. He served 14 years as president, wrote 19 plays, inspired a film and a rap song and remained one of his generation’s most seductively nonconformist writers.

All the while, he came to personify the soul of the Czech nation. His moral authority and his moving use of the Czech language cast him as the dominant figure during Prague street demonstrations in 1989 and as the chief behind-the-scenes negotiator who brought about the peaceful transfer of power known as the Velvet Revolution, a revolt so smooth that it took just weeks to complete, without a single bullet fired.

He was chosen as democratic Czechoslovakia’s first president — a role he insisted was more duty than aspiration — and after the country split in January 1993, he became president of the Czech Republic. He linked the country firmly to the west, clearing the way for the Czech Republic to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1999 and the European Union five years later.

All free people and those desiring to be free weep at the passing of an important moral voice to our cause.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

UPDATE (from Dan): A great man has fallen.

The perfect gift for President Obama

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:45 pm - December 7, 2011.
Filed under: Great Americans,Great Men,Ronald Reagan

It’s always good to study the record of a successful predecessor, particularly one whose economic policies worked pretty much as advertised.

In reading about this great Republican, the Democrat might realize that the policies he claimed never worked actually worked quite well.

For five days only, this handsome set is 50% off.  And the Reagan Library offers free ground shipping on orders over $100.

Honoring Winston Churchill on his 137th Birthday

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:04 am - November 30, 2011.
Filed under: Great Men,World History

As I’m returning today from my Thanksgiving vacation, I have not had time to write an original post celebrating Winston Churchill, so will repost the piece I wrote two years ago to make the occasion as I revised it last year.

Today marks the 136th anniversary of the birth of the greatest man of the century concluded just about a decade ago. On November 30, 1874, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace. His father was Lord Randolph Churchill, his mother the former Jennie Jerome, the second daughter of the American financier Leonard Jerome. His very parentage thus embodied the special relationship between the United States and United Kingdom.

Indeed, it was Churchill himself who coined the term to describe the relations between the two powerful Anglophone democracies.

Like a red head born almost exactly 134 years after him, Churchill was two months premature. (The combination of those two characteristics must be a sign of greatness!) Like that young Californian, the great Briton had trouble sitting still, traveling to Cuba, India, Sudan and South Africa to fight for his country (and sometimes dubious causes) before his 30th birthday. He would write about his experiences; his books would earn him fame and fortune.

First elected to parliament in 1900 as a Tory, he broke with his party over tariffs, preferring free trade and the Liberals. He would rejoin the Conservative Party in 1925, staying with the Tories, through his two terms as Prime Minister and until the end of his life. Noting that Churchill “stood for Parliament under six labels,” one of his biographers, Paul Johnson wrote that “He was not a party man. . . . His loyalty belonged to the national interest, and his own.

And Churchill saw the British national interest clearly linked to that of the United States and Western democracies.

While forever associated with the two great wars of the last century, the man himself may well have enjoyed the thrill of battle, but he was well aware of the horrors of war and did his utmost to prevent it. A warmonger he clearly was not, though he did understand that war was sometimes necessary to prevent even worse evils. (more…)

In Memoriam Steve Jobs

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:04 am - October 6, 2011.
Filed under: Entrepreneurs,Freedom,Great Americans,Great Men

In my closet, I keep every computer (save one*) I have ever owned.  They are all Macs.  From when, in 1990, I bought my first Apple product, a Mac Classic until earlier this year when I upgraded to a desktop iMac, I have loved the products of the company Steve Jobs invented.

He created things we didn’t know we needed and made them indispensable to our lives.

Michelle Malkin called him, “A creative genius. American original. Entrepreneur extraordinaire. His vision transcended politics. His success showcased the power of the free market and individual initiative.

He didn’t need a federal stimulus money or even a government loan guarantee.  He built his business the hard way, the American way, imagining a product, then, set about making his imagination a reality.  That process took a lot of determination and effort.  As John Hinderaker put it

It is difficult for those of us who don’t achieve greatness–pretty much everyone–to understand how hard those who do become great have to work. Jobs worked harder than most of us could ever imagine, and in the end, he did it for us. I, for one, am grateful.

As am I.  My Macs have held up well over the past decades, with glitches to be sure, but they crashed far less often than did my friends’ PCs.

Steve Jobs was a great man, a great American, a great innovator, a great entrepreneur.  In providing new products, Kevin D. Williamson contends, he improved our lives and, in many ways, embodied the spirit of capitalism.  He gave us

. . . better computers, better telephones, better music players, etc. In a lot of cases, he gave them better jobs, too. Did he do it because he was a nice guy, or because he was greedy, or because he was a maniacally single-minded competitor who got up every morning possessed by an unspeakable rage to strangle his rivals? The beauty of capitalism — the beauty of the iPhone world as opposed to the world of politics — is that that question does not matter one little bit. Whatever drove Jobs, it drove him to create superior products, better stuff at better prices.

I am grateful for whatever it was that drove Steve Jobs.  On his products, I have written a novel, numerous screenplays, outlined all my law school courses, crafted my papers for graduate school and composed my dissertation.  And more, so much more.

A giant has fallen, a man who has really changed our lives — and our culture.

* (more…)

Maybe if Mayor Bloomberg had studied American history, he might not have excluded clergy from 9/11 commemoration

As I drive to Colorado to celebrate my father’s upcoming birthday, I have been listening to Ron Chernow’s wonderful biography of George Washington.  Last night, when crossing Nevada in the dead of night, but with the temperature fluctuating from the mid-90s to low 100s, I learned of the trials that great man faced when first taking charge of the Continental Army, then little more than a ragtag collection of  state militias, in 1775.

Among other things, the then-green Commander-in-Chief was concerned about the spiritual welfare of his men.  From his “General Orders” of July 4, 1775 (one year before that day would become the most significant one on an American’s calendar):

The General . . . requires and expects, of all Officers, and Soldiers, not engaged on actual duty, a punctual attendance on divine Service, to implore the blessings of heaven upon the means used for our safety and defence.

Wonder how the ACLU would have reacted had it been around at the time.

Contrast the father of our country with the the current Mayor of New York City:  “New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will not reconsider his decision to exclude clergy from the ceremony marking 10 years since the Sept. 11 attacks, a spokesman said Friday.

Did Commies Kill Camus?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:52 am - August 16, 2011.
Filed under: Communism,Great Men,Literature & Ideas

Albert Camus has long been one of my favorite writers.  Indeed, I quoted the Nobel Prize-winning author in my very first blog post (with the quotation reposted here).  While Camus always considered himself a “man of the left,” I have long called him “the first neo-conservative“.  He had always strongly opposed tyranny which he first witnessed in fascist societies, particularly under the Nazi occupation of Paris, but soon began to see not just in Communists societies, but also in leftist movements.

His opposition to Stalin and Stalinism earned him the scorn of his one-time allies in the French left, including Jean-Paul Sartre, an apologist throughout his life for Soviet tyranny — and a man who dressed up his own participation in the resistance to Nazism.

Sartre became increasingly jealous of Camus after their split, particularly since the Algeria-born Frenchman had produced a far broader range of work than had he. I’d often wondered if maybe Sartre had leaned on his friends in the KGB to dispose of the more talented writer. Camus died in a car accident on January 4, 1960.

Now, David Zincavage, based on an account in an Italian newspaper asks, “Did the KGB arrange the death of Nobel Prize winning writer Albert Camus in a car accident in 1960?”

An article which appeared in the Italian paper Corriere della Sera on August 1 quotes Eastern European scholar Giovanni Catelli, who discovered that the complete version of the Diary of Czech poet and translator Jan Zábrana contained a reference to the death of Albert Camus omitted from abridged French and Italian translations.

Read the whole thing.  Well, this story doesn’t support my speculation about Sartre, but does raise some interesting questions.

Remember, Albert Camus was one of the first prominent literary men of the left to publicly criticize Communist.  His outspoken critiques of the brutal system could cause more intellectuals to question their defense of the Soviet Union. (more…)

Barack Obama is no George Washington

I’ve been listening to Ron Chernow’s biography of George Washington in the car.  A number of things struck me about this great man who faced much adversity in the early days of the French & Indian War.  Chernow points out how although the young officer in the British army made some, well, bone-headed military decisions, like establishing Fort Necessity, a frontier outpost near French lines “poorly situated to withstand and incursion,” he, by and large, learned from those mistakes.

The current occupant of the office he would be the first to hold seems to lack that ability.  As the fetching Stephen Green observes:

Obama can’t recognize mistakes — even though the evidence is as plain as last month’s hideous jobs report. He will continue to demand that reality conform to his theories, no matter what damage he does to this country. He doesn’t doge, he doesn’t weave — he keeps pursuing failure in the face of failure.

(Via Instapundit.)  Even after the failure of his “stimulus”, with the depletion of our coffers and the diminution of our nation’s once good credit, the Democrat still calls out for more spending* and fails to recognize that the regulations his administration has increased have reduced those he identified as those “produce most of the new jobs in this country” to hire new employees.

The president’s policies haven’t worked.  A real leader would understand that his goal was not to demonstrate the rightness of his approach, but to shift course and find an approach that did.

George Washington did that.  And because of that capacity, he won an unwinnable war and fathered a nation that offered opportunity for tens of millions, inspired others yearning to be free in distant corners of the globe and provided a level of prosperity that few had even imagined.

Our nation achieved all this in large part because George Washington learned form his mistakes.  Would it that Barack Obama could follow his predecessor’s example.

* (more…)

The Jeffersonian Notion of Freedom

“Clearly, Jefferson’s own conception of individual freedom,” Joseph J. Ellis wrote in his study of the Virginian, American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson in the decade after Ronald Reagan’s presidency and before the rise of the New American Tea Party, “was more restricted than modern day notions”:

His vision was essentially negative:  freedom from encroachments by either church or state.  It was all a piece with his antig0vernment and therefore incompatible with our* contemporary conviction about personal entitlements, whether it be for a decent standard of living, a comfortable retirement or adequate health care, all of which depend on precisely the kind of government sponsorship he would have found intrusive.  His was the freedom to be left alone, which has more in common with twentieth-century claims to privacy rights than more aggressive claims to political or economic power.

That vision closely parallels my own — and I would daresay that of many conservatives today, including a certain Mr. R. Reagan and many who join the various Tea Party protests.

* (more…)

A great lady and a great man

Just had to repost this picture from The London Evening Standard:

Brings back fond memories.

Hungary Honors the Gipper

Honoring this great man ” for his role in helping to end communism”, the former Communist nation of Hungary “unveiled a statue of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan on Wednesday“:

Hundreds took part in the unveiling in Budapest’s Szabadsag, or Freedom, square, including Prime Minister Viktor Orban and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Mr. Reagan was remembered for his role in “bringing the Cold War to a conclusion, and for the fact that Hungary regained its sovereignty in the process,” the Hungarian government said in a statement.

How fitting that the statue will stand in Freedom Square. The Gipper would have loved that.

“US Air Force and Army officers, serving in Hungary, pose with the new statue of late US President Ronald Reagan after a centennial commemoration in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. The 180 kilograms (400 pounds) and 2.18 meter (7 feet, 2 inches) tall bronze statue honors Reagan at the Freedom Square in central Budapest, to mark his efforts to free the people of Hungary from the yoke of communism.”

AP Image via Gateway Pundit.

I believe that statue is life-size, given that the Gipper was larger than life.

UPDATE:   A reader from across the pond alerts us to how folks on the island that gave us Sir Winston Churchill and Lady Margaret Thatcher are honoring that great lady’s great friend:

Margaret Thatcher is “determined” to attend the grand unveiling of a statue of Ronald Reagan in Londonon July 4 despite having been too unwell to make the royal wedding . . . .

The 10-foot bronze will stand opposite a statue of Second World War commander Dwight D Eisenhower, which was unveiled by Lady Thatcher in 1989. A quotation from the ex-premier has been chosen for thePortland stone plinth of the Reagan statue. It reads: “Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot.”

There’s more here including a picture of the life-size statue.

Today we honor Nathan Hale and the countless patriots who followed him, giving their lives for our freedom

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:18 pm - May 30, 2011.
Filed under: American History,Freedom,Great Men,Heroes,Military

Every Memorial Day as I try to craft a post to remember those who gave their lives so that we might be free, I find myself struggling for words.  How can one man use language to convey the power of other men’s deeds, those who made the greatest sacrifice, not just for their own families, but for their country.  Particularly in this day of an all-volunteer military, we are all humbled by their sacrifice as we’re grateful for what they accomplished through that sacrifice.

Today I recall the youthful braggadocio of one of the first patriots to give his life for our freedom, Nathan Hale who regretted that he had but “one life to lose for my country” at a time when his country wasn’t even five months old.  How many men (and women) in the ensuing 235 years have recalled Hale’s bold statement as they set out to fight for his, for their, for our country, knowing that they too may have to lose their life for its cause to triumph.

And that is true courage, knowing that they might have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

There are signs, Walter Russell Mead writes,”that we are aiming to repeat a compromise of that kind [made after Vietnam] when it comes to the war in Iraq.”  “Regardless of the merits of the war, those who did honorable service in it or laid down their lives at their country’s call, deserve our respect and our thanks.”

Those who opposed the war and those who supported it can unite in tribute to the loyalty, the courage and the sacrifice of those who served there.

That is something, but it is not enough.  The Americans who served, suffered and died in Iraq — and who still serve there today — changed the world and won a great and a difficult victory.  No account of their service, no commemoration of the dead that ignores or conceals this vital truth is enough.

Read the whole thing.  (H/t:  Instapundit).  It wasn’t just on battlefields in Iraq where American soldiers changed the world by winning a great and difficult victory.   (more…)