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Telling It Like It Is

Posted by V the K at 9:33 pm - April 28, 2018.
Filed under: Integrity

Isn’t it weird that satirical sites nowadays give a more honest and balanced perspective than the so-called “Mainstream News Media?”


An ethical question

Suppose you’re going after a job. It would be ideal for you in so many ways: it’s work that you really want to do, great company and setup, reasonable hours, no commute, having that job would enable you to complete a pending home purchase or marriage, etc. And, for whatever reason, you’re not having luck in other job offers – for now. Truth be told, you are desperate for this particular job.

It’s time to negotiate salary. You don’t want your employer to know your desperation. That would give them the edge. You want them to feel desperate. So, you drop hints about your many alternate offers and plans.

You don’t lie outright – for example, you don’t say “I have four other offers that I need to answer by Monday.” Because you know that would be false. You say things of a general nature whose implications could easily become true by next week or next month, such as “I have my shingle out there of course, and you can imagine some of the great responses coming my way.”

The distinction is that you’re saying things whose implications are not true at this moment, but not impossible either. You’re saying things that are potentially true, if you yourself were to invest more time or effort. Are such statements lies? Are you a fraud or sleazeball for making them?

I’m asking this for a political reason, not a personal one. After I see a few comments, I’ll write the second half of this post. 🙂

I appreciate the comments. Here’s the second half. (more…)

And the Democrats Want to Block This Guy

Posted by V the K at 9:10 pm - February 3, 2017.
Filed under: Integrity,Supreme Court

Reason has an article on Neil Gorsuch’s dissent in a case that ruled that schools have the right to have kids arrested for burping in class. After reading it, I don’t want Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court… I want him cloned eight times and replace everybody on the Supreme Court.

A Tale of Two Defense Secretaries

Posted by V the K at 4:55 pm - January 8, 2014.
Filed under: Integrity

A former Canadian Defence Minister claims the US and Canadian Governments are in regular contact and working with extraterrestrials.

A former American Defence Secretary praises Obama as a man of “personal integrity.”

I am not sure which claim I find harder to believe; but there is at least some evidence that aliens exist.


So, are we big 10th Amendment People now?

So, as I’ve said before, I’m mostly agnostic on gay marriage (I believe the entire institution should be left to personal/familial/community/religious devices and the government should remove itself entirely from the argument lock-stock-and-barrel). That said, you can’t be gay—well, or even straight it seems—in the United States today, according to the media, and not be completely and obsessively consumed by the issue (and, natch, your opinion can only be “FOR!”).

And since SCOTUS is hearing it this week, I suppose I might as well poke a stick into the monkey cage:

If we’re supposed to oppose DOMA on states’ rights grounds, should we then oppose the effort to overturn Prop 8?


-Nick (ColoradoPatriot) from HHQ

Excellent point made (and I don’t just say this because I have several captions vying for his “Best of” category) by VtheK from the comments:

This country would be so much better off if people cared as much about fiscal responsibility and economic growth as they do about giving same sex couples a piece of paper signed by a bureaucrat to legitimize their coupling.

Speaking of which, I think the time has come to push for polygamy. If gender doesn’t [matter], what’s so damned magical about the number 2?

(As for the first part, I have made this exact point many times myself, and I have much more to say about Viking’s second point, which perhaps I will anon…)

Why Don’t Bush-Haters LOVE! Rand Paul?

Perhaps like me, you’re enjoying this great new TV show I just found on C-SPAN2 called Mr. Paul Goes to Washington where my favorite Senator is currently filibustering President Obama’s nominee to head the CIA, John Brennan. As I write this, he’s currently about to ring in his sixth hour. The goal of Senator Paul’s soliloquy is, as he has stated several times since I’ve been watching, simply to elicit one thing: A straight-forward answer to the question, (to paraphrase) ‘Does the president believe he has the legal authority to execute through drone strike non-combatant citizens on American soil?’

Brings up a very interesting point: For eight solid years, we heard screeching and gnashing of teeth from the Left about how George W. Bush wants to kill us all and eat our babies and of course shred the Constitution through wars based on lies and the horrible PATRIOT Act. But in the end, who is it who’s actually standing up for these ideals? Well, so far I’ve seen Senator Paul in exchanges with Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Pat Toomey. Odd, don’t you think, that it’d be these ‘Tea Party right-winger knuckle-draggers’ who are actually doing the work that the Bush-haters allegedly wanted done while the leaders of their nominative party are lining up with their president in his expansion of Bush’s ‘unitary executive’ policies?

Clearly it’d be expecting waaay too much for the addlepated adherents to the Bush-is-Satan school of political thought to recognize the irony of the situation, let alone find that realization a great opportunity for self-reflection. Sad, that.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HHQ)

NB: I had originally written the paraphrase of Sen Paul’s question as “power” to execute. Clearly that’s within the president’s power, but I’ve clarified (I hope) by changing my original post to read “legal authority”, which I think is likely more to his point.

Projecting their “shadow” onto Republicans and gay conservatives

As I worked on my essay answering the question “What does it mean to be gay”, I reviewed a paper on individuation I had written for a class in Jungian psychology and highlight this passage on the “shadow”(that part of one’s self of which we remain unconscious) as it is particularly relevant to an issue about which I have blogged in recent days:

In recent debates on gay marriage, we see how many gay people have projected their shadow onto Republicans and social conservatives.[1] Promoting a benefit concert for the gay group, “Freedom to Marry,” John Cameron Mitchell, an openly gay actor and writer, not merely faulted [then-]California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for vetoing a same-sex marriage bill, but accused him of enshrining “fear and loathing in the Constitution”.  Mitchell is not the only gay activist to accuse the Governor – and other opponents of gay marriage – of hatred.  Even as they vilified the Governor for vetoing the gay marriage bill, that Republican signed four gay-friendly pieces of legislation.  That is, the anti-gay image that many projected onto him did not correspond with the reality of his record on gay issues.

Instead of understanding why this politician has a different opinion on gay marriage than they do, they define him as evil.  To be sure, gay activists are not unique in ascribing such aspects to their ideological adversaries:

It is in the nature of political bodies always to see the evil in the opposite group, just as the individual has an ineradicable tendency to get rid of everything he does not know and does not want to know about himself by foisting it off on somebody else.  (C.G. Jung, The Essential Jung, 398)

Thus, in projecting something about themselves onto Governor Schwarzenegger, gay activists are only doing what activists have done frequently throughout history.   As a gay conservative blogger, I have frequently found some of our critics projecting their shadow onto me.  Almost since the moment my blogging partner launched the blog, it has attracted regular critics who often post nasty remarks in our comments section, misrepresenting our ideas and attacking us personally.[2]

While I don’t know precisely what these individuals are projecting onto us, I note that their angry expressions are similar to those of other gay leaders – and activists.  Like John Cameron Mitchell, they vilify Republicans and those on the political right in harsh and derogatory language.  To some degree, it seems that Republicans have become a kind of collective shadow for a large number of gay people, particularly gay activists.

Responding to the question, “What does it mean to be gay”

In honor of Gay Pride Weekend in Los Angeles, Patrick Range McDonald of the LA Weekly asked me to write an essay answering the question, “What does it mean to be gay?”  This is my response:

I can’t remember the last time I was asked — or even considered — the question, “What does it mean to be gay?” I don’t really think much about being gay any more. I just am gay. My sexuality is an essential part of who I am, but it doesn’t define my existence.

I take it for granted that others know. As a result, I am occasionally surprised when women interpret my friendly interest as a romantic (or sexual) advance. Ever hopeful that men I find attractive will find me attractive, I often forget that woman too can be drawn to me.

After all, most people in our society seek romantic/sexual attachments with members of the opposite sex. It’s only natural that then a woman would take an interest in a single man. And when one does, her interest serves to remind me of the difference created by my emotional/sexual orientation and the journey required to find myself where I now stand — taking that difference for granted.

Unlike our straight peers, gay individuals must distinguish ourselves from the social norm in order to be true to — and live out — some of our deepest feelings.

You can read the rest here.

On the unrecognized(?) loneliness in the gay male community

Social media have allowed us to interact and connect in ways not possible just a decade ago.  They have made it easier for us to track down long-lost friends and to  learn about their present doings.  Even as I write this, I am chatting on Facebook with an Australian gay man who, like many of our readers, differs from the norm of our community; he reached out to me after discovering the blog.

Facebook has also allowed me to see a phenomenon I first witnessed when I came out in the 1990s, of the loneliness of many gay men, perhaps a loneliness paralleled among our straight peers, but one which, at times,seems unique to our particular situation.  And Facebook magnifies it.  Some men seek solace in identifying with a political group, fearing to differ in one iota from its ideology, lest their peers cut them off.  Others relate the most mundane items of their day, as if that will help link them to the outside world.

Here we have this means of instant (virtual) connection and yet all too many of us aren’t really connecting.

These observations have caused me to revisit some (somewhat) dormant ideas about loneliness — and that too human hunger for real connection, for friends who see us we are and in whose presence we feel part of the universe because to truly feel part of the universe, we must, all of us, feel some connection to our fellow man.  And not just the connection of their physical presence, but a meaningful bond where they delight in our idiosyncrasies — and they in ours.

Understanding that, I found it very hard to watch the 1964 Bette Davis movie Dead Ringer, a film where the screen siren plays twin sisters, with the less financially fortunate Edith Phillips murdering her more wealthy sister Margaret in order to assume her identity and live in luxury.  As soon as Edie commits the crime, then puts on her sister’s clothes and goes to her house, all I could think about was how miserable her new life would be, no longer able to spend time with the Karl Malden‘s Jim Hobbson, the cop who truly appreciates her–cut off not just from him, but from her friends in the bar she manages.

I just couldn’t believe that anyone, well into middle age, with real friends would want to give them all up for a chance at riches.  And yet some people do.

After all, what is wealth if you have no one with whom to share it? (more…)

Sometimes you don’t need to be a gentleman

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:57 pm - March 22, 2012.
Filed under: Dating,Integrity,LA Stories

The other day, I had this bizarre first (and last) date.  After becoming acquainted in an online dating forum, we agreed to meet at his place for a drink.  When I arrived, he asked me what I wanted; I requested a water.  As soon as he filled my glass, he pulled out a plate, a lighter, a spoon and some other drug paraphernalia.

“That’s an odd way to fix a drink,” I quipped.  He asked me if I wanted to join him.

Guess he interpreted my support for drug legalization to indicate that I was not averse to dating a man who did drugs — and that I used them myself.

Realizing then how uninterested I was dating that man, I debated how best to handle the situation.  Should I just tell him as much and leave or be a gentleman and stay?  I decided to split the difference, be gentleman, but make clear that I couldn’t date a guy who did drugs.  He insisted I stay, so I obliged him.  We chatted for maybe an hour and I took my leave, saying I needed to finish some things up before bed.

As I drove home, relieved that I was free, I recalled a similar date with a man I had met online.  Wisely, he and I got together at a coffee shop.  As the conversation began, I realized we had little in common and pondered how long I should stay before taking my leave.  All of a sudden, he said something like, “Look, Dan, I’m just not feeling it, so let’s not waste each other’s time.”  I smiled internally, shook his hand and returned home, relieved as I had been recently, but having lost far less time with an incompatible date.

Gentleman he may not have been, but honest he was.  The other night, I should have followed his lead.

On the merits of George Clooney’s Indifference

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:07 pm - March 5, 2012.
Filed under: Integrity,Movies/Film & TV

I’m no fan of George Clooney; he’s not a very good actor, bland in (most of) his movies and smug in his personal appearances.

That said, in one aspect, he is far superior to many celebrities.  He remains pretty upfront about wanting to remain single.  He doesn’t dissemble for the sake of his image.  I had heard that he tells his girlfriends not to believe the media hype about their relationships and to trust instead to his own commitment to avoid attachment.  He doesn’t want to lead them on, encouraging them to enjoy dating, but not to get their hopes up about marriage.

On that score, he’s a man of integrity.

It is perhaps his reluctance to marry and his single status which has lead some to speculate about his sexuality.  But, the guy isn’t gay.  That said, the rumors don’t bother him:

He’s long been the subject of rampant tabloid speculation over his sexuality, but George Clooney says he doesn’t mind.

. . . .

“I think it’s funny, but the last thing you’ll ever see me do is jump up and down, saying, ‘These are lies!’ That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community,” Clooney said. “I’m not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing. My private life is private, and I’m very happy in it. Who does it hurt if someone thinks I’m gay? I’ll be long dead and there will still be people who say I was gay. I don’t give a sh*t.”

It’s commentary like this that make me warm to the guy a bit.  He wants to keep his private life private (which is at it should be) — and is content enough with his own life that he doesn’t care what other people say about him  — an indifference to which we all should aspire.

Why Tyler Clementi Still Matters

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:54 pm - July 8, 2011.
Filed under: Gay America,Individuation,Integrity,Leadership

It has been nine months now since Tyler Clementi’s suicide dominated the news.  And I fear many of have forgotten that sensitive young man’s difficult transition to college life.

While it has become easier to come out America today (than it was twenty years ag0), it will always be difficult to be different, even if we do achieve the “full equality” to which many gay activists aspire.  To be sure, young gay people currently have a plethora of places to go for guidance and support.  Through the “It Gets Better” videos and other social (as well as traditional) media, they have testimony and images of older gay people who are open about and comfortable with their sexuality.

They still, however, face the challenge of being different at a period in life when many aspire to conform to their peers.

One concern I’ve had with those videos, the most enduring legacy of the suicide, is that they lack the personal contact that many young people need at difficult moments as they take their first steps on their path of adulthood.  They have just a face and voice on a screen and not a hand on their shoulder or a kind word directed to them personally.

It’s important that we always remember that for as much good as those videos may accomplish, we must also always pay attention to the personal.  We may feel good about recording our experiences for such a video, but we do better when we take the time to listen and respond to a young person in need.

If my experience as an uncle has taught me anything, it’s that an older adult’s encouragement of and interest in a child, adolescent or young adult can help give them the strength to weather life’s storms.  And this applies most particularly to those who differ from the social norm.

RELATED: On Tyler Clementi & the Importance of Mentors

Even gay liberals fault HRC for endorsing Obama so soon

It’s not just GOProud and Log Cabin, right-of-center gay groups, which are criticizing HRC for endorsing President Obama’s reelection more than 17 months before Election Day.  Left-of-center blogress Pam Spaulding, who has long found Joe Solmonese to be little more than a cheerleader for the administration, calls the endorsement “odd for an allegedly non partisan org.

Over at Queerty, Daniel Villarreal is asking whether HRC is screwing us by endorsing Barack Obama a year before the election.  He poses the question that anyone who has read couple pages of the CliffsNotes version of Machiavelli, sat in on a few hours of PoliSci 101 or studied the legislative process would ask,

HRC! Didn’t your mother teach you anything about flirting?! Don’t put out before the courtship even begins. Wait a little, make eyes, blow kisses, feign disinterest, drop your hanky and wave your fan. Make him earn the golden ticket.

As John Aravosis puts it,

HRC clearly hasn’t learned the lessons of the first two years of the Obama presidency. You don’t get anything for being nice to the man (well, anything of substance – I’m sure that HRC dinner invite is now locked in). If anything, he looks down on people who are nice to him. The only thing this President respects are people who stand up to him. The President didn’t finally start moving on DADT, and finally stop defending DOMA, because HRC was nice to him. He did it because this blog, GetEqual, Dan Choi, the larger Gay Netroots, and a very few organizations like Servicemembers United and SLDN stood up to the man. (Had HRC had its way, we’d still be debating the DADT repeal legislation in the Congress today.)

He got that right.  And John’s aggressive stance on his blog (as well as Pam’s on hers), threatening a boycott of the DNC, also forced the president’s hand.  John acknowledges that, in the long run, HRC may well have to endorse the Democrat, but he first wants Obama to work for the endorsement.  It’s not that they’re opposed to Obama, it’s that they’re appalled at HRC’s eagerness to give the goods away.

At least some gay lefty bloggers do get it, understanding that just wanting to be liked by the Democrats is not enough.  They know that sometimes to get what you want you have to play hard to get.

Seeing gay people as individual human beings rather than defining us by group stereotypes

In a post on ice skater’s Johnny Weir’s comment in coming out as a gay man about “pressure” being “the last thing that would make me want to ‘join’ a community“, Ann Althouse gets at something that many, particularly gay activists, in conversations on coming out:

Some people think of themselves as, above all, individuals, and when others think the most important thing is their membership in a particular group, they resist. They don’t want to be defined by a single quality, especially when it’s a quality that makes other people see them in terms of the group stereotype, and not personal uniqueness. 

There is a lot in which this diva says, so I recommend you both read her post and ponder these words.

It often seems that the gay rights’ movement pursues the notion of group rights rather than individual ones.  That is is why I believe we need develop a conservative message on gays, independent to that developed by the left-leaning gay groups, organizations which are helmed by men and women who with a background in Democratic politics and liberal ideologies seem beholden to statist theories of rights.

Hopefully more on this anon, much more in the coming year.

Well said, Ann. (H/t: Reader Leah)

Doing the work Gay, Inc. won’t do

While HRC President Joe Solmonese sits comfortably ensconced in his fancy office in downtown D.C., jetting off occasionally to hobnob with Democratic donors across the country, some gay activists, organized by GetEqual are reminding president of the promises he made on the campaign trail:

A group of LGBT equality activists working to end “don’t ask, don’t tell” launched an elaborate protest early Monday evening as President Barack Obama attended a private Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fund-raiser in Miami at the home of NBA star Alonzo Mourning.

There’s lots more on Pam Spaulding’s page, including numerous links to GetEqual’s Twitter (& Facebook) feed, among them this clever quip, “President Obama got our message loud and clear. He waved as he was passing by — but we need more than a wave!” It seems Joe’ll settle for air kisses — and a few visits to the White House.

Pam’s co-blogger Keori reminds us . . .

. . . discharges continue, as two of our own are experiencing. DNC Vice Chair Ray Buckley flipped off GetEqual’s message of concern this week. Once again, President Obama is hobnobbing with basketball stars rather than live up to his promises to LGB troops. Tonight, he’s getting an earful.

It does seem the activists and leftie bloggers are doing all heavy lifting that Gay, Inc. won’t do.

NB:  Tweaked the post when Pam reminded me that one of her co-bloggers had written the post.

A Note on the “It Gets Better” Video

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:35 pm - October 8, 2010.
Filed under: Gay America,Individuation,Integrity

Well before I posted last night on the “It Gets Better” video, I had received e-mails from several readers alerting me to Dan Savage’s project, each with an almost identical recommendation, “Even though Savage is a partisan jerk,” they said is in so many words, “this is a good idea.”

I write today, fearing some might misconstrue that prior post on the project.  I’m not calling it a bad idea, merely questioning its effectiveness (as I believe Sady Doyle was also doing).

Simply put, I don’t know how effective this project will be.  To be sure, it does no harm  — and has the potential to do some good.  It sets exactly the right tone — an optimistic, upbeat one, that instead of gnashing their teeth and bewailing their fate, young gay people can look forward to a brighter future.

That’s not the only good thing about the video.  It doesn’t dwell on the evil of our oppressors (as do so many of the missives and ministrations of the various gay organizations), but on promoting a forward-looking attitude.

All that said, what teens need most is nurturing human contact.  And we must never lose sight of that.

Can a (web) video make it better for gay teens?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:10 am - October 8, 2010.
Filed under: Gay America,Individuation,Integrity

If Sady Doyle had not decided to use a word other than “queer” to describe gay youth at the end of her essay addressing the question, “Does [the Web Video] ‘It Gets Better’ Make Life Better for Gay Teens?“, I would highly recommend her piece.   Semantics aside, it remains a thoughtful contribution to the conversation on what to do in the wake of the suicides of Tyler Clementi and other young gay people.

So, let me just recommend the piece, wondering at the same time if the use of the term, “queer”, to describe people like us, increases the sense of marginalization that young people in our situation feel when they start coming to terms with their difference.

In considering the benefits of the video, Doyle gets at the issue which has been at the top of my mind since I first read of Clementi’s suicide:

However, if we keep telling suicidal people that their situation will “get better” without actually taking any steps to improve it—if we don’t provide support and medical care for people with depression; if we don’t help people who are being abused to find a safe place; if we don’t make sure that the systematic, community-wide abuse of GLBT youth is eliminated—then belief alone can wear thin. And this seems to be one of the main contentions of Savage’s critics.

“There is actually no path to change in this vision,” alleges blogger Zoe Melisa, in a post from her personal blog which was re-published at Queerwatch. “Promoting the illusion that things just ‘get better,’ enables privileged folks to do nothing and just rely on the imaginary mechanics of the American Dream to fix the world.”

Now, much as as I’d like to see the disappearance “the systematic, community-wide abuse of GLBT youth”, I don’t know that we can ever eliminate it.  More on this anon.

That said, I particularly like her focus on providing support to young people in need.  I believe that if such young people find a place where they belong and mentors and friends who can help them find their own inner strength, they will be better situated to deal with their difference, even in a hostile environment.

Her left-wing class rhetoric notwithstanding, Melisa is also onto something.  Is promoting this video merely a feel-good project for well-being people?  It is nice to tell a kid that it’ll get better; it’s better to help him find the means to make it so, that is, to take the time to listen to troubled teens. (more…)

On Tyler Clementi & the Importance of Mentors

Perhaps I’m wrong and it wouldn’t have made a difference if Tyler Clementi had had an older gay friend or mentor to whom he could turn in his moment of mental anguish.

To be sure, it’s not just this story that makes me think of mentoring.  The issue of mentoring has been much on my mind since I first started wrestling with my sexuality.  The first gay “role model” I had was perhaps one of the most negative influences on my life and on my family as well.  And I always wondered if my coming out would have been any smoother had I met an older gay man capable of showing any compassion for my particular situation.

It is perhaps due in large part to his (negative) influence that I was so drawn to the goddess Athene when I read, re-read and listened to the Odyssey in the years after college and in the course of my graduate studies in Mythology.  Her gentle guidance stood in stark contrast to his arrogant indifference.  She both helps the hero’s son Telemachus find his first (male) friend — and facilitates his reconciliation with his own father.  It’s as if Homer knew that we human beings need divine guidance to navigate the treacherous waters when we first leave home and find our way in the world.

This story has stirred up so much with so many of us, in large part because we see ourselves in this young man, recalling the awkwardness of our freshman year in college, our first year away from home, when our aspirations often (unbeknownst to us at the time) conflicted with one another, finding our way in the world while seeking to belong in a new (and often) foreign environment.

Perhaps, the mentor issue comes to my mind because of my own experiences.  And other things surely must come to mind to other individuals, gay and straight alike.

The bottom question we need to ask is what can we do to make that journey less treacherous for young men and young women who differ from the social norm.   (more…)

In Mehlman Matter, Gay Left Blogger Prefers Principle to Revenge

Twice in blogging about Ken Mehlman’s coming out, I wrote that there would be some “decent gay lefties” who would not go for this good man’s jugular, treating him instead him with decency and “dignity despite disagreeing . . .  on matters political.

Due to my busy schedule these past few days, I haven’t been able to check the blogs as much as I would like so am grateful for readers like Eva Young of Lloydletta’s Nooz who alerted me to one leftie who has been relatively kind to Mehlman.  To be sure, John Aravosis, while refraining from attacking Mehlman personally (as have some of his left-of-center blogging colleagues), does spew a good deal of vitriol against the GOP (and engage in a bit of overheated rhetoric), he welcomes Mehlman’s coming out, saying he’s “more interested in equality than revenge.

Now, you all know I have trouble with that term; I’m concerned more with preserving the blessings of liberty and, as many libertarian and conservative philosophers and pundits, recognize the tension between that American ideal and the notion of equality.

That said, John sees Mehlman as a potential ally in pursuing his goals and challenges his critics, “If someone can explain to me how it advances our civil rights to spurn Mehlamn’s offer of help, I’m all ears.”

I simply want my civil rights more than I want revenge. It’s the way good politics works, I think – and it’s the way politics used to work in this country – putting the potential to move forward today ahead of your legitimate anger about yesterday.

Now, I may quibble with John about our supposed lack of civil rights.  But, he is willing to put his principles over personality.  And in my book, that should count for something. (more…)


Under the command of two Commanders-in-Chiefs, our US Armed Forces have performed brilliantly since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.  The last full combat brigade left Iraq left Wednesday with little of the media coverage that began with “Shock and Awe”, “Baghdad Bob”, and eventually saw Saddam cowering in a spider hole.

When the men and women of Fourth Brigade, Second Infantry Division deployed to Iraq in April 2007 as part of President Bush’s surge, American soldiers were being killed or wounded at a rate of about 750 a month, the country was falling to sectarian mayhem, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had declared that the war was “lost.”

On Wednesday, the “Raiders” became the last combat brigade to leave Iraq, having helped to defeat an insurgency, secure a democracy and uphold the honor of American arms.

The classic lament about the war in Iraq is that it achieved little at a huge cost in American lives, treasure and reputation. That view rests on a kind of amnesia about the nature of Saddam Hussein’s regime, his 12-year defiance of binding U.N. resolutions, the threat he posed to its neighbors, the belief—shared by the Clinton and Bush Administrations and intelligence services world-wide—that he was armed with weapons of mass destruction, the complete corruption of the U.N. sanctions regime designed to contain him, and the fact that he intended to restart his WMD programs once the sanctions had collapsed.

Those were the realities when the coalition marched into Iraq. In supporting the war on the eve of that invasion, we noted that “the law of unintended consequences hasn’t been repealed” and that “toppling Saddam is a long-term undertaking,” while warning that “liberal pundits and politicians are fickle interventionists” who were “apt to run for moral cover” when the going got tough. As they did.

Their opposition might well have led to defeat had not Mr. Bush defied Congress and the recommendations of his own Iraq Study Group in favor of the 2007 surge, which history will likely recall as Mr. Bush’s finest hour. To his credit, President Obama has also delivered on the “responsible withdrawal” he promised in his campaign.

This admirable American effort has now given Iraqis the opportunity to govern themselves democratically. We supported the Iraq invasion primarily for reasons of U.S. national security. But a successful war also held the promise that it could create, in a major Arab state, a model for governance that would result in something better than the secular or religious dictatorships that have so often bred brutality and radicalism—which has increasingly reached our own shores. The fact that Iraq has a functioning judiciary, and that Iraqi voters have rejected their most sectarian parties at the polls, is cause for hope that the country is moving in that direction.

This is true despite the five months of political stalemate that have gripped the country since March’s parliamentary elections resulted in an effective tie between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his principal challenger Ayad Allawi. Political gridlock is frustrating, but it is sometimes a function of democratic politics. We will soon learn if Iraqi politicians can meet the responsibilities of the democratic moment that American and British blood and treasure have given them.

They will have to do so despite the continuing spoiler role played by Iraq’s neighbors—Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran—who fear a democratic, or Shiite-led, state in their midst. The withdrawal of U.S. combat forces will only increase their ambition to create more trouble.

That makes the mission of the 50,000 U.S. troops that will remain as trainers, advisers and special-ops forces until the end of 2011 all the more crucial. It should also provide incentive for Washington and Baghdad to negotiate a more permanent U.S. military presence, both as a balancing force within the country and especially as a hedge against Iran. Having sacrificed so much for Iraq’s freedom, the U.S. should attempt to reap the shared strategic benefits of a longer-term alliance, as we did after World War II with Japan and Germany.

On the eve of war in 2003, we wrote: “About one thing we have no doubt: the courage of the Americans who will fight in our defense.” Along with all of their comrades in arms, the men and women of Fourth Brigade, Second Infantry have fully vindicated that conviction. Somewhere down the road, we trust that August 18, 2010 will be remembered as Victory in Iraq day.

August 18 SHOULD be VICTORY IN IRAQ DAY if for no other reason than to mark then end of the success that our original mission, further supplemented by the brave decision by President Bush to launch the surge in 2007, is complete.  Yes, US forces will remain as advisors for another year.  But “The War” in Iraq is over.

Where are the homecoming parades?  Where is the outpouring of love of nation toward our brave men and women who were thrust out of their lives when this phase of the Global War began on September 11, 2003?

We’ve made mistakes.  We found no WMD that the entire world’s intel apparatus said we would.  As in past wars, America leaves no imperialist governance behind.  We helped formed a democratic state in the Middle East that now must continue to bloom on its own.  We stole no oil.  We will only leave Americans in Iraq at the behest of its people, or where the blood of the brave have fallen into the hot sand and are never to be returned to the homeland.

We should be celebrating this week.  But we are not.  There are many reasons why.  But when you see a uniformed member of our Armed Forces this Summer and Fall — please stop them and thank them for their and and their families sacrifices.  They are our Greatest Generation and will most likely be called on again to defend and protect the United States of America.

BE PROUD AMERICA:  We liberated a nation of 18 million oppressed people from a satanic dictator who hijacked the Muslim faith for his own glory and power.  BE PROUD!

Thank you to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretarys Rumsfeld & Gates, and General Petreaus.  You won the war as our leaders.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)