Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fourth of July 2016

The author with Minuteman statue
Concord, MA

As we pause to celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s independence it seems appropriate to consider the vital role played by the American military in the creation of our nation and its transformation of our world.

We are not a militaristic nation but we are a nation that is deeply proud of our military.  We are not a perfect people.  We have made many mistakes.  We have not always lived up to our noble ideals.  It is important to remember what happened at Wounded Knee, My Lai and Abu Graib.  But it is also important to remember the amazing things that the US military has done in our world.

Lexington Green, MA
On April 19, 1775 British soldiers marched from Boston to Lexington and Concord to seize a cache of arms.  They were confronted on Lexington green by citizen soldiers who were farmers, merchants and tradesmen.  The “shot heard round the world” was fired that day on Concord bridge.  Liberty was not a gift of the English crown; she had to be taken by force by an armed rebel populace.

Later that year American forces invaded British Canada.  My own ancestor, James Van Rensselaer, was a citizen soldier in the siege of Quebec and his commanding officer was Benedict Arnold.

The American Revolution is often portrayed in rosy-hued colors due to its remoteness and patriotic outcome.  It was, in fact, a horrendously bloody conflict.   Recent scholarship has placed the total number of Americans killed in the American Revolution at around 25,000 which compares to a total US population of the thirteen colonies in 1775 of 2.4 million.  Thus over one percent of the total population of the thirteen colonies were killed over the course the nearly eight and half years of the war’s duration.

After the American Revolution we would fight Britain again in the War of 1812.  We fought our way westward across the continent in many brutal wars against the Native Americans.

Polk Campaign Flag
Smithsonian Museum
In 1846 president Polk launched a war against Mexico.  This was and remains a controversial chapter in American history.  Congressman Abraham Lincoln opposed the war.  Thoreau refused to pay taxes to support the war and was briefly jailed.  Even Ulysses Grant, who fought in the war, condemned its prosecution in his Memoirs.    But without the Mexican American war the states of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico would never have been added to the Union.  Without the Mexican American war the United States might never have become a coast to coast superpower.
Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, HI
Imagine for a moment what World War II might have been like had Polk not fought the Mexican American war.  The Japanese would never have sunk the Arizona at Pearl Harbor to start the war because Arizona would have belonged to Mexico.  It is unlikely that an American naval base at Pearl Harbor would have been built without Polk.  The atomic bomb would never have been dropped on Hiroshima to finish the war as it could not have been tested at Alamogordo in New Mexico.

Nearly a hundred years ago in 1917 America Citizen soldiers went “over there” with the American Expeditionary Force to fight the Central Powers in World War I.  By 1918 the Kaiser would abdicate.  In 1941 they would get the call to combat Hitler and Imperial Japan.  Just over 71 years ago American soldiers would be liberating the Nazi concentration camps like Buchenwald and Dachau thereby helping to end the Holocaust.  Without American invasions at places like the beaches of Omaha and Anzio the world would undoubtedly be a darker place.

After World War II American forces remained engaged with Europe garrisoning the nations of former adversaries during the Cold War.  NATO was founded and the Cold War was won without a shot being fired.

Today we face the threat of global terror networks that have perpetrated horrors in Brussels, Paris, San Bernardino and, most recently, Orlando.

Our enemies must know that Americans do not love war for war’s sake.  To do so is the definition of fascism.  We are and always have been reluctant warriors.  But, when provoked, we know how to fight and will endure until victory and a lasting peace is won.

Thanks to the courage and sacrifice of those American patriots who have served in our military and those that serve today we are able to celebrate the 4th of July and to confront the challenges that face us around the world.

Thanks Small War Journal...http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/the-4th-of-july-confronting-terror-and-the-enduring-strength-of-the-american-spirit

Thanks The Times of Crowne Point, IN...http://www.nwitimes.com/news/opinion/columnists/guest-commentary/guest-commentary-u-s-military-forges-nation-transforms-world/article_20806ea3-628c-5d50-9f98-6c57159674c1.html

Thanks Military Trader...http://www.militarytrader.com/military-trader/july-4th-the-enduring-strength-of-the-american-military-spirit

Thanks the Monitor, McAllen TX...http://www.themonitor.com/opinion/columnists/commentary-our-enduring-strength-of-the-american-spirit/article_be90cace-3fa4-11e6-9ffe-8fca4a6da1c6.html

Thanks Las Cruces Sun...http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/opinion/2016/07/03/terror-enduring-strength-american-spirit/86662460/

Thanks Military Times...http://www.militarytimes.com/story/opinion/2016/07/04/enduring-strength-american-military-spirit/86625430/

Thanks Lima News...https://limaohio.com/opinion/columns/190186/july-4th-the-enduring-strength-of-the-america

Thanks Investor's Business Daily...http://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/july-4th-the-enduring-strength-of-the-american-military-spirit/

Thanks Washington Times...http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/27/the-enduring-strength-of-america/

Thanks South Coast Today...http://www.southcoasttoday.com/article/20160704/OPINION/160709978

Thanks Rise News...http://risenews.net/2016/07/never-forget-july-4th-really/

Thanks Tulsa World...http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/christopher-kelly-the-vital-role-american-military-played-in-the/article_a1cd92ac-4f0f-59ee-9ab8-60110c5e2119.html

Thanks Lebanon Daily News...http://www.ldnews.com/story/opinion/2016/07/05/enduring-strength-american-spirit/86707286/


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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit's Meaning

Brexit: Farewell to all that


Britain has voted for Brexit -- to leave the European Union.  They did so in spite of the united opposition of the political class across the spectrum of British politics.  Blair supported remain as did Labour's current leader Jeremy Corbyn.  The Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, supported remain and now, having lost, he will be exiting.  Even the tragic assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox, a remain supporter, did not tip the scales towards the remain side.

Americans might appreciate the enormous historic implications of Brexit better if they thought of it in these terms:  Imagine a US referendum on some topic where President Obama and Donald Trump held exactly the same position...and a majority of American voters rejected it anyway.  That is what just happened with Brexit.

Business elites, fearful of change, overwhelmingly supported the remain position.  Londoners voted to remain but were swamped by opposition outside of the metropolis.

President Obama weighed in on the Brexit debate in a particularly ham-fisted manner telling Brits that our allies in two World Wars would need to get to the "back of the queue" if they opted for Brexit.  Most Americans would not use the term "queue" so it was clear that Obama was simply parroting talking points supplied to him by Cameron.  Will foreign leaders be less keen on an Obama endorsement / meddling going forward?

Fundamentally, British voters recognized that the EU has turned into a pretty rotten deal.  The membership dues to this club no longer justify the expense.

We know the short term results of Brexit.  Global markets tanked.  The Pound weakened.  Hand wringing ensued.  401ks were diminished this past week.  The media had a field day with dire predictions.
British Pride still sparkles
We do not, of course, know what the longer term consequences of Brexit will be.  We do know, however, that nothing will really change for two years.  Most likely the current market swoon will be followed by an eventual recovery.  Britain will remain an important trading partner with Europe and the world.  EU member states will still want to trade with the world's fifth largest economy.  Tourists will still visit the Tower of London to see the Queen's jewels.  Britain's exit from the EU is unlikely to destabilize the European peace which has endured now for over 71 years since the end of World War II.

There could be a Corbyn government which would likely be disastrous for Britain.  Corbyn is Bernie Sanders without the chutzpah.  Brexit will also likely force another Scottish referendum which would pose a challenge for the UK government.

But Brexit is far from the end of the world.  We ought to remember Monty Python's advice to "always look on the bright side of life".
Boris Johnson: Brexit Winner
More likely, however, this is a huge victory for the leadership of Boris Johnson.  Johnson was a successful charismatic Mayor of London.  He is bright, cosmopolitan and in touch with British sentiment.  He has more than a touch of Churchill about him.  His book, The Churchill Factor, was outstanding (See my review...http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.com/2014/12/boriss-new-book-this-is-outstanding.html).  Boris now heads up the Foreign Office for Britain.

The Brexit vote dealt an enormous blow to the reigning political establishment worldwide.  It is a clear vote against open borders and unlimited immigration.  It is a vote for local over transnational.  It is a vote against bloated bureaucratic meddling which is despised around the world.  It is a vote in favor of national identity but it is not really a vote for a more bellicose foreign policy.  For better of for worse, this vote should cause major shockwaves in the Hillary campaign which is the embodiment of establishment politics.

For more on Brexit see...http://madmonarchist.blogspot.com/2016/06/royal-news-special-report-thoughts-on.html

America Invades is available here...www.americainvades.com
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Thursday, June 2, 2016

D-Day Plus 72

Omaha Beach, France
Seventy-two years ago, on June 6, 1944, Allied troops waded ashore on the beaches of Normandy to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe. The night before, on June 5, American airborne forces had landed on the western flank of the invasion area near Sainte-Mère-Église, while British airborne forces secured the eastern flank and Pegasus Bridge. They jumped out of C-47 Dakota transport planes, through darkness and into glory. Some arrived by glider. Private John Steele of the 82nd Airborne landed on the steeple of the church at Sainte-Mère-Église. He managed to survive by playing dead.

John Steele Mannequin, St. Mere Eglise, France
Today a visitor to Sainte-Mère-Église can observe a mannequin representing Steele hanging from the church tower. Inside the church is a stained glass window of the Virgin Mary surrounded by American paratroopers.
Pointe du Hoc, France
On Utah Beach—all of the landing sites had code names—fifty-six-year-old Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (the oldest son of former president Teddy Roosevelt) landed about a mile away from his intended target. When asked whether to re-embark the 4th Infantry Division, he simply said, “We’ll start the war from right here!” Prior to the landing, Omaha Beach, also known as Bloody Omaha, had received an abbreviated naval bombardment from ships such as the battleship Texas lasting only thirty-five minutes. The bare stretches of beach offered no cover for the American invaders as German machine guns from fortified gun emplacements swept the beaches. The US Rangers, who had trained earlier on the cliffs of Dorset, scaled the sheer cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc while being shot at by German soldiers. Their mission was to destroy artillery pieces targeted on the landing zones. Their commander was Lieutenant Colonel James Rudder. Unknown to Rudder’s Rangers, most of the artillery had already been moved by the Germans. They held their position for two days in the face of fierce counterattacks by the German’s 916th Grenadiers. At the Ranger memorial at Pointe du Hoc, one can still see massive craters created by the Allied naval bombardment.
Normandy American Cemetery
The Canadians stormed ashore on Juno Beach. James Doohan, who later played Scotty on Star Trek, was among the Canadian soldiers that day. Sword and Gold Beaches were reserved for the British forces. A small contingent of French commandos joined the British on Sword and helped capture Ouistreham, destroying the casino there. One French officer who had previously lost at the tables was not sorry to see the casino in ruins that day.

With the D-Day landing, the Allies, in spite of the vast size of their armada and the relative openness of their societies, achieved a remarkable strategic surprise over the Germans. On June 6, Rommel was in Germany celebrating his wife's fiftieth birthday. Hitler was persisting in the mistaken belief that the Normandy invasion was a feint and that the real blow would be struck at Pas de Calais.


Eisenhower planned the invasion from his offices at 20 Grosvenor Square in London. Number 1 Grosvenor Square was the wartime location of the American embassy. Averell Harriman presided over lend-lease aid from 3 Grosvenor Square, helping to fund our wartime Allies. The OSS (Office of Strategic Services), forerunner of the CIA, had its offices at 70 Grosvenor Square. Small wonder that this neighborhood was known as Little America at the time. Some wags even referred to Grosvenor Square as Eisenhowerplatz.


Imagine if an operation like the Normandy landing were to occur today in 2016, in the age of social media! Interactive polls would ask: “Which beach do you prefer, Normandy or Pas de Calais?” Could all the members of the 101st Screaming Eagles, painted in Indian war paint with Mohawk haircuts, be counted upon not to post their pictures on Facebook? That seems doubtful.

The author at Grosvenor Square, London, UK
This June 6, raise a glass and toast the heroism of all those young men who fought to liberate America’s oldest ally from Nazi occupation. Without their service and sacrifice, our world might be a darker place.

Thanks Military Times...http://www.militarytimes.com/story/opinion/2016/06/05/remembering-d-day-then-and-now/85199070/

Thanks Real Clear History...http://www.realclearhistory.com/articles/2016/06/06/remembering_d-day_then_and_now_237.html

Thanks Deseret News...http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865655673/Remembering-D-Day-then-and-now.html

Thanks Detroit News...http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2016/06/06/raise-glass-boys-pointe-du-hoc/85456098/

Thanks Modesto Bee...http://www.modbee.com/opinion/article81586817.html

Thanks Dayton Daily News...http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/news/news/opinion/remembering-d-day-then-and-now/nrYjg/?icmp=daytondaily_internallink_textlink_apr2013_daytondailystubtomydaytondaily_launch

Thanks Charleston Gazette Mail...http://www.wvgazettemail.com/daily-mail-commentary/20160606/christopher-kelly-remembering-the-d-day-invasion-daily-mail

Thanks Pittsburgh's TrbiLive.com...http://triblive.com/opinion/featuredcommentary/10557736-74/landing-beach-normandy

Thanks Utah Policy...http://utahpolicy.com/index.php/features/today-at-utah-policy/9712-remembering-d-day-the-great-allied-invasion

Thanks Burlington County Times...http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/opinion/guest/remembering-d-day-then-and-now/article_a0cd2ae0-483b-5d0a-8331-8986dc1c0602.html

Thanks Florida Times Union...http://jacksonville.com/business/columnists/2016-06-03/story/guest-column-d-day-deserves-be-remembered#
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My interview with Marc Bernier...http://www.marcberniershow.com/audio_archive.cfm