Archive for February, 2007

War: Changing Lives in an Instant: Bob Woodruff and Mike Who Has PTSD

February 28, 2007

Journalist Bob Woodruff had reached the top of his profession when his life changed in an instant.Several weeks after he was named as co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight, Woodruff and his cameraman were gravely injured by a roadside bomb while reporting in Iraq.

Thirteen months after the attack, he and his wife, Lee Woodruff, have written In an Instant, a book about his experiences in Iraq and how the couple recovered together.

The narration switches between Woodruff and his wife, who flew to Germany after his injury. Woodruff spent 35 days in a coma.

“It was like being on the other side of the moon, to see my husband’s face,” says Lee Woodruff.

Despite the crushing injury and months of uncertainty and physical therapy, Woodruff’s outlook remains positive.

“He is basically a happy person,” Lee Woodruff says of her husband. “I’ve never heard a moment of bitterness come out of his mouth.”

The Woodruffs spoke with Renee Montaigne about what life is like after the injury, shifting their priorities and how the experience has changed them.

To hear the interview with the Woodruffs, link to National Public Radio:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7618702

My friend Mike has been diagnosed with severe PTSD as a result of his service in the war on terror.  We will report on whatever Mike wants to discuss in a day or two but I’ll just give my own impressions.  Mike loves his country.  He volunteered to join the Army and he volunteered to serve in the war.  He had no idea what he would suffer through in combat.

 Our stories on PTSD are all here on this site.  Word search PTSD.

–John E. Carey

Making Sense of Things at 4 A.M.

February 28, 2007

This has no news value…..By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 28, 2007

Little Red Corvette

At 4 AM this morning, in northern Virginia, my neighbor with the red Corvette was washing his car. Wearing hip waders, a winter parka with a hood and yellow kitchen gloves, he was out there with four buckets, sponges, rags, wax and towels. This took some real effort as there are no hoses nearby.

It is 34 degrees out there.

I asked him why he was washing his beloved Vet at 4 AM? He said, “When you let a car like this get dirty, people complain. The ‘chicks’ expect it to look good.”

You’d think he was 18 years old. Actually he’s 72. He must be bald because he wears a red wig that looks like it came from a discount store for $39.99. And he calls women “chicks.” This is not Brando in his prime.

But hey, if it works for him, who are we to complain?

He told me the Vet is a ’94 and the “chicks” call the color “lipstick red.” He said next year he’ll get a new one and if they no longer make that color he’ll get a custom paint job….

Big toys for Big Boys.

Al Sham Café

At 4 AM this morning, and every morning, there are at least four Arab men playing cards and sipping tea at the Al Sham Café. It is next to the 7-11 were I buy newspapers and coffee and greet the clerk who is known as “The Bangladeshi Virgin.”

It seems to me, having observed some Arab culture, that there is a long tradition of Arab men staying up all night and not just during Ramadan.

I went in and tried my theory which started a long and valuable cultural dialogue. “Do you sleep during the day?”

One responded, “No we have to work.”

“When do you sleep?” I asked.

“We sleep around.”

I had to giggle at that one and not just because “sleeping around” has an entirely other meaning. Around is not a “when” but more like a “where.”

Go figure.

I think this comes from olden times before air conditioning when the only reasonable temperatures in the desert were at night…..

Why is the Liquor Store Open?

Once a week, on Thursday’s, my neighborhood liquor store is open. This is a real head scratcher since liquor cannot be served or purchased at this hour in this state.

So one Thursday I went to find out.

It is so tough to get delivery vehicles into the mall that the manager has all his deliveries made at 0400 every Thursday.

Case closed.

Strip Club

Walking into the liquor store at 4 AM reminded me that I once went into a strip club at 10 AM to get coffee. As I got close to the bar, I noticed three or four guys were already drinking beer.

I hollered out: “What kind of mangy degenerates are in a strip club at 10 AM?”

One of them quipped, “Well, you’re here….”

Pine Needles in the Elevator

I live in a tall (26 Floor) building. Four elevators. That is barely good enough.

This morning one of the elevators is full of pine needles.

Do you think someone actually had a Christmas tree until the last day of February?

Another head scratcher…..

Real News at “Peace and Freedom” Flagship:
http://peace-and-freedom.blogspot.com/

U.S. Foreign Policy: Startling Turn of Events

Spy Chief Pushes for Action in Pakistan

U.S. Will Join Talks with Iran, Syria

Former CIA Director Woolsey on”The Long War”

Normalizing Relations With North Korea

Leadership Lessons from The Movies: You’ll Never Guess Which One (Number Eleven)

February 28, 2007

Robin Williams is delightful in “Man of the Year.”

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 28, 2007

”Man of the Year” starring Robin Williams is a delightful yet sometimes cynical look at U.S. presidential politics.

A film review web site describes the film this way: “On a lark, the host of a late-night political talk show (Williams) decides to run for president. The thing is, he never expected to win.”

I was reminded of the Peter Sellers movie “The Mouse That Roared.”  In that 1959 classic, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick waged war on the U.S. – and accidentally won.

In “Man of the Year,” it is as if Stephen Colbert, of “The Colbert Report” is swept into the Oval Office: jokes and all.

Robin Williams plays Tom Dobbs, the wise cracking comedian turned candidate. And what a candidate. He misbehaves so badly at the debate by not keeping quiet that he dominated the competition and sets the agenda completely. “NASA spent 30 Million dollars creating the pen that would write upside down in space,” he quips. “Did you know that? The Russians, how ever, were able to solve this problem with the five cent pencil. Writes right side up writes up-side down, after five quarts of vodka, it is still writing!”

Christopher Walken plays the comedian-candidate’s top advisor and he is great as the evil genius. Laura Linney plays the edgy Eleanor Green, a voting system expert fired and framed by her company. She carries with her a dirty little secret: the automated voting system may have allowed the wrong man into the White House: and people know but keep quiet.

Linney’s on screen breakdown in the cappuccino shop is one of the finest performances of nerves colliding with drugs ever put on to film.

At times the film makers over reach: like having Tom Dobbs appear before a joint session of Congress wearing a George Washington outfit complete with powdered wig.

This is a very entertaining and humorous film but it is not all comedy. We might call this a drama/comedy with a heavy dose of cynicism about the American political system and a moral dilemma that won’t just go away.

if we tell you more: we’d have to give it all away. But it is a very good flick that is delightfully entertaining with a strong political theme for the wonks out there. And true leadership emerges from the most unexpected places.

Through Immigrant Eyes: America the Beautiful

February 27, 2007

Two immigrants particularly impressed me today.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 27, 2007

One immigrant to the United States from Jordon from a family half Jordanian and half Spanish startled me today. I noticed him because he was giving the butcher in the grocery store some special instructions. His loud baritone and unusual accent threw me for a loop and I have a particularly well trained ear. If I close my eyes during a movie I can identify almost all the top actors from the last half century by their voices.

But this accent made the electrons in my brain tired. It was like a word search that would never end. He confessed it is the Arabic crashing into the Spanish.

He, all on his own, said: “America is the greatest nation on earth. I love my freedom.”

He said that if you try to get a “pick-me-up” basketball game going in the Middle East you’d have to suffer through two hours of argument before ten guys could decided on two teams.

”In America, ten guys form two basketball teams in less than a minute. Everyone the same. Beautiful!”

“I left Palestine,” he said, “to seek a better life. A peaceful life. My life did not need to be one of strife. Now I have happy American children and wife. Thanks to America and God.”

Really inspiring people today.

You don’t suppose God is American do you? The Russians and Chinese will have a FIT!

I told the Jordanian born man (who works for the U.S. Navy as an electrical engineer) that when a Mexican leaves Mexico heading north: he probably isn’t going to Canada.

He roared with laughter.

I also told him that as we drove past a packed INS office on day, with a line of 60 or so people out the door, my naïve friend said, “Why do they come here?”

If you need that explained you do not get it.

http://peace-and-freedom.blogspot.com/

Medal of Honor Recipients Gather at the Pentagon; Share Stories of War

February 27, 2007

Crandall flew 22 medevac missions in 14 hours  and saved 70 men.  “Barney” Barnum, under heavy fire, rendered aid to and  assumed command of his Marines when his commander was mortally wounded.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 27, 2007

On Monday, President Bush presented the highest military award of the United States, The Medal of Honor, to Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Crandall.

As a helicopter pilot during the war in Vietnam, in one 14 hour period, Crandall flew 22 medevac missions and saved the lives of 70 men on November 14, 1965.Crandall, now 74, is a terrific guy with a large and friendly yet humble personality.

Today at 2 PM he was inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, where the name of each recipient of the Medal of Honor is enshrined.One of the great things about these kinds of events is to simply meet, shake hands with and thank some of our nation’s most stirring citizen-soldiers.

Our Tribute to Crandall is at:
http://www.nowpublic.com/helo_pilot_gets_medal_of_honor_for_rescue_of_70_flew_22_missions_in_14_hours

Today we met H.C. “Barney” Barnum, Jr. He was on hand yesterday at the White House to participate in the event hosted by President Bush who presented the Medal of Honor to Bruce Crandall. Today he participated as Crandall was inducted into the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.Barney is a great guy too and you can feel something special just shaking his hand and chatting with him a moment. I thought you might appreciate his Medal of Honor citation:
 

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. When the company was suddenly pinned down by a hail of extremely accurate enemy fire and was quickly separated from the remainder of the battalion by over 500 meters of open and fire-swept ground, and casualties mounted rapidly. Lt. Barnum quickly made a hazardous reconnaissance of the area, seeking targets for his artillery. Finding the rifle company commander mortally wounded and the radio operator killed, he, with complete disregard for his safety, gave aid to the dying commander, then removed the radio from the dead operator and strapped it to himself. He immediately assumed command of the rifle company, and moving at once into the midst of the heavy fire, rallying and giving encouragement to all units, reorganized them to replace the loss of key personnel and led their attack on enemy positions from which deadly fire continued to come. His sound and swift decisions and his obvious calm served to stabilize the badly decimated units and his gallant example as he stood exposed repeatedly to point out targets served as an inspiration to all. Provided with 2 armed helicopters, he moved fearlessly through enemy fire to control the air attack against the firmly entrenched enemy while skillfully directing 1 platoon in a successful counterattack on the key enemy positions. Having thus cleared a small area, he requested and directed the landing of 2 transport helicopters for the evacuation of the dead and wounded. He then assisted in the mopping up and final seizure of the battalion’s objective. His gallant initiative and heroic conduct reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.”
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Heroes

Remembering and celebrating freedom fighters.
By Jed Babbin
National Review
July 3, 2003

There are a lot of people we call heroes these days. Like so many superlatives, the word is cheapened by such use. The builders of the 9/11 memorial at the World Trade Center site are using it to describe both the innocents killed at their desks and the firemen and police who risked and often lost their lives trying to save whoever they could. Our history is rich with such selfless heroism. On the Fourth of July we celebrate those heroes who, in the Declaration of Independence, staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor on our freedom. As we remember them, we must also remember the millions who have fought to keep us free, and the heroes among them. Over the past few months, I have been privileged to work and talk with a number of men whose valor in combat met the highest of standards, the toughest of criteria. They are among the few, so very few, who have done so and lived to tell the tale.

Since 1863, when the Medal of Honor was first awarded to Army Private Jacob Parrot for his part in the Andrews Raid, about 40 million Americans have worn the uniform of our country in time of war. Only 3,440 of them have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Our nation’s highest military honor is awarded by the president, on behalf of the Congress, to members of our armed services who, while engaged in combat, distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their lives, above and beyond the call of duty. Only 137 of these men still live. On the list that includes the names of Teddy Roosevelt, Sergeant York, and Audie Murphy, you will find these names.

TOMMY AND MIKE

There are only three Navy SEALs who have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Sen. Bob Kerry is one. Tommy and Mike are the other two. When you sit down to dinner with the two of them, you can’t see how two people so different from each other could be so close. And then you hear why.

Tommy — then Lt. Thomas Norris, USN — was the leader of a SEAL unit operating in the northernmost part of South Vietnam (or maybe it was the southernmost parts of North Vietnam, though he wouldn’t say) rescuing downed American pilots. On April 10, 1972, Norris led a small patrol a mile across enemy lines to rescue one pilot, and on the 11th, led two unsuccessful attempts to rescue a second. On the 12th, he succeeded in rescuing the second pilot, but while directing air strikes to cover their retreat, Norris was separated from the rest of his unit. Thinking Norris was dead, they withdrew with the rescued pilot. But Mike went back for his skipper.

Mike — who was Tommy’s #2 man — was told by the retreating patrol that Tommy was dead, but Mike couldn’t leave him behind. Mike went back — through a mile of heavy fire — and found Tommy severely wounded. As Mike tells the story, he put all the pieces of Tommy he could find back together, grabbed him and the unconscious South Vietnamese soldier who was also there, and beat it to the beach. Tommy is a slight man, about five-nine, and not more than 150 pounds. Mike is a huge bear of a man, probably six-three and 250 pounds. Mike tied Tommy to his back, the Vietnamese to his front, and swam out into the ocean. Over two hours later, the three were picked up by a rescue boat.

RON, BARNEY, BRIAN & WOODY

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society is chartered by Congress, but unfunded. (They fund the NEA, but not the CMOHS. Go figure). A few of us decided to help do something about that. Three Medal recipients volunteered to serve on the committee with us. Ron Ray, Harvey C. “Barney” Barnum, and Brian Thacker are the three Medal recipients I’ve come to know best. They helped us organize the recent Congressional Medal of Honor Society Golf Classic fundraiser. Another recipient, a generation older and always ready to help, Hershel “Woody” Williams is the chaplain of the Society, a rather quiet guy. All four are modest, not anxious to talk about their experiences in combat. They want to talk about each other, and how they can continue to serve America.

Remember the book (later the Mel Gibson movie), We Were Soldiers Once, and Young? That battle took place in the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam. In that same place, in June 1966, Ron Ray was an army captain leading ambush patrols. When one of his patrols was cut off, and attacked by a much larger enemy force, Ron led reinforcements through a mile of mountainous jungle, and then led the attack on the Viet Cong at close quarters. When an enemy hand grenade landed near two of his men, Ron threw himself on the ground between the grenade and the two soldiers, saving their lives. Severely wounded, Ron kept up the fight. He just wouldn’t quit. Now he’s one of those people you’d love to have as a friend and neighbor. He’s just a great guy to be around.

It’s no less a pleasure to have Barney or Brian around. Barney looks like a college professor. Well, maybe not. His tie is too straight, his shoes too shiny to pass as the typical academic. In coat and tie, you don’t see the picture that accompanies his Medal citation. Col. Harvey Barnum is a Marine with a capital “M.” In December 1965, Barney was a lieutenant serving in Quang Tin province when his unit was cut off from the battalion, under murderous fire. Barney — without regard for his own safety — found his dying company commander and gave aid to him, then removed the radio from the back of the dead radio operator nearby and took command. Braving heavy fire all the while, Barney organized a counterattack and led it, enabling the battalion to take its objective.

Brian Thacker hardly gets a chance to talk when the other guys get rolling. He’s a quiet fellow, and seems content to listen. Brian is a real intellect, and has a lot to say if you take the time to pry it out of him. His story — like that of his comrades — is simply hard to grasp for those of us who haven’t been there and done that. Brian was an Army lieutenant in 1971 at a forward-fire base in Kontum Province. His unit was overrun by North Vietnamese that vastly outnumbered them. Brian stayed in his exposed position for four hours, rallying the troops and directing air strikes on the enemy. When his unit pulled out, Brian stayed — alone — providing cover fire as they withdrew. He was badly wounded himself, but managed to escape and evaded capture for eight days until the friendlies found him. And then there’s Woody.

If you go to the Marine Memorial in Arlington, Virginia on the Fourth of July, and stand behind it, the fireworks burst over the Mall behind it, a spectacular faux-battle above the bronze men. The statue is taken from Joe Rosenthal’s famous picture of the Marines raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima in February of 1945, probably the most famous image from World War II.

Woody Williams is a quiet, gentle man, quick to smile or say a kind word. He lives in a small town in West Virginia where he teaches a Sunday school class for adults. Woody was a demolition sergeant with the 3rd Marines on February 23, 1945, in the midst of that brutal battle. Thousands of Marines died taking Iwo Jima. More would have but for Woody.

Marine tanks were trying — in vain — to open a corridor for the infantry to advance past a network of Japanese concrete pillboxes, mines, and volcanic sand. What the tanks couldn’t do, Woody did. His medal citation says, “Covered only by 4 riflemen, he fought desperately for four4 hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flamethrowers, struggling back, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out one position after another.” My father was there, somewhere in that battle. It may be that one of the lives Woody saved by his heroism was that of Capt. Harold Babbin, USMCR.

Ordinary heroes?

There ain’t no such thing, not among this group. They may have started as ordinary men, but each found something inside himself that raised him to risk his life above and beyond the call of duty. There are many thousands of others who have fought bravely and well, and many of them have not lived to celebrate their heroism. We must do it for them. By remembering, and by appreciating what they have preserved for us: a freedom unknown anywhere else in the world. Happy Fourth of July.

— NRO Contributor Jed Babbin was a deputy undersecretary of defense in the first Bush administration, and is now an MSNBC military analyst.

Visit our other sites at:
http://peace-and-freedom.blogspot.com/
and
http://extendedremarks.blogspot.com/

Helo Pilot Gets Medal of Honor for Rescue of 70; Flew 22 Missions in 14 Hours

February 27, 2007

February 27, 2007
By Matthew Daly
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — An unarmed helicopter pilot who flew through a hail of bullets to rescue 70 wounded Americans in one of the fiercest battles of the Vietnam War was awarded the Medal of Honor on Monday, 41 years later.

Retired Lt. Col. Bruce Crandall, 74, received the nation’s highest military honor from President Bush in the White House East Room.

Crandall completed 22 flights in a 14-hour period on Nov. 14, 1965, most under intense enemy fire. His actions in the Battle at Ia Drang Valley were depicted in the 2002 movie ”We Were Soldiers.”

Bush said Crandall had to fly three different helicopters over the course of the mission. Two were damaged so badly they could not stay in the air.

Yet Crandall and another pilot, Capt. Edward Freeman, ”flew through a cloud of smoke and a wave of bullets,” Bush said.

They ”kept flying until every wounded man had been evacuated and every need of the battalion had been met.” Freeman was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2001.

No time for medal paperwork

Bush quoted from an interview in which Crandall offered his view of the mission:

”There was never a consideration that we would not go into those landing zones. They were my people down there, and they trusted in me to come and get them.”

Crandall said his unit had ”minimum resources” and few administrators to handle the paperwork needed for the highest medals.
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Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Major Bruce P. Crandall distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism as a Flight Commander in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). On 14 November 1965, his flight of sixteen helicopters was lifting troops for a search and destroy mission from Plei Me, Vietnam, to Landing Zone X-Ray in the la Drang Valley. On the fourth troop lift, the airlift began to take enemy fire, and by the time the aircraft had refueled and returned for the next troop lift, the enemy had Landing Zone X-Ray targeted. As Major Crandall and the first eight helicopters landed to discharge troops on his fifth troop lift, his unarmed helicopter came under such intense enemy fire that the ground commander ordered the second flight of eight aircraft to abort their mission. As Major Crandall flew back to Plei Me, his base of operations, he determined that the ground commander of the besieged infantry batallion desperately needed more ammunition. Major Crandall then decided to adjust his base of operations to Artillery Firebase Falcon in order to shorten the flight distance to deliver ammunition and evacuate wounded soldiers. While medical evacuation was not his mission, he immediately sought volunteers and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, led the two aircraft to Landing Zone X-Ray. Despite the fact that the landing zone was still under relentless enemy fire, Major Crandall landed and proceeded to supervise the loading of seriously wounded soldiers aboard his aircraft. Major Crandall’s voluntary decision to land under the most extreme fire instilled in the other pilots the will and spirit to continue to land their own aircraft, and in the ground forces the realization that they would be resupplied and that friendly wounded would be promptly evacuated. This greatly enhanced morale and the will to fight at a critical time. After his first medical evacuation, Major Crandall continued to fly into and out of the landing zone throughout the day and into the evening. That day he completed a total of 22 flights, most under intense enemy fire, retiring from the battlefield only after all possible service had been rendered to the Infantry battalion. His actions provided critical resupply of ammunition and evacuation of the wounded. Major Crandall’s daring acts of bravery and courage in the face of an overwhelming and determined enemy are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
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“No greater love has no man than this- that he lays down
his life for a friend.”

 John 15:13

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From Fox News Channel

WASHINGTON —  Bruce Crandall was a soldier once … and young.

As a 32-year-old helicopter pilot, he flew through a gauntlet of enemy fire, taking ammunition in and wounded Americans out of one of the fiercest battles of the Vietnam War, Army records say.

Now, a week after his 74th birthday, Crandall will receive the nation’s highest military honor Monday in a White House ceremony with President Bush.

“I’m still here,” he said of his 41-year-wait for the Medal of Honor. “Most of these awards are posthumous, so I can’t complain.”

Crandall’s actions in the November 1965 Battle at Ia Drang Valley were depicted in the Hollywood movie “We Were Soldiers,” adapted from the book “We Were Soldiers Once … And Young.”

At the time, Crandall was a major commanding a company of the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).

We had the first airmobile division … the first one to use aircraft as a means of transportation and sustaining combat,” Crandall said. His unit was put together earlier that year to go to Vietnam and “wasn’t as thought out as things are today.”

He didn’t have gunners for his aircraft. That’s why he flew unarmed helicopters into the battlefield.

He didn’t have night vision equipment and other later technology that lessens the danger of flying.

The unit had “minimum resources and almost no administrative people” — thus the lack of help to do the reams of paperwork that had to be sent to Washington for the highest medals, Crandall said.

Generals in-theatre could approve nothing higher than the Distinguished Service Cross, so he got one of those, which through the years has come to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, Crandall said in a phone interview from his home near Bremerton, Wash.

Crandall was leading a group of 16 helicopters in support of the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment — the regiment led by George Armstrong Custer when he met his end at the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn, or “Custer’s Last Stand.”

Without Crandall’s actions, the embattled men at Ia Drang would have died in much the same way — “cut off, surrounded by numerically superior forces, overrun and butchered to the last man,” the infantry commander, Lt. Col. Harold Moore, wrote in recommending Crandall for the medal.

Moore, now a retired three-star general, later wrote the book about the battle along with Joseph L. Galloway, a former war correspondent now with McClatchy Newspapers.

“This unit, taking some of the heaviest casualties of the war, out of water and fast running out of ammunition, was engaged in one of the fiercest battles of the Vietnam war against a relentlessly attacking, highly motivated, vastly superior force,” said U.S. Army documents supporting Crandall’s medal. The U.S. forces were up against two regiments of North Vietnamese Army infantry, “determined to overrun and annihilate them,” the documents said.

The fighting became so intense that the helicopter landing zone for delivering and resupplying troops was closed, and a unit assigned to medical evacuation duties refused to fly. Crandall volunteered for the mission and with wingman and longtime friend Maj. Ed Freeman made flight after flight over three days to deliver water, ammunition and medical supplies. They are credited with saving more than 70 wounded soldiers by flying them out to safety, and Freeman received the Medal of Honor in July 2001.

Paperwork and other parts of the process delayed Crandall’s medal until now, officials said.

Thinking back to the Vietnam battle, Crandall remembers the first day was “very long … we were in the air for 14 and a half hours.” He also thinks of how impressive and calm the unit on the ground remained, saying Moore and his commanders were “solid as rocks” throughout the fight.

And of course, Crandall says, he’s also proud of his own performance.

“I’m so proud that I didn’t screw it up,” he said.

Suspect named in Darfur War Crimes case

February 27, 2007

By Mike Corder
Associated Press

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor on Tuesday named a former Sudanese junior minister and a janjaweed militia leader as suspects in war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country’s Darfur region.

It was the first time the court has unveiled details of its investigation, which was launched in March 2005.

Ahmed Muhammed Harun is accused of helping recruit janjaweed militias responsible for murders, rapes and torture, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said.

Harun, the former junior interior minister responsible for Darfur, and a janjaweed militia leader, Ali Mohammed Ali Abd-al-Rahman, who also is known as Ali Kushayb, were suspected of a total of 51 counts of war crimes, the prosecutor said.

Harun recruited janjaweed, “with full knowledge that they, often in the course of joint attacks with the (Sudanese) armed forces, would commit crimes against humanity and war crimes against the civilian population of Darfur,” Moreno-Ocampo said in a 94-page document filed with the court’s judges.

While the prosecution document is not an indictment, it does say that there are “reasonable grounds to believe” that Harun and Kushayb “bear criminal responsibility” for the offenses including murder, rape, torture and persecution.

There was no immediate reaction from the Sudanese government to the allegations against Harun.

More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million forced from their homes in Darfur since fighting erupted in February 2003, when ethnic African tribesmen took up arms, complaining of decades of neglect and discrimination by their government.

Khartoum is accused of using the janjaweed militias of Arab nomads to retaliate, but the government denies backing or arming the janjaweed. Members of the janjaweed have told the media that they were armed by government forces.

The White House has labeled the attacks genocide.

After reviewing the prosecutor’s evidence, judges can issue arrest warrants or summonses to the suspects to appear in The Hague. If they are charged, tried and convicted, they face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment at the court, which does not have the death penalty.

However, the court has no police force and relies on other countries to carry out arrests. That could be a problem in Sudan, which has not signed the Rome Statute creating the court and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the court, which came into force in 2002.

Moreno-Ocampo’s investigators have carried out 70 missions in 17 different countries, taking statements from more than 100 victims and witnesses and collecting documents.

They have been unable to carry out investigations in Darfur itself because of the ongoing violence there.

Prosecutors on Tuesday said the offenses occurred in four villages.

The “janjaweed did not target any rebel presence within these particular towns and villages.

Rather, they attacked these towns and villages based on the rationale that the tens of thousands of civilian residents in and near these towns and villages were supporters of the rebel militia.”

The strategy, “became the justification for the mass murder, summary execution, and mass rape of civilians who were known not to be participants in any armed conflict,” prosecutors said. “Application of the strategy also called for, and achieved the forced displacement of entire villages and communities.”

The Clinton Echo Chamber: Bad for Hillary

February 27, 2007

By Lawrence Kudlow
The Washington Times
February 27, 2007

Whatever the mighty Clinton spin machine says about the Page One catfight between Hillary, Barack Obama and David Geffen,the Geffen-Obama forces put a big hurt on the presidential aspirations of the former first lady.

This brouhaha blossomed when Mr. Geffen, the left-wing media mogul, told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, “Everybody in politics lies, but [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling.” He said a lot more that was derogatory specifically about Hillary Clinton, but that’s the key statement, since Mr. Geffen is obviously referring to both Clintons. After all, it was Hillary who enabled Bill’s lies time and again. Now, America is being told — and by a former Clinton benefactor, no less — that there’s more where that came from.

Mr. Geffen’s shot across the bow, with its huge media echo chamber, reminds folks what it was like when the Clintons were in the White House. Mr. Geffen has single-handedly pried the lid off the rusty old can of Clinton lies, reminding voters of what will happen if this truth-challenged couple ever returns to the Oval Office.

Does the American electorate want to go through this all over again? Have we forgotten the lies? Go Google the simple phrase “Bill Clinton lies.” When I do so, this is what I quickly turn up (and from various sources):

• Bill Clinton lied under oath to a federal grand jury. (That’s perjury, of course, and perjury remains a felony.)

• Mr. Clinton continues to lie about his 12-year affair with Gennifer Flowers.

• Mr. Clinton still denies he sexually harassed Paula Jones. (Though he paid her $850,000 in hush money.)

• Mr. Clinton persists in dismissing the Whitewater scandal as a “land deal where I lost money” (even though a dozen of his close associates landed in jail over it).

• Mr. Clinton illegally obtained FBI files on his political opponents and lied about that, too.

• On the golf course, Mr. Clinton has an incredibly difficult time playing his ball where it lies.

According to close observers (Tiger Woods among them), Mr. Clinton exhibits questionable math when he tallies his scorecard.

• And according to The Washington Post’s reporter John Harris, Mr. Clinton was so upset about his inability to lose weight in 2000 that following his annual physical he instructed aides to release a bogus number that made him 5 pounds lighter.

David Geffen also has turned our attention back to the days of the Lincoln Bedroom scandal, when White House sleepovers were regularly offered for large political contributions. I could be wrong, but I don’t recall a single instance of this while George W. Bush has been in office. Same for George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. For that matter, I don’t recall any Lincoln Bedroom sales during the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford or Richard Nixon. Just the Bill Clinton presidency.

It is highly ironic that the very liberal Mr. Geffen has put all this front and center. It seems Mr. Geffen is still jilted by the fact President Clinton failed to pardon Leonard Peltier, an American Indian activist convicted and sent to jail for killing two FBI agents. I’m speculating here, but the “ultimate” lie may have been that Mr. Clinton promised Mr. Geffen a pardon for Peltier, reneged on the deal and instead pardoned Marc Rich, the currency manipulator and money launderer who is the husband of Clinton pal Denise Rich, who is also a suspected Clinton paramour. The trigger for Mr. Geffen’s Hillary insurrection, and the bile-filled remarks he served to Maureen Dowd, may have been lingering resentment.

Everyone is trying to call this fight. Mr. Geffen, of course, is now solidly in the Obama camp, and he’s bringing his rich Hollywood pals with him. As for Mr. Obama, his alleged sin is that he won’t reprimand Mr. Geffen, as the Hillary camp demands. As a conservative with no skin in this Democratic game, I would have to say the Geffen episode has bloodied Hillary’s nose much more than Mr. Obama’s.

Why? Because David Geffen, unwittingly or not, reminded voters of the moral impoverishment and constant chicanery of the old Clinton White House. Do voters really want to watch this low-grade C movie once more?

I’ve always believed the Clinton White House would be Hillary’s biggest problem in the future. Now, suddenly, it has been put into the campaign in startling Hollywood Technicolor.

Lawrence Kudlow is host of CNBC’s “Kudlow & Company” and is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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Leadership Ideas from The Movies: You’ll Never Guess Which One (Number Ten)

February 27, 2007

He doesn’t yell “take her down.” He says, “pull the cork!”

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 27, 2007

Cary Grant paints the portrait of the World War II Submarine Commanding Officer in the 1943 film “Destination Tokyo.”

After five war patrols with essentially the same sub and the same crew, he’s tough, experienced, and ready for more action.

In fact, when his Executive Officer tells him he is too valuable at sea to ever serve ashore, he says, “Who are we kidding? This is my last war patrol. I’ll be fighting the rest of this war from a desk.”

He relishes this last opportunity to do battle and the crew loves his competence and skill.

He tells the crew he is not much for pep talks.  He says, “Let’s really smear ’em!”

He intends to make this last patrol his all time masterpiece. When he opens his sailing orders the crew gets the first sniff if their mission: the Commanding Officer asks for the chart to Tokyo Wan!

They avoid fights on their way in: their purpose is to scout targets for Billy Mitchell’s B-25s flying off the USS Hornet in the first bombing mission upon Japan after Pearl Harbor.

They surface to pick up Lieutenant Raymond — a Japanese linguist and expert. The tension begins.

Although they shoot down two attacking sons of Nippon aircraft, a Jap bomb lodges into the superstructure. The sailor nicknamed “Slim” has to squirm up to it, and under the Captain’s tight control, disarm the weapon.

At one point, Cary Grant gives us all a rest when he says, “Take a break, son. You’re doing fine!”Bomb disabled: the mission begins.

Sneaking into Tokyo Wan beneath a Nip cruiser, bypassing mines and the anti-submarine net; avoiding surface ships.

They covertly stretch out on the bottom but tension chases them even there. A sailor needs an emergency appendectomy and the Captain tells the shaky Pharmacists Mate he has to operate: “You have a book haven’t you?”

Two themes pop up again and again in this movie: the importance of going for it without experience using written texts as guides and the importance of prayer.

Neither theme would likely resonate from Hollywood today.

When “Pills” the Pharmacists Mate gets ready to operate his patient starts his prayer with “God Bless Mom and Dad.” Then it is “The Lord’s Prayer.” “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

The last words he utters before the Captain’s supervised anesthetic kicks in: “Thy will be done.”

Almost two hours later, after successful surgery, as he comes out of the anesthetic, he is finishing the Lord’s Prayer!

This film is about men performing at sea in war.  And not just adequately: Superbly!  How they do it has a lot to do with the leadership of their Commanding Officer.

The key to the mission is to put Lt. Raymond and two sailors ashore in wartime Japan.  I could smell the salt air!

Cary Grant gives us the role model for Commanding Officers’ at sea. He’s knowledgeable, competent, fair, modulated and tough.

Do yourself a favor: rent or Tvo “Destination Tokyo” and watch Grant become a Commander at sea.

This is a timeless snapshot of men at sea and men at war.

This film ends with a narrator telling the submarine crews the world over: “Good Luck and Good Hunting!”
*******************

A few of the great lines:

Chief Petty Officer when the sub springs a leak during depth charging: “Shoot me a tool box.”

To “Wolf,” the woman chasing guy who is cool under fire: “The Captain wants you in his stateroom on the double.”  Wolf obviously gulps at this news!

C.O. to “Wolf,” “I’ve been watching you and you don’t scare easy….”

As the sub sneaks into Tokyo Wan: “You may all join me in a silent prayer…”

“We’ll finish the job with a sting from our tail…”

C.O. to “Wolf,” “I am giving you the opportunity to volunteer for shore leave….”

Pharmacists Mate to Captain in mid diagnosis:  “If it is what I think it is I am afraid to find out.”

 As they return home: “Won’t be such a long time between beers now, Captain!”
************************

I was fortunate enough to meet one of the real Superstar U.S. World War II sub skippers: Lawson P. “Red” Ramage.  His Medal of Honor Citation reads as follows:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk    of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Parche in a predawn attack on a Japanese convoy, 31 July 1944. Boldly penetrating the screen of a heavily escorted convoy, CDR Ramage launched a perilous surface attack by delivering a crippling stern shot into a freighter and quickly following up with a series of bow and stern torpedoes to sink the leading tanker and damage the second one. Exposed by the light of bursting flares and bravely defiant of terrific shellfire passing close overhead, he struck again, sinking a transport by two forward reloads. In the mounting fury of fire from the damaged and sinking tanker, he calmly ordered his men below, remaining on the bridge to fight it out with an enemy now disorganized and confused. Swift to act as a fast transport closed in to ram, CDR Ramage daringly swung the stern of the speeding Parche as she crossed the bow of the onrushing ship, clearing by less than 50 feet but placing his submarine in a deadly crossfire from escorts on all sides and with the transport dead ahead. Undaunted, he sent 3 smashing “down the throat” bow shots to stop the target, then scored a killing hit as a climax to 46 minutes of violent action  with the Parche and her valiant fighting company retiring victorious and unscathed.

 

Cheney makes surprise visit to Pakistan

February 26, 2007

By MUNIR AHMAD
Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise visit to Pakistan Monday for talks with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf on efforts to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan, an official said.

Cheney arrived on Monday morning and went straight to Musharraf’s office in Rawalpindi, just south of the capital Islamabad, for talks on bilateral and international issues, a senior official in the president’s office said on condition of anonymity because he is not an official spokesman.
It was unclear if Cheney joined the same talks held Monday between Musharraf and visiting British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.

Cheney praised Pakistan’s contribution in the war against terrorism but he also communicated his “apprehensions” about the possibility that the Taliban is regrouping in Afghanistan to launch a spring offensive against coalition forces there, the official said.

Musharraf reiterated Pakistan’s “firm” resolve in the war against terrorism and said that Pakistan, Afghanistan and the coalition forces must ensure close coordination to jointly tackle any such possible attacks, the official said.

The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reported Monday that President Bush has decided to send a tough message to Musharraf, warning him that the Democrat-controlled Congress may cut off funding to Pakistan unless it gets more aggressive in hunting down al-Qaida and Taliban operatives in its country.

The Times report did not mention Cheney’s visit to Pakistan and it was not known if the vice president conveyed such a message to Musharraf.

But unnamed senior administration officials told the newspaper that Bush decided to take a tougher line with Pakistan after concluding that Musharraf is failing to follow through on commitments to maintain the hunt for militants that he made during a September visit to Washington.

U.S. officials want to see Musharraf do more against suspected Taliban and al-Qaida hideouts in Pakistan’s remote border regions and to prevent them from mounting cross-border attacks.

Cheney was in Oman on Sunday after leaving Australia, where he had spent three days on a tour to thank the government for contributing troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. He had earlier visited Japan and Guam.