Goes for our language, patriotism and political views too!
Good morning readers, as you were, slurp it if its scalding hot but lets settle down as we’re a very full issue today with some very important information you’ll be wanting to be sure you have time to read.
As some of you might have heard Indiana got hammered pretty hard on Monday with severe T-storms and tornado activity. I’m very happy to be able to say that Impish and family came through this relatively unscathed, with just a very near miss. Here are a few words by our fearful leader:
As some of you may have seen on TV, there were tornadoes and nasty storms that came through our area tonight. All of us are fine, although our house didn’t fare so well attached are 4 pictures of the tree sized branch that smacked our garage.
So, how was your day?
Here is the clearest picture that Impish sent me . Understandably all the photos were a little blurry owing to their being taken with a cell phone and Impish probably shaking a little while he took them.
Today (Tuesday) will be my turn in the barrel for pretty much the same treatment as Impish, violent T-storms, high winds heavy down pours and possible tornado activity. As of 8 Am here they were already posting warning for the front which is not expected to arrive until the start of the afternoon commute (Unwritten weather rule in Texas…if its bad weather and impairs your ability to travel it MUST ABSOLUTELY start during the morning or afternoon commute and last ONLY as long as peak commuting time) According to the weather guessers this is all a good thing as we are likely to pick up as much as one half to one inch of much needed rain from this front as it beats the hell out of us. Only thing scaring me is the trees that would endanger my place are about 3 or 4 times the size of those that got Impish!
Lastly on an administrative note, so as not to dash any expectations, I will warn you all ahead of time that Impish and I agreed there was no need for a special issue for Thanksgiving. Most of you will be too involved in making or eating mass quantities of food, traveling to get to said food or hosting a hoard of guests bent on eating all of your food. Then there is the whole football all afternoon before repeating the gorging. This doesn’t leave much time for reading a special issue.
I will be traveling for the holiday and ending up in an extremely rural area where my only Internet access will be at the hotel early in the morning or very late at night. Also it would be my 4th Special issue in 4 months with a probable Christmas Special Issue that would make 5 in 5 months. Given each takes about a week to assemble and tweak that’s WAY too much extra work right now.
I will be including some Thanksgiving recipes this week and next however. This week we’ll look at recipes for the big day, next week we’ll cover some options for creatively dealing with any leftovers.
That concludes our opening remarks briefing now get back to your Leprechaun Laughs reading there is a LOT of it today
TAPS provides ongoing emotional help, hope, and healing to all who are grieving the death of a loved one in military service to America, regardless of relationship to the deceased, geography, or circumstance of the death.
Founded out of tragedy in 1994, TAPS has grown and established itself as the front line resource to families and loved ones of our military men and women. TAPS meets its mission by providing peer-based support, crisis care, casualty casework assistance, and grief and trauma resources. http://www.taps.org/
Get their coffee and still help them out here: http://www.greenbeanscoffee.com/store/index.php?p=product&id=41&parent=1
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!” – Samuel Adams
Why is there never something THIS frightening around for the Halloween issue?
Lethal here- (big surprise right?)
Actually we have two announcements today. I’m not 100% sure they exactly qualify as PSAs but I wasn’t in the mood to mess around with a new header for this sort of thing just yet. Besides I wasn’t sure what else to call it to insure it got read.
First, You’re probably used to scrolling right past it but at the top of the blog page right below the permanent header there is a black strips with some white lettering in it. A few really observant of you might have noticed that area appears different today. That’s because there was a slight change and some additions to one of the areas linked to from there. The section that used to be called “WAYS TO HELP TANGIBLY SUPPORT OUR TROOPS” is now labeled “WAYS TO HELP TANGIBLY SUPPORT OUR TROOPS AND THEIR FAMLIES”.
See I recently realized that we here at DragonLaffs had been somewhat remiss in our support of our troops. We were constantly harping on support of the troops, but ONLY the troops. Any service person will tell you their family also sacrifices and endures hardships when they deploy. For some families that suffering unfortunately does not end when their family member comes home. That’s because the notification that there loved one is coming home is generally done in person by a 3 man team and the uttering of the words everyone with a loved one in the military prays to never have to hear :
‘The secretary of defense regrets to inform you your (loved one), was killed.’
To this end I have added 2 new entries to the page after renaming it to remind us that the sacrifices are not only made by the troops but by their entire families.
Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen are deployed across the globe, going in harm’s way to preserve and protect our freedom. Our military families make heavy sacrifices, particularly as a result of the prolonged war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the continued war on terror. The military men and women serving our nation face personal and financial hardships. Family budgets are strained and those who remain at home face a mounting workload at a time when our economy is unstable and unemployment remains high. The large activation of reserve and National Guard personnel has further strained the resources required to take care of our troops and their families.
The four military aid organizations – Air Force Aid Society, Army Emergency Relief, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance and Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society – have come together to address these escalating needs by creating the Armed Forces Relief Trust – a non-profit fund that makes it easier for donors to make a single charitable contribution that supports all branches of our Armed Forces and their families.
The mission of the Armed Forces Relief Trust is to assist the military aid organizations by providing a single vehicle to accept contributions that benefit the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families. These valuable funds enable family members to be at the bedside of an injured service member undergoing treatment at National Naval Medical Center Bethesda, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, or other military medical treatment facilities; enable a soldier to fly home for his father’s funeral; provide support for medical costs associated with an airman’s expectant spouse, and more.
The American Widow Project
The American Widow Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to the new generation of those who have lost the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, with an emphasis on healing through sharing stories, tears and laughter. Military Widow to Military Widow.
Since 2001, over 6,200 U.S. service members have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Around half of these service members were married, leaving an estimated 3,000 military widows across our country. While the service member’s sacrifice is acknowledged, many simply forget or fail to recognize the sacrifice of the spouse who is now left a widow of war. Oftentimes the invisible wounds of military widows are disregarded due to age or a simple lack of knowledge and understanding.
Secondly in our Tenth Anniversary of the Sept 11th Attacks we offered a commemorative limited edition DragonLaffs mug. We pledged that fifty percent of the proceeds from the mugs would be donated to a Sept 11th charity and asked that you readers suggest one or we would use the one we had selected which aided the still suffering First Responders to the WTC.
Well we finally received the royalties for the somewhat disappointing sales of the mug as of Friday 11-11-2011. We had hoped to donate in the name of our over five hundred plus readers a minimum of One Hundred Dollars. Unfortunately we only sold 24 mugs and THAT was largely due to one individual who purchased an entire dozen themselves! To that person and all those others on behalf of Impish and myself I offer our sincere thanks for their support of this worthy endeavor.
The net profit on 24 mugs was $103.00. We had pledged to donate half the proceeds of the sale but given the relatively poor sales after microseconds of consultation between us Impish and I, we elected to donate the entire proceeds to The FealGood Foundation in the name of DragonLaffs readership.
As you are reading this, it has already been accomplished via the PayPal account we maintain for DragonLaffs finances as per the charity’s preference. We were waiting to hear back per instructions before transmitting the funds as of Saturday. I imagine Impish will be posting any correspondence between himself and the charity in his next issue.
There is finally conclusive evidence that Osama bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi are dead:
Yesterday, they both registered to vote in Chicago.
I just hope they both registered as Democrats!
A Child’s First Book of Government Regulations
The Obama Administration’s Official Alphabet Guide for Learning Government’s Role in Your Life
Hi, I’m Omar, the Obama administration’s official kid’s ambassador. Today I’ll be guiding you through some of the many necessary regulations that government imposes on us for our protection — and we’ll learn the alphabet at the same time!
E is for electricity. Americans must expect to do without electricity from time to time, because we use so much of the world’s resources. That is why American coal, nuclear, gas and other sources of energy must be restricted.
M is for MRI machine. Overrated tests and diagnostics aren’t always needed for seniors, based upon the government’s “Complete Lives System“, which ensures fair and equitable treatment for most healthy Americans.
P is for prescription drugs. For safety reasons, government must put drug manufacturers through decades of testing and regulatory hoops even if certain patients could use experimental drugs. These dying patients could actually die if they’re exposed to drugs that aren’t ready for the market!
R is for the rich. At some point, they’ve made enough money. Those who have grown too wealthy on the backs of the workers should have their excess riches confiscated for redistribution.
S is for shower-head. Unrestricted flow wastes water, which is why government must regulate how all shower-heads work.
Feel stuck in a rut with all those traditional pies for Thanksgiving? Well here is a fall dessert that’s definitely NOT in a rut!
Pear Upside-Down Cake
total time 55 min
prep 20 min
servings 16 servings
What You Need
3 fresh pears (1 lb.), peeled
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1-1/4 cups water
1/4 cup oil
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
HEAT oven to 350ºF.
CUT pears lengthwise in half; remove cores, then cut pears lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange on bottom of 13×9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Mix sugar and spice; sprinkle over pears. Top with berries.
BEAT next 5 ingredients with mixer until well blended; pour over ingredients in pan.
BAKE 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Cool 10 min. Run knife around edges of pan to loosen cake. Place large platter over cake; invert cake onto platter. Gently remove pan. Cool cake slightly. Serve topped with COOL WHIP.
Stir additional 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice into COOL WHIP before serving over cake.
If you don’t have a large platter, invert cake onto baking sheet instead.
Cake can be made ahead of time. Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.
nutritional information per serving:
Vitamin C 0 %DV Calcium 6 %DV Iron 6 %DV
For those of you who really don’t like turkey all that much ( or worse yet have to suffer through over cooked dried out turkey year after year), those of you who really go to Thanksgiving just for the desserts and you few who are not afraid of dying happy in a diabetic coma this next one is for you:
Chocolate Caramel Banana Upside-Down Cake
1 stick butter
3/4 c light brown sugar
3 ripe bananas, cut into 1/4-inch slices
(I thought the caramel was a little too much. I would use 3/4 stick butter, 1/2 c brown sugar next time)
3/4 c plus 2 T unbleached all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur flour)
6 T (1/4 c plus 2T) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs (room temp)
2 t vanilla
2/3 c buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a 9″ x 2″ cake pan.
2. Topping: Heat butter over medium heat until melted and foamy. Whisk in brown sugar, turn heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, for two minutes or until the mixture is thick. Spread on the bottom of the 9″ cake pan.
3. Arrange the bananas in a circle on top of the sugar mixture. Set aside.
4. Sift together flour, cocoa, soda and salt.
5. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy (I used my KitchenAid mixer on medium for 3 minutes). Scrape down sides of bowl.
6. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
7. Stir in vanilla.
8. On low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk (3 flour and 2 milk additions).
9. Scrape down the sides and then beat batter on high for 30 seconds.
10. Pour batter over the bananas and smooth out.
11. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let sit on wire rack for 5 minutes. Then carefully invert onto your serving tray. Let sit at least 20 minutes before diving in. The author says it keeps for 2 days in a cake keeper at room temp.
Its Thanksgiving, don’t worry about having to keep this for two whole days…you won’t.
Now in a more “traditional” vein
Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Muffin
Adapted from Very Culinary Blog who adapted it from Betty Crocker
In large bowl, mix together:
2 c all purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t salt
Combine the following in a small bowl. Then quickly fold into dry mixture with a spatula until just moistened. Do not over mix!!!
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 c canola or vegetable oil
1 c dried cranberries
1/2 c chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
Scoop into muffin tray greased with cooking spray or lined with muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop). Top with sanding sugar or sugar in the raw (turbinado). Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
OK having addressed the dessert issue fairly well, lets move on to Breakfast. Those pesky overnight guests either the night before or Thanksgiving night will expect breakfast when they awake ( you think they’d take YOU out for breakfast even at McDonalds but NOOOO!) You one can be made a head of time to take the pressure off. Leftovers? Surely you jest! Slap some Cool Whip on it and serve it for dessert!
Gingery Pumpkin Breakfast Bundt
3 1/3 cups (18 ounces, 492 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I used kosher salt)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 2/3 cups (15.5 ounces, 450 grams) dark brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs, room temp
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
2/3 cup water, room temp
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 Tablespoon freshly grated fresh ginger
2/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
2/3 cup golden raisins (I used regular raisins)
2 cups powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk
Oven: Preheat to 350 degrees.
Pan: 12-cup Bundt pan. Spray with Pam with Flour or Baker’s Joy, or butter and flour pan generously.
1. Dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. Cream & Combine: Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the brown sugar, eggs, and melted butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the water. Add the pumpkin and ginger and beat until smooth.
3. Combine dry & wet: Using slow speed on mixer, add 1/2 the flour mixture until just combined. Scrape down the bowl. Add the rest of he flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Don’t over mix batter.
4. Fold: With a spatula, gently fold in the walnuts and raisins.
5. Bundt Pan: Spoon batter into the prepared Bundt pan and smooth out the top.
6. Bake: Place pan in the oven (never put a Bundt pan on a tray – air needs to circulate through the hole in the center of the Bundt pan). Bake until a skewer inserted comes out clean and the cake springs back lightly when touched. The recipe says 80 to 90 minutes, but mine was done at 70 minutes so be sure to check early.
7. Cooling : Place Bundt on a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Invert and let cool on a wire rack.
8. Glaze: (This wasn’t part of the original recipe and just something I threw on the cake to jazz it up). Mix together powdered sugar and enough milk to get a pourable glaze until smooth, and pour over fully cooled cake.
Impish complained to me that wife told him: “I need you like the desert needs the rain… once, maybe twice a year, for no more than twenty minutes.”
WHY do I suspect that the first one is how Obama sings it and as far as the second one…THE HELL I DO!!!
A Great Online Collection of Audiobooks, Videos, Textbooks, Courses And More
Have you ever thought that the internet lacks, well, a degree of culture? That there’s too much content that is irrelevant, superfluous, wrong, or pointless? Would you like a portal site that points you to lots more interesting, educational resources?
If so, then check out Open Culture, at www.openculture.com. It comprises links to lots of free courses, books, audio books, language learning courses, videos, textbooks, and loads more besides.
Access to the site, and to almost all of the content, is free. Though there are some optional extras, which cost money, such as the ability to print out chapters from certain books (you can still read them on screen for free, and copy the text to your clipboard).
I stopped by the Chevrolet Dealership yesterday, for a look at the new Silverado1500 pickup. Just for fun, I took it out for a test drive.. I wanted to sense that new “feel” before they become extinct.
The salesman (a black man wearing an Obama “change” lapel pin) sat in the passenger seat describing the truck and all its “wonderful” options. The seats were of particular interest. He explained that the seats directed warm air to your butt in the winter and directed cool air to your butt in the summer heat.
Feeling like messing with him, I mentioned that this must be a Republican truck.
Looking a bit angry, he asked why I thought it was a Republican truck. I explained that if it were an Obama truck, the seats would blow smoke up your ass year-round.
I had to walk back to the dealership…damn guy had no sense of humor
A frequent subject of debate among Theologians and an even more frequent test question in Divinity Schools and Seminaries is ‘Who was Jesus’?’. I’d like to share with you some of my conclusions after over 25 years of reading about religions but still failing to arrive at any hard answer to the question.
Who Was Jesus?? – EVEN GOD ENJOYS A GOOD LAUGH!
There were 3 good arguments that Jesus was Black:
1. He called everyone brother
2. He liked Gospel
3. He didn’t get a fair trial (had a public defender who didn’t want the case and got the maximum sentence too!)
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Jewish:
1. He went into His Father’s business
2. He lived at home until he was 33
3. He was sure his Mother was a virgin and his Mother was sure He was God
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Italian:
1. He talked with His hands
2. He had wine with His meals
3. He used olive oil
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was a Californian:
1. He never cut His hair
2. He walked around barefoot all the time
3. He started a new religion
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was an American Indian:
1. He was at peace with nature
2. He ate a lot of fish
3. He talked about the Great Spirit
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Irish:
1. He never got married.
2. He was always telling stories.
3. He loved green pastures.
But the most compelling evidence of all – 3 proofs that Jesus was a woman:
1. He fed a crowd at a moment’s notice when there was virtually no food
2. He kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of men who just didn’t get it
3. And even when He was dead, He had to get up because there was still work to do.
Check out Wyman Meinzer’s West Texas
Wyman is a Texas Photographer of some renown known for his scenic photos. Check out some of his work here.
General Electric is planning to move its 115-year-old X-ray division from Waukesha, Wis., to Beijing. In addition to moving the headquarters, the company will invest $2 billion in China and train more than 65 engineers and create six research centers.
This is the same GE that made $5.1 billion in the United States last year. but paid no taxes-the same company that employs more people overseas than it does in the united States.
So let me get this straight. President Obama appointed GE Chairman Jeff Immelt to head his commission on job creation (job czar). Jeff Immelt is supposed to help create jobs.
I guess the President forgot to tell him in which country he was supposed to be creating those jobs.
If this doesn’t show you the total lack of leadership of this President, I don’t know what does.
Please pass this information to others and think about it before you buy a GE product.
Please pass this information to your friends and think about it when you decide to buy a GE product
You remember good old GE? The company that shirked ALL tax responsibility in 2010 and got off paying NOTHING? This is a great time to pay them back and return the deed!
Sears – Christmas shopping this year.
I know I needed this reminder, since Sears isn’t always my first choice. It’s amazing when you think of how long the war has lasted and Sears hasn’t withdrawn from their commitment. Could we each buy at least one thing at Sears this year?
How does Sears treat its employees who are called up for military duty? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up for active duty.
Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years.
I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. I suggest we all shop at Sears at least once, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement & feedback it well deserves.
Pass it on.
I decided to check this before I sent it forward. So I sent the following e-mail to the Sears Customer Service Department:
I received this e-mail and I would like to know if it is true. If it is, the internet may have just become one very good source of advertisement for your company. I know I would go out of my way to buy products from Sears instead of another store for a like item, even if it’s cheaper at that store.
This is their answer to my e-mail:
Thank you for contacting Sears. The information is factual. We appreciate your positive feedback.
Sears regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our young men and women can make. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear at this time.
Please pass this on to all your friends. Sears needs to be recognized for this outstanding contribution and we need to show them as Americans, we do appreciate what they are doing for our military!
It’s verified! By Snopes.com <http://snopes.com/>; at: http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/sears.asp
Sears Holdings Heroes at Home Program
Well we’re a short week and a day away from Thanksgiving and you know what Thanksgiving signifies right? Yup its stopped being about being thankful for ones blessings and become the opening bell to the most heavily commercialized event of the year. I’m talking the Season of Spending until it hurts come January 3rd when the bills arrive (which then marks the start of suicide season) and leads up to Christmas.
The starting gate for those of you who still insist on doing it the hard and old fashion way is 6AM the morning after the Day of Gorging and Football, or as those in the business of taking your money call it “Black Friday”. This is followed by 2 days or relative sanity (and credit/debit card recharging) before Cyber Monday which is the equivalent of Black Friday for those of us loathe to go anyplace near a retail store during The Christmas Buying Insanity Season.
To help you plan your assault on all those sales here’s a little Intel from the Leprechaun a week early and DON’T FORGET Impish and I like nice presents too! We’re very fond of gift cards and donations especially!
Black Friday 2011 Deals! Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and Target!
by Jim Brogan
Black Friday 2011: Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy & Target et al. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are always one of the biggest shopping days of the year, 2011 will be no different.
For people who abhor the holiday crowds, online shopping can be a refuge for its speed and convenience. In this season’s tough economy, experts expect online consumers to be increasingly reluctant to pay for shipping, and more proactive about asking for discounts, incentives and coupons.
You can find out nearly every store’s 2011 Black Friday deals at blackfriday.info. Black Friday deals are plentiful so be sure to score the best bargains by doing your research.
You can check also:
ShopLocal.com claims to be the Web’s leading multi-channel comparison shopping site, providing consumers with choice and control in their shopping experience by presenting millions of timely
online and in-store offers on one easy to use site. It features offers from some of the nation’s largest retailers, including Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, CVS, Albertsons and Sears, broken down by category and location.
PriceSpider.com: The advantage of PriceSpider.com is its active search engine technology that continuously scans for pricing and product information. PriceSpider.com compares prices at online and brick-and-mortar stores and even factors in shipping. The site also provides consumers the ability to receive price change alerts via email, view up to six months of price history in order to monitor pricing trends and check sale prices against true average prices, and view aggregated product reviews.
Freeshipping.org: Here you can search for free shipping codes by store, category, expiration date and alphabetical order.
DealAlerter.com: At this site you can set price alerts for items you wish to purchase. E-mails alerts arrive when the price drops below the limit you specify.
Retailmenot.com: Find discount codes for thousands of retailers by entering the store name or browsing popular coupons.
Shipgooder.com: It is here where you can find the most cost-effective
way to ship a gift by typing in the package weight and the ZIP code for your recipient and yourself. The site then compares rates from FedEx, DHL, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service.
Cashbaq.com, Extrabux.com and eBates.com: At these sites you can get automatic cash rebates when you register and shop through links on each site. Compare rebates, which range from 1-30 percent, before you shop.
Sears Automotive & Electronics Black Friday 2011 Ad Flyer <<= remember Sears and their support of our Soldiers!
Today we have an excellent Parting Shot sent in by Reader Paul Bader in the form of a discussion by Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a retired Army lieutenant colonel, serves on the Armed Services Committee concerning why we are not having better results in the “War on Terror” which he points out is badly named and I agree. That’s not the only point of Representative West’s with which I agree. Unfortunately I did not receive it in time for the Veterans Day Issue.
Once again, Rep. Allen West hits the nail on the head
Rep. West was the keynote speaker at this year’s sold-out ACT! for America National Conference and Legislative Briefing.
With Veterans Day tomorrow, we considered it most appropriate to bring you a recent column by the highly decorated retired Army Lt. Colonel, and now U.S. Rep. Allen West. In his op-ed that appeared in Roll Call (highlights added), U.S. Rep. West explains, cogently and concisely, what we must do to win today’s battle against what he terms “Islamic totalitarianism.”
West: U.S. Must Understand 21st-Century Combat
By Rep. Allen West
Today’s paradigm of battle and combat operations is completely different from what I experienced in 1982 when I was commissioned as a young lieutenant in the U.S. Army. At that time, the battlefield was much simpler.
In broad strokes, there was the Soviet Union on one side and the United States on the other. We were familiar with their tactics and equipment, and they with ours. Both sides wore uniforms, and every now and then we would stage war games on border control missions.
That paradigm has completely disappeared, leaving in its place an asymmetrical battlefield with non-uniformed, non-state belligerents using unconventional weapons and tactics. If the United States is going to be successful in protecting its citizens and interests, it must quickly understand and adapt to this new battlefield and be prepared for success and victory.
While America may lack an appropriate strategic level perspective, we will never lose at the tactical level on the ground because the United States has the best soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen the world has ever known. But without the correct strategic and operational goals and objectives, we will find ourselves on the proverbial hamster wheel. No matter how much effort we exert on the wheel, we will not make forward progress.
To begin with, we must correctly identify our enemy. It is frankly naive to say we are at war with “terror” because a nation cannot be at war with a tactic. Imagine, if during World War II, the United States went to war against the “blitzkrieg” or the “kamikaze.”
Further, we cannot narrowly define the enemy as simply al-Qaida or the Taliban. It is just as ridiculous to say we declared war against the 12th German Panzer Division or the 55th Japanese Infantry Regiment in World War II or the 7th Guards Tank Division during the Cold War.
Before the rise of al-Qaida, the terrorist group which had inflicted the most damage on the United States was Hezbollah. Now Hezbollah has become a very capable military force, albeit one without state or uniform — so capable in fact, it has armed missiles within striking distance of every city in Israel.
The Obama administration has failed to identify Hezbollah as an enemy. On this 21st century battlefield we are not fighting against a single organization, leader or nation. We are fighting against the ideology of Islamic totalitarianism, manifested at a tactical level as terrorism, which knows no country and recognizes no borders.
Until we, as a nation, are able to correctly and openly identify our enemy, we will continue to put our men and women on the ground in harm’s way without a clear mission for success. Once we have identified the enemy, we must ensure we have clearly identified the specific strategic level objectives to effectively fight. I believe there are four:
1. Deny the enemy sanctuary. The number one asset our military has is strategic mobility. When that is curtailed by a focus on nation-building or occupation-style warfare, we eliminate our primary advantage, and worse, our military forces become targets. Because this enemy has no respect for borders or boundaries, we must be willing to take the fight directly to him.
2. Cut off the enemy’s flow of men, material and resources. We have to interdict the enemy’s flow of resources in order to prevent the ability to fund, supply and replenish his ranks.
3. Win the information war. Unfortunately, the enemy is far more adept at exploiting the power of the Internet, broadcast media and dissemination of powerful imagery. In addition, I fear our media now sees itself as an ideological political wing. If we cannot fully use our own national informational power as an asset, we will lose the strategic battle, if not our country.
4. Cordon off the enemy and reduce his sphere of influence. We must shrink the enemy’s territory, but we are not being effective. We are allowing, if not welcoming, the enemy into the United States. What happened with Maj. Nidal Hasan, the alleged Fort Hood shooter, should not have happened in this country. We must not turn a blind eye to a very bold enemy who is telling us exactly what he wants to do and is willing to bring the battle to our doorstep.
We must recognize that Afghanistan and Iraq are not distinct wars, but combat theaters of operation. It is up to our elected leaders and our senior military officials to identify and agree on the correct strategic goals and objectives in order to be successful on these battlefields and others. When we have a proper national security strategy, we will have a focused national military strategy, preparing the defense-industrial base to develop the right weapons systems for victory.
We must be mindful of the wise words compiled by Sun Tzu in “The Art of War” more than 25 centuries ago, “to know your enemy and to know yourself and to know the environment and countless amounts of battles, you will always be victorious.” If we do not understand this simple maxim, we face dark days ahead.
For the sake of our nation, and of all nations who seek freedom for their citizens, we must clearly identify the 21st century battlefield and ensure we are victorious on it.
Rep. Allen West
(R-Fla.), a retired Army lieutenant colonel, serves on the Armed Services Committee.
Now why couldn’t THIS have been the freshman Black Congressman running for the Presidency instead of the Obamanation in 2008?
Better yet why aren’t Republicans putting him up for consideration as their Candidate instead of the host of buffoons currently staring in the Monkey House Debates?