Month: June 2016

Dropping the atomic bomb was merciful, not merciless

Many feared that President Barrack Obama’s recent speech in Hiroshima would descend into just another stop on his worldwide “Apology Tour” of imagined grievances and revised histories. Thankfully, our president stopped short of saying he was sorry for his predecessor’s decision to drop the atomic bombs on Japan and thus putting an end to World War II. But true to form, he did color the remarks with the left’s usual themes of moral equivalencies, multiculturalism, and self-loathing. We were all just bad nations doing bad things, the speech seemed to imply, and dropping the bomb was probably the worst of it all. In fairness, some on the left still criticized Obama for not offering a full throated apology. “War crimes leave wounds,” wrote University of Norte Dame professor Daniel Philpott in the New York Daily News, attempting to lay the moral foundation for a presidential apology. “When a nation’s government places its patriotism and its policy behind a gravely immoral deed and continues to justify this deed, it invites both its citizens and future governments to commit further grave wrongs.” A gravely immoral deed? Tell that to those who were spared from the then-inevitable invasion of Japan, which estimates showed would have cost the lives of nearly a million Allied troops along with 10 million Japanese, who were all training to defend their god-emperor to the last man, woman, and child. So what’s worse? Dropping the bombs and ending the war quickly and decisively, or allowing the battles to drag…

Lifting embargo on Cuba betrays our values

Some of my state’s leaders recently claimed in an AL.com opinion piece that trading with the Castro brothers would be a “win-win-win” for Alabama, the United States, and even Cuba. Truth is, it’d be a shame, shame, shame for us to profit from the continued captivity of that island nation’s long-enslaved people. Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, one of the article’s four co-authors, believes our nation’s embargo on Cuba is an “isolationist policy” that is “infringing on Alabamians’ right to choose with whom they can and can’t do business with.” Normally, the mayor would have a point. Free markets are a tenet of conservatism, but there’s nothing free about trading with a criminal government that enslaves its people, especially if that trade only enriches the slaveholders. Make no mistake, any dollars flowing in-or-out of Cuba must first flow through the hands of Fidel and Raul Castro. That’s how they’ve managed to become shadow billionaires while keeping a tight lid on their communist pressure cooker for more than 55 years. Another of the article’s co-authors, State Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, would have us believe that the embargo has “negatively impacted the Cuban people.” Typical. Blame America for another nation’s self-inflicted wounds. Still, normally she might have a point. Free trade usually rewards hard-working people, but trading with the hard-working Cuban people’s slave masters would create the most negative impact of all. For those who think my use of that word -- “slave” -- is too harsh, or perhaps hyperbole, I ask you:…

America’s heroes are born, not made

Near the end of the Korean War novel “The Bridges of Toko-Ri,” an American military commander is mourning the death of some of his best men, but also remembering their strength, their courage, and the devotion they shared for one another. Staring alone out at the morning sea, he reflects on how fortunate our nation is to have had such heroes, and then asks, “… where did we get such men?” I asked that same question many times while researching and writing the book, “American Warfighter: Brotherhood, Survival, and Uncommon Valor in Iraq, 2003-2011.” It tells the war’s story through the experiences of 10 men who, for their actions in combat, were awarded two Distinguished Service Crosses, two Navy Crosses, five Silver Stars, and three other prestigious awards for valor. After each interview I found myself asking ... where did we get such men? Where did we get the kind of medic who’d leave the safety of his armored vehicle to shoot his way through an ambush, killing several insurgents before pulling three soldiers from a burning tank? Where did we get the former cook who singlehandedly killed six Al Qaeda fighters in close quarters combat, the last going down in a blazing face-to-face shootout? Where did we get the Marine who ran into an open ambush in Fallujah not once, not twice, but three times so he could carry his wounded comrades to safety? In an era when the term is perhaps too loosely applied, these individuals epitomize the…

Alabama should refuse to house illegal aliens

So now that the president’s halfhearted attempt at border enforcement and wholehearted welcome of illegal alien minors has created another summertime crisis, federal bureaucrats are considering housing thousands of them at a camp in coastal Alabama. “I don’t want to be rude ... you’re not welcome,” said Baldwin County Commissioner Chris Elliot during a teleconference earlier this week with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the bureaucratic fiefdom that’s assessing whether old military airfields near Silverhill and Orange Beach could be used for the camps. None of us wishes to be rude about it, but the federal government created this mess and its only solution seems to be to make it easier, more comfortable, and ultimately more successful for people to enter our nation illegally. Now they want to toss their problem at our doorstep. If the federal government needs to unload its problem somewhere, perhaps it ought to start with one of those “sanctuary cities” like San Francisco or Seattle. Tell them to put their money – and their communities, their homes, and their families – where their mouths are, instead of forcing the rest of us to deal with their blunders. “We evaluate where there is space available,” said Andrea Helling, a spokeswoman with HHS. “We have an operational and legal responsibility to take care of these children. We are looking at all of our options to make the best use of taxpayer dollars.” No, the taxpayers don’t have a responsibility to take care of these…

#ProbablyNeverTrump but #DefinitelyAlwaysSessions

Donald Trump isn’t a conservative. He doesn’t have a strong belief in limited government, individual rights, or the free market. Quite the contrary, in some respects, and this is well established and beyond reasonable argument. So how could a conservative like me ever vote for him? Simple. By not voting for him. Trump said last week that Senator Jeff Sessions is “certainly someone I would consider” for vice president, and that the Alabamian was a “fantastic person” and is “absolutely” on his short list of prospective running mates. For his part, Sessions said that he “would have no objection to serving in a Trump administration ... because I think it could be a historically positive administration.” This is music to my otherwise Trump-tortured ears. Sessions is everything Trump isn’t: someone who understands and believes conservative principles. Sessions has faithfully defended conservatism against attack and has tirelessly advocated for its advancement. He’s humble yet bold, courteous yet steadfast, and he’s selfless, wise, and honest to the core. He’s not only the most decent politician I know, he’s one of the most decent men I know, period. But it’s true that when Sessions introduced Trump at a massive stadium rally in my boyhood home of Mobile earlier this year, I felt nervous about his association with a man who didn’t appear to understand conservatism at all. And when Sessions later endorsed Trump at another stadium rally near my home in Huntsville, I felt heartsick about his embrace of someone who I then…