February 3, 2006
In preparation for the relase of the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review this afternoon, Donald Rumsfeld emphasized to the National Press Club the long-term nature of the war against Islamic terrorism. Coming to grips with this drawn-out conflict means rethinking how our armed forces are organized and equipped. Not surprisingly, the Pentagon has responded to intense political pressure from the states, and has partly backed down from a plan to cut back the National Guard. The authorized manpower will remain at 350,000, but they will still cut the number of combat brigades from 34 to 28. [It is expected that there will be less reliance upon the Guard for patrol duty in Iraq.] See Washington Post.
After some anxious debate, the Netherlands has decided to send a force of 1,700 troops to aid in stabilizing Afghanistan. See Washington Post. The Netherlands has a strong reputation as being the most liberal and open society in Europe, tolerating all sorts of vices. Recent acts of intimidation by the Muslim immigrant community toward the Dutch natives have galvanized a long-dormant sense of self-preservation, however, which may explain their increased willingness to join with other Western countries in turning back the tide of Islamofascism. It was nearly four years ago that the Dutch political leader Pim Fortune, one of the first to speak out on the growing immigration crisis, was assassinated by a left-wing animal rights activist; my very first blog post dealt with that.
Cartoonist Tom Toles was sternly rebuked in a letter to the Washington Post editor signed by Gen. Peter Pace (USMC), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the other five members: "Using the likeness of a service member who has lost his arms and legs in war as the central theme of a cartoon was beyond tasteless." Toles is usually pretty good with satire, but he got carried away with his animosity toward the Bush administration in this case, and his attempt to portray Donald Rumsfeld as callously indifferent to the suffering of our troops backfired badly.
Where are the Bill Mauldins of today? Why don't we see more newspaper cartoons that dramatize and humanize the hardships of our military personnel who are serving right now in Iraq and Afghanistan? Speaking of the touchy subject of humor in wartime, do you ever wonder how leading Democrats would respond if Pearl Harbor happened today? The folks at sacredcowburgers.com speculate on that. (Hat tip to Patrick Carne.)