Survives Now Playing: "Greensleeves"
This afternoon, I went to the funeral and life-celebration of the mother of one of my oldest friends. (And you are one of my oldest friends, S. I've known you since you were a teenager! Isn't that funny?)
And it sounds strange to say it, but these ceremonies were useful to the people who participated in them. Because this woman ---who was far too young to pass away--- was such an important part of her professional community that I think it was just as important to her colleagues and admirers that they recognize the reality of her death together; like it were a confirmation to each other that, indeed, they would not have this woman to depend on any longer. But the subdued bewilderment was palpable.
Over and over, the attestations of her excellence and integrity and unquestionable competence were made. And to me, for my friend's sake, this was a wonderful thing. To leave this world respected and assured of your influence on the lives of thousands? (That is a blessing that will overcome the pain of your loss, S. I am sure of that.)
I very much like the idea of being sent off by those who know you. That is essential to the dignity of this particular occasion. I hope I have that when it is my time to die.
And I hope they know what songs must be played: "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas, "This Train" by Bob Marley, and "Brokedown Palace" by the Grateful Dead. No covers. Just the studio cuts on a decent jam box and get out of the way.
Tonight, I have another beautiful song in my head.
Subhuman Garbage This story is so fucked up that it's almost like it can't be true. But I think it is:
A Pakistani man's alleged shooting of his younger sister in a so-called 'honour killing' over the weekend has led members of the Pakistani community to discuss ways of halting the practice.
The Organisation of Pakistani Students and Academics intends to discuss the practice during an upcoming debate forum, according to the organisation's chairman Qasam Nazir.
'Many (Pakistanis, ed) [sic] are very disappointed that this problem has again appeared in contemporary Denmark,' said Nazir.
Many members of the Pakistani community were shocked over the weekend to hear reports that a 29-year-old Pakistani man was apprehended on Saturday, accused of shooting his 19-year-old sister and her Afghan husband on Friday. The sister died shortly after from her gunshot wounds.
'We will try to find imams and other prominent people to get a discussion about this cultural phenomenon, which is not a religious practice in any way,' said Nazir.
Keep in mind that this "honor killing" happened in broad daylight on the streets of Denmark.
This is one of those practices that dhimmified Leftists and other America-haters refuse to condemn because of their lack of moral direction. These are the same shithooks who follow and swallow Mother Sheehan's ignorant bilge because it's not nice to criticize The Other ---especially when there's so much energy to be spent on hating your own culture.
I have no respect for contemporary Muslim culture. I have no respect for those who cannot bring themselves to condemn the evil practices that this so-called "religion of peace" sullies the world with.
A lot of you are complicit in this sort of savagery. Don't forget that.
No, No, Sweetie: You Had It Right the First Time
Via Michelle Malkin, check out this post by Mary Katharine Ham on the evolution of the Associated Press' report on today's arrest of Mother Sheehan outside the White House. Ham's post appears to simply begin as a quick link to the story of the arrest, but keeps updating to include the evolving language in the intro to the news report. Thus (with Ham's emphases):
1:57 p.m.-- Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who has used her son's death in Iraq to spur the anti-war movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House.
As a matter of fact, I actually read this first version online while I was at work and was somewhat surprised at the employment of such an unromantic verb.
3 p.m.-- Cindy Sheehan, the California woman driven by her son's death in Iraq to re-ignite the anti-war movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House.
If y'all are done being here in Austin and have a home to go home to, could you please leave as soon as possible? I'm absolutely sick of spending my life in traffic jams that you and your dumb ass are causing.
celebratory Now Playing: "Gear" by Naked Raygun
I am extremely pleased to tell you that the Israeli Defense Forces have exterminated a true piece of shit:
An IAF Apache helicopter flying over Gaza fired a missile and struck a vehicle traveling on the coastal road and carrying the Palestinian terrorists. According to witnesses, one of the victims was decapitated and one was wearing military fatigues.
Military sources said the targeted terrorist was Sheikh Muhammad Khalil, a senior commander of Islamic Jihad in the southern Gaza Strip who was responsible for planning a slew of attacks on Israelis including the murder of Tali Hatuel, who was pregnant, and her four young daughters on the Kissufim road in Gush Katif. He was also behind the attack on the Morag outpost that killed three soldiers and the detonation of an IDF armored vehicle that killed five.
Khalil's bodyguard was also killed in the attack.
Don't remember the story of the Hatuel family? Let me refresh your memory:
An Israeli woman in her eighth month of pregnancy and her four daughters were killed this afternoon [2 May 2004] when two terrorists opened fire at Israeli cars traveling on the Kissufim-Gush Katif road in the Gaza Strip. Soldiers shot the terrorists dead, but only after an explosive device at the scene detonated, wounding three soldiers, two of them with moderate-to-serious injuries.
The victims of the attack were identified as Tali Hatuel, 34, and her daughters Hila (11), Hadar (9), Roni (7) and Merav (2). Tali's husband was not in the car at the time of the attack, ynet reported. The Hatuels lived on the Gush Katif settlement of Katif.
I hope you remember their story. I certainly do. It made me ill:
It was also learned that the terrorists not only murdered the 34-year-old mother of four who was eight months pregnant along with her children, but then ran up to the vehicle and took a video of the results of their actions, filming the young victims as they bled to death.
If I can find any, I will be happy to post photos here of Khalil's shredded carcass.
Good work, General Sharon.
(Hat tip to Charles Johnson and his commenter zulubaby.)
Michelle Malkin took a walk ---and her camera--- through the anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. today. The picture you see here is one of hers. I hope she doesn't mind my borrowing it, but it's got to be the funniest prop ever brought to an anti-war rally.
I See Better Turnouts When I Go to the Bathroom Now Playing: "Sugar Mountain" by Neil Young
I'm watching these wankers at the anti-war rally in D.C. on C-SPAN ---and I'm laughing. On and immediately around the stage? About fifty people. And that's being very generous.
You know why there is no anti-war movement? You know why these burnt-out hippies can't persuade America that this is Viet Nam all over again?
Because the men and women who fight for our country are our best and bravest and they fight of their own volition. This isn't Lyndon Johnson clearing out the ghettoes and barrios of his Great Society, you know. These kids who show up to the protests in their bandanas and Che Guevara T-shirts are not only in no danger of any draft, but the United States military probably wouldn't take them, anyway. Better men and women than they could ever hope to be have taken on the responsibility of fighting in our name ---and these bums want to undermine that because it's fashionable?
The War for Iraq is a complicated and ambitious undertaking that hasn't yet yielded what it can. Is the American public down on it right now? Yep. But that's bound to change. Our fighting forces are making a difference in a crucial part of the world. These protesters don't understand that. They just want to re-enact some glorious anti-war past that they've seen in documentaries. It's truly pathetic.
Escher and Nagel
I found the picture you see here at Despair.com, via this post at Galley Slaves, a cool blog I forgot to keep reading when it first came out late last or early this year.
It's a rip on those framed motivational prints you sometimes see in the offices of people with no taste and/or a liking for the high art of Escher and Nagel.
Actually, I adore M.C. Escher, but I don't usually take the opportunity to share an inside joke with one of the audience.
Go check out the rest of 'em. They're full of snarky goodness.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 9:51 PM CDT
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Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005 9:53 PM CDT
The Station That Cried Wolf Blitzer
I'm not too sure about KXAN's recent Hurricane Rita coverage. I know that it's going to be monstrous for our fellow citizens down near Port Arthur and Beaumont (and, needless to say, New Orleans), but that's not the point. It looks like KXAN is trying CNN's Situation Room as some sort of model ---and it's sort of lame: a four-way split-screen, reading viewers' e-mail to each other, lots of live reports from dangerous and/or busy places, etc.
It's synthetically manic ---and a little too flash for a local affiliate.
Austin's certainly been feeling the effects of hurricane disasters for coming up on a month now, but local TV needs to step back and take a deep breath. We got lucky; the poor bastards down on the coast are still up against it.
Note to Hippies: Don't Come off Like Hippies Now Playing: "Ventilator Blues" by the Rolling Stones
Professor Reynolds directs our attention to this cute post by EMRosa over at the Daily Kos about tomorrow's big anti-war rally in D.C. and elsewhere ---and what one should and should not to do.
Don't wear black bandanas or gas masks:
Want the police to target you? Wear a black bandana over your face. Wear a gas mask. I know, I know, it's the cool anarcho thing to do, but it's also very foolish. If you feel you might need them later (for whatever reasons...), put them in your bag where you'll have easy access to them.
I don't know who this Rosa cat is, but he's a real drag, man. What about the spontaneity of the moment? What about keeping it real? Maybe that's what he means with the elipses...Hmmm....
Do be creative:
I don't know about you, but I'm sick of doing the same thing over and over again with little to show for it but a frustrated mind. We have to protest in a way that's intriguing, news making. Block the street, do guerilla theater, dose your self in gasoline and go out for ice cream. Whatever. Just don't do the same thing when it doesn't work. Think.
What's this about the gasoline? Is that code for huffing? Yeah, I know. I'm just joking.
But in looking over these lists of do's and don'ts, it seems like the whole thing is just a big waste of time. Nobody cares what a bunch of goddamned hippies have to say about the War for Iraq ---and that will be especially true tomorrow morning when everybody's going to be watching the situation on the Gulf Coast between Texas and Louisiana.
If you had any taste, you morons, you'd stand down tomorrow and have a care for the disaster that's coming to our own shores.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 8:10 PM CDT
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Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005 8:18 PM CDT
Thursday, 22 September 2005
My Frenzy's Been Whipped Now Playing: "Making Time" by the Creation
Gee. What a difference a day makes. That is all.
Anxiety by the Gallon Mood:
rushed Now Playing: "Galveston" by Glen Campbell
There's a lot of anxiety right now in this town. The gas station nearest my house went from selling regular unleaded this afternoon just before six at $2.55 a gallon. A couple of hours later when I went to go grab some, it had shot up to $2.69. So, after yelling "Fucking thieves!" several times to myself and anyone else who might be near me, I cruised on down the road until I ran across some for $2.59. I know it's only a dime's difference, literally, but goddamn! People are going to use Rita for all sorts of excuses, legitimate or not. I am not looking forward to this. And I also realize that the next time I buy gas, it's going to be $3.00 or more.
My biggest concern right now is my new house and all of my belongings. For whatever reason, I am my family's repository of mementos such as photos, letters, and other keepsakes. I am also obsessively my own biggest fan ---and I try to keep everything I've ever written of any importance. So I am sitting on top of a big pile of potential heartbreak and I am worrying about my situation. I live in a flood plain and, even though I am probably 200 miles from the coast of Texas, I know very well that Rita could unleash one of the biggest rainstorms of my life right on top of me.
I'll keep you posted. If I can.
Oh, and one more thing. It's something I almost never do, but I'll breach the Wall of the Personal Proper Noun tonight because it's insistently on my mind: One of my bestest and oldest friends lives (or used to live) in Galveston, Texas. I haven't talked to the man in many years, but he was a huge influence on me as a young man and if he ever Googles his name up, I want him to find it here: James Bartholomew Gately, Jr. That's Jim. Jim, I'm thinking of you tonight and I hope all of your family is safe and sound. I hope you know that there is some part of my personality that owes itself to your benevolent eccentricites and I want you to know that you will be in my thoughts these next several days.
In Newsweek's recent big story, subtly titled "How Bush Blew It," is the account of President Bush, Louisiana Governor Blanco, and New Orleans mayor Nagin on board Air Force One, fumbling through their options.
According to Sen. David Vitter, a Republican ally of Bush's, the meeting came to a head when Mayor Nagin blew up during a fraught discussion of "who's in charge?" Nagin slammed his hand down on the table and told Bush, "We just need to cut through this and do what it takes to have a more-controlled command structure. If that means federalizing it, let's do it."
A debate over "federalizing" the National Guard had been rattling in Washington for the previous three days. Normally, the Guard is under the control of the state governor, but the Feds can take over—if the governor asks them to. Nagin suggested that Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, the Pentagon's on-scene commander, be put in charge. According to Senator Vitter, Bush turned to Governor Blanco and said, "Well, what do you think of that, Governor?" Blanco told Bush, "I'd rather talk to you about that privately." To which Nagin responded, "Well, why don't you do that now?"
The meeting broke up. Bush and Blanco disappeared to talk. More than a week later, there was still no agreement. Blanco didn't want to give up her authority, and Bush didn't press.
Kathleen Blanco is a human tuber ---a fucking clown plucked out of something's ass and plopped down in front of a desk. You can be sure that it's the same kind of people who spent a week sitting on the roof of their flooded houses, starving and dehydrating, or burning in the hell of the New Orleans Convention Center that elected that idiot governor.
I hope Item Number One when they get back home is to recall her sorry ass.
Rod Dreher Loses His Cool...and I'm Liking It Now Playing: "Turn to Stone" by the Electric Light Orchestra
Over at The Corner, Rod Dreher pops up with a very angry reaction to President Bush's cronyism. Get it:
Moreover, I'm absolutely with Michelle Malkin on this outrageous Bush cronyism regarding the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief over at the Department of Homeland Security. I find it impossible to believe that this administration or their GOP Congressional enablers care about enforcing the immigration laws of this country. And I find it impossible to believe that this doesn't matter. A lot.
I think we have entered the phase where illegal immigration into the United States has become an irreversible kind of balkanization of this society and culture. And one of the few facts I am certain of is that neither conservatives nor liberals give a good goddamn about it. That is to say, wealthy assholes who live behind gated walls and contemptible failures who have no love of their own country, anyway, are perfectly fine with whoever the hell wants to come here and squat.
What motivates these vultures perched at either end of the spectrum? Avarice. Self-loathing. The indifference to our promise as a civilization, daily eroded by those who do not know anything about our history or about their own responsibilities within this grand scheme.
Get yours while the gettin's good, motherfuckers! Press one for English. Press two for what the fuck were we thinking?
Doubting Daou Now Playing: theme from ABC's Monday Night Football
Peter Daou, who was some sort of blogging consultant to the Kerry-Edwards campaign, has written an interesting piece questioning the influence of bloggers on the political scene. His idea is that there's a triangle of "netroots," media, and the political establishment ---and that bloggers may or may not be driving the issues.
One of his most curious observations, I thought, was the following:
The power of the triangle has been demonstrated again and again: Josh Marshall and social security, Steve Clemons and the Bolton nomination (the recess appointment was emblematic of Bolton’s defeat, not his victory), rightwing bloggers and Eason Jordan, rightwing bloggers and Dick Durbin, progressive bloggers and Jeff Gannon, and so on.
I know who Marshall is, but I don't recall ever hearing of Steve Clemons ---nor do I know what either of them did to influence Social Security or John Bolton's nomination. Any hints? If this Clemons guy succeeded in derailing Bolton, I'm not aware of it.
But I do know about the other examples Daou throws up ---and they are telling.
Eason Jordan? While in the sacred confines of a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last February, this now former head of CNN accused the American military of murdering journalists in Iraq. The charge was so outrageous that it even offended Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank. Not that Frank is less offendable than others, but he is a Democrat.
Dick Durbin? The second highest ranking Democrat in the United States Senate said that our soldiers at Guantanamo Bay were no different from Nazi concentration camp guards or gulag-minders in the old Soviet Union. With both Jordan and Durbin, conservative bloggers ---or rightwing bloggers, if that's your term--- kept up the pressure and demanded that Big Media stop ignoring these treasonous statements and hold people accountable for giving aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war. Good on them.
But then Daou pathetically points to a "success" of the Leftist blogosphere: the getting of James Guckert (a.k.a., Jeff Gannon), a gay Republican who apparently did not have the credentialed credibility that puckered old sphincter muscles like Helen Thomas or blow-dried turds like John Roberts bring to the White House Press Room. Gannon was exposed as a male prostitute and, as such, was some sort of security risk or embarrassment to the journalistic profession. Actually, I don't know where the outrage finally ended up, but it was a seismic shift in the History of American Journalism and the Very Notion of Truth. Don't you remember it?
Anyway, what I find most interesting in Daou's examples are the ones that are missing.
How about Trent Lott? He lost his Senate Majority Leader position because of the efforts of conservative bloggers in bringing his unfortunate remarks at Strom Thurmond's birthday celebration to the wider attention of the conservative-hating Big Media. Is there any comparable example of the Leftist blogosphere sacrificing one of their own to principle?
And how about the utter destruction of Dan Rather's career? That has to be the greatest example of the blogosphere's influence ---and yet Daou doesn't even mention it. How's that possible? Would it somehow not fit into his narrative?
In each of these cases, and to varying degrees, bloggers, the media, and senior elected officials played a role in pushing a story and influencing public perceptions. To understand what happens when the online community is on its own, look no further than electronic voting. The progressive netroots has been hammering away at this for years, but the media and the political establishment is largely mute. Traction = Zero. The conventional wisdom puts it squarely in the realm of conspiracy theories.
Daou's position on electronic voting is the same as mine, but he ignores the example of Rathergate. That scandal was wholly the work of a handful of bloggers. (In fact, it began with an anonymous post at the old online bulletin board FreeRepublic.com.) I very distinctly remember how useless the evening news was in those days in covering such a major media meltdown ---and how they were absolutely chasing the bloggers' tails in sealing Rather's fate.
I think what's driven Daou to this point is his understanding ---notwithstanding all the blustery rhetoric of his coreligionists--- that no one on the Left has yet achieved the level of influence already demonstrated on the Right side of the blogosphere. There's nothing comparable on their side to Rathergate or Jordangate or even the evidence that came out against John Kerry's dishonest claims from his time in Viet Nam.
Maybe the Plame thing will work out for them in the end, but it's going to take a lot more than fluffing Keith Olbermann or Wolf Blitzer to get them there.
Not Counting the Bodies in the Fatherland
Bill Dawson has some very interesting observations about German and Austrian opinion on the "third world" conditions that Katrina exposed in the American South ---and their seeming lack of attention to a far deadlier disaster that befell France just two summers ago.
The outrageous coverage of Hurricane Katrina here in Austria and Germany has included many references to “third world” similarities. See, for example, Ray’s blog posting concerning Stern magazine’s editorial, “Somalia in America’s South.” The sneering arrogance, the gruesome Schadenfreude and the completely over the top moralizing reminded me of something that occurred two years ago in the United States, which also elicited “third world” references.
You will recall that on August 14, 2003, an enormous power failure occurred across a huge chunk of the United States and parts of Canada. On September 5, 2003, I made the following blog entry here:
Be sure to check out Dawson's original post for lots of details, but don't forget what was happening at about the same time as our own blackout on 14 August 2003. He notes:
On 11. August, Le Figaro first reported that "the heat wave is killing people" in France.
On 14. August, according to the Washington Post, French government officials reported that at least 3,000 people had died from the heat wave.
By the 21st, the Post reported [link broken] that the French government had acknowledged that up to 10,000 people may have died.
On 29. August, this CNN report indicated that the toll was actually over 11,000.
Wouldn't you say that 11,000 deaths from heat in a modern and industrialized country such as France could also be compared to the "Third World"?
Dawson goes on to write that in the pages of the same German-language magazines where the cynics of Old Europe clucked at the plight of our poor urban blacks, practically nothing was written about the 2003 heat wave that killed so many in France. From the summary of a major European Commission-funded organization tasked with monitoring disease in Europe comes the following item (never mind the weird acronyms; the numbers are in boldface):
The analysis of death certificates given by the departmental health offices allowed InVS to produce a first estimate on 28 August of 11,435 excess deaths (excess of 55%) between 1 and 15 August 2003 . On 25 September, INSERM estimated the cumulative excess deaths between 1 and 20 August at 14,800 (excess of 60%) .The impact was greater for women (70% increase in excess total mortality) than for men (40% increase in excess mortality)(1). This was the case even for same age groups. Excess mortality reached 20% in the 45-74 year age group, 70% in the 75-94 year age group and 20% in people aged 94 years and over .
INSERM also showed that during the last third of the month of August and the month of September the mortality had reached the usual level . October and November 2003 showed the usual death rates in every region.
Where was the krauts' ire then? Where were the insinuations of savagery as fellow Europeans perished while French politicians got their tans down on the coast?
But since body counts are eminently political, let us look also at the heat wave of 1995, in which Bill Clinton did nothing while a thousand people died in the city of Chicago.
A thousand people? That's more than all the Katrina-related deaths counted so far.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 7:38 PM CDT
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Updated: Monday, 19 September 2005 7:46 PM CDT
"The Katrina Administration" Now Playing: "Nowhere Man" by the Beatles
John Kerry sent Kathryn Jean Lopez at the NRO advance word of and a link to a speech he was to give at Brown University today in which he calls Bush's White House the "Katrina Administration."
Okay. Bush deserves some criticism for his and his government's response to Katrina. They were too slow to respond and seemingly too indifferent to the gravity of what was happening. The whole country was embarrassed at Michael Brown's cluelessness and the amateurish way in which his agency first addressed the disaster.
But nowhere in his little speech does Kerry fault anybody but those in the Bush Administration. Which means that his condemnations are worthless. Which means that he's either clueless himself about what actually happened in New Orleans or he's a willful partisan who refuses to assess blame where most other Americans have so unambiguously placed it already.
Because in our society and under our system of government, we first turn to our local and state governments. That's how it works with federalism. We have local leaders from whom we expect responsible action and sensible information.
And when we are disserved by those local and state authorities ---people who presumably understand their own regions' interests and concerns best--- it is important that we hold those people responsible right along with those in our Federal government.
And we must not, like John Kerry, pretend to be unaware of the incompetence of our local leaders just because they belong to the same party as us.
To do so is to deserve the disrespect that comes to the intellectually dishonest.
No Reading of the "Bans" for Duncan and Me Mood:
I sure wish Duncan Black would stop kicking me out of Eschaton. He knows how much I enjoy going there to argue with his regulars ---and a good argument is what that place needs. Without a little irritation, how can you expect any pearls to throw before the swine, Duncan? Come on! Get serious! That place is a circle-jerk.
Commutation for the Posse Comitatus Act?
According to this article in the Christian Science Monitor, President Bush may be looking to amend the Posse Comitatus Act.
WASHINGTON – As Washington picks through the lessons learned from hurricane Katrina, there is a growing conviction that the only organization with the skills, expertise, and resources needed to respond quickly to a catastrophe of such magnitude is the American military.
President Bush suggested a larger disaster relief role for the armed forces in his national address last week, and Congress has indicated it will take up the issue this autumn. Though the topic has emerged at other troubled times - most recently 9/11 - Congress has always avoided amending Posse Comitatus, the law that has kept active-duty soldiers out of civilian law-enforcement affairs since Reconstruction.
Anger over the scenes of chaos in New Orleans in the days after the hurricane, however, seems to have shifted the political landscape. It is an issue of profound importance both to the Pentagon and to the country at large, raising questions about the boundaries between the armed forces and American society - as well as the military's ability to press the war on terror abroad if it receives a new homeland mission.
"There's a strong historical precedent against doing this," says Michael O'Hanlon, a defense analyst at the Brookings Institution here. "But now we've got a real reason."
The vast majority of Americans, I would guess, do not have the institutional or historical awareness to understand why we do not let our soldiers act as our police, so if there's any resistance to relaxing this act, it's going to come from the usual suspects: the far Left and the far Right.
The far Right (e.g., the militia types) would oppose an end to the Posse Comitatus Act because that's their greatest fear ---at least hypothetically: a police state with all the bells and whistles that the greatest military on Earth can bring to bear.
The far Left, however, would oppose any such move just because it's something that Bush is in favor of. That is, the Left has only a partisan reason against deploying troops in a disaster area. They wouldn't oppose it if there was some civil right in danger, but if it's simply a matter of protecting whitey's electronics store from [hungry] citizens, then to hell with it. Fascist!
When our military did start moving into New Orleans, order was restored very quickly and efficiently. Our best and bravest always demonstrate their value. They could have come in sooner when it was apparent that too many of the local police in New Orleans were worthless cowards, but this President wasn't going to violate Posse Comitatus.
But for all those who wanted a stronger and quicker Federal involvement in the aftermath of Katrina, there really can't be any question: the United States military are the most logistically and operationally prepared men and women in the world. When they shoot, they score. I don't fear our people in uniform to know what to do and how to do it. I trust and respect them absolutely. If putting them on the ground in a disaster area is the best way to enforce the will of the people and to execute the plans of the Commander-in-Chief and the lesser executives, then let's do it.