What’s Inside a Veteran’s Head, Heart and Soul?

If you could crawl inside the head, heart and soul of a military veteran, what you would see would be what is on The American Veteran’s Art Wall (The AVAW). Visceral and vivid visions of pain, humor and self-reflection.

Veterans helping veterans tell the one in pain to “get out of your head.” That’s therapy talk for “Stop thinking and DO something!”

What The AVAW does is help you get “IT” out of your head. “It” could be a good “it,” or a bad “it,” or just an “it” that doesn’t belong there. While DOING that, YOU thus get OUT of your head.

That’s a really good thing!

Veteran Jarrod L. Taylor explained his visit to The AVAW this way:

“The idea that sharing a photograph, a drawing, a memory would make anyone feel differently at the end of the day…was too simple. Veterans already post and share on Facebook, so I wondered how this ‘wall’ could be any different. I looked at The American Veterans Art Wall, and as my buddy instructed, I read the descriptions that went along with each veteran’s post. Only a few images in, I understood the difference. This was individual veterans who were sharing parts of themselves with the world. It was raw and sometimes hard to look at, but it was very powerful. The American Veterans Art Wall, is a space where the men and women who have served our country, have a voice. I love that it is by veterans for veterans, and that is why I decided to make a post. Posting made me proud to have served and reminded me why I joined.”

The wall was the brain child of friends and colleagues, David W. Hahn (President) and Ricky Schultz (Executive Vice President). Their resume’s look like they belong in a Who’s Who of Hollywood and music industry hall of fame, but to talk with these men, you’d never know it. Humble, engaged and philanthropic, these two men share a passion for giving back to veterans that is unsurpassed.

The inspiration for the art wall came from Ricky’s dad, who was a decorated war hero. The wall project is dedicated to Col. Harvey L. Schultz, best remembered for his service to country, to community, to family and to God. Col. Schultz saw action in WWII, served in Korea, continued his military career in the Reserves until 1979, and earned the Legion of Merit. Col. Schultz died in 2010 but left a glowing example of how a man should live his life, with joy, honor and dedication.

In Col. Schultz’s honor, they discussed what would be fitting, and Mr. Hahn told me, “America’s common ground is found in its diversity, and what makes that diversity accessible to all?  American art and crafts.  Once held in esteem they have, like so much else, become a political football.  So we decided it was time to reintroduce the country to its common ground, the source of its uniqueness.  Art.  American Art.”

And who better to provide this unique expression of self than veterans?

After visiting and then contributing to The AVAW, Jarrod Taylor had this to say, “Not only is The American Veterans Art Wall a way to help our nation’s veterans feel connected, but it is a way to preserve the history of my generation’s wars for future Americans and to better understand other generations who served. You have created a continuum for this nation’s military.”

A connection. A continuum. Things hauntingly absent from a veteran who feels alone, un-cared for and forgotten.

Messer’s Hahn and Schultz emphatically say that once a veteran contributes his head, heart and soul to the wall through art, photography or creation, he or she can say, “I AM. I HAVE WORTH. I AM NOT ALONE.”

They say “art is the answer.” And I say, how could it not be?

The feeling of joy and completeness was unexpected, when on a whim I asked Mr. Hahn if I could contribute photographs of ceramic iguanas I made while serving with the Joint Detainee Operations Group, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from February to June 2002. I took care of bad guys. A job I describe as “hatred and empathy colliding in an emotional train wreck.”

I would later serve in Iraq, but emotions I experienced on my Gitmo deployment, my first after September 11, 2001, took me by surprise. I was wracked with guilt over leaving my wife and three sons, the youngest of which was born two days before I left for Gitmo.

When The AVAW accepted my art I was surprised, and then elated.

We all have our stories. We all have our baggage and our pain. But sharing those simple items I had made out of grief, solitude and anguish helped me move forward, and out of my head.

My Brother and Sister Veterans, it will for you, too.

I am a three times mobilized retired U.S. Army Reserve major, and author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” dedicated husband, father, educator, veteran and Branded Contributor for TheBlaze.com.

Cuba and Obama: ‘Normal’ Relations, Abnormal Intentions

The U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been in existence since 1903, when Teddy Roosevelt signed a lease agreement with the new Cuban government, by mutual consent. U.S. Marines had landed there in June of 1898 in order to defeat the Spanish during the Spanish-American War.

In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a new lease agreement with Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista. The agreement states:

“Until the two Contracting Parties agree to the modification or abrogation of the stipulations of the agreement in regard to the lease to the United States of America of lands in Cuba for coaling and naval stations… the stipulations of that Agreement with regard to the naval station of Guantánamo shall continue in effect.”

In 1959, revolution, led by communist Fidel Castro, deposed Batista. This also ended an era of technological and social advancement for the people of Cuba, who enjoyed prosperity and achievement via investments and tourism, chiefly by U.S. companies and by Americans. Today, the country looks as though it was stopped in time at that point.

Because of Castro’s belligerence and close relationship with the communist Soviet Union during the peak of the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy imposed an embargo on Cuba in 1961. Castro had allowed the construction and placement of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) bases by the Soviets, which posed an in-your-face-threat.

The embargo is still in place, but not for long if current trends prevail. Our enemy/neighbor to the south is howling about the return of the naval base at Guantanamo Bay as a first step toward normal relations.

Who needs normal relations with Cuba?

President Barack Hussein Obama’s legacy does.

What other bright shining star of achievement could Obama hope to have as a centerpiece to his future presidential library? Giving up Iraq, Russian aggression, The Arab Spring, Chinese opportunism, The Islamic State? No, no, no, no and no. He desperately needs a win before sailing off into the Caribbean sunset.

Cuba actually presents an opportunity for a double win for Obama, should he succeed in sneaking into normal relations with Cuba. He promised even before becoming president that he would close the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, and now he has his best chance yet.

If Obama agrees to give the naval station back to Cuba, the detention facility goes with it. This would be at least a 100% improvement in jail standards for Castro’s Cuba, as current political and other prisoners suffer in real gulags at the communist dictator’s hands.

There is no right to freedom and liberty for citizens in Cuba. The vast majority of unprivileged Cubanoslive a meager existence, struggling with meager government jobs that pay only in non-convertible Cuban pesos, a devalued currency reserved for the masses.

There is a second economy in Cuba, one reserved for the ruling elite and foreigners. Western goods can only be purchased with a convertible peso tied to the value of the U.S. dollar. International tourists are forbidden from using the non-convertible Cuban peso, and can only purchase the higher priced items reserved for them with the convertible peso or with foreign currency.

This economic repression will not change due to new diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba. This is the big secret not discussed by even the investigative branch of the U.S. media [sic]. Lifting an embargo will only enrich those Cubans Castro decides should be enriched, and the masses will be left with nothing new, including the absence of hope.

In fact, the public relations behind the apparent thaw in relations is that the Cuban people “have suffered enough,” and that the old policy of isolation “hasn’t worked.” This has had the result of near hysteria among the low information liberals who still cling to Obama as their messiah.

Even a liberal arts public school in Sag Harbor, New York, announced it was planning a school trip to the island nation next year to develop “a global vision.” Will they tour the gulags, ogle the poorest of the poor; observe struggling Cubanos in their wretched second economy, working meager nowhere lifetime jobs? Now THAT’S a trip worth taking in order to develop a “global vision” . . . of communism. Be sure to get lots of photos to show the folks back home, kids!

All this unmerited attention has emboldened the Cuban government, namely younger brother to Fidel,Raul Castro, to demand the return of the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, affectionately called Gitmo (or GTMO in Navy speak).

The path to relinquishing Gitmo is clear. No matter how the White House wants to spin it, we are on a collision course with full diplomatic relations with Cuba, despite the lack of even ONE required change or concession on their part.

This recalls the free give back of the Panama Canal to Panama. A geopolitical blunder of global proportions made by liberal President Jimmy Carter. We built it, they keep it. Oh, and we get to feel good about it, too.

We built a city at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on 45 square miles of hard won territory fighting against the Spanish. We helped establish stability for the native Cubanos, and our investors and tourists helped establish a jewel in the Caribbean.

It is estimated that billions of dollars of investments, property and economic interests were confiscated by Castro when he seized them during the Cuban Revolution. Not a peep out of either the White House or Castro about reparations.

And so it goes.

It’s as if we are all passengers on the caboose of a runaway train, only able to see where we’ve been, and there are demons at the switches. And there are demons at the switches.

Do You Feel Safer With Detainees In or Out of Gitmo?

Barack Hussein Obama’s administration has released six more detainees from the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. That begs the question: Do you feel safter with detainees in or out of Gitmo?

It’s a question every American needs to ask themselves.

If your answer is “out,” remember that over 640 detainees have been released so far, with about a 30 percent recidivism rate. It’s the other 70 percent you should be concerned about.

If your answer is “in,” then you need to contact your Congressional representatives immediately and let them know how you feel.
It appears Congress is powerless to stop the release of unlawful combatants from the facility and for all you know these guys will end up back in the fight, or maybe even in YOUR neighborhood.

The idea that Gitmo is a recruitment tool, or detainees are “goat herders,” or other myths are old, tired and never proven.

You could probably hold these guys in Hawaii and they would have something to complain about.

That is their training, you know?

That’s right. Before we even admitted we were in a War on Terror the British captured an Al Qaeda training manual which drives detainee behavior at Gitmo.

Police in Manchester, England, discovered the manual, which has come to be known as the “Manchester document,” in 2000 while searching computer files found in the home of a known Al Qaeda member. The contents were introduced as evidence into the 2001 trial of terrorists who bombed the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. The FBI translated the document into English.

Among the chapters were lessons 17 and 18 on how a “brother” should behave if captured and then put on trial. [Note that they EXPECT to be put on trial and not executed by Western powers.]

  • “Be careful not to give the enemy any vital information [during interrogations].”
  • “At the beginning of the trial … the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them.”
  • “Complain [to the court] of mistreatment while in prison.”
  • “The brother has to do his best to know the names of the state security officers, who participated in his torture and mention their names to the judge. [These names may be obtained from brothers who had to deal with those officers in previous cases.]”
  • “It is possible to resort to a hunger strike, but it is a tactic that can either succeed or fail.”
  • “Take advantage of visits to communicate with brothers outside prison and exchange information that may be helpful to them in their work outside prison.”
  • “When the brothers are transported from and to the prison [on their way to the court] they should shout Islamic slogans out loud from inside the prison cars to impress upon the people and their family the need to support Islam.”
  • “The brothers should create an Islamic program for themselves inside the prison….”
  • “[For God’s sake, this mujahid (fighter) will obey, in order] to establish a caliphate along the lines of the prophet.”
  • “There will be a Caliphate according to the prophet’s path [instruction], if God so wills it.”
  • “Upholding religion . . . will necessarily require an all out confrontation against all our enemies, who want to recreate darkness.”
  • “It is imperative to stand against darkness in all arenas: the media, education, [religious] guidance, and counseling, as well as others.”

And we’ve known this for 15 years. All of it and more. Yet the mainstream media refuses to reveal it, comment on it or present it in opposition to the actions of the administration of Barack Hussein Obama.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld expressed frustration over this effort during a June 21, 2005 interview on the “Tony Snow Show.”

“These detainees are trained to lie, they’re trained to say they were tortured, and the minute we release them or the minute they get a lawyer, very frequently they’ll go out and they will announce that they’ve been tortured,” Rumsfeld said.
The media jumps on these claims, reporting them as “another example of torture,” the secretary said, “when in fact, (terrorists have) been trained to do that, and their training manual says so.”

Instead of being a gulag, Gitmo is the finest military detention facility on earth. Not one detainee has ever been executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up, dragged naked and lifeless through the streets or BURNED ALIVE. All things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies. In fact, the Islamist equivalent to Gitmo is a PILE of HEADS and ASHES.

International Committee of the Red Cross physicians I worked with at Gitmo in 2002 told me “no one does [detention operations] better than the United States.” In 2005, another ICRC physician I escorted at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (after and in spite of the abuse scandal there) told me the same thing.

This administration has turned Gitmo into a joke in the eyes of our enemies. It is nothing more than an Islamist rest and recreation center where detainees receive world class health care, can share stories and names and tactics, and then get released.

The value of keeping your enemy detained is to keep them off the battlefield and obtain valuable information which could save many lives. This was effective under George W. Bush.

According to the Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare, even lawful combatant POWs may be held without charge, “until the end of hostilities.”

This fact too has lost its way to the general public.

Gitmo is legal, ethical, moral and NECESSARY in the Global War on Terror.

Our problem is that our president unilaterally declared the War on Terror OVER in 2013. And he is behaving as if all Gitmo detainees are VICTIMS.

The Geneva Conventions and Law of War were written to protect INNOCENT civilians, not to protect those who PRETEND to be civilians in order to murder them.

Releasing Gitmo detainees will not help win the War on Terror.

Many groups other than the White House who want Gitmo closed also want us dead.

Unless we all band together and then shout to Congress with one voice we may be facing a completely replenished and inspired enemy after the President has his way with Gitmo.

As Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ariz) said, we should be filling Gitmo up, not emptying it.

OBAMA SIDES WITH TERROR

Every American should ask themselves this question: “Do I feel safer with detainees IN or OUT of Guantanamo Bay?

If your answer is “IN” then you need to immediately contact your Congressional representatives and demand the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, remain open, and that President Barack Obama stop releasing and transferring detainees IMMEDIATELY.

The cost of letting unlawful combatants in the Global War on Terror loose is too steep.

Liberals ask, “shouldn’t we free those detainees ‘cleared’ for release?” I say the time for that is long past. There was a time to let those less significant Islamist minions go.

While I worked at Gitmo as the ranking U.S. Army Medical Department officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group, Joint Task Force 160, from February to June 2002, I was part of a mission to return the very first detainee back to his country of origin.

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Washington. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, listen in the background. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)

Abdul Razeq was a 25-year-old Afghan detainee who was collected on the battlefield in the fall of 2001. Rezeq told me that he picked up an AK-47 and fought with the Taliban in order to support his heroin habit. Razeq was also diagnosed schizophrenic.

It took us time to figure this out when Rezeq first arrived to Gitmo. His behavior was so bizarre that we nicknamed him “Wild Bill.” He hung things from his genitals, took bites out of his flip-flops, yelled obscenities indiscriminately and was generally unpredictable and potentially dangerous to himself and others.

This behavior was consistent with a non-medicated schizophrenic and cold turkey withdrawal heroin addict. Razeq was questioned, counseled and cared for. Eventually it was determined that he was no longer a threat to the United States nor of any intelligence value. Razeq was going home.

Once back in Afghanistan, Razeq was hospitalized and then interviewed by Newsweek, saying in response to the question, “How were you treated by your American captors,” he said, “They only once tied my hands. They gave us good food three times a day and biscuits for supper. They were trying to keep us in good health.”

Razeq’s story is unique, but there were other detainees with similar stories over the past 13 years that also resulted in release. I think most Americans can understand that, but it’s a much different ballgame now.

The Abdul Razeq’s of Gitmo are long gone, perhaps recidivists, perhaps not, but the release of KNOWN LEADERS of Islamist groups has no grounding in common sense. The high-risk detainees released by President Obama shock the senses of the average American, and closing Gitmo should be off the table.

Gitmo is in fact the finest military detention facility on earth. The Islamist equivalent is a PILE of HEADS. International Committee of the Red Cross physicians I worked with at Gitmo told me, “no one does [detention operations] better than the United States.”

In this pool photo, reviewed by the U.S. military, and shot through glass, a guard watches over Guantanamo detainees inside the exercise yard at Camp 5 detention facility at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, May 31, 2009. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Over 630 detainees have been RELEASED from Gitmo, and NONE of them have been executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up or dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, all things our enemies have done to our allies or us.

There may be 30 percent known or suspected recidivists amongst those released detainees, but I’m more concerned about the 70 percent of released detainees we DON’T know about, especially the moderate to high risk fellows.

Human Rights First claims there are about 500 terrorists who have been convicted in U.S. Federal courts since Sept. 11, 2001, but only just over 300 convicted terrorists are serving time in U.S. federal prisons. Where are the other 200 CONVICTED TERRORISTS? Are they alive and well in Paris? Dearborn, Michigan? YOUR neighborhood?

Admitted Al Qaeda convict, Ali Saleh Mohammad Kahlah al-Marri was recently released by the Obama administration and then returned to Qatar. Marri was a close associate of Kahlid Sheik Mohammad, the Sept. 11, 2001 mastermind currently held in Guantanamo Bay, waiting for his war crimes trial. Marri was transferred from military to civilian custody after Obama took office in 2009. His case was reviewed and then he plead guilty to one charge of criminal conspiracy. Now he is free.

Remember the five Taliban leaders released by Obama in exchange for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl? They were also released to Qatar. WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Recent Islamist attacks in Paris, Australia, Canada and in New York City are not “lone wolf” incidents, as the mainstream media and Obama would like for you to believe. They are part and parcel of the Islamist offensive against anything that stands in their way of total world domination.

A hooded demonstrator is seen at a protest calling for the closure of the Guntanamo Bay detention facility infront of the White House on May 18, 2013 in Washington, DC. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Hyperbole? Don’t take my word for it. Take them at their word.

Establishing the current Islamist caliphate in Syria and Iraq is only the first step. A world-wide jihad, or holy war, is being waged in an unconventional way. From a hatchet attack on the streets of New York (not against innocent civilians, but against uniformed police), to an assassination of a Canadian military guard, these perpetrators are responding to a call to jihad devised and directed by Islamic State leaders, some of whom are former Gitmo detainees.

President Obama said in his State of the Union address that the United States has a “profound commitment to justice,” that the cost of incarcerating each detainee is $3 million per year, and that our enemies continue to use Gitmo as a recruiting tool.

The only recruiting tool our enemies will ever need is Sept. 11, 2001.

As for cost, what is the cost paid by the victims of terror and their loved ones, past, present and future compared with keeping unlawful combatants who want to kill us in Gitmo? And our commitment to justice is in tact, as we follow the Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare with regard to detention operations. Not to mention the Military Commissions Act of 2009, crafted by Eric Holder and President Obama, gives virtually the same rights you or I would enjoy in Federal court to Gitmo detainees accused of war crimes.

According to the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare even lawful combatant prisoners of war may be held without charge “until the end of hostilities.” Last time I checked the War on Terror was alive and well and living in Paris, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Canada, Australia, the U.S.

If you don’t admit you have a problem you cannot begin to resolve your problem. The president unilaterally declared the War on Terror OVER in 2013, therefore, if there is no war, there can be no ENEMY. If there is no ENEMY then all Gitmo detainees must be VICTIMS and deserve their FREEDOM, right?

To put it simply, if Obama were the jailer in a game of Capture the Flag and let captives go his teammates would beat him up. Is Congress up to the task? If not and Obama succeeds in closing Gitmo, there can be no question that he sides with terrorists.

I am NOT Charlie Hebdo

I am NOT Charlie Hebdo. I am an American Christian Soldier.

I believe the Global War on Terror in the modern era started on November 21, 1979, with the wanton killing of U.S. Marine CPL Steven Crowley, guard at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, by militant Islamists who mistakenly believed that U.S. military units occupied their most holy mosque at Mecca.

In May of 2013, President Barack Hussein Obama declared the War on Terror OVER. He releases known unlawful combatant Islamists back into the War on Terror as if they were VICTIMS and not at least potentially deadly adversaries.

I believe the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is the finest such faiclity on earth. The islamist equivalent is a PILE of HEADS. I believe that Gitmo is a reasonable cost of doing business in the War on Terror, and that releasing detainees will not help win the War on Terror.

With that, and in this post-9/11 world one must take precautions. If one has been threatened and then had their office firebombed one should take reasonable measures to prevent an attack by those who threatened and then firebombed them.

Charlie Hebdo’s response to the threats and firebombing was to move their offices and install locked doors, not stop what some have called “hate speech.”

Charlie Hebdo continued to insult, demean and ridicule those who threatened and then firebombed them. Was this smart? Was this rational? Was this naïve? Some have called it bold, fearless and courageous.

Continuing behavior deemed offensive to the point of violence by others is at least bold, isn’t it? The principle of liberty is in play. “Give me liberty or give me death!” is as American as apple pie, and we got that attitude FROM the French. Heck, they even gave us a statue called “Liberty.”

Free speech is treasured in the western democracies of Europe and North America. Being able to depict anyone in any way one wishes is highly valued in art and journalism.

However, there are limits, and there are consequences apparently for surpassing those limits.

Yelling the “N” word in Harlem at noon on a workday may bring some stares, some comments, and perhaps some confrontations, possibly violent confrontations. Wearing a Nazi uniform in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, may bring some stares, some comments, and perhaps some confrontations, possibly violent confrontations.

Depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad, and/or Allah himself in an offensive, or ANY manner in an Islamist enclave would bring some stares, some comments, and most likely some confrontations, and probably some violent confrontations.

In this day of Internet and social media we enjoy a buffer from those with whom we interact. For that reason, some people feel they can say or do pretty much anything without consequences. People are much more inappropriate and bold on the Internet and in print or on TV or in the movies (have YOU seen “The Interview” yet?) than they would be in person.

That personal interaction is governed by a different set of mores and expectations. If you offend someone in person there is always the possibility the person you offended will respond violently, so we tend to be more polite in person, less so the more people we are around who feel the same way we do. But one-on-one we tend to size up our opponent and then instantly determine whether or not this is someone we could “take” physically should the need arise, before saying something disparaging about their mother, or their deity. Some parents spank their children, or an offended woman might slap a “fresh” potential suitor, to get their attention and to send a message that their behavior was inappropriate or unacceptable. Grown ups, especially grown up males, tend to raise the stakes a bit. In general terms, “Oh, yeah? Say that to my face,” creates an entirely different set of possible circumstances with men than it does with children or women.

On the Internet, in print or television media or the movies this is seldom a consideration, as there are few consequences to free expression in these venues. In journalism and art the writer/creator is less concerned with offending someone than they are with making whatever statement they want to make. They think less about consequences. Yet, they still revel in the idea of getting a reaction out of someone, any reaction.

Strong reactions can mean accolades, awards, and . . . MONEY. After all that’s really what Charlie Hebdo is all about, isn’t it, money? The paper is in business to make money. They make money if people buy the paper and advertisers buy ads.

Shock and smut sell. And today probably 3 million copies were sold – unprecedented.

Were the writers, cartoonists and editors of Charlie Hebdo sincerely in the business of serious journalism, or were they in the business of peddling smut? In a free society that values liberty above all else that wouldn’t matter so much, especially if there were enough people around to buy the art/smut. If no one bought the paper/magazine would they still do what they do or would they create something else to sell? Does that matter?

After all, twelve people died creating art/peddling smut, shouldn’t that matter more than why they did what they did? Isn’t it enough to say they were exercising their right to free speech? It should, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t because they were murdered for it in cold blood. If they had been in the building when it was fire bombed they would have died then.

The Judeo-Christian ethic teaches us to love one another, and to treat others as we would have them treat us. But in a decidedly secular society, anything goes. “If it feels good do it,” humanism, and “if it’s useful to me it’s good,” utilitarianism rule the day, not tried and true religious principles. Christians would say one treads on thin ice if one tempts fate by ignoring the Golden Rule. Sooner or later . . . call it karma, call it yin and yang, call it just desserts, the world has a way of balancing itself out, seeking equilibrium, entropy.

France has allowed hundreds of Islamist enclaves that shun French culture and society, and that disallow French civil services in their communities, and that operate their own religious courts that enforce their own religious laws. These enclaves are not unique to France. They exist throughout Western Europe, and evenin the U.S.

What then should be our reasoning in the aftermath of the Paris shootings by alleged Islamists?

Perhaps a realization that certain segments of society get pissed off enough to kill people if those people insensitively insult them. As anti-social as that response is, it is a response. Killing someone when life in the here and now means so little to some people is like the smack in the face for getting fresh to others. Believe it. Allegedly, the Islamist attackers said they wanted to “die as martyrs.” Life is so very cheap to those who would make such claims.

Dealing with murderers is difficult and complex. One segment of society wants to know “why?” the perpetrators did what they did, and want to defend them with public resources. Others would rather see the killers killed, rationalizations and psychology be damned.

The French avoided that complexity by killing the SUSPECTED Islamists. Everyone here is ASSUMING those persons killed by the French police (if any were killed at all) were the perpetrators. We may never know for sure. We only know what we are told. We assume the French are telling the truth about the whole thing. If not, what would be their motive?

For all we know the perpetrators were goaded into acting in order to flush out more of them, to lead authorities to the planners and facilitators. It would be stupid to cut off the only source of information about the bigger fish in this story, wouldn’t it? Unless of course you already had all the valuable information you thought you could get from them, i.e., their communication with their superiors.

If the French goal was to create a scenario wherein EVERYONE would buy-in to eliminating Islamists in France, including the leaders of Israel and Palestine, this was it.

With no live perpetrators in hand the French can say whatever they want to about it. Who’s to question them?

What we are witnessing currently are vast emotional outpourings over the destroyed innocent lives of heroic artists and journalists – who are supposed to enjoy neutrality in war, aren’t they? Seems to me theIslamic State has TARGETED journalists for capture and dismemberment.

For all we know the whole thing was fabricated in order to extract a certain public and world sentiment the liberal French government could NEVER perpetrate on their own without Islamist fall guys. And all this has acted as a smoke screen to Boko Haram’s worst atrocity in Nigeria, where they reportedly slaughtered hundreds of innocent people, not twelve, hundreds. Where are the outpourings and marches for them?

Multiculturalism is a hallmark of socialism. “We are the world,” is a favorite refrain. “Tolerance,” “understanding,” immigration appeasement, etc., are all liberal agenda items thrown in more conservative faces as political correctness and social justice, humanism, utilitarianism, commonism (exploitation of the commons for minority greed).

The false narrative of liberals has come home to roost. Terrorism is alive and well and living in Paris. Or is it?

Je suis NON Charlie.

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter @mjgranger1

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Author web page: http://sbpra.com/montgomeryjgranger/ Twitter @mjgranger1

TERROR COMES HOME TO HOLLYWOOD

At the heart of terror is the psychological effects on it’s victims. If you believe you’re a target of violence you will take necessary steps to prevent that perceived potential harm.

If your name, address and other personal information were stolen by those who promised to do you harm it becomes a legitimate reality for you, especially if these people or others like them have been successful in carrying out acts of terror in the recent past.

If instead of a threat to harm innocent people if the Sony Pictures film “The Interview” were shown the terrorists had simply blown up a theater killing innocent people who were watching the movie, the point would have been made and no one would have criticized Sony Pictures for then pulling the plug.

But since violence was only threatened and not perpetrated, “brave” Hollywood personalities, mainstream media talking heads and politicians criticized the decision to play it safe. But no Hollywood personality, mainstream media talking head or politician who has criticized Sony Pictures for canceling the initial release of The Interview, offered to host a premier for the movie, or offered to compensate reluctant movie theaters for the cost of added security and insurance against terror attacks threatened by hackers.

No Hollywood personality, mainstream media talking head or politician offered to be present or stand guard for a screening of the movie. Yet, they were all “outraged” over Sony Pictures’ decision to reduce the risk of a terror attack on innocent people; liberal hypocrisy at its best.

“Brave” people who have come out of the woodwork to blame Sony Pictures for encouraging more terror threats by capitulating, have no solutions, no constructive options, no offers of help, just distain fueled by . . . greed?

Cyber threats have become more and more frequent over the past ten years, and more so by enemies of the United States against our way of life. Instead of meeting these threats head on, or even classifying them as “acts of war,” our government, indeed President Barack Obama, blames the victim! Wagging his finger at Sony Pictures the President said he would have told Sony to release the film if only they had come to him first.

Retreating and giving up the high ground in the Global War on Terror by abandoning Iraq in 2011, Obama set the stage for the current state of affairs vs. the Islamic State and other terror groups. His releasing of unlawful combatants from our military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is also another indication that the President, who declared the Global War on Terror “over” in 2013, is trying to wish away the bad guys. In fact, the President’s behavior in releasing Gitmo detainees in a steady stream before hostilities have ended says that he considers released detainees VICTIMS.

But several released Gitmo detainees haven’t just returned to the fight, they have become LEADERS in the Jihad. Releasing bad guys won’t help win the War on Terror, yet it has become Obama’s latest sport, engendering him to the radical Muslim followers of the Jihad. At the same time, not long after Senate Democrats released a one-sided Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA activities with detainees, Obama continues his deadly drone campaign against unlawful combatants overseas, some of which have been known American citizens. Still others have been brought from foreign lands to stand trial in U.S. Federal Courts, with free court appointed lawyers, of course.

The President’s designation of foreign terrorists as common criminals is disturbing and counterproductive, and to certain Fort Hood shooting victims and military personnel insulting. Thank God the Congress has seen fit to overturn Obama’s designation of the Fort Hood incident as “workplace violence” and has paved the way for Purple Heart medals and combat related benefits to these true heroes.

To defeat an enemy one must first admit one has an enemy. Obama’s continued denials, except of course when it suits his desire to drone someone, have not only emboldened our enemies, they have created an open invitation to chaos. So-called “Lone Wolf” terror attacks have become more frequent, but make no mistake, the “Lone Wolf “ moniker is a misnomer. Anytime someone yells “allahu akbar” and then attacks someone it is part of the bigger whole – the Jihad. Labeling these attacks as “Lone Wolf” ignores the reality of the Global War on Terror and is Obamaesque, which is counter productive in our struggle with Islamists. We must think of these attackers as part of the enemy whole and then defeat them.

Until all Islamists are dead or no longer have the means or will to kill us we must defend ourselves.

Trading five known Taliban leaders for one questionably loyal American military captive was perhaps the most inept and wrongheaded act by any president ever. Open season on kidnapping Americans was declared by our enemies because of that insane trade. The Islamic State followed suit by beheading American and other captives and then posting the video of the murders on the Internet. Terrorism 101.

Gitmo may not be perfect, but it is light-years ahead of the Islamist alternative, which is a PILE of HEADS. To date, over 630 detainees have been released from Gitmo, and NONE of them has been executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up or dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, all things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies. 30 percent of released Gitmo detainees are known to have rejoined the fight. Imagine how many of the UNKNOWN have rejoined the fight.

All this figures in Sony Pictures’ and distributive movie theater’s decisions to initially pass on The Interview, a film about the planned assassination of a real live human being. Hollywood has out done itself in promoting wanton murder.

Had they come up with a fictitious country and made-up target things may have played out differently. But instead they chose to single out a social pariah, but a living, breathing, and real human being nonetheless. Sounds racist, discriminatory and of promoting senseless violence at a time one would think liberal Hollywood types would want to spread understanding and tolerance, you know, PEACE.

Peace however, doesn’t SELL. What sells is controversy. What sells is violence, lots of it. Ironically, these liberal Hollywood types are some of the first to condemn anomalies like the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003. As Americans we really need to look hard at ourselves in the mirror and then ask if we have desensitized ourselves to violence to the point when, if those in authority tell subordinates to do something like “prep” detainees for interrogation we don’t give it a second thought. Posting abuse photos on the Internet, innocently enough, was the thoughtless act that doomed the perpetrators of Abu Ghraib. Those photos PALE in comparison to even PG-13 rated movies from Hollywood, and don’t even register on the scale when compared to the Islamic State’s beheadings.

With The Interview currently breaking all income records for online released movies it is clear the initial decision to hold the release of the film because of perceived threats has paid off handsomely. And stories have emerged that point to an INSIDE JOB with regard to the hacking of Sony Pictures computers. Although not widely reported, these claims are substantial and credible. Have we all been HAD? Has Sony Pictures come up with a way to make one feel PATRIOTIC for viewing a film of questionable morality?

Hollywood must now look hard in the mirror and then admit some culpability in the current state of fear mongering. Extreme violence as portrayed in countless Hollywood films has begotten an irresponsible sense of absolution among those who choose what is produced: the bloodier and more outrageous the better. Choosing to feature a known personality in an assassination plot in an era of immediate communication has produced a logical consequence. It’s time to reflect and then ask if this is the kind of world we want to live in. If not, then we have to DO something about it. Hopefully, the 114th Congress feels the same way.

Ebola, Obama and the Sacrifice of the American Military

Either as distraction or abomination, President Barack Obama has ordered 3,000 U.S. troops into Ebola infested West Africa.

The problem is, 3,000 U.S. troops can’t defeat Ebola.

It was said that the military personnel will not be directly involved with treating Ebola-infected patients. The problem with that is that the people who are infected and contagious but not very sick in the beginning are the ones who spread the disease.

So how are our troops supposed to tell the infected and contagious indigenous people from the healthy ones?

Another question is how are we going to protect those 3,000 military personnel? Are they being trained and inoculated? Is there a vaccine we don’t know about that is being administered to those being deployed?

CAMP PENDLETON, CA - AUGUST 07:  U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks during his visit at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base with troops and their families to thank them for their service on August 7, 2013 in Camp Pendleton, California. Obama announced today that he canceled a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow amid tensions over National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and other issues. Credit: Getty Images

Prior to my multiple deployments overseas I was inoculated against small pox and anthrax. Not your common everyday illnesses. Was the general public ever aware of this?

If there were a vaccine, would the government hide that fact from us in order to preserve Ebola as a possible bio-weapon? Bio-weapons are only effective if there is no vaccine. If they have a vaccine, concealing that fact makes those who have the virus in a test tube somewhere more powerful.

One of the reasons Obama says he is sending military personnel is because there is a security threat. Could we be positioning ourselves to assist the West African governments with deadly forceif it is indicated?

It was said during the announcement of U.S. military involvement that the U.S. would beestablishing a command and control base, offering health care worker training, and helping to set-up a health care logistics system.

Health care logistics means delivery of health care supplies and equipment directly to those who need it. Command and control requires eyes-on supervision. How would it be possible for U.S. military personnel not to come into contact with infected Ebola patients?

Health worker burn used protection gear at the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) center in Conakry on September 13, 2014. For nearly four decades, mention of the Ebola virus has evoked death and terror, yet a simple factor -- money -- has stood in the way of erasing the curse, experts say. Despite its evil reputation, Ebola breaks out only rarely in brief if murderous spurts in impoverished African countries. AFP PHOTO / CELLOU BINANI

Military personnel are trained to perform their duties in a wartime environment. These highly trained, highly motivated personnel are soldier’s first, and then job specialty second. Why are they being given a mission that seems much better suited to civilian health care professionals? If there is a security issue they should use local law enforcement or hire contracted security personnel, not use soldiers.

Why aren’t African countries taking the lead on this? Why aren’t the bleeding heart social medicine champions form Europe leading this charge, putting their money, people and materiel where their mouth is? The World Health Organization should be out front on this, along with other non-governmental organizations and countries who have much more skin in the game than we do.

In our country medical care is an insurance issue, so where is the insurance ground zero here? Why are Americans being asked to pay up front on something that may never affect us directly before others who are directly affected give their all?

Could Iraq use 3,000 troops? How about our border with Mexico? Ukraine? Afghanistan?

Once again it seems as though Obama’s advisors have convinced him to use the military in a way the military was never intended to be used, kind of like “no combat role” for troops in Iraq. Pssst! The Army is trained for COMBAT, stupid!

Ebola victim Dr. Kent Brantley, left,  embraces Dr. Bruce Ribner medical director of Emory’s Infectious Disease Unit, after being released from Emory University Hospital, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP/John Bazemore)

Obama’s advisors are a group of military haters, with only five of 54 cabinet appointees and czars with ANY military experience at all, and among those NONE with either combat Army or Marine Corps officer experience. So, the Air Force and Navy guys on Obama’s team aren’t suggesting THOSE branches to be involved. Why?

The Navy medical personnel I served with at Guantanamo Bay in 2002 did a great job with the detainees. They did excellent isolation care with those detainees suspected with tuberculosis! Why not Ebola? Besides, the Navy has those neat hospital ships, what better way to isolate those who are ill? And the Air Force is famous for their on the fly health care and innovative delivery systems in the air. Why don’t they have a role in this mission?

Why? Indeed!

Maybe the answer is the Obama team wants the Army to suffer. After all, it has been Army officers who have repeatedly suggested Obama’s plan to battle the Islamic State without combat troops is pie in the sky, to the contrary of the president’s mantra. It’s embarrassing to say the least that his own military, specifically the Army keeps contradicting the advice he keeps getting from his no-military, no-brain, trust in the White House.

Sequestration is still on the table, and will hurt the Army first, last and worst. The Army continues to be asked to do more with less, and now are being asked to work magic on the Ebola crisis using funds already earmarked for the fight against Islamists. Wrong team, wrong battle.

The Army is being sent to sacrifice for the sins of it’s leaders, those who continue to advocate for missions that they are built for, and not missions the Obama team wish they were built for. And if the military fails, Obama has his favorite fall guy.

If you want to degrade and then destroy Islamic State you send in the 82nd Airborne Division and the United States Marine Corps.

American Aid goods are loaded onto a truck after it arrived by airplane, to be used in the fight against the Ebola virus spreading in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. Two alarming new cases of Ebola have emerged in Nigeria, widening the circle of people sickened beyond the immediate group of caregivers who treated a dying airline passenger in one of Africa's largest cities. The outbreak also continues to spread elsewhere in West Africa, with 142 more cases recorded, bringing the new total to 2,615 with 1,427 deaths, the World Health Organization said Friday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

If you want to stem the spread of Ebola you send in civilian medical personnel and then protect them with contracted civilian security if indicated.

It’s the civilian health care system that saved at least two American doctors who came down with Ebola. Notice how they weren’t sent to a military medical facility? Can you imagine the Department of Veterans Affairs having to add Ebola to the list of diseases they have to treat?

Using military for the Ebola fight simply puts a strain on the current mission, supporting global operations against Islamists who want to kill us. Most likely the bulk of those being sent will be Army reservists, who would be available but currently serving in civilian medical facilities, which would suffer from their absence.

Sacrificing American military assets for a civilian health care crisis weakens our ability to protect our own and sets yet another bad precedent that mismanages our military, sadly par for the course for Obama and his anti-military minions.

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter ID @mjgranger1