Friday, May 28, 2004

MOH Citation

I said a long time ago that I was going to post some of the citations of Soldiers who deserve to be remembered for their valor. One of my oldest friends sent me this. Mr. Montgomery lived quietly in my hometown for years and most people never had more than a vague idea that he was a legitimate hero and winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 45th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near, Padiglione, Italy, 22 February 1944. Entered service at: Sallisaw, Okla. Birth: Long, Okla. G.O. No.: 5, 15 January 1945.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 22 February 1944, near Padiglione, Italy. Two hours before daybreak a strong force of enemy infantry established themselves in 3 echelons at 50 yards, 100 yards, and 300 yards, respectively, in front of the rifle platoons commanded by 1st Lt. Montgomery. The closest position, consisting of 4 machineguns and 1 mortar, threatened the immediate security of the platoon position. Seizing an Ml rifle and several hand grenades, 1st Lt. Montgomery crawled up a ditch to within hand grenade range of the enemy. Then climbing boldly onto a little mound, he fired his rifle and threw his grenades so accurately that he killed 8 of the enemy and captured the remaining 4. Returning to his platoon, he called for artillery fire on a house, in and around which he suspected that the majority of the enemy had entrenched themselves. Arming himself with a carbine, he proceeded along the shallow ditch, as withering fire from the riflemen and machinegunners in the second position was concentrated on him. He attacked this position with such fury that 7 of the enemy surrendered to him, and both machineguns were silenced. Three German dead were found in the vicinity later that morning. 1st Lt. Montgomery continued boldly toward the house, 300 yards from his platoon position. It was now daylight, and the enemy observation was excellent across the flat open terrain which led to 1st Lt. Montgomery's objective. When the artillery barrage had lifted, 1st Lt. Montgomery ran fearlessly toward the strongly defended position. As the enemy started streaming out of the house, 1st Lt. Montgomery, unafraid of treacherous snipers, exposed himself daringly to assemble the surrendering enemy and send them to the rear. His fearless, aggressive, and intrepid actions that morning, accounted for a total of 11 enemy dead, 32 prisoners, and an unknown number of wounded. That night, while aiding an adjacent unit to repulse a counterattack, he was struck by mortar fragments and seriously wounded. The selflessness and courage exhibited by 1st Lt. Montgomery in alone attacking 3 strong enemy positions inspired his men to a degree beyond estimation.

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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Drivel In Progress...


Can we allow the general premise that anything that thwarts the enemies’ purposes furthers your own… and anything that serves the enemies cause hurts our own? If we do then we must take a hard look at ourselves and decide whether we want to win the fight against terrorism… or continue to watch the decline of civilization in a spiral of extremist violence and moral ambiguity.

The nature of Democracy will always lead to some conflict about which direction our nation should take. This is normal and reasonable and absolutely preferable to a society where one segment of the population always determines courses of action. A rational discourse should take place before any decision is made in our governing bodies. Ideally, the goal in every representative’s mind should be the welfare, safety and prosperity of the United States of America. The azimuth may shift right and left from time to time with no lasting harm done, as long as the overall course remains true.

Sadly, I am beginning to wonder whether our best interests are being served by some of our elected representatives. Some partisanship is to be expected. If a congressman feels that our nation’s interests are best served by the platform of the Republican or Democratic Party, then naturally they will attempt to further the cause of their like minded fellows and constituents. But when we lose sight of our overall objective in favor of vitriol and venom, we do nothing less or more than to serve the purpose of the enemy.

What is our enemy’s objective? We need to be very clear on this point before we begin making judgements and decisions with long term effects. If you understand your enemy and understand his aims, the picture will begin to clear up and decisions will begin to present themselves in a much more timely manner.

If we look at the evidence we see before us, we can begin to understand the enemies’ tactics. If we look at the traditional military and political strategies, we may begin to see patterns emerge that shed light on their overall strategy.

Our enemies’ tactics are relatively easy to discern from watching the nightly news. They are not weak in military, political or financial backing. Their real strength tactically speaking, however, is in their will. They are not shackled by any societal taboos against violence toward civilians. They subscribe to a logical, albeit morally bankrupt, belief that any means is justified by the end. I think that is the real temptation of terrorism. When we free ourselves from any restrictions on methods and techniques, it becomes much easier for a small extreme segment of the population to affect society as a whole. If they truly believe in their cause, and they most certainly do, then logically (to them)we will all be better off when they decide what form society takes. Any madness is acceptable when it serves their greater good.

The terrorists who successfully attacked the Spanish railways, for example, financed their operations with drugs. Most people agree that the illegal sale of drugs is a bad thing. But in their case, they needed money, sold a large amount of hashish, received the money… and changed the government of a civilized nation with the proceeds. Their mission was a resounding success that was seen by the entire world. I don’t think anyone in their right mind could deny that they achieved a massive victory for terrorists everywhere by setting this precedent.

They will actively and consciously lie to the entire Muslim world if they think it furthers their cause. When we attacked a conduit for foreign fighters on the Syrian border, they beat us to the presses with stories of a huge massacre of a civilian wedding party. I believed it at first. It is not unreasonable to believe that something like that could happen, so I cringed inwardly at what was sure to be the consequences of a mistake like that. Then, slowly, a trickle of information started to leak out about inconsistencies in their story. Eventually, after several days, we learn that there was no evidence at all of a wedding. There were an enormous number of weapons, bedding, medical supplies and fighting age males at this location. So now I know the truth about what happened. Of course I follow the news religiously, unlike 90% of the American public and probably even more of the Muslim world. So I have to wonder how many people actually saw the full explanation given in a press conference, and how many simply saw the headlines “United States slaughters wedding party” and remain under that impression today.

Make no mistake about it, the enemy is at least holding their own, if not winning, the propaganda war that accompanies any shooting war. Our own news outlets unwittingly serve the enemies cause in the name of free speech. I would never suggest abridging free speech. I would however, suggest that major media outlets have an obligation to use good judgement in how they cover some stories. Arab media does not hesitate to embellish facts, flavor stories, or outright lie if it causes harm to the United States. I do not suggest that we do anything of the sort, our credibility must remain intact. But we serve the enemies cause when we indulge in needless self-flagellation for either money or domestic political reasons.

… to be continued.