fighting tigersHaving grown up during the years following World War II, it never fails to surprise me how little most people who haven’t reached their mid-60s know of that epic conflict, especially the Pacific Theater. During the 1950s, we did not have to be formally taught about World War II — it was a topic in everyone’s home. Every family had a veteran or two or had lost a son. War movies were regular fare at our local theater. The first series I watched on television was the incomparable Victory at Sea. The documentary footage, the music, and the narration — both the script and the delivery by Leonard Graves — penetrated into my heart and soul and have never left. It seemed that a new book on the war came out every week, and newspapers and magazines were full of articles about the war.

General Vang Pao, the heroic anti-communist leader of the Laotian Hmong, was laid to rest early in February during a six-day funeral held by his people in Fresno, California. Mourners from various parts of the United States were joined by some from as far away as Europe to bid farewell to the man who became somewhat of a patriarch of the Hmong people. Vang Pao was 81.

As political commentator for the Concerned Women for American's Legislative Action Committee and former speechwriter for former President George H. W. Bush, Janice Shaw Crouse celebrated Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday with a paean of praise for the former President's skills as "The Great Communicator" which perfectly illustrates the perception of Reagan as a good conservative, at least when he spoke.

missle“Avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican liberty.”

— George Washington, 
Farewell Address, September 17, 1796

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

— Dwight Eisenhower, 
Farewell Address, January 17, 1961

Long before President Dwight Eisenhower warned the nation about the dangers of “an immense military establishment and a large arms industry” in the “Farewell Address” he delivered 50 years ago last month, Americans were familiar with the “unwarranted influence” of “overgrown military establishments.”

In the midst of one American tragedy, another one is being ignored. Following the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of several others in Tucson, the mainstream media has stolidly preserved a blackout about the last U.S. congressman to be killed in the line of duty — U.S. Representative Larry McDonald (D-Ga.). 

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