Archive for the 'Personal' Category



God Bless Jim Foley: A Man I Know Has Been Beheaded By ISIS

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

Journalist James Foley (he corresponded with me as Jim) has been beheaded by ISIS.  I choose not to remember him from the recent photographs, but as the wonderful young man he was.  As a note to ISIS, I don’t believe a word he had to say while under duress.  I knew him better than you did.  You wasted your time with his confessions, or charges, or whatever you forced him to say.

We first corresponded during my blogging on the war in Afghanistan.  I initiated the conversations with him, but he was very warm in his effusive praise and kindness towards me.  He worked primarily for the Global Post, but did a good bit of embedded independent work.  He was in Kandahar at the time, and politely recommended that I link his blog, A World Of Troubles, which redirects now to Free James Foley.

Jim was kidnapped in Libya early in 2011.  I had also made significant use of his fantastic work in The Five Hundred Meter War.  The U.S. Army later contacted me wanting the rights to use this video in training and analysis, and I directed them to Jim who (I hope) made some money from the work.  He told me that he would gladly sell the rights for a small fee.

I have since reconsidered my position on long distance warfare, and concluded that it isn’t necessarily that the 5.56 mm round is all that ineffective at long distances, but that based on subsequent conversations with various officers, no one (Army or Marine Corps) teaches their men to shoot uphill.  All of their ranges are flat.  Then again, the 5.56 mm round does tend to yaw in flight, which causes problems at long distances.  But Travis Haley has shown us that the 5.56 mm can be effective to beyond 500 yards, and my son qualified at 500 yards as a Marine.

But I digress.  Suffice it to say that Jim was an important voice in bringing this feature of the war to our attention.  Jim called me “an important voice in the war” in one e-mail exchange, but Jim’s voice was far more important.  His reporting was at the same time fact-filled and accurate, and personal and engaging. Jim was the consummate professional, but a genuinely nice person.

I have long since left analysis of the war(s), given that we failed to negotiate a reasonable SOFA in Iraq and proved that we wanted to continue the social sciences game in Afghanistan rather than prosecute a war.  I recommended that we leave without another drop of American blood spilled, and never looked back.

Sort of.  I have often thought of Jim and what might be happening to him.  There aren’t many folks from those days I know only electronically to whom I feel such a kinship.  Tim Lynch and Michael Yon are a couple, but the list is short.  People like that are the sort where if you met up with them somewhere it would be like meeting a long lost brother, and the conversation would flow without any effort at all.

It was hard to be accepted in military blogging with such parochial and hierarchical (even if unofficial) structure, and with the desire for control by a few.  Jim’s acceptance and warmness was welcome, as it is with the folks whom I engage in my current interests of gun and gun rights (like David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh).

I will miss Jim.  I give my warmest, most sincere and most heartfelt condolences to his family.  Your family gave us a good and wonderful man.  We are worse for this loss.

My brief note to ISIS is this.  You screwed up.  I’ve previously been told how good you are, how savvy, how connected to social networks you’ve been and how you’re coming for us.

I can’t speak for the folks up North since the collectivists may have disarmed my fellow countrymen by now, but I dare ISIS to come South and bring your brand of sharia to North Carolina or South Carolina.  I dare you.

You don’t scare me in the least and you didn’t impress me by harming my friend Jim.  Come to the land where the American insurgents beat up the best that Lord Cornwallis had to offer.  Come try to plant your damn ISIS flag in my front yard, or try to force my wife or daughter to wear a burqa.  The result will be swift and brutal, involving magazines full of 5.56 mm rounds and 230 grain fat boys.  I have guns too, and mine still have their buttstocks unlike your dumb ass rifles that can’t be aimed.  Mine can shoot 1 MOA, and I can do about the same.  I see your stupid videos where you waste ammunition by shooting at the air.  I’ve laughed at them.

I had previously lamented the plight of the poor Christians in Syria and Iraq, pleading with them and Christians around the world to arm themselves before it is too late.  I have ridiculed the Christian church worldwide for its sloth, arrogance and self centeredness in refusing to help fellow Christians or even pray for them.

But this isn’t just a world away.  It’s personal, for I knew Jim.  You killed a friend, and I owe you.  I pray that you end in hell, and that very soon, screaming out in agony from thirst while you suffer in the lake of fire for eternity.  My only regret is that in all likelihood I won’t be the one to send you there.  I don’t think you’ll ever get to my doorstep.  You’ll die before you make it here because my armed fellow countrymen won’t tolerate you.

UPDATE:

I am sent an article by Daniel Greenfield, published at Front Page Magazine.  It is entitled James Foley Went Looking to Support Terrorists in Syria, Instead They Cut Off His Head.  I have learned to ignore anything published at Front Page Magazine, but in the interest of full disclosure and openness, I’ll give the link below.

Daniel’s thesis is that he was a terrorist sympathizer.  He knows this based on his Twitter feed where he retweeted the posts others made.  Certainly, based on Jim’s review of my own analysis work of OIF (communicated directly to me), he was no terrorist sympathizer.  He was an independent journalist.  In fact, Daniel’s commeters try to tell him in the comments that Jim was taken to task in his Twitter feed for NOT taking sides.  It’s too late at that point.  Daniel is committed to his thesis and can’t roll it back.  This is one of the hazards of writing.

I think Greenfield otherwise does good analysis, but I think he missed the boat on this one, and badly so.  For me his thesis lands somewhere between highly unlikely and totally impossible.  It is my policy never to link to Front Page Magazine.  I’ll break that policy this one time and give you Daniel’s article in the interest of full disclosure and to show that I’m always willing to listen to all sides.

UPDATE #2:

Tom Rogan:

His death won’t be broadcast many places, but take my word for his final courage. As the terrorist moves his knife downwards, Foley grimaces but does not cry out. This, after all, is the man that he was, a man who faced great danger to bring knowledge to the world. After being imprisoned by Qaddafi loyalists for 44 days during the Libyan civil war, Foley returned to the country to finish his reporting. When asked why he did so, Foley offered a simple answer. “Why wouldn’t I go back? People had done so much for me back home. I was humbled, I felt indebted to them. [We] wanted to connect the dots; we wanted to finish that story.”

Foley did finish that story (the series about his captivity is here). We should always remember his life and his accomplishments. But we must also remember his moment of passing: facing down a murderer hiding behind a black mask.

And from PBS:

… she was worried that I was being forced to say everything I was saying over the phone. And I just wanted to tell her I was strong, I was praying, I could make it. I knew it was going to be more time, but I was doing — physically, I was fine, and I wasn’t being harmed.

And she was worried that they were making me say these things, but she also said, oh, so many people have been praying for you and so many of your friends and family have come to our assistance.

 

Weekend Fun

BY Herschel Smith
8 months ago

My daughter (Devon), daughter in law (Ashley) and oldest son (Joshua) shooting in Pickens, S.C.

2014A 198

Me shooting my newest addition to the family in Pickens, S.C.

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My newest addition.

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Daniel (former Marine) is still serving his country by killing feral hogs and helping to rid America of the blight of ecological destruction wrought by these horrible creatures.  For this one Daniel used a fixed blade Ka-Bar.  This was one of about 40 he saw down below Clemson, S.C.

hog1

hog2

Is She A Tough Girl Or A Sissy?

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

I watched this weekend at my son Joshua’s house as Heidi (my Doberman) decided that she wanted to meet the dog next door, and she jumped a four foot privacy fence.  I assumed that the fence would be a barrier to her and I didn’t have her shock collar on.  I assumed wrong.

And you’ve seen the video of bears jumping up and down on their front legs to warn you before they attack?  A couple of weeks ago I witnessed Heidi exhibiting the same behavior.  She barked so loudly that she hurt my ears, while each bark was timed with her paws landing on the floor.  I don’t recall who she saw on the sidewalk, but she was pissed, and I wouldn’t have wanted her outside at the moment.

And then there is this.

Heidi_Couch

She literally arranged the pillows, crashed on the couch, and then pulled the blanket over her.  I kid you not.  At about 85 pounds, her long legs have to hang off.

Shhh! … don’t tell my wife.  Heidi isn’t allowed on the couch, and if my wife knew about this Heidi would be done for.  In a throw-down between my wife and Heidi, Heidi doesn’t stand a chance.

Happiness Is A Doberman, A .357 Magnum And A Good Book

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

aa

2013B 033

The book is Isaac Watts, “Logic: The Right Use Of Reason In The Inquiry After Truth,” with a nice note to me from R. C. Sproul.  The dog is Heidi, an 82 pound Doberman who worships me.  As you can see from the leather chair that she claims as her very own, she’s very uncomfortable and I abuse her regularly.  The gun is a .357 magnum S&W.

S&W M&P R8 .357 Magnum

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 6 months ago

2013C 115

Prayer Request

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 10 months ago

Friend Rick Keyes writes with this prayer request:

My brother the AC130 pilot is in the hospital in Landstuhl with a non combat related sickness however it is serious enough they evaced him as soon as they could.  Any prayers and thoughts that could be sent his direction would be greatly appreciated.

Done.  Actually, send your thoughts to Rick and his brother, your prayers in the direction of God.

Christmas 2011

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 10 months ago

“And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.  Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “Behold the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, “God with us.”  [Matthew 1:21-23]

To all my readers, please enjoy this Christmas season and remember and be thankful for the greatest gift of all, God’s only son, eternal, without beginning and without end, without whom we would truly perish.

If you haven’t heard enough good Christmas music, enjoy the King’s Brass below.  All three videos are well worth the time.  I had the opportunity to play a few charts with this group when they came through my city, when original member Doug Warner was with them (the greatest trombone player I have ever known, and with whom I had the chance to play).

Paul Krugman’s Shame

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 1 month ago

Paul Krugman bears his soul to us on the events of 9/11 and thereafter.  He sets the framework for his short post with his title: The Years of Shame.

Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?

Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te (sic) atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.

Good grief.  A columnist for the New York Times leaves a spelling error in his post, and the Times runs it anyway.  And Krugman doesn’t seem to care enough to correct it.  Is it me or do many bloggers care more about their prose than the New York Times, and isn’t this odd?  Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.

But on to the main point.  Let’s do this thing about Iraq … one … more … time.  My own son did a combat tour of Iraq, so I have the right to say just about anything I want to concerning Operation Iraqi Freedom (though not as much right as those families who paid the ultimate sacrifice).  Knowing something about nuclear technology and thus knowing the kind of infrastructure it takes to accomplish enrichment, I was ambivalent about the invasion (we call this phase Operation Iraqi Freedom I).  With Michael Fumento and others, I know that chemical weapons are a poor substitute for military weapons (conventional ordnance is much more effective), and so that justification failed with me.

But whatever policy differences or questions I might have had with that phase of the campaign, there was no vacillation in my support for Operation Iraqi Freedom II (generally taken to be late 2003 – 2006) and III (2007 and on, i.e., surge and post-surge).  During the height of the conflict, eighty to one hundred foreign fighters per month crossed the Jordanian and [mainly] Syrian borders to fight the U.S. in Iraq.

Al Qaeda poured an immense amount of capital into the campaign in Iraq, including money, philosophical  underpinnings and personnel.  Their writers went to work trying to justify suicide as a legitimate form of jihad, they spent a large amount of the monies donated by wealthy Saudis on Iraq, and they lost thousands of fighters who would otherwise have been able to fight in Afghanistan or come to the shores of the U.S.  And I don’t buy the notion that Iraq was their raison d’être.  I believe that they would have fought us anyway, anywhere.

Iraq was a quagmire for al Qaeda.  It was a tremendous loss for them, regardless of the final disposition of the campaign for Iraq.  I am proud of the role played by the American Soldier in Iraq.  As a Marine father, I am proud of the role played by the U.S. Marines in the pacification of the Anbar Province.  The ridiculous notions of … flipping … a tribe, as if this is some sort of parlor game, is a poor excuse for explaining what happened there.  More than 1000 Marines perished in Iraq, and years of fighting set the preconditions for “flipping” those tribes.

I am proud of the first responders on 9/11.  I am proud of how our nation responded, and I am proud of the contribution our warriors have made and are making to Operation Enduring Freedom.  I am proud of the strengthening of our nation’s security apparatus since 9/11, and have noted that much more is needed.  I am particularly proud of God’s grace to this country in the days since 9/11.  Lastly, I am proud of the combat tour my son did in the U.S. Marines.

Isn’t it telling that Krugman is ashamed of the days since 9/11?  It demarcates world views, no?  Is it just me and is it odd that this seems more like Paul Krugman’s shame than America’s shame?  I don’t think it’s just me, and it really isn’t all that odd.

Unlike the coward Krugman, I’ll leave comments open on this post.

Weapons and Personal Security

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 1 month ago

From National Review Online’s Corner comes a must read on the drop in violent crime and how it is inversely proportional to the number of weapons in circulation.  Note that I said inversely proportional, not proportional.  More precisely for myself, I have layers of security.  The first weapon I have is a living beast.

Her name is Heidi, and she is a red and rust Dobie, still growing at 70 lb.  She worships me, and she gets a mouthful of anyone who becomes a threat to me.  The next girl with which an intruder must contend is this one.


She is my Rock River Arms Elite Car A4, and so far it has been kitted up with rear iron sights, a PMAG, a military-issue forward vertical grip, a tactical light, and an offset mount for that light (so that the same hand that holds the forward grip can illuminate the light without use of a pressure switch because of the proximity of the light).  I still have a laser and optics to go.  If anyone from Trijicon wants to offer me a free set of optics (an ACOG with the Scripture still on it) for a review on TCJ, let me know.

In the first case, my baby gets a mouthful of the intruder.  In the second case, the intruder gets a mouthful of my baby.  In either case, the intruder gets what he deserves, and my babies still love me.

Badly Needed R&R

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 1 month ago

I have been on some badly needed R&R with the family. You know, the important things in life.  I appreciate your patience.  I will return to regular posting within about 24 hours.  In the mean time, pray for our country and our troops.  Pray for their safety.  When you’re finished with that, if you’re still in need of something else to do, contemplate Professor Alvin Plantinga’s views on Warrant and Professor John Frame’s views on cognitive rest – and both in light of one another.  Write a 5000 word paper and submit tomorrow.  I suspect you’ll find that you don’t have need of something else to do.


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