My original plan was to make this a non-political column and to address what Memorial Day should mean to this country in the current worldwide political climate. However, there have been so many developments politically in the past week that politics must have its fair say and Memorial Day will be addressed later.
Nancy Pelosi’s political standing has taken a turn for the worse in the past few days. The press conference she gave last week was one of the most awkward things I have witnessed by a politician. She seemed flustered and completely out of her element. And during it, she attacked the CIA, which is run by a confirmed Democrat, Leon Panetta. Why she would be attacking the CIA makes absolutely no sense? The only thing she accomplished by this ridiculous behavior is to go to war with the CIA and Mr. Panetta.
Members of both parties are now openly declaring she has been politically damaged by the whole situation. It is quite clear she is lying about something. She was so flustered she couldn’t even remember what she said a few minutes earlier during the press conference. My personal feeling is that she is now attempting to cover up what she new about the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques as early as 2002, but no later than 2003. It’s like 1973 all over again. She does not want anyone to know what she knew because she and her party want Republican blood on this issue.
It is pretty clear that a high ranking member of a House Intelligence committee would know everything that was going on and receive regular briefings from the intelligence community. For her to claim that she did not know about the water boarding is beyond belief. She obviously knew what was going on and did not object back in 2002-2003 because they majority of the country was in fear as a result of 9/11. Now, the times have changed, public opinion has changed and she can do whatever she wants to further the goals of her party.
Did she expect everyone to let her slide on this? I think not. If she did, she is even dumber than I initially thought. Bottom line is she has got to come clean and admit she knew what was going on and that she either expressly or impliedly acquiesced to it. If that brings her down, so be it. It could not happen to a nicer person.
This brings me to another issue that is directly related. Apparently, Senate Democrats, keeling over to public pressure, are beginning to change their mind on Gitmo. Just today, they denied 80 million dollars in funding needed to close the facility. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats not only oppose the release of detainees into the United States but also oppose the transfer of detainees to U.S. prisons. Maybe, Mr. Bush and the Republicans had it right all along? Wouldn’t it be wild to have the Democrats finally admit that President Bush was acting correctly on certain controversial national security issues?
Of course, this would make President Obama look really bad to the majority of his supporters. How does he explain the necessity of leaving Gitmo open when closing it was, not only one of his main campaign promises, but also one of his first executive orders when taking office? Either way, the Democrats are going to end up with egg on their faces on this issue and the Republicans will have been proven correct.
Another interesting development in the last few days is US/Israeli relations. Does President Obama really support Israel? In the past few months it is beginning to seem less clear. Obama wants a two state solution. Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel made it clear to President Obama at the White House on Monday that Israel wanted peace. However, he did not acquiesce to a two state solution and he did not agree to stop the settlements in the disputed areas.
Instead Netanyahu stated that the peace process must be a two way street. He further stated that Iran was the biggest danger to the entire peace process. The other Middle Eastern countries, including, but not limited to Iran and the Palestinians, must recognize Israel’s right to exist. Until that happens, no peace is possible.
President Obama must side with Netanyahu on these issues. Israel must remain America’s strongest ally in the Middle East. Every President in the past thirty years has realized this. I think President Obama should stop applying pressure on Israel and instead apply it to Iran. Until Iran’s nuclear threat is neutralized, there will be no peace in the Middle East.
I wonder where Rahm Emmanuel is right now?
My position on the Middle Eastern situation is not because of my standing in the entertainment community as some of my critics have suggested. It is simple and basic foreign relations. Israel is the only true democracy in the region. It is one of our most important trading partners in the region. We cannot turn our backs on them and we must support them. After all, we are war with radical Islam no matter what President Obama chooses to call it.
Finally, I would like to speak about Memorial Day which was my original intent in this column. It was originally called Decoration Day and began after the Civil Way in 1868 as a way to pay tribute to those who had died defending the country. The original tradition, begun in Waterloo, NY, was to decorate the graves of the fallen military. Hence, the name Decoration Day.
It has evolved beyond that into much more. It is on this day we remember everything the military has done for us. We remember those that died storming the beaches in Normandy. We remember those that lost their lives in the Tet Offensive. We remember our fallen brethren in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, we should remember those that have long been forgotten with time.
These are our sons and daughters and ancestors that have given all so that our way of life could survive. We should not protest against them. We should honor them. So, on Monday, when you are attending a Memorial Day BBQ or parade, try to remember why you are there. Remember, all of the good we have in this country and those that gave all for that good. And, remember those who died keeping this country together approximately 150 years ago during the Civil War. There would be no “United” States without them.
We are one proud nation. The whole world looks up to us and wants to emulate us. This is still the country where most of the world wants to live. Regardless of which party is in power, no one leaves here for greener pastures. These are the greener pastures and on Memorial Day, we must remember those who have given their lives to keep them that way.
©2009 by Frank T. DeMartini. Permission to use excerpts will be freely given upon request.