Monday, January 28, 2008

We Deserve Better (H.R. 1955 Is Not It)

While there are several stories worthy of discussion tonight, I am going to focus upon something that has received less attention than deserved.

A piece of proposed legislation has passed the House and is currently shuffling through Senate committee scrutiny before coming to vote in that chamber. The bill is titled, “The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007.” For those whom would like to be better informed concerning this bill, it can be tracked while it travels through Congress here and its summary on Wikipedia is located here.

I understand H.R. 1955, in a nutshell, thusly: The bill attempts to define three terms specifically. These terms are: “Violent Radicalization,” “Homegrown Terrorism,” and “Ideologically Based Violence.” It then orders the establishment of an institute to study the fields associated with these newly defined terms.

The stated general purpose is to prevent internally (American) borne terrorism. The implied purpose that I, and others more noteworthy (see next paragraph) recognize, is to allow the federal government regulatory ability in areas that need no such over-watch.

I am highly troubled by this proposed bill; as are others. While I have not been an outspoken fan of Representative Ron Paul’s, I share his criticism of this bill. While he was not present for the House’s vote on HR 1955, he did speak on the floor at a later date in opposition. While the full transcript can be found here and I encourage its reading in its entirety given its brevity, I will highlight the statements by Representative Paul of which I agree:

“There are many causes for concern in HR 1955.”

“(HR 1955) may well be the first step toward US government regulation of what we are allowed to access on the Internet.”

“It leaves the door wide open for the broadest definition of what constitutes “radicalization.””

Other statements in this speech by Representative Paul minimize the risk from internally (American) developed terrorism; this, however, I do not so easily dismiss. However, I do agree wholeheartedly with the points expressed above and raise major objections to this bill. While homegrown terrorism may be a risk, the vague terminology of this bill and the means in which it intends to attack such terrorism are far from the needed solutions.

What’s worse is the ease in which the proposed legislation passed the House. HR 1955 passed 404 to 6. The only noteworthy speech made on behalf of the legislation prior to voting was a request to suspend regular rules of order so as to expressly pass the bill. It’s not just the substance within the proposed legislation that is troubling. Also startling is the lack of scrutiny it was subjected to while in the House. Even in my novice perspective, I see several details that deserve attention; the details noted above by Representative Paul (and echoed here) are severe enough to perhaps cause major opposition to the bill.

I am voicing my own opposition here. I would hope that, as an informed constituent, my readers would also give the bill a glance and form their own opinions. If strong enough, please contact your local representatives and make them aware of how you feel. This bill is a step in the wrong direction and could, worse, present opportunities for government to enforce censorship in ways never intended by our country’s founding fathers.

In closing – and mostly unrelated, I want to encourage all readers to watch the President’s State of the Union speech tonight. I encourage my fellow residents in Florida to participate in tomorrow’s Presidential Primaries. Despite his withdrawal, I will be pledging my continued support for authentic conservative ideals by voting, as promised, for Senator Fred Thompson.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

In Hindsight…

Might this be the most ill-fated advertisement of 2007?

I was reminded of this disgusting overture when I came across this news: General David Petraeus, architect of the successful “surge” strategy in Iraq, is under consideration for nomination to the position of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander.

In case the above graphic is not recognizable, it was first run in the September 10th edition of the New York Times. It was financed by, a left-wing smear group. Of course, such a distasteful jab at a fine military officer wouldn’t have been deemed creditable if it weren’t for all the Democratic candidates that has successfully supported in the past.

What’s maybe most interesting (and I’ll let you practice your searching techniques as I rather NOT post a direct link to such a repugnant organization) is that continues, to this day, to defend their traitorous advertisement.

In conclusion, I can only wish the best for General Petraeus in whatever future position he takes on behalf of our country’s security. On the other hand, I can only remind the electorate during this crucial election year of the bedfellows that the Left continues to keep.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

South Carolina and a Disheartening Mentality

Many details have prevented me from publishing an edition of Educated Soldier in the last week or so, but I will briefly discuss those issues at the conclusion of today’s post. At that point, I would also like to gloss over some other “administrative”-type housecleaning.

Today, however, is much too important of a day to delay tackling the major issues at hand.

Of course, the big news revolves around the Republican primary currently being conducted in South Carolina.

This is a big day for our candidate of choice, Senator Fred Thompson. He has made it thoroughly clear that South Carolina’s primary is one that will emphatically shape his following campaign. He needs a strong showing. However, he does not necessarily need a victory. The momentum that has been expressed towards his campaign since the Senator’s triumphant debate showing (evidence of which is found HERE – notice the up-tick in funds raised lately) has turned South Carolina from a “must win” to a “must capitalize.” If the numbers pan out as I would hope, a second or third place showing could leave Senator Thompson with a recipe for success: fund-raising momentum and tangible, growing ground support.

For, what its worth, I predict a second place finish for Senator Thompson today, grasping about 19% of the South Carolina vote.

I would recommend heading over to Blogs For Fred Thompson today. It is a very informative site for FredHeads. Moreover, during each of the major primaries, they open a thread where intelligent, informed, conversation transpires amongst interested followers. They also link to the best sites for real-time result tracking. Head over to the Blogs For Fred Thompson, wait for the discussion thread to open up and join me and others in tracking this momentous occasion.

Now to Something Sadly Disheartening...

Last weekend, I was driving home from my National Guard drill. When driving I prefer to listen to talk radio. Doing so seems to expedite the traveling. Driving north on I-275 in Tampa, I passed a vehicle with a bumper sticker advertising their talk radio station of choice. I am choosing not to advertise on their behalf so I will keep the station identity to myself. I decided to give the station an attempt; to see what it was all about. Alas, I turned it on and was quickly greeted with a call-in show flooded with liberal rhetoric. I followed the show nonetheless. For the most part, everything I heard was typical critical banter that one would expect from a show overtly dedicated to ideals of the Left. Then, one caller said something that really made me think:

“Barack Obama is my choice for President. He would bring pride in nation back to Americans.”

This ideology has been spinning in my head since I heard it that day. I hate to throw around the derogatory “Blame America First” designation, but I can hardly think of a better way to describe such a perspective. That the host of the show only agreed and encouraged such discourse is simply salt in a savage wound. Here is the question that I pose in response:

Why do you need a Presidential candidate to cement your pride in America?

Maybe it is because I have fairly substantial first-hand knowledge of the events, but I find it difficult to have anything but pride for a country that is willing to take a lead in defeating the most ferocious threats of our time. We are a country that is doing everything in our power to liberate and empower a foreign people. We are surely making mistakes in a tough period of time, but no mistakes are significant enough to dampen my pride in the United States.

Moreover, we are doing all of this while leaving the average American alone. I can nearly guarantee that the caller has little connection to the “inconveniences” of the world around her. No military draft has been instituted. The Patriot Act may have cramped civil liberties to a certain degree but the effects felt by the average American are minimal at best. Security is tighter at airports but most rational people would substitute taking aboard a plane their Venti Latte for the satisfaction on knowing that their flight is as secure as possible.

So why this lack of pride?

The Democratic Party depends upon a growing discourse of hate towards America by Americans to ensure political success.

When I fight with U.S. Army on my chest, I am happy of whom I represent. Apparently, patriotism is a value that has gone absent from the modern Left.

Administrative Notes

I just wanted to make readers aware of a few sites.

First, a couple of university friends and I conduct a radio show on the University of South Florida’s WBUL network. The topics center on sports. We entertain callers and attempt to provide informed analysis of sports both local and national. You can listen live or download the podcasts here: The Power Hour. Shows air Thursday nights, six to seven p.m. (Eastern).

Also, one of those above-mentioned roommates has begun a blog of his own. It also deals with sports and is located here : The State of the Sports Nation.

Delays between posts here at Educated Soldier may increase for the time being as I am tackling a new exciting term of school. I will attempt, however, to be diligent about posting. Until then, enjoy the primaries in South Carolina and Nevada.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Growing Significance of the Youth Voting Bloc...

...and the Republican Party's disregard for it.

A memo has been circulating amongst Republican National Committee officials. Its subject is the voting trends of young people. Unfortunately, the data indicates that my generation is moving in alarming numbers towards candidates from the Democratic Party.

  • A total number of 65,230 individuals between the ages of 17 (rules in Iowa state that you only have to be 18 by the date of the national presidential election to vote) and 29 participated in the Iowa caucuses. From that number, over 52,000 caucused on behalf of Democratic Party candidates!

  • 37% of the voters in the New Hampshire primary were under the age of 29. This is a significant percentage. Unfortunately, 61% of those individuals voted for a Democratic candidate.

(All numbers via Tech Republican)

Young people undoubtedly decided the winners in both New Hampshire and Iowa!

Discourse could be held endlessly concerning why these noteworthy trends continue to express themselves. My knee-jerk reaction, as a member of the demographic in focus, would be this: my generation responds well and actively to passion, rhetoric, and well-tuned speeches. Like youth movements of the past, suggested “change” (as manifested historically in “counter culture,” “revolution,” etc) motivates mass support. On the other hand, tough policy discussion with less entertainment value finds deaf ears among my peers.

However, these are all insignificant details in comparison to the single largest deterrent prohibiting young people from endorsing Republicans. The G.O.P. doesn’t attempt to engage the youth movement!!

Something can be done to counter these trends. I do all I can. I have interested my friends in politics. They watch the debates. They are informed participants. By showing them how to become informed, I have noticed that they cease their support for the candidates of empty rhetoric.

My observations have proved that the key to swaying young people from the Democratic Party to Republicans is to get these young people truly informed on the stances of the candidates.

Coverage of the campaigns of the individuals from the two parties depicts mirror opposites. Republicans visit coffee shops and town diners. The Democrats are exciting university campuses and other hang-outs of young adults.

If our demographic is going to be taken seriously as a voting bloc (and the data suggest that it should), the candidates have to physically attempt to engage us.

Let’s bring the Republican candidates to university campuses! I encourage each Republican candidate to address student bodies, engage the youth movement personally, inform and, thus, gain the support of this hitherto inaccessible voting community.

In this effort, I am forwarding this message to every individual that I feel can be accommodating to this effort. I encourage you to do the same. A fraternity brother of mine sits on my university’s lecture committee. Most of us receive mailings from our preferred candidates’ national and local campaign committees. Contact the leaders of these forums and encourage them to bring their candidates to the young people.

Let’s engage all of these individuals and bring the candidates to the campuses. I will do my best to coordinate a speech by Senator Thompson prior to the January 29th Florida Republican primary. The coordination should not be difficult. The candidate desires to be heard and requires the support of the under-29 crowd to be successful. Campuses like the University of South Florida (with an enrollment greater than 40,000) are likely to be home to individuals prepared to listen.

What we can do is make this happen. What we can not do is continue to allow Republican candidates to bypass significant support that has been empirically shown to strongly influence the outcome of the early primaries!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

To Catch Bin Laden

While I can fully understand if the average reader has grown tired of the typical opining that one can find here at Educated Soldier of a young man in favor of his chosen Presidential candidate, I encourage you to stay with me one more time. I only have a single brief observation to make on behalf of Senator Fred Thompson and then I want to move on to a wholly original topic.

About Fred Thompson: When I watch debates, I attempt to take the perspective of a neutral viewer. In my own skin and through my own eyes, it is quite difficult to be impartial. That being the case, I attempt to perceive the candidates’ performances as if I were viewing through my mother’s eyes. While my mother is virtuous and knowledgeable enough, I would suggest that my convictions are much more engraved than her own.

And, thus, she tends to be more “naive,” or “impartial.”

Acknowledging her sentiment, I can see why people have not caught on to Fred Thompson’s message. The same reasons that cause me to adore Fred Thompson as a candidate are the reasons that the less politically attentive fail to get excited by him. I trust Fred Thompson because he shoots straight and speaks honestly. The average voter, however, doesn’t seem to value straight-shooting as much as they value passion. It doesn’t seem to matter what a candidate says as much as it matters how he / she says it.

The media has developed this connotation that Fred Thompson is lazy. As long as that connotation exists, the average viewer will interpret Thompson’s calm debate performances as lacking passion. The denotation (that you and I as Thompson supporters understand) is that Thompson is calm because he is running his campaign on substance rather than emotion.

I am disappointed to be a member of a generation that rallies around hollow words delivered emotionally (in the case of, say, Senator Obama and Governor Huckabee) than around an individual that has actual plans to improve America’s condition (see Thompson’s detailed plans for social security and tax reform, et. al).

I admit it: I see why the “average Joe” isn’t fired up by Fred Thompson. Being just as honest, I must confess that I am saddened - as a sacrificing American soldier - that “average Joes” would declare their support for mere rhetoric when much more genuine substance exists.

Moving on…

Call me “crazy,” but I want to be the Secretary of Defense for these United States of America.
During the Fox News Republican Forum, I heard Senator McCain suggest that he has a plan for catching Osama Bin Laden. I can not hold the distinguished Senator to that claim. However, I can argue that I have a successful plan that I would implement should I, hypothetically, assume the role of Secretary of Defense.

I know it sound crazy but please follow with me.

Alright, foremost, as Secretary of Defense, I would focus most of my attention on the most important individuals that we have fighting on America’s behalf in the Global War on Terrorism. These are America’s Special Operations Forces.

As the new Secretary of Defense, I would double the size of the Combat Applications Group (“CAG,” Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta, “Delta Force,” what have you). I would leave half the squadron under the command of SOCOM. The other half I would put under the direct control of the Pentagon. And, when I say “under the control of the Pentagon,” I mean it in the sense that half the squadron would answer only to the Secretary of Defense (me) and his (my) most trusted advisors – very, very few levels of management.

Both halves of the C.A.G. squadron would have equal training. I only want individuals who are ready for today’s fight. And today’s fight occurs in remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. C.A.G. would be knee-deep in men that train and desire nothing more than to live in arduous conditions, sleep in caves (or less), and terminate the enemy.

I want individuals who speak the language and understand the culture. They would live the culture. They would be able to develop actionable intelligence. And by quickly dialing SOCOM or the Pentagon, they would have instant authorization to act on the knowledge that they gained. The key to catching high value targets is the elimination of delay between gaining intelligence and acting decisively on it! With less micro-management, my Combat Applications Group would have Osama and the top heads of Al Qaeda dead or in custody in just a few months.

The above-described plan would be key to my success as Secretary of Defense. My next step would be to continue to the current re-modularization of the military into a force that can operation autonomously at the brigade level and below.

I would increase our Special Operations Forces. I would ENSURE that the Army’s Special Forces Groups are language and culture proficient. I would disregard all Special Operations Generals and Admirals who are only proficient in direct action missions. If I was Secretary of Defense, no one would command SOCOM (or any SOF element) unless they could command troops in the implementation of foreign internal defense, unconventional warfare, and other SOF-particular missions; proficiency solely in counter-terrorism or direct action does not equate a SOF – qualified leader.

The infantry battalions in the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st, the Marines, etc… their direct action capabilities would be sharpened to their utmost. I want these infantryman conducting the reactionary missions; not my SOF personnel. SOF gathers and reacts instantaneously.

The misuse of Special Operations Forces is the single most devastating mistake being made in the War on Terror.

I would work hand-in-hand with diplomatic and intelligence agents. I would rebuild the military intelligence networks of days gone by. For every ambassador, there would be a Special Forces team with language or cultural knowledge to work cooperatively. I would encourage the CIA, DIA, et. al, peers to work as a team to develop any and all data in every area, whether friendly or foe…

And that’s about it.

I am 24 years old. I study religious and international studies at the University of South Florida. I have ambition to be a National Guard Special Forces soldier after attending law school. I would like to be a congressman. These are all goals and I am but determined and young. Yet, I believe that all I posed tonight in this alcohol-inspired rant could truly be implemented to better secure the world’s greatest nation.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


It’s past two in the morning…

I am tired…

I was ready to go to bed when I found the following link:

I have no connection to the author of the blog nor the soldier in reference. I knew nothing of the situation until I clicked the same link above that I plead to you to now access…

This is a heart-wrenching story… Tiredness seems less nagging; politics less important…

I see a lot of myself in the Major…

Please read; my condolences to those left behind

Friday, January 4, 2008

Knee-Jerk Reaction to the Iowa Results

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is getting late and I am still awaiting the final precincts to come in with the results of their Republican caucus votes in Iowa. Moreover, I just completed a tiring week that culminated an arduous (albeit thoroughly enjoyable) month. However, before resting tonight, I feel that I absolutely have to address what occurred tonight in Iowa and in the world of American politics as we finally begin to tangibly select our next President.

I genuinely hope that the passion that I have for these events, the Iowa caucuses and the choosing of our next Commander in Chief, is as evident in this blog as it is in my heart right now.

There is hardly anything that gives me such thrill and anxiety as sports. Yet, tonight as I watched rather impatiently for the political results from Iowa to trickle in, I found my heart pounding and my excitement level on par with what I felt in El Paso on Monday after traveling 2000 miles to watch my university’s football team play in the Sun Bowl. I take pride in cheering on USF’s Bulls in college sports; I am a passionate fan of the NFL’s Eagles. These teams give me such pride and, when they lose, I take their defeat personally. I found myself facing similar feelings tonight. My interest for the caucuses in Iowa was not in passing. It was genuine passion; the same inner fire that I long thought only sport could provoke.

I am relating this passion for a reason. Much is often said of the importance of the “next” generation. Rallies seem to always develop around the concept that there always exists a group of young people that symbolize the future of our country. I genuinely feel that I am a member of this group that represents America’s next leaders. Whether that leadership will be on a battlefield, a corporate setting, a court room, political space, or merely among the neighborhood watch, I feel that I will be there to help take charge and lead the way.

From that perspective of America’s “next” generation of leadership, with the intense desire to contribute to a process so important that it decides the next leader of the Free World, I plead to all readers to please be at least sympathetic to the charge in which I stand so passionately.

There is no hiding that I unequivocally back a single candidate in the running to become the next President of the United States. The endorsement for Fred Thompson is obviously apparent through the images and continued rhetoric on this site. And tonight, I am going to make an impassioned plea on his behalf. However, I would hate for a reader to judge me as partisan or closed to the ideas presented by the others running. In fact, I would love to be the first to congratulate Barack Obama tonight.

In the delivery of his victory speech tonight, I heard one of the more moving political speeches of my young life. The grand ideology that Senator Obama represents is truly moving. I think his elevation to genuine viability as a Presidential candidate is great for America. I am nearly saddened that I disagree so fully with the political platform on which he stands because he is a great and passionate campaigner. I think there is a place in a Republican-led executive for him and the country would be better for it.

However, with that being said, I stand staunchly behind my belief that Senator Fred Thompson is the best qualified candidate to become America’s next President. And, leaving Iowa’s caucuses, I feel that he is in a good position to win the Republican nomination yet.

Here is my theory.

Governor Huckabee did not win the endorsement of Iowa’s Republicans tonight. He received the endorsement of Iowa’s evangelical types. Withdraw the votes of these individuals (whose presence is not nearly as evident in most other states), and the Republican caucus was little more than a wash between Huckabee and Romney with Thompson and Senator McCain close behind. Looking at the results that way, and Huckabee’s victory becomes much less significant.

Now we face an important upcoming debate and then the voting in New Hampshire. While Senator Thompson has no opportunity to place in New Hampshire where he has not campaigned, the debates and the dialogue surely to surface should do little more than tear Huckabee down. ALL of the Republican candidates will now be gunning for Governor Huckabee and his weak conservative record should become obvious. Despite that, either he or Senator McCain should still topple Romney in New Hampshire. This should indicate the beginning of the end for Romney’s campaign.

This all leads to South Carolina’s primary where Senator Thompson is in a position to do very well. He polls well in the southern state and voters there appreciate his long-proven conservative values. However it pans out, the G.O.P. field is wide open and as a candidate that appeals to the party’s base, Thompson looks to undoubtedly move up in the future primaries. But he is going to need help.

And this plea for help is why I write tonight with so much passion.

Senator Thompson’s political ability is strong enough to allow him to seize the Republican Party’s nomination. This is in the best interest of the party, in the best interest of America’s “next” leaders, and in the best interest of the country. What Senator Thompson lacks is monetary assets. I can only do so much. I contribute financially small amounts whenever my college student budget allows. Senator Thompson needs the financial support of those with greater ability to contribute than I. I beg passionately that those that are able to do so contribute to this campaign.

The battle of principles will not prevent Senator Fred Thompson from capturing the White House. He is only limited by the depths of his treasury. It would be such a shame to see such a viable candidate with a potential for victory to have to impede his campaign because of the limitations of money.

Let’s continue to support our candidate. Tonight was a good night for Fred Thompson, the Republican Party and, ultimately, the United States of America. From a passionate, youthful supporter, I encourage you to help make tomorrow just as successful!!