Semper Fi and Popcorn

Semper Fi is Latin for “always faithful” and it is the motto of the United States Marine Corps— faithful to God, Country, Family and the Corps. The Urban Dictionary says it wasn’t always this way. Up until 1871, the motto was “First to fight”—a motto that still applies.

Every U.S. Marine knows that Semper Fi is the universal Marine greeting.

Recently I had a reason to explain this motto to my wife when she asked me if I wanted her to share something from me to General John R. Allen when she attended The Daily Beast’s Hero Summit on October 10—my wife was invited to be on the same panel at the summit with General Allen; David Brooks, the columnist for the New York Times who has written so often about moral standards and imperatives, and Nigerian novelist and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka.

I said to my wife, “Say two words to General Allen, Semper Fi.”

“What does that mean?” she asked. “What if he doesn’t know what it means?”

“It’s Latin for always faithful,” I replied. “And trust me, General Allen will know what those two words means. If you look at the Marine Corps emblem, you will see it on a flag flying above the American Eagle.”

As for popcorn, I couldn’t resist adding popcorn to this post because right before I sat down to write, my wife made some in the microwave and then went to see a movie at the local theater. I stayed to write this post.

The smell of fresh-popped corn filled the house and I couldn’t resist filling my own bowl with this American treat. Believe me when I say that popcorn is as American as the flag, mom and apple pie, because the History of Popcorn clearly establishes that it originated in the Americas. And the popularity of popcorn as we eat it today started in Iowa in the 1880s.

I made my bowl with two scoops of Orville Redenbacher’s gourmet popping corn poured in a lunch-sized paper bag; two minutes on high in the microwave; a dash of California Branch Garlic Oil made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil; a second dash of 100% Pure Chosen Foods Avocado Oil, and a third dash of Himalayan Pink Salt, referred to as the purest salt in the world. Then I started eating as I wrote this post about Semper Fi.  [Note: all the ingredients for the popcorn came from Costco, an American company.]

The United States Marine Corps celebrates its birthday on November 10 because on that day, a decree of the Second Continental Congress led to the Marine Corps first official recruiting drive in the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—some argue that the recruiting may have started unofficially before November 10, 1775.

I wonder what kind of beer the first Marines in 1775 drank at the Tun Tavern.

Did you know there is a Founding Fathers Lager Beer listed along with forty-nine other brands that made the list of The 50 Most Patriotic Beers in America?

Too bad the best beer I have ever sipped, St. Bernardus Abt 12 [a product of Belgium], doesn’t qualify.

I guess I should have called this post, Simper Fi, Popcorn and Beer. After all, a cold beer goes great with salty snacks, and I drank my first beer when I was still on active duty in the U.S. Marines back in the 1960s during a brief stay in Okinawa before shipping out to fight in Vietnam.

Do you think a chilled-bottle of beer and a salty-bowl of popcorn would be a good way to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday?

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

 

Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: Part 4 of 10

Sun Tzu said, “Keep plans as dark as night.”

The NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and Vietcong did this by moving supplies and troops through miles of tunnels built in the 1950 and 60s.

Deception was also one of Sun Tzu’s rules.

To achieve deception, the NVA and Vietcong announced they would honor a cease-fire on January 31, 1968, the Tet New-Year Holiday.

Sun Tzu said, “In battle use a direct attack to engage and an indirect attack to win,” meaning to deceive your enemy so you can win your real objective.

To achieve this goal, the NVA launched a surprise attack on Khe Sanh, a remote US base, one week before the Tet Offensive.

The South Vietnamese and American military are surprised when the NVA launches the Tet Offensive.  At first, it looks like the Vietcong will win, but the NVA ignored one of Sun Tzu’s rules—moral influence.

Moral influence means a leader must have the people behind him to win.

During the early days of the Tet, the Vietcong rounded up and brutally assassinated several-thousand South Vietnamese government workers and killed many Catholic nuns losing the support of the people.

However, in America, watching the violence of the Tet Offensive on TV turned more Americans against the war.

Eight years later, in 1975, Saigon falls to the NVA and America loses the war even though the US had military superiority.

Continued on September 2, 2013 in Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: Part 5  or return to Part 3

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: Part 3 of 10

Sun Tzu liked the enemy to maneuver and respond to his moves. This way he was in charge of the battlefield.

A US report after the Vietnam War revealed that 80% of the time, it was the North Vietnamese and Vietcong who decided where and when to fight.

Sun Tzu said, “Once you know the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, you can avoid the strengths and attack the weaknesses.” At the beginning of the war, almost 80% of Americans supported it.

As the Vietnam war continued with mounting US causalities, that support at home shifted against the war, which achieved another of Sun Tzu’s rules, “The skillful leader subdues enemy’s troops without any fighting. One does not win wars by winning battles.”

Although the North Vietnamese and Vietcong did not win battles, they won the war by turning the American people against it. To achieve this goal, the North Vietnamese commander was willing to lose ten men for every American killed.

In the end, the US lost 53 thousand troops and the North Vietnamese and Vietcong more than a million with several million more noncombatants killed as collateral damage to the American bombing.

Sun Tzu felt spies were important, and he devoted one chapter to spies.  He said, “Use your spies for every kind of business,” and the North Vietnamese and Vietcong followed that advice.

Sun Tzu said, “An accurate knowledge of the enemy is worth ten divisions.”

He also said, “Let your plans be as dark as night – then strike like a thunderbolt.”  The Tet Offensive in January of 1968 was that thunderbolt.

Continued on August 28, 2013 in Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: Part 4 or return to Part 2

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: Part 2 of 10

The state of Wu has only 33,000 troops while Chu can field a force of 300 thousand.

Outnumbered ten to one, Sun Tzu could build his defenses and wait for the attack. However, he does the unexpected. He invades Chu.

He doesn’t attack Chu’s main army. Instead, he attacks outposts and weaker targets. When Chu sends an army to fight, Sun Tzu slips away emphasizing maneuver, surprise and deception.

After every battle, Sun Tzu learns more about his enemy.

During another war more than two thousand years later, Sun Tzu’s ultimate secret becomes more evident. In the mid 1960s, the world’s largest super power is fighting in Vietnam—a country smaller than the state of Montana.

The American general sees the battlefield like a chessboard where armies stand and fight. However, Vietnam has no clear objectives to attack and destroy.

The Communist general understands Sun Tzu and uses the Viet Cong in hit and run attacks against fixed US positions.

Sun Tzu said, “It is more important to outthink your enemy than outfight him. In war, numbers alone confer no advantage. Do not advance relying on sheer military power.”

The US commander breaks these rules.

Continued on August 26, 2013 in Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: Part 3 or return to Part 1

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: part 1 of 10

Around 500 BC, the King of Wu summons Sun Tzu, one of the greatest military minds in history, to save his kingdom from a more powerful enemy.

Sun Tzu was a warrior, a philosopher and the author of The Art of War, a book still studied—for example at West Point—more than two-thousand years after it was written.

Sun Tzu is important because he had a cohesive, holistic philosophy on strategy.  Sun Tzu tells the King of Wu he can defeat the enemy with a smaller army.  Doubting him, the king challenges Sun Tzu to turn the palace concubines into a fighting force and Sun Tzu accepts.

Sun Tzu shows the concubines what to do, selects the best two students and puts them in charge of the others.  When Sun Tzu orders the exercise to begin, the woman laugh.

He tries again but the concubines laugh again.

Sun Tzu says, “If instructions are not clear and commands not explicit, it is the fault of the general.  But if the orders are clear, and my orders are clear, it is the fault of the subordinate officers.”

Without warning, Sun Tzu beheads the two concubines he had selected to lead the others.  To Sun Tzu, war is a matter of life and death. This is the key principal of his teachings.  Once understood, everyone from the general to the solider will be motivated to win.

While the bodies of the first two concubines are still warm, Sun Tzu appoints two new concubines to lead the others. This time the concubines follow his orders without hesitation. The king of Wu is convinced and  appoints Sun Tzu commander of the Wu army.

Sun Tzu now must train an army of 30 thousand troops to fight a force ten times larger.

Continued on August 21, 2013 in Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: Part 2

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Know your enemy: a brief history or Iraq

Sun Tzu wrote that “not only must we have worthy goals to be successful, but our methods, the last of his five factors, must be honorable as well. … Sun Tzu teaches that leaders must be honest.” Source: Frugal Marketing.com

How honest was America’s political leaders when it came to starting the war in Iraq?

“Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the Bush White House’s case on Iraq’s alleged biological-and chemical-weapon stockpile in a dramatic Feb. 5, 2003, speech to the U.N. Security Council.” Source: USA Today.com

More than a decade after President George W. Bush started the war in Iraq, those weapons of mass destruction have not been found and no one is looking for them because they didn’t exist.

Instead of going into detail starting with 3500 BC when Mesopotamia became the world’s first known civilization in South Eastern Iraq, I want to focus on several elements that are eerily similar to Afghanistan.

332 BC: Alexander the Great conquers the Persians and the area we know of as Iraq becomes part of his empire.

In 633 AD, Muslims conquer the region that is Iraq today.

Mongol invaders led by the grandson of Genghis Khan destroy the Muslim Arab Empire that includes Iraq in 1258 AD.

The British—militarily and politically—become involved in the region in the 19th century to protect their trade routes with India and the East. In 1917, British troops occupy Baghdad and in 1920, the League of Nations gives Great Britain a mandate to rule over Mesopotamia. The British then set up King Faisal the 1st as the monarch of Iraq.

Then in 1932, Iraq becomes Independent and during World War II—wanting to get rid of British influence in the region—allies with Germany, Italy and Japan.

Great Britain defeats Iraq in 1941. In 1945, Iraq helps form the Arab League that declares war on the newly formed nation of Israel.

King Faisal the 2nd becomes Iraq’s leader in 1953. But in 1958, there is a military coup and the monarchy is destroyed. In 1979, Saddam Hussein becomes the Iraqi President and in 1980, Iraq invades Iran starting the Iran-Iraq war. In 1990, Iraq invades Kuwait. In 1991, a coalition of 39 countries starts the First Persian Gulf War and liberates Kuwait. Iraq accepts a ceasefire. Source: Dates and Events.org: Iraq-Timeline

In July 2012, Con Coughlin writing for the Uk’s Telegraph reported, “The modern-day states of Iraq and Syria once formed the ancient kingdom of Mesopotamia. They share the same tribal culture, heritage and a lengthy border.”

What does that tribal culture look like?

The Council on Foreign Relations says, “There is … a consensus among experts that tribal traditions remain culturally important to many Iraqis. … Tribes are regional power-holders, and tribal sheiks are often respected members of Iraqi communities.

“Among Iraq’s Shiite majority, [Islamic} religious leaders appear to be a more potent political force, … That said, religious leaders … appear to derive some of their strength from tribal connections. …

“Some tribes pre-date Mohammed, the prophet of Islam … For centuries, the tribes were the primary form of social organization through much of the region. While their influence has diminished through the years, the Ottoman Turks, the British, the British-backed monarchy, and the Baathists all sought their cooperation.”

Do you see the similarities between Iraq and Afghanistan? Both regions were conquered by Alexander the Great and ruled over by the Greeks. Both have tribal influences that have been around for centuries.

The Islamic religion swept over both regions about the same time. The Mongols rolled over both regions. Then the British arrived followed by the American military.

You may have noticed that there has been no mention of Russia yet, but starting July of 1979, Saddam Hussein “used the Soviets to support his program of military expansion and to strengthen his regime. Baghdad acquired arms and advisors from the USSR; the KGB and East German Stasi also trained the Baathist secret police apparatus.”  After Saddam argued with the Soviets, France became Iraq’s second biggest source of military aid after the USSR as Iraq’s dictator-for-life played the West off against the Communists in Russia. Source: History in Focus: The Cold War

Remember how the Mujahedeen were supported by the United States and some of her allies as they fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Later, the same Islamic, Mujahedeen warriors that the US trained and supplied with weapons become the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Do you think it is possible to build a democratic nation in Iraq where all of the different religious, political and tribal factions will learn to cooperate sort of like the very honest and moral [tongue-in-cheek] Republican and Democratic Parties do in the United States?

Continued on August 16, 2013 in A brief history of Vietnam or start with Know your enemy: a brief history or Afghanistan

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Censored but not Silenced: Part 5/5

Disclaimer: Before I conclude this series, I want to make it clear that I support the existence of Israel and its right to defend itself with America’s help, but I do not believe in the neoconservative political agenda of nation building by exporting democracy using America’s troops, bullets and bombs.

But—at the same time—I do not think it is a good idea to allow Iran to develop the bomb. If Iran wasn’t using its nuclear program, as it claims—to build nuclear bombs—why not follow China’s example and build thorium reactors that do not need weapons grade plutonium to generate electricity, but that is another topic. If you are interested, I recommend reading China blazes trail for ‘clean’ nuclear power from thorium.

Does that mean I support America going to war against Iran? Yes, but not to build a democracy but to make sure Iran never has a nuclear weapon. There are too many of these bombs already. Instead of building more, we should be dismantling them, because a conventional war isn’t as total as nuclear war.

Keep in mind that today’s nuclear weapons are much more devastating than what was dropped on Japan at the end of World War II. If you have no concept of that horror, I refer you to this site where there is an info-graphic that will show you. Click on Ingeniously Charting The Horrifying Power of Today’s Nuclear Bombs.

In addition, there are 17,300 of these modern nuclear weapons stockpiled by nine countries: Russia has 8,500; the United States 7,700; France 300; China 240; United Kingdom 225; Pakistan 90 – 110; India 80 – 100; Israel 60 – 80, and North Korea has less than 10.  Source: Ploughshares.org: World Nuclear Stockpile Report

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Censored but not Silenced continued:

Neoconservatism is a branch of American conservatism that advocates assertive promotion of democracy, and American national interest in international affairs including by military means.  Neoconservatives also believe it is okay to lie to the public to achieve their political agendas—and I think that lies and any form of censorship go hand in hand.

To follow this reasoning further, Rupert Murdock, a billionaire and a known neoconservative has “hired Jews as his closest advisers. His support for Israel has been absolute. Arguably, it is his support for Israel, and for neoconism in general (for many years, he owned and funded the losses of the Weekly Standard), that helped solidify rightwing support for Israel.” Source: The Guardian.co.uk

Is it possible that Murdock—or other wealthy neoconservatives—are supplying the money behind the IMED where Julie Lenarz is a fellow?

Before answering that question, you may want to read a post by Andrés Perez-Alonso, Neoconservatism, the Israeli Lobby, and other Power Relations, on a Website/Blog that has 1,536 linked sites compared to the 38 linked Julie’s Think Tank.

Andrés says, “The historical neoconservative commitment to Israel has been so pronounced that even traditional conservatives like Russell Kirk have charged them with mistaking ‘Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States’.”

This—of course—bring me to the fourth group with another political agenda that would do almost anything for an American war in Iraq and then later in Iran. This political agenda is based on an old proverb that is both ironically Arabic in addition to being Chinese. It is a foreign policy doctrine commonly used to interact with a significant enemy through an intermediary rather than through direct confrontation.

The proverb says: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

What better way to defend the survival of Israel than to have the only super power on the earth wage wars in the Middle East against your enemies while manipulating the flames of conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites in addition to working behind the scenes to encourage an Arab Spring that has led to clashes between Islamic factions and/or rebellions and civil wars in Muslim countries like those in Libya, Syria, and Egypt. I would not be surprised if a political faction in Israel was behind the Lebanese Civil War that raged for fifteen years. An Islamic Middle East at war with each other and/or at war with America is not focused on the destruction of Israel. Instead of Blood for Oil, this is American Blood traded for Israel’s survival.

Return to Censored but not Silenced: Part 4  or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.