Tag Archives: Democrat Party

Paul Ryan pledges to cut off funding for nation’s largest provider of abortions

Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood
Barack Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood got $550 million from taxpayers last year, many of whom are pro-life! What do the Republicans intend to do about it?

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) indicated Thursday that congressional Republicans might push to defund Planned Parenthood using the budget reconciliation process.

Ryan was asked at his weekly press briefing whether the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare would include a provision to redirect hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars from Planned Parenthood to women’s health care centers that do not provide abortion.

“Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill,” Ryan said.

The Democrats introduced the practice of “reconciliation” to get their legislation passed in the Senate by simple majority. And now that they’ve lost the majority in the Senate, reconciliation can be used to get conservative things done:

The reconciliation process allows a simple majority of senators, rather than 60 senators, to pass certain forms of budgetary legislation without the threat of a filibuster. Republicans, who control the Senate 52-48, plan to use reconciliation to repeal major aspects of Obamacare, just as Democrats used reconciliation to amend the law in 2010.

Congressional Republicans passed a bill in 2015 that would have defunded Planned Parenthood in the summer of 2015 after undercover videos were released about the group’s organ harvesting operations. Senate Democrats blocked the bill in August, preventing it from coming to a vote. Reconciliation would help Ryan and Republicans avoid stalling tactics after President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20.

Planned Parenthood received more than $550 million from taxpayers in the 2015 fiscal year, a 5 percent increase from 2014. The government payments accounted for 40 percent of its revenue, according to its 2015 annual report. The group received a huge boost in funding when President Obama took office in 2009 and repealed the Mexico City Policy, which bans the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion in foreign aid.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which was overseen by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave Planned Parenthood $100 million between 2010 and 2012. The group continued to rake in taxpayer cash throughout 2015 and 2016, winning nearly $28 million in awards from federal agencies.

That’s a lot of taxpayer money that the Democrats sent to their buddies at Planned Parenthood. But then, Planned Parenthood made a lot of donations to Democrat politicians running for office.

Earlier this week, my friend Kevin sent me new about the findings of the House of Representatives investigation of Planned Parenthood’s business practices.

Here is a summary of their findings from the Daily Signal:

Planned Parenthood affiliates profited by transferring parts of aborted babies to outside organizations in violation of the law, a special House panel has concluded after a yearlong investigation.

In a 418-page report released Wednesday, the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives also found that other organizations involved in the transfer of fetal tissue broke federal or state law.

In one case, a national Planned Parenthood executive interviewed by staff investigators for the House panel said “it doesn’t bother me” that one vendor, StemExpress, paid Planned Parenthood $55 for an aborted baby’s intact brain and then sold it to a customer for more than $3,000.

“It’s none of my concern. It doesn’t bother me,” the Planned Parenthood executive said, according to the panel’s report.

Republican members of the House panel recommend that authorities pursue charges against Planned Parenthood affiliates, which receive taxpayer money, and other entities for violating the law and related regulations.

“It is my hope that our recommendations will result in some necessary changes within both the abortion and fetal tissue procurement industries,” the panel’s chairman, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said in a press release. “Our hope is that these changes will both protect women and their unborn children, as well as the integrity of scientific research.”

It will be interesting to see how far the Republicans are willing to go on this issue. Vice President Mike Pence recently said that the new administration will be in the business of keeping promises. Well, let’s see them do it.

Trump will inherit many foreign policy disasters

Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?
Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?

The most difficult mistakes for Trump to fix will be the foreign policy blunders committed by the last administration – the creation of wars in other countries and the the supporting of our enemies (giving assault weapons to drug cartels, giving nuclear weapons to Iran, etc.) that are the most difficult to make right.

Consider this article from the Daily Signal.

It lists 5 crises created by the Obama administration in the last 8 years:

  1. ISIS in Iraq and Syria
  2. Afghanistan War
  3. Ukraine-Russia War
  4. Saudi Arabia-Yemen War
  5. Campaigns Against Terrorists in Africa

There was no “Islamic State” in Iraq or Syria when president Bush left office. Iraq and Syria, along with Egypt and Libya, were stable. Libya had just voluntarily given up their WMD programs without a shot being fired, because of concern that Bush would invade them, too. But then Obama became president and withdrew our troops from Iraq. What happened next? Genocide, rape and sex-trafficking on a scale unimaginable to naive American progressives.

Excerpt:

1. ISIS in Iraq and Syria

In response to rapid territorial gains made by the Islamic State during the first half of 2014, the U.S. and allied countries began a military campaign against the terrorist group, relying primarily on airstrikes and support of local ground forces.

As of Nov. 2, the U.S. coalition has conducted nearly 16,000 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, the countries where ISIS maintains its largest presence.

The Defense Department reports that as of Aug. 31, the total cost of operations related to defeating ISIS is $9.3 billion and the average daily cost is $12.3 million.

Trump inherits the military campaign against ISIS during a crucial phase, as the U.S. undertakes missions to take back key territory controlled by the militants.

[…]In Syria, the Obama administration is supporting 30,000 Syrian-Kurdish and Syrian-Arab fighters, who announced last weekend they were launching a campaign to liberate the ISIS capital in Raqqa. There are roughly 300 U.S. special operations forces on the ground in the country.

The moves to take back ISIS’ remaining strongholds showcase the extent to which Obama has prioritized the counter­terrorism mission in Syria over efforts to help resolve the country’s civil war, which has resulted in as many as a half a million deaths.

On Monday, in a press conference, Obama acknowledged his Syria policy “has not worked.”

Another blunder by the Obama administration occurred with his decision to take a naive, pacifist stance with Russia. Obama and Clinton were following the liberal playbook, which states that the best way to stop a bully from being aggressive is to bow down to him and grovel. This is literally how progressives think about foreign policy – they think that weaknesses causes tyrants to back off, and that strength causes tyrants to arm up and attack their neighbors.

How well this the progressive view work with Russia?

3. Ukraine-Russia War

Europe’s only active war has resulted in the deaths of nearly 10,000 soldiers and civilians on both sides.

The conflict started in 2013, when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, under pressure from Russia, suspended talks on a trade deal with the European Union. Thousands of protesters hit the streets in the following days, supporting closer ties with the West.

The protests turned violent, and Yanukovych fled the capital, Kiev. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and pro-Russian rebels began to seize territory in eastern Ukraine. Separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk eventually declared independence.

Two cease-fire accords are not being observed. The Obama administration’s policy has been to support a German and French-led effort to negotiate a settlement to the war, and maintain pressure on Russia by working with the European Union to uphold sanctions imposed on Moscow for its annexation of Crimea. The Obama administration has also delivered Ukraine tens of millions of dollars in nonlethal aid, but has not provided weapons.

Obama isn’t providing Ukraine with weapons, because his progressive playbook says that Russia will be more likely to attack if they stand to take more losses to anti-tank weapons. That’s how people on the secular left think. They make decisions based on what makes them feel superior and what makes them look idealistic to others – not based on what works.

But there’s more. Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio championed an idealistic intervention in Libya. They thought that if we got rid of Libya’s dictator, then there would be a spontaneous uprising of peaceful Muslim democracy-lovers. So they ordered air strikes with no ground invasion, and guess what they got?

Islamic State taking root in the anarchy they created:

5. Campaigns Against Terrorists in Africa

Obama has described his efforts to destroy al-Qaeda’s core leadership as one of the successes of his national security policy. But the terrorist threat has spread to new regions in recent years, prompting a U.S. military response, and Trump will have to decide how to proceed.

Unrelated campaigns in Libya and Somalia are prime examples of the diffuse threat.

In Libya, the U.S. has conducted more than 360 airstrikes in support of pro-government forces trying to expel ISIS from the coastal Libyan city, Sirte. A small number of U.S. special operations forces are also providing on-the-ground support.

Since the 2011 American intervention in Libya that led to the death of the country’s deposed dictator leader, Muammar Gaddafi, the country has been plagued by instability.

Today, the U.S. is supporting a project to build a unity government in Libya. But the unity government has not yet won the approval of Libya’s various rival factions.

“Libya is a quintessential civil war,” Middle East expert Pollack said. “ISIS makes their home in civil wars.”

Separately, in another African nation, Somalia, the U.S. has been engaged for more than a decade in an air campaign against al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda. The group is responsible for one of the deadliest attacks in Africa, when in 2013 it struck a mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

The terrorist group spawned in 2005, taking advantage of chaos in a country that has been split apart by civil war for 25 years.

This year, The Washington Post reports, the U.S. has conducted more than a dozen airstrikes and drone strikes against al-Shabab.

According to The New York Times, as part of a multifront war against militant Islam in Africa, American forces are also involved in helping to combat al-Qaeda in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso and Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad.

Although progressives like to style themselves as being “anti-war”, they actually cause a lot of wars and deaths with their misguided idealistic military interventions. Obama inherited a peaceful situation in Russia and in the Middle East, but he screwed everything up.  To stop wars you must understand military issues. Just because a person says they don’t like war, it doesn’t mean that they know what actions to take to avoid war.

What percentage of Muslims approve of radical Islam and terrorism?

Muslim populations in Europe
Muslim populations in Europe

Normally, when people ask me about this question, I go straight to the 2013 Pew Research survey which I blogged about before. But now I have something even better.

Here’s a post from Ben Shapiro at Breitbart News which looks at several polls from several different countries.

Shapiro writes: (links to polls removed)

So, here is the evidence that the enemy we face is not a “tiny minority” of Muslims, let alone a rootless philosophy unconnected to Islam entirely. It’s not just the thousands of westerners now attempting to join ISIS. It’s millions of Muslims who support their general goals, even if they don’t support the group itself.

France. A new, widely-covered poll shows that a full 16% of French people have positive attitudes toward ISIS. That includes 27% of French between the ages of 18-24. Anne-Elizabeth Moutet of Newsweek wrote, “This is the ideology of young French Muslims from immigrant backgrounds…these are the same people who torch synagogues.”

Britain. In 2006, a poll for the Sunday Telegraph found that 40% of British Muslims wanted shariah law in the United Kingdom, and that 20% backed the 7/7 bombers.Another poll from that year showed that 45% of British Muslims said that 9/11 was an American/Israeli conspiracy; that poll showed that one-quarter of British Muslims believed that the 7/7 bombings were justified.

Palestinian Areas. A poll in 2011 showed that 32% of Palestinians supported the brutal murder of five Israeli family members, including a three-month-old baby. In 2009, a poll showed that 78% of Palestinians had positive or mixed feelings about Osama Bin Laden. A 2013 poll showed 40% of Palestinians supporting suicide bombings and attacks against civilians. 89% favored sharia law. Currently, 89% of Palestinians support terror attacks on Israel.

Pakistan. After the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the Gilani Foundation did a poll of Pakistanis and found that 51% of them grieved for the terrorist mastermind, with 44% of them stating that he was a martyr. In 2009, 26% of Pakistanis approved of attacks on US troops in Iraq. That number was 29% for troops in Afghanistan. Overall, 76% of Pakistanis wanted strict shariah law in every Islamic country.

Morocco. A 2009 poll showed that 68% of Moroccans approved of terrorist attacks on US troops in Iraq; 61% backed attacks on American troops in Afghanistan as of 2006. 76% said they wanted strict sharia law in every Islamic country.

Jordan. 72% of Jordanians backed terror attacks against US troops in Iraq as of 2009. In 2010, the terrorist group Hezbollah had a 55% approval rating; Hamas had a 60% approval rating.

Indonesia: In 2009, a poll demonstrated that 26% of Indonesians approved of attacks on US troops in Iraq; 22% backed attacks on American troops in Afghanistan. 65% said they agreed with Al Qaeda on pushing US troops out of the Middle East. 49% said they supported strict sharia law in every Islamic country. 70% of Indonesians blamed 9/11 on the United States, Israel, someone else, or didn’t know. Just 30% said Al Qaeda was responsible.

Egypt. As of 2009, 87% of Egyptians said they agreed with the goals of Al Qaeda in forcing the US to withdraw forces from the Middle East. 65% said they wanted strict sharia law in every Islamic country. As of that same date, 69% of Egyptians said they had either positive or mixed feelings about Osama Bin Laden. In 2010, 95% of Egyptians said it was good that Islam is playing a major role in politics.

United States. A 2013 poll from Pew showed that 13% of American Muslims said that violence against civilians is often, sometimes or rarely justified to defend Islam. A 2011 poll from Pew showed that 21 percent of Muslims are concerned about extremism among Muslim Americans. 19 percent of American Muslims as of 2011 said they were either favorable toward Al Qaeda or didn’t know.

In short, tens of millions of Muslims all over the world sympathize with the goals or tactics of terrorist groups – or both. That support is stronger outside the West, but it is present even in the West. Islamist extremism is not a passing or fading phenomenon – it is shockingly consistent over time. And the West’s attempts to brush off the ideology of fanaticism has been an overwhelming failure.

A more recent poll says that 13% of Syrian refugees support Islamic State:

A first-of-its-kind survey of the hordes of Syrian refugees entering Europe found 13% support the Islamic State. The poll should raise alarms about the risks posed by the resettlement of 10,000 refugees in the U.S.

The poll of 900 Syrian refugees by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies also found that another 10% of the displaced Syrians have a lukewarm, but not entirely negative, view of the terror group. That means 23% — or almost 1 in 4 — could be susceptible to ISIS recruitment.

It also means as many 2,500 of the 10,000 Syrian refugees that the Obama administration is resettling inside American cities are potential terrorist threats.

Now contrast those facts with the views of Barack Obama and his allies in the mainstream media.

That video is from The Weekly Standard, here’s the text:

President Obama told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that 99.9 percent of Muslims reject radical Islam. He made the comments in response to a question about the White House avoiding using the phrase “Islamic terrorists.”

“You know, I think that the way to understand this is there is an element growing out of Muslim communities in certain parts of the world that have perverted the religion, have embraced a nihilistic, violent, almost medieval interpretation of Islam, and they’re doing damage in a lot of countries around the world,” said Obama.

“But it is absolutely true that I reject a notion that somehow that creates a religious war because the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject that interpretation of Islam. They don’t even recognize it as being Islam, and I think that for us to be successful in fighting this scourge, it’s very important for us to align ourselves with the 99.9 percent of Muslims who are looking for the same thing we’re looking for–order, peace, prosperity.”

So Obama denies all of these surveys, and instead invents a view of the world that is consistent with his feelings. A true man of the secular left.

This gap between belief and reality explains why he is now bringing 200,000 Syrian Muslim refugees into America, keeping Syrian Christian refugees out of America, and generally underestimating Islamic State (ISIS / ISIL) because he cannot believe that radical Islam is anything for us to be concerned about.

Is the government capable of vetting Syrian refugees to find threats?

Not so much:

The administration argues that it’s conducting interviews with Syrians at camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. But without security forces on the ground in Syria who can verify details, there is no way to back-check a refugee’s story to see if he is telling the truth and is, in fact, not a security threat.

Even when we had people on the ground in Iraq to screen refugees, terrorists got through the safety net.

In 2011, for instance, two Kentucky immigrants who had been resettled as Iraqi refugees were busted for trying to buy stinger missiles for al-Qaida.

It turned out that their fingerprints matched those linked to roadside bombs in Iraq. It was a major red flag that should have barred their entry, but U.S. screeners failed to take note. And the terrorists slipped into the U.S.

The administration’s vetting process for the massive influx of Syrian refugees is completely unreliable, admits the FBI official in charge of such security background checks.

“It’s not even close to being under control,” warned assistant FBI director Michael Steinbach.

We should not be believing the man who promised us that we could keep our doctor, keep our health plans, and that our health insurance premiums would go down $2,500. He is either lying, or he likes to speak on matters where he is not competent to know the truth of the matter.

UPDATE: ECM sends me this video from Ben Shapiro:

Awesome!

Least qualified president ever leaves Trump foreign policy disasters

Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?
Is Barack Obama focused on protecting the American people?

Of all the things that the least qualified president did in the last eight years, the most difficult for the incoming Trump administration to fix are the national security and foreign policy blunders.

It’s not just that he gave away all our classified secrets via Hillary’s unsecure e-mail server is a problem. And then there were the leaks of our national security secrets from people like Edward Snowden and gay private Bradley Manning. And of course the hacking of our computers by the Chinese. What else would you expect from a political party that focuses on free condoms and gay marriage?

But the worse mistakes are the foreign policy blunders – the creation of wars in other countries and the the supporting of our enemies (giving assault weapons to drug cartels, giving nuclear weapons to Iran, etc.) that are the most difficult to make right.

Consider this article from the Daily Signal.

It lists 5 crises created by the Obama administration in the last 8 years:

  1. ISIS in Iraq and Syria
  2. Afghanistan War
  3. Ukraine-Russia War
  4. Saudi Arabia-Yemen War
  5. Campaigns Against Terrorists in Africa

There was no “Islamic State” in Iraq or Syria when president Bush left office. Iraq and Syria, along with Egypt and Libya, were stable. Libya had just voluntarily given up their WMD programs without a shot being fired, because of concern that Bush would invade them, too. But then Obama became president and withdrew our troops from Iraq. What happened next? Genocide, rape and sex-trafficking on a scale unimaginable to naive American progressives.

Excerpt:

1. ISIS in Iraq and Syria

In response to rapid territorial gains made by the Islamic State during the first half of 2014, the U.S. and allied countries began a military campaign against the terrorist group, relying primarily on airstrikes and support of local ground forces.

As of Nov. 2, the U.S. coalition has conducted nearly 16,000 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, the countries where ISIS maintains its largest presence.

The Defense Department reports that as of Aug. 31, the total cost of operations related to defeating ISIS is $9.3 billion and the average daily cost is $12.3 million.

Trump inherits the military campaign against ISIS during a crucial phase, as the U.S. undertakes missions to take back key territory controlled by the militants.

[…]In Syria, the Obama administration is supporting 30,000 Syrian-Kurdish and Syrian-Arab fighters, who announced last weekend they were launching a campaign to liberate the ISIS capital in Raqqa. There are roughly 300 U.S. special operations forces on the ground in the country.

The moves to take back ISIS’ remaining strongholds showcase the extent to which Obama has prioritized the counter­terrorism mission in Syria over efforts to help resolve the country’s civil war, which has resulted in as many as a half a million deaths.

On Monday, in a press conference, Obama acknowledged his Syria policy “has not worked.”

Another blunder by the Obama administration occurred with his decision to take a naive, pacifist stance with Russia. Obama and Clinton were following the liberal playbook, which states that the best way to stop a bully from being aggressive is to bow down to him and grovel. This is literally how progressives think about foreign policy – they think that weaknesses causes tyrants to back off, and that strength causes tyrants to arm up and attack their neighbors.

How well this the progressive view work with Russia?

3. Ukraine-Russia War

Europe’s only active war has resulted in the deaths of nearly 10,000 soldiers and civilians on both sides.

The conflict started in 2013, when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, under pressure from Russia, suspended talks on a trade deal with the European Union. Thousands of protesters hit the streets in the following days, supporting closer ties with the West.

The protests turned violent, and Yanukovych fled the capital, Kiev. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and pro-Russian rebels began to seize territory in eastern Ukraine. Separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk eventually declared independence.

Two cease-fire accords are not being observed. The Obama administration’s policy has been to support a German and French-led effort to negotiate a settlement to the war, and maintain pressure on Russia by working with the European Union to uphold sanctions imposed on Moscow for its annexation of Crimea. The Obama administration has also delivered Ukraine tens of millions of dollars in nonlethal aid, but has not provided weapons.

Obama isn’t providing Ukraine with weapons, because his progressive playbook says that Russia will be more likely to attack if they stand to take more losses to anti-tank weapons. That’s how people on the secular left think. They make decisions based on what makes them feel superior and what makes them look idealistic to others – not based on what works.

But there’s more. Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio championed an idealistic intervention in Libya. They thought that if we got rid of Libya’s dictator, then there would be a spontaneous uprising of peaceful Muslim democracy-lovers. So they ordered air strikes with no ground invasion, and guess what they got?

Islamic State taking root in the anarchy they created:

5. Campaigns Against Terrorists in Africa

Obama has described his efforts to destroy al-Qaeda’s core leadership as one of the successes of his national security policy. But the terrorist threat has spread to new regions in recent years, prompting a U.S. military response, and Trump will have to decide how to proceed.

Unrelated campaigns in Libya and Somalia are prime examples of the diffuse threat.

In Libya, the U.S. has conducted more than 360 airstrikes in support of pro-government forces trying to expel ISIS from the coastal Libyan city, Sirte. A small number of U.S. special operations forces are also providing on-the-ground support.

Since the 2011 American intervention in Libya that led to the death of the country’s deposed dictator leader, Muammar Gaddafi, the country has been plagued by instability.

Today, the U.S. is supporting a project to build a unity government in Libya. But the unity government has not yet won the approval of Libya’s various rival factions.

“Libya is a quintessential civil war,” Middle East expert Pollack said. “ISIS makes their home in civil wars.”

Separately, in another African nation, Somalia, the U.S. has been engaged for more than a decade in an air campaign against al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda. The group is responsible for one of the deadliest attacks in Africa, when in 2013 it struck a mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

The terrorist group spawned in 2005, taking advantage of chaos in a country that has been split apart by civil war for 25 years.

This year, The Washington Post reports, the U.S. has conducted more than a dozen airstrikes and drone strikes against al-Shabab.

According to The New York Times, as part of a multifront war against militant Islam in Africa, American forces are also involved in helping to combat al-Qaeda in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso and Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad.

Although progressives like to style themselves as being “anti-war”, they actually cause a lot of wars and deaths with their misguided idealistic military interventions. Obama inherited a peaceful situation in Russia and in the Middle East, but he screwed everything up.  To stop wars you must understand military issues. Just because a person says they don’t like war, it doesn’t mean that they know what actions to take to avoid war. President Trump is inheriting disasters from his incompetent predecessor.

Thinking practically about the gospel with an illustration from a war movie

The city of Mogadishu, in Somalia, Africa
The city of Mogadishu, in Somalia, Africa

I decided to re-post one of my favorite posts for Veteran’s Day / Remembrance Day.

First, let’s get an overview that helps us understand the context and goals of the mission we are going to discuss.

The scene is set in Somalia, Africa, in 1992. There a civil war between two warlords: Ali Mahdi and Mohammed Farah Aidid. The war has destroyed agricultural operations, and the people are starving. The United Nations are trying to help, but Aidid hijacks the food from UN aircraft so that he can use the food to gain control of the people. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis are dying of starvation. The UN requests American military forces to secure the air-dropped supplies so they can be distributed to the starving people.

In December 1992, President George H.W. Bush answers the call, sending 25,000 troops to Somalia to protect the food from the Somali warlords. However, in 1993, Bill Clinton is elected. He orders that the number of U.S. troops be reduced to 12,000. Following an attack by Aidid on Pakistani peace-keepers, the U.N. issues a resolution to capture those responsible. The U.S. armed forces have the arms and training to battle evil, so they get the call to capture Aidid and his lieutenants.

In late August 1993, Task Force Ranger is deployed to Mogadishu to capture Aidid and his lieutenants at the Olympic Hotel. The U.S. force consists of 440 troops from the Army Rangers and Army Delta Force special forces, commanded by General William Garrison. Garrison requested light armored units (Bradley Infantry Fighting vehicles) that would offer more protection than the unarmored HMMWV Humvees. Garrison was denied the light armor by the Clinton administration. Garrison requested heavier air support (AC-130 Spectre gunships) that would offer better fire support than the UH-60 Blackhawk miniguns. Garrison was denied the air support by the Clinton administration. The Clinton administration did not want the American forces to appear too heavily armed for the peace-keeping role.

The actual mission turned out to be much harder than it needed to be, because of the resources denied by the Clinton administration. Although the Aidid lieutenants were captured, Aidid himself escaped. Eighty-four American soldiers were wounded. Eighteen American soldiers were killed, and their bodies were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. This was shown over and over by the media, and it undermined American resolve to help the Somali people. As a result, Clinton had the excuse he needed to retreat the American military.

(Source: Nova Online)

Two heroes lost their lives

Today, I want to talk about two of the men who lost their lives in Operation Gothic Serpent. They are Master Sergeant Gary I. Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randall D. Shughart – a Delta Force sniper team.

Here is a clip from the movie Blackhawk Down, which shows what happened to them:

The pilot of the downed Blackhawk was protected by the two men who volunteered to go in after him. They requested that they be inserted at the crash site, even though they knew that reinforcements were likely not going to be there in time to save them. They made the request to go and help the pilot three times before being allowed to go in. Their first two requests were denied by their commanding officer, because the odds against their survival were so overwhelming. The rescued pilot was later released by his captors, and the two heroes were awarded the Medal of Honor for their brave actions.

A Congressional Medal of Honor
A Congressional Medal of Honor

Here is a description of the requirements to be awarded a Medal of Honor:

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that may be awarded by the United States government. It is presented by the President of the United States, in the name of Congress, and is conferred only upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty:

  • While engaged in action against an enemy of the United States;
  • While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
  • While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

You can read the official details of their actions.

The point of this post

It is important for Christians to be familiar with real-world examples of people giving their lives in order to save the lives of others. When we see real-world examples of self-sacrifice, it helps us to understand what Jesus really achieved for us, and what he must have felt making that hard choice to volunteer to go in and rescue us. In general, my philosophy when it comes to the Bible is to make every effort to connect what the Bible says to the real world. We must not push Christianity into some far-off world of piety and feelings. We must make connections to real evidence and real life, so that what the Bible says becomes practical, and so that we have a deep friendship with and sympathy for God revealed in Jesus Christ. In real life, being willing to give your life to save someone else is hard. Understanding how that really happens will help us to value what Jesus has done for us.

Bible verses

I saw this verse on the ground outside the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC, where I went for my summer vacation in 2015. (Thanks to my friend Curby who hosted me)

Isaiah 6:8:

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Here is the picture I took (yes, that is my running shoe):

“Here am I, send me” Isaiah 6:8

When confronted with an opportunity to imitate Christ in his self-sacrifice, we should think less about ourselves and our own desires, and take the opportunity to serve others effectively. We do not do what makes us happy, and we do not pursue fun and thrills. We do what heals, we do what helps others. We do not push away our responsibility to imitate Christ by caring for those in danger. Christianity is not just about “not doing bad things”. It’s the good things you do because of your relationship with Jesus that show your real allegiance, and give you the experience of being a Christian in deed.

And here is another good verse:

John 15:13:

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

If you get a chance to watch the movie Blackhawk Down, then do so. I highly recommend it. You can also read the book that the movie is based on.

I love the Medal of Honor books by Edward F. Murphy. He writes about all the people who have been awarded the Medal of honor in different wars: World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

If you check my reading list, you’ll find that I usually read two military books for every one book on another subject.