Newsletter 9-1-23

News & Updates


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The Colonel’s Corner
~Comment by the Colonel~
This story of Dietrich Bonhoffer needs to be read by all Americans:
In 1943, the Lutheran pastor and member of the German resistance, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was arrested and incarcerated in Tegel Prison. There he meditated on the question of why the German people—in spite of their vast education, culture, and intellectual achievements—had fallen so far from reason and morality. He concluded that they, as a people, had been afflicted with collective stupidity (German: Dummheit).
He was not being flippant or sarcastic, and he made it clear that stupidity is not the opposite of native intellect. On the contrary, the events in Germany between 1933 and 1943 had shown him that perfectly intelligent people were, under the pressure of political power and propaganda, rendered stupid—that is, incapable of critical reasoning. As he put it:
Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of good than wickedness. Evil can be protested against, exposed, and, if necessary, it can be prevented by force. Evil always harbors the germ of self-destruction by inducing at least some uneasiness in people. We are defenseless against stupidity. Nothing can be done to oppose it, neither with protests nor with violence. Reasons cannot prevail. Facts that contradict one’s prejudice simply don’t need to be believed, and when they are inescapable, they can simply be brushed aside as meaningless, isolated cases.
In contrast to evil, the stupid person is completely satisfied with himself. When irritated, he becomes dangerous and may even go on the attack. More caution is therefore required when dealing with the stupid than with the wicked. Never try to convince the stupid with reasons; it’s pointless and dangerous.
To understand how to deal with stupidity, we must try to understand its nature. This much is certain: it is not essentially an intellectual, but a human defect. There are people who are intellectually agile who are stupid, while intellectually inept people may be anything but stupid. We discover this to our surprise in certain situations.
One gets the impression that stupidity is often not an innate defect, but one that emerges under certain circumstances in which people are made stupid or allow themselves to be made stupid. We also observe that isolated and solitary people exhibit this defect less frequently than socializing groups of people. Thus, perhaps stupidity is less a psychological than a sociological problem. It is a special manifestation of the influence of historical circumstances on man—a psychological side effect of certain external conditions.
A closer look reveals that the strong exertion of external power, be it political or religious, strikes a large part of the people with stupidity. Yes, it seems as if this is a sociological-psychological law. The power of some requires the stupidity of others. Under this influence, human abilities suddenly wither or fail, robbing people of their inner independence, which they—more or less unconsciously —renounce to adapt their behavior to the prevailing situation.
The fact that stupid people are often stubborn should not hide the fact that they are not independent. When talking to him, one feels that one is not dealing with him personally, but with catchphrases, slogans, etc. that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell; he is blinded; he is abused in his own being.
Having become an instrument without an independent will, the fool will also be capable of all evil, and at the same time, unable to recognize it as evil. Here lies the danger of diabolical abuse. Through this, a people can be ruined forever.
But it is also quite clear here that it is not an act of instruction, but only an act of liberation that can overcome stupidity. In doing so, one will have to accept the fact that, in most cases, real inner liberation is only possible after outer liberation has taken place. Until then we will have to refrain from all attempts to convince the stupid. In this state of affairs, we try in vain to know what “the people” actually think.”
The Bible states that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Thus, the inner liberation of man begins by living responsibly before God. Only then may stupidity be overcome.
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The Smiling Ranger – This book is a series of short, mostly funny, stories of my time in uniform (it’s for sale at I was thinking about… my time in Vietnam. I had little experience with a .45 caliber automatic pistol before arriving in country as a second lieutenant, but I quickly found one and carried it along with my rifle. The pistol was WWII vintage and badly worn. It jammed so often I really didn’t consider it reliable. When I’d loan it to a trooper who was going into a tunnel, I warned him that often it was good for only one shot.
After my first Vietnam tour I was assigned to Fort Campbell, KY, where I assumed command of an airborne rifle company. My assigned weapon was, yes, a .45 pistol. It might have been the same one I’d left in Vietnam. It rattled when I fired it, the parts were so worn. Then the division was ordered to deploy to Vietnam, so we all had to qualify with our weapons. For the life of me, I just couldn’t hit all those bulls-eyes with my old rattley weapon. When qualifying with a rifle, the shooter shot at a silhouette, but with the pistol it was a bulls-eye target. After about a hundred tries I finally barely qualified. I deployed with my company to Vietnam—wearing that old pistol. That’s why I own only revolvers today. (I have since been converted and own a Glock and a Sig Sauer today, along with my revolvers.)
If you don’t already have one, order your copy of ‘The Smiling Ranger’ today or one for a friend.
*We should all be proud Americans; despite our current challenges and differences, we live in the best and freest nation in the world. Let’s end all the name calling and appreciate each other and our nation, even if we don’t all agree on everything. Good Americans come in many flavors.
Military History
In the first half of Sept, the American flag was first flown, our national anthem was written, WWII began, and 9-11 happened.
On 1 Sept 1939, German forces bombard Poland on land and from the air, as Adolf Hitler sought to regain lost territory and ultimately rule Poland. WWII had begun.
On 2 Sept 1777, the American flag was flown in battle for the first time, during a Revolutionary War skirmish at Cooch’s Bridge, Delaware. Patriot General William Maxwell ordered the “Stars and Stripes” banner raised as a detachment of his infantry and cavalry met an advance guard of British and Hessian troops. The rebels were defeated and forced to retreat to Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania, where they joined General George Washington’s main force.
On 3 Sept 1939, in response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Britain and France, both allies of the overrun nation, declared war on Germany.
On 4 Sept 1918, US troops landed at Archangel, in northern Russia. The landing was part of an Allied intervention in the civil war raging in that country after revolution in 1917 led to the abdication of Czar Nicholas II in favor of a provisional government; the seizure of power by Vladimir Lenin and his radical socialist Bolshevik Party; and, finally, Russia’s withdrawal from participation alongside the Allies in WWI.
On 6 Sept 1976, a Soviet Air Force pilot landed his MIG fighter jet in Japan and asked for asylum in the US. The incident was a serious embarrassment for the Soviets, and also provided a bit of a surprise for US officials.
On 8 Sept 1945, American troops arrived in Korea to partition the country. Our troops landed in Korea to begin our postwar occupation of the southern part of that nation, almost exactly one month after Soviet troops had entered northern Korea to begin their own occupation. Although the US and Soviet occupations were supposed to be temporary, the division of Korea quickly became permanent.
On 9 Sept 1942, during WWII, a Japanese floatplane dropped incendiary bombs on an Oregon state forest-the first and only air attack on the US mainland in the war.
On 10 Sept 1776, General George Washington asked for a volunteer for an extremely dangerous mission: to gather intelligence behind enemy lines before the coming Battle of Harlem Heights. Captain Nathan Hale of the 19th Regiment of the Continental Army stepped forward and subsequently became one of the first known American spies of the Revolutionary War. He was caught by the British; his final words before he was hung was that I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.
On 10 Sep 1913, during the War of 1812, in the first unqualified defeat of a British naval squadron in history, Captain Oliver Hazard Perry led a fleet of nine American ships to victory over a squadron of six British warships at the Battle of Lake Erie.
On 11 Sept 2001, at 8:45am on a clear Tuesday morning, an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in NYC. The impact left a gaping, burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, instantly killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in higher floors. As the evacuation of the tower and its twin got underway, TV cameras broadcasted live images of what initially appeared to be a freak accident. Then, 18 minutes after the first plane hit, a second plane turned sharply toward the World Trade Center and sliced into the south tower at about the 60th floor. The collision caused a massive explosion that showered burning debris over surrounding buildings and the streets below. America was under attack.
On 12 Sept 1918, during WWI, the US First Army and the French II Colonial Corps launched a five-day attack on the salient at St. Mihiel. It had been held continuously by the Germans since 1914. The advance was led by our Army’s I and IV Corps which advanced into the southern face of the salient and V Corp, which moved against the west face. The French II Colonial Corps was positioned between the US forces. The attack began in thick fog and was supported by 600 aircraft commanded by US Colonel William “Billy” Mitchell, a staunch advocate of air power. The attackers faced nine German divisions in the front line and another five held in reserve. German resistance collapsed on the first day with the US attacks from the south and west linking up at the village of Hattonchatel. By the 16th the entire salient had been reduced.
On 13 Sep 1814, during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key penned a poem which was later set to music and in 1931 became America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone US flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words of the “Star- Spangled Banner”: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
On 14 Sep 1847, during the Mexican-American War, US forces under General Winfield Scott entered Mexico City and raised the American flag over the Hall of Montezuma, concluding a devastating advance that began with an amphibious landing at Vera Cruz six months earlier.
On 15 Sep 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, the British launched a major offensive against the Germans, employing tanks for the first time in history. At Flers Courcelette, some of the 40 or so primitive tanks advanced over a mile into enemy lines but were too slow to hold their positions during the German counterattack and subject to mechanical breakdown. However, General Douglas Haig, commander of Allied forces at the Somme, saw the promise of this new instrument of war and ordered the war department to produce hundreds more.
On 15 Sep 1950, during the Korean War, US Marines landed at Inchon on the west coast of Korea, 100 miles south of the 38th parallel and just 25 miles from Seoul. The location had been criticized as too risky, but UN Supreme Commander Douglas MacArthur insisted on carrying out the landing. By the early evening, the Marines had overcome moderate resistance and secured Inchon. The brilliant landing cut the North Korean forces in two, and the US-led UN force pushed inland to recapture Seoul, the South Korean capital that had fallen to the communists in June. Allied forces then converged from the north and the south, devastating the North Korean army and taking 125,000 enemy troops prisoner.
~ Humor/Puns ~
I was going to tell you a joke about infinity, but I can’t find the end.
The flipside of contagious gum disease is an infectious smile.
Is that faux fur or is that fur real?
A man who wants a pretty nurse must be patient.
The whistling fisherman was always out of tuna.
Man who runs in front of car gets tired. Man who runs behind car gets exhausted.
I told my wife that it was her turn to shovel and salt the front steps. All I got was icy stares.
Bank robbery is a safe job.

The Frontlines of Freedom Newsletter is published twice monthly;
the dates of publication each month depend on the events and history of that month.

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