a Perpetual Patriot
thing that happened as I began my phone
interview with Lee Reinhart, on active duty
somewhere in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was a siren
going off in the background there, and the sound
of a distant thud. "Hang on," he said, "I
have to find out what's going on....." And
then, hurriedly, "I'll have to call you back..."
click. Holy Shit! In all my wartime
calls with our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in
the past seven years, I'd never before been
interrupted by incoming ordinance! He did
call back, thank God. And the first thing
he pointed out was that this incident
demonstrated what most folks back home, here,
seem to have forgotten; that the war is not over
in Afghanistan, that our service members there
face the ultimate danger every single day.
"Its still the real thing over here," he said.
Reinhart joined the US Navy in 1995 after coming
out and subsequently leaving the bible college
he'd been attending in rural Indiana. He
could have gone off to Chicago or some other big
city to live freely, have fun, and just be
himself. But, he chose to serve his
country. Deployed in the Persian Gulf
aboard the guided missile cruiser USS COWPENS
CG63, he was more or less open with his peers.
Courage & Cowardice
quite sure what to make of the fact that more
Members of Congress have come out in
favor of same sex marriage than for gun control.
Trying to figure out why that is is likely to
lead to insanity. Of course, they are not
going to have to actually vote on same sex
marriage, that is currently up to the Supreme
Court; so it may explain their seeming righteous
talk is cheap; but votes cost money. Oh dear,
did I say that? What I mean, mostly, is
that campaign donors look at voting records to
rate their representatives. Politicians
who have been accused of having 'said' something
can always later say, "Well, yeah, I seem to
have said that but what I actually meant
was....[fill in your favorite bullshit]...."
But, when they have voted 'yes' or 'no' on
something, that is hard to pretend to have been
taken out of context. And so we now have
the simultaneous spectacle of some showing some
kind of courage, and a majority showing true
decade ago, in 1996, our craven Congress voted
to enact the Defense of Marriage Act, imposing
religious bigotry onto American civil law.
During this coming Pride Month, the Supreme
Court will rule on whether all or part of DOMA
is constitutional or not.
Guns for Bloody Combat or
Defense of Civil Society?
Steve Loomis, LTC,
U.S. Army (Ret)
The bloodshed in our schools,
malls and streets will continue unabated now
that Congress gave in to the money and public
threats of the gun lobby. The
sooner our elected officials stop their dance
with the devil's guns the safer we will all then
Once or twice a week, I drive
across town to a mall or out to the VA to visit
one of our vets in the hospital. Do I have to
worry about people carrying guns at the mall? Do
I have to worry about guns in the cars I drive
alongside? Do I have to worry about a burglar
carrying a weapon into my home before I return?
I am tired of having to worry every time I go
out to the mall, or downtown, or just for a
drive whether the people around me are carrying
a weapon, legal or not, and knowing that if I
carry a weapon it will only increase the danger.
In fact the more people that carry a weapon in
public the more likely we are to see injury or
death in any potential or perceived
As a combat officer who led
an infantry platoon in the Highlands of Vietnam
in 1969-70, I carried an M-16 assault rifle and
was trained to effectively use every weapon
authorized in an infantry battalion. My men were
well trained in the use of their weapons and
never once misused them.