From the Gettysburg Address, that is. Robert George
calls them out
at First Things.
The Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and the Constitution of the United States of America—those were the three texts in the blue pamphlet I found on the table in front of me as I took my seat at a conference at Princeton.
I recalled that in sixth grade I was required to memorize the address, and as I held the American Constitution Society’s pamphlet in my hands, I wondered whether I could still recite it from memory. So I began, silently reciting: “Four score and seven years ago . . . ,” until I reached “the world will little note nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.” Then I drew a blank. So I opened the pamphlet and read the final paragraph:
It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.
Deeply moving—but, I thought, something isn’t right. Did you notice what had been omitted? What’s missing is Lincoln’s description of the United States as a nation under God. What Lincoln actually said at Gettysburg was: “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” The American Constitution Society had omitted Lincoln’s reference to the United States as a nation under God from the address he gave at the dedication of the burial ground at Gettysburg.
It’s one thing to quibble over what the words in the text mean, but something else entirely to change the text or shop for copies which suit one’s views. Perhaps these distinguished legal scholars will next undertake a search for copies of the Constitution and Bill of Rights with language that’s more
Townhall poster Skanderbeg provided a reminder of another significant 9/11: September 11, 1814.
In the grand sweep of American history, the “War of 1812” seems to rank near the bottom of the list of events of possible importance. Just the name given to war seems to reflect this – naming nothing in particular to associate with that war, other than the year in which it began.
However, the “War of 1812” (which actually stretched on until the end of 1814) was anything but trivial. Circumstances concatenated to a fever pitch in the later part of 1814, as the fledgling United States of America frantically fought off a three-pronged British attack of continental scope.
And while today we mark more recent events, we should also note that perhaps the most crucial of those moments occurred on this date in 1814 – in the waters near (of all places) Plattsburgh, New York.
Skanderbeg goes on to provide an excellent overview of Commodore Thomas MacDonough’s
to turn back a British invasion from Canada.
In unusually sharp language, the chairman of the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee — Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss. — faulted Navy officials for offering a 30-year plan that independent analysts warned would leave the Navy short of ships and cash.
“The current shipbuilding plan for the 313-ship fleet is pure fantasy,” Taylor said. “It is totally unaffordable with the resources the Department of Defense allocates to the Navy for ship construction.”
The panel’s ranking Republican — Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland — offered a similar message as he complained of a 25 percent reduction in the number of ships planned for construction from just a year ago.
“I could say ‘Ditto, ditto,’ to the chairman’s statement,” Bartlett said. “I agree completely.”
The bipartisan outburst underscored the growing frustration in Congress with a shipbuilding plan that many people say is unrealistic and almost certain to prove more costly than acknowledged.
Today’s fleet of 279 ships, the smallest since 1917, is projected to grow to 313 — the number that Navy leaders say is the minimum required force.
But the shipbuilding plan wouldn’t produce 313 until at least 2019 — more than a decade from now. And it assumes a dramatic increase in construction money that few people expect will materialize.
A new Department of Defense study of military compensation finds no pay gap exists today between service members and civilian peers.
But the study, conducted over the last two years, advises defense leaders to adopt a new tool for comparing military and private sector compensation so that service members learn to appreciate the full value of their more favorable package of pay, benefits, allowances and tax breaks.
The military compensation study also calls for changes to key elements of cash compensation:
Housing allowances for people without dependents living off base should be raised in stateside areas as budgets permit, so that over time it covers the full cost of rent and utilities.
Defense pay officials began to close this gap for single members but there’s still a way to go before they no longer face out-of-pocket costs to rent housing of similar size and quality to civilian peers.
The Navy has suspended academic testing at its education centers worldwide due to the loss of some of the tests on several installations and ships, Navy officials said.
The suspension affects testing in the Defense Activities for Non-Traditional Education Services program. All paper-based DANTES testing will have to wait or find an alternate testing location.
In an administrative message released to the fleet, the Navy said the suspension is in effect for all Navy commands authorized to administer paper exams. The list of affected tests is extensive, and includes the Scholastic Aptitude Test, General Education Development, College Level Examination Program exams and the Graduate Record Exam.
According to the Chief of Naval Personnel, the Navy administered 10,673 paper-based tests to 6,662 sailors in 2007.
Four United States Navy ships are expected to arrive in Liberia Monday at the start of a two week tour. The U.S. Navy ships – the HSV Swift, the USS Ft. McHenry, the USNS Bobo and the USNS Wheat, will be in Liberia’s waters from March 17th – 31st, under the rubric of Africa Partnership Station.
The Executive Mansion quoting a communication from the United States Embassy, says the ships will deliver more than US $3-million worth of medical supplies to the Ministry of Health, JFK Hospital, Redemption Hospital, and the Logan Town Clinic. More than 23 medical, dental, and veterinary professions will offer training and care at various sites near Monrovia during the two week period.
While in the country, the Navy Seabees and other sailors on board the ships will assist in the renovation of selected Liberian schools and clinics. Some Seabees and Marines will provide training to AFL soldiers over the next couple of months. As part of the Africa Partnership Station, a Navy Brass Quintet will be performing at the American Corners in Monrovia, Buchanan, and Kakata.
The visit by the US Navy ships under the Africa Partnership Station is the first in Liberia’s waters.
In 2002, the White House set out to build a fleet of state-of-the-art Marine One helicopters that would be safer, faster and more reliable than the current iconic aircraft.
Six years later, the cost of the new helicopters has nearly doubled, production has fallen behind schedule and the bulk of the program has been put on hold while the government tries to figure out how to salvage it.
The Pentagon confirmed this month that the cost of the fleet of 28 new super-sophisticated helicopters had jumped from $6.1 billion when the contract was signed in 2005 to $11.2 billion today.
Why the cost has risen so much since the contract was signed with a team led by Lockheed Martin Corp. remains in dispute.
Pakistan Navel Ships are for the first time participating in joint naval exercises with NATO Naval Forces in the Mediterranean on invitation of Turkey. Exercises “MAVI BALINA-2008” is being hosted by Turkey and is held in Mediterranean Sea from March 7-16. Pakistan Navy ships, PNS TARIQ and PNS MOAWIN have already joined NATO Naval Group at Turkish Naval base Aksaz, says a message received here Wednesday.
These ships will make a “port Call” at Antalya from March 16-18 and remain open to the public with the aim to enhance goodwill between the two brotherly nations.
The Royal Thai Navy will push the government to buy submarines and new aircraft during a visit to the main naval base by Prime Minister and Defence Minister Samak Sundaravej. Navy commander Sathiraphan Keyanont yesterday said official itineraries would be submitted to the Defence Ministry for consideration as Mr Samak had limited time.
The prime minister is scheduled to visit the navy soon. However, the date of his visit has yet to be set.
Adm Sathiraphan said the navy would brief Mr Samak on its missions, including the submarine procurement project. His agency was in dire need of submarines as it had to operate in three areas _ under water, on the surface and in the sky, he said.
He said he would tell Mr Samak about the obstacles and problems faced by the navy since the prime minister, who concurrently holds the defence minister’s post, was his commander. Any decision to purchase submarines rests with Mr Samak.
”The navy must be ready to go into combat in three dimensions,” he stressed.
The discovery of the wreckage of a warship that sank with all 645 men aboard in a fierce World War II battle promises clues to one of Australia’s most enduring mysteries, how the pride of its navy could have been lost to a lightly armed German cruiser.
The remains of battle cruiser HMAS Sydney were discovered off western Australia on Sunday, 66 years after it sank on Nov. 19, 1941, after a battle with the German vessel DKM Kormoran in the worst naval disaster in Australia’s history.
All 645 sailors aboard the Sydney were lost and its final resting place remained elusive until sonar technology advanced enough to scour waters more than 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) deep.
The Kormoran also sank, but 317 of its 397-member crew survived and rowed lifeboats to the Australian coast, where they were taken prisoner.
Australians have long been incredulous that the Sydney could have been lost to the German auxiliary cruiser. For years, various alternate theories have abounded, including that a Japanese submarine really sank the Sydney or that the Kormoran’s crew machine-gunned Australian survivors.
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a prestigious naval college in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Tuesday, killing at least five people and injuring 19, officials said.
One bomber rammed a motorcycle into the gate of the Naval War College in the heart of Pakistan’s second biggest city, then the second drove another bike into the parking lot where he detonated explosives, they said.
The attack was the fourth in five days in Pakistan, posing a major challenge to the country’s incoming government, set to be a coalition led by the parties of slain ex-premier Benazir Bhutto and former premier Nawaz Sharif.
President Pervez Musharraf condemned the bombings, vowing that the “government will not be cowed down by such acts” and expressing the “resolve to fight against extremism and terrorism,” the official Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
CHINA says it will raise military spending by nearly 18% this year, triggering renewed tensions with the US and its close regional allies.
The military budget would rise 17.6% to 417.8 billion yuan ($A63.3 billion), a Government spokesman said, following a 17.8% rise in 2007.
Jiang Enzhu, spokesman for China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, said military spending remained comparatively low as a percentage of the economy and was intended for peaceful development.
“China will not pose a threat to any country,” he said.
But Mr Jiang reiterated the Government’s preparedness to use force towards Taiwan, which it sees as part of China.
Official figures put the level of Chinese military spending at just 1.4% of GDP, down from about 6.4% between 1950 and 1980. The rapid spending growth compares with last year’s 11.4% growth in GDP and 31% growth in tax revenue.
The US Government regularly criticises the scale and transparency of Chinese military spending, which it estimates to be two or three times the official figures.