Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
By Smokey Briggs
Tuesday, January 7, 2003
Charles Rangel said something I agree with!
You could have knocked me over with a feather last week.
On the last day of the year, Representative Charles Rangel said something
that I agreed with. I would not have bet you a dollar to a doughnut that
such words would ever flow from his mouth.
Rangel is a died-in-the-wool democrat and a Yankee. He is pretty much
I guess this goes to prove what Grandma used to say about even blind sows
finding acorns every now and then.
What Rangel said was that he planned to introduce legislation to resume
the draft in the event of war with Iraq.
Only I would take it one step further.
I would resume the draft whether we end up in a war or not.
"I believe that if those calling for war knew their children were more
likely to be required to serve _ and to be placed in harm's way _ there would
be more caution and a greater willingness to work with the international
community in dealing with Iraq," he said.
Now, just for the record, I think the idea of working with the international
community is mostly goofiness. These days the international community is
composed of primarily of socially defunct hand wringers similar to the French
governments that helped create both world wars.
But, he is absolutely right that elected officials would be more hesitant
to start a war if their own families and friends were likely to come home
in a body bag.
He was also right when he said that military service should be a "shared
sacrifice" asked of all young Americans.
Although, I would alter that statement to say all American males.
You do not get to draft my daughters, I do not care what a bunch of San
Francisco, ACLU-card-carrying, feminist twits say. (Even if they are 9
th circuit federal judges).
Service in the armed forces should be a shared experience of all American
It would make for a better government.
It would make for a better military.
It would make our country stronger.
Grandma was also fond of another saying: "Nobody cares unless the wagon
is rolling over their own toes."
She was right generally.
The wagon of war ought to roll over the toes of the powerful just as it
rolls over the toes of the poor who send a disproportionate number of their
sons to serve.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the
Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:
Free-flowing thoughts are a weapon we shouldn't give up lightly
Western civilization has held a significant military advantage over the
rest of the world throughout the history of man.
Although the results of this advantage are seen in the carnage of the
battlefield, the source lies at home.
It is not that Europeans are braver than others.
Not that Europeans are smarter.
Not that they are more inventive.
Nor that they are more devious in turning a new invention to the slaughter
of fellow humans.
The advantage is one of culture.
Cultures that historically valued personal freedom far more than the rest
of the world.
Cultures where individuals had far more say in commerce.
Cultures where men often thought of themselves as citizens, not subjects.
Cultures where ideas flowed more freely.
Because of these traits, Western armies have historically showed up at
the battlefield with equal or better weapons than their opponents and more
of them; lavishly supplied; armed with an ideology of freedom and righteousness
their opponents rarely matched; and further armed with a willingness on the
part of commanders and troops to take the initiative and try new ways of
One key ingredient to Western military dominance has been the development
of superior weaponry.
It is the relative free flow of ideas that we can thank for this.
Western culture was rarely as tongue-tied by imperial monarchy, theocracy
and despotism as their enemies.
Ideas flowed more quickly and these ideas made tremendous impacts on battles
after battle in the form of weapons, logistical support and tactics.
Today we are fighting a war against Islamic terrorists that are rarely
seen until it is too late.
One of our efforts to combat these enemies has been to push for more governmental
monitoring of non-classified research. Government contracts are being let
with clauses that require government approval before the research can be
At this point we are verging on the absurd.
Classified research is just that _ research and knowledge that by its
very nature poses a threat if in the wrong hands.
But this is unclassified research.
The chances of such research providing the key to Islamic victory over
the West should it be published is nil.
The chances of the government muddling up valuable research and invention
for decades are high.
If a research project is so dangerous as to pose a threat then classify
the research. We have provisions for that.
If not, then the government needs to stay out of the way.
Otherwise we run the risk of nullifying an advantage that Western culture
has used to its advantage on the battlefield since the dawn of recorded history.
Honor the dedicated local school board members
Being an effective school board member is no easy task, particularly
in today's climate of change and challenge. School board members need
to be knowledgeable about many complex educational and social issues,
and carry out initiatives and directives from both federal and state
governments. To face these demands of governing our public schools,
they give countless hours of personal time.
Through dedicated, responsible endeavors, school board members serve the
public interest in public education and serve the needs of our children.
They ensure decisions about public schools are made as close to the needs
of our community as possible. Their public service is an excellent example
for young and old alike of the tradition of volunteerism that is a hallmark
of American society.
January is School Board Recognition Month and the community is invited
to honor the contributions and dedication of the local school board members
- those locally elected citizens who make decisions that affect, influence
and direct the education of our youth. With the advice and counsel of the
educational professionals they hire, our school board has an impact on virtually
every aspect of our schools. It is a huge responsibility and one which should
not be taken lightly. Too often we neglect to recognize the dedication and
hard work of these men and women who serve as advocates for our schools.
The staff and students of our district are asking all local citizens to take
a moment to tell the following Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District
board members "thanks for caring about our children:"
Billie Sadler, President;
Lila Cerna, Vice-President;
Crissy Martinez, Secretary;
Steve Valenzuela - member;
Saul "Chip" Flores - member;
Paul Deishler - member;
David Flores - member
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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