Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Gathering of Eagles 

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, and demonstrators took to the streets of Washington. The delightful photograph at right is from Michelle Malkin's photostream (and hoping that she does not object!). Presumably, that picture is neither representative of the group as a whole -- I imagine that conspiracy theorists are a relatively small percentage of the total "anti-war" activist base -- nor misleading. It is one version of the left's viscious and, yes, unpatriotic smear that the Bush administration launched this war for nefarious reasons, a view that is substantially more mainstream than the specific idea that "9/11 was an inside job."

However, as Glenn Reynolds wrote last night, "it is not 1968." The Washington Post reported that there were thousands of counter-demonstrators:

Several thousand vets, some of whom came by bus from New Jersey, car caravans from California or flights from Seattle or Michigan, lined the route from the bridge and down 23rd Street, waving signs such as "War There Or War Here." Their lines snaked around the corner and down several blocks of Constitution Avenue in what organizers called the largest gathering of pro-administration counter-demonstrators since the war began four years ago.

The vets turned both sides of Constitution into a bitter, charged gantlet for the war protesters. "Jihadists!" some vets screamed. "You're brain-dead!" Others chanted, "Workers World traitors must hang!" -- a reference to the Communist newspaper. Some broke into "The Star-Spangled Banner" as war protesters sought to hand out pamphlets.

"Bunch of hooligans in motorcycle jackets!" one war protester shot back.

"Hooligans in motorcycle jackets"? That guy has to work on his repartee.

Some of the images from the Gathering of Eagles -- which, strictly speaking, should have been a "Convocation of Eagles" -- are quite moving. Michelle Malkin has extensive first-hand coverage and a round-up of links, and you owe it to yourself to dig through her post. Also, check out the first hand account, with photos you won't see in the New York Times, at Gates of Vienna. I wish I could have been there, but my presence was required elsewhere.

Finally, there was something about this picture that I found terribly evocative. The official caption reveals a great deal in its simple recitation of facts:

Peggy Milliman, whose husband is a Marine, on wheelchair, and friend Deb Stevenson, an Iraqi war veteran, back, goes through a security check to enter the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as anti-war protestors gather nearby to mark the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq, Saturday, March 17, 2007 in Washington. Both Miliman and Stevenson support the war in Iraq.

Compare what these women have done and will do to the conspiracy theorists who paraded against them. What have they done for their country?


By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Sun Mar 18, 10:50:00 AM:

I can see many reasons to criticize the antiwar protesters. I also can see one benefit from the protests. Arabs tend to procrastinate. They often take years to make decisions. The ticking "time bomb" of withdrawal tells the "good folks" in Iraq to speed up their efforts to get their act together.  

By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Sun Mar 18, 11:22:00 AM:

P.S. I am not advocating a firm withdrawal date at this point in time. If you tell Arabs two years, they often will take the full two years and ask for an extension. Uncertainty is better.  

By Blogger tm, at Sun Mar 18, 12:23:00 PM:

Can you guys get a better name than "gathering of eagles"? It's wicked retahded. Please forward this up the chain of the VRWC.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sun Mar 18, 12:34:00 PM:

jpe: Unlike the left, which has vast legions who identify themselves first as "activists" rather than as productive members of society, the right is generally too busy doing constructive work to organize an effective demonstration. It's no wonder that we suck at it.

Still, I found "gathering of eagles" to be a very evocative and motivating name. Perhaps it was designed precisely to differentiate its participants from people who think it is "retahded" (which I trust is "retarded" with a Boston accent).  

By Blogger Habu, at Sun Mar 18, 12:53:00 PM:


A Gathering of Eagles...I think I understand what you mean. I think we all enjoy our national symbol, etc, and not to get too funky about the entire thing cause I'm behind them 100% ( or do we now always have to be behind something a 1000% to account for inflation?)

Anyway, for one thing Eagles do not flock, they are loners. You'll never see them flying in formation.

I'd prefer something like "Kill All the Lefist Commie Socialist Pinkos", or "Hang People Who Don't Like My Ideas"

But seriously as a person who has killed in wartime and found no trouble doing so I would just as soon dispatch a good portion of the anti-war left. I would have no remorse, but they're not worth the handmans noose.

I'm glad the "Gathering of Eagles" was there, I sent money to them and would have gone but my family convinced me I was too volitile and would probably sully my so far unblemished record of never getting arrested. Just 2 speeding tickets for a 2x Lotus owner and 3x Corvette owner..not bad.  

By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Sun Mar 18, 01:39:00 PM:

Habu1, I didn't mention a "gathering of eagles." TH and JPE did.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sun Mar 18, 01:54:00 PM:

Habu1 -

You're "too volatile"? Really? Because you would never figure that out from your blog comments...

Goofin' on you, of course.  

By Blogger Habu, at Sun Mar 18, 02:13:00 PM:

The therapist said that death would take care of my "edge"

I said,"My G*d I'm getting ready to head into my 60th year"

"Hey Habu, age got nothin' to do with type "A's" And in your case it's in your DNA, your entire family were under controltype A's but he veneer wasn't very thick"
he continued..

"Just keep work'n out and going to the shooting range then get up to Montana and you'll feel a lot better"

Yeah, as a reverie overtook my conscious thoughts and visions of Rainbow trout, fly fishing, horseback riding, and hiking Glacier and Yellowstone centered me.
My Ch'i restored.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Mar 18, 06:55:00 PM:

The gathering became more of an awakening than just a gathering from my point of view. We were there initially to protect the Wall for the online threats; we where not available for a counter protest in 1968. As one of my fellow Eagles said to the young ANSWER members that walked past our line “Thank you for coming today. We gave you the freedom to do so”. As one speaker indicated, we have been quiet for 4 decades and now that congress is moving in the direction of abandoning Iraq as they did to South Vietnam, we will no longer remain silent. To me and others I talked with, this was a gathering that released the decades of disgust and personal anguish over our government’s abandonment of over 58,000 American men and women military personnel and those of our allies who died and the other hundreds of thousands who sacrificed to keep South Vietnam free from our mutual enemy. There was little talk of us not being held in high regard on our return, but open emotional displays of unity with those who shared our mission 40 years ago. We took the physical and moral high ground yesterday, adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial, overlooking the ANSWER mob and displayed our greater strength with just a portion of our patriot warrior contingent. To those that I talked with over a 5 hour period from all over the United States and from our many military service and organizations, the consensus was that this is just the first shot across the bow of the anti-war and anti-American ANSWER and congress.  

By Blogger John Hinds, at Sun Mar 18, 09:50:00 PM:

GOE could be an example of the "Swift Boat Vets". On steroids. Remember them? My personal experience in the buildup to this event is that there is definitely a need here. The PGR, VFW, VVFW, American Legion, one would think, would mobilize their members in such instances but the stated position of their leadership was either negative, tepid, or non-existent. There was almost a revolt over at the PGR forums over the tepid response of the so called board of directors. Some threads were shut down. People got very angry at this.
A year ago I did the "run for the wall" and met and observed people across the breadth of this country. I was on the road for a total of 21 days. What I witnessed is beginning to resonate among the punditocracy, among my fellow lovers of liberty, and that is this country is desperately in need of leadership that will articulate the challenges we face and the actions we must take in this the latest existential challenge to our nation and the eternal verities which the genius of our forebears promulgated into our constitution.
Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. If people demand leadership by marching in the street in sufficient numbers at sufficient frequency, leaders WILL emerge, and this kernel of freedom's rejuvenation will blossom and grow and sweep the nation and eventually the world.
There is a buzz now about "300". King Leonidas knew that he would die defending freedom and he knew with the same certitude that the valor of his men would give him and the ideas for which they fought an immortality that would stretch into the future for as long as men walked the face of the earth. It is time to renew that commitment. Gathering of the Eagles can be a beginning for liberties new spring.  

By Blogger Papa Ray, at Sun Mar 18, 09:57:00 PM:

"the consensus was that this is just the first shot across the bow of the anti-war and anti-American ANSWER and congress.

By amr, at Sun Mar 18, 06:55:00 PM"

I couldn't go, but have talked with several who did, as well as scoured and read everything I could find on the web, and they say the same thing.

This is just the start of the end of the silent majority. We will be silent no more.

Oh, from all accounts (including the U.S. Park Service) the Eagles had the anti-war cranks outnumbered three to one.

That's three times more from a group of Americans without any sponsers, with only about five weeks notice, and most with day jobs.

Opposed to the anti-war nuts that had a year to prepare, a multi-billionaire for a sponser and most of them don't even work for a living.

Bussing most of them in, in nice heated buses from all over, housing them in some instances, feeding them, giving them potty time, flags (mostly all foreign) stickers, pins, signs and as I would even guess in some instances money.

A sorry lot of people that really think that they are right and good Americans.

That is what makes it so sad.

Papa Ray
West Texas

By Blogger GreenmanTim, at Sun Mar 18, 10:49:00 PM:

"as a person who has killed in wartime and found no trouble doing so I would just as soon dispatch a good portion of the anti-war left. I would have no remorse, but they're not worth the handmans (sic) noose."

Habu1 is perhaps being hyperbolic, but one would have thought free speech and freedom of assembly, however asinine or infuriating, would be as important to cherish and preserve as the rest of the Bill of Rights, including the one that lets us bear arms. That includes defending our country so that jerks can mouth off on-line or on the streets of Washington. It's part of the deal with our democracy.

On the off chance that he was being serious, though, I would have no problem with slapping his sorry ass in jail if he did decide to become a terrorist and whack a protestor or two.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Mar 18, 11:35:00 PM:

Those antiwar wackos are running around like lemmings already to jump over the cliff and drown themselves but the woman in the wheelchair is just being normal and while the eagles are showing restraint the chickens are acting like their heads are cut off and they are  

By Blogger Dan Kauffman, at Tue Mar 20, 08:47:00 AM:

" Can you guys get a better name than "gathering of eagles"? It's wicked retahded. Please forward this up the chain of the VRWC.

By jpe, at Sun Mar 18, 12:23:00 PM"

Thus speaks the man who states on his blog "-Kos predicts that if Sen. Barack Obama runs for President in '08, he will win. I suspect and hope that he is right,"

Sorry Kossite it is YOUR side which jumps at the chance to do what the other side wants them to, not ours.

I expect your real objection is BECAUSE "gathering of eagles" is a very evocative and motivating name

@Habu1, you are correct
"Eagles do not flock, they are loners. You'll never see them flying in formation."

They do gather in large numbers to harvest prey.

"Why Is The Chilkat River So Special?
The natural phenomenon responsible for five miles of open water on the Chilkat River during freezing months is called the “alluvial fan reservoir”. This subterranean reservoir is a result of glacial activity ending 10,000 years ago which forces the water to percolate through coarse alluvial material creating friction which results in a warmer water surface temperature in an area that is, at times, five square miles. As a result, the water surface remains free of ice, thereby permitting the chum salmon to spawn late into the year. This salmon run is the last significant salmon spawning event in North America.

Five species of salmon spawn in these and other nearby streams and tributaries. The salmon runs begin in the summer and continue on through late fall or early winter. The salmon die shortly after spawning and it is their carcasses which provide large quantities of food for the eagles. This combination of open water and generous amounts of food bring large concentrations of eagles into the Chilkat Valley from early October through February, with the highest concentration being in November.
An eagle is released during a Tlingit tribal ceremony.
©Bob Adkins Photography

The Eagle and Tlingit Culture
The Tlingit Natives were the first known human inhabitants of the Valley of the Eagles. The great gathering of eagles has occurred at least as far back as Native man's earliest memories of the area. The people of Klukwan, the "mother village" located next to the gathering, have always lived in a close relationship to the eagle, an important part of Tlingit culture.  

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