Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | September 12, 2014

Shak Hill 2014

Could be a champion for Virginia

Could be a champion for Virginia

I supported Shak Hill when he ran for the Republican nomination to the US Senate. His 40% against Mr. Establishment Insider, Fast Eddie Gillespie – because he was unknown outside his Congressional District – was super. But, it was a loss. He “ain’t” dead yet.

These words set the stage what must be done – and what he should help do.

Restore America

The future for your family, faith and freedom is threatened by bad government. We, The People, can fix government. We can get it right. We can restore America. It starts in Virginia. It starts now!

Virginians must replace career politicians until we get elected officials who will restore America. Hire public servants who will restore the balance between moral limited government and our inalienable rights. Elect men and women who will selflessly and loyally support both the state and federal Constitution – the very Constitutions they swear to uphold and defend.

Bad Government

Bad government is the abuse of power at every level by officials uninhibited by Constitutions, laws or common sense. Our Constitutions create limited governments with checks and balances against the abuse of power. Yet, like a snowball rolling downhill, the abuses of power grow greater and greater because elected officials won’t uphold their oath to Constitutional limits. Democrats and Republicans alike are at fault, because politics for both parties is about influence and power. Elections are about power and money, money and power, not public service. No longer is the government’s main purpose for the good of the people, but rather for themselves and special interests.

Everything the Federal government does outside of its few Constitutional duties, it does incorrectly, expensively and poorly. From running hospitals for veterans, to keeping the poor on welfare, to indoctrinating children through education, to regulating the economy, to trying to change the climate, to continuing the Ponzi scheme of Social Security, to crippling growth with taxes, to spending our children’s’ money creating deficits that bankrupt the Nation, to creating price controls on wages and to not producing energy – today, the Federal government is bad government.

Meanwhile, judges, appointed for life, write laws from the bench – directly violating the Constitutions. None fear impeachment. For example, two judges recently ruled the Constitution of Virginia is un-Constitutional because the Constitution, approved by the people, says marriage is between one man and one woman. They ruled despite the truth that marriage in Virginia is always, and only, between one man and one woman. Marriage in Virginia comes from the fundamental truths of our Christian culture. Time-tested truths are self-evident.
The abuse of power ranges far beyond the definition of marriage – and the foundation of families – to inevitably and directly threaten your family, faith and freedom. Governments will soon dictate to you what you can do, say and believe. And what you can’t do, say or believe. Political Correctness is just a hint of what is already coming.

Boldly Trust in the Truth

As a former U.S. Air Force combat pilot, I know to trust my instruments. The aircraft instruments tell the truth. They’re based on proven science and technology – subject to immutable laws of nature. Pilots, who fly by the seat of their pants soon regret those laws of nature. So, too, will a great Commonwealth and Nation.

The most wonderful, incredible experiment in democracy, freedom and economic opportunity the World has ever known – based on the Rule of Law – is at risk. Persons and powers are limited by specifically written Constitutions with necessary checks and balances. Our social contract is for one and all to be equal under the Law. There are no group rights and privileges. We, The People, are the Sovereign of the State. It’s time to act like it.

A Commonwealth and Country based on key truths – the laws of nature and of nature’s God, the nature of humans for good and evil, and the protection of Creator-given inalienable rights – must be restored by people who believe in these truths. Virginians must elect public servants to boldly trust in these truths – and speak them to power. Fearlessly do their duty.

Let’s start by replacing career politicians who no longer represent us. And keep electing new challengers until We, The People are represented by selfless public servants. Patriots, not politicians, will restore America to greatness. I trust in the people, not in the government. We must start here, now, until we’ve elected enough officials to boldly trust in the truth. Only then will we restore America.


Shak Hill
Centreville, Virginia

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | September 11, 2014

9-11’s Sword of Damocles

Islam is the Sword of Damocles for many, many years to come

Islam is the Sword of Damocles for many, many years to come

I wrote this in the days after 9-11-01.

One Front: Two Wars

The first front of the World War against International Terrorism (WW-T), our American Homeland, is remarkably united – today. Getting nine out of ten Americans to agree to anything is heady stuff. Yet, the adrenaline cocktail of shock, fear and anger intoxicates only for a season. Someday soon enough Americans will awaken with headaches and ask themselves ‘Why’.

Will the hangover of a patriotic binge be worth it if war and its consequences become a daily, lifelong addiction? Or, will the glum awakening, even on the brightest of mornings, be the residue of restless nights worrying over our resolve? Our America shall have many, many nights of anguish as we struggle with the ‘war questions’ Americans always ask – during a war of ever changing dimensions, consequences and demands for commitment.

Americans will speak to the dark hours of legitimate doubt with characteristic straightforwardness:
•Who are we fighting?
•Why? What are we defending?
•What will be victory?
•How much, how long, what risk will war cost?
•What must I do?

The answers to these questions over time will result in two wars being waged for our Homeland Defense. The first, the WW-T, will lead to another, but different, Civil War in the U.S. Prayerfully, hopefully, the severity of both wars- the consequence management – will be minimized. Regardless, the nature of both conflicts merits the name – war – and will be fought to the ultimate ends of any and every war – peace through victory or defeat.

When WW-T expands beyond the destruction of one species of terrorist vipers – the Al Qaida organization – the coalition will devolve. The best efforts and high purpose of the magnificently experienced and talented Bush team can not stop shifting tectonic plates of history, culture and the clash of civilizations. Sooner or later, WW-T will be the West and its shifting Moslem Allies vs. Raging Islam.

Then, Americans will realize some fuzzy, global, generic, secular human ‘freedom’ is not under attack, but the West – Western Civilization – is the enemy of the resurgent Islam that breeds radicals and rage. What is the American Civilization worth defending for long decades? What must be preserved at all costs? Who will bear any price for what liberty? These questions will split the unity of our nation along the fault lines of our American Culture War.

Americans with different worldviews will seek alternatives for peace. Some will be happy to defeat one group of terrorists and pretend there are no more until another bright September morning explodes in a new terror attack. Some will shake in fear and shout ‘stop’ when an Islamic country turns on us as we pursue the next den of snakes or when a radical Islamic coup topples some friendly despot. Some will stay the course to defeat the enemy, and their means of attacking the West, everywhere and suppress their successors’ ability to attack ever again – for decades and succeeding generations to come. The nation will divide between those who seek peace at any price – because they don’t see the ultimate destruction of America and the West – and those who know that a hostile ideology – a vigorous, aggressive theology – must be defeated utterly and completely.

WW-T will be waged on the terms of the old Roman Empire. Our enemies will fight us for generations – even centuries – until they change their way of thinking or are conquered or we are defeated from within. Our America, as the leader of the West, has imperial responsibilities without imperial ambitions. Moreover, our nation faces its greatest test since the American Civil War (ACW I). Can a nation so powerful, so rich, so hated remain a Republic with the protected individual freedoms endowed by our Creator? The American Culture War will become ACW II.

WW-T and ACW II will be fought on the same front – our American Homeland.

The distinctions between today’s liberals and conservatives will change as WW-T progresses. When ACW II heats up – may it be a war of words and battles at the ballot boxes only – the two primary sides of the conflict will shape up in new alignments of allies, perhaps with new political labels.

One side will be soldiered largely by citizens who know that since 1776 America is the country where it is safe to be a believing, practicing, proselytizing Christian and Jew. Their troops will advocate the big ideas, the worldview supporting American Civilization and the West, namely, Judeo-Christian thought. This side will show tolerance for the Moslems, the pagans, the atheists among us, but not cede the nation to their hyphenated ideas of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

America faces a long, long perilous WW-T and ACW II indeed. May the God of America’s Founders, the God of Jesus Christ and Abraham, have mercy on us all. May God Bless America. In God We Trust.

James Atticus Bowden
Barry Soetero doesn’t understand the nature of war or the campaigns in the misnamed “War on Terror”. How unfortunate for America and the World that he is President of the United States. Barry arrogantly claims the ISIS barbarians aren’t Muslims. He says ISIS doesn’t represent Islam.

Islam has been against Western Civilization and everyone who isn’t subjected to their totalitarian ideology and identity since 622 AD. Islam was a direct – invading, killing, raping, robbing, enslaving, pillaging, burning, conquering – threat until their high watermark and defeat at the Gates of Vienna in 1683.

Western Civilization dominated the backward world of Islam in the centuries that followed. The Muslims weren’t much of threat – with exceptions like the Barbary Pirates engaged by Americans in the early 1800s. The situation changed after WW II.

The wars against Israel and the rise of militant Sunni and Shia Islamists motivated at least 10% of the world’s Muslims to be the active enemies of the U.S. and the West. The immigrant invasion of Muslims in Europe and their population bomb means Europe will have a Muslim majority population by 2100 – unless things change dramatically.

Islam is the Sword of Damocles hanging over every President’s head until Islam has a Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment and a few Great Awakenings, or Muslims are deported back and contained in Muslim countries, or converted in sufficient numbers to Christianity, or suppressed.

Islam is the problem. Anytime Muslims read, believe and act on the Koran as it’s written – they are violent enemies of Western Civilization. Every generation of Muslims produced murderous Jihadists since 627 AD.

Islam is barbaric compared to the Christianity. Islamic Civilizations are 800 years behind the West. The Visigoths who sacked Rome were about 600 years behind. Those barbarians, comparatively, were less barbaric to the Romans than Islam is to us today.

America is slowing waking up to the real history and current threat of Islam. Painfully slowly.

At the same time the domestic enemies of the U.S. Constitution, American Liberals/Progressives/Socialists/ Communists/Human Secularists/Democrats engaged in the third American Civil War – the second war on one front, work tirelessly to spread Islam’s lies, apologies, excuses, and taquiya.

This Muslim Sword of Damocles will be over the head of every President for years and decades to come.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | September 10, 2014

Life Is Too Short

The Emperor has no clothes.

The Emperor has no clothes.

Life is too short to listen to Barry Soetero.

In the unavoidable chatter that follows, I hear about the problem of scale for any military operation. And, ugh, how ISIS isn’t Islam and we shouldn’t whisper it is so, lest we lose the moderate Muslim support.

What to do: Punitive Expedition. 6 months to 2 years. See

Moderate Muslims, how long the war has been since 9-11, etc.: The longest war in American history was the war between the English-speaking peoples of Western Civilization against the indigenous AmerIndians. 1608-1890. We, Americans, were always able to find Indians willing to support the fight against other Indians. Moderate Muslims will do likewise for their own self-interests.

The fight between raging Islam and Western Civilization began with Moe’s first genocide in 627 AD against a Jewish tribe. That’s the long, long war we are in. This is a new phase with the “Islamists”.

Life is too short to listen to blather. Way too short to take it seriously. But, when powerful people spout such, we have to endure the folly, pray hard, keep calm and carry on.  Take action as best we can for right and wise actions.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | September 6, 2014

On Being Grandmother Bobby

Great Grandmother Robert Malvina Holland League, 1862-1948

Great Grandmother Robert Malvina Holland League, 1862-1948

Of course, no one can be Grandmother Bobby.  My great-grandmother was a force majeure.  She was named “Robert” to honor her uncle who was killed at the Battle of Seven Pines.  Her earliest memory – age 3 – was being lowered into the well with the family silver wrapped in a cloth.  She had to put the silver – their only valuable possession left – on a ledge deep in the well.  She was terrified of the spiders.  And of falling out of the bucket to drown.  Bobby’s Mother made her do it.  The Yankee soldiers were stealing everything.

Later that year, her father walked home after the surrender (2 SC, Kershaw’s Brigade, McLaw’s Division, Longstreet’s Corps).  She and her siblings ran home telling the Mother a “negro man” was coming up the road.  They didn’t recognize their father – who had been living outside for over 3 years.  He walked from Greensboro, NC to Greenville, SC.   Her Mother burned his uniform and washed the lice off him with lye soap before she let him in the farmhouse.

This background sets the stage for her life.  Her childhood was forged in the furnace of fires of war.  Her whole life was the long recovery from all paper wealth taken to zero and an economy shattered by war and vengeful Reconstruction.  Everyone was poor – materially – and everyone worked very, very hard.

Then, in 1930 her daughter’s husband died from a heart attack at age 37.  Bad heart valve.  My grandmother, Irene, had 4 kids ranging from 16 to 6.  The insurance money equaled a year’s income.  Irene and her 4 children moved to the farm to live with Grandmother Bobby.  She was 68.  My Mother, Edith, was 12.

Today, Irene would have been treated for depression and a nervous background. Back then, Grandmother Bobby stepped up and took charge.  The farm didn’t have electricity.  Bobby was widowed years before – and running everything on her own.  A Black family lived and worked on the property.  They weren’t former slaves, as it was so many places, because the Hollands believed slavery was a sin against God – when all 4 boys went to war to defend their home state.

Through the Great Depression they had little money, but plenty of food.  The farm was self-sufficient.  The big house was filled as Bobby’s several dozens of grandchildren visited often.  She was the matriarch of the League-Holland Clan of Simpsonville, SC.  She was tall and statuesque.  My Mother respected and adored her.  She wanted be like Bobby.

Bobby insisted they read a chapter from the Bible before every supper at the great table.  Her daddy had taught piano, as well as farming, – so she played and sang.  There were books.  There were stories – turmoil in England, fear of pirates, persecution in France, and from the frontier in Virginia followed by frontier South Carolina.  And, of course, The War.  The teenagers created home made plays and musicals – and took many pictures.  During the Second World War, Army soldiers were welcomed and fed.  The young Yankees were welcomed and lectured.

Obviously, I’m not Bobby.  I’m a 63 year old widower.  But, when my daughter and her 3 kids moved into my house – the one I call “Sanctuary” – I thought about being Bobby.

It’s a lot easier to clean up after kids than walk behind a mule and plow.  I’ve got air conditioning.  Yet, I’m on duty as Grandpa – Papa – from 6 am to 7:30 and from about 4 until 9 pm.  Then, there’s the rest of the clean up to finish.

I know that everything I do and fail to do will be watched by little eyes.  They’re likely to be here a couple of years.

So, I dare not presume to be Bobby, but I claim the connection to my better kin.  She never quit.  She never whined, complained, sniveled or lived less exuberant a life than she possibly could.  Proud before man, humble before God.  A Southern lady who worked hard.  Loyalty and love for family, family, family.

I want to be like Bobby.  I want be worthy of Bobby.

And, I’d really, really like to live like Caleb and be “fit for war” at age 85.  Means I need to get in better shape soon. Although, when I helped my daughter move, she commented that I was “old man strong”.

My Mother doesn't look like she will die in 15 months.  She died at the age - 68 - Bobby took her family in.

My Mother doesn’t look like she will die in 15 months. She died at the age – 68 – Bobby took her family in.

My duties don’t compare to Bobby’s.

Visiting Jamestown isn't like plowing a field with a mule.

Visiting Jamestown isn’t like plowing a field with a mule.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | August 13, 2014

How To Fight ISIS

US Army's Punitive Expedition in Mexico - The Pershing Expedition

US Army’s Punitive Expedition in Mexico – The Pershing Expedition

The US and NATO could fight ISIS and win.  ISIS is the Muslim group setting up an Islamic Caliphate across their conquered territory in Iraq and Syria.  They are committing horrific crimes against humanity – specifically inflecting atrocities against Christians.   Including beheading children.  The Islamist barbarians behead Christian children.  America and the West should hunt down and kill all of these barbarians.

But, President Barry Soetero, the ruling Democrats and chattering class are terrified about putting the Army – boots on the ground – back in Iraq.  They worry about having a third Iraq War.  Except, the US doesn’t have to have another war, just a very effective campaign.  Conduct a “Punitive Expedition.”

The US could drop in the 82nd Airborne, motor up the Mechanized brigade sitting in Kuwait, and flow in the 6 brigades or so needed to defeat ISIS in detail – even if it is 15,000 barbarians – and provide wide area security across hundreds of miles.

Boots on the ground for a long march deep into Mexico in 1916.

Boots on the ground for a long march deep into Mexico in 1916.

The mission could include turning over all the wounded and surrendering barbarians to local tribes – or putative authorities for a quick trial according to their customs and certain capital punishment.  It keeps the US from having to house or execute the enemy – as long as the justice is certain.

A Punitive Expedition takes months or a couple of years, but it ends.  It isn’t a Occupation  – the mission Rumsfeld and Bush II screwed up from the start in 2003.   It’s what Great Powers do to punish enemies with a purpose.  A SuperPower, like the US, can do it – if there is a Will.

In the late 90s when I was the developer and advisor of the Red Forces for the Army After Next Wargames, all the old soldiers got a briefing on the latest Army Operations Manual – good old FM 100-5.   When then-COL David Fastabend asked for questions, I made the comment that the Army should include Punitive Expeditions as a form of Operational Maneuver.  I wish he had included it.

The ISIS Expedition is within the capabilities of the US global reach.

The ISIS Expedition is within the capabilities of the US global reach.

The US Army learned many lessons during the Pershing Expedition. The Army applied the learning in WW I. Such an expedition against ISIS would provide continuing improvements in US capabilities.

The Army as an institution learns from every experience.  Each conflict creates hard, new lessons.

The Army as an institution learns from every experience. Each conflict creates hard, new lessons.

Moreover, a Punitive Expedition would give a lesson to other barbarians. As President Reagan said, “You can run, but you can’t hide.” The US and NATO should send this message to the all the barbarians. Let none escape. Let the land the Islamist barbarians conquered and stained with their crimes become their graveyard.

Would that we could – do a Punitive Expedition against ISIS.

My family oral history includes my Grandfather Atticus's stories of meeting Pancho Villa on friendly terms - twice.

My family oral history includes my Grandfather Atticus’s stories of meeting Pancho Villa on friendly terms – twice.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | July 6, 2014

Accountability For Our Borders

These millions of huddled masses were LEGAL immigrants.  Processed at the border.  Some were sent back.

These millions of huddled masses were LEGAL immigrants. Processed at the border. Some were sent back.

The Executive Branch under the President of the United States is responsible for keeping the borders of the US secure. Barry Soetero isn’t taking his responsibility seriously. He isn’t doing his Constitutional, legal, ethical and moral duty as President. Accountability for his failures, if not active illegality, goes to the Judiciary and the Legislature – Congress. Accountability for Congress is up to We, The People.

Recently, I read where our Republican Congressman sent a letter fussing at the President. Don’t recall if he used a lot of CAPs, but I think he looked sternly towards the White House when he pecked his note.

Now is the time for all good Americans to call on Congress to use their legal and Constitutional powers and authority – to do their duty. Start the accountability with accountability.

Make the Executive Branch account for every person they have caught and released or caught and done anything whatsoever since 1 January 2014.

Make a list. Publish the list. Put it on the internet. Name names, ages, gender, country of origin, family in US, family back home, and where they are now – etc.

The Republican majority in the House needs to call itself back into session and work as 24/7 as Congress can until the accounting is done.

If the Barry’s boys across the Executive stonewall, go through their walls with every legal and financial power the Congress has. If they need inspiration on what can be done, the GOP could pretend they’re Democrats going after Nixon or Reagan or Bush II.

The bureaucrats keep records. That’s what they do, if nothing else.

The Feds have their facts.  Publish the accountability of this illegal immigrant invasion

The Feds have their facts. Publish the accountability of this illegal immigrant invasion

The People can make the House do their duty – get accountability. They’re up for election in Nov. All of them. Start working the write-in campaign – where they are unopposed – if they fail to do their duty again.

When the accountability of these illegals is published America can do what it does best – make things happen. Call out to the churches to adapt who needs to be adapted. Put those on planes to go home – who should go back.

Find out if the Federal funding isn’t another ACORN scam to provide walking around money to Democrat operatives. Let the churches and synagogues of this Judeo-Christian country act. Let the communities provide compassion instead of the government pulling a Fast and Furious scam.

The Cuba boat lift was about 130k persons. The first Vietnamese evacuation was about 120k. Supposedly, this is about 80k so far. Not quite the stuff of a later little Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, but worth noting what the Feds can do when they wish to use their armed power.

If the issue is refugee children, account for them and let the churches care for them.

If the issue is refugee children, account for them and let the churches care for them.

We must hold Congress accountable to hold the Feds accountable – and start with a full accounting of what has happened. Start right now, Republicans. You are the majority. Do it. Do your duty. Now.

Republicans are too weak to make the President do his duty and close the border, build the fence and enforce the laws on the books. But, they can get an account of what has happened for The People.

Make the Feds report everything they recorded.   Publish it in the public record.

Make the Feds report everything they recorded. Publish it in the public record.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | July 2, 2014

He Would Have Been 95

Today July 1st, 2014, my father, James Albert Bowden, would have been 95 years old. Would have been.

He died at age 60 – February 23rd, 1980. It was his third or fourth heart attack – it happened on their 38th wedding anniversary.

My parents had a romantic, Hollywood-esque, loving and fun marriage

My parents had a romantic, Hollywood-esque, loving and fun marriage

“Would have.”

Two powerful words. They can be pregnant with promise when “would have” carries memories equal to the potential of any “could have”. They can be an accusation of failure – dripping with the poison of permanence. Or, the kick in the face when “would have” simply means “never”

“Would have” means I knew my father in the flesh for 29 years and knew him in memory and spirit for 34 years. All these years later, I love him as much as I did before – probably more. I think about him all the time.

I know my father is alive in Heaven. I saw him in a dream unlike any dream I ever had in my life. It was a vision the night he died.

James Albert Bowden holding James Atticus Bowden in 1950.

James Albert Bowden holding James Atticus Bowden in 1950.

I think he communicated to me because he was so worried how I’d take his loss. I’m grateful he was allowed to do so.

I’ve written about my Daddy before. So, I’ll probably repeat myself.

When I think about my Father’s “would have”, I don’t focus on what didn’t happen, but celebrate all the “was”. I’ll have to do the same for my late wife – for as much “would have been” there is to go in my life remaining.

Daddy and my Nellie

Daddy and my Nellie

My wife, Nellie Katherine, told me many times that when she met my Daddy, she knew she wanted to marry me more than ever. She loved how he treated my Mother. She loved how sweet he was to her. She loved how he loved his family.

It’s ironic that I held my parents’ marriage in such high esteem for how little conflict they had, when after my wife’s death I realized how much our passion and desire for one another was like theirs. That is a “was” to treasure.

I’m not my Father. Like many folks, I’m much like both parents and in a few respects nothing like either. Yet, one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever had in my life – because I know what all it meant – was when Cousin Carolyn said, “There’s a lot of your Daddy in you.”

If that’s true, my children and grandchildren will have plenty of “was” to hold dear through whatever “would have been” they live without me.

And, the thing I really know is true – is how much I look like Daddy these days.

Precious memories - Father and Wife "was" greater than "would have".

Precious memories – Father and Wife “was” greater than “would have”.

Daddy felt like a failure because he didn’t make his own career goals. I cheered him for almost 15 years to disabuse him of that notion. He hated how his heart attacks made him physically weaker than he had been.

His Mother died when he was a toddler. He had hard formative years, but was blessed when an Aunt raised him as her own. He always loved and respected his Father. Then, on his own he was a warm, hugging, kissing, verbal and loving father when many Depression Era and World War II generation dads weren’t.

He had a temper equal to his ‘Black’ Irish heritage. He was as stubborn, tough and brave as any Southerner and Scot-Irish man when he had to be. His blood was half Scottish. He lived duty as a soldier. He held high and dear the responsibilities due an officer. He said his nightly Christian prayers on his knees as a grown man. He was passionate. He loved to laugh. He was all about family, family, family.

Happy 95th Birthday in Heaven, Daddy. I’m proud you’re my Father. I love you.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 25, 2014

Life Is Art

Visited the renovated Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA

Visited the renovated Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA

Last week I saw the traveling National water color paintings at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center and visited the renovated Chrysler Museum. Time well spent, especially at the Chrysler in Norfolk. I’m going to go back there to get even a greater return on the time spent. The Art is worthy of time. Few things in life merit the time spent with Art.

Life is Art.

This double entendre goes beyond the life imitates art and art imitates life equations. Life is Art.

We humans may breath for years, build for centuries, know about the millennia and beyond, believe in the eternal, but we live in the moment. We really live in just a moment. Sometimes very intense seconds.

Our greatest joy was a moment. We feel the joy for much longer, but it was experienced in fleeting time.

Art is experienced, like utter joy and complete disappointment, life and death, and everything in between, in a moment. Art is seen in the twinkling of an eye, or better said in the French – dans un coup d’oeil.

In that instant more than beauty meets the eye. More than skill or craftsmanship stand out. We feel, sense, and react to the power of art.

Art has power. Art moves humans. As ideas motivate the mind, art stirs the soul.

And Art is more than the visual arts. Music, poetry and prose can be art. Some say architecture and clothes are art. I’ll draw the line at food as art – and may be in the minority. Nature is God’s created art.

Romans 1:20. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Yet, people see the natural world around them and don’t perceive a God created such art or they don’t see the art at all.

Art, like all beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

As I went through the Chrysler Museum, I knew in an instant what my late wife would say about almost everything I saw. There were a number of pieces where I wanted to hear the whole of her comments – for or against the art. There were a few pieces where I knew should go either way. I’d have loved to hear her comments.

I knew her likes and dislikes like I knew everything about her. I heard her mood in one syllable of one word. She knew me as well. When I tried to cover my emotions, even over the phone, she found them out immediately.

We knew each other completely and intimately.  I was my beloved’s.  My beloved is mine.  We still are. My wife is gone. Our love isn’t. Love can be far stronger than death.

Yet, love like art and beauty is different for every human. Different kinds of love – eros, philos, agape and family – like art are experienced uniquely by each person.

I’m sorry for people who don’t experience art. I’m even sadder for people who haven’t or won’t experience love. My cup of empathy and sympathy runneth over for folks who lost their love. My joy runs to those who find love again.

More is the pity for those who miss God in Nature’s art. They’re less likely to understand how life becomes art, life is art, because God is life. And, God is love.

Or, say it the other way.

The one, only, true, living God – Father, Son and Holy Ghost – of the Holy Bible is love. Love everlasting. From everlasting to everlasting. Love eternal.

God created all life in love. Life is lived moment to moment as art is experienced in the moment. Life is like art. Life is art – in its power, strength and majesty.

And God made life to be eternal – to go beyond living here. Love is evidence of the eternal. Love transcends death for those who breath. Love continues in an eternal life beyond here – for those saved to be with God.

Love can be more powerful than death.

I look forward to going back to the Chrysler Museum. Lingering in many moments of art. Living the life of the moment and in the life eternal. Connected by love.

I’d like to see a lot more art in my life.   I like being near beauty.  It was good to be out and about – feel alive.

New art, at least new to me, reminded me of something said in Christian lovingkindness at the Republican Convention a few weeks ago. A buddy of mine, who was a young widower with 4 small children, shared his story with me. His devoutly Christian grandmother told him that we struggle to see how to add love in life, but when God adds another in love, like when you have another child, He multiplies. God multiplies love.

Grieving, actually, is teaching me so.

Nellie and I would have talked quite a bit about what we liked in this piece of art.

Nellie and I would have talked quite a bit about what we liked in this piece of art.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 15, 2014

US Army at 239 Years Old

Weak image for great birthday.  Fire the Public Affairs Officer in charge.

Weak image for great birthday. Fire the Public Affairs Officer in charge.

Happy 239th Birthday, US Army!

I have genuine pride and concerns about our Army. My Army. I know I’m just a retired old soldier. Concerns may be dismissed as merely ‘grumpy’ complaining as common to old soldiers as constant complaining is to troops. So, let’s talk pride first.

The weak 239th birthday poster doesn’t show the pride of the Army – and the Nation. Recently, the Army was voted the most important service. The Army won with only about 26% of the vote. Well over 50% of Americans should hold the Army in such respect. Perhaps they would, if the Army was able and willing to communicate what the Army is to the Nation.

The Army created the Nation. No Army, no Nation. Without the Army there would be no America. Period.

The US Army came of age at Yorktown. Only a professional, hard core Army could make the bayonet assault that sealed the fate of the British Army – the best in the world.

The U.S. Army comes into its own near my home - Yorktown, VA

The U.S. Army comes into its own near my home – Yorktown, VA

From 1781 on the U.S. Army defended the Nation it created. Except for the War of the Barbary Pirates and clearing the seas of all pirates, every war was Land Warfare until WW II. Naval campaigns supported the Land campaign (the Naval campaign in the Philippines in the Spanish-American War is probably an exception).

The Pacific War had 3 theaters – 4 if you include China-Burma-India. Two of the 3 theaters were Naval campaigns. The US Navy planned for war with Japan across the Pacific for 20 years. The Navy-Marine Corps team executed splendidly.

When Japan surrendered after the nuclear attacks it was supposed to be a new day for all warfare. It was an additional aspect of war – especially at the Strategic level – but not an end to Land Warfare. Obviously – Occupation, Greece, Korea, Lebanon, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Deterrence with NATO, Grenada, El Salvador, Panama, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom – indicate land operations continued unabated.

Now, the Obama Administration wants to cut the Army back to pre-WW II strength. The Republicans in the House of Representatives are going along like good sheep. The Marines will be ‘cut’ back to over 5 times their pre-WW II strength.

The same Army leadership that is clueless on their birthday poster, is inept at Service, DoD and Congressional politics. The Army, apparently, is incapable of keeping the National Guard and Army Reserve on the same team. It’s frustrating to watch from the cheap seats.

In WWI there was one brigade of Marines serving in one of the 30 Army Divisions in France. In WW II there were 90 Army divisions and 6 Marine divisions. The Marine Corps came into its own politically after WW II.

In Korea and Vietnam there were 10 Army Divisions in the field with 2 Marine Divisions. In Iraq and Afghanistan there were 5 Army brigades for every 1 Marine brigade.

The Army conducts Land Warfare supported by other services. Special Operations support also. Kowtowing to “Jointness” instead of advocating for “jointness” supporting unity of command and effort has consequences coming as cuts to the Army. Yet, the Army is going to take the cuts saluting all the way.

That’s a real concern, because a 500k Army is a Super Power’s Army. A 300k Army is a Regional Power’s Army. A 150k Marine Corps is a second land army if the Army is 300k – which is against the law.

(Dear Marine friends, please don’t get upset. The Marine Corps should be sized to its missions – which means sealift. The Marine Corps has mastered politics so well, there is nothing to fear from my piece).

Meanwhile I have every confidence in the Army understanding itself as a huge organization, knowing troops, training and leadership – (all the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel across Land Warfare) – seeing and preparing for Land Warfare better than anyone in the world. As recently as March 2013, I got to see the Army leaning forward to better prepare for all prompt and sustained land operations – as it’s required to do by law.

I wish the Army leadership could – and would – communicate the Army to the People.

Unfortunately, the Army leadership doesn’t have the moral stature to keep the Army from being gutted. Nothing is more important than keeping the combat experienced soldiers in the force. The combat troops can make all the difference in future fights for another 20 to 30 years. Most likely, in that 30 years there will be another fight. The blooded Army will have fewer casualties as a new generation of combat vets is created.

Finally, one birthday history note. Our Indian Wars went from 1608 to 1890 = 282 years. Our World War Against Islamists may go longer. The US Army that fought the Indians from 1866 to 1890 was a professional force. The soldiers weren’t saints. They weren’t the best and brightest of a very material age. They served well – with distinction. There are lessons to learn from that Army and those fights.

The frontier Army had confidence in its culture. Our Army should too. Islam isn’t Judeo-Christian Western Civilization. Homosexual marriage isn’t marriage. Christian troops and chaplains shouldn’t be suppressed.

I’m concerned the Army leadership doesn’t have such confidence – or the courage of convictions to defend those that do. When things get worse – and they will – along the cultural chasms that divide the Army, as the Nation, I hope I’m proven wrong.

I really hope the West Pointers stand up for the harder right instead of the easier wrong. The Nation will always need its Army. America can’t survive, ultimately, without the Army.

Happy Birthday, United States Army.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 12, 2014

Iraq Falling 2014

ISIS on the march.  Iraq falls into Civil War.

ISIS on the march. Iraq falls into Civil War.

This isn’t a surprise for many observers. See what I wrote along the way.

Written in March 2003

The Long Hard Peace
The triumph of Anglo-American arms over Iraq was certain. The triumph of Anglo-American values – namely democracy – is more uncertain. Not impossible – just a long, hard maybe. Our victory was a feat of arms, not ideas. Yet, the peace will be about our Western idea of democracy. Transplanting democracy in tribal, Muslim sand will make it the long hard peace.

American Pro-Consul Jay Garner better have James Madison on his staff. It’ll take more than the genius of the U.S. Constitution to forge the Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christians into a nation. Keeping the peace without oppressing the Iraqi people whobknow nothing of government but the rule of strong men, will be challenge enough. When we pull out the Occupying Army it will be a miracle if the rule of law rules.

The Iraqis may yearn for freedom, but they don’t know what democracy means.

Their religion doesn’t allow the basic ideas. Islam doesn’t allow a separation of state and mosque. Good Muslims are supposed to live under the Sharia, not secular laws. Many Shiites are already screaming about a new fundamentalist Islamic Iraq. Which means you can not have the free exchange of ideas – of speech – like religious speech. Democracies are based on the concept of individuals exercising freedoms as inalienable rights. The Iraqis will not stand for free proselytizing Christian speech or secular humanist denying God talk. Even if the Iraqis could, their neighbors won’t put up with religious, speech, press, and assembly freedoms.

The Islamist enemies of Western Civilization, still stuck in the relative barbarism of the 12th Century, will try to kill any Iraqi democracy in its crib. Even if the Islamofascists stay at a mere 10% of the Muslim world, there are plenty enough to spawn more Bin Laden-like leaders and homicide bomber followers. Hunting and killing the Islamists infiltrators will make the peace look like war.

The dictators and kings of all Arab lands have a lot to lose if democracy works in Iraq. These tyrants saw the first object lesson of the American Imperial Republic. They know what to fear. If they pay attention, they can see the weak seams of American military power – seriously there are counters to our strength, the fragility of political will and the paucity of courageous allies. They will prevent political comity to make a hard peace.

The U.S. liberals, the appeasing assembly of 30% of America, will criticize the peace as much as the war. These self-hating Americans, socialists, prideful pagans, deluded useful fools, sissy self-righteous Christians, and self-absorbed cowards conspire as subjects of the U.N. and citizens of the world to screw up every exercise in American sovereignty. They will try to defeat the peace.

Our Allies who are too weak to serve in the Coalition of the Willing, will find the nerve to interfere every aspect of the administration of occupation. They may go so far to un-align with the U.S. and unravel NATO. Europeans and Canadians won’t promote democracy in Iraq when they walk away from it, step by step, worshiping the pagan God – Self – and in fear of their Muslim minorities.

The best America can expect – we can hope and pray for more – is for an Iraq with a federation of separate groups. The new, improved Iraq can have clean elections that balance the powers of strong men from one faction against another. A national compromise, like the ones that provide peace in Lebanon between civil wars, can create a security arrangement. But, it won’t be a democracy.

Some point to the Kurds as a democracy growing up. Yet, it is self-determination for approved ideas and groups of people only. A Kurdish taxi driver was warned about telling his fares about the Jesus he accepted as a convert from Islam to Christianity. This simple man of individual conscience and faith continued to speak freely. He was murdered for his religious free speech earlier this year.

Can LTG (Ret.) Jay Garner fix that in a year or so? I doubt it. Even though I was very impressed with his insights when I briefed him and did Q&A for about 8 hours in ’98. The long hard peace can be a peace maintained to end violence. But, it will take a triumph of new ideas for the peace to prosper a democracy.

Written in 2011

I never understood why President Bush didn’t give a speech BEFORE the invasion about how the US would be in Iraq with an occupying Army for 10 to 30 years. The length of stay would depend on how high the bar would be set for stability and security.

Ten years is the low end for just a modicum of peace.
I had to conclude that Bush didn’t know invasion, occupation, and nation-building meant. Just like Johnson never understood what was happening in Vietnam. Ugh.

The soldiers triumphed tactically. Operationally, the intervention of jihad martyrs provided them the opportunity to die with little effect. Strategically, the invasion sent a signal for effective deterrence – for awhile. The occupation sent a signal on how to stalemate American power with asymmetric tactics. The whole war should have instructed politicians about the nature of war and the size of the Army needed for a single long campaign in Land Warfare, but I doubt it did.

Eclectic reflections 10 years after the start of hostilities for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

From March to August 2003, I waited for the President or the Secretary of Defense to give a speech and tell the American People that the U.S. military would be there 10, 20, 30 0r open ended years – depending upon how much change the US wished to impose on Iraq. It would be the practical, military application of the political objectives. The extension of politics – the essence of military operations. But, the speech was never given.

When I realized that the governing adults of the USA hadn’t thought through their war well enough to give the speech, I was more disappointed than I can express here. I had a nagging suspicion that the political leaders lacked the moral and political courage to make their case – and express it in decades of commitment – yet, that is not as bad as knowing how clueless very, very powerful persons could be. Of course, Carter and Clinton should have been prologue and Obama epilogue the Folly of Bush II.

Don’t misunderstand.

The folly wasn’t in the invasion and regime change against Saddam Hussein. It was the lack of understanding the nature of the initial combat phase and the subsequent occupation phases.
A dear friend of mine, classmate, quit talking to me for years at the time, because I was so nonchalant about the coming war in Iraq. I figured it would happen sooner or later. Better to happen on our terms. Except our leadership was so ill-prepared. A key exception being the Army Chief of Staff, GEN James Shinseki. He spoke the truth to power with courage – and understanding.

And, there were many officers in the Army who knew the Occupation would be long and complicated. Unfortunately, they weren’t in charge. I wrote “The Long Hard Peace”

Obviously, I wasn’t in charge or influencing.

SecDef Donald Rumsfeld got to play out his theory on modern warfare. It would support gutting the Army. His theory failed. ( Obama is still going to gut the Army – for different reasons.) Rumsfeld’s decisions made the war last at least 2 years longer – andcost about 1500 American lives. He earned a special place in Hades next to SecDef Robert McNamara.

The Air Force and Air Power cheerleaders got to bomb a lot. They bombed the Iraqi intelligence agencies and destroyed the records on the entire population which would be invaluable during the Occupation.

Disbanding the Iraqi Army – 400,000 men – was an act of monumental stupidity. Ambassador Bremer had a hand in that.
The good news is that a lot of jihadi Islamists from everywhere came to Iraq to kill Americans and were sent to see Allah asap.

The terrible news is how many innocent Iraqis died – especially in their own sectarian fighting. And, that fighting isn’t over.
Democracy, the flower of Western Civilization, didn’t bloom in the Islamist sand. I knew it wouldn’t unless the US did all the things to change the culture that the US lacked the courage to think, let alone say. The US lacked the moral will to do what it did in Occupations after WW II. Those Occupations – even including Japan – had far less to change than Iraq.

The Active Army which had been reduced by over 40% in the 90s after Operation Desert Storm had its troops suck up extended and repeated tours. The Reserves were activated and deployed, but still the burden fell on Joe Bag of Donuts soldier and his family. The Marine Corps conducted sustained land operations as part of the Joint Force.

New technologies in digitization and robotics matured. The modular designed Brigade Combat Team for the future became the building block of Army organizations.

A generation of soldiers were bloodied. The killed and wounded suffered valiantly. All the vets deserve respect.
One campaign in a long, long, long World War Against Islamists took 10 years. It’s called a war, but it was one campaign in the bigger, longer war.

God bless all who served and their families – our Country and its Allies.

Also Written in 2011

In March 2003, in the initial attack for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), I wrote the piece, The Long Hard Peace. It wasn’t hard to predict how hard things were going to be.

I didn’t predict that LTG (RET) Garner would be around for only a couple of months. Too bad. SecDef Rumsfeld proceeded to really screw things up – beyond what he had done in messing with the invasion planning. Until, a few years later, some Army colonels got the Sunni Awakening working for the U.S. And, then GEN (RET) Dave Petraus figured out what was needed to surge up enough force to create some security. Finally, President Obama set the deadline for troops out with the greatest convenience to his re-election campaign.

The troops did what they were told to do. They gained a hard, won peace. They did great. Who knows how long it will last.

Now we are seeing how long the peace lasts.

Changing map.  Doesn't show Kurd controlled areas - not under control of government in Baghdad.

Changing map. Doesn’t show Kurd controlled areas – not under control of government in Baghdad.

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