The Magazine

Spirit of America

From the Scrapbook.

Jan 4, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 16
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THE SCRAPBOOK wanted to give some of its space this holiday season to an email from our friend Jim Hake, founder and chairman of Spirit of America. This terrific non-profit supports our troops' efforts on the front lines by supplying materiel they judge will be helpful in accomplishing their mission.

"The photo above," writes Hake, "shows Lieutenant Colonel Billy McCullough, Battalion Commander of the 1/5 Marines in Nawa, Afghanistan. The Marines in Nawa have made great progress in the last 6 months. McCullough is presenting the Marines ceremonial sword--the Mameluke--to local Afghan leaders who have been working cooperatively with the Marines. This is one of the ways relationships are reinforced on the front lines. Because of [support from our donors], Spirit of America was able to provide the swords when they were needed.

"A few days ago I received an email from a Marine captain asking if we could provide 20 treadle-powered sewing machines. They'll be used to help women in Nawa, Afghanistan and build upon the gains of the 1/5 Marines.

"You may recall that years ago we provided swords ( and sewing machines ( to help the Marines in Anbar Province, Iraq. That was before and during the 'Anbar Awakening' and the surge--when the situation in Iraq was difficult and challenging, as Afghanistan is today.

"Speaking of the Marines in Anbar Province. .  .  . In 2004, the 1st Marine Division invited me to visit them in Iraq to explore how Spirit of America could increase our support. Before going I was required to participate in a one-day training session at Camp Pendleton.

"At the end of the day, I was briefed by a young lieutenant. He asked if I knew what to do if anyone started shooting at us. Figuring that the Marines would know where to take cover, I said, 'I'll do what the Marines do.' The lieutenant gave me a strange look and said, 'No. The Marines are going to run to the fire. You are going to run away.'

"I've never forgotten what the lieutenant said. The Marines run to the fire--meaning they don't shrink from the tough or unwanted situation. They do what needs to be done no matter how hard it is. They 'run to the fire.' I've come to understand this is an ethos that applies broadly--not only to Marines in combat.

"Afghanistan is a tough situation, even for those not serving. Here at home there is ample pessimism and disagreement. Many prefer to avoid the subject entirely. And there is no easy solution. The situation is difficult but we are not powerless. We can help our troops succeed and come home sooner and safer. This is our time to 'run to the fire' and do what needs to be done."

THE SCRAPBOOK can vouch for the tremendously important work Jim Hake and Spirit of America are doing. You can learn more about their mission (and contribute!) at

China Screws Obama?

An interesting leftwing critique of China's part in the Copenhagen farce appeared last week in the Guardian. Obama fans will be inclined to embrace it, because it exonerates their hero from blame for the "failure" (from the global warmists' point of view) to secure a U.N. climate change treaty. THE SCRAPBOOK embraces it because it rings true.

China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful "deal" so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen [writes Mark Lynas]. .  .  . -China's strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the West had failed the world's poor once again. And sure enough, the aid agencies, civil society movements and environmental groups all took the bait. The failure was "the inevitable result of rich countries refusing adequately and fairly to shoulder their overwhelming responsibility," said Christian Aid. "Rich countries have bullied developing nations," fumed Friends of the Earth International. All very predictable, but the complete opposite of the truth.