Tag Archives: Operation Desert Storm

The tank is elsewhere

Social media can be quite a boon to finding answers to nagging questions in a hurry.

The other day I posed a question on Facebook about the whereabouts of a battle tank that once “guarded” one of the doors to the Potter County Courthouse in downtown Amarillo.

I got my answer … quickly. It’s been moved to Pampa, about 60 miles northeast in Gray County.

The tank is now sitting proudly with some other war relics.

I mistakenly referred to the tank as an M-48. It’s actually newer than that; it’s an M-60.

Potter County Judge Arthur Ware put the tank out there after then-Justice of the Peace Jim Tipton — a fellow Marine — procured the vehicle from someone, whose identity escapes me at the moment.

Ware, who is leaving office at the end of the year, told me several times over the years how proud he was to have the tank out there. He said it symbolized some memorial to veterans who had served their country. Ware, a Marine reservist, was called up during the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91 and went into battle with his fellow Marines against the allegedly vaunted Iraqi Republican Guard.

The tank stood there for many years. Then the county sought some historical preservation grant money to restore the courthouse. The rules from the Texas Historical Commission are quite restrictive, as they should be. The county sought to return the courthouse to its original pristine state, which in 1930 did not include the tank on the grounds.

The tank had to go. Period.

So the county found a suitable home for it.

I’m glad it hasn’t been scrapped. I also am glad the state historical preservationists stuck to their guns — so to speak — by ordering the county removed from the courthouse grounds.

The county did a good job of restoring the grand old building — while obeying the rules that took an old weapon of war to another location.

Name's the same: It's called 'war'

The “fair and balanced” network that keeps¬†proclaiming its journalistic integrity¬†is at it again.

The Fox News Channel is trotting out a military expert to gripe that the war against the Islamic State doesn’t have a name, as in Operation Destroy ISIL or Operation Kill the Bad Guys.

The expert, whose name escapes me at the moment, was complaining that the Obama administration’s campaign to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State needs a catchy name to rally the nation, to give the mission a sense of purpose, to send a message to the Middle East terrorist monsters that, by God, we mean business.

Then he went on to suggest that absent a name¬†President Obama¬†is engaging in some form of denial about the severity of the heinous organization with which we’re dealing in Syria and Iraq.

Sigh …

Someone has to tell me in language I understand precisely why we need to call this campaign something catchy.

I heard the Fox expert prattle on about national purpose and unity. However, if memory serves, Operation Iraqi Freedom — which is what the Bush administration called its March 2003 invasion of Iraq — didn’t exactly gin up a whole lot of national unity simply because we hung a label on it.

The only thing that produces such unity is battlefield success. Yes, the United States succeeded on the battlefield. Our forces defeated Saddam Hussein’s overhyped army with ease — just as we did in 1991 when we liberated Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm.

However, we weren’t greeted as “liberators,” as then-Vice President Cheney predicted would happen. Then that unity thing kind of fell apart as public opinion began to sour on our continued occupation of Iraq.

Did the name chosen produce the sense of mission and national esprit de corps envisioned at the time?

Hardly.

Let’s get back to debating the merits of the air campaign against ISIL. I hasten to note, incidentally, that more nations are taking part. We aren’t alone in this fight.

Thus, it would be helpful if critics here at home — such as the Fox News “experts” — would cease carping on these side issues.

They serve only as a distraction from the bigger fight.