Archive for April, 2005

Today is Camerone Day

April 30, 2005


This battle took place on the 30th of April 1863, during the campaign of
Mexico. It is celebrated each year, on the anniversary of this date, by all the regiments of the French Foreign Legion.

History: The French Army was besieging Puebla.
The mission of the Legion was to ensure the movement and safety of the
convoys, over an 80 mile distance. On the 29th of April 1863, Colonel
Jeanningros was informed that an important convoy was on its way to Puebla, with a load of 3 million francs, and material and munitions for the seige. Captain Danjou, his quartermaster, decided to send a company to escort the convoy. The 3rd company of the Foreign Regiment was assigned to this mission, but had no officers available. So Captain Danjou, himself, took the command and 2nd lieutenants Maudet, company guide, and Vilain, the paymaster, joined him voluntarily.

On the 30th of April, at 1 a.m., the 3rd company was on its way, with its 3 officers and 62 men. At 7 a.m., after a 15 mile march, it stopped at Palo Verde in order to get some rest. At this very moment, the enemy showed up and the battle began. Captain Danjou made the company take up a square formation and, even though retreating, he victoriously drove back several cavalry charges, inflicting the first heavy losses on the enemy . By the inn of Camerone, a large building with a courtyard protected by a wall 3 meters high, Danjou decided to stay, in order to keep the enemy and so delay for as long as possible, any attacks on the convoy. While the legionnaires were rapidly setting up the defense of the inn, a Mexican officer demanded that Captain Danjou surrender, pointing out the fact that the Mexican Army was greatly superior in number. Danjou’s answer was: “We have munitions. We will not surrender.” Then, he swore to fight to the death and made his men swear the same. It was 10 a.m. Until 6 p.m., these 60 men who had had nothing to eat or drink since the day before, in spite of the extreme heat, of the thirst and hunger, resisted against 2,000 Mexicans: 800 cavalry and 1,200 infantry. At noon, Captain Danjou was shot in the chest and died. At 2 p.m., 2nd lieutenant Vilain was shot in the head. About this time, the Mexican colonel succeeded in setting the inn on fire.
In spite of the heat and the smoke, the legionnaires resisted, but many of them were killed or injured. By 5 p.m., only 12 men could still fight with 2nd lieutenant Maudet. At this time, the Mexican colonel gathered his soldiers and told them what disgrace it would be if they were unable to defeat such a small number of men. The Mexicans were about to give the general assault through holes opened in the walls of the courtyard, but Colonel Milan, who had previously asked 2nd lieutenant Maudet to surrender, once again gave him the opportunity to. Maudet scornfully refused. The final charge was given. Soon, only 5 men were left around Maudet; Corporal Maine, legionnaires Catteau, Wensel, Constantin and Leonard. Each had only one bullet left. In a corner of the courtyard, their back against the wall, still facing the enemy, they fixed bayonets. When the signal was given, they opened fire and fought with their bayonets. 2nd lieutenant Maudet and 2 legionnaires fell, mortally wounded. Maine and his 2 remaining companions were about to be slaughtered when a Mexican officer saved them. He shouted: “Surrender”!
“We will only if you promise to allow us to carry and care for our injured men and if you leave us our guns”.
“Nothing can be refused to men like you”!, answered the officer.

Captain Danjou’s men had kept their promise; for 11 hours, they had resisted 2,000 enemy troops. They had killed 300 of them and had injured as many. Their sacrifice had saved the convoy and they had fulfilled their mission. Emperor Napoleon the 3rd decided that the name of Camerone would be written on the flag of the Foreign Regiment and the names of Danjou, Vilain and Maudet would be engraved in golden letters on the walls of the Invalides, in Paris. Moreover, a monument was built in 1892, at the very place of the fight. The following inscription can be read there :


Since then, when Mexican troops pass by the monument, they present arms.

It’s that time again…

April 30, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #10

You might be a brain-washed leftist if…

April 29, 2005

Drop by Obviously Right for the list.
My personal favorites:

If you have ever used “jingoist,” “reactionary,” or “McCarthyist” as an accusation, you might be a brain-washed leftist.

If you think the Pentagon deliberately targeted journalists or civilians during the Iraqi invasion, you might be a brain-washed leftist.

If you think that Bush is a bigger liar than Clinton, you might be a brain-washed leftist.

If you hate John Ashcroft, but love Fidel Castro, you might be a brain-washed leftist.

If you like most of the 1st Amendment, but none of the 2nd, you might be a brain-washed leftist.

A book meme

April 29, 2005

This one calls for you to list the opening lines from five to ten of your favorite books, and people try to figure out what books they are and list their choices in the comments.
Most of my books are in storage right now, but here are some from what I have out.

They Stood together at the parapet, their arms about each other’s waist, her head against his cheek.

There was death afoot in the darkness.

Nobody could rightly say any of us Sacketts were what you call superstitious.

“Well, Tir, you think your plans for the humans are working?”

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

It was starting to end, after what seemed most of eternity to me.

John Rolfe had rented the house for seventy-five a month, which sounded extortionate but was something close to reasonable, given the way costs had gone crazy in the Bay Area since Pearl Harbor.

Among the world-girdling fortifications of a planet distant indeed from star cluster AC 257-4736 there squatted sullenly a fortress quite similar to Helmuth’s own.

Ah…the French…

April 29, 2005

Here is a snippet from an email I received today. My friend John has been living in Paris for the past several years. His comment provides a window into the, ahem, Brilliance of French Politicians, you know, the ones democrats keep saying we should be paying more attention to…

The big issue locally now is probably the European Constitution, which will be sent to a plebiscite on May 29. The Constitution is a major cornerstone of Chirac’s foreign policy, and to the shock of the Clever People Who Think They Speak For the People, it actually seems to be losing in the polls. Chirac took the unprecedented move of attending an unscripted press conference with some 80 high school and college students who, according to the Paris press, had him for lunch. Interesting times lie ahead, and I’m not sorry I’m leaving about then.

Another thing that remains constant…

April 29, 2005

Quick movie review

April 28, 2005

I watched Blade Trinity last night. I won’t even touch the “Buffy with Bow” performance by Jessica Biel.

Wesley Snipes was, of course, badder than bad, which was way cool. Ryan Reynolds as the wisecracking ex-vampire vampire hunter was interesting, kinda what Van Wilder could have been 10 years after finally graduating college and things went really dark and nasty.

I’m still not sure if casting Parker Posey as the main female vampire heavy was brillant or the result of the casting director doing too much blow while watching Waiting for Guffman. She arguably did the finest bit of acting in the whole damn movie in the scene where the evil Drake asks her why she wears a cross.

Oh ya, when I saw Natasha Lyonne as the blind biotech genius, I kept waiting for her to talk about “doubleclicking her mouse.”

Getting to the bottom line…

April 28, 2005

Jonah Goldberg does so quite well:

Here is the undeniable, irrefutable truth of the whole controversy over John Bolton’s embattled nomination for the job as America’s ambassador to the United Nations. If John Bolton had been the nicest, sweetest, let-me-help-you-with-your-groceries, you-can-sleep-on-my-couch, I’ll-get-the-thorn-out-of-your-paw teddy bear to everybody he ever worked with or met, not a single Democratic senator on the Foreign Relations Committee would change his vote from “no” to “yes.” And, if Bolton were an H. G. Wellsian lover of one-world government who believed that the United Nations was America’s last best hope, all those “no” votes would switch to “yes” votes — even if it turned out that Bolton had a Skipper complex that compelled him to swat every wayward staffer in the head with his hat.

In other words, all of the “controversy” of the last couple weeks is bogus. It’s a kabuki dance. Whether the allegations against Bolton are true or not is almost entirely beside the point, because if a completely unrelated set of facts were not in play, no one would care. In short, this is borking pure and simple.

Read the whole thing.

HT to Mike at Cold Fury

Some things remain constant…

April 28, 2005

One thing is how American troops are seen by non-combatants in a war zone.
Stephen Ambrose wrote this about how American Soliders were viewed in WWII:

“When soldiers from any other army, even our allies, entered a town, the people hid in the cellars. When Americans came in, even into German towns, it meant smiles, chocolate bars and C-rations.”

The view in Iraq today:

To most Iraqis, the Iraqi police and soldiers are now seen as the good guys, and the terrorists as the bad guys. The Americans are a bunch of foreigners who help out the good guys and give out candy to the kids.

HT to the Heartless Libertarian.

democrat’s dirty little secrets…

April 28, 2005

Byron York exposes one:

Well, I think that the dirty little secret of campaign finance has always been that Democrats are far more beholding and dependent on their multi-millionaire donors than Republicans are. Republicans have more donors in the small donor range, $200 and less, and Democrats have more donors in the million dollar plus range.

To give you an example of that: about two months after McCain-Feingold was passed, was signed into law, in other words about February of 2003, the three big Republican committees, the Republican National Committe and the two congressional committees took in about 19 million dollars in contributions (from small donors) in February of ’03. The three big Democratic Committees took in 4 million dollars.

So that is why Democrats had to rely on the 527’s as much and I don’t think that will change very much in the future. I think Democrats are still going to be more beholding to mega donors and they’re going to find ways to use that money regardless of whatever is passed as campaign finance reform.

Yet, democrats still try to put forth the myth that they are the party of The People.

Mr. York spills another of their dirty little secrets:

John Podesta often likes to speak of finding simple ideas that you can communicate simply — that you can put on a bumper sticker — and this Democrat told me the problem is not the bumper sticker. The problem is the car. In other words, the problem is the substance of Democratic ideas and it’s something they certainly need to work on but whether they will remains to be seen.

Let’s not hope this fellow Mr. York wrote about is not “mainstream left“:

I discussed the ideas of a man named Mark Crispin Miller who’s a writer and a professor at New York University and the ideas will just kind of blow you away if you listen to them or read them. He really believes that Bush is leading a covert effort to establish a theocracy in the United States based on the first five books of the Old Testament which will include things like death by stoning for adultery and things like that. It seems just kooky; I mean it really seems kooky. On the other hand, I do take him seriously and I believe that part of them actually believe this — as wild and, you know, unattached from reality as this seems.

It seems that Mr. Miller and reality are on more than a trial seperation…

HT to Rightwing Sparkle