A happy reason to drink, for a change

It’s easy these days to be cynical about patriotism, now that it’s apparently been reduced to simply shutting the hell up, performing empty gestures such as slapping a “Support our troops” magnet on your car (which, if you think about it, is literally the least you can do) or calling for the state-sponsored execution of disloyal journalists. That’s why it’s so genuinely refreshing to read something that fills you with pride to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave:

In November, 2003, Lt. Cmdr. [Charles] Swift, a Navy judge advocate general, was assigned as Hamdan’s military appointed attorney. A superior officer ordered Swift to secure a plea bargain. But Swift instead decided to argue that Hamdan should be accorded the rights and protections of the Geneva Convention and that the military commissions at Guantanamo were themselves invalid.

According to reporting in The Los Angeles Times, Swift was fearful of the dangerous precedent that could be set by denying international standards of justice even to terrorists.

“I feel like we all won, that the rule of law won, and that is essentially what we are all about,” Swift told the Times.

Swift also told the Associated Press yesterday that he had informed his client about the ruling by telephone. “I think he was awe-struck that the court would rule for him, and give a little man like him an equal chance,” Swift said. “Where he’s from, that is not true.”

Reading that last quote made my heart swell with a sort of pride I don’t feel too often anymore – and right on time, too, as we celebrate our country’s 230th birthday. What we’re celebrating is not a culture or even an ideology, but a system of laws that permit cultures and ideologies to co-exist, if only uneasily. As I head out the door to go drink beer and light off some illegal fireworks, it’s nice to know I’m not drinking to nostalgia, but to a way of life that just might survive the shortsighted, self-absorbed cowards who are running the show right now. It’s enough to make a man start chanting “U-S-A” until he goes in-sizzy in the mem-brizzy.


Comments: 25


Yeah… I think we can all be proud of Lt. Cdr. Swift.

It is unfortunate that he is about to be “Archied.” Apparently, according to a RawStory piece on Saturday, he was passed over for promotion about 18 months ago, apparently in retaliation for his zealous pursuit of justice and the rule of law.

Apparently, he is about to be passed over by the promotion board again. Passed over for promotion twice in a row, that’s the end of a naval officer’s career. This in spite of his stellar performance as a lawyer and naval officer.

mojo sends


Whoa the constitution and true AMERICAN values at the expense of the political?!!!!! How quaint!


Yeah, I read that about the promotion, too, and that he said he’d put in for early retirement if he doesn’t get the next one. His bosses can’t say a man who just won a case before the Supreme Court is not a good lawyer, and he seems to be following the “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same” part of the oath he and they made pretty closely, so I can’t think what their reasoning is. Maybe he wouldn’t put out.


Great post, Travis. Can’t think of too many others who would risk their career to uphold an ideal.


Can’t think of too many others who would risk their career to uphold an ideal.

What about Ben Rothlisberger? He stayed true to his vision of a helmet-free America come hell or highway.

Seriously, great post Travis.



We won a victory for the rule of law!

If we keep throwing in a win or two for every hundred or so losses we take, it’ll slow down the country’s rate of acceleration toward a truly totalitarian state – from a gallop to maybe a trot, or even a fast walk!

Sorry to snark on your celebration – the win really is a good thing.

I just don’t know if it will amount to much of anything in the long run.


Well, this is a vitcory for truth,justice and the american way.
i’ll raise a glass to that for sure.
(who is smiling through the tears)


Thanks for front paging this guy, Travis. He really is an American Hero. Kind of reminds me of a personal hero of mine, Hugh Thompson (if you don’t recognize the name, PLEASE take a moment to google him). I was reading about Lt. Cmdr. Swift last week, and sent an email to a bunch of people. That was about the following:

From an interview with Greta:

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you ever get dissed by your colleagues? I mean that this is part of the job of being the JAG Corps, you’re a naval officer, but do you get dissed for accepting this responsibility?

SWIFT: I haven’t been to date. I don’t know what people say when I’m not there. But what I do know is that the vast majority that I have talked to have supported — they’ve not always agreed, but they’ve supported the idea that there should be a zealous defense. The one that I remember most, though, is a friend of mine from the Naval Academy. I went back for my 20 year reunion. He’s a marine and he’s an outstanding marine and he’s been in many combat situations, and he took me aside and I thought, this might be the time. And instead, what he said to me was, you know, the rule of law, that’s what I’m out here fighting to preserve. Don’t you dare stop. And that’s enough for me.

Indeed, Mr. Swift, it is enough for us all. Thank you too…



And THAT, Malkins, Coulters, O’Reilly’s, is what makes America great. Not your bible-thumping,not the corporate whoreing, not Great Leader.
It’s that one guy can challenge the system and win.


Hugh Thompson’s story is inspiring and deeply sad. Sometimes there is a steep price for doing the right thing. And yet, people still do it everyday.



Glad to see I’m not the only one who though of Hugh Thompson — and his crew mates, Glenn Andreotta and Lawrence Colburn — on reading this post. (This is somewhere I’ll agree with your dissing of my age group in the other thread — I have yet to meet someone else close to my age who has even heard the name Hugh Thompson.) Lt. Cmdr. Swift is exactly the kind of person I’m proud to see represent and defend this country. Clearly, he isn’t there for a flag, but for an ideal. I completely agree that a toast is in order. It’s been too long since I’ve seen something that really makes me proud of my country.


Not an American, but here’s another good example: Stanislav Petrov. Admittedly, the ideal was not murdering hundreds of millions of people to simply take as many down with you as possible, but that was a radical notion during the Cold War and he tanked his career to prevent World War III.


The Congress and the Presidency clearly are not interested in saveing our reputation as free and brave. If the Court cannot, then sir, then we are royally screwed.

and, right on.


He was on C-Span’s Washington Journal last weekend (I believe) A very sift spoken person but what he said was very powerful. I raise my Bud to him!


Great post … some hearts and minds would be won by that story. It’s easy to hate them, execute them, jail them, torture them – it’s harder to show them the same level of justice you show your own.


As I head out the door to go drink beer and light off some illegal fireworks, it’s nice to know I’m not drinking to nostalgia, but to a way of life that just might survive the shortsighted, self-absorbed cowards who are running the show right now.


Somewhere in the middle-east, there are young children who could be swayed by jihadists- but because this country’s court stood up for the rights of someone who was the “worst of the worst”, someone who wants to attack us, those children will say “Nah, no thanks. America is ok”.

And that is why Swift is a hero.


America is a funny empire. It trains its citizens to believe in these lofty ideals, and uses them as pleasant lies to sell its true objectives. The problem is, every now and then a citizen starts believing in the lies, and starts taking the ideals seriously. Then the empire gets a bit embarrassed and has to play along for a while.


Did anyone notice that Michelle Malkiin has a post entitled “Dissent is Patriotic”?


Damn. Makes me proud to be an attorney.


Please go back and check the earlier thread, I have responded to your post. And even if Hugh Thompson is being lost in the mists of time, there are a couplel heroes for your generation to carry in their hearts as examples of what we can aspire to be. I’m speaking of Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart.

Jhn 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.



I knew who Petrov was, I had to check Hugh Thompson but I knew the story as soon as I saw the words “My Lai.”

I honestly don’t know how those men ever walked … would have figured their brass balls would have weighted them down too much.

Thanks for the heads-up, Mikey.


By the way, it turns out Claude Allen’s evil twin didn’t do it:



Happy 4th of July, all you treasonous liberals! I’ll burn fly the Stars ‘n Stripes today in your honour.

Actually, I won’t. I’ll take a couple of mood elevators and re-read the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.


Did anyone notice that Michelle Malkiin has a post entitled “Dissent is Patriotic�?

I saw that, Nikki, and this song has been stuck in my head ever since.


Yeah, I noticed your reply right after posting that. I think there might be something to your observations, too, though in my (admittedly limited) experience, I’ve encountered almost as many functionally illiterate boomers (and they’ve even had 3 decades’ head start). I readily confess my perspective may be skewed, though, since my family seems to be basically the reverse of yours. (I study astrophysics and my brother is double majoring in biology and international relations, while the only books our parents read are motivational books or novels you can buy in the supermarket. It extrapolates pretty smoothly to their siblings and parents.)

BTW, thanks for mentioning Gordon and Shughart — true examples of bravery and selfless sacrifice. I hadn’t even thought of them in the context of this thread, but yeah, genuine heroes. Unfortunately, I don’t even have your level of optimism about my generation remembering them. Most are probably vaguely familiar (from the movie, sadly), but, much like Thompson walking out into the middle of the massace and ordering a superior officer to stand down, the ‘detail’ of them repeatedly demanding to essentially be sent to their deaths is what truly shows their courage and dedication to their fellow man.


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