Wednesday, March 26, 2008

National Medal of Honor Day

Today is National Medal of Honor Day, a fact that my local newspaper, The Seattle Times, failed to note. I suspect this is true for most daily newspapers who have been filling their newsholes with breathless reports of Obama's triumphant return from his Virgin Islands vacation, Hillary dodging sniper fire and declines in the housing market, which, like sunspots and Nancy Pelosi's staccato blink rate, is George Bush's fault. In an act of heroism, yesterday, the principal of Forest Lake High School in Twin Cities, Minnesota, cancelled a National Heroes Tour scheduled to speak to a gathering of social studies classes. It seems several parents complained that such contact with military personnel would be too political. Garrison Keillor is undoubtably working on a letter of commendation.

You can find out more about the Congressional Medal of Honor Society here. If you read the stories of the holders of the Medal, you will be given the gift of humility.

One good place to start is with Corporal Tibur "Teddy Rubin, who I was directed to by an FBI agent I had the pleasure of meeting on booktour in Los Angeles a couple months ago. A selection from the citation:

Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea. While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely (my italics) by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully. Following the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 8 th Cavalry Regiment proceeded northward and advanced into North Korea. During the advance, he helped capture several hundred North Korean soldiers. On October 30, 1950, Chinese forces attacked his unit at Unsan, North Korea, during a massive nighttime assault. That night and throughout the next day, he manned a .30 caliber machine gun at the south end of the unit's line after three previous gunners became casualties. He continued to man his machine gun until his ammunition was exhausted. His determined stand slowed the pace of the enemy advance in his sector, permitting the remnants of his unit to retreat southward. As the battle raged, Corporal Rubin was severely wounded and captured by the Chinese.

Sins of the Assassin is dedicated to the three men who have most recently been awarded the Medal: Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, Corporal Jason l. Dunham, and Lt. Michael Murphy. It seems to me that if we do not honor the warriors who protect us, there will come a time when we will desperately need such men and women, and they will not be there.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Interview by AUTHOR magazine

Bill Kenower, editor of AUTHOR magazine interviewed me a few weeks ago prior to a book signing. He's good, but I wish I could rewrite myself.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Good Day

Good day today.

Just did forty minutes talking with Hugh Hewitt on his national radio show, and got probably my favorite review ever of SINS today, by Dave Forsmark at

Hugh is a fine interviewer, always makes me think, and it's live radio so I have to repress the urge to say --- let me ponder that for five minutes and I'll get back to you with something clever.

Strange thing happened when I was reading Forsmark's review. He quotes from the book about the way the Old One had cracked the former U.S.A.

"It had been his money, filtered through numerous fronts, that had financed the think tanks and jihadi legal defense teams … all the useful idiots. It had been his money that had funded politicians and religious figures, compliant judges and radical journalists, billions of dollars in honoraria, with presidential libraries and foundations in particular targeted. That was the carrot. … There was also the stick. Hard-line military leaders discredited. Evangelicals mocked. Curious investigators framed or fired. Or worse."

But domestic spiritual decline was only half the cause. America also was weakened by those who held the idea of projecting power to protect liberty in contempt. In Ferrigno's future, the mainstream media's undermining of the Iraq War was a key turning point:

"The U.S. Military won every battle, but they had no voice, no message that could be heard. The Old One's servants monitored every TV station and never saw a hero, only the dead. A war without heroes, without victories. Only petty atrocities inflated for all the world to see, clucked over by millionaire news anchors and fatuous movie stars. Their president himself apologized. We must show that we are more humane than the terrorists, he said. As though the wolf should apologize for having sharper teeth than the rabbit. Good fortune beyond the Old One's wildest dreams, an enemy who wanted to be loved. Be ashamed of the war and soon you will be ashamed of the warriors — the warriors got that message soon enough."

I really like these two blocks of quotes. Really like them. It's just that Ihave no memory of writing them. This happens often when I read reviews of my books. No, I'm no plagarist, it's just that my best writing isn't formulated or constructed or measured out. I hear about pathetic MFA lit dweebs talking about their suffering over every sentence, polishing every word and I want to punch them out. The best writing emerges from a deeper and more profoundly true place than the intellect. Most of the time I don't feel like the writer of my books, I feel like the first reader. Which is great. Because I like reading a good book.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Letter of the Week

Reader David C. writes:
Totally non book related question: Are you wearing a kilt in the picture on
your bio page?
Just curious as I am a kilt wearer.
I told David that the photo on the bio page was taken some years ago on a Vegas craps binge with my Uncle Dave. I don't remember wearing a kilt, but since it was Vegas, anything was possible. However, a careful examination of my files has revealed...

Monday, March 3, 2008

I'm on the Radio, Ma!

Saturday I was interviewed by the guys at Northern Alliance Radio, which went well... meaning I only blanked out once in the half-hour. Sometimes it feels like there's bees in my head, but give a listen.