naked in afghanistan

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by President Trump on the Strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia

Fort Myer
Arlington, Virginia

9:02 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Please be seated.

Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Tillerson, members of the Cabinet, General Dunford, Deputy Secretary Shanahan, and Colonel Duggan.  Most especially, thank you to the men and women of Fort Myer and every member of the United States military at home and abroad.

We send our thoughts and prayers to the families of our brave sailors who were injured and lost after a tragic collision at sea, as well as to those conducting the search and recovery efforts.

I am here tonight to lay out our path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia.  But before I provide the details of our new strategy, I want to say a few words to the servicemembers here with us tonight, to those watching from their posts, and to all Americans listening at home.

Since the founding of our republic, our country has produced a special class of heroes whose selflessness, courage, and resolve is unmatched in human history.

American patriots from every generation have given their last breath on the battlefield for our nation and for our freedom.  Through their lives — and though their lives were cut short, in their deeds they achieved total immortality.

By following the heroic example of those who fought to preserve our republic, we can find the inspiration our country needs to unify, to heal, and to remain one nation under God.  The men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission, and one shared sense of purpose.

They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed, and color to serve together — and sacrifice together — in absolutely perfect cohesion.  That is because all servicemembers are brothers and sisters.  They’re all part of the same family; it’s called the American family.  They take the same oath, fight for the same flag, and live according to the same law.  They are bound together by common purpose, mutual trust, and selfless devotion to our nation and to each other.

The soldier understands what we, as a nation, too often forget that a wound inflicted upon a single member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all.  When one part of America hurts, we all hurt.  And when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together.

Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another.  Love for America requires love for all of its people.  When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate.

The young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home.  We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other.

As we send our bravest to defeat our enemies overseas — and we will always win — let us find the courage to heal our divisions within.  Let us make a simple promise to the men and women we ask to fight in our name that, when they return home from battle, they will find a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us together as one.

Thanks to the vigilance and skill of the American military and of our many allies throughout the world, horrors on the scale of September 11th — and nobody can ever forget that — have not been repeated on our shores.

But we must also acknowledge the reality I am here to talk about tonight:  that nearly 16 years after September 11th attacks, after the extraordinary sacrifice of blood and treasure, the American people are weary of war without victory.  Nowhere is this more evident than with the war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history — 17 years.

I share the American people’s frustration.  I also share their frustration over a foreign policy that has spent too much time, energy, money, and most importantly lives, trying to rebuild countries in our own image, instead of pursuing our security interests above all other considerations.

That is why, shortly after my inauguration, I directed Secretary of Defense Mattis and my national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of all strategic options in Afghanistan and South Asia.

My original instinct was to pull out — and, historically, I like following my instincts.  But all my life I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office; in other words, when you’re President of the United States.  So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle.  After many meetings, over many months, we held our final meeting last Friday at Camp David, with my Cabinet and generals, to complete our strategy.  I arrived at three fundamental conclusions about America’s core interests in Afghanistan.

First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives.  The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory.  They deserve the tools they need, and the trust they have earned, to fight and to win.

Second, the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable.  9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists.  A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11th.

And, as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq.  As a result, our hard-won gains slipped back into the hands of terrorist enemies.  Our soldiers watched as cities they had fought for, and bled to liberate, and won, were occupied by a terrorist group called ISIS.  The vacuum we created by leaving too soon gave safe haven for ISIS to spread, to grow, recruit, and launch attacks.  We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistake our leaders made in Iraq.

Third and finally, I concluded that the security threats we face in Afghanistan and the broader region are immense.  Today, 20 U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the highest concentration in any region anywhere in the world.

For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror.  The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict.  And that could happen.

No one denies that we have inherited a challenging and troubling situation in Afghanistan and South Asia, but we do not have the luxury of going back in time and making different or better decisions.  When I became President, I was given a bad and very complex hand, but I fully knew what I was getting into:  big and intricate problems.  But, one way or another, these problems will be solved — I’m a problem solver — and, in the end, we will win.

We must address the reality of the world as it exists right now — the threats we face, and the confronting of all of the problems of today, and extremely predictable consequences of a hasty withdrawal.

We need look no further than last week’s vile, vicious attack in Barcelona to understand that terror groups will stop at nothing to commit the mass murder of innocent men, women and children.  You saw it for yourself.  Horrible.

As I outlined in my speech in Saudi Arabia three months ago, America and our partners are committed to stripping terrorists of their territory, cutting off their funding, and exposing the false allure of their evil ideology.

Terrorists who slaughter innocent people will find no glory in this life or the next.  They are nothing but thugs, and criminals, and predators, and — that’s right — losers.  Working alongside our allies, we will break their will, dry up their recruitment, keep them from crossing our borders, and yes, we will defeat them, and we will defeat them handily.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear: We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America, and we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the world for that matter.

But to prosecute this war, we will learn from history.  As a result of our comprehensive review, American strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia will change dramatically in the following ways:

A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions.  I’ve said it many times how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin, or end, military options.  We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.

Conditions on the ground — not arbitrary timetables — will guide our strategy from now on.  America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out.  I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.

Another fundamental pillar of our new strategy is the integration of all instruments of American power — diplomatic, economic, and military — toward a successful outcome.

Someday, after an effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan, but nobody knows if or when that will ever happen.  America will continue its support for the Afghan government and the Afghan military as they confront the Taliban in the field.

Ultimately, it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society, and to achieve an everlasting peace.  We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live, or how to govern their own complex society.  We are not nation-building again.  We are killing terrorists.

The next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach and how to deal with Pakistan.  We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.  Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan.  It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.

In the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner.  Our militaries have worked together against common enemies.  The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism.  We recognize those contributions and those sacrifices.

But Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people.  We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.  But that will have to change, and that will change immediately.  No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. servicemembers and officials.  It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace.

Another critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India — the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic partner of the United States.  We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development.  We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

Finally, my administration will ensure that you, the brave defenders of the American people, will have the necessary tools and rules of engagement to make this strategy work, and work effectively and work quickly.

I have already lifted restrictions the previous administration placed on our warfighters that prevented the Secretary of Defense and our commanders in the field from fully and swiftly waging battle against the enemy.  Micromanagement from Washington, D.C. does not win battles.  They are won in the field drawing upon the judgment and expertise of wartime commanders and frontline soldiers acting in real time, with real authority, and with a clear mission to defeat the enemy.

That’s why we will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorist and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan.  These killers need to know they have nowhere to hide; that no place is beyond the reach of American might and Americans arms.  Retribution will be fast and powerful.

As we lift restrictions and expand authorities in the field, we are already seeing dramatic results in the campaign to defeat ISIS, including the liberation of Mosul in Iraq.

Since my inauguration, we have achieved record-breaking success in that regard.  We will also maximize sanctions and other financial and law enforcement actions against these networks to eliminate their ability to export terror.  When America commits its warriors to battle, we must ensure they have every weapon to apply swift, decisive, and overwhelming force.

Our troops will fight to win.  We will fight to win.  From now on, victory will have a clear definition:  attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge.

We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own.  We are confident they will.  Since taking office, I have made clear that our allies and partners must contribute much more money to our collective defense, and they have done so.

In this struggle, the heaviest burden will continue to be borne by the good people of Afghanistan and their courageous armed forces.  As the prime minister of Afghanistan has promised, we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us.

Afghanistan is fighting to defend and secure their country against the same enemies who threaten us.  The stronger the Afghan security forces become, the less we will have to do.  Afghans will secure and build their own nation and define their own future.  We want them to succeed.

But we will no longer use American military might to construct democracies in faraway lands, or try to rebuild other countries in our own image.  Those days are now over.  Instead, we will work with allies and partners to protect our shared interests.  We are not asking others to change their way of life, but to pursue common goals that allow our children to live better and safer lives.  This principled realism will guide our decisions moving forward.

Military power alone will not bring peace to Afghanistan or stop the terrorist threat arising in that country.  But strategically applied force aims to create the conditions for a political process to achieve a lasting peace.

America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress.  However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check.  The government of Afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political, and economic burden.  The American people expect to see real reforms, real progress, and real results.  Our patience is not unlimited.  We will keep our eyes wide open.

In abiding by the oath I took on January 20th, I will remain steadfast in protecting American lives and American interests.  In this effort, we will make common cause with any nation that chooses to stand and fight alongside us against this global threat.  Terrorists take heed:  America will never let up until you are dealt a lasting defeat.

Under my administration, many billions of dollars more is being spent on our military.  And this includes vast amounts being spent on our nuclear arsenal and missile defense.

In every generation, we have faced down evil, and we have always prevailed.  We prevailed because we know who we are and what we are fighting for.

Not far from where we are gathered tonight, hundreds of thousands of America’s greatest patriots lay in eternal rest at Arlington National Cemetery.  There is more courage, sacrifice, and love in those hallowed grounds than in any other spot on the face of the Earth.

Many of those who have fought and died in Afghanistan enlisted in the months after September 11th, 2001.  They volunteered for a simple reason:  They loved America, and they were determined to protect her.

Now we must secure the cause for which they gave their lives.  We must unite to defend America from its enemies abroad.  We must restore the bonds of loyalty among our citizens at home, and we must achieve an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the enormous price that so many have paid.

Our actions, and in the months to come, all of them will honor the sacrifice of every fallen hero, every family who lost a loved one, and every wounded warrior who shed their blood in defense of our great nation.  With our resolve, we will ensure that your service and that your families will bring about the defeat of our enemies and the arrival of peace.

We will push onward to victory with power in our hearts, courage in our souls, and everlasting pride in each and every one of you.

Thank you.  May God bless our military.  And may God bless the United States of America.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

9:27 P.M. EDT


compliments of:




cloyd’s tall-story campsite treat


Cloyd Campfire
Part One:
A Rudest Of Awakenings
     The souls of the freshly killed swirled above the smoky Alamo in the vintage year of 1836.
     Among these swirling souls, the more spiritually ambitious, in no time at all, streaked like fiery comets thru the tunnel of God’s love, into yonder sea of light ~ that mysterious sea ‘tween our Earth-bound lives.
     Whoa! Please, kind reader, don’t think I mean to attack your imagination with unearthly scrawl that hopes to bloom above the more familiar blood and dust of ye olde Alamo. It’s just that, well, that’s where your imagination’s gotta go if you are going to really read this heart-squeezing patriotic drama that begins in yonder BARDO.
     But first, some of those dizzy souls in the smoke above Texas that sizzling day wouldn’t leave. Shocked & furious, they lingered, futilely wishing to avenge their own deaths.
     Still others, more amiable in disposition but with little if any spiritual ambition, immediately went to sleep & dreamed ~ as they more complacently floated up a rock-a-bye-baby river, so to speak, that emptied into the warm, glowing, euphoric sea that encompasses our islands of incarnate life ~ yonder mysterious BARDO!



     “David? David Crockett? Awake, eternal frontiersman, awake!”
     Upon sleeping over 100 years, the dream-creamed soul of one who had died at ye olde bullet poke-marked basilica, was thusly nudged by the smooth & divine voice of Angelic Lulu.
     “Not yet,” moaned the King of the Wild Frontier. “Let me sleep. Please. Please. Let me sleep.”
     “Awake!” persisted the demure damsel with wings aflutter ~ and she touched ye sleeping hero’s brow with a dab of purple tintillated lightning.
     Davy Crockett rocketed to attention, saluted Angelic Lulu & gritted, “Cruel. Cruel.”
     “I’m sorry, David. We have received for you a mission from God. We must move quickly. Come!”
     In the blink of a black hole & the flash of 1,000 stars, so to speak, they wisped across the BARDO of our other more tranquil side of life, and life, and more life, the euphoric discarnate side where we rest, recuperate, and are judged between lives. And that’s where the duo was now ~ The Judgment Place ~ which resembled a cathedral made of shining galaxies & misty clouds.
     “Wait here, David, I must go find Bishop Tumor & Polynesian Phil.”
     “No! Not them again! C’mon, Lulu! Where’s Jesus? I never see Jesus!”
     “In due time,” coyly curved Angelic Lulu. “In due time, David. You’re not spiritually evolved enough yet, to see Master Jesus.”
     And poof! She was gone.



     A timeless moment later, Crockett observed 3 pecks of light floating way endlessly out yonder, in ye expansive fathomless space ‘tween little islands of incarnate breathing, that space of no space & no time, called ~ EL BARDO!!!
     Closer & closer, bigger & more life like, grew the 3 forms ’til Davy, with a forlorn sigh, recognized that his judges had arrived: the old dumpy dwarf Bishop Tumor, the goo-goo eyed block-head Polynesian Phil, and the irresistible Lulu. Thank God for Angelic Lulu!
     After a few informal “Howdy do’s,” they commenced The Judgment. Let us be brief. Lulu was impressed with Crockett’s love of family. Phil liked the way the frontiersman led about 100 volunteers in a tense & highly justified desertion of General Andrew Jackson & his regulars during a winter lull in the Creek Indian War. And Bishop Tumor, generally speaking, thought Crockett should go straight to hell.
     “Well, it doesn’t matter one way or another,” admonished Lulu with one eye-brow demurely raised. “Because David is going on a Mission from God.”
     Phil click-clacked his wooden tongue excitedly. The bishop boisterously guffawed but said nothing. Then, out of El Bardo no-where, Moses appeared.



     “Moses?” gaped Crockett in a small voice.
     Ye olde patriarch’s eyes were fierce like an eagle’s. And he rumbled like a bear, “David Crockett, ye are beseeched by God to reinstitute the 10 Commandments in the United States of America ~ so that a new generation knows right from wrong. Are you willing?”
     Crockett stammered & turned to Lulu with a beggar’s lack of coin a-drip in his eye. Lulu threw back a haughty look that let him know she had no spare change for him, so to speak, and crossed her arms over her breasts.
     “C’mon, Lulu, help me out here,” begged Crockett.
     The divine damsel slightly smiled. “It IS a mission from God, David.”
     “Yeah, but, but,” whined Crockett. He fell to his knees. “I don’t wanna go back to Planet Earth! I wanna go back to sleeeeeeep!”
     He tearfully kissed Lulu’s knee.
     “Davy!” She blushed.
     Then the desperate American Folk Hero sprang to his feet and took off running.
     Moses & Angelic Lulu watched him futilely seek oblivion in el depthless BARDO. The 2 divinities looked with dismay at each other. They slowly shook their heads.
     “I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He used to be so brave,” sighed Lulu.
     “He just has a case of Jonah-itis,” mused Moses. “He’ll be okay. I’ll sic the Earth Demon on him.” And ye olde patriarch raised his miracle staff.



     In response, a beam of brightness ricocheted thru a stained-glass galaxy of The Judgment Place, and transformationed into said demon ~ a rollicking creature actually, full of menace & mischief & resembling a dragon of medieval yore. Plus, the critter was very large. And swift. The Earth Demon took off after Crockett like a locomotive.
     Polynesian Phil & Bishop Tumor, who were still hanging around, clapped with glee, although Phil’s clapping was a bit spastic, since he was made out of wood. Angelic Lulu more gently placed her hands together ~ and prayed for poor Crockett as he ran like a rabbit, like a deer, like a shock-stricken squirrel thru the brush & the gullies that weren’t really there.
     When the demon was close enough, it hurled Planet Earth, which it had been clutching in its claw, at the back of Crockett’s head.
     And the planet ~ with all its dirt & rock & trees & critters & cities & peoples & rivers of joy & valleys of sorrow & plains of justice & mountains of liberty ~ this planet spun thru the Bardo toward its target, the back of Davy’s head as he rapidly fled.
     Then, and then, an awesome splash of light was all that was left of the panicked frontiersman & our spinning football, Earth.     An instant later ~ nothing, nothing but the fabulous BARDO ~ was all around.



Part Two:
Thy Kingdom Come
     Davy Crockett, reincarnated & 52 now, baby, now ~ pulled the makings outta his shirt pocket & rolled himself a cigarette. He leaned against a porch beam of Veterans Campus. Ye olde historical root lit-up & inhaled gratefully. T’was a crispy Sunday morning in the early spring of 2003.
     He was trapped now, baby, now, by Lady Poverty in this live-in facility that assisted homeless military veterans in their heroic transition into a formidable workforce. Crockett still didn’t have a real job. He’d been slacking here for nearly 2 years. But it wasn’t HIS fault. He slowly exhaled before his raggedy face a meandering smoke sculpture ~ of an angel ~ with a halo around her head & with a trumpet pressed in a most immaculate fashion to her lips. “How amazing,” whispered the eternal frontiersman under his breath to whatever invisible entities might be hanging around. “How’d I do that?”
     Now, baby, now, across the asphalt parking-lot plaza, the head honcho of this Transitional Zone stepped out of his office & gazed up at the clear blue sky as if having spied something strange floating around up there. Then he shrugged & got into his truck & drove out the gate, which was attended by homeless military-veteran fire-guards wearing neck-ties.
     The brief appearance of this gentleman got Crockett to thinking about his failed campaign for mayor of the Queen City of the Rio Grande & how close he had come to winning the election & how it had been foiled by this, uh, gentleman who’d just driven out the gate, this crusty old javilina who was none other than Andrew Jackson, God have mercy, reincarnated! The eternal frontiersman had already had, in his previous life-time, enough of this crusty critter as an unreasonable hot-headed general & a cheatin’ lyin’ political opponent.
     The shadow of what Crockett took to be a jet or a crow or plain irritation, crossed his brow, as he remembered more recent events…



     Sure, the campaign had been somewhat of a rickety old jalopy, so to speak, but it had got to rollin’, and although Crockett was a penniless stranger to the city, he knew he could have won the election (yes, sir!), that is, if Andrew Jackson Reincarnated hadn’t thrown this politically ambitious program of Crockett’s out the window and, with lies & deceit, fandango-ed him instead into fire watch, 12 hours a night, 5 nights a week, at the RS&VP office.
     How could Crockett run an adequately cranked-up campaign for the best job in the city when he then had to stumble around everyday ~ a graveyard-shift zombie?
     The eternal frontiersman foamigated into a seizure of coughing. He staggered over to a trash can, spat into it several times, returned to his supportive porch beam, against which he leaned once more. He inhaled more tobbacky smoke into his trembling lungs, not so gratefully this time.
     And what the albushmurkee was that floating above Crockett’s head? It looked like a weathered wooden ammo box ~ descending from Heaven ~ perhaps carried by a couple of invisible cherubs ~ and finally placed at Crockett’s feet! A breeze carelessly caressed his cheek. And ye olde settler felt so mysteriously meek. What, in the name of Saint Pete, was going on here?
     “Looks like you got Special Delivery, Davy,” announced Frank & Joe Hardy, a resident of Veterans Campus who had 2 first names. He happened to have been strolling by in his church clothes when the box landed. Now he stood along side Crockett peering dubiously down at it. On the top of the box, which was oblong, these words were written:
To: Davy Crockett Reincarnated
From: Angelic Lulu

     “Yeeeap, that’s definitely Special Delivery,” said Hardy.
     Crockett had nothing to say ~ which you might call “speechless.”
     “Well, you going to open it? It’s addressed to YOU,” said Hardy.
     Crockett squatted, undid the simple latch & lifted the lid, which had squeaky hinges. He stood back.
     Inside were two stone tablets with writing on them.



     Crockett gulped. Strange memories began stirring the biscuit mix in his brain, but he wasn’t quite sure what was frying.
     “I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me,” read out-loud another resident who went by the name of Gon Weeners & who had approached out of curiosity & had been standing there for some time.
     “My God,” said Hardy. “That’s the 10 Commandments! You just received the 10 Commandments from Heaven, Davy!”
     Crockett scratched his head and had a sudden urge to run away but didn’t. “Destiny,” he mumbled.
     “Wha?” chorused Hardy & Weeners & about 7 or 8 more residents in their church clothes & rags, who had curiously gathered around.
     Crockett looked up & beheld that he was surrounded by homeless dry-drunk & abstaining crack-head military veterans who were all never-do-wells & of absolutely no account.
     “It’s my destiny,” explained Crockett in a voice many many miles away. He blinked. “Why should you fellers care? Why don’t you all leave me alone?”
     “Yeah, but, but you just received the 10 Commandments from Heaven!” said Frank & Joe Hardy, who, you may remember, had two first names.
     “It’s a miracle!” added Gon Weeners.
     There were roughly 30 residents of Veterans Campus gathered around now. That’s about half the people who lived in the place, which, incidently, was a spread-out 100-room ex-motel that had been partially refurbished by other homeless veterans who had come & gone.
     Anyway, the residents began voicing their opinions resonately, until finally one of them, Michael Jackson, a buff unemployed boxer from Boston, said, “Whahhh don’t yuh jus’ go to a skoo somewheh & hang ‘dem ‘dings in duh fwont of a classwoom n’ be done wit’ ’em, Davy?”
     “Wha?” said Crockett.
     Jackson repeated himself, more or less, and did so about 3 or 4 times.
     “That’s a good idea,” said Crockett. He tossed his cigarette butt into a nearby tin can & lifted the two tablets, which were made of Sinai stone, out of the box. “Here,” he thrust the stone tablets at Jackson. “You do it.”
     “Davy, hold on!” spoke-up Hardy. He extended one hand in a pleading manner. “They were delivered to you, so YOU should do it.”
     “Yeah, damn democrat,” said Weeners, who was republican ~ a damn republican.
     Now there were about 50 curious residents gathered around here. And they all started voicing their opinions louder & louder. And they all had the same opinion, that is, that Davy should hang-up the 10 Commandments in a Wilson Middle School classroom, which could be found nearby on San Pedro Avenue.
     “And we’ll all go with you to make sure you do it right,” declared James Praitoree a French immigrant from Texas. His sidekick, an artist also from Texas, Wil Gauguin, slapped Crockett on the back & hollered, “Let’s go, patriots!”
     All the suddenly God-fearing homeless veterans pushed out the gate before them the dubious Davy Crockett, who verily verily reluctantly cradled in his arms the Laws of Almighty Jehovah ~ and without signing out ~ alleluia alleluia!
     Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (Remember the Alamo? Remember who led the Mexican army that killed all the defenders of the Alamo?), reincarnated and 2nd in command at Veterans Campus, came running out of his office hollering, “Hey! Banditos! None of you signed out! You’re all getting extra doo-teeeeeee!!!”
     Santa Anna’s words bounced off the neo-empty walls & faded away ~ so much mulch in the wind.



     Carmelita Granada, 1 of 2 worried women staying at the campus, caught up to Crockett at the head of the marching column, down the sidewalk a ways. She handed him a coonskin cap & long-barreled flint-lock musket. She said, “These also were in the box from Heaven. But nobody noticed.”
     “Thank you, Carmelita,” stonily said Crockett as he shuffled along. He handed the 10 Commandments to somebody else & donned the cap & hoisted the musket.
     “This too.” The little Latina pulled from around her neck a dangling powder-horn & gave it to him.
     “And this.” She poured several small lead balls into the palm of Crockett’s hand.
     “Here’s some more,” she almost whispered as she poured some more into his other palm.
    “Thank you, Carmelita.”
     “Good luck, Davy.” She then took off back to the compound. All the marching men noted that Carmelita seemed pretty plump these days, which was kind of strange for a woman who claimed to be of the 3rd persuasion. Never-the-less, she was a cute little stinker, they also noted, as waving “adios” she flurried by.
     The ringed tail of the coonskin cap on Crockett’s head swayed back n’ forth in such away now, baby, now, that all the homeless veterans marching behind this crown of the column, couldn’t help but burst out in jubilant song. And as the swinging raccoon tail kept the beat, this is what they sang:
“Off down the street
he’s sneakin’ along ~
Gettin’ all embarrassed
as we sing this song ~
He’s gonna show em’ what’s right
so they won’t do wrong ~
An’ he’s startin’ to shine
as we spirit him along ~
Davy Crockett ~
King of the wild frontier!”
     San Pedro Avenue led them to the back of Wilson Middle School, where they brutally broke down the fence, continued marching & singing across the athletic field, then ferociously smashed in the door to a classroom bungalow. It was, indeed, an ethereal Sunday morning.



     Then, after they solved a few complications, and then, after too much ballyhoo, and THENNNNNNN, Crockett hung-up the 10 Commandments in the front of the classroom.
    “There!” said he.
     They all hurrahed and forgot to pray.
     On their way out of the bungalow, a young police officer, standing tall & square in their path, pulled his revolver and… Davy Crockett realized he hadn’t loaded his musket yet… and the perfect knee of Angelic Lulu suddenly, explosively, was illuminated in his memory… as the cop shot him in the forehead ~ a bull’s eye.
    “You’re all under arrest!” baritoned the cop.
     Fifty homeless veterans stood still ~ still and silent as death.
     The mass media of the United States, AND OF THE ENTIRE WORLD, grabbed the ball and ran with the story. A subsequent tumult of debate led to legislative change in Washington D.C. It became legal to hang the 10 Commandments in the front of every classroom in the public schools of America ~ as long as the Bill Of Rights was hanging next to them. After that, with these two origins of law glaring back at them, the young men & women in the classrooms of the #1 super-power bully nation of the planet, knew exactly what their rights were, & what was right, & WHAT WAS WRONG.
     Meanwhile, women of all ages all over the country became infactuated with homeless veterans, because of the handsome way the residents of Veterans Campus had helped Crockett fulfill his destiny ~ as reported in the media.
     But before all that happened, there was Davy Crockett Reincarnated’s funeral. They held it in the little park that James Praitoree & Wil Gauguin had just built & planted in the middle of the asphalt parking-lot plaza of Veterans Campus.
     In the middle of Crockett’s funeral, a helicopter piloted by Russ Hyder, an ex-resident of the campus, landed next to the park. And out stepped U.S. President George W. Bush, on a break from his avengement of September 11th, 2001.
     The President’s eulogy to The Beloved American Folk Hero Who Saved The United States From Hell, was quite touching. And when the President hung the Medal of Honor on the coffin, more than a few veterans cried.
     Especially Andrew Jackson Reincarnated. He fell apart. He howled with grief & sank to his knees & wrung his hands.



     “I should have never stopped him from becoming mayor!” stormfully, sorrowfully, sobbed Jackson. “My God! I was so cruel to this man who was born & born again an American folk hero! Please, oh God! Please please forgive me for my lying, my jealousy, my two-faced back-stabbing bull-shit!”
     “Here, here, Andrew,” murmured Santa Anna Reincarnated, who was standing next to the kneeling Andrew Jackson who was also Reincarnated. Santa Anna leaned over & quietly said in the old man’s ear, “You’re a good hombre. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Angeles del cielo!”
     Santa Anna tried to lift Jackson to his feet but Jackson would have none of it. The old codger flailed his arms in the air and, still on his knees, desperately reached for Crockett’s coffin, which was too far away for him to touch, and on top of which, incidently, royally sat the regalia of Crockett ~ his cap & his musket (somebody had unscrupulously stolen the powder-horn). With steaming melting glaciers of guilt gushing down his reddened cheeks, Jackson blubbered, “So much more apt would it have been if You, oh God, had taken I, this piss-ant fricking pig, rather than have killed America’s favorite living breathing folk hero ~ Davy, Davy Crockett!”
     The old man collapsed to the ground, shaking spastically.
     Santa Anna knelt down on one knee beside him, patted him on the head.



     “Andrew! Andrew!” T’was Carmelita Granada calling as she ran from her room, carrying a bundle in her arms, heading for the prostrate old man. Weeners was right behind her. Remember Gon Weeners, the republican?
     Carmelita knelt on both knees next to the distraught, disheveled, disgusting Andrew Jackson, who was lying face-down on the ground, eating tender blades of grass.
     “Look! Look! Andrew!” Carmelita partially lifted a blanket from her little bundle, trying to show the beleaguered Jackson what was inside. He finally lifted his head, and thru red red eyes he saw.
     T’was a baby boy ~ fresh out of the holy womb!
     Gon Weeners stood tall behind the kneeling Carmelita. Apparently he was the father. He turned to the crowd. “We’ve been married for sometime,” he confessed, afire with pride.
     “This is quite a funeral,” said President Bush to a brand new acquaintance. “I’m very very touched, Frank & Joe.”
     “It is truly an event to remember, isn’t it, Mr. President?” beamed Frank & Joe Hardy.
     Andrew Jackson, with green drool trickling out the corner of his mouth (due to eating the grass), smiled at the baby. The old general & president from the Antebellum Days of America then turned to the baby’s mother. “I thought you were a lesbian, Carmelita,” said he.
     “Shut-up!” said Carmelita. “And wipe your mouth!”
    The baby was damp & bald & pink. His eyes were tightly shut. And drool was trickling out the corner of his mouth too, but it wasn’t green. It was more of a ~ well, nevermine what color it be.
     Andrew Jackson, still lying on the ground, but on his elbows now, like he was at a picnic instead of a funeral, fawned over Carmelita’s baby. Jackson expansively grinned & chortled, “So tiny!”
     Then the little papoose opened his eyes. They were depthless ~ full of flashing stars & planets & winking blinking black-holes ~ and angels singing scripture & other assorted divinities humming in harmony. Aye, like all baby eyes that open for the first time, these eyes were infinitely filled with what many ancients knew & what many of us have forgotten ~ EL BARDO! And these eyes stared right back at Andrew Jackson.
     Then, and then, amazingly, with a tiny voice the infant spoke, “I’m back, Andy. There’s no rest for the wicked, huh?”
     “Wha?” said Jackson, his spine suddenly a-tingle.
     “I’m Davy,” said Carmelita’s infant. “Davy Crockett Reincarnated again!”



Cloyd Campfire’s Tall-Story Campsites