Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Hiroshima Bombing Was Right and Necessary

It defeated great evil and inaugurated a period of peace.

By David French — May 27, 2016
President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe deliver remarks at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Today, the president of the United States spoke at Hiroshima, Japan — the site of the first of two American atomic-bomb attacks on Imperial Japan — and served up a heaping helping of moral equivalence and maudlin sentimentality. To Obama, the real lesson of Hiroshima is that it exposes humanity’s “core contradiction.” I am not making this up:
Yet in the image of a mushroom cloud that rose into these skies, we are most starkly reminded of humanity’s core contradiction. How the very spark that marks us as a species, our thoughts, our imagination, our language, our toolmaking, our ability to set ourselves apart from nature and bend it to our will — those very things also give us the capacity for unmatched destruction.
No, Mr. President, in the image of the mushroom cloud, were are starkly reminded of the horrific evil of Imperial Japan and the ingenuity and resolve of the American people to defeat one of the most genocidal forces the world has ever seen.

Americans have short memories, and to the extent they think about World War II, they tend to think of Hitler and the Holocaust — and justifiably so. His attempt to exterminate an entire race of people was among the worst crimes in world history. But in remembering Hitler, we cannot forget Japan. It killed an estimated 14 million Chinese citizens in its invasion of China. And during the course of that invasion, its forces acted much like Hitler’s SS, conducting mass-scale rapes, grotesque human experimentation, and enslaving countless men, women, and children.

Japan’s rank-and-file military fought with a ferocity matched on the European Theater of Operations only by Hitler’s most dedicated fanatics. Japan’s troops fought to the last man, and when its military plight grew increasingly desperate, it launched a suicide-bombing campaign that dwarfs anything ISIS or al-Qaeda have ever imagined, much less attempted. Even many Japanese civilians demonstrated that they’d rather die than surrender — throwing themselves off cliffs to escape American forces.

As American forces approached the Japanese mainland, the blood flow became a hemorrhage — with the Battle of Okinawa demonstrating the scale of the carnage to come. In slightly less than three months of combat, more than 20,000 Americans died, over 70,000 Japanese troops lost their lives, and up to one-third of Japanese civilians perished. In other words, that one battle was deadlier than the Hiroshima bombing.

Americans today simply can’t imagine the horror that an invasion of Japan would have unleashed. Our country had already lost more than 400,000 men, with hundreds of thousands more grievously injured, and we stood to perhaps match or exceed that total in the great battle for the mainland. Japanese losses would have numbered in the millions. Could we have withstood suffering on that scale? Would the carnage have caused us to relent?

In those circumstances, if there was an opportunity to defeat Japan without causing such immense loss — a loss that would have unpredictable consequences for our own people, much less for Japan — should we not seize it? In deciding to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Harry Truman made perhaps the most critical — and wisest decision — of any American commander-in-chief in our history. He saved lives. He ended the great calamity of World War II. And, ironically enough, he even saved Japan — leaving behind enough of a country and enough of a people to allow them to rebuild and re-imagine themselves as the great nation they are today.

Can anyone say that the same outcome would hold if millions more men and women died? If the Soviet Union ended the war holding vast sections of Japanese territory?

Few things illustrate the moral bankruptcy of modern times more than the fashionable habit of scorning America’s response to Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. We were indispensable in extinguishing two great evils, and when it came time to rebuild, we rebuilt nations that have since become beacons of freedom and prosperity. Only fools believe we could have prevailed in a civilizational conflict without resorting to total war.

It is to our moral credit that we are sobered by the scale of the devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One is reminded of Robert E. Lee’s words, “It is well that war is so terrible — we would grow too fond of it.” Americans have proven that we can fight. We have proven that we can create the world’s most devastating weapons. But we are aware of their horror, and we have restrained ourselves, using our full force only when the cause is most desperate.

Yet there are men who are genuinely fond of war. They lust for it, just as they lust for death. We see them in the ranks of ISIS and al-Qaeda. We confront them daily in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan. And in 1945 we confronted them on a scale we can’t comprehend today.

Here is the true message of Hiroshima: So long as America remains a great nation, it will rise to defeat great evil, and it will do so with its full power and deepest conviction. That message has been indispensable to keeping our nation — and the world — out of another global conflict for more than 70 years.

Great evil requires a terrible response. It has ever been the case. The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima represented the beginning of a long peace. We must never be ashamed of our national resolve. 

— David French is an attorney and a staff writer at National Review.

SLIDESHOW: Battle of Okinawa

Friday, May 27, 2016

Hillary Embodies Washington’s Decadence

She breaks the rules and gets away with it every time. No wonder voters are fed up.

By Peggy Noonan
May 26, 2016
Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley
The most interesting thing Donald Trump has said recently isn’t his taunting of Hillary Clinton, it’s his comment to Bloomberg’s Joshua Green. Mr. Green writes: “Many politicians, Trump told me, had privately confessed to being amazed that his policies, and his lacerating criticism of party leaders, had proved such potent electoral medicine.” Mr. Trump seemed to “intuit,” Mr. Green writes, that standard Republican dogma on entitlements and immigration no longer holds sway with large swaths of the party electorate. Mr. Trump says he sees his supporters as part of “a movement.”
What, Mr. Green asked, would the party look like in five years? “Love the question,” Mr. Trump replied. “Five, 10 years from now—different party. You’re going to have a worker’s party. A party of people that haven’t had a real wage increase in 18 years.”
My impression on reading this was that Mr. Trump is seeing it as a party of regular people, as the Democratic Party was when I was a child and the Republican Party when I was a young woman.
This is the first thing I’ve seen that suggests Mr. Trump is ideologically conscious of what he’s doing. It’s not just ego and orange hair, he suggests, it’s politically intentional.
It invites many questions. Movements require troops—not only supporters on the ground, but an army of enthusiastic elected officials and activists. Mr. Trump doesn’t have that army. Washington hates what he stands for and detests the idea he represents policy change. GOP elites will have to start thinking about two things: the rock-bottom purpose of the party and the content, in 2016, of a conservatism reflective of and responsive to this moment and the next. This will be necessary whatever happens to Mr. Trump, because big parts of the base are speaking through him. It is no surprise so many D.C. conservatives are hissing, screeching and taking names. They’re in the middle of something epochal that they did not expect. They’re lost.
To another part of the Trump phenomenon that does not involve policy, exactly:
When Mr. Trump went after Mrs. Clinton over her husband’s terrible treatment of women—she was his “unbelievably nasty, mean enabler”—my first thought was: Man, I thought it was supposed to get bloody in October. This is May—where will we wind up? But I was struck that no friend on the left seemed shocked or appalled. A few on the right were delighted, and some unsure. Isn’t this the sort of thing that’s supposed to turn women off and make Hillary look like a victim?
But so far Mr. Trump’s numbers seem to be edging up.
I was surprised that if Mr. Trump was going to go there early, he didn’t focus on a central political depredation of the Clinton wars. That was after Mrs. Clinton learned of the Monica scandal and did not step back, claiming a legitimate veil of personal privacy—after all, it was not she who had been accused of terrible Oval Office behavior—but came forward on “Today” as an aggressor. Knowing her husband’s history, knowing his sickness, having every reason to believe the charges were true, she attacked her husband’s critics, in a particular way: “The great story here . . . is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president. . . . Some folks are gonna have a lot to answer for.”
She was speaking this way about conservatives, half or more of the country. At a charged moment she took a personal humiliation and turned it into a political weapon, which further divided the nation, pitching left against right. She did this because her first instinct is always war. If you have to divide the country to protect your position by all means divide the country. It was unprotective of the country, and so unpatriotic.
The lack of backlash against Mr. Trump’s attacks on Mrs. Clinton, though, I suspect is due to something else. It’s that the subject matter really comes down to one word: decadence. People right now will respect a political leader who will name and define what they themselves see as the utter decadence of Washington.
I don’t mean that they watch “Scandal” and “House of Cards” and think those shows are a slightly over-the-top version of reality, though they do. Now and then I meet a young person who, finding I’d worked in a White House, asks, half-humorously and I swear half-curiously, if I ever saw anyone kill a reporter by throwing her under a train. I say I knew people who would have liked to but no, train-station murders weren’t really a thing then. (Someday cultural historians will wonder if the lowered political standards that mark this year were at all connected to our national habit of watching mass entertainment in which our elites are presented as high-functioning psychopaths. Yes, that may have contributed to a certain lowering of real-world standards.)
But the real decadence Americans see when they look at Washington is an utterly decadent system. Just one famous example from the past few years:
A high official in the IRS named Lois Lerner targets those she finds politically hateful. IRS officials are in the White House a lot, which oddly enough finds the same people hateful. News of the IRS targeting is about to break because an inspector general is on the case, so Ms. Lerner plants a question at a conference, answers with a rehearsed lie, tries to pin the scandal on workers in a cubicle farm in Cincinnati, lies some more, gets called into Congress, takes the Fifth—and then retires with full pension and benefits, bonuses intact. Taxpayers will be footing the bill for years for the woman who in some cases targeted them, and blew up the reputation of the IRS.
Why wouldn’t Americans think the system is rigged?
This is Washington in our era: a place not so much of personal as of civic decadence, where the Lois Lerner always gets away with it.
Which brings us to the State Department Office of Inspector General’s report involving Hillary Clinton’s emails. It reveals one big thing: Almost everything she has said publicly about her private server was a lie. She lied brazenly, coolly, as one who is practiced in lying would, as one who always gets away with it could.
No, she was not given legal approval to conduct her business on the server. She was not given the impression it was fine. She did not comply with rules on storage and archiving. Her own office told U.S. diplomats personal email accounts could be compromised and they must avoid using them for official business. She was informed of a dramatic increase in hacking attempts on personal accounts. Professionals who raised concerns about her private server were told not to speak of it again.
It is widely assumed that Mrs. Clinton will pay no price for misbehavior because the Democratic president’s Justice Department is not going to proceed with charges against the likely Democratic presidential nominee.
This is what everyone thinks, and not only because they watch “Scandal.” Because they watch the news.
That is the civic decadence they want to see blown up. And there’s this orange-colored bomb . . .

Thursday, May 26, 2016

'Clinton Cash' Is the Movie Every Voter Should See before Election Day

If anyone still doubts that the Clintons are greedy, corrupt, and morally reprehensible, they won’t after this.

By Myra Adams — May 26, 2016
The alleged fraud and corruption within the Clinton Foundation is, by now, old news to political junkies. It was all skillfully laid out last year in Peter Schweizer’s bestselling book Clinton Cash. Now, with the Clintons on the verge of re-occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Schweizer’s book has been made into a one-hour documentary that will clarify the depths of their iniquity and greed in the minds of voters — if it finds a distributor.

In watching a review copy of the film, I was struck by the phrase, “follow the money,” which is woven like a thread throughout. Anyone who follows politics is familiar with that iconic phrase, but many may have forgotten that it was the creation of a Hollywood scriptwriter: It was popularized by the 1976 movie, All the President’s Men, itself a fictional adaptation of the famous book about how Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered the Watergate scandal.
To those who would uncover the truth about the Clinton Foundation, “follow the money” seems quaint advice, considering that billions of dollars were involved — making for a scandal ten-times the size of Watergate.

Back in February, Democrat pollster Pat Caddell proclaimed as much, arguing that the Clintons “were selling out the national interests of the United States directly to adversaries and others for money.” That assertion is the core of Clinton Cash, which makes clear that the “selling out” was actively facilitated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while she held that esteemed title.
The viewer is shown numerous examples of blatant pay-to-play schemes. These lucrative business deals illustrate the unofficial partnership between Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton Foundation. Every scheme is perpetrated to personally enrich the Clintons, their Foundation, or their high-powered cronies — in the name of “doing good” for the world’s poor, naturally. 

Clinton Cash takes us on a whirlwind tour of Rwanda, the Congo, Nigeria, Haiti, Columbia, and India. We see how both Clintons impacted and influenced multi-million-dollar business deals involving Canada’s Keystone XL pipeline and Ericsson, the international Sweden-based communications giant.

In the most headline-making, eye-popping deal of all, the Clinton Foundation made millions while Russia gained control of over 20 percent of the U.S. uranium reserves spread across Wyoming, Texas, and Utah. This was made possible by Hillary Clinton’s State Department, which approved the deal despite its obvious potential to threaten American national security.
It all adds up to an ugly conclusion: Mrs. Clinton sold out the U.S. to enrich her family to the tune of $153 million in speaking fees alone — and at least $2 billion in the coffers of their foundation.

Now you know why Caddell called the Clinton Foundation scandals “worse than Watergate.” Has our nation gone stark raving mad even considering allowing the Clintons back in the White House?

Americans deserve the chance to see Clinton Cash and answer that question for themselves before November 8. Richard Nixon was reelected in 1972, before the Watergate scandal came to light. This documentary has done us the service of making the Clintons’ scandals plain well before the polls open on November 8. A deal to air it on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in July is still being negotiated, but it remains without a theatrical distributor. Here’s hoping it finds one in time for America to avert catastrophe.

— Myra Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on the creative team of the 2004 Bush campaign and on the ad council of the 2008 McCain campaign. E-mail her at Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams.

Barack’s Vietnam Tour
May 26, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang shake hands at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, Monday, May 23, 2016. (Carolyn Kastor/AP)

Barack Obama has an exquisite sense of timing with things communist.

In March, he caught a ballgame in Havana with Raul Castro, where the national pastime since 1959 has been less baseball than bean-balling dissidents and destroying a beautiful country 90 miles south of Florida. As Barack and Raul bantered, Belgium burned while ISIS claimed victory in another terror attack -- the very ISIS enabled by Obama’s outrageously bad decision to prematurely pull U.S. troops from Iraq.

In September 2009, Barack went to Poland where, stunningly, he cancelled plans for a joint U.S. missile-shield with a former Soviet Bloc country that has been one of our closest post-Cold War allies. This was merely one of Obama’s craven pro-Putin accommodations. He did it -- as every Pole noticed -- on the 70th anniversary of the date (September 17, 1939) that Stalin’s Red Army invaded Poland in compliance with the Hitler-Stalin Pact that started World War II and launched a 50-year totalitarian occupation of Poland.

And now, a week before Memorial Day, when Americans honor (among others) the 58,000 boys who died in Vietnam, Obama flew to Hanoi to make amends and “move on” (as John Kerry put it) with another communist regime. There, our president discussed the glories of lifting the long-held U.S. arms embargo against Vietnam.
It is truly a new era, folks, with our President of Fundamental Transformation lifting embargos on old communist enemies from the Western Hemisphere to Southeast Asia.

There were those of us who warned incessantly of the pitfalls of electing our first Red-Diaper Baby president, the product of pro-communist parents and a literal card-carrying member of Communist Party USA who mentored him. But we were told by liberals that none of this mattered. Nah, this was mere McCarthyite red-baiting, a witch-hunt smear against this impressive “progressive” president.

And alas, here we are: we are treated this week to the image of a smiling Obama shaking hands in Hanoi with the president of communist Vietnam in front of a large bust of a grinning Ho Chi Minh poised in front of a big red flag with a star, outdone only by the image of Obama standing proudly, head up, ramrod straight, with the communist leadership in front of a giant mural of Che Guevara in Havana in March.

What’s next? A beer at the DMZ with Kim Jong-un?

Obama’s Vietnam tour is troubling in so many ways. Where does one start?

If I may, I would like to suggest some reading, like when Obama’s pal Hugo Chavez -- forerunner of the Venezuelan socialist-Marxist marvel -- eagerly offered our new president a book back in April 2009. I recommend it to anyone outraged (or, even more so, to those not outraged) by Barack’s tour in Vietnam. This is a teachable moment on the history of the Vietnam conflict, and perhaps how all of this might have been avoided 50 years ago.

The book is a superb work by author Geoffrey Shaw, The Lost Mandate of Heaven: The American Betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, President of Vietnam (Ignatius Press).

If you do not know the full story of Diem, and just how badly the Kennedy administration blew it by allowing for his assassination, then you need to read this book. The Kennedy team sanctioned the November 2, 1963 coup d’etat against Diem. Ironically, Diem was assassinated the same month that Kennedy himself was assassinated, and both men were strong anti-communists. The deaths of each man allowed for successors who wildly escalated the violence in Vietnam. One more irony: Kennedy was, of course, America’s first and still-only Catholic president. Diem himself was not merely Roman Catholic but a remarkably devout Christian who would have preferred a monastery to the leadership of Vietnam. He was better suited for the priesthood than presidency. Quite profoundly, Diem was at Mass the morning he was killed. That was typical, as he was up for Mass at 6:30 every morning. This particularly fateful day happened to be All Souls’ Day, and he was seized on church grounds and killed. The United States either approved or set up (or at least sanctioned, as scholars still debate this) the assassination.

Diem was not only a devout man, but a man of principle and character and an unusually honorable politician as well as patriot, despite how he was vilified by detractors in the United States. The communists in Vietnam knew that the respect that he rightly earned from the populace was their greatest obstacle. After his killing, everything would spin out of control.

Shaw’s book sickeningly chronicles the slow, steady abandonment, demonization, and betrayal of Diem by certain elements in the United States, thus leading to his martyrdom. And yes, many Vietnamese consider it martyrdom. To be sure, Diem had his supporters, from the likes of William Colby and Dean Rusk to two excellent ambassadors, Frederick Nolting in the United States and Robert Thompson in Britain. Nonetheless, they were no match for a relentless anti-Diem campaign led by the New York Times (reporters like David Halberstam) and most egregiously by Kennedy adviser and esteemed liberal “wise man” Averell Harriman. It was Harriman who led the cabal to do in Diem, and he pulled it off.

“The actions of these men led to Diem’s murder,” Shaw grimly concludes. “And with his death, nine and a half years of careful work and partnership between the United States and South Vietnam was undone. Within a few weeks, any hope of a successful outcome in Vietnam -- that is, of a free and democratic country friendly toward the United States -- was extinguished. Truly, in order to solve a problem that did not exist, the Kennedy administration created a problem that could not be solved.”

Barack Obama, inculcated as he was by the family and mentors he had, and educated as he was at places like Occidental and Columbia University, would not have learned these lessons of Vietnam. And the students brainwashed in our academic insane asylums are surely not learning any of this today. Do yourself a favor, and your kids or grandkids a favor, and get them Geoffrey Shaw’s book on the betrayal of Diem. You might even buy an extra copy to be sent to the White House.

Ironically, Barack Obama was able to blithely stand by Ho Chi Minh in May 2016 because the Kennedy administration refused to stand by Ngo Dinh Diem in November 1963. His ignorance, like the Kennedy administration’s, and like ours, continues to cause enormous damage.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fast and Furious: The scandal in Washington no one is talking about

By Paul Sperry
May 21, 2016

President Obama and his former Attorney General Eric Holder are tight-lipped on the Fast and Furious gun scandal -- but a judge has ordered the release of 20,000 pages of buried emails and memos. (AP)

The deadly-but-forgotten government gun-running scandal known as “Fast and Furious” has lain dormant for years, thanks to White House stonewalling and media compliance. But newly uncovered emails have reopened the case, exposing the anatomy of a coverup by an administration that promised to be the most transparent in history.

A federal judge has forced the release of more than 20,000 pages of emails and memos previously locked up under President Obama’s phony executive-privilege claim. A preliminary review shows top Obama officials deliberately obstructing congressional probes into the border gun-running operation.
Fast and Furious was a Justice Department program that allowed assault weapons — including .50-caliber rifles powerful enough to take down a helicopter — to be sold to Mexican drug cartels allegedly as a way to track them. But internal documents later revealed the real goal was to gin up a crisis requiring a crackdown on guns in America. Fast and Furious was merely a pretext for imposing stricter gun laws.
Only the scheme backfired when Justice agents lost track of the nearly 2,000 guns sold through the program and they started turning up at murder scenes on both sides of the border — including one that claimed the life of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
While then-Attorney General Eric Holder was focused on politics, people were dying. At least 20 other deaths or violent crimes have been linked to Fast and Furious-trafficked guns.
The program came to light only after Terry’s 2010 death at the hands of Mexican bandits, who shot him in the back with government-issued semiautomatic weapons. Caught red-handed, “the most transparent administration in history” flat-out lied about the program to Congress, denying it ever even existed.
Then Team Obama conspired to derail investigations into who was responsible by first withholding documents under subpoena — for which Holder earned a contempt-of-Congress citation — and later claiming executive privilege to keep evidence sealed.
But thanks to the court order, Justice has to cough up the “sensitive” documents. So far it’s produced 20,500 lightly redacted pages, though congressional investigators say they hardly cover all the internal department communications under subpoena. They maintain the administration continues to “withhold thousands of documents.”
Even so, the batch in hand reveals the lengths to which senior Obama operatives went to keep information from Congress.
The degree of obstruction was “more than previously understood,” House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in a recent memo to other members of his panel.
“The documents reveal how senior Justice Department officials — including Attorney General Holder — intensely followed and managed an effort to carefully limit and obstruct the information produced to Congress,” he asserted.
They also indict Holder deputy Lanny Breuer, an old Clinton hand, who had to step down in 2013 after falsely denying authorizing Fast and Furious.
Their efforts to impede investigations included:
  • Devising strategies to redact or otherwise withhold relevant information;
  • Manipulating media coverage to control fallout;
  • Scapegoating the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for the scandal.
For instance, a June 2011 email discusses withholding ATF lab reports from Congress, and a July 2011 email details senior Justice officials agreeing to “stay away from a representation that we’ll fully cooperate.”
The next month, they went into full damage-control mode, with associate Deputy Attorney General Matt Axelrod warning an ATF official that providing details about Fast and Furious “strikes us as unwise.”
Then, in late August 2011, another email reveals that Holder had instructed his staff to have an official at ATF “close the door to his office” to prevent information about the mushrooming scandal from leaking.
Talking points drafted for Holder and other brass for congressional hearings made clear that Justice intended to make ousted ATF officials the fall guys for the scandal.
“These (personnel) changes will help us move past the controversy that has surrounded Fast and Furious,” Assistant Attorney General Ron Weich wrote in August 2011.
In an October 2011 email to his chief of staff, moreover, Holder stated that he agreed with a strategy to first release documents to friendly media “with an explanation that takes the air out” of them, instead “of just handing them over” to Congress.
“Calculated efforts were made by senior officials to obstruct Congress,” Chaffetz fumed.
“Over the course of the investigation,” he recounted, “the Justice Department has provided false information, stonewalled document requests, produced scores of blacked-out pages and duplicate documents and refused to comply with two congressional subpoenas.”
Though Obama prides himself on openness, transparency and accountability, the behavior of his administration belies such lofty principles. “Transparency should not require years of litigation and a court order,” Chaffetz pointed out.
Obama insists Fast and Furious is just another “phony” scandal whipped up by Republicans to dog his presidency. What does his heir apparent Hillary Clinton think?
The anti-gun zealot has been silent on the gun-proliferation scandal. But then, she’s been busy sweeping subpoenaed emails under the rug of her own scandal.
Paul Sperry is former Washington bureau chief for Investor’s Business Daily and author of “Infiltration” and “Muslim Mafia.”
FILED UNDER            

'The Last Ranch' gives ample justice to a historical wrong

By Michael Shinabery
May 24, 2016
ALAMOGORDO – In 1996, with his first book “Tularosa” in hand, Michael McGarrity drove into Alamogordo from Santa Fe and went knocking on doors seeking media interviews.
Twenty years later, readers around the world now eagerly await each new McGarrity novel. His books have been printed in such countries as Japan, France, Germany, Croatia, England and Norway.
McGarrity’s first novels featured investigator Kevin Kerney, an ex-chief of detectives in Santa Fe. McGarrity himself was a decorated law enforcement officer, an instructor at the state’s Law Enforcement Academy, a Public Defender’s Office caseworker, and a trained psychotherapist who re-established the New Mexico Correction’s Department’s mental health services.
This Sunday, May 29, McGarrity is back in Alamogordo. His newest novel, “The Last Ranch,” is already on the shelves at Hastings. At 1 p.m. he’ll meet his readers and autograph books. McGarrity likes Alamogordo. The town’s featured prominently in his stories and he has, he says, sold more books here than any other author.
Four years ago McGarrity published “Hard Country,” the first in a trilogy that featured Kerney’s grandfather Patrick, and father Matthew. “Back Lands” followed and now, in “The Last Ranch,” Matthew returns from World War II to resettle into life on the family’s New Mexico spread. Readers in Otero and Lincoln counties are quite familiar not just with locations where McGarrity sets his action, but with historical characters such as Eugene Manlove Rhodes and John Prather who once walked Alamogordo’s streets.
As a prequel, readers witness the birth of Kevin Kerney.
“It’s a boy,” McGarrity writes of the moment. “(Matt) cut the umbilical cord with his pocketknife and slapped the baby on the rump. And with Matt’s pronouncement, bloody, red-faced Kevin Kerney, perhaps the last child to be born on the old Tularosa, entered the world, took his first breath, and began to cry.”
More than any other author who melds fiction with historical events, McGarrity adeptly portrays the United States government’s grab of the land that became White Sands Proving Ground (now Missile Range). In “The Last Ranch,” the Kerneys are affected, and McGarrity’s inclusion of the struggle does ample justice to a historical wrong.
In early 1942, as a result of Japan bombing Pearl Harbor, the government seized the land. Hard-working men and women lost private property, their water and mineral rights, and were forced to herd cattle in the dead of winter to new grazing areas. They not only had to pay for new living accommodations, but also were responsible for keeping mortgages current on the land the government now occupied.
McGarrity moves his characters through World War II, the first Atomic Bomb test, the demise of the once-prosperous cattle community of Engle, into nearby Hot Springs a.k.a. Truth of Consequences, and on through the Vietnam War in which Kevin Kerney serves.
Closing the book after the final page of the saga may invoke emotions of losing a good friend. For the past four years McGarrity fans have been there through the Kerneys’ struggles and triumphs, the victories and injustices, and the successes and heartaches. It can be kind of tough saying adios to fellow New Mexicans that have lived and loved, thanks to the life the skilled storyteller McGarrity has breathed into them.
McGarrity will also sign his book at COAS Books in Las Cruces, 317 N. Main St., May 28, at noon and Las Cruces' Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave., May 28, at 1 p.m. At Alamogordo's Hastings, 805 N. White Sands Blvd., at 1 p.m. May 29 and Ruidoso's Books Etc., 2340 Sudderth Drive, at 4:30 p.m. May 29.

Author Michael McGarrity presents third novel in American West trilogy

By John Miller
May 20, 2016
McGarrity 1
Michael McGarrity, acclaimed author of the New York Times bestselling Kevin Kerney crime series, visits Taos Saturday (May 21) for a discussion and book signing for “The Last Ranch”—the third and final novel in his American West trilogy at Op. Cit. Books, 124A Bent Street.
The event starts at 2 p.m., organized by owner, Noemi de Bodisco, who first encountered the author at Op. Cit. Books in Santa Fe.
“Those who’ve met him before know that Michael is a charming, gracious and witty guest,” she said. “We expect nothing less from him as he discusses the final chapter in the trilogy that is his magnum opus.”
The series also marks a significant departure for the New Mexico writer, as he winds back the clock more than a century to tell the story of the Kerney ancestors—starting with Irish immigrant and Civil War veteran, John Kerney in 2012’s “Hard Country” and continuing with his son, Patrick Kerney, in the 2014 sequel, “Backlands.”
With the publication of “The Last Ranch,” on Tuesday (May 17), McGarrity draws the trilogy to a close, fitting another piece of a timeline that sheds light on Kevin Kerneys’ origins as the police chief known to readers of McGarrity’s long-running crime series—for which the author first earned praise for his realistic depictions of law enforcement and his detailed renderings of the stark, sometimes desolate beauty of the American Southwest.
To achieve that level of fidelity, McGarrity drew from his own illustrious tenure as the former deputy sheriff of Santa Fe County, where he served as a patrol officer, community relations officer, training and planning supervisor and the founder and lead-investigator of the County’s sex crimes unit. He was recognized as “Santa Fe’s Police Officer of the Year” in 1987.
“The challenge was always first to get a contract with a national house. I wanted nothing less, and with that accomplished, I decided to roll the dice and make it my full-time career.”During his off hours, McGarrity was developing the convincing plotline and true-to-life characters introduced in his debut crime novel, “Tularosa” (1996). “I worked at it as my free time allowed while doing my day job,” McGarrity said.
The novel was met with critical acclaim, and 11 other books followed in the series. The last installment, “Dead or Alive” (2008), found newly-retired Santa Fe police chief (Kerney) living in London when he receives word that his former partner has been murdered by an escaped convict, forcing him to return to his New Mexico ranch where he must pursue another mad dog killer through the badlands of the Southwest—a setting that McGarrity and his readers know well.
But with the publication of “Hard Country,” McGarrity again “rolled the dice” as he made his first foray into the literary realm of historical fiction. “I wanted to do a stand-alone prequel to my Kevin Kerney novels with a storyline that dealt with what happened that drew him into police work,” McGarrity explained.
“Instead it morphed into a family saga that covered four generations of the Kerney family and a hundred years of history, stretching from territorial days to the close of the Vietnam War. Fortunately, I had a publisher who enthusiastically embraced the idea. Thus, the trilogy was born.”
While the characters traverse a mostly familiar landscape, McGarrity has proven to be adept at interlacing fiction with historical events and figures in his first two entries—including some very nonchalant cameos by Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
“Historical fiction requires a good deal of accuracy when it comes to using real events and actual people from the past, otherwise you risk losing the reader,” McGarrity explained. “I had to weave fictional characters and events into that framework based on the reality of how people talked, dressed, behaved and lived during each generational time frame. In effect, often the lines had to be blurred.”
“My law enforcement experience … was of little help in understanding how peace officers functioned 150, 100 or even 75 years ago,” he added. “It meant doing the research—and a lot of it—to get it right.”
The result is a Western series that delves much deeper than a simple retelling of historical facts strung together with a fictional narrative. McGarrity is faithful to the existing Western cannon while being skilled enough to open it up and contribute insightful pages of his own, and avoids the yawning pitfall of retracing old ground covered by the inevitably-comparable Larry McMurtry or Cormac McCarthy.
McGarrity said he is already working on his next book titled, “‘Residue,’ another Kevin Kerney crime novel. It involves a cold case reopened with the discovery of the remains of a young woman once romantically involved with Kerney who had gone missing over 40 years earlier. Set in present day, it actually segues from the conclusion of ‘The Last Ranch’ and examines what happened to cause Kerney to want to become a cop.”
To learn more about McGarrity and his past and upcoming projects, visit his website at For more information on Op. Cit. Books, visit call (575) 751-1999.