One of the best books you haven’t read is called Flags of our Fathers. Written by James Bradley, the son of Corpsman John Bradley, one of the six men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, it is a gripping recounting of the little known fates and history of the men on Mount Suribachi in that most iconic of photographs.

As a boy, young James knew that his father was famous and respected in their little town for something, but since his father would neither talk about the mysterious event and even trained his children to deflect the telephone calls that continually came in asking for interviews, it was not until his father died that the boy learned his father was famous.

There is a terrific summary here by Bradley himself – read the book and ignore the film, which I am sad to report was vastly inferior. For beyond the “you are there” retelling of the horrific fighting in those waning months of the war in the Pacific, Bradley’s real gift to the reader is the knowledge of the men after the headlines. Three of the soldiers were killed on the island, while the remaining three came back to the America they fought to defend. The struggle continued for some of them (most famously the Pima Indian Ira Hayes, who unsuccessfully battled alcoholism until his untimely death at 32). Bradley’s father returned to their hometown and became a respected member of the community and Rene Gagnon, the other survivor, a school custodian. And if for no other reason, you must read the book for the story of Ira Hayes’ deep, abiding decency and concern for the truth about who was there, and the need to honor them for that.

More than the press-ready “Heroes in the Photograph” label, the book is ultimately about men who were doing their job even though it cost them dearly. Ira Hayes summed it up as well as any of them:  “How can I feel like a hero when I hit the beach with two hundred and fifty buddies and only twenty-seven of us walked off alive?”

Which brings us to the pusillanimous, craven, and generally chickenshit actions of some of the top ranks of the FBI in the past couple of years. While the usual collection of rabid, raving partisans such as the harridans on The View, seemingly captive of the worst, most prolonged case of menopause in history, or Stephen (Democrat’s favorite cock-holster) Colbert view the FBI investigators as heroes, doing God’s work, the truth, as laid out by the Inspector General, is very different.

We have the principled Brave, Brave Sir Peter Strzok (working on both the Clinton and Trump probes, firing off “Fuck Trump” texts with Tourette’s-like regularity) manfully promising his mistress “we’ll stop” Trump from being elected, but when asked about that ringing declaration he went full weasel, stating “he did not specifically recall sending it, but that he believed that it was intended to reassure (his Fellow Agent With Benefits) that Trump would not be elected, not to suggest that he would do something to impact the investigation.”

There were the curious decisions to pretend that Anthony (I wish I had a big) Weiner didn’t have thousands of Hillary Clinton classified emails on his laptop, trying, in the words of Mollie Hemingway, to “run out the election clock before dealing with it.”

The FBI’s Inspector General is full of other rancid tidbits, such as the way the Feebs hid the fact that “No-Scandals” Obama knew that Hillary Clinton had a non-government email address. Or sweet-heart deals that Brave Brave Sir Strzok and his other Knights of the Donkey-shaped Table offered to the Clinton Kool Kidz Clique (such as immunity for the IT yutz who admitted destroying that inconvenient unsecured HRC email server while it was under subpoena) while applying every legal Torquemada device they could to Team Trump for infractions real or presumed. Or the way FBI agents were cozy with journalists, getting awesome swag from the grateful ink-stained wretches just for hanging out with them (and, golly, there’s no way it was a “leak some secrets for lunch” arrangement, no sir!).

The most craven, chickenshit part of all (I know, I know, we’re talking about a target rich environment at this point) is the free-pass that the FBI Inspector General gave to James Comey, the director of the FBI, he “did not find any evidence of political bias or improper considerations impacting the investigation.”

To which the average American will, reasonably, say “Bullshit.”

Worse, the loss of trust in the FBI will be corrosive. Faith in the rule of law will be further degraded.  At one time, the FBI was regarded with respect. Now… the top agents have been revealed as Democrat moles in the organization, doing everything they could to slip a shiv between the ribs of Donald Trump’s candidacy, and failing to derail that, turning their sharp but deeply righteous knives on his Presidency, attacking anyone they could to inflict damage on his administration, the will of the electorate be damned.

Thinking of the soldiers who raised that flag on Iwo Jima (every mother’s son of them had been in the shit before that moment), knowing both what they went through and what they did afterwards, I realized they made men in those days. Imperfect, yes. Damaged by the experience, because anything good has a cost to it. But men who understood what duty, honor, and sacrifice were about.

It is a knowledge that is sorely devalued today.


See the previous cultural essays by Roy M. “Griff” Griffis in his ongoing series: 

What You Believe Can Kill You… Or at Least, Kill Your Soul…

Paging Jordan Peterson, Your Two-Minute Hate is Ready

On Making Caviar from Bull Crap: 4 Book Recommendations for Ben Rhodes

When Dad Dies in Disgrace

From My Cold, Dead, Facts

Don’t Play Those Funky Politics, Black Boy

A Man, Measured

Imagining a Good Message Movie

Recommended Viewing for Patriots: ‘Monuments Men’

A New LI Series Debuts: Griff’s Culture Dispatches from the Alamo


And check out the first two books in his exciting, innovative Lonesome George ChroniclesThe Big Bang and Bringing the Fire.

Image sources: Statue photo, graveyard, rooster