“This guy” is Signal94, a retired peace officer. His latest post (as of this writing) is entitled “One More Time” - here’s a teaser…
Last night I watched a report on Headline Line News regarding the basement democrats trying to keep their presidential aspirations alive (they are in the basement as far as the front runners are concerned). The station played part of a Chris Dodd ad where he states that we are involved in an Iraqi civil war … and I nearly threw my shoe through the TV set.
Senator Dodd, obviously you haven’t been paying attention for the last twenty-seven years.
He also has an article posted on Friday entitled “Do You Know?”, filled with interesting statistics…
Did you know that 47 countries have reestablished their embassies in Iraq?
Did you know that the Iraqi government currently employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?
Did you know that 3,100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation, 263 new schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been completed in Iraq?
Signal94 is now listed under “Daily Reads” in the sidebar.
(Warning - I think this is the longest post to date on this blog. Hope you brought some snacks…)
Cindy Sheehan has decided that she is retiring as the face of the angry anti-war left. Below is the text from her blog post, with liberal plentiful interruptions from me.
I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed…
Really? Casey’s heroic death caused people to turn on his mother?
…and especially since I became the so-called “Face” of the American anti-war movement.
Ah - now we’re getting somewhere. That is precisely why you have endured a lot of smear and hatred - but, I’d venture to say, not nearly as much as the man currently in the White House, faithfully executing his duties as Commander in Chief. Just a guess…
Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such “liberal blogs” as the Democratic Underground.
Yes, these liberals are a fickle sort. There’s a reason a certain leading conservative voice calls their publicity machine the “Drive-By Media”. They’ll use whatever they can for as long as it’s useful, and then dump them like yesterday’s garbage.
Being called an “attention whore” and being told “good riddance” are some of the more milder rebukes.
It must hurt to have two sides that are bitterly against each other both think of you that way. Though, if you inspire this much animosity from such diametrically-opposed quarters, maybe you need to reevaluate your views.
I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.
Introspection is often painful - let’s see what you came up with…
The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a “tool” of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our “two-party” system?
“Slander” and “libel” are not possible when one is telling the truth. And, whether you realized it or not, you were being used as a “tool” to further the aims of the Democrat party. It had nothing to do with marginalizing your message - it had to do with your message being flat-out wrong.
And how do you expect us to believe you were trying to work “outside” the two-party system, when you spoke out for the Democrats?
However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the “left” started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of “right or left”, but “right and wrong.”
Ooh, look - a catchphrase! You just don’t understand peace. Peace is what comes after victory. When everyone lays down their guns, bad people (and yes, Cindy, there are bad people in this world) realize that, if they pick theirs back up, they have an instant advantage. This necessitates the good people pick up their guns to defend themselves. Violence does beget violence; but may I remind you who it was that started this? Did a bunch of Christians fly commercial airliners filled with innocent Afghanis into the political and business centers of Kabul? Or did Iraqi-trained Islamic extremists fly the planes into the United States’ political and business centers?
The people are only dying “for no reason” if we listen to the rest of your drivel. War has solved a lot of issues in our world, and it will solve this one as well. The cowards and the enemy are the ones who want us to stop fighting - that’s the only way they can “win.”
I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike.
The Democrats don’t support the war, and their claims of supporting the troops ring hollow. They’re just too spineless to stand up to a President because they know, even if only subconsciously, that it is absolutely critical that we win this war. With our last two major armed conflicts, Vietnam and Gulf War I, we showed that we were willing to pull out before the job is done. We do that a third time, we’re done.
It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on.
I actually agree with the last sentence. But you talk about political expediency, which party is it that believes you should take a poll before doing anything? And, there are people within the Democrat party that are absolutely seething over the way the war spending bill has gone. You know what? Those are the very people who are making it impossible to get a Democrat elected to the Presidency. The primary, fringe voters elect the person who believes in their view of things; come national election time, they are easily painted as pandering to their base. Sure, Republicans campaign to their base too, but their base’s view is much more palatable to the American public than the other.
(Man, I hope the Democrats don’t read this… I was hoping they’d keep it up…)
People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don’t find alternatives to this corrupt “two” party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland.
“People of the world” do not look on us as jokes. Sure, there are some countries that do, but those are usually the snooty ones who need to pay more attention to their own business. Besides, when did we suborn our sovereignty to foreign opinion? If this country is so bad, why do we have 12 million illegal aliens clamoring to stay?
I am demonized because I don’t see party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person’s heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?
Hah! That’s just the thing. The Democrats in Congress right now are what Democrats are! They’re fickle, and they govern with polls. Polls tell them that if they cut off funding for the war, hanging our troops out to dry, that they will experience defeat on such a scale that we might morph into a one-party system. I don’t see how that demonizes you - consider yourself enlightened. Now you know what frustrates us conservatives about the current Democrat party (and many within the Republican ranks as well).
I have also reached the conclusion that if I am doing what I am doing because I am an “attention whore” then I really need to be committed.
Welcome, ma’am - here’s your white coat. I’ll help you get the sleeves fastened in back.
I have invested everything I have into trying to bring peace with justice to a country that wants neither.
We want both. It’s a shame this isn’t actually a dialogue, because I’d love to hear how laying down our guns would bring us either of those results.
If an individual wants both, then normally he/she is not willing to do more than walk in a protest march or sit behind his/her computer criticizing others.
You knock computer users, but post your “See ya, bye” tome on your blog. Pot, meet kettle…
I have spent every available cent I got from the money a “grateful” country gave me when they killed my son and every penny that I have received in speaking or book fees since then. I have sacrificed a 29 year marriage and have traveled for extended periods of time away from Casey’s brother and sisters and my health has suffered and my hospital bills from last summer (when I almost died) are in collection…
Your money is yours to do with it as you see fit. But don’t come whining to us about the consequences of your bad choices. Choosing a cause over a 29-year marriage is foolish. Leaving your kids for “extended periods of time” is deplorable. And, if you have hospital bills in collection, maybe you should take some of that book money and pay them.
…because I have used all my energy trying to stop this country from slaughtering innocent human beings.
Collateral damage is a reality of any war. I don’t have hard numbers here, but I’d venture to say that the “innocent to combatant” ratio is one of the best in any war fought in our world to date.
I have been called every despicable name that small minds can think of and have had my life threatened many times.
Not that you should have your life threatened for holding unpopular views, but when those views go from unpopular to treasonous, and the penalty for treason is death… Well, you might look inward to see where some of these threats are coming from.
The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful.
Casey did not die for nothing. And, while your intentions may be as you said in that last sentence, the reality is that you have been trying ever since he died to make his sacrifice meaningless. You are the one who keep saying that Casey died for nothing, while the rest of this country is grateful for his heroism and his ultimate sacrifice. His was one name that came to my mind yesterday when I thought of the names (that I know) of people who have died in this current conflict, Pat Tillman being the other.
Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most.
Why should the American people care about the war, when all they hear from you, the Democrats, and the media is how evil we are for being there in the first place?!?! Can you not see your role in this self-fulfilling prophecy?
I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won’t work with that group; he won’t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.
Welcome to modern-day activism - angst for sale to the highest bidder. The bigger the name recognition, the higher the bid.
Our brave young men and women in Iraq have been abandoned there indefinitely by their cowardly leaders who move them around like pawns on a chessboard of destruction and the people of Iraq have been doomed to death and fates worse than death by people worried more about elections than people.
Then why not turn them loose to end this thing in 6 months, so they can come home? Oh wait - we’re too busy trying to get funding for the existing troops. If we turned them loose, why, we’d need more money for munitions - and the company that makes it might make a little bit of a profit! Oh no! We can’t do that!
If we fought this war the way we fought World War II, we’d already be talking about it in the past tense.
However, in five, ten, or fifteen years, our troops will come limping home in another abject defeat and ten or twenty years from then, our children’s children will be seeing their loved ones die for no reason, because their grandparents also bought into this corrupt system.
The system isn’t corrupt. I’ll grant you that there may be some corrupt people in the system, but the system itself (our nation) is the greatest system ever conceived.
George Bush will never be impeached because if the Democrats dig too deeply, they may unearth a few skeletons in their own graves and the system will perpetuate itself in perpetuity.
I would certainly hope that a sitting President wouldn’t be impeached for daring to defend his country. But, isn’t it your side’s turn? (I guess that, maybe, if our current President were getting sexual favors in the Oval Office, he wouldn’t have time to order the surge?)
I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost. I will try to maintain and nurture some very positive relationships that I have found in the journey that I was forced into when Casey died and try to repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since I began this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious marble.
I know you will never see this, but this is exactly what you’re advocating we do in Iraq. You gave everything you had, yet you came up short. Rather than redouble your efforts, you’re quitting. Do you feel victorious? It certainly doesn’t sound like it.
I’m glad that some of us believe in defending our country more than you believe in your pacifism.
Camp Casey has served its purpose. It’s for sale. Anyone want to buy five beautiful acres in Crawford, Texas ? I will consider any reasonable offer. I hear George Bush will be moving out soon, too…which makes the property even more valuable.
Take the money you get from it and pay those medical bills - don’t donate it to moveon.org…
This is my resignation letter as the “face” of the American anti-war movement. This is not my “Checkers” moment, because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.
Let me translate those first few sentences. “I’m quitting. Well, I’m not really quitting - I’ll try to bring as much aid and comfort to our enemies as possible, since we’re so bad and evil.” And you wonder why people are upset with you? And again, you reveal that your belief in your cause does not go nearly as deep as those who willingly give their lives to preserve our freedom.
Good-bye America …you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.
Honesty is good for the soul. You don’t love this country - that’s fine (freedom and all that). Will you be putting feet to this belief, or will you continue to live here, reaping the benefits of those (including your son) who died to preserve your freedom to hate it? And yes, as a whole, we don’t want to realize your vision of our country.
It’s up to you now.
And thank you for getting out of the way, so we can get about the work that needs to be done.
On Monday, FBI agents broke up a terror plot against Fort Dix. A clerk at a video store alerted authorities when they dropped off video to have a DVD made, that showed them firing guns and speaking of the plot. They attempted to buy weapons from an undercover agent, and were arrested.
Now, there’s news that three of the six arrested were in the country illegally. There were three brothers with the last name of Duka - they are to whom this is referring.
The Duka brothers were born in the former Yugoslavia and residing illegally in the U.S. Shnewer, a native of Jordan; Tatar, a native of Turkey; and Abdullahu, who was born in the former Yugoslavia, are legal residents. Eljvir Duka called himself “Elvis.”
So, there you have it. For years, folks have pooh-poohed the idea that illegal aliens (or, as their fans like to say, “undocumented workers”) represent a national security threat. Now, we have the first example of the fact that they do. Will Congress still push through their amnesty bill?
Mary Katherine Ham is a video blogger at TownHall.com who regularly posts her HamNation episodes at YouTube.com. Her latest is pure comic genius - “I Do Not Like to Hear Good News”. Viewing it is a well-invested 5 minutes.
(Hat Tip - Emperor Darth Misha I of the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler)
Today, we discuss an article published in Stars and Stripes entitled “Air Force: Shift in funds may affect payroll”. Let me preface this by saying that, although this may appear to be a fisking, it’s not - I’m simply using this as a launching pad for saying things that have needed to be said for a long time. With that in mind, look at the selective quotes below…
The Air Force said Wednesday that it might not be able to pay its airmen in the coming months if the Pentagon is forced to shift some $800 million to the Army to fund the war in Iraq.
The Army announced this week that it will slow spending and prioritize repairs to equipment as it waits for Congress to review emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, the Pentagon has asked Congress for the OK to shift $1.6 billion in funds meant for the Navy and Air Force to pay the Army’s operating expenses, according to an Army news release.
“The Air Force believes this is a prudent measure and expects that the funds will be restored quickly so that military payroll will not be disrupted,” Araujo said in an e-mail response to Stars and Stripes.
“Bottom line: we need the bill to be passed quickly to avoid any further impacts to readiness,” she wrote.
Think about what that says for just a minute. The Army is so strapped for cash that they’re considering dipping into the Air Force’s payroll to fund their equipment repairs. Why in the world would they be doing that? The clue is in the first sentence of the second quote. They are waiting on Congress to pass the emergency funding bill.
I have about had it with this new Congress. They are the most power-hungry group of people I have ever seen. The President requested this legislation February 5th. February 5th! If continuing stalemate on April 24th and beyond is considered “emergency,” let us all pray that neither Harry Reid nor Nancy Pelosi ever become the fire chief in your town.
And speaking of Reid and Pelosi, let’s take a look at the so-called “leadership” of this new Congress. Over on the Senate side, they’re led by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). While some, through their tough, dogged leadership, may think it positive to have the nickname “Dirty Harry,” Sen. Reid has earned his moniker. Though you wouldn’t know it from the nightly news, he earned over $1M from a land sale that was, to put it as nicely as possible, legally dubious. This past week, he made the statement that the war in Iraq was not just unwinnable, it was already lost. (Though he clarified what he meant by saying that the military portion was won long ago, I have to agree with James Taranto of OpinionJournal.com (fourth article, entitled “The Old Green Lady”)…
Haven’t we been hearing for years that President Bush was an arrogant fool for appearing on a ship with a banner saying “Mission Accomplished”?
But we can’t leave the House of Representatives out, now can we? Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is the current Speaker of the House. For those of you not up on your Constitution, this means that if President Bush and Vice President Cheney were to meet their demise, she would be the President. (I’ll pause while the shuddering stops…) Speaker Pelosi decided that, rather than leave international diplomacy to the Executive branch, where it should be, she would rather take it upon herself to begin visiting foreign heads of state. Of course, this trip started with Syria - a state sponsor of terrorism with whom we are currently already working. I swear, sometimes I think that Democrats have never met a terrorist they didn’t like; either that, or they so hate President Bush that they’re falling into the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” mentality. Either way, it’s dangerous for our nation. And, when the House recently enacted a minimum wage increase, American Samoa was exempted. Why was that? Seems StarKist tuna, a subsidiary of San Francisco-based Del Monte, employs nearly 75% of the island’s workforce. Rep. Pelosi’s district includes San Francisco. And the Democrats have the nerve to say the Republicans have a “culture of corruption”?!?!?
This is the same problem that is now plaguing the emergency funding bill, flailing nearly three months after it was requested. Congress has passed a bill - but it was so loaded with pork that neither Jews nor Muslims would come within a mile of it! “Bringing home the bacon” has always been an art form in Washington, D. C.; but to stock up on the backs of the troops on the ground is beyond reprehensible. Coming back to the article that started this, the situation is so bad that the Army is considering borrowing from its sister services. But, pork is not the only thing holding up this bill.
The Bush administration has requested an additional $100 billion in war funding, but the request has stalled as Congress tied those funds to a deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq. President Bush has vowed to veto such a bill, leaving the Army with little funds to carry out its mission in Iraq.
The timetable! Not only does this Congress want to usurp foreign policy and diplomacy, they want to usurp the Commander-in-Chief duties as well! I applaud any vetoes of the bill that contain these treasons, un-Constitutional provisions, and I hope that all the blame for the funding delay falls squarely on the shoulders of those responsible - the power-hungry, overreaching Democrats in Congress.
But hey - if we miss a paycheck, we can just tighten our belts, right? Here are some of the money-saving initiatives the Army is considering…
Among the belt-tightening measures being considered by the Army are a freeze on new civilian hiring from outside the Army and laying off temporary employees, the statement said.
According to the Army statement, beginning in mid-April, the Army will slow the purchase of repair parts and other supplies, relying instead on existing inventory to keep equipment operational. Priority will be given to repair and refurbishment of immediately needed war-fighting equipment, while training and other nonmission critical equipment repair will be deferred, officials said.
In addition, the purchase of day-to-day supplies with government charge cards will be restricted, nonessential travel will be postponed or canceled, and shipment of equipment and supplies will be restricted or deferred altogether, unless needed immediately for war efforts, the statement said.
Well, that doesn’t sound too bad, right? “Nonmission critical,” “nonessential” things will be canceled, while “immediate needs” will be addressed. But in the lingo of the military, the things that are being foregone are not “nonessential.” Many things that are considered non-essential are essential when viewed long-term. What the Army is saying is that they’re basically going to let everything slip, things go unfixed, and soldiers go untrained so that they can afford the immediate need. This is not sustainable - and, the Army went on to say (emphasis mine)…
…even with these spending restrictions and the possible shift of $1.6 billion from the Air Force and Navy, funds are sufficient to keep operations running only until the end of June.
So, we’ve dropped all the replenishment and taken the Air Force’s and Navy’s payroll money, and we’ve only bought 2 months. This is absolutely despicable. Congress needs to get off its collective duff and get the military the money it needs.
I’ll close with this. In this country, we have always disagreed about when, where, and to what extent our military should get involved. Prior to Vietnam, though, the side that didn’t get their way shut up and supported the troops and their mission, through to its completion. In Vietnam, this changed; and our government’s failure to prosecute treason back then is one reason the Democrats are so bold today. Whether they actually want America to fail, or they just want President Bush to fail so badly that they don’t care if he takes America down with him, they have now invested themselves in our defeat. If this isn’t treason, I don’t know what is.
Here is part 3 of the series “2006 Year in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous”. The bad things and the ridiculous things are what they are, but there was still some good in 2006.
I completed my first deployment this year. It was a tough time, but I was in a safe place and was able to participate in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. I wrote a lot about how this deployment affected the way I view things in my posts “Appreciate What You Have” and “Do Not Bend”. The Lord protected me over there, and my family at home. My oldest son stepped up and helped a lot while I was gone, and my wife kept everything going at home, in spite of how difficult it was at times.
Saddam Hussein’s execution was an important development in the War on Terror. Although he had been out of power for years, seeing him brought to justice after a trial is a great symbol of the power of democracy. Some people are upset that he was not tried for even more crimes; but, considering the 100 or so deaths he was on trial for was enough to get him the death penalty, what more could they want? You can’t kill the guy twice! (Some folks over at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler (language warning in effect) have some ideas - as well as the video of the actual execution.)
As the war in Iraq and Afghanistan continues, more and more of these high-level leaders are being either captured or killed. If they’re captured, the justice system will do its job; and, if they’re killed, well… that just saves time. And, as the people of the Middle East begin to see democracy and a rule of law take hold, they’ll be drawn to it.
In college football and NASCAR, my folks made a resurgence after a disappointing 2005. The Tennessee Vols followed up their first losing season since Phil Fulmer had become head coach with a 9-3 finish, losing only to #2 Florida, #4 LSU, and #13 Arkansas. Throughout the year, quarterback Erik Ainge matured greatly, and became more willing to hand off the ball to a running back, which lead to more big passes opening up for him. Freshman running back LaMarcus Coker had an outstanding year, and looks to be one of the best running backs Tennessee has had in a while - and that’s saying something. Congratulations to the Vols on a great year.
Jeff Gordon became the Nextel Cup Champion! Well, OK, Jimmie Johnson was top driver, but since Jeff owns Jimmie’s cars, he is the owner’s points champion. He did finish the season in 6th as a driver. The comes after a season when he did not make the Chase for the Nextel Cup (although he did finish at the “top of the losers” 11th spot). Consistency was the name of the game this year for Gordon, crew chief Steve Letarte, and the rest of his crew; he finished in the top 10 in half of the 36 races, and won 2 of them. Were it not for two mechanical problems and a wreck back-to-back-to-back, he would have given his protoge a run for his money. On top of that, he got married in 2006, and he and his wife are now expecting their first child. Congratulations x 3 for you, Jeff, and here’s to a great 2007!
Those are the best things to come out of 2006, in my humble opinion. If you’ve read all three parts, you’ll realize that in the big picture, these don’t quite balance out - Tennessee’s winning season doesn’t offset North Korea’s nuclear tests, for example. But, what this does illustrate is that even when bad things of enormous import are happening, it is still possible to be personally happy and satisfied.
Here’s part 2 of the 3-part series “2006 Year in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous.” While part 1 dealt with items that are bad on a ridiculous level, there is nothing humorous about these happenings during 2006.
I covered this in depth with my post “Why the Republicans Lost” earlier in the year. Now, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are going to be in control of the legislative branch. While our nation can survive, this does signal the end of many meaningful reforms. Immigration enforcement, strict-constructionist judicial nominees, and meaningful energy reforms are all distant memories. In their place we’ll get amnesty for illegal aliens, judicial activists, and economy-crushing minimum wage increases.
The majority of Americans don’t seem to understand that the latter is a ploy by union workers, who want raises but are contractually tied to a level above minimum wage. When it goes up, their pay goes up. However, businesses only have money as they collect it from their customers - increased payroll expense will only drive prices higher, at which point the buying power of the new minimum wage is about the same as the buying power of the old. Higher minimum wage levels also reduce the number of entry-level jobs held by students and retirees - I’m really surprised that the same party who panders to seniors and says that everything they want to do is “for the children” is in favor of such a move.
The Supreme Court decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld established that military tribunals could not be used to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This ruling, in effect, gave unlawful combatants official status, and required that they be given access to our justice system. President Bush asked Congress to clarify rules for detainee treatment, leading to what some have dubbed the “Terrorist Bill of Rights.” During debate on this and other bills throughout the year, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and others were adamant about adding “no torture” language into bills. Techniques such as water-boarding (where a person feels like they’re drowning, but they really aren’t), which had been used to extract intelligence that prevented attacks, were now no longer allowed.
This is a trend that I hope and pray does not continue into 2007. We Americans are gracious to our enemies, sometimes to a fault. But, there comes a point when we need to realize that they are our enemies. When they take up arms against us, when they align themselves with organizations that have, as their stated goals, the destruction of our nation - if we capture you, expect to be made to talk.
Eight Marines have been charged with murder and other charges relating to an incident in the Iraqi town of Haditha. These men were part of a patrol in this city, when their patrol was attacked with an IED (improvised explosive device). After the IED went off, they were also receiving hostile fire from both sides of the street. As their training taught them, they laid down suppressive fire to remove the casualties that they had taken, then launched a counter-offensive to kill the insurgents that had inflicted this attack on them.
Once the shooting had stopped, some of the Iraqis in that town began complaining about the counter-offensive, saying that the people who had been killed were innocent civilians who had nothing to do with the attack. These stories were often contradictory, but that didn’t matter to the folks here who never miss a chance to broadcast bad news. The link above is very lengthy (and the other information it links are also lengthy), but it is a detailed analysis as to what happened that day, and how it is being prosecuted. Even an embedded CNN reporter does not believe these allegations.
This is disgraceful, and I hope that the court-martial comes out in favor of these dedicated Marines. “War is hell” isn’t just a quip - it’s reality.
With current concerns over terrorism, and nukes that Russia can’t find, two nations hostile to the United States declared their nuclear capabilities this year. North Korea has been testing missiles (although these tests were, by all accounts, an abject failure) and nuclear warheads. Iran claims that their nuclear capability is only to be used for power. Why do I not trust Iran? Let me count the ways… They are the primary supplier of personnel and weapons for the insurgency in Iraq. They teamed up with Syria to support Hezbollah in their attacks on Israel earlier this year. They hosted a holocaust denial conference. And that was all this year!
All nations have a right to defend themselves. However, when these nations have proved themselves hostile to us and friendly to our enemies, we must demand that they pursue their defense using conventional weapons.
That is certainly not all of the bad things that happened this year, but I believe they are some that will have the most enduring impression on our world and our nation. Next up - the good!
Saddam Hussein was executed overnight in Baghdad today. Fox News has details and videos. While this does not signal the end of fighting or hostilities, it is an important step forward. December 30th will be a day to remember for many years to come.
Working with mail is a big part of my duties while I’m here. Once a day, we pull a few letters out of a tray and write down where it came from and when it was postmarked - that way, we can tell how long it took to get to us and make sure these letters are flowing. It’s interesting to look at the backs of these letters, which we see as we take one from the stack and turn it face-down onto another stack. There are, of course, the "We love you!"s, the "Happy Birthday"s, and the "Come back safe"s. Others have “SWAK” written across the back (Sealed With a Kiss). Today, I saw one that said “Go Vols!” - which I particularly liked.
Underneath that letter, the next one on the stack had printed across the bottom “Do Not Bend.” I’m sure that this wasn’t an encouragement to the troops - there were probably photos in the envelope, so they didn’t want them bent. But, on this 4th Patriot Day, 5 years after the attlacks on September 11th, 2001, I think it is fitting advice for all of us.
The enemy we face is not ourselves. There are some among us who are going too far, but as we demonstrated with Abu Ghraib, we are willing to punish those who do. There are also some among us who intend us harm; that’s for certain. However, there is a religious group that is not content to have their countries for their religious views, and live peacefully with the rest of the world. They want us dead because we do not believe the way they do. Our nation has decided (rightly, I believe) that we should take this fight to them, that we would rather fight on their soil than on ours.
I have not had access to ABC television, so I have not seen The Path to 9/11, although I have heard a lot about it. It sounds like an important film, one based on the research of the 9/11 commission, that dramatizes the failings in leadership that led up to this attack. Of course, it’s really easy to connect dots in hindsight - but the barriers that had been erected to stop information sharing did much more harm than good. Both Presidential administrations #42 and #43 are criticized for their lack of taking the issue seriously, and doing what needed to be done. Thankfully, #43 has made a nice recovery, and we are now prosecuting the war on terror as we should.
We Americans have short memories - and since, for all but a few of us, this war isn’t really impacting our daily lives, it is easy to grow lax, and forget that we were not the ones who started this war. But, we are the ones who will finish it. There has not been a major terror attack in this country in the five years since 9/11, and it is not because they haven’t been planned. Time and time again, dedicated professionals in the CIA and FBI have been uncovering these plots, and stopping them. Every terrorist killed in Afghanistan or Iraq is one fewer terrorist that will try something - and while it’s true that some cultures produce these terrorists, that’s just another reason why we must continue, we must press forward, and we must prevail.
Do not forget why we are at war. Do not think about giving up before the job is done. And, yes, as the letter writer said so unknowingly yet eloquently - do not bend.