March 31, 2004


I love writing OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM in my husband's address...

Posted by Sarah at 10:21 PM | Comments (3)


Got a funny email forward today:

I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.
Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
There are two kinds of pedestrians: the quick and the dead.
Life is sexually transmitted.
An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.
If quitters never win, and winners never quit, then who is the fool who said, "Quit while you're ahead?"
Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.
Some people are like Slinkies . . . not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?
Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?
In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
AND THE # 1 THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: You read about all these terrorists --- most of them came here legally, but they hung around on these expired visas, some for as long as 10 -15 years. Now, compare that to Blockbuster; you are two days late with a video and those people are all over you. Let's put Blockbuster in charge of immigration...

I needed a laugh today.

Posted by Sarah at 06:05 PM | Comments (4)


How sad I feel after looking at these photographs of Chernobyl, via Annika. But life is not always about feeling comfortable, and these photos deserve attention.

Posted by Sarah at 02:26 PM | Comments (6)

March 30, 2004


I don't think I've blogged about my new job yet: I'm teaching ENGL 101 Introduction to Writing this term. It came as a surprise to me too; another class got cancelled and they offered me the position a week and a half ago. So I started on Monday, and it's going to be fun but time consuming.

Anyway, I've hit a gumption trap. In the past I have used some of my old examples of writing in class for discussion because, well, because I am a masochist. I think that my students deserve to see how I write before they entrust me to teach them to do it. I did this when I taught ESL, and the students appreciated it, but in that setting I didn't really think too much about the topics. But tonight I have spent the last hour vetoing papers.

It seems back in college I mostly wrote about controversial stuff, and I'm not sure I want to open myself up in that way. It's different teaching a heterogeneous group of Americans instead of a group of middle-aged Koreans. That paper about gay marriage? Perhaps not in a military setting. The one on how Malcolm X is a racist? Not with half of the class being African-American. OK, how 'bout the one on hate speech? But what if they disagree and we spend the class debating the First Amendment instead of talking about the thesis statement?

All of a sudden, everything I've talked about before in my ESL classes seems controversial and scary for this class. Why do I feel like I'm walking on eggshells when most professors in our education system have no problem laying out their beliefs in class?

Posted by Sarah at 10:05 PM | Comments (7)


An observant reader sent me a great link. Take that, European Jerk.

Posted by Sarah at 10:02 AM | Comments (3)


No time to blog, but I was flipping through the paper at work this morning, and an editorial caught my eye; naturally it's on what a horrible man President Bush is. There was one paragraph that finally made me say ein Minuten bitte:

When he focuses on human embryos, he speaks of his obligation to foster and encourage respect for life, but when respect for human life gets in the way of his wish to strike back at those he considers enemies of the United States, he is willing to bring about the deaths of thousands of innocent human beings. These are not the actions of a person of principle.

That's unfair. We all have conflicting values that depend heavily on the situation. I don't support indiscriminate killing, but I do support taking a life under certain circumstances. That sure doesn't mean I lack principles, it just means that my principles can't be summed up and contrasted in one small paragraph. It's completely unfair to write an editorial saying the President has a "meandering moral compass" when everyone has nuances in their value system.


My ein Minuten bitte has caused some wrinkled brows. No, it's not proper German; it's a line from Eddie Izzard's stand-up routine about Martin Luther. We use it a lot in our house here, as well as the Simpsons psuedo-German quote Das Phone ist eine nuisance phone! and the Family Guy's Du werdest eine Krankenschwester brauchen!

We love fake German.

Posted by Sarah at 09:17 AM | Comments (10)


I'm proud to live in the same America as Tim and Smash.

Posted by Sarah at 07:32 AM | Comments (3)

March 29, 2004


Michele questions blogging. I can relate.

(Thanks, Beth.)

Posted by Sarah at 09:25 PM | Comments (4)


I charged home from work at 2130 tonight and soaked up as much beer, Chex mix, and South Park as was possible in 30 minutes. And then I got hit with Greyhawk's guilthammer.

My dad's worked in air conditioning for his entire adult life, so it only seemed natural that I should donate to Operation AC. Especially after reading "I would like to continue but we operate on donations and people just are sick of hearing about the war and have essentially stopped donating all together."

Well, that was enough to make me give up a couple of DVDs. Maybe you could too? At the very least, you should go over to Mudville Gazette and leave some morale-boosting words for our brave servicemembers. I plan to wait until this comments section gets sufficiently big (read more than 8!!!) and then print it and send a copy to all of my husband's soldiers.

Get 'er done, readers.

Posted by Sarah at 09:11 PM | Comments (5)


I almost cried I laughed so hard. Thanks, Rocket Jones. Also thanks for pointing me in the direction of a surprising article by Jimmy Walker.

I work 13-hour shifts today and tomorrow, and after I get off work I sit in German class for three hours. I'd love to blog, but my splitting headache says otherwise.

Posted by Sarah at 04:23 PM | Comments (4)


Not all teens are morons. I just read via Tim about two who grok: 15-year-old Jessica Brasda and 19-year-old John Moreno.

Posted by Sarah at 02:07 PM | Comments (4)


Many months ago the Air Force Major asked me why the Army sees comfort as a sign of weakness. I don't know if the Army instills it in us or if it's something innately human that the Army has merely tapped, but I know I feel it too. I am dealing with my own feelings of weakness. Desire to hear from my husband is weakness. Complaining is weakness. Letting someone see me sad is weakness. Not grokking is weakness. A comfortable deployment is weakness. To an outsider it probably sounds like I'm crazy, but at least it makes me compatible with the Army mentality.

Posted by Sarah at 08:57 AM | Comments (8)

March 28, 2004


Oda Mae pointed out a recent article in The Prague Post Online written by "a founding member of the Prague branch of American Voices Abroad." That's enough to make me want to stay far away from this article, but there are a few things I'd like to address. (Usch, and I have lots of work to do today...)

Farnsworth's premise is that we should feel more emotion and sorrow for innocent Iraqis who have been killed than our bloodthirsty and automaton troops. While I do regret the deaths of innocent Iraqis, I side with Den Beste when he says that in war there is no such thing as a civilian and that I value American citizens more than citizens of any other country. In that sense, Farnsworth's article doesn't really bother me because we're arguing apples and oranges.

I've also already addressed the meaninglessness of the Support Our Troops slogan, but I'll say again that simply holding a sign that says you support our troops is not the same thing as writing a soldier a letter or donating to Soldiers' Angels. It's an empty phrase when paired with opposition to the war on terror.

So Farnsworth and I have no common ground for any sort of discussion. I've come to the realization that it's hardly worth getting upset over someone who's so far from my line of thinking. But there are a few flaws in his reasoning I'd like to mention.

There are parts of this ruse that I might buy. Most soldiers are young and can hardly be blamed for finding themselves in the middle of a war. Many of them signed up facing the choice between lousier work and joining the military. Some joined to afford college, as did Jessica Lynch, only to find herself maimed in battle and then used for Pentagon propaganda. Some find a military career attractive because it offers the benefits, such as subsidized housing and health care, of a semisocialist organization.

In light of my revelation yesterday, I must strenuously say that if you're not prepared to fight a war, don't sign on the dotted line. This recent (though not surprising) crop of conscientious objectors and jerks fleeing to Canada deserve contempt, not sympathy. Don't join the military for college perks (another post for another day) or housing benefits or any of the other benefits that distract you from your real mission: to go to undesirable corners of the world and kill people. If you can't handle that, then you had no business signing up. Period.

News of such U.S. atrocities in Iraq has come out in scattered reports. U.S. Marine Sergeant Eric Schrumpf revealed that his training in civilian casualties taught that killing a large number of innocents all at once looked bad but that killing them a few at a time was OK. About the civilian woman he had just murdered because she stood too close to his target, he said, "I'm sorry, but the chick got in the way."

Turning to the psychopathic tendencies within the war, we have Corporal Ryan Dupre blurting to a reporter, "The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy. I am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin' Iraqi. No, I won't get hold of one. I'll just kill him."

Maybe I'm a hardened old Army wife, but this doesn't bother me at all. Our servicemembers have to have some way to deal with their mission. Whether it's detachment and indifference or raging hatred towards the enemy, they're both coping mechanisms, and they're both valid. I've heard my husband say that he'd take anyone out who looked remotely suspicious. That's a healthy way of dealing with the stress of combat. Would we rather our soldiers stopped to contemplate their ethical dilemma and in the meantime get wasted by an IED in a Coke can?

SOT involves a "my-side-versus-your-side" premise while creating a mental shortcut around actually thinking about it. Are we supposed to support any U.S. soldier on "our" side more than every single Iraqi? ... Are we supposed to support any Sergeant Schrumpf more than however many "chicks" he murdered? Should we support "our" troops over their civilians?


Personally, I support those with whom I feel kinship. I feel none at all with the chicken hawks in government running this aggression and none with troops like Schrumpf. I do not support them. I feel sorry for but little kinship with soldiers who find themselves in a bad position and just shoot wherever they are told, as the captured soldier said. I support them as much as I sympathize with them. But I feel more sympathy for the civilians murdered by U.S. weapons, for the children sliced to pieces by cluster bombs, for the women blown apart by bunker busters -- and for their survivors.

Well, then that is where you and I differ, Farnsworth. Look, I've met dirtbag soldiers. I have heard firsthand one private's despicable tales from Kosovo, and that's why he got chaptered out and his buddy is now in jail. There are jerks in our military, but there are jerks in every demographic of society, and there are Iraqi jerks and Afghan jerks and surely Farnsworth has met some jerks in Prague. But don't quote two soldiers and blow their remarks out of proportion into the reason why we should support Iraqis instead of our troops.

Posted by Sarah at 12:00 PM | Comments (10)


For those who have an interest in linguistics, Amritas has commented on how easy it is to make a noun a verb in English, based on the closing line to my recent post Soldier. This used to drive my Swedish teacher nuts, because we would always change the function of Swedish words in ways that her usage just wouldn't allow. For example, a common expression of dismay in Swedish is usch, so we turned it into an adjective (Det känns så usch) and even morphed it (Oj, det var uschligt.) My classmates and I even borrowed it into English, and it became so common in my usage that my husband has even picked it up. A common question around our house is "Why are you so usch?" It's really easy to do this in English -- it's a fun way for one's lexicon to grow and new slang to be formed -- but the Swedish and French speakers I know seem to not have the same flexibility with language that we do.

Posted by Sarah at 09:56 AM | Comments (3)


I've gotten this email forward before, and although parts are a bit stereotypcial, overall I really like the image it conjures.

The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either.

He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and 155mm howizzitor. He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.

He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must. He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient. He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death then he should have in his short lifetime.

He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed. He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding. Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood. And now we even have woman over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so. As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot...a short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.

Posted by Sarah at 08:45 AM | Comments (8)

March 27, 2004


Figures that Saddam would have a French lawyer.

And do we have to throw the no-WMDs-yet paragraph into every single article?

Posted by Sarah at 10:07 PM | Comments (6)


I had a realization today about the deployment. I can safely say that I have done less complaining about the soldiers being gone for a year than other wives I know have, but I have in fact grumbled a little about how long a year is and how hard it is on the soldiers. But today I realized I've been looking at this all wrong. Deployment is in fact the raison d'etre for a soldier. It's the default position.

My father is a sales manager for Carrier. His employer pays him to sell big corporate air conditioning jobs. They don't pay him to sit in his office and get ready to sell these jobs, or to have his co-workers come in and pretend to be potential buyers so he can run through a would-be scenario. His job is to actually do the selling. In the same way, my husband's job is to actually be a soldier, not just to train to be one. Going to CMTC and gunnery and training exercises is a vital part of my husband's preparation, but his actual job is to be in Iraq (or Afghanistan or Haiti or wherever the heck else they send him).

Therefore, I think the analogy to the Superbowl is not entirely accurate, though it still has merit. Instead I think that I should start looking at this is the way it's supposed to be. My husband is supposed to be in Iraq because that's what his job is, just as a firefighter is supposed to fight fires or a teacher is supposed to teach. In fact, I've heard the word "soldier" used as a verb many times in our short Army career, and all of a sudden it makes more sense.

A soldier is supposed to soldier. In Iraq. Period.

Posted by Sarah at 01:21 PM | Comments (6)


Pixy Misa from Ambient Irony helped me move over from my old Blogspot blog to my new one. I simply mentioned in a blog post that I wanted to explore other options, and abracadabra he set everything up for me and welcomed me on over. has been great, and it's been easier for me than Blogger (e.g. comments included, search engine for site, uploading photos, etc). So if anyone is interested in moving his blog or starting up a brand new blog, Pixy has made an open invitation to! There's always room for one more, and then maybe you can see your name in lights!

Posted by Sarah at 12:19 PM | Comments (9)


Thank the lord for Victor Davis Hanson...

Nor do we have anything to apologize about to the Europeans. We liberated the continent, sent it billions in aid, protected it from Soviet Communism, supported the EU and German reunification, created NATO in part to keep internal peace, intervened in Kosovo to stop more European genocide, and have well over 100,000 troops there still to protect it sixty years after it nearly destroyed itself. We no longer expect gratitude or even memory of the past, but we do expect maturity and not the patronizing lectures from a Spanish or French foreign minister who should know better — given the respective histories of their countries and our own during the last century.

Posted by Sarah at 07:51 AM | Comments (5)


The husband is leaving today for a week-long mission, so he wrote a long email yesterday before he left. Two paragraphs stood out as blogworthy...

The line for phones is HUGE! It doesn't look like I will be able to call tonight. What makes it worse is that I have to go out to XXXXX tomorrow for a week. So, if I don't get to call tonight, you won't hear my voice until next week. Emailing isn't bad though. I remind the guys about how hard we don't have it. Our grandparents generation fought in WWII where 1 in 4 died, hot food was unheard of and you didn't have waterproof jackets made of Gore tex. We finally got to the PX at FOB XXXX where one of the privates bought an X-box. Two of the others have TVs. I'd sure as hell like to get home as fast as possible, but it's not THAT bad. I guess I'm just frustrated at all the whining I'm hearing lately.

And later on down the email:

I haven't been doing as much reading as I thought I would. I still haven't
finished the Bernard Lewis book. I'm looking forward to the Christopher Hitchens book. If I hear one more private that didn't finish High School wax philisophic about the problems and OBVIOUS solutions to complex foreign policy problems, I'm going to scream.

Sounds like we're both dealing with under-informed co-workers! He closed by saying he was going to go read my blog; I'd bet you a DVD that makes him the only guy on his camp who gives up time communicating with his family to read the news instead. And I couldn't be happier.

Posted by Sarah at 06:58 AM | Comments (8)

March 26, 2004


The other day my mom called me laughing because her brother had just called her ready to blow a gasket while watching Kennedy on Meet the Press. Tanker pointed out something to me that I hadn't yet had time to post. Kennedy said:

Yeah, there would probably, probably. But I can tell you this: There would be a much greater participation of other countries around the world. This is laughable, this coalition. 85 percent of all the troops over there now are United
States troops, and 85 percent of the casualties--the casualties--are American troops. There's no reason that we can't have other troops from other nations participate and gradually free American troops from that responsibility. That would be the objective, and that would be the aim. I think that could be achievable.

Tanker then pointed out:

Multilateral, United Nations Authorized, France Approved,
Foreign Troops in the Korean War:

300,000 -- US
39,474 -- Foreign
339,474 -- Total

88% US

Australia 2,282
Belgium 900
Canada 6,146
Colombia 1,068
Ethiopia 1,271
France 1,119
Greece 1,263
Holland 819
Luxembourg 44
New Zealand 1,385
Philippines 1,496
South Africa 826
Thailand 1,204
Turkey 5,453
United Kingdom 14,198
United States 302,483

Posted by Sarah at 10:06 PM | Comments (7)


NotDeskmerc is just as witty and biting as Deskmerc:

I grow tired of the finger pointing over who is to blame for 9-11, and I haven’t even really listened to any of it. Just listening to people talk about listening to it is enough to make me want to read the Food and Wine section of the paper, instead.

Posted by Sarah at 12:17 PM | Comments (6)


I sent the new Bleat to my co-worker in an email since we were talking about Clarke yesterday and he gets his info from those horrible articles at MSNBC. I shock myself with my newfound gutsiness...

I'm also wearing my new Home of the Free t-shirt today.

Posted by Sarah at 08:35 AM | Comments (6)


When I taught ESL back in Illinois, the majority of my students were from South Korea. In my small conversation classes, we talked about the military, since many of the men had done their mandatory Korean service. The older gentlemen in my classes, those in the 40 year old range, thought very highly of the US military and insisted that the American presence was still very necessary. But they said that the younger Koreans don't see things the same way.

The nonprofit think tank’s report, released earlier this month, included two public opinion polls covering 1,710 South Koreans. Most South Koreans said they believe U.S. forces are important for security but also believe the 37,000 U.S. servicemembers stationed in their country may halt unification efforts with North Korea, the study said. And younger, better-educated respondents said they believe America poses a greater threat than North Korea.

Let's pause a moment and reflect on the word better-educated. In this context, it seems to me that this adjective is synonymous with head-up-their-butts or perhaps brainwashed-by-a-Leftist-agenda.

How is it in our country, as well as in Korea, the more educated you are, the less likely you are to be in touch with reality?

The United States is not preventing the reunification of North and South Korea. And I'll bet you a complete set of James Bond movies and $650,000 worth of Hennessey that anyone who thinks the US is more dangerous than Kim Jong Poofyhair obviously has not read a single thing about life in North Korea.

I'm starting to take real issue with the term better-educated. As one of Porphyrogenitus' readers astutely noted, "Waitresses and truck drivers are smart enough not to believe such patent absurdities. The amazing thing is that the majority of English and social science professors and journalists do believe them."

Posted by Sarah at 07:30 AM | Comments (10)


We made it to 30,000 hits folks; thanks! Of course, according to my referrals, 572 of those hits were looking for dirty photos, but oh well. Maybe one of those people tried to grok.

Posted by Sarah at 07:06 AM | Comments (10)

March 25, 2004


Our post lost a soldier last week. The memorial for PFC Jason Ludlam was held today, and unfortunately I couldn't get out of work to go. My friend went, and her description of the military roll call was enough to make me cry. I hope PFC Ludlam never doubted that there are people out there who appreciate his service and honor his sacrifice.


Posted by Sarah at 09:09 PM | Comments (7)


Bunker tries to help us grok the life of a soldier.

Posted by Sarah at 05:34 PM | Comments (4)


Blueshift responds to my a priori post.
I must say that the more I read about current events,
the less strongly I feel I can believe in the goodness of people.
But the more bloggers I meet,
the more I believe in the goodness of some.

Posted by Sarah at 09:53 AM | Comments (9)


OK, today is the first and last day I go read news on MSNBC. I am positively seething right now after reading articles about Clarke and Iraq One Year Later. And this article was the icing on my furious cake: ‘Old Europe’ unrepentant.

My main thought while reading this article was a black-and-white "whose side are you on?" Yep, call me a cowboy, but I believe you're either with us or with the terrorists, and the tone of this article infuriated me. The entire thing is written from the European's perspective, which is fine except the article is written by an NBC reporter.

The stings from U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s verbal attacks against Germany last year are still fresh. Derisively labeling Germany part of “Old Europe” and putting the country in line with rogue nations such as Libya and Cuba — as examples of other countries that were not supportive of the war — did not buy much American goodwill in Germany.

For the past year, Europeans have been waiting for an apology, but they have not gotten one yet.

When Rumsfeld was recently asked about the current state of U.S.-European relations and his “old Europe” remarks, he said the relationships were now “fairly normal.” Rumsfeld added that "he was too old to regret things he has said in the past.”

Germans have moved on and are hoping to start mending fences. "At present, bilateral talks between the two governments are mainly about reconciliation," said Klaus Proempers, a correspondent for German television ZDF.

You want an apology, Europe? I'm sure many of these people would be willing to give you one, but don't hold your breath for the government or the majority of Americans to let bygones be bygones.

Moving on:

An opinion poll by the German Marshall Fund reflected that a clear majority of Europeans want the European Union to become a superpower like the United States.

Ah ha ha ha ha. A clear majority of human beings want to be millionaires without lifting a finger and merely sitting around all day watching Becker, but that don't mean it's gon happen.

Chancellor Schroeder has rejected sending military support to Iraq, but he is hoping his announcement that German police will begin training their Iraqi counterparts this month will be seen as a gesture of goodwill.

And despite the fact that France and Germany have repeatedly rejected committing any NATO troops to Iraq in even a peacekeeping role, Germany has sent troops in Afghanistan and cites that as an example of how it is a reliable and dedicated NATO member.

Germany actually plans to increase its contingent of 220 German soldiers, stationed in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, as part of a so-called Provincial Reconstruction Team.

I'm sorry, I must have something crazy in my ear. Did you say two-hundred twenty? There are more than 220 soldiers from my husband's battalion alone in Iraq right now, and we're supposed to give Germany a gold star for effort and participation? Whew, thank god you pointed out Germany is "a reliable and dedicated NATO member"; I almost forgot, given the fact that their chancellor ran on a platform of Screw Bush. But at least some NATO piece of paper still says they're our ally, regardless of what they do or say.

Look, Europe has a right to their own positions. Journalists have a right to report them, though I wish that American journalists wouldn't play the Europe=innocent USA=naughty game. But if Europe wants to maintain their own positions and not work with us in the war on terror, then they can take care of themselves when the Paris suburbs erupt.

Or maybe we can send 220 soldiers to help them.

Posted by Sarah at 09:28 AM | Comments (10)


Woo-hoo, we're going to Poland!

In western Europe, which hosts about 102,000 U.S. military service personnel, most of the expected reduction would come in Army forces in Germany. The Army would withdraw more than 60 percent of its 56,000 troops in Germany, home to the 1st Armored and 1st Infantry divisions, officials said, and several overlapping high-level commands would be consolidated.

Posted by Sarah at 08:50 AM | Comments (9)


Mein Gott, Walter! as my co-worker always says.

Posted by Sarah at 06:37 AM | Comments (6)

March 24, 2004


Just got an email from my husband with funny stories in it. I don't want to give away anything OPSEC, but I wanted to share a part that made me smile. He had to go talk to the mayor of a nearby town about Problem X:

It was kind of cool. A room full of Iraqis were jumping through their ass
trying to impress your husband as they told him about [Problem X]. They
invited me to dinner and tea but I told them I had to go. I never thought I
would be a civil administrator in an Arab country while fighting an insurgency
against the only democracy in the region. If you would have told me that five
years ago, I would have called you crazy.

I'm going to see another town tomorrow about the same stuff. The only
translator available is yours truly so we'll see how it goes.

Posted by Sarah at 08:52 PM | Comments (6)


I like the new An American Soldier blog run by Drill Sergeant Rob. He answers questions about Basic Training that are funny. My favorite bit so far:

I'd like to make a complaint. My little sister is in Jackson right now and she called to tell me about all the fun and "privlidges" she has. So, when you get a chance, tell C company, x/xxth Inf Reg, 3rd Platoon that they are a candy cane unit.

I deleted the unit to protect the guilty. No they are not a candy cane unit. The proper military term is a candyass unit. And yes...they are. Don't worry, we already make fun of them enough. Unfortunately there are big differences in units here as far as how easy or tough the training and discipline is. There are even differences between Companies and Platoons. My unit has a pretty good reputation compared to a lot of units here. And my Platoon is definitely one of the most disciplined in the Battalion. I can't help what other commanders and Drills let their soldiers get away with. I am still going to do my best to turn out tough, disciplined, highly trained, physically fit, morally sound soldiers.

Posted by Sarah at 08:23 PM | Comments (6)


And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -- if all records told the same tale -- then the lie pased into history and became truth. "Who controls the past," ran the Party slogan, "controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple.

I put a pencil mark next to this 1984 passage the other day because of it's frightening impact on me. And today Amritas points me in the direction of a post entitled Pandora's Box. A.E. Brain found out that the Library of Congress keeps certain blog entries about the Iraq war for posterity. His curiosity piqued, Brain checked out the Australian equivalent.

So I did a search on "Iraq & Saddam". The results, frankly, astonished me. A result worthy of the Ministry of Truth.

Of the 4638 hits, I reviewed the first 1000. Of these, approximately 300+ were political anyalysis and commentary. Of that 300+, I found 2 that were neutral, neither pro- nor anti- war, but dispassionate analysis of alternatives. The rest were all anti-Bush, anti-War, anti-American.

I'm willing to admit that there are plausible arguments against the Iraq War. But if future Historians primary sources are so selectively filtered, leaving the inescapable impression that there was absolutely no pro-War support whatsoever... then that's re-writing history by omission. Whether the war was right or wrong is arguable. Or arguably arguable. That editorial articles exist in support of it is not a matter of opinion, but of fact.

We're twenty years late but we're well on our way, Orwell.

Posted by Sarah at 08:02 PM | Comments (7)


Maybe it's a coincidence, given the release of the movies, that over the past year I've seen many bloggers compare the battle between democracy and jihad to The Lord of the Rings. Would we have made that same parallel based on our fuzzy memories of those books? Perhaps not, but the parallel has been made, and there are moments like right now where I feel a surge of excitement and a call to battle. Reading Wretchard's post (via Europundits) sharpened my laser beam and reminded me once again that there's a war on. His post is one that stirs men's hearts and breathes life into their souls:

By striking at so senior a terrorist target, the Jihadis will be in no mood for negotiations. They themselves will cast away the Peace Process and sheer fury will make them forswear their favorite tactic, the faux hudna -- thereby granting Israel a meeting on the battlefield. For this is Israel's mortal challenge to Hamas which has often said it would kill the last Jew. The message, now ringing in their ears, is that the Jew will kill the last terrorist, beginning at the top.

Is this a call to arms? The pinnacle clash of civilizations?

Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day we fight! For all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!

Posted by Sarah at 08:38 AM | Comments (6)


What the Mars Rover really found...

Posted by Sarah at 07:42 AM | Comments (5)


I've been enjoying re-reading 1984, and I have found lots of stuff that I want to say about it, but that will have to wait. Briefly though, last night I found the Newspeak word for how I've been feeling lately: ownlife. Being alone, "individualism and eccentricity". That's how I've felt since my two best friends left for Iraq...up until the other day when I was talking to an acquaintance. Somehow the conversation twisted and turned until we were both nodding our heads that we support President Bush in the war on terror but think the Marriage Amendment is a bad idea. I think my jaw hit the floor. Someone to talk to...

Posted by Sarah at 07:40 AM | Comments (5)

March 23, 2004


If there's a bad blog post lambasting France, I've never seen it! Thanks, Kim.

By the way, Kim brings up National Piss Off Michael Moore And Buy A Gun Day on April 15th. After reading his blog for a couple of months, he's basically convinced me: I want to learn to handle a weapon. I realized the day my husband deployed what an irrational fear I have of weapons. I flinched every time my husband and fellow soldiers slung their rifles over their shoulders, even though I knew they were not loaded. In fact, I realized as my husband was showing off his pistol that day that it was the first time in my life I had ever touched a weapon. I have this hold-it-like-it's-a-baby-chick attitude about weapons that I'd like to overcome. Kim has convinced me that people should know how to respect weapons, and I want to learn that skill.

But we're in Germany, and guns are a strict no-no over here, so we'll have to wait until 2006 before I can even learn about weapons. Once we get home, maybe Kim can give me some pointers.

Posted by Sarah at 09:25 PM | Comments (20)


OK, time to step back for a minute. After a husband-inspired dinner of lil smokies and rum & coke and a rousing episode of Smallville, I'm ready to tackle the Arab-Israeli conflict growing on my blog.

I always thought the comments section of places like LGF or LT Smash was really fun: discussions growing on their own independent from the original post and blogger. I'm excited that my own readers are jumping into the game. But there are a few things I'd like to say.

I appreciate the fact that Joshua has been civil. He and I may disagree, but he politely asked me to re-grok, and I don't take that as a sign of trolldom. I also appreciate the fact that most of my readers seem to side with Israel, and I only encourage them to continue to be civil in their discussion.

That said, there are some other resources I'd like to point to, all taken from Charles Johnson's sidebar.

Myths & Facts Online: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Palestine Facts
Statistical Analysis of Casualties in the Palestinian - Israeli Conflict

I am the first to admit that I do not grok the entire conflict. I have read most of the information in the aforementioned articles, but I cannot say that I have completely understood everything. I am no expert. I tried to follow Joshua's advice and read the suggested works by Chomsky and Said, but they're both books, and I must honestly say that I don't feel comfortable purchasing their books. I would read an article online, but I don't particularly want to contribute money to their way of thinking.

I will say that I support the idea of the US being Israel's ally. They need all the allies they can get, and so do we. Seeing as we're both considered the biggest threats to world peace, we'd better stick together. Since we give plenty of money to craptastic countries like Egypt, I say why not give aid to a country that's a democracy and an ally?

I think Carla hit the nail on the head with the crux of this conflict though: "Palestinian leaders refused peaceable, 2-state solutions in 1917, 1937, 1948, and 2000. They do not want a right of self-determination, they want the elimination of the Jews." That's the main reason I can't support Palestine. They've been offered a compromise and have refused, opting for death over sharing. I can't support that under any circumstances.

Posted by Sarah at 09:10 PM | Comments (18)


Wow. Wow.

Charging people money for being wrongfully imprisoned.


Posted by Sarah at 11:24 AM | Comments (5)


I was going to spend a few hours composing my thoughts before I responded to Joshua's comment on my post last night:

do educate yourself on the occupation of palestine before you paint them as terrorists.

In 1948 the state of Israel was created by the US and Euro powers to form an area for the displaced jewish population after the World Wars. They re-captured and re-constituted the land of the Palestinians and begain to occupy the land stealing it from the natives. All supposed "terror" groups are fighting for the right of self-determination. This was done with backing by the US, which gives more in aid to Israel then the entire continent of Africa, even the helicopters used in the attack on Yassin are funded and sold by the US govt. America sends aid and retains allied with Israel to have a foothold in the politics of the Middle East. Israel attacks refugee camps, destroys homes and bulldozes farmlands. They are setting up an apartheid wall. to learn more about peace making in palestine.

feel free to email me about further discussion.

honestly, retry to grok this one.

So I got to work and saw that Oda Mae had already done most of the work for me:

There is no such group as "Palestineans" - the Romans changed the name from Judea to wipe out memory of the Jewish homeland. The British re-named the region that as a joke after WWI. The peoples who lived in that region were the gypsy nomads of the mideast that no other country would accept - see Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and so forth. Basically, the third world squatters of the Arab region. No culture, no nothing. NEVER an established government of "Palestine."

When the Jewish state was formed, the Jewish peoples did their best to co-exist. After all, many Jews already lived in Tel Aviv and had been coming for years back to THEIR homeland. The "Palestineans" would have none of that, with the help of their now-friendly neighbors in Lebanon and Jordan. With their backing and support, the Middle East Arabs tried to drive the Jews to the sea as part of a war against their "occupation" of THEIR OWN ANCIENT (Jewish - see Jerusalem and other Jewish towns mentioned in sections of the Bible) homeland. The Pallys lost. The Israelis defended themselves and in the process kicked Arab ass.

Did they then drive the Pallys into the sea? Send them into the desert to wander for 40 years? Did they, fuck. No, they continued to try to co-exist with the blighted buggers, to behave in a civilized manner until FORCED by the Pallys to take more extreme action to protect their country and interests. Good on them. Upset by chekcpoints, those inconvenient pesky searches? Here's an idea - stop telling the entire world your one goal is to kill all Israelis and destroy their country and MAYBE Israel will play nice. But, you know, when you keep blowing up buses and restaurants and synagogues and such, you shouldn't be too surprised when you're then searched for bombs whenever you come across the border.

Maybe you should read a bit of history NOT written by the PLO. No need to re-grok this baby! There's lots out there if you're looking for something other than propaganda.

Well, good gosh, when you think about it, the old Third Reich was an ancient civilization. I mean, it was based on ancient German legends, right? And the fact that they were trying to remove the Jews because they weren't part of that original First Reich - well, yeah, it's all making sense to me now! You Neo-Nazis, brothers under the skin with those poor oppressed Pallys. Go at it and GET those Jews this time around. Hurry, the Pallys need you!

They've created their own misery - now they're having to live with it. The Arab countries flooded peoples into "Palestine" where the right of return must be given if the Arabs had lived in 'their' homeland for two years. TWO - well, that makes an ancient civilization, don't you think? Check those figures in the third link to see the real picture.

You will note that the articles, albeit some by Jewish authors, are extensively footnoted with sources. The Palestinean cause is a poorly disguised Anti-Semitism. Would there be this hoopla if the country was still "Southern Syria"? Nah, I don't think so. Nor would there be much of a Gross National Product.

Sarah, in spite of the misleading hairstyle, I think Saruman was a bit complimentary. The guy was just a crippled Orc.

When I was in college, my views on Israel were of the fingers-in-ears variety. (I wrote about this back in November.) I didn't want to even think about it, even despite my fiance's urging. Without doing a single piece of research, it seemed to me that both sides had merit: you can't just give away land that already belongs to someone else, but you can't just kill people because they've been given some land. Seemed like they were both in the wrong to me back then.

But I daresay a week of reading LGF is enough to realize that something lopsided is going on. Just look at this photo again:


Where are the parallel photos of Israelis? Where are the Israeli prisoners released from Palestinian jails who vow to kill again? Where are the Israeli children with ski masks and machine gun toys?

So I have tried to grok a lot of info on Israel over the past two years, and I respectfully decline the offer to re-grok my position. For more on this topic, I defer to Nelson Ascher, the definitive voice on this issue, and point out this post of his. And if we're going to come down on Israel, then I agree with Vincent Ferrari (via Bunker): Let's remove all fences in the world.


Continued in Israel post.

Posted by Sarah at 09:25 AM | Comments (21)

March 22, 2004


But before I get in this joke in an email from a relative...

Little David was in his 5th grade class when the teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living. All the typical answers came up -- fireman, policeman, salesman, doctor, lawyer, etc. David was being uncharacteristically quiet and so the teacher asked him about his father.
"My father's an exotic dancer in a gay cabaret and takes off all his clothes in front of other men. Sometimes, if the offer is really good, he'll go out to the alley with some guy and make love with him for money."
The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly set the other children to work on some exercises and took little David aside to ask him, "Is that really true about your father?"
"No," said David, "He works for the Kerry campaign, but I was too embarrassed to say that in front of the other kids."

Posted by Sarah at 09:29 PM | Comments (7)


Hi. Sorry, wore myself out yesterday.

Big news, eh? Saruman is dead. Good riddance. If you think I'm going to feel any solidarity or sadness for these people, you've got another think coming.

What does that expression mean, anyway?

You know, I don't really feel like blogging tonight. I feel like chillin', watching a movie and then reading some 1984 before bed. I think I will.

More tomorrow.

Posted by Sarah at 06:56 PM | Comments (8)

March 21, 2004


Like I've said before, I'm no good at fisking. I don't really like to do it; it goes back to my post about being rude. But I also said that the published are fair game, so when I found this old article from Sept 2003 called The Terrible Truth About Iraq and started inwardly grumbling, I decided a fisk was in order. I won't copy the whole article here -- it's really long -- but I'll pull out some things that made me grumble. And swear. Sorry. The more I read, the more angry I felt.

According to polls last week, some 60 to 70% of Americans still think we were justified in invading Iraq. Apparently, the majority of Americans still agree with Paul Bremer, who recently referred to the invasion and occupation of Iraq as a "great and noble thing."

Can you feel the contempt for the majority of Americans? This is indicative of how the "educated" on the Left feel about us. We're dumb and need their guidance to understand how peace is the answer. If 70% of us see something as "great and noble", it's because we've been duped, hoodwinked, or lied to. Really we just need smart people like Freeman instead of morons like Bremer to show us the way.

The terrible truth that America cannot face is that the whole thing was never justified in the first place and is thus certainly not a "great and noble thing." If the invasion of Iraq was not justified, then our continued occupation of Iraq can only make things worse. Of course it is a terrible, terrible thing to subject the Iraqi people to the horror they have been subjected to if the war was never justified to begin with. Of course it is a truly terrible thing (and thus a mockery of the slogan--"support the troops") to send our troops into this nightmare if the war was never justified to begin with. Certainly the majority of Americans can recognize what a terrible thing this war and occupation are if the whole thing was never justified to begin with.

Is it just me, or does this paragraph say nothing at all? Seriously. I'm planning my syllabus for teaching ENGL 101, and I swear I'd mark Freeman down for wordiness. Freeman's trying to prove his point in a circular way, using something that 70% of Americans don't see as truth at all. If people don't accept that the war was unjustified, then none of this other junk in this paragraph matters.

Despite ample evidence that the Administration's whole case for war proved to be based on lies and distortions and never amounted in the first place to anything more than a fig leaf for the neo-con agenda, Americans have not been able to face the terrible truth. America can never hope to even begin to try to set things right until she faces the terrible truth. As a nation we can never begin to really confront the problem of terrorism until we face the truth about America and this war and occupation of Iraq.

Minus five points: using the phrase "face the truth" WAY TOO MANY TIMES. And, by the way, does this guy know anything about, to quote Ace Ventura, a little something we like to call evidence? Please point out to me how we "never adequately examined the case for war." I was under the impression that I had to watch a billion speeches in front of the UN last winter.

What is it that would justify war, if indeed anything ever justifies it?

Ah, there we go. That's what he's really saying. The "terrible truth" is that nothing ever justifies war.

If there really was any evidence at all that Saddam Hussein had indeed masterminded or provided assistance to the hijackers there would have been an obvious case for self defense and there is little doubt the United States would have gotten UN authorization for a military response. Only the most dedicated pacifist would have not found just cause to attack Iraq.

Oh please. I'm gonna have to call bullshit on that one. I seem to remember France saying they'd vote no on the resolution no matter what we said. Freeman is just making things up to advance his point, fabricating a what-if scenario that he can't possibly prove would have happened. I maintain the UN still would've wussed out and there still would've been protestors. And I'll back it up with the same evidence Freeman provides: because I say so.

The other major deception the Administration used to provide a just cause was the idea that Iraq was indeed an imminent threat to the United States.

No no no no no. Haven't we been over this a million times? I'm skipping this paragraph because it's worthless.

But now we know that it is all a moot point anyway, for as Hans Blix, the former UN disarmament chief in Iraq, has recently commented: "I'm inclined to think that the Iraqi statement that they destroyed all the biological and chemical weapons, which they had in the summer of 1991 may well be the truth." It turns out that Iraq may well have been in compliance with the UN resolution all along.

If Hans Blix says so, it's truth; if George Bush says so, it's lies. I don't give one good goddam what Blix is "inclined to think."

Freedman goes on to say that the last justification the Administration provided was latecoming and grounds for Bush to be "hauled off right then and there to the nearest insane asylum":

...we need to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein, at a cost of billions and billions of taxpayer dollars, not to mention the lives of many good young Americans, all just to--get this--bring democracy to the Middle East...

I personally don't care one flip about WMDs or yellowcake or imminent anything because I saw the big picture long ago. The Arab world is a freaking mess, and some of that mess has now started interfering with our lives i.e. the WTC. The big picture is that we most certainly do need to bring democracy to the Middle East to protect us all down the line. The fact that Freeman ridicules this notion proves to me that he doesn't grok and that we have no common ground whatsoever.

However, I will say that I personally wish the President would've addressed this before the war. I saw the big picture because I read USS Clueless and LGF and I already knew how important this antediluvian idea of jihad is to certain wackos. I wish the President had laid out the big picture for everyone to see. That's my one complaint.

Nevertheless, as so many Americans think the war was justified just to get rid of the evil Saddam Hussein, it might perhaps be worthwhile to pause and consider for a moment, purely as a philosophical question, whether it would make sense to extend the notion of just cause for war to include the idea of removing a brutal dictator in order to install a democracy.

Yep, I'm fer it. What's that, Freedman? You were just being rhetorical? You didn't really mean for me to answer yes. Oh.

In the case of Saddam Hussein, there is no question that he was a brutal dictator. However, most of that brutality, which the American people have been constantly reminded of over the last few years--that he gassed his own people for example--happened while he was supported by our government. Without that support, and with the presence of the UN and the focus of international attention, it was becoming increasingly difficult for Saddam Hussein to act as he pleased.

I'm sorry, I seem to remember jails full of children being opened during the war, a man who lived underground hiding from Saddam for like 30 years, and a poor Iraqi named Adnan Abdul Karim Enad who tried to reach freedom by climbing into Hans Blix's car only to be drug out and never heard from again. "Increasingly difficult" my ass.

Two years after 911, billions of dollars later, thousands of lives lost, and Americans are not really any safer--but we do now have a pipeline across Afghanistan and control of that vast resource beneath the sands of Iraq.

Not worth my time.

Let's not forget the military establishment. One thing this war proves is that the nation with the most powerful military in the world cannot be trusted with that power. What has to be questioned now is the whole military culture that has had such a pervasive influence in shaping American culture. The military knows plenty about the value of courage in war but apparently nothing about moral courage. One simply has to follow orders--the call of conscience, the voice of dissent is just forbidden. This undoubtedly has had a powerful impact on the shallow patriotism that blinded America to the terrible truth about this war. Support the troops? I feel so badly for those brave young men and women who had no idea what they were signing up for, who never imagined their country would send them into an unjust war and force them to kill innocent men, women and children. Those that don't come back in body bags, horribly wounded, or sick from depleted uranium, will still be scarred for life when they find out the terrible truth about the war. This war will turn out to be some recruitment poster. For the military establishment and culture it may turn out to be worse than Vietnam.

To quote James Lileks: Fuck you.

What do you know about moral courage, Freeman? Have you watched your battle buddy explode next to you? Have you gotten letters saying that what you do for a living is wrong, as LT Smash did? Have you talked to one single servicemember since 9/11 and heard the determination in his voice and seen the pride in his eyes? Moral courage is an 19-year-old Marine volunteering for his second tour in Iraq so he can make a difference in this world. Moral courage is going back into the WTC to help other out like Rick Rescorla did. You know nothing about courage, Freeman.

That so many Americans were so easily misled by lies and distortions is surely an indictment of our entire educational system. It has long been recognized that education is the key to democracy, but rarely if ever has it dawned upon Americans just what sort of education is that key. ... It's only an education that stresses the development of philosophical questioning and critical thinking skills that can be the best hope of saving democracy from the dustbin of history.

The key to our future is therefore not my husband's job, but Freeman's job. Ah, I see now. The Adjunct Professor of Philosophy thinks he's the one to lead us all to salvation. And how? By educating a generation of moral relativists who discuss the zen of multilateralism while sequining NO WAR onto their baby t's.

It seems to me there is no solution to the problem of Iraq without first facing the terrible truth that we should never have initiated this war of aggression in the first place.

Read: Now that I've wasted two hours of Sarah's time setting up what we should have done, I offer no solution for the present or future other than we never should've done it in the first place. Oh, and "at the very least, no American company should be allowed to profit from Iraq, especially one with close ties to the Bush Administration." I don't know how to fix Iraq, but I sure don't want American corporations to try. I just want to pontificate; someone else can deal with the pesky details.

See I'm a philosophy teacher. My job is to think about deep stuff while drinking a latte or smoking a pipe or something. I just write about what should have been or what could have been if another latte-drinker had been in the White House. The hard stuff, like pulling bodies out of the wreckage at the WTC or charging into the 6 of Diamond's house, can be done by people who aren't "educated" enough to be insulated by a university's walls. I'll prophesy about "moral courage" and "terrible truths", but I'll never grasp the philosophy of making the split-second decision to waste a terrorist who comes running at me with an RPG.

Thanks for that article from your ivory tower, Professor Freeman. Now I'm going to post this and go back to wondering when my husband will have water and electricity to make his 14 months a little more comfortable while he risks his life to protect your way of living.

Freeman. What an oxymoron of a name.

Posted by Sarah at 02:28 PM | Comments (18)


Chaplain Yee is going back to work. If I understand correctly, the charges against him couldn't be proven because of the "national security concerns that would arise from the release of the evidence" and not because they didn't have the proof. So this bastard is heading back to work instead of to 14 years in jail. Please excuse me while I smash something.

A quote from the AP article: "Some Asian-American activists supporters of Yee, a 35-year-old Chinese-American, have accused the government of racial and religious profiling." Religious profiling I'll give you. I think the military needs to do even more religious profiling because we seem to have had a string of shady Muslims getting into trouble in the past year. Profile away, I say. But racial profiling? Not in this case, bud. I hardly think anyone said, "Keep an eye on that Chinese fellow; they're known for passing secrets to the brown guys." Doubt it. But in our world, if you're non-white, you've got an excuse for everything.

Feeling bitter today, Sarah? Just a tad.

Posted by Sarah at 08:52 AM | Comments (5)


I know a German girl here whose parents are Syrian; she's friends with some of the wives I know. One of them last night said that this girl was offered $500,000 to go work as a contracter in Iraq "because she speaks...whatever language it is that they speak there."

Big neon reminder:
Very few people have a freaking clue what goes on in the world.

Posted by Sarah at 08:43 AM | Comments (3)


The husband asked me last year if I had thought 1984 or Brave New World was scarier. He was appalled when I said Brave New World. But I read them in high school, and I didn't grok anything when I was 18, so I'm reading both again to see if I feel differently about them.

I started 1984 last night and had a little chuckle in chapter one: I imagined Lefties reacting to the new Bush campaign ads much like the Two Minutes Hate. Ha.

Posted by Sarah at 08:21 AM | Comments (4)

March 20, 2004


Holy crap, I'm a jerk. I just got an email from a reader who said that my comments section thought he was spam and started swearing at him! And he's an Italian anti-idiotarian; I certainly have no intention of chasing him away! Come back, please!

So he gets his own plug here on my blog for being a good sport, reporting the error message, and saying "It is truly inspiring to read about how you cope with your husband's absence. I can only tell you that my heartfelt best wishes are with both of you. At least some of us old Europeans appreciate what you and he are doing!"

Go visit serenade...the coolest European ever.

Posted by Sarah at 01:39 PM | Comments (10)



Posted by Sarah at 09:20 AM | Comments (5)


DGCI explores why we blog.

I think I'd add another reason as to why I personally blog. It's because I have the same weakness as our President. Remember when Peggy Noonan wrote that article about why Bush is bad at interviews? She praised him for his scripted speeches but admits that he's bad at "talking points." I'm the same way. I blog because I'm horrible at extemporaneous debate. Someone like the conflicted Reservist or my co-worker catches me off guard and I stutter and grasp for an argument. It's one of the reasons I don't enjoy talking about politics in public: I never say things the way I want to and I always come away knowing I didn't represent my side very well. I spend hours every day reading the news, but when someone confronts me, I am absolutely horrible at defending my cause.

But blogging is sort of a "rough draft" for these moments. If I blog about something and get my thoughts in order, then when someone catches me off guard, perhaps I will remember my post on the subject and hopefully make a good showing. Cavalier X told me the other day that he's converted his officemates to the Right simply by discussing politics with them. I envy him, for this is simply not one of my talents. I hope that in time the blogging will help me improve on this weakness.

By the way, the conflicted Reservist will be joining me in my German class this term. Oh whoopie.

Posted by Sarah at 08:33 AM | Comments (2)


Ed's birthday was Thursday, and his children wrote him a blog post that made me smile. My favorite bit:

Dad, I am trying to be the Man of the House while you are gone and it is hard. Mom will not listen to me. I am trying to grow up and do your job and do not want it any more. Come home and take your job back, please. I love you. Happy Birthday.

Posted by Sarah at 07:58 AM | Comments (3)

March 19, 2004


I am a horrible person.
I found that out today, and it's been eating at me all evening.

There's something about the uniform that makes all soldiers look upstanding and dignified. The uniform is the great equalizer, and all soldiers who come in my office are treated the same. But on a training holiday, like today was, we often help soldiers in civilian clothes.

A soldier came in the office today dressed straight out of 8 Mile who wanted to sign up for my English class. My gut reaction as he said this was that he was never going to pass the grammar placement test to make it into the class. I handed him the test, and he brought it back to me with a nice side order of humble pie.

He got the highest score I've ever seen. And he wanted to look back over the ones he'd missed and try to figure out why he missed them. He shocked the hell out of me. We had a great discussion about grammar as we corrected his mistakes, and I told him I'd be incredibly happy to have him in my class. He shook my hand as he left, and I felt like a complete jerk on the inside.

I consider myself an open person. I actually loved 8 Mile. I even went through a stage when I was 18 where I dressed a bit "alternative", so I should be the last person to judge someone based on how he's dressed. But I did it without thinking today, and I'm ashamed of myself, especially since I was so obviously wrong about this soldier. I really don't feel good about my gut reaction today, but how do you change your instinct?

Posted by Sarah at 10:02 PM | Comments (7)


I said yesterday that I believe in the a priori goodness of people. I have to amend that statement. I regret to admit that I don't necessarily believe in the a priori goodness of many Muslims in this world. I wish I didn't have to say that, but it's true. However, it appears that some Muslims in London assume all Muslims are peaceful and good.

Zeiad, 56, an Egyptian who has lived in Britain for 25 years, told AFP: "It's not al-Qaeda. Why would they do that? The Koran condemns such activities."

"How could a Muslim, praying five times a day, do such a thing?" asked Rovshan Kharim, a 25-year-old Azerbaijani, who arrived in Britain just two weeks ago.

I hate the fact that these claims make me want to laugh, but they do. I have a really hard time believing in the inherent goodness of people who are devoted to Islam. I wish it weren't so, but it's true. It makes me sad to know that I've built up that prejudice in my mind, but it has grown out of two years of reading LGF and learning about the horrific deeds carried out in the name of Islam.

Posted by Sarah at 09:43 PM | Comments (5)


See, this I can respect. Poland says that they're disappointed they were misled by the WMD intelligence, but they still maintain that going into Iraq was the right thing to do. They also don't blame the USA for the bad intelligence; they only lament the fact that it happened. I think some informed criticism is legitimate and I applaud Poland for remaining a strong ally.

"We will be in Iraq as long as needed to achieve the intended goals, plus one day longer," Kwasniewski told Bush, according to Siwiec.

I knew there was a reason I'm dying to visit Poland.

Posted by Sarah at 09:33 PM | Comments (6)


Oh, this is rich. Germany wants our help getting a seat on the UN Security Council.

As Schröder himself said, "Es gibt Fälle, in denen die bewusste Nicht-Beteiligung auch Ausdruck verantwortlicher Politikgestaltung ist."

Posted by Sarah at 09:01 PM | Comments (4)


Tonight was Bingo night for the wives from our Battalion. I haven't played Bingo since high school French class, so I wasn't sure if I was going to go. I decided to at the last minute, and it was a good decision: I won the last game (blackout) and got a $50 gift certificate to the PX. Sweet.

Posted by Sarah at 08:42 PM | Comments (3)


Today is the one year anniversary of the shock and awe campaign. At the time, I was visiting my grandparents in New York while my husband stayed behind at Fort Knox. During that showdown 48 hours, my husband and I would talk on the phone and wonder what would happen. At 48 hours on the nose, he called, and we said, "Huh, I guess nothing is happening." We hung up, and that's when it started.

One year later, things have turned out better than I imagined that night last year. Enlistment into the Army has remained steady. They've darn near caught the whole deck of cards, including the father and sons who represented decades of Iraqi misery. We've rotated the entire Army in and out of Iraq; in the future it will be a shock to see someone who doesn't have a combat patch on his right shoulder. And it seems that slowly but surely the war on terror is working. Our take-it-to-the-enemy strategy has prevented another attack on American soil and scared the pants off of Libya. We've shown we're in this for the long haul, and we're not going to be distracted by weasels or donkeys.

A while back Glenn Reynolds said, "I realized after the second anniversary of September 11 that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and pacing is required."

Wise words.

Posted by Sarah at 04:19 PM | Comments (2)


OK, I'm not normally a fisker, but the bias in this Reuters article really ticked me off.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush sought on Thursday to paint Democratic White House candidate John Kerry as indecisive, in a new television advertisement that features a clip of the Massachusetts senator talking about Iraq just two days earlier.

" paint" him this way. Wasn't successful though. But poor Dubya tried really hard.

In a new example of the early rhetorical brawling that has marked this year's campaign, the Bush camp pounced on Kerry's explanation of a vote against Bush's request last year for $87 billion to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The commercial is slated to run on cable stations across the country. It includes a clip of Kerry telling an audience on Tuesday, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it."

The ad closes with the words: "John Kerry: Wrong on Defense."

Cowboy Bush has "pounced" on poor little Kerry. All this shameful "brawling" over something so minor as voting for something and then opposing it. Why should this matter to the public? It's not like anyone pays attention to voting records anyway, right?

The broader context of Kerry's remark -- made in response to an earlier Bush ad -- was his explanation that he supported a version of the $87 billion funding proposal for Iraq that would have paid for it by repealing of Bush's tax cuts on the wealthy. But when that amendment failed, Kerry voted against the bill.

The Republican president has been hammering Kerry for opposing that money, despite his 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq, in an effort to portray him as dangerously weak and inconsistent on security issues.

Reuters jumps to Kerry's defense to explain the context of his ridiculous quote, and then says Bush is "hammering" him, trying to make him look weak. Not succeeding, though. Poor Dubya.

Both candidates are trying to tout their credentials on national security and defense, amid the continuing U.S. war on global terrorism and instability in post-war Iraq.

Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, campaigned this week among fellow veterans and Bush on Thursday visited troops at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Ooo, look! A chance to throw in that he's "a decorated Vietnam veteran"!

"John Kerry opposed a red-inked, blank check on Bush's failed Iraq policy," Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan said in a statement responding to the ad, which he called "misleading."

Kerry has said that one of his concerns about the funding bill was that the Bush administration had not done enough to enlist international help with the Iraq operation.

The Kerry quotation is the same one ridiculed by Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) Wednesday in aggressively attacking the four-term Massachusetts senator's voting record.

Mean old Cheney is picking on Kerry. Those measly voting records. Who cares about those anyway? It's not like it's on the importance level of, say, National Guard sign-in sheets.

With the exception of the new quote, the rest of the nationwide advertisement is the similar (sic) to one released in West Virginia this week in which a narrator listed such things as body armor and health care for soldiers and suggested Kerry had voted against those when he opposed the $87 billion.

"The same misleading ads that the Bush/Cheney campaign dumped on the people of West Virginia, they are now dumping on the Nation," Meehan said. "The three weeks in a row of Bush misleading TV ads, and millions in cash, can't hide George Bush's record of broken promises and misleading America."

Couldn't find anyone from the White House to interview? Bush has nothing to say in defense of his commercials?

Can you not feel this dripping with bias? It's really disgusting. I know this isn't even the worst of these articles; I've seen much worse in the handling of Israel. But for whatever reason, this one ticked me off today.

Posted by Sarah at 01:28 PM | Comments (3)


Victor Davis Hanson is awesome. I'll read anything he writes, but I have been especially impressed with this interview with him. I'm even printing it and mailing it to the husband.

Good bit:

A final example: the President has raised domestic spending by 8% per annum, lavished funds on health care and education, offered near amnesty to illegal immigrants from Mexico, appointed a plethora of minority judges, cabinet officials, and administrators, and committed more AIDs relief funds than all prior administrations put together-and is still hated by our Left, simply because his demeanor, accent, religion, and even appearance don't validate the aristocratic Left's rhetoric about sex, class, gender, and the other. It really is a make-believe world in which a Barbra Streisand, Gore Vidal, or Arianna Huffington cheaply sound off from their estates about some purported cosmic evil fostered by poor deluded Americans hooked on K-Mart and NASCAR.

That's what I was trying to say yesterday. Naturally Hanson says it better.

Posted by Sarah at 07:14 AM | Comments (3)

March 18, 2004


Via Amritas I found a run-down of life in the Netherlands. It sounds almost identical to Germany, except for a few minor details.

-- Here, Americans are the only ones who ask for tap water in restaurants. The Germans I know think this is disgusting, and a waiter in an area that doesn't have many Americans will stare at you incredulously when you ask for it. "Why don't you get bottled water?" they ask. Uh, because it costs nearly four bucks -- more than the beer -- and the tap water tastes fine to me.

-- In Germany, you are responsible for celebrating your own birthday. You provide the cake and the party and you pick up the bill. My co-worker says she often has to take 10 people out to dinner on her birthday. I made her a cake this year, and she said it was the first time she could remember where she didn't have to make her own cake. I don't like that tradition at all. I laughed when I tried to imagine what would happen in an American company back home if an employee brought in a huge cake for his own birthday! Ha.

-- Recycling is equally serious here. I am required to recycle since I live on post, but I completely agree with the policy. Not because I'm some tree hugger, but because the American government has to pay the German government for every pound of refuse they dump in Germany. This amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, which is another good reason why our military should get the heck out of dodge. I try to be meticulous about recycling so I'm not wasting taxpayer dollars, but sometimes I get annoyed: separating glass by color is just busywork.

-- You can also pay your bills at the German bank here, but they charge you a three-Euro fee. Added up monthly over three years, that comes to an extra hundred bucks you're forking over for nothing, but most people just go ahead and do it. I set up a special account here just for our German phone bill so we don't have to pay the three Euros. I'll keep that for myself, thank you.

Posted by Sarah at 05:26 PM | Comments (9)


I still can't get over the fact that I know people who think that Bush has Bin Ladin and his going to pull a big TA-DA right before the election. This shocks me, and I think this morning I figured out why.

I operate on a daily basis on the a priori assumption that people are inherently honest and good. I assume that the people I meet are decent upstanding human beings, faithful to their spouses and honest in their jobs. I operate under that assumption until proven otherwise. I also assume that people naturally want what's good for them personally, what's good for others, and what's good for their country. I assume that, because that's the way I behave myself.

So when I read something like this, where people are constantly rehashing the idea that Bush lied and that he'll stop at nothing to stay in power, I can't believe it's true. I can't believe someone wrote this

He's also the first president to pre-emtively, unilaterally and illegally attack another country. I put NOTHING past these people and I mean NOTHING, including murder. If he's still down in the polls in Sept./ Oct.......we will see a terrorist attack and elections will be canceled and martial law declared. No doubt in my mind. These people are capable of anything.

because I do not operate under the a priori assumption that someone would resort to murder to get what he wants. I can't even fathom it.

I believed President Clinton when he said that he had not had relations with that woman. I believed him because I assume that people tell the truth. Naive? Perhaps, but shouldn't we assume that, for pete's sake? I believed him over all the rumors because I wanted to believe in the inherent goodness of the Presidency. I was wrong, I guess. And if Kerry were President, I would want to believe that he would tell the truth too. I might not be voting for him, but I would hope that he turned out to be worthy of our respect. I want to believe that others are trustworthy and good.

But it appears others don't.

How many times have we seen President Bush get the benefit of the doubt? With AWOL? With his Thanksgiving trip? With WMDs? With anything at all? People hated him from day one, and they've never even listened to what the man has to say. They a priori call him a liar. Geez, they even say he's going to resort to martial law if he's down in the polls in October! I can't understand that.

I re-read today QandO's Justification: A Post-War Review. It's so obvious to me that no one lied, that no one unilaterally did anything, and that no one should've been shocked that this was coming. It was justified. Period.

But people are blinded by their a priori assumption that Bush is Hitler.

Posted by Sarah at 05:07 PM | Comments (9)


The husband emailed today.
He was happy; he used a flush toilet for the first time since leaving Germany.
Ah, the simple things in life.

Posted by Sarah at 04:42 PM | Comments (6)

March 17, 2004


1. Today the temperature outside was 63 degrees.
2. The heater in our house is still on full blast.
3. I finally finished my sweater.
4. Taking a photo of yourself is really hard.
5. This photo is too blurry, but it was the best I could do.
6. I'm absolutely roasting now...
7. I want to wear the sweater tomorrow, but it's so freakin' warm.


Posted by Sarah at 09:48 PM | Comments (8)


I love my brother to death. He's always good for an entertaining story or a little excitement. I called him last night and spent a whirlwind ten minutes hearing about his recent trip to Vegas.

My brother is a gambler. A good one. He paid for his senior year of college by playing poker; he developed a reputation at his school until no one would play him after a while. So he had to go online; he plays Texas Hold 'Em night and day. My mom is less than thrilled that her son's part-time job is online gaming, but she's trying to deal with it. I was leery until I watched him play over Christmas: he plays three hands at a time and is able to keep track of all the cards and bring in the money. It's damn impressive, I must say, though the miser in me fears it could all go terribly wrong someday.

He had never been to Vegas before, so he and some friends went down for Spring Break. He went smart, though: he took a set amount of cash and left the ATM card at home. And my brother, balls of brass, walked into the Bellagio, sauntered up to the $200 minimum table, and played his heart out. He was up a lot, he was down a little, he told a great story of his 3 kings getting beat by 3 aces and missing out on a $1200 pot, and the thrill of his life was earning the respect of the other players at the table.

He also got to meet and get his photo taken with such poker greats as Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan. I wouldn't recognize these men if they knocked on my door, but my brother couldn't have sounded more thrilled. I told him to write all this up in a letter to send to my husband because it's a great story. He brought a huge smile to my face and then hurried me off the phone because he was on the way to a job interview to work for an online gaming company.

He's a trip; I love him to pieces.

Posted by Sarah at 10:38 AM | Comments (11)


Little Green Footballs is chock full of good stuff today and yesterday. Go over there and just keep scrolling.

Posted by Sarah at 08:34 AM | Comments (5)


There's a lot of buzz out there about Spain; I found tons of interesting things via The Best. I don't have the time before work to comment on everything individually, but I recommend that you read all of these:

The Spanish dishonoured their dead by Mark Steyn

an open letter to Jose Blanco by Al Maviva

Subspace Crystal Ball and The Stampede Begins over at The Best. And follow the footnotes.

Annika's posts 1, 2, and 3.

But there is one thing that I want to comment on in depth. Tim pointed out a WaPo article that unfortunately you have to register for, but it's worth the time doing so to read it. It's called Madrid Bombs Shook Voters: Distrust of the Government, Anger at U.S. Fueled Upset. It contains a little anecdote that nearly sent me through the roof:

Many here contend Aznar has adopted a servile stance toward the United States. In contrast, Socialist party leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero stressed his independence and willingness to criticize Washington. Many approvingly cited an incident during last October's Columbus Day military parade when Zapatero sat down as the American flag passed by. "It's not my flag," he reportedly said later.

You bastard. That speaks volumes to me about what kind of man Zapatero is. I knew a girl like that in high school, a girl whose family had dual Brazilian-Scottish citizenship but was living in the USA, never intending to become American. Yet they'd gripe and moan about the government, and this girl would talk and be rude during the National Anthem at sporting events. I've never forgotten or forgiven that. You show respect for someone's country during ceremonies, regardless of how you feel. There's a time for public disagreement, and there's a time for ceremony and respect. A Columbus parade is not the proper time for a political figure to point out how much he hates the US.

Here in Germany, we fly the German flag over our post. And at ceremonies, we stand in reverence for the German flag and national anthem. Does it burn me up inside that we have to do this for them when they don't support us in anything except spending our dollars in their economy? Yes, but I stand quietly while their flag is being raised. Because that's good manners and common courtesy.

But if Zapatero thinks he should make a political statement during a public ceremony like that, then I have no respect for him at all.

Posted by Sarah at 07:57 AM | Comments (12)

March 16, 2004


Today I noticed that I had a good number of hits from the comments section of an LGF post. Curious, I checked it out. Seems Amritas has called on my Swedish language skills to investigate how the explosives that detonated in Madrid came from Sweden.

Hur säger man "bring it on" på svenska?

Posted by Sarah at 09:44 PM | Comments (4)


This has to be a joke, right John? Frank J made it up, right? Holy crap, it's true? Anyone here who thinks that Bush hatred is not something to worry about needs to read this post on RWN today. John found an extremely frightening thread on the DU. The intro:

As we’ve heard again and again recently, if we are going to beat this bunch of rule breaking GOP misanthropes, we’re going to have to start fighting as dirty as they do. I started this thread for one reason, to get everyone’s ideas on a list of things we as Democrats can consider to stop the takeover of this country. This isn’t going to be a thread for the squeamish, or for the ideologically pure. Best to steer clear if that describes you.

Now we've already heard people like Moby say that lying is OK if it will help Kerry win. But these DUers lay it all out, provide strategy, and pat each other on the back when they come up with a new way to lie. I think my jaw dropped to the floor as I read these comments. I can't believe these are real people.

Posted by Sarah at 08:54 AM | Comments (10)


Greyhawk's story about Laura Bush's surprise visit to Army spouses at Fort Hood made me laugh as I had one thought: Did she bring a plastic turkey?

Posted by Sarah at 08:43 AM | Comments (4)


I've tried to stay very detached from the deaths in Iraq, because it's easier to deal with if your fences are nice and strong. But this morning I weep.

Kathy pointed out that a milblogger has died in Iraq. His is not a blog I've ever read before, but I went to read his final entry today. And I flat-out wept as I read it. One of the things he said should be highlighted:

I know it is not my money that I am giving away and I am not interested in receiving thanks. But it points out to the fact that this is a society that is in desperate need of everything. It is like pouring a cup of water out in a dry desert. The water disappears and you are left with the feeling of “did it do any good?” Sometimes the answer is “yes.” Sometimes the answer is “no.” Sometimes you wait for the flower to grow. I don’t mean to sound depressed because I am not. I am enjoying this work immensely. It is very gratifying…as long as the flowers grow eventually. I have hope that they will.

He ended his entry with a simple closing, one that breaks my heart to read today:

Hang on to your dreams!

Smash suggests we pay our respects. I think that's a good idea. And, Bob...we'll make sure the flowers continue to grow.

Posted by Sarah at 07:27 AM | Comments (7)


I told my mom last night about how Oda Mae's vote is going to cancel out my co-worker's vote in the November election, and apparently my mom is going to be doing some cancelling-out of her own. Today is the Illinois primary, where my mother will be voting Al Sharpton. Hysterical. If Democrats wanna play anyone-but-Bush, then my mama will give them a taste of anyone-but-Kerry. What a little saboteur...

Posted by Sarah at 07:13 AM | Comments (6)

March 15, 2004


As I was watching Not Without My Anus tonight over a delicious meat dinner, I had a funny thought: wouldn't it be grand if we could torture Saddam Hussein by making him watch all of the South Parks starring him over and over on a loop?

Posted by Sarah at 08:11 PM | Comments (7)


I was thinking about the annoying conversation between my co-workers as I was cooking my delicious cow-on-a-bun for dinner. I keep my mouth shut all the time at work. Despite the fact that we're on a freakin' military post and people around here should value and respect the USA, I never talk about politics or things that I think aren't good office talk. I respect my German co-worker and don't want to make a fuss. But do they even consider for a moment that maybe I'm not turning cartwheels at the thought of John Kerry? Nope. Completely unprovoked, out of the stinkin' blue, my officemate says, "Do you think Bush already has Bin Ladin?" Immediately, without taking a breath, I answered with a firm "no." To which the other officemate supplied a "yes." I looked at both of them and said, "You can't really be serious?" and they said that they were, that they had heard that this might be true. They heard it, like it's on the same level as rumors about whether Johnny made out with Susie over the weekend or whether we're getting a Subway in the old Bookmark building here on post. I looked at the American co-worker and said, "Do you really have such little faith in your own government?" and he said, "I do if Bush is in charge." And that was the end of the conversation.

I have never brought up politics in our office, and I've made it a point not to say anything unless asked a direct question, but they have to be warming up to the idea that I'm not a Bush-hater. I already know that they are both extreme Bush-haters; in fact, my one co-worker who is a German with American citizenship through marriage, and who has never lived in the US, is going to register to vote for her very first time ever just so she can vote against Bush. (That really pisses me off.) I am just waiting for the day that someone asks me outright who I'm voting for.

So while I was cooking my beef, I started thinking about how many DVDs you'd have to offer me to vote for Kerry. The number is much much higher than how many I'd give to talk to my husband. I can safely say that if someone offered me $100 to vote for Kerry this year, I would turn it down. So I raised the bar in my mind: would I take $1000 to vote for Kerry? In my janky little part-time job, I make roughly $1000 per month (oh god that's ridiculous for someone with a Masters Degree.) Would I give up the chance for an extra month's pay to vote Kerry? You bet your sweet bippy. I would sacrifice one month's pay to have an extra four years of President Bush instead of Kerry.

Wait til my co-workers hear that one.

Posted by Sarah at 08:07 PM | Comments (9)


I have some closing thoughts on the end of The Gulag Archipelago. I have finished Book I, and I think I need to move on to something a little cheerier for a while before I tackle Book II. But I'll be back.

Overall, I agree with Bunker that it's a book that should be read. I considered myself a pretty good student in school, and I never heard anything about the atrocities committed in Stalin's Russia. And I even took a Russian literature class in college! This stuff was horrifying, and I wish more people were aware of just what happened during those "glorious" Communist years.

If one takes the view that Latsis is not deliberately understating the real figures but simply lacks complete information, and that the Revtribunals carried on approximately the same amount of judicial work as the Cheka performed in an extrajudicial way, one concluded that in the twenty central provinces of Russia in a period of sixteen months (June, 1918 to October, 1919) more than sixteen thousand persons were shot, which is to say more than one thousand a month.

This passage is highlighted with a revealing footnote:

Now that we have started to make comparisons, here is another: during the eighty years of the Inquisition's peak effort (1420 to 1498), in all of Spain ten thousand persons were condemned to be burned to death at the stake -- in other words, about ten a month.

People were put to death for as little as shaking a fist at a Communist, or as vague as "wrecking", the simple charge of doing anything that might hurt the Soviet Union. And anything could be twisted into wrecking. An engineer suggests that they could research a way to save fuel: wrecking -- reducing resources. They would increase the size of train cars to make them more efficient: wrecking -- tying up funds. Suggesting that they buy cheap train cars now and then replace them later when the technology is better: wrecking -- suggesting the Soviet Union not have the best type of machinery. And so on. And all these charges of wrecking, twisted around no matter what you did or said, brought you a death sentence. Unbelieveable.

There was a great anecdote at the end of the book that made me laugh out loud. There are some who will just never grok when someone stands up for what he believes in:

When, in 1960, Gennady Smelov, a nonpolitical offender, declared a lengthy hunger strike in the Leningrad prison, the prosecutor went to his cell for some reason (perhaps he was making his regular rounds) and asked him: "Why are you torturing yourself?"
And Smelov replied: "Justice is more precious to me than life."
This phrase so astonished the prosecutor with its irrelevance that the very next day Smelov was taken to Leningrad Special Hospital (i.e., the insane asylum) for prisoners. And the doctor there told him:
"We suspect you may be a schizophrenic."

Posted by Sarah at 05:22 PM | Comments (6)


I've been too busy to read CavX for the past few days, and it seems I've missed out. He always picks up on the nuances that I miss:

Wait a second... am I missing something here? Everyone's concerned that al-Qaeda may be behind the attack on Spain because they're angry that Spain was our ally in Iraq? I thought that the Liberals and other anti-liberation groups have been insisting for a year that al-Qaeda may have been in Afghanistan, but had nothing to do with Iraq. Why are they suddenly concerned that al-Qaeda committed an act of terrorism in Spain because of its involvement in Iraq, without mentioning Afghanistan? According to Liberal doctrine, Osama bin Laden hated Saddam and wanted him removed for ideological reasons.

Holy crap, he's right. And these are the people who accuse our President of twisting facts around to fit his cause...

Posted by Sarah at 04:20 PM | Comments (4)


A very sane article out of Seattle, via Bunker.

Posted by Sarah at 04:02 PM | Comments (6)


Already not a good morning. So far I've had to listen to my two co-workers talk about how President Bush has Bin Ladin already and is going to bust him out right in time for the election. Then I had to take a Sexual Harrassment test for my new job that really irritated me. All I had to do though was answer the exact opposite of my own personal feelings and I ended up with 100% correct. Grrr.

Posted by Sarah at 10:48 AM | Comments (7)


Before I forget to remind everyone, it's International Eat An Animal For PETA Day. Michelle is pushing this through, which is hysterical; I can't decide what to make for dinner yet...


Posted by Sarah at 07:40 AM | Comments (9)


I had other things I wanted to write about this morning, but then I saw the results of voting in Spain. Via LGF I went over to Daily Kos and found this:

While I very much agree with Meteor Blades, that Stirling is providing the best stuff on the web about Madrid, I do disagree that this is a potential pattern for the U.S. In Spain, 90% of the populace opposed the war in Iraq as they, like the majority of Europeans, thought it would increase terrorism not decrease it, and the bombings confirmed this interpretation. In the US, alas, the majority still see Iraq as part of the war on terror and if a similar event happenened before the US election - god forbid - I think the response would be just the opposite, the need to intensify the fight and rally around the flag and vote Bush. Look what happened to Dean when he told the truth about Saddam's arrest not making America safer.

This commenter sees this as a bad thing, but I see it as the fundamental difference between Europe and America. Europe believes in appeasement and collectivist internationalism; the US believes in kicking ass and taking names. The Lefties at Daily Kos and many people my age are horrified by the US's "get 'er done" attitude, but I see it as the only way this fight will ever end.

I'm saddened to see one of our strong allies disappear. I'm sad that if they leave us out to dry in Iraq, I won't be visiting their country, and I'm a huge fan of southern Spain. But Spaniards have shown their priorities, and they don't jive with mine. Though, as Belmont Club said today, "Although many commentators have excoriated the Spanish electorate for its capitulation to terror, we must never forget that the slightly smaller half decisively rejected it. These we honor and the rest we pity."

Any future-Americans among that slightly smaller half?


Read Nelson Ascher.

And Porphyrogenitus and I have a cyclical back-patting going on. He's right, if I may paraphrase, that some Americans grok 3/11 like some Europeans grokked 9/11, but the vast majority just don't care.

Tom reminds us that this is what the electoral college is for.

Posted by Sarah at 07:30 AM | Comments (11)


Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks 1-77 gets too much attention from Stars and Stripes. Scroll down to Servicemembers unrecognized.

Posted by Sarah at 06:44 AM | Comments (6)

March 14, 2004


Oh yeah, recently others have posted photos of where they blog. Here's where the magic happens, folks.


Posted by Sarah at 10:41 AM | Comments (9)


I've decided the best part about a deployment is the way you rearrange your priorities. My husband is the only person who knows my cell phone number, so when it rang Friday at work, I grabbed it and ran out of the office. Work wasn't important, being polite wasn't important, all that mattered was contact with a loved one. It's funny because my husband used to call me at work all the time before he left, usually to arrange a time to pick me up at the end of the day. I often hurried him off the phone or hung up with him when a student came in the door. But now, the student can wait.

And the thing is that you never know when you'll have your last phone call. Tragedies occur every day, and my husband had just as much chance of dying in garrison as he does in Iraq. But I cherish him all the more now that he's gone. I write him long letters every day, explaining every detail of Reservists who bug me or a funny incident in class. When mortality is staring you in the face, you cherish what you've got. I encourage all of you to cherish your relationships as well, especially the ones who aren't deployed. They're the ones we tend to put on the backburner.

I also was thinking yesterday about how lucky I am that my husband is merely deployed. Last night I watched the movie Amistad and then read more Gulag Archipelago before bed; oh how much worse life could be. If you choose to look at life through the right lens, then deployment seems like a trifle. If fate had treated me differently, my husband could've been sold into slavery and taken from me for forever. Or he could've been put in a Stalinist prison for ten years simply for "failing to turn in a radio receiver" to the government. There are much worse things I could be facing right now, and the thought of that gives me strength to endure the simple one-year deployment we now face.

Posted by Sarah at 09:50 AM | Comments (8)


Amritas pointed to a comment on LGF that really made me mad. An Israeli family was in a New Mexico bookstore speaking Hebrew to each other when an American woman overheard them:

Suddenly the other mother said to my girls 'wow what a beautiful language ! What is that?" Eden innocently and very cutely told her " its Hebrew.. we're visiting from Israel" this womans smile vanished and she gave them a blank stare, said " oh. really." and than.... started telling her partner" do you know, I am going to start taking that Arabic language course,, it has a really cool Palestinian teacher, and I think it will be really broadening to learn it, blah blah;ah blah;ah" very very loudly. I was shocked.

The first thing I thought of when I read this was that Point-Counterpoint on Nigeria from The Onion. The American kid is envious of the rich cultural Nigerian heritage, and the Nigerian simply says, "Get me out of this godforsaken hellhole." It's a wonderful parody of how Americans multiculturalize everything and truly don't understand the vicious struggle that goes on in other countries.

I got a new button yesterday for my sidebar: I'm a Proud Friend of Israel. If I had been in that bookstore in NM, I think I would've beat that woman with a sack of Valencia oranges.

Idiotarianism makes me violent.

Posted by Sarah at 09:13 AM | Comments (9)


Hey, SGT Hellerman, you totally stole my gimmick! I'm the one who peeks out of the tank, got it?

(Fun article on tanks. But you have to look at the photo on Sunday, because there's no permalink for the main page.)

Posted by Sarah at 08:29 AM | Comments (8)

March 13, 2004


Bunker's boys sound like a real hoot. He posted a great photo today of his son making mischief in Iraq.

Posted by Sarah at 07:31 PM | Comments (8)


I've given up completely on the media, so I don't even bother to turn on our one news channel here. Ever. So when I got a phone call this morning from our FRG saying that there was nothing to worry about, that the two soldiers who were killed were not from our Brigade, I wanted to say Huh? Because I'm not following the death toll. That phone call this morning confirmed my theory that if anything happened that I needed to know about, I would hear firsthand from our chain of command and not from the news. I can't sit by the TV or AP feed and wait for that kind of news; I've chosen instead to live on a need-to-know basis.

Posted by Sarah at 04:44 PM | Comments (5)

&%$@ WMDs

Dogs made a funny statement yesterday that I can relate to: "I visited all 4,593,299 available weblogs this morning. I can't find anything to comment on that hasn't already been commented on in exactly the way I would have commented. What this means is that I must scratch around in the recesses of my mind for some other 'original content,' which I don't have right now." I read this morning thinking that I would come up with something new and interesting to say, but all I keep tossing around in my head are things that I've already shouted into a cave.

Yesterday I met a Reservist who was the most conflicted man I've talked to in a long while. He went off on a tirade against the USA and then switched gears mid-rant and slammed the Germans for a while. Then he talked about his recent tour in Iraq and what a good thing it was that the US had gone to help Iraqis, but then did a half-gainer and started saying that the US is the most dangerous country on the planet. He thinks the war in Iraq is just, but he wants Hillary to be President. He has some serious issues.

But one of the things he brought up was the WMD. Those jävla förbannad WMD. Sweet Jesus, I wish we could all look at the big picture here and forget about those stupid weapons for a minute. What did that Marine say the other day? "You can't even find an AK-47 in someone's home" so how can they expect us to find all weapons in Iraq right away?

Look, we should all agree on one of two things. Common ground, you know. Either Saddam had WMDs and has hidden them or gotten them out to Syria or somewhere else, or Saddam was so mean that no one told him the truth that they really weren't able to make any WMDs. So, if we must be forced to keep talking and thinking about those mfing WMDs, we have to assume that no one lied. President Bush honestly did think that Iraq had weapons or the potential to make weapons, just as both Clintons, Albright, Kennedy, and many others said back during the last presidency. And we have to assume that Saddam himself thought that he had WMDs, for what else would have made him feel so gutsy? Either he had them, or he was duped big time.

So when a Reservist says that we were right to go to war, but it was under false pretenses because we haven't found any WMDs yet, I want to rip his everlovin' head off. Especially when he's just finished telling me a story about how he stumbled upon dozens of dead bodies in a Ba'ath Party meeting house in Iraq that had been rotting for months. Months. Why hadn't anyone found those bodies before? I mean, they had months to find them, right? Well how come they weren't found earlier?

He also said that since the US has WMDs, we shouldn't be allowed to tell others who can and can't have them. Hmm. So since my husband carries a weapon in his job, he shouldn't be able to say that others can't do the same? If Iraqi shopkeepers, farmers, and reporters think it's OK to carry and use weapons as often as a soldier does, then that should be OK, right Reservist man? Who are we to say they can't, after all. Why don't you go back to Iraq and do your job again under these new "we're all equal" conditions?

And to say that the US is the most dangerous country in the world is just plain stupid. I asked this man straight out if he thought that head-to-head the first country to use a nuclear bomb would be the USA or Saddam's Iraq, and he said us. He is a damn fool. I know plenty of wives here who would love to see him proven right. I've heard many of them say we should've just nuked Iraq into a parking lot and not wasted our time and money on this stupid war. I know wives who don't give a flying leap about Iraqis and would push the button themselves if it meant their husbands didn't have to go spend a year on the other side of the earth. If this Reservist actually believes that our government is more ruthless than Saddam's, then he needs a big reality check. And I'm tired of hearing this nonsense.

I'm just sick of it. Of Michael Moore and John Kerry and Sean Penn and Jacques Chirac and everyone else whose image of the United States is that we're just itchin' to start somethin'. I'm tired of people saying we're a bully, as if we enjoy sending our troops to all these jacked up countries all over the globe to try to straighten out some centuries-old mess. I'm tired of people glorifying the UN, which couldn't even buy peace without a hefty contribution from the US. And I'm so tired of trying to explain world events and foreign policy to people in the military, people whose job it is to enforce it.

And I'm tired of hearing about those f-ing WMDs.

Posted by Sarah at 09:53 AM | Comments (12)

March 12, 2004


My husband had to run an errand in Iraq today to the F.O.B., so he got to use the phone. He sounds great, optimistic and ready for a challenge. It was so nice to hear from him and know that he thinks things are going to be OK. If he thinks so, then I feel good too.

Posted by Sarah at 01:05 PM | Comments (5)



Posted by Sarah at 07:42 AM | Comments (6)


We're at the halfway mark for troop rotation in Iraq, and you'd never know it. If you don't know someone in Iraq or don't read a servicemember's blog, you would never know what's going on in a small port in Kuwait. Thousands of men are moving in and out of the most dangerous region we can imagine right now, and it's not even newsworthy. Because it works like clockwork. Sure there are some broken cots and some long lines, but so far this rotation has gone amazingly smoothly. Our military can get 'er done.

Posted by Sarah at 07:38 AM | Comments (6)


I read this entire thread from last week over at Smash's last night, and something didn't sit right with me, but I couldn't place it until this morning when I watched the ads again.

Many of the commenters said that they approve of President Bush's ads, except for one part. They approve of using footage of the WTC, but they didn't like the two-second clip of firefighters carrying a flag-draped coffin. That was crossing the line to them.

Didn't we have a big debate in our country back in October and November about how President Bush was being sneaky for not letting journalists photograph flag-draped coffins coming home from Iraq? People were outraged that he was "candy-coating" the war and not showing the human price that we've paid. But in his ad, when he shows the human price we paid on the morning of September 11, people say that it's in bad taste?

I don't grok.

I think it's the exact opposite. Intentionally shooting footage of servicemembers' coffins coming home to sway opinion on the war -- and that is indeed what certain journalists wanted to do -- is manipulative. Using footage that's "public domain" from September 11 to represent what happened that day is, in my opinion, appropriate.

And, by the way, when do we get to see Kerry's ads? I wonder if he's cookin' up a good one with flapping Bush and Cheney heads farting on each other and laughing à la Terrance and Phillip. Or a flag-draped coffin from Vietnam. Or one with lots of bleeped-out swear words.

Posted by Sarah at 07:21 AM | Comments (6)

March 11, 2004


Now, I'm not nearly as good at photoshop as others are, but this was my first thought when I heard about Mrs. Kerry's buttons. What does she think this is, The Terrance and Phillip Show? Not classy, lady.


Posted by Sarah at 08:29 PM | Comments (10)


LGF found a touching article called Defending America that caught my eye because it opens with a quote from Dinesh D'Souza. I've never seen any bloggers talk about D'Souza, but he was personally instrumental in helping me discover my beliefs.

During my senior year in college I had to attend a mandatory lecture for a class on Malcolm X (which I took because I hated X and wanted to learn more about him. Learned more; still hate him.) This lecture was given by a speaker I'd never heard of before named Dinesh D'Souza. His speech was against affirmative action. We were a room full of students listening to his hour-long lecture, and I thought his argument was concise, informed, logical, and accurate. He opened up the floor for questions, and immediately everyone in the room pounced on him. No one agreed with him. People yelled, picked on him, argued, acted disgusted...and I sat there slowly realizing that the speech I had just whole-heartedly agreed with and understood was not received the same way by anyone else in the group. I started to really question my values and wonder why they were so different from my classmates' and the other listeners. That was the moment I realized that I had attended the lecture alone, quietly listened to a speech, formed my own opinion independent from anyone else's input, and found that no one else had heard what I had heard. That moment has stuck with me, and I consider it the turning point when I realized that I looked at the world differently from my peers. I have D'Souza to thank for that revelation, and I've never forgotten him. I've since read his books and have enjoyed them very much.

Posted by Sarah at 07:43 AM | Comments (9)


For those of us who get a headache at the mere thought of trying to read the new Iraqi constitution but still want to know what's in it, Den Beste's our man. Naturally.

Posted by Sarah at 07:30 AM | Comments (7)

March 10, 2004


Oh Frogman, your bumper stickers are the best.

OK, I miss my husband. I just found out today he's made it to Iraq, but his new home has neither phones nor internet connection. And then I got drunk in my German class (wine tasting night), so I'm feeling a little melancholy. Hey, maybe a little Gulag Archipelago could cheer me up. Crap.

Posted by Sarah at 09:54 PM | Comments (7)


I've never posted any knitting on my blog before, but some people said they'd be interested in seeing it, so I thought I'd post a photo of a work in progress. I still have to make the arms, but this is what it looks like as of now.



Someone asked how long this took. Well, I think it took about 25 minutes for an inch (basically one inch per South Park) and it's 23 inches each front and back, so mmm mmm carry the one mmm that means it took about 24 hours to knit. Of course I didn't watch that many South Parks in a row; I've been working on it in the evenings for about three weeks. And this one is for me. The next one will be for the husband, and I'll probably just mail him a photo of it and not the sweater. We joked about that before he left, that he could hold it up in the desert El Guapo style: "It's a sweater!"

Posted by Sarah at 06:11 PM | Comments (6)


Capt. Joel Cunningham of 10th Mountain’s 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment is in Afghanistan right now. He characterized the war on terror in a way I've never heard before.

"It's like working a jigsaw puzzle blindfolded and drunk."

Much of what our servicemembers do is extremely difficult work. It's hard to tell who the bad guys are. It's hard to scour an entire country for one man or one WMD. And our troops often don't have all the pieces to the puzzle; I remember reading that a reporter told a LTC that Saddam had been captured just 50 miles from where they were in Iraq, but the news had not reached them yet. Each unit focuses on their individual mission to help complete the big puzzle that our Commander-in-Chief and Secretary of Defense see.

While sitting with other wives at dinner one night, one of them said something that stuck with me. She said that going to Iraq is like going to the Superbowl; it's the culmination of everything you've practiced for in your whole career. I like that analogy. Another woman remarked that every soldier she knows who is not in Iraq desperately wants to be there, which made me proud of the caliber of soldiers we have in our Army. I feel proud that my husband can be a part of the culmination of all of the Army's work, the conclusion of interactions with Iraq that have lasted for 13 years, and the beginning of a new Iraqi constitution and chapter in Iraq's history. I'm proud that he can help contribute to that puzzle in a significant way. As my friend said, "Evenings are no fun, but like you said, as sad as I am, I'm just so incredibly proud. If you think about it the guys were really lucky, I mean how many people can say they were a platoon leader during actual conflict?"

What a positive attitude: our husbands are lucky. Our soldiers are lucky to be part of something so monumental in history. When the puzzle is complete, all their work will make sense, and a beautiful new Iraq will emerge from the pieces.

Posted by Sarah at 04:21 PM | Comments (5)


Our Division lost her first soldier.

Sacred Words.

Posted by Sarah at 03:58 PM | Comments (8)


Through our Family Readiness Group we got a list of planned demonstrations in Germany for the month of March. Dang, Germans demonstrate a lot. Most of them are anti-war with the occasional free-Tibet thrown in there, but there is one in Heidelberg on 20 March which is supposed to be pro-USA. We military folks are not allowed anywhere near these demonstrations, whether they're pro- or anti-, but if anyone else is in that area and could go, I'd love to hear about it.

Posted by Sarah at 10:38 AM | Comments (8)


In a weird twist of irony, my dislike of Kerry is reaching bushian proportions. The thought of Kerry becoming president both scares and repulses me, which I imagine Bush does for many other people. But at least I can point to concrete reasons why I vehemently oppose Kerry the Waffler for president, like this account of Kerry supporting unilateralism in Iraq...back in 1997 before Hitler, I mean Bush, was at the wheel. For pete's sake, Kerry, this is the age of the internet. It's so easy to find what you said before; you'd better start being consistent.

Posted by Sarah at 07:38 AM | Comments (12)


Victor Davis Hanson has his own blog site now! Excellent. Thanks, LGF. Sorry about stealing your pig.

Posted by Sarah at 07:30 AM | Comments (4)

March 09, 2004


I freaking hate the New York Times, but I have to give them credit today for doing an entire story on our Brigade. (Ugh, login required. Did I mention I freaking hate them?) It includes quotes from our Colonel, who is not only the most motivated guy you'll meet, but also has the highest PT score of anyone on our post. There's also a quote from our Lieutenant Colonel, who's an all-around great guy. It's nice not to read about 1-77 for a change (wink).

I'm stealing Charles Johnson's flying pig photo to capture the moment I was grateful to the NYT.


Posted by Sarah at 08:25 PM | Comments (3)


I played volleyball in high school with a girl who had wanted to be a gymnast. I guess she had shown a lot of promise as a child and had the potential to be quite a gymnast until she hit her growth spurt and topped out at 5'11". She had to give up gymnastics and instead started playing volleyball. She was a good player; she was very strong and her height was certainly an advantage. I think she might've even gone on to play in college. But you could always tell her heart was never in it; in her heart she was a gymnast. She never let go of the gymnast she could have been, and it must've killed her to see others do the one thing she wanted to do.

Tonight as I was working at a college fair, a female soldier came to find out information about classes and started telling us stories about Iraq. She just got back on Saturday, and she captivated the librarians and counselors with her tales from down range. The other civilians seemed horrified at the life she was describing, but all I felt was jealousy. I wanted to have her job so badly. Listening to her, I felt a sadness in my heart that I cannot explain; my heart was mourning the soldier I would never become. Everything this 21-year-old girl described was a reminder of how meaningless my life seems, a reminder that I have to watch others do the one thing I wish I could do.

Here on post, surrounded by camouflage, I feel like a gambling addict in Vegas, like an alcoholic in a bar, like a thirsty man in a lifeboat. Everyone I see is a constant reminder of what I will never be: the soldier in my heart. And it hurts in a way that most of you will never understand.

But god how it hurts.

Posted by Sarah at 07:58 PM | Comments (7)


The Chief may be home, but he's turning right back around and heading to Iraq again. At least it will get him away from the godawful tv.

Posted by Sarah at 09:55 AM | Comments (3)

March 08, 2004


If you're me, you still call your daddy any time you have a car problem. I can explain the trouble to him in moron-ese over the phone (what does it mean when the car sounds like a Model T / smells like formaldehyde / idles like a vibrating chair / makes that grrraaarrrr noise...) and then he can troubleshoot for me so that when I finally call the mechanic, I can all nonchalantly say, "Uh, yeah, I think it's the timing belt" and act like I know what I'm talking about. It's also a good idea to get daddy to give me a price range, so that I know about what to expect.

So what's worse than feeling like a moron with the mechanic? Feeling like a moron mit dem Mechaniker. No matter how much/little I know about cars, I can't do any of it in German. I'm completely at their mercy here.

That may be why I just got a $157 oil change. Ouch.

Posted by Sarah at 05:21 PM | Comments (10)


Friend comes over for dinner last night. Friend brings huge Akita dog. Sarah's house is not puppy-proof. Dog decides he wants to chew on Sarah's deceased grandma's teddy bear. We take it away. Dog decides yarn also makes a fun toy and tears apart two skeins, one of which is very expensive. Friend leaves for the night. Dog may not be invited back...

Posted by Sarah at 09:54 AM | Comments (7)


An Instapundit reader is concerned that bloggers could be bribed to change their vote. Just for the record here, no amount of DVDs could get me to vote for Kerry. Not even a box set or an expensive collectors' edition or anything. Plus, I already own the Holy Trilogy, so what more could I ask for?

Posted by Sarah at 09:40 AM | Comments (5)


Tim's getting grumpy. And when he gets grumpy, he writes well. Check out War is Hell and Debunking Senator Kerry's Comments.

Posted by Sarah at 09:07 AM | Comments (3)


Go over and read the Best today. Teaser:

The events of the last two years make clear that there's no such congruency between broad "global" interests and the best interests of the people of Iraq, since so much of the globe argued in favor of policies which would have left Saddam in power and seemed to do everything possible to prevent the invasion. Broader inclusion of the UN and other forms of "global consent" in the post-invasion process would have seriously damaged its credibility.


And look, Kerry fisks himself!

Posted by Sarah at 08:50 AM | Comments (5)

March 07, 2004


In an age where we can take a photograph on a cell phone and mail it to a friend instantly, I'm getting frustrated with not being able to contact my husband. I'm printing out these letters I've been writing for him, and they're long and outdated. When one letter spans a month, it's hard to stay relevant and interesting. Oh look, Ralph Nader's running. Oh wait, you already know that by now. Um, how 'bout I tell you how much soup I have left over. What's that? You managed to read my blog in Kuwait? OK, I have nothing interesting to say that will still sound good when you read my letter in three weeks.

Posted by Sarah at 02:08 PM | Comments (7)


I got forwarded an email months ago down from the LTC here with a note saying "Be careful what you wish for." I've been searching for this Re-inforcement by Indorsement for a while, and I finally found a blog that's linked it. Thanks, Rocket Penguin.

(It might take a few seconds to load.)

Posted by Sarah at 10:31 AM | Comments (4)


Bunker links to an article called "Why we still don't get it, one year on" by Mark Hertsgaard. He pulls out the more pertinent quote:

But the world doesn't hate us, the American people. It is our government, our military, and our corporations that are resented. To anyone living outside the US, this may seem an obvious point.

But to many people living inside the US, especially those who are proud to be American, this is not obvious. This ticks us off.

Being American is a choice, in a way that being French or Chinese or Norwegian never could be. It is a state of mind, an espousing of an ideology, and a label that defies race and ancestry. There are many people with US citizenship that aren't truly American in their thinking, and many people in other countries who are Americans waiting to happen. Being American has nothing to do with being born in a certain country, which is why Hertsgaard's quote makes no sense to me. In my mind, being American means wanting to be American and wanting to represent what our country stands for.

I know a woman here of Turkish descent who is the third generation in her family to be born on German soil. Her grandparents and parents all lived here in Germany. She's probably close to 30 years old. She just got her German citizenship. Third generation, finally recognized.

I also know a soldier from Paraguay who moved to NYC in 2002. He arrived knowing no English whatsoever and enlisted in the Army one year later. After Basic and AIT, he headed to Germany where he enrolled in our American History course at the education center. His desire to get an education and become an American has brought him headaches and tears, trying to read a chapter in the history book when he's taught himself English in 18 short months, but he works hard at it nonetheless.

Is this woman a German? She's known nothing but Germany her whole life, but she's obviously not been accepted as a citizen until quite recently. Is this soldier an American? You bet your ass he is. He might not have all the paperwork done yet, but he wears her flag on his right shoulder and he carries her spirit in his heart.

I've met soldiers with all sorts of accents; off the top of my head I can recall South American, African, Portuguese, Haitian, Polish, and Algerian. They've all made the choice to defend America and all she stands for, to proudly wear her uniform, and to accelerate their application for citizenship so that they can live and work in her cities. Would they bother to do this if being American had nothing to do with "our government, our military, and our corporations"?

When I was young and naive, I used to try to reason with people like Mark Hertsgaard. I tried to understand why the Swiss guy hated the USA when I was the first American he'd ever met. I tried to placate the Croatian who said he didn't want to speak to me anymore because we were bombing his hometown. I tried to understand how other Europeans could talk such trash about my country and not expect me to get offended. "Hey, it's not you we hate, it's your country; can't you see that?"

If you can look at these soldiers and not see how precious the USA is, then you don't grok. If you can't see that being American means making the choice to work with all different walks of life to make the best country we can be, then you don't grok. And if you can't see that Americans are who they are because of "our government, our military, and our corporations", then you truly don't grok.

Posted by Sarah at 10:19 AM | Comments (8)


The Best is back in full form, connecting tuberculosis and terrorism, and Kerry and tofu. For only the second time in my life, I beat him to certain punches: he also discusses how quitting the war now will lead to more serious consequences down the road. Welcome back, maestro.

Posted by Sarah at 09:00 AM | Comments (7)

March 06, 2004


A reader sent me a funny photo yesterday. Looks like Kim Jong Il isn't the only one supporting Kerry...


Posted by Sarah at 10:18 PM | Comments (10)


I went on a tour of Nuernberg today with my German class. One of our stops was at the Germanisches National Museum, which is constructed with an interesting entryway. Nuernberg is trying to improve its image from the city that gave us the Nuernberg Laws to a city that stands for Peace and Human Rights. The entrance to the museum was created by an Israeli artist whose name I can't seem to find on google. It is a series of pillars with the different articles from the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each pillar has one article carved in both German and another language. And I nearly slugged a lady from my class who asked why the Israeli artist didn't include the Palestinian language as one of those featured on the pillars. I pointed out that Arabic was included, and she said that wasn't good enough and that the Palestinians should specifically be recognized. I had to force myself to breathe deeply and let it go, but I'd have liked to have socked her.


In my search, I found this disturbing list of words that "should be used" when talking about a Palestinian state.

Posted by Sarah at 05:59 PM | Comments (22)

March 05, 2004


The worst part of this deployment is that we saw it coming for so long. We knew in July that they'd be leaving, and it was just a matter of waiting for the day. So when my husband and I were talking the week before he left, I told him my biggest fear: it's not that something will happen to him; it's that we'll survive these 14 months and he'll come home to me, and 12 months later we'll have to do it all over again. Half of the Army was in Iraq last year; the other half is there now. Who do you think is going next year? 3ID is, the same folks who were there when it all started. That means the Big Red One's slated for the next go-round. That's what causes a sinking feeling in my stomach: he's only been gone for three weeks and I already see the second deployment on the horizon.

(This depressing thought brought to you by Tim, though it's certainly not his fault. His stuff's mostly good today; I laughed out loud at the Gangs of New York and swinging a cat.)

Posted by Sarah at 04:07 PM | Comments (5)


I was kinda bored with the blogosphere today, just loafing at work and avoiding my German homework, when I stumbled on a post at RWN about Gut Rumbles' vitriolic rant.

Seems Rob dropped the n-bomb.

So I read lots of posts and comments from people who were de-linking Gut Rumbles because they no longer want to be associated with him, and then curiosity got the better of me and I went to the horse's mouth itself. I read all his posts and all the comments and have started to think.

My first thought: Rob actually said more than he was quoted as saying. His actual post is much longer than the expurgated versions I saw on other appalled people's blogs. It also has more "substance" than just repeating the n-word over and over. And he wrote a follow-up post as well.

So what do I think? I don't really know. Gut Rumbles has never been a place for sunshine and kitty cats, so I'm not surprised that this rant came out. And like other commenters, I think that Rob's below-the-surface message includes some valid points that just aren't considered acceptable for anyone to talk about. Do I like the way he expressed his message? I'm not as horrified as others, but I can certainly see how this would put him on the outs with other bloggers. I don't particularly like the n-word, but as a person who listens to a fair amount of rap music, I'm sorta numb to it now.

But it's still just a word. Someone in the comments section asked how it's different from using words like "Islamopuke" to describe Muslims. Another commenter said he hates the words "honkey" and "redneck", but no one gets upset when they're used. Personally I felt quite offended when people from the UK pejoratively called me a Yankee, but we've named a stinkin' baseball team after that word so I guess most people don't mind it. What happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me"?

I guess I don't have a definitive answer as to whether Rob is a racist. In my life I've met very few people who were true racists, and that included both people who were white and black. But I have met many people who get upset at the way we walk on eggshells in our country to avoid talking about race at any cost, and maybe those feelings came to a head for Rob this week.

I won't say Rob was wrong to say what he said, but I also won't say sites like RWN were wrong to de-link him. I'll just say you all can judge for yourselves.

Posted by Sarah at 02:53 PM | Comments (10)


I got a funny email forward today:


My fellow Americans: As you all know, the defeat of Iraq's regime has been completed. Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our mission in Iraq is complete. This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American Forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days.

It is now time to begin the reckoning.

Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries which have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, and Poland are some of the countries listed there. The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the world's nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing copies of both lists later this evening.

Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the Iraqi war. The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world hell-holes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption. Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France. In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home.

On that note, a word to terrorist organizations. Screw with us and we will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the earth. Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or maybe China.

To Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Yo, boys. Work out a peace deal now. Just note that Camp David is closed. Maybe all of you can go to Russia for negotiations. They have some great palaces there. Big tables, too.

I'm ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France, Germany, and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis. I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and crushed. I don't care about whatever treaty pertains to this. Pay your tickets tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers, and limos be turned over to some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York.

A special note to our neighbors. Canada is on List 2. Since we are going to be seeing a lot more of each other, you folks might want to try not pissing us off for a change. Mexico is also on List 2. President Fox and his entire corrupt government really need an attitude adjustment. I have a couple extra tank and infantry divisions sitting around. Guess where I'm gonna put 'em? Yep, border security. So start doing something with your oil.

Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty---starting now. It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens. Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them by saying darn tootin'. Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet.

It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. It is time to eliminate World Cup soccer from America.

To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thanks guys. We owe you.
To the nations on List 2, a final thought. Drop dead.
God bless America. Thank you and good night.

Posted by Sarah at 09:02 AM | Comments (11)


Screed away, Lileks. That was just what I needed this morning. You know when someone says something that completely throws you off guard, and you stammer and miss the opportunity to make your point? And then hours later you know what you should've said and you curse yourself for letting the moment pass? I had one of those last night.

There were a couple of stragglers at the party last night, and out of the complete blue one of them said, "Do you think Kerry will be elected President?" Now, I know that wives don't have rank, but since this woman's husband way outranks mine, I thought it in good taste to be vague, so I just said, "Well, I don't know," because it's true after all: I don't know what's going to happen. But another wife replied, "God, I hope so." The gist of the conversation was that Kerry would pull the troops out faster than you can shake a stick, and that means everyone's husbands come home, so Kerry's our man.

I wish I had said something. Anything. I was just sorta dumbfounded.

I understand the selfishness of wanting your husband to come home. I understand that we had spent 20 minutes of our meeting discussing who would come knocking on our door if our husband died in Iraq, and it wears on you after a while. And I understand that the military lifestyle takes its toll: one wife has been married six years and her husband's been deployed for three of them. But...

What I wish I'd said is this: Our husbands' job is to protect the American people. This duty is better fulfilled by their being in Iraq now rather than waiting until someone attacks on American soil again. This war we're fighting now only exists because we didn't get the job done in 1991; would you rather have your husband stay in Iraq for a year now, or return to Iraq for combat in another few years when some new dictator decides he wants to start somethin'?

I wish I'd said that. But how do you tactfully tell people whose husbands have been in the Army for years what it means to be an Army family?

An Army family means selflessness. I have to come to terms with the fact that my husband might have to die to protect other Americans from future threats. Not an easy thing to accept, but that's part of the job, and that's what we signed up for. An Army family also means understanding the complexities and repercussions of our nation's actions. I'm not saying that every Army family will fully support President Bush, but "who will let your husband sleep at home" is perhaps not the best gauge for your vote. Army families have a duty to follow and understand world events, but to be willing and ready to do whatever the Commander-in-Chief asks of them.

I'm not happy that my husband is living in Iraq. I'd rather have him home too. But I was shocked to hear other wives say that having their husband at home is the most important thing in their life. More important, seemingly, than principles and duty. Am I the only wife who gets choked up when she reads the Army values? Am I the only one who finds comfort in the fact that her husband's job requires selfless service?

Selfless service is placing your duty before your personal desires. It is the ability to endure hardships and insurmountable odds because of love of fellow soldiers and our country. Placing your duty before your personal desires has always been key to the uniqueness of the American soldier. As citizen soldiers, we claim our service to the nation, state, and community to be an especially valuable contribution.

In a sea of houses sporting Service Flags and yellow ribbons, why do I feel so alone?


Amritas suggests that selfless service is really a form of love.

Posted by Sarah at 08:54 AM | Comments (14)

March 04, 2004


Things to do today:

1. File taxes
2. Bake peanut butter cookies
3. Bake two loaves of "freedom" bread
4. Make a salad
5. Dust, vacuum, and tidy up the house
6. Make tortellini soup for 15
7. Have a party where I teach everyone to knit

My schedule's full today, folks! Check back tomorrow.


The bread's rising, and I started thinking of a funny story to tell. When we first got married, I knew my husband really liked breads, so one Saturday I worked all day baking him loaves for dinner. We sat down to eat and I asked him how the bread tasted. He said it was good, and after a few seconds' pause, he said, "You know what else is good? Grands biscuits. Those are great!" I cracked up. I'd spent about five hours baking for him, and all he really wanted was a tube of ready-made Pilsbury! He still says that he didn't mean it the way it sounded, but I don't usually take the time to bake fresh bread anymore!


Oh my gosh, I have so much soup left over. If I ate soup for both lunch and dinner, it would take me 12 days to finish it all. Please send me your addresses so I can mail everyone some soup...

Posted by Sarah at 10:22 AM | Comments (6)


OK, Lileks, OK. I won't sit this one out. You're right.

Posted by Sarah at 08:14 AM | Comments (9)

March 03, 2004


I may have found a lead on why they call the man who's messin' with your wife "Jody". Based on Bunker's comment, I googled "jody" and "music" and came up with a funk song from the 70s called "Trackin' Down Jody" by Darker Shades Ltd. It's about trying to find a guy named Jody and killin' him (I don't know who he is / but all I know / Jody could be the man / livin' right next door). That could be where it came from, or it could've already been a popular expression that was made into a song. Who knows! But you can listen to the song clip here.


So my guess that it was already a popular expression seems to be right. Amritas dug up the real meaning, found here. Well done, linguist.

Posted by Sarah at 10:00 PM | Comments (11)


(via Tim) A 19-year-old Marine is going back to Iraq for his second tour because of his sense of duty to his country. Shockingly enough, some of his peers don't even realize that we still have troops in Iraq; America's short attention span is this Marine's biggest fear: "It gets to me. It's almost like 9/11. Everyone started throwing flags up on their cars, but now it's fading out. Same old news every night." So he's volunteered for two more tours, going back a little braver, a little wiser, and a little stronger because he's a Marine and that's what Marines do.

He's also another servicemember who has parents who'd rather use their appearance in the newspaper to express their distrust of the current administration instead of pride and gratitude for their brave child. His mother: "'I don't know if there are weapons of mass destruction,' she said. 'If this is based on a lie, I'm gonna be really [angry].' Getting rid of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was a good thing, she said, but, 'Is that worth the lives that have been lost over there? I have no idea. I don't want to lose my only son for a cause that might be a lie.'"

Her son's response?

Isaiah doesn't think highly of the folks who constantly question when troops expect to find weapons of mass destruction.
"I think they should shut their mouths. You can't even find an AK-47 in someone's home because they can hide it so well," Schaffer said. "They really don't know what they're talking about."
He stands firmly behind the president--and wishes Americans would stand just as firmly behind him and other troops.
"President Bush sent us over there for a reason. And from a Marine's outlook, you start something, you finish it," he said.
"God willing, we'll finish it."

Godspeed, Marine. As my husband's company says, "Get 'er done!"

Posted by Sarah at 01:53 PM | Comments (10)


The office is empty and slow today, so I've been doing a lot of reading.
Here's another great Solzhenitsyn quote 30 pages later:

One thing is absolutely definite: not everything that enters our ears penetrates our consciousness. Anything too far out of tune with our attitude is lost, either in the ears themselves or somewhere beyond, but it is lost.

That's how I feel when I try to explain something to someone who leans Left.
I feel it might have entered their ears, but never their consciousness.

Posted by Sarah at 01:14 PM | Comments (12)


I've been enjoying my reading of The Gulag Archipelago, as much as one can enjoy reading about imprisonment in Stalinist Russia. I hit a passage today that struck me with its simplicity. It's in the chapter on the Bluecaps:

To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he's doing is good, or else that it's a well-considered act in conformity with natural law. Fortunately, it is in the nature of the human being to see a justification for his actions.

Macbeth's self-justifications were feeble--and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb too. The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare's evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology.

Ideology--that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others' eyes, so that he won't hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors. That was how the agents of the Inquisition fortified their wills: by invoking Christianity; the conquerors of foreign lands, by extolling the grandeur of their Motherland; the colonizers, by civilization; the Nazis, by race; and the Jocobins (early and late), by equality, brotherhood, and the happiness of future generations.

Thanks to ideology, the twentieth century was fated to experience evildoing on a scale calculated in the millions. This cannot be denied, nor passed over, nor suppressed. How, then, do we dare insist that evildoers do not exist? And who was it that destroyed these millions? Without evildoers there would have been no Archipelago.

Many have condemned President Bush for his label of The Axis of Evil; they thought it simplistic, sanctimonious, or ridiculous. Yet there is indeed evildoing in this world today; it's not confined to the twentieth century. And I agree with Solzhenitsyn that ideology is often the way that individuals justify their actions.

Would a Palestinian strap on a bomb and blow up a bus if he hadn't been told from day one that the Jews are the source of all of his suffering and he would be rewarded in heaven? Would one of Saddam's henchmen have been more likely to say "hang on a minute" when instructed to kill someone in a plastic shredder if he weren't backed by the Ba'athist ideology? And would individuals actually be stupid enough to do this yesterday if everyone else around them weren't doing it too?

The old question is If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you? You're supposed to answer No, but a group ideology makes it hard to not jump. But maybe that one person who refused to jump would make a couple of others see their error, and someday the whole ideology might come tumbling down.

Posted by Sarah at 12:37 PM | Comments (4)


Reader Tracey sent a link to a wonderful article she says puts the "smackdown" on John Kerry. I agree. The author describes herself:

I'm the daughter of Lt. Col. Roger J. "Black Bart" Bartholomew, a First Air Cavalry rocket artillery helicopter pilot who was killed in Vietnam on Thanksgiving Day 1968, when I was eight years old. I'm a former journalist with a military newspaper, a U.S. Marine widow, and I am appalled at Mr. Kerry's latest assertions that our president "has reopened the wounds of Vietnam."

Anyone who has praised my strength lately needs to go read Ms. Armstrong's article. Then you can see what real military-family strength looks like.

Posted by Sarah at 11:25 AM | Comments (3)


Sgt Hook has a tribute to our soldiers called Who Is Defending You.
Go read it. And make sure to click on all the pictures.
"That's an order!" as he would say.

And if you've never read the story of Rick Rescorla, do so as well. He survived the battle at Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam, only to die in the WTC. He's a true American hero.

Posted by Sarah at 09:53 AM | Comments (8)


When I'm bored at work and I can't take any more gore from LGF, I like to cycle through knitting blogs and find patterns and tips and look at the photos of what everyone else is knitting. My co-worker thinks it's hysterical that I'm constantly ohhing and ahhing at other people's knitting online. But I've never actually written about my own knitting. If Bunker Mulligan gets to write about golf and Charles Johnson gets to write about cycling, then may I be permitted a tangent into handicrafts?

Last night though I faced a knitter's dilemma. I'm making this sweater, and I've finished the back and had about 8 inches done on the front. And then I realized I'd made a mistake at about inch 5. I struggled with my two choices while the sweater sat on the coffeetable for three days: leave it as it was with a mistake in the pattern or try to rip it out to inch 5 and risk not being able to put it back on the needles. Last night I finally decided I had to face the music; since the mistake was on the front and not the back, it would be best to rip it out. I unraveled it back to inch 5 and tried to put everything back on the needles. Unsuccessfully. So I had to rip the whole thing out and start over again. It takes a long time to knit 8 inches of cables, but I think I did the right thing. I feel better knowing that it won't have a mistake, because it bothers me to look at every other project I've done where I've left a little flaw.

Plus it's not like I'm in a hurry. I've got 14 months to kill and lots of projects in mind. Like a sweater for the husband; he's got two so far from me: one that doesn't fit and one that he doesn't really like. He needs another.


Tim got a little stressed out yesterday about the state of the world, and he asked me how I cope. "Have you ever tried knitting?" I asked him. "Knitting?" he replied. "No...I've tried drinking though...." Ha.

Posted by Sarah at 09:45 AM | Comments (7)


Dear Stars and Stripes,

There are more battalions over in Kuwait than 1-77. Why are all of your articles about 1-77? Not that I have anything against them -- one of our best friends is with 1-77 -- but I'd still like to hear you talk about all of the units instead of just one. Thank you.

A jealous wife who wants to read about her husband,

Posted by Sarah at 09:22 AM | Comments (10)


What's that old saying? When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me? Somebody assumed big time about Baldilocks...

Posted by Sarah at 08:58 AM | Comments (8)


In an unexpected turn of events, Porphyrogenitus has joined the Army! What an exciting new start for him, and I wish him the best of luck with his enlistment. I'm proud of you, soldier.

Posted by Sarah at 08:49 AM | Comments (5)


President Bush and Chancellor Schroeder just met, and David compares the President's greeting from 2001 to this significantly colder recent one. He also found a shockingly honest interview with David Frum. My favorite exchange:

Frum: I have studied the European press. We had exactly three good days after the 11 of September.

Interviewer: And shouldn’t you ask yourself why it is so?

Frum: No, the Europeans should ask themselves that. You were good at crying at the graves of the dead Americans. But when it came down to us Americas feeling threatened by Islamic fanatics, then as now, that was already too much starting in December 2001. And then these unspeakable books turned up on the bestseller lists in France and Germany, these conspiracy theories surrounding the 11 of September. That says quite a lot.

Posted by Sarah at 08:35 AM | Comments (4)


My husband called this morning, and it was the first time that I didn't take notes. Not much has changed, so we just got to spend the time talking about nothing, which was nice. He also told me a funny story. He tried to call me several times on Monday but never got through (normally it's my day off, but I traded with my co-worker) and didn't know where I was. He joked with his soldiers that I must be at Jody's house since he couldn't find me; "Jody" is the Army word for "the guy your wife's cheating on you with." His soldiers immediately responded with a chorus of "No way, sir! We've met your wife and she'd never do that! She's too nice!" Husband explained that he was just kidding, but he thought it was sweet of them to come to my defense. At least I know they like me, and no one said, "For real? Maybe she is?"

By the way, I have no idea why they use the name "Jody". It sounds like a girl's name to me anyway, but that's the standard joke; if you talk about Jody, everyone knows what you mean. Do any of you out there know where that name came from?

Posted by Sarah at 08:14 AM | Comments (9)


Lileks imagines a startlingly creepy scene of how we'd react today to a jumper from the Empire State Building. Would we really do that? Sadly I think many of us would.

Posted by Sarah at 07:37 AM | Comments (7)


Oh my god! Explain to me again how Islam claims to be the Religion of Peace? I'd wager these kids might disagree...

(Not for the weak of stomach.)

Posted by Sarah at 07:24 AM | Comments (5)

March 02, 2004


A while back I wrote a post about how bloggers are like gods to me but most people would star at you blankly if you said the name Glenn Reynolds. Tim pointed out to me today just how elite we bloggers are: Between 2 and 7 percent of American adults blogging.

What the heck does everyone else do while blow drying their hair?

Posted by Sarah at 01:46 PM | Comments (11)


Chief Wiggles isn't the only one to start up an organization for Iraqi children. Reserve SPC David McCorkle has started American Aid for Children of Nineveh, Iraq since he's been deployed.

His is an inspiring story: a 44-year-old man loses 125 pounds after September 11 so he would qualify for the Reserves and then deploys for a year in Iraq. And then he spends $5000 of his own money to start a charity for Iraqi schools.

My favorite quote: “I want to raise awareness and understanding of what issues the children face here, and take him to Disney World." That sentence betrays SPC McCorkle's American-ness: wanting to do something big for the child's common good as well as something fun to lift his spirits. It reminds me of a quote I read a long time ago where a soldier looked out into the Iraqi desert and suggested building an amusement park there.

Something that brings the lasting joy of democracy and education, as well as the momentary thrill of a roller coaster.

Posted by Sarah at 12:44 PM | Comments (4)


I've been trying to hang a shelf in our living room for weeks now. I'd guess it's a 30-lb shelf, which is hard to hang by yourself. Plus the walls are made of saltines, so the first time I got it up, it just pulled two big chunks of plaster out and came right back down. I finally got some toggle bolts and spent the morning struggling with the stupid thing. But when I got it up, I felt a sense of elation. I think I even did that Tiger Woods arm thing. I went upstairs to get dressed, and then I heard a crashing noise. "Oh no!" I said aloud and went racing down the stairs, expecting the worst. I rounded the corner, and there was the shelf, hanging right where I'd left it. I cautiously looked around the house, and I can't figure out what that noise was. But now I'm spooked; I'm sure the shelf is going to come crashing down any moment now.

Posted by Sarah at 10:00 AM | Comments (4)


Kim du Toit has only been here a few days, and he's already sick of pork and schnitzel. Think of how we feel, Kim!

Posted by Sarah at 07:44 AM | Comments (8)


Sgt Mom has some advice for Hollywood filmmakers when it comes to making movies about the military. My husband and I went to see the movie Basic this summer, and about ten minutes into the movie I did a double-take and turned towards him. He was slouched down in his chair groaning, "I know, I know." For him, it was pure torture to watch a movie where a Sergeant wears Specialist rank, where they're riding in a Blackhawk and no one's wearing a Kevlar, and where there's a female Ranger.

Incidentally, one of the things that bothered him most about the show was that (spoiler...) the characters were able to switch identity by swapping dogtags. He grouched, "They look at your ID card; no one ever looks at your %#$@ dogtags to find out who you are." On the Saturday that he deployed, the SFC in charge shouted to the group, "Line up over here where you'll get weighed and have your dogtags checked!" I leaned over to husband and said, "If you switch with someone, no one will ever know who you really are..."

Posted by Sarah at 07:17 AM | Comments (4)

March 01, 2004


You know that He's Gone post that I wrote when my husband deployed? I also sent it as an email to many of our friends and family, and I always include my husband's ROTC cadre on that list. I just got an email from the LTC there saying that he forwarded my email along to one of his good buddies, the Brigadier General who's the ADC(M) in Kuwait. Gulp.

Posted by Sarah at 05:23 PM | Comments (7)


This made me cry. At work.
Darling Ben Stein. (Thanks, Tim.)

How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

Posted by Sarah at 03:56 PM | Comments (3)


Just when I start to feel content about who I am and what I believe in and I start feeling generous towards the Left, a moonbat comes out of nowhere and sickens me. Semi-Intelligent Thoughts found this on DU:

Oh please. Bush has no conscience, I'm sure he could not care less if it cost three thousand lives to further his political career by making lots of dough for his wealthy friends in trumped up wars. You act as though this has never happened before in our country. I'm certain he has been in on the planning and execution. Why else would they desparately hide the energy discussions and battle so hard to keep 9-11 uninvestigated. These are NOT nice people.

How can someone think something so hateful? Look, there are people out there that I suspect of not being on the up-and-up, like the French government, but there is no one I can think of that I hate enough to say such mean things about his character. Not even Michael Moore. Not even Jacques Chirac. Maybe about Hussein or Jong-Il, but they are so completely different from President Bush that it's not even funny.

I expect to read this stuff on LGF from some lunatic imam, but not from a "regular" person. It's so disappointing to me.

Posted by Sarah at 12:28 PM | Comments (10)


Kim du Toit visited Dachau. This is one of the most poignant posts I've ever read.

Posted by Sarah at 11:42 AM | Comments (7)


An excellent post from Hardtack and Havoc on his impending return home from deployment. My favorite bit:

The United States is at war. We can see that out here, it is as plain as the nose on your face, I am afraid I won't see that reflected back home. In fact, I know I won't. It wasn't there when I left so why should I expect it to be there when I get back. Never-the-less, the nation is at war. We are fighting the enemy in foreign places like Afghanistan, Georgia, Iraq, the Horn of Africa and many others so we won't be fighting them in places like Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, New York, etc. The concept is simple: Take the war to the enemy. Does the American public care? More pertantly, DOES IT UNDERSTAND. The unfortunate side effect of taking the war to the enemy is that the war becomes very impersonal to the American people and unfortunately for us all, the American people have a very very short attention span.

Read the whole entry...

Posted by Sarah at 11:32 AM | Comments (4)


I've been keeping this thought in the back of my mind for a few weeks now, and so I thought I'd bring it up now. I found this article at DailyKos and I can't get it out of my mind: 7 Soldiers Meet Death in Iraq at 18

Now obviously the Truthout website had an ax to grind, and the heartstrings they pull are less than subtle. One soldier still collected baseball cards. Another already had a son. We read tragic-laden sentences like "Less than a year after leading the Pledge of Allegiance at his high school graduation, the former student council president and cheerleader found himself preparing to cross the Tigris River last April 7 in the siege of Baghdad. He never made it."

Before anyone thinks that I'm belittling their deaths, let me say that I'm crushed when any servicemember dies. I live surrounded by these young men and women, and the thought of any of them dying tears at my heart. But what Truthout spins away from is the sense of duty and obligation these young men had for their country; instead they spin towards the boys' parents' bitter resentment.

One soldier left a letter in a safe-deposit box for his parents, saying

Everyone sooner or later has to part this world. It makes me proud to know that I left while protecting the United States.
Eighteen is such a young age, and you're probably thinking of all the things that I'm going to miss out on. Don't. I got to live such a wonderful life because of you two, and because of that I don't regret missing anything that would later come in the future.

Another Lance Corporal told his mother, "Mom, they're messin' with my country, and I won't let it happen." Most of the quotes from the boys are about patriotism, duty, and love of country. But their parents are quoted saying things like "It's a big waste of his life" and "They messed up all his plans."

I just think that's sad, that's all.

Posted by Sarah at 11:10 AM | Comments (5)


Just yesterday I was talking to Amritas about the Stars and Stripes seven-day series entitled Ground Truth: Conditions, Contrast, and Morale. I think it was the best example of balanced journalism I've seen since I started blogging. I wrote about each day back on Blogspot: one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. In addition I wrote a rant about how the Washington Post took Stars and Stripes' findings and slanted them horribly.

Considering that I was just talking about these articles yesterday, I was surprised to find an article today written by the ombudsman of the Stars and Stripes about the series. He talks about the good and bad points of the series, quoting both hate- and fan-mail. He talks about the limitations of such a study and brings up an important question:

And in some cases, after giving positive marks on morale on the questionnaire, the responder would write negative comments on the back of the questionnaire or voice them to the reporters.

These circumstances raise an important journalistic issue: How much weight should the reporters and editors give the comments as compared to the data and how much weight should be given to the difference between what military personnel said was their morale and their view of the morale of their unit?

How refreshing to see a publication take a hindsight look at its journalism and evaluate whether they've been fair in their reporting.

My respect for Stars and Stripes grows with every passing day.

Posted by Sarah at 09:49 AM | Comments (3)


Tim graciously emailed me information about how to forward my home phone to my cell phone, and another German friend translated a brochure for me so I could get call-waiting here at home. Now I shouldn’t have to miss a call from Iraq. Friday night I told someone that I wouldn’t miss a call from my husband for anything in the world. And later I started thinking about that hyperbole.

What is my husband’s call worth?

I know I exaggerate when I say I wouldn’t miss it for the world or for a million dollars, which are common expressions, but something morbid inside of me pushed to find out what I would give to hear his voice. A hundred bucks? Probably not. I know my husband loves me and misses me, and I don’t need to pay a hundred bucks to hear that. Twenty bucks? Perhaps. Definitely ten.

The husband and I have a running gag where we measure money in terms of DVDs. Since we’re movie nuts (well, OK, I’m a bigger nut than he is…), we often measure something’s worth by how many DVDs we’d have to give up to have it. (Is a German cellphone worth six DVDs? So far I’d say no.) We measure my overtime at work as an extra DVD. And we even joked that his hazardous duty and separation pay from a year in Iraq would buy a heckuva lot of movies. It’s a funny increment of measurement, but it sometimes puts money in perspective for us.

I can safely say that I’d give a DVD to talk to him on the phone.

Posted by Sarah at 09:32 AM | Comments (5)


Some good links that popped up over the weekend while I was busy fighting with HTML:

Nelson Ascher has an interesting analysis of Tony Blair. Many Americans seem to prefer Blair to Bush, so I found Ascher's point of view was really interesting.

Scrappleface clowns the United Nations, and Parkway Rest Stop found us a permission slip for next time.

David presents a graph of applications for asylum filed by Iraqis in Germany; do you think the number has risen or fallen since we intervened?

Stars and Stripes explains why our servicemembers wear a patch with a "backwards" flag. I wish this article had come out about 8 months ago when I saw my first one; I had to do some major research to learn why.

Also last night I was watching the Simpsons and caught the tail end of a military news brief. It was about some soldiers who organized an Iraqi talent show under something called the Freedom and Democracy Program. I saw clips of young Iraqis playing the guitar and dancing, but when I went to find more information online about this, there were no links anywhere. Nothing. I couldn't find a single thing about this. The only reason I know it happened is because I get military TV programming. Sad.

Posted by Sarah at 09:30 AM | Comments (4)


I was driving home from the grocery store yesterday thinking about how I should put up a sort of "introductory post" for my new site, just in case I have new readers. And at that same moment, Johnny Cash's "Song of the Patriot" came on. Coincidence? Maybe. But it fit the moment nicely.

I’m a flag waving, patriotic nephew of my Uncle Sam
A rough riding fighting Yankee man
I love mom and applie pie,
And the freedoms that we all enjoy across this beautiful land
I work hard and I fight hard for the old Red, White, and Blue
And I’ll die a whole lot harder if it comes to where I have to

I’m a flag waving, patriotic nephew of my Uncle Sam
A rough riding fighting Yankee man
And when I see old Glory waving
I think of all the brave men who have fought and died for what is right and wrong
And when I see old Glory burnin, my blood begins to churnin
And I could do some fightin’ of my own
I don’t believe in violence, I’m a God fearing man
Bul I’ll stand up for my country just as long as I can stand

Cause I’m a flag waving, patriotic nephew of my Uncle Sam
A rough riding fighting Yankee man
I’m a flag waving, patriotic nephew of my Uncle Sam
A rough riding fighting Yankee man

And I enjoy the liberty of being what I want to be and achieve any goals that I can
I was taught to turn the other cheeck, but daddy used to say
Walk soft and pack a big stick, but never walk away
I’m a flag waving, patriotic nephew of my Uncle Sam
A rough riding fighting Yankee man
And When I see old Glory waving
I think of all the brave men who have fought and died for what is right and wrong
And when I see old Glory burnin, my blood begins to churnin
And I could do some fightin’ of my own

Cause I love all my brothers and we're proud of our group
We’ve got the greenest country here on God’s green earth
I’m a flag waving, patriotic nephew of my Uncle Sam
A rough riding fighting Yankee man

It fits me like a glove. Well, except that I'm a girl.

Posted by Sarah at 08:46 AM | Comments (3)


I make lots of these, probably 10-15 per month, to donate to the local hospital's preemie ward. I only take pictures of the really fun ones, especially the holiday ones.





st patty.jpg







Posted by Sarah at 08:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Nelson Ascher's post from 9/11/2003 has since disappeared from the internet. I have mirrored it here because I refer to it often.

On this side of the world it has been 911 again for over 6 hours. I swear I'd rather not write anything today. I'd rather remain silent and just spend the day feeling that my anger and hatred are alive and well. They're stronger indeed. I also know I should avoid reading much today, because many, probably most things that are and will be published will make me even angrier. And the problem is not that I don't want to be angrier: I do want. The problem is that I do not want to waste a miligram of my anger on all the idiots who have been getting ready to show us how idiotic they are. We're at a point where to be too angry at, say, Chomsky and the BBC, Old Europe and ANSWER, second and third rate entertainers and academics is to give them a kind of victory. They deserve disdain. Anger needs to remain concentrated like light in a laser beam, we must direct it toward its rightful target: Islamofascism first and foremost. If we spend too much time getting mad at those who are but idiots we run the risk of forgetting, even if only for a second, that it is the Muslim/Arab religious fanatics who are the ENEMY. In a way, that's the idiots' main weapon: to attract a wrath that could be more usefully directed to the really dangerous enemies. Whenever we're not thinking about the Jihadists we are losing some very precious time. And anger.

Posted by Sarah at 08:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



1. I've never been to heaven
But I've been to Oklahoma
Well, they tell me I was born there
But I really don't remember

2. Since the day I was born, I've had 22 addresses. And we've only been in the military for six years.

3. I'm 30 years old. I have a BA in French and an MA in ESL. I don't really use either of them.

4. I speak French. Well, not very often anymore. But I'm saving that skill for the day when we invade. Then I'll enlist as a translator or interrogator or something.

5. I speak Swedish. It's a relatively useless talent, except that I can eavesdrop on people standing in the buffet line in front of me in Las Vegas. But they never say anything interesting anyway.

6. I learned a little German when we lived there. I have a limited vocabulary, but I do in fact know the words for timing belt and pulley. Car trouble.

7. I've been to 16 countries.

8. I've never been to San Francisco or to New York City, but somehow I've spent two weeks in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria.

9. I wish I were in the Army. My dream job is a 19K.

10. I'm a knitter. I've been knitting for ten years. My most exciting project was a DNA scarf for a geneticist friend I like to call "science dorky."

11. I have a cool birthmark on my face. There's no color to it, just texture; it simply looks like I got a smallpox vaccination on my left cheek. Once a doctor told me I could probably get it smoothed over by a dermatologist, and I cringed. I'd never even thought about getting rid of it before. I love it.

12. My best feature is my feet. They're a little big (size 9 ), but they're nice feet.

13. I wanted to be 5'11" when I was a kid. I drew a mark on the wall at that height and couldn't wait to get there. I only made it to 5'6".

14. Considering that my mom is 4'11" and my dad is 6'3", I didn't do too bad.

15. My first grade teacher reads my blog.

16. When I was six, a neighbor boy dared me to jump off the top of my dad's van for a Showbiz token. I did.

17. I've never had a speeding ticket. My philosophy can be summed up as this: If someone offered you $200 to arrive at your destination ten minutes later than scheduled, you'd be a fool not to take it. But you'll risk a $200 ticket to arrive ten minutes earlier.

18. I've been known to swear like a sailor. But not when I write.

19. I think factories and old stockyards are beautiful. They're classic quality.

20. I can sing all the words to "It's the End of the World As We Know It." Useless.

21. When I went to my brother's 8th grade graduation, some woman asked me if I was excited about graduating that day. I was in college at the time. I'm three years older than my husband, and I'm the one who always gets carded.

22. I've seen an intact dissected human nervous system. It was awesome.

23. My parents are Catholic. My dad's the oldest of thirteen kids. I have 26 cousins.

24. My grandfather was in the Air Force in WWII, in the same squadron as Chuck Yeager.

25. I've never smoked. Anything. Alcohol, pills, I understand all that. But I will never grok why someone would intentionally suck smoke into his lungs.

26. In fact, I once turned down the opportunity to meet Snoop Dogg because I assumed he'd be smoking weed and I didn't want to look like a dork.

27. I was the high school valedictorian.


28. I love the smell of skunk.

29. I'm allergic to water. No one believes me on this one, but whenever I shower, swim, or wash my face before bed, I sneeze uncontrollably. I'm sure it has something to do with my sinuses, but I hate water.

30. Thus I hate swimming. I haven't been swimming in years.

31. I'm mildly claustrophobic. I'm fine in crowded rooms and stuff, but zip up the sleeping bag on me and I'll panic.

32. I'm an obsessive hand-washer. It drives me nuts that my husband isn't.

33. I think all medicine is a placebo. I take Ny-Quil during the day and sleeping pills at night with no effect. One time I tried to recreationally take my friend's Vicadin. I felt nothing. Eminem is a wuss.

34. Since sleeping pills and Ny-Quil never work, I often have trouble sleeping. I have since I was a kid. I used to read whole novels at night when I was in middle school; now I just talk my husband to death.

35. I can't sit in high-backed chairs. I must have very sensitive vestibular nuclei, because any pressure on the base of my skull makes me nauseated. I am extremely uncomfortable sitting in buses or planes or recliners, where the chair back touches the back of my head.

36. I didn't have a security blanket or stuffed animal as a child. I slept with my books. All of them. Under my pillow. Dork.

37. I was paranoid about fire as a kid. My friend's dad was a fireman, another friend's house burned down, and a neighbor's house got struck by lightning. I was convinced that every person's house burned down at least once in their life, so I was just waiting for my family's turn. I planned my escape routes from my house and visualized throwing my dollhouse through the window to break the glass.

38. I also collected crayon shavings when I was a kid. You know, the wax that comes off when you sharpen a crayon. I've gotten rid of nearly everything from my childhood except for the butter tub full of crayon shavings. For some reason, I just can't part with that.

39. Most adult women collect china or teapots or art or Hummels or something classy. I collect buttons, bottlecaps, coasters, and matchbooks.

40. Yes, I know I'm weird.


41. My husband and I met when he injured me during an ROTC soccer match. I couldn't walk for three days; he was somehow oblivious to the fact that the game stopped and they had to carry me off the field. Weeks later when I pointed it out to him, he had no idea what I was talking about.

42. I cut my hair really short (like two inches long) right when my husband and I started dating, and the disappointment on his face was priceless. I didn't cut my hair for five years after that; it was nearly to my waist. We started a joke that by the time Return of the King came out, I would look like an elf. We were right.

43. When I finally told my husband I liked him and asked him if he liked me, his surprised response was, "Well, of course I like you, but I'm not going to marry you or anything."

44. I don't have any sort of engagement story. We just went and bought the ring. I wore it for a day before I demanded my husband at least ask me to marry him. He's not one for ceremony...

45. When we got engaged, I got an engagement ring and my husband got an engagement foosball table. For my husband's Christmas present in 2001 I commissioned a cartoon based on the foosball table from Shachar Meron, creator of the comic strip Blue Rice. He ran the cartoon in the newspaper and gave us the original. It's framed in our home.

46. I nearly died on June 15, 1999 when someone put something in my drink in a bar in Glasgow. Apparently when you're unconscious on the sidewalk in Scotland and your friend calls an ambulance, they'll come to the scene but they won't do anything to help because "just being drunk" does not warrant medical attention. Never mind the fact that I only had two rum and cokes, and that my friend kept slapping me in the face to keep me conscious. Socialized medicine, indeed.

47. I got married three years later to the day. Death and new life, all with one date.

48. My wedding dress cost me $30.

49. And our maid of honor married our groomsman two years later. They met through us.

50. We went to Washington D.C. for our honeymoon. More than anywhere in the world, that was where I wanted to go. I'd never been, and I'm so glad we went.


51. The first movie I remember seeing in the movie theater was Wrath of Khan. I was five years old, and it scared the crap out of me.

52. My favorite quote from Kid Rock: "We got to kill that motherfucker Saddam. Slit his throat. Kill him and the guy in North Korea."

58. No matter how many times I've watched, I still cry at the end of both It's a Wonderful Life and Raising Arizona. I also cry at several episodes of Futurama, any Wes Anderson movie, and the song "A Better Place To Be".

59. I love rappers. As a language buff, I think rappers have the most phenomenal language skills of any English speakers. When Jay-Z can make a rhyme like this "I box leftier often / My pops left me an orphan," you have to admit that's a beautiful use of English.

60. I'd love to be on that MTV show Fanatic and meet Dr. Dre, just to see the look on his face when some white girl starts talking about how much she loves his alliteration.

61. I even went to see Ice T give a lecture on racism at the University of Illinois.

62. So I think I'm the only American in the world who thinks the British accent is ugly. Not sexy, not refined, not sophisticated. Grating.


63. I love chili dogs. There's a hot dog shack in downtown Peoria that has the best chili dogs in the world. In fact, when I lived in MO, my mom once bought me one, wrapped it in foil, and brought it to me in the car. They're that delicious.

64. Before I got to Germany, I only ate big pretzels at baseball games. My German co-worker brought me one every single day for over a year, and now I can't stand the sight of them.

65. I make a really mean brownie and cake, but I can't make chocolate chip cookies to save my life. They always turn out disgusting. My friend makes really good cookies, and I've followed her recipe to the letter, but they still suck. (Update: I've gotten better at this. The key is shortening.)

66. My drink of choice is a Tom Collins. Or bourbon slush.

67. I go out of my way to eat weird foods; I've eaten stomach, tongue, brain, testicles, ostrich, kangaroo, crocodile, and reindeer, to name a few. My husband also thinks I'm a horrible person because I say that if we ever go to Korea, I'd eat dog.

68. But I can't eat anything spicier than mild sauce. I can do weird, but not spicy.

69. Speaking of weird, I believe that applesauce is a condiment. Best eaten on top of macaroni and cheese or pizza.

70. I eat and enjoy salad, but I hate lettuce on top of other foods, like on hamburgers or tacos. I refer to the lettuce at Taco Bell as "shredded paper."

71. I don't enjoy eating in restaurants. I'm too stingy. Usually I sit there calculating how much it would have cost to make the meal myself.

72. I hate all licorice. Red and black.

73. I can't really tell a difference between the different percentages of milk, nor do I care at all about the differences between cheeses.


74. I've met the President of Bulgaria. In St. Louis. In a room, surrounded by Bulgarians. And I spoke Bulgarian to him. Freaked him out.

75. I had a goldfish for three years in college that used to wake me up in the mornings by sucking the little blue rocks into his mouth and then spitting them at the glass bowl. When he got sick for weeks and slowly started to die, I knew I couldn't save him. I cupped him in my hands and took him out of the water until he stopped breathing. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. (Update: Well, until now.)

76. I once stopped my car in the middle of the highway to rescue a turtle who was trying to cross the road.

77. I absolutely hate the expression "it's not a fishy fish." That doesn't make any sense to me at all. All fish taste like fish. Please don't write and try to explain it; my husband's been trying for years.

78. This guy in college tried to date-rape me once, but I verbally humiliated him so badly that he left the room in shame. I rule.

79. I was in Goteborg, Sweden in the summer of 2001 during the riots. I saw President Bush papermache puppets and everything. And cops getting nailed with cobblestones.

80. I'm a fanatic about thank-you cards. They should be sent on every occasion, and a phone call or email does not substitute. My husband thinks I'm brainwashed by my southern upbringing. I think it's just good manners.

81. I was a volunteer scorekeeper for the University of Illinois champion wheelchair basketball team in 2001.

82. I think President Bush is really handsome. With or without the flight suit.

83. I think I'm the only person on earth who feels sorry for Humbert Humbert.

84. I have a dishwasher that I've only used once. On Thanksgiving. I hate the dishwasher. (Update: I have since learned to appreciate this appliance.)

85. Butters is my favorite South Park character too. The husband and I have a goldfish named after him. We also have one named after J. Robert Oppenheimer. I'd love to have a tank full of fish named after physicists. But the next two fish I get will be named Bunker and Mulligan, after my late friend Mike Reed. (Update: It's only one fish, named Bunker Mulligan.)

86. My younger brother is a week older than my husband's older brother. In other words, we have two siblings between us in age.

87. I got bit by a brown recluse in the summer of 2002. I have a cool scar.

88. I love scars; they are great intros into stories. I always ask people about the stories behind their scars. In fact, I'm surprised people don't ask me about the birthmark on my face (they have to notice it), but maybe they think I'm sensitive about it. I haven't had anyone comment on it since high school.

89. I don't tan. When your mother has Lupus and your father has skin cancer, you avoid the sun like the plague. I'm pasty white year round.

90. I taught myself to sew when I lived in Sweden. I sewed the curtains and pillows in our living room. I've also sewn on military insignia when the alterations shop was backed up. I think I did a better job than they do.

91. My brother basically paid his way through college by playing poker. I personally hate playing cards.

92. But video poker is a whole different story. Addictive as crack. When I was in Vegas, I got four aces on one of those. Unfortunately, it was a nickel machine; I think I won four bucks.

93. I've never broken any bones in my body. But I did break someone else's finger once during flag football.

94. When I was a kid, I heard my voice on a tape recorder and vowed never to speak again. I think I went a few days without talking.

95. When I was in France, we had no TV or phone. I had to come up with many things to amuse myself. One was memorizing "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock".

96. I also took lots of photos while I was there. I even won a photography contest with one of them.

97. I used to hate waking up early, but now I really enjoy it. The earlier the better. It gets me to the blogosphere sooner.

98. I dry my hair and eat breakfast in front of the computer. No sense in wasting time.

99. I'm an obsessive list-maker.

100. Last but not least, here's a picture of me.

Posted by Sarah at 08:00 AM | Comments (5)


My name is Sarah, and I am a 32-yr-old military wife currently stationed where the kudzu is lovely and the soldiers wear the kind of beret you'd find in a secondhand store. My husband deployed to Iraq with the 1ID as an armor platoon leader in OIF II (2004-2005). He then made the interesting switch to his basic branch (Finance) and quickly decided that he wanted a more direct involvement in the War on Terror. He finished Civil Affairs training and a Farsi language course, after which he got deployed to...Iraq. Heh. The Army makes wonderful sense. He returned in Dec 2008 and then spent the second half of 2009 in Afghanistan.

I have written a lot over the past two years about trying (unsuccessfully) to have a baby. We got pregnant with our first child last year but had a miscarriage in December. Our hope was to get pregnant again before my husband deployed. Happily, I found out I was pregnant four days after he left for Iraq. Sadly, we lost that baby too. And for us, the third time was not the charm either. We got pregnant again via IUI when he came home, but that baby also didn't make it. That's when I found out that I have a balanced translocation of chromosomes. We were all set to do IVF with PGD when we got pregnant right before my husband deployed. I spent his nine-month deployment pregnant and he returned ten days before our daughter was born. She has put a real cramp in my blogging style.

I'm also an avid knitter -- see my knitting archive -- and I belong to a group that makes and donates preemie caps to the local hospital. Here are a few of my favorites.

I wrote a few posts in my early blogging years that explain who I am. I'm a military wife but I secretly wish I were in the Army (Something I Can Relate To and Still Thinking). I support the War on Terror (Pacing). I lean to the right politically, which is something I came to on my own (D'Souza and Nature or Nurture?) and which I hid from my friends for a long time (A Long Time Coming). I have lived in both France and Sweden before, and we just got back from living in Germany for three years, but I'm a diehard American through and through (Freedom, American and Homelandsick). I also constantly have to keep myself on track and remind myself of what's important, which I refer to as the laser beam (Anger).

Thank you for checking out my blog. The only thing I ask is that if you disagree with me, do so in a polite way (Manners).

[This post updated 1 June 2010]

Posted by Sarah at 07:59 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack