"It's an election year, and America stands at a crossroads." Thus begins CavX's great new post.
This will take about 10 seconds, but the eureka moment will be worth it. (Make sure you click on the green headline.)
I hear Rudy Giuliani was a hit. I can't watch the RNC here, so I have to read it, and I like what I read. And you know what else I like? I like having a president who's uncomfortable with the Queen of England and completely at home with a crew of construction workers. But maybe that's just me.
MORE TO GROK:
Thanks, NightHawk. It was even better to watch than to read.
Deskmerc explains the importance of peer review in an excellent post.
But [Bush at the RNC] will talk up successes in the war and remind us that, if we don't win it, the best prescription-drugs plan in the world isn't going to make much difference.
You know, I've seen some pretty hateful stuff in my years of being glued to the blogosphere, but oh...my...god.
VDH's newest contains a really nice quote from Thucydides:
For there is justice in the claim that steadfastness in his country's battles should be as a cloak to cover a man's other imperfections; since the good action has blotted out the bad, and his merit as a citizen more than outweighed his demerits as an individual.
Unfortunately, there are many here who work and live on post who look down their noses at our Soldiers. However, I often agree with Thucydides: a Soldier's service, if it is noble, trumps his faults. Among the students I've had in my classes, there have been several who have been in and out of jail, who were in dangerous gangs, and who previously just generally didn't contribute much to society. In any other circumstances, I can't imagine how I would have ever come to associate with people of that background. But selfless service can cloak a myriad of imperfections. He may have been a dumb kid who landed himself in jail, but now he's a dedicated leader who's aiming for an E-7. He may have been a dangerous gangbanger, but now he's found religion and a life of responsibility as a father and husband. He may have been a drug-dealing punk who joined because the courts forced him, but now he's thinking of making a career of it. For me, the minute they put on that uniform -- as long as they live by the values it represents -- they have earned respect and dignity, despite their individual flaws.
The commander sent a CD home that contained several hundred photos of my husband's company. This one is my favorite. I can't even tell who this is, but there's something about it that I find quite touching. I don't know how to put it into words; it just chokes me up to see this napping hero.
When I read the book Alas, Babylon two years ago, I could hardly put it down. It's the story of the aftermath of nuclear war and how the remaining people struggled to survive. I've been thinking a lot about it lately as I've been following Iran's nuclear progress over at LGF. The thing is, a series of articles showing Iran getting closer and closer seems to have little impact on anyone, but picture it as a narrative or a movie, and it starts to seem important. Picture ominous build-up music and scenes of putting the final touches on while the protagonist races to get there in time. That's what I fear we're facing, though the boring articles describing the scenario really play down the urgency. But Alas, Babylon is never far from my mind.
I don't have the patience to go look it up, but a long time ago I wondered if we'd all still be blogging in ten years. I wondered if the fad would die or people would get burned out. I thought we might all hit a point where we just lost interest, but I never wanted to see it happen to The Best.
Revelation: teaching something that's second nature is very hard.
This weekend I'm teaching a seminar called Grammar Review. Grammar is no big problem for me. I hardly ever have to stop to think about the rules. I generally can identify compound-complex sentences, comma splices, and subordinating conjunctions with ease, so that makes it really hard to teach it to someone who struggles. In planning for my class today, I allotted like 30 minutes for things that took us over an hour to actually accomplish because I completely misjudged how much time it would take people to catch on. And I think they all hate me and that the final exam I wrote is going to kick their butts. Whoops. Trial and error, I guess; it's the first time I've taught this class.
They're getting it, slowly, but we need eight weeks instead of two days.
I've only taken two days of statistics so far, Stephen, so I can't explain this polling overlap either. It is pretty funny though.
Long-time readers will know that nothing gets my blood boiling like some snotty intellectual calling average Americans stupid. They frequently do it to our servicemembers, which really ticks me off. And they do it all the time to our President. Nothing makes me madder than the audacity of a statement like this:
Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I'm sure their SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead.
OK, well we all know President Bush's grades, since "Bush is dumb" is like sooo 2000. What are Kerry's grades, then? Can't Howell Raines find them and make a factual statement instead of resorting to bandwagon techniques?
I don't know what happens behind closed White House doors. I don't really care who's pulling most of the weight, be it Bush or Cheney or Rice. As a team, they're getting the job done. But, having absolutely no facts at my disposal, I'm not sure I want to poke at President Bush's IQ. What does IQ measure? Little picture games and mind puzzles and making connections and so on. I think President Bush might do quite well on a test of this nature.
Smarts isn't about memorizing and regurgitating, which is what the SAT and grades are about. Hell, I'm freaking awesome at that. I can play the school game like nobody's business, which is how you end up valedictorian and summa cum laude. But I'm slowly learning that playing school and playing life are completely different things.
Last night I had my second stats class. We learned variance and standard deviation, long formulas involving sigmas and x-bars and things that give most math-fearing people (the majority of the class) the heebie-jeebies. But I got the formulas right away. I figured out how to do the functions on the calculator right away. But then when I raised my hand and asked for how it applies to the real world, I could hear the panic in people's gasps. It's bad enough we have to plug in the frequency and take square roots, for chrissake, who cares what it all means! But I cared. I'm not taking stats just to finish a degree; I'm taking it because I want to know how it applies to the real world. And I could easily see how to plug in all the data, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out the relationship between the answer we got (18.2 cents) and the real problem (increase cigarette taxes in 27 states).
It's very humbling to realize you can't figure it out unless the teacher shows you how.
I've realized that I've an overabundance of capability, but no real ability to decipher relationships on my own. Give me formulas, give me numbers, and I'll give you all the answers, but ask me what it means and I'll stutter. And I get A's and had a relatively high SAT score. (I'm getting better at it through blogging, but I'm still stunned by the likes of Den Beste, Bunker, and CavX. I'll never get to that level.)
President Bush, and whoever else is working behind closed doors with him, can see the big picture. I don't care if he can plug the numbers into the calculator himself or if Cheney does it for him, as long as he continues to get 'er done. What indication do we have that Kerry sees the big picture? He obviously can't even make the mental relationship that voting for war and against funding makes you look like a jackass.
Look, I just don't like to call anyone stupid. I especially don't like it when Howell Raines -- who presumably thought Jayson Blair was pretty smart -- points his finger at the President. There's much more to smarts than grades in college; I'd say, to quote CavX, that
spending the last three years destroying terrorist training camps, breaking up terror cells in the US and abroad, uncovering a multinational nuclear proliferation ring, forcing belligerent North Korea to the bargaining table, cowing Libya into giving up its WMD programs and terrorist support, and winning two wars against terrorist-supporting Islamofascist dictatorships in the process
makes the President look pretty smart to me.
MORE TO GROK:
Instapundit says pretty much the same thing I said.
And Ann Althouse:
In any case, my questions about Kerry's intelligence do not arise solely from my inference that he had a poor academic record and low standardized test scores. My questions are also based on his exasperatingly convoluted and unclear manner of speaking. This has been excused as a propensity for "nuance" and "complexity," but could also be caused by a lack of mental capacity. It could also be willful evasion. I'd really like to know.
I have half-assedly followed Kim du Toit's donations to snipers SGT Walter and SPC Adam for a while now. The other day he posted a photo of them, and if it ain't the jawdropping-est thing I've ever seen, I don't know what is. Then tonight I found the Adopt A Sniper website via The Patriette, and I got to thinking. So I split my money and donated a little bit to Kim's two snipers and a little bit to some anonymous snipers.
Is it weird that the word "sniper" is a turn-on?
Could it be true? Could John Kerry "go down in history as the man who made Dukakis look good"? I'd like to hope so...
I've written before about parents of fallen Soldiers who don't support the mission. I think it's very sad. But today, through Sgt Hook, I was moved to tears by a parent who does support his fallen son, in a very noble and selfless way.
Hook wrote about a memorial service he attended in Afghanistan; the Soldier's father reads Hook's blog, heretofore unbeknownst to Hook. I can't read SGT Daniel Galvan's father's message without feeling a jumble of pride, sadness, and loyalty:
I do not mind at all your posting my email on your blog. Your words and thoughts are greatly appreciated as is your blog appreciated as a way to pay tribute to our soldiers. If you would pass on my thanks to Daniel’s First Sergeant for the conduct of his memorial. I have only gotten second hand reports through my daughter-in-law but what I have heard it was a moving experience for my son’s fellow soldiers in attendance.
If I may be so bold, I charge Daniel’s Division with completing the duty we have to make sure that the lowlifes that hit us on our homeland on 911 are brought to justice. You can pass the word to Daniel’s fellow soldiers that his Dad is proud of him and of all who wear the uniform, I will pray daily for all and that we bring this action to a fitting and just conclusion in a timely manner; I can think of no better tribute to Daniel that that.
In closing let me say that Daniel loved the Army, flying, his family, his parents and above all he loved the USA. I used to say that my heart pumped OD blood (half in jest) but I believe that Daniel’s heart did.
Blas E. Galvan
Mr. Galvan, I promise to do my part here on the homefront to make sure your son's sacrifice is never forgotten. And I'll put in a request to the Dukes of 1 ID 3rd Brigade to help get the lowlifes.
OK, there are a lot of things out there that I think you guys should be reading, but I'm too drained to write anything about them. So just take my word for it and go read this and this and this and this and this. And this, about how pro-wrestling is political. I have homework to do.
Here's the forgotten story of seven U.S. airmen killed by a mob in Rüsselsheim, Germany, during World War II.
And here's the developing story of a sniper.
LT A's wife forwarded me this. She also wrote to say that LT A is having complications, so please keep him in your thoughts.
Military Spouses - There's a Difference
by Col Steven Arrington
Nellis Air Force Base
Over the years, I've talked a lot about military spouses ... how special they are and the price they pay for freedom too. The funny thing about it, is most military spouses don't consider themselves different from other spouses. They do what they have to do, bound together not by blood or merely friendship, but with a shared spirit whose origin is in the very essence of what love truly is. Is there truly a difference? I think there is. You have to decide for yourself.
Other spouses get married and look forward to building equity in a home and putting down family roots. Military spouses get married and know they'll live in base housing or rent, and their roots must be short so they can be transplanted frequently.
Other spouses decorate a home with flair and personality that will last a lifetime. Military spouses decorate a home with flare tempered with the knowledge that no two base houses have the same size windows or same size rooms. Curtains have to be flexible and multiple sets are a plus. Furniture must fit like puzzle pieces!
Other spouses have living rooms that are immaculate and seldom used. Military spouses have immaculate living room/dining room combos. The coffee table got a scratch or two moving from Germany, but it sill looks pretty good.
Other spouses say goodbye to their spouse for a business trip and know they won't see them for a week. They are lonely, but can survive. Military spouses say good-bye to their deploying spouse and know they won't see them for months, or for a remote, a year. They are lonely, but will survive.
Other spouses get used to saying 'hello' to friends they see all the time. Military spouses get used to saying 'good-bye' to friends made the last two years.
Other spouses worry about whether their child will be class president next year. Military spouses worry about whether their child will be accepted in yet another new school next year and whether that school will be the worst in the city again.
Other spouses can count on spouse participation in special events such as birthdays, anniversaries, concerts, football games, graduation, and even the birth of a child. Military spouses only count on each other; because they realize that the Flag has to come first if freedom is to survive. It has to be that way.
Other spouses put up yellow ribbons when the troops are imperiled across the globe and take them down when the troops come home. Military spouses wear yellow ribbons on their hearts and they never go away.
Other spouses worry about being late for Mom's Thanksgiving dinner. Military spouses worry about getting back from Japan in time for Dad's funeral.
And other spouses are touched by the television program showing an elderly lady putting a card down in front of a long, black wall that has names on it. The card simply says "Happy Birthday, Sweetheart. You would have been sixty today." A military spouse is the lady with the card. And the wall is the Vietnam memorial.
I would never say military spouses are better or worse than other spouses are. But I will say there is a difference. Our country asks more of military spouses than is asked of other spouses. Military spouses pay just as high a price for freedom as do their active duty husbands or wives. Perhaps the price they pay is even higher. Dying in service to our country isn't near as hard as loving someone who has died in service to our country, and having to live without them!
God bless our military spouses for all they freely give!
I like that: "the Flag has to come first if freedom is to survive." I'm proud to be lumped together with other military spouses.
Man, I wish I could've seen this exchange between Katie Couric and Denzel Washington. Thank heavens for brave celebrities...
(emailed to me by Tim)
MORE TO GROK:
I went and bought Courage Under Fire online, just because of Denzel. And also because that's the movie that made me know I wanted to be a military wife. After we watched it in ROTC class, I walked home from class all full of pride and love for my then-boyfriend's service. And I got back to his room to find he'd smashed a ukulele to splinters because a class he needed to graduate filled before he could register and therefore he would have to give up his slot in Air Assault School and take the business class in summer school.
As I calmed him down, I knew then that he was the man for me. I told him that as long as he beat up musical instruments instead of me, I'd stand by him through anything.
Well, that's weird. Reader Matt found it on Snopes, and the account is MIGHTY different. I always check the validity of email forwards, but I don't snope out websites (though on a second glance, I should have if I'd read the parenthetical statement more thoroughly). Sigh. Oh well...it's still a good movie.
Hilarious that Meryl Streep said that money is bad though.
Hilarious new Scrappleface article.
What's that you say? It's real? It's a real article?
Oh. I coulda sworn...
I had my first statistics class tonight.
I was practically bouncing out of my seat, I was so excited.
I for one have been brainwashed and hoodwinked.
A lot of this is news to me.
It's a shame that party stereotypes continue to trump reality.
I think the purple heart issue as it relates to Sen Kerrey [sic] speaks volumns about him as a leader. He was not a private, but a Lieutenant, a small unit leader. He was taught that as a leader his two critical tasks were; accomplish the mission, and welfare of his soldiers. No leader I know would ever dream of leaving their troops behind especially not on a technicality. 3 medals equals ticket home. A leader should represent Army values of duty, honor, and most importantly selfless service. His actions seem more selfish than selfless.
My husband won't even take R&R without the rest of his soldiers getting it; I can't help but feel contempt for someone who would go home and leave his brothers to fend for themselves.
MORE TO GROK:
More two cents on Kerry's leadership.
One Marine groks the same way I do:
Now we are on the verge of victory or defeat in Iraq. Success depends not only on battlefield superiority, but also on the trust and confidence of the American people. I've read some articles recently that call for cutting back our military presence in Iraq and moving our troops to the peripheries of most cities. Such advice is well-intentioned but wrong - it would soon lead to a total withdrawal. Our goal needs to be a safe Iraq, free of militias and terrorists; if we simply pull back and run, then the region will pose an even greater threat than it did before the invasion. I also fear if we do not win this battle here and now, my 7-year-old son might find himself here in 10 or 11 years, fighting the same enemies and their sons.
When critics of the war say their advocacy is on behalf of those of us risking our lives here, it's a type of false patriotism. I believe that when Americans say they "support our troops," it should include supporting our mission, not just sending us care packages. They don't have to believe in the cause as I do; but they should not denigrate it. That only aids the enemy in defeating us strategically.
Erik of No Passaran discusses a French photo exhibit that will feature photos from Abu Ghraib but not from the mass graves found in Iraq as part of the "most important photos of the year":
Now I would like you to ask you to take another look at the photo of the father bestowing a final kiss on the dried skull of his son. (It should not escape notice that the place this skeleton was dug up at was the burial grounds of… Abu Ghraib.)
Which pictures do you think Ghirayer Ali would deem "the most important photos of the year", Monsieur Leroy? Those showing some of hundreds of thousands of murdered Iraqi civilians dug up from the Iraqi sands, including his son at Abu Ghraib, or the snapshots documenting US troops humiliating prisoners (a good portion of which were those who murdered their countrymen in the first place)?
Before I'm accused of catering to base emotionalism, I will take back the question, and ask a more general one: which of the two groups of pictures do you think your average Iraqi would deem "the most important photos of the year", Monsieur Leroy?
I have a lump in my throat from looking at that photo...
Every two months, there are two days where we work 11-hour shifts.
It's today and tomorrow, so there won't be much blogging.
In the post I wrote the day my husband deployed, I mentioned the Johnny Cash version of "I Won't Back Down" that's in a commercial we love. It seems we're not the only ones who like that song; you can hear it during this slideshow on the First Infantry Division webpage.
I'd write about it if I hadn't just spent most of the day writing a final exam for the grammar class I'm teaching next weekend. I'm worn out. Just read the article and imagine what I'd say.
I finished two more projects this month. I'm working at a rate of a sweater per month during the deployment, which keeps me occupied. The first one is that pink and white sweater I was waiting on the yarn to finish. The second is for me too; I've always wanted to have a bright striped sweater. (I can never seem to get the colors to come out right when I take photos of my projects though.)
Is it just me, or is this title -- Iraqi athletes object to Bush campaign ad: Soccer players say president shouldn't exploit their success -- a little different from the crux of the article's content?
However, the Iraqi Olympic delegation accused journalists of deliberately provoking an angry response from their players.
“Our purpose is not to politicize the football team in any way,” Mark Clark, a consultant for the Iraqi Olympic Committee, said. “It seems the story was engineered.”
But Clark insisted journalists were wrong to take advantage of the athletes.
“It is a little naughty,” he said. “The players are not very sophisticated politically; they are a little naive. Whoever posed these questions knew that the reaction would be negative.
“It is possible something was lost in translation. It’s a free, new Iraq, and the players are entitled to their opinions but we are disappointed.”
Iraq’s soccer players once lived in fear of Uday Hussein, son of toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, who used to beat the soles of their feet or throw them in prison for slip-ups on the pitch.
Under current coach Adnan Hamd, they have defied the odds to reach the quarterfinals at the Athens Olympics, where they will play Australia on Saturday.
When the left-wing minions descended upon me a few months ago, spewing hatred and insults, it hurt. It hurts to be called names and told you're stupid and worthless. At that time, I found comfort in asking myself What Would Dubya Do? This is a man who has entire movies made about how worthless he is, yet he still manages to sleep at night. In terms of dealing with criticism and being self-confident, President George W. Bush is my personal hero. Whenever I feel down about myself, I remind myself that he deals with far worse every day.
I've read a couple of places today about how John Kerry is trying to get the FEC to shut down the SwiftVets ad. In my book, that makes Kerry about as spineless and weak-hearted as I am. I'm not a politician, so I'm allowed the luxury of feeling hurt when someone speaks bad of me; Kerry better get used to it if he plans on running the most hated country in the world.
While this is amusing and pathetic on the surface, what started as questions about Kerry's Vietnam era activity, Kerry has now turned into nothing less than a battle for free speech.
After Michael Moore's propaganda film, Bush never suggested it should be silenced.
After the moveon.org attack ads, Bush never suggested they should be silenced.
It's called freedom of speech (though Moore has moved perilously close to treason with his film while our troops are engaged in countries abroad).
Now Kerry seeks to silence free speech, because it's critical of his past.
For the blogosphere community, this has now moved past mocking the media for their absurdly obvious bias, and has become serious.
Kerry has changed the game with this move to shut down free speech.
If the media remain complicit now, they're not being complicit in smearing the SwiftVets, they're complicit in shutting down free speech -- the foundation of our society.
The "progressives" throw around labels of "fascism" and demonize John Ashcroft and Bush, but this has now become a battle for the country.
I don't think I'm exaggerating here. This has now become quite serious.
It is indeed serious. I grappled with this issue on my janky little blog -- whether to block certain commenters or close the comments section -- because I believe that people have the right to say what they think, even if it hurts my feelings. Shouldn't a presidential candidate in the United States of America believe in that as well?
MORE TO GROK:
I remember last year there was a mini-series about Hitler on TV, and everyone was worried that it was too sympathetic. Even today, sixty years later, people don't want a personable Hitler. So why in the hell do we have a mini-series on 9/11 through the terrorists' eyes? I don't want to know what was going on in their lives to make them do these things, I don't want to watch them prepare to board the planes, I don't want to see the crash of Flight 93 from anyone but Tood Beamer's point of view, and I certainly don't want to give the 9/11 hijackers any more publicity and glory for the heinous thing that they did. I think that's disgusting.
That Hitler mini-series took 60 years. Maybe in 2060, when it's history, they can make a mini-series about that garbage, but it's not history when some of the collaborators are still alive and kickin' and being released by Germans.
This sure isn't the 9/11 movie Lileks envisioned.
I've only played paintball once, back when I was in the ROTC class, and I only had one kill that day. It was from very far away and only after I shot about ten million paintballs at him did I finally kill him. But I did hit him, as Cartman would say, squaa in the nuts. Let me at Osama and Saddam for a repeat performance. Too bad they're just look-alikes.
I've been meaning to write about Dark Star Safari since I finished it, but I just haven't made the time yet. I'm making it now.
Beth recommended this book. Since I read The Power of One last year and went from zero knowledge of South African society to at least a passing level, I thought I'd give Dark Star Safari a try. I know that there's always a lot more to learn about foreign continents.
Beth's review of the book leaned towards the parallels with Iraq:
Reading the book has led me to ponder to comparisons, America and Africa, and Iraq and Africa. Theroux's book could/should serve as a stark warning of some major mistakes that could be made in trying to promote a democracy in Iraq. What it comes down to more than anything else is do the Iraqi's want a true democracy? And if they do, are they willing to go thru the struggle, take the responsibility, and resist those who would hinder the outcome?
That's an interesting parallel to make, one that I had forgotten Beth had made until I looked it up again now. Setting up the conditions for people to be free won't work if the people don't yearn for freedom. Similarly, setting up the conditions for progress won't work if people can't see the big picture.
When I was a French tutor at my college, I noticed an interesting phenomenon: students memorized formulas for putting together hypotheticals. I tried hard to teach them to think of the meaning attached to the hypothetical sentences. I encouraged them to think of what they wanted to say and then use the fitting tenses. They ignored me; the formulas were easier. My students invented intricate mnemonic devices to remember which tenses went together, completely abandoning meaning as a criterion. No matter how many times I tried to explain to them that they should view French as a language and not a math problem, they didn't want to listen. I always saw that chart in our book as the give-a-man-a-fish method: the students couldn't extrapolate from it or do anything that didn't plug neatly into the formula. But the students didn't want the teach-a-man-to-fish method because it was harder than mimicry.
I thought a lot about the giving vs teaching fish proverb while reading Dark Star Safari. Theroux is certainly an Afrophile, but all of his observations, no matter how much he tried to provide context, presented Africa in a horrifying light. Theroux does not sugarcoat the situation; he presents the good with the bad, which is admirable since I'm wont to smell agenda in everything I read. What he taught me is that Africa is a beautiful and mysterious continent that is completely screwed.
The problem Theroux lays out is that the Africans have been given so many fish that they'll never bother to learn to fish: they always know another handout is around the corner. All of the relief workers and foreign aid are killing the African initiative; Theroux relates countless stories of Africans who shrug off problems and say that aid workers will fix it. Foreigners move to Africa, start programs, get run out of town or move on when they get frustrated, and the whole program crumbles and dies. Theroux painted a dismal portrait of the endless cycle of foreign aid and dwindling African spirit. The Africans don't see the big picture of helping themselves, because in the short-run another aid worker will come and do it for them.
Kim du Toit has advocated letting Africa sink. The first time I read his essay, I thought it was too extreme. Now I'm not so sure. I'm not saying I advocate "a high wall around the whole continent, all the guns and bombs in the world for everyone inside" as Kim does, in typical Kim fashion. But I don't see a solution to Africa's deep-rooted problems anywhere on the horizon.
I thought Bill Gates was the height of magnanimity when he gave millions to AIDS in Africa; now it seems like fish-giving at its worst. Throwing money at the problem will not do anything to solve Africa's suffering. I sure can't offer a solution, but I know it ain't money.
Good book. Check it out if you're looking for a depressingly realistic read.
MORE TO GROK:
I forgot that Bunker wrote a similar post (complete with giving/teaching fish idea) back in July. I must've subconsciously plagiarized him...
I feel really sorry for these VFW guys. They feel so absolutely betrayed by John Kerry. Forget the Purple Hearts; Kerry came home and denounced his brothers in arms. I can't even imagine how it must feel to be a Vietnam vet who sees Kerry cash in on the war hero image.
Thus, I expect to see Germans, the French, Spaniards, the Dems and others dancing on the streets and boulevards as soon Europe is liberated from those unwelcome foreigners.
Keep dreaming, Nelson. I have heard so much whining lately about the poor German economy that it's not even funny. They hate us to death, but they sure don't want us to leave. Oh, poor Kitzingen, where one in three inhabitants is American. Their poor gasthauses will have to close. Cry me a river.
I saw a military commercial tonight that basically said "don't start packing just yet", but I'm ready.
Send me to Texas.
1. the first time you look at someone's lapel and address him with the correct rank
2. the first time you see a full bird on a lapel
3. the first time you see an Airman and have no idea how to address him
4. the first time you see a Marine and wonder what in the heck is wrong with his blurry camoflauge
5. the first time you correctly call it a weapon instead of a gun
6. the first time you correctly call it a post instead of a base
7. the first time you use military terminology that makes your husband say, "Where did you learn that?"
8. the first time you realize that your friends from back home have no idea what you're talking about
9. the first time you get a hooah when you're teaching grammar
10. and the pinnacle: the first time you explain to a soldier the difference between his AARTS and his ATAARS
Anyone got any other good firsts?
Carla reminded me of one. How about
11. the first time you spell something out in the military alphabet without stumbling
There actually were heroes in Hollywood. At one time.
And read Bjorn Staerk's post on Islam and all of the comments.
My co-worker said that the German radio is announcing the base closures and that our European-based soldiers are not even returning from Iraq, but instead are heading directly back to the States and all family members will follow them and bases will close. For almost a year, we've been hearing that this absolutely will not be happening, and GEN B.B. Bell even made a series of commercials assuring family members that their soldiers would be coming back to Germany. Weird that the Germans are announcing something totally different than what the President said.
Developing, as Drudge says...
Just to make sure we're all on the same page: I believe GEN Bell ten thousand times more than I believe the German radio. I think what they're putting out is ridiculous misinformation. I'd love to beat your two weeks for outprocessing, Deskmerc, but I know it ain't gonna happen.
Another reason why I, as a military wife, don't want to vote Kerry: I want to go home.
Tim mis-labeled his blog when he called CPT Patti the "sweetest woman on the planet"; he should have called her the sweetest and best smelling woman on the planet. I don't know if she's taken a billion showers after leaving Iraq, but the first thing I noticed about her was how downright delicious she smelled. And then it was her radiant smile.
Tim and CPT Patti stopped here on their way home from leave in Italy. I originally thought nothing could've been nicer than my trip to Frankfurt to meet Tim, but the addition of Patti was nothing short of heavenly. She was personable and interesting and genuine and just plain great. And of course Tim was the Tim we know and love. They were just excellent together, and it was the best lunch I've had in a long time. I could've talked to them for two days instead of two hours, and I'm humbled that they drove out of the way just to see me.
And I told Tim that if he ever gets the itch, he's welcome to write a guest post here whenever he wants.
This is a trip: here's what happens when a scientist meets a journalist.
I just watched A Few Good Men for the first time since I learned anything about the military. It's not sitting well with me. The moral dilemma is disconcerting, it's a lose-lose situation, and in the end I have no idea what I think. What do you do if you're a servicemember who's given an unlawful order? If you disobey, you may be punished. If you obey, you may be punished. That's a frightening dilemma. Sometimes there's what's right and what's right, and never the twain shall meet.
Blackfive posts some humorous Rules for Non-Military Personnel.
I've come up with a few questions that I'd like to pose to military wives who think voting Kerry is in their best interest.
1. Kerry has recently been talking about reducing the number of troops in Iraq as soon as he gets into office. Would you support this measure, knowing that it might mean that your husband could be stretched even thinner and have less support and back-up on his missions?
2. Kerry has also said that the reduction of American troops will be made possible by the addition of foreign, especially Arab, troops. This question is rather hypothetical, given that to date no additional nations have agreed to send troops if Kerry were elected, but would you rather have your husband fighting alongside Arab soldiers instead of other Americans?
3. Kerry recently spoke out against the genocide in Sudan and said, "we must also start planning now for the possibility that the international community, acting through the United Nations, will be forced to intervene urgently to save the lives of the innocent." There's no question that the situation in Sudan is horrible, but would you want your husband to deploy there as part of a UN-led peacekeeping mission?
Yep, they're loaded questions. But the problem is that many wives hear the words "Kerry's gonna reduce the number of troops in Iraq" and they don't think about the fine print. A premature reduction of troops means less stability and more strain for those who are left there. Do we really want to vote for that?
Links to keep you busy:
On Loathing Bush, by Victor Davis Hanson
"Journalists are our brothers," says a spokesman for al-Sadr. You don't say?
Bunker writes on altruism.
Now this is a cool photo.
Avery writes about ebonics.
And isn't the timing of the FL hurricanes just a little too...convenient?
Kathleen A said that I don't take myself too seriously. I think that can be my focus for a while: until I find something I want to write about, I can just keep not taking myself seriously.
So without further ado...one of those stupid email forward things:
Last cigarette: Never. I've never smoked in my life. I just don't get it.
Last alcoholic drink: A radler at dinner last night: Germans mix half beer and half lemonade, which I thought was disgusting when I first got here. It's grown on me though.
Last car ride: Last night, home from dinner with other wives, a British major, and a captain on R&R
Last kiss: Exactly six months ago today, when Blue 6 left
Last good cry: Two nights ago when I felt I had let LT A down by not visiting him at Landstuhl
Last library book: I'm too much of an "owner" to use the library -- I prefer to buy books so I can keep them forever. The last book I borrowed from a library would have to have been over two years ago in grad school.
Last book bought: Aztec, as a gift for one of my favorite old students (the one with the puppy) who is interested in the Aztecs and will be deploying soon for his second fun-filled year in Iraq.
Last book read: I just finished Dark Star Safari, which I may write about later.
Last movie seen in theaters: tried to go see Spiderman 2, but it was sold out. Before that...??? Starsky and Hutch, I think. It's been a while.
Last movie rented: Euro Trip, with friends. Silly, silly movie.
Last cuss word uttered: I have no idea. I haven't actually spoken a single word today, so I know it wasn't anything I said this morning.
Last beverage drank: apple juice
Last food consumed: honey nut cheerios
Last crush: I've been accused by Blue 6 of having a crush on nearly every Soldier I meet. They're all so wonderful.
Last phone call: my mother-in-law: we both got phone calls from my husband yesterday.
Last TV show watched: Happy Days, of course. That's all I watch on TV here.
Last time showered: as of now? yesterday morning. Soon to be repeated.
Last shoes worn: rainbow flip flops
Last CD played: the mix I made for Tim when I went to visit him in Frankfurt
Last item bought: a get-well card for LT A. Actually, not a get-well card, because all of them suck. They're all like "ah, you have a cold? You'll be better in no time" and are completely inappropriate. I had to buy a card that was actually listed under Miss You -- Kids. There is a line of military greeting cards here, but they only have "congrats on your promotion" and "you're retiring"; they need to branch out.
Last download: some new security update for Yahoo messenger
Last annoyance: Yesterday at work was like the Day of Bad Customers. People who want you to fill all of their paperwork out for you because they're too lazy to do it alone. People who show up right at closing time and make me stay 30 min late. People who never turned in financial aid paperwork and then expect a Pell Grant to materialize out of thin air when they register. All sorts of problems and drama.
Last disappointment: Thursday my husband was online and I missed him by six minutes.
Last soda drank: Pepsi One at work yesterday
Last thing written: my Friday Iraq Letters: Blue 6, Red 6, LT A, my brother-in-law, and my friend's husband
Last words spoken: Like I said, I haven't said anything today. It would've been saying goodbye when I got off the phone with my mother-in-law last night.
Last ice cream eaten: one of those mini Snickers bar ice cream treats
Last chair sat in: our brand new computer chair that I bought for my husband for his birthday
Last webpage visited: heh. The Iraq War Was Wrong site linked from LGF, where I found this list. I have no idea what it has to do with the Iraq war though. (And I really can't believe this person compared invading Iraq to hacky-sacking indoors. That site has to be a joke, right?)
When I blog, I blog off the cuff. I type, I finish, I post. Which is why the fact that I've started several posts in the past few days and just erased them or saved them as drafts because I know they're garbage is startling. I don't have anything good to say. I'm stumped and I'm down on myself because I feel worthless.
And then the phone rang and I found out LT A will likely be in the hospital for up to six months. And I lost it.
There I was, carrying on because my blogging is not up to par, and then people with actual problems called and reminded me that "gaping shrapnel wounds" are more important than "feelings of inadequacy due to insufficient blog material". I don't think I've ever felt like a bigger idiot.
I'm not blogging anymore for a while, at least not until I have something to say.
I finally heard an update on LT A last night. He's improving, and they're probably going to move him home to the hospital at Fort Lewis in the near future. However, he still has a long recovery ahead of him. But at least he is awake and he knows everyone is pulling for him.
I was just trying to find something back on my old Blogspot site.
I had a realization:
I think I was a better blogger back in November than I am now.
Hmmm...that's not good.
Stephen Green's Game Plan is a good read. I didn't even want to pull a passage out because the whole thing has to be read as one whole. But I gasped when I read this:
We fought at Bull Run, too. And we fought at Kasserine Pass, and Manila, and Bastogne, and Hue, and on Flight 93. We even won at a couple of those places, even though the cause seemed lost.
But we fought.
I've written about both Bastogne and Flight 93 before; both of them give me chills, but it wasn't until I saw them juxtaposed like this that I realized how they're related. In both cases, Americans fought even when they knew the odds were overwhelmingly against them. And they succeeded.
They fought anyway. That's an American value.
To be honest, this is what I fear most. I don't even want to think about an assassination.
What a crock: ABC didn't call me either, or they'd have found someone who voted Gore in 2000 and will vote Bush in 2004. It seems a tad ridiculous that they can't find anyone in that category. Perhaps they're just not looking hard enough and are instead spending their time crafting over-the-top statements that look like fact but are indeed garbage.
Of course, I voted Gore in 2000 because I was woefully uninformed. I knew that I stood by the Republicans in almost all the issues, but I just didn't think that Bush had the experience to be president. I never thought he was stupid; I just thought he was too...simple.
Thank god I was right. That simplisme is now one of his greatest qualities.
MORE TO GROK:
I digested this for a while and decided I have more to say about it.
The last election was while I was in grad school. I'm ashamed to say that I don't think I read a single newspaper or watched a single debate. I honestly think I got my political news from Saturday Night Live. Embarrassing, I know, but I think it's pretty typical. Most young people just vote based on a hunch or on what they think the parties represent, whether it's true or not.
I'm going to write ABC now.
What started out as a humorous post has turned into a debate about our military wounded. Interested in joining this comments section?
If the media knew how much this hurts, how it's like a knife in the heart of every military family member, would they still do it? It's becoming obvious that no one in the media gives a damn about our servicemembers.
Tanker sent me this article: Army finds no lack of recruits for infantry
As an aside, my students were cracking up a few weeks ago talking about the Blue to Green Program. Now I'm Army all the way, but that program does make me giggle a bit.
Genius observation on diversity by David Boxenhorn.
So Kerry would have gone to war anyway, lack of WMDs and all. Um, huh? Anyway, he lays out four questions he'd like President Bush to answer. In the remaining 15 minutes before I have to leave for work, I am going to try to give the short answers:
Kerry challenged Bush to answer some questions of his own -- why he rushed to war without a plan for the peace, why he used faulty intelligence, why he misled Americans about how he would go to war and why he had not brought other countries to the table.
1) It's my understanding that we really were surprised by the insurgency. OK, mistake. I understand that American intelligence relied too heavily on what Iraqi exiles said would happen. They were wrong. The military has been frank about their shortcomings though. We're trying to fix the problem, but unfortunately we've got the entire world breathing down our necks now. My husband said his unit gets shot at from mosques but they're not allowed to do anything back. That's a problem. Oh, and all that build-up at the UN? That's not a "rush to war".
2) There's a big difference between lying and being wrong. We had some faulty intelligence. So did Clinton. So did Putin. Heck, so did Saddam. We all thought he had WMDs. We were told he tried to buy yellowcake, which for all the hullabaloo turned out to actually be true. Intelligence is not an exact science, and we did the best we could with what we had.
3) "Why he misled Americans about how he would go to war" is an odd question. I've heard it phrased about why we should go to war, but never how. I don't quite understand the accusation here. Heh, maybe he means why Bush said there'd be shock and awe, when really it looked pretty lame from the TV set in my grandma's sewing room...
4) Oh the glorious "other countries" charge. Here's what I'd say to John Kerry:
Look, moron, even someone with a free geocities account appears to be better informed than you. Put down the guitar, shut off your "rap music", and take time to count the countries that support us in Iraq. And count the waving coalition flags on the Rottweiler's blog. Just because your precious France isn't on board doesn't mean we're alone.
I'll fill in links later [done, as of 0945]; I have to go to work. Unlike Kerry, I have to show up more than 30% of the time.
MORE TO GROK:
RWN answers the questions too, and says nearly the same stuff I said.
You know, Kerry's starting to remind me of Chef's father. He couldn't talk about anything without going back to the Loch Ness Monster; Kerry can't talk about anything without going back to Vietnam. Or Cambodia. Or not Cambodia, as the case may be. Too bad the Democrats are so blinded by their Anyone But Bush campaign or they'd notice that their candidate has severe problems talking about the 21st century. As a candidate, I'd say he's worth about $3.50.
MORE TO GROK:
Sure, [General Tommy Franks] got three Purple Hearts, but it took him FORTY YEARS TO GET THEM! What's the matter, Tommy Boy? Bashful? Afraid to get in there and kick the ball around a little? That's alright. TRUE men of valor like John Kerry will take up the slack. It only took Iron Guts Kerry four months to get his three Purple Hearts, plus a Bronze Star, and a Silver Star. Do the math: if Kerry had stuck around for 40 years, he'd have 3600 Purple Hearts, and 120 Bronze and Silver Stars. It would take him a solid month to toss that many medals at the Capitol Building.
Go see how many Purple Hearts everyone else has gotten over the years. I imagine my friend will get one for having most of his torso ripped away...hardly seems like the same thing as Kerry's scratch on the arm.
The other day my German co-worker was talking on the phone with her friend and saying how my other co-worker and I were glued to the computer looking for news about Iraq. "Hrumph," her friend said, "can they even find Iraq on a map?" My co-worker came to our defense and said, "They know their geography of Iraq better than they do of Germany!"
I get so tired of the "Americans can't do geography" junk. Sure, I've met an American who thought that the Ayatollah ruled Liberia, but I've met uninformed people in Europe too. I personally have had to explain where Afghanistan is to a German, and I've also had to teach a Canadian where the Berlin Wall was (she thought Berlin was in Russia). I've even had a fight with a Swede over how many states there are in the US (he kept insisting that we have 51, and the fact that I live there still wouldn't convince him otherwise!)
People all over the world are bad at geography and history, not just us.
MORE TO GROK:
Heh, when I read back over that, it looks like I'm saying Canada is in Europe. I know for a fact it isn't. The Canadian, however, was in Europe when I asked her, "Didn't you watch any TV at all in 1989?"
Wow. I know that I eat breakfast and dry my hair in front of the computer, but this is ridiculous...
(Via Chrenkoff's EU Round-Up)
It seems John Kerry has just as much trouble remembering his words as his wife does. At least he didn't tell anyone to shove it though:
“John [Edwards] and I are going to put in place the principle, very simple: No young American in uniform should ever be held hostage to America’s dependence on oil in the Middle East.”
Kerry sat down with Stripes afterward to discuss the war, the stresses on the military and changes he would make.
Stripes: You said during your speech that never again would U.S. troops be hostage to a lousy energy policy —
Kerry: What I said is, I didn’t say never again, I said I don’t want them to be hostage.
Stripes: You think that’s what’s going on now?
Kerry: No. That’s not related directly to the oil … and I never suggested that it is.
Read the whole interview; I think Kerry sounds pretty silly, especially when he says his friends vouch for him. And note the Vietnam junk in the last statement.
MORE TO GROK:
Greyhawk's got lots more.
Seeing Fahrencrap 9/11 was a complete waste of time...until today. My German co-worker walked into the office this morning and triumphantly slapped a movie brochure on my desk. "I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 this weekend, and if you saw it there's no way you'd vote for Bush." Thank goodness I could respond, "I have seen the movie, and I most certainly will still be voting for Bush. You're crazy if you think that movie is going to change my mind." Took the wind right out of her sail. "You've seen it? Oh." Boo-yah.
MORE TO GROK:
Heh, check the comments section; my husband cracks me up. As time goes on, I grow more and more amazed that he ever gave me the time of day. I'm the luckiest person in the world.
Awesome. Excellent. Sweet. Cool. Wow. Wonderful. Kick-ass. And other adjectives that describe Cold Fury's Someday, Some way. Oh and funny, dead-on, and if-only.
I can't praise Cav X enough...
So... we get it. John Kerry was in Vietnam. What no one can explain is how that alone qualifies him to be President of the United States. No one can explain how spending four months on a patrol boat thirty-five years ago is a better qualification than spending the last three years destroying terrorist training camps, breaking up terror cells in the US and abroad, uncovering a multinational nuclear proliferation ring, forcing belligerent North Korea to the bargaining table, cowing Libya into giving up its WMD programs and terrorist support, and winning two wars against terrorist-supporting Islamofascist dictatorships in the process.
Our boys just got a new computer room on their camp, complete with webcams. I got to see my husband for the first time since our anniversary. He looked great! (I got to see the dimples too.) And he flashed the camera around the room so I could see everyone else there and also what the set-up is like on his camp. It was great. Incidentally, I thought when I looked at him that he looked really dirty. Turns out, according to Red 6, that he's actually just extremely tanned. But only on his head and hands, of course. Ha.
I'm going to buy a webcam of my own this afternoon so he can see me too. I'd better take a shower first...
MORE TO GROK:
Got to see Red 6 today too! Awesome. What a difference seeing someone's smile can make.
Grammar fun with President Bush, found via Pixy:
"Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?" Let us analyze that sentence for a moment. If you're a stickler, you probably think the singular verb "is" should have been the plural "are," but if you read it closely, you'll see I'm using the intransitive plural subjunctive tense. So the word "is" are correct.
In my sentences I go where no man has gone before...I am a boon to the English language.
We often hear people make fun of the President for the way he speaks. Even my own students occasionally call him dumb. I remind them that most of them screw their past participles up royally, that they are 20-30 years old but still mixing up there/their/they're, and that anyone whose extemporaneous speech is transcribed word for word is going to make grammar mistakes. The measure of a man is not grammatical accuracy but the message that's being conveyed. I'd much rather hear this
Anybody who wants to harm American troops will be found and brought to justice. There are some that feel like if they attack us that we may decide to leave prematurely. They don't understand what they are talking about if that is the case. Let me finish. There are some who feel like the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on.
I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history. [emphasis mine]
MORE TO GROK:
In his landmark speech to Congress on September 21, 2001, George Bush told the world "you are either with us or against us". Today John Kerry told them "You are either with us, or against us---but if you're against us we'll be nice to you and hope you become our friend". Which guy would you trust your family's safety with?
Hilarious: Kerry said almost the exact same thing that Bush said. Of course, no one suggested he's a halfwit because of it (via Allah).
This is a must-read analysis of Kerry's intentions in Iraq: The Disengagement
And -- handful of oddballs I've talked to notwithstanding -- veterans and military families seem to support our current President (via Vodkapundit). I think it means that veterans and families want what's best for all of our servicemembers, and they don't seem to think Kerry's plan is what's best.
ALa71 writes about "adopting" a Soldier. My friends and I were talking about this the other day, about how strange it would be to not know someone downrange and to only know Soldiers who warblog. I said that, with everyone my husband knows, I have to monitor news about Tikrit, Mosul, Baqubah, and Najaf. I know more than enough people down there to keep me busy; it's hard to imagine that half of America doesn't know anyone in Iraq or Afghanistan. (And sometimes the ones who do only vaguely have a sense of "yeah, that one guy from my high school is in the Marines or something.") Around here, everything we do or say or think is somehow attached to the war; it's hard to imagine life otherwise.
I was going to sit down and write another letter to my husband, but I thought I'd write it here instead of on paper...
I've been feeling very sentimental today. Maybe it's because we're a week shy of the six month mark, or maybe it's because LT A's injury has made me feel how precious lives are, but I'm feeling mushy today. I miss him a lot.
I miss his dimples. I miss the way he always adjusts the elastic on his jogging shorts. I miss his exasperated pleas for me to stop talking and go to bed. I miss cutting his hair, even though it turns into a bi-weekly argument. I miss the way he always makes my rum and cokes too strong. I miss when he begs for me to make the entire box of crab rangoon. I miss his encyclopaedic knowledge of history and geography. I miss making him waffles. I miss seeing him sitting in front of the computer trying to get his Arabic pronunciation absolutely perfect. I miss driving him to the motor pool at 0400 only to find he's forgotten his wallet at home. I miss his foul mouth. I miss dancing to the Old 97s while I make dinner. I miss the smell of motor pool and tank on all of his clothes. I miss finding his beret all over the house. I miss when he shyly comes to my work at lunch to ask if I need anything. I miss the way he hugs me tight and kisses my forehead.
We're half-way done.
What John Kerry would have done instead of reading My Pet Goat. Heh.
But I thought Fox News was the crazy unbalanced one? At least they're not booing anyone...
Duane's is still a classic, but all these captions for that Wendy's photos are good too.
Carla shows that she and I have fundamental common ground...and that she writes those statements that make me wonder "Why didn't I think of that?"
As something of an aside, there is another vital difference that makes the case for Bush over Kerry: Bush believes, I think, and has stated that the United States is the greatest country in the world. Kerry's politics are such that he could never say such a thing, much less believe it. I don't want a president who doesn't recognize the United States' standing as the most moral country (in it foundations) in the world.
One way to stop worrying is to return to business as usual. So I return to blogging.
INDC has an intriguing piece about President Bush.
Tanker sent me this link, which is wicked cool, about success in Afghanistan using Schwarzenegger's "girlie man" technique.
People misspeak all the time, and I -- like everyone else who can follow unscripted spoken English -- have no problem understanding what President Bush meant. But why on earth do we have to throw Kerry-was-in-Vietnam into every single news article? It's irritatingly irrelevent here.
My belief system affects everything I do in my life. My values shine through in every conversation and circumstance, and I think it's very important for people to have shared values, "common ground" as I normally call it. If I don't share basic assumptions and values with someone, we can still be friends, but in the back of my mind I'll always know that all of our ground isn't quite common. I'm not a person who can easily set my beliefs aside and become close friends with someone I fundamentally disagree with.
That said, when someone needs my help or reaches out for emotional support, all of that goes out the window. No matter my feelings towards the person, if he is suffering or upset then I will do what I can to try to make him feel better. Even if I did have I-told-you-sos echoing in my head, I wouldn't bring them up in his time of need. There's a time and a place for everything.
There's a time and a place for political debate and arguing, and there are times when it's 100% inappropriate. When Daily Kos said "Screw 'em" when the contractors were killed in Fallujah, that was unequivocally inappropriate. When that crazy DU lady said "I hope the bloodshed continues in Iraq", that was clearly inappropriate. And when dc used my friend's injuries as a springboard for talking about "deceit" and "lies", that was wholly inappropriate as well.
You see, our friend LT A wants to be in the military more than anything, so much so that the other OBC guys sometimes worried he was a little too hooah. LT A's father went through unspeakable horrors in Vietnam and stayed in the Army to retire as an LTC, and all LT A wanted to do was follow in his father's honorable footsteps. He never questioned his role in this war, even when two of his soldiers died in his arms the first week they were in Iraq. I imagine he would be mighty pissed off to hear someone tell him that he is "trapped in a lie".
Last night dc should have put partisan bickering aside for five minutes and let me worry in peace. A simple "I hope your friend is OK" would have been fitting, as would reverent silence have been. Instead, in the moment when I most needed someone to hold my hand, dc chose to give me an indian burn instead.
I don't know how to ban someone, but you're no longer welcome here, dc. I have tolerated your dissenting views for a long time now, but you stepped over the line last night. I am a person, dc, not just pixels on a computer, and you've disrespected my feelings. It's not politics when I talk about my injured friend; it's emotional and personal. Please don't comment anymore.
LT A is stable, and they should be moving him to Germany any time now. His wife will be on her way as soon as she gets the go-ahead, and I will meet them at Landstuhl early Saturday morning. I'm anxious to give her a big hug, as well as a gentle little one for LT A.
Thank you to all who are thinking of him...
Seems now they're sending him right on to Walter Reed. More info when I know it.
I did some detective work and called Landstuhl hospital. I got to leave a message for LT A with the ICU desk, so hopefully they can pass it on to him before they move him back to the States...
I just learned that one of our good friends was critically wounded in Iraq yesterday. I'm sure he could use our thoughts and prayers...
MORE TO GROK:
Here's a harrowing account of the firefight he was in. One of the commenters was right -- he couldn't have been hit with an RPG -- but he was the Soldier hit in the stomach during the battle.
There's an interesting discussion going on at Tim Blair's blog about Michael Moore's claim that more Congressmen should send their kids to Iraq. There are all sorts of discussions going on (and lots of tangents being taken), but a comment by Sam caught my eye:
... The bottom line, sure it would be nice if more of the congressmen had a personal link to Iraq so that they could take that into account when making decisions. But as congressmen one would expect they would do that any way. ...
I'm thinking I'd like to disagree here. I would like Congressmen to acknowledge how this war affects individual families and soldiers, but I'm not sure it's appropriate for them to look at the war through a more personal lens. What's good for individual persons is not always good for the country. If the war becomes too personal for our leaders, they might have trouble making the tough decisions. I see that happening a fair amount around here with wives' voting intentions: they want to vote for whoever will bring their husbands home. Instead of what's best for the country as a whole or what's best for Iraq, they just want their Soldiers home at any cost. I personally don't think that's a principled stance. In the military, the country should always come before the self.
Yes, I want Congress to fund body armor and HMMWVs because they keep our Soldiers and Marines safe, but I don't want them to make decisions based on emotion. If a larger number of them had children in Iraq, there's a chance it could cloud their judgement about what's best for the country.
(via Sir George)
The Hulk is going to hunt terrorists. Sweet. (via RWN)
I read about this the other day, but I just didn't post a link. Sure, Ms. Heinz-Kerry might not know what chili is, but whatever. Paris Hilton had never heard of Walmart, right? But the fact that the Democrat candidates faked going to Wendy's just for the photo op (which backfired majorly when the Marines rebuffed them) when they knew they had gourmet food waiting for them on the bus is just...low.
Where's that guy from Family Guy episode 36 to yell "You're a great big phony!" every time Kerry walks by?
Since dc is so interested in the group of bands that is touring the US supporting Kerry, perhaps he'll be interested in this link via LGF; it seems even commenters on an anti-Bush site want musicians to shut their yappers.
That war cheerleaders website berated me for saying that I value an American life over a non-American one. So I supposed that site's owner will also berate this Muslim woman for saying "the blood of a Muslim is for us more precious than the Ka’ba , but the blood of [Paul Johnson] is the blood of a dog because he is an idolatrous infidel.”
But I won't hold my breath waiting for it...
I've been a lurker at Stereo Describes My Scenario for several weeks now, always admiring Avery's wit and smarts, but this post is really something: Oooh! A Battle. I'd share sammiches and Kool-Aid with Avery anytime, especially if we'd get to talk about Rocky.
According to Justin Vaisse, a French historian:
"Europeans are surprised to hear that John Kerry is talking about America the same way as George W. Bush does," the paper said. "They are amazed that at the Democratic Convention in Boston, he saluted like a soldier, one hand up at his temple. They would prefer not to hear it when Kerry promises that he would never hesitate to use force in case America is under threat. They are disappointed."
QandO has the rest.
(All hat tips towards the Instapundit)
Fascinating article via Ambient Irony, Hating America, about how Europe views the US through the lens of caricature. It's really long, and there are a million passages I could quote, but this made me chuckle:
Though fewer than 14% of Frenchmen have visited America, “most have strong views” of it; indeed, “Europeans who have not been in the U.S. . . . have the strongest opinions” about it, and malice toward America is inversely proportional to the amount of time individuals have actually spent there.
Conversely, I loved France and everything French until I actually lived there.
(And if you see the text as a mess of question marks, follow Pixy Misa's advice for changing the encoding.)
(P.S. I finally had enough time to sit down and read Pixy's post on Thought too.)
Hahahaha. Nice photo.
I have just one thing to add to these Marines' statement: Hooah!
The embrace of Chomsky by the mainstream liberal elite in America and the political consensus in Europe -- both Left and Right -- has to be regarded as one of the most unsettling developments in the intellectual world since 9/11; if only because, for the first time since Vietnam, the idea that America is, on a fundamental level, not merely misguided or mistaken but also evil is becoming a part of acceptable discourse.
President Bush got ripped a new one for using the term Axis of Evil because of its biblical and dichotomous overtones. But now we're tossing the word evil around like it means nothing anymore. Amritas and I were laughing over the weekend about the Canadian kids who said the US was a "force for evil." A force for evil, such a strange expression. Who says something like that?
There is true evil out there in the world; those who call the US evil have never seen it.
I just finished reading the gloomy and foreboding article The Terror Web (via LGF). If you can read that article and not think that the terrorist threat is real and frightening, then we have no common ground at all.
One passage from the article struck me in particular:
And yet, according to Spanish police officials, at the time of the Madrid attacks there was not a single Arabic-speaking intelligence agent in the country. Al Qaeda was simply not seen as a threat to Spain. “We never believed we were a real target,” a senior police official said. “That’s the reality.”
Where's the 3/11 commission report in Spain? Where's the Fahrenheit 3/11 movie to expose the ineptitude of Spanish intelligence and law enforcement? Where's the outrage that "The goverment lied; people died!" when Spain continued to blame the attack on the ETA long after they knew it smelled of Islamism?
I'm scared of old spaghetti sauce. When I was a kid I ate some spaghetti sauce that had been in the refrigerator for way too long, and I got so sick. So yesterday when I was eying the Ragu that I had opened on Saturday, I did what every kid does when she comes across a dilemma: call mom. Mom said she thought it would be OK, so I ate it. And I was sick all night. I don't think I made the situation any better today when I started eating my cereal and noticed that the milk was not quite right. Check the carton: it's a few days too old too. My poor stomach.
Last night I came across a new word in Dark Star Safari. Often I read words and can't quite remember the definition, but it's pretty rare that I find a word that I've never seen before. So I looked it up, and I'm not surprised I had never heard the word detumescent before. I'm fairly certain it was not present on our high school vocabulary tests.
Dang, I just came across another new word online: jeremiad. Just when I start to think I'm getting smarter...
Navy Capt. Roger Dean Edwards was sentenced to 115 days in jail and fined $7,500. He might end up forced from military service, defrocked as an Episcopal priest and face at least a suspension of his Virginia pharmacy license. What was his crime? Wearing military ribbons he didn't earn. Military honors are taken quite seriously, which is why anyone who believes in what those ribbons stand for should be quite appalled that John Kerry chose to throw his away.
I got an email today from Spirit of America with an update on the sewing centers in Iraq:
Two new sewing centers have opened - one in Ramadi and one Habbaniyah.
The Marines helped refurbish the building and Spirit of America
provided the sewing machines being used in the centers. The Centers
provide women with a way to make money and improve their standard of
living. They also offer a safe place to meet to discuss women's issues
and day care for the women's children.
Major General Jim Mattis - Commanding General of the 1st Marine
Division - emailed us about our donation of sewing machines saying,
"The sewing centers are getting good use and more are planned. We
should see a lot of very beneficial impact as the word of these
spread. While the first one in Ramadi is well attended, I am
surprised at even greater anticipated use in smaller, less affluent
areas. I guess I should have forecast that, but we will look at our
roll-out plan and make sure that we have targeted the future centers
for the greatest good based on what we are seeing. Thank you and your
team again. Semper Fi, Jim"
OK, so it turns out that I don't have a virus on my computer, but I had a laughable amount of spyware and junk. Hard part's over, right? We just set up the router and download Norton's Antivirus and we're golden? Wrong. Oh so wrong.
The router won't work. We plugged it all in, unplugged it, over and over. Not working. And I don't want to go into opsec details (even though it's a good story), but I ended up with stuff on my computer that the Army wouldn't be happy I had, and it took us hours to try to get rid of it. All in all we spent four hours with a net gain of very little. Sigh. But I sure learned a lot, watching my friend mess around in DOS after trying to remove parts of the Army's business accidentally wrecked Windows.
It reminded me of the time my dad thought he could outsmart Bill Gates and install Windows 95 on top of Windows 3.0. Or, as he renamed it, Jindows 3.0. Ha, didn't work. It was good for a couple hours of entertainment though. Or at least it was better than watching soccer.
Two doozies via LGF today:
Kerry now says that Bush "misled" him on Iraq. But, if he was that easily suckered by a renowned moron, how much more susceptible would he be to such wily operators as Chirac.
Michael Moore throws everything he can at Bush, who is portrayed at times as bumbling and artificial, at others conniving beyond our wildest imaginations. The Bush-hater need only take their pick: the disputed election, his ties to the House of Saud, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bush’s plutocratic pedigree, his drawl, too much antiterrorism, too little antiterrorism, defense companies, the Saudis again, and then finally, at the end of the movie, the big one: war is what powerful elites do to keep the poor down and preserve their hierarchies of wealth and privilege. Actually piecing the movie together reveals a contradictory mosaic of unrelated topics, which, especially in the lurid conspiracy-weaving parts, flit across the silver screen in rapid-fire succession. It is “somewhat confusing, admittedly,” says Joanne Doroshow, an associate producer of the movie.
When my husband's best friend, Red 6, was in the firefight in Baqubah, an article was written in the Christian Science Monitor and his photo appeared in a BBC slideshow. I read that CSM article, trying to get a sense of what he was going through. Today I read a different article that gives me a much better, more personal feeling of the fight.
An artist named Steve Mumford has been living and painting in Iraq. He writes about being a civilian participating in that battle in Baqubah:
I’m thinking: tenuous as my bonds are with these men, I’ve been with them through this much, it would seem cowardly to pull out now. Perhaps I want their approval, the damn reporter, as Sgt. Cliat called me, without malice, when he didn’t know I was right behind him. Or perhaps I feel guilty that I have the luxury of deciding not to get back on the 113.
I recognize many of these names, and Red 6 plays a prominent role in the article. I recognize the Army Values that shine through ("You don’t never go backwards in a firefight! Move this fucking thing forward! Forward!"). And the artwork is beautiful.
If you know and love the Dukes of 3rd Brigade like I do, then you must read this article. If you want to get to know them, this is an exciting place to start.
I love Parker and Stone, so I'd see anything they made. And yes, terrorism is not funny, but we need something to drag us out of this self-denigrating Fahrenheit 9-11 crap. Maybe what we need is a comedy where the Americans are -- shocker! -- the heroes.
But I think it's admirable that the White House is not thrilled. They *should* be saying that terrorism isn't funny and they *should* take the moral high ground. That's a pleasant contrast to the Democrat big-wigs who went to the opening night of Fahrencrap 9-11 and are praising Moore or laughed their asses off at Whoopi's dirty jokes. I hope Bush is snickering in private, but I for one am proud that he's sticking to his guns and reminding us that the world threat is no laughing matter.
But I can't wait to see the freaking movie!!!
Props to the White House for not publicly supporting toilet humor and acting like adults. But this adult can't wait to throw money at Parker and Stone.
Less than one week ago, I wrote my husband a letter about what I'd like to see for the future of our country, compared to what I think will really happen. I said at one point that I don't see the US getting rid of the IRS anytime in the near future.
Perhaps I spoke too soon. This made me sit up and gasp.
Happy Birthday to my husband, the cutest baby born in 1980.
I love you, Blue 6.
And after 13 days of no communication, I just got to instant messenger with him! My family has a tradition of singing a silly birthday song, so I got to type-sing it to him and changed the words to make them about Iraq. He seemed to think it was pretty funny. "So, has anything happened in the world in the past two weeks?" he asked; I didn't have enough time to even scratch the surface.
Off to the movies we shall go
where we learn everything that we know
cuz the movies teach us what our parents don't have time to say
And this movie's gonna make my life complete
cuz Stone and Parker are sweet...
Thank god Amritas showed me this quiet little awesome preview!
I just got back from watching Fahrencrap 9/11 with some friends; the one husband mailed his bootleg copy from Iraq, so we thought we'd give it a look. I thought I'd have a lot to say after I watched it, but I only have three words for Michael Moore. Boring. As. Hell. Seriously, my friend put it best when she said it was like watching one of those videos in middle school where you knew there would be a quiz but you could barely keep your eyes open. Maybe it was because I've already read so much commentary about the movie, but I found myself looking at my watch a lot. There were a few funny bits that kept us going, but that's not saying much; there were funny bits in Dude, Where's My Car? too, but it ain't winnin' any awards. I can't believe people had to pay money to see this movie.
Oh, and I could've gone my whole life without hearing Michael Moore say "who's your daddy"...