July 31, 2004


Ohhhh, this is mean. One of the German pop-ups makes the same sound that Yahoo messenger makes! That sound makes any military wife come running, hoping that her husband has just logged in; instead you find a pop-up for T-Mobile. Mean, mean, mean.

My computer programmer friend is coming over tomorrow to do scary things to my computer that include the words "reinstall" and "virus". Hopefully she can teach me how to get rid of all of these damn pop-ups, especially the extremely graphic German porn ones.

Posted by Sarah at 08:00 PM | Comments (3)


As commenter kdeweb said, "This is HI-larious."
Kerry tried to shake some Marines' hands...


And I love the caption Duane put on the photo!

Posted by Sarah at 02:06 PM | Comments (3)


VDH writes about our military cemeteries in St. Avold, France:

The inscriptions at American graveyards admonish the visitor to remember sacrifice, courage, and freedom; they assume somebody bad once started a war to hurt the weak, only to fail when somebody better stopped them.

I've been to St. Avold, on Veteran's Day, led by two old men who understood Joe and Tommy's sacrifice. My distant relatives from Lorraine, who lost a brother in WWII, took me to see the greatest generation that slumbers beneath French soil, at a time when that unfortunately didn't mean as much to me as it does now. That rainy day in November 1998 I was more amused than anything as these two septuagenarians insisted that we talk to every cemetery director and guard so that they could introduce me as their cousine américaine. They were so proud to be sharing Armistice Day with an American, and I was a dumb kid who didn't appreciate their enthusiasm.

One of those grateful old men passed away last fall, and I was too stubborn to go see him. Only today did I realize that I let my hatred of France prevent me from paying respect to a good and decent man. I let things like this get in the way of family and honor. I realize that I have been so angry at our former allies that I refused to go say goodbye to a dear old man, and all of a sudden I feel ashamed.

The men of St. Avold would've wanted me to behave better.


Posted by Sarah at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2004


Amritas pointed me to a Nelson Ascher post that I wish I'd seen yesterday.

All this to say that hearing day after day, reading hour after hour, watching minute after minute for months and months all the liberal media, that is, basically all the media telling me that Kerry will win, that Bush doesn’t have a chance is not only exhausting. It’s just natural that for a couple of minutes or even hours a week my rational defenses will be taking some rest, and if this happens repeatedly, the message about the inevitability of a Kerry victory will begin to grow roots in my brain. And this makes me afraid because I know we’re watching the most complete, worldwide, continuous media effort ever to influence an election. What the world media is doing is the most aggressive, savage campaign of carpet-bombing in human history.

I've succumbed to the carpet-bombing. Many people I know and bloggers I read have also succumbed. We're weary and dejected. I talked to a Soldier who just yesterday -- just yesterday -- found out that Kerry attended anti-war rallies after he came home from Vietnam. Just. Yesterday. The brainwashing the media has done is incredible, and it absolutely makes me want to cry.

My laser beam is in trouble. So is Ascher's, it seems. Nelson, we have to stay strong. We have to refocus. We have to Forget the Idiots Today, like you encouraged me to do on 9-11-03:

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.

We need to stay strong. I have so much anger for the media these days that it's starting to cloud my resolve. I need to refocus. That Soldier who just yesterday learned of Kerry's anti-war past got a list of links to follow. He's open to the truth, and he'll find it eventually. And maybe he'll tell a friend.

Posted by Sarah at 03:13 PM | Comments (24)


My home computer has major problems right now, so blogging might be rough this weekend. Plus I have final papers to grade, so don't expect much.

Knitting update: Still waiting for the pink and white yarn. It's in the mail, thanks to my mother-in-law, and I'm anxious to get that project done. Especially since it's still sweater weather here in Germany. I have started a new sweater already and finished the back last night (photo later when my computer stops acting like a jerk). In the meantime, I found a pattern I'd really like to try, save two major obstacles: 1) the yarn is honkin' expensive and 2) intarsia knitting is something I've never done before; I even had to google it because I didn't know what the heck it was. Plus I have a ton of projects I should already be working on first, but I keep pulling up this pattern and looking at it longingly. So many patterns, only two hands...

Posted by Sarah at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)


Many thanks to Bunker for pointing me in the direction of The Case for George W. Bush. I do not understand the gut feelings of distaste that many have for President Bush, for when I look at him I see a man who is sincere and down to earth. But despite Junod's revulsion, he manages to look past the ad hominem. The part that gave me chills:

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus, and historians today applaud the restraint he displayed in throwing thousands of American citizens in jail. By the middle of 2002, George W. Bush had declared two American citizens enemy combatants, and both men are still in jail at this writing, uncharged. Both presidents used war as a rationale for their actions, citing as their primary constitutional responsibility the protection of the American people. It was not until two years later that Congress took up Lincoln's action and pronounced it constitutionally justified. Our willingness to extend Bush the same latitude will depend on our perception of what exactly we're up against, post-9/11. Lincoln was fighting for the very soul of this country; he was fighting to preserve this country, as a country, and so he had to challenge the Constitution in order to save it. Bush seems to think that he's fighting for the very soul of this country, but that's exactly what many people regard as a dangerous presumption. He seems to think that he is fighting for our very survival, when all we're asking him to fight for is our security, which is a very different thing. A fight for our security? We can handle that; it means we have to get to the airport early. A fight for our survival? That means we have to live in a different country altogether. That means the United States is changing and will continue to change, the way it did during and after the Civil War, with a fundamental redefinition of executive authority.

Posted by Sarah at 01:46 PM | Comments (3)

July 29, 2004


Well, we didn't quite make it to a full sewing machine, but we got close (together we donated $300). My sincere thanks to everyone who pitched in for this project of mine. Hopefully the women of Ramadi will be sewing like the wind soon...

Posted by Sarah at 03:45 PM | Comments (2)


There may be correlation, but is there causation?
Fear of hell makes us richer, Fed says

Posted by Sarah at 02:22 PM | Comments (1)


Tanker sent me this link from Iraq the Model. Those brothers are smart cookies:

This reveals the fact that the terrorists’ resources are no longer sufficient to their expenses and this is what made them seek financial support through these criminal operations.
Ok, we know now that they’re close to bankruptcy and here come two countries to reinforce the terrorists position by withdrawing from Iraq. And people here in Iraq believe that Manilla paid several millions of dollars to free the hostage just like what the Egyptians did when the Egyptian embassy announced that the operation was more about money than about politics.
Do you know what this means?

Millions of dollars mean hundreds of victims. They’re funding terror in one way or another and I find it very stupid that negotiations take place through the help of a highly under suspicion-group like the "Sunni Muslim Cleric Council".

There’s a deal to fund terror in a different way than before and there are groups and countries who support this and maneuver to override the obstacles.
Negotiating with those thugs provides them with legitimacy let alone submitting to their demands and funding them.

Posted by Sarah at 02:17 PM | Comments (2)


I just posted this over on Vodkapundit's fisking of Andrew Sullivan.

"I have no real beef with Sullivan, but I don't visit his site as often as I used to. I was curious to hear that he had added a donkey to the header on his blog, so I went over there and just read this:

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "As few as five people in black robes can look at a particular issue and determine for the rest of us, insinuate for the rest of us that they are speaking as the majority will. They are not." - Rep. John Hostettler, the Republican who authored the bill that would strip federal courts of the right to consider the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. But, of course, it could also be said about the five Supreme Court Justices who made George W. Bush the president of the United States. The Republicans love courts when they reach the right decision; they just despise them when they don't.

Wow. Has he really gotten that far out of hand that he's playing the Bush-stole-the-election game? Geez."

If the man wants to vote for Kerry, then so be it. But please don't all of a sudden start claiming that the election was rigged and other such nonsense. I have always respected Sullivan for his research and insight, so this recent Quote of the Day made my jaw drop.

Posted by Sarah at 11:20 AM | Comments (3)


The other night I talked to a group of NRA-belonging, terrorist-hating Soldiers who do not plan to vote for President Bush, and I lost all the wind from my sails. If they're not voting for President Bush, the die-hard capitalist right-wingers from Oklahoma, then who will? This week I've begun to ready myself for a Bush defeat, just to be emotionally prepared. To be honest, I'm disappointed that I'm not more optimistic, but I just see so many factors working against President Bush.

The president plays a major role in my life. Whoever he is, he will be my husband's commander-in-chief and will determine a lot about our life over the next four years. And he will be due the respect that his title deserves. As MAJ Winters said in Band of Brothers, "We salute the rank, not the man."

I therefore take Dean Esmay's pledge:

Now here is my interesting question: I've made myself some friends among conservatives by speaking this way. But I do find myself wondering: how many of you on the right will embrace such a philosophy if John Kerry should carry the election in November?

I don't want to hear why you think it won't happen. Indulge me: pretend it might. How many of you will have the patriotism to say, "I disagree with many of his policy directions, I do not think he is conducting our foreign policy in the right way, but I will do my best to get behind him and support him until elections come around next time?"

I'm genuinely curious. For that is the stance I intend to take. I will refuse to call him traitor, loser, liar, incompetent. He will be my President, my Commander In Chief, the Chief Executive of a great nation, elected by the will of a majority of the electors in these 50 great united States. So even if he does things I disagree with in conducting foreign policy, I will say, "I respectfully disagree with the President's directions, but I will do my best to express my dissent respectfully and hope that I am mistaken and that he has made the proper decisions after all."

That's my pledge. How many of you will take a similar one?

I will make that pledge, as I have already pledged before. But I also echo Bunker's dismay:

As long as Kerry, if elected, acts like a President I will support him as one. Too bad Dubya wasn't given that opportunity.


And it's a good thing I found out about this Vietnam video before he became president, so there's still time to laugh at what a douche he is! Seriously, it's been three hours and I'm still giggling.

Posted by Sarah at 10:55 AM | Comments (6)


Hilarious Bleat today. Trip to IKEA: done it myself, many times. Chili Cheese Burrito petition: signed it with my husband's name, since it's his favorite Bell item. And I can't decide if I laughed harder at this paragraph

This is why I am not completely undone by the news that it may take a while to fully electrify Iraq. It took DirecTV ten attempts to fix one dish, and no one was shooting at the techs.

or this one

I like my union; they've backed me up when I was in a corner. I just wish they didn't force me to subsidize pictures of the president standing in a sack of shit, that's all. Is that too much to ask?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm hooked on Lileks.

Posted by Sarah at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)


(via LGF) I wish all those people who spent eight bucks and two hours on Fahrenheit 9/11 would spend 12 minutes watching the Kerry On Iraq Documentary. I heard one person say that Moore's movie made President Bush look incompetent; well, Republicans can put together a series of clips that makes Kerry look just as bad.


Apparently Kerry already put together his own movie, which makes him sound like a complete tool. I can only imagine what my husband would say if I asked him what he'd think of a soldier reenacting glory scenes for film. Cripes.

(My brother and I used to make fake documentaries about him as a basketball player, with me as the announcer and interviewer. That seems really dorky to me now, and we were 9 and 7 when we did it. I can't believe Kerry was doing these things when he was an adult.)

Posted by Sarah at 08:49 AM | Comments (1)


I can't find a script online, but this morning I caught a few minutes of Al Sharpton's speech at the DNC. He was talking about how he hopes people have learned this year that anyone can rise up from welfare or a broken home to run for President of the United States, and the crowd went wild.

How much money does John Kerry have again?

Posted by Sarah at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2004


I read that stuff about 40% of Canadian teens saying the US is a "force for evil". Whatever. But I was interested in this part of the article:

“What they’re reacting to is a sense that the U.S. is belligerent,” said the pollster who conducted the phone survey, Greg Lyle. “The U.S. is sort of bellicose, warmongering [and has] this sort of cowboy diplomacy.”

But former Canadian diplomat Martin Collacot says the teens are responding to cues from their government, the media and their teachers.

How about they're responding to cues from the pollster? I hope this quote was taken out of context, because when the pollster himself thinks Americans are warmongers, it might have an effect on the way he words his questions or interprets his data. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe 40% of Canadian kids really are that ignorant without any cues at all.

Posted by Sarah at 09:53 AM | Comments (6)


Several people have written me to point out that I made it all the way up to #17 on John Hawkins' Top 40 Blogs. When I saw that, I was as flabbergasted as you! Oda Mae wrote in my comments section recently that I should be proud of the things I say on my blog, but I don't really think I'm all that interesting. I still can't believe anyone reads my stuff, much less people like SGT Hook who are deployed and should have much higher priorities.

But anyway, people do come here, and I certainly appreciate it. Thanks for helping me try to grok.

Posted by Sarah at 07:38 AM | Comments (5)

July 27, 2004


My friend's husband bought a bootleg copy of Fahrencrap 9/11 in Iraq. He said he watched it three times and laughed his ass off the whole time. When I heard that, I managed a bemused smile: I'm amazed with this guy's confidence to laugh in Michael Moore's face. I've spent so much time getting angry about this movie that it was refreshing to hear that one soldier thought Fahrencrap 9/11 was a comedy.

Too bad not all soldiers are reacting the same way...

Michael Moore has never claimed to support the troops, but a lot of Americans who have gone to see this movie are the same ones who "support the troops but think the war was wrong". To those viewers, I say congratulations: you've now put $100 million in Moore's pocket and doubt and pessimism in our servicemembers' minds. Well done.

(via LGF)

Posted by Sarah at 08:30 AM | Comments (5)

July 26, 2004


My German co-worker has insisted on several occasions that my American co-worker and I are much better off living in Europe than in the US because in Europe we're away from all the crime. Nevermind that my co-worker hails from Phoenix and I from central Illinois and that we've managed to steer pretty clear of crime. Nevermind that her view is skewed because her experience in the US is from living in Detroit. And nevermind that "the US is full of crime" is another one of those lore statements that people toss around. In fact, England is pretty much screwed. (If you just want the money quote, head to Rishon Rishon; the full set of articles can be found at Steyn Online.) And nevermind that the most dangerous place I've ever lived was my neighborhood in France, where kids threatened to rape us in the phone booths and public masturbation was the norm. Creepy stuff.

Posted by Sarah at 05:17 PM | Comments (8)


Just a quick link via RWN: Bush-haters do Kerry no favors

Posted by Sarah at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)


My mom let me in on some happenings in P-town: seems one of my high school friends' dads has been voted as principal of a local high school. Big whoop, right? Well, he's white and the high school is predominantly black, so

Members of the NAACP, Citizens for a Better Peoria and the 'African American Leadership Alliance' held a press conference Friday morning. They say they are concerned about the process by which William Salzman got approved as the new Manual High School principal.

Apparently "local black leaders have complained for months that a core group of board members have discussed district matters in private and without input from the board's two black members." OK. Whitey's getting together in secret and trying to keep the man down. Riiight.

Ross said she's "not one to cry racism" regarding the hiring, but the surprise vote shows a "lack of sensitivity" on the part of some board members.

Lack of sensitivity towards what, exactly? I know I don't know the whole story, but Salzman was already the assistant principal, he received over 100 letters of support from faculty and parents, and the summer is coming to a close and they need a principal.

Why on earth can't a white man effectively principal Manual?

Posted by Sarah at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)



Posted by Sarah at 08:34 AM | Comments (2)


Normally I avoid reading things I have to register for, but I was so intrigued by this NYTimes title that I had to go through the rigamarole: Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?. I really recommend it; it's an honest admission that the NYTimes is "of course" liberal.

However, I did notice one thing that always makes me prickle, something that I also noticed when Atrios' gang descended on me a few months ago: the Left often uses religion as the only line in the sand. The Right doesn't like the NYTimes because of the risque fashion models, articles on gay marriage, and evolutionary theory in the science section. Sarah doesn't like this poll because she's an "evangelical Christian" who refuses to listen to reason. In fact, in discussing evolution in the science section, the author says:

Newspapers have the right to decide what's important and what's not. But their editors must also expect that some readers will think: "This does not represent me or my interests. In fact, it represents my enemy." So is it any wonder that the offended or befuddled reader might consider everything else in the paper - including, say, campaign coverage - suspicious as well? [emphasis added]

So people on the Right think that those who support evolution are "the enemy", and therefore we shouldn't listen to anything else they have to say? Please.

What about all the people I've met on the Right who are atheists? They don't fall into the stereotype that the NYTimes just laid out: either you're happy that the "articles containing the word 'postmodern' have appeared in The Times an average of four times a week this year" or you're a close-minded fuddy-duddy evangelical Christian who wants the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and a cap in every black ass. Ridiculous.

What about all the people I've met on the Right who are libertarians? They don't fit the stereotype either. Some don't like gay marriage, or do believe in "one nation under God", but they still don't think the government has any business poking a nose in. They believe in personal responsibility instead of the "my way is right and you're the enemy" dichotomy the NYTimes set up.

In fact, I'd say a lot of us belong on the Right not because of our religious views but because of our views on Responsibility. (If you've never read Bill Whittle's essay, now's a good time...)

One of the things that makes the current political debate so rancorous is that we do a lot of talking past each other, because the old labels no longer seem to apply. Rachel Lucas is a gun-toting, idiot-intolerant, pro-gay, pro-choice conservative. My Liege Lord and Master, Emperor Misha I, the Hammer of Idiotarians, is a deeply religious, formidably armed firebrand who smashes with righteous fury any homophobic or racist morons who darken his cyberdoor. And Kim Du Toit, the rootin’-est, tootin’-est bad-ass hombre who ever lived, a veritable poster boy for the idea of an assault rifle in every crib, is a former South African who marched in the streets against racism and took huge risks fighting for the equality of all of his fellow citizens before he came home to America.

They, like me, call themselves conservatives, but we are indeed a new breed: pro-choice, pro-gay, vigorous defenders of equality of race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. We’re big on freedom and big on responsibility.

The left hates us. We are harder to attack than the racist, homophobic, misogynists that they formerly could comfortably lambaste as right-wingers. (And they deserved to be lambasted, by the way – and I’m not even sure what lambasting is, but it does sound nasty and severe.)

The point is this: labels don’t really work. As one of my readers brilliantly pointed out in my comments section, it’s not like the vast sensible middle of the nation is divided into Red and Blue camps, Republicans vs. Democrats, Liberals vs. Conservatives, Left vs. Right. Today’s politics are more like a Rubik’s cube, where someone you may stand shoulder-to-shoulder with on one subject, can become, with a simple twist of the issues, a bitter opponent in some other fight.

This is where Whittle’s Theory of Political Reduction comes in handy. (If that’s too wordy we can call it Bill’s Electric Razor.)

I contend that there is a single litmus that does indeed separate the nation and the world into two opposing camps, and that when you examine where people will fall on the countless issues that affect our society, this alone is the indicator that will tell you how they will respond.

The indicator is Responsibility.

I appreciate that Daniel Okrent of the NYTimes can at least see that his paper doesn't exactly represent the views of a large chunk of America, but I wish he wouldn't naively herd us all into the "intolerant right-wing nutjob Christian" group that the Left thinks we all belong in. There are a plethora of reasons that the NYTimes disgusts me, and virtually none of them have anything to do with religion.

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


Mark Steyn is on:

And here's where I have some sympathy with Sandy Berger and his overloaded pants. By his own words, he's guilty of acts that any other American would go to jail for. He "inadvertently" shoved 30-page classified documents down his pants and then "inadvertently" lost them at home and then "inadvertently" returned to the National Archives to "inadvertently" take another draft of the same 30-page document and "inadvertently" lost that, too. He "inadvertently" made forbidden cell phone calls from the room with the classified documents, and he "inadvertently" took more suspicious bathroom breaks while in the Archives than that Syrian band took on that L.A. flight that was in the news last week. If the former national security adviser has an incontinence problem, that at least explains where he was during the '90s when Osama bin Laden was growing bolder and bolder on his watch.

Posted by Sarah at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2004


Ten seconds after I published the previous post, my friend called to apologize. She hadn't even read my blog yet, but she knew she had been in a bad mood and had taken it out on me. I laughed and said that I know I am overly sensitive and that it's just as much my fault as hers. She finally got me to agree that I would try to say "you're being a bitch" if she is being one, which was really funny to me. And all's well that ends well.

My friend attributed her crankiness to hitting that breaking point in the deployment, the first major hump to get over. I can completely understand, and I know that sometimes I'm just not myself either. My friend is perhaps the strongest wife I know when it comes to the deployment: she's been incredibly upbeat and composed and she does not complain or grumble at all. We three friends have done pretty well for ourselves, I think, yet we all know that we're not quite whole. There's a part of our hearts that's far far away, and it can make us all a little crazy at times. I guess the important part is being able to recognize that and just try to help each other get by.

And she borrowed the Larry Elder book too...

Posted by Sarah at 04:05 PM | Comments (2)

July 24, 2004


When I was in high school, I had a boyfriend who did a number on my self-esteem. Everything I did was wrong. My taste in music: wrong. My clothes: wrong. My views on social issues: wrong. I spent so much time being hurt because he never gave my views any credence; he simply said, "How can you think something like that?" and then told me the right way to think. I hated it, but I kept trying to please him because I hate disagreeing with people.

I hate disagreeing with people. Not something that someone who enjoys reading about politics should say, right? But I really do hate it. I hate discord. I hate arguments. I hate not having common ground. I usually try to avoid people and situations where I know there'll be discord because I'm so bad at dealing with it. I can't argue with someone and then turn around and be friends again in ten minutes. I just can't; it lingers...

So I do anything to avoid arguing. When someone says, "Ugh, Bush did blah blah blah..." I just ignore it and change the topic. I'd rather just let them think what they think than get myself riled up by discussing the issue. Just last weekend I sat at a table while three people railed on President Bush and I didn't say anything. Until it got out of hand and one person stooped to making monkey noises, at which point I calmly said, "That's quite rude, considering I plan to vote for the man." And that was that. But it lingered...

The way my high school boyfriend treated me has stuck with me, and I never want to be the person telling someone else what to think. I never want to be the person putting down someone's ideas or taste. I never say what I think of movies, or food, or music, or anything, for fear of hurting someone's feelings the way my feelings were hurt every time my boyfriend made fun of my music or views. If someone asks me what I thought of a movie, I always hedge. I often turn the question back on them to see what they thought before I give my opinion. It's a horrible habit, I know, but I can't feel good about myself if I'm making strong statements that others disagree with.

Which is why I started this blog. I don't talk about these things in person. I hate it. I never talk politics or current events in person because I don't want to make anyone feel stupid for holding certain views. Tim talked in his farewell post about how the internet allows people to express views they would never express in "polite company". He sees this as a bad thing, but it has been a very liberating thing for me. I want to work out my own ideas, and writing is how I do that best. But no one is forced to read my site, so it's not the same thing as forcing someone into a conversation they don't want to be having. I say things here I would never dream of saying in person, simply because my blog is the one place where I feel comfortable being direct. I still think people should be civil, and lord knows I hate discord in the comments section, but my blog is an open soapbox where I can air my views and not worry about sounding rude.

Which is why it's been extremely weird for me to have people in my "real" life read my blog. Very few people even know I blog, and I'd really like to keep it that way, because there are so many times when I wish I'd never told any of them. Most of the time they agree with me, and everything is fine, until something comes up in "real" life that's a major source of discord. Like tonight when my friends said, "I can't believe you're reading that book." All of a sudden I was back in high school again, trying to defend myself and why I'm reading Larry Elder. "Ugh, I would never read a book like that" sounds in my ears like "You are a huge moron", and it really bothers me. Because I would never say something like that. That's what my high school boyfriend said, and I would never treat someone that way. Even if a person were reading Noam Chomsky, I'd never say anything. When a friend offered to lend me Bowling for Columbine, I simply said, "No thanks; I'm not a big Michael Moore fan." I bend over backwards to avoid offending people, just so they never have to feel as incompetent as I did in high school.

I know I'm over-sensitive about things like this, and I know it's my fault that I can't let things like that go, but I really don't know how to change. I don't know how to let go of the hurt I feel when someone puts my interests down. It lingers...

Posted by Sarah at 10:17 PM | Comments (9)


If there are any faceless people I love as much as our servicemembers, they are the people of Flight 93. I didn't know a single one of them, yet their bravery has always made me so proud. If I ever heard anyone put down these heroic passengers, I'd kick him in the teeth, which is why this horrific headline makes me nauseous. I know they finally fixed it, but who on earth greenlighted that asinine headline in the first place? (And what's the deal with mismatched headlines popping up all over the place? Do journalists put their stories into a Headline Generator and pull out the worst title they can find?)

Posted by Sarah at 11:14 AM | Comments (1)

July 23, 2004


I can't find anything in the news yet, but we had some excitement here yesterday. As they were doing construction work, they came upon a bomb...a WWII-era undetonated bomb. They had to evacuate the whole area and try to diffuse and move this enormous bomb. Apparently these finds are not that rare here in Germany, but it seemed exciting to me.

So I was thinking as I drove to class last night: That bomb stayed hidden for a good 60 years and no one ever knew it was there. But we're supposed to find WMDs within a year in Iraq...


My German co-worker found an article in the German news, complete with a photo of the bomb.

Posted by Sarah at 10:08 AM | Comments (8)


And when I got to the end, I realized I was crying.
We'll miss you, Tim.

Posted by Sarah at 08:39 AM | Comments (1)


Apparently Rocket Jones heard about my reputation as a cheerleader and asked me to cheer him on in his fantasy football league. Normally I try to stick to war cheerleading, but I can lend Rocket a hand, I suppose.

I'll warn you, Rocket. When I was a middle school cheerleader, I used to do this thing where I'd backflip the name of our team (F-L-Y-E-R-S...yes, I went to Charles A. Lindbergh Middle School). Once, during a particularly heated basketball game, I attempted to stick a full flip on the end of Flyers; I ended up flat on my face in front of the whole school. Are you sure that's the kind of support you want?

Posted by Sarah at 08:01 AM | Comments (2)

July 22, 2004


My friend saw this here on German television, but I can't find any American news sources that are reporting on it. Apparently this question was posed to Kirsten Dunst:

Gefragt, was sie machen würde, wenn sie Spider-Mans Kräfte hätte, antwortete sie: "Bush töten!"

What would you do if you had Spiderman's powers? Her answer was "Kill Bush." Apparently the fact that Spiderman doesn't really have any "killing powers" is lost on Dunst.

Does this statement come a little close to threatening the president? I honestly don't know what the grey area is with that, but I sure know enough never to make a "kill the president" joke.


I also think it's funny that many people are lauding Spiderman 2 as a parable for our time and making connections between Parker's dilemma and President Bush's. Irony is so ironic.

Posted by Sarah at 05:48 PM | Comments (8)


Oh. Good. Lord.
I laughed so hard...
Mama, you'll like this one.

Posted by Sarah at 04:04 PM | Comments (0)


I just put letter number 100 in the mail to my husband!
I haven't quite sent him a letter per day, since I couldn't write while he was in Kuwait and I don't always have anything good to say. But the ratio comes out to 100 letters in about 145 days in Iraq. Not too bad.
Someday we'll look back on all these letters and laugh. And our grandkids will think that grandma had a foul mouth.

Posted by Sarah at 03:32 PM | Comments (1)


Red 6, the husband's best friend, was involved in this battle. That's where this photo was taken. My boys are doing serious and dangerous work, yet they continue to stay upbeat and optimistic.

Soldier safe, boys...

Posted by Sarah at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)


A soldier wrote a letter in response to a Ben Stein column.
Ben Stein responded.

(via Greyhawk)

Posted by Sarah at 09:39 AM | Comments (1)


What's with the spitting? I have been known, at the height of my athletic days (read 16 years old), to spit. But to spit on someone? I'm not sure I could ever do that. (I can barely stand the episode of South Park where the moms are trying to get the kids chicken pox; they make up a game where Kenny spits in Kyle's mouth...ugh.) So how can people spit on Lance Armstrong? Spitting on someone is the most degrading thing I can think of, and they do this to a man who overcame cancer and is on the way to winning his sixth Tour de France. I'll never understand.

(via Smash)


And look at this horrible photo.

Posted by Sarah at 09:14 AM | Comments (3)


I'm doing my own Thurlsday with two tasteless links. Yes, I said they're tasteless. But they're funny, and what we need after reading serious articles about how someone "inadvertantly shoved documents in his pants and socks" is more funny. So I bring you...

The Wacky Iraqi
This is how bitter and crass the Onion would be if he were deployed. My favorite is the car that runs on blood.

Abu Ghraibing
Boy have I struggled over whether I should link to this or not. I doubted the validity of a poll once and got 2000 hits from people who thought I was pure evil; linking to a site making fun of Abu Ghraib could get me in some really hot water. But it sure is funny.

And we could all use more funny, right?

Posted by Sarah at 08:38 AM | Comments (1)


Erin, your husband left you a message...

Posted by Sarah at 07:59 AM | Comments (1)


I consider Den Beste to be one of the keenest thinkers out there, so when he writes so confidently about the Bush campaign, it really boosts my spirits. This election is not only the first one I've followed closely, but it has a direct effect on my life. The president is my husband's boss, and whoever is elected will determine what my husband does for the next four years. With President Bush, I see continued efforts in Iraq, and Iran on the horizon. It certainly won't be an easy four years, but at least I know where we stand. With Kerry, I don't know what I see; I think he'd leave the troops in Iraq, but for how long? I see my husband roped into doing more of the UN's work around the world, being sent on "peacekeeping missions" if Kerry is president. That means instead of the fear of being killed by an insurgent, we can worry that he might get killed by one of his own teammates...

Wives around here seem to be more and more anxious to talk about the election; I keep finding myself roped into conversations with people who somehow think that if Kerry is elected, their husbands will come home from Iraq on Nov 3. If only it were that simple. I sorta fear the military wife vote this year, because so many of them will be voting with their hearts, hoping that a vote for Kerry is a vote for an exit strategy. I think they'll be sorely mistaken and disappointed with the result.

I hope Den Beste is right and the Bush campaign has a suckerpunch coming. I see a lot of ammo piling up that should be used (i.e. Sandy Berger, Joseph Wilson), so I hope President Bush really is waiting for the masterstroke. I don't want this election to be as close as I fear it's going to be.

Posted by Sarah at 07:56 AM | Comments (5)

July 21, 2004


Here's an interesting little dig I found in the MSN movie review for Day After Tomorrow:

The Story: A paleoclimatogist (Dennis Quaid) races to save the world and his Manhattan-trapped son (Jake Gyllenhaal) from an impending Ice Age brought on by the effects of global warming (or, as the gun-shy Fox marketers call it, "global climate change"), which causes cataclysmic hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, hail, heat and a colossal tidal wave. Not for the weatherphobic.

Couldn't resist getting that dig against Fox in there, could you? Even though the cause of global warming could possibly be the sun and not humans, and the whole scare could be a bunch of b.s., let's find a way to blame the biased Fox News for it...


Posted by Sarah at 02:32 PM | Comments (3)

July 20, 2004


Fahrencrap 9/11 will be shown free-of-charge in Seoul in an effort to get more Koreans to see the movie and oppose the deployment of Korean troops to Iraq. Mission accomplished, Michael Moore.

Posted by Sarah at 07:25 AM | Comments (3)

July 19, 2004


Some good stuff on Instapundit today. First, a quote from reader David Pinto:

We've done a pretty good job of surrounding potential trouble makers. Pakistan has the US on one side and India on the other. Iran has the US on two fronts. And Syria has the US and Israel on two fronts. Not a bad strategic maneuver.

Indeed, as Glenn would say. And then there's this link on what really happened to the oil-for-food money...

Ain't that a kick in the pants?

Posted by Sarah at 10:01 PM | Comments (2)


I am doing a three-person chat with Red 6 and Blue 6 as we speak! Husband and Best Friend are talking shop, and I'm sitting back and enjoying them being themselves. It's great to see them let off some steam and make jokes. I can't wait to see it in person...

Posted by Sarah at 04:53 PM | Comments (1)


Sorry, I put off all my grading this weekend to make meatloaf and sit around doing nothing, so I'm swamped today. You'll have to read someone else's blog instead...

But I will let you in on my backed-up knitting project. Here's my newest sweater:


Yeah, it's a pile (and not a very clearly photographed one, at that). I ran out of yarn right at the very end, so I'm waiting for my mom to mail me another skein. It's gonna look like this eventually, but for now I'm stuck with a pile of pieces.

Posted by Sarah at 02:23 PM | Comments (1)


This is when I let out a huge incredible-hulkish growl.
Germany to Drop Charges Against 9/11 Plotter

Posted by Sarah at 09:33 AM | Comments (1)

July 18, 2004


I was just sitting at the kitchen table grading papers when I looked up to see a Military Police vehicle parked in front of my house and an MP out in my yard. I froze. We live right next to a corner where lots of people get tickets, so I knew he was probably just clocking people, and I know in the rational parts of my brain that MPs do not do casualty notification, but I decided to check it out. He said there had been a noise complaint in the area, so he was listening for loud music. I told him that when your husband's deployed, an MP is the last person you want to see in your yard. He laughed and apologized, and when I walked back in the house, I realized I was shaking and crumbling fast.

No matter how many times you imagine the scenario -- and believe me, we lie in bed on bad nights and think about it -- I guess nothing can really prepare you for that knock on the door. As I shut the door and swallowed the lump in my throat, I wondered if I really would be as strong and brave as I am in my imagination.

I didn't feel very strong ten minutes ago.

Posted by Sarah at 03:34 PM | Comments (4)


According to Garrison Keillor, the definition of a Republican is

...hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, see-through fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, hobby cops, misanthropic frat boys, lizardskin cigar monkeys, jerktown romeos, ninja dittoheads, the shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, cheese merchants, cat stranglers, taxi dancers, grab-ass executives, gun fetishists, genteel pornographers, pill pushers, chronic nappers, nihilists in golf pants, backed-up Baptists, Crips and Bloods of the boardroom...

Wow, those are some fun descriptions. Though try as I might, I just can't fit myself into any of those categories, despite the fact that I have met many cats that I would've liked to have strangled. If he added war cheerleaders and clueless fucktards, then I'd fit right in...

(Via Powerline)

Posted by Sarah at 10:25 AM | Comments (9)


This, via Greyhawk, is one of the funniest things I've heard in a while:

I had to pull radio watch in the War Room last night, and somebody left a copy of the April edition of People Magazine there. So on radio watch, I read how Survivors Rob and Amber are in Love, Kelly Osborne is in Rehab, Omaarosa has a suprising past, and how Reese Witherspoon and hubby Ryan Phillippe bought a house in Los Angeles for 4.9 million. And you know what, after reading that magazine, for a split second, I was glad I was here in Iraq, and not back in America.

Hawk talks in the same post about the lore that people spout off as fact, namely that no one is interested in joining the military anymore because of the deployments. I understand that to not be true, even though I've heard several of my students say the same thing. We talk often in our class about avoiding "lore", like Americans are the fattest people on the planet or more black men are in prison than in college. These common-knowledge bullcrap statements are thrown around all the time because people think they could be true and never bother to research them. Same with the enlistment: it seems plausible that people would no longer want to join the military knowing the dangers involved, but it seems that recruitment and retention rates are steady. That article took me ten seconds to find; why don't most people bother to take those ten seconds before they propagate lore?

Posted by Sarah at 09:16 AM | Comments (6)

July 17, 2004


I just finally watched the movie Miracle.
I. Loved. It.
But I bet you guessed I would...

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


I found this blog post via Annika's comments section, which made me think of this post I read a long time ago. Do we need to pay more attention to the semantics of this war?

Posted by Sarah at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)


My mom sent me a nice story a few weeks back that I meant to post and never did. Here's what she wrote:

I just had the nicest thing happen to me. The Insight repairman just came to fix my computer. He fixed it and I now have internet again (as you can see). He says my computer needs to be "cleaned up."

We visited and I told him you have a blogsite that I read every day and that you're in Germany and [husband] is in Iraq. He has a daughter named Sarah too! He went out to his truck two different times and got equipment to fix the computer. When he left, he said he wasn't going to charge me---that with my son-in-law fighting for him in Iraq that that was the least he could do in return. He wanted to be sure I had internet to keep in touch with you. Technically, he didn't have to stay and fix it. I almost cried; wasn't that nice? You see, there are good people in this world who know that we're doing the right thing.

Posted by Sarah at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)


There's a strange fine line you walk when you're a white girl who likes rap music. One of my students was writing his paper on the FCC and he wanted to use Eminem as an example of censorship but couldn't think of a good way to work it in. I quoted him a couple of lines from an Eminem song that I thought he could use, and he looked at me in awe: "You know Eminem?" We then talked at length about different rap albums, he made a couple of recommendations that I haven't heard yet, and we had a nice time. He even dared me to teach class in ebonics and encouraged me to use more slang! It was a pretty funny conversation, but it was nice that I never once got the feeling that I was "stealing his culture", which is the feeling I often get when I express interest in rap. I told him I especially enjoy the music for the language and that I can relate a bit to Nelly's Midwest tales, but I know that I certainly can't relate to many of rap's messages the way that he -- a young black kid from NYC -- can. I would never pretend to.

Which is why what John Kerry did at the NAACP looks especially foolish and freaky to me. You can express respect and admiration without making yourself part of the in-group. You can share common ground, but there is a fine line you need to respect.

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


Bunker wrote about recycling the other day, and I was reminded of his post this morning when I saw a news clip on the Pentagon Channel here about a recycling program at Ft Knox (no hit on google though). Apparently they're tearing down some old housing, and they've decided to recycle what they can. People in the area are encouraged to come take cabinets, doors, wood, etc while the buildings are still standing. One man interviewed said that he was using the wood to start a new business -- a campsite for kids -- and that he's saved $35,000 so far in supplies from being able to take wood from the recycled buildings. Ft Knox also has saved over $100,000 in not having to pay to dump the materials. Now THAT is a recycling program I completely support, one that pumps money back into the community.

This morning the AFN News channel was on and on about Martha Stewart. I switched over to the Pentagon Channel and caught their news broadcast instead. Top stories: the tale of a group of MPs in Iraq who are transferring duties over to the Iraqi police, the birthday of the Army Rangers, and the recycling program at Ft Knox. Much more interesting, in my opinion, than Martha Stewart.

Posted by Sarah at 08:20 AM | Comments (2)

July 16, 2004


I read about this story on a billion blogs today. I finally read the whole thing, and my stomach is a mess. I felt scared to death.

Oh yeah, Mama, don't read it. I'll never get you on a plane in September.

Posted by Sarah at 02:17 PM | Comments (8)


California education chief calls preschooler 'stupid dirty girl'. See also Anger, Boiling over. (via Allahpundit)

The California State Education Secretary made fun of a little girl's name. The NAACP got involved, saying it never would've happened if the girl were white. Um, the girl is white. And when the NAACP figured that out, they said

"Race is not a factor in this issue," Dymally said in Thursday's statement, adding that Riordan had apologized a second time. "It is time for us to move on."

So the State Education Secretary makes fun of a six year old, and it's no big deal, as long as she's not a minority. For the love of pete.

Reminds me of a story back in high school. Our teacher was calling roll on the first day and came to our Indian friend's name, which she proceeded to make fun of, saying it sounded like the noise you make when you sneeze. He was a little taken aback, but retorted with the funny quip, "Well, at least I'm not a Pollack," since her name was obviously Polish. He was kicked out of class and sent to the Dean. As he got up and walked out of class, he said, in a calm tone I'll never forget, "But you sneezed my name."

Come to think of it, those two stories aren't that related. Well, except that they both involve jackasses.


My bad: Dymally is not associated with the NAACP. They made ridiculous errors and bad judgement calls independent from one another.

Posted by Sarah at 01:50 PM | Comments (4)


So it's been a while since I checked my blog email. I found lots of nice emails, another $5 for the sewing machine, this beautiful link from Tanker, and an email from my best friend from high school who found my blog and thought she recognized me. Yep, it's me, the same girl who stole a lunch tray from the cafeteria and used to say "buty" all the time. It's good to hear from you.

Posted by Sarah at 12:37 PM | Comments (1)


Den Beste has a good post about the difference between "Can I?" and "May I?" At the end he touches on persuading vs bullying; what I want to know is why so many in this world point a finger at the US as the world's bully, when France is the one telling other nations to shut up...

Posted by Sarah at 07:20 AM | Comments (0)


Sander asks an interesting question...

Posted by Sarah at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)


Lileks is also cool.

I hate this; God I hate this. But I don’t have any longing for normalcy, as Noonan put it the other day, because normalcy was a delusion, a diaphanous curtain draped over the statue of Mars. Nor do I want a time out, a breather, an operational pause. I want to cut to the chase. I want Iran in the hands of its people and leaning to the West again, I want Lebanon independent of Syrian rule, I want Syria isolated and cowed, Arafat dead and buried in the land of his birth – or Paris, symbolically – and the Saudi Civil War done and over with pragmatists in power. I'd like this all tomorrow please.

Noon is fine, if it works for everyone else.

Posted by Sarah at 07:00 AM | Comments (2)

July 15, 2004


Tony Blair is cool.

"No one lied. No one made up the intelligence. No one inserted things into the dossier against the advice of the intelligence services. Everyone genuinely tried to do their best in good faith for the country in circumstances of acute difficulty. That issue of good faith should now be at an end ... But I have to accept, as the months have passed, it seems increasingly clear that at the time of invasion, Saddam did not have stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons ready to deploy ... I have searched my conscience, not in the spirit of obstinacy, but in genuine reconsideration in the light of what we now know, in answer to that question. And my answer would be that the evidence of Saddam's WMD was indeed less certain, less well-founded than was stated at the time. But I cannot go from there to the opposite extreme. On any basis he retained complete strategic intent on WMD and significant capability. The only reason he ever let the inspectors back into Iraq was that he had 180,000 US and British troops on his doorstep ... Had we backed down in respect of Saddam, we would never have taken the stand we needed to take on WMD, never have got progress on Libya ... and we would have left Saddam in charge of Iraq, with every malign intent and capability still in place and every dictator with the same intent everywhere immeasurably emboldened. For any mistakes made, as the report finds, in good faith, I of course take full responsibility. But I cannot honestly say I believe getting rid of Saddam was a mistake at all."

(via Andrew Sullivan)

Posted by Sarah at 09:57 PM | Comments (3)


I've bragged before about how wonderful my students are; tonight one of them outdid anything I've seen yet. Right before I was leaving my house, my phone rang: it was a student, one of the two students I have who drive more than an hour each way to come to class. He had gotten all the way to post and realized he'd forgotten his wallet, so he couldn't get in. I gave him the phone number of another student so he could get signed in as a guest. When I got to class, he wasn't there, so I figured he didn't have any identification on him and they wouldn't let him on even as a guest. About fifteen minutes after class started, he came in through the door. He had driven all the way back home just to get his ID so he could attend class. He said he was speeding like a madman, but he wanted to make it back in time for our class.

Now that's dedication...

Posted by Sarah at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)


True story: I was walking the dog this evening when an animal ran out of the hedges and down the sidewalk in front of us. It was in my sight for at least five seconds, running away from us, and I was staring at it trying to figure out what it was. After it dashed out of sight, I stood there, puzzled at what I had seen. I figured it must have been a baby deer, even though it looked more like it was hopping than running. If someone told me it was a kangaroo, no lie, I might've believed it. When the dog and I got to the end of the hedges and turned, there it was again, this time from a side view. As it ran off, startled, I realized that I had just seen my first hare. Lord, was it humungous. It was bigger than the dog, with powerful legs and stiff ears. I then also realized why the flowers in front of my house have not only been nibbled to death, they've been ripped from the earth, roots and all. An animal that big could pull a whole bush up. Man, this hare put Illinois' bunnies to shame; it was a beautiful sight.

Posted by Sarah at 09:42 PM | Comments (1)


I hesitate to even say the p-word here on my blog again, in light of what happened last time, but Joshua Sharf has an interesting post about the new WaPo poll.

(By the way, if you're not reading Oh, That Liberal Media every day, you're missing out on some shocking stuff.)

Posted by Sarah at 01:15 PM | Comments (1)


Surprise, surprise. Someone at the NYTimes is donating money to Kerry. Gasp.

(via Iraq Now)

Posted by Sarah at 09:34 AM | Comments (1)


Tim found a good article by John Leo about the power of blogging.

Plus I read another Leo article and found this line, about googling Bush=Hitler, hysterical:

The odd thing is that I typed in the names of every Nazi I ever heard of, excluding only Hitler himself, and the group total was still less than George Bush gets alone. This might indicate that either that George Bush is by far the second most important Nazi of all time, or that the Democrats and the left now require some sedation.

Posted by Sarah at 09:26 AM | Comments (2)


I read Robert Jensen's article Stupid White Movie: What Michael Moore Misses About the Empire via Hud. I certainly don't agree with many things in this article, but at least Jenson and I can find some common ground:

And what of the analysis of Iraq? Moore is correct in pointing out that U.S. support for Iraq during the 1980s, when Saddam Hussein's war on Iran was looked upon favorably by U.S. policymakers, was a central part of Reagan and Bush I policy up to the Gulf War. And he's correct in pointing out that Bush II's invasion and occupation have caused great suffering in Iraq. What is missing is the intervening eight years in which the Clinton administration used the harshest economic embargo in modern history and regular bombing to further devastate an already devastated country. He fails to point out that Clinton killed more Iraqis through that policy than either of the Bush presidents. He fails to mention the 1998 Clinton cruise missile attack on Iraq, which was every bit as illegal as the 2003 invasion.

Jensen lost me when he spoke ill of the military, which is not surprising given my admitted knee-jerk love of all things camouflage, but at least I could read the article and try to see his point.

Posted by Sarah at 09:15 AM | Comments (2)


Kerry vs The War

Posted by Sarah at 07:22 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2004


A 12-yr-old girl wrote a letter to the editor urging Americans to stand behind the President. She said that she doesn't agree with everything he's done, but he's our elected leader and we should give him the respect he's due and try to put ourselves in his shoes.

Smart kid.

Someone today decided to respond to the girl's letter (scroll to the second entry), beating the dead horse of Not Elected once again. This letter concludes with an absolutely ludacrous paragraph:

For the soldiers who are being shot at in Iraq, for freedom-loving citizens who see our country being turned into a police state, and for the 99 percent of us who haven’t benefited from Bush’s “tax relief” for billionaires, the best remedy is to relieve him of that stress, and his duties, on Nov. 2.

You go, man! Tell that 12 year old!

My husband's best friend said the other day that he's pretty much given up even reading the Stars and Stripes because of all the negative letters to the editor. That's a real shame.

Posted by Sarah at 04:07 PM | Comments (1)


Via DGCI, I found this transcript from Rush Limbaugh's show about the Kerry appearance on Larry King. Larry King and Linda Heinz-Kerry had the following exchange:

KING: What do you think, Teresa, would be the effect of another terror attack on the United States politically?

HEINZ-KERRY: I don't know. I think most Americans subconsciously believe something is going to happen. It's a matter of when. And it's a matter of how.

KING: Strange way to live, though.

HEINZ-KERRY: Yeah. But you know, Europeans have lived that way and other people around the world have lived that way. Americans have been very safe, at least as a nation.

Rush Limbaugh explained a serious difference in worldview between people on the Left and people on the Right:

America is exceptional. America is the shining light, city on the hill, beacon of freedom, all this, prosperous nation, superpower. The left doesn't like that. They don't believe in American exceptionalism. They think this is an accident. It's not fair we should be more prosperous. It's not fair we should be safer. We must learn to adapt as the Europeans have. And her husband didn't step in and disagree with any of this.

I encountered some of this in the class I took over the weekend. Our professor hails from Africa but has lived in Germany for thirty years. At times during the seminar, he seemed to be belittling the American response to 9/11. He too was operating under the viewpoint that these things have been going on in other parts of the world for much more than three years, and that al Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalism terrorism is nothing to get all worked up about. He kept pointing out how Americans think that terrorism started in September 2001 when in fact it's been going on in Europe for decades.

My question is, why does it seem that we're the only ones to try to do something about it?

Granted, 9/11 is much bigger than anything the Red Army Faction or other terrorist groups ever did, but why hasn't Europe been waging a War on Terror for the past few decades? It's funny that when France said "We're all Americans now," what they seemed to really mean is "We're all victims now." And Theresa Heinz-Kerry seems to agree. It sucks to live in fear, but hey, everyone else does it. That's not the type of mentality that I want running the country. I want "smoke 'em out"; I want "either you are with us or you are with the terrorists"; I want "bring 'em on." I don't want "I'm an internationalist. I'd like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations."

I don't want to cower like the rest of the world does. I want us to be exceptional.

(Thanks for RWN for the quotes.)


Annika is a lot more blunt than I am...

Posted by Sarah at 03:43 PM | Comments (6)


Two Johns, Two Positions

Posted by Sarah at 07:26 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2004


Oh, and what's the deal with the weather? Last summer we had a heat wave that killed thousands of French grannies; this year it's the Ice Age. It's currently 54º in my neck of the woods. I am still wearing sweaters and knee socks. In July.

I told my husband today that it's a shame we can't average his temperature (currently 93º at midnight) with my 54º and have a nice happy medium.

Posted by Sarah at 10:03 PM | Comments (1)


Hey, look! I'm in CPT Patti's window!
(right side, bottom left corner)

Posted by Sarah at 09:56 PM | Comments (1)


I've never been good at stairs. I never take my time, and I fall often. Going up, I usually don't lift my foot high enough and catch my toe on the edge. Going down, I usually put my heel too close to the edge and slip. One time when I was away at college, I came home for a weekend. I ran into the house and down to my dad in the family room, at which point I fell and came crashing down the flight of stairs. My dad just chuckled and said, "Sarah's home."

So tonight as I was walking up the stairs to class with my purse over one arm, my bag of class materials on the other, and a Taco Bell cup in one hand, it's no big shocker that I caught my toe on the step and crashed onto the landing. Since my hands were full, I didn't have any way to brace myself as I fell. The three Soldiers I was walking with were a pleasant change from my classmates in high school: rather than laughing and pointing, they immediately helped me up and made sure I was OK. Nonetheless, it was extremely embarrassing, and now the entire left side of my body hurts. I even have a nice big purple lump on the palm of my hand.

Only I could find a way to bruise my palm.

Posted by Sarah at 09:53 PM | Comments (3)


Snicker. Muckadoos.

Thanks, OkieMinnie.

Posted by Sarah at 02:32 PM | Comments (1)


I got an email spam today whose subject line still has me reeling: "fire hydrant gonads".
What on earth is that supposed to mean?

Posted by Sarah at 09:21 AM | Comments (4)


A good NY Post article, via DGCI:

The report condemns the CIA for overstating the intelligence it did have on Iraq's weaponry. But it doesn't claim that the CIA actively discarded or disregarded contravening evidence. There was almost no evidence that Saddam did not possess weapons of mass destruction until after the war was won and we began looking for them.

I know I've become a linker lately; the truth is that I don't have time for anything else. In fact, I should be grading papers right now instead of reading the NY Post. (I also don't have anything new to say that hasn't already been said elsewhere, but that's a different issue altogether.) My friend here, known for throwing hilarious fake tantrums, grumbled at me yesterday because I never come knit or sew with her anymore; I have a half-made quilt that's been sitting there for over six weeks. She's right; I don't do much of anything anymore except work, teach, grade, and try to get some sleep while other people's dogs are keeping me up all night. Only two and a half more weeks of this school term though, and then I get a break until October.

Posted by Sarah at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)


Oh my goodness. I watched This Land! (at LGF's urging) and laughed my fool head off the whole time. You must go see it too.

Posted by Sarah at 07:39 AM | Comments (1)

July 12, 2004



Go and share the joy with Tim and Patti!

Posted by Sarah at 06:41 PM | Comments (2)


GIs and Germany: A long love affair may soon be over was in the Stars and Stripes yesterday.

Posted by Sarah at 10:52 AM | Comments (2)


Hey, CavX made the big time! What have I been telling you guys all along? He's top dog.

Posted by Sarah at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)


Quote of the Day:

Our overworked teachers are finding it increasingly difficult to teach 30 kids, raise a family of their own, attend union meetings, engage in activist causes, and have sex with their students.

Hilarious. BlameBush! cracks me up.

Posted by Sarah at 09:55 AM | Comments (2)


My class this weekend was pretty good. We all thought it would focus on the current terrorist events, but instead the prof mostly lectured about terrorism in the 70s and 80s. It was interesting because I didn't know that much about pre-9/11 terrorism, and it helped me gain better perspective on terrorism as a whole. I appreciated the experience.

And I loved being in class with Soldiers. A long while back I wrote about a professor who was using his class time to discuss his anti-war views, and I thought that active duty soldier students shouldn't have to be exposed to that in a class the military is paying for. However, after this weekend, I trust that Soldiers can hold their own. There were several students who actively challenged the prof when he said things they disagreed with, and there were also two clowns in the back row who were calling bullshit under their breath and mumbling quips about making parking lots. When the prof said things that we didn't agree with -- that Europe's position on the death penalty is much more enlightened than the US's, that al-Qaeda was nothing to be worried about, that we should understand the root causes of the Palestinians' beef -- there was always a hand in the air to voice an opinion. Even though the prof knew his stuff, none of the students simply took his more opinionated statements at face value.

Bunker's back in the building with a great post about the relationship between government and society. There was an interesting, and tangential, moment in class when the prof said that the US was no better than Iran or China for having the death penalty, and that even though roughly 85% of the population supports it, a civilized society would not allow it. He pointed to Europe as being more modern and classy for having banned the death penalty. I went home that night and checked on the stats; I found that support is declining in the US but rising in Europe. (Here's another interesting site.) I just don't see how abolishing something that anywhere from 50 to 70% of people support is a sign of civilization or modernity. Why should a government say, "We know you want this, but we don't think you're capable of making such a grown-up decision so we're just going to decide for you"?

Another thing that came up in class was the "America has no culture" meme. The "American culture is nothing but Coke and Nike and Big Macs" crap. And then the prof said that American culture is no different than European culture. I strongly disagree. (Den Beste's said it all before; see here and here and here and here. And many other places too.) The many problems we're facing today vis a vis alliances and the UN are a direct result of the widening gap between cultures. We're not, as one student jokingly said, "not good enough to be British." We do indeed have a culture that goes beyond Supersize. Just ask Abkow Edow and Madina Idle.

All in all a good experience. Some bits I disagreed with, but for the most part the prof did a good job of just reporting the facts, which is hard to come by in education today.


David of Rishon Rishon points out two posts on the difference between American and European culture: The Freeholders and Happy Independence Day, USA.

Posted by Sarah at 08:30 AM | Comments (4)


Yay for the Iraqi Army! Thanks, John.

Posted by Sarah at 07:48 AM | Comments (2)

July 11, 2004


Joseph Wilson is a liar. I wish the President would be more pro-active in pointing out stuff like this.

Posted by Sarah at 07:55 AM | Comments (14)

July 10, 2004


Sometimes I wonder how I would be voting if there weren't a war on. I much prefer President Bush's personality to John Kerry's, but if 9/11 had never happened, might I vote differently? I have sometimes wondered about that hypothetical, until I read the MSNBC Bush vs. Kerry At a Glance. I have nothing on this list in common with John Kerry.


Forty Reasons to Vote for George Bush

Posted by Sarah at 08:37 PM | Comments (5)


Ugh. Double ugh. Is it November yet?

Posted by Sarah at 06:49 AM | Comments (2)

July 09, 2004


Hey, isn't this cute. Bos put me up for the War Cheerleader Hall of Fame. Being called "war cheerleader" I can handle; being called "fraulein" pisses me off. By the way, dude, Fräulein needs an umlaut and should be capitalized, plus I'm married, so I'm technically a Frau. But whatever, no need to cloud the award with, you know, correct grammar. Sounds like I'm the only cheerleader in the Hall of Fame; what an honor. A Hall of Fame, all for me.

Posted by Sarah at 03:21 PM | Comments (10)


I just got home from my travels and I was going to write about the Autobahn, high speeds, etc. All of a sudden that seems so stupid.

Base officials saying little about deaths

Air Force officials released little new information Wednesday regarding the killing of two Robins Air Force Base residents found dead in their red brick duplex early Monday morning by base security forces.

I know this couple. Both Andy and Jamie Schliepsiek went to our high school. My brother used to play sports with Andy and they were pretty good friends. And, eerily enough, Andy and Jamie were in line right behind my husband and me to get marriage licenses.

I feel a sort of disgusted shock right now.


They were a cute couple, weren't they? And he had just returned from a tour in Iraq. Senseless.

Posted by Sarah at 03:11 PM | Comments (7)

July 08, 2004


Blogging will be light these next few days. Tomorrow I have to travel for work, and then this weekend I am taking a seminar on...terrorism. I plan to take lots of notes for blogging.

In the meantime, you can read stuff on my sidebar. And consider donating for a sewing machine.


What do al-Sadr and Michael Moore have in common? Read this.

Posted by Sarah at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)


A second grader in Delaware wrote a very moving oral report:

So Will I

My grandfather remembers when he was in the Navy. He fought in World War Two. When I play GI Joes with him he would always take the gun he used when he was in the war. He would always tell me about the gun he use to use. When I grow and go to war I want to have the same gun and do the same things too.

I have wanted to be a warrior since I was four. The reason why I want to be a warrior is so I can help others and be remembered. My dad doesn’t want me to be a warrior, but I am still going to be one. If I was alive when they had the Vietnam War I would have been in it.

My grandfather was a warrior and so will I.
The End

And then he got yelled at by his teacher.

(Via Iraq Now)

Posted by Sarah at 04:49 PM | Comments (4)


I read something recently about how the Left's obsession with naked protest is a sign we're from different planets; I can't paraphrase it right now because I can't remember where I read it. (If you know what I'm talking about and can help me with a link, I'd appreciate it. I found this instead, which is good but not what I was looking for.) I thought it was funny when I read it, but then I saw something today that I know comes from another planet.

Cerberus managed to dig up a mind-boggling article about a concert in Norway where two people came on stage and...we're not making this up...had sex in order to save the rainforest. (Be warned, the link has dirty photos.) If that is not the most absurd thing you've ever heard, I don't know what is. Turns out they belong to an "organization":

The young couple, Tommy Hol Ellingsen, age 28, and Leona Johansson, age 21, are members of the environmental organization "F*ck for Forest." They have sex in public in order to put focus on the rainforest.

"Today’s environmentalists have become more politicians than idealists," Ellingsen said to TV 2 Nettavisen. "We want to bring forth the message with attitude."

According to the organization’s website, "'F*ck for forest' are concerned youngsters, fighting to preserve the environment. We believe it is possible to use people’s need for sexuality as a way to raise money for nature."

Hahahahaha. And it gets even better: the Rainforest Foundation Norway doesn't want to accept their dirty money, even though their little sex shows have raised close to $14,000.

Oh my goodness, I couldn't laugh harder. Thanks, Cerberus.

Posted by Sarah at 03:58 PM | Comments (2)


Michael Moore is a liar. But you knew that already, didn't you? Lileks wants to make sure you don't forget that Moore lies off-screen too.

Mmmm. Screed.

Posted by Sarah at 09:34 AM | Comments (1)


The reasons to like Kid Rock just keep escalating...

It was a lazy afternoon at Russell Simmons' spread outside downtown East Hampton.

The hip-hop and fashion mogul, his younger brother Joe (aka Rev. Run, who's filming a pilot of his own reality show for the ABC Family Channel), movie director Brett Ratner and his girlfriend, Serena Williams (recovering from her defeat in the Wimbledon final), were getting a little antsy on a rainy Monday, wondering what to do with themselves.

Then Kid Rock arrived.

So they all decided to drive into town and take in a movie.

They jumped into various vehicles and headed for the United Artists East Hampton theater on Main St.

Standing in front of the box office and perusing the titles, Simmons suggested that everybody catch the 7:15 showing of "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Kid Rock balked.

"I don't want to see that, it's all propaganda," the rock star said - sparking a prolonged political debate right there on the sidewalk.

"Russell, don't you understand, everything we got in this country, we got from fighting," Kid Rock argued, according to Simmons' account. "It's just a movie. ... I'd rather go to the bar across the street."

Kid Rock refused to see the movie, and said goodbye. The others bought tickets and went into the theater.

A couple of hours later, Simmons returned to his parked car. On his windshield was a scribbled note:

"Vote Bush. Bush Rocks," apparently written by Kid Rock himself.

Man, I love that guy.

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

July 07, 2004


There's an article in the Stars and Stripes today humorously called Morale in Iraq ranges from low to gung-ho. The article seems to capture what I imagine is a true sense of morale in Iraq.

In many places, the emotional and physical rebuilding of Iraq is well under way and troops feel appreciated. But almost daily, far from the ribbon-cuttings and candy giveaways, an improvised bomb or missile kills another American servicemember.

I had an email exchange recently with Randy, a deployed Guardsman. He apologized for sounding frustrated, but I said his complaints sounded valid to me. Maybe it's because I hear my husband make many of the same observations, so the problems must be real. I know that Randy and I have "common ground" -- he respects the Army, he doesn't shirk his duty -- so I appreciate hearing his valid criticisms. It doesn't sound any different than the stuff I hear from my husband; I just don't post it because that's his business. I admit my blog might make it sound like everything is peaches and candy for my family, but staying optimistic is the way I cope with the deployment. It's a way of dealing with the fact that my husband is still sleeping outside, doesn't get enough food, and is only getting four hours of sleep each night. If I dwelled on how bad that sucks, I'd worry myself sick. Instead I try to focus on the Big Picture aspect of the deployment and remind myself that my husband's suffering (and my breaking heart) have to be worth a democratic Iraq.

General Kimmitt went on to make an astute observation:

But he added that having good morale and being happy aren’t the same things.

“Do we have a right to be happy? No,” Kimmitt said. “It gets real hot around here. There are people shooting at you.

“In my case, there are people who will give $15 million if somebody cuts off my head and gives it to them. Does that make me happy? No. Do I have high morale? Yes.

“They [soldiers] are 19 years old,” Kimmitt said. “They’d rather be back home bird-dogging chicks and fixing their car but they’re not.

“They’re in a country that’s going through a hell of a transition and they are here to do what they’ve got to do to help.

“And they’re putting their lives on the line to do it and that’s not fun and that’s not easy.”

I hate to be "the girl who compares everything to Band of Brothers", but watching that series has personally given me enormous perspective. Easy Company was deployed for two years; they fought on D-Day, parachuted again as part of Operation Market Garden, held the front line at Bastogne, liberated a concentration camp, and made it to Eagle's Nest for the end of the war in Europe. They then started training to head to the Pacific, though the war actually ended before they were deployed. Easy Company, a company that suffered 150% casualties, has been my own personal source of morale. My husband doesn't have as much food as I'd like, but he doesn't have trenchfoot and he doesn't have to be gone for two years. Looking backwards in time at how our elders went to war has made me grateful for the hand we've been dealt today.

I'm sure Easy Company would've rather been bird-dogging chicks too. But instead they cowboyed up and became one of the most heroic stories of all time.

Posted by Sarah at 08:13 PM | Comments (1)


Q: What weighs the same as a rhinoceros but is missing from the homepages of the major news sites?

A: The uranium found in Iraq


Q. What is the appropriate response to the UN when they whine we didn't ask permission to transport uranium that could be used for dirty bombs?

A. The same response the American delegate made at the UN in South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut when the Canadians condemned the actions taken by American in apprehending Terrance and Phillip.

Posted by Sarah at 06:54 AM | Comments (2)

July 06, 2004


You should read all of Iraq Now today. Just keep scrolling. I especially liked the reference to the Offspring. And my husband said that no one he knows in the military actually uses the word "snafu", despite its frequency in movies.

Posted by Sarah at 02:29 PM | Comments (13)


Happy Birthday, President Bush!

Posted by Sarah at 02:07 PM | Comments (1)


Blueshift satisfies my request for photos of corn and junk cars in the Midwest!

Posted by Sarah at 07:45 AM | Comments (3)

July 05, 2004


I have a relatively small blog. I won't kid myself that I can make a big difference, but I'd like to try something, with your help of course.

I just recently got a currency adjustment for my salary. Since the dollar is so weak and many people live on the German economy, we got an extra 4% of what we made last year. I didn't make that much -- since I only started working in September and I'm woefully underpaid -- and I don't spend much money on the economy. Thus the money is waiting for a good cause, and I think I've found it. I want to buy one of these:


When I read at Spirit of America that the 1st Marine Division is trying to raise money to buy sewing machines for women in Ramadi, I thought that this would be a good cause. I enjoy my sewing machine and have been learning to quilt, so it seemed fitting that I could use my currency adjustment check to help Iraqi women start earning money and making clothes.

However, I don't have the full amount. One industrial sewing machine costs $475, so I was thinking that maybe my readers could help make up the difference? I get about 100 page views each day, which means if everyone kicked in five bucks we'd have a whole machine. I know many of you have already donated to Spirit of America, and I'm already amazed at how giving you all are, but maybe you could spare another $5? Like I said, I don't have any illusions that I can generate thousands of dollars like other bloggers did, but I'd be thrilled to get anything I could.

If you would like to donate, visit the Spirit of America site. You can use PayPal, VeriSign, or personal checks. And if you do donate something, comment on this post and let us know how much you've given, so we can all see when we've made it to a full sewing machine. I'll make up the difference.

I hope I generate at least some interest with this project. I'll donate regardless, but I thought it would be cool to say that we here at trying to grok bought a sewing machine for the sewing center in Ramadi.


Yay for the participation! I just got an email from a reader who suggested that some might feel funny about putting an amount in the comments section. Feel free to email me and I'll put an "anonymous" comment like I did for the first person. And like I said, $5 is plenty...and no one has to feel bad if they already gave at the office!

Posted by Sarah at 10:49 AM | Comments (5)


I have some papers to grade, so here are some links in the meantime:

Iraq Now points out the win-win nature of the 12 chemical shells the Poles found.

The sister of one of the pilots killed at the Pentagon crash has some words for the American public regarding the 9/11 commission.

And watch Saddam play a rousing game of Paper Rock Scissors (via Smash).

Posted by Sarah at 10:11 AM | Comments (1)

July 04, 2004


I wanted to write something really special for the Fourth of July. I read through lots of my old posts, through old emails home, through papers I wrote when I took that year of ROTC, searching for inspiration. But I just didn’t have anything else to add. I realized that when you live every day as an American – when you are proud of your country and wear your service flag and regimental crest pins every single day – then you don’t need to step it up a notch for 24 hours in July. Independence Day to a diehard patriot is like Valentine’s Day for newlyweds: it’s simply a day where the rest of society notices what you cherish daily.

When I took the Military Science class, the first year of ROTC, we were required to write an autobiography. Most of the students in the class were in their third week of college; I was a senior with a strong background in writing. I had a bit more experience to draw from than the rest of the class. The teacher, our beloved Captain R, told me mine was the best ROTC autobiography he'd ever seen and that he was passing it out to every Soldier he knew. I didn't think it was anything amazing; it was just the truth. I read it again yesterday, and I still feel the same way (though I must resist the urge to revise). Excerpt:

I am one of the oldest students in the MS 100 class, since I find myself rapidly approaching the ripe old age of twenty-two. As a senior in the class, I have been surrounded by people who are just beginning the scholarly journey I started long ago.

The most important part of this journey for me was last year, when I was a student in a French university. I spent an entire year on study abroad, which accounts for my tardy enrollment in Military Science as a senior. This was a pivotal moment in my scholarly life as a French major, because my outlook on the future has been radically changed by this time I spent away from my homeland. I found that France was nice, but it was not home. I felt aimless and rootless. I had a difficult time placing myself in a society into which I did not easily fit. I found myself standing up for my own country and facing people who were hostile to that for which my country stands. I found myself shying from the French thought and becoming more American than I ever imagined I would be.

I had always been a patriotic person. My favorite holiday is Independence Day, and I won the Daughters of the American Revolution award in high school. But once faced with people who did not respect the basic tenets of the country which I held so dear, I found within a great longing for my motherland. I returned from this year in France with a confused sense of what it is I want to become as a French major and a heightened sense of who I am as an American.

And then I began MS 100. Originally, I had just thought that it would be a better option than Health and Wellness. I would learn something to which I had never before been exposed: how the military is arranged and how it runs. I soon found that I enjoyed the class more than I had previously foreseen. On the first day of lab, even without a uniform, I envisioned myself part of something larger than I could fathom. As the cannons blasted and words were read, words of unity, justice, and freedom, I felt so proud. I felt very proud of my country, very proud to call myself an American, and proud to have called myself an américaine in France.

I never imagined that standing there in the group with me on the first day of lab was a young man who would one day be the most important person in my life. I signed up for MS 100 because of the paintball and rappelling; I'm happy to have stayed because of the values the military represents. The closing paragraph of my autobiography is ironic, considering the turn my life took when I met that young man in ROTC.

I had an argument with a foreigner the other day. He comes from a country where military service is mandatory and therefore seen as a burden and a hindrance to young men. Therefore, our opinions on the ROTC program clashed fiercely. What I said, on behalf of my experiences, was that the ROTC is a wonderful program, one that can provide students with a taste for the military, however diluted this taste may be. And through this experience of MS 100, a scholar can decide if he has been called to become a part of this greater collectivity of brave men who devote their lives to the country I cherish so much. I am proud to associate myself with these ideals, even if only for one year.

I believe these things every day of my life; I don't need to act any different today. I'll fly my flag, wear my pins, and be grateful that brave Americans today and yesterday have fought and died for what I cherish. Just like I try to do every other day.

Posted by Sarah at 09:02 AM | Comments (7)


I have seen discussions of whether President Bush -- reputation for being a complete idiot -- meant to say "reign" or "ring" in his note. I think he said it exactly right.

Posted by Sarah at 09:01 AM | Comments (2)


It's the perfect day to watch my favorite commercial again.

Posted by Sarah at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2004


Good lord, what a nightmare.


Apologies for being vague: the reason I think it's a nightmare is because the US might have to testify on behalf of that monster. Not because I'm hoodwinked.

Posted by Sarah at 02:45 PM | Comments (3)


My husband just called and told me about his new job: working with the Iraqi police in Najaf. It sounds like this job is much more rewarding than guard duty, though it can be frustrating for both the Iraqis and the Americans at times. He said a lot of what he's doing is motivation, speaking encouragingly to both Iraqi teens and the police. He said the police chief has really taken to him and they talk often. The police chief is frustrated about the situation in Najaf; he said that civilians sometimes come up to him and hit him with their slippers. He said (not a direct quote), "Back in Saddam's days, if you hit the police with your slipper, your whole family would be dead. But here I am, getting hit with slippers." Sometimes the police chief speaks a little too fondly of the law and order under Hussein, at which point my husband reminds him that Saddam killed many people. "Yeah, I guess he did kill my uncle..." the police chief admits. My husband said that they receive lots of praise from Iraqis in Najaf. The Iraqis are always telling them how brave they are and saying they're happy that the US came. They also say the Americans are good people for trying to avoid hitting their monuments and holy sites. Sometimes the Iraqis get frustrated and beg the Americans to just go in and kill all of the insurgents and get it over with, but my husband patiently explains why they can't do that. My husband said that the people he works with are very supportive, but that they all, Americans and Iraqis, spend a lot of time being frustrated.

I told him it was great to hear these stories because we here can lose sight of how regular Iraqis are feeling. We get so much gloom and doom. I'm glad I got to hear firsthand from him that the Iraqi men he works with are supportive and honorable.


Good analogy. Incidentally, all of fad's posts that I love are the ones he wants to delete...

Posted by Sarah at 02:40 PM | Comments (2)


One Hand Clapping has a moving entry on the current events in China and the power of one man. I've said it before: would that I had an ounce of his conviction.

Posted by Sarah at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)


Wow. Yesterday's LGF (2 July) was a doozy. I laughed, I gasped, I ohmygoded. If you didn't see it all, go back. And follow links. And adopt the phrase "the deuce" into your vocabulary.

Posted by Sarah at 09:24 AM | Comments (3)

July 02, 2004


Carla's right: this cartoon brings a little smile to my face. So does this story.

Posted by Sarah at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)


There's nothing that makes me smile quite as big as doing our online banking and seeing Electronic Check Tikrit as a transaction. Good to know he has access to money.

Posted by Sarah at 01:26 PM | Comments (3)


As I finished the Band of Brothers series the other day, it was hard not to view the end of WWII through the lens of the war in Iraq. Germans were forced to bury the dead bodies in the concentration camp. Civilians were threatened at gunpoint; some were shot. The soldiers made it to Eagle's Nest and looted Hitler's stuff. There were so many images that I knew we could never get away with today.

Does Dick Winters feel bad about taking Nazi silverware or Lewis Nixon for drinking Hitler's booze? Does Ronald Speirs regret making a souvenir of the Nazi flag? I hope not. Did David Webster feel guilty about taking his anger out on a raving shopkeeper after liberating a concentration camp? He shouldn't have to. Should Easy Company have forced regular German citizens to clean up the concentration camp and bury the emaciated bodies? Perhaps. That's what a war of attrition requires.

Some have written lately that this war won't be won with our accommodating nature. The only way to win a war, they argue, is to kill. Or crush the enemy's spirit. We don't do that today. We drop food rations with bombs, and we apologize for Abu Ghraib while one by one our contractor's heads are being ripped off. We're too damn nice.

The fact is, we Americans do not like staring into the face of evil. It is in our progressive and optimistic nature to believe that human beings are basically good, or at least rational. When we stare into a cave of horrors, whether it is in Somalia, Beirut or Tikrit, we see a tangled morass we don't understand. Our instinct is to get out as quickly as possible.

Amritas has a wonderful post up asking many questions that don't have clean answers: Will we get our investment back? Is it worth it? If the US isn't going to take advantage of their forces in Iraq soon, why bother? Is it really 'noble' for American Soldiers to sacrifice themselves to rebuild and police another nation when they could be doing their real job: defeating the enemy? How do we win the War of Ideas?

I add another: Can the war be won while being nice?

The Germans were done. They surrendered, turned over their weapons, marched dutifully to POW camps, and accepted defeat. The war was over. Iraq is not the same game. There will be no surrender, no dutiful march, no end short of death. I don't think our society (or our media) will let us do what we need to do in order to win. We've won several battles -- al Sadr is done, sovereignty is transfered -- but we have a long way to go to win the War of Ideas, to defeat the fantasy ideology.

I have no more answers than Amritas does. I hope history shows that our blood was worth it, that Iraq, despite her many flaws, can develop into an ally and friend. I don't want to find that we should have just taken the silverware and left.

Posted by Sarah at 11:10 AM | Comments (2)

July 01, 2004


Bad guys: 1
Good guys : 0
Thanks, Michael Moore.


It's interesting that Bubba wrote "I resent that some will be willing to call me 'traitor' when they haven't served one fricking minute, but that is life I suppose" because my students and I were discussing that very idea last night.

We were discussing logical fallacies, and one of the examples of begging the question was "If you haven't written short stories, you shouldn't be criticizing them." I asked my active duty students if they thought that the same idea applied to soldiering was also begging the question.

They started talking about how criticism of the war doesn't really bother them, unless it's mission specific (e.g. you should have done this differently in Fallujah) and the speaker has no military background. They said that general criticism doesn't matter much to them. I then asked about the flipside: chickenhawks. They laughed and said that sometimes it's irritating to hear people be overly hooah when they don't actually have to pick up the rifle and head down there. One student said it's especially annoying to hear Congress do this. Nonetheless, they seemed to agree that this still fell under the begging the question fallacy.

In class, I preface everything I say with the general disclaimer "I've never been in the military, but from my point of view...". I don't want to be seen as one of those irritating hooah people, though I've sorta earned the right seeing as my own husband's life is at stake. And if I could click my heels together and have already been through basic training, I'd go down there in a heartbeat; the problem is the getting there. If I enlisted today, it would be a long road to war, and my schedule would not match up with my husband's. I am perfectly content to have a military family, but a dual-military family includes headaches I'm not sure I want to face. Right now there are too many couples who won't see each other for four years because of alternating deployment rotations, and I don't want to put my family in that position. Thus I remain hooah from the sidelines.

Anyway...begging the question? I don't know. My students seemed to say yes.

Posted by Sarah at 09:45 PM | Comments (6)


Real Life struck today. I attended a three hour briefing on Pell grants, the head boss visited from Heidelberg, I wrote a quiz for class tonight on the sly while the boss wasn't looking, and now it's time to shovel the food in my mouth and head to class. No time for love, Dr. Jones.

Posted by Sarah at 04:17 PM | Comments (1)