January 31, 2005


Wish I'd thought of what Thomas Sowell said:

Real insurgents want to get the occupying power out of their country. But the fastest way to get Americans out of Iraq would be to do the opposite of what these "insurgents" are doing. Just by letting peace and order return, those who want to see American troops gone would speed their departure.

Posted by Sarah at 10:31 AM | Comments (3)


My husband wants a dog. He's wanted one for a long time, but I've been dragging my feet. Dog-owning is a lot of responsibility, and it leaves little room for weekend trips and spontaneity. I have spent a fair amount of time this year dogsitting, and it requires a good deal of work and patience.

I watched my friend's dog for a month at Christmas, and I got him back when she went home for her brother's funeral. I think her dog thinks I'm his new owner. This is the fourth time I've watched him, and he's finally settled in. He doesn't follow me around four inches from my feet anymore. He doesn't beg to sleep with me anymore. And all of a sudden I am more OK with having a dog.

My husband and I spent a long time disagreeing on breed: he wanted a big dog and I wanted a medium-to-little dog. He put his foot down at "yippy" and I put my foot down at "shedding." We found a breed we can agree on, and the breeder near our house will even have a litter of Tibetan terriers sometime this spring.

In a few months, we might be the proud owners of something this cute:


Any advice for first-time dog owners?

(By the way, if looking at photos of new puppies makes you as happy as it does me, then check out this site.)

Posted by Sarah at 09:13 AM | Comments (15)


Greyhawk has my favorite round-up of Iraqi voting photos. Many have quoted Iraqi blogs, but Varifrank takes my cake for favorite non-Iraqi commentary.

Posted by Sarah at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)


Seems the mayor of Baghdad wants to erect a statue of President Bush. I could go for that. I think he deserves a statue that's not made of paper mache or burning in effigy.

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

January 30, 2005


The elections are over, the husband is safe and sound, and 30 January is rolling to a close.

I never answered Pixy's question about who should play me in a movie. I guess I'll have to go with Jennifer Connelly. She doesn't particularly look like me -- well, a little, and the long brown hair helps -- but she's my husband's Sam Elliot, the one actress he goes ga-ga over. So rather than compete, I'll just get her to pretend to be me!


Oh, and I agree with my father-in-law that I was wrong in saying my husband doesn't really look like any actor: he does look an awful lot like Rick Schroeder. Husband's cuter though.

Posted by Sarah at 10:07 PM | Comments (2)


CNN is running an article called Bombers target Iraqi voters: Polls open in country's first free vote in a half-century. I wish those two phrases were flip-flopped. Put the emphasis on the voting, not the bombers.

Posted by Sarah at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)


Naturally I'm a little concerned about my husband today. But at the front of my mind are the Iraqi election workers:

The Iraqis know that not everyone in the room will survive the elections. “Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not next week,” one poll worker says. But maybe a month from now, insurgents will kill him.

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


I heard about that silly Wisconsin voting rule that says that as long as someone vouches for you, you can vote. Maybe we could learn a thing or two about that blue finger dye being used in the Iraqi elections.

Posted by Sarah at 08:45 AM | Comments (3)


The polls in Iraq have been open for two hours. So far so good.

Posted by Sarah at 06:56 AM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2005


First Afghanistan voted.


Now Iraq votes.


Exile Mehsin Imgoter breaks down as he casts his absentee vote. Does voting mean this much to you? Michael Moore had to promise free underpants to folks just to get them to come to the polling place; one Iraqi in Canada drove 14 hours to cast his vote. Does voting make you cry? Would you risk your life to vote? Can we even begin to understand what Mehsin Imgoter is feeling?

Greyhawk's daughter wrote a guest post at Mudville Gazette; this part especially made me smile:

I think it’s wonderful that these people are finally getting the rights they deserve. I also learned in my history class that it took 150 years before women could vote in America. This opportunity is available to the women of Iraq today, that puts them one step ahead of America's first elections already. Who knows if this election will be a perfect election? What’s stopping a terrorist from shooting one of the candidates or voters? But, we must not give up.

We're not giving up. The military has set out a clear list of do's and don't's for coalition troops, and they're doing their best to prevent attacks on polling stations. My own husband has been working around the clock to make tomorrow happen, and I can't wait to talk to him after it's all said and done. Until then I stand and wait.

I stand and wait for Iraq to begin a brave new era in history, and though it won't be perfect overnight, it's a start. It's the start of peace, because there can't be peace until men are truly free.

Tomorrow is one of the most exciting days in Iraqi history. Let freedom reign.

Posted by Sarah at 10:49 AM | Comments (9)

January 28, 2005


The United States gained another citizen yesterday; unfortunately he was unable to celebrate.
My heart celebrates for him.
Posthumous citizenship granted to Marine

Posted by Sarah at 09:37 AM | Comments (4)

January 27, 2005


CaliValleyGirl's boyfriend is deploying soon, and she voices many of the issues that I remember from this time last year. I must say that there is one clause that I am really starting to hate, one that I have been hearing more and more often: "When my husband was in Iraq the first time..."

Posted by Sarah at 03:23 PM | Comments (5)


Bunker found an MSNBC headline that galled him, and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind:
Freedom -- At What Cost?

If you even have to ask, you don't grok.

I have always been free. Many, like Zeyad and Ziggy, have not, and they know the value of freedom firsthand. And though I have never had that value tested, I know what it's worth. It's worth sending my husband downrange, it's worth living alone for a year, and it's worth -- heaven help me -- becoming a widow, a fate worse than my own death. It's worth everything.

Jefferson said that "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." If you don't understand that feeling, this war on terror is going to be rough for you. If you don't understand that 1400 Americans have died for a cause far greater than their individual accomplishments, then the next decade is going to be very long.

Perhaps in the meantime you could read What Are We Fighting For?

John Hawkins asked a phenomenal question a few weeks ago about immortality va. anonymity:

If you had a choice, would you rather be Leonidas, the king who died fighting in the Spartans' immortal stand at Themopolae against the Persians or Xenolas, the unknown Greek farmer who died at 90? Would it be better to be Davy Crockett who died fighting at the Alamo or Phineas Hogenbottom, a banker no one has ever heard of? Is it better to be Bob Wilson, nameless family man, or Nathan Hale who said, "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country" before he swung?

I can say that I will never forget the names Tyler Prewitt, Sean Sims, and Gunnar Becker. They gave everything for freedom, used their blood to refresh that tree of liberty that is taking root in Iraq and Afghanistan. The only way we honor their sacrifice is by understanding what an asinine headline that is.

Freedom -- At Any Cost

Posted by Sarah at 11:39 AM | Comments (18)

January 25, 2005

24 JAN

I have two younger brothers. They both live in Illinois and are both very important to me, but they are quite different. Middle Brother is intensely hyperactive and energetic; Little Brother is quiet and introverted. They're both fun to be around, and I care about them immensely. But I hardly ever think about them.

We wives spend so much time concentrating on Iraq -- watching the news for car bombs and checking with friends about the latest rumor -- that we sometimes forget that Iraq is not the only place in the world where bad things happen. We're so concerned with our husbands' safety that it's often our only concern.

My friend's brother was killed in a car accident on Sunday. I just spent the last two days helping her arrange emergency leave and travel orders so she could get home. We also had the worst night of weather that we'd had all season last night, so driving to the airport was no small feat this morning. I'm exhausted, physically and emotionally, but again I've been given one of life's lessons on perspective. And as soon as they wake up, I'm calling my brothers.

Yesterday MSNBC called 24 Jan the worst day of the year. My friend and I might have to agree.

Posted by Sarah at 01:17 PM | Comments (2)

January 23, 2005


I got excited a few months ago when they raised our Cost Of Living Allowance, but now today I am feeling alarmed:

As the dollar drops against foreign currency, it makes the cost of basing U.S. military personnel in Europe and Asia all the more expensive. For example, every time the euro rises one euro cent in value against the dollar, the dollar increase in salary and benefits for local-national employees at the Navy Exchanges is $187,000 adjusted annually, according to Lt. Cmdr. Lisa Braun, spokeswoman for Navy Region Europe in Naples, Italy.

Get us out of here! Send us all back home so we can spend our dollars in Kansas and Texas instead of on paying Germans to sit on their rumps and be rude to us in the housing office. Let me go home so I can pump my money into Quizno's and Hobby Lobby instead of spending it here. Let our single soldiers drop hundreds of dollars in American clubs and bars instead of being banned from Club New York in Nuremburg because Club New freakin' York doesn't like Americans. Let me take my car in to the Nissan dealer at home so I can stop getting hosed here because our warranty is no good in Europe. Let me tip an American waiter for bringing me my third free refill of Dr. Pepper instead of the German who charged me extra for ketchup.

Wanna solve issues of COLA and ridiculous pay/benefits for local nationals?
Send. Us. Home.

Posted by Sarah at 08:42 AM | Comments (6)

January 22, 2005


I had heard about Ahmad Al-Qloushi before -- the Kuwaiti student whose college political science professor in California failed his pro-US paper and told him to get psychiatric counseling -- but until I read this post at the Rottweiler, I didn't know I could actually read Al-Qloushi's essay. The English teacher in me was intrigued.

A lot of people in the 'sphere, political science profs included, said they also would have given the essay an F. Several commenters have expressed the idea that if a student can't perform at a higher level than Al-Qloushi, he has no business being in college. That brings up a very delicate issue that I struggle with every day.

The university I work for is specifically designed for soldiers. There are no requirements of any kind for entrance, other than a high school diploma or GED. No ACT, no SAT, no high school transcript; if you want in, you're in. Some of our students are very bright, others are not. Some want to get an education, others want promotion points and couldn't care less about the content of the class. Some, I hate to say, probably have no business being in college, but they are.

So when I grade their essays, by what standard should I grade them? By my own, based on my classes at Truman State University? By a universal standard of Perfect Writing, as if that exists? Or by the standard of other students and how they match up to each other and what we've learned in the class? I generally have taken the latter approach, for better or for worse. I don't know of any other way to grade them; I walk the fine line between grade inflation and concrete benchmarks every day. I teach them structure, and if they follow it (or attempt), they do well. My students do not leave my class thinking like Den Beste or writing like Lileks, but hopefully they leave my class a little better than they came in.

Ahmad Al-Qloushi's essay ain't the greatest in the world. But I've seen far, far worse in my classes. He was also attending a junior college, not a top-rated university, which is where many of his critics work. I'm not saying that he deserved an A, only that perhaps his peers' papers weren't much better. He'd fit in perfectly in my class, where I have many non-native soldiers who write quite poorly. Hell, even my American-born soldiers make the same grammar mistakes Al-Qloushi made.

I'm not trying to justify a grade either way for this student, since I'm not a political science professor, but I can't help but wonder what the rest of the class' essays looked like. Were they similar, and thus did they also fail?

Posted by Sarah at 09:41 AM | Comments (7)


Here's one guy who was at the inaguration that the MSM didn't introduce us to:


Nearby, Zeqir “Ziggy” Berisha, a native of Kosovo and now a citizen with two sons in the U.S. Army and two in the Marines, waved his flag and shouted support for Bush.

“This nation underneath God is best on Earth!”

Asked about the protesters, he shrugged them off.

“Disagree is good! I disagree with my wife 35 years! Disagree is OK.”

Berisha spoke of how different it was when he was living in Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito.

“Tito used to shoot people for speaking against them. He shot two of my friends.”

Berisha is a little more reserved about free speech when it comes to his boys.

“I tell them, you speak against this country, you speak against me!”


Posted by Sarah at 06:47 AM | Comments (14)


This article seriously makes me want to puke.

Posted by Sarah at 06:29 AM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2005


Red 6 got the Silver Star. And his smile just lights up my heart.

Posted by Sarah at 09:26 AM | Comments (5)


I almost started to write "This will be me someday!", but then I realized that it's already me. I knit about four hours a night too!

Posted by Sarah at 08:22 AM | Comments (5)


My husband's brother returned from Iraq safe and sound yesterday. Just a short six weeks until both boys are home.

And, in honor of the boycotts, yesterday I spent money on a Kitchenaid mixer, Bill Whittle's book, a TV/DVD for our education center, and a trip to Fort Lauderdale. Take that, protestors!

Posted by Sarah at 06:47 AM | Comments (3)

January 20, 2005


I've had a remarkable evening of clarity. Over the past few weeks, I've worked myself into a tizzy about making plans for block leave after Iraq. Long story short, my husband and I booked a cruise and vacation for May, which once seemed reasonable but at this point is way outside the block leave window. We might end up losing the whole vacation if he can't take leave later, and it's been twisting my stomach in knots. I was worried about losing money if we don't get to go, worried about plans and organization and schedules...and then I got invited to go to dinner with CPT Sims' wife tomorrow night and I realized how infinitely trivial my problems are. It broke my heart to suddenly realize that there are people who would give anything to have my stupid vacation problems, and I felt ashamed to even be worrying about it. I finally let go of the stress and decided it doesn't matter. If my husband and I are together, I don't care where we are or how much money we lose. My problems are not problems.

Last I heard, Mrs. Sims still reads my blog from time to time. If she's reading now, I want her to know that she makes me a better person every day.

Posted by Sarah at 09:44 PM | Comments (6)


ABC wanted to know if there were any military funerals that they could contrast to their coverage of the inauguration. I send a hundred mental middle fingers their way, for today I attended the memorial service for PFC Gunnar Becker.

The soldiers of Becker's company had their own service:

As they approached the memorial to render a final salute, many of his comrades felt compelled to leave a memento. While many leaders left unit coins, the popping of stitches was heard as nametapes and patches were torn from uniforms throughout the chapel, and left on the memorial alongside a toy tank, paper flowers, packs of Camel cigarettes and other personal items.

Today we who stand and wait had ours.

PFC Becker seems like an upstanding guy. He gave away his R&R slot to another soldier whose grandfather was ill. He joined in Army in August 2003, at which point he would have known he'd be heading to a long deployment in the Middle East. He joined anyway. His platoon sergeant said that when he asked Becker why he joined the Army, instead of answering "for the college money" like most do, he said, "I came in to make a difference."

And he did make a difference. One of his friends, in DCUs and crutches, went to the podium and choked back sobs as he spoke of his friend. We all wept. My heart ached as they fired the volleys. PFC Becker will be buried on Saturday at 1530 in South Dakota, on his 20th birthday.

Screw you, ABC, for wanting to politicize our pain.

Posted by Sarah at 02:25 PM | Comments (13)


There's lots of pissing and moaning in my office today about the inauguration. I'm really not in the mood for it today, and I'm getting really anxious to get the hell out of this office. I can tell how ready I am by the way I am forcing myself not to swear like a sailor.

This is the only thing I want to hear about that stupid inauguration today:
The 16th Second Inaugural

Posted by Sarah at 11:04 AM | Comments (2)


My grandfather died 36 years ago today. I really wish I had had the chance to meet him. Based on my mother's stories about him, he's always struck me as an Atticus Finchy man, which is someone I can really see myself liking. He died when he was merely 56; thus turning 56 was a sobering experience for my mother. He died when my mother was only 21; thus turning 21 was a sobering experience for me, imagining the pain of losing my own dad. I remember talking to my mom on the phone on 19 January that year when I was living in France, and I asked her if she misses him. "Every single day," she replied.

Both of my mother's parents are gone now. I can't imagine not having parents.
I'm thinking of you today, Mama.

Posted by Sarah at 09:29 AM | Comments (1)


Seems John Earl Haynes has been reading the same kind of one-sided crap I have:

Haynes: Jamie: It is still early to judge what impact In Denial will have. Thus far the only reviews have been in conservatively-oriented journals of opinion. There have been none in liberal and left journals and no academic reviews.

Debate in the academic world on this issue is limited. Anyone whose knowledge of the historical literature was based on a reading of articles published in the Journal of American History and the American Historical Review, the two leading journals in the field, would believe that there was nothing to debate. Not a single article published in the Journal of American History and the American Historical Review in the last thirty years has taken a critical stance regarding the American Communist movement or a benign view of domestic anticommunism. In the same thirty-year period dozens of articles in these journals have taken a reverse stance: a benign view of the CPUSA or depicting domestic opposition to communism in highly negative terms. In these journals there has been no debate: only one side is heard from.

Read the whole interview, starting with Glazov's own experience with the gulags. Thanks to Amritas for the find.

Posted by Sarah at 07:21 AM | Comments (1)

19 JAN

He did it again! I always thought this was one of the coolest traditions. In fact, I used to take my English teacher three roses on this day; I did it for like five years before I moved away.

Mysterious fan marks Poe's birthday

BALTIMORE - The mystery man was dressed for the cold rather than tradition, and some spectators were not quite as respectful as in years past. But for the 56th year, a man stole into a locked graveyard early on Edgar Allan Poe's birthday and placed three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac on the writer's grave.

Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum, who has seen the mysterious visitor every Jan. 19 since 1976, gathered with about 20 people Tuesday night to glimpse the ritual.

"It was absolutely frigid," Jerome said of the sub-20 degree temperature.

No one, not even Jerome, knows the identity of the so-called "Poe Toaster." The visit was first documented in 1949, a century after Poe's death.

This year, the visitor arrived at 1:10 a.m. in a heavy coat and obscured his face with a black pullover, Jerome said. He was not wearing the traditional white scarf and black hat.

"He put the roses and cognac at the base of Poe's grave and put his hand on top of the (tomb) stone. He paused and put his head down," the museum curator said. He left after about five minutes, Jerome said.

The visitor's three roses are believed to honor Poe, his mother-in-law and his wife, all of whom are buried in the graveyard. The significance of the cognac is unknown.

People who stand vigil usually respect the visitor's desire for anonymity, which, along with the visitor's quick moves and the cover of darkness, have kept his secret well.

But this time, some spectators "created a nuisance," Jerome said. Some entered the locked cemetery; others confronted Jerome after the stranger had departed and demanded that he reveal his identity.

For decades, a frail figure made the visit to Poe's grave. But in 1993 the original visitor left a cryptic note saying, "The torch will be passed." A later note said the man, who apparently died in 1998, had passed the tradition on to his sons.

Poe, who wrote poems and horror stories such as "The Raven" and "The Telltale Heart," died Oct. 7, 1849 in Baltimore at the age of 40 after collapsing in a tavern.

Bethany Dinger, 32, first became fascinated with the writer while doing volunteer work at the Poe House in high school. Wednesday was her third time watching the ritual.

"It's always amazing - you know it's going to happen and then it's just wow, he's here," she said. "We're just so in the moment - there's no talking" while the visitor pays homage.

Posted by Sarah at 06:42 AM | Comments (1)


If you hate Bush, you're not supposed to spend any money today. Seems like today would be a good time to buy that mixer...

Posted by Sarah at 06:36 AM | Comments (1)

January 19, 2005


The other English professor here offered to lend me a publication he uses in his classes that is a compilation of outstanding essays from incoming freshmen at Loyola University. It seemed like a good idea, but I just flipped through the entire thing, and I don't see myself reflected in any of the essays. Not a one. I don't see myself in essays entitled "Reagan-Era Backlash" or "A Socially Unjust Relationship in Wartime America" or "Dissenting Patriots." I don't hear my voice in essays about how money is the root of all evil, how war is always bad, and how the American Dream is "a prevalent [idea], but not a realistic one." And I sure as hell don't want to read an essay about how the 9/11 terrorists were acting under their own sense of justice, thus we can't judge them since justice means different things to different people. Plus I'm pissed off that the prof who lent me the book has dogeared the page on the essay "The Unjust Aspects of U.S. Foreign Policy."

There's not a single voice in this book that speaks to me. There's not a single incoming freshman I can relate to. I keep thinking about that kid from Protest Warrior and getting more and more depressed, knowing that his is a lonely voice.

Posted by Sarah at 12:40 PM | Comments (1)


It's cruel and unusual to ask a woman whose husband has been gone for over eleven months to describe who is hot. At this point, everyone is. The joke among my friends is that while our guys were in Kosovo, one wife thought the German fix-it guy was attractive, prompting Oda Mae to let out a loud guffaw. Our radars get all goofed up after this long. When you start to think the German rent-a-cops who check our IDs at the gate look good, it's time for the end of the deployment.

So you'll forgive us wives if we squeal a little too much when someone suggests watching Tombstone. Or when we get together to watch American Dreams just for the young man in Vietnam. Or when our hearts stop at the name Sam Elliot. Every movie star looks handsome when your husband is gone. (And sometimes the SSG at the MP station does too.)

John Hawkins is right that something in our psyche can trigger attraction. I could look at Barry Pepper all day long because he reminds me of my 8th grade boyfriend who died in a car accident. My father looks like Christopher Reeve, my brother looks like Robert Redford, thus those two actors have always held a special place in my heart. I always tease Red 6 that he looks like Yul Brynner, which is very lucky for him. My husband doesn't look like an actor, though he does bear an uncanny resemblance to He-Man.

So what makes a man attractive? Allah was partly right that women work "within a framework", though my framework doesn't include height or hair color: dress any man as a cowboy and he doubles in hotness; dress him as a soldier and it triples. (See here: good, better, best) I'm not a sucker for a uniform -- the UPS guy doesn't do it for me -- but I am a complete sucker for cowboys and soldiers.

Hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. So very hot.

The company commander sent home a CD full of photos, including one that stopped my breath: my husband, with his pistol on his thigh and a cigar in his lips, squinting into the sun on a blistering, dirty day in July. Now that's hot.

(this post prompted by RightWingNews, on the debate between Michelle and Allah over Teri Polo's Playboy spread)

Posted by Sarah at 10:25 AM | Comments (13)

January 18, 2005


Today was just one of those days. If it had been my first day on the job, people would've really questioned my abilities. For starters, it was the first day of classes, which means an 11-hour shift. So already I start out exhausted, knowing I'll be there until 1900. Around lunchtime, I had this military document in my hands, and sixty seconds later it was missing. I tore the office apart for five minutes and finally found it under my desk. And the day just got goofier after that. I kept forgetting what I was doing halfway through each task, and I kept asking students to repeat themselves. I introduced the English class as the biology class. I signed someone up for two classes on the same day. And, to top it all off, I left work and went the wrong way down a one-way street. As I was driving, I just shook my head, knowing how representative it was of my state of mind today.

I need a drink and a John Wayne movie.

Posted by Sarah at 07:39 PM | Comments (2)


John Kerry whines:

In his comments, Kerry also compared the democracy-building efforts in Iraq with voting in the U.S., saying that Americans had their names purged from voting lists and were kept from casting ballots.

Like my brother. Who would've voted Republican.

Posted by Sarah at 06:37 AM | Comments (1)

January 17, 2005


A quote from Toren, via Amritas:

.. [T]he fact is that if you speak any other language than English, and then learn English, you can go practically anywhere in the world and communicate since it is the second language of choice nearly worldwide. So the motivation value is high and the rewards substantial, plus, many countries teach it to children at an age when they can soak up an extra language with ease ...

It's just that if you're raised speaking English, one of the primary motivations for learning a second language is nullified.

Americans get a lot of crap from Europeans for not learning foreign languages. But seriously, which one should we learn? I spent ten years learning French and two years learning Swedish, and they do absolutely no good here in Germany. I still hear the joke all the time about how "a bilingual is someone who speaks two languages and a monolingual is someone who is American." Even if Americans worked hard to learn Spanish, the obvious choice in the US, they still would be looked down on everywhere but Spain. There's simply not an easy second-choice language for us, like English is for every other freaking country in the world.

If I had known when I was 15 that I would be living in Germany, I could have taken German in high school. But when you're in high school, German and French seem about equally as useful (read: not at all). And when we do come here to Germany, and we try to learn German (our beginner level German classes are always packed), Germans just roll their eyes at us and reply in English when we try to use it.

My husband came upon a poster in Iraq that was put up by the Honduran troops. He started translating the poster when one of his Hispanic soldiers said, "You can read that, sir?" My husband said that he had taken five years of Spanish and could muddle his way through the poster, but he could use some help. The Hispanic soldier looked my husband in the eye and said, "Don't look at me, I don't speak Spanish." The former-gangbanger from L.A. with the uber-Hispanic name doesn't speak a word of Spanish. I guess English works just fine for all of us.

Posted by Sarah at 12:16 PM | Comments (11)


I finished reading The End of Racism the other day, just in time for Martin Luther King Day. I've been thinking about the content of people's character lately. I don't care what color someone is as long as we can find some common ground. I have common ground with Baldilocks, Amritas, Vinod, and Zeyad, and we're all different colors. (Conversely, I have little in common with Wonkette, and we're exactly the same shade of pale.) Blogging is the great equalizer: often you read someone for months before you figure out what they look like, but it doesn't matter because relationships are based on ideas and brains instead of looks. CavX could have three eyeballs, and I wouldn't even care.

I'd say that the military is about the least racist place you can be. The Army discriminates on rank, not color, and there's so much intermarriage and living side by side. Everyone has the same experience in the Army, regardless of color. And my husband joked once that where in the civilian world could most of his big bosses be black (like his COL and MAJ were at the time). Unfortunately though, there are still a lot of people who feel the thumb of racism. Many of my black students write their essays on black issues, on racism, on discrimination. I wish sometimes we could move beyond those issues. I wish we could make it to "the end of racism." I just have a hard time trying to grok why we can't.

Eric posted MLK's essay War and Pacifism over at Thank My Recruiter. We're fighting a war now against people who want us dead because of the content of our character. They want us all dead, black and white. We need to find our common ground and band together to protect our country's character.

Posted by Sarah at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2005


Apparently in 1970 there was a popular comedy show in the USSR patterned off of Laugh-In. So Laugh-In dedicated an episode to making fun of the Soviet version of the show, creating a Soviet "party room", Soviet jokes about the past and lack-of future, and a crappy looking wooden wall that they told Soviet knock-knock jokes from. Hilarious stuff. They were poking fun at the bad guys in WWIII. It's too bad times have changed; we're not even supposed to suggest that there is an enemy in WWIV. Apparently in the show 24, the terrorists were portrayed as...horrors...Muslims.

CAIR said it called for the meeting Wednesday -- which included representatives from CAIR's Southern California office and from the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council -- to "address the depiction of a 'Muslim' family that is at the heart of a terror plot in the popular program."

The Washington, D.C.-based group said it was concerned that the portrayal of the family as a terrorist "sleeper cell" may "cast a shadow of suspicion over ordinary American Muslims and could increase Islamophobic stereotyping and bias."

CAIR's statement today said that in addition to distribution of the PSAs, "FOX also gave meeting participants assurances that the program will be balanced in its portrayal of Muslims. Network representatives said that they had already reviewed existing episodes and removed some aspects that could potentially be viewed as stereotypical."

Thirty-five years ago, Laugh-In made the joke "Vy is the chickenk crossing de road? To defected to Poland, but he'll be back!" Today we're not even allowed to make-believe that the people we've been fighting for four years could be the bad guys in a drama. Heaven help us.

Posted by Sarah at 02:58 PM | Comments (2)


Yesterday when I did a search on PFC Gunnar Becker, all I could find was a Wall of Fame entry at his high school. Which he graduated from, incidentally, in 2003. Today there is more information about the young man our battalion lost this week.

Lost soldier lit up their lives, friends say
SD soldier killed in Iraq (his photo: he looks like a little kid...he would've been 20 next week)

His death was an accident, a stupid, infuriating accident. If an insurgent had killed him, I could at least have someone to hate. I feel angry about PFC Becker's death, but there's nowhere to focus my laser beam.

Even as young soldier back in 2003, Becker realized the risk.

He said, "I guess if it costs a couple of people's lives to keep freedom it's probably worth it. That's just the way I am guess."

We'll make sure it was worth it, Gunnar.

(My thoughts on PFC Becker's memorial service here.)

Posted by Sarah at 08:39 AM | Comments (3)

January 15, 2005


Blackfive has an article called Aiding and Abetting the Enemy: the Media in Iraq. LTC Ryan doesn't say anything we don't already know and hate, but he says it all well.

In a similar vein, see VDH's Triangulating the War.

Posted by Sarah at 08:48 AM | Comments (2)


There are some wives here who are already getting ready for our husbands' return. Others are convinced that, like 1AD before us, our soldiers will be extended past their 13 month target. We have a bad precedent: many in 1AD were already home when they got turned back to Iraq. Even having our soldiers step off the plane isn't a guarantee that they're home, so no one quite knows when to breathe the sigh of relief. And the fact that the elections are supposed to take place a mere two weeks before our transfer of authority is making everyone a little crazy.

What I've been wondering lately is what exactly would have to happen to make the situation bad enough that 1ID would have to stay. Many people have been saying that "if the elections go badly", but how badly would they have to go? How intense the fighting, how widespread the chaos, how dangerous the situation? What would it take to make them hold on to the division?

I'm not getting my hopes oriented in either direction. Before 1ID left, I told myself that I would be happy as long as my husband came home before Tax Day. I still have to keep that target in mind.

Posted by Sarah at 08:37 AM | Comments (4)


As an English professor, I walk the fine line between prescriptive and descriptive grammar. I'm a descriptivist, so if I were the only English teacher my students had to deal with, it wouldn't be such a big deal that I just ended that clause with a preposition. But the students leave my class and move on to a prof who studied in England and is much more prescriptive than I (or should I just go ahead and say "me"?). I don't care if they use contractions or end a sentence with the dreaded preposition, but he might.

Funny story: I once saw a student in my Swedish class insist to our teacher that you can't end a sentence with a preposition. She was horrified that you can do that quite comfortably in other languages and not feel the wrath of your 5th grade teacher.

Amritas has been writing about Ebonics for a few weeks now, and I've been meaning to jump into the conversation. Finally I couldn't stay away when I saw this, a quote from Labov with Amritas' interjections:

Linguists are building on sand until they can answer basic questions: what are the test-retest reliabilities of judgments of grammatical acceptability [that are essential to the Chomskyan enterprise -A]? Under what conditions do introspections match speech production? [That is, under what conditions do linguists' introspective judgments of grammaticality match what is actually being said by speakers? I can declare that a certain structure is 'wrong' in my office, but if millions use it without any impediment to understanding, then it is I who am wrong. -A]

We say things all the time that are completely comprehensible but grammatically wrong. So what makes them "wrong" if we can understand them? Why do I bother pointing out all the places my students need the past perfect tense in their narrative essays when nine times out of ten it makes no difference for understanding the story? Why is it like fingernails on a chalkboard to me when my students use the wrong relative pronoun, when no meaning at all is lost? Why do I even bother reminding them that "between you and me, he is taller than I"?

One of my German friends heard something on the TV that she was convinced was wrong. She was flabbergasted to learn that "It is I" is correct. I'm sure she's never heard it before. Another German was mad to learn that "Me and my husband are going on vacation", though common, is incorrect. They don't hear the prescriptive versions very often.

So what's a girl to do? For now, my strategy has been to refresh my students' memories on the prescriptive versions, all the while with the caveat that languages change and that someday "It is I" will likely be considered wrong since virtually no one will be saying it. But for now they have to sit on the cusp of language change, like it or not.

Posted by Sarah at 08:24 AM | Comments (5)

January 14, 2005


Today marks the eleventh month of our deployment. Our battalion just lost its first soldier.

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

January 13, 2005


Oh. My. Lord. Michael Tucker reads my blog. Why anyone reads my blog I'll never understand, but this is huge.

Who the heck is Michael Tucker? Only the guy who filmed Gunner Palace. That's all, no big whoop.


Anyway, gathering self, Tucker is upset that his film will be given an R rating. Yep, soldiers cuss. Tucker humorously quotes General Patton: "You can't run an army without profanity. An army without profanity couldn't fight it's way out of a piss-soaked paper bag." He also alluded to a recent editorial by Jack Valenti about how some ABC affiliates didn't show Saving Private Ryan because of the swear words.

But there are swear words and swear words, and never the twain shall meet.

One of my students and I had a long discussion over the summer as he was trying to gather ideas for his paper on the FCC. One of the things I brought up was how lots of naughty ideas can be expressed without using swear words. The examples I gave him were two songs: "What's Your Fantasy" by Ludacris and "The Bad Touch" by Bloodhound Gang. These songs get played all the time on the radio, but they allude to things far more explicit than the f-word alone would conjure. There are no swear words in "whips and chains, handcuffs / smack a little booty up with my belt" or "love, the kind you clean up with a mop and bucket / like the lost catacombs of Egypt only God knows where we stuck it", but they sure put some images into your mind! You don't need swear words to be explicit.

Conversely, you don't need to be explicit to have swear words. The swearing in Saving Private Ryan is a fact of life. Put 20 men in a life-threatening situation, and you're going to get some colorful language. But it's different than the swearing in a movie like Clerks -- which is also a fact of life but is there for humor -- or the movie Team America -- which I swear Parker and Stone use just to make people mad. The swearing in Gunner Palace is a reflection of reality; it's surely not meant to be titillating like scripted swearing.

When the WTC came crashing down, and the media was recording history in the making, we all heard swear words uttered in fright and horror. Do our children remember that day as a tragic moment in American history or the first day they heard the s-word on TV? Somehow I doubt that's the most important part of the story. The most important part of Gunner Palace or Saving Private Ryan is not that some GI used the f-bomb, but that some GI was there making history.

Posted by Sarah at 09:49 AM | Comments (5)

January 11, 2005


I just watched "We Interrupt This Program" in the From the Earth to the Moon series. It's reason number I-lost-count why I hate reporters.

Following the Apollo 13 tragedy from the perspective of news reporters, this episode is another one of the most memorable in the series. While some reporters try to keep their distance from the families of the astronauts on Apollo 13, others set out to exploit the raw emotion from those families to gain better ratings. This episode nicely displays the change in journalism ethics that occurred in the late '60s and early '70s, and how it directly affected the Apollo 13 news story.

Posted by Sarah at 09:30 PM | Comments (1)


If you wear a Swedish flag on your clothing in Sweden, it means you are a neo-nazi. I was utterly shocked when my friend taught me that when I lived there. (This knowledge is echoed by singer Maja Ivarsson here, so it's not just that my friend is crazy.) I can't imagine what it must feel like to be ashamed of your flag.

Apollo 11 just landed on the moon: it was amazing. I only wish I had seen the original. And I realized today how freaking cool it is that there's an American flag on the moon. Had we not landed there until 2005, there would be no flag, but we landed in 1969, when it was still OK to think the United States was the best country in the world.

My husband hates the inclusive "we": I certainly had no hand in the moon landing, so I shouldn't put myself in Armstrong's pocket. But I've inherited the mentality that pushed the US to be first. I've inherited the vision that NASA embodies. I've inherited the drive that made Americans work their asses off for ten years simply to go and walk around on a hunk of dust. I'm a product of past determination and success.

There's an American flag on the moon and millions of dollars of equipment floating around in space because Americans decided they were going to the moon. I'm proud I inherited that history.

Posted by Sarah at 06:46 PM | Comments (15)


Tanks: good for the environment!

The environmental office works with units that use the training area to identify sections that are off-limits to training to protect endangered or threatened species that live in those areas. In other parts of the training area, the training actually helps wildlife flourish, Rieck said.

“Threatened and endangered species like when the landscape changes,” he said. “With tanks moving through, the land changes and animals are attracted to that.”

An information paper from the environmental office said the tanks compact the soil, creating puddles that the endangered yellow-bellied toad uses to lay eggs.

Ulrich Maushakey, the forest director for the Federal Forestry Office in Grafenwöhr, said if the training were to stop and the area no longer monitored, much of the existing wildlife would likely die off.

“If you keep the land open, all the trees come back, the area would be [overgrown] with weeds and the most parasitic species would take over,” Maushakey said. “With the land kept free of these threats, there is more of a chance for threatened and endangered species to come back.”

Hey, husband, did you see that? Two of my favorite things are symbiotic: tanks and toads!

Posted by Sarah at 03:55 PM | Comments (2)


This weekend I also caught a John Wayne double header: Rio Bravo and El Dorado. (I didn't leave the couch much, being sick and all.) Um...is it just me, or are they the same movie? How did John Wayne get away with that? Sheriff gets dumped by a girl, sheriff turns into a drunk, The Duke sobers him up, everyone jokes that he needs a bath, the fresh new sheriff catches the bad guy and puts him in jail, the other bad guys try to bust him out, they capture one of the good guys and offer a trade, there's a shoot-out, John Wayne wins. Oh, and there are two sidekicks: a young whippersnapper named after a state, and a crotchety old man who guards the jail.

Of course I loved them both, because who doesn't love John Wayne (plus Ricky Nelson and James Caan), but that's the same freaking movie.

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

January 10, 2005


My neighbor thrust the series From the Earth to the Moon into my hands and urged me to watch it. The last thing I need in my life is another four DVD box set, so I reluctantly opened it today while I was home sick from work. I have been loving every minute. I'm glad that my knowledge of the space race is scant, so each episode has a surprise ending for me. I have been thinking about the similarities and differences between military and astronaut wives. I have been thinking about the technology race with the Soviets and how it's the last time we've had real competition as a nation. I've been thinking about how this competition drove us to put a man on the moon in a decade, which should have been unthinkable and often was dangerous. I've been thinking about all the poor astronauts who aren't named Aldrin, Armstrong, or Glenn and how underappreciated they are. I've been thinking and getting goosebumps all evening, and I highly recommend the series if you have the chance to see it.

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


I thought I should say something about the kerfluffle over Kid Rock playing the inauguration, but there's nothing else to say except I'm all fer it. Kid Rock understands the threat of terrorism, he split with his friends when they went to see Fahrencrap 9/11, and he's performed in Iraq because he loves his country.

I do think there is something larger at work here. Many of the bloggers who disagree with Michelle Malkin have discussed the future direction of the Republican party. I think this Kid Rock dilemma is indicative of the split between the old timey GOP and the South Park Republicans. We're at a bit of a crossroads here, and the decision over whether or not to include Kid Rock is nothing to sneeze at.

I know that the GOP isn't just fat rich WASPs, but that stereotype still exists for many on the Left. Kid Rock's inclusion at the inauguration could do a lot to break down that stereotype and show young people that it's OK to be a Republican.

Posted by Sarah at 08:22 AM | Comments (3)

January 09, 2005


Dude, Red 6, we're not the only ones who hate your shelf toilet!

Posted by Sarah at 02:35 PM | Comments (2)


Last week I donated for the tsunami via Amazon, but I didn't give that much and I knew I was being a bit stingy. After reading this post today on the ineffectiveness of the Red Cross, I went and gave a little more via World Vision. If you haven't given anything but still want to, perhaps Hugh Hewitt's endorsement will persuade you...

Posted by Sarah at 09:16 AM | Comments (4)


I have no idea why I started thinking about this today.

I remember exactly where I was when President Clinton admitted that he had lied about his affair. I remember it vividly because I was so sad. I felt so hurt and betrayed, not because he fooled around with a skank, but because he had shattered my trust in him. I know the words honesty and politician don't often go together, but more than anything I want our president to display integrity. President Clinton hurt my feelings when he admitted that he had outright lied, and it hurt as if he had looked me in the eye and lied to only me.

The real problem I have with this is that President Clinton can't even hide behind semantics. My mom and I had a lengthy argument a few years ago about the definition of "sex" as it applied to President Clinton. Mom was appalled to hear that the definition of sex has changed for young people. I think there was a major generation gap during the Clinton impeachment between the generation that thinks sex is anything that happens with your clothes off and the generation that thinks sex is only intercourse. Much to my mother's dismay, the strict definition of the word "sex" only includes intercourse for young people, many of whom brushed off President Clinton's lie because of semantics: to them, he really didn't have sex with Lewinsky. The problem is that that's not what he said. He said he didn't have "sexual relations" with her, so he can't even hide behind the new definition of sex. He flat out lied.

Den Beste wrote long ago about two types of liars, as proposed by Martin Gardner: "A strict liar knows the truth and makes statements which contradict it. A creative liar knows the truth and makes statements which are intended to deceive the listener." President Clinton wasn't even being a creative liar, masking his deeds in the vague definition of "sex". He was a strict liar, which is what made me so durned disappointed in him.

Which brings me to thoughts on the world's most frequently branded liar. A lengthy chunk from Den Beste:

There were a number of reasons why the question of Iraqi WMDs occupied such a central place in the political discussion, but there was never a correlation between the amount of attention paid to various arguments and their importance. And there are a number of other points that can be made about the entire question of WMDs and the process of deciding whether to invade. But what I wanted to talk about here was the specific question of whether Bush lied. Is it actually correct to refer to Bush's claims regarding Iraqi WMDs as being "lies"?

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that WMDs were the sole reason for the invasion, even though that isn't even remotely true. Let's further assume, for the sake of argument, that Iraq had indeed fully destroyed all its WMDs and all its banned equipment and that Saddam had no intention whatever of reviving its WMD development programs after the international political heat had been alleviated. Ignore for the moment the fact that there was nearly universal consensus that Iraq still had some WMDs, including UN agencies and international opponents of war such as France and sundry NGOs, not to mention the Clinton administration right up until Bush's inauguration.

So if Bush made the claim that Iraq still represented a threat because of its WMDs, did that make him a liar?

Not necessarily. It is not the case that everyone who utters a falsehood is lying. Someone can only be held to be a liar if they knew the truth at the time they spoke. A truth teller knows the truth and makes accurate statements about it. A strict liar knows the truth and makes statements which contradict it. A creative liar knows the truth and makes statements which are intended to deceive the listener. But there are several other possibilities; those three cases are not comprehensive. In particular, a person who is convinced that what they are saying is true is not a liar even if they're wrong.

Someone who is misinformed, and who genuinely believes that misinformation is not a liar simply because they repeat the misinformation or act on it. They can be accused of many things, such as gullibility, but not of lying.

All of the rhetoric about "lying" obscures the fact that this is an inductive process, not a deductive one, and words like "truth", "falsehood" and "lie" have to be interpreted entirely differently in the hazy world of inductive logic. As a practical matter, no one in the US government (or anywhere else) had conclusive evidence one way or the other about whether Iraq had WMDs or retained means and motivation to continue developing them once it became possible to do so. In fact, after we invaded evidence developed that even Saddam didn't truly know.

All the Bush administration had to work from were hints and calculations and imperfect reports from sources of less-than-ideal credibility; that's how it usually is in intelligence work. It's not crystal clear vision; you're usually trying to identify hazy shapes in the fog.

In other words, at the time Bush made the kinds of statements which my leftist friends have been referring to as "lies", what he had access to were reports which said that Iraq might still have any or all of those things, along with at least some degree of calculation of how likely it was.

And even if those reports and calculations were wrong, or if the calculated probability was low, that doesn't mean that acting on them was wrong.

The claim that Bush lied gets thrown around more than John Kerry's football. And I've often read in comments sections where lefties say that Bush hatred is nothing worse than Clinton hatred. I have a real problem with that statement.

I don't hate President Clinton, but he sure let me down. He made himself a strict liar based on his personal life -- things he was directly in control of -- as opposed to intelligence gathering or foreign policy. President Bush might have speculated incorrectly about WMDs in Iraq, but President Clinton knew damn well what he was doing behind closed doors. At the end of the day, that makes a big difference to me.

But President Bush is the world's biggest liar, and always will be. Sigh.

Posted by Sarah at 08:54 AM | Comments (6)

January 08, 2005


I watched The Magnificent Seven again a few weeks ago, so I understand what VDH is talking about in his recent The Disenchanted American. I felt frustrated in the movie that the seven were doing more for the village than the villagers. And, yes, the more I learn about the world, the wearier I become. I grok these words:

We will finish the job in Iraq, nursemaid democratic Afghanistan through its birthpangs, and continue to ensure that bandits and criminal states stay off the world's streets. But what is new is that the disenchanted American is becoming savvy and developing a long memory — and so we all fear the day is coming when he casts aside the badge, rides the buckboard out of town, and leaves such sanctimonious folk to themselves.

Posted by Sarah at 09:53 PM | Comments (2)


So I'm like the last person in the world to review Team America, but I just got back from the theater, and I loved it. I stayed home sick all day, but nothing was keeping me from the movie. I won't rehash all the same praise everyone else has given it; I'll only add that the entire military audience was cracking up.

And this song, which killed me, goes out to my husband:

I miss you more then Michael Bay missed the mark
When he made Pearl Harbor
I miss you more than that movie missed the point
And that’s an awful lot, girl
And now, now you’ve gone away
And all I’m trying to say is
Pearl Harbor sucked, and I miss you

I need you like Ben Affleck needs acting school
He was terrible in that film
I need you like Cuba Gooding needed a bigger part
He’s way better than Ben Affleck
And now all I can think about is your smile
and that shitty movie too
Pearl Harbor sucked and I miss you

Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies?
I guess Pearl Harbor sucked
Just a little bit more than I miss you

Posted by Sarah at 09:26 PM | Comments (1)


We paid off our car yesterday, so now I feel like money is burning a hole in my pocket. All of a sudden I have an irresistible urge to buy something I've wanted for three years. What do you think, husband? It could be a Quitting My Job present, or an Almost Done With The Deployment present, or a 5th Anniversary present (coming up in February), or a Gosh You're The Best Wife In The World present. Right? I've almost convinced myself I deserve it.

Today I'm sick. I can barely put out the energy to sit here at the computer. And Oda Mae is a doll: she just brought me gatorade, ginger snaps, and Newsweek. What a gal.

Posted by Sarah at 11:32 AM | Comments (10)


Hahaha. Perhaps I could get my husband a man-purse with camouflage on the flap like Tommy Lee has. Oh good lord, I can just picture the look on my husband's face if I suggested he get a purse. That's rich. (The man owns three ties, and one is a clip on. Metrosexual, he is not.)

Posted by Sarah at 07:27 AM | Comments (9)


I've never understood the relationship between the Army and smoking. I understand that smoking can alleviate stress, which I suppose is why many people start while they're deployed. But I don't understand how an organization that prides itself on physical fitness can be so full of smokers. But then again, I've never smoked; perhaps I overestimate the effects. Thoughts?

(prompted by this article, only tangentially related)

Posted by Sarah at 07:15 AM | Comments (3)


I love the South Park episode where the boys get arrested for downloading music and Lars Ulrich is crying because he has to save up before he can get his gold-plated shark tank bar installed next to the pool. According to Hud, music sales are up. There are two things I don't understand about the Napster hullabaloo. First of all, why don't book authors try to ban libraries? I mean, hundreds of people can just walk in there and read their books for free. Why don't authors get their underpants bunched about book swapping? And secondly, I have bought several CDs this past year, but all from sites like half.com or the Amazon market. The artists don't make any money when I do that either. Why would they freak out if I can download one song for free, when I could get the entire album for $3.70 from someone else and not give them a dime? If it's really about losing money for artists, why aren't they concerned about losing money in other ways? What about music clubs where you get 10 CDs for a penny? Don't they get less money that way too?

Posted by Sarah at 06:54 AM | Comments (3)

January 07, 2005


I'm having a weird moment of conflicting feelings: Monday is the last day I can send mail down to my husband in Iraq. Those of you who've been following me for the past year know that I write my husband as frequently as possible. I am about to send letter #180 on Monday -- which comes to roughly one letter every other day -- and then we'll be done. In a weird sense, I am sad to see the end of letter writing.

My husband always teases me that I talk too much when he's trying to go to sleep. I've never been able to stop my mind from spinning, so marriage was so exciting for me: I finally had someone to talk to death so I could try to fall asleep. I substituted letter writing for talking this year; I would write my letters right before bed to try to clear my head. What am I going to do for the next two months?

I can't believe this deadline is making me sad; the last day to send mail means they're coming home soon! But the feeling is bittersweet, because I've really enjoyed writing letters this year. I've enjoyed finding good articles and funny cartoons and romantic cards to send. I've enjoyed yammering on about dumb crap that happens at work or Matrix: Revolutions (Heh, look what I found: Did you know there are people who really believe in that stuff?) I've enjoyed making my husband get more mail than anyone in his platoon.

Red 6's fiancee leaves for Iraq next. I guess I'll have to concentrate my efforts on her now.

Posted by Sarah at 01:40 PM | Comments (5)

January 05, 2005


I turned in my final application packet today, so I'm getting excited to move on to a new job. However, today has made me feel sad about leaving. During my shift today I had two different students heap praise on me for explaining our programs clearly, for helping with financial aid, and for making sure they completely understood the application process. One said that she had talked to another representative and had come away thoroughly confused; the other even wanted to know when I would be teaching next and asked if I would consider tutoring her if I couldn't be her English teacher. This is after knowing me for 20 minutes. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, only to say that it makes me sad to leave these students. My teaching experience has taught me ways of explaining things so that everyone can understand, and it's also taught me to read faces and know when someone is lost. I'm also used to dealing with non-native speakers, so I always have success helping our Spanish-speaking students, even though I don't speak a word of Spanish. I want to make sure that every student leaves our office with a complete understanding of the education system and process overseas, and I'm glad when students notice that I work hard to make life easier for them. I will be sad to leave that aspect of the job.

Posted by Sarah at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)


I have to chuckle at the fact that I learned about a new milblogger via an Iraqi blog. Omar pointed out In Iraq for 365, where I found a great post called "From the smells to toilets to flirting, I miss America".

And for the anti-war types who think Iraq was all kite-flying before we got there, check out this sentence:

Logan’s story is both compelling and sad. His uncle was killed by members of Saddam Hussein’s regime for speaking Turkish in Baghdad.

Killed for speaking a foreign language. Remind me again why we shouldn't have invaded Iraq?

Posted by Sarah at 03:31 PM | Comments (1)

January 04, 2005


I have always maintained that I am lucky to be a modern military wife and that the struggles we face are nothing compared to those who have gone before us. In times of fear, I always count my blessings that my husband fights in Iraq instead of on Normandy Beach. I perhaps could have endured WWII though; tonight, after watching Glory, my benchmark is set much higher.

I'm brave, but could I have sent my husband to fight in the Civil War? Could I have endured each excruciating moment, knowing that he was lining up in perfect rows in plain sight of the enemy, drummers and colors nearby? Could I have born the agony of imagining him fighting with a bayonet? I'd like to think that I could have carried that weight, knowing that the cause soldiers fought for then was the same cause we fight for today. But it's hard to say; in an age where supposedly 77% of HMMWVs are up-armored and 100% of men wear armor plates, how can we even fathom rows of men trying to reload their muskets faster than the other guy?

I would hope that I could be as strong as women past. Edith Roosevelt hung a photo of her dead son on her mantel to defy the Germans who sent it to her. I picture her when times get difficult. I'm certain that Civil War women deserve far more respect and admiration than I can guess.

Military wife-ing has gotten progressively easier, no matter what anyone says. Watch Glory and imagine your husband fighting for freedom back then if you don't believe me.

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


How the Left betrayed My Country -- Iraq (via Powerline)

Just linking today, folks. I'm back at work, and it's been busy.

Posted by Sarah at 07:41 AM | Comments (1)


I really do enjoy contemplating how insignificant human beings really are. It's fascinating. More on Mother Nature's whimsy here.

Posted by Sarah at 06:41 AM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2005


Yeah, this pretty much sums up how I feel about the UN too.
Thanks, Bunker.

Posted by Sarah at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)


Off to the movies we shall go
where we learn everything that we know
cuz the movies teach us what our parents don't have time to say.
And this movie's gonna make my life complete
cuz Parker and Stone are sweet (super sweet).
Thank god AAFES is bringing Team America to this quiet little town!

Posted by Sarah at 06:54 PM | Comments (3)


I've been emailing with a reader lately, and I hope she doesn't mind if I steal her words about love for our soldiers:

Sometimes I feel like a firehose with a knot in it. I have to be careful where I point it 'cause if the knot ever gets untied, I might end up drowning somebody in admiration, gratitude and affection.

That's how I felt when I read this article: They just want to rejoin their friends

Posted by Sarah at 10:17 AM | Comments (1)

January 01, 2005


Last year my resolution was to learn to be bemused. I think I've gotten much better at it.
My resolution this year is to learn to shrug.

Posted by Sarah at 10:43 AM | Comments (2)


I liked Bryan Strawser's 2004 recap so much that I decided to do one of my own. His will have nicer photos though.

Couples who survived OIF I have told me that timelines are hard to maintain after redeployment. They say it feels like they're missing a year of their life together, and that it's often confusing when they say things like, "Remember last year when we went to Spain?" when in fact it was two years ago. I wonder sometimes if when my husband gets home, 2004 will seem like a weird dream to both of us.

February brought OIF II and my husband's deployment to Iraq. On Valentine's Day, to be exact. We said our goodbyes and parted for 13 months.


In March I began teaching ENGL101 at the college and have taught four sections of English this year. The experience has been extremely rewarding, and I'm sorry to see it come to an end. But I've decided that once my husband gets home, I no longer want to work nights and weekends; we've been apart enough already.

In April I started hanging out with two girls who have been a blessing during the deployment. (You two know who you are!) They started reading my blog and we found we have much in common, and I have learned a lot from their life experiences. I found that there were people right here in my own backyard who shared my interests in politics and the military, and they've been a crucial part of my deployment experience.

In August, our good friend LT A was wounded in Mosul. He has been in and out of the ICU for months, and he finally went home for good a few weeks ago. He's doing everything he can to stay in the Army and stay combat arms if he can. LT A's injury was my first brush with heartache during the deployment. It wouldn't be my last.

In September, my mother came to visit. We went to France, Italy, and Flossenburg. In France, my relatives asked what I wanted to do there. I said I wanted to see the American soldiers at St. Avold. They said, "Oh, do Americans work there?" To which I solemnly replied, "No, I'd like to see the soldiers who died for us." I wanted to see Joe and Tommy.


In September my heart broke when one of our students from the college died in Iraq. In November it broke again when my friend's husband was killed.


In November my husband came home for R&R. It was wonderful to have him home, and it felt great to have life back to normal for a while. We watched in joy as President Bush was re-elected and as Yassir Arafat kicked the bucket. What a month!


At the end of November, my co-worker picked a fight with me. A combination of my irritatingly low salary plus the fact that I had been reading Atlas Shrugged prompted me to quit my job as a college registrar. I took the rest of December off to use up my vacation days, and I go back to work on Monday and officially give my notice.

Looking forward, 2005 will bring many changes for us. I am applying to be an English teacher at the high school, so we'll see how that turns out. My husband's branch detail came through too, so he'll be switching jobs. For those of you who don't know the system, officers can sometimes be "loaned out" to other branches for their first two years of their commission. My husband's control branch was Armor, which is how he ended up as a tank platoon leader in Iraq. But his basic branch, the job he would be in if he decided to stay in the Army, is...(drumroll)...Finance Corps. That's right, my husband is one of the illustrious 30 commissions per year to become a finance officer. It turns out that the Finance Detachment here needs him, so after the deployment he will be switching branches. Big changes on the horizon for both of us.

If all goes according to plan, my husband should be returning from Iraq in the middle of March. That will conclude OIF II and the year of our life that didn't really exist. I'm anxious to move on to 2005.

Posted by Sarah at 10:38 AM | Comments (4)