November 30, 2005


The other day I lost my temper with people who look down their noses at those in the military. Therefore, information on this study caught my attention on the news this morning.

Debunking the myth of the underprivileged soldier

According to a comprehensive study of all enlistees for the years 1998-99 and 2003 that The Heritage Foundation just released, the typical recruit in the all-volunteer force is wealthier, more educated and more rural than the average 18- to 24-year-old citizen is. Indeed, for every two recruits coming from the poorest neighborhoods, there are three recruits coming from the richest neighborhoods.
In fact, since the 9/11 attacks, more volunteers have emerged from the middle and upper classes and fewer from the lowest-income groups. In 1999, both the highest fifth of the nation in income and the lowest fifth were slightly underrepresented among military volunteers. Since 2001, enlistments have increased in the top two-fifths of income levels but have decreased among the lowest fifth.

Allegations that recruiters are disproportionately targeting blacks also don't hold water. First, whites make up 77.4% of the nation's population and 75.8% of its military volunteers, according to our analysis of Department of Defense data.

Second, we explored the 100 three-digit ZIP code areas with the highest concentration of blacks, which range from 24.1% black up to 68.6%. These areas, which account for 14.6% of the adult population, produced 16.6% of recruits in 1999 and only 14.1% in 2003.

The full reports can be read here:
Is Iraq a Poor Man's War?
Who Bears the Burden? Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Recruits Before and After 9/11

And for the guy who doesn't think anyone joins these days "for flag and country", what do you make of this?

After September 11, 2001, the educational quality of recruits rose slightly. Comparing 1999 enlisted recruits to 2003 recruits showed an increase in col­legiate experience. In 2003, a higher proportion of recruits had college experience and diplomas, and a lower percentage had only a high school diploma— a shift of about 3 percentage points.

That statistic would include close-to-my-heart recruit Tyler Prewitt, who left the baseball team at Phoenix College to enlist after September 11th and died in OIF II.

For flag and country.

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November 29, 2005


Dang, I just wasted a lot of time playing around with these lists of celebrity Republicans. The most surprising people? 50 Cent and John Malkovich.

I emailed my friends about 50 Cent and said "Did you know that 50 Cent would've voted for Bush if he weren't a convicted felon?" And then I realized that sentence has a grammatically ambiguous modifier...except for the fact that there's nothing ambiguous about which of them is the felon. So does that make the sentence ambiguous or not?

Man, I wish I was still in touch with my best friend from college; we'd have a blast analyzing that one.

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We've got a problem: Charlie loves snow. So much that I can't get him out of it. And he's become a huge faker, ringing the bell that he has to go to the bathroom just so he can go outside and play. Ugh. I think I took him outside six times already today! He likes to burrow in the snow, flip it up in the air with his nose, and then eat it.

What a weirdo.

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November 28, 2005


Donald Sensing's Thanksgiving post is too wonderful not to share...

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November 27, 2005


God bless the Stars and Stripes. For being a military newspaper, I'm often stunned at how many anti-war, anti-Bush opinion columns they print. I know I don't want to read that garbage, but maybe someone does, and they provide the service, even when it makes our president and our military look bad. Usually I just read the online version, so I don't bother with the AP junk, but occasionally I'll come across a hard copy of the paper and want to throw up, as I did when I read this piece, in which the author muses what his life would be like if he'd had to join the military...

What if, for instance, my parents hadn't gone into debt to provide me with a private-school education and the benefits it affords? What if, instead, I had taken the path followed by many in my hometown and pursued my American dream through the military? And what if I was writing these words not from the comfort of my office but from a forward operating base somewhere in the Sunni Triangle?

Perhaps this all can be written off as a neurotic intellectual exercise. But the persistent rumors of a draft (unlikely as one might be) do little to reassure.

Yes, many people join the military instead of having mommy and daddy foot their bills. They become adults at age 18 and deploy to the Middle East where their buddies' lives are in their hands as they sit on overnight guard duty at the Tigris River...instead of kickin' it at the frat house drinking Red Bull and vodka until they puke all over some girl and pass out in the bushes. Which life choice makes you more of a man?

Oh, the draft. It's comin' folks. Been comin' for three years. Except there's gonna be a drawdown of troops next year. So when are we all getting drafted?

Now, I'm sure a fair number of those in the military enlisted out of a lack of other options. I know full well that relatively few in my generation buy into the "for flag and country" bit, and that my sense of patriotic guilt would probably make for a good joke or two in the service. And the honest truth is that nothing less than a full-fledged draft could get me to say goodbye to my wife's puppy-dog brown eyes and put on a uniform.

Maybe I just lack the conviction of the soldiers deployed in Iraq. Or maybe they've just lacked my good fortune. Which of the two is the case, I'm not quite sure.

Actually, I know quite a few soldiers who joined "for flag and country", and I know many who joined just because they wanted a job but end up staying for their country. My husband called the Army a "labor of love" the other day; he could get out and see what other jobs he could find, but he stays out of a sense of purpose and duty.

And, yes, I bet many of them would think you're a tool.

You probably do indeed lack conviction. Not everyone considers it the Worst Possible Thing In The World to get deployed. Some people, my husband included, think it's the most important thing they've done with their lives, and though they don't necessarily cherish the thought of deploying for another year and missing out on their own wives' puppy-dog eyes, they are more than willing to do whatever it takes to see Iraq succeed.

At the very least, when I read about the next soldier killed in combat, I'll make sure to take five minutes out of my privileged day to wonder: There but for the grace of God go I, drunk and naked, screaming bloody suicide at the thought of going back to Iraq.

And that is precisely why we don't want a draft.

There's nothing wrong with not wanting to go to Iraq. It's a normal, natural feeling. But I'm sick and tired of these crap-ass op-eds looking down their noses at soldiers. A fancy-pants degree doesn't make you better than someone who joined the Army. Can you repair track on a tank? Can you accurately fire a 50-cal? Can you make a delicious sugar cookie out of the remnants of your MRE? Oh, you can write. Judging from MilBlogs, so can most soldiers who don't have the "good fortune" of a "private-school education and the benefits it affords". They're writing and selling books, in addition to being mechanics, marksmen, chemists, nurses, and diplomats.

And I'm not convinced many of them would want to trade places with you.

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Several people have asked about Charlie's Thanksgiving. We're not much for giving him table scraps, but he did hang out in the kitchen most of the day while we were preparing the food, scrounging what fell on the floor -- a bit of ham here, a crumb of bread there. But when we all sat down at the table, we heard an ominous noise from the living room. The husband remembered that our platter of summer sausage and cheese was still on the coffee table. I raced in to find Charlie wolfing down as much as he could before we caught him.

About an hour later, Kelly's son came in the kitchen and whispered, "Um, Charlie threw up." We all had a good laugh at the pile on the dining room floor: three un-chewed pieces of cheese and two un-chewed slices of sausage. No time for chewing when you have to eat as much as you can before someone finds you, right?

Because we had a full house, Charlie didn't get any naps that day. When everyone left after dinner, he crashed for the night. I think he had a pretty exciting Thanksgiving.

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November 24, 2005


We cooked for six hours, and our knees and feet are killing us. And so are our stomachs! But it was worth every minute...


I like what Lileks said about Thanksgiving:

It’s a day that stands aside from the rest, a day on which the simplest and most essential things are revealed as gifts of indescribable worth. And then there’s pie.

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November 23, 2005


Yesterday I wrote a post that I wanted to put up right before Thanksgiving; today it seems absurd to post something so uplifting when I feel so hopeless. Two horrible things happened today to shake my faith in humanity. Sometimes I hate human beings so much, and I fear I'll never be able to grok what makes people do the things they do. I'd never make a good pacifist: some people deserve extinction.

Nothing like heading into Thanksgiving in despair...

But I wrote this cheery post, and I want to still use it. I want to remember that though there are awful, evil people in this world, some people make up for it. And if anyone can make up for it, it's these two.


Two years ago, I was very frustrated that I was losing all my college friends because of my blog. I went through a very rough patch where numerous friends emailed and said they didn't like me anymore because of my views. When my grandmother died, I learned a hard lesson:

I wish I had friends that I could talk to about how I feel about the world. I have my husband and my mother, and that is basically it...and my mother lives an ocean away and my husband will be gone for a year. We're new to our post here in Germany so I don't have any strong relationships yet, and despite my efforts, I don't hear from my old friends that often. When my grandmother died, I called my mom's best friend to talk about it, and I realized how pathetic I am that I don't have anyone I can count on anymore. And the few relationships I've been trying to hang on to really disappointed me this past week.

But I've been thinking about something lately, something that always makes me smile and know that now, two years later, I do have friends who care.

I met Erin in recycling class here. (Seriously, it's so intense we have to attend a class.) She and I were the only ones who showed up that day, and she gave me a ride home afterwards. We didn't really become friends so much as we became two people who really enjoyed running into each other on accident. When she started working at the commissary, I always was excited to go grocery shopping because I knew I could get in Erin's lane and talk to her for at least a couple of minutes.

I went to the commissary the day after my grandmother died, and when Erin asked how I was doing, for some reason I opened up and told her instead of just saying that I was fine. Erin looked at me and tears started welling up in her eyes. She said how sorry she was and how bad she felt for me. It was so touching because she was just someone I ran into in the grocery line, while friends I'd known for years had failed me. I knew that day that there was something special about Erin.

When the deployment started, Erin got a new and much better job working with a girl named Kelly. Kelly had the morning shift and Erin the afternoon, so when I got off work I would always pop next door for the last half hour of Erin's shift. One evening I stopped by to show off my newly knitted sweater, and it was Kelly in the office instead of Erin. I remember her being friendly but shy, and later Erin told me that Kelly had been so nervous to meet me that she didn't even say anything about the beautiful sweater I was wearing! Hilarious, since that was the reason I was looking for Erin in the first place.

During the deployment, I spent a lot of time popping in and out of their work. I taught them to knit and they taught me to quilt, though they've been much more prolific at their new craft than I have. I shared Thanksgiving with Kelly and Christmas with Erin, which was so generous because Erin's husband came home for R&R on Christmas morning: they opened their home to me on the day of their reunion.

The most exciting day was early in our budding friendship when Erin casually said something like, "I don't know what your views are, but I support the President and the War on Terror." You could hear my heart jumping out of my chest. We began to talk politics, longwindedly and often, and I learned that Erin and Kelly are basically South Park Republicans like me. Kelly and I bought Erin a W t-shirt for her birthday, and I've shared many a Larry Elder and Dinesh D'Souza book with them. Finally I had friends in my life, right here in the flesh and not just in cyber-land, who shared my worldview. And so I opened myself up and shared my blog address with them.

When Bunker died, I went right to Kelly's house. When I read an article that makes me so mad I could spit, I call Erin. Any time my heart hurts, any time I feel happy or sad, any time the dog does something to make me want to strangle him, I call their office. They trade shifts often, but most of the time I don't even care which one of them answers the phone, as long as Erin or Kelly is there to listen to me.

This Thanksgiving, I'm so grateful for my two best friends. I'm grateful that I met Erin, the wonderful girl who cried until Kelly and I let her take home a wounded stray dog, only to find that she's now mothering four unexpected puppies. I'm grateful that Erin introduced me to Kelly, a mother whose heart is so big that she's offered to adopt a relative's children in their time of need. Both of them are such bigger people than I am, and every day I thank heavens that I met them and wonder how on earth I'm going to part from them next year. But for today, I'm simply happy that all three of our families will sit down at the table together and share a fabulous Thanksgiving meal. (And it will be fabulous. We're making everything from scratch, and we even bought matching aprons for the occasion!)

Thank you, Erin and Kelly, for showing me that it is possible to have friends I can completely be myself around, even if Erin does make fun of my Richard Simmons exercise regime.

Posted by Sarah at 09:18 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 22, 2005


A couple weeks ago I made a note to send my parents an anniversary card. Then I did the mental math and realized that this was their 30th. Yikes, I had to do better than a card! Anyway, I hope you two like what we sent. Congrats on making it to 30, especially in this day and age. I love you...

Posted by Sarah at 04:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Today the US military is offically handing over FOB Danger to the Iraqis. That's a great step in getting Iraq on her own feet. I was struck by the last paragraph in the article:

It was a bittersweet year for the Big Red One, with more than 100 soldiers killed and 1,000 wounded but great advances in combined operations with new, better-led Iraqi army units and 2,000 reconstruction projects worth about $1 billion.

The emphasis is mine, because what struck me was how the Stars and Stripes gets the "but" right. Most journalists seem to flip the two clauses: some nice stuff is happening, but it's a quagmire and American deaths is the most important thing. Stars and Stripes gets the focus just right, as usual. 1ID had a rough year in Iraq, but they accomplished so much. It's the accomplishments we should be focused on -- what these soldiers and marines did with their lives -- not the death toll.

Good on you, Stars and Stripes.

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November 21, 2005


Apparently the American Film Institute is trying to pick the most inspirational film of all time. Good luck. The list of nominees is long, including movies that definitely belong (Apollo 13, Stand and Deliver) and some dubious choices as well (Ferris Bueller's Day Off? Moulin Rouge?) John Hawkins has a good list of his own choices; I agree with most of his picks, especially Spider-Man 2 and Rocky. I'd add a few movies of my own that either bring me to tears or have me jumping out of my seat cheering: 12 Angry Men, From the Earth to the Moon, The Great Escape, To Kill a Mockingbird, Rudy, The Lord of the Rings, Miracle, Amistad and Band of Brothers. In no particular order, all of which made the cut except for the HBO ones. Props to the AFI for including The Karate Kid, which is one of my all-time favorites, even if it is a bit cheesy. (For the record, my husband said that he never laughed so hard as he did in There's Something About Mary at the line "I guess I just wish they made movies like they used to make. You know, classics like The Karate Kid" because he thought that was the dumbest thing he'd ever heard. But the joke's on him, because his paycheck bought the whole trilogy.)

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Today Charlie experienced his first snow. At first, he wouldn't even leave the sidewalk, but once I stepped into the snow and he saw that it would clump up and he could eat it...well, it was on. He was having the greatest time, which was cute, but unfortunately it made forcing him to go to the bathroom nearly impossible. He had a blast romping around, and he's awful cute with a pile of snow on his nose.


I know I rag on Charlie a lot, but he's been getting much better. This past week has been surprisingly uneventful: he didn't eat anything he wasn't supposed to, save one more knitting needle (I'm just going to have to start putting my projects away while I'm not working on them.) He's been sleeping ten to eleven hours at night, and he no longer fusses in the morning to get out of his crate. He's also getting more attached to us and wants to follow us around the house rather than sneak off and chew on stuff. He keeps improving every day.

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One of my favorite bloggers disappears and resurfaces so often I can barely keep up with him. His blog-restarting ritual reminds me of the way the X-man Nightcrawler bamfs into thin air. Since this blogger teleports himself around the blogosphere and pops up where he's least expected, I can no longer keep up with the name of his blog or the name he's using for himself. From here on out, I'm calling him Bamf. (Deal with it, dude.)

Bamf normally deals in humor alone, so I was surprised to find one of the saddest articles I've read in a long time: the excavation of priceless tokens found at a concentration camp:

A child's ring. Twisted reading glasses. A few gold coins: scraps of personal dignity, hurriedly buried in a last act of defiance to keep them from falling into Nazi hands. Israeli archaeologists helped by survivors are writing a new chapter in the terrible history of the German death camp at Majdanek, Poland, by excavating grounds long thought to be empty.

Their findings show how the doomed Jews furiously dug into the grassy ground with their hands to bury what personal possessions they had with them before they were murdered in the camp's gas chambers.

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The Screedblog's awesome today. Lileks rips Vonnegut via The Princess Bride. Priceless.

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November 20, 2005


I laughed into my pancakes this morning when my husband told me Johnny Depp is disillusioned with France:


Hollywood star Johnny Depp is so shocked by the riots raging through France, he's considering abandoning his home in the country.

The FINDING NEVERLAND heart-throb moved to Europe when life in Los Angeles became too violent.

He has since divided time between the two continents - but he fears France will be scarred permanently by the current troubles.

He says, "It's insane, that setting cars on fire is the new strike.

"I went there (to France) to live because it seemed so simple.

"Now it's anything but. I don't know how they'll recover from this."

Hahahahahahaha. Newsflash: life isn't "simple" anywhere.

Posted by Sarah at 10:24 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 19, 2005


An excerpt from Cold Fury's sweet rant on the disheartening damage President Clinton just did (a great post, by the way: read the whole thing):

The Marines and Army are involved in a couple slam bang fights as we speak, reducing a couple large pockets of Al Qaida fighters that have festered for a long time without intervention. Yet day after day, we hear nothing about where the fighting is going on, what’s really happening, who is being apprehended or killed, why the fight is in a particular place, what the strategic significance is, or how our young men and women are making us proud with their dedication to the mission and the country and their workaday, exceptional-is-the-new-ordinary heroism. Instead the only headline I ever see is “two Americans killed.” Or “five Americans killed.” Or “seven Americans injured in bombing.” Really? The only impression I get from the MSM is that the U.S. troops are basically lined up like metal ducks in a shooting gallery, being picked off one at a time without actually doing anything positive, not carrying out missions, whatever. I guess they are just wandering around in the ‘Raq, wearing do rags, listening to the Stones, smokin’ dope and waiting for their hitch to end.

It's such a Woman Thing to ask your husband "What are you thinking?" when he's quiet. (I know, I know, I've listened to Seinfeld, but it's hard not to ask.) More often than not these days, my husband's response is "Iraq". He's thinking about Iraq. Constantly. What he was doing this day last year, what he could've done better, how they could've f-ed up the bad guys a little more in this situation or that, and what he'll do differently the next time he goes. He thinks about it all the time -- about how he can be a more effective soldier, not how poor and miserable he was.

And at no point was he just walking around waiting to get killed or go home.

My husband takes his job seriously, and he took it extra-seriously while he was in Iraq. He put a couple of soldiers in jail for disobeying the rules, for pete's sake. He didn't sit around reading existentialist garbage and thinking about how, like, life has no meaning and war is not the answer. He's not a puppet, he's not a sitting duck, and he's not a mindless automaton under the control of the Bushitler Oil Junta. He's a man who helped the US Military take one more step towards winning the War on Terror.

So maybe, just once, he and the other brave men and women like him could get some good press for a change. Or some indication to the American public that they're winning this war. Is that too much to freaking ask?

Posted by Sarah at 05:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Interesting article on what happened to Iraq's WMDs: Where the WMDs Went
And an article whose name says it all: I took Saddam's cash, admits French envoy


Read SGT Rausch's letter to Hook: Taste of Freedom
The Real Pro-War Crowd: Who They Are and What They Want (Chaos, Anarchy and Death)
And the Western media ran with a completely despicable fakery, once again: McCarthyism 101

And a good quote on a worthwhile Donald Sensing post:

I stand by every word, including what I wrote about WMDs. Why? Because it’s worth remembering that the only reason we have certainty now about Saddam’s WMD programs is because we invaded Iraq.

Posted by Sarah at 11:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 17, 2005


I joined an elite new webring that I'm really excited about:


I guess that means I need more knitting content on my blog. So for the "knits" end of the deal, here's the sweater I finished yesterday:


And for the "anti-idiotaria" side, read Cold Fury's post on lies (via Hud).

Posted by Sarah at 09:37 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 16, 2005


Yesterday we said good-bye to Red6. Today he moved on to his next duty station, where he will try to get back to Iraq as fast as he can. His wife deploys next week, and he's hoping to end up with her downrange. I'm so glad that he gets to finally be with his wife, but I'm terribly sad to see him go.

I still remember the first time I met him. My husband came home one night at OBC and asked if he could invite someone over to dinner. Since my husband does not make friends lightly, I knew this guy must be someone special. As they sat and cracked up together over The Simpsons, I knew they were going to be friends.

We moved here to Germany while Red6 was still at Ranger school. Once my husband realized that this duty station was pretty good for a 12A, he called Red6 and suggested he try to get switched to come here. A day later it was done, and Red6 was on his way. He showed up while the unit was at gunnery, so I helped him get settled while the husband was in the field.

My husband's company had a strange mission in Iraq, so for the first six months of his deployment, he didn't even have a "home base": they bounced from FOB to FOB to Najaf and back. But Red6 was stationary, and since he had an internet connection in his room, he really helped me through the deployment while my husband was out of communication. We'd chat about TV and tell our spouses' embarrassing college stories and other silly nonsense. We'd try to work as many Futurama references into our conversations as possible. He was a lifesaver for me when I had no way of hearing from my husband, and I am so grateful that he was such a good friend to me.

I'm really going to miss listening to my husband and Red6 talk shop at the dinner table. Most people might find that really boring, but that's how I've learned most of my information about the Army and deployment: I loved being a fly on the wall while they talked about things that either pumped them up or burned them up. The two of them seemed to agree on most things -- the good and bad about the Army and armor and Iraq -- and they just got along so well. We're really going to miss him.

I know we're going to keep in touch, but I hope we run into each other again someday. I'm glad that he and his wife are finally together again, and I hope they kick butt together in Iraq.

So long, Red6.

I have to say goodbye now. There ain't no turtles where daddy's a-going...

Posted by Sarah at 03:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


I'm starting to feel the itch.

When I lived in France for a year, I would dream about it. I'd wake up salivating and immediately wish I were asleep again. When my friend moved home a few weeks before I did, she mailed me photos of it just to taunt me. And since our local franchise closed this summer, the desire has only grown stronger. It's only a matter of time before I'm dreaming of it again.

Hello, my name is Sarah. (Hi, Sarah.) It's been 139 days since my last Taco Bell...

Posted by Sarah at 11:28 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 15, 2005


Some good posts on RWN:
The Bush Counter-Offensive Continues
How Many Other Mary Mapes Are Working In The Mainstream Media?

From Varifrank:
The J. Patrick Buchanan Memorial Library for Failed Prophets of Doom
(The husband remarked the other day at dinner: "What ever happened to acid rain?" Remember how that was drilled into our heads 20 years ago?)

Also, it's funny how whenever we talk about a "war for oil", someone always brings up the image of the SUV. Oil is used for other things, you know, as our commissaries are realizing. Personally, this is just fine with me; I always thought my local baggers went way overboard with the double-bagging anyway. Two boxes of cereal don't need to be double-bagged.

Posted by Sarah at 10:59 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 13, 2005

13 NOV 2004

The events that happened one year ago today have changed my life. I know it sounds ridiculous and crass to say that, since it was my friend who lost her husband and not I, but I have never been the same. And though I didn't lose someone I love, I watched someone I love lose her husband, and I've watched her learning to live all over again for the past year.

I'm horrified that the reason we've become friends is because she lost her husband. I hate that this is so. I hate that I feel pressured to find more to talk about with her than just Fallujah and Cindy Sheehan. I hope we'll get there someday, because I've really grown to like her. I just hate the way we became friends.

Thursday night, Red6 came over for dinner. We had a little moment of silence remembering CSM Faulkenburg, which started a discussion of Fallujah. My husband was originally supposed to go instead of Red6. My husband had orders in hand for 24 hours, but then the Powers That Be decided two trips to Najaf was enough for one company, and they sent Red6 instead. If you've read Red6's blog, you know they made a good choice, and that's how my husband ended up on R&R instead of in Fallujah.

Our lives hang by a thread.

What my friendship with Heidi has taught me is to never take my husband for granted. We hug each other a little more often. We end our bickering a little more quickly. And we talk about death a lot more frequently. We've learned to dismiss any and all "hardships" that come our way, because it could always be a lot worse. I've learned to cherish life, more than I ever did before. I hate that it took a good man's death to teach me such a lesson, but I'm grateful for the lesson nonetheless.

I tell everyone over and over again how humbled I am to be Heidi's friend. She was the first person I thought of when I woke up today, and I can't even begin to tell her how sorry I am.

She has worried about how history will regard her husband's sacrifice: will it have been worth his life? I think history will show that her husband gave his life to preserve freedom and that it was indeed worth it. And I hope for the same future that Bill Whittle does:

Despite all the switches in the rail yard, there is a flow and a direction to history that cannot and will not be denied.

It is the slow, uneven, grasping climb toward freedom. There are markers on Little Round Top, on the beaches at Normandy, and in the sands of Nasiriyah that show us where men have fought and laid down their lives, and willingly left their wives without husbands and their children without fathers, all for this idea. It is an idea bigger than they are, bigger than self-centered movie stars, bigger than cynical and bitter journalists, bigger than Presidents and Dictators, bigger, in fact, than all human failure and miscalculation.

It is the idea that people – all people – deserve to live their lives in freedom. Free from fear. Free from want. Free from despair and hatred.

My country has, again, taken up that banner, and the behavior of our young men and women under unimaginable stress and provocation has filled me with fierce and unremitting pride. We fight, nearly alone, alongside old and true friends, British and Australian, themselves decent and honorable people, long champions of freedom who have their own Waterloos and Gallipolis and cemeteries marked with fields of red poppies, rolls of sacrifice and honor that should fill all American hearts with pride. For friends like this are worth having, and I will always prefer the company of one or two solid, dependable friends over legions of fashionable and trendy and unreliable ones.

And someday, centuries from now, in the world we all hope for but which only a few will fight for, all of this death and destruction will be gone. All that will be left will be small markers in green fields that were once deserts, places where Iraqi families may walk someday with the same taken-for-granted sense of happiness and security I had in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

And perhaps they will read the strange-sounding names, and try to imagine a time when it was all in doubt.

Heidi can hold her head high, knowing that someday Iraqi children will read this name and be grateful. I am grateful already.


Posted by Sarah at 11:09 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005


This post is a tribute to the veterans in my family. I'm proud that I've got four generations of heroes here.


my great-great uncle on my paternal grandfather's side, in the Army in WWI


my great-great uncle on my paternal grandmother's side, in the Army in WWI


my paternal grandfather, in the Army Air Corps in WWII


my great uncle, my grandfather's brother, also in the Army Air Corps in WWII


my father's brother, in the Air Force


another of my father's brothers, in the Army


my father-in-law, in the Army


my husband's brother, in 1ID during OIF II


and the husband, in 1ID during OIF II

Posted by Sarah at 11:15 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


Two years ago, I thanked veterans I did not know. Last year everyone I knew became a veteran. This year it just seems a little hollow for me to keep repeating how proud I am of all of the brave men and women who do the fighting for me.

So this year I'll let the Kurds thank you for me. Their words carry much more weight than mine do.

(Thanks for the video link go to Tim, one half of a pair of great veterans.)

Posted by Sarah at 10:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 10, 2005


Podhoretz's Who Is Lying About Iraq? is the last nail in the coffin: Bush did not lie.
Tim sent me a reminder of French lectures to the US.
And Lara sent me a hilarious parody: President is sending Marines to France.

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The article about Mary Mapes' new book was almost a waste of time. I followed the Rathergate hullabaloo closely last year: those documents are ridiculous fakes and Rather & Mapes were reckless in rushing them to press. The article was all about poor little Mary and how unfairly she was treated. And as the violins began to fade, the last line in the article made me sneer.

Despite her career implosion, Mapes hopes to stay in journalism. "It's what I'm good at," she said. "I like making a difference."

Newsflash: Journalists aren't supposed to make a difference. They're supposed to report the freaking news, just the way it is. They're supposed to find facts and report the Five W's and that's it: give us the facts and let us make the inferences. They don't make a difference, they don't speak truth to power, and they don't create the news.

Or at least they're not supposed to.

Posted by Sarah at 11:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


The worst part about a promotion is forgetting the little things. This morning my husband woke me up at 0530: "Can you please sew rank on my kevlar cover?"

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November 09, 2005


Things Charlie has eaten recently:
a #2 pencil
a Simpsons calendar
another knitting needle, this one wooden
the cover letter to my life insurance policy (whew, only the first page)
the handle of his hairbrush
the handle of his rubbermaid toy box
a chapstick
four coasters
the cordless telephone

And as I was typing this, I realized he was eating a linguistics book.

If you look at a Tibetan terrier from the profile, you can clearly see that his back legs are much longer than his front; Charlie is built like a dune buggy. That gives them great jumping abilities, since their legs are like a kangaroo or a rabbit. I began to get nervous about Charlie's jumping when I first saw him jump from a standstill onto our bed (3 ft). Two weekends ago I was downstairs mopping and the husband was watching Charlie upstairs; he jumped over the baby gate at the top of the stairs to get to me. But last week he wowed us all when a 25 lb dog jumped onto our dining room table to get to Red 6's fries.

This dog will be the death of me.


Posted by Sarah at 02:47 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


OK, if this man can lose 230 lbs. to join the Army, then I have no excuse for not losing the ten pounds I want to lose. (Thanks, Hook.)

Posted by Sarah at 10:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 08, 2005


My friend Erin was outraged when she saw the way Ted Nugent was treated on the Donny Deutsch show. (She's at that point in blogging when the media is really ticking her off.) She told me all about it, so when I clicked over to the rerun of the episode last night, I was intrigued.

I ended up so impressed with the way Nugent defended his positions, and so perturbed at the way Deutsch twisted his words around. As one blogger summarized the show:

Donny Deutsch' interview yesterday with "conservative-libertarian" rockstar Ted Nugent and wife was absolutely priceless. There's no transcript of it online but if I find it I will link it. The bottom line: the Nugents enjoyed being thrown the kind of questions one can expect from a mainstream Manhattan media star who doesn't like gun ownership and "supports the war effor in Iraq, but ...". The Nugents, with a smile on their face, cruised comfortably through the interview while Deutsch was getting visibly irritated as he lost ground as the chat went on.

What absolutely killed me about the interview was Deutsch's condescending smirk the whole time. After every commercial break, he re-introduced the segment as an interview with "ultra-conservative" Ted Nugent. (As if he'd ever introduce someone like Ted Kennedy as ultra-liberal.) And since I agreed with nearly every thing that Ted Nugent said, I found myself wondering if I too am an ultra-conservative. Of course, Donny Deutsch thinks he's completely moderate and middle-of-the-road, even though he was droning on and on about animal rights, gun control, and evil Fox news, the Rocky Marciano for every bias-blind liberal. You could just hear Deutsch's voice dripping with sarcasm, since he obviously thought that the Nugents live in a Fantasy World of human-centric personal responsibility. He snidely asked Mrs. Nugent if "the family who stays on the Right stays together?", to which she cheerfully and good-sportedly replied yes. He also went into a long spiel about how rockers are typically into sex, drugs, and liberal agendas and then asked Ted Nugent how he managed to end up on the "to put it nicely, far right side?" Nugent responded immediately with the most wonderful comeback: "Dicipline."

Nugent had some wonderful quotes. When Deutsch was droning about the poor baby Bambis that Nugent hunts, he asked Nugent if he thinks that animals have any rights at all. Nugent said that "rights are uniquely human", that we should treat animals humanely and with respect, but that they certainly don't have rights. When Deutsch started babbling about mink coats, Nugent laughed and said, "A leather jacket is a fur coat with a haircut."

Naturally, Donny Deutsch thinks Iraq was the wrong war at the wrong time. Nugent disagreed, citing the flypaper strategy of Iraq -- which he called "baiting the monster" -- and said that the Bush administration should've better articulated this strategy for the public. Deutsch just waved him off with a hand, completely dismissing what he'd said as if he'd not even listened. No fakey-fake "hmm, interesting theory" that talk show hosts normally give, just eye rolling and sighs.

On the topic of personal responsibility, the Nugents started talking about health. The Nugents said that our country has real problems with obesity and smoking, so "how can you demand health care when you don't care for your health?" When Ted Nugent said that lifelong smokers and Krispy Kreme eaters can't just expect the American government to foot their medical bills, Donny Deutsch looked at him like he had a foot growing out of his head. On the topic of gun control, Deutsch kept twisting Nugent's words, as if Nugent wants every fender bender to end in a hail of bullets. Another blogger lays out the ridiculous statistics that Deutsch threw at Nugent, and when Nugent rejected them, Deutsch looked at him with those Fantasy Land Eyes again. When Deutsch asked if the Nugents believe guns should have trigger locks to protect children, Nugent responded by saying that he taught his son that "the trigger lock is in your spirit and mind." That's the most important thing you can teach your child about gun safety, but Deutsch just looked at the Nugents like they were the worst parents in the world.

Incidentally, when the subject of parenting did come up, and when Nugent said that the Osbornes are terrible parents and that Sharon Osborne should be "slapped silly" for the way she lets her children walk all over her, Deutsch had a field day. He started lecturing Nugent on beating women, even though he clearly was using "slapped silly" in its figurative and colloquial sense. And that's when the most important part of the segment happened, in my opinion. Donny Deutsch said something -- and I wish I had been fast enough to write it down verbatim -- about how Ted Nugent has some kooky ideas about gun control, so he wouldn't put it past him to be a wife beater too. That's the scary part. Liberal Donny Deutsch was so out of his element talking to a conservative that he didn't even know what it means to be conservative. He equates Nugent's lifestyle of hunting and self-reliance with some backwards, backwoods notions of male dominance and aggression. Conservative apparently means caveman to Deutsch. By saying that he wouldn't be surprised if Nugent walked up and slapped Sharon Osborne, he laid out a perfect example of how liberal Hollywood types really don't know anything about middle America.

I'm glad I watched the show. Ted Nugent was articulate and entertaining, and Donny Deutsch came off as a huge pansy. I know why Erin got mad at the show, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.


Cali, you can watch it here, though the buffering is acting funny for me.

Posted by Sarah at 12:43 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack


Two more links about Paris:
Rioters say "each night we make this place Baghdad"
The Association of Muslim Journalists calls for a probe into the "violation of Muslims’ civil rights in France", if you can believe that irony.

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


Andy Schliepsiek was in my dream last night. I was in a church and he was at the other end of the pew. We didn't speak, but he looked worried and sad. If he had looked happy or content, this might've been a good dream, but I can't shake the awful feeling I have about the look on his face.

I know I must've dreamed about him because my mom and I were just talking about the trial. Sentencing just came down: the airman who brutally stabbed to death a couple from my high school just got the death penalty.

Maybe Andy was sad in my mind because I can't shake the horror of what happened to him. They were nice to a guy who didn't have many friends, and he came into their home and killed them. The account of their death reads like a horror movie, only it's a sick scenario that could happen to anyone who crosses the wrong person.

I don't like the fact that he was worried in my dream. I'm glad the killer will fry. I even mentioned to my mom that it seems kind of a small blessing that Andy didn't survive after watching some madman repeatedly stab his wife; I'm not sure I could live with that in my mind. If someone murdered my husband, I'd rather go with him. All in all, the Andy in my head shouldn't be sad. So why was he?

I hate dreams.

Posted by Sarah at 08:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 07, 2005


Raven1 found a good article: The good news from Iraq is not fit to print

Posted by Sarah at 11:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


More Mark Steyn. Money quote:

French cynics like the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, have spent the last two years scoffing at the Bush Doctrine: Why, everyone knows Islam and democracy are incompatible. If so, that's less a problem for Iraq or Afghanistan than for France and Belgium.

Posted by Sarah at 11:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 06, 2005


Cali found a heck of an article: Restaurant is haven for wounded war vets

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Through Right Wing News, I found a Hugh Hewitt interview of Mark Steyn on the riots in France. A few lines really brought back memories:

I went to one of these suburbs that's currently ablaze three years ago. And what was interesting to me is I had to bribe a taxi driver a considerable amount of money just to take me out there. They're miserable places. But what was interesting to me is that after that, I then flew on to the Middle East, and I was in Yemen, and a couple of other places. And what was interesting to me was that I found more menace in the suburbs of Paris than I did in some pretty scary places in the Middle East.
They're places where people who are not Muslim feel very ill at ease. They're places where the writ of the French state does not run. The police don't police there. They basically figure if you go there, you're on your own. You're taking your own chances there. I mean, I don't think Americans understand quite the degree of alienation of some of these groups. You know, there's a French cabinet minister whose title is the minister for social cohesion.

I lived in Angers, France, from 1998-1999. Angers has a population of about 150,000, and I lived right on the edge between the city of Angers and one of these Muslim suburbs. And what I experienced as much as French culture was French-Arab culture.

When I went to get my student train discount, the woman at the counter asked me where I lived. The horrified look on her face should've been my first warning, but it wasn't. The real warning came three weeks into my stay as I was walking home alone in the rain at night. A man on a motorbike drove up on the sidewalk and trapped me between a van and the wall. He started speaking too quietly, and as I strained to hear what he was saying, he grabbed my breasts. I twisted his arm around and took off running. Luckily, I ran into the middle of the street in front of an oncoming car, and the man in the car yelled at the motorbike guy while I escaped. Thus began a year of avoiding the people in my neighborhood.

When we rode the bus, people threw trash at us. We witnessed fights when Arab teens tried to pick up girls. One Brit I knew had a knife put to his throat on a bus. The bus drivers let the Arabs smoke on the bus because if they gave them some concessions, they might be spared real trouble.

When we went to the neighborhood grocery store, young boys (around 12 yrs old) threatened to kill us. One evening while I was on the pay phone, some teens knocked on the glass and said, "Tell your boyfriend that when you get off the phone, we're gonna rape you."

I know that a lot of my problems with France were actually problems with French Arabs. But I lived about half a mile from a police station, and not once did I see a police car check out the area. A man tried to grab me on the street a stone's throw from a police station, which says something about how scared these punks are of the authorities.

France has major problems that have been festering for years. As I watched the footage of these Arabs throwing stones at the public bus, I was not surprised. I'm just surpised it didn't happen sooner.

You know, we kept hearing all this stuff ever since September 11th, you know, the Muslim street is going to explode in anger. Well, it finally did, and it was in Paris, not in the Middle East.

Read all of Steyn's interview, and be very afraid for France.

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

November 04, 2005


OK, I think I'm finally starting to get a handle on the "Condi isn't black enough" idea. If a black person is a Democrat and you talk bad about him, you're a racist. If a black person is a Republican and you talk bad about him, well, I guess you're keepin' it real or something. And the n-word is racist, but "Uncle Tom" is OK. And it's OK to throw oreos at a black Republican.


Delegate Salima Siler Marriott, a black Baltimore Democrat, said [Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele] invites comparisons to a slave who loves his cruel master or a cookie that is black on the outside and white inside because his conservative political philosophy is, in her view, anti-black.

"Because he is a conservative, he is different than most public blacks, and he is different than most people in our community," she said. "His politics are not in the best interest of the masses of black people."

During the 2002 campaign, Democratic supporters pelted Mr. Steele with Oreo cookies during a gubernatorial debate at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

In 2001, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. called Mr. Steele an "Uncle Tom," when Mr. Steele headed the state Republican Party. Mr. Miller, Prince George's County Democrat, later apologized for the remark.

"That's not racial. If they call him the "N' word, that's racial," Mrs. Marriott said. "Just because he's black, everything bad you say about him isn't racial."

Posted by Sarah at 09:04 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


I swear, if I have another night of insomnia, I'm starting a fight club...

Posted by Sarah at 08:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 03, 2005


Well, I wrote a letter to SGT Eddie Ryan. But I'm the only person I know who doesn't have any kids who can draw a picture for him. Maybe your kids wouldn't mind putting something in the mail for this brave marine? (Or maybe Angie could get Fred to do one of his famous fridge drawings...heh.)

Posted by Sarah at 10:34 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


(via LGF) There was a rally against the Iranian regime held at Berkeley. Although it was small, I'm glad to see people speaking out against this horrible theocracy. When my husband and I first got married, we lived near a wonderful Iranian family. During the build-up to Iraq, they half-jokingly begged my husband to invade Iran instead. They were so upset at what their country had become.

Posted by Sarah at 10:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 02, 2005


My German former co-worker used to often say how lucky we were to be living in Europe instead of the US, you know, where all the crime is. I mean, thank goodness we live in peaceful Europe, where there have been massive riots in Paris for the past week. Good thing we're not in the Midwest anymore; boy, is it more dangerous there than in Europe! (via LGF)

I had no idea that black people had dibs on New Orleans. Apparently they all called squatters on the city before they left, like my brother used to do with his spot on the sofa when he would go to the kitchen for a drink. And now that Hispanics are moving into New Orleans to take construction jobs, Jesse Jackson is crapping his pants. A large number of black people say they have no plans to return to New Orleans, so Jesse wants to bus them back in. Sheesh. (via Hud)

And on a lighter note, read Mare's Halloween post.

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November 01, 2005



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