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A. A woman, with two small children, separated from an abusive husband. He has just started violating a no-contact order, and is making threats over the upcoming divorce.
B. A father of three boys, married, lives in rural area. Owns 97 acres of woods. Has a two mile driveway. Then fifteen miles of one lane road to the nearest major highway, whose junction is 38 miles from the nearest police station.
C. A 15 year old urban dropout, who was jumped and beaten up badly when he was twelve in an act of random violence; he was in the wrong place when they were looking for something to do, allegedly to “teach him a lesson”; the reality? There was no reason for it.
D. A thirty year old man, who was raped over 100 times while a child by a neighbor, and that neighbor now is politically well connected, who boasts on talk radio of how big his arsenal is….
E. A bright, attractive professional woman of twenty five, who has a high powered job, lives alone out of necessity and convenience, lives on an international schedule, enters and exits often between midnight and 6 am.
F. A 43 year old mother, who at 18 became state’s witness and testified against her acquaintance and he, is being freed tomorrow, sentence done….
G. A 62 year old pill popping DJ, who excels at conservative talk radio, by stirring up hate, spinning lies into truth, and coining derogative names to be recycled by bitter old white me, like “femminazi’s”….
H. Pastor Washington, who has taken the calling of walking around the inner city on very cold nights, and persuade homeless people to swallow their pride and come inside to a warm shelter…
I. One day, you?
On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the continuous guns fell silent…… After years of incoming artillery’s deep, resonant pounding,…..the quiet began. The rare pop of small arms fire,….. faded away. Cautiously a brave soul or two crawled out and stood on top of the trenches. Turning to the other side, they saw the enemy of just a few minutes before, mirroring their own actions…..It was truly over.
Compared to the rest of Europe, the US fared well. Germany, France, Great Britain lost an entire generation of their young men…..
Some dreamed that surely, after such a waste, there never could, or would be such a war again……
It was only a dream…..as history would soon prove……
On this day, there are 22 verified veterans left….worldwide. Four of these are Americans. Soon the last living memories of this war….. will fade away……….
My brush with living memories happened when I was in High School. What the German war machine failed to do………an insignificant clot accomplished. Those who visited, told stories of the dark, turbulent wrestling within the soul……They whispered of an alert mind, albeit one locked in the year 1917 from which it would ultimately and peacefully escape…. They spoke in hushed tones of an old man, possessing enormous strength, incapable of being subdued by even the hospital’s largest orderlies……They told of the soldier’s enterprising son, who climbing back into those years to be with him, and navigating the treacherous barbed wire memories, peacefully calmed him down, until the old soldier finally accepted that his war was over, and quietly signed his own armistice with God………..
We learned he had suffered from shell shock as they called it then, spending the post-war years in a sanitarium somewhere in occupied Germany, of the bland letters to his wife and unseen child back home, letters whose lack of substance during this vapid time, played rabidly on her fears of another women…..
We heard stories of involuntary reactions, occurring some twenty years later…of a face, framed by white hair, turned scarlet in the middle of a social gathering, when someone absently said, “Oh that was during the war.”
And then there were the personal effects, a letter rapidly written in German by a dying officer, with our hero’s first name mentioned as being the one entrusted to make sure the letter got back to his wife, a letter that said the war would soon be over for him, that the only important thing he hung onto as he crossed over to the the other side, were the times he and she had shared together……..As kids we used to march around in a dough boy’s hat, and a genuine spiked Prussian helmet. (the originals were all black, by the way, no silver.)
And then the youngest son, who came along after our soldier had mellowed somewhat, told of stumbling with his dad, across a model of one battlefield, I think it was Belleau Wood, and how that opened up the memories which, pent up for years, calmly flowed out unrepressed, with no emotional consequences.
Through this, we heard the story of a young officer defying a direct order to attack, solely because the objective was unattainable and trying to attempt it, would wipe out every one of his men….Who opting, instead of facing a firing squad, to have himself crawl into no mans land……accompanied only by his sergeant who had stood steadfast with him during this ordeal only to get ripped apart minutes later, had to lie there for two days protected under the warm, safe body which occasionally absorbed a well placed bullet, kept safe by only the tiniest rise of land preventing a direct shot…..
The story of showing up in France, and leading the AEF’s first attack, upon a fortified hill surrounded by the Meuse, and succeeding…..
Those memories didn’t die….they passed and took seed in another generation. Today they lie embedded in one more, a generation who once again questions the “why” of war.
Like his grandfather before him, this person too was brought up under a religion that seem to question war and tell us to “turn the other cheek.” Like his grandfather before him, this person too believes that sometimes there is no greater duty, than to give one’s life for one’s country……..How are these two, supposedly opposite points of view, ever to be reconciled?
We know that Jesus allowed his disciples to carry swords. During the final days, when he asks the disciples if they have a sword, and Peter shows two, he says that is enough…..But later that night when Peter uses his sword to protect Jesus and cuts off a servant’s ear, Jesus tells him sternly. “Put that away. We will have no more of that…”
Fascinating. This duality starts from the beginning of the Christian religion itself.
Throughout history, the worst wars fought have been religious ones. The longest animosities, the ones considered too hard to bury, are those originally pricked by religion….
When we are told to turn the other cheek, perhaps we are to do that on a personal level…. By doing so, hoping that we show others, just how deeply we believe these principals . Perhaps this line of thought recognizes that we are each small instruments of change; but a change of heart in multitudes of men, can implement massive changes…..Therefore doing a self deprecating act, such as dying for another, or carrying an enemy soldier’s bag an extra mile, can have a much greater impact overall, than another killing and the loss of one dead soldier…..
But as a nation of free people we have another responsibility. That responsibility is to ensure that justice, (or that which is right),… prevails over evil, (or that which is wrong)…. As some of you may note, there is a wide play of interpretation in just exactly what is right, and what is wrong…..
But for a strong nation to appease a despot like Stalin, Hitler, or those tyrants in Burma, does exactly the opposite of performing justice. Instead it shows others, despite our words, that we implicitly support these evil regimes, and in doing so, we fail to send hope and inspiration to those who fight, to right the wrongs caused by their misguided leaders….
War enacted by a political state is sometimes a necessity, the last remaining line of defense against the selfish designs of a demented few. Less pain and suffering worldwide, can be bandaged by enacting war, than by allowing open wounds to fester, rot, and spread their evil infection elsewhere.
Therefore as a nation, the United States must occasionally gamble all of it’s resources in the ultimate test…. One must on occasion risk all, to determine whether all was worthy to be risked……
Any nation is only as good as its foot soldiers,…. its grunts. Those choice veterans I know, with whom I’ve hugged, laughed, and cried, …… continue to reinforce the notion I once had as a child: that based on the quality of people who put their lives on the line for this nation, we are truly the best nation to have ever lived upon this planet……..
Insurance companies put quite a few millions into Bush’s campaign in 2000. Since 2001, the cost of premiums has gone up 78 percent, far out pacing a 19 percent increase in wages and 17 percent jump in inflation, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care research group that annually tracks the cost of health insurance.
This year, the cost of premiums paid by workers and their employers was up 6.1 percent, while wages rose an average of 3.7 percent and inflation went up 2.6 percent, the survey said. Kaiser estimates that between 1 million and 2 million people join the ranks of the uninsured every year.
This year, premiums averaged $12,106 for a family of four, with workers paying, on average, $3,281 of that. Premiums to cover a single person cost $4,479, with employees paying $694.
With facts like these any republican, who sat on his hands while prices soared, will have a tough time selling his change of heart to the poor voters of his district, who have either lost their insurance, because they needed to use their own money on themselves, or have continued to pay the increases, and foregone a lot of the trappings that made life so grand during the Clinton years…..
One misses those good times…..
The former head of Central Command, John Abizaid, the retired Army general said the United States could deal with a nuclear Iran.
“There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran,” Abizaid said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. “Let’s face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we’ve lived with a nuclear China, and we’re living with (other) nuclear powers as well.”
How true. Imagine the neocoms jumping in that Iran is a special case, solely because it is Muslim. Abizaid responds to them with:
“Iran is not a suicide nation,” he said. “I mean, they may have some people in charge that don’t appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon.”
Abizaid suggested military action to pre-empt Iran’s nuclear ambitions might not be the wisest course. Instead we could modify their behavior with our overwhelming strategic capabilities.
“I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear,” he said, referring to the theory that Iran would not risk a catastrophic retaliatory strike by using a nuclear weapon against the United States”.
It is funny how all the good sense is filtering out now……..and not before Cheney led us into war after Iraq’s oil…….
Hi, this is an open letter to those at Quantico who have the unfortunate task of monitoring me. Yeah, I know that I am the most boring case you have had to deal with, but, orders are orders.
I hope in the short time you have been impressed by how much I love this nation, how exciting it is to see it grow. I know many of you had preconceived notions about bloggers, particularly those who disagree with your commander in chief, but I hope over time, you have changed your opinion.
As you know, I am a human, and have to deal with human issues…..such as needing more money than I have to raise a family. But still, life is good when you suscribe to a simple code: Duty, Honor, Country.
That is what I want to talk to you about…..You have jobs to do and you have been told that doing such will benefit our country. Hopefully you have come to understand that I love this country as much, if not more than you do…….. That arguing for a better way is not destructive to this country’s interests.
I guess the difference between you and I is that, as someone who himself must use people to accomplish my means, I can see when others are doing the same. It is one thing to do what I do in the context of making money, and sharing it with those who work for me. For when I am successful, so are they. But it is far different for someone to delude others into giving all, and then taking it for himself and disappearing.
As you have so sworn, you are there to defend the Constitution. As a matter of fact, that is why I am here as well. Following orders, makes you loyal to your commander in chief… That is fine except in this rare case. But what if …….he is not pursuing America’s best interests, which are those outlined in the Constitution? Do you still have a duty to protect the reputation of our president, or then does it become your duty to honor your country?
Most of you, who hail from a rural beginning, know what it like to take a walk in the woods. Most of you would give anything now to be back home, wandering around your homesteads. So in a sense we are working on the same line. You are working to keep America safe from external threats….That is your job and you do it well. Me, and those like me, are working to keep America safe from internal threats, often more dangerous in the long run, than those outside the country.
One must fight a bar bully and cancer in different ways. Being tough helps in a bar fight, but being sensitive, knowing exactly where the cancer is, can save ones life in this other fight. Both fights require great courage……
I know as youthful persons, you have the belief that you need to channel peoples attention away from what you are doing. You need to watch us in secret. But think for a minute of the real reason and of whom you are fighting for……Your commander in chief, or you mom and dad, brother and sisters, family and friends?……..
If your leaders actions endanger their safety, are you helping the right side?
Just questions only you can answer……But I hope as you plod through my boring epistles and phone conversations, that you keep in mind that sometimes , those in power can go a little too far off center for this country’s own good……..
And when something leans to far and starts to fall, it takes quite an effort to straighten and right it up again………..
Just keep it in mind, that’s all……
Was watching NOAA website when this information popped up. In days, we will find out how Blue Water Wind made out in its negotiations with Delmarva.
But here is more fuel to add to the fire to ban our carbon sourced energy needs.
The June-August 2007 summer season ended with a long-lasting heatwave that set more than 2,000 new daily high temperature records across the southern and central U.S., according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The record heat helped make this the second warmest August and the sixth warmest summer on record for the contiguous U.S., based on preliminary data. At the end of August, drought affected almost half of the continental U.S. The global surface temperature was seventh warmest on record for the June-August period.
I disagree with some of those who put down Petraeus as a liar, simply because they fail to agree with his assessment. It may come across to some as funny that I have thought, if not said, some to the same things against which I am now taking issue, and if so, so be it……
What happened was this. I became more familiar with what was going on within Iraq. Of course, being of skeptic I tended to look at things hard. Very hard. To my surprise, I found out that I was seeing real signs of hope. This hope was not in the eyes of the politicos; it was the eyes of Iraqis. Since desperate souls grasp any rope tossed to them, I have waited quietly to make sure that these Iraqis were not suffering any type of delusion. I listened to all three reports expecting to see something in them dash my half submerged optimism, upon the reality of Iraqi shores.
I think my conversion may have come about when I was studying the conversion of Al Anbar province. Those Sunnis chose to back us because they like us. Of course it wasn’t much of a contest, considering who their alternative was…..But it may have also come while studying the criticism leveled at us by the British, as they packed up and split. They criticized our arrogance , heavy handedness, and unwillingness to trust: all valid complaints Each of these were addressed under the Petraeus doctrine. After reading the Petraeus Book on the suppression of Insurrections, I realized his tactics were not part of the problem. They were in direct opposition to the problem. I understood what he was trying to accomplish.
What happened under Petraeus, happened not because of the amount of troops we had at our disposal, but because of the way we used them, that made a difference.
The surge may have helped. For before the surge, we, due to our insufficient numbers, acted like Soviets, if I may be blunt. We were there to suppress and pacify. We, with our own patriotic roots, should have been more aware that by taking that stance, we directly increased our own opposition.
Once we added just a few more troops on the ground, we were able to interact with the local population, while still having enough force surrounding us to protect us. Prior to the surge, the problem was that whenever a few shots were fired, we would have to shut down our clinic, and head out across the desert. However with additional troops able to chase the insurgents, the military medical corp could continue to cure the local citizen’s ills. That was the difference. We could finish what we started.
Of course the original problem was created by republicans, Rumsfeld in particular. Had we ramped up enough ground forces from day 1, we never would have needed the surge in the first place. Yes, we know their insurrection began because they believed we wanted their oil. (That republican Cheney messed everything up). But if I understand correctly, we dropped that privatized oil plank as a “no go” and are now supporting the nationalization of oil assets. We are pursuing more of a Biden local strategy, tribal leader by tribal leader, and doing so because of the surge. Paul Bremmer’s national unification strategy was not working.
What I found, in essence, was that everything I said eight months ago that we needed to do in Iraq to win, we were now doing.
Can this late development be twisted to mean I justify this war that was fought on false pretenses? Hell no. It will always stand as a stupid war, instigated by stupid ass republicans. Nothing can ever change that. We could have achieved much better results at far less cost, had we chosen to use other means.
But we didn’t. We went in against all common dignity, history and sense. So since we did, does the resulting mess lie at our doorstep? Does we broke it, mean we own it?
Perhaps. But instead of a “oops, I broke it” moment, it is more of an “Honey, I’m pregnant” moment. Whatever happened way back then, has now changed things permanently.
Of course we can put up our hands and say, “Whoa, that’s your problem bitch…” and walk out the door. Many people do and feel no remorse about doing so. But that is not how I want my America to be perceived. I want My America to be responsible. I want My America to do the right thing. My America will be no punk. My America will be a Dad……….
So emotionally, that is how I have come around about to see how we could win in that barren land. It is nothing new. Biden has pushed it for years.
To win, these things must happen. They are in our control.
Congress must finally stand up to the President. If Iraq can finally realize that America does not equal Bush, that we too think he’s a moron, that we too can admit and correct our mistakes, our relations will improve. If the American Congress ever gets some backbone, and forces upon the president a withdrawal timetable, the Iraqis too will get some backbone and begin controlling their own affairs.
Congress must stand up to the president, and eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy 2%, and invest that money into Iraq’s infrastructure, hiring Iraqis to build their own sewers, roads, and buried electrical conduits. If Congress could do that, then the Iraqis might get some back bone and start controlling their own affairs.
Congress must stand up to the President, and force impeachment if he fails to comply with Congress’s orders. Only then will Iraq realize that America is not over there to conquer, but sincerely is over there to help. If we are decisive over here, they will be decisive over there,……. instead killing time and each other until our next inauguration day.
Actually all three of the reports support Biden’s permise.
First fix the local issues, then move on to the national challenges. That is the essence of the Biden plan, and was practically speaking, the essence of all three of the assessments on the surge.
The military is not bound by platitudes. If something works, they do it. Obviously as Al Anbar province shows, empowering locals to police their own, …works. Just being there for back up, is enough.
The Petraeus further scores how poor our administration led Iraqi policy has been. Comfortably one can say that had someone else been in control, we would have had consistent improvement over the last 5 years, not backsliding.
If any wisdom can be given to this administration, it is that they allowed ANY option to be pursued, even if it came from Biden.