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Yesterday, Obama was in Dover to grieve the return of those heros who crashed.

It brings up again the argument of why we are there……

There are small truths, and there are Great Truths…

For example, a amall truth may be that your child is on heroin. It will suck away everything you own.

A Great Truth, is that the boy or girl is still your child; you can’t wipe out that fact. You can’t say, “you made your choice; I’m done with you.”

Of course you will get that advice from well meaning friends. They’ll point out the hard facts that your child made his own decisions; that your child bears the responsibility; that your child made his bed and now has to lie in it.

And in the context of small truths,….. they will be right. Why should you cash out your retirement for legal fees, fines, clinics, drying out facilities? Why should you go to bed with a collapsed heart, cleaved by grief, from guilt, from the ghosts of “what could have been?”

But our lives…. are run by “Great Truths”, not small ones.

The “Great Truth” is that:.. “that is always your child”. The “Great Truth” is that: there can always be “hope”. The “Great Truth” is that: miracles do often happen, and when they do, they often leave a trail of good in their wake… The “Great Truth” is that: if you do choose to give up, and stop fighting the fight for “good”, the answer suddenly becomes final. It is over. You were it’s last hope.

But,…. if you never give up, for as long as you keep fighting, it can,… it can have a “good” ending some day. At some point in the future, it will have all been worthwhile…. Every effort, every pain, every tear, will have had its place in history as being a piece of the road that brought you to this marvelous conclusion.

Yes, miracles do happen. They never happen to those who give up.

So the question that needs addressed to the American people, is not symptomatically whether we should or should not get out of Afghanistan….

The question needs to be framed, that as Americans, should we pursue our journey towards a Greater Truth… or collapse upon the recognition of the small truths, and cut our losses…?

Essentially every president faces this test. Dying in quest of achieving a “Great Truth” is worth the lifeblood of every American parent’s children. Losing one’s child in vain, is the opposite.

Our goal in Afghanistan, is not to eliminate Al Qaeda, nor eliminate it’s unwilling ally, the Taliban. Our goal is not to support Karzai, who increasingly is showing himself to be using the vehicles of corruption to keep himself alive…. Our goal is not to isolate Pakistan, which will tend to increase their nuclear paranoia, were a freely independent Afghanistan to do a reach around and engage Pakistan’s arch rival India…..

Our goal is simple… It is to leave Afghanistan in a position where it can rule itself, and rule itself with a power that is not intent on crashing airplanes into our cities……….

It is that simple… We are simply there to protect individual families of Afghanistan from being on the receiving end of terror from either side or warring party, and provide each family with enough security for them to figure out just how to accomplish these goals…..

Yes Afghanistan is a mess now. And yes, there are hopeful signs of a positive conclusion. Those of you who shun the military, probably missed the significance of this teeney, tiny little line in today’s paper…..

“Mohibullah (chief target of the raid) and the unidentified man who fired the shot at the helicopter attempted to flee the country, ISAF said, most likely to Pakistan, but were tracked to a wooded area in a nearby district. Both were killed by an air strike Tuesday, ISAF said.”

That sent a tsunami through the insurgent community.

“Sure you can get lucky and bring down one of our more antiquated helicopters, but don’t expect to be a hero for long. We will find you. We will kill you…”

Every insurgent will think twice the next time, RPG in hand, a helicopter flies over his head…. “Um, not me, too risky. I won’t be the one this time.”

Small truths… Greater truths.

No one ever faults the parent of a child who successfully beats his habit, who drove the streets at night looking for their child on every corner, who stayed by his child through treatment and jail, who supported them right to the end, when finally that child, after all that effort, decides to dry out permanently, and start taking control of their own life.

Walking down our streets at night, asleep in its shadows, lie the sleeping bodies of all those children of parents, who chose to accept the “small truths”, and washed their hands, giving up on them.

That’s pretty much the answer to Afghanistan.

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It is such a great time. The cold front has passed, warm moist air flowing in, misty rain, not enough to get you wet, but enough to wake you up as it dances across the face. In it one can feel the snow coming two days early… For a weekend night, outside it’s peaceful… Those with money, have finished shopping. Those without, are waiting for that last check before the holidays…

The annual tradition of trading favorite YouTube’d carols over the internet, has begun in earnest… Strains of Mozart, Celtic Women, Cat Stevens, Bon Jovi, Metallica, and tons of favorite carols by assorted artists, have caused all the stress, pain, heart attacks, symptoms of short breathing,……….. to melt away somewhere into the distant future, as we float back into all those happier times as we remember fond memories of our past……..

Happy Holidays.. Happy Holidays
Courtesy of All American Patriots

AFghanistan
Courtesy of Pat Dollard

Afghanistan: like walking on the moon
Courtesy of Theodore’s World

Things aren’t so nice for 100,000 plus Americans now fighting in Afghanistan. Things aren’t so nice for their families, friends, and lovers back home,… now that things have really heated up over there….

Take a second: Imagine you’re a Taliban fighting this foe invading from a very distant land. Imagine the hope, and shot in the arm a headline like this from the United States, would instill in you upon having it read to you. Imagine how quickly its words would resonate in your blood, and how less inclined you would be to throw in the towel against overwhelming odds? Imagine if you had rounds of waterproofed AK 47 ammo hidden in your well, how inclined you must now be to pull them up, and lay in wait for an American serviceman, any American serviceman, to come close enough to fire a killing shot.

That Headline….

Republicans Shoot Down $700 Military Appropriations Bill Funding War in Afghanistan. Bill Not Passed.

Republicans just aided and comforted our enemy…. Can you hear the Taliban cheering?

It’s the holiday season;  I’ll be honest.

David Anderson: you served. How can you stomach supporting the Republican Party when they refuse to fund American servicemen in combat?

Frank Knotts: How can someone with your passion for all that America has stood for, still call yourself a Republican when they play games with Americans living and dying for our shared values?

Hube:  What gives?  Where is the line across which the Republican Party stops supporting America, and the Tea Party begins to represent the Conservative’s cause?

Tyler Nixon: How can any ex service man, support the party that is so self centered, they have no clue of how their vote to, not fund the war, emboldens our enemies?

Kilroy of Delaware: What kind of political party would play with funding for troops in active combat? How can that be tolerated?

Oh, well, it’s not skin off my teeth. It’s your party… do what you want. I don’t care… But I’ll tell you this… This nation needs a little old one horse Tea Party for this one reason alone: so conservatives have somewhere else to go without crawling on their knees to suck up to the moral backruptiveness of the Republican Party, that’s why…

Oh, well, I’ve said too much already. It’s not my problem. I just think that:

Our servicemen deserve better.
Conservatives deserve better.
Our republic, the United States of America, deserves better.

Conservatives: isn’t it way past time to switch your parties affiliation?  It’s the holiday season!  What better gift to your kids and grand-kids  could you possibly give?

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……..

Perhaps the greatest tragedy coming out of Iraq, was the replacement of the pragmatic Ret. General Jay Garner, with the politically appointed Paul Brenner. Almost overnight, Iraq flip flopped from welcoming the United States, to blowing us up…….

If you can remember the boys around the cameras,……..”we love Bush….Bush is the Man”, then you understand how good things were looking in the first months after Baghdad fell and what a great job the pragmatic Jay Garner did.

The subsequent change after Garner left, shows one thing. Republican philosophy stinks, not just for Americans, but apparently everyone else too. (lol) (Sorry dudes….It just does!) The national blog Toms.Dispatch has this take on one date in 2004 when Mike Castles hero, George Bush, bestowed the Medals of Freedom on Tommy Franks, George Tenet, and Paul Bremmer. In case you missed it, I said Medals of FREEDOM.

Tommy Franks, the first recipient, has brought to the Afghans, the freedom “to grow just about the total opium crop needed to provide for the globe’s heroin addicts — 8,200 tons of opium in 2007, representing 93% of the global opiates market. This was a 34% jump from the previous year and represented opium production on what is undoubtedly a historic scale. Afghanistan’s peasants, surviving as best they can in a land of narco-warlords, narco-guerrillas, and deadly air attacks have, once again, set a record when it comes to this unique freedom.” Well deserving choice of the Medal of Freedom.

Secondly and one of my personal favorites, solely because he is a holdover from the glory days of the Clinton Administration, is George Tenet. I like this guy, and sympathize with being in his position of having to compromise defending the country, with working with the Cheney cabal…..Surely he is deserving of the Medal of Freedom. After all, ”

As CIA Director, Tenet then delivered to Agency operatives the freedom to target just about anyone on the planet who might qualify (however mistakenly) as a “terror suspect,” kidnap him, and “render” him in extraordinary fashion either to a foreign prison where torture was regularly practiced or to a CIA secret prison in Afghanistan, Eastern Europe, or who knows where else. He also freed the Agency to “disappear” human beings (a term normally used in our world only when Americans aren’t the ones doing it) and freed the Agency’s interrogators to use techniques like waterboarding, known in less civilized times as “the water torture” (and only recently banned by the Agency) as well as various other, more sophisticated forms of torture.” Another great choice by George Bush.

Now I have some qualms about the third one. Paul Bremmer has probably contributed the most to freedom than anyone in modern memory. He can be thanked for the unlimited freedom Blackwater Security now has throughout the entire region of iraq. They can thank Paul Bremmer.

“A day before he left, however, he established a unique kind of freedom in Iraq, not seen since the heyday of European and Japanese colonialism. By putting his signature on a single document, he managed to officially establish an “International Zone” that would be the fortified equivalent of the old European treaty ports on the China coast and, at the same time, essentially granted to all occupying forces and allied companies what, in those bad old colonial days, used to be called “extraterritoriality” — the freedom not to be in any way under Iraqi law or jurisdiction, ever.”

So today, again before the world at the United Nations General Assembly hall, the current United States president, George W. Bush, got up and proclaimed he was dedicated to working for freedom…..

After considering his track record and using that definition of freedom instead of the one Bush tried his best to enunciate,…. the world’s governments collectively yawned a big yawn, leaned back in their chairs, and politely said “no thanks.”

” F R E E D O M !!!” William Wallace: Braveheart