Friday, May 07, 2004

Less than 24 hours after accusing the Walt Disney Company of pulling the plug on his latest documentary in a blatant attempt at political censorship, the rabble-rousing film-maker Michael Moore has admitted he knew a year ago that Disney had no intention of distributing it.

The admission, during an interview with CNN, undermined Moore's claim that Disney was trying to sabotage the US release of Fahrenheit 911 just days before its world premiere at the Cannes film festival.

Instead, it lent credence to a growing suspicion that Moore was manufacturing a controversy to help publicise the film, a full-bore attack on the Bush administration and its handling of national security since the attacks of 11 September 2001.

In an indignant letter to his supporters, Moore said he had learnt only on Monday that Disney had put the kibosh on distributing the film, which has been financed by the semi-independent Disney subsidiary Miramax.

But in the CNN interview he said: "Almost a year ago, after we'd started making the film, the chairman of Disney, Michael Eisner, told my agent he was upset Miramax had made the film and he will not distribute it."

The nerve to say this:
John F. Kerry yesterday called for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in US custody.
When the man is a self-confessed war criminal himself.
"Yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers," Kerry told "Meet the Press" in 1971, ticking off "free-fire zones" and burning villages in violation of the Geneva Convention.
He then goes on to say this:
"Today, I have a message for the men and women of our armed forces: As commander in chief, I will honor your commitment and I will take responsibility for the bad as well as the good."
Well, let me put it to you this way, a way that perhaps only a veteran will understand.

For those of us who consider service in the military, service to our nation, as a a form of service larger than self, well Senator, we don't want you to be the Commander in Chief.

Why? It's simple, Senator. You have defiled the uniform.

You admit to taking part in atrocities in Vietnam. You must have been in a hurry, Senator, since you were only there 4 months. Didn't take you long to get into the atrocity mode, now did it?

Soon thereafter you testified under oath, Senator, that thousands of others were doing the same thing.

Problem is, Senator, a whole mess of these guys say it isn't true.
Widespread opposition to his campaign by Vietnam veterans shows they have neither forgotten nor forgiven his disgraceful allegations against his fellow GIs.
And so, it goes like this Senator.

Either, you are a war criminal. Or you lied under oath about what you and others did while in uniform. There is no way around is one or the other.

And to me, a veteran, that means you are not fit to be Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces. Indeed, the travesty would be for hundreds of thousands of honorable men and women who have never defiled the uniform, Senator, to have to call you "sir."

One day, if I keep working on it, my faith will be as strong and certain as this guy's.
The next day will be a day that I remember for the rest of my life. Even though it has been over two weeks now, I still can recall it like it was yesterday. I remember the traffic on the radio and the bridges we had to diligently cover as we went under them. I remember the 30 miles of dirt road that we had to travel, not being able to see the vehicle in front of you, trusting that your radio would not stop working. But most of all, I remember the haze that surrounded us for 2/3ds of the trip.

About 10 miles after we left Camp Cedar, a cloudy haze came and literally surrounded our convoy. At first I thought that it was because of the early morning haze, but when it hadn't left by 9:30, I began to think otherwise. Could this be the hedge of protection that people were praying for us about? Is this the cloud that was going before us? The more I thought about it, the more excited I got. As I moved into a position where I could see the front of the convoy, I noticed that I could see the first vehicle and nothing beyond that. When I asked my driver if she could see the last vehicle, she said, "Yes, sir, but I can't see anything after that." Whenever we covered a bridge and the lead vehicle moved into position to cover, the cloud seemed to close in on the new lead vehicle. I thought of Psalm 105:39 "God hid them under a cloud and guided them by fire during the night."

When we arrived at our second "truck stop" to refuel, I shared that with my friend Mitch. As many of you know, Mitch just came to know the Lord a couple of months ago. He was traveling in my vehicle and was in charge of all the commo. So he was really excited at that! But when we pulled out, not five miles up the road, Mitch says to me, "Hey Don, where'd the cloud go? We're about to move into the hottest part of this operation, and the cloud's gone."

He was right. The cloud was not surrounding our vehicles like it had for the last three hours. I turned around and looked at him and said, "Mitch, I'm not sure, but God's brought us this far, He'll lead us the rest of the way, I just know it!" I felt like Caleb when he had returned from the land God was going to give the Israelites. All of the people trembled with fear as news of giants in the land spread throughout the camp, but "Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it!" (Num 13:30). I wasn't sure how God was going to get us through this unscathed, but I just believed He would.

No sooner had I thought that, then a convoy of Military Police Humvees rolled by us. These are the same vehicles that I used to command as an MP. Every one of them was an up-armored vehicle with the MK-19 40mm grenade launcher in the turret. To see a convoy of 10 move alongside us was awesome! Knowing how they employ these vehicles, I knew that it was one squad. I wondered what MP platoon had been tasked to patrol this road. They traveled alongside us for about 20 miles, and then, at a turnaround, headed south again. But not before another squad had come up on our right side to travel with us. I wished that I had comms with them because I wanted to thank them for their escort. They didn't have to do that. Their job was to patrol the whole highway, and yet they stayed right next to us until we exited off into the city. But then I thought of the many who were praying, and I would not have been surprised to hear that one of the many prayer warriors had prayed specifically for an MP escort for us! Angels, wearing MP broussards!
Please treat yourself to the entire reading found here.

And my special thanks to Sherry who just knew I needed to read this one.

Automobiles registered in US Army Europe get extended too!

More than 6,000 vehicle registration extension letters are moving through the military postal system to families of soldiers on extended duty in Iraq.

The mass mailing follows an announcement by U.S. Army Europe that troops with the 1st Armored Division will receive automatic, six-month registration extensions as a result of spending extra time in the Mideast. The Army announced the mailings Monday following Gen. B.B. Bell’s decision to extend the registrations...

Anyone with a spouse on extended duty and facing a soon-to-expire registration — but who hasn’t received a grace letter yet — can visit a vehicle registration station for help.
At night, aglow from a couple of strings of Christmas lights, long-neck beer bottles on the ramshackle bar beckon like a desert mirage to soldiers trudging across the camp’s barren expanses.

A sign over the bar reads, “It’s not the alcohol. It’s the camaraderie.” Another sign, with rope letters and a rope border, reads, “The Pallet.”

Obviously, with soldiers in Iraq under General Order No. 1, The Pallet couldn’t be a bar in the real-world sense.

“It’s more of a watering hole, I guess you’d call it,” said Sgt. 1st Class Carl Ingram, the operations noncommissioned officer for the 1st Cavalry Division’s 15th Forward Support Battalion, and one of The Pallet founders.

It’s not a conventional bar because customers can’t even “buy” a drink. Instead, they make donations, then choose between two or three non-alcoholic beers including Becks, Bitburg Drive or Budweiser NA.

And to hoist a cold one here, the management suggests — make that insists — on a toast to fallen comrades at a little shrine featuring a helmet, a flag and a sign reading, “Reserved for Our Fallen Comrades.”

“Pay your respects before you sit down. You have to pay your respects,” said Spc. Theo Jones, who volunteers as bartender and disc jockey when not soldiering with the 1st Cav’s 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.

“It doesn’t have to be anything complicated,” Ingram said, “just a silent moment for those who fought and gave their lives.”

After that, management suggests customers take a load off.

“The rule is to not to talk about business,” Ingram said. Politics, music, sports, philosophy are just fine, he said.

“We talk about our lives outside the Army and what’s going on. Get the guys out of what’s going on around them,” said Ingram, a history buff and an acute observer of world politics.
As security continues to deteriorate in Iraq, U.S. military commanders have decided that incoming units should bring more heavy armored vehicles, instead of the Humvees.

The third rotation of troops into Iraq, which will begin this fall, “will come in a heavier formation,” Lt. Gen. Richard A. Cody, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for plans, told reporters Tuesday.

And with Operation Iraqi Freedom 3 troops bringing more of their own armored vehicles, the Army will be able to transfer some of the up-armored Humvees from outgoing troops and give them to combat support units, which aren’t typically equipped with the sturdier vehicles, Cody said.
Being a retired Quartermaster, I like that last part a lot.

Cool through to go see the flag.
Children at the RAF Mildenhall Youth Center feel a little closer to events in Baghdad these days.

A flag they made and sent to the husband of their room leader has been flown above the Air Force base known as Camp Sather at Baghdad International Airport. They recently received photos of the success of their effort.

“They’ve seen either their parents or friends’ parents go away,” said Amanda Kovich, who is in charge of the 7- and 8-year-old artists who made the red stripes of Old Glory by dipping their hands in red paint and placing them on a white piece of fabric.

The flag was sent to Capt. Matt Kovich of the 48th Civil Engineers Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, who is now in Baghdad.

Kovich said the youngsters knew she was upset by her husband’s absence, so the flag project was a little therapy for everyone involved.

She painted the blue field and white stars and left the stripes to the youngsters.

“They really enjoyed it because they like to get their hands messy,” she said.

Each child put three or four handprints on the flag before it was bundled up and sent downrange.


So who's cooking for me tonight?

He's President of The America I Live In.

"This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11."

Bush stopped and turned back.

"He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and a man," Faulkner said. "He looked right at her and said, 'How are you doing?' He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest."...

"The way he was holding me, with my head against his chest, it felt like he was trying to protect me," Ashley said. "I thought, 'Here is the most powerful guy in the world, and he wants to make sure I'm safe."
That's right, Ashley. He wants to protect all of make sure all of us are safe.

He is an honorable man.

(Photo by Lynn Faulkner )

Day 362 of CPT Patti's deployment.

Thursday, May 06, 2004


Contract offers were tendered in the last day or improve housing, sewers and other general services in Falluja, of all places.

The contract stipulates that the workforce on these projects be primarily from Falluja.

Think anyone will connect the dots between a peaceful city and its progress? I'm sure the residents will. But the militant thugs...well, thats another matter.

Read more about it at Firas's site.

(Note: Corrected Link)

Do you remember the OP-ED written by CNN Executive Eason Jordan on 11 April, 2003?

A quick refresher.
Possibly the only people unmoved by the sight of jubilant Iraqis dancing in the streets and tearing down statues of Saddam Hussein last Wednesday were the good people of CNN. In an op-ed written for Friday?s New York Times, CNN chief news executive, Eason Jordan admitted covering up knowledge of the brutality and atrocities committed by Saddam?s government.

Jordan tells of having Baghdad station employees abducted, beaten, tortured, and killed. He speaks of aides of Uday Hussein having their teeth ripped out with pliers for the inexcusable act of upsetting his boss. But never once did Eason Jordan or anyone else at CNN ever report on these atrocities.
(Emphasis added.)

So...does it strike you as peculiar that CNN is reporting on the alleged American abused non-stop, round the clock?

Well, I think you should get a free pass on being totally outraged over the incessant playing of the Iraqi prison story - ad nauseum - on CNN, the 24 hour duplicitous network.

Says one author (link via Instapundit):
Despite their record of complicity in covering up years of brutality and torture in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, CNN has lost no time in running endless reports on the Iraqi prison photos. Besides practically non-stop reports on the Iraqi Prisoner Abuse story, CNN's line up has been stocked with guests booked to discuss the Iraqi Prisoner Abuse story.
The media simply disgust me.
I'm betting this will be an exceptionally inspirational book.
“Many of my media colleagues seem intent on ... confirming that troop morale is suffering or proving that our efforts to bring democracy to Iraq are fraught with failure,” FOX news correspondent and best-selling author Oliver North wrote in the forward of “A Greater Freedom: Stories of Faith from Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Most reporters are blinded to the fact that American soldiers are offering Iraqis the hope of freedom and of celebrating their own faith, North, a retired Marine officer, wrote. They also ignore “the daily acts of Christian charity and compassion that are part and parcel of everyday activity for these young Americans.”

North served as executive editor for “A Greater Freedom,” a photo essay of Christian men and women who are risking their lives in Iraq. But the predominance of the work was done by Sara Horn, a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources’ corporate communications in Nashville, and Jim Veneman, a photojournalist at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.

Horn and Veneman twice ventured to the war zone representing Baptist Press to document how Christian servicemen and women handle war.

“I went because I felt this was something God called me to do,” Horn said. “I didn’t seek out any of this. I believe the stories we brought back can minister to people –- whether they are soldiers themselves, family members of soldiers or even people with no connection to the military.
The Rochas asked the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce if they could help, which led to the organization's informal adoption of the platoon.

Fernando Moreno, vice president of the chamber and owner of the Othello McDonald's restaurant said the goal is to be able to send the platoon a package per week.

"Rocky shares the stuff with kids that don't get much from home," Moreno said. "Receiving a package a week might give them something to look forward to."

The package, besides containing cookies from Happy Meals, will carry a variety of other products, from toothpaste and toothbrushes, to sunflower seeds, deodorants, crackers and hot sauce, every item donated from a different Othello business.

"Everybody donates a little bit of everything," Guerrero said. "Potter's Drugstore, The Lep-Re-Kon, Wal-Mart, Bob's Corner. It's a privilege to give something back."

The price to send the package to Iraq is about $28, for which Moreno's business made a $100 donation. Moreno's only concern is how an enclosed additional shipment of freshly baked cookies will make it to the Mideast.

Apart from the food and personal items, the packages will be dripping with patriotic solidarity, both Guerrero and Moreno said.

"There was no way we could say no," Guerrero said. "We look at the news every night, and we hear about soldiers getting killed. We wanted Rocky and other members of the community who are in the Armed Forces to know that we are appreciate what they do."

Neat story about him and the kids who miss him.
Yesterday, while some of the school's younger children attached yellow ribbons to three pink dogwood trees, four fifth-graders talked about why they missed Mr. Mike and what they write about.

"He told us that the bugs in Iraq are as big as mice," said Dylan Heaton.

"When he was here, he was almost like a landmark, and we miss him because he was so friendly to everyone," said Cody McLaughlin.

"We don't know where he is in Iraq, but it can get to 150 degrees," said Shaquan Washington.

"I sent him a card with an angel and a prayer on it," said Patience Garte. "The prayer said, `May your guardian angel be with you.' I pray for him every Sunday when I go to church."

In a recent note, Oliver wrote the children:

Helloooooo, Bubba and staff,

Thanks for all the letters and thoughts. Thanks for putting (them) together for me. I don't have any bubbas here in the Army, but I still say my prayers. I drive Army cars. I march. They shoot rifles. I'm up every morning at 5 a.m. (and stay up) until 8 p.m.

I'll be back soon,

Mr. Mike

You simply must read all of this.
The problem is that the "supervisory class" in Iraq has been, for centuries, largely Sunni...

You have plenty of entrepreneurs in Iraq, but a real shortage of modern, reliable managers...

Most of the guys who know modern management techniques are Sunnis, and often former (or even current) Baath Party members. Since Saddam took over, guess who was favored when it came to college admissions, or study overseas?

If you let too many Sunnis back into the management positions, guess who is going to have a great deal of control over the country, way out of proportion to their numbers? ...

Nearly all the violence in Iraq is coming from the twenty percent of the population that are Sunni Arabs.

Thousands of violent Sunnis have been arrested and interrogated and it’s pretty clear from those interrogations that the violence in Iraq comes from several sources. There are the members of Saddam’s security and intelligence organizations carrying out a pre-war plan for creating violence and disorder if Iraq is occupied. There are also many Sunni Arabs acting on their own to oppose those foreigners who would allow the majority Shia and Kurds to rule the nation. And then there were the foreign fighters, who saw Saddam as a great Arab hero and the Sunni Arab cause worthy of support...

Iraq has another problem that soldiers and reconstruction workers have to deal with. There’s a tendency to allow emotions, rather than logic and analysis, drive Iraqi public opinion and policy making. Rumors and the most outrageous stories spread rapidly and are readily believed. This is actually quite common throughout the Arab world...

In the Arab world (and many other parts of the world as well), the party line, and a desire for the most exciting and shocking spin on a story, come first.

This kind of journalism makes the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government into a great tragedy. It leads to inventing an endless litany of fictional American “atrocities” against Iraq.

At the same time, the dozens of Iraqi torture videos discovered in Iraq, showing Saddam’s secret police at work, were rarely broadcast by Arab media outside Iraq. These videos were very popular inside Iraq, but foreign Arab news organizations shunned them because the reality of Saddam's atrocities did not agree with the fantasy of Saddam the Arab hero that these news outfits were pushing.

Actually, the disconnect between reality and Arab news organizations (especially satellite news outfits al Jazeera and al Arabia) has become so great that Iraqis (according to a recent survey) are switching more to local TV stations....

Truth is not an abstract, lack of it can kill in places like Iraq.
The U.K. will send more than 2,000 additional troops to Iraq following the withdrawal of Spanish forces, the Times newspaper said, without saying where it got the information.

Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday said a possible increase in the number of British troops in Iraq was being discussed with the U.S. after Spain's decision to pull out.

The U.S. has 135,000 troops in Iraq and Britain has 7,500. Spain started withdrawing its contingent of 1,432 after Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero took office last month. Blair said no decision has been made on whether to send more troops.


As we predicted would happen here, this morning I saw a prison guard civilain defense attorney on TV quoting rule 104 of the Manual for Courts Martial as part of his defense strategy.

Rule 104 reads in part
No person subject to the code may attempt to coerce or, by any unauthorized means, influence the action of a court reaching the findings or sentence in any case...
Will this prevent conviction? Not if there is any evidence worth a darn. But it gets the defense attorney on TV where he can begin attempting to discredit the President, the Secretary of Defense, etc.

This is day 361. Sheesh!

I got annoyed early today...when I discovered CNN giving Michael Moore pretty much all the airtime he could ever want. He's whining about Disney not distributing his latest hatchet job on the President...saying "this is America...not some other countries".

Glad you noticed, genius...and in America businesses get to make their own business decisions. Obviously Disney recognizes something that your arrogant self can't...namely, this is not a profitable time for Disney to be associated with your particular brand of character assassination of the President who is leading us through a war.

Why don't you hit up Air America...see if they'll spot you the dough to distribute the movie yourself. Oh...wait, that's right. They are broke too.

Oh..and I'm wondering if hallelujahs are in order. I heard an AP radio newscast that didn't begin with the Iraq prison story. Nope...that story was all the way down to second. Deemed first is the story that a judge told Martha Stewart she isn't getting a new trial.

I ask you...are these the gravest issues in front of our nation today?

Fair warning...annoyed early might just mean annoyed all day.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Hundreds of former commanders and military colleagues of presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry are set to declare in a signed letter that he is "unfit to be commander-in-chief." They will do so at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday.

"What is going to happen on Tuesday is an event that is really historical in dimension," John O'Neill, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Navy as a PCF (Patrol Craft Fast) boat commander, told The event, which is expected to draw about 25 of the letter-signers, is being organized by a newly formed group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

"We have 19 of 23 officers who served with [Kerry]. We have every commanding officer he ever had in Vietnam. They all signed a letter that says he is unfit to be commander-in-chief," O'Neill said...

"The ranks of the people signing [the letter] range from admiral down to seaman, and they run across the entire spectrum of politics, specialties, and political feelings about the Vietnam War," he added...

Swift Boat Veterans For Truth maintains that Kerry's fellow Vietnam veterans are almost uniform in their disdain for his military service and anti-war protests.

"Not only a majority of the people who served with him feel that way, but a vast and overwhelming majority," O'Neill said. He added that more than "ninety percent of the people contacted by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth responded to the request to sign their name, with only 12 declining to sign.

"Comrades who actually served with him, almost all of them, are opposed to him, and believe he would be an unfit commander in chief and intend to bring the truth of his actual record to the attention of the American people," O'Neill said.

O'Neill hopes the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth can reveal to the American people what he sees as Kerry's flawed character.

"In the military, loyalty between commanders and the troops serving them is a two-way street. We have here a guy (Kerry) that with all of us in the field [in Vietnam] -- actually fighting the North Vietnamese -- came home and then falsely accused all of us of war crimes at a time when the people in uniform couldn't even respond," O'Neill said.

"And he did that knowing that was a lie," he added...

What Kerry fails to realize is this has nothing to do with politics -- this has to with Vietnam Veterans who served, who have a beef with John Kerry's service, both during and after the war," Burkett told

"The American people do not know John Kerry and hopefully the swift boat crews and other Vietnam veterans will make sure that the American public knows the real John Kerry," he added.
(via The Mudville Gazette)

FOOTNOTE: Biased media? You decide.

Using exactly the same methods to search for news stories I made three queries: "Swift Boat Veterans For Truth" (The group who say Kerry is unfit to be Commander-In-Chief)

"Schwarzenegger in Germany" (for stories about the Governator's visit to the troops in Germany)

"Kerry Bush Education" (for stories about Kerry's remarks on Tuesday same day as the Swift Boat Vets Meeting.)

Here are the results, in numbers of stories available through my online-news source.

Swift Boat Vets: 98 Stories
Schwarzenegger in Germany: 218 Stories
Kerry Blasts Bush's Education Policies: 4,240

'Nuff said.

Then support one who isn't. And send a word (or a hundred) of thanks to our servicemembers while you are at it.

Our Mission

To show our U.S. Military Men and Women, past and present, our appreciation for their sacrifices, dedication, and service to our country as part of National Military Appreciation Month, May, 2004.

Our Goal

To collect and distribute 1,000,000 letters, cards & emails of appreciation to our military men & women, past and present, during National Military Appreciation Month, MAY, 2004.
Great idea. And have a look at this sample from a child doing his best.

In the end, its 10:1 in our favor.

Go read about the Iron Dukes of 2/37.

By the way...I've noticed for some time now that the 10:1 ratio seems to be about the norm these days in Iraq.

(via Instapundit)

This is the same United Nations to which John Kerry would subordinate the USA.

A quick sampling recent stories.

From FaithFreedom
"The war in Iraq has sidetracked everyone away from Sudan, the place of the worst human rights nightmare on the planet. Taking advantage of this situation, the Khartoum regime has stepped up its genocidal warfare against its own people," Dr. Charles Jacobs, president of the American Anti-Slavery Group said.
And then there is this:
Human rights campaigners are outraged that a United Nations report alleging grave abuses in western Sudan is being withheld from a UN debate on the issue.

The international body's Commission on Human Rights is due to discuss the crisis in Darfur, where up to a million people have been displaced.

The debate has been delayed by behind-the-scenes negotiations with the European Union seeking a harsher resolution than African delegates want.

The report, seen by the BBC, details claims of rape, looting and killing by militias with government help.
Uh...that would be the same government the UN just elected to the Human Rights commission.

If this were fiction no one would believe it.

Please go read this series of posts at Instapundit.

Doesn't make it right...but removes a bit of the hysteria.

To take charge of matters in their country. Good for 'em.
A senior Marine officer in Fallujah said Tuesday that the new Iraqi military force that is taking over from U.S. troops in the city is "meeting expectations" in bringing calm to the city.

An all-Iraqi force began moving into positions from withdrawing Marines last week as part of an agreement to restore order in the city, the site of a nearly monthlong siege that left 10 Marines and several hundred Iraqis dead...

Coleman, speaking at the Marine camp a few miles from the center of Fallujah, said that Marines were monitoring the progress of the force.

"We are measuring the reality on the ground, we assigned them, we monitor them," he said...

Coleman said the newly formed Fallujah Brigade was an initiative of former Iraqi officers.

"They didn't come asking for money or anything else, just a chance to serve their nation," Coleman said. "They had been sitting on the sidelines too long, we hadn't given them the opportunity to come forward before."

"But they heard our message ... They came forward saying they can deliver certain things," he added.

God bless Jonah.
"Good Lord! You sliced that man open from his neck to his belly! You've cut out his heart! . You're sucking out his blood, you ghoul!"

These are just some of the things you might say if you stumbled on a surgeon conducting a heart transplant.

Of course, you wouldn't actually say it because you'd see the men and women in their gowns and masks, along with all the medical doodads including "the machine that goes 'ping'" - as they say in Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life."

But the important thing to keep in mind is that in a major operation - on a person or a nation - the patient is the most vulnerable, and looks the most horrible, halfway into the procedure, not at the beginning or the end. And if, in your horror, you screamed, "Stop what you're doing right now!" you'd be saying you want the patient to die.

It's not the best analogy for Iraq. Heart surgeons typically have lots of experience. They have guidelines that, if followed more or less faithfully, will yield success most of the time. And heart surgeons rarely get harassed in the operating room.

Meanwhile, nobody under the age of 80 has worked on as ambitious a nation-building project as what we're doing in Iraq...

When Sen. Ted Kennedy says the invasion of Iraq is possibly "the worst blunder in the entire history of American foreign policy," he's putting the cart before the horse (and giving short-shrift to his brother's work in Vietnam). The worst blunder would be the failure to see things through in Iraq.

What's sad is that Kennedy's partisanship makes that blunder more likely. That's probably what prompted Sen. Joe Lieberman to be the grown-up in the Democratic party and ask his colleagues to "stop encouraging our enemies" by undermining the administration's efforts in Iraq.

Still, at this point, there's simply no disputing that Iraq reconstruction isn't going well, though not as badly as many think...

My hope is that what we are witnessing with the halting of "de-Baathification," our backing down in Fallujah, etc., is realism about means, not ends. Compromises on the way to a new Iraq are like amputations on the way to saving a patient - hard choices, but tolerable in comparison to the alternative.

But, you know what? We were told rebuilding Iraq would be hard. When Bush spoke underneath that much derided "mission accomplished" banner, he said this was going to be long and hard. Well, folks, this is precisely what long and hard looks like. Nation building is ugly and difficult; so is cutting out a man's bad heart and putting in a good one.
When customers enter Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar on Alcoa Highway, they can help a neighbor fighting for democracy halfway around the world.

Michael Lloyd is a 24-year-old United States Marine serving in Iraq. He is also the brother of Applebee's employee Katie Hensley.

Shortly after Lloyd was deployed about two months ago, the restaurant ``adopted'' him and placed a box with his picture at the front of the restaurant. Since then, customers and employees have continued to fill it with ``anything we'd use today we'd take for granted,'' Hensley said...

The response from customers and employees has been good, manager Cindy Anderson said.

Often, when customers see the box for the first time, they bring personal items to donate on repeat visits, Anderson said.

``There's a customer who is a regular, and he's always bringing something to put in the box,'' Hensley said.
One good, the other...not so good.
For about five months, Joan Foglia waged a personal campaign to bring her daughter home safely from Iraq. Every time she bought something with a credit card, she'd pull out a picture of her daughter along with her license.

"I'd say: `I don't know if you pray. If you do, pray for her. If not, keep her in your thoughts,'" Foglia said of her pleas. "I had people say to me, `Oh, I didn't know we still had soldiers there.'"

On Monday, Marissa Foglia's welcome home was filled with family and neighbors. The 22-year-old has been back in the States for three weeks, but Monday was the first day Joan Foglia got to hold her daughter since she volunteered to go to Iraq in September...

The decision to go to Iraq was not a difficult one. She'd only finished basic training about four months before.

"They called us and said, `Do you want to go over as a replacement?' Me and three others said, `Yes,'" she said.

"She said, `If I go, then another solider gets to come home,'" her mother said. "I said, `We all have our paths to travel in life, and if that's your path then you have to go.' I said, `I'll pray for you and watch your back.'"

As the rest of the media flood you with the prison images...know that this is more along the lines of what is happening every day, all over Iraq.
“I said, ‘For God’s sake, where are your parents?’” said Wisam Hashim, a security guard at the Palestine Hotel, where Sayf goes to rest sometimes in a chair in the air-conditioned lobby. “He said, ‘They beat me and they take my money.’”

Hussain Mohammed, 15, who sells cigarettes and beer outside the hotel each day after school until 11 p.m., said Sayf has been working the area since he was a very small boy.

“In Saddam’s time, he used to come and beg from the Iranian pilgrims,” Mohammed said.

No adult has ever come to claim him...

He also frequently picks up something new from the soldiers. His vocabulary of curse words, for instance, is said to be impressive.

But sometimes the soldiers sing to him. Staff Sgt. Michael Tucker taught him “Build Me Up Buttercup” recently. Tucker sang a verse, then Sayf repeated it, until they finished the song.

“That’s something I sing to my future stepdaughter,” Tucker said, a little embarrassed. “It just popped into my head.”

The soldiers often slip Sayf $5 or so but they said he prefers to earn money pushing carts or carrying foreigners’ bags in his skinny little arms.

Late one afternoon, Sayf had amassed 3,500 dinar — about $2.20 — and seven $1 bills.

“He comes up here some days and he wants to buy everybody a soda,” Lewis said. “I say, ‘No, Sayf. You have to save your money.’ ”

Is it possible these guys are beginning to sense that the quiet moderate majority can hold sway over the minority militants? Let's hope so.
Representatives of Iraq's most influential Shiite leaders met here on Tuesday and demanded that Moktada al-Sadr, a rebel Shiite cleric, withdraw militia units from the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, stop turning the mosques there into weapons arsenals and return power to Iraqi police and civil defense units that operate under American control.

The Shiite leaders also called, in speeches and in interviews after the meeting, for a rapid return to the American-led negotiations on Iraq's political future. The negotiations have been sidelined for weeks by the upsurge in violence associated with Mr. Sadr's uprising across central and southern Iraq and the simultaneous fighting in Falluja, the Sunni Muslim city west of Baghdad.

On Tuesday, the Shiite leaders, including a representative of a Shiite clerical group that has close ties to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, effectively did what the Americans have urged them to do since Mr. Sadr, a 31-year-old firebrand, began his attacks in April: they tied Iraq's future, and that of Shiites in particular, to a renunciation of violence and a return to negotiations.

Secretary Rumsfeld says:
General Abizaid has now indicated his desire to retain the current level of forces in Iraq, roughly 135,(000), (1)38,000 forces, for longer than the 90 days that we recently extended about 20,000 forces to get up to that higher figure. We will not extend the same individuals beyond the 90 days. Instead we are identifying and preparing to deploy forces to replace those individuals.

Recently I approved deployment of approximately 10,000 replacement personnel. Other units are now being identified and will be approved in the coming days.
(Emphasis added)

And this is how they will accomplish that:
The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit will leave Camp Lejeune two months early and go directly to Iraq, where it will relieve Army units stationed there.

The orders were announced Tuesday by the Department of Defense. The 2,200-member 24th MEU is currently about halfway through its normal six-month training cycle for a previously scheduled deployment to the Mediterranean Sea.

The MEU was on a training in an urban environment exercise, or TRUEX, in Morgantown, W.Va., when military officials ordered it to leave in 70 days to replace elements of the Army's 1st Armored Division and 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment who were extended in Iraq. The MEU was previously scheduled to leave in late August.

It would be nice if Firas could speak at the UN...perhaps those who see nothing but doom would begin to pay attention.
When I read the speech of Mr. Bremer on the 23rd of April 2004, I can’t find in it but true intentions to make thing better for us and with logical methods, easy to be substituted in Iraqi society. And I think that’s the main reason that the governing council members are accepting the American policy in Iraq, I mean they are close to decision making authority and know more about the bright future of the country than the rest of Iraqis.

But when I hear about the new contracts, some of them about rebuilding Faluja and when I see every day in my way to work many Iraqis on their way to work, schools, and many construction sites, and markets full of imported goods with many ordinary people doing shopping, and imported cars in car markets more than the customers who are trying to buy cars, and when I feel the people of Faluja happy to get red of the terrorists in their city and many others are forgetting about the rebels in Najaf and thinking of them just a bunch of twisted minds, then I know that we are on the right path.

I am sure that these days many Iraqis know that the coalition is in war situation, but not with Iraqis but with terrorism on the land of Iraq. So all we have to do is to help the good guys to win this war fast, at least by staying safe and away of the hot areas.

May be many of us are trying to say it’s not our war why should we bear so much….. Well the war against the terrorism is responsibility of the entire world, and now we are playing our part in it.
Good point about the war on terror belonging to the whole world, Firas. How much easier would it be if the whole world were actually participating?

God bless the Lutz Patriots...some day's I wonder just how much good one small band of folks from The America I Live In can do.

Thanks to Barbara we get to share in this exchange with an Iraqi who keeps his own blog. His name is Firas and he recently swapped email with our friends in the Patriots.
Hi Firas,

I just discovered your blog this evening. I am the mother of a U.S. Marine Corps Officer and want you to know that most Americans want nothing more than to see you and your fellow Iraqi's live in a free and peaceful country.

I wanted you to know also that we are part of a group in our community in Florida who have been sending supplies through our soldiers to many schools there to help Iraqi children. The soldiers have sent us pictures of the children and they are beautiful.

If there is anything we can do to support and encourage you please let us know. If your friends and family there will support the coalition and be patient, I'm sure your country will grow to be free and a great friend to the U.S. We are praying that more and more Iraqi's will bravely defend what coalition forces are trying to your people and restore order there so the children will know a prosperous future.

We will continue to support you and pray for you.


Firas's reply:

Thank you for the beautiful e-mail.....we are aware of the Americans civilian people activities for the Iraqi people and children.......actually you may be surprised how the majority of Iraqis are thankful for you all.....But as usuall Black is more obvious than white and the media is taking bad part in that.......tell your son it will be an honor for me to know him and to be friends.....God bless you all.

Firas Georges

P.S. please read this e-mail to all your friends in the group you mentioned.
Firas...thanks for writing to Barbara and allowing her to share your comments with the rest of us.

May God grant us that those who think as you do will prevail over the violent factions stuck in the past.

This morning while preparing for work I passed through the living room and heard a brief clip of Congressman Duncan Hunter, R, California, pointing out that there are 125K soldiers in Iraq doing good and honorable stuff, but the media couldn't be bothered to cover it. However, given the prison issue....well, you can see where that is going.

Not surprisingly I can't find the congressman's quote on the internet yet. And his web site wants me to be a member of his district (which I'm not) to email his - if any of you can help me find some place where he is cited, please let me know.

And this is the 360th day of CPT Patti's deployment.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

But is Iraq really plunging into chaos? Anyone in contact with Iraqi realities would know that the answer is: No.

Yes, a variety of terrorist, insurgent and ordinary criminals are active in the country. Parts of Baghdad remain unsafe. Some roads, especially in the desert area bordering Jordan and Syria, are prone to attacks by bandits. And, as in many other parts of the world where criminal gangs operate, there is also some hostage-taking. But most of Iraq's 18,000 villages and 200-plus towns and cities remain as safe, if not safer, than those in some other Arab countries.

The Coalition faces a problem in Fallujah. But Fallujah accounts for no more than 4 percent of Iraq's Sunni Arab community. Other major Sunni cities - Mosul, Ramadi, even Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown - remain calm...

Those who claim that Iraq is in chaos also point to Najaf, where Muqtada al-Sadr, a 30-year-old Shiite cleric, is hiding in a number of holy shrines and mosques along with his so-called Army of the Mahdi. But talk to anyone in Najaf and you'll soon know that the overwhelming majority of the city's population wants Sadr to get the hell out. (After more than two weeks of contacts with Iraqi Shiite leaders and opinion-makers at various levels, this writer has not found anyone who supports Sadr and his shenanigans.)

Sadr is abusing the old Shiite practice of "bast," which consists of taking sanctuary in a holy shrine. But Najaf is a city of 500,000 people, while Sadr's followers number 3,000 at most...

There is no nationwide insurrection in Iraq. Nor is Iraq suffering from a general breakdown in law and order. To be sure, it is no bed of roses. But the violence and insecurity are within the remit of normal in a post-liberation situation, and remain manageable...

When President Bush announced the start of the war to liberate Iraq, he promised to stay the course until the Iraqi people built a new democratic system. Implicit in that offer was that the Iraqis should play their part in what is by far the greatest challenge they have faced since their state was created eight decades ago.

The people of Iraq have kept their end of the bargain. They did not fight on Saddam's side, allowing the Coalition to achieve victory with remarkable ease. Since then, they've continued to do what is required of them - not only by isolating insurgents and terrorists, but also by beginning to rebuild their shattered country. As a string of recent polls, complemented by personal and anecdotal information, indicates, the overwhelming majority are still prepared to work with the Coalition to achieve their dream of a new political system based on human rights and pluralism.

The real question is: Will the Coalition keep its end of the bargain? Or will U.S. and British leaders, for reasons of domestic politics, lose their nerve, throw Iraq to the United Nations or some other ineffectual custodian and sacrifice the strategic goal of a democratic Middle East to tactical electoral considerations?

What to do in Iraq? The answer is simple: Don't lose your nerve!
The new certainty in Iraq of ultimate coalition troop withdrawal should also concentrate the minds of those Iraqis who until now have been all too content to allow the outside world to bear the human and financial costs of overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

But there is never any free ride to freedom. If Iraqis do not take up the opportunity now made available to them by the sacrifice of outsiders, they will slip back into a new dictatorship, with new torture chambers and mass graves.

The Kurdish minority is aware of this. That is why only a few hundred U.S. troops are needed in northern Iraq to help the Kurds keep the peace and build democracy in their region...

Where are the voices of a million Iraqis who returned from exile after their persecutor was overthrown? Where is the leader brave enough to tell fellow Iraqis that the danger to them is not from America, but from Iran, al-Qaida and a new Saddam?

The great majority of Iraqis are glad that Saddam is overthrown. We and the United Nations are giving them democracy's moment, but courageous Iraqis must come forward to seize it. Next April's goal is not "stability,' the new soft word for the old hard tyranny. The goal theirs and ours remains Iraqi freedom.

This guy finds a need...and we can help.
Concerned about the welfare of troops returning home with disabilities from the war on terror, a new nonprofit group is raising money to build houses adapted to their needs.

Homes for Our Troops is the brainchild of John Gonsalves, a construction supervisor from Wareham, Mass., who said he was struck by television news accounts of a humvee driver in Iraq who lost two legs during a rocket-propelled grenade attack. "I remember watching that and wondering, 'What happens to him from here?'" Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves said that news story inspired him to volunteer his services to an organization that builds houses for disabled troops — but he couldn't find one. "That planted the seed for Homes for Our Troops," he said. "I knew that if I didn't get a group together and try to do this, it would haunt me the rest of my life."

When he launched Homes for Our Troops, Gonsalves admitted that he "knew nothing about nonprofits, but I did know how to build a house." He'd built houses adapted for people with special needs, incorporating ramps, wider doors and hallways, and lower sinks and counters, among other features.

Today, seven weeks after Homes for Our Troops began raising money, more than $100,000 in donations has rolled in, as well as $50,000 in labor and building materials. "Feedback has been phenomenal," said Gonsalves, who said he has received donations from all over the United States.

Homes for Our Troops hopes to break ground soon for its first project, a house for Sgt. Peter Damon, a Massachusetts National Guard soldier who lost his right arm above the elbow and his left hand and wrist in Iraq when a Black Hawk helicopter tire he was changing exploded.

Gonsalves said he hopes to have several houses under construction by this summer if fundraising continues at its current pace. "There's more than enough money in this country to do something like that," he said.

He encourages donors to give, regardless of the amount. "It doesn't have to be a large amount. It all adds up," he said.

Gonsalves said Homes for Our Troops is a way for Americans — many of whom he said have gone on with their daily lives with little personal contribution to the terror war or awareness about how to make one — to help repay the debt they owe to the men and women in uniform.

"The war on terror is something the American people should all be a part of — not just the people on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq," Gonsalves said. "As Americans, we have a responsibility to do more for our veterans who are out there fighting every day and putting their lives on the line."

To make a donation to Homes for Our Troops, visit the organization's Web site or write: Homes for Our Troops, Inc., P.O. Box 615, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532.

My thanks to Dave for the story.

Turns out these guys have a web-site as well. Go visit them at

I received email in response to yesterday's post about the prisoner abuse by our Military Policemen.

Like me, you feel betrayed by individuals who should have done better.

You are reading or hearing in the news that Letters of Reprimand have been issued to six commissioned or non-commissioned officers. I can assure you those who have received the letters have just had their careers ended. They have gone as far as they are going. No more promotionS will happen for those individuals. Just one such letter in one's official file and that is it.

I don't know who those are who received the letters. But knowing how these things work my guess is they each had some duty to influence events at that prison...some level of "supervisory" responsibility that, in the view of the General handing out those letters of reprimand, they failed to exercise.

I don't know for certain but my guess is if we knew who these folks are and what their positions were at the time, we might be surprised at just how far these letters go - meaning that I believe we might actually feel that some of these folks were just too far removed from the events to be taken down by them.

But it is well established in the Army that leaders "are responsible for everything their subordinates do or fail to do." And now, by my guess even well up the chain of command, that responsibility is coming home to roost.

And now we are left with the courts martial of the others more directly related. My guess is we will hear from those who want to put cameras in the courts for those. I seriously doubt it will happen.

The defendants can be represented by military defense counsel or, if they so choose, and wish to pay for, by civilian counsel of their choosing. As I alluded to yesterday, the jury will be comprised of officers and enlisted members of the Army. If the defendant in a particular trial is enlisted then he or she can ask that at least one third of the jury (or Panel, as it is known) is made up of enlisted servicemembers.

The defense has already tipped its hand to a degree...we are supposed to cry for the bastards because they lacked training in how to guard prisoners.

Well, I've never been trained to guard a prisoner either. Moreover, it would never occur to me to do what these folks are accused of doing. And frankly, my guess is that is exactly how the members of the court martial panel will see it. Every one of us who has ever worn the uniform has been asked to perform duties for which we have not been just happens in the is the nature of the beast. And the astonishingly large majority of us manage to do those duties to the best of our God given abilities without bringing discredit upon ourselves, our profession and our nation.

I'm guessing thoughts like that will go through the minds of the members of the Panel...and such will be discussed in the deliberations room...just before the verdict of guilty is agreed to and brought by the men and women of honor who serve with pride and distinction.

We've all heard that President Bush is angry about these actions at the prison and has instructed the Pentagon to be certain these soldiers are punished. Problem with that is he has potentially set the stage for appeals ad-nauseum by these slugs, since there is a strict prohibition from any leader exercising undo command influence on the outcome of the military process of disposing of cases through the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

It won't be a big problem, but it will be an unnecessary that is probably worth it to the President to be seen as being resolute about this sort of thing.

Now...finally, a word about us here. In my view we will see and hear more about this than we could ever hope to absorb simply by watching the news and reading the papers.

And it has been my purpose to seek out the better news, the stories that are not covered so well, that highlight the remarkably selfless service and accomplishments of 99% of Soldiers. will forgive me if I leave this story in the hands of those whose job it is to sell newspapers and TV advertising - doubtless they will hype this until we all want to retch.

Meanwhile, we will head off in search of the good news that should, but doesn't draw similar enthusiastic coverage by the media.

Good story here about Tom Hamill, the captured truckdriver who escaped.

Story written by the Stars & Stripes it is better than most you will read.
Hamill, a truck driver with Kellogg, Brown & Root, had been kept in a small building near a house “in the middle of the desert,” the soldiers said, about 50 miles northwest of Baghdad. He’d heard the Humvees that were trailing the foot patrol, then pushed his way out the door blocked with a piece of metal and some wood, and made a dash for the soldiers.

He was shoeless and thirsty, with a gunshot wound in his arm. He said he’d been moved around a lot in the past weeks but had been laxly guarded recently.

“He said, ‘I could have escaped a bunch of times, but where am I going to go with one bottle of water and no map?’” Forbes said.


This is day 359 of my darling wife's deployment to Iraq.

Monday, May 03, 2004

On April 11, Scouts shot it out with 25 uniformed insurgents in a palm grove, killing or capturing them all.

On the way back to base, the Scouts encountered a bomb in the urban area just outside Victory North, “and we didn’t fire a shot. Who were we going to shoot? We just kept on truckin’.”

In rural areas outside Baghdad, Scouts typically engage insurgents laying ambushes, Smith said. They’re well-equipped, with fighting positions dug to American standards.

“They’re prepared to fight,” he said. “It’s in the execution where we seen these guys fail.” Though his Scouts are well-armed, trained and experienced, some of the forces they’ve tangled with had sufficient numbers and firepower to overwhelm them, Smith said.

“They had AKs, RPKs, RPGs. They could have [messed] us up,” he said. But most fled after firing a few stray shots, Smith said. Smith theorizes that many factors differentiate urban and rural warfare. Urban terrorists may be more resolute in that they’re closer to the people who finance attacks, he said. Insurgents operating in rural areas away from “the guys pulling the strings may find it easier to cut and run” than their counterparts on the streets of Abu Ghraib and Amariyah,” he said.

It was a Sunday. I had graduated from college and received my commission the day before. And on that Sunday I was packing the car with the meager belongings of a 22 year old in 1980 and preparing to head to Fort Bragg, NC where I would begin my career as an Army officer.

My father hugged me that day...and with tears in his eyes (and as a result, in mine) he said simply "Be a good soldier, Son."

Twenty-one years later as I said my farewell to friends and fellow soldiers in a gymnasium at Fort Lee, Virginia, I recalled those words...and again they put a lump in my throat.

I miss my Dad. I think I especially miss the way he could cut through complex issues to find the simple heart of the matter.

Dad's standards were not hard to understand. "Do your best, give it your all, be a good soldier." Nope...not hard to understand. More difficult to live up to however.

Some years after I began my Army career the Army introduced us to The Seven Army Values. It wasn't new that these values were important in the Army. What was new was the packaging of these together, and the emphasis on teaching these values in their packaged form.

This marked a turning point, in my view, for the Army. It marked the time when the values that were behind the everyday actions and decisions made by Army leaders were actually named, exposed, and highlighted so they could be moved to the fore of an Army education.

And seemingly overnight thousands upon thousands of soldiers were introduced to the tortured acronym LDRSHIP (read "leadership", of course), and the values that created the acronym.

Loyalty: Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other soldiers.

Duty: Fulfill your obligations.

Respect: Treat people as they should be treated.

Selfless-Service: Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.

Honor: Live up to all the Army values.

Integrity: Do what's right, legally and morally.

Personal Courage: Face fear, danger, or adversity (Physical or Moral).

The descriptions above are the short versions. When these values were first packaged and presented in this form every soldier already in uniform underwent training on the seven Army values. Naturally every soldier coming through the recruiting system into basic training and advanced individual training (AIT) was drilled and schooled in the seven Army values as well.

In my last position on active duty it was my privilege to create an award at the Army's cook's school, an award to ve voted on by peers to honor the Army Cook in training who best lived the ideals of the seven Army values.

To this day the seven Army values is routinely a subject of Officer and Non-commissioned Officer professional development.

In short it is inconceivable there exists a United States Soldier anywhere who hasn't been trained on, and expected to live by, the seven Army Values. Those who wish to call themselves Soldiers will find their inner compass always points in the right and honorable direction if they internalize and live these values.

In other the absence of specific guidance, here is your steering wheel.

Which is why I find the story of the abuse of the Iraqi Prisoners of War to be so very disheartening. And why I find the headlines proclaiming these folks never got training on the Geneva Convention such Bullsh*t, if you will pardon my bluntness.

Let's address the latter point first.

How ashamed it must make your mother and father for you to admit publicly that your own upbringing as a human-freaking-being was insufficient to prevent you from humiliating those under your total control.

Are you actually going to pretend that your defense is that someone didn't tell you specifically that degradation and ridicule of prisoners of war is against some international agreement? Does your own moral compass not have the path toward good (or at least even perhaps NEUTRAL, if you can't find good) marked on it? Are you totally devoid of humanity...destined to follow your baser inclinations as if you are some 8 year old character from Lord of the Flies?

Now that we have addressed your existence as sub-human (or, at least, sub-American Soldier), let us address the fact that you are a liar.

I've been around the Army a day or two. Yes, I was on active duty, but I spent three of those years in direct support of Army Reserve and Army National Guard units. I've been a part of the process to mobilize numerous reserve component units. I have been part of the process by which such units must be certified prior to deployment.

Part of that process is to verify the individual and collective training status of the units and their members.

Army Regulation 350-1, paragraph 4-14 stipulates that Law of War training will be conducted (a) during basic training, (b) in the unit and (c) at the Total Army School System courses, which is, by the way, where members of the reserve are certified in their MOSs if they did not attend the traditional basic/advanced training that most soldiers get.

In other words, you have been trained in the Law of War...probably trained numerous times...and that training includes the following teaching points:
(2) Soldiers do not harm enemies who surrender. They disarm them and turn them over to their superior.

(3) Soldiers do not kill or torture enemy prisoners of war....

(9) Soldiers should do their best to prevent violations of the law of war.

(10) Soldiers report all violations of the law of war to their superior.
Having expeditiously dealt with your being a liar, now let us address your abject stupidity.

You took photos/allowed photos to be taken of your doing criminal acts. stupid, lying scum,during the (hopefully) years that will be taken from you as you rot in a cell at Leavenworth, you will be remembered and mocked as you zoom to the top of every stupid criminals list on the internet, radio and television.

Now...they won't be able to convict you one this charge, but my standards of proof aren't as strict as those required by the let me also tell you that in my mind you are guilty of aiding and abetting the enemy. You have given al Jazeera the only story they need for about the next couple of decades, you stupid, treasonous morons.

Finally...and I hope this one hurts worst of all. You broke faith with Soldiers. You aren't soldiers, you are self-serving dilletantes who somehow got caught up in a world of otherwise professional Servicemen and women. You let the Soldiers down. You let your country down. You have given our enemies photographic evidence that will be trotted out and shown for decades to come.

You have given Active Duty Soldiers reason to give into their inclinations not to trust Reservists, and in doing so you have sullied the reputation of all reservists, indeed all Soldiers of the United States Army.

You had all the tools you need. You had training. You had 228 years of history and tradition to guide you. You had the Army Values to steer you even through the murkiest of times if you needed them (not that the issues here are murky...not at all.) In my view you failed to live up to each and every one of those values. Hell, even if you couldn't remember them all, just remembering one or two and living by them would have kept you out of all this.

And If all else fails your own humanity and even the Bible could have steered you away from these atrocities.

But you blew it. You failed.

You failed to uphold the standards of humanity...nor the standards of American Soldiers.

I hope you spend at least 20 years in Leavenworth. And given that the jury that convicts and sentences you will be made up of real Soldiers, I'm pretty certain that you will.

Standards. Perhaps if my father had asked of you to "be a good soldier"...perhaps you might have understood a standard so simple.

Instead, you are despised. And in my mind you can never, ever atone for what you did to the reputation of the United States Army and the United States of America.

(Tim's note: The preponderance of stories out there today deal with this subject or the mortar that took too many US lives west of Baghdad. Pardon me if there is not much else to post today.)

Day 358 of CPT Patti's deployment.