Saturday, May 15, 2004


Zell Miller kicks off on John Kerry. It is a beautiful thing.
He called Kerry's Senate voting record on national defense "shameful," declaring that Kerry voted "against every single major weapons system that won the Cold War."

"The man now wants to be the commander in chief of U.S. armed forces? U.S. forces armed with what, spitballs?"

Miller said Kerry's handlers are trying to soften the Democratic candidate's image and depict him as an average guy.

"Look, John Kerry couldn't find Main Street with both hands," he said. "You can't make a chicken swim and you can't make John Kerry anything but an out-of-touch ultraliberal from Taxachusetts."

The 370th day of my darling wife's deployment.

Friday, May 14, 2004


The Passion of the Christ played in Giessen yesterday. I went to see it.

I cried all the way from Jerusalem to Golgotha. Plus some.

Got several quick phone calls from CPT Patti this morning...several because the connection failed repeatedly.

She sounds good, but also sounds as if a year of round the clock working is taking its toll.

She asks that we all continue to pray for them...their mission continues and has its share of danger.

Exhibit 15.
On a hot day last summer at Camp Bucca, Iraq, the iceman came but did not bring enough ice to be shared by the whole compound.

1st Lt. David Roberts, a military policeman with the Tennessee Army National Guard, remembers well how the cool stuff was distributed that day.

''The prisoners got ice, and the soldiers did without,'' Roberts said. Perhaps more than any other gesture, that indicates how seriously the 267th Military Police Company of Dickson took their mission of treating enemy prisoners of war in a humane way and in accordance with the Geneva Conventions rules, the officer said in an interview this week.

''Prisoners have never been treated as fairly as we treated them,'' said Roberts, who said he was as repulsed as the rest of the world by the photographs of nude Iraqis taken at a Baghdad prison by MPs from another unit.

''This has been a black eye for the MP corps, and that's a shame.''

Firm sends earplugs to GIs in Iraq
France wants time limit on foreign troops in Iraq
Question: Who the hell cares what France wants?

From where I sit France gave up it's vote on what happens in Iraq when it thumbed its considerable nose at the United States.

Even al Qaeda says al Qaeda is in Iraq.
A top al Qaeda leader in Saudi Arabia said Osama bin Laden's group was helping Muslim militants fighting to expel U.S. forces from Iraq, according to a statement posted on Islamist Web sites on Friday.
Hmmmm....perhaps that's why its called the War on Terror?

Two days ago I wrote:
Understanding this perhaps I can keep myself from exasperation...knowing that the reporting is not accidentally but deliberately skewed, perhaps it will bother me less that the press dishonors the service of my wife and so many, many thousands of her comrades.
Today, Charles Krauthammer writes in the Washington Post
But how do the actions of a few depraved soldiers among 135,000 negate the moral purpose of the entire enterprise -- which has not only liberated 25 million people from 25 years of genocidal dictatorship but has included a nationwide reconstruction punctuated by hundreds, thousands, of individual acts of beneficence and kindness by American soldiers?
Except, he says it better. Go read the entire piece.

Day 369 of CPT Patti's Arabian Adventure.

Thursday, May 13, 2004


The Boston Globe publishes photos it reports as US soldiers raping Iraqi prisoners...except the photos were not our soldiers, not from Iraq and were taken from a porn website.
The Boston Globe was reeling yesterday after graphic photos of alleged sexual abuse of Iraqi women by U.S. soldiers turned out to be staged shots from a hardcore porn Web site.

``This photo should not have appeared in the Globe,'' editor Martin Baron said in a statement. ``First, images portrayed in the photo were overly graphic. Second, as the story clearly pointed out, those images were never authenticated as photos of prisoner abuse. There was a lapse in judgment and procedures, and we apologize for it.''

The ``lapse'' came after City Councilor Chuck Turner and perennial pot-stirrer Sadiki Kambon called a press conference in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal to display more purported abuse photos. Turner claimed they came from ``a very legitimate person'' but admitted they hadn't been authenticated. Kambon said he got them from a representative of the Nation of Islam. Neither Turner nor Kambon returned calls.

But yesterday, reported the pictures - which show hard-core sex acts and genitalia - came from a pornographic site.
This is the same week that Senator Ted Kennedy slandered our soldiers by saying
"Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management — U.S. management
And this is the week Senator Kerry uses the prison issue as a political means of raising money.

Once upon a time things too out of line were "Banned in Boston". Seems of late the only thing banned in Massachusettes is any sense of shame.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT... Sarah's today.

This is too funny.

By one of our own from the 16th Engineers out of Giessen.

Go read it. Now.
Don't be seduced by those who would rather that we sit back and just enjoy the freedoms past generations of Americans have sacrificed to gain for us. This is our time to earn it. I remember President Bush saying after the September 11th attacks: "The commitment of our Fathers is now the calling of our time."
(via Instapundit)

Pretty good stuff, eh? If you thought so, then you will also really want to read this as well. It is from one who understands the situation over there far better than any of us sitting thousands if miles away writing about it. (via Smash)

And in the end...what to take from these? What strikes me in the first link is a glimpse behind the scenes, in which we see that some very smart folks (and the Army indeed has some very smart folks) have analyzed the situation, developed goals and objectives, laid out a plan to reach them, and are now knocking them over like tin ducks at a carnival shooting gallery. I think most folks simply don't have any idea of the intelligent, rational thought that supports our military operations.

And from the latter link? From that I take a renewed appreciation of how well our Servicemen and women can get to know the country and its people, and through those contacts, understand the issues and complexities in ways the popular media never will.

Have faith. Those are good folks we have over there. Good folks with good hearts, and good brains.

And a socialist weasel being a what he is.

Spain's about-face on Iraq demonstrates that principles are second to politics...and leaves her soldiers feeling empty.
In the old military city of Badajoz the sound of drums and trumpets that welcomed Spanish troops home from Iraq had given way yesterday to a discontented silence among men who feel they have let down their allies...

But as a small contingent of Spanish troops prepares to remove the last vestiges of the country's 1,300-strong presence, there are whisperings of discontent from those now returned.

Yet soldiers now regret leaving Iraq so hastily following Mr Zapatero's election victory on March 11, three days after the terrorist train bombs in Madrid that killed 190 people and wounded 1,900. They also expressed disappointment over a lack of official recognition on their return and the public's seeming willingness to forget them and their mission.

Cpl José Francisco García Casteñeda, who previously completed three tours in Bosnia, said: "We left our coalition colleagues behind and abandoned the local people, who are living in wretched conditions."

Sitting at the same cafe table, Sgt Manuel García, 31, went further in his criticism of the withdrawal. "We felt used and let down by the politicians. Zapatero made the move purely for his own popularity," he said.

Two weeks ago a beaming Mr Zapatero went to the Botoa base, 15 miles outside Badajoz, for the ceremony to disband the Plus Ultra II brigade after its return...

Mr Zapatero arrived after fulfilling his election pledge to withdraw troops if the military mission in Iraq was not put under United Nations command by June 30.

"It was just a photocall. He did not address us and the king did not come. No thanks were given. There was no encouragement for the job we did," said Sgt García. "It was a celebration for Mr Zapatero."

I'm not sure if it is deliberate or simply force of habit.
The U.S. Army, which is taking the bulk of the casualties in Iraq, is still getting more volunteers than it needs. Standards have remained high, but the numbers needed have gone up as well. With over 6,000 casualties in Iraq during the last year, the number of new troops needed this year has been increased from 72,000 to 77,000. Most of the wounded troops return to duty, but all are out of action for days, or months, or forever in the case of the dead and crippled. This is all uncharted territory for the army, as it has been over 150 years since it was in a long war with an all-volunteer force...

Anyone going to Iraq has a 4-5 percent chance of getting hurt. But so far that has not caused a decline in volunteers, despite media reports recruiting would suffer... One thing the army has noted is the increasing number of volunteers who are joining up not for the educational benefits or the money. Now a major incentive is patriotism. Many young Americans believe that Islamic radicals are a real threat to the United States and want to do something about it.

More insurgents? Nope...celebrations.
Iraq's soccer team, whose players were brutalized and whose stadium was used as a torture chamber under the regime of Saddam Hussein, qualified for the Olympics with a victory over Saudi Arabia.

The 3-1 victory, coupled with a 0-0 draw between Kuwait and Oman, gave Iraq a spot at the Athens Games this August. It's the nation's first Olympic berth in the world's most popular sport.

"Simply stated, this is the biggest moment in Iraqi Olympic history," said Ahmed Al-Samarrai, the president of Iraq's Olympic committee.

Gunfire echoed through Baghdad streets and flares and tracer rounds lit the sky as Iraqis celebrated the victory, Agence France Presse reported.

"Our entire country deserves this incredible win," said Hawar Mulla Mohammed, who scored the winning goal. "When the bus pulled into the stadium (in Amman) tonight, we refused to think of anything but winning, and now we are headed to Athens."

Iraq defender Ahmed Alwan added: "It's a crazy joy for us. Despite all of the difficulties we faced, we still managed to qualify for Athens."

Which, of course, we knew we would, once we took the offensive again.
Moqtada al-Sadr, the rebel Shia cleric who has led uprisings across Iraq, said yesterday he was ready to disband his militia although he still opposed the US occupation.

His comments came after US troops attacked his gunmen in the holy city of Kerbala, killing up to 25 near a mosque they had used to store weapons.

Mr Sadr, 30, has come under intense political pressure as the US military has moved against his fighters in Kerbala and Najaf, further south. Iraq's mainstream Shia parties have tried to convince the young cleric to disband his militia, the Jaish al-Mahdi...

"The dissolution of the Mahdi army depends on the religious authorities. If they issue an edict to disband the Mahdi army, we will disband," Mr Sadr said at the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf yesterday.
Uh...hey "religious authorities"...looks like the ball is in your court. And a whole lot of the world is watching.

What are you going to do?

Parts of the 1st Brigade are getting it done.

And never forget, please...we are at our best when we are on the offensive.
A religious leader offered to negotiate a truce between the two sides in Karbala, but was rebuffed yesterday afternoon by the local leader of the Mahdi Army, American military officials said.

American soldiers killed at least 22 insurgents in an 11-hour battle around a mosque in Karbala that began late Tuesday night. Soldiers killed at least three more in fighting in the same neighborhood yesterday, said Col. Peter Mansoor, commander of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Armored Division, who is charged with crushing al-Sadr's militia around Karbala and Najaf. At least seven Americans were wounded, one critically...

In Najaf, Shiite leaders said negotiations were under way on a deal that would include the withdrawal of American forces and disbanding of al-Sadr's militia. But other Shiites described the negotiations as extremely tentative. Shiite leaders said any deal would probably include delaying criminal proceedings against al-Sadr, who is accused of having a role in murdering a rival cleric last year.

Al-Sadr made no mention of the negotiations yesterday, but sent forth ambiguous signals about his willingness to give up without a fight.

Goes to GEN Peter Pace, Vice Chairmen, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

During a townhall meeting at the Pentagon on Tuesday, May 11th.
On the other hand...if you do not want to be caught doing something stupid, don't do something stupid.
Simple, ain't it?

The 368th day of my darling wife's deployment.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


And would you like to see a snapshot of the lunacy that exists in this world today? Go to the Google news site and search on "war on Islam".

I think you will be simply disgusted.

Then pay a visit to LGF and read the description of the beheading...or, if you are strong enough (I am not), watch the video. (Thanks for the link, Sarah.)

Seems to me certain followers of Islam are doing everything in their power to turn this into a war against Islam.

Oh...and Farrakhan...had this to say.
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said yesterday that the reported abuse of Iraqi prisoners by the U.S. military was the latest episode of unprovoked violence by the United States against Islamic nations and their people.
Emphasis added.

Gee...this is more along the lines of my concept of unprovoked violence.

Clearly the asylum is in the hands of the inmates.
That is what this whole thing is really about...but you wouldn't know about this story if you watch CNN, al.
About 1,000 people, including a few women in black veils, marched through the streets of Najaf on Tuesday to urge radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his followers to leave the city.

Tensions rose as the marchers passed by al-Sadr's office. Fighters from his al-Mahdi Army took up position and fired weapons into the air, but there was no clash and the march continued without incident.

Please go read his he goes down the list of why he's too busy to open his mail...seems there is too much development going on in Baghdad.

Not that you'd know if you watch CNN, al.
Here in Baghdad any one can see that the media is talking about Abo Ghraib more than the Iraqis themselves. Its not Iraqis they are crying on they are using this case against the Americans. Please try to answer these questions:

Is there any prison in the world with out humiliation?
Did any one talk about Iraqi human rights before April 2003?
Did any one ask what those people in Abo Ghraib did to be treated like that?
Can any Arab country open its prisons for any committee?
Would any one dare to criticize prisons system in any other Arab country?

(And...I grow up a little.)

You may recall my post upbraiding the soldiers who performed the acts of abuse/humiliation on the Iraqis in that prison.

I am reminded this week that much of what I learned while in the Army stays with me.

As a commissioned officer I had many occasions over the course of my career to redress acts of indiscipline on the part of soldiers under my charge. Though it seems usual to me now, I'm reminded that my approach of "deal with it then let it be done" is one I learned from the Army.

It is a simple equation...once the investigation has revealed the facts, address the inappropriate behavior, administer punishment and/or corrective action, then be done with it (with the exception of seeing to it that the corrective action has taken root and the behavior is modified.)

So...perhaps through that lens one can better appreciate the Army's approach to the soldiers involved in the mess at the prison. See...CBS and their photos didn't start the Army moving toward addressing the problem. The Army began its investigation months ago...the Article 32 investigation (grand-jury equivalent, more or less) has been underway since at least January...and the first court martial happens next week. This is hardly allowing grass to grow under the Army's feet. In short, the prescription (already in place) for dealing with misconduct existed already and the Army is following its application.

What the Army doesn't do is dwell, weep, whine, rehash and hand-wring.

Unlike CNN.

Unlike Congress.

Consider for a moment a very low point (for the Allies) in the European theater of WWII. Operation Market Garden...and the Battle of Arnhem. Some will recall that this is the basis for the book and film A Bridge Too Far.
Overwhelming though this colossal assault was, it was also equally flawed. Airborne troops are only lightly armed and their survival depends upon taking the enemy by surprise and reaching objectives before they have time to react with heavy weapons. However, so cocksure were the Allies in their view that the Germans were already beaten, numerous grave errors were made which doomed Market Garden to failure before a shot had been fired. Principally, there were not enough transport planes to fly all three Divisions to their targets in one go. Instead they had to be flown to Holland in three lifts, with only one lift per day.
This badly planned, poorly executed and generally unlucky attempt to seal the fate of the Nazis in September of 1944 cost the allies almost twice as many Soldiers as had the D-Day invasion.

So...what did the Allies do? First, they quit throwing troops at the problem. Second, they regrouped, buried their dead, dusted themselves off, then set out to find a workable path to victory.

VE Day came less than 8 months later.

See, the Army knows it has to move on. Why? Simple. It is move on or face defeat whilst one whines, cries, moans and wrings hands. And defeat is not an option.

However, under modern circumstances one has to believe that 8 months later CNN would still be showing video footage of the defeat at the Arnhem bridge over and over and over. One must believe that Aaron Brown would interview Judy Woodruff, and Judy would interview Larry King and Larry would interview Aaron Brown in a never ending circle of so-called-journalist spouting off to so-called-journalist about stuff they know less about than the millions of veterans across the land who have actually served their country with their name written on their chests instead of serving themselves with their names attached to some hour of news on television.

And Congress. I'm ambivalent on the subject of term limits...but these hearings offer the best argument in favor of such limits I have seen in years. The political posturing of members of congress on this issue is sickening. The number of congressmen and senators who are using this opportunity to pander to the cameras is truly disheartening. One wonders if there were no chance of reelection for many of them, would they act more honest, and less SHOCKED about it all.

Praise the Lord for President Bush's resolute appearance at the Pentagon on Monday to support Secretary Rumsfeld. "Shut up", said the President, in so many words, to those who want to create a crisis bigger than it really is.

Praise the Lord for folks like
Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma:
"I am probably not the only one up at this table who is outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment," he said. "These prisoners, they are murderers, terrorists, they are insurgents, many of them probably have blood on their hands. And here we are so concerned about the treatment of those individuals."

Senator Inhofe said U.S. troops are the ones who deserve sympathies. "I am also outraged that we have so many humanitarian do-gooders right now crawling all over these prisons looking for human rights violations while our troops, our heroes, are fighting and dying."
And now the Washington Times reports the incessant harping on the misdeeds of a fraction of our soldiers is killing the morale of the ones serving honorably.
The worldwide furor over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers imperils troop morale at a crucial time, say lawmakers from both parties...

"This happened in Vietnam," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican. "It's happened in other wars, where the troops wondered if people are really behind them."

Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, blamed Democrats who have been harshly critical of the war effort for eroding troop morale.

"I'm concerned that a number of members of Congress have lost their sense of balance," he said. "They think their role here is to bash the American military. It is demoralizing for the troops."

Mr. DeLay also targeted Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry for sending out a mass e-mail to supporters calling for Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's removal and soliciting campaign cash. It's "unconscionable," he said, for Mr. Kerry to use the abuse scandal as a "fund-raising gimmick."

"Frankly, it's disgusting," Mr. DeLay said.
Yes it is.

You can bet the soldiers of Our Guys...the men and women...the husbands and wives, the fathers and mothers from Friedberg and Giessen, the ones who were recently extended beyond an entire year away from their loved can bet as they witness the US media and the US Senate and the US Congress fixate on the misdeeds of less than one in every ten-thousand US Soldiers and Marines to have served in this conflict...well, you can imagine the soldiers of 1/36 Infantry, 1/37 and 2/37 Armor, 2/3 Field Artillery, 16th Engineers and 501st Forward Support Battalion just have to be wondering just why the hell they even bother?

But the Army drives on. They have no other options. Very few members of the Army involved in Iraq have the luxury of having secretaries cancel all appointments, and order talking points from staffers to ensure they can be glib and polished for the TV cameras. No...the Army is out there trying to help the majority of Iraqis give birth to democracy and freedom. But they are getting no help from the US media and little from Congress. In fact, I blame those two entities for making this worse.

Consder this quote from Arab sources last week
Could it be that the Iraqi people and as a result of decades of torture, humiliation and executions, took these crimes less seriously than the rest of the world?
Seems that last week the Arab world was a bit perplexed over the concern by Americans over relatively mild treatment of prisoners.

However, now, after a week and a half of non-stop coverage on CNN (seen round the world, in case you didn't know...) all of a sudden the humiliation of the prisoners is "such and affront" to Arabs that it requires a retaliatory beheading.
"How can a free Muslim sleep well as he sees Islam slaughtered and its dignity bleeding, and the pictures of shame and the news of the devilish scorn of the people of Islam - men and women - in the prison of Abu Ghraib?" he said.
Am I saying I fault CNN, CBS, other US Media, and the US Congress for the beheading (or apparent beheading) of Nick Berg? Yes I am.

If we had dealt with the story of the prison in the appropriate context and with the proper amount of import that it truly carried, my opinion is that the militant Arabs would not have found in this an opportunity to exploit through barbaric tactics the American fixation on relatively minor improprieties.

In short...had the media and the congress kept it in actual perspective, instead of treating is as a means to raise revenue, votes or campaign funds (Kerry!) - playing politics with the issue - this story would not be linked by militant Arabs to the apparent decapitation of an innocent American.

Which brings me to the point where I grow up a little bit. For I have been guilty of naivete. You see, I've been reluctant to give up my hope that those who purport to be in the business of reporting news in this world, actually want to do just that. And I've been inclined to believe that those who are elected to their positions by the voters of this country see such an election as being about service to the people.

But the more I witness the more I can't help but conclude that I was wrong on both counts. Those in the news business - at the upper echelons are driven to profit and to shape events. And many in Congress make it their first priority to get themselves reelected...second priority to push the agenda of their party, and service to the people, where it is a priority, is somewhere down the line.

Understanding this perhaps I can keep myself from exasperation...knowing that the reporting is not accidentally but deliberately skewed, perhaps it will bother me less that the press dishonors the service of my wife and so many, many thousands of her comrades.

For as the media and the elected focus inordinate attention to a story from months ago, the Army has moved on from Arnhem...and by now General Patton has orchestrated the breakout at the Battle of the Bulge.

We won't hear about it though...because our media and our Congress are still grandstanding on the failures of the Bridge Too Far.

Day 367 of CPT Patti's deployment.

I've had the opportunity to do some thinking over the last few days.

Today will be a day of catching up on my thoughts.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Day 366 of CPT Patti's deployment in on behalf of her country and of humanity.

One (leap) year.

One year ago we had no idea how long they would be gone. Some were betting on 6 months, citing Bosnia and Kosovo as the precedent.

I was thinking nine months might be about right.

Long time readers know we've had the goalposts moved several times since then. has been a year. Today I am putting together a special box for her...stuff that will appeal to her softer side...and will be sending it once the last item arrives in the post.

How many couples ever celebrate an anniversary of a year apart?

Me...I don't want to do such again.

Monday, May 10, 2004


Day 365 of CPT Patti's deployment.

I don't get to call it a year yet...since 2004 is a leap year - February had an extra day in it.

That notwithstanding, it certainly feels like a year.