Friday, May 28, 2004


Way off topic, but too good not to note.

Gerhardt Schroeder, chancellor of Germany, is a member of the Social Democrat Party (SDP). It is no accident that the first word in the title is Social.

An SDP candidate recently criticized a large segment of the German population.
A candidate in the European elections has caused controversy in Germany by apparently suggesting women were "too lazy" to get pregnant.

The comment was made by left-wing Turkish-born Vural Oger, who is a candidate for the ruling Social Democrats.

He said German women were "just too lazy" to get pregnant, and added he couldn't believe almost half of the country's women hadn't conceived.

He also complained that they were putting his financial future and that of other adults in danger.

"It is simply impossible that 40 out of 100 German women are unable to have children, putting our pensions in danger," said Oger. much progress does that indicate over, say, this love of family by the Nazi's?
The perfect symbol of Nazi Germany was a "healthy fertile mother at home tending five or six children while the father worked or went off to war"...

To increase cultural pressure the Third Reich created Mother's Day on August 12th, Hitler's mother's birthday, and made it a national holiday so that the mother became a celebrated figure.

Heinrich Himmler attempted to do the same when he created the Mother Cross award which honoured mothers of large families. An Aryan woman received the bronze for five children, silver for six, gold for seven or more. The medal was worn on a blue ribbon around the neck and Nazi Youth were to salute any woman bearing this award.

I have an e-friend named Mike. He makes his living making films (there may be a more specific way to say that...I'm not certain.)

Mike has been to Baghdad at least twice since OIF started. He tells me he wanted to produce a film/documentary (I think) about, well, "the story". He met and followed soldiers. Shot film of the good and the bad.

He made friends with some of these guys. He's lost some of these friends he's made when those friends died in Iraq.

Of his film he says it shows soldiers as who they are. Human beings. See, Mike seems to trust us to be able to handle the fact that human beings are imperfect. So his film isn't one that portrays the US Soldier a la John Wayne. But, more importantly in my mind, it shows soldiers being imperfectly GOOD as well as being imperfectly bad...something that CNN can't seem to do.

So far no one will buy Mike's film for showing on TV or other outlet. It isn't that it isn't good. They've told him it is very good! But they think we the public want more of the same crap they show on CNN day in and day out. (I'm guessing prison scandal movie producers are probably in bidding wars for their films).

So here is my special request. I volunteered to pray that a buyer would come forward to buy Mike's film. Really, honestly say a prayer to that effect.

And I'm asking if you will do the same.

Because our Soldiers and Marines, imperfect as they may be, on the whole are good Americans doing good things. They deserve to be shown that way - warts and all (not "warts and more warts" as CNN does) by the public. And Mike is a guy trying to do that but the elites in the media don't seem to understand most that The America I Live In wants to see this sort of stuff.

So please, lets do our Soldiers and Marines a favor...and Mike too. Please promise me you will say a quick prayer that this film finds a buyer.

FRIDAY, May 28th.

Day 383 (one year, 17 days) since my darling wife left for Baghdad.

Sorry to be absent real life is interfering with my on-line life. And, frankly, that is a good thing. If that means I won't read 130 negative news stories for every positive news story about Iraq today, well, that might just do my soul some good.

I'll be here when I can.

Thursday, May 27, 2004


The navy tests a prototype Kerryer envisioned if the Junior Senator from Massachusettes wins the election, anticipating this will be the model he approves once he signs the Defense Appropriations Bill after he vetoes the Defense Appropriations Bill.
Photo: Erick McCarthy

(Thanks, Dave)

Setting oneself up for disappointment.

Rumors are rampant here in our little community. The rumor says our guys will be back earlier than we thought.

Pardon me if I am skeptical and pessimistic.

Apparently some folks "heard" the President more or less say it in his 5 point plan speech this week. Well, here is exactly what he said:
Our commanders had estimated that a troop level below 115,000 would be sufficient at this point in the conflict. Given the recent increase in violence, we'll maintain our troop level at the current 138,000 as long as necessary. This has required extended duty for the 1st Armored Division and the 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment -- 20,000 men and women who were scheduled to leave Iraq in April. Our nation appreciates their hard work and sacrifice, and they can know that they will be heading home soon. General Abizaid and other commanders in Iraq are constantly assessing the level of troops they need to fulfill the mission. If they need more troops, I will send them.
Now one man's "soon" is another's eon...but let's look closely at what the President said. In the same paragraph he indicates there are two options for force levels. One is to remain steady, the other is to go up. If they decide to go up, sorry, its too late to get the not-yet-moving guys here to replace us.

If troop levels stay the same, then those who were already alerted early to come take our place would have needed to be told to arrive in Baghdad in mid-June to make that happen. Meaning they'd pretty much need to be hitting the ports of Kuwait right now, in my estimation. Don't see that happening either.

We just read about 1st Armor Division participating in the renewed R&R program slated to kick off about 15 June. That is one month prior to our slated release date...which is kind of silly. So, I ask myself why would planners be working on a 1AD R&R rotation so a troop can go home for 2 weeks, three weeks before the unit is slated to leave Baghdad.

Redeployment takes many hands. The equipment must be scrubbed of sand and vermin to the satisfaction of customs inspectors. Can't see cutting a lot of troops loose before that is in place.

So, yeah...I'll rain on this parade, all the time hoping I'm as wrong as I've ever been.
The family of the murdered man begged the media to leave them alone in their pain and sorrow, but there was a forest of microphones and cameras being shoved into the face of his sister by the hyenas of the press.

The media wrap themselves in the First Amendment and proclaim "the public's right to know" but there is also such a thing as common decency -- or at least there once was. How much public demand was there to see the anguish of a young woman the day after her brother had been brutally slaughtered by terrorists whom the media have christened "militants" or "insurgents"?

Since the whole purpose of terrorism is to maximize the pain from whatever acts they can get away with, the media are making themselves accomplices of our enemies. Yet, despite their zeal for blaming others, there is seldom a second thought in the media about their own irresponsibility, not even after Communist officials in Vietnam have publicly admitted that they were losing the war on the ground there but were depending on winning the war politically in the American media.

Not one of the Vietnam era media stars has expressed the slightest sense of responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians slaughtered in Vietnam after the Communists took over -- more people than were killed during the war that they so much lamented. Nor was this the first time that more people were killed in a Communist country during peace than in war.

Yet the very same media can get very squeamish when anyone calls an evil empire an evil empire or an axis of evil an axis of evil. They were shocked when Ronald Reagan stood in front of the Berlin Wall and demanded that the Soviets tear it down -- but they were there with their cameras when the wall was dismantled...

What we are seeing in the media today is a degeneracy that is by no means confined to the media, and is indeed actively promoted in many of our schools that are busy breaking down moral standards instead of educating children...

Another sign of irresponsibility and degeneracy is the unbelievably cheap level of public discourse over political issues. It is inevitable that we will disagree over policies and laws. But it is not inevitable that this disagreement will take place at the cheap level of attributing sheer stupidity to a man who has flown jet planes that most of his critics seem unlikely to master.

Cabinet members who have sacrificed millions of dollars to serve their country are blithely accused of getting us into a war for the sake of money. The whole country is accused of going into Iraq for the sake of oil, when we pulled out of Kuwait when we could have had all of their oil more than a decade ago.
Public affairs officials say they have had a tough time convincing reporters in Baghdad to venture to this camp that serves as the major hub for coalition convoy operations. So the increased shelling of Anaconda over the last month has received relatively less attention in the media than the bombings 65 miles south in Baghdad.

And even for a handful of 1AD troops.
The Army will resume chartered flights for troops leaving the Iraq theater for R&R “on or about June 15,” and will boost the number troops leaving every day to between 500 and 600, said program chief Col. Paris Mack...

A message sent to family members this week by the 1st Infantry Division’s rear detachment commander, Lt. Col. Christopher Kolenda, said the division expects to get about 100 R&R slots per day.

That’s about 20 more than previously expected, he added, which would allow about 80 percent of the division’s soldiers to get the 15-day leave before its “window” closes Nov. 30.

Commanders of 1st Armored Division soldiers, who were extended in April for at least 90 days past their one-year deployment mark, have approved granting leave to some, and are working to send soldiers home, said division spokesman Maj. David Gercken.

In addition, the division is sending soldiers to Qatar for a four-day R&R program and working with the 1st Cavalry division to send troops to the Freedom Rest R&R site in Baghdad, Gercken said.
Most Americans express dismay about the abuse of Iraqi detainees by U.S. soldiers, and the nation divides on whether the Bush administration sought at first to investigate the scandal — or to cover it up.

Yet more than six in 10 also see these incidents as isolated, and say they should not cost Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld his job...

Twenty percent in this ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll say he should resign, while many more, 69 percent, say he should retain his position. Even most Democrats — hardly the administration's fondest fans — say Rumsfeld should stay.
Er...except that wouldn't be including the Democrat leadership to include John Kerry's website, or Al Gore, or Nancy Pelosi and assorted unnamed (by the media) Democrats or, Congressman Rangel and Senator Tom Harken, a waffling Hillary not to mention the Old Gray Lady

Now...remind me again, who is out of touch with America?
Radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr agreed Wednesday to withdraw his militia from Najaf and hand the city back to Iraqi police, the government said, raising hopes for an end to weeks of fighting that threatened some of Shia Islam's holiest sites.

The announcement by National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie took place after U.S. troops arrested al-Sadr's key lieutenant in a pre-dawn raid. Clashes late Tuesday and early Wednesday between U.S. troops and militia fighters killed 24 people and wounded nearly 50 here, hospital and militia officials said.

Day 382 of CPT Patti's deployment. One year, sixteen days.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Giving a Palme D'Or to Michael Moore? Sure. Then, let's give Nukes to the Arabs!
I have no hesitation in saying that we must consider giving the Arab side a large enough force, including a large enough nuclear force, to persuade Israel that it cannot simply do whatever it wants.
(via BlackFive)

Shared with me by the Lutz Patriots who, among other things, pass along cards from school children to our Soldiers and Marines in Iraq.
Dear Soldiers,
I hope you win the war. Please protect us from evil. America counts on you ! Come home safely.

from Patrick to soldiers

Click through the link to read thank you letters from Soldiers on the receiving end of the Lutz Patriots' goodness.

On this side, my wife has so far spent 381 days assisting in the liberation of 25 million people.

On that side, a woman the same age shows her panties.
Elizabeth Eve never thought of herself as an exhibitionist. But these days, the 33-year-old history professor with the gold nose ring can barely contain the urge to lift her skirt and flash her skivvies.

"There is something so liberating and exciting about it, you've got to try it out," she said recently as she fidgeted, fully clothed, on the couch in her friend Tasha's Manhattan apartment. "I was teaching a class on imperialism, " she continued, "and I was delivering all this material that was kind of new and upsetting, and everyone was getting all worked up and upset, and I was getting all worked up and upset, and all of a sudden, all I wanted to do was flash my underwear! It was crazy," she said with a throaty giggle.
LATE THOUGHTS: Don't know which is most surprising. (a) One considers the content of one's message to be worthy of no greater platform than one's underwear. (b) A college professor finds "Bush" jokes hilariously funny. (c) A history professor, presumed to be an educated authority in her subject, finds material in her subject to be "upsetting" (what...has something changed?) Or finally (d), this professor teaching about imperialism found something in history she believes she can blame on President Bush.

Positively loopy.

Awarded to David A. Soyka, of Poughkeepsie.
It just doesn't seem fair. First we have a cold winter and high heating oil prices. Now, with summer coming on, gas prices are going through the ceiling.

I was planning on driving across country this summer. Now what? Instead of taking over Iraq, why didn't our leaders take over a country that had a lot of oil instead?
What bad really looks like during a war.

CNN, Reuters and the NYT would do well to study a little history.
Unfortunately, 1776 was also the year in which the nation—and its revolution—was very nearly stillborn.

Notwithstanding the brave words of July 4, during the five months that followed the Declaration of Independence, American forces lost every battle they fought. They were driven from Long Island to Westchester, and then successively across the Hudson and Delaware Rivers into Pennsylvania. Manhattan became a Loyalist enclave, hosting British regimental balls. New England was under threat as a British fleet conquered Rhode Island and occupied the city of Newport without firing a shot. New Jersey was overrun by British and Hessian forces in a horrific campaign of rapine and pillage; many of its dispirited inhabitants—including one signer of the Declaration—gave up the patriot cause and swore oaths of allegiance to the Crown.

As the losses piled on, the American army suffered staggering casualties. At the battle of Fort Washington in upper Manhattan alone, 2,800 men were lost—some of them put to the sword after they surrendered—as General Washington watched helplessly from a vantage point across the Hudson on the New Jersey Palisades. By winter, the army was reduced to 10 percent of its original size...
The media aren't telling the whole story about Iraq, U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun says.

"Those of us who've been over there -- we see that the hospitals are open, the universities are open, schools are open and the electricity is on in Baghdad," the Kansas Republican told a Lawrence Chamber of Commerce forum Tuesday at the Hereford House restaurant, 4931 W. Sixth St.

"We see all these good things going on," he said. "But when we asked why the story wasn't getting back to the American people, we were told that when the correspondents call their editors, all the editors are interested in are body counts."
God bless him.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Democrat and a member of the Armed Services Committee, has angered some of his fellow Democrats by urging people in both political parties to "pull together" to finish the job in Iraq.

"We have to stay united here as best we can to support our troops," Lieberman said in a CNN interview Monday night after listening to President Bush's speech. He called the U.S. war in Iraq "the test of our generation," and he said if the U.S doesn't win the war over there -- "we're going to face it much closer to home in the years ahead."

Lieberman urged Americans to avoid joining a "chorus of doubters" that is undermining American support for the war.

He also -- to the dismay of some Democrats -- defended President Bush, saying the president "did what he has to do in this speech...which is to shore up American support to remind the American people why we must win this battle against the terrorists and the Saddam loyalists."
Why is it that urging folks in both parties to pull together would "anger some of his fellow Democrats"?

A Salt Lake City television station tries to address the story of Soldiers fed up with the all negative all the time coverage.
One soldier with the Iowa National Guard was so upset with this imbalance he saw, he wrote an E-mail and sent it to a dozen friends who sent it to their friends. Within a month it had gone global.

Sgt. Ray Reynolds, Iowa Army National Guard: “When you come home and see a lot of the negative, it tends to swing people the opposite way. I live in peace knowing there were a lot of good things going on."

Sgt. Ray Reynolds wrote, “…the media has done a poor job...” His widely circulated email reels off numbers on clean drinking water, kids in school and democracy in progress -- stories he says the media has ignored.

However, it’s not necessarily fair criticism of the media because the numbers in the email are not completely accurate. Nevertheless, the sentiment is shared.
Did you get that last part? It isn't a fair criticism because a Soldier gets some of his numbers wrong.

But isn't the point that the soldier at least tried to tell the story that the media doesn't seem willing to tell? And isn't it a reporter's job to go out and get the numbers right?

Not completely accurate? Let's discuss not completely accurate. How about the looting of the Iraqi National Museum that turned out to not to be so. The cries of "quagmire" when the 3d ID and 1st MEF slowed down due to blinding sandstorms en route to the longest, quickest storming of a nation's capital in history. Oh...and how about the repackaging of the General's comments.

You should be ashamed of yourselves...pointing to inaccurate numbers on the part of a Soldier as "unfair criticism" when you yourselves have turned your back on accuracy as a prinicpal of journalism.

Shame on you.
It is important for some of those nations that have carped and lobbed rhetorical missiles from the sidelines at U.S. policy in Iraq to participate in rebuilding that country. Terrorism is a threat to every nation, including the surrender monkeys who think they can buy off the killers through appeasement. No free nation is safe from them, and if they aren't coming after certain nations now, they will later unless they are stopped.

Great nations are called to do great and grand things. Freeing Iraq from her imprisonment while striking a mortal blow to terrorists is about as great and grand as it gets...

My guess is that it will work for one important reason. Our terrorist enemies do not have the power to defeat us in open war. Their power comes from promoting fear that leads to withdrawal and surrender. If we don't panic, they lose. If we withstand even homicide bombers in our country, they lose. If we fight fear with faith and confidence, they lose. Recall Franklin Roosevelt's brilliant line: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." They cannot defeat us any other way.

His visit turned out differently than that of Nick Berg.
Seeing life in Baghdad strictly from an Iraqi viewpoint provided a unique experience that has probably not been matched by many Americans during this conflict. During the seven days in Baghdad, I met and talked to a number of Iraqis who had personal contact with Saddam and his regime—some of it was not pleasant...

Living in a private home in downtown Baghdad about a mile from Saddam’s central palace allowed me to interact one-on-one with a number of Iraqi leaders. Several tribal sheiks from places like Tikrit and Mosul (ancient Ninivah) visited this house to speak with Fanar while I was there. I learned more about a luncheon that Fanar and another friend had hosted for many of the sheiks with their entourages from around the country on May 23, 2003, at his family farm about 15 miles south of Baghdad.

The 1,600 or more people who attended included Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Turk men and represented tribal leaders from the entire geographical area of Iraq. At this meeting, which was captured on videotape, these tribal leaders listened and expressed their support for a democratic movement based on the United States model being organized by Fanar and a close friend in order to participate in building the Iraq of the future. It was knowledge of this event that convinced me that Fanar and his comrades would become some of the real leaders on the political scene once the country is stabilized. ..

Virtually every Iraqi that I met told me, “It would be a disaster for Iraq if the Americans left the country now and it would be a disaster for America if the troops were pulled out the country at this time.”

It is because of Fanar, and the people who believe the way he does, that I have real hope for the future of this country of Abraham, Noah, Babylon and Ninivah.
Laboratory tests have confirmed that the chemical weapon sarin was in the remains of a roadside bomb found in Baghdad earlier this month, government officials say.

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday the finding verifies preliminary field tests that had indicated the deadly nerve agent was in the bomb.
Now I'll be the first to acknowledget hat one IED isn't indicative of a cache. But it is nerve gas. And pretty nasty at that. And it came from somewhere.
Sarin, a colorless and odorless gas, has a lethal dose of 0.5 milligram for an adult. It is 26 times more deadly than cyanide gas and is 20 times more lethal than potassium cyanide. Just 0.01 milligram per kilogram of body weight a pinprick sized droplet will kill a human.
Worrisome, at the least.

Day 381 of CPT Patti's deployment. One year, fifteen days.

And it's my mother's birthday. Happy birthday Mom! Your duaghter-in-law wishes you so too!.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


I'm certain this has been linked to all over the place. I'm doing so just so there is no chance any of the regular readers miss it.

A case study in selective quoting, without context, and how it advances the media's bias.

(Thanks, Sarah)

This is day 380 of CPT Patti's deployment. One year, two weeks.

I'm afraid I'm otherwise engaged today. I should be back on watch for the better news from Baghdad on Wednesday.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Those convinced that liberals make up a disproportionate share of newsroom workers have long relied on Pew Research Center surveys to confirm this view, and they will not be disappointed by the results of Pew's latest study released today.

While most of the journalists, like many Americans, describe themselves as "moderate," a far higher number are "liberal" than in the general population.

At national organizations (which includes print, TV and radio), the numbers break down like this: 34% liberal, 7% conservative. At local outlets: 23% liberal, 12% conservative. At Web sites: 27% call themselves liberals, 13% conservatives.

This contrasts with the self-assessment of the general public: 20% liberal, 33% conservative.

A story detailing how those of us deeply invested in the war on terror have tuned out the mass media.

(via Instapundit)
Don't come up to Jamie Young, Martha Morris or Donna Clemons and ask these local mothers what they think about the war in Iraq.

That's a stupid question.

Their opinion hasn't been formed by news media coverage, Bob Woodward's latest book, the loudest talking head on television or a presidential candidate. These local moms get their perspective from the telephone and from pictures sent home or over the Internet. They've quit watching and reading the news. They say the coverage doesn't provide the full story.

Endless days of big headlines and lead stories on prisoner abuse make one believe Iraq is just one big holding pen instead of a place where people can now protest openly and hold religious observances once banned. If any one of the 200,000 members of our armed forces is doing something right in Iraq, the average viewer and reader would be hard pressed to find out. Yet if there is even speculation of something wrong, it leads the newscasts and makes the front page.

So to form their opinion, these women rely on the personal reports from their sons and their comrades and Web sites devoted to their stories.
We've had this discussion among ourselves here frequently. And last week during one such discussion I was a bit surprised to hear myself say "If I could figure out how to hurt CNN I would."

Quite simply I believe the media dishonor our Soldiers and Marines with their unbalanced coverage of all that is bad.

It is true...I would hurt CNN if I knew how.. And not just CNN. The list would be lengthy. question to you you have any good ideas? Hit the comment and let me know.

The Army has asked for a temporary increase in "end-strength" of 30,000 troops - the equivalent of two new divisions - to see it through the stabilization of Iraq.

But why temporary?

Nobody - especially not President Bush - expects the War on Terror to end anytime soon. How does it hurt to bring the Army's active component up to 510,000 troops permanently?

Sure, the Army doesn't want to have to field more troops for the same amount of budget, and that's not an unreasonable concern.

But most experts reckon that it costs about $5 billion a year to field a division of 15,000 troops.

Even taking start-up costs into consideration, that's not a lot of money in the context of an $11 trillion economy.

Total spending on national defense stands now at less than 5 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

Indeed, just one-half of 1 percent of America's GDP totals a walloping $55 billion.

In that context, can America afford not to invest in sufficient numbers of well-trained troops?

It's still not clear how much 9/11 sawed off the American economy - but neither New York City nor the nation has fully recovered from it.

How much damage will the next attack do? And how much more likely will another attack be, if America's ability to take the War on Terror to the enemy is constrained by lack of troops?

Two unanswerable questions, to be sure. But adding two infantry divisions seems like a reasonable hedge.
Army reservist Todd Rosonke got the call, he answered.

A member of Company A of the Army Reserve's 389th Engineering Battalion in Iowa City, the 39-year-old left family, friends and a home in disarray because of an extensive remodeling project.

Rosonke spent a year in Iraq, and his duties included helping rebuild airports and schools and setting up bases for troops.

While away, he was unaware of all that was happening back home. He returned earlier this month to an overwhelming surprise.

"I felt guilty. It was almost too much," he said.

The farmhouse in Vinton he'd left in an unfinished state sported a deck and the interior had been completely redone.

"I kept thinking, he's over there for us and building all these things for everyone else, and here he is with a house that's kind of a mess," friend Nancy Stroschein said.

Stroschein became the unofficial project manager, organizing volunteers and businesses that went to work on Rosonke's house...

Stroschein's crews did electrical and plumbing work, finished drywall, painted, stained woodwork, installed hardwood floors and carpet and hung cabinets and doors.

Besides individuals, others lending a hand included Edwards Plumbing and members of the Knights of Columbus. Home Depot donated a portion of the cabinetry.

"This was all very rewarding for all of us," Stroschein said.

Rosonke was a platoon sergeant in Iraq and said he was honored to serve.

"I believe in the cause, and I think there is a true war on terrorism that needs to be fought," he said.

"I'd like to thank all of the American people for their support."

A few very close to home included.
By Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who, be the way, has a son serving in Iraq.
"I think all Americans would love their country if they had to live abroad for a while," Scalia said.
In between calls, firefighters from Station 96 spent Sunday morning cooking breakfast.

For many of them, it's just another day on the job.

However, for others, praying for the safety of US troops in Iraq has become a daily routine.
Not Tennessee...this Nashville is in North Carolina and has less than 5000 residents.
The donations ranged from a small bags of groceries to boxes of water and writing supplies to a $100 bill and other cash offerings.

Regardless of the contribution's size, Monica Worsham said, all of the items were appreciated.

Worsham and a small group of volunteers collected donations on Saturday at the N.C. National Guard armory in Nashville to provide care packages to the Nashville-based infantry unit serving a yearlong mission in Iraq.

"The people who brought stuff out really meant a lot to us," said Worsham, the unit's Family Support Group coordinator. "The quantity they brought was overwhelming.

"We even had one person stop and say, ‘What do you need?’ They went shopping and came back with a trunk-load."
Patrick spent a couple of days at a military hospital in Germany, then flew on a medical-equipped plane to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

"I didn't want him here by himself," said Judy Wickens.

The Army sent airline tickets to Judy and Keith Wickens, but Judy knew her son needed to see his fiancée, Amber Olsen.

Swanson and some determined cohorts hit the streets with collection cups. They went to businesses and received great response.

"We set up a table in front of the Albertsons store with a card for people to sign," Swanson said. "We asked for $1 per signature, but people gave $20 and $50 bills. We had little kids putting their bubble gum money in the jar and signing the card."

In four days $3,000 was raised to cover Amber's airfare and other costs the Wickens will incur during their stay.

The Wickens and Amber arrived in Washington, D.C., Friday.
Still, Keith Jett was able to share in his son's graduation night.

After photographs of Jonathan's classmates from childhood to the present flashed across a screen on stage, the music ended and photographs of a soldier in fatigues appeared. Then, a man's voice spoke, addressing Jonathan.

"Congratulations on this special day," the voice, a recording of Jonathan's dad, said. "There's not a day you're not on my mind."

Tears rolled from Jonathan's eyes as classmates sitting on either side held his hand. His father, a full-time member of the National Guard and a chaplain for the Decatur Police Department, told his son of the phrase he thinks of when he thinks of him.

"Nothing is impossible."

Keith Jett proved that by finding a way to be with his son. He ended by saying that after watching his son grow up, he was proud to say, "I'm a father."

Jonathan wiped his eyes with a tissue a classmate handed him as the lights flickered on, and his father's picture faded from the screen.
When our troops are putting their lives on the line for this country, thousands of miles away, surely it is not too much to ask of the rest of us back home to act like adults and put things in perspective - even during an election year. That includes the media. Sometimes the Fourth Estate seems more like a fifth column.

The story of what happened at Abu Ghraib prison was told by the American military authorities months ago. This was not some cover-up that the media exposed. What the media did, irresponsibly, was send inflammatory photographs around the world.

In an age when some in the media are gross enough to release photographs of Princess Diana's dying moments, perhaps it is too much to expect forbearance about releasing photos that can only help our enemies around the world.

CNN had the forbearance to withhold information about far worse things that were done during the Saddam Hussein regime for fear of having their Baghdad office closed down. But apparently that was more important than the war in Iraq...

The feeding frenzy over prison conditions in Iraq is just the latest in a long series of irresponsible media outbursts. The first sandstorm that forced allied troops to pause on the road to Baghdad brought out media cries of "quagmire." Missing items from an Iraqi museum while the war was raging provoked an international orgy of indignation against the United States - and nothing like an apology when the items were later found, in the hands of Iraqis.

The current urban warfare in Iraq, bad as it is, does not compare with the disaster created by the last big German counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. Yet nobody called that a quagmire or a sign that we were losing the war - and, in fact, the Germans surrendered less than six months later.

It is hard to think of a war in which we did not confront terrible setbacks at some point, including the American military defeats in the war for independence, the British burning of the White House during the War of 1812, numerous bloody disasters during the Civil War, and Pearl Harbor in World War II.
Alabamians can take pride in the accomplishments of the Alabama National Guard's 214th Military Police Company based in Alexander City, which started arriving home Saturday after spending a year patroling the streets of Baghdad and training about 3,000 Iraqis to take their place...

While a handful of members of a different U.S. military police unit may have acted in ways that embarrassed their nation, statements of members of the 214th made it clear that these Alabama soldiers knew why they were in Iraq.

"We played a major role in establishing the first Baghdad Police Academy. We succeeded there and we handed it off to others up and running. We graduated three classes of police officers, with 1,000 to 1,500 in each class," said Sgt. Frederick White of Alexander City.

White said said that being away from his family was difficult, but it helped to know they were involved in a meaningful mission.
Direct trade between Saudi Arabia and Iraq via the main border crossing at Arar will resume on June 1 for the first time in 14 years, sources told Arab News.

US-led coalition forces were making preparations on the Iraqi side to revive trade exchange in nine days, they said.

That is what most soldiers are. Read about one here.
Bowser found Febus’ wallet on the base around April 2, and sent an e-mail to his fellow soldier to arrange a meeting. Bowser tucked the wallet into the cargo pocket of his BDU trousers every morning when he got dressed, just in case he ran into its owner.

But before the two could make contact, Bowser was injured when a mortar hit near him on April 12, as he was stepping out of the PX.

Shrapnel peppered his legs and his armored vest, which medics said saved his life.

Worst of all was Bowser’s right foot. Shrapnel hit the arch and went out the back, shattering his heel bone and tearing most of the essential veins and arteries.

As Bowser was rushed through the military medical system, he kept the wallet with him.

He was airlifted to Landstuhl Medical Center, and finally to Walter Reed, where he surrendered the wallet to Bill.

Before sending it back to Melinda Febus, Bill took the wallet home.

“I got out the bleach and dish soap and sterilized it piece by piece,” Bill said. “I felt it needed to be taken care of decently.”

Meanwhile, despite their best efforts, Joe Bowser’s surgeons could not save his foot.

Day 379 (one year, 13 days) of CPT Patti's deployment.

I mentioned before that she had acquired her own phone. She called me briefly on Sunday.

She tells me that the folks in her office have begun a work rotation...and that if she is going to get a day off, Sunday is her day. However, yesterday was the first time she had actually tried to take the day off. (Turns out that while we were talking her boss called her in to work.)

But she did get some time to herself. And what do you think my darling wife did while taking some time off? She painted her toenails!

Now...I don't expect any one of you to be interested in the fact that CPT Patti painted her toenails. But I do find it indicative of something. I've mentioned lately that her spirits were down...this toenail thing tells me she is feeling better. How do I know? Well, the uniform rules on Camp Victory mean that she is wearing DCUs (Desert Cammouflage Uniforms) with boots or the Army PT (Physical Training) uniform with running shoes 100% of the time that she leaves her little room. Unless one were to visit her in that room, one would never see that she has painted her toenails.

So...she did it for part I am certain as a statement to herself that spending over a year in a war zone doesn't mean she can't feel like a woman from time to time.

You may be aware that the Army also has standards of appearance for women's hair while female soldiers are in uniform. This means that CPT Patti has to pin her hair up every time she leaves her little room. She told me yesterday that she had taken great delight in spending the morning with her hair down in a ponytail.

We also had a chance to talk briefly about her circle of friends. Since she has moved up to the Brigade staff she is surrounded by folks I have never met. She was telling me about the group of Captains from the staff who gravitate to one another in the dining facility or at the end of the workday. This is a nice group of folks she says...and she can't help but tell them so (please see reference above to "The Sweetest Woman..."). And it must have become a bit of a joke because she said "they laugh at me and say, 'yes Patti, we like you too'".

And they have nicknamed here the "Social Epicenter" of the Brigade Staff, as she tends to be the organizer of movie nights, game nights and such.

If it all works out she will call me again this afternoon. And I look forward to that.