color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: September 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Love you, too, Mom... I will.

My cell phone rang...

Actually, the area of my cell phone was vibrating just as we were walking into The Kingdom (more on that later). I was originally going to ignore the fuzzy buzzing, but as I was just inside the doorway, I looked to see who was calling. I didn't recognize the area code, but there were those last four numbers telling me it was coming through a DoD switching station. We'd become accustomed to those last four numbers when Noah and Our Guys were in Iraq the last time.

At first, there was that pause and fleeting moment of confusion 'cause, of course, Noah's not there, he's here... and just as quickly I knew it was someone calling from The Sandbox. Having had one of those calls once, my heart did a quick uptic in beats as I reversed course back out to the lobby, flipped open the phone and said, "Hello?"

"Hey Mom!!"


"Hey V.!!"

Fortunately our numbered theatre was at the end of the long hallway and there was a comfy bench as I sat to enjoy a lengthy call with one of Our Guys. I have had a few calls from the Guys since they deployed back in March, but they are usually brief due to calling on the run or after just getting back from an Op on their way to breakfast and/or sleep and typically asking us to forward messages to people or the Rear D at Ft Benning or quick thanks for packages...

Their FOB and their living arrangements are much MUCH better than OIF3 when they endured truly bleak conditions near Baqubah and then in Ramadi -- even to having a coffee shop at the FOB. He describes the newest living arrangements and says that it is quite pleasant compared to the overcrowded conditions back at Kelly Hill. He says they received our most recent packages and was again thankful for the little pleasures... V says they are very busy out where they are and are outside the wire every day... and he says there are always plenty of bad guys willing to give up their heads to see if they can outshoot the Americans and the IA and IPs... and he ends with a short laugh. While he's not in the same platoon as Our Guy R, he does see him occasionally and says he's doing well and also sends his thanks and love.

He asks how Noah and M are doing and we talk about the continuing delays and red tape and paper work associated with getting benefits already earned (more on that later, too) and I could actually hear the disdain and sneer in his voice when he said, "Yeah, they can break 'em but not pay 'em..." Wonder how the Army and the VA and our esteemed Congresspeople feel when they know guys in service to this country -- putting it on the line every day -- have no faith that their needs can be met and debts repaid as promised?

He says he's going before the promotion board within the next few weeks. "Oh, that's great, V -- finally decided to go E-5?" I chuckle. "Well, hell, Ma," he says, "if I have to give 'em another 6 [years], I might as well do it in style," he laughs loudly. He tells me what month he has pulled for his mid-tour R&R and promises to call as soon as he has his exact dates as he will travel West to see his family and then we will all be within spitting (or at least driving) distance of one another... and we name potential places to meet (like VEGAS since he has a brother close by!!) and, although he doesn't think his R&R will coincide with our time at the
BlogWorld Expo, if it does, we'll hope that one of the famous (or is that infamous?) "Our Guys" can poke his head in for a day or two! I tell him he might get the chance to go to a college football game if he's home around Veterans' Day since Noah is doing the coin toss as part of the Wounded Warrior Project which V thinks is terrific and says he thinks the Guys will get a kick out of that... and says how proud he is of his brother [Noah]...

We talk for a little while more about people we know... his family... things going on... Noah... he says how much he misses him this deployment... how they talk about him and he can't wait to tell the guys that he talked to me.... and all too soon I get the dreaded, "I gotta go, Ma." I tell him we all love him and that we think of him and the others every day... that they are always in our thoughts and hearts... I think he got a little choked up... I know I did. I closed the conversation the way I always do with all my Guys, "I love you, son. Stay safe. Come home soon." And he closed with the words they all say, "Love you, too, Mom... I will."

As I walked back into the movie theatre I had a smile on my face and in my heart, but a tear in my eye...

The Kingdom (the movie)

Now, as for "The Kingdom" -- not anti-American particularly... action sequences pretty good... graphic... if you suffer from combat-related PTSD, the bombing and firefights may be a bit too intense... while I thought the scenes graphic, I also thought it necessary if it convinces just one person of the nature of the beasts we fight... the movie's a little fuzzy on the politics... the only real message is "It's going to be a Long War." Finally, most of the film is shot in close up and shaky in many scenes -- jumping quickly from scene to scene and back... if you get motion sick easily do not sit too close and a scopolamine patch might not be out of order. Worth the money? Yea.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Having a relative or two who lives or has lived in the Peoples Republic of Boulder, nothing surprises me... OK -- almost nothing. But just a question... who the heck are these kids' parents (nah... I don't want to know).

Once again, there is no "separation of church and state"... For those not familiar, please read the entire text of the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It's freedom from a [mandatory] state religion and freedom OF religion if you voluntarily have one... And if you read that as liberally as you can, it means no one may be able to make you say "under God" (such a stretch on the whole state religion tact) but it doesn't mean you should be able to disrupt an entire school because you don't (say it).... and as I understand it, the Colorado law permits a student to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, but does not mandate students recite...

So just sit there and amuse yourselves... text someone or something... then get over yourselves.

Bill Still Doesn't Understand

I mean, these are the people that funded the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. And the president appointed one of the principal founders of the Swift Boat ads to be an ambassador," Clinton added. "But they're really upset about Petraeus. But it was okay to question [Massachusetts Sen.] John Kerry's patriotism on a blatantly dishonest play that had dishonest claims by people that didn't know what they were talking about."

When you have a former President and, of course, only coincidentally the husband of a current candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying things like this, I fear there is nothing to do but shake my head in disbelief (or disgust... can't decide which just yet. OK. settled. disgust.)

I just have to imagine that Bill is feigning his outrage and that his stance is completely disingenuous... because I cannot believe that he cannot (or will not??) differentiate between an ad by gentlemen who actually served with Kerry questioning the truthfulness and integrity of a political candidate (imagine that!) based on that candidate's hatchet job on soldiers and Marines SHAM testimony many years before, and the outright attack by a political organization on the integrity of the military (read non-political) commander of troops fighting a war immediately prior to his sworn testimony before Congress. You just can not be that dense, Bill.

"This was classic bait and switch — focus on that [the ad] as opposed to focusing on what's happened," the former president said.

You mean focus on the success of the Surge??? That's what the General said, Bill. Success. Said it's working. Why don't you and the Mrs. focus on that, Bill??

Don't suppose you're trying to keep from focusing on the fact that Hillary (oh, dear Hillary) called General Petraeus a liar to his face from prepared remarks that she drafted even before she had heard a word of his testimony. And, Bill, I still find it truly despicable that your wife has refused to refute the attack so as to not upset that political money and PR machine. Bill didn't understand about Honor or Service when he was President, and neither he nor she understand now. And no amount of "all due respect" and "brave men and women of the military" and "the sacrifices of their families" will make this go away nor make it right.

And just so we're clear: I am not a Republican and my outrage at the attack is neither feigned nor disingenuous.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I'm running out of bridges here...

For those at Columbia or those (like I) who listened to the dear, peace-loving, "I embrace everyone in the world" Mahmoud and actually believed the crap he spewed, do I have a bridge for you!!

Absolutely no homosexuals in Iran, llllooooooovvvvvvveeeeeeeee the Iranian women... (did you know that they actually respect their women by keeping them from all the responsibilities that men in Iranian society have! Who knew??)... they only kill criminals... refused to answer questions about whether Iran wants to obliterate Israel, whether they have put homosexuals and women to death for sexual conduct (launched into "we only kill criminals"... so I guess those were criminals?), and -- this made me drop my jaw in total amazement -- "We don't need to resort to terrorism. We've been victims of terrorism, ourselves,"!!! Jeesh, do I have a bigger bridge for you if you bought that shite. Hoooboy. I have never seen manure spread so thick... and he rivaled any American politician in not answering the questions asked.

And good on Lee Bollinger for his opening remarks! Completely unexpected -- but warmly welcomed by this blogger (and everyone should take the time to read the transcript of those remarks when they are published or watch the video link... It was almost the best verbal lashing and flip off of "a petty and cruel dictator" ever!)

And what was that Mahmoud crap about "we have always wanted to negotiate with the US" -- yeah, on your terms... and so long as Mahmoud can dictate the topics... but it would hardly be a discourse to try and solve the problems of the world (many of them the result of Iran's (and Syria's) instigation.)

I am more convinced than ever that the guy is a nut case (unfortunately, a dangerous nut case)... and for those students who actually "hope" that the Iranian people will hear the questions rather than just the posturing answers of Mahmoud, I have another bridge you might be interested in... and I was just absolutely dumbfounded that there were actually people in the audience that cheered anything that a$$hat said... but it at least identified the openly anti-American plants students...

and for those who think Mahmoud's "invitation" to visit any Iranian universities they wish and to speak to all the students and who actually think those students would be free to talk openly and say whatever they want?? Well, I'm running out of bridges here...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Isn't it rich? Isn't it queer?

Farcical and ironic that the guy who imprisons, tortures and murders those of his citizens who wish to exercise a freedom of speech, yet wants to come to America and flaunt OUR right to Freedom of Speech??

And as for Columbia University's position that you don't have to like the message to entertain the messenger? On that premise, you would have also welcomed Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Saddam, Pol Pot... executioners of millions who did not even have the right to attend school...

Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer?
And where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns....

Don't you love farce?
Sorry, my dear.
But where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don't bother, they're here.

(with all apologies to Stephen Sondheim (Send in the Clowns)

Why doesn't the thought of the Clown and this guy with a nuclear weapon scare you as much as it scares me??

And if crimes against their own people (see below) were not enough to keep this unbalanced mad man out of our country, the FACT THAT IRANIAN-FUNDED AND SUPPORTED MILITIAS AND WEAPONRY SUPPLIED BY IRAN ARE KILLING AMERICANS should be enough... see HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE

The following are quotes from Mr Ahmadinejad since he took office in August 2005.

A nation which has culture, logic and civilisation does not need nuclear weapons. The countries which seek nuclear weapons are those which want to solve all problems by the use of force. Our nation does not need such weapons.

We are asked why we have started [nuclear] research. We answer that there is no limitation to research. There are no limits imposed on research in NPT [Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty] or in the Additional Protocol. Nor have we made such a commitment. Research is necessary for the life and dynamism of a nation.

The UN Security Council has been set up for the world security. Is the UN Security Council a mere tool in their [Western powers] hands to use at their will - threatening to send our case to the UN if we refuse to comply with their demands? Our understanding is that the UN Security Council belongs to all nations and is not a tool for a few countries. Why do they use it for their own purpose?

As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map.

They have created a myth today that they call the massacre of Jews and they consider it a principle above God, religions and the prophets.

The following from Human Rights Watch January 2006 report:

Respect for basic human rights in Iran, especially freedom of expression and opinion, deteriorated considerably in 2005. The government routinely uses torture and ill-treatment in detention, including prolonged solitary confinement, to punish dissidents. The judiciary, which is accountable to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has been at the center of many serious human rights violations. Abuses are perpetrated by what Iranians call “parallel institutions”: paramilitary groups and plainclothes intelligence agents violently attack peaceful protesters, and intelligence services run illegal secret prisons and interrogation centers. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elected in June 2005, appointed a cabinet dominated by former members of the intelligence and security forces, some of whom are allegedly implicated in the most serious human rights violations since the Islamic Republic of Iran was established twenty-six years ago, such as the assassination of dissident intellectuals.

Freedom of Expression and Opinion
The Iranian authorities have systematically suppressed freedom of expression and opinion since April 2000, when the government launched a campaign involving closure of newspapers and the imprisonment of journalists and editors. Consequently, very few independent dailies remain, and those that do self-censor heavily. Many writers and intellectuals have left the country, are in prison, or have ceased to be critical. During 2005 the authorities also targeted websites and Internet journalists in an effort to prevent online dissemination of news and information. Between September and November of 2004, the judiciary detained and tortured more than twenty bloggers and Internet journalists, and subjected them to lengthy solitary confinement. The government systematically blocks websites with political news and analysis from inside Iran and abroad. On February 2, 2005, a court in the province of Gilan sentenced Arash Sigarchi to fourteen years in prison for his online writings. In August 2005, the judiciary sentenced another blogger, Mojtaba Saminejad, to two years in prison for “insulting” Iran’s leaders.

The judiciary issued an internal report in July 2005 admitting serious human rights violations, including widespread use of torture, illegal detentions, and coercive interrogation techniques. However, the judiciary failed to establish any safeguards, follow up on its findings, or hold any officials responsible.

There is no mechanism for monitoring and investigating human rights violations perpetrated by agents of the government. The closure of independent media in Iran has helped to perpetuate an atmosphere of impunity.

In recent years, public testimonies by numerous former prisoners and detainees have implicated Tehran’s public prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi and his office in some of the worst cases of human rights violations. Despite extensive evidence, Mortazavi has not been held responsible for his role in illegal detentions, torture of detainees, and coercing false confessions.

Human Rights Defenders
In 2005, the authorities intensified their harassment of independent human rights defenders and lawyers in an attempt to prevent them from publicizing and pursuing human rights violations. The judiciary summoned Noble Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi in January 2005 without specifying charges against her. After she challenged her summons as illegal, and following an international outcry, the judiciary rescinded its order. In July, the authorities once again threatened to arrest Ebadi after she publicized several high-profile human rights cases. On July 30, the judiciary detained Abdolfattah Soltani, a lawyer and member of the Center for Defense of Human Rights, after Soltani and Ebadi protested the judiciary’s inaction in Zahra Kazemi’s case. No formal charges have been filed against Soltani; the judiciary appears to be using his illegal detention as a way to intimidate and silence other human rights defenders and lawyers. Prominent dissident and investigative journalist Akbar Ganji, who exposed the role of high-ranking officials in the murders of writers and intellectuals in 1998, remained imprisoned for a sixth year.

Friday, September 21, 2007


- - - - - - -


America has been blessed by the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who have answered the call to defend our country and protect liberty around the world. On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we honor a special group of patriots: those who have been prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action. We remain forever in their debt, and we renew our commitment to them and to their families never to rest until we have accounted for every missing service member.

To commemorate this day, the National League of Families POW/MIA flag is flown over the White House, the Capitol, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and other locations across our country. This flag is an enduring symbol that reflects our solemn commitment to our courageous service members who have been imprisoned while serving in conflicts around the world and to those who remain missing. America will always remember these heroes, and we underscore our pledge to achieve the fullest possible accounting for every missing member of our Armed Forces.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 21, 2007, as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. I call upon the people of the United States to join me in honoring and remembering all former American prisoners of war and those missing in action who valiantly served our great country. I also call upon Federal, State, and local government officials and private organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

See a Pattern Here?

To express the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.

NAYs ---25
Akaka (D-HI)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

Not Voting - 3

Biden (D-DE)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL)

And the esteemed Sen. Kerry, today talking about the Reid/Levin Amendment that would require the near-immediate surrender withdrawal of troops from Iraq, said that the current situation in Iraq was "like playing baseball without a bat"... well, John... better than playing without balls... [apologies to those easily offended].

Hoops & More Hoops: Shaking my head

Shaking my head at the moment:

Seamless Transition
, my... I thought they were working on getting this fixed?? Ha. Noah has been out of the Army more than 30 days and no one can tell him when his GI Bill will come through despite having filed all the necessary paper work and receiving "certification" before he left the Army!! The best answer he has gotten is "perhaps some time before year end." WTF??

AND while all his medical records were provided in advance and he has had the required evaluations from the VA (one happened within 7 days of his arrival but the other could not be accomplished for 30 days because they lack sufficient mental health evaluators! (arrrgggghhh) -- the evaluators then must send their findings to an outside agency that reviews it and prepares the NarSum (narrative summary) which is then forwarded back to the local VA (any time within 3 weeks to 3 MONTHS) who then reviews it and then submits it to the Regional VA Representative for finding and determination -- could be another 3 MONTHS!

The Army education fund (an amount in addition to the GI Bill.) Four years ago when Noah signed his Army contract, he took a lesser cash bonus to get additional funds for college. At the time, the difference between the GI Bill and the level of benefits Noah contracted for was a little more than $17,000 -- the amount of his "bonus" college funds. Now, 4 years later, the GI Bill is worth 25% more, but no one seems to be able to tell him whether the "cap" in his contract is also increased by 25%. If it has not, then his "kicker" is now worth less than $11,000 in additional funds (over 36 benefit payments.) If he had served his country any longer, his "sign on bonus" would be worth about $0.

College financial aid. Who cares how much money he made in the Army?? He's out of the Army and currently unemployed... as is his wife. They are looking for jobs but few employers are willing to work around a school schedule... or hire a pregnant woman... Perhaps Noah will find something closer to the holidays?? Same with unemployment: how long can it take you to figure out that he is unemployed, actively looking, and that he had earnings for the last four quarters? How can it take 8 WEEKS to answer those questions?

All this has not helped Noah's stress level... he worries constantly about paying his bills... doesn't help that he observed this anniversary, this anniversary and has mentioned this anniversary and this one as well... he knows those dates better than family birthdays or wedding anniversaries (well, except his own...) All things considered, he is doing very, very well in school (trying to get over his astonishment that each week more than 1/2 the students in his classes don't even bother to do the homework or reading assignments...) Currently he is at the top of his classes... Interesting dichotomy... his instructors have been extremely supportive and congratulatory towards Noah's military service, most students are completely neutral but he has encountered a few that have been openly hostile or derogatory to his service. He has engaged one or two who seemed willing to listen to an informed opinion... but usually he just shakes his head and moves on... knowing that at this stage nothing he says can change their minds.

I watched the "bloviating" on the re-introduced Feingold Amendment... if passed would have required surrender withdrawal of troops beginning in 120 days and completed by June 30, 2008... and all funding would cease June 30, 2008... the Democrats trying to do almost exactly as they did in Vietnam (sigh)... Amendment defeated: 20 for the amendment and 78 against... another amendment Reid/Levin (?) on the same topic with a word change or two which would require an even faster surrender... ever see that active graphic of the guy at the keyboard who pounds away until he's just a bloody pulp?? sigh...

And, lastly... "Instantly Slims You"?? Just what the hell do women who are this thin need with an "innovative tummy control panel" and "slimming stretch denim"??? (I have had that same thought for years every time the Lands End catalogs arrives selling "Slenderizing Swimsuits" that feature women no larger than a size 4). I love Lee jeans and would probably like LE swimsuits, but I'm thoroughly insulted that the idiots who put out these ads actually think I (and other women) believe that putting these jeans or swim suits on my size 10 body will give me a size 1 look! If you want to sell "slimming" products, could you at least feature women that actually need slimming??

Just a reminder to register for the BlogWorld & New Media Expo... and for the Milblogging Track at the Blog World Expo in Las Vegas starting November 8-9. Open to the public (but y'all have to register). Hope to see as many of you there as can fit it into your hectic schedules.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Just Absolutely Green with Envy

Some of my milblogger friends got to meet with the President earlier today... YES, of the United States!! (I was sworn to secrecy!!) All I can say is I hope I get on the list for the next time!

Go to Milblogs and follow the links to those blog sites... 'cause there is some stuff that seriously is worth reading. And be sure to check back over the next few days as these bloggers tell you all that they learned in a rather lengthy and forthright conversation with the POTUS.

with envy is an understatement -- not 'cause I am some fanatic for the President, but I do hold with his views on the importance of Iraq and generally on the War on Terror... waiting to see if any of the milbloggers asked the questions I might have asked and to see what the President responded.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Almost Farcical If It Were Not So Deadly Serious

It would be an understatement to say that I was disgusted and appalled at the behavior of most of the Senators and Congressmen towards General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. It took very little time to see that most of the people in attendance had no intention of asking appropriate questions or any desire to listen to the answers. It was almost farcical if it were not so deadly serious.

And just to clear up all those that were confused as to why testimony was occurring on Sept. 11 (attention Sen. Obama, Sen. Byrd, et al.): Congress said by Sept. 15... and since Congress does not usually work on Mondays (Sept. 10) and Congress is on a break for the observance of the religious holiday of Rosh Hashanah for three days (Sept. 12 - 14) ... that left 1/2 day on Sept. 10 and more than 11 hours of testimony yesterday -- Sept. 11.

After watching the hearings yesterday, I was especially shocked by the angry and/or condescending tones used by Kennedy, Clinton, Hagel and Byrd (to name just a few) -- regardless of all the self-serving (it looks good in print) "Thank you both for your many years of service" and "all due respects" flung about.

Here's some of what I blogged yesterday while live blogging the hearings on Milblogs:
... and I used to be impressed with the soldiers' constraint boots on the ground... just not sure how Gen. P doesn't let loose with an occasional "oh, STFU... do want to make speeches or get answers from someone that knows?"
And I was almost apoplectic this morning watching the "hearings" in Sen. For. Rel. [Senate Committee on Foreign Relations] when -- after every Democrat pontificating for their entire allotted time -- and BBoxer WITH full blown up pictures -- and then asking a loaded question and telling the General to please submit his response in writing -- Biden told General Petraeus (and Amb. Crocker) that "it would be in your best interest if you could shorten your answers a bit"... WWWHHHHHHAAAAAATTTTT????!!! aaggghhhhhhh

Update: onto the Armed Services Committee... and Levin is quoting Ralph Peters for a guide on foreign and military policy???!!!! I repeat: AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH
[Auth. note: I actually agreed with much of the OpEd Peters wrote... it was its use to open the hearings that set me off...]

Update2: and now Levin (after any number of speeches and not one single question 30 minutes in... ) is quoting a NYT article????? aaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhh basing his questions on "the NYT reported...???!!! (weep... weep... this is the best he can do??? ) time for a drink... thank God... it's McCain's turn... and BE STILL MY HEART -- he just asked a question of Gen. P!!! and now Crocker... REAL questions... on Iran.. on the contribution of the Surge to the turn in the tide in al Anbar... on soft partitioning... Iraqi police as failure... replication of Anbar success throughout Iraq...
And before I start on the next rant, a little background on the Clintons' attitude towards the military -- I mean, in addition to dismantling the military and slashing its funding: did you know that during Bill's years in the White House that the Clintons were so appalled by the "image" military uniforms presented that military members were forbidden to wear their uniforms at the White House??? So now let me ask whether anyone else sucked the air out of the room or lost their breath (gasp!) when Hillary called Petraeus and Crocker liars? Actually, the words she used to once again show the Clintons' absolute disdain for the American military was "the reports that you provide to us would require the willing suspension of disbelief"... I don't suppose that anyone else was not surprised that after the first 15 seconds, she didn't (or couldn't) look Petraeus or Crocker in the eyes?

If you missed it, here's
"Hilary Questions the General" at Tank at NRO

It was really quite clear that most of those doing the pontificating questioning over the last two days had no idea that the CIC (that would be Commander in Chief) told Petraeus, "Take that hill," and the General said, "Yes, sir."

The General has a mission and it is his job to accomplish that mission in the least amount of time possible using the resources he has available and with the least loss of life -- American and Iraqi -- as is possible. Period.

Gen. Petraeus can not testify to what the President considered when he gave the order although the CIC may have shared his considerations with the General... but Petraeus does not make the decisions on dwell time... he does not make the decisions on which units will rotate in... He may have opinions or thoughts on some or all of those things given his more than three decades of military service, but it is not his place to testify to Congress on his thoughts and opinions.

The General was required to assess the mission given by the President (and Congress when they UNANIMOUSLY confirmed him)... assess what he needed and will need to complete the mission... to assess what is working and what is not... He has assessed whether the mission can be accomplished and what is required (e.g., men, equipment, timing) to do so; it is his job when asked by his CIC to truthfully tell him those things. Then the President decides policy. In this case, the Congress legislated that the General (and the Ambassador) also report his assessments and recommendations to them by September 15. That is what Petraeus and Crocker did. And did well.

To Hilary, Teddy, Chuck, et al.: It is not General Petraeus's fault that you do not like the President or the President's policy or even that you do not like that the General's answers are not working to your political aims. It is what it is. This is the number of troops, this is the number of wounded, this is the number of casualties. He can tell you how many Iraqis have "stood up" and he can tell you based on what we know NOW how many he expects will volunteer in the future, how long it will take for training and when they might be capable to stand alone.

The General can tell you that the Iranians are supplying arms and fighters and that these actions are costing American lives in Iraq; he cannot tell you whether we should attack Iran for these acts. And if he could predict with complete accuracy when all the fighting will end, I'd tell the General to work on Wall Street and make far more than they pay him to take the abuse he suffered at the hands of insufferable people these last two days. As an American citizen, I want to apologize to General Petraeus and to Ambassador Crocker for the misbehavior of our elected officials. There is certainly little honor or decency among those thieves.

So where does that leave us? Petraeus and Crocker said there has been progress... measurable progress... and that it was likely that it would continue. They each testified that there is a real chance to stabilize Iraq and allow the Iraqis to continue making steps toward reconciliation and the establishment of a true democratic state that would not fail.

They each warned in no uncertain terms that failure would allow Iran to assume control of Iraq and to use the revenues and resources to fight against America's interests... including a base for al Q'eda and other terrorist organizations to train, plan and execute attacks against America and her Allies. There was no waffling on that. In fact, there was no waffling by either the General or the Ambassador throughout their marathon sessions before Congressional committees. They did not waiver in their testimony or their conclusions. It is the recommendation of a distinguished career military officer -- who serves the American people regardless of who is President -- and an equally distinguished career diplomat -- who also serves the American people no matter who sits in the White House -- that we continue in Iraq.

Finish the Mission.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's Always 9:11 Somewhere...

Flying the flag at half staff today, Patriots Day.

When I saw this sky last night, it reminded me so much of the sky the night of 9/11/2001 as I passed over the Tappan Zee Bridge and glanced in horror down the Hudson River towards the gaping hole in the sky where the Towers had stood that morning. Except that night the sky glowed red not with God's glory, but with the blood red glow of the flames that burned at Ground Zero... and the bright patches of the horizon were the billows and clouds not of Nature and beauty, but the klieg-lit smoke and dust of death and destruction wrought by evil, soulless, barbaric people who hate their God rather than love Him. It is the only conclusion in the face of the murder of innocents based solely on the words of a man... on the words of men in the name of the Almighty.

As is the case of most Americans, today we will speak of "where were you..." and our recollections of that day, of the emotions, of what we see in retrospect.

I certainly remember the sights...
but I am most struck by the sounds of that day... the crying and sobbing... the gasps... the cursing... the anger... the disbelief. As my twin said, "I must have said a bajillion times that day, 'I can't believe this is happening... I can't believe this is happening.' " Mostly I recall the silence.

The events of September 11, 2001 changed every American's life in some respect... some for better, some not. It changed the lives of many non-Americans that day... and continues to change lives as we go forward. Certainly the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands and wives of those murdered without warning or provocation live every day with the horror of the butchery of that day... and the result.

Within my immediate family, both my husband, a retired Navy officer, and the oldest son who was (and is) in the Navy, the fact that America had been attacked was a "Holy Shit" moment. The emotion in J's voice so clear when he said that we were now at war and the job of defending the country was no longer simply a slogan or idle words in an oath. The husband bewailing and regretting that he had retired from active service...

For the middle son, he thought about returning to military service; for the youngest, it solidified a lifelong desire to serve. I know that Noah and we could never have imagined on that day just where that would lead us all.

Without fail, every one of my family members uses the same words to describe that day: surreal... overwhelming... unbelievable. Me, too. But there was something else that was born that day for each of us: a commitment to be certain that we never suffer again as we did that day... To be vigilant against and united in the crushing defeat of terrorism and extremism everywhere.

As for me, the lasting idiosyncrasy of that day is this: every time I see a clock that has :11 at the end -- regardless of the hour, I say "It's always 9:11 somewhere"... followed at some point by, "and please, Lord, keep all our Guys safe... and if You can, please let them get some more of those f**kers today."

Closing with a note to General David Petraeus: HOOAH!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Osama Bama Bo Bama Fe Fi Bobama...

I started this post very early this morning but got distracted by life...

There will be many more witty, intelligent and insightful people analyzing Osama's tape (let's go to the videotape) today, so before I read any of them, let's start with this:

Dear Osama:

(t-shirt available here)

And Osama, babe, booby... judging from your new "look", I guess you must have read "personal communications for dummies" that said that gray hair and a pale complexion do not convey confidence or a "power" image... so you sat in your cave and put shoe polish in your beard and women's makeup on your face??? hohohohohoho Look! It's a real girlie-man!! You're a real poofter you are...

And you're inviting me to join Islam? You invite us to join the Islam that is responsible for this:

and this:

and this:

and this:

Whatever little slave of yours wrote this rambling piece of shit talks about the failures of capitalism -- I assume you've divested yourself of the tens of millions of dollars you inherited from your capitalist family? And this from a man who lives in a cave while most Americans and the British and others who EMBRACE capitalism live in comfortable homes with indoor plumbing and heat and electricity... access to schooling... and earning a wage and caring for their families... and giving more generously to charities to help the underprivileged than any other people in the world. And so many Muslim countries that have lived under the thumb of the Taliban and strict Islamic law live three centuries behind in poverty so crushing that death is a blessing?? And we should abandon all this for life in -- caves? uh-huh.

"He was against any American products and I can tell you this. He was against using ice and he actually forbade it on the people that lived around him." Abdurahman says.

"Anyhow the people smuggled it in but he had forbade it. He had forbade electricity even [though] he knew that they needed it, but he didn't want them in any way to be spoiled because with something that's how it starts, he says."

"He is against drinking cold water. Probably because he didn't believe in using modern [conveniences] because he wanted them to be prepared that one day there's no cold water, they'd be able to survive and it wouldn't be so difficult for them," Zaynab says.

"He did not like soft drinks," Maha says."He didn't like to buy American, but his kids sometimes would buy them," Zaynab says. "He liked them to live more natural." [Al-Qaeda Family: At home with Osama bin Laden]

And you call it a failure of Democracy... but wait - Democracy is spreading in the world.... now in Iraq... expanded elections in Egypt... an elected government in Lebanon... even Palestine... hell, even Iran claims an elected leader (however bastardized and farcical the process there). People are throwing off the artificial shackles of your version of Islam and accepting that the true concepts of Islam can influence their lives and guide whom they elect in government -- that religion doesn't have to BE their government. Muslims around the world reject your ideas of a Caliphate and communism and accept the principles of both capitalism and democracy as being compatible with Islam.

You (and the idiot that suggested it) completely mischaracterize some Americans disappointment with the performance of individuals within the democratic government as losing confidence in our system of government. Nothing could be further from the truth! We have the ultimate confidence -- for more than 200 years -- in the SYSTEM -- one that permits us to replace the members within the system regularly. It is why the elections here are so hard-fought, involve so many in the country and dominate the media.

The fact that the Democrats have not been able to "end the war" as you had hoped is evidence that our system works. In fact, the war has escalated with the Surge since the Democrats were elected! Because everyone knows the defeat of al Qeda in Iraq and everywhere in the world IS the wish and the will and in the best interests of the American people.... and freedom-loving people (of every religion) everywhere.

And the references to the Kennedy assasination (are you friends with Ollie Stone??), global warming (not made better by all your hot air, babe)... and mortgages and debt?? And you reference "the abject poverty and tragic hunger in Africa" -- but fail to mention the slaughter of 200,000-400,000 non-Muslims at the hands of Arab-Muslims in just four years. And then there's this and this and this and this and this... So much for all your examples of Muslims and Christians living peacefully together for hundreds of years. But these are "your" murderous Muslims... not Muslims who live by the whole of the Q'uran. You want me to join in your religion?? From a man who thinks nothing of murdering innocent men, women and children?? From a man who hides in a cave??

If you were truly a man of the Q'uran, you would not be hiding in a cave and ordering others to die for your religion while you hide like a frightened child... If you were so certain that your beliefs and convictions were right, you would stand in front of your mighty "army" and die for your beliefs... instead of hiding behind innocents. You should contemplate the fear you will feel when you must face Allah and answer to Him for your murderous ways in His name.

You released this video because we are making SERIOUS progress in our fight in Iraq... the truly Holy Muslim people are turning on you and your "fighters"... You are losing.

This video only proved that you used to be a caricature of yourself... but you have become a cartoon.

So, Osama, notice the Stars & Stripes... this family Supports Victory... in Iraq... in Afghanistan... and wherever freedom-loving people fight terrorists and extremists. Look closely, O... and remove one finger.

(this car magnet available here)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Breakfast with Some of My Guys

Had a wonderful breakfast with two sons this morning: one by blood (Noah), the other by blog (DocintheBox). Noah and Sean have known each other via email and MySpace, but it was their first chance to meet and share stories. Good times.

So good to see you nad spend some time. Hope the climb up the Thumb was fun... Safe trip, Sean.
Just a note: I'll be serving on a panel at the Milblogging Track at the Blog World Expo in Las Vegas in early November. Open to the public (but y'all have to register). Hope to see as many of you there as can fit it into your hectic schedules.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Please join us in this FLY THE FLAG campaign and PLEASE spread the word to everyone in your address book asking them to also spread the plan. We have about a week to get the word out all across this great land and into every community in the United States of America. If you pass this on to at least 11 people and each of those people do the get the idea.


On Tuesday, September 11th, 2007, an American flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States. Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this anniversary of our country's worst tragedy. We do this in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.

In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.

As many of those who visit here often know, I was an unwilling witness to the events of 9/11 and it forever changed my life, my perspective and the lives and actions of the members of my family. The war on terrorism is very personal in my world.

Action Plan: So, here's how you can help...

(1) Please copy and paste this into an email and send it to everyone you know (at least 11 people). For many of you reading this, I know I don't have to remind you how you felt on 9/11 -- those sentiments guide you daily -- but if you haven't thought about 9/11 in any meaningful way since then, I urge you to remember how you felt that day and the days that followed.

and then

(2) Fly an American flag of any size on 9/11 (but the bigger, the better!)

We fly the flag year-round at our house, but if you don't, then please make it a priority on this day.

Thank you for your participation.

If you're a blogger, please consider blogging this to spread the word.

God Bless You and God Bless America.