Sunday, November 9
I was hoping the first black president would be a man or woman with American history in his/her bones -- up from slavery to the highest office. Someone who had a record of empathy for ALL americans, not just a few.
But life just doesn't work that way.
I'm horrified that there are statistics that say Americans don't support a society in which its productive citizens are taxed so that those who aren't as successful get free handouts and yet they voted for those very programs.
I am deeply disappointed in journalists who forgot how to be journalists and refused to "vet" the candidate. They have, in effect, but an office boy behind the CEO's desk.
I am amazed at the ignorance of those who say that Obama's election destroyed racism in America. It has, in fact, proved that America is very much a racist society -- that black people will vote for someone because he's black and white people will vote for him because he's black. And the fact that there are those who will read this paragraph and call me racist also proves my point.
But when Obama is President then I will support him for that reason alone -- that he is President of the United States. I won't call him names or insult him or say he's dumb like people have done to President Bush, not because I don't think those things -- and when he does dumb things I'll call him out on them -- but because it's disrespectful. He gets my respect for the office he holds.
I do think the nation has made a serious mistake and it has made them for all the wrong reasons. We will see.
Sunday, November 2
Hitler did that. He called them Storm Troopers. He used them to round up the Jews and scientists, writers, and anyone he considered a threat and took them to gas chambers. The German people (for the most part) were too frightened to object.
And just what are those national objectives that must be achieved by force?
Saturday, November 1
Iranian parliamentary speaker 'Ali Larijani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah 'Ali Khamanai have launched harsh verbal attacks against the United States.
"The US method and conduct, expressed by this aggression, will only be stopped by a clear-cut and unexpected response, whose grounds were set by the martyr Hussein Fahmida," Larijani said during a parliamentary session on Wednesday.
..."America should be aware not to put its huge body on top of the suicide bombers' explosive devices," Larijani said.
On the same day, Khamanai said the differences between Iran and the US were far beyond differences of opinion.
The question now becomes: do we want an appeaser like Chamberlain before WWII at the head of our government or an ex-soldier who will protect and defend the US?
He's going to do exactly what Bill Clinton did: he's going to say he can't afford to give out the promised doles and he's going to have to raise taxes after all. Then he's going to tax social security income even more than it's taxed already.
Let's look at who's selfish. Obama is a millionaire and yet his tax records say he gives less than 3% to charity. Heck, we pledge 10% to our church and don't take the tax write-off. (After all, if you take something back, you haven't given that portion!) Every minute of Obama's adult life has been dedicated to serving himself -- if he had truly been putting his "money where his mouth is" he wouldn't have accumulated enough to buy a million dollar home. He wouldn't have even wanted one. And Michelle sure wouldn't be buying caviar and champagne for afternoon snacks.
I had some respect for Obama until he came out with that nasty little comment. That shows who he really is -- and I have NO respect for him. He's a slick, nasty little two-bit politician and if he is elected, some Americans will get what they deserve. The rest of us will just have to suffer.
Wednesday, October 29
Monday, October 27
So Palin got it right - the French project she referenced in her remarks on earmarking involved the olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae) - a tehpritid.
But do you think for one second that her detractors would bother to do the research to find out the specifics? Not at all.
They are too busy turning blind eyes to truth, defending the indefensible Obama.
Sunday, October 26
Now I realize what it is. It's very well defined in the following article:
by David Warren
For all the figurative heat of crashing markets, impending recession numbers, carnage in the commodities, the flying squirt-bomb of the American dollar, the cat's cradle of international political crises, humanitarian disasters across Africa, the usual Islamist terrorism, and the deep winter freeze portended by another flatlined solar magnetic low -- there is Hope. But that is of another world. Hope, in this world, must be for the right things.
My column today may be read as an extension of what I wrote Wednesday for this page. I concluded those remarks by noting that if, by a surprise that is not implausible, McCain wins, we may have riots across the United States starting in Grant Park, Chicago, and an uprecedented outpouring of anti-American venom across 24 time zones. (Take France, for example, where support for McCain was clocked in a recent poll at one percent.)
I had doubts about John McCain -- not as a man, but as a presidential candidate -- from the beginning. I preferred George W. Bush in the Republican primaries of 2000, because he was not McCain. I preferred Rudy Giuliani at the beginning of this year's cycle despite my considerable distaste for his views on social issues. But given a choice between McCain and Obama -- were I entitled to vote in an American election -- I would now pull the lever for the Republican slate without the slightest compunction.
Moreover, McCain has grown in my estimation, as circumstances have changed. He has in may ways earned his maverick reputation, together with a reputation for incorruptible patriotism. He's the guy to make politically risky and potentially unpopular decisions, in the face of the recessionary slide; and crucially, he's the guy to make America's most loathsome and unpredictable enemies (who are also our enemies, lest we forget) not want to test him. In his appointment of Sarah Palin, for all the sneers of the urbane and over-educated, he has suggested a way forward in which America retrieves her "core values," which include cutting through the blather of conventional "expertise" and distinguishing right from wrong.
McCain is a man of action and accomplishment, Obama a man of "charisma" and pretty words, whose only real accomplishment has been his remarkable self-advancement. And Obama's policy outlook, so far as it can be discerned from the usual electoral pronouncements, consists of the same snake oil the pre-Clinton Democrats had been selling continuously since they chained the Great Society to America's ankle; that is, a constantly expanding Nanny State. I am hardly reassured by Obama's last-lap rhetorical reassurance: You don't send a man to Washington with a trillion dollars of candy-shop promises on medicare, education, government job-creation, "spreading the wealth," -- especially when the economy has just tanked.
I wish that were the worst I could say about ths man, who has survived nearly two years of campaigning for President without serious cross-examination from either the media or his media-chastened opponents. A man who, should he win the election and serve one term, will have been President of the United States longer than he has held any steady job.
In my world, you don't humour a politician who presents "Change," "Unity," and especially "Hope," as hypnotic mantras, with the power of enchantment over very large crowds. And you especially don't humour such a politician at a time when both country and world are unstable, and hard decisions will have to be made.
Deeper than this: Obama has presented himself from the start as a messianic, "transformational" leader -- and thus played deceitfully with ideas that belong to religion and not to politics. That he has done this so successfully is a mark of the degree to which the U.S. itself, like the rest of the Western world, has lost its purchase on the Christian religion. Powerful religious impulses have been split, secularized.
In this climate, people tend to be maniacally opposed to the sin to which they are not tempted; to giving Christ control over the things that are Caesar's. But they are blind to the sin to which they are hugely tempted; giving Caesar control over that which are Christ's.
"Faith, hope and charity" are Christ's things. They apply, properly, outside time -- to a "futurity" that is not of this world. They must not be applied to any earthly utopia. A Caesar who appropriates otherworldly virtues, is riding upon a very dangerous illusion. Follow him into dreamland, and you'll be lucky to wake up.
I wish I had written that.
Saturday, October 25
Friday, October 24
There is nothing on this earth that would convince me that Barack Obama should be President of the United States. Certainly not now, before he has accumulated a professional reputation and accomplished something -- anything -- of value. Probably never because he is a liar. I have no respect for him -- none at all.
I don't like his stand on abortion.
I do like Sarah Palin's values. She has a set of personal ethics and values and she lives by them. Because she does, she is learning what a blessing a "disabled" child is. I was shocked to learn recently that 90% of Downs babies are aborted. I have a grandson who has Downs Syndrome. We would not have chosen that for him, but we are blessed to have him. He is the dearest, most trusting and loving child I have ever seen. Now that we know him, we couldn't live without him!
Palin is good for John McCain. She's tough and she gets things done. He needed her to help him when he fought Congress on a number of issues. She makes him stronger (and he's no weakling in his own right).
One thing I've noticed in this election cycle: Sarah Palin has proved to be the catalyst that showed McCain exactly who his friends are and she showed the rest of us who the wolves in sheep's clothing are. Because of the prejudice and racism of the mainstream media (and it's as racist to support someone because they're black as it is to oppose them for that reason) she has had the opportunity to show what she's made of. That turns out to be pretty strong stuff.
Take Charlie Gibson's interview, for example. That one backfired on him -- it showed him to be a smug elitist snob. The question on the Bush "doctrine" was as artificial as the man himself. I was shocked and hurt by that because I've been a fan of his for years. I quit watching ABC news after that and wrote each of his sponsors that I would no longer buy their products (no great loss, that).
Then perky little Katy Couric stepped up to the plate and showed her mettle. I thought Palin was quite the lady for not saying that she read GQ and Mad Comics, which is what I would have said to such an insulting question. I took the question about magazines as saying, in effect, "What magazines do you ignorant imbeciles read in those long, cold winters? Surely nothing I would want to read," Obviously Couric's mother never taught her even the most rudimentary manners -- however, that seems to be true of most Democrat women. Lady Rothschild excepted.
Then this sick little guy from NBC last week who (wrongly) told Palin in an interview that a writer from the National Review called her some pretty ugly names. That was a lie -- the writer of the article he quoted said that about the media for the unfair way they have portrayed Palin. Always respectful and kind, Palin punted -- beautifully.
I find all of this amazing. I would have lost my temper long ago and I'm certain I would have, at some point, stormed at someone (hopefully in the style of Dixie Carter playing Julia Sugarbaker, that is with a vicious vocabulary devoid of cuss words). Palin is cool and collected under pressure and personal insults. A lady clear through in spite of her lower middle-class background. Her behavior elevates her far above her female critics.
I don't believe that Palin will be vice president. There are too many voters who follow the sheep and don't bother to do the necessary research to make informed decisions and there are too many people who vote only on what they think is best for them rather than what is best for the country. And there are too many racists who will vote for Obama just because he's black.
But I believe Sarah will be back. She'll be stronger (if that's possible) and certainly more experienced. I will be ready to do everything I can to help her become the first woman President of the United States.
Friday, October 10
Remember the Wizard of Oz? That little old guy behind a curtain operating a fierce illusion? Something like that seems to be going on in this election.
The current Democrat's campaign has always promised an October surprise. We've thought that referred to the AK investigation into the firing of an incompetent official in the governor of AK's administration but the timing of this sudden implosion in the financial markets has me wondering if that's what they meant.
Let's look first at the history of this campaign. It's all about illusion. For example, professional politicians who want to graduate to the national stage would eagerly throw their mothers under the bus to get to speak at a nation convention. Guess who did that -- and a primo spot in the lineup, as well -- BEFORE he was elected to a national position! That took some kind of money to get him there at that time.
When you look at all the money that's behind this campaign (Soros, Buffett, Raines's
Friday, October 3
Our youngest son is severely retarded/autistic -- his temporal lobes didn't form properly at birth so he is terribly handicapped. For quite a few years he was in an institution because we couldn't handle him at home but the ACLU brought a lawsuit that closed the institution and put him out into the community. He can't look after himself so he has five staff members who look after him 24-7. It is crucial to his well-being that he be in a highly structured environment.
For many years we tried roommates -- trying to cut costs -- but that didn't work out. During those years he rented homes but every other year or so he wound up having to move: Owners wanted more rent, or wanted to sell the house, . . . lots of reasons. So we decided to buy a small house for him so he wouldn't have to move again.
Thanks to a program through the US Dept. of Agriculture we found a small house on a large lot in the country. He moved in and has lived there -- happily ever after -- for the past three years. He has never missed a payment on his loan. He never will because we planned this carefully in his budget.
The reason I'm writing this is that this is an example of the good that kind of lending has done. Not ALL mortgage holders default on loans to low-income individuals. Those loans have done a lot of good for a lot of people who otherwise would not have had their own home.
One statistic says that only 1% of the nation's homeowners are in default. That's not a huge amount -- if they were irresponsible and tried to have homes that were too expensive they should lose them.
Of course I also believe that the loan officers AND the real estate agents who promoted those loans should be held responsible as well.
But frankly, I suspect that the Great and Powerful Media (and Stupid Congress) have misled us again. They've been crying wolf and hollering that the sky is falling because it sells TV time and newspapers.
The sad thing about it is that other low-income folks who would be responsible home owners probably won't have a chance, thanks to all this hysteria. That's a terrible shame.
Thursday, October 2
Then why is it that if you vote in a poll that you believe Sarah Palin won the debate, your vote doesn't register?
And why is it that if you blog the reasons you believe Sarah beat Ol' Joe, the blog doesn't post BUT if you try blogging in favor of Obama (so, I lied), it does?
It's one thing to be "in the tank" for Obama -- it's quite another to refuse discussion. But it's obvious that to the networks free speech is for everyone who agrees with them and everyone else can sit down and shut up.
Tuesday, September 16
Now we learn that when he was in Iraq last month he tried to get the Iraqi government to halt negotiations on troop withdrawals until after the election, putting his own political objectives ahead of the safety of U.S. troops in Iraq. This all happened during that trip where he decided not to meet with American military personnel in the hospital in Germany because they wouldn't let news camera crews come with him.
And remember...this is while he was telling the American people that the surge had not worked and that Sen. McCain was irresponsible in not calling for immediate draw down of American troops.
According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.
"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview.
So it is obvious that Obama sincerely believes that he has bought the Presidency of the United States with the help of the Chicago machine, George Soros and the likes of Arianna Huffington.
Are we going to let that happen?
Tuesday, September 9
- Palin did not cut funding for special needs education in Alaska by 62 percent. She didn’t cut it at all. In fact, she tripled per-pupil funding over just three years.
- She did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library. Some of the books on a widely circulated list were not even in print at the time. The librarian has said Palin asked a 'What if?' question, but the librarian continued in her job through most of Palin's first term.
- She was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group that wants Alaskans to vote on whether they wish to secede from the United States. She’s been registered as a Republican since May 1982.
- Palin never endorsed or supported Pat Buchanan for president. She once wore a Buchanan button as a 'courtesy' when he visited Wasilla, but shortly afterward she was appointed to co-chair of the campaign of Steve Forbes in the state.
- Palin has not pushed for teaching creationism in Alaska's schools. She has said that students should be allowed to 'debate both sides' of the evolution question, but she also said creationism 'doesn't have to be part of the curriculum.'"
Sunday, September 7
According to the Boston Globe, for instance: "Back in 1996, when she first became mayor, Sarah Palin asked the city librarian if she would be all right with censoring library books should she be asked to do so.
According to news coverage at the time, the librarian said she would definitely not be all right with it. A few months later, the librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, got a letter from Palin telling her she was going to be fired. The censorship issue was not mentioned as a reason for the firing. The letter just said the new mayor felt Emmons didn’t fully support her and had to go.
Emmons had been city librarian for seven years and was well liked. After a wave of public support for her, Palin relented and let Emmons keep her job." Notice that the Globe doesn't cite a source, just reports this as fact. The news media has not been truthful lately -- we need more than this to give the report credibility.
However, the reason Palin might have wanted Emmons fired had nothing to do with banning books. What it had to do with was the fact that Emmons was not a political supporter of Palin. Many a city, state, or Federal employee has lost a job when the other party came into power. That's simply standard procedure.
But the fascinating thing in this case is the shallowness of the smear against Palin. The list of books she supposedly wanted banned (and there is no valid list because she only asked if it was possible to remove some books from shelves) is the "Books Banned at One Time or Another" list. Never mind that some of them (like the Harry Potter books) hadn't even been published at the time.
Come on, Libs. Can't you do better than that?
Saturday, September 6
As an Alaskan resident as well as a resident of Wasilla, AK, where Sarah Palin was at one time Mayor … I can speak with confidence. Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska is exactly what she portrayed during her introduction this morning and exactly what our US Government needs. She is ethical to a fault (if there is such a thing), a refreshing change to the status-quo and as smart and determined a PERSON (gender really isn’t an issue here as far as I’m concerned) as anyone could ask for at the head of government.
Sarah is no naïve “small town mayor” – she just *started out* there. Btw, as Mayor of Wasilla, she brought this “small town” through a lot of GOOD changes and left it at the end of her term having grown to the 4th largest CITY in Alaska – a lot of growth and a stronger economic base than ever before.
She has EXECTUTIVE experience *running a government* (something NONE of the other candidates can actually boast, even John McCain
Sarah Palin is everything she looks to be and more. Her approval rating as Governor of Alaska has been as high as 95% and is currently leveled out consistently in the upper 80 percentile throughout the state (and in both parties) - the HIGHEST approval rating of ANY sitting Governor.
Sarah has been turning around corruption in the Legislature of Alaska - turning things on their ear for that matter; cutting spending in spite of the increased income the state is currently receiving due to the high oil prices - she has insisted on putting a huge amount of the "windfall" into savings for the future rather than spending, spending, spending - and has insisted from the get-go on what she refers to as "honest, ethical and transparent governing" - no more closed door meetings and dealings - the big oil companies thought she would be a pushover and have learned better to their chagrin.
She understands the "real people" and the economic issues we all face (Alaskans along with the rest of the country) - she was one of "us" not long ago. Rather than passing useless "laws" or throwing money at pet projects, she (most recently) temporarily suspended the state gas tax (on gasoline at the pumps, fuel oil and natural gas for homes, etc.) and has ordered checks issued to ALL residents of Alaska this fall in an attempt to assist with the burden of high fuel costs for the upcoming winter. I could go on and on, but that's enough for now
She became Governor of Alaska by defeating the Incumbent Republican Governor and doing it *without* the money or the support of the Republican Party, which was amazing in itself - and she won by a landslide. The "powers that be" at that time totally underestimated Sarah and learned better the hard way. She has done exactly what she claimed she was going to do and is just as popular today as the day she was elected - perhaps more so since even the Democrats up here seem to like her - she works well with both sides in the Legislature here.
Sarah "belongs" to us (Alaskans) ... and although we are going to be terribly sorry to see her leave before she finishes the job she started here (two years ago) straightening out OUR State
As for worrying about what would happen if McCain were to die or step down or whatever ... Theta, up here in AK we've only been wondering how long we would be able to KEEP Sarah in Alaska and have seen her as our first woman President of the USA from the start. It's always been a matter of whether she would wait until the end of her TWO terms as Governor (no doubt at ALL that she would be re-elected if she ran for a second term at the end of her current term) ... or end up in Washington sooner. She could do the job TODAY.
Personally, I feel a lot better about McCain now that I know he has someone as savvy, as strong, as ethical and as steady as Sarah at his back. She will be an excellent Vice President ... and my guess is will be our US Republican Presidential candidate in four years - AND by then the country will KNOW her – will love and respect her as we do here - and she'll win by as much of a landslide as she did here in Alaska. I only wonder if McCain has a clue what he is unleashing on the US of A
Is that enough of an endorsement? If not, I'll add this ... Jerry and I have for many years felt the best "vote" was to vote for the lesser of two "evils" and hope they didn't do too much damage. Two years ago during our State Governor's race was the first time EVER that we actually asked for not just a little sign to put in our yard showing our support of our candidate (something we've never felt the desire to do at all before) - we asked for a full 4' x 8' "SARAH PALIN FOR GOVERNOR!" sign and were proud to have it. She hasn't let us or Alaska down. She will do the same for the USA if given the opportunity.
Feel free to pass this on to anyone who may be interested (and spam those who aren’t!).
-Deb Frost in Alaska
Friday, August 29
Just shows McCain's independence streak and his wisdom.
I was hoping he'd choose Sen. Elizabeth Dole but I have to admit this is a wilder, braver choice.
It doesn't mean the election will be easy, though. This forces Obama to play the race card. It hasn't occurred to him that every person who votes for him because he's black is playing that card -- and there certainly are plenty of those!
The counter argument to that, of course, is that every woman voting for Palin is playing the feminist card EXCEPT for what she stands for and what she's done. Why, she's done more in two years as Governor than Obama has done in six years in a state senate and three years in Congress. That is one impressive lady.
And John McCain is one impressive gentleman to make such a great choice.
Hooray .... and, for good measure....HALLELUJAH.
Sunday, August 24
But because of what they said and did. In interviews and on the floor both stated and demonstrated their love and appreciation for their country and for their sport. They demonstrated superb sportsmanship and when they stood on the podium, they put their hands over their hearts while the national anthem was played. In doing so they won my heart, my loyalty and my fanship (if that's not a word it should be) for life. Thank you, Kobi and LeBron!
As for the athletes who went to Beijing to represent the USA and refused to place their hands over their hearts when the national anthem was played (you know who you are), I'll be watching for your endorsements. When I find them I will boycott those companies and write to their CEOs to tell them what I did and why.
It's one thing to express political dissent in America and it's quite acceptable -- but NOT while you are representing the country.
The Roman Catholic Church says that deliberately causing an abortion is a grave moral wrong. It bases this doctrine on natural law and on the written word of God.
The Church says that human life begins when the woman's egg is fertilized by a male sperm.
From that moment a unique life begins, independent of the life of the mother and father. The features that distinguish us from our parents - the colour of our eyes, the shape of our face - are all laid down in the genetic code that comes into existence then.
Each new life that begins at this point is not a potential human being but a human being with potential.
Since the sixteenth century, causing or having an abortion led to automatic excommunication.
This is stated in the Code of Canon Law (1983): "A person who actually procures an abortion incurs automatic excommunication" (Canon 1398).
The Church condemned abortion as early as the 2nd century CE: the Didache, written in the 2nd century (some time after 100 CE), states: "You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish."
Early Christian doctrine is clear on the matter.
Saturday, August 23
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998. Source:http://www.cnn.com/US/9802/04/us.un.iraq/
"Together we must also confront the new hazards of chemical and biological weapons, and the outlaw states, terrorists and organized criminals seeking to acquire them. Saddam Hussein has spent the better part of this decade, and much of his nation's wealth, not on providing for the Iraqi people, but on developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them."
President Clinton, Jan. 27, 1998. Source: http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/01/27/sotu/transcripts/clinton/index2.html
"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
Madeleine Albright, Feb 18, 1998. Source: http://www.reasons-for-war-with-iraq.info/albright_2-18-1998.pdf
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998. Source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/index/iraq/iraq172.htm
"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998. Source: http://www.reasons-for-war-with-iraq.info/senate_letter_10-09-98.pdf
"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998. Source: http://www.house.gov/pelosi/priraq1.htm
"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
Madeleine Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999. Source: http://www.columbiachronicle.com/back/1999_fall/99nov22/vp2.html
"This December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last visited Iraq. There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to refine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, Dec, 5, 2001.
"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002. Source: http://www.senate.gov/~levin/newsroom/release.cfm?id=211370
"We know that he has stored away secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/transcripts/gore_text092302.html
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.
"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002. Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/transcripts/gore_text092302.html
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002. Source: http://www.reasons-for-war-with-iraq.info/ted-kennedy_9-27-2002.pdf
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002.
"My position is very clear: The time has come for decisive action to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. I'm a co-sponsor of the bipartisan resolution that's presently under consideration in the Senate. Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave threat to America and our allies..."
John Edwards (D, NC), Oct. 7, 2002 Source: http://www.cfr.org/publication/5441/
"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002. Source: http://www.reasons-for-war-with-iraq.info/john-kerry-10-9-2002.pdf
"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years .... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002. (Rockefeller has removed this from the web)
"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do."
Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002. Source: http://www.house.gov/waxman/news_files/news_statements_res_iraq_10_10_02.htm
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members.... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct. 10, 2002. Source: http://clinton.senate.gov/speeches/iraq_101002.html
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.
Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002. Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/12/09/ftn/main532270.shtml
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003. source: http://www.reasons-for-war-with-iraq.info/john-kerry-1-23-2003.pdf
They all saw the same intelligence. Over a decade they all came to the same conclusions.
Sunday, July 27
From a Chaplain in Iraq:
I recently attended a showing of 'Superman 3,' here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorium we use for movies, as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom back in the States, we stood and snapped to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way
through The National Anthem the music stopped.
Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments, and everyone would sit down and call for a movie. Of course, that is if they had stood for the National
Anthem in the first place.
Here, the 1,000 soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again and the soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. And again, at the same point, the music stopped. Even here I would imagine laughter as everyone finally sat down and expected the movie to start, but here, you could have heard a pin drop.
Every soldier continued to stand at attention. Suddenly there was a lone voice, then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers finishing where the recording left off:
“And the rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through
the night, That our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star-spangled
banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free, And the home of the brave.”
It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq.
I want you to know what kind of soldiers are serving you here. Remember them as they fight for you! Be always in prayer for all our soldiers serving us here at home and abroad, and for the many have already paid the ultimate price.
Written by Chaplain Jim Higgins
LSA Anaconda is at the Ballad Airport in Iraq, north of Baghdad.
Sunday, July 20
The US Geological Survey recently reported new oil discoveries in the United States. They've found 3.65 BILLION barrels of oil in N. Dakota and Montana -- a field that stretches into Canada. Those billions of barrels of oil are not included in the present U.S. oil count.
That's a 25-fold increase in the amount of recoverable US oil compared to the Survey's last estimate, published in 1995.
It's called the Bakken Oil Formation. Google it and see what you find.
If oil companies would begin, using modern horizontal drilling techniques they could easily retrieve the oil and drive the price of oil down to $16 a barrel.
Of course that would cut into the oil company's high profits so it's pretty unlikely they'll do it without being forced by Congress. And Congress is solidly in the pocket of oil lobbyists UNLESS we kick them all out and replace them. See more here: "The Bakken Formation estimate is larger than all other current USGS oil assessments of the lower 48 states and is the largest "continuous" oil accumulation ever assessed by the USGS. A "continuous" oil accumulation means that the oil resource is dispersed throughout a geologic formation rather than existing as discrete, localized occurrences. The next largest "continuous" oil accumulation in the U.S. is in the Austin Chalk of Texas and Louisiana, with an undiscovered estimate of 1.0 billions of barrels of technically recoverable oil.
"It is clear that the Bakken formation contains a significant amount of oil - the question is how much of that oil is recoverable using today's technology?" said Senator Byron Dorgan, of North Dakota. "To get an answer to this important question, I requested that the U.S. Geological Survey complete this study, which will provide an up-to-date estimate on the amount of technically recoverable oil resources in the Bakken Shale formation."
The USGS estimate of 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil has a mean value of 3.65 billion barrels. Scientists conducted detailed studies in stratigraphy and structural geology and the modeling of petroleum geochemistry. They also combined their findings with historical exploration and production analyses to determine the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil estimates."
Check out these resources:
Wednesday, July 16
2nd I would initiate a Federal 60-mile-per-hour speed limit. (Since I restricted my own driving to 55 MPH during my 20 mile commute to work a month ago I've seen a significant saving on my gas bill. It works.)
3rd I would begin the process to re-open the FFTF advanced nuclear research reactor in the US that was shut down two years ago. Its primary capability is the production of fast neutrons -- is a key to nuclear development and the best hope this country has to solve its energy problem. It also had the capability to re-process nuclear waste.
4th I would ask Congress to provide incentive money to every homeowner who used solar, wind or anything else to cut their energy consumption by 75%.
5th I would impose a $1,000 fine on real estate brokers and sales people for EACH deal they made over the past ten years that the buyer clearly was not qualified to handle financially. As a former realtor I know better than most that the real estate profession has gotten away with murder in this mortgage crisis.
6th I would ask the private sector to set up a company to explore geothermal energy. They could begin by studying Iceland's research and develop from there.
7th I would insist the media report BOTH sides of the global warming debate rather than just the politically correct side. We can't afford to waste money, time and --yes--energy cutting back on emissions that won't make any difference. If we need to learn how to control sunspots and volcanos then it's high time we faced scientific fact and got on with it.
That's a beginning.
The most important thing is to do something NOW while doing the things that will make a difference in the future. Rationing gasoline and conserving what we're using would be a crucial step toward bringing down oil prices right away.
There's no way I'll ever support Obama now.
Frankly, I can't imagine how anyone who takes the time to listen to him and who cares about what happens to the future of America could.
The man is just dishonest. And his only interest is (and looks like has been for many years) simply to get his hands on the power of the Presidency.
He originally promised that he would take only public funding for his campaign until it turned out that would cost him money. So he reneged on his promise.
When he was campaigning in the primary he dissed NAFTA -- but when Canadians got upset one of his campaign spokespersons said that was just campaign talk.
He has supported gun control for his entire (if short) career and now he supports the right to bear arms.
He threatened to filibuster a bill to protect telephone companies from liability for their cooperation with national security wiretaps at one time, now he has voted for that very legislation.
He once told the Israelis that he was for an undivided Jerusalem. Now he has changed his mind.
He calls the Bush Administration incompetent, yet now he promotes using faith-based institutions to deliver services to the poor.
His stand on Iraq is on quicksand. First he says he'll get troops out on a 16-month timetable no matter what. Then he says he'll go to Iraq and talk see what the situation is and talk to the commanders before he makes any such decision. Then he turns around again and says, in effect, to heck with the commanders, he'll get them out in 16 months. (All he wants is to get elected. To hell with the security of our country, troops and the Middle East -- he just wants to get elected NO MATTER WHAT.)
His campaign is beginning to have a touch of hysteria about it -- his "calm" is more and more studied.
He has the backbone of an amoeba -- he promised to support merit pay for teachers until he had to face the union. Then he did an about face.
First he disagreed with Sen. Clinton’s proposal to impose Social Security taxes on income over $200,000 and wanted to tax all income, he has now adopted the Clinton position. (Either way, taxes go up for us all.)
Obama's lack of concern about rising energy prices and his lack of interest in trying to do anything about it because we won't see immediate results is just downright dumb -- and potentially lethal. He is afraid he'll lose the votes of environmentalists if he advocates using our own oil reserves. If he has done his homework (which I'm sure he hasn't -- he's in too much of a hurry), he knows we need to begin now to secure the future.
He's charming. He looks and sounds smart and empathetic. But charisma doesn't guarantee competence.
I wouldn't have any trouble at all with his changing positions on issues when he learns new facts. For example, if he had shown any interest in learning what is really happening (and has been happening the past two years when he was in the Senate) in Iraq, changing his views would have some credence with me. But he hasn't learned anything new -- he is changing with the wind in a frantic attempt to get elected.
There is nothing in his past that demonstrates a willingness to sacrifice for his country. He has done nothing to demonstrate that he is a man of honor and integrity. He asks college students not to pursue money when they graduate but to serve selflessly when he has not done that himself. (At least John Kennedy had served in the Navy when he said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
Obama has served only his own ambition -- even when he did "community service" there was nothing selfless in the way he did it or in the result he enjoyed from it.
Obama is a sham. He doesn't flip-flop. He flounders.
Tuesday, July 15
So when I am Commander-in-Chief, I will set a new goal on day one: I will end this war.”
Let’s look at what he’s saying here: “I will set a new goal…” And just what does he think the goal of our troops has been all along? They’ve been fighting to end this war. The planning all along has been to end it . . .that’s where they believed we were when President Bush stood in front of that banner. That’s NOT a new goal. It has been one of the goals since the beginning.
He is right about fighting endless wars but no one has ever planned for this to be an unending war. It may be a long one because Iraq and Afghanistan are just a small part of the problem. But it is irresponsible and self-serving (because he has to twist the facts to get elected) to claim that he is the only one who wants to end this war.
He implies in that statement, however, that a purpose of the war is to “force the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future.” That never has been a purpose. They don’t have to be forced. They need to be helped. Our troops have been clearing out the insurgents and terrorists, cleaning up their homes, and helping them to set up businesses. They don’t have to force them to take responsibility for their lives and their country (their voting numbers are higher per capita than ours!)
Obama sounds ignorant but he’s simply twisting the facts to make them come out the way he wants.
Truth be hanged, eh, Obama?
Shame on you. You are just like every other politician to come down the pike – except many if not most of those have found some way to serve their country before being elected to office.
Tuesday, July 8
"Talk about putting your most valuable where your mouth is!
Apparently this was not 'newsworthy'enough for the media to comment
about. Can either of the other presidential candidates truthfully come
close to this? ... Just a question for each of us to seek an answer,
and not a statement.
"You see...character is what's shown when the public is not looking.
There were no cameras or press invited to what you are about to read
about, and the story comes from one person in New Hampshire
"One evening last July, Senator John McCain of Arizona arrived at the
New Hampshire home of Erin Flanagan for sandwiches, chocolate-chip
cookies and a heartfelt talk about Iraq . They had met at a
presidential debate, when she asked the candidates what they would do
to bring home American soldiers - - soldiers like her brother, who had
been killed in action a few months earlier.
"Mr. McCain did not bring cameras or press. Instead, he brought his
youngest son, James McCain, 19, then a private first class in the
Marine Corps about to leave for Iraq . Father and son sat down to hear
more about Ms. Flanagan's brother Michael Cleary, a 24-year-old Army
First Lieutenant killed by an ambush ... a roadside bomb.
"No one mentioned the obvious:
In just days, Jimmy McCain could face similar perils.. 'I can't
imagine what it must have been like for them as they were coming to
meet with a family that .....' Ms.
Flanagan recalled, choking up. 'We lost a dear one,' she finished.
"Sen.. McCain, now the presumptive Republican nominee, has staked his
candidacy on the promise that American troops can bring stability to
Iraq . What he almost never says is that one of them is his own son,
who spent seven months patrolling Anbar Province and learned of his
father's New Hampshire victory in January while he was digging a stuck
military vehicle out of the mud.
"Two of Jimmy's three older brothers went into the military. Doug
McCain, 48, was a Navy pilot. Jack McCain, 21, is to graduate from the
Naval Academy next year, raising the chances that his father, if
elected, could become the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower
with a son at war."
Monday, July 7
If she did, it's proof that the "progressives" are lining up against Obama. If so, it will be fascinating to see if Obama's charisma is strong enough to bring out enough youth vote to win the election.
In this piece (which I will be glad to forward to anyone on request) Dowd claims that "one of the web site security monitors" of Obama's campaign noticed about two months into the primary that a number of contributions coming in seemed to be from individuals but actually "the funds were from only a few credit card accounts and bank electronic funds transfers. The internet service providers (ISP) they were able to trace were from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries. One of the banks used for fund transfers was also located in Saudi Arabia."
Furthermore, Dowd adds that "Another concentrated group of donations was traced to a Chinese ISP with a similar pattern of limited credit card charges. It became clear that these donations were very likely coming from sources other than American voters."
Now if the campaign was aware of this it would seem to me that IF they were truly concerned about the American electoral process they'd call in the FBI to investigate. But no, Dowd writes, "This was discussed at length within the campaign and the decision was made that none of these donations violated campaign financing laws.
"It was also decided that it was not the responsibility of the campaign to audit these millions of contributions as to the actual source (specific credit card number or bank transfer account numbers) to insure that none of these internet contributors exceeded the legal maximum donation on a cumulative basis of many small donations."
So here we have a candidate for the Presidency of the United States who learns that foreign interests are financing his campaign and he doesn't ask what they want in return? Shades of Clinton's Chinese buddies!
So this may be the first and only time in my life that I can agree with Maureen Dowd. She writes, " believe the Obama campaign's internet fund raising needs a serious, in depth investigation and audit. It also appears the whole question of internet fund raising needs investigation by the legislature and perhaps new laws to insure it complies not only with the letter of these laws but the spirit as well."
AMEN. And the sooner the better.
Wednesday, July 2
Take this for instance: His "gut instinct that so many of us have, that America is the greatest country on Earth."
What gut instinct? America IS the greatest country on earth and instinct has nothing to do with it.
What other country in the history of the world rebuilt every nation they ever defeated in war?
What other nation in history airlifted food to a former enemy to keep them from starving (the Berlin airlift, for example)?
What other nation in history sent its youth to fight for other nations when they were under siege, although we "had no dog in the fight?" (Sending our pilots to fly to defend England, for example, before we got into WWII.)
What other nation struggles to right the wrongs that it perpetrated on its own citizens in earlier years?
In the 1982 I was lucky enough to get to go to East Berlin. That was before the wall came down and it was quite an adventure to ride through Checkpoint Charlie with a busload of American tourists. What we found on the other side came as quite a shock -- from being removed from the buses and lined up in the Soviet parking lot with machine guns trained on us by East German guards while the bus was being searched. The search when we entered East Berlin was impressive, but nothing compared to the search when we returned. There was, too, the shock of being required to give up our passports to the guards while we toured the city.
East Berlin was tragic: The condition of the buildings, homes and even the people on the East side of the wall was shabby, to say the least. The contrast between the bustle of commerce and just plain old living in the West and the quiet repression of the East made a deep impression on all of us.
Until I saw for myself, I had no real appreciation of what it means to live in a free society. It is obvious to me from so many things Obama has said, that he has NO idea -- and very little appreciation -- of what we have and who we are in America.
If he has to rely on "gut instinct" to believe that America is the best in spite of all our failures and mistakes, he has no business being President.
Tuesday, June 17
Obama is sickeningly ignorant of the diplomatic progress that has been made by the Bush administration over the past seven years. Just recently the Arabs (with whom the Democrats have roundly criticized President Bush for dealing and consorting) announced their readiness to revive a peace initiative with Israel. That's a long way from their "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it."
"The offer of peace with all 22 Arab states (except perhaps Libya, which is not attending the summit meeting), the prospect of ending all claims and having "normal relations" with the Arab countries sounds enticing. It was exactly what Israelis have hoped for all along" writes UPI Israel Correspondent in Jerusalem Joshua Brilliant. And all this has come about as a direct result of the Bush Administration's diplomatic efforts.
Obama has served less than one term in Congress and during that partial-term was not privy to the diplomatic efforts of the current administration. He speaks of things he knows nothing of and expects a gullible America to vote for him.
Sunday, June 1
McCain sponsored S. 2938, the Graham-Burr-McCain Bill, which was intended to expand those benefits in a far more beneficial way than the Webb-Hagel Bill
The McCain bill would have allowed military personnel to attend
college debt-free and those benefits could have been passed to spouses and
children if necessary. It would have encouraged service members to continue
careers by expanding the benefits according to length of service. The Webb
bill does none of those things.
Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee Liebermann and
Secretary of Defense Gates supported the McCain bill over the Webb bill.
Gates said, “This legislation does not meet, and, in some respects, is in
direct variance to the Department’s . . . stated objectives. . . .”
Sen. Reid blocked the McCain bill from the Senate floor so there would be no discussion of it. With no discussion, the American people don't even know about it unless they take the time to find out for themselves and most people don't bother. Also with no discussion and counting on the ignorance of the people, the Dems can do what they've been doing -- accusing Sen. McCain and President Bush of not supporting our troops.
So once again the Democrats have provided second-best to our military as they jockey for more power.
The New York Times article of the same date is simply the poor,
biased journalism we’ve come to expect from “All the news that fits, we
Friday, May 30
I thought Barack Obama hadn't done much in the Senate but it seems he has -- done something, at least. Something that would cause a huge change in US economics.
That something is a bill, S. 2433, that would require (not suggest or call attention to, but require) the President of the United States "to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day." Please notice that the concern here is not for the USA but for the entire world.
All very well and good, I'd say, EXCEPT that something like this has to come with a price to the US taxpayer. That price could be pretty steep. Like, $845 BILLION. And since the US President is the one charged with implementing it, that should come to around $8,000 per US taxed household. I don't know about you, but that kind of addition to our tax bill would come painfully close to putting me in the category of having to live on less that $1 per day.
And, since we're not talking just the US here, or SE Asia or Africa but the entire world, who's going to administer all this money. The UN? They certainly haven't proved responsible -- they still haven't totally cleared up their Food for Oil scandal.
If you think this sounds outlandish and preposterous, check it out. According to Thomas.com on 4/24/2008 the bill was placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders, Calendar No. 718. This means it can come up for a vote at any time. If Congress passes this, it's gonna cost us.
Saturday, May 10
The Democrats have such a great talent for dredging up interesting candidates. Of course Obama's candidacy was predictable four years ago when he, unknown and not even elected to a national office, made a major speech at the Democratic Convention. Famous politicos kill for that privilege and here comes a nobody. I was astounded at the time and commented to friends that this guy had some strong "back room" politicos behind him. I have to admit it never occurred to me that he and those pushing him had so little respect for the office of President of the United States, though. I expected to hear of him doing grand things in the Senate first -- but it seems he spent those three years running for President.
Are the American people so stupid that they will elect a person to the most powerful office in the world without knowing who will be advising him (since he has no foreign OR domestic experience? So far I haven't heard anyone asking the questions -- who WILL advise him in the various areas in which he has to make decisions?
And what do we know of him personally? Other than his total concentration on personal ambition, I mean? How does he make decisions? Is he able to listen to the opinions of people who oppose his views or is he closed-minded? How is he under pressure -- does he act quickly or does he need time to think? Is he cool and clear-minded under pressure or does he have a tendency to act first and think later? When has he ever been under serious pressure and what did he do?
Obama says running for President is his way of expressing his patriotism. I'm sorry, but to me it looks like his way of expressing his ambition. He has not sacrificed anything -- time, treasure or person -- for his country. Or our country -- he doesn't express patriotism in any recognizable way so I'm not sure this is HIS country.
What has he done to serve ALL Americans? He has done some small-time community work to serve the underprivileged but nothing spectacular. The President serves ALL Americans -- rich, poor, middle-class, comfortable, struggling and every degree in between. It is the welfare of every American that falls into the hands of a sitting President.
His first oath is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and yet he says he is for judges who have "The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges." The assumption that judges have been selected in the past who didn't know such things assumes an extremely gullible and downright stupid audience.
There are two serious problems with Obama's candidacy -- actually there are more, including Michelle Obama, but we'll stick to two here: First, he makes erroneous assumptions and bases his campaign on those -- that Americans are downtrodden and oppressed (like Hitler told the Germans, except the Germans really were -- we're not). And he has sold his soul to some devil. He could not have been a millionaire by the time he was 45 and could not be running for President with the kind of money he has if he hadn't. That's all right -- EXCEPT that when he has to pay the Devil his due, it's the American people who will suffer.
Saturday, January 12
Darkness surrounded her as the helicopter lifted, whipping the air around her with a reverberating thump, thump, thump. A tall blonde in a war-torn Middle Eastern land, Debbie Lee felt a familiar ache in her heart.
She stood in a Western Iraqi city where her son, Marc Alan Lee, gave his life. He was the first Navy SEAL to die while fighting terrorists in Iraq.
As she stepped onto the sand where her son was killed, Debbie Lee became the first mother to visit the city where her son died for America in the Iraq War. She walked through Camp Marc Lee and saw where her son slept and ate.
“I feel very blessed,” Lee said. “It was a miracle to me to be where Marc was, to see what he saw and walk where he walked.”
Lee was part of a contingent from Move America Forward (MAF), the nation’s largest pro-troop nonprofit group. MAF’s mission was to deliver 226,000 Christmas and Hanukkah cards to American troops and to report on America’s successes inside Iraq. They spent days outside of the relatively safe Green Zone in Baghdad and other cities that, until the troop surge, were hotbeds of radical Muslims.
Melanie Morgan, chairman of Move America Forward Said, “Our troops know exactly what they are doing. They are surgically removing bad guys and giving hope to Iraqis while helping secure American security from radical Muslim jihad.”
The troops’ gains apparently aren’t news these days. All sides, including the white-flag brigade, admit Gen. David Petraeus’s Troop Surge has reduced violence and given breathing room to Iraqi politicians.
Iraq’s plummeting violence are a yawn for the mainstream media. During the first 10 months in 2007, 47 percent of the press coverage in Iraq focused on violence. Only 4.6 percent dealt with “optimistic themes,” according to a Pew Research Center study.
If terrorists fall in Iraq and nobody hears them, do they still make a sound? Only if you read new media who have the backbone to see the truth and report it.
Ignoring success in Iraq doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. MAF found children playing in new parks, built by the United States, and new stores open with a variety of goods. On one street alone, 150 new stores and businesses opened where only 11 previously operated.
MAF staffers witnessed soldiers visiting Iraqi homes, where they were welcomed with hot tea. Troops handed out soccer balls, school supplies and candy to children.
Battles are still waged. Body armor is still essential. But Gen. Petraeus and his troops are taking it to the enemy and making friends with the locals.
“They are making a difference now,” said Mary Pearson, MAF deputy executive director.
Pearson, MAF Communications Director Danny Gonzalez and Debbie Lee embedded with the Army's 1st Squadron of the 4th Cavalry, or the 1/4 Cav. They worked out of a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Western Iraq, unnamed for security purposes, and traveled on daily missions where they spoke with Iraqi citizens and interviewed Iraqi and American soldiers.
They did not witness Iraqi citizens welcoming American troops with flowers and candy. It was much more personal. Iraqi mothers sent their children out to hug U.S. soldiers. Iraqi men invited soldiers into their homes for tea prepared by their wives and daughters.
MAF’s never feared for their lives. The long haul that American troops and our allies began on March 19, 2003, has changed the landscape of the Muslim country once ruled by a brutal dictator and sworn enemy of the United States, Saddam Hussein.
“I figured I was with the finest. There was no reason to worry,” Pearson said. “These faces were like my sons.”
The MAF staffers spent Christmas Day in Baghdad where they walked the streets and saw peaceful scenes that carried the message from 2,000 years ago when Christ was born in Bethlehem.
“We witnessed a large group of children playing on the new slide and park that had just been constructed 3 weeks before. It was amazing how packed the streets were with people,” Lee said. “I’ve never seen streets in America that had such a large percentage of people out in their neighborhoods. It was an amazing turnaround from the pictures we saw in the briefing when we first arrived.”
Pearson captured pictures of the children laughing and playing at the park. And she saw something else that will forever remain burned in her memory just like the photos she clicks with an artist’s eye.
“I saw men and women, couples, walking up and down the streets together,” Pearson said. “They were strolling, like in an old fashioned movie. They were enjoying the day. It was so beautiful.”
The Iraq trip was the last leg of MAF’s “Honoring Heroes for the Holidays” tour, which crossed the country and stopped in 40 cities. People came out to deliver the thousands of cards they made or bought for American troops. Cards are still pouring into MAF’s Sacramento, Calif., headquarters.
“The huge response to our trip by the American people, and the resulting smiles and hugs in Iraq, prove that most of America supports our troops and their mission,” Morgan said.
“I think we came close to passing out cards to most of the 8,000 troops stationed at this Forward Operating Base in Baghdad,” Lee said.
Pearson, Lee, and Gonzalez flew on a helicopter to Western Iraq in a town that was once overrun by terrorists, insurgents and outsiders from Iran whose welcome wagons included powerful bombs and other lethal arms.
This is where Lee’s son made his last stand and gave his life. This is where a camp was named after Marc Lee. This was an emotional stop.
Loss is a part of life, but it is not natural for a mother to lose her son. Parents should go first. In Iraq, violence still scars the countryside. But Pearson, Lee and Gonzalez witnessed the light that our troops have given the world with their sweat, professionalism, tenacity and their lives.
“These men and women, our sons and daughters in the Armed Forces, have shown a selflessness and grace -- even after we have asked so much of them -- that is truly remarkable,” Gonzalez said. “They have gone to war for their country and taken up arms in defense of a fledgling nation of people they have never known before, sacrificed time and time again, and sacrificed so much, and ask nothing in return. ”
We are winning in Iraq. But, more importantly, we are safer because children hold our soldiers’ hands. They play on new slides. They go to school. Shops are open. These children and their families will not forget the Americans who saved them first from Saddam Hussein, and then from the terrorists who came to steal their lives.
Everything Ms. Moy writes here is confirmed by the telephone calls our family receives from my grandson, who is a platoon leader in Iraq. He speaks of calling in the air force to bomb houses they find that are filled with caches of explosives and of giving chewing gum, teddy bears and school supplies to Iraqi children. They find and blow up IEDs by day and as they work to make communities safe, they see Iraqis returning to their homes.
It's still a dangerous place. But our soldiers are proud of what they're doing. They see the progress that's being made and take great pride in each job well done. It's a crying shame that the US media hate George Bush so much they refuse to give our troops the support and praise they so richly deserve. In fact, it's barely short of treason.
Thursday, January 10
As I prepare to return to my family, I wanted to put together the top ten most memorable moments of this Iraq embed. Here they are, in no special order.
1. Listening to a breathless Iraqi Captain describe confirming that a dump truck turned in by a local citizen was indeed wired to explode. When we complimented him on his bravery, he simply said, “We came here to fight, not to sit.”
2. Watching a U.S. Army medic bandage the finger of a little Iraqi boy. It’s not that the wound was so grievous, but that the medic was willing to take the time even for something as small as a band-aid.
3. Walking through Jurf-A-Sukhr without my Kevlar helmet, haggling over the price bananas with the owner of a shop who sixty days ago wouldn’t have been able to sell his produce on that street due to violence. It was an intensely human moment and wonderful to be able to do something so mundane among he people of this war torn country.
4. Spending a night atop a roof along the limit of the U.S. advance the other side of the street was still considered “no go” Al Qaeda Country. Sharing a meal with the “Concerned Local Citizens” by lamplight, learning that they were both Shia and Sunni, and had until recently been the enemy.
5. Watching an Iraqi citizen shinny up a disused lightpole with an Iraqi flag clamped in his teeth. Listening to his compatriots cheer as the flag was unfurled atop the pole. A supremely hopeful moment.
6. Helping a combined team of U.S. Soldiers and Iraqi citizens form a human chain and pass sandbags from one to the other as they fortified a checkpoint providing a perfect picture of U.S.-Iraqi cooperation.
7. Standing atop a windswept hill overlooking the mountainous desolation of the Iranian border. Seeing the hand-dug trenches stretch away to the horizon in both directions as a chilling monument to the miseries of the Iran/Iraq war.
8. Listening to the varied stories of the interpreters that I worked with throughout the trip. One was an Iraqi whose father had been murdered by Saddam’s henchmen. Another was an Iranian who had been tortured by his own government and had escaped from prison and then was smuggled across the border into turkey by friends. These kinds of stories are a constant reminder of just how soft I really am, and renews my commitment to share the wealth I’ve been given with those less fortunate.
9. Attending a reenlistment ceremony at Al Faw palace in Baghdad, where almost 300 soldiers of the third infantry division volunteered to continue this fight. Though most of them received bonuses in the neighborhood of $6,000 per year for five years, the ones I interviewed had deeper reasons for reenlisting. One sergeant told me, “the army changed my life, and I love what it’s done for me.” Many of those who reenlisted did so with “indefinite” contracts, meaning they’ve pledged to go all the way and serve at least twenty years. These men and women believe in what they are doing.
10. Watching the live feed from an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle as a hellfire missile dropped out of the sky and vaporized the vehicle of a known bad guy as it sat in his driveway. Imagining what must have gone through the man’s mind when his car disappeared in a ball of flame for no apparent reason.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being here with the troops and seeing the tremendous progress that is being made here with my own eyes. I have several more “dispatches” to get out and will post them when I get time. In the meantime, have a merry Christmas, and please continue to remember these brave men and women in your prayers as they continue to serve through the new year apart from their families.