Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

Here's to a wonderful 2006!!

This is as close as I'm getting to the fireworks at the Space Needle tonight, since I'm headed for bed shortly. Click the image for a Castle Argghhh! Public Service Announcement ...

Space Needle, Seattle

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

In Memoriam

It's a hard thing to lose a loved one at any time, but especially hard during a holiday which is typically marked by family gatherings. My heart goes out to Jack Grant, who is finding his way through this hard reality, having lost his beloved father, William Martin Grant.

The picture below gives no hint whether the sun is rising or setting, and sometimes in life the end is also the beginning ...

Cycle of life

You can leave a kind word for Jack at his blog, Random Fate.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I wish you all a safe and Merry Christmas. If you are far from the ones you love, then take care of those around you.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2005

Poor Grandma!

About this time of year, the airwaves and elevators are filled with insidious tunes that play over and over. Some of them are classic beauties, and others are just plain goofy, and as hard to get out of your head as "It's a Small World".

My sister and I have a personal favorite, which I don't even know all the way through. That is due to the fact that simply singing the first line is guaranteed to send the Hubster off into Grinch mode. Hmm - not that this is difficult, you understand. But some triggers work faster than others ... and "Grandma got run over by a Reindeer" works better than most ... *grin*

So imagine my joy at finding an item that could prolong the torture and add a whole new dimension to it! Click here to see the video -- Ry, better not if you're at work!

I don't know why BillT thinks I'm having too much fun. Heh!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas cheer

John of Argghhh! shares a Politically correct version of an old standard. I don't know, though, it just doesn't seem to have the right rhythm ... what do you think?

Meanwhile, this has to be the best rant of the season, for those of us who are tired of hearing all the anti-Christmas blather. Warning - explicit language, use headphones if you're at work! Thanks to Rachel of Legless in Perpetuum for sharing this one, along with other grins.

Tara of Everything Goes with Pink is sharing daily Christmas cartoons - just start here and scroll down.

Speaking of cartoons, I saw this at Two Babes and a Brain, and just had to have it ...

Ho Ho Ho!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Moonlight over Iraq

Take the Iraqi Army 1st Brigade, 1st Division - add in the Teufelhunden of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines and supporting aircraft from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing - and what do you have?

Operation Moonlight is the name, and America's Son gives us his view from the ground.

It's 1815, Tuesday evening. Bingo and I have just returned from assisting the Iraqi Army in Operation Moonlight; a "cordon and knock" mission along the Euphrates river. There were three Iraqi battalions from the 1st Iraqi Brigade involved in the operation which covered a large swath of desert on either side of the river just East of the city of Ubaydi.

I was greatly impressed with the performance of the Iraqi soldiers who bring a much needed local face to the coalition's operations. Many of the soldiers whom I served with brought a wealth of combat experience to the fight from previous operations in Fallujah, Najaf, and most recently Operation Steel Curtain within the cities of Husaybah and Karibala. Most importantly, the Iraqi soldiers fight with passion fueled by a their desire to take the torch and defend their homeland unassisted. While they are willing to serve beside coalition forces, each soldier that I spoke to about their progress told me (in broken English) how much pride they take in the defense of their country. They are also quick to tell you how thankful they are for "Ameriki's" assistance. Also worthy of note, is that Operation Moonlight was a milestone for the Iraqi army as it was the first ever brigade size operation conducted by the newly created army.

There's a lot more ... Go read the whole thing here. Make sure you include a pat on the head for his 4-footed partner as well.

Also, if you aren't already following Bill Roggio's reporting from Iraq (and why aren't you??), check out these articles :
  • Operation Moonlight, with a Twist
  • The Teufelhunden of the 3/6
  • Christmas decorations

    This is about as close as I'm going to get to decorating the outside of my house!

    XMas card
    Click on the picture and then the bottom menu.

    Thanks to Echo9er for the great link.

    Monday, December 19, 2005

    What a sicko

    We have all wondered who would be sick enough to send the horrible card to soldier Joshua Sparling at Walter Reed Medical Center.

    Well, wonder no longer. According to Michelle Malkin, it is the same twisted cretin who once ran a site called "Forsake the Troops". I'll let you read the whole thing at her site, since I refuse to feed this asshat's ego by printing his name or providing a link to anything he has on the web. He's not human, he's an oxygen-stealing biped with a severe brain deficiency.

    I do want to thank the terrific folks at Two Babes and a Brain for the hat tip, though. They're the good guys - and went in to visit Joshua last week in person. Excellent!

    Sad stories

    It's that time of year, when stories appear that tug on your heart strings and make you grateful for what you have.

    Chuck Ziegenfuss seems to be recuperating well, if this story is any indication.

    If you were touched by that little vignette, then you will want to go and visit Appalachian Gun Trash for a real doozy.

    Sunday, December 18, 2005

    Withdrawal symptoms

    I am just getting connected to the internet again after a 4 1/2 hour break, due to our cable service disappearing. I'm still experiencing the withdrawal symptoms ... *shudder*

    This morning I woke to the sound of tree branches hitting the roof, and howling winds. The sky is clear as a bell, but the wind sometimes gusts so hard that our 60-70 foot tall fir trees wave back and forth 15-30 feet at the top. So far no big parts have fallen on us, though!

    Shortly I will be taking off to attend our last company Christmas party. This year, the Hubster's company has booked a dinner cruise on Lake Washington - as part of the Christmas Ship Parade ... Whoo Hoo!

    Christmas Ship Parade

    The only downside? It's clear and windy now, which could be interesting - but it is supposed to cloud up this evening, and rain and/or sleet tonight. I just hope it waits until after we get home!

    Friday, December 16, 2005

    Iraqi Good News

    The elections yesterday are another great achievement in the progression toward peaceful democracy in Iraq. Congratulations to the Iraqi people, and to our men and women in uniform who have been doing the mission every day to keep this happening. America's Son offers his perspective on the day ...

    Since I have been here in Iraq, I have not heard celebration such as what I witnessed yesterday. It was a surreal atmosphere. At one time, I looked at one of the Iraqi soldiers and asked him "Are they happy?", as a flag waving throng made their way down one of the streets of the city. "Yes. They say 'Long live Iraq' and 'Today is a great day for all Iraq', he responded as he thrust his ink stained finger in the air. It was indeed a great day for all of us.

    Go read the rest.

    In other good news from Iraq, Jim Hake of the Spirit of America reports on the success of a different kind of mission - Operation Snapshot.

    "The pictures were the hit of the day. I showed the Iraqi Soldiers how to take pictures and just let them go with it."
    --Sgt. Charity Lewis, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Al-Anbar Province, Iraq

    "In the end 200-300 Polaroid cameras with plenty of film spread across the Division zone may go farther in establishing enduring relations than a thousand soccer balls!"
    -- LtCol Jeff Vold, United States Marines

    Some missions just need different tools, that's all.

    Thursday, December 15, 2005


    Yes, the Iraqi elections are today, and there's a great post at Iraq The Model, which has been updated all day with reports from around Iraq. Fantastic pictures and tons of first hand reports!

    But there are elections here that are important as well. Don't forget to go vote for your favorite (Argghhh) milblog (Argghhh) today (Argghhh). The voting is open until midnight - Go for it!

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    Gift idea (updated)

    Call me a sick puppy, but I love this T-Shirt design! I think it would makea great gift for all the warfighters on my Christmas list.


    This is the design on the front chest. Be sure to go to the web site and see the main graphic on the back!

    AND ... Speaking of gifts, I've been giving the gift of Votes for Castle Argghhh in the Best Milblog category as often as allowed. But now that it's coming down to the wire, BillT has offered a TINS in exchange for pushing Argghhh past The Officers Club in the voting. The trick is - we have to get the votes in before he'll tell the tale.

    Please ... please ... PLEASE go vote for John, Bill and Dusty - you KNOW you want to!

    Iraq present and future

    A couple of items that caught my eye ...

    Over at Trying to Grok, Sarah looks at parallels between US and Iraqi citizens.

    Lt K took a look throught the crystal ball of his imagination to see what the future might be like in Golden Years.

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    Words do hurt

    I haven't posted on the statements made by Sen. Kerry the other day on "Face the Nation" regarding our troops in Iraq, comparing them to terrorists. It's been covered everywhere from the political side, and I have no great insight to add to the discussion, except to say that it is yet another ball in play in the political game.

    But I am not a warfighter facing action, so as offensive as I found the comparison to be, my thoughts aren't as important as those of warriors on the ground. America's Son is fighting in Iraq, go read Are We the Enemy to understand how the troops on the ground feel about the comparison.

    Taking care of Business

    On Friday I posted about supporting our wounded servicemembers by sending cards and letters (scroll down). Just as important is our support for the men and women in the sandboxes, who are going to be spending this Christmas away from their families and the comforts of home (again, in some cases). I've been sending packages to some great folks, and even gained a Blogson out of it (*grin*), but this request is too important to pass up.

    The Armorer asked us all to dig just a tiny bit deeper for a special case raised by Deb at Turns out there are some units far from home who are going to have a very empty Christmas, and Deb is working hard to change that. Her Operation Santa is going to try to get some stockings over to them ASAP, and needs our help.

    If you can spare a few dollars to help her fill and ship these stockings, it would be most appreciated. Please go read her post, and donate a little to help her be Santa's elf to the troops, won't you? (From her main page, the PayPal button is on the right)

    Putting my money where my blog is, I've sent along my donation ...

    Dear Barbara Way,

    This email confirms that you have paid $25.00 USD using PayPal.

    Payment Details

    Transaction ID: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Sales Tax: $0.00 USD
    Total: $25.00 USD
    Item/Product Name: Marine Corps Moms
    Buyer: Barbara Way


    Your turn.

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    Support our Wounded troops

    Looking for a way to support the troops? There are a lot of our amazing men & women in all the services who are recuperating in various military medical facilities around the world. Truth be told, they could use to hear from us all year long, but as Christmas is rapidly approaching - let's show our spirit of giving in a very simple way.

    For the cost of writing paper or card and a stamp, you can brighten someone's day considerably. If you are interested in helping to spread some holiday cheer, zoom over to Sgt Hook's and see how to get 'hooked' up!

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    Weird is good ... right?

    Contagion had a fit when Oddybobo tagged him with another meme, which would just be funny. But he decided to tag me with it ... great. I'm supposed to bare my soul and tell you all about five of my weird habits.

    Only five?

    Here you go, in no particular order.

    1. I don't bite my fingernails, but I nibble on the skin around them - and sometimes draw blood by accident.

    2. When I travel, I like to pack for the return the night before, no matter how late that means I get to sleep. Otherwise I can't sleep at all.

    3. I love picking out postcards on trips, but I almost never mail them. They're for *me*, don't ya know!

    4. I'm an electronic pack rat - saving almost every email I get from my friends and family. (Blackmail is easier that way)

    5. For true bloggy weirdness - I select the taggees before I complete the meme!

    See, that wasn't so bad ... at least I keep the same numbering scheme for my whole list, unlike *some* people I could name!

    Now I'm supposed to name the next five victims players. I choose Sgt B, AFSister, Crazy Ride Lady, AnalogKid and GunTrash.

    Good reads

    Thanks to Gunn Nutt for highlighting a great take on a Christmas classic from a FreeRepublic post. Go check out The Liberal Night Before Christmas!

    Not everyone has the same take on the 'War on Christmas'. Holly Aho shares her viewpoint, and reminds us to keep things in perspective.

    And speaking of Christmas, the Armorer shares some good links for real troop support, and the battle with the ACLU - support Operation Nativity! While you're there - check out his bleg for the Weblog Awards.

    The Fuzzilicious one shares A Soldiers Christmas poem, a beautiful and moving piece that makes me tear up every time. Send healing wishes her way - the flu bug has bitten her, and she doesn't have time for it! My own package of warm, healing thoughts is on its way.

    Speaking of bugs attacking, Rammer and Punctilious are battling their own infection - of Spam. You may not be able to leave comments, but go check out today's Man Bits Dog story.

    Yesterday at the Castle, BillT uncovered The Invisible Enemy, as a response to a comment by Kat. Today Kat herself shares some of the evidence of Real Torture in Iraq.

    JMH thoughtfully provided a link that maps the popularity of baby names. It even tracks Barb separately from Barbara, for instance. Meanwhile, Bad Cat Robot makes the case against relying on technology.

    Chuck Z has been doing well - and has (re)discovered that stupidity is contagious.

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    Remembering Pearl Harbor

    My parents' generation were galvanized to action sixty-four years ago, when the Sunday morning attack on Pearl Harbor shocked the nation. My Dad was a high school lad of 16, and had to wait almost two years before his 18th birthday to join the Army. He was never an athlete - even after his service he remained a bookish and geeky young man. But he became a soldier, and he did his duty gladly. He's been gone these past 5 years, but he once told me that his memories were only of the men he served with.

    Sgt Hook reminds us that the ranks of the Greatest Generation get thinner all the time.

    For further reflection on the day, visit Capt B, who reminds us to Walk Tall America.

    John of Argghhh! remembers the day in words and pictures.

    Meanwhile, Kat of The Middle Ground reviews her favorite part of President Roosevelt's speech, and the word Infamy isn't in it.

    * UPDATE *

    America's Son remembers walking in the Footprints of Heroes.

    At Blackfive, Matt shares a Chaplain's message in remembrance.

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    5 Things

    AFSister tagged me with the 5 things meme. What 5 things? I'm supposed to come up with facts about me that you likely don't know. Given all of the other memes I've played along with, finding 5 might be a challenge.

    Here Goes ...

    1. I played string instruments through high school - mostly the cello - and performed with 2 schools in a total of 5 musicals. Since then ... nada.

    2. I have charged up and fired defibrillators hundreds of times - although never into a person ... yet!

    3. The first country I visited other than Canada and Mexico was India. (not counting the stopover at the Frankfurt airport)

    4. Although I work in computers, my degree isn't in computer science - it's in mathematics.

    5. I used to lay out circuit boards by hand, before learning to use CAD systems to do it.

    There ... my job is done! Now, if you would like to play, drop me a comment and I'll link up your post.

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    Iraqi Justice

    ** UPDATED **

    My own disgust for Ramsey Clark is nothing compared to the feelings of those Iraqis seeking justice against Hussein, as demonstrated in this post by Hammorabi.
    H/T to JMH.

    (Original post follows)

    The sight of Saddam Hussein getting mouthy with the court on TV this morning made me thankful for a mute button. I'm glad to read that Judge Amin appears to be holding the circus together - even shutting down some initial grandstanding by Ramsey Clark.

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    I want one!

    Love these bumper stickers ...

    CNN X


    H/T to E-Claire.

    Lazy Sunday

    I'm lazy, but here are some fine reads for today ...

    Bill Roggio's reporting on operation Steel Curtain struck a chord with America's Son, and he shares some personal insight of his own. He also shares a pictoral reminder of what it's all about.

    Meanwhile, Capt B points out another example of the media getting it wrong. Note to the media - the troops watch your broadcasts, too - and they know when you mis-report things.

    Coming home mid-deployment is meant to provide relaxation and time to reconnect with family. Sometimes the purpose is less joyful - as shared by Lt. K of Wordsmith at War.

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    Welcome, America's Son!

    ALERT -- New military blog!! I have been corresponding with America's Son for several weeks now, since hooking up with him through Books For Soldiers. I was going to ask him if I could post up a picture of his K9 partner. Well, now I don't need to - he's decided to start blogging. And as cool as pictures are, you need to pay close attention to the words, because the man has something important to say ...

    I often find myself lying in bed awake at night. I am surrounded by war and the tools of its trade. I am required to sleep with my rifle at an arms reach away. There are tanks parked yards away from where I live. Attack helicopters are constantly flying over my head. Every night, I hear about troops in contact, casualty updates and a host of other issues relating to war. I cannot escape the sights and sounds of destruction and I would be lying if I said that this has not affected me. It has. I lie awake at night and ask myself what brought us to this? As a civilization of human beings, what kind of lunacy causes one people to reach a point where the death of another is the only solution to conflict? We as Americans believe that democracy and liberty is a gift from God bestowed to every man regardless of his socioeconomic status, religious affiliation or ethnicity. Our enemies disagree. They hold that democracy has led to the moral decline of this planet and will eventually result in its demise. And because of this, at this very moment, our country is at war with terrorists and we are killing each other.

    That's just a taste - please go read the whole thing here, and let him know you visited.

    Welcome to the blogosphere, America's Son. Keep up the good writing!

    Wednesday, November 30, 2005

    Grey Eagle needs an assist

    BillT sounded the call to action this morning at the Castle - Grey Eagle of A Female Soldier's Story 2 has a hacking problem, and needs support and assist. Please go help her out in any way you can ... it is just plain wrong for a$$hats to get away with hacking an active soldier's blog.

    Also, any of said a$$hats that you manage to corner - head 'em in Bill's direction, he'd love the exercise!

    What's wrong with *this* picture?

    Seems that the sad little vignette thought up by the MoveOn forces for Thanksgiving has just a tiny bit of falsehood to it. Not that they should let truth get in the way of smearing the President and this administration.

    From James Taranto's Best of the Web at OpinionJournal.Com ...

    Yesterday we got an e-mail from an old friend who is a captain in the U.S. Army. He writes:
    I just got back from my third deployment from Iraq on Friday, and I happened to be at the dentist and saw a completely offensive ad from the idiots at this morning. Anyway, it is a Bush-bashing ad that pretends to be arguing for American soldiers families as they will miss the holidays and it shows turkey and crying wives and blames Bush for it all. Here is the crucial part of the ad that I would like to bring to your attention. As they pretend to argue on my behalf, they show a group of soldiers standing around a table in the Middle East.

    Here's the scene to which our friend refers:

    click to view video

    "A hundred and fifty thousand American men and women are stuck in Iraq," according to the narration that accompanies this scene. Our friend (we've cleaned up a bit of his language for civilian consumption) continues:
    These are not your normal everyday U.S. soldiers though. If you look at the frame they are actually British soldiers. One is in shorts (we don't have shorts as a normal combat uniform) and the others are all clearly wearing British pattern fatigues. So, my point is that these [turkeys] pretend to argue on my behalf and bash the president in the name of my crying wife, and they don't even know what an American soldier looks like! Anyway, it really [ticked] me off.

    The only thing that would have made this more galling is if the ad had mentioned that the liberation of Iraq was "unilateral."

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    Just in time snow!

    I don't intend to produce a complete AAR on the dining experience at the Westin Hotel in Whistler last Thursday. Let me just say that having a fine restaurant produce a generous feast, complete with both goose and turkey, and all of the fixings, would have been a great treat by itself. Making it a buffet guaranteed I would eat way too much!! An excellent place, indeed ... Yum!

    For those not familiar with Whistler, it is located about two hours north of Vancouver. The locals love the holiday weekend, with the large influx of Americans who head up for the early skiing over the 4 days. So here's an image to honor of our Canadian hosts ...

    click for hi-res

    Since part of the plan was to break out the skis, we were just a tiny bit disappointed that there was little to be found in the Whistler Village. Whistler / Blackcomb is a dual mountain ski resort, but only Blackcomb had been open for the past 3 weeks, and the early snow had hardened and suffered from the warmer temperatures.

    Still, we enjoyed a ride up the gondola to the Whistler Roundhouse, and wandered about on top enjoying the view. Then we headed down to wander the village shops before making our way to the restaurant. After stuffing ourselves silly at dinner, we made our way back to the condo to vegetate sleep.

    When we woke up Friday morning, we found it drizzling rain in the village, so the Hubster and I geared up and headed to the gondola. As we rose from the base at around 2000 feet, the gondola rose through cloud layers and the temperature dropped, so that we emerged at the 6000 foot level into snow. About 2.5 inches had fallen overnight, and it was still snowing. Yippee!!

    Saturday night it started again, and on Sunday morning the snow was falling at the base of the hill as well. In the late morning, the clouds broke, and the view from the summit was stunning.

    Monday, November 28, 2005

    Giving Thanks ... Good News from Iraq

    Check your own local newspapers to see if this nice little item made it to print where you live. I couldn't find it here in Seattle's papers at all ...

    Iraqi Red Crescent thanks U.S. with $1 million for Katrina relief
    By Paul Martin
    November 25, 2005

    Iraq's Red Crescent relief organization found its own way to mark the Thanksgiving holiday yesterday by announcing that it had sent a $1 million "thank you" donation to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

    The sum, transferred by wire on Sunday, amounts to 20 percent of the organization's annual budget.

    "I wish we could have a billion dollars to give," Said Hakki, the organization's president, said by telephone from Baghdad. "Even then, it is not enough to show our appreciation for what the U.S. has done for Iraq and is still doing."

    The donation was made with the approval of the office of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and is thought to mark the first time that Iraq has sent aid to the United States.

    "Giving thanks is an Iraqi tradition as well as an American one. This is the minimum we could do after the Americans shed their blood in our country, mixing their blood with ours," he said.

    He said the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein was "a blessing from God, and the U.S. was His tool."

    H/T to LindaSoG, who posted this at It's a Matter of Opinion, as well as at Something ... and Half of Something.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2005

    I'm Thankful

    ... for a great many things.

    I have a loving husband, a great family, good health, wonderful friends (some of whom I have yet to meet in person!), a challenging and rewarding job, and so much more. For all of these things, I am very thankful.

    Most of all, I'm thankful that I live in a free country, and for that I need to thank all of our veterans, and the great folks serving in uniform now around the world, along with the amazing families who love and support them.

    One of the great joys of blogging is the connections I've made with troops and vets, and with their families. While I'm off gallivanting around the PNW for the weekend, feel free to use my milblog list in the sidebar if you feel the urge to visit a few and let 'em know you care. And if you happen to have some spare time - visit AnySoldier to find addresses for those who are deployed, and who would love to hear from you.

    Enjoy your family, try not to eat too much turkey and fixin's, and count your blessings!

    Future press conference

    Best picture of Rummy anywhere ... heh!

    Monday, November 21, 2005

    To Lose ... Just Quit

    It's a simple method, and can't fail. All we need to do is quit the fight ... in Iraq, in Afghanistan, anywhere our troops are engaged ... in order to Lose the GWOT.

    I pray that we are not so far gone as to allow that to happen.


    November 21, 2005 -- QUIT. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.

    Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.

    Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq — and the region — if we bail out. And don't mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.

    Forget about our dead soldiers, whose sacrifice is nothing but a political club for Democrats to wave in front of the media. After all, one way to create the kind of disaffection in the ranks that the Dems' leaders yearn to see is to tell our troops on the battlefield that they're risking their lives for nothing, we're throwing the game.

    Forget that our combat veterans are re-enlisting at remarkable rates — knowing they'll have to leave their families and go back to war again. Ignore the progress on the ground, the squeezing of the insurgency's last strongholds into the badlands on the Syrian border. Blow off the successive Iraqi elections and the astonishing cooperation we've seen between age-old enemies as they struggle to form a decent government.

    Just set a time-table for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight, no matter the stakes involved. Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren't anomalies — that's what Americans do.

    While we're at it, let's just print up recruiting posters for the terrorists, informing the youth of the Middle East that Americans are cowards who can be attacked with impunity.

    Whatever you do, don't talk about any possible consequences. Focus on the moment — and the next round of U.S. elections. Just make political points. After all, those dead American soldiers and Marines don't matter — they didn't go to Ivy League schools. (Besides, most would've voted Republican had they lived.)

    America's security? Hah! As long as the upcoming elections show Democratic gains, let the terrorist threat explode. So what if hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners might die in a regional war? So what if violent fundamentalism gets a shot of steroids? So what if we make Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the most successful Arab of the past 500 years?

    For God's sake, don't talk about democracy in the Middle East. After all, democracy wasn't much fun for the Dems in 2000 or 2004. Why support it overseas, when it's been so disappointing at home?

    Human rights? Oh, dear. Human rights are for rich white people who live in Malibu. Unless you can use the issue to whack Republicans. Otherwise, brown, black or yellow people can die by the millions. Dean, Reid & Pelosi, LLC, won't say, "Boo!"

    You've got to understand, my fellow citizens: None of this matters. And you don't matter, either. All that matters is scoring political points. Let the world burn. Let the massacres run on. Let the terrorists acquire WMD. Just give the Bush administration a big black eye and we'll call that a win.


    The irresponsibility of the Democrats on Capitol Hill is breathtaking. (How can an honorable man such as Joe Lieberman stay in that party?) Not one of the critics of our efforts in Iraq — not one — has described his or her vision for Iraq and the Middle East in the wake of a troop withdrawal. Not one has offered any analysis of what the terrorists would gain and what they might do. Not one has shown respect for our war dead by arguing that we must put aside our partisan differences and win.

    There's plenty I don't like about the Bush administration. Its domestic policies disgust me, and the Bushies got plenty wrong in Iraq. But at least they'll fight. The Dems are ready to betray our troops, our allies and our country's future security for a few House seats.

    Surrender is never a winning strategy.

    Yes, we've been told lies about Iraq — by Dems and their media groupies. About conditions on the ground. About our troops. About what's at stake. About the consequences of running away from the great struggle of our time. About the continuing threat from terrorism. And about the consequences for you and your family.

    What do the Democrats fear? An American success in Iraq. They need us to fail, and they're going to make us fail, no matter the cost. They need to declare defeat before the 2006 mid-term elections and ensure a real debacle before 2008 — a bloody mess they'll blame on Bush, even though they made it themselves.

    We won't even talk about the effect quitting while we're winning in Iraq might have on the go-to-war calculations of other powers that might want to challenge us in the future. Let's just be good Democrats and prove that Osama bin Laden was right all along: Americans have no stomach for a fight.

    As for the 2,000-plus dead American troops about whom the lefties are so awfully concerned? As soon as we abandon Iraq, they'll forget about our casualties quicker than an amnesiac forgets how much small-change he had in his pocket.

    If we run away from our enemies overseas, our enemies will make their way to us. Quit Iraq, and far more than 2,000 Americans are going to die.

    And they won't all be conservatives.
    (bold emphasis added)

    You see, it simply isn't true that we will be safe here in the US if we pull out of Iraq before the country is secure. If we leave now, with the job half done, and other Americans will lose their lives. We may not see another attack like 9/11 immediately - but it WILL happen, if we give up now.

    And why would we quit when we're ahead???

    Here's a few facts to ponder :
    • Our troops are Winning in Iraq

    • The Iraqi Constitution has been approved in open elections

    • Our troops are Winning in Iraq

    • In December, the Iraqi people will vote for the National Assembly

    • Our troops are Winning in Iraq

    • Iraq now has 212,000 trained security forces

    • Our troops, combined with the Iraqi forces are Winning in Iraq

    Here's an idea -- let's finish the fight, and leave Iraq as a Democratic and stable state in the Middle East.

    Don't be a Useful Idiot

    When I grow up, I want to write like my friend Kat of The Middle Ground. She takes laser aim today at the tools used by successful terrorist groups.

    It takes more than warm bodies willing to die for their cause. The full success of terrorists like Zarqawi and Bin Laden requires negative propaganda from their victims.

    Terrorism Inc: How To Be A Successful Terrorist

    Using your enemy's "morality" against them, even if you have no morality yourself.

    This section will tell you how to use the "useful idiots" and the media to point out every mistake of your enemy. This is an extremely successful propaganda technique against a much larger enemy. Because you are the "underdog" you are allowed 200 atrocities for every one of their mistakes that results in the death or maiming of innocents. We will teach you how to use this to your advantage, how to use "useful idiots" and the media to spred the word; subcontracting work to actors to stage events and even committing actions yourself that you can get the "useful idiots" and the media to present as the work of your enemy.

    Read the whole thing here. Then decide whether you want to fight the terrorists, or give in to them ... and act accordingly.

    Saturday, November 19, 2005

    Wrap up and follow up - New Links!

    Added 11/19
    Matt has an update on Sgt. Wright posted at Blackfive, straight from the Marine's mouth.

    Original post

    The blogger challenge was a great success - with $88k raised for Project Valour-IT! A huge Thank You to everyone who participated, and who donated to this terrific cause!

    During the first week of the challenge, I displayed a picture of a young Marine saluting proudly. I found that great picture at Capt B's One Marine's View, and used it to illustrate the point.

    I didn't know the Marine's name or how he came to be wounded. I had no clue when the picture was taken, or what he was up to since that day. This weekend, by sheer luck, I found some of the details to fill in the blanks, and I think the story just got even better.

    First -- the original picture, with a proper caption ...

    Sgt. James 'Eddie' WrightSgt. James Wright, who received the Bronze Star Medal with valor device from Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, salutes during the national anthem at the June 1, 2004 presentation ceremony in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. Wright was given a speed boat as appreciation for his actions while serving in Iraq. Photo by: Cpl. Richard Stephens

    During the fight, a round from a rocket-propelled grenade struck his humvee and changed the Marine’s life forever.

    The blast severed both of Wright’s hands and severely wounded his left leg. Incredibly, Wright maintained his composure, instructing his Marines to use a radio to call for help and to apply tourniquets to his wounds. Wright also directed his Marines to concentrate fire on enemy machine gun positions, assisting in the demise of 26 enemy fighters. For his actions, Wright was later presented the Bronze Star Medal with combat distinguishing device for valor.

    As I finished the article, I realized two things : Sgt. Wright is from Seattle, Washington -and- he has just been presented with the gift of a fine custom speed boat by a San Diego based company called Ultra Boats.

    click to read article
    Jason Ewing of Ultra Boats shows Marine Sgt. James 'Eddie' Wright, who lost both hands in a combat-related explosion while serving in Iraq last year, the interior of Wright's new 28-foot, custom-made powerboat. The vessel is specially outfitted so that Wright can drive the boat using his prosthetic arms, before the boat was put in the water at Camp Pendleton on Thursday. The boat was given to Wright as part of a reality television show called 'Rock the Boat.'
    HAYNE PALMOUR IV Staff Photographer

    Check out some of the details of Sgt. Wright's new boat :

    The 425-horsepower boat was custom-airbrushed with scuba-fitted skeletons ---- a stylized Marine reconnaissance team ---- swimming through blue flames with Wright at the lead ---- his new prosthetic arms with hooks in full stroke.

    The powerful speed, ski and scuba vessel was rigged with voice-controlled navigational and operational gear that can be operated by Wright alone.

    Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

    If there are any Southern California based folks reading this - please tell your friends and neighbors to consider a visit to Ultra Custom Boats for their next boat purchase. This is the kind of military supporting business we need to encourage!!

    Well done, John and Leah West -- Good on You!


    The Ultra Boats site notes that the Outdoor Life Network (OLN TV) runs a series called Rock the Boat. An episode showing the custom design of this special boat will air again on Sunday night, Nov. 20th, at 7pm Pacific time. Sounds like a LOT more fun than 60 minutes to me !! Check your local listings, just be case.

    Friday, November 18, 2005

    Looking around the Milblogs

    If you read nothing else today ... go check out the Punishers' Ball report at Michael Yon's! It's a good read, and the pictures of the men of the Deuce Four are wonderful!

    Meanwhile, Capt B provides another data point (the chart is quite full now) regarding the lack of intelligent reporting from the general media. Take the time to read The Wrong Story. Then we need to go execute on his orders for us : "Be smart America, support your leaders, we are winning! Semper Fi!"

    Chris Muir's Day By Day cartoon for today shows he is engaged in this battle. Well done, Chris!

    Check out the positive items at Castle Argghhh as well, courtesy of the Armorer. He also had a good time pooh-poohing the WP allegations.

    Meanwhile, Sgt B has a bone to pick over an icon, and takes apart the unintelligent 'bring home the troops now' sentiment. Of course, you KNOW what happens when you ask a Marine to take something apart, don't you? heh!

    What do the troops Really need for the holidays? To find out, wander over to AnySoldier.Com, Books For Soldiers, Soldiers' Angels, Adopt a Sniper, or Holly Aho's. Show your authentic support by sending packages, cards, pictures and letters.

    We are the reason that these men and women are willing and proud to serve ... We are the Republic for which they Stand!

    Thursday, November 17, 2005

    Blog life meets real life

    I added another notch to my sidebar. Down in that little section reserved for the bloggers I've actually met in person, there is a new entry. This past Monday night, I met up with Bad Cat Robot of Snark Patrol and Chief(ret) Bill of Castle Argghhh!!

    I have to agree with BCR - Bloggers do have more fun. Especially when that blogger is me, and I'm sitting with two fun and very funny people who also happen to be excellent story-tellers! Never a dull moment, let me tell ya!!!

    I was tickled to find out that Bill tells 'em just like he writes 'em. And don't be thinking that he's exhausted his supply - there's always another one to be told. We drank and ate and told stories ... okay, they told the stories, I mostly listened!

    We had a grand time. The only downer is that neither BCR or I managed to take a clean photo for publication. Bill's camera may hold the only pictorial proof that exists of our tiny little blogmeet.

    Heh ... this could be bad ...

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Thank You, Veterans!

    Today is Veterans' Day ... Many thanks to the military veterans, and to those currently serving. You are all heroes, and it's because of your that America is the greatest nation on the planet!

    One of my first blog entries was on this day one year ago. It's still the best way I can say this :

    If you do NOTHING else today, thank a veteran for his/her service. Find as many as you can to thank, and let them know how much you appreciate their contribution. Without them we wouldn't be free to Vote, to speak openly, and to live in prosperity.

    Do something nice for them : Donate your time or money to an organization which works to improve the lives of vets and their families, or one which supports the families of those currently serving in the Armed Forces... GO - Do it NOW!

    I've never served in the military, and have incredible respect for anyone who has - at any level, for any length of service. It's an amazing sacrifice for them as well as for the families who wait behind for them.

    American LegionIt's still true, and I plan to continue to do what I can to show my appreciation. Not just today, because there are good things to be done every day. But Especially today, let them know you care, please.

    Last year I had the absolute best, and absolute worst, response possible from a co-worker when I thanked him for his Navy service. He looked up at me and said "Thank you. No one ever thanked me before!". The best part was how happy he was to be thanked, and how good it made me feel. But it was sad, too - that he had been out of uniform for 13+ years, and no one had thanked him on Veterans Day.

    Originally celebrated as armistice Day, there are celebrations in many countries on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour. JMH reminded me that in Canada, it is called Remembrance Day -- and you can visit this site to find links to a slew of great places.

    In Flanders Fields

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.
    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    - John McCrae

    Remembrance Day

    Visit your favorite Milblogs and pay your respects today! Here's a small sampling :
    John, Bill & Dusty
    Sgt B
    MSG Keith
    Sgt Hook
    Mudville Gazette / Milblogs
    Capt B
    Major K (and his new son!)
    One Big Dog

    ... adding some ladies for balance ...
    Army Girl

    ... or check the sidebar at any of the above!

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Happy 230th Birthday, Marines!

    As a proud member of the Marine blog challenge team, under the inspired leadership of Holly Aho, I want to wish all active and former Marines Happy Birthday!

    Here are the blogs of just a few active and former Marines so you can visit and leave a Birthday greeting:
    The Gun Line
    One Marine's View
    Straight White Guy
    Drunken Wisdom
    Adventures of Chester
    Grim's Hall
    The Word Unheard
    Major Mike
    Halls to the Shores
    Evangelical Outpost
    Grendel's Dragon
    Random Firings
    Stacking Swivel
    Flight Pundit
    Social Sense
    Daisy Cutter

    The US Postal Service is giving the Marines a birthday gift ...

    Distinguished Marines

    In honor of the 230th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps, the U.S. Postal Service is scheduled to release the U.S. Marine Corps Heritage Collection of four distinguished Corps postage stamps.

    The Distinguished Marine Stamps honor four of the most reputable Marine Corps war heroes including Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, Sgt. Maj. Daniel J. Daly, Lt. Gen. John A. Lejuene and Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller.

    Purchase of the stamps will be available exclusively on Marine Corps installations Nov. 10 at $7.40 for a book of 20 stamps. Other post offices will begin sale of the stamps on Nov. 11.

    Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., are scheduled to host the unveiling ceremonies Nov. 10. Brig. Gen. Michael Lehnert, Commanding General Marine Corps Installations West, is scheduled to speak at the West Coast event.
    (H/T to Wild Thing)

    This is a fine idea, and the timing is wonderful with Veteran's Day on Friday. Keep in mind that not all heroes get their faces printed on a stamp, though. Capt B reminds us about the nature of the Real American Hero ...

    The title of veteran is a term of great respect due to the patriotism, willingness to serve, and dedication to a larger cause. As the holiday approaches if nothing else Americans should remember the vets who made this country what it is today. I stand in front of a unit’s memorial board here in Iraq. A wall of warriors killed in action. I stare at the many fallen Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen, many so young and full of life, determined and brave. I stare at the memorial walls and a silent crowded wall stares back at me holding me accountable to complete the job we were sent here to do. They gave their all. It’s a shame we cant display all of the pictures from all of the battles that show these brave men so people could see who was number 7 and who was number 2001. So people can feel the eyes of men and women looking at them and telling them so much without saying a word.

    Their faces wind torn and chapped, uniforms faded from the hot sun, body armor stained with sweat marks, dirt and smoke. Many of them serving multiple tours defending America and freedom, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but places like Omaha Beach, Iwo Jima and Vietnam. Some people don’t support war for whatever reason but I ask all of you to respect the warriors for the person they are, no the American that they are and always will be. For the fact that which ever war they fought in, they fought bravely. Some are gone now. Some never made it home but many are still with us. Some people on that wall may have wondered what would be said about them once they are gone. As on that wall, many names reside on the black Vietnam memorial wall in DC and the many walls, memorials to come which hold words of gratitude and honor, strength, determination and hope.

    There's more - go read it, and leave the Captain encouraging words while you're at it. He knows why he's in Iraq, let him know you understand.

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Fusileers Alert!

    Attention on the net ...

    Chuck Ziegenfuss (AKA Capt Z of From My Position) has posted some extremely time-sensitive information. His amazing wife, Carren, is going to be on Connected - Coast to Coast on MSNBC tomorrow!!

    Publicity Stunt

    Mkay... I dragged my drugged and temporarily one-handed body out of the hospital bed to tell ya'll about something most important.

    Carren is gonna be on national TV (and live national TV at that) to let everyone know about Project Valour-IT. She will represent me (the nerd who thought of this project), and the many people who have made this project a success.

    She is going to be on "Connected coast to coast" a show run by MSNBC. Don't know how long she'll be on, but for the love of god, please tune in, put your hands on the top of your TV, and talk to Jebus when the show is over. The show runs from 1200-1300 (noon to one fer ya civlians out there)(and that's eastern time) My beloved is supposed to be on around 1240, but I will rest assured that her looks, personality, and general charm will either get her on early, or the show will go into extra rounds like Rocky and the Big Ruskie in Rocky IV.

    Here's how you can help. Send this to every one you know, post it on your blog, get them to post it on theirs. One side will say it's a failure of the gummint to not prvide this for the soldiers, others just see it as a way to help our brothers and sisters who have fallen but will be getting up. However they spin it, just get the word out.

    There's less than 18 hours to game time, so let's get our blog on!


    Check your local listings - set your recorder if you will be at work ... Spread the word ... send emails to your friends and family ... Cross-post and trackback to as many sites as you can think of.

    Why are you still here?? GO!

    OpOrders for Civilians

    I meant to link from the post below to the orders for the 1stCivDiv at The Word Unheard. Go there and try to follow his orders, it's instructive!

    Then use his button to donate, if you haven't already. Heck - if you have, you can do it again!

    Veterans Day is almost here - time to give back, with interest.

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    Project Valour-IT Update

    When I checked the totals in the blog competition this evening, I was ecstatic to see that the Navy ship was floundering!! Of course, it would have made me even Happier to say that the Marine team was the leader ... but the Army team has that honor (right now), while the Air Force team is struggling to gain altitude.

    Here are the current totals ...

    Army$ 15,119.99
    Marine$ 10,345.00
    Air Force$ 4,625.00
    Navy$ 14,051.00

    That's over $44K - which is more than a third of the total amount to complete Phase 2, and more than twice the original goal for this competition!


    But ... The Army has the lead.

    So Listen Up out there ... The Marine team has done fine work, in spite of the technical difficulties experienced by our fearless leader (Holly's blog is down right now, partly due to traffic!). But let's make a push to the top!

    graphic by Wild Thing

    There are other things you can do ... Print off the flyers and hang them, so others can see their chance to help. Tell your friends and family, even small donations are powerful!

    If you know people who need a visual, try this one :

    Cox and Forkum

    Thanks to Cox and Forkum for creating the perfect image to keep us focused.

    Friday, November 04, 2005

    Just say NO to Bell Bottoms!

    The lead gained by Navy last night was maintained today, darn it! Sgt Hook said it right, though ... We're still not wearing the damned bell bottoms!

    As of midnight (pacific time), the team numbers stand at:

    Army$ 7674.99
    Marine$ 5700.00
    Air Force$ 2560.00
    Navy$ 9675.00

    Come ON, Marine supporters ... you're not going to let Navy beat us, are you??!

    Seriously - if you don't already know why this project is a worthy cause, take a moment to read some of these examples from Capt Z (who is currently undergoing more treatment), or Sgt B, or Sgt Hook, or Holly Aho.

    * * * Special Offer * * *

    I'll even give you an extra reason to give. I'll give the first person who donates $100 to the Marine Team (using the donate button at the right) a special gift.

    A Fighting Aces T-Shirt. These shirts were sold by Chuck's unit to help fund a Welcome Home party, and are not available any longer. However - I bought two of them, and I will send you one if you donate $100 or more on Saturday, the 5th. Leave me a comment so I know who you are, and I'll email you!

    Gun Pr0n!

    For a quick change from the Blog Challenge, head over to Random Nuclear Strikes, where I posted a little Gun pron. That's what Analog Kid gets for letting me have the keys to the blog for a few days!!

    Here's a teaser related to the post. See if you can tell me what it is *before* you go over to RNS to read my post!

    click for hi-res

    Thursday, November 03, 2005

    Flex that blogging muscle!

    The Fearless Leader of our rapidly-growing (check out my sidebar!!) Marine Team is quite the artist. Check out the Comic of the Day at Holly Aho's place! (note : you may need to scroll down a bit)

    Even better - Holly has collected several great Podcasts and links in one power-packed post for those who want to Learn More. Take the time to listen to the Podcast of Chuck Ziegenfuss - it's a hoot!

    The Navy team surged forward in the last hour, so that as of 10:15pm (pacific time), the team numbers stand at:

    Army$ 5434.99
    Marine$ 3390.00
    Air Force$ 1670.00
    Navy$ 5435.00

    I can't believe that Army and Navy are separated by $.01, and the total is a great stride towards the Blog Challenge goal!

    Keep spreading the word -- we want to blow past that goal. Remember that the completion of the first phase totals about $110,000 - Don't Stop!

    Where's your Marine Spirit?

    I found this picture at One Marine's View. This young Marine fought alongside his brothers, and saw things I am sure I can't imagine. He lost his hand, and may have lost fellow Marines as well.

    Helping our wounded is what Project Valour-IT is all about, and the picture speaks in volumes much better than I can write. The best words I can share are from my blog-challenge teammates, like Gunn Nutt, and Sgt. B.

    Our original inspiration came from Chuck Ziegenfuss, who I met through his blog From My Position. Chuck was wounded this past June, and is once again back at Walter Reed undergoing procedures to graft skin on his damaged arm. He has been able to blog, when he isn't under the influence of medications, by using a voice-controlled laptop. This led directly to the formation of Project Valour-IT.

    So here we are - in Day 2 of the Blog Challenge, with a goal of $21,000, and a friendly rivalry to spur on the bloggers. As you can see in my sidebar, the Marine Team (headed by Soldiers' Angel - Sally Aho) has raised over $1800 - Whoo Hoo!!! That's barely ahead of the Navy team, and far behind the leading Army team, although happily leading the Zoomies.

    Show your spirit! If you are a Marine with a blog, please join the team! If you don't blog and want to join, download the flyers (Thanks to the Armorer for hosting them!) and spread the word. Take some time to read down the Marine Team blog list in my sidebar - leave a comment to let them know of your support. Most importantly - Dig into your pockets and spread some green for this great cause, please.

    In the words of my blog bro Sgt B, let's Get Some!!

    Wednesday, November 02, 2005

    Blogger Challenge - Join the Team

    The blogger competition for Project Valour-IT is launching today - and I'm joining the Marine team of Soldiers' Angel Holly Aho.

    The concept was to create the teams around the military services, and use that friendly rivalry via a Blog Challenge. Holly has taken the lead for the Marine team. No, she has not served in the Marines, or any of the services, directly. But as a Soldiers' Angel she works hard to bring comfort to members of every service. Holly couldn't let her Marines down, so she's leading the way.

    What: Friendly online blogging competition to raise money for Project Valour-IT, a Soldiers’ Angels operation.

    There are 4 3 teams competing so far.
    Army – Led by blogger BlackFive
    Air Force – Led by the Mudville Gazette
    Marines – led by Holly!

    Goal: The goal of the Project Valour-IT fundraiser is to raise enough money for 30 new laptops with voice activated software for our wounded soldiers with hand and/or arm injuries. Each laptop costs approximately $685 plus shipping, so the fundraiser’s total goal is to raise $21,000.

    How: Donate online with Paypal (button at top of this page) or send in a payment to:
    Soldiers Angels
    Valour-IT Fund Marine Team
    1792 East Washington Blvd.
    Pasadena, CA 91104

    When: November 2 – November 11

    The men and women in the military give so much, it's our turn to repay them. Watch this space for updates often, and go give some Green!!

    Marine Team Donations

    Monday, October 31, 2005

    Michael Yon and LTC Kurilla

    If you don't already have Michael Yon's Gates of Fire post tattooed onto your consciousness, then hie yourself over to his blog and catch up to the rest of us. You'll understand the image below better after reading...

    Michael Yon

    I mention that amazing piece of front-line reporting to set the stage for an update on the activities of the 1st Battalion / 24th Infantry, AKA the Deuce Four. Since LTC Kurilla was wounded the unit has redeployed to Washington, and last week unfurled the unit flags at Fort Lewis.

    When I saw this picture the other day, I wanted to cheer for joy at the site of the commander leading his men out onto the field, crutches and all!

    I recently read a comment in another blog which posed a 'chicken or the egg' kind of query:
    * Are there people like this because we are a great country?
    - OR -
    * Are we a great country because of people like this?

    Right now I think the answer is obvious - great soldiers like LTC Erik Kurilla, and every one of his troops - many of whom gave the ultimate sacrifice - make us great.

    So what's next for the Deuce Four? A visit from Michael Yon, who is spending the week in the Seattle area. Then there's the Ball this Saturday, to which Michael Yon and Bruce Willis have been invited as well.

    Paying Respect to Those Who've Earned It

    Bruce Willis is one of the finest and most successful actors in the world. Further introduction would be redundant. Mr. Willis has been to Iraq with his band and the USO, and has been following the events in Mosul through my dispatches. He has expressed his desire to support our troops to me on numerous occasions. One need only read his website to see how strongly he feels about this:

    And so, Mr. Willis wanted to personally thank American soldiers for their successes and sacrifices in Iraq, and made plans to fly to the Fort Lewis area and thank soldiers who fought so well. Mr. Willis will attend the "Deuce Four" Ball near Fort Lewis, on November 5th, 2005.

    The soldiers of the Deuce Four have earned the right to relax, to spend a night of pleasure with their friends and spouses. So has Mr. Yon - whose amazing blog has brought the war front directly to our desktops.

    He is also taking the time to honor those who died, and I'll leave you with his thoughts ...
    ...Nearly 600 soldiers were killed or wounded from the 1st Brigade (Stryker), 25th Infantry Division, while fighting in Iraq. I visited the newly built 1st Brigade Memorial, and as I read the names of the fallen etched in the granite face of the memorial, I was humbly reminded of the great price our soldiers continue to pay for my freedom to write and to speak.

    (cross-posted at Random Nuclear Strikes)

    Reason # 3,952 to hate the MSM

    NOT just because this article in the USA Today starts with the withdrawal of Ms. Miers from consideration, NOT because of the use of the phrase 'botched nomination', and NOT because it proceeds to give a stale re-hash of Justice O'Connor's history.

    Check out the chart of "Failed Nominations" at the bottom of the linked article. In what universe is the withdrawal of John Roberts as a nominee for Associate Justice (in order to submit him as a nominee for Chief Justice) to be considered a "Failed Nomination"?? Oh, sure, there is a note about the nomination to Chief Justice - but the fact is that this nomination never Failed.

    This is exactly the kind of mis-use of terminology that prevents me from trusting what I read, and what I hear when I force myself to watch the news. Did the President withdraw Justice Roberts? Of course he did. Did he do so because the nomination was in trouble? Of course not.

    Samuel AlitoThe good news is that no time is being wasted, and a new nominee has been announced. From what I've read so far, Samuel Alito has a strong record from his 15 years on the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals. All of the conservative hard-liners who were dissatisfied with Ms. Miers should be very pleased, especially the base who have been aching for a fight.

    Predictably, the battle of words has already begun. Michelle Malkin has more on the nomination and reaction. Hugh Hewitt provides background material links on Judge Alito's decisions and writings, and outlines the shape of the battle to come.

    Sunday, October 30, 2005

    Who's your D20?

    I rolled the dice, figuratively speaking, and discovered my inner Icosahedron ...

    I am a d20

    Take the quiz at

    You are the large, round, friendly d20! You are the friendly, outgoing, outspoken, leader of friends. You are often looked up to, even though you don't normally deserve it. Most other types secretly wish they were you, and you'd give them tips on how, if only you had a clue yourself. Your charisma is often all you need, but you have your occasional moments of brilliance as well--just never when it's actually needed. You are the all-around good guy girl, a dependable chum, a respectable foe, and an inspiration to those who need one. Who says you can't get by on a smile and good looks alone?

    Hmpf - Who says I don't deserve being looked up to? Anyways - check it out and tell me your type. If we get at least one of each, it's D&D time!!

    H/T to Graumagus, the D8.

    Friday, October 28, 2005

    Wounded Warfighters - How to Help

    First, some great news for SFC Buzz Richardson, who I wrote about here and here. By way of Buzz's Mom and Aunt, we have this good news, and a new address to send him cards.

    Buzz has been discharged from Walter Reed and flown to Augusta Georgia!!! They told him Wednesday night at 11:30 PM that he would be leaving DC for Georgia at 6:45AM Thursday morning!!! Sarah was up all night packing first her motel room and then Buzz's hospital room. They flew via military cargo .....not what you'd call first class. They were both pretty worn out by the time they reached Augusta. Sarah is staying in a Comfort Inn within walking distance of the hospital.
    Buzz is in room 1134.

    The address is :
    Augusta VA Medical Center
    Patient SFC Richard C. Robertson Rm# 1134
    One Freedom Way
    Downtown Division
    Augusta, Georgia 30901

    Buzz and his wife, Sarah, very much appreciate all of the kind attention. Send a note of thanks, or just keep them in your prayers.

    You might remember that Buzz is one of the soldiers who has received a laptop through the Soldiers' Angels Valour-IT project. This project is so very important for providing a means of communication and independence for our wounded warfighters, so we are launching a new fundraising competition. The Fuzzilicious one has all the details here - please go visit her site, add your suggestions, and start thinking about how you'll plan to participate.

    Blog ChallengeWe need to spread the word far and wide to ensure the success of the project - don't delay!!


    New Flyers are available at Castle Argghhh! Print them up and post them to spread the word!

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    A Blogoversary!

    No - not mine! Blogfather Graumagus marked his second blogoversary yesterday, and I missed it. Argghhh!

    As I pondered what to give him, Harvey's advice helped a bit. Since Grau is working crappy long hours, I figured the only practical thing he needs right now is More Time! But, you know, decorative is good also.

    Happy Belated Blogoversary, Grau!

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    Call Mr. Toad ...

    Rachel at Legless in Perpetuum found his Wild Ride!

    She (Rachel, not the toad!) also has a nice little public awareness message to share.

    The numbers game

    We all know how much the MSM likes to use and abuse numbers to their own benefit, and the casualty toll in the war is their favorite number to use as a bludgeon. As always, they miss the real meaning behind the numbers they wield.

    New York Post
    October 20, 2005

    Exploiting The Dead
    By Ralph Peters

    We'll soon reach a total of 2,000 dead American troops in Iraq. You won't miss the day it happens. The media will pound it into you.

    But no one will tell you what that number really means — and what it doesn't.

    Unable to convince the Bush administration or our troops to cut and run, the American left is waging its campaign of support for Islamist terror through our all-too-cooperative media. And you're the duck in the anti-war movement's shooting gallery.

    Breathless anchors and voice-of-God columnists will suggest that 2,000 dead is an exorbitant price to pay in wartime, that reaching such a threshold means we've failed and that it's time to "support our troops and bring them home."

    All lies. Certainly, the life of every American service member matters to us. But the left's attempt to exploit dead soldiers and Marines for partisan purposes is worse than grave-robbing: Ghouls only take gold rings and decaying flesh; the left wants to rob our war dead of their sacrifices and their achievements, their honor and their pride.

    Those who died in Iraq have not died in vain. Even should Iraq fail itself in the end, our courageous effort to give one Middle-Eastern Muslim population a chance to create a rule-of-law democracy has been worth the cost — for their sake, but also for ours. Without a transformation of the Middle East, we shall see no end of terror.

    As a former soldier whose friends still serve under our flag, I'm especially disgusted by the pretense on the part of those who never served and who wouldn't dream of letting their own children serve that they speak for the men and women in uniform.

    Our troops speak for themselves. By re-enlisting. And returning to Iraq, to complete the mission for which their comrades gave their lives or suffered life-altering wounds.

    Two generations of politicians and pundits suffer from their avoidance of military service. They speak of war in ignorance and view our troops — whom they quietly despise — as nothing more than tools of their own ambitions. After deploring body counts during their Vietnam-era protest years, today our leftists revel in the American body count in Iraq.

    The left has been infuriated by its inability to incite an anti-war movement in our military — forgetting that this is an all-volunteer force whose members believe in service to our country. The best the Democrats can do is to trot out poor Wes Clark, an ethically challenged retired general who will say anything, anywhere, anytime in return for five more seconds in the spotlight.

    As for that "unacceptable" number of casualties, let's put it in perspective:

    Our current loss rate in Iraq from combat and non-combat deaths is 765 per year. That's painful for individual families, but we would have to remain in Iraq, taking casualties at the same rate, for 76 years to rival our loss of more than 58,000 Americans in Indochina.

    And Vietnam wasn't remotely as important to our national security. The terrorists we face today are more implacable than any of the enemies from our past. Even the Germans didn't dream of eradicating our entire population. The Japanese hoped to master Asia, not to massacre every man, woman and child in America.

    We would need to continue our efforts in Iraq and the greater War on Terror for 532 years to suffer the 407,000 dead we lost in less than four years in World War II.

    And what about our greatest struggle, the American Civil War? We would have to maintain the status quo in Iraq for 470 years just to rival the number of Union dead and for 729 years to equal our total losses, North and South.

    Even our Revolutionary War, in which fewer than 5,000 Americans died in combat (many more, unrecorded, fell to disease) has to be judged in terms of the population at the time — just over 2 million. Equivalent losses today would be over 500,000 dead Americans.

    The point isn't to play hocus-pocus with statistics. That's what the pro-terrorist left is trying to do — betting that you know nothing of military history. Two thousand dead isn't a magic number. Our first loss was as important as the last. We must not make a mockery of our fallen by treating them as political rag-dolls to be tossed around the media playroom. Great causes incur great costs.

    In historical terms, our losses in Iraq have been remarkably light, given the magnitude of what we seek to achieve. The low casualty rate is a tribute to the skill and professionalism of our troops and their battlefield leaders. None of us should breathe a word that undercuts them while they're fighting our war.

    If the American left and its media sympathizers want someone to blame for our combat losses, they should begin with themselves. Their irresponsible demands for troop withdrawals provide powerful encouragement to Muslim fanatics to keep on killing as many American service members as possible. On the worst days the terrorists suffer in Iraq, our "anti-war" fellow citizens keep the cause of Islamist fascism alive. Their support is worth far more to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi than any amount of Saudi money.

    It would be wonderful to live in a world in which war was never necessary. But we don't live in such a world. And there are no bloodless wars. We should honor every fallen American. But we also must recognize that, on this maddened earth, only the blood of patriots shed abroad allows us to live in safety here at home.

    Ralph Peters' latest book is "New Glory, Expanding America's Global Supremacy."

    Over at Fuzzilicious Thinking, the Lioness further ponders the intent of the MSM. Go read, and give her your thoughts.

    Monday, October 24, 2005

    Losing heart ... No Way!

    I'm not referring to myself, as I support the war in Iraq ... the Mission *AND* the warfighters. But I hear it occasionally when listening to talk radio. I really love it when someone invokes Cindy Sheehan (for example) and then tries to prove that *Most* of those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan want the President to bring them home now, based on some bogus extrapolation.

    That's bullshit, of course, as bad math if nothing else. So to battle singularity with singularity, I give you Capt B of One Marine's View. (At least his blog title is honest about whom he represents)

    By the way, the Captain still believes in You, the American public. Don't let him down. Go read, and show your Spirit.

    Paying Attention?

    It's coming down to the wire for this election season, with some important initiatives on the Washington State ballot for voter approval (or denial). The most important of these is I-912 - "No New Gas Tax". The purpose of I-912 is to repeal the gas tax hike legislation enacted by newly minted Governor Gregoire this January.

    The core of this bill is a graduated 9.5 cent per gallon tax hike over 4 years. This year's installment raised the tax paid in Washington to 31 cents per gallon. Anyone remember the bit about how you boil a frog? Yup ... just turn the heat up gradually, and the frog stays in the water. Well, we're not frogs, and we're not sitting still.

    The worst part isn't that this gas tax was passed so quickly, or even that the Dems in the state government forced it through under a special (and bogus) Emergency Clause (to avoid a people's vote). It is that the gas tax isn't aimed at doing what is needed to reduce congestion - with much of the money tagged for repairs and Ferry/Railway improvements, not for new lanes or other additions.

    And then, there is the no-longer-amusing political battle over the free use of the airwaves. You might recall the kerfuffle about local KVI talk show hosts Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson being forced to consider their radio-time as 'In-Kind contributions' to the petition drive in June. Thanks to Heartless Libertarian, we can see that the strangling of the First Amendment is taking place all over again.

    Wake Up, Washington voters -- it's time to make your voice heard. If the PTB shut down the public voices, then the private ones need to keep the talk going!

    Castle Birthday time!

    Today is cause for celebration - two of my fellow Denizens are celebrating Natal Anniversaries. Both Jack of Random Fate and Keith of My Army Life were born on this day, and the Castle celebration is on!

    Also celebrating a birthday on this date is the United Nations. There has been a lot of scrutiny applied to the UN recently, and at least one blogger has mused whether it was and is flawed on purpose. Sort of anti-Intelligent Design.

    Thursday, October 20, 2005

    For Real Geeks

    Tired of looking at that tiny little 21" monitor?? Maybe you need the ultimate monitor!


    Let's see ...

    BillT has a reader challenge posted, be sure to form your response before reading the comments.

    Also from the Castle, Cassandra takes a look at the tepid response of the MSM to the resounding success of the Iraq vote last weekend. Wherever you post, Cass - it's a good thing!

    Jarred at Air Force Pundit shares some of the news from CENTCOM. Blackfive is following this as well.

    Firepower 5 is headed to Pakistan to help with the relief efforts. So is Sgt Hook's old unit.

    The Marines in Iraq know that the election is over, but Capt B reminds us there is no Holiday yet. Be sure to read the comments.
    THIMBLE ... heh!!

    Bubblehead at Subsunk points to discussions on women serving on submarines, head over to Chapomatic to follow the whole thing.

    And while we're being Jointy, let's not forget that key service ... the Military families. They wear no uniforms, but serve nonetheless.

    Also, check out the Holidays for Heroes info at Mudville Gazette, to see how you can help the Soldiers' Angels organization improve the spirits of all of the troops this season. Note that the window for sending packages to the troops deployed overseas is not very long -- so don't wait!

    For fun - jump over to Snake Eater's and enjoy the dancing and paratrooper pr0n.

    ** UPDATE **

    This item from Thunder6 warms the heart of at least one Apache Pilot - he says it feels good to be appreciated!

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005


    Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail has a great post about the Anbar Campaign, including a Flash presentation of the campaign for those of us who need help visualizing.