October 31, 2004

NORMAL AGAIN

What's unusual about this weekend is how normal it's been. Wives say that sometimes their husbands are jumpier or quieter after they come home; Soldiers have to attend briefings about how hard re-integration will be. However, our re-integration has been shockingly boring. After my husband was home for an hour, it felt like he'd never been gone. The last nine months just disappeared. The only real difference is that we keep losing track of time because we're talking too much. Yesterday we tried to watch a movie, but we kept pausing it to talk, first about a scene in the movie, then about relationships, then about the military, and then about the deployment. Many wives say that their husbands don't like to tell stories about what has happened downrange, but once my husband saw that my reaction to a potentially scary story was cheering and praising him, other stories started to follow. We talked candidly about the good and bad things that have happened to him down in Iraq, and it wasn't weird at all. We also talked about whether he wants to stay in the Army longer than his required four years, a topic I wanted to hit on during R&R but didn't think we'd get to on the first day. We had a good talk about the advantages, ended with a "we'll decide next year", and finally turned the movie back on, two hours later.

Everything takes twice as long when you can't stop talking to each other!

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October 29, 2004

FAST

He's in the shower now! He's been here 30 minutes and we can't talk fast enough. For some reason, we are trying to say everything right away. We've already raced through conversations about Parker and Stone, the presidential election, the median Iraqi age, our "new" stove (new since June), and how funny his hands look since they are about ten shades darker than his arms. And he's already had one beer...

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CONNECTIONS

My husband is arriving early now. For some reason, no one could find my phone number to call and let me know, but luckily one of my students was working staff duty. He just called me and said, "Hey Sarah, this is [last name]." I was wondering what in the heck he could want at 0630; I've had students call me with weird questions, but this was wild. The fact is that he was the only person who had my home phone number, so he called to let me know the husband's on the way. What a nice gesture!

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BRING THE LOVE!

Couldn't resist quoting this:

We may see some brief flicker of the insurgent flame yet, some last-ditch effort before Tuesday. If so it would be a good time to remember this: immediately after Al Qaeda castrated Spain with a few well-placed bombs the organization released a tape claiming the victory. That tape included this phrase: "You love life and we love death,." Anyone who ever served in the US Armed Forces knew the instant response to that, heard George C. Scott quote Patton, establishing the obvious common ground between American Forces and Al Qaeda corpses: "Your job is not to die for your country. Your job is to make the other poor bastard die for his country".

"You Love life, we love death"

The Marines will bring the love to Fallujah.

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October 28, 2004

GROGGY

I woke up at 0400 and couldn't go back to sleep. I must be excited about something, but I can't figure out what it could be...

P.S. I never thought anything could make me laugh at 0430 like this clip did.

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HALF A DAY AWAY

Right before he left, my husband got his smallpox shot. It was bandaged and still scabby when he deployed. I realized yesterday that he's had a new scar on his shoulder for nine months and I've never even seen it.

Two hundred fifty-eight days ago, I waved goodbye to my husband as his bus passed through the intersection by our house; tomorrow morning I will be waving as his bus pulls into brigade headquarters. I will spend two weeks stuffing him with beer, food, and love. I will sit by his side as we watch Futurama together. I will wait on him hand and foot. And I will kiss the new smallpox scar on his arm.

He'll be home in twelve hours.

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IMPROVED

Well ain't that a kick in the pants. Guess who's taking care of Arafat...

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LETTER

Dear President Bush,

I hope you're sleeping better than I have been lately. I bet you're about to OD on Tylenol PM! It doesn't help me much, so I lie in bed trying to think of anything other than 2 Nov, the Cardinals, or my husband. The Cardinals turned out to be a losing battle. I told my friend that it would just figure that the Cards would lose the World Series right when my husband gets home and he'd be in a really foul mood for the whole weekend! Hopefully seeing me after nine months can ease the pain...

I wish I could talk to you. You get such bullcrap thrown your way, and sometimes I worry about you. You won an award for best movie villan, which might be humorous if I weren't so naggingly sure that those people actually believe it. You get drawn as everything from Hitler to a special needs child, and if I feel the sting, I know you must too.

I just wish you could know that some of us out there really do care about you. We want you to win, because we think you've been a great leader in trying times. We want an aggressive leader who does what's right for the US and we've been behind you since 9/11. We're afraid of what happens if you don't win, but we're also slightly afraid of what happens if you do. There are some who have called for riots, lawsuits, and even for your assassination.

If you win, you have four more years of battle with the Islamobarbarians to look forward to. If you lose, you get a good nights sleep and the weight of the world lifted from your shoulders. I wish you could have both, but I'm afraid the former is more important right now. But with you as our president, both of us will sleep peacefully someday.

I wish you luck and tranquility in the coming week.
Get 'er done!!
Sarah

P.S. The Cards may have lost, but Israel may win: is Arafat's death upon us? You know me...I'm baking a cake if it is!

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October 27, 2004

VIOLENCE

Terrorists hope to defeat Bush through Iraq violence

BAGHDAD — Leaders and supporters of the anti-U.S. insurgency say their attacks in recent weeks have a clear objective: The greater the violence, the greater the chances that President Bush will be defeated on Tuesday and the Americans will go home.

Great. Thanks for giving them hope, Kerry/Edwards.

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EMPATHY

Slate is overwhelmingly supporting Kerry, but one writer conducted an experiment in empathy: he donned both Kerry/Edwards and Bush/Cheney gear and headed to where he'd find the most dissent. The result? Gee, what do you think?

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October 26, 2004

WHEW

Dear Blue 6,
You and I can both rest easy now: they finally got your absentee ballot today. Thank goodness I don't have to lie to you, which I was planning on doing if they didn't receive it! It's there and you're taken care of.
See you soon,
Sarah

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NERVOUS

I'm a bundle of nerves these days. My husband might be coming home before the week is over. The Cardinals are sucking. And I'm absolutely freaking out over the presidential election. I realized that my stomach has been a jittery mess all day and I have these strange bumps on my arms and neck. What do hives look like?

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GIVE WAR A CHANCE

This paragraph was the first thing to catch my eye:

Many writers, to be sure, have offered apologies for war. Under the title "Give war a chance", Edward Luttwak wrote in the Summer 1999 edition of Foreign Affairs, "Since the establishment of the United Nations, great powers have rarely let small wars burn themselves out. Bosnia and Kosovo are the latest examples of this meddling. Conflicts are interrupted by a steady stream of ceasefires and armistices that only postpone war-induced exhaustion and let belligerents rearm and regroup. Even worse are UN refugee-relief operations and NGOs [non-governmental organizations], which keep resentful populations festering in camps and sometimes supply both sides in armed conflicts. This well-intentioned interference only intensifies and prolongs struggles in the long run. The unpleasant truth is that war does have one useful function: it brings peace. Let it."

I won't even pretend to be a good history student -- it's always been my weakest subject -- but the article by Spengler that springboards from this quote is very interesting. (via The Corner)

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PIPA

I knew there was something rotten in Denmark about that "separate realities" PIPA poll. I really liked the title, and I certainly agree that hardcore Bush and Kerry supporters live in separate realities. But once I started reading the report, I realized that the different realities broke down into Bush = deluded Kerry = right. Sigh. Whenever the report pointed out how dumb Bush supporters are for believing something, I found myself thinking that, depending on how it was worded, I would've answered the same thing. And that's the crux of the report: depending on how it's worded. Joe Carter leads a discussion of adjectives and Xlrq addresses the misleading questions in the poll. I firmly believe we live in separate realities, but this report did absolutely nothing to illuminate these differences.

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October 25, 2004

HYPOTHESIS TESTING

You know those moments when you're so sure that you know what the problem is that you spend hours chasing the wrong hypothesis? That's what was going on with my computer. My computer was blocking me out of only certain websites: Amazon, Hotmail, Blogspot, AKO, and Yahoo. My computer-knowing friend and I spent hours searching for viruses and trying to get the computer to recognize the certificate. When we had tested everything we could think of, my friend came up with one last-ditch plan: unhook the router. Bingo. All this time, the problem was the router and not the computer. It was a forehead-slapping moment; we started with a hypothesis that was too narrow. We assumed that it was a certificate problem, but we had assumed wrong. It was shades of motorcycle maintenance.

It was progress, to figure out that the problem was the router and not the computer, but it was progress that came with the price of nearly five hours of faulty assumptions. But at least now we can start focusing on the right source of the problem. My computer tech knowledge has grown exponentially, which means I'm only half-a-moron now, and I've decided that having a computer is about as much work as having a pet.

But at least now I can check my email and read blogspot blogs again!

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October 23, 2004

MIXING

Apparently there's some talk about whether to permanently assign support units including women to combat units. I am not a big fan of this idea. It has nothing to do with an aversion to women in combat; since I don't think that a woman's life is any more valuable than a man's life, I have no problem with women dying in war. However, I do have a nagging feeling about the effect that women have had on the military.

After reading The Kinder, Gentler Military: How Political Correctness Affects Our Ability to Win Wars, I gave up any notion that I should be a 19K. (I still would like to, but I don't think I should be allowed to.) I still argue with myself about what I think the role of women in our military should be, and my mind isn't completely made up. But there's a big problem coming out of OIF that doesn't have a solution: lust.

I almost typed love, but that's probably not right. I think what happens downrange is closer to what happens on The Real World or The Bachelor, where two people who are put in close quarters and extraordinary situations become convinced that they're in love. And when men and women are serving together, away from their families, for over a year, they bond in ways that alarm those of us back on the homefront. I have a few friends who work in our legal center, and they deal on a daily basis with divorces that stem from deployment. Sometimes the soldiers meet someone new downrange -- sometimes even getting her pregnant -- and they come back and kick their wives out. Sometimes soldiers get caught having sex when they're supposed to be on guard duty, which is dangerous to everyone they're supposed to be guarding.

There are only two or three females on my husband's entire camp in Iraq, and I prefer it that way. I don't think my husband would be interested in straying -- heck, I had to drag his disgusted-with-girls butt into the relationship in the first place -- but there are many men who might be tempted. And believe me, I'm not blind to the fact that it's a two-way street: the wives who are left behind are surrounded by temptation every day, and many of them ain't that virtuous.

The mixing of the sexes is hard for today's military, especially for hooah males in a PC culture. But sending men and women downrange together for a year has consequences, especially when soldiers only call their families once a month. I personally don't think we need more fuel on that fire.

Posted by: Sarah at 07:05 AM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
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LIES

Here's another story about my brother. Back in the day, he had a little 8th grade girlfriend who was new to town. She said her father was a doctor and that they were building a new home, and she and my brother would ride their bikes by the construction site. She said she was a catalog model and had made lots of money doing photo shoots. And none of it was true. She lived in a small house with just her mom and had never been a model. My brother was pretty freaked out when the truth came out.

I've never forgotten this girl; I think of her often when I wonder about people who lie. I wonder what made her say these things. We all tell white lies to avoid hurting people's feelings, and we may exaggerate the truth a bit to make a story more fantastic, but repeated fabrication and lies and shifting the blame is cause for concern. Did this little girlfriend get so wrapped up in the fantasy world that she didn't know she was a liar, or was she just trying so hard to get people to like her that she'd say whatever she thought they'd like to hear? Either way is frightening.

John Kerry, as far as anyone can tell, hasn't fired a shotgun at a bird in many years, if ever. While it is possible that he might nevertheless luck out and hit a goose, the odds are heavily against it. Yet there is something about Kerry that requires him to distort reality to fit his own conception of himself: he ran in the Boston marathon; he never falls down while snowboarding unless a Secret Service agent knocks him over; he can't stand to walk across a patch of tarmac without pulling out a football; when he threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park and it landed half-way to home plate, it was the fault of the National Guardsman who was supposed to catch it, because the Guardsman was nervous; he had the biggest buck in the history of Massachusetts in his sights but didn't pull the trigger. And now, he shot a goose. Only, where is it?

This would be an alarming personality trait even if Kerry's fantasies were limited to sporting triumphs. But the Walter Mitty candidate doesn't stop there. When a candidate for President makes up non-existent secret missions to Cambodia, testifies before Congress of "war crimes" of which, it turns out, he has no knowledge, and fantasizes support from foreign powers which will magically change their perceptions of their own self-interest if only John F. Kerry were President, Walter Mitty is no longer funny.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:24 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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FRAUD

A terrorist is registered to vote. A terrorist is registered to vote!

You know who's not registered to vote? My brother. He registered in his college town back when he was in school, and he procrastinated and didn't leave himself enough time to re-register in his new city. He figured he'd just have to drive back to his college town on 2 Nov, but when he called the board of elections, they told him they'd removed him from the list. Apparently they sent him something in the mail that he didn't reply to, so they crossed him off. So now he can't vote.

Michelle Malkin reports that many states have trouble removing the names of people who have died or moved away, and that that voter list can often dwarf the population count. Illinois was sure quick to remove my brother though.

So a terrorist will be voting, but my brother will not.

Why oh freaking why don't we have to provide identification when we register to vote? At many places you have to show an ID to check into a hotel or rent a movie. (Hell, I have to show ID to Soldiers with M16s when I want to buy groceries; ID is just a way of life for us.) In the US, a driver's license is proof that you're who you say you are, and at least in Illinois, if you don't drive, the DMV will make you a valid ID card instead. No one is disenfranchised. No one is discriminated against if they don't drive. And no freaking illegal alien terrorists will end up on the lists!

Every poll known to man shows Bush ahead right now, but I ain't sleepin' easy when Mary Poppins and Nuradin Abdi are registered to vote.

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October 22, 2004

SCARY

Woah.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:54 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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TIP

Dear Bunker,
You should check out this article that Hud links to. I mean, everyone else should too, but for some reason I kept wondering what Bunker would make of it. Interesting stuff.
Your pal,
Sarah

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