June 30, 2004

MATE

Tim Blair's teaching the Iraqi bloggers Australian.
There's your cultural cross-pollination.

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COMMENTS

My comments section has been growing and taking on a life of its own since the Atrios incident. Yes, I still read all of the comments. No, I don't eagerly look forward to them the way I did six months ago. I've got arguments and insults -- plus headaches and sleepless nights, believe it or not -- because of the comments section. Reader cjstevens wrote a long and interesting comment here, and Sander wondered why I even bother to have a comments section.

Sometimes I wonder myself.

I read this post on Instapundit today about comments, and I certainly understood. When I first started my blog and all those readers came over from USS Clueless, I couldn't keep my eyes off the comments section. When I started playing with my templates and thought I had deleted my first week's comments, I broke into tears (ask my husband; he thought I was nuts). I thought I needed to cherish every comment I had, because I certainly didn't think anyone would want to read my blog once the novelty of Den Beste's link wore off.

Eight months and 55,000 hits later, the comments section has begun to weigh on my heart. What was once a spot for Carla or Mike or Tammi to shoot me an encouraging word has turned into gnawing dread in my stomach whenever I see the numbers climb higher. Every time someone comments, I feel the need to think about his words for hours. I try to understand where he's coming from, what he's thinking, why he thinks I might agree with him, and what I could possibly say to get my point across and make him see what I see.

A friend advised me to blog for myself alone, not for the adoring (or loathing) public. But every challenge that I leave unanswered haunts me. Every comment I disagree with is hours of my thoughts diverted elsewhere, when I'm sure someone else has already had the same argument elsewhere.

I've thought about shutting the comments off and just doing this for myself. I've thought about leaving them and letting them take on a life of their own without my involvement. I've thought about giving blogging up altogether because sleepless nights and stinging wounds are really the last thing I need when half of my heart is in Iraq.

I'm just stressed. And beaten down. I'm struggling to remember what the point of all of this is...

MORE TO GROK:

cjstevens, it appears the director of Gunner Palace will be on CNN News Night with Aaron Brown tonight (30 Jun). See if you can check it out.

MORE TO GROK:

Please keep in mind that I'm not necessarily talking about "abuse" here. Yeah, the comments were pretty nasty there for a while, but mostly now it's civil. It's just so much for one brain to handle.

My alarm goes off at 0630. Lately I've been dragging it out until 0700. I read for an hour, get ready, go to work until 1600, come home, shovel some food in my mouth, and go to the neighboring post to teach for three hours. (On nights that I don't teach, I'm watching Band of Brothers, which isn't exactly light entertainment.) I return around 2145 and then read and blog some more. I rarely make it into bed by 2300 and I'm lying there thinking about Michael Moore and Iraq and elections until midnight or 0100. I just can't shut it off.

Writing my own posts keeps me occupied; thinking of how I would respond to five different people who all have different ideas about Moore and Iraq and elections is making me insane.

So I apologize if you're a commenter and I don't give you a direct answer to your comment. It doesn't mean I'm not losing sleep over it.

Posted by: Sarah at 10:35 AM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
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LYING

I thought this article on the morality of lying via Instapundit was very interesting. Food for thought.

As is this weary post on why blogging is taking its toll. I can relate; I spent two hours writing an email to a friend about why I will not be seeing Fahrenheit 9/11.

And I experience this regularly at work, on a military post of all places:

For some reason, it's OK to wax polemic for a half-hour at a time if you are dissing Bush, but non-Democrats must stay in the closet.

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PROUD

Reason Number Six Billion Why I Love Soldiers:

Specialist Rodriguez is one example. He broke his leg some months ago. He was offered the chance to deploy out of Iraq. He chose to stay. When his unit was deployed to Karbala, he cut off his cast. A person told him today that "we aren't paid enough to do that." Immediately, he and the other soldiers responded that it isn't about the money; that we do this for much more important reasons.

(Thanks, Tim.)

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MEMORY

When I was 15, I arranged a good surprise for my dad: tickets to a Three Dog Night concert in Peoria. I ordered the tickets and hid them behind my sock drawer (as if he would go snooping in my sock drawer anyway). The night of the concert, he drove us downtown while I directed from the passenger seat since I couldn't drive yet. As we rounded the corner onto Main Street, he looked at me and said, "We're not going to the strip club, are we?"

It was a great concert and a great night; I'll never forget my dad's confident look as he said, "The encore has to be Eli's Coming." I'll always remember that father/daughter outing.

Happy Birthday, Daddy.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:51 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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BREAKTHROUGH

Ali threw a party when he heard of the handover:

Another friend approached me. This one was not religious but he was one of the conspiracy theory believers. He put his hands on my shoulders and said smiling, “I must admit that I’m beginning to believe in what you’ve been telling us for months and I’m beginning to have faith in America. I never thought that they will hand us sovereignty in time. These people have shown that they keep their promises.”

As Bremer said, "A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq!"

(via Hud)

MORE TO GROK:

More thoughts on The Power of Scraps:

Historians will someday recognize June 28, 2004 as one of the most important days of our century. The United States, a nation of unopposable military might, invaded smaller, weaker Iraq and conquered it. We said we'd done it to rid the world of a murderous tyrant. Our detractors said we did it for oil, or for domestic political gain, or for any of a number of other contemptible reasons. We expunged the tyrant's government root and branch, then supervised Iraq's transition from the chaos of war back to a semblance of peace and order, despite many attempts to disrupt it. On June 28, we gave the Iraqi people freedom and autonomy, with a sincere promise of assistance should their embryonic republic encounter any difficulties it was still too young to handle.

We gave our blood and treasure to liberate Iraq from the villainy of Saddam Hussein. Then we gave our word that Iraq would be freed from our supervision as well. Then we stood by it. That is the significance of Paul Bremer's "scrap of paper."

(Via Bunker)

Posted by: Sarah at 03:30 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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June 29, 2004

BANZAI

Tim offered a touching analogy for the handover to Iraq: "kinda like being tossed the keys to a brand new convertible and being told to take her out for a spin." Naturally, being the dork that I am, I thought of the scene where the Karate Kid got his license and he took off in the yellow convertible, with Mr. Miagi yelling BANZAI! as he drove away. I like the idea of being Mr. Miagi.

(Oh, and speaking of The Kid, this is hysterical.)

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SHOES

My friend and I just went and raided our post's thrift shop for SGT Hooks' Operation Shoe Fly. Expect a box soon, Hook. If anyone else has old shoes in the closet or ten bucks to spend at the Salvation Army, Afghani children could use the footwear.

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NUTJOBS

I find it hysterical that the DU nutjobs think that the transfer of sovereignty was moved up two days to distract people from Fahrenheit 9/11.

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June 28, 2004

PRICE

From Band of Brothers, Part 8: The Last Patrol:

I wondered if people back home would ever know what it cost the soldiers to win this war. In America things were already beginning to look like peacetime: the standard of living was on the rise, racetracks and nightclubs were booming, you couldn't get a hotel room in Miami Beach it was so crowded. How could anyone ever know of the price paid by soldiers in terror, agony, and bloodshed if they'd never been to places like Normandy, Bastogne, and Haguenau?

The more things change...

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TWISTED

I thought Muslims weren't supposed to kill other Muslims...
This Muslim soldier went to jail for refusing to fight.
But these guys don't seem to have a problem with it.

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FORGET

I forget that not everyone gets to spend every day surrounded by Soldiers. That's why stories like Lunch with the Soldiers and Email from Dave are good to read.

Oh yeah, and BOO-YAH.

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HOMELANDSICK

My in-laws called in a panic yesterday: since I hadn't done any blogging, something had to be wrong! Nothing's wrong really; I've just been in a funk lately I can't shake. I think I'm homelandsick.

While my husband is gone, I clean up his email and get rid of all the junk. Last week I noticed a folder with my name on it; closer inspection revealed it as Sarah in Sweden. I had no idea he had saved those old emails; I took a trip through the past, reading all my messages from my summer in Örnsköldsvik. And I was homelandsick then too...

I used to think that homesick was only the feeling of missing your family or loved ones. I thought I did not get homesick. But yesterday, I got a different kind of sick. I am homelandsick. I miss the United States. I want to use free bathrooms. I want to drink out of a cup that is bigger than a salt shaker. I want to eat chips and drink Pepsi. I want to drive somewhere instead of walking. I don’t want to eat so many fruits and vegetables. I want to watch TV. I want to see baggy jeans and dirty white baseball caps. I want the sun to go down, so I can see lightning bugs. And I want to leave my shoes on in the house.

Today I boycotted Swedish meals and ate pizza and chips and salsa for lunch. Somehow this just hit me yesterday. My friends and I went on a trip along the coast. It was beautiful, and I took lots of beautiful photos.

But I miss corn fields and huge houses and horizon as far as the eye can see.

I think it was this Mudville post that started it. Maybe it's hearing other wives talk about their plans for trips home and knowing that I won't be going until my husband returns. Maybe it's 4th of July around the corner. Maybe it's everything. I just want to go home.

I wasn't kidding when I said I'd rather be golfing with Bunker. And I suck at golf. I think most people here would faint if they knew my husband and I tried to trade our Germany slot for Fort Hood, but I can't think of anything better right now than going to the Alamo. Or to Vegas. Or just to Subway.

I'm such a patriot that I can't stand to be out of my country for this long.

Posted by: Sarah at 11:28 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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June 27, 2004

PRICE

Wretchard writes of the price our Soldiers had to pay to prevent the media from having "quagmire" footage. It pains me that they have to play that kind of game.

MORE TO GROK:

I'd much rather see this movie, made by an anti-war fellow who was looking for the truth.

Posted by: Sarah at 02:56 PM | Comments (22) | Add Comment
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June 26, 2004

SLEEPY

For some reason, my body just decided to reject sleep last night. I got in bed at 2315. At 0120 I took a Tylenol PM and read for half an hour. At 0300 I was really starting to get mad. At 0445 my friend's dog (I was puppysitting again) woke me up with his snoring. At 0550 the dog wanted to play. And my alarm went off at 0630 to go in to work.

So all the blogging I can muster today is that you might be interested in this and this.
And make sure to watch this.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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LOVE

For the record, my feelings for Red 6 are not weird. Yes, I did say I love him: he's like a third brother to me, and he says I'm like an extra sister-in-law to him. In our house we jokingly call him my second husband. My husband loves him as well, and he knows I have enough love in my heart at the end of the day for more than one soldier...

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June 25, 2004

SWEET!

Red 6, otherwise known as Best Friend, made it into this BBC slideshow yesterday!

Neil in Iraq.jpg

Hooah!

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SAD

I read this today in the comments section on another blog. It's part of a longer rant I won't bother with.

The first iraq war was a mistake. Iraq (former babylon) used to be one of the richest most prosperous countries in the world and was the center for trade in the middle-east. The british during there imperialism invaded and took over kuwait which later gained sovereinty. This left Iraq with no access to water and they lost all there trade and the country went to shit. To add salt in the wounds oil was discovered in 1978. So to the Iraqi people a piece of their land that had had owned for 1000's of years was taken from them causing their economy to colapse.
Now I am in no way saying Sadam was right in his methods but you must understand the culture. Sadam came into power by killing the former leader as did he and so on. When you rule a country like this you must rule it with fear. At any moment he could be overthrown. We can't contemplait this because we haven't lived that way for thousands of years.

Wow. I can't help but think of the wonderful Onion parody a few years back. Point (college student): Nigeria is a land filled with culture. Counterpoint (Nigerian): Get me out of this hellhole. We have to accept a violent dictatorship and the invasion of Kuwait because it's their culture. That's appallingly depressing; I think it's the worst thing I've read in a comments section in a long time.

This person describes himself as "well educated and professional", but I have to wonder about that, considering the wealth of spelling and grammar mistakes throughout.

Unfortunatly people regard US people in that malice. Its your government that people hate. They rule by econimic oppression. Who dares to stand up to them. The UN can't who can. So its no wonder 9/11 happened. Unfortunatly it envolved thousands of innocent people.

Posted by: Sarah at 11:02 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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REALIGNMENT

This has been a concern of mine as well...

Hefley said he was particularly concerned about the realignment’s potential effect on military families, since Pentagon leaders have sketched a scenario in which most families are based in the United States while their sponsors are sent periodically sent overseas for several months at a time for training exercises or missions.

Although extended separations are understandable in wartime, in times of peace, “I would be very reluctant to separate military families more than they already are,” Hefley said.

Feith said that the administration’s plans “should actually contribute to a better situation for families than currently exists.”

He described instances in which families move with their sponsor overseas, only to have the servicemember deploy to yet another place, leaving his dependents alone in a foreign country.

Why couldn't he have left me at Fort Hood? Bunker could be teaching me to play golf!

Posted by: Sarah at 06:35 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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SCOFF

A couple of years ago, before I started reading blogs, I saw a Dinner for Five where Sarah Silverman and Michael Rapaport were talking about how hard it is to be a Jew in Hollywood. I thought they were insane. I didn't exactly grow up surrounded by Jewish people, but I knew a few and I had never heard anyone say anything bad about Jews. In fact, I thought the Holocaust had pretty much taught us all a lesson.

Boy, was I wrong.

After two years of reading LGF, I know that I was wildly naive. I can't say if Silverman and Rapaport are discriminated against in Hollywood, but I will never again scoff at the plight of Jews in our world.

And these days I'm inclined to stop a moment and wonder if there indeed is a subliminal message in photos like this.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:27 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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