September 16, 2004

HA

One Iranian boy had the same reaction that I did to Fahrencrap 9/11: "I was bored from the middle, and I wished we had gone to see "Kill Bill" instead."

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September 15, 2004

IRAN

When my students do course evaluations, the overwhelming suggestion they offer me is to be tougher on them. They think I'm too nice and encourage me to put boot to ass when it's needed. I'm getting better about being strict -- it's something I work on all the time -- because I know that I'm not doing them any favors by letting them walk all over me.

I thought about that today when I read this article on the difference between how the US and the EU want to deal with Iran. The US wants to put boot to ass, while the EU wants a vague timeframe and an evalutation from ElBaradei. Iran is going to turn out like some of my students, the ones who come up with every excuse and lie under the sun for why they need extensions and special treatment. And the EU is going to fall for it, like I did when I first started teaching.

Believing the best in people is good. Believing the best in people when they've given you no reason to trust them is dangerous, especially when nukes are involved.

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EXPIRED

I missed the chance to talk about a milestone from Monday: the assault weapon ban expired. From what I understand of the issue, and from the passionate papers my students have written on the topic, I think that's a good thing.

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WHAT FOR?

After having read more articles and blog posts on the topic than I ever would've thought possible, I am now fairly certain that the CBS memos are fakes. Given that they are fake, I now wonder what the person who made them is thinking. Did he create them to make President Bush look bad? If so, is he kicking himself that he used MS Word and two superiors who were already out of the military by 1973? Is he banging his head against the wall that the discussion centers around superscript th and kerning instead of Bush's attendance? Or did he create them to make the mainstream media look bad? If so, is he like the guy who hid the box cutters in the airplane bathrooms just to prove the point that security isn't tight enough? Did the memo forger assume the media would run with them and want to make them look foolish? I'm insanely curious as to who would make these memos and why. I hope we find out someday.

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September 14, 2004

INNOCENT

James Lileks took something very interesting away from his encounter with a young DNC canvasser:

“Tell me what you believe,” I said. “Tell me what you feel in your head and heart about John Kerry.”

Whereupon she said that the War in Iraq was wrong and was “killing all those innocent soldiers,” and someone the other day said that if we didn’t elect him Bush would have another 9/11, but she didn’t know who said it.

“But tell me why I should vote for John Kerry,” I said. Gently, mind you. With a smile.

“I don’t know,” she said.

I said I would think about it; I thanked her for her time and closed the door.

I mention this not to prove that DONKS ARE ALL IDIOTS because that’s as boring as REPUGS ARE ALL CROOKS or whatever. Yes, everyone on the other side is evil. Noted. I bring this up because it’s the third time the DNC has sent a canvasser to my neighborhood who’s utterly lost as soon as she gets beyond a talking point. Which means nothing, perhaps; it’s a safe district. Send out the newbies to learn on the job. But I kept thinking of the way she phrased the deaths in Iraq: “all those innocent soldiers.” That’s how some see the soldiers in Iraq.

If asked to describe the attributes of a Marine, “innocent” would not be among the first 100 adjectives I’d employ.

When we inprocessed here, we went to a week-long German language and culture course. Sitting right behind us that week was PFC W, a 21W. He was an 18-year-old mason for the Army, a quiet farm-boy type who called my husband "sir" at the beginning and end of every sentence. He was the poster boy for innocence.

And two weeks later he was on his way to Iraq.

I haven't seen him since he returned, though I did see that Stars and Stripes had interviewed him once. I would wager that he's not the same person that he was when he left. Actually, I'd wager that my impression of him, sitting shyly in that German class, was not entirely accurate either: he was most likely less innocent than he appeared. Perhaps he boarded the plane like some others I've heard of, Soldiers who were immaturely eager to kill some %$&# Iraqis. Now that they've killed, they want nothing more than to never have to do it again.

There are two meanings here for the word innocent: "naive" and "not guilty". Our Soldiers are not naive. Anyone who joined the military thinking he'd never have to participate in anything dangerous or aggressive must have been delusional. Even those who signed up pre-9/11 (as my husband did) should have known the risks involved. Our Soldiers aren't innocent dupes; when they signed the paperwork, they agreed to do a job that most people don't want to think about: they agreed to give their lives for our country.

But if this young woman meant that our Soldiers were "not guilty", then I'd agree with that. We Americans are not guilty of the heinous behavior that many on the European and American Left like to saddle us with. We did not deserve 9/11; we were not guilty. But we certainly were naive. Unlike our Soldiers, who signed a contract and contemplated the dangers beforehand, most of us regular citizens never imagined that we were a target. 9/11 took away our innocence, just as killing the first insurgent took away our Soldiers'. We'd love nothing more than to go back to 9/10, but we can't.

Some commenters here yesterday told me to get over the WTC. 9/11 wasn't that bad; just get over it. 9/11 was bad: it was the day we lost our innocence. That's why I refuse to just get over it.

Many people do watch the news and the deathtoll and wonder why each individual servicemember had to die. What did PFC Poindexter ever do to deserve this? Why should all these young innocent men have to die? Unfortunately, individual Soldiers and Marines have to die so that our country doesn't have to face another 9/11. Why should any of us have to die at the hands of "Islamobarbarians", as Nelson Ascher called them? None of us deserve that, not PFC Poindexter, not those in the WTC, not Nick Berg, not a one of us. We were all innocent, but we are no longer naive.

Lileks is right: innocent is not a good word to describe our Marines. Bad-ass is much better.

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September 13, 2004

CRUEL

Wow. Ever since I decided to start deleting people, it seems they are just trying to push my buttons. Zapping them has been fun, but this comment from "Dufus Galant" (IP address 66.41.206.40 for anyone who knows about those things) literally made my jaw drop. I'm not even deleting it; everyone should go and see the cruelty that exists in this world.

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HEH

As John Hawkins said, "Love to see some follow-up on this." Heh.
And Frank J can always make me smile.

Folks, it looks like Mom and I are on the mend. Nothing like spending a chunk of change on a plane ticket to Germany and then ending up sick in bed for four days. But now -- several pieces of plain toast and 13 episodes of Smallville later -- we seem to be doing better. We might even leave the house today!

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September 12, 2004

DEFINITIVE?

A thorough post from a typographer.
Thanks, Hud.

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WICKED

Dang, you know what? It's fun to delete people...

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THE MEDIA'S JOB

See, here's what ticks me off. I haven't seen anyone but Dan Rather and his unnamed experts defend these memos (and no one has claimed the $10,500 reward). And now the AP is asking retired servicemembers what they think about the memos, without any hint that they might be fakes.

Majied, a Democrat from Albany who served 30 years in the Navy, including five years as a SEAL in Vietnam, said the memos support his belief that Bush was a "playboy" during his service years.

"He had enough money to get what he wanted," Majied said. "I think his main concern was not to go to Southeast Asia. I bet he never dreamed it would come back to haunt him."

This man obviously hasn't read this story:

Finally, Killian said his father told him a story in 1980 or 1981, when the two sat in an officers' club in San Antonio, Texas, about Lt. Bush having twice volunteered for duty in the Air National Guard "Palace Alert" program, under which fighter pilots in the Guard could serve a year on active duty in Vietnam.

On both occasions, the younger Killian said, Lt. Bush was turned down because he did not have more than 500 hours of flight time. Killian cited Maurice Udell, later a commander of the 147th Fighter Group, in which Lt. Bush served, and Col. Buck Staudt, later a brigadier general, as the individuals who turned Lt. Bush down.

"We have pilots with thousands of hours in the F-102," Bush was told, according to Killian. "Why would I send you?"

Majied seems to already have his mind made up (and could potentially be another Micah Wright), but it's shoddy reporting that allows people to base their vote on utter nonsense. If the MSM weren't so gung-ho Kerry, they would report things like that the F-102 was actually dangerous and that President Bush wasn't roasting marshmallows around the campfire in the Guard. They would report that President Bush seems to have tried to get sent to Vietnam but was turned down, in contrast to Kerry, who tried to get out of going to Vietnam but was turned down.

The media's job is to provide us with facts so we can make our own decisions. It seems these days that they're making the decisions ahead of time and then providing us with the facts they like.

In times like these, it can't hurt to go back and read Nelson Ascher's post Ignorance and Journalism.

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LINKS FROM YESTERDAY

what the forged memo should have looked like
911 memorial vandalized
peace aktivists harrass mother of fallen Soldier
at home with John and Theresa (heh)

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September 11, 2004

THIRD ANNIVERSARY

This week I have been thinking a lot about a post I read on D.G.C.I.:

First, a little background. This is a conservative blog. We aren't shy around here about professing our support for President Bush and other Republican candidates. If you had missed that point, let me invite you to take a look around.

We (the authors of this site) are Conservative Republicans. We write about Conservative Republican matters to our audience, who are mostly (go figger) Conservative Republicans. Makes sense so far, doesn't it?

But over the last couple of months in particular we have noticed an increase in comments from Liberals. Not just trolls, although God knows we have our share of them, but from self-professed Liberals, Kerry fans, who sometimes even make a semi-intelligent argument, even if they're usually wrong.

I don't hold that against them. For the most part, they're just misinformed.

But what I have to wonder is WHY? Why are they here? We certainly don't have anything to offer them and their belief system.

I have wondered the very thing time and time again, but what struck me the most was this exchange in the comments section:

Three words: Know your enemy.

You want to see blogs with some serious followers? Go check out Atrios, with its comments in the hundreds for every post. Go check out Pandagon, with its everyday readers of 25 or more. Go check out dailykos, and tell me Democrats are giving up and don't really like Kerry anyway.
I dare you.

Posted by: Norah at September 8, 2004 10:47 AM

Three words: Know your enemy.

And there's the basic difference between us. The only enemies I have are Islamofascist terrorists who want nothing more than to see both you and I dead.

And the sooner you figure THAT out, the better off we'll all be.

Posted by: dgci at September 8, 2004 06:13 PM

And that's when it hit me. Laser beam.

Last September 11, I was focused; I knew who the enemy was and my laser beam was strong. This year I find that I have gotten off target. (Actually, I get off target a lot because I'm a hot-headed person. Red 6 and I have discussed this extensively, since we're two peas in a pod in that respect. We both admire my husband for his ability to shrug off idiotarians and forget about them; Red 6 and I stew. We've recently learned to vent to each other, since both of us were previously dumping everything on my husband!) Returning to Nelson Ascher's post is a way for me to re-center. I wrote about this back in November:

I write often about laser beams, because that symbol has helped me gain perspective. On September 11th, I wrote a long email to family and friends about what the two-year anniversary meant to me, especially as a military wife. I read everything that all my favorite bloggers said that day and felt the same emotions they felt. I also had a different friend from college who has her own blog, and I went to see what she had to say on that momentous date. Nothing. I tried all of her links, and no one had even mentioned September 11th. I tried all of their links, racing through the internet trying to find anyone in their circle of "liberal" friends who thought that this date still held significance. I found one person who said that he had written a post about September 11th but then deleted it because "it is important to remember the events of 9/11, but let's not dwell on them."

I got so angry.
And then I found Nelson Ascher's post.

It stays at the top of my list of crucial reading, and I don't see anything bumping it out of the way. It has brought me great comfort ever since I read it.

On this side of the world it has been 911 again for over 6 hours. I swear I'd rather not write anything today. I'd rather remain silent and just spend the day feeling that my anger and hatred are alive and well. They're stronger indeed. I also know I should avoid reading much today, because many, probably most things that are and will be published will make me even angrier. And the problem is not that I don't want to be angrier: I do want. The problem is that I do not want to waste a miligram of my anger on all the idiots who have been getting ready to show us how idiotic they are. We're at a point where to be too angry at, say, Chomsky and the BBC, Old Europe and ANSWER, second and third rate entertainers and academics is to give them a kind of victory. They deserve disdain. Anger needs to remain concentrated like light in a laser beam, we must direct it toward its rightful target: Islamofascism first and foremost. If we spend too much time getting mad at those who are but idiots we run the risk of forgetting, even if only for a second, that it is the Muslim/Arab religious fanatics who are the ENEMY. In a way, that's the idiots' main weapon: to attract a wrath that could be more usefully directed to the really dangerous enemies. Whenever we're not thinking about the Jihadists we are losing some very precious time. And anger.

My anger has grown concentrated, like a laser beam, like Ascher proposed. I feel that anger burning inside of me every day when I read Little Green Footballs. I feel the anger when I watch the Palestinians dance in the streets, when I look at the Child Abuse Slideshow, or the Terrorism Promo Videos (now deleted but forever burned into my brain) that promote killing our President and soldiers. Writing my blog is a way for me to release that anger and hopefully connect with others who feel as I do. It is a way for us bloggers to remind each other that there's a reason we write: we're in a war of ideas, and as often as imams and Arab media spread theirs, we'll fight with anger and passion to spread ours. And it's a way for us to fuel our precious anger so that another September 11th will never happen.
...
But I need to re-focus. Sometimes I too feel like our Spaniard, "Being the only one with one idea, while virtually all the people around me is against it." But that is a distraction from the true target of my anger, the laser beam I have worked hard to focus, and I need to take his wise and eloquent words to heart:

"I just don't care about the criticism I receive every day, because I know the cause I defend is right."

I feel that my comments section has been pulling me off target for a long time now. Seb is not the enemy, though I send a hundred mental middle fingers his way. Neither was Florian or Rfidtag or any of the others who have tried to sidetrack me. You wanna know who the real enemy is?

This guy.

beslan.jpg

These guys.

berg.jpg

And the guys who orchestrated this.

911.jpg

They are the enemy. All this other nonsense, all the forged memos and hats from Cambodia and plastic turkeys, is just a distraction from what's really important. D.G.C.I. told Norah that the sooner she figured it out, the better. I too could learn that lesson. My laser beam has scattered, to where points of light are now aimed at the likes of Michael Moore, John Kerry, and Seb. I need to refocus.

I have thin skin. It takes about one week of getting to know me before you realize that I take everything to heart, everything personally. Blogging was supposed to be an exercise in toughness for me, a way for me to cowboy up and take the heat, but I find I've only improved by a fraction. And I've found that I don't care to work any harder at becoming less sensitive. Thus, my comments section can sometimes feel like more of a burden than a blessing. Every unkind word about our servicemembers, every personal insult, and every moonbat theory is like a bullet through my heart. The easiest solution I could think of is to close down my comments section, but I don't think I'm quite ready for that because there's nothing I like better in the morning than an encouraging word from Tammi or Bunker or John. But I have to do something because lately I have been feeling depressingly distracted. I started my blog as a way to release anger, but at times it feels like it has become the source of my anger.

Jim of Parkway Rest Stop once told a story about Basic Training that has stuck with me: his tale of having to "police the brass". I think I've decided to police the brass of my comments section from now on. I'll walk through my comments section, and every bullet that pierces my thin skin will be picked out and discarded. The wounds will still burn, but perhaps the act of taking control over my own area -- the blogspace that I pay money to write in -- will have a calming effect.

Tim already advised me to do this a long time ago -- "Frankly you have had the stress heaped upon you of your husband in a combat zone with car bombs going off like so many popcorn kernels. ...you are now waging a two front war. One in Iraq, one at your PC. I'm afraid it will consume you. I'm not betting you can make yourself not care...so perhaps you may want to remove yourself as a target." -- I'm just now going to take his advice. I think a good way for me to maintain focus and hone my laser beam is to police the distracting brass.

At any rate, I really believe this year that we're all out of focus. This election is making us all point at each other instead of focusing as one nation on the looming threat that is Islamofascism. We're all drowning in a sea of Purple Hearts and superscript "th"s that have very little relevance to the current war we fight. And while we stand and point fingers at each other, those men in the photos above have not lost focus. They work diligently every day towards one goal: killing infidels. They'd kill Audie Murphy and Abbie Hoffman with the same indifference. We can't let ourselves forget that.

As 2001 slips further and further into our memory, we can't lose sight of the reality we face. We can't let smoke and mirrors sidetrack us from our goals, nor should we sidetrack ourselves. We owe it to all of the victims of WWIV, and especially to these people, to never let our laser beams scatter.

I'm working on my laser beam, every single day, and I sure could use your help.

Other 9/11 Reading:
Lileks 9.11.02
Cox & Forkum

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September 10, 2004

LONGING

You know what I want? More people in my immediate day-to-day life who would laugh at an off-the-cuff Micah Wright reference. Heck, I can't even get away with a Jayson Blair joke in class without my students looking at me blankly. I'd kill to have one person walk into my office and say, "Oh, you're reading blogs?" Sigh.

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MEMOS

According to LGF, "By 8:30 pm Pacific, an investigation is underway at CBS" about the forged memos. It's now 1130 in Germany, a full six hours later. So why is the MSN homepage still running this link up top? And where's Seb's post about how, sadly no, they're not real?

MORE:

And why is freaking CBS still running the story? I can't even find anything on their news site that says they're investigating the matter.

MORE:

There's something up there now (it's 2023; I don't know at what time the story was added.)

And here's a memo someone dug up on Kerry (via Bunker).

MORE:

Ha, I had forgotten I said this back in February:

The whole point of his post is just to let you know that Sarah's dumb. Nice. I think my brother said the same thing when he was seven, but that wouldn't make for a very interesting blog.

I can't honestly believe that Seb has been reading my blog for an entire year, looking for things to nitpick. I get bored of his after five minutes. But you keep up the good fight, huh Seb? From now on, your comments are deleted here.

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HEART ATTACK

This latest Cox & Forkum made me really sad.

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VALUES

I truly believe in basing my life around my values. I changed my career plans away from being a French teacher because, after my experience in France, I didn't think I could promote the culture in good faith. My husband and I also tried to change our living plans: we never intended to get stationed in Europe -- we even tried to find a way to trade our slot away -- because Europe is generally the antithesis of all that we value. I believe firmly in making choices based on principles, and I applaud others who do the same.

In that sense, I can sympathize with these DUers who want to leave the country if President Bush is re-elected. I personally don't see their arguments, I sure think calling it a "junta" seems over-the-top, and I can't begin to crawl inside their minds. But if that's what they believe in, then they should act on it. They should be decisive and alter the course of their lives based on their convictions and values. I completely support that. I wonder, though, how many of them will actually back up their words with actions. And I wonder how easy life will be in another country for someone who is unemployed and broke in the US right now. But I wish them all the best of luck, and I hope they feel more at home elsewhere.

MORE TO GROK:

Here's everything I like about the US. Heh.

And yes, I learned to heh from the Instapundit. I had never heh-ed in my life before I started reading Reynolds.

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MEMOS

My mom and I got sick yesterday. I went in to work but had to leave early, and I'm playing hooky today too. Actually, it's not so much "playing hooky", seeing as I feel like I could die. What a vacation, huh? But I can't sleep any more -- I have slept 11 hours already -- so I'm reading blogs in between getting sick.

So I hear this morning there are some fake memos floating around? (in my best Ace Ventura voice) Reeeeally? Blame Bush! has copies of the memos, and I don't see how anyone could have fallen for them in the first place.

Laughing seriously hurts today.

MORE TO GROK:

See also Scrappleface and Puce for good parodies.

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COLLECT UNDERPANTS

Deskmerc brings to mind the Underpants Gnomes from South Park:

Gnome 2: Phase I we collect underpants.
Gnome 1: Ya, ya, ya. But what about Phase II?
[Silence]
Gnome 2: Well Phase III is profit. Get it?

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BANKRUPT

Looks like my mom might be staying here for a while. Heh.

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HEROIC

I smile at the fact that English, in Vietnamese, is the "heroic language"...

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