March 29, 2004

TEENS

Not all teens are morons. I just read via Tim about two who grok: 15-year-old Jessica Brasda and 19-year-old John Moreno.

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March 27, 2004

GROK

The husband is leaving today for a week-long mission, so he wrote a long email yesterday before he left. Two paragraphs stood out as blogworthy...

The line for phones is HUGE! It doesn't look like I will be able to call tonight. What makes it worse is that I have to go out to XXXXX tomorrow for a week. So, if I don't get to call tonight, you won't hear my voice until next week. Emailing isn't bad though. I remind the guys about how hard we don't have it. Our grandparents generation fought in WWII where 1 in 4 died, hot food was unheard of and you didn't have waterproof jackets made of Gore tex. We finally got to the PX at FOB XXXX where one of the privates bought an X-box. Two of the others have TVs. I'd sure as hell like to get home as fast as possible, but it's not THAT bad. I guess I'm just frustrated at all the whining I'm hearing lately.

And later on down the email:

I haven't been doing as much reading as I thought I would. I still haven't
finished the Bernard Lewis book. I'm looking forward to the Christopher Hitchens book. If I hear one more private that didn't finish High School wax philisophic about the problems and OBVIOUS solutions to complex foreign policy problems, I'm going to scream.

Sounds like we're both dealing with under-informed co-workers! He closed by saying he was going to go read my blog; I'd bet you a DVD that makes him the only guy on his camp who gives up time communicating with his family to read the news instead. And I couldn't be happier.

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March 24, 2004

RINGS

Maybe it's a coincidence, given the release of the movies, that over the past year I've seen many bloggers compare the battle between democracy and jihad to The Lord of the Rings. Would we have made that same parallel based on our fuzzy memories of those books? Perhaps not, but the parallel has been made, and there are moments like right now where I feel a surge of excitement and a call to battle. Reading Wretchard's post (via Europundits) sharpened my laser beam and reminded me once again that there's a war on. His post is one that stirs men's hearts and breathes life into their souls:

By striking at so senior a terrorist target, the Jihadis will be in no mood for negotiations. They themselves will cast away the Peace Process and sheer fury will make them forswear their favorite tactic, the faux hudna -- thereby granting Israel a meeting on the battlefield. For this is Israel's mortal challenge to Hamas which has often said it would kill the last Jew. The message, now ringing in their ears, is that the Jew will kill the last terrorist, beginning at the top.

Is this a call to arms? The pinnacle clash of civilizations?

Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day we fight! For all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!

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March 23, 2004

RE-GROK

I was going to spend a few hours composing my thoughts before I responded to Joshua's comment on my post last night:

do educate yourself on the occupation of palestine before you paint them as terrorists.

In 1948 the state of Israel was created by the US and Euro powers to form an area for the displaced jewish population after the World Wars. They re-captured and re-constituted the land of the Palestinians and begain to occupy the land stealing it from the natives. All supposed "terror" groups are fighting for the right of self-determination. This was done with backing by the US, which gives more in aid to Israel then the entire continent of Africa, even the helicopters used in the attack on Yassin are funded and sold by the US govt. America sends aid and retains allied with Israel to have a foothold in the politics of the Middle East. Israel attacks refugee camps, destroys homes and bulldozes farmlands. They are setting up an apartheid wall. www.palsolidarity.com to learn more about peace making in palestine.

feel free to email me about further discussion.

honestly, retry to grok this one.

So I got to work and saw that Oda Mae had already done most of the work for me:

There is no such group as "Palestineans" - the Romans changed the name from Judea to wipe out memory of the Jewish homeland. The British re-named the region that as a joke after WWI. The peoples who lived in that region were the gypsy nomads of the mideast that no other country would accept - see Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and so forth. Basically, the third world squatters of the Arab region. No culture, no nothing. NEVER an established government of "Palestine."

When the Jewish state was formed, the Jewish peoples did their best to co-exist. After all, many Jews already lived in Tel Aviv and had been coming for years back to THEIR homeland. The "Palestineans" would have none of that, with the help of their now-friendly neighbors in Lebanon and Jordan. With their backing and support, the Middle East Arabs tried to drive the Jews to the sea as part of a war against their "occupation" of THEIR OWN ANCIENT (Jewish - see Jerusalem and other Jewish towns mentioned in sections of the Bible) homeland. The Pallys lost. The Israelis defended themselves and in the process kicked Arab ass.

Did they then drive the Pallys into the sea? Send them into the desert to wander for 40 years? Did they, fuck. No, they continued to try to co-exist with the blighted buggers, to behave in a civilized manner until FORCED by the Pallys to take more extreme action to protect their country and interests. Good on them. Upset by chekcpoints, those inconvenient pesky searches? Here's an idea - stop telling the entire world your one goal is to kill all Israelis and destroy their country and MAYBE Israel will play nice. But, you know, when you keep blowing up buses and restaurants and synagogues and such, you shouldn't be too surprised when you're then searched for bombs whenever you come across the border.

Maybe you should read a bit of history NOT written by the PLO. No need to re-grok this baby! There's lots out there if you're looking for something other than propaganda.


Well, good gosh, when you think about it, the old Third Reich was an ancient civilization. I mean, it was based on ancient German legends, right? And the fact that they were trying to remove the Jews because they weren't part of that original First Reich - well, yeah, it's all making sense to me now! You Neo-Nazis, brothers under the skin with those poor oppressed Pallys. Go at it and GET those Jews this time around. Hurry, the Pallys need you!

They've created their own misery - now they're having to live with it. The Arab countries flooded peoples into "Palestine" where the right of return must be given if the Arabs had lived in 'their' homeland for two years. TWO - well, that makes an ancient civilization, don't you think? Check those figures in the third link to see the real picture.

http://www.eretzyisroel.org/%7Epeters/mythology.html

http://www.eretzyisroel.org/%7Epeters/mixed.html

http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/return.html

You will note that the articles, albeit some by Jewish authors, are extensively footnoted with sources. The Palestinean cause is a poorly disguised Anti-Semitism. Would there be this hoopla if the country was still "Southern Syria"? Nah, I don't think so. Nor would there be much of a Gross National Product.

Sarah, in spite of the misleading hairstyle, I think Saruman was a bit complimentary. The guy was just a crippled Orc.

When I was in college, my views on Israel were of the fingers-in-ears variety. (I wrote about this back in November.) I didn't want to even think about it, even despite my fiance's urging. Without doing a single piece of research, it seemed to me that both sides had merit: you can't just give away land that already belongs to someone else, but you can't just kill people because they've been given some land. Seemed like they were both in the wrong to me back then.

But I daresay a week of reading LGF is enough to realize that something lopsided is going on. Just look at this photo again:

palestinians


Where are the parallel photos of Israelis? Where are the Israeli prisoners released from Palestinian jails who vow to kill again? Where are the Israeli children with ski masks and machine gun toys?

So I have tried to grok a lot of info on Israel over the past two years, and I respectfully decline the offer to re-grok my position. For more on this topic, I defer to Nelson Ascher, the definitive voice on this issue, and point out this post of his. And if we're going to come down on Israel, then I agree with Vincent Ferrari (via Bunker): Let's remove all fences in the world.

MORE TO GROK:

Continued in Israel post.

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March 16, 2004

BOB ZANGAS

I've tried to stay very detached from the deaths in Iraq, because it's easier to deal with if your fences are nice and strong. But this morning I weep.

Kathy pointed out that a milblogger has died in Iraq. His is not a blog I've ever read before, but I went to read his final entry today. And I flat-out wept as I read it. One of the things he said should be highlighted:

I know it is not my money that I am giving away and I am not interested in receiving thanks. But it points out to the fact that this is a society that is in desperate need of everything. It is like pouring a cup of water out in a dry desert. The water disappears and you are left with the feeling of “did it do any good?” Sometimes the answer is “yes.” Sometimes the answer is “no.” Sometimes you wait for the flower to grow. I don’t mean to sound depressed because I am not. I am enjoying this work immensely. It is very gratifying…as long as the flowers grow eventually. I have hope that they will.

He ended his entry with a simple closing, one that breaks my heart to read today:

Hang on to your dreams!
Bob

Smash suggests we pay our respects. I think that's a good idea. And, Bob...we'll make sure the flowers continue to grow.

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March 11, 2004

D'SOUZA

LGF found a touching article called Defending America that caught my eye because it opens with a quote from Dinesh D'Souza. I've never seen any bloggers talk about D'Souza, but he was personally instrumental in helping me discover my beliefs.

During my senior year in college I had to attend a mandatory lecture for a class on Malcolm X (which I took because I hated X and wanted to learn more about him. Learned more; still hate him.) This lecture was given by a speaker I'd never heard of before named Dinesh D'Souza. His speech was against affirmative action. We were a room full of students listening to his hour-long lecture, and I thought his argument was concise, informed, logical, and accurate. He opened up the floor for questions, and immediately everyone in the room pounced on him. No one agreed with him. People yelled, picked on him, argued, acted disgusted...and I sat there slowly realizing that the speech I had just whole-heartedly agreed with and understood was not received the same way by anyone else in the group. I started to really question my values and wonder why they were so different from my classmates' and the other listeners. That was the moment I realized that I had attended the lecture alone, quietly listened to a speech, formed my own opinion independent from anyone else's input, and found that no one else had heard what I had heard. That moment has stuck with me, and I consider it the turning point when I realized that I looked at the world differently from my peers. I have D'Souza to thank for that revelation, and I've never forgotten him. I've since read his books and have enjoyed them very much.

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March 05, 2004

SCREEDY GOODNESS

Screed away, Lileks. That was just what I needed this morning. You know when someone says something that completely throws you off guard, and you stammer and miss the opportunity to make your point? And then hours later you know what you should've said and you curse yourself for letting the moment pass? I had one of those last night.

There were a couple of stragglers at the party last night, and out of the complete blue one of them said, "Do you think Kerry will be elected President?" Now, I know that wives don't have rank, but since this woman's husband way outranks mine, I thought it in good taste to be vague, so I just said, "Well, I don't know," because it's true after all: I don't know what's going to happen. But another wife replied, "God, I hope so." The gist of the conversation was that Kerry would pull the troops out faster than you can shake a stick, and that means everyone's husbands come home, so Kerry's our man.

I wish I had said something. Anything. I was just sorta dumbfounded.

I understand the selfishness of wanting your husband to come home. I understand that we had spent 20 minutes of our meeting discussing who would come knocking on our door if our husband died in Iraq, and it wears on you after a while. And I understand that the military lifestyle takes its toll: one wife has been married six years and her husband's been deployed for three of them. But...

What I wish I'd said is this: Our husbands' job is to protect the American people. This duty is better fulfilled by their being in Iraq now rather than waiting until someone attacks on American soil again. This war we're fighting now only exists because we didn't get the job done in 1991; would you rather have your husband stay in Iraq for a year now, or return to Iraq for combat in another few years when some new dictator decides he wants to start somethin'?

I wish I'd said that. But how do you tactfully tell people whose husbands have been in the Army for years what it means to be an Army family?

An Army family means selflessness. I have to come to terms with the fact that my husband might have to die to protect other Americans from future threats. Not an easy thing to accept, but that's part of the job, and that's what we signed up for. An Army family also means understanding the complexities and repercussions of our nation's actions. I'm not saying that every Army family will fully support President Bush, but "who will let your husband sleep at home" is perhaps not the best gauge for your vote. Army families have a duty to follow and understand world events, but to be willing and ready to do whatever the Commander-in-Chief asks of them.

I'm not happy that my husband is living in Iraq. I'd rather have him home too. But I was shocked to hear other wives say that having their husband at home is the most important thing in their life. More important, seemingly, than principles and duty. Am I the only wife who gets choked up when she reads the Army values? Am I the only one who finds comfort in the fact that her husband's job requires selfless service?

Selfless service is placing your duty before your personal desires. It is the ability to endure hardships and insurmountable odds because of love of fellow soldiers and our country. Placing your duty before your personal desires has always been key to the uniqueness of the American soldier. As citizen soldiers, we claim our service to the nation, state, and community to be an especially valuable contribution.

In a sea of houses sporting Service Flags and yellow ribbons, why do I feel so alone?

MORE TO GROK:

Amritas suggests that selfless service is really a form of love.

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March 03, 2004

A STAND-UP GUY

(via Tim) A 19-year-old Marine is going back to Iraq for his second tour because of his sense of duty to his country. Shockingly enough, some of his peers don't even realize that we still have troops in Iraq; America's short attention span is this Marine's biggest fear: "It gets to me. It's almost like 9/11. Everyone started throwing flags up on their cars, but now it's fading out. Same old news every night." So he's volunteered for two more tours, going back a little braver, a little wiser, and a little stronger because he's a Marine and that's what Marines do.

He's also another servicemember who has parents who'd rather use their appearance in the newspaper to express their distrust of the current administration instead of pride and gratitude for their brave child. His mother: "'I don't know if there are weapons of mass destruction,' she said. 'If this is based on a lie, I'm gonna be really [angry].' Getting rid of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was a good thing, she said, but, 'Is that worth the lives that have been lost over there? I have no idea. I don't want to lose my only son for a cause that might be a lie.'"

Her son's response?

Isaiah doesn't think highly of the folks who constantly question when troops expect to find weapons of mass destruction.
"I think they should shut their mouths. You can't even find an AK-47 in someone's home because they can hide it so well," Schaffer said. "They really don't know what they're talking about."
He stands firmly behind the president--and wishes Americans would stand just as firmly behind him and other troops.
"President Bush sent us over there for a reason. And from a Marine's outlook, you start something, you finish it," he said.
"God willing, we'll finish it."

Godspeed, Marine. As my husband's company says, "Get 'er done!"

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March 01, 2004

SNIFF

This made me cry. At work.
Darling Ben Stein. (Thanks, Tim.)

How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

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WOW

Kim du Toit visited Dachau. This is one of the most poignant posts I've ever read.

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ONE WHO GROKS

An excellent post from Hardtack and Havoc on his impending return home from deployment. My favorite bit:

The United States is at war. We can see that out here, it is as plain as the nose on your face, I am afraid I won't see that reflected back home. In fact, I know I won't. It wasn't there when I left so why should I expect it to be there when I get back. Never-the-less, the nation is at war. We are fighting the enemy in foreign places like Afghanistan, Georgia, Iraq, the Horn of Africa and many others so we won't be fighting them in places like Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, New York, etc. The concept is simple: Take the war to the enemy. Does the American public care? More pertantly, DOES IT UNDERSTAND. The unfortunate side effect of taking the war to the enemy is that the war becomes very impersonal to the American people and unfortunately for us all, the American people have a very very short attention span.

Read the whole entry...

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