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Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Welcome Right Nation Forum Readers. For those under 30 (Dating myself here) visit "Are You Proud to be an American"........ Listen to the 30 yr old words from a Canadian that was sick and tired of America being underappreciated. You will like it.

Politics and the political realm has become poisonous, maybe the word "become" is not accurate, politics and political gameplaying ARE poisonous. It is part of the "game" I guess, but there are some things that should be beyond politics.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.

An American GI assigned to one of the harshest posts in Iraq had a simple request last week for a Wisconsin mattress company: send some floor mats to help ease the hardship of sleeping on the cold, bug-infested ground.

What he got, instead, was a swift kick from the company's Web site, which not only refused the request but added insult to injury with the admonition, "If you were sensible, you and your troops would pull out of Iraq."

Army Sgt. Jason Hess, stationed in Taji, Iraq, with the 1st Cavalry Division, said he emailed his request to because he and his fellow soldiers sleep on the cold ground, which contains sand mites, sand flies and other disease carriers.

In his email, dated Jan. 16, 2007, he asked the Web-based company, registered to Faisal Khetani, an American Muslim of Pakistani descent:

"Do you ship to APO (military) addresses? I'm in the 1st Cavalry Division stationed in Iraq and we are trying to order some mats but we are looking for ships to APO first."

On the same day, Hess received this reply:

"SGT Hess,

We do not ship to APO addresses, and even if we did, we would NEVER ship to Iraq. If you were sensible, you and your troops would pull out of Iraq.

Bargain Suppliers"

Khetani on Monday told FOX News that the person responsible for the email reply had been fired. The Web site, meanwhile, has been temporarily taken down.

Hess emailed that he has since found two mat suppliers willing to ship to an APO address in Iraq.

Our soldiers are in Iraq, Afghanistan and a host of other countries. They are fighting for OUR freedoms and safety.

Politically you can say you do not agree with our being in Iraq, but guess what? These men and women VOLUNTEERED to go there and it is THEIR belief when they join that they are fighting to protect us here in America.

Does anyone doubt why our soldiers joined? Does anyone doubt that when they join or those that have joined in the last 3 yrs KNEW they could be going to Iraq before joining?

I am asking these questions because these should be the "easy" questions.

Do we doubt why our soldiers joined the military in a time of war? Do we doubt the patriotism of the soldiers that are RE-enlisting in record numbers because they believe, having been TO Iraq, that we can win?

Can we at least agree on this simple concept?

Our soldiers are brave, they believe in what they are doing or they would not keep RE-enlisting?

This post is not about whether it was right or wrong to go into Iraq in the first place. This post is about the soldiers who are THERE. This is not a Republican or Democratic post. This is not political, it is about right and wrong and to punish our soldiers, mentally or emotionally because they wish to PROTECT US, is matter how you cut is wrong.

These days it seems that if a Democrat says it is raining, a Republican will argue the point and say it is just wet. If a Republican says the sun is shining, a Democrat will argue that the rain is coming. ANYTHING and everything has become a political battle.


Enough is Enough.

Hat Tip to Michelle Malkin for finding this soldiers My Space entry.

A reader e-mails that 2LT Mark Daily was killed in an IED attack in Mosul along with three other soldiers. He was named the ROTC's outstanding cadet for 2005 and also a Distinguished Military Graduate, the highest ROTC award. The OC Register profiles him here.

This was his MySpace post explaining his decision to enter the military. I'm reprinting it in full because it deserves to be read and remembered--and because it will probably only get briefly mentioned or excerpted in most MSM coverage of his death. Read the whole thing:

Current mood: optimistic

Why I Joined:

This question has been asked of me so many times in so many different contexts that I thought it would be best if I wrote my reasons for joining the Army on my page for all to see. First, the more accurate question is why I volunteered to go to Iraq. After all, I joined the Army a week after we declared war on Saddam's government with the intention of going to Iraq. Now, after years of training and preparation, I am finally here.

Much has changed in the last three years. The criminal Ba'ath regime has been replaced by an insurgency fueled by Iraq's neighbors who hope to partition Iraq for their own ends. This is coupled with the ever present transnational militant Islamist movement which has seized upon Iraq as the greatest way to kill Americans, along with anyone else they happen to be standing near. What was once a paralyzed state of fear is now the staging ground for one of the largest transformations of power and ideology the Middle East has experienced since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Thanks to Iran, Syria, and other enlightened local actors, this transformation will be plagued by interregional hatred and genocide. And I am now in the center of this.

Is this why I joined?

Yes. Much has been said about America's intentions in overthrowing Saddam Hussein and seeking to establish a new state based upon political representation and individual rights. Many have framed the paradigm through which they view the conflict around one-word explanations such as "oil" or "terrorism," favoring the one which best serves their political persuasion. I did the same thing, and anyone who knew me before I joined knows that I am quite aware and at times sympathetic to the arguments against the war in Iraq. If you think the only way a person could bring themselves to volunteer for this war is through sheer desperation or blind obedience then consider me the exception (though there are countless like me).

I joined the fight because it occurred to me that many modern day "humanists" who claim to possess a genuine concern for human beings throughout the world are in fact quite content to allow their fellow "global citizens" to suffer under the most hideous state apparatuses and conditions. Their excuses used to be my excuses. When asked why we shouldn't confront the Ba'ath party, the Taliban or the various other tyrannies throughout this world, my answers would allude to vague notions of cultural tolerance (forcing women to wear a veil and stay indoors is such a quaint cultural tradition), the sanctity of national sovereignty (how eager we internationalists are to throw up borders to defend dictatorships!) or even a creeping suspicion of America's intentions. When all else failed, I would retreat to my fragile moral ecosystem that years of living in peace and liberty had provided me. I would write off war because civilian casualties were guaranteed, or temporary alliances with illiberal forces would be made, or tank fuel was toxic for the environment. My fellow "humanists" and I would relish contently in our self righteous declaration of opposition against all military campaigns against dictatorships, congratulating one another for refusing to taint that aforementioned fragile moral ecosystem that many still cradle with all the revolutionary tenacity of the members of Rage Against the Machine and Greenday. Others would point to America's historical support of Saddam Hussein, sighting it as hypocritical that we would now vilify him as a thug and a tyrant. Upon explaining that we did so to ward off the fiercely Islamist Iran, which was correctly identified as the greater threat at the time, eyes are rolled and hypocrisy is declared. Forgetting that America sided with Stalin to defeat Hitler, who was promptly confronted once the Nazis were destroyed, America's initial engagement with Saddam and other regional actors is identified as the ultimate argument against America's moral crusade.

And maybe it is. Maybe the reality of politics makes all political action inherently crude and immoral. Or maybe it is these adventures in philosophical masturbation that prevent people from ever taking any kind of effective action against men like Saddam Hussein. One thing is for certain, as disagreeable or as confusing as my decision to enter the fray may be, consider what peace vigils against genocide have accomplished lately. Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics. Often times it is less about how clean your actions are and more about how pure your intentions are.

So that is why I joined. In the time it took for you to read this explanation, innocent people your age have suffered under the crushing misery of tyranny. Every tool of philosophical advancement and communication that we use to develop our opinions about this war are denied to countless human beings on this planet, many of whom live under the regimes that have, in my opinion, been legitimately targeted for destruction. Some have allowed their resentment of the President to stir silent applause for setbacks in Iraq. Others have ironically decried the war because it has tied up our forces and prevented them from confronting criminal regimes in Sudan, Uganda, and elsewhere.

I simply decided that the time for candid discussions of the oppressed was over, and I joined.

In digesting this posting, please remember that America's commitment to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his sons existed before the current administration and would exist into our future children's lives had we not acted. Please remember that the problems that plague Iraq today were set in motion centuries ago and were up until now held back by the most cruel of cages. Don't forget that human beings have a responsibility to one another and that Americans will always have a responsibility to the oppressed. Don't overlook the obvious reasons to disagree with the war but don't cheapen the moral aspects either. Assisting a formerly oppressed population in converting their torn society into a plural, democratic one is dangerous and difficult business, especially when being attacked and sabotaged from literally every direction. So if you have anything to say to me at the end of this reading, let it at least include "Good Luck"

Mark Daily

The soldiers have told multiple embeds and god only knows how many reporters (some that DO show their words and some that do not) that their morale is good, they worry more for the morale of the people at "home" (America)

The troops I met scoff at peace activists’ efforts to “bring them home now.” But they are just as critical of the Bush administration and Pentagon’s missteps—from holding Iraqi elections too early, to senselessly breaking up their brigade combat team, to drawing down forces and withdrawing last year in Baghdad and Fallujah, to failing to hold cities after clearing them of insurgents. They speak candidly and critically of Shiite militia infiltration of some Iraqi police and Iraqi Army units and corruption in government ministries, but they want you to know about the unseen good news, too.

Every day, Iraqi Army trainees risk their lives and their family’s lives to come to work at FOB Justice. Residents of Khadamiyah have approached the base with tips. Schools are re-opening; neighborhood councils are sharing intelligence. “All those things are coming together,” Capt. Stacy Bare, civil affairs officer, said emphatically.

Politics be damned. Whatever your opinion on the reconstruction proccess in Iraq, YOU are not there, they are. Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Hagel, members from both sides that are NOT there fighting, the soldiers are.

How hard is it for you personally to stand behind them and root for them to WIN?

Does it take money from YOUR pocket? Food off YOUR table? Is it not YOUR life, liberty and security that those brave men and women are fighting for?

What does the reconstruction in Iraq take FROM you?

The soldiers give their time, the blood, sweat and tears and in some cases their very lives...... what are you giving? What are YOU doing for them, other than making them "worry" about our morale?

Our soldiers are being caught in the crossfire here folks.... NOT in Iraq but in AMERICAN POLITICS.

Enough is Enough.

Fight each other in the media about every issue under the sun, even argue your points about whether or not we should have gone after Saddam when we did or not... I don't care.

STOP using the soldiers and their desire to win for political points.

Do you hear me Hillary Clinton?????????? Do you hear me John Kerry?????? Nancy dear????? Hagel?????? I do not care what side of the aisle you are on...STOP IT!

For once, I would like a politician to stop for a second before trying to score their "political points" and ask themselves..... if a soldiers in Iraq were standing here in front of me RIGHT NOW, how would he/she feel aboout what I am going to say.

I say this to both sides of the political aisle.

THINK before speaking.

Our soldiers are there in Iraq ladies and gentlemen, whether we agree with the reasons they went there or not, they are there and we must stand behind them, we must make it clear that we are on their side, we are rooting for them to be successful.

The war and the reason for it can be a political debate for decades and probably will, but our soldiers desire to WIN should not be.

Enough is Enough.

Separate the two. Separate your feelings on WHY we are there from the fact that we are and our soldiers should not have to worry about the political climate at home.....they have enough on their plates....don't they?

In ending this I am going to give a venue to a few soldiers who are IN Iraq right now and to their families as well as families that have lost loved ones. They cannot post to their blogs everyday, they are busy.... but they DO post when they can and in going through the active duty military blogs, which I do every single day, here is one for today:

From Capt. B at Mudville Gazette: January 22, 2007.

If you dont back us, feel free to get in front of us.

If there has ever been a time when your support is crucial for the success for your troops it is now. Through different outcomes and events in theater, your troops are taking action that will make a difference in the near future. If you have been on the fence or have wavered, you had better cinch up and get on the team for the win. Support your troops!

Geopolitical Diary: Al-Sadr's Calculus

Some 25 U.S. troops in Iraq were killed in a single day this weekend, making it the third bloodiest since the war began. Also, Muqtada al-Sadr announced he was ending his boycott of parliament and that he was therefore rejoining the political process. There is not a direct
connection between these two events, but there is a connection nevertheless.

Sun Chronicle did a piece on January 21, 2007.

Words from our returning soldiers.......

Paul Couturier

Paul Couturier came home from Iraq with a sense of accomplishment - and pique over anti-war protests.

The North Attleboro resident, a captain in the Massachusetts National Guard, returned from Iraq three years ago after helping repair water facilities there.

Couturier was in Iraq during the capture of former dictator Saddam Hussein, and arrived home with a sense of pride that allied forces had opened the way for democracy.

But after returning home, Couturier said he was angered by persistent criticism of U.S. policy, and was disgusted at voter turnouts of less than 30 percent at local elections back home. Iraqis, he remembered, had literally risked their lives to participate en masse in the first free elections after the fall of Hussein.

"I thought, this is what I spent a year in Iraq for?" he said.

Couturier also remains a vocal critic of the mainstream media, which he said has scarcely reported on anything more positive than an exploding roadside bomb in connection with the Iraq war. In reality, he said schools were rebuilt, water lines repaired and security upgraded.

"The average Iraqi was very grateful for what we did," he said. "I think I left Iraq a better place."

Couturier remains a member of the Guard and has become active in politics, working with State Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham, to introduce legislation authorizing an Operation Iraqi Freedom decal on Massachusetts license plates issued to Iraq veterans.

A field engineer for an Uxbridge technology company, Couturier spends much of his time working throughout the Midwest.

Brian Andrade

For Maj. Brian Andrade, brigade personnel officer for the Massachusetts National Guard's 79th Troop Command, the ongoing debate over the conduct of the Iraq war is a policy issue, and not a soldier's business to pursue.

"As far as the politics are concerned, it's not something I get involved with," said the Attleboro resident who served with the Rehoboth-based 42nd Division Artillery during an 18-month activation that included several months in Kuwait and Iraq.

Andrade, who returned home with more than 100 members of the 42nd in October 2005, continues to work full time for the Guard. The unit he deployed with has since been deactivated, but many of the soldiers in his command have been absorbed by the 79th.

Andrade, who's happy to be back again with his wife, Chris, and daughter, Nicole, nonetheless harbors many positive memories of his time in Iraq.

"People don't understand when I tell them there are things about it I miss," said Andrade, who spoke of a tight bond with fellow soldiers deployed just outside Tikrit. "A lot of it was that things were very structured, more focused."

Andrade, with 25 years in the service, expects to come up for promotion soon, and plans to continue his career in the Guard. Now that he's spending more time at home, the Attleboro officer is enjoying his 6-year-old daughter, and says they're both trying to learn to play the guitar given to her at a concert by members of the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

What seems clear to Andrade is that whether the United States ultimately succeeds in Iraq depends not only on American forces, but how Iraqi civilians and military respond to the challenge of rebuilding and governing their country.

He's also somewhat skeptical of media coverage that continues to stress terror and disorder which, he said, doesn't match his experiences in Iraq.

"I wonder what the picture will look like six months from now," he said.

Jim Miller

Jim Miller of Attleboro, a full-time staff sergeant with the Army National Guard's Reading-based 272nd Chemical Company, was based near Bayjii, Iraq, during 2004 and 2005.

His remains in the military, but his life has changed considerably since he returned home.

Miller recently became engaged, and he's readying his Water Street condo for sale because he and his future wife plan to make their home in Uxbridge. He's also thinking of leaving the full-time Guard.

Miller says his time in Iraq has made a permanent impact on the way he sees the world.

"I don't take as much for granted as I used to," said Miller.

He recalls villages near his base in Iraq lacked running water and basic security for their citizens. U.S. forces brought in water and food.

The Attleboro resident says he views the United States as having suffered setbacks in Iraq since he was stationed there.

"It seems like we've taken a couple of steps backward," he said.

Yet it's hard to judge, Miller said, because the news media concentrate on bombings and the insurgency, rather than on improvements that were made because of the American presence.

Miller said schools and mosques were rebuilt and water lines were repaired while he was in Iraq.

Virtually all of Miller's adult life has been spent in the military.

He joined the Army out of high school 14 years ago. With no money for college, he sought out the Guard as a way to achieve his dreams. He's attended college classes while in the military, and is only a few credits away from a business degree.

Miller also met his girlfriend in the Guard.

The Attleboro sergeant says another deployment frankly isn't something he'd look forward to, and is hoping to settle down.

He recently applied for a job with the Attleboro Police Department.

"At this point in my life, I'm looking for something with a little more permanence," he said.

Read the full article yourself.

Then go to, Military blogs, and blogs from family members of our military.

One of the blogs posted there is from Andi's World and one of her posts asks "Who Speaks for Them?" January 19, 2007.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled milblogging to challenge yet another off-base female. Yesterday it was Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer, today it's Chicago Sun-Times columnist, Debra Pickett. Read her column. In short, Pickett seems to believe that the flap over the Boxer/Rice exchange was an orchestrated distraction from the real issue.

Would Condoleezza Rice have a different view of the situation in Iraq if she had a son (or a daughter or a sister or a brother) serving in uniform there? Would President Bush be more inclined to bring the troops home now if his twin daughters had gone to West Point? Probably not.

But the very fact that such scenarios are virtually inconceivable should give us some pause. Whose loved ones are fighting this war? And who speaks for them?

Those are the questions that Rice and the administration spin-meisters didn't want you to be thinking about this week.

This other conversation -- Is it really an insult to point out that someone doesn't have children? Or is it only insulting when it's a childless woman? -- is merely a fascinating distraction.

Who speaks for them? I'm glad you asked. They do, Ms. Pickett. The only problem is that you and the media "spin-meisters" aren't listening. If you were, you'd have heard an earful by now. You would have heard from wives and mothers and fathers who are screaming at the top of their lungs.

Take for instance, Deborah Tainsh. Tainsh is a former milspouse (that's military spouse in case you don't understand the lingo) and Gold Star Mother (that means she's lost her son in battle). Tainsh recently met with the President of the United States and wrote about it here.

And before the President approached Dave and me, Dad Joe Johnson shook the President's hand again and said, "Sir, I support your decisions. I served in Iraq for a year after our son's death; we need the troops. We need to complete the mission. It's worth it."

After a final hug and handshake with the Johnsons, President Bush stepped in front of us. Dave introduced himself and spoke about Patrick as he locked a handshake, after which the President looked straight into my eyes, asked how I was doing, then gave me, as he had the other moms, a bear hug and kiss on the side of the face. I held in my hands Patrick's green notebook, the one he had written briefing notes inside, the one he left a three-page letter in for his family in case he was killed.

"Mr. President," I said, "Thank you for seeing us. We support you 100 percent."

And then there's Gold Star Father Robert Stokely.

The insurgency succeeded in killing SGT Mike Stokely in the early morning hours of August 16, 2005, but they absolutely failed in their main objective which was to kill the spirit of Mike Stokely and his family and thereby cause us to cry out to bring the troops home and to wither into a false sense of security by isolation. As our family approaches the all important moment of 6:20 p.m. Tuesday, August 15 – which is 2:20 a.m. August 16 in Iraq [the anniversary of Mike's death], we stand more united and more committed to the war on terrorism and bringing a civilized peace for democracy to the people of Iraq. Friends, fellow soldiers and family will gather at the grave of Mike Stokely on GA 81 south of Loganville in Corinth Memorial Gardens, across from Corinth Christian Church at 1820 hours (6:20 p.m.) 15 Aug and we will remember Mike Stokely, SGT US Army – husband, son, brother and friend. We will remember what he stood for – Duty, Honor and Country. We will rejoice in his willingness to give his life for his country and the bible verse that is inscribed on his grave marker – John 15:13 – No Greater Love… I will speak these words – “as our first year of grieving comes to an end, let us always remember the mournful sound of TAPS , but let us now answer the call of Reveille and report for duty – a duty to live life fully and happily as a free people. Let the bugle sound Charge as we honor Mike Stokely by living full and happy lives as possible, for we owe him that much and we can best honor him in so doing that.

And there's once Blue Star Mom, soon-to-be-again Blue Star Mom, Carla Lois:

Somebody let [expletive] Boxer know that the sacrifice of military families is not a Democratic talking point… it is not a sound bite or a punch line. Even if she doesn’t think she owes Condi an apology -- she certainly owes one to military families.

And of course, there was the historic trip to Iraq by several Gold Star Families.

Oh, they're speaking, Ms. Pickett. Loud and clear. The problem is that you and your colleagues don't want to hear from them. But when Cindy Sheehan embarks on one of her endless crusades against America and the U.S. Military, you're all ears. Sometimes those of us with someone in the fight try to break through, even making direct contact with members of the media. As you might imagine, it usually doesn't go too well.

Mighty bold of you to lecture us about distractions, Ms. Pickett.

For more of Pickett's "deep" thinking, see this.

A woman's work is never done....

Read your soldiers words folks, read their families words....listen to them, understand them.

I am not writing this as a Republican or a former Democrat, I am writing this as an American that opened Memeorandum this morning to see a story about a soldier that asked a mattress company to send some mats to them to sleep on, and recieved political talking points as an answer.

THAT pissed me off to no end. It damn well should piss you off too.

Enough is Enough.

Others dicussing this:
JSOnline, NewsBusters, Strata-Sphere, Atlas Shrugs, BlackFive, Hot Air.

Open Trackbacks.

Trackposted to Perri Nelson's Website, The Random Yak, Adam's Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, basil's blog, Common Folk Using Common Sense, The Amboy Times, Conservative Cat, Pursuing Holiness, stikNstein... has no mercy, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Pirate's Cove, Planck's Constant, The Pink Flamingo, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker, Dumb Ox Daily News, Right Voices, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Tracked back by:
Get ready to rumble... from Potbelly Stove...
OTA - Something and Half of Something. from Planck's Constant...
Vanishing Emails? from Woman Honor Thyself...
A question for Bill Clinton's wife from Mark My Words...
"Sometimes I watch a single video and I get very e from Mark My Words...
Podcast: State of the Union Reaction from Adam's Blog...
Political Transference and America's Eva Peron from Planck's Constant...
Gone Skiing Open Trackbacks from Woman Honor Thyself...
State of the Union: Speculative from Thought Alarm...
Soldier's Redress: The Pigeon's Response from Diary of the Mad Pigeon...
To Fly or NoT to Fly from Woman Honor Thyself...
Systematic extermination of white people from Right Truth...
Talking out of both sides of your mouth from Mark My Words...
Kill or capture from Mark My Words...
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - wants to reach out and touch from Mark My Words...