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Thursday, September 15, 2005


Be Part of a Documentary!

Lou Reda Productions is currently producing a program for the Discovery Military Channel. The title of the program is 'Target America' and it is about World War II attacks and attempts to attack US soil. They are looking to interview veterans who defended against these attacks. Do you fit the criteria?...More

My Hero...

Jill sends these pictures, courtesy of her hero, Bruce. She tells me he is on the left in the last one.

Jill, thanks for sending these. Bruce - great pictures! Thank you for all you do. Keep your helmet on, take care, and stay safe!
Operation: A Bit of Home has been asked by the First Cavalry to help support the Heroes assisting in the Katrina Relief efforts, and they have asked Soldiers' Angels to assist them, and to help get the word out. Below is the request they received. If you would like to donate funds or items, please visit the Operation: A Bit of Home website. I've got a soft spot for the 1st Cavalry, as my first adopted Soldier is a 1st Cav Trooper. I'll be heading over to make my donation today.

Good morning,
My name is Master Sergeant Stephen C. Foster, I am assigned to the United States Army's 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. When we were deployed to Iraq I was the oncommissioned Office in Charge of the Freedom Rest for the Division from February, 2004 to March, 2005. We got hundreds of donations from your great organization and it made thousands of our soldiers happy. Over 23,000 soldiers were affected by your donations.

We now have the mission of supporting the recovery operations for the areas hit by hurricane Katrina. We have several thousand soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guard personnel as well as Department of Defense civilians in our Task Force and the mission will ongoing for several months. Most of the Task Force members had less than 48 hours from notification to roll out.

I have the mission of asking for assistance. We are looking for donations like books, toiletry items, snacks, etc. These service members are working long hours with little time off and we are now setting up MWR tents for them to relax.

Anything you might be able to send would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
MSG Stephen C. Foster
CHATAN, OKINAWA, Japan — Lance Cpl. Herman Reyes spends his liberty time in a kickboxing gym honing his skills in kickboxing and submission wrestling. Reyes has been fighting in Ju-jitsu and kickboxing for more than 5 years. Reyes is a data network specialist for Marine Wing Support Squadron-172, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Photo by: Cpl. Martin R. Harris
Read Story Associated with this photo

More Words from A Soldier in Pittsburgh

You will remember "A Soldier in Pittsburgh" from his response to Michael Moore's open letter, posted here. Our friend has shared some thoughts on what was behind his decision to enter military service. In the light of recent criticism of recruiters as "duping" our youth into enlisting, this is an enlightening perspective.

Why I joined the Army
How I learned to relax and start loving the anti-war movement.

It’s a little confusing, joining the US Army. Nobody really understands how lengthy the process is. The pacifist movement portrays our all-volunteer force as a manipulative cult, with legions of zombie-like recruiters bent on selling a deadly career like particularly evil used-car salesmen.
Not so. From my first phone call to the National Guard to my ship date was a six month ordeal. There are endless hoops to jump through, and at any point either I or the Army could have said, “No, this ain’t for this kid.”

There’s a credit check. A police background check. A security interview. For the Officer Candidate side, there is an arduous application process, a test, a medical history. Failure at any of these points would mean failure and rejection on all of them.

So the Sunday after I signed my contract I watched with bemusement as an anti-war rally tried to shut down the recruitment center. The theme was “March of The Undead” and the rallying cry was the brains of the anti-war crowd were not for the “eating”. I suppose they are frightened of being impressed into service.

The fact that most of them looked like they couldn’t pass the drug test, the height/ weight standard, or the physical fitness tests didn’t seem to phase their desperate plea to stop the all-volunteer process.

They complain that the army is full of the poor, and that the children of the rich are not fighting this war. I suppose their standards of poverty are a bit better than, say, the ragged armies literally drafted from the ghettos and sent into the service of Marxist nations like the Soviet Union, Vietnam, and, (ah ha!) Iraq. These kids, despite their scruffy attire, certainly looked well-fed.

Besides, me, the volunteer, can’t complain that I’ve been disenfranchised. I’m white, college educated, mostly debt free, in good health, with my first marriage and a new baby. I have more invested in the welfare of this nation than some, it seems. I owe this country and its institutions a great deal of loyalty.

And I’m not some “right wing nutjob” either. Although I tend to lean right, my wife was on the state health insurance plan when my child was born. I took advantage of bankruptcy law when my debts became insupportable. I think the environment deserves a bit of protection, like Teddy Roosevelt did. I support desegregation, like Eisenhower did. I support a national health plan, like Nixon did. While our currently polarized climate provides a false “either / or” choice of who you want to be, I have found realities to be so subtle that it is entirely possible to suffer from an excess of clarity.

My father was stunned when I told him and is still opposed to my decision. He is vehemently against the war in Iraq because he says it has nothing to do with the War on Terror, and that if I die because of W’s decision to invade, he will not respect my choice and will speak out against the war, ala Ms. Sheehan.

I have yet to ask him if he would be okay if I were killed in Afghanistan, fighting the Taliban. The Taliban really didn’t have much to do with 9/11 either, other than merely funding it and providing a safe haven for the planning. So it might be possible for some to decry the war in Afghanistan on the grounds that “vengeance solves nothing.”

Of course, my father and I disagree on many other things, and I suppose this is just one more. I don’t want him, however, taking Ms. Sheehan’s illusory soapbox and speaking for me. The real issue of my death would not be the war, it would be the fact that his oldest son died in a manner that he sees as avoidable. Hence I think it is important to write this essay before I go.
I support the war in Afghanistan. I also support the war in Iraq. I think it is important that democracy be given a chance to flourish and that the good, decent, God-fearing and peaceable Muslims, and there are many, be allowed to speak in freedom. I believe Saddam was a threat to the welfare of this nation and its citizens, and that our country is safer for having removed him.
More than that, I think the “contained” state we held Iraq in for 10 years is a crime. I think the anti-war crowd should have to answer for the devastating effect that the sanctions had, and our non-involvement in the Shiite uprising that created mass graves. Since when have Americans been so cowardly as to let a confirmed mass murderer hold 25 million people hostage? Why do we keep running away and letting Communists and other religious madmen slaughter those who depended on us? When we look around and can’t find any Muslim to condemn attacks on our people – that’s because the Muslims who would have been slaughtered or cowed by their fanatical countrymen!

It’s time for all the decent people of every faith to stand together, rather than let us be picked apart. And the war in Iraq is not a distraction in that effort. It is central.

The other main leftist objection is that the war is being poorly run. As a future soldier, even I can see that mistakes have been made, and some of those mistakes have cost American and Iraqi lives. That is the nature of war, and part of why an all-volunteer force is so necessary. Leaders make decisions, and sometimes they make the wrong ones, and that’s a risk we all accept as part of the job when we sign up.

But there are many positives to the way the war has been conducted. To do in three weeks what the entire nation of Iran couldn’t do in eight years is an impressive achievement no matter how you slice it. To orchestrate the post-war chaos to prevent mass starvation while protecting the country’s most vital industrial structures is a mammoth, historically noteworthy accomplishment.

The military has seized the offensive against terrorism, in inspiring and often bloody tactics that get results and stabilize city after city. The army of Iraq is starting to coalesce, cooperate, and even take the lead in operations. If you think building an acceptable national army is easy, maybe looking at the desertion rates for the first Continental Army might provide some perspective.

Construction projects abound. Watching them go up, thanks to the information age which bypasses much of the traditional media, is exciting and makes me want to help, to get involved, to assist my nation and the nation of Iraq.

More than that, the military has accomplished all this on a budget that represents one of the lowest percentages of the GDP of any nation in history.

So the Army is an inspiring, exciting opportunity for me, despite the danger.
I hope that this essay helps people see that nobody tricked me into anything. I know what I am doing and what I want.

So, how does a soldier like me feel about the anti-war movement? Obviously, I disagree with their stance. I wish they wouldn’t try to interfere with recruitment, at least physically. I appreciate their passion and their concern, but if their commitment leads to violent intervention with somebody else’s choice, then how the hell are they any better than any other fanatics?
But as long as they are free to march, as long as they are free to shout whatever they please, even when I intellectually dismiss such as inane rattlings from a failed idea – then I know that my military is doing the job assigned to it by the Constitution.

Sometimes the only way to do what you want is just to do it, and smile through the controversy.
Nevada Army National Guardsmen work a security checkpoint near the New Orleans Civic Center where an aid station and evacuation point have been established. Photo by Master Sgt. Scott Reed.

In Today's News - Thursday, September 15, 2005

Quote of the Day
"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have."
-- Ronald Reagan

News of Note
Hurricane Katrina
French Quarter May Reopen
Complete Health Coverage
Locating Hurricane Survivors
How to Help

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Al Qaeda Presence Declines in Northern Iraq
Soldier in Iraq Faces Hearing
Injured Iraqi Girl Captures Medic's Heart

Operation Enduring Freedom
As election nears, 7 Afghans carrying voter cards are slain

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Officials: Al Qaeda May Try to Establish Gaza Presence
Reject terrorism, Bush urges UN
Slain man's family sees revenge by IRA

Supreme Court
Dems Grill Roberts
Video: Battle for the Bench

Things That Make Me Go @#$%*&*@#!!!
Chicago biggest city yet to call for bringing troops home
Piece of Pentagon stone stolen from Naperville Sept. 11 memorial

Other News of Note
Judge Strikes Down Pledge
Video: Pledge Battle

Fox News
Baghdad Bombs Kill 31
Partial-Birth Ban Nixed
Mercedes Death Mom's Murder Conviction Upheld
Two U.S. Airlines Bankrupt
Caged Kids Spotlight Disabled Adoption Issues
Ophelia Grinds Along
Slow storm brings rain, wind
Fast Facts: Hurricane Categories
Fast Facts: How to Prepare

Reuters: Top News
Suicide bombers kill 24 Iraqi policemen
Sharon to put onus on Palestinians after pullout
7 foreigners detained in UK for "national security"
Memory of Gen. MacArthur exposes divide in S.Korea
Eritrea holds U.S. embassy staff for trafficking
Kabul says Taliban cannot derail Afghan vote
Bush to announce new help for hurricane region Associated Press
Four bombings kill at least 31 in Iraq
Annan seeks to restore U.N. credibility

Chicago Sun-Times
Roberts inches closer to confirmation
Jews, Muslims unite to fight for religious courts in Canada
Smuggled weapons entering Gaza as Israeli soldiers exit
Mass. rejects gay-marriage amendment
Museum auctioning photo treasures
Sea lions invade Calif. harbor, sink 50-ft. boat worth $24,000

Boston Globe: World
UN aid chiefs cite lag in funds for refugees
Path cleared for Pinochet to face trial in 15 deaths
North Korea, US at odds on non-weapons nuclear plant

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
US walks fine line between friend and foe in Iraq rebel town
Iraqi Brothers Go Home in Coffins; 2 Days of Attacks Claim 180 Lives
US Takes Counteroffensive in War of Words
Iraq Concerns Will Reverberate in Congress

Department of Defense
Bush Urges United Nations to Support Iraq — Story Remarks
NATO Transforms for 21st Century Threats — Story

Tiny Robot Carries Big Responsibility — Story
Squadron Keeps Wing Flying High — Story

Father, Son Join Katrina Relief Efforts — Story

Community Honors Families — Story


Hurricane Katrina

Task Force Raid Nets Weapons
Forces Respond to Attacks
Iraq Reconstruction
Iraq Daily Update
Multinational Force Iraq

Afghan Governors Confer
Afghanistan Daily Update
Afghan Reconstruction Group Recruiting

Al Qaeda Terrorist Captured
Memo Seals Support for Center
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

National Guard, Reserve Update

Officials Identify Army Casualty — Story

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


Today in History
- The Mayflower departs from Plymouth, England with 102 pilgrims aboard.
1776 - British forces capture Kip's Bay, Manhattan.
1789 - The Department of Foreign Affairs is renamed the Department of State.
1821 - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua gain independence.
1830 - In England, William Huskisson becomes the first to be run-over by a railroad train.
1862 - Stonewall Jackson takes Harpers Ferry.
1887 - Philadelphi celebrates the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.
1894 - Japan defeats China in the Battle of Ping Yang.
1904 - Wilbur Wright makes his first airplane flight.
1914 - The Battle of Aisne begins (Germany vs. France).
1916 - At the Battle of Flors, in France, the first tank is used in war ("Little Willies").
1917 - Russia is proclaimed a republic.
1931 - At Invergordion, the British naval force mutinies over pay.
1935 - The Nuremberg Laws deprive German Jews of citizenship, and make the swastika the official symbol of Nazi Germany.
1938 - British PM Chamberlain visits Hitler at Berchtesgarden.
1940 - The Tide turns in the Battle of Britain (The RAF beats the Luftwaffe).
1941 - Nazis kill 800 Jewish women at Shkudvil, Lithuania.
1947 - The first 4-engine jet-propelled fighter plane is tested in Columbus, OH.
1948 - An F-86 Sabre sets a world aircraft speed record of 1080 kph.
1949 - "The Lone Ranger" premiers on ABC-TV
1950 - U.N. forces land at Inchon, in southern Korea.
1952 - The U.N. turns Eritrea over to Ethiopia.
1959 - Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev arrives in the U.S. to begin a 13-day visit.
1963 - Four African-American children are killed in the bombing of a Black Baptist church in Birmingham, AL.
1965 - "Lost in Space" premiers on TV.
1966 - Gemini XI returns to Earth.
1968 - Zond-5 is launched; it will make the first lunar flyaround with an Earth reentry (it was a probable test flight for a manned fly-around, but Apollo 8 got there first).
1973 - "Star Trek-Animated" premiers on TV
1976 - Soyuz-22 carries two cosmonauts into an 8-day Earth orbit.
1981 - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
1982 - The first issue of "USA Today" is published by Gannett Co., Inc.; Israeli forces begin pouring into west Beirut.

- Trajan, 13th Roman emperor (98-117), conqueror of Ctesiphon.
1830 - Porfirio D¡az, soldier, president of Mexico (1877-1911)
1857 - William Howard Taft , 27th U.S. President (1909-13), chief justice
1876 - Frank E. Gannett, newspaper publisher (Gannett)
1881 - Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti, race car builder (Amaz Bugattis)
1890 - Dame Agatha Christie, mystery writer (Murder on the Orient Express)
1904 - King Umberto II of Italy (1946)
1913 - John Mitchell, Nixon's attorney general (went to jail)
1914 - Creighton Abrams, U.S. Army General (Vietnam War)
1929 - Murray Gell-Mann, physicist who predicted the existence of quarks
1941 - Miroslaw Hermaszewski, first Polish space traveler (Soyuz-30)
1946 - Oliver Stone, director (Wall St, Good Morning Vietnam, Platoon); Tommy Lee Jones, actor (Executioner's Song, Bloody Monday)
1984 - Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, third in the line of British sucession

- Tommy Leonetti, singer/actor (Gomer Pyle USMC)
1982 - Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, Iran's former foreign minister, executed by Iran
1983 - Willie Bobo, jazz drummer (Cos)

Reported Missing in Action
Tice, Paul Douglas, USMC (NY); KIA, body not recovered