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December 2004

The United Nations' Tsunami Oragami

The guy from the UN - Jan Egleund - that is berating the US for only contributing 15 million dollars of support (and I think now it's something like 35 million) probably thinks that Americans have short attention spans.

We do.  But with UNSCAM - the Oil For Food scandal (via Instapundit) - still simmering (and other corruption probes happening), it's kind of difficult to put any faith in any contributions to the United Nations.

Tim Blair has more about France Australia stepping up to the plate and donating to the effort.  And compares the pittance that France is willing to give.

Glenn Reynolds column at MSNBC has a lot more information including the running total of individual donations at Amazon.com that has greatly eclipsed the meager French support.

"We're Fighting To Get Back To Iraq!"

Here is an email that I received yesterday from Catherine in Alabama:

I am a frequent reader and occasional commenter to your site.  I just wanted to relate  a story that happened  this weekend.  I was in New Orleans on Christmas Day, trying to put children on a flight to visit relatives.  However, the weather was unusually severe for New Orleans...snow and ice.  The airport and the city pretty much shut down.  While my husband was in line trying to reschedule the children's flights, my youngest stepson and I noticed a group of soldiers clustered around a payphone, apparently trying to reschedule their flights.  We walked over to tell them "Thank you" for serving our country.  I also told them that I wasn't flying, but that if I was, I would give up my ticket to them so that they could get home for Christmas.  The soldiers smiled, but one of them spoke up, "Thank you ma'am.  But we've already been home and now we're fighting to get BACK to Iraq."  I was moved to tears...all these travellers, frazzled and exhausted, are just trying to get to their families.  And here are these brave, brave men working to make travel arrangements to LEAVE their families so that all these other families can be together safely and in peace.  God Bless all our military men and women.  Y'all are the greatest!!!

I've heard from friends of similar accounts at different airports over the last few months.  Doesn't surprise me that much but still makes me damn proud of those men and women serving our country.

Tragedy This Holiday Season

Armed Liberal at Winds of Change has a post about a friend of his, John Holschen - a former SF Soldier who is a contracter in Iraq - who's family was in a terrible car crash back home.

A.L. has links to articles about the story and a way for you to help John.

Scott K. also sent me an email about the Holschens and sends this info:

Gifts, flowers or cards can be sent to:
Patient Martha or Jolie Holschen
C/O Harborview Medical Center
325 9th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
I just spoke with a nice lady at Washington Mutual Bank;
They have an account set up, and people can donate at any of the branches listed below.
John Holschen is the account name, just let them know on the phone that you want to donate, and they will instruct you.
BOTHELL, WA 98011 425.489.2500
BOTHELL, WA 98021 425.487.6860

13425 NE 175TH ST
WOODINVILLE, WA 98072 425.483.9393

6701 NE 181ST ST
KENMORE, WA 98028 425.486.1286
WOODINVILLE, WA 98072-8551 425.482.1889

We Buy What The Media Sells

My friend, Chief Steve, is in Mosul.  I've referred to him on the blog as a Chief or as my former First Sergeant when I was a Company Commander.

Yesterday, I drove out to Kansas City from St. Louis to see his pregnant (nine months) wife and three kids.  Aside from a lunch, I spent most of my time setting up their computer with a Firewall, Antivirus, and a video cam with mic so they could see and talk to Steve at some point (he doesn't have internet available for personal use).

The one thing that came up time and again in our discussions was about how the media (or "damn" media) doesn't cover all any of the good things that occur in Iraq.  Steve's been there for over three months and he's on fire about the lack of fair media coverage.

I've got dozens of friends in Iraq.  Most (but not all) are definitely pissed off at the media.  One of my good friends, Sergeant Emil, wants to pay a visit to certain pundits when he gets back.  He's SF (18D) as a Reservist and a Nurse Pracitioner (neuro) as a civilian.  So he'll be able to correct any damage that he causes...if he wants to...That won't be a good day for certain ABC pundits...

As for positive media stories, I've seen local Chicago TV stations try a "nice story" segment every night and then have to stop it because it doesn't sell ad space like a homicide or fire (which are important stories).  So, I doubt that it would work for Iraq and Afghanistan.

So what would it take to get the Main Stream Media to change it's spots?

(And, ergo, what would it take to get the Main Stream Public to change their desire for car wrecks and disasters?)

Merry Christmas!

My family and I wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! 

*Hope you were "nice". ;->*

May your New Year be safe, happy, and prosperous.

We pray for the safety and success of all our men and women standing between us and those who wish to harm us.  And most of all we pray for Peace.

That would be the greatest Christmas present ever...

The Sands of Christmas

Dan H. sends this poem:

By Michael Marks

I had no Christmas spirit when I breathed a weary sigh,
and looked across the table where the bills were piled too high.
The laundry wasn't finished and the car I had to fix,
My stocks were down another point, the Chargers lost by six.

And so with only minutes till my son got home from school
I gave up on the drudgery and grabbed a wooden stool.
The burdens that I carried were about all I could take,
and so I flipped the TV on to catch a little break.

I came upon a desert scene in shades of tan and rust,
No snowflakes hung upon the wind, just clouds of swirling dust.
And where the reindeer should have stood before a laden sleigh,
eight Humvees ran a column right behind an M1A.

A group of boys walked past the tank, not one was past his teens,
Their eyes were hard as polished flint, their faces drawn and lean.
They walked the street in armor with their rifles shouldered tight,
their dearest wish for Christmas, just to have a silent night.

Other soldiers gathered, hunkered down against the wind,
To share a scrap of mail and dreams of going home again.
There wasn't much at all to put their lonely hearts at ease,
They had no Christmas turkey, just a pack of MREs.

They didn't have a garland or a stocking I could see,
They didn't need an ornament--they lacked a Christmas tree.
They didn't have a present even though it was tradition,
the only boxes I could see were labeled "ammunition."

I felt a little tug and found my son now by my side,
He asked me what it was I feared, and why it was I cried.
I swept him up into my arms and held him oh so near
and kissed him on the forehead as I whispered in his ear.

There's nothing wrong my little son, for safe we sleep tonight,
our heroes stand on foreign land to give us all the right,
to worry on the things in life that mean nothing at all,
instead of wondering if we will be the next to fall.

He looked at me as children do and said it's always right,
to thank the ones who help us and perhaps that we should write.
And so we pushed aside the bills and sat to draft a note,
to thank the many far from home, and this is what we wrote:

God bless you all and keep you safe, and speed your way back home.
Remember that we love you so, and that you're not alone.
The gift you give you share with all, a present every day,
You give the gift of liberty and that we can't repay.

Remembering an American Soldier

The blogosphere made a special effort to honor the last request of an American Soldier - Specialist David Mahlenbrock.

Here is a photo (just released) Sergeant Sean Kimmons of the memorial service for Specialist David Mahlenbrock on December 8th:


Soldiers from Co. B, 65th Eng. Bn. sit through Spc. David Mahlenbrocks memorial ceremony on FOB McHenry Dec. 8. Mahlenbrock was killed in an IED explosion near Kirkuk on Dec. 3.