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November 2006

A Different Christmas Poem

About one million of you have emailed this different take on the military Christmas poem.  I'm one of those who likes to take one holiday at a time so, now, it's entirely appropriate to post it (as opposed to yesterday).

And, BTW, it was posted here last year by Subsunk who wrote:

Many will say they have seen tributes like this before, but this one is new to me.  I have seen Christmas remembrances to the military before.  But not this one.  This one explains what those who do their duty expect of "We, the Protected".  Whether you serve in Alaska or Amariya, Iraq, some small tidbits in the news have recently pointed out why our servicemen sign up to serve.  They've even mentioned that the Iraqis signing up to join the Iraqi Armed Forces feel the same way as our men and women in uniform do.  They signed up because it is their duty.  To defend America, to defend Iraq and America from terrorists, to defend Americans who sleep at home safe and sound, because it is a dirty thankless job.

But someone needs to do it.  And when you get to the bottom, remember why they do it.  Do they matter to you?  And have you shown it?

For you ladies and gents around the world, standing your watch, walking your post, doing your duty, giving your lives to us, WE REMEMBER:

A Different Christmas Poem
By Michael Marks

    The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
    I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
    My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
    My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
    Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
    Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
    The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
     Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
    My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
    Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
    In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
    So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

    The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
    But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
    Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
    sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
    My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
    And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
    Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
    A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

    A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
    Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
    Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
    Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
    "What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
    "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
    Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
     You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

    For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
    Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
    To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
    Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
    I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

    "It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
    That separates you from the darkest of times.
    No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
    I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
    My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
     Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
    My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
    And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
    I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
    But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

    Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
    The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
    I can live through the cold and the being alone,
    Away from my family, my house and my home.
    I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
    I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
    I can carry the weight of killing another,
    Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
    Who stand at the front against any and all,
    To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

    "So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
    Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
    "But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
    "Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
    It seems all too little for all that you've done,
    For being away from your wife and your son."
    Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
    "Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
    To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
    To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
    For when we come home, either standing or dead,
    To know you remember we fought and we bled.
    Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
    That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Daniel Unger - A Hero's Love

Hotair has the memorial film - A Hero's Love - that everyone should watch about Daniel Unger's life and death.  It's a must see.

Daniel Unger was a fourth degree blackbelt and fast on his feet.  He died saving Iraqi civilians when his FOB was mortared by insurgents.

...Daniel was assigned to provide on-base armed escort for a group of Iraqi contractors doing plumbing and electrical work. When the first mortar came in at 3:30 PM, everyone “hit the deck.” After the first explosion, all the soldiers did what they were trained to do, they ran for the safety of the bunkers. All but SPC Unger.

The Iraqi civilian contractors appeared afraid and bewildered. Daniel ran to them, yelled at them, got behind them and shoved them in front of himself toward the safety of the bunker as the second mortar landed. As shrapnel flew and other mortars approached, Daniel got the Iraqis to the bunker and, in the words of the Commanding Officer, the Captain, “Once the attack started, Daniel placed his own well being in jeopardy by making sure the civilian workers went inside the protective bunker before he did.” Then the third mortar hit!

That third mortar killed Daniel Unger.  He could've saved himself, but, instead, protected the Iraqi workers.  It was his decision to be the last man into the bunker, civilians first.  That's why John 15:13 is so appropriate to describe Daniel Unger's love.

All of the Iraqi civilians were saved...

Sergeant In Iraq Refutes the NYTime Editorial Board

On the 16th of November, the New York Times wrote a gloating editorial about the elections and the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld.  Below is part of the editorial:

The Army We Need

One welcome dividend of Donald Rumsfeld’s departure from the Pentagon is that the United   States will now have a chance to rebuild the Army he spent most of his tenure running down.

Mr. Rumsfeld didn’t like the lessons the Army drew from Vietnam — that politicians should not send American troops to fight a war of choice unless they went in with overwhelming force, a clearly defined purpose and strong domestic backing. He didn’t like the Clintonian notion of using the United States military to secure and rebuild broken states.

And when circumstances in Afghanistan and Iraq called for just the things Mr. Rumsfeld didn’t like, he refused to adapt, letting the Army, and American interests, pay the price for his arrogance.

So one of the first challenges for the next defense secretary and the next Congress is to repair, rebuild and reshape the nation’s ground forces. They need to renew the morale and confidence of America’s serving men and women and restore the appeal of career military service for the brightest young officers...

You can read the whole Op-Ed at the NYT.

Sergeant Chris Whitaker is in Iraq and takes issue with the NYTimes selective memory...

Refutation of New York Times Editorial “The Army We Need” dated 19 November 2006

 In their editorial entitled The Army We Need, the New York Times editorial staff displays their ignorance of both the nature and history of the United States military both previous to and during the current Administration. In their zeal to portray the outgoing Secretary of Defense, Mr. Donald Rumsfeld, as the architect of the military’s supposed collapse, they neglect a number of facts. These facts show that, contrary to the Times’ editors’ opinions, it is the hangover from the Clinton administration’s Defense inadequacies that has led to the majority of the military’s training and equipment deficiencies.

The rest of Sergeant Whitaker's response is posted after the Jump:

Continue reading "Sergeant In Iraq Refutes the NYTime Editorial Board" »

Jack Army in Iraq - "Go Home?"

Blogger and SF Qualified Infantry sergeant in Iraq, Jack Army addresses those like Barrak Obama who call for withdrawl from Iraq...and he's pissed:

...Sorry, I am just frustrated about all this. I am just amazed that people want to just stop what we are doing and bring all our troops home after all we've done so far and all that is left to do. Seriously, it is amazing what is going on in this country and I'm so lucky to be a part of it. These people really want to live better lives and they are trying hard to do so. I feel like we owe it to them, to folks from other countries who are watching this, and to the troops who have already sacrificed for this, to continue to see this thing through.

What frustrates me most of all is the number of Americans that are rooting for us to lose. From media, to politicians and political pundits, to folks who just have no clue but put on airs of knowing all, there is a definite segment of the American population who genuinely wants us to lose this war. The whole "it's a mistake" and "based on lies" memes are just ridiculous and aren't based in reality, rather, they are based on misguided dreams of what life should be like. I hate to burst any bubbles here, but war is a part of life, and when bad people do bad things, war just might be the best way to stop them...

Read the whole thing.

Happy Thanksgiving

I want to wish everyone a very wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. For me, I am getting ready to go spend a bit of it with the wolves, and then on to a wonderful dinner this evening with people I know up here. I will take the time to give thanks for all that I have, such as my health, job, and all the opportunities that await. I will give thanks for what this great guy shared, for it shows a beautiful triumph over a "normal" adversity. His post links to a video, and I urge you to be aware that the intro has no sound, but if you have stereo on your computer, ram it home for the rest. (also check out this post of his as well) I will give thanks that Blackfive has not released the photos kicked me off yet.

Amidst it all, I will not forget those who have served, and those who serve now and are going into harms way even as I enjoy my day and dinner. I will give thanks for all those rough men and women who stand guard and do violence so that I can enjoy this day and sleep tight this night.

Thank you all so much.


Don’t Drag Others into Your Cowardice, Larry

Just in time for the Holidays we have another Lawrence O'Donnell meltdown on Scarborough Country.  Instead of berating John O'Neill (combat veteran) for lying about John Kerry's Blue Falconry, he was attempting to make a stupid point in support of Charlie Rangel's draft by imputing his own gutless cowardice to the other panel members. 

"We now have an American combat force that has no connection to the society at large." 

Is that a fact?  When challenged on this assertion by a republican panelist, Rosie's brother(?) whipped out his acrylic nails and started scratching everybody's eyes out like a pissed off high school girl.  He goes straight to the chickenhawk card and proceeds to toss the whole deck at the panel all the while stomping his feet and whining like a b*tch. 

Not one of us.  Not one of us has the courage to put ourselves in the military or to go into combat... One minute of your [republican panelist's] life has not been spent contemplating military service.  Your'e just like me, you wouldn't dare enlist in the military, you are as afraid of it as I am.

That is not so much an argument as it is a cry for help.  It is not of interest to me to rehash the tired chickenhawk meme here as much as I am facinated by Larry's desire to get somebody else in this world to admit to being as big a pussy as he is.  The other interesting thing about this exchange is how schizophrenic it is.  On the one hand Larry is giving all of us vets a world class ballwashing for having the stones to roger up for military duty while at the same time looking down his nose in pity at the poor urchins who couldn't find a good job and were economically pressed into service. 

Notwithstanding the assinine purpose behind the Rangel Draft which is to force America to have a "connection" to the Iraq war.  I find it amusing that Rosie's brother wants the next generation of pussies, hippies, and losers to face their "fear" and take some bullets for Uncle Sam even though he skated on that program.  Talk about chickenhawking, do as I say I was too scared to do, not as I did. 

But as we all know, the real purpose of the Rangel Draft is to destroy the military so that it cannot be trusted and therefore used.   This is merely another Democratic entitlement jobs program that would be used by the left to manipulate the young as a captive audience.  Then the Dems could be the party of military pay hikes and increased veteran's benefits as a way to hold hostage an enormous constituency of young Americans and condition them to vote for Dem handouts for the rest of their lives.  All the while eating the soul out of what is the most professional and lethal military force to have ever occupied the planet. 

Warriors join up to fight precisely because that is what warriors are about.  We are the sheepdogs and we derive pleasure from protecting our own and destroying our enemies.  What if, uh oh, we actually need to use the military after it has been riven with the cancer of cowardice and mediocrity?  Then we will have the meat grinder that we have thus far completely avoided.  What will Charlie Rangel and Larry O'Donnell say when those cowardly, undisciplined conscripted troops are slaughtered en mass somewhere?  At least we'll all feel...connected.  How nice.

Blackfive's Thanksgiving Recipes

[Another repost for the holiday]

The Bartender at Madfish Willie's reposts my patented Irish Paratrooper Turkey Recipe every Thanksgiving.  As I've had a lousy couple of weeks, this is going to be more true than he imagined...

How To Cook A Turkey
1) Go buy a turkey.
2) Take a drink of scotch whisky (Laphroiag, Lagavulin, or Caol Ila).
3) Put turkey in the oven.
4) Take another 2 drinks of whiskey.
5) Set the degree at 375 ovens
6) Take 3 more whiskeys of drink.
7) Turn oven the on.
8) Take 4 whisks of drinky.
9) Turk the bastey.
10) Whiskey another bottle of get.
11) Stick a turkey in the thermometer
12) Glass yourself a pour of whiskey.
13) Bake the whiskey for 4 hours.
14) Take the oven out of the turkey.
15) Take the oven out of the turkey.
16) Floor the turkey up off of the pick.
17) Turk the carvey.
18) Get yourself another scottle of botch.
19) Tet the sable and pour yourself a glass of turkey.
20) Bless the saying, pass and eat out.

There's more at the Bartender's....

Six Steps to Victory - Part II (the next step)

Message from Eric Egland, author of Six Steps to Victory:

Hey Team Blackfive,

Here is an update on "Six Steps to Victory--A Bottom Up Solution in Iraq:"

Feedback has been incredible. Blogs and e-mail forwarding have yielded hundreds of responses in the last few days from troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, active duty generals, Vietnam vets, civilian experts, and concerned citizens.

Thanks to sites like Blackfive, this has the makings of an internet-enabled prairie fire.  The grass roots wisdom of the American people is awesome, and it is exciting to use the internet to tap into the collective insights out there, which are leading to action and informing the manuscript I am finishing for publication in the spring.

Hey, do you know anyone who is just about to deploy, or has just arrived in Iraq, preferably in a line infantry, ground-owner type unit? Goal is to implement Step 3--connect the American people to the effort by giving them the chance to directly support the guys on the ground.

I am trying to line up a few battalions who would want to get sponsored by a city here and use the WalMart 'wedding registry' to order what they need-- video games, dvd's and books for themselves; cell phone cameras, laptops and video cameras to give to supportive locals for help with spotting bad guys; and dolls, bicycles, microwaves and generators to strengthen relations with the locals.

I have the list of deploying units, but prefer to go grass roots so I don't have to put up with some brigade XO tell me to send a white paper and powerpoint brief--only to never hear back from him.

Let me know if you or your readers can connect me with someone from a combat battalion either in country or about to deploy in the next few months.  I can explain that all they would need to do is go to WalMart.com and sign up for a gift registry account, tell their buddies in the unit, send me the account information and I will take it from there.

Once they start getting stuff, they can take pictures and e-mail them back here so the folks supporting them can get the feedback to see that their efforts are really making a difference.  I have mayors, CEOs, nonprofit presidents, church leaders, Rotary clubs, political groups and other local leaders from Alaska to Florida chomping at the bit to help out. People here really want to help but don't know how--beyond prayers, bumper stickers and care packages.  Also, if one of your readers wants to sign their city up to sponsor a battalion, they can e-mail me at [email protected]...

More after the Jump...

Continue reading "Six Steps to Victory - Part II (the next step)" »

The 2006 Weblog Awards

The most excellent Kevin of Wizbang! is again taking your suggestions for nominations for the 2006 Weblog Awards.  There's a ton of categories, including milblogs.  Nominations close in a few days and voting starts in December.

So, nominate your favorite blogs before the 24th.  And please pay attention to the rules!

Thanks to everyone who nominated Blackfive!