By: Adrian Wojnarowski, a sports columnist for
The Record (N.J.)
and a regular contributor to ESPN.com.
When you do this job for a
living, there are athletes that stay with you. The years pass, the
old newspaper clips fade, but those stories stay with you. Steve
Reich always did. He was a West Point pitcher with a 90 mph fastball
and a big, bright smile. He could've walked out of the United States
Military Academy for a Top 25 baseball power and someday the Major
League Baseball draft, but he never did.
Despite a fastball in the 90s, Steve
Reich passed on a promising baseball career.
Reich had given his word. In his mind,
he played for the Corps of Cadets.
"I wanted to see how I stacked up
against the best kids," Reich said. "I wanted to see how far I could
push myself. Before I came here, I had no idea of what my potential
was. I had no idea who I was."
No one had ever heard of Pat Tillman
back in the early 1990s, but Reich, the left-hander whom a Cleveland
Indians scouting director insisted "could have a long career and make
a lot of money," stayed the course at West Point . Once Reich returned
for his junior year in 1993, the Army had him for the next seven years
- his final two at the Academy, and the mandatory five-year active-duty
commitment that followed. In the end, his country would need him and
he had been right: He had a commitment to honor.
"He was able after two years [at the
Academy] to look past the possibilities of instant glamour," his father,
Ray, said then.
David Robinson once had this choice
to make at the Naval Academy . He stayed too. Only difference: The
Navy let the 7-foot star out of his commitment and turned him into
a public relations boon. Reich was no sure thing to make it big, and
the Army always believed his greatest value belonged with them. They
never did let Reich have his baseball career, and yet he always understood
it. They had bigger plans for him.
Sometimes, the athletes we write about
do stay with us. It isn't always the most famous and most talented
that leave an impression on you. All those millionaires I've covered,
and I always wondered how it turned out for Steve Reich, a small-town
hero out of Washington , Conn. We had a common friend - the sports
information director at West Point , Bob Beretta - and he would sometimes
give me updates on Reich.
called Thursday afternoon to report that it was believed Reich had
been flying that M-47 helicopter in Afghanistan earlier this week
- delivering reinforcements to a fight against al- Qaida forces -
when militants shot it out of the sky, killing
the 16 American soldiers on board .
Major Steve Reich had beaten the odds
on three voluntary tours in Afghanistan . This had been his fourth
turn there. He kept asking to go back. He was 34 years old.
Whether on the athletic field
or the battle field, Steve Reich was proud to serve his country.
I remember meeting him one
afternoon in '92 at West Point , the long gray line marching across
the parade grounds in the distance. Reich was 20, a sophomore at
the Academy and at his crossroads to stay or go. He would go on to
make Team USA a year later, throw a slew of shutout innings against
Cuba on the summer tour, and ultimately be chosen by his U.S. teammates
to carry the American flag during the opening ceremonies of the World
University Games in 1993. After that march into the stadium, he remembered
the people throwing roses at his feet.
A few years later, in 1995,
he was training at the Fort Rucker Army Aviation Center in southeast
Alabama . He would pitch to one of his buddies, Patmon Malcolm, on
the dusty patches near the horse stables. He could still bring it
in the 90s, but the clock was ticking on his pitching career. The
Orioles would get him for two games in the minors, but the military
called him back after two starts in the California League in '96.
He was an aviator, and the Army needed Reich in the sky.
Steve Reich was proud to honor his
commitment to the U.S. Army.
"It's the same roller-coaster ride," Reich
would tell me. "You get out of the cockpit with this feeling you won
a 1-0 game. Same high. I've come to find satisfaction in a lot of things
besides baseball. ... I made a deal with the Army. They gave me a great
education and now I've got to pay them back. I will honor it."
This is edgy territory. Glorifying
Reich's sacrifice doesn't diminish any other soldier who lost his life
in combat. His sacrifice is no greater, and no less. Everybody is giving
up something over there. We went through all of that with Pat Tillman.
This happened to be Steve Reich's story, his sacrifice. All the way
to the end, way up in the skies over Afghanistan , he did what he always
promised to do for the United States : He honored his commitment.
As it turned out, he never lost his
About The USA
article was written by
Mr. Cornel Nistorescu and published under the title "C"ntarea
meaning "Ode To America") in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentulzilei
"The Daily Event" or "News of the Day".
~An Ode toAmerica~
are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another even
if you painted them all one color! They speak all the languages of
the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations and religious
beliefs. Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred million
people into a hand put on the heart.
rushed to accuse the White House, the army, and the secret services
that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their
bank accounts. Nobody rushed out onto the streets nearby to gape
Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.
After the first moments of panic, they raised their flag over the
smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of
the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if
in every place and on every car a government official or the president
was passing. On every occasion, they started singing their traditional
song: "God Bless America!"
watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening
to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman
in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian
hockey player, who gave his life fighting with the terrorists and
prevented the plane from hitting a target that could have killed
other hundreds or thousands of people. How on earth were they able
to respond united as one human being? Imperceptibly, with every word
and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of
tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of
dollars were put in a collection aimed at rewarding not a man or
a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy. What on earth can
unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their galloping history?
Their economic Power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer,
humming songs and murmuring phrases with the risk of sounding commonplace.
I thought things over, but I reached only one conclusion...Only freedom
can work such miracles.
Thy Name Is Cowardice
This editorial was written by Mathias Döpfner,
CEO of the large German publishing firm Axel
Springer, and published in
the German periodical Die Welt on 20 November 2004.
few days ago Henry Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Europe — your
family name is appeasement." It's a phrase you can't get out of your
head because it's so terribly true.
Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England
and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before
they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless agreements.
Appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the Soviet Union,
then East Germany, then all the rest of Eastern Europe where for decades,
inhuman, suppressive, murderous governments were glorified as the ideologically
correct alternative to all other possibilities.
Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and,
even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we Europeans
debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when finally
the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe
yet again, and do our work for us.
Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement,
camouflaged behind the fuzzy word "equidistance," now countenances suicide
bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians.
Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore nearly
300,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated
by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, has the gall to issue
bad grades to George Bush.
And now we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement.
How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists
in Holland and elsewhere? By suggesting that we really should have a "Muslim
Holiday" in Germany.
I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of our (German)
Government, and if the polls are to be believed, the German people, actually
believe that creating an Official State "Muslim Holiday" will somehow
spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists.
One cannot help but recall Britain's Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable
treaty signed by Adolph Hitler, and declaring European "Peace in our
What else has to happen before the European public and its political
leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially
perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims,
focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies,
and intent upon Western Civilization's utter destruction.
It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great
military conflicts of the last century - a conflict conducted by an enemy
that cannot be tamed by "tolerance" and "accommodation" but is actually
spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always
be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness.
Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti-appeasement:
Reagan and Bush.
His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know
the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing
half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual
slavery. And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting
on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against
democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number
of years have passed.
In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in
the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society's values
and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as
the true great powers, America and China.
On the contrary, we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those "arrogant
Americans", as the World Champions of "tolerance", which even Otto Schily
Because we're so moral? I fear it's more because we're so materialistic,
so devoid of a moral compass.
For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of
additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the
American economy, because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes
what is at stake — literally everything.
While we criticize the "capitalistic robber barons" of America because
they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our Social
Welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive! We'd rather
discuss reducing our 35-hour workweek or our dental coverage, or our
4 weeks of paid vacation, or listen to TV pastors preach about the need
to "Reach out to terrorists, to understand and forgive".
These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands,
frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber
breaking into a neighbor's house.
Appeasement? Europe, thy name is Cowardice.
Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas embraced Marine Staff Sgt.
Mark Graunke Jr.
during a Veteran's Day Commemoration in Dallas. Graunke lost a hand,
a leg and an eye
when he defused a bomb in Iraq last year.
Behind The Picture
Raised Them, America Sent Them, America Wants Them Back
Sign The Petition
My daddy took me here to this place
called The Wall to meet you today. I've heard so many wonderful stories
about you and am sad that I have never met or seen you. All my friends
go places and do things with their grandpa's and I wish you were
here to do them with me too. I'm eight years old now. Daddy talks
about you all the time and how he was my age when you went to Vietnam.
We are always looking at your pictures and all the ones you sent
home from Vietnam. He told me about the day you left and how tight
you held him when you said goodbye at the airport. He said you were
crying and that was the only time he had ever seen you cry. It's
as if you knew you weren't going to come home. You know, that's the
only time I ever see my daddy cry is when we are talking about you.
He says the country you and he loves so much won't do anything to
bring you home.
I told my daddy that I didn't like Vietnam
because it made our whole familiy sad. He took me out back by the pond
and we sat for awhile and talked. He told me a little bit about Vietnam
and that the people in the South needed our help. He said our country,
being the greatest country in the world, had a duty to help and that
all the brave men and women who went to fight were proud to have done
so. I think I understand it better now but I still don't understand why
people had to die. Why do people have to fight? The hardest thing I have
understanding is that you might still be alive over there and why somebody
doesn't bring you home. Maybe when I get older I will better understand
but right now I just know I miss you even though I have never met you.
Every night daddy and I kneel in front of your picture and we say a prayer.
Sometimes when I'm lying in bed and thinking about you, I hear you say
you are ok and that you love me. Daddy says it's my imagination so I
just shrug my shoulders but we know better don't we grandpa? Somehow
I know you are watching out for mommy, daddy and me.
I'm going into the forth grade this
year. I like school most of the time. I have a teacher who talks
about the Vietnam war. Her husband is a Vietnam Veteran and he comes
to talk to us sometimes. He is in a wheelchair and has no legs. He
looks very old and more like my teacher's father than her husband.
When he talks to us about the war, he gets tears in his eyes. One
day one of the girls in my class went up to him and put her arms
around him and told him not to be sad. She told him to be happy that
he was alive because her grandpa died in Vietnam. He looked at her,
gave her a big hug and told her that he wasn't sad because he had
to live in a wheelchair but because of all the friends he had who
didn't come home. He told us that he still had a lot of friends who
were captured or came up missing and that there is a chance that
those men could still be alive and even if they weren't, he could
not visit their graves and pay his respects because they aren't in
their own country. It was very strange but the whole class spoke
at one time and asked, "Why don't we just go get them?" I'm not sure
why but that made him cry even more and he had to leave our classroom.
When my teacher came back in she told us about the POW's and MIA's
in Vietnam. Then I told her about you and that you could still be
alive in Vietnam too. Our next class project is going to be to write
to our Senators, Congressmen, and even to the President asking them
WHY we don't just go get them.
I love to play soccer Grandpa. I wish
you could be there to watch me play. I'm pretty good. Sometimes I think
you are there. I also like to play baseball and football. I had a pet
frog until last week. I used to keep him in my back pocket and I fell
off my bike and well... that was the end of him. Mom had to wash my pants
three times. Boy was she mad. She said I could have a pet rock now but
I couldn't carry it in my back pocket though. Well Grandpa, I have to
go now. My dad wants to talk to you and he's crying so my mom is going
to take me for a walk and see all the statues around the park. I will
keep praying that someday you come home and we can toss a ball together
or you can tell me some stories like you used to tell my dad.
I love you Grandpa and I miss you.
by ~ Doc
There are a lot of tributes to the
troops and most of the stories are focused on the enlisted personnel.
In this link our officers share in these tributes, as Jim Lacey, a reporter
who is a true friend of the grunts, has done so well for them
in this piece at National Review Online.
"A trauma nurse said that the hardest
thing she did in Iraq was comfort a burly Marine colonel who was sobbing.
Someone in the group said he must have been wounded pretty badly. The
nurse was puzzled for a minute and replied, 'He was not hurt. His Marines
Link to article: NationalReview.com
Have The Wrong Army, Navy, Marines & Air Force
Chief lets loose a broadside.
America's military can win wars. We've
done it in the past, and I have absolute confidence that we'll continue
to do it in the future. We've won fights in which we possessed
overwhelming technological superiority (Desert Storm), as well as conflicts
in which we were the technical underdogs (the American Revolution). We've
crossed swords with numerically superior foes, and with militaries
a fraction of the size of our own. We've battled on our own soil,
and on the soil of foreign lands -- on the sea, under the sea, and
in the skies. We've even engaged in a bit of cyber-combat, way
out there on the electronic frontier. At one time or another,
we've done battle under just about every circumstance imaginable, armed
with everything from muskets to cruise missiles. And, somehow,
we've managed to do it all with the wrong Army.
That's right, America has the wrong
Army. I don't know how it happened, but it did. We have
the wrong Army. It's too small; it's not deployed properly; it's
inadequately trained, and it doesn't have the right sort of logistical
support. It's a shambles. I have no idea how those guys
even manage to fight.
Now, before my brothers and sisters
of the OD green persuasion get their fur up, I have another revelation
We also have the wrong Navy. And
if you want to get down to brass tacks, we've got the wrong Air Force,
the wrong Marine Corps, and the wrong Coast Guard.
Don't believe me? Pick up a
newspaper or turn on your television. In the past week, I've
watched or read at least a dozen commentaries on the strength, size,
and deployment of our military forces. All of our uniform services
get called on the carpet for different reasons, but our critics unanimously
agree that we're doing pretty much everything wrong.
I think it's sort of a game. The
critics won't tell you what the game is called, so I've taken the liberty
of naming it myself. I call it the 'No Right Answer' game. It's
easy to play, and it must be a lot of fun because politicos and journalists
can't stop playing it.
I'll teach you the rules. Here's
Rule #1: No matter how the U.S. military is organized, it's the wrong
force. Actually, that's the only rule in this game. We
don't really need any other rules, because that one applies in all
possible situations. Allow me to demonstrate... If the Air Force's
fighter jets are showing their age, critics will tell us that Air Force
leaders are mismanaging their assets, and endangering the safety of
their personnel. If the Air Force attempts to procure new fighter
jets, they are shopping for toys and that money could be spent better
elsewhere. Are you getting the hang of the game yet? It's
easy; keeping old planes is the wrong answer, but getting new planes
is also the wrong answer. There is no right answer, not ever.
Isn't that fun?
It works everywhere. When the
Army is small, it's TOO small. Then we start to hear phrases
like 'over-extended' or 'spread too thin,' and the integrity of our
national defense is called into question. When the Army is large,
it's TOO large, and it's an unnecessary drain on our economy. Terms
like 'dead weight,' and 'dead wood' get thrown around.
I know what you're thinking. We
could build a medium-sized Army, and everyone would be happy. Think
again. A medium-sized Army is too small to deal with large scale
conflicts, and too large to keep military spending properly muzzled. The
naysayers will attack any middle of the road solution anyway, on the
grounds that it lacks a coherent strategy. So small is wrong, large
is wrong, and medium-sized is also wrong. Now you're starting
to understand the game. Is this fun, or what?
No branch of the military is exempt. When
the Navy builds aircraft carriers, we are told that we really need
small, fast multipurpose ships. When the Navy builds small, fast
multi-mission ships (aka the Arleigh Burke class), we're told that
blue water ships are poorly suited for littoral combat, and we really
need brown water combat ships. The Navy's answer, the Littoral
Combat, isn't even off the drawing boards yet, and the critics are
already calling it pork barrel politics and questioning the need for
such technology. Now I've gone nose-to-nose with hostiles in
the littoral waters of the Persian Gulf , and I can't recall that pork
or politics ever entered into the conversation. In fact, I'd
have to say that the people trying to kill me and my shipmates were
positively disinterested in the internal wranglings of our military
The fun never stops when we play
the 'No Right Answer' game. If we centralize our military infrastructure,
the experts tell us that we are vulnerable to attack. We're inviting
another Pearl Harbor . If we decentralize our infrastructure,
we're sloppy and overbuilt, and the BRAC experts break out the calculators
and start dismantling what they call our excess physical capacity.'
If we leave our infrastructure unchanged, we are accused of becoming
stagnant in a dynamic world environment.
Even the lessons of history are
not sacrosanct. When we learn from the mistakes we made in past wars,
we are accused of failing to adapt to emerging realities. When
we shift our eyes toward the future, the critics quickly tell us that
we've forgotten our history and we are therefore doomed to repeat it. If
we somehow manage to assimilate both past lessons and emerging threats,
we're informed that we lack focus.
Where does it come from: This
default assumption that we are doing the wrong thing, no matter
what we happen to be doing? How did our military wind up in a
zero-sum game? We can prevail on the field of battle, but we
can't win a war of words where the overriding assumption is that
we are always in the wrong.
I can't think of a single point
in history where our forces were of the correct size, the correct
composition, correctly deployed, and appropriately trained all at
the same time. Pick
a war, any war. (For that matter, pick any period of peace.)
Then dig up as many official and unofficial historical documents, reports,
reconstructions, and commentaries as you can. For every unbiased
account you uncover, you'll find three commentaries by revisionist
historians who cannot wait to tell you how badly the U.S. military
To hear the naysayers tell it, we
could take lessons in organization and leadership from the Keystone
We really only have one defense
against this sort of mudslinging. Success. When we fight, we win, and
that's got to count for something. When asked to comment on Operation
Desert Storm, the U.S. Army's Lieutenant General Tom Kelly reportedly
said, " Iraq went from the fourth-largest army in the world, to the
second-largest army in Iraq in 100 hours." In my opinion, it's hard
to argue with that kind of success, but critics weren't phased by it. Because
no matter how well we fought, we did it with the wrong Army.
I'd like to close with an invitation
to those journalists, analysts, experts and politicians who sit up
at night dreaming up new ways to criticize our armed forces. The
next time you see a man or woman in uniform, stop for ten seconds
and reflect upon how much you owe that person, and his or her fellow
Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, and Airmen.
Then say, "Thank you." I'm betting
you won't even have to explain the reason. Our Service members
are not blind or stupid. They know what they're risking. They know
what they're sacrificing. They've weighed their wants, their needs,
and their personal safety against the needs of their nation, and
made the decision to serve. They know that they deserve our gratitude,
even if they rarely receive it.
Two words -- that's all I ask. "Thank
you." If that's too hard, if you can't bring yourself to acknowledge
the dedication, sincerity and sacrifice of your defenders, then I have
a backup plan for you. Put on a uniform and show us how to
do it right.
Written For: Military.com, March 2005
STGC(SW), USN (Ret.)
Richard, (my husband), never really talked a lot about his time in
Viet Nam other than he had been shot by a sniper. However,
he had a rather grainy, 8 x 10 black and white photo he had
taken at a USO show of Ann Margret with Bob Hope in the background
that was one of his treasures.
few years ago, Ann Margret was doing a book signing at
a local bookstore. Richard wanted to see if he could get
her to sign the treasured photo so he arrived at the bookstore
at 12 ! o'clock for the 7:30 signing.
I got there after work, the line went all the way around
the bookstore, circled the parking lot and disappeared
behind a parking garage. Before her appearance, bookstore
employees announced that she would sign only her book and
no memorabilia would be permitted.
was disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and
let her know how much those shows meant to lonely GI's
so far from home. Ann Margret came out looking as beautiful
as ever and, as second in line, it was soon Richard's turn.
presented the book for her signature and then took out
the photo. When he did, there were many shouts from the
employees that she would not sign it. Richard said, "I
understand. I just wanted her to see it."
took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her eyes
and she said, "This is one of my gentlemen from Viet
Nam and I most certainly will sign his photo. I know what
these men did for their country and I always have time
for 'my gentlemen.'"
that, she pulled Richard across the table and planted a
big kiss on him. She then made quite a to-do about the
bravery of the young men she met over the years, how much
she admired them, and how much she appreciated them There
weren't too many dry eyes among those close enough to hear.
She then posed for pictures and acted as if he were the
only one there.
at dinner, Richard was very quiet. ! When I asked if he'd
like to talk about it, my big strong husband broke down
in tears. "That's the first time anyone ever thanked
me for my time in the Army," he said.
night was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter
and, for the first time in years, was proud to have been
a Vet. I'll never forget Ann Margret for her graciousness
and how much that small act of kindness meant to my husband.
now make it a point to say "Thank you" to every
person I come across who served in our Armed Forces. Freedom
does not come cheap and I am grateful for all those who
have served their country.
you'd like to pass on this story, feel free to do so. Perhaps
it will help others to become aware of how important it
is to acknowledge the contribution our service people make.
Some Insight Into This Guantanamo Bay Hullabaloo . . . .
Scoop from Charlie Daniels
I've just returned from
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Naval Air Station base where we did
three shows for the troops and toured several locations
around the post visiting with some of the finest
military personnel on planet earth. The kids
seemed to really enjoy the shows and especially liked "This
Ain't No Rag, It's A Flag" and "In America".
We had a great time with them.
We saw Camp X-Ray , where the Taliban detainees are being held
only from a distance, but I picked up a lot of what's going
on there from talking with a lot of different people.
The truth of the matter is that this operation is under a microscope.
The Red Cross has an on site presence there and watches everything
that goes on very closely. The media is not telling you the whole truth
about what's going on over there. The truth is that these scum bags
are not only being treated humanely, but they are probably better off healthwise
and medically than they've ever been in their lives. They are fed well,
able to take showers and receive state of the art medical care. And
have their own Moslem chaplain. I saw several of them in a field hospital
ward where they were being treated in a state of the art medical facility.
Now let's talk about the way they treat our people. First of all, they
have to be watched constantly. These people are committed and wanton
murderers who are willing to die just to kill someone else. One of
the doctors told me that when they had Taliban in the hospital the
staff had to really be careful with needles, pens and anything else
which could possibly be used as a weapon. They also throw their excrement
and urine on the troops who are guarding them. And our guys and gals
have shown great restraint in not retaliating. We are spending over
a million dollars a day maintaining and guarding these nasty killers
and anyone who wants to see them brought to the U.S.A. for trial is
either out of their heads or a lawyer looking for money and
notoriety. Or both.
I wish that the media and the Red Cross and all the rest of the people
who are so worried about these criminals would realize that this is
not a troop of errant Boy Scouts. These are killers of the worst kind.
They don't need protection from us, we need protection from them. If
you don't get anything else out of this soapbox, please try to realize
that when you see news coverage much of the time you're not getting
the whole story, but an account filtered through a liberal
mindset with an agenda.
We have two fights on our hands, the war against terror and the one
against the loudmouthed lawyers and left wing media who would sap the
strength from the American public by making us believe that we're losing
the war or doing something wrong in fighting it. Remember these are
the same people who told us that Saddam Hussein's Republican guard
was going to be an all but invincible enemy and that our smart bombs
and other weapons were not really as good as the military said
that they were.
They also took up for Bill Clinton while he was cavorting around the
Oval office with Monica Lewinsky while the terrorists were gaining
strength and bombing our Embassies and dragging the bodies of dead
American heroes around the dusty streets of Somalia. It's a shame that
we can't have an unbiased media who would just report the truth and
let us make up our own minds.
Here I must commend Fox News for presenting
both sides much better than the other networks. They are leaving the
other cable networks in the dust. People like being told the
Our military not only needs but deserves our support. Let's
give it to them.
The next time you read a media account about the bad treatment of the
Taliban in Cuba , remember what I told you. Been there
Me if I Care About 'Mishandling' of Koran
By Doug Patton
June 6, 2005
First, Newsweek pulled
a Dan Rather on us, running a fabricated story just because they
wanted it to be true. They told the world that an American guard
at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center had ripped pages
from a prisoner's Koran and flushed it down a toilet. As a result,
innocent people died when practitioners of Islam rioted in protest
Oops, said Newsweek, it
seems we can't back up our story. Oh well, it's probably true;
we just can't prove it. (Isn't it convenient for Newsweek that
the media now have "Deep Throat" to talk about so they can revel
in their glory days and divert our attention from their criminal
The lie heard
round the world about the flushed Koran has caused convulsions
in the Bush Administration and forced the Pentagon to launch an
investigation of unfounded allegations contained in an unsubstantiated
story. The results of said investigation are now in, and it seems
there are at least five incidents of "mishandling" of the Koran
at Gitmo .
Well, guess what? I don't care!
Are we fighting a war on terror
or aren't we? Was it or was it not started by Islamic people who
brought it to our shores on September 11, 2001? Were people from
all over the world, mostly Americans, not brutally murdered that
day, in downtown Manhattan, across the Potomac from our nation's
capitol and in a field in Pennsylvania? Did nearly three thousand
men, women and children die a horrible, burning death that day,
or didn't they?
And I'm supposed
to care that a copy of the Koran was "desecrated" when an overworked
American soldier kicked it or got it wet? Well, I don't. I don't
care at all.
I'll start caring when Osama
bin Laden turns himself in and repents for incinerating all those
innocent people on 9/11.
I'll care about the Koran when
the fanatics in the Middle East start caring about the Holy Bible,
the mere possession of which is a crime in Saudi Arabia.
I'll care when Abu Musab al-
Zarqawi tells the world he is sorry for hacking off Nick Berg's
head while Berg screamed through his gurgling, slashed throat.
I'll care when
the cowardly so-called "insurgents" in
Iraq come out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their
own religion by hiding in mosques.
I'll care when the mindless zealots
who blow themselves up in search of nirvana care about the innocent
children within range of their suicide bombs.
I'll care when the American media
stops pretending that their First Amendment liberties are somehow
derived from international law instead of the United States Constitution's
Bill of Rights.
I'll care when Clinton-appointed
judges stop ordering my government to release photos of the abuses
at Abu Ghraib , which are sure to set off the Islamic extremists
just as Newsweek's lies did a few weeks ago.
In the meantime, when I hear
a story about a brave marine roughing up an Iraqi terrorist to
obtain information, know this: I don't care.
When I see a fuzzy photo of a
pile of naked Iraqi prisoners who have been humiliated in what
amounts to a college hazing incident, rest assured that I don't
When I see a wounded terrorist
get shot in the head when he is told not to move because he might
be booby-trapped, you can take it to the bank that I don't care.
When I hear
that a prisoner, who was issued a Koran paid for by my tax dollars,
is complaining that his holy book is being "mishandled," you can
absolutely believe in your heart of hearts that I don't care.
And oh, by
the way, I've noticed that sometimes it's spelled "Koran" and other times " Quran ." Well,
Jimmy Crack Corn and -- you guessed it -- I don't care!
missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually
a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper
an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.
So an Australian dentist wrote the following to let everyone know
what an American is . . . so they would know when they found one.
(Good on ya, mate!!!!)
An American is English, or French,
or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek.
An American may also be Canadian,
Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian,
Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan.
An American may also be a Cherokee,
Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other
tribes known as native Americans.
An American is Christian, or he
could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more
Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that
in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.
An American is also free to believe
in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government,
or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.
An American lives in the most
prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity
can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes
the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.
An American is generous. Americans
have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their
time of need. When the Soviet army overran Afghanistan 20 years ago,
Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win
back their country! As of the morning of September 11, Americans
had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan.
Americans welcome the best, the
best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the
best athletes. But, they also welcome the least!
The national symbol of America,
The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched
refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These
in fact are the people who built America. Some of them were working
in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001, earning a better
life for their families. I've been told that the World Trade Center
victims were from at least 30 other countries, cultures, and first
languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.
So, you can try to kill an American
if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao
Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world.
But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. because Americans
are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the
embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to
that spirit, everywhere, is an American.
Why Am I
CPL CASEY L. ALLEN, U.S.
Right now, all over the world, you can turn on the television or pick up
a newspaper and immediately find someone criticizing the United States for
its actions in the Middle East. I guess some people would rather talk forever.
Why am I here? Ironically enough, there is a simple bumper
sticker that explains what I find so hard to put into
words. It reads “Whose son is fighting in
place of yours?” The reason that I am here is so others will never have
to be. I volunteered to be here knowing that if the job was done right
this time, then future generations would never have to continue what could
have been ended in the Gulf War. I am more than willing to risk my life
so I can do everything I can to prevent whatever family I may have in the
future from ever having to make the same sacrifice, take the same risks,
or face the same criticism.
No matter what political party one may lean toward, the need for some security
and global stability is undeniable. I believe anybody who believes otherwise
is naive and needs to see downtown Fallujah in person. It is my opinion that
if drastic action was not taken when it was, then the wake of the September
11th attacks would have brought more of the same instead of the capture of
As I write this I am sitting in a cabana a few miles east of downtown Fallujah.
This network of cabanas the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment calls home
used to be a vacation resort for Uday Hussein and other Iraqi royalty. The
lake these shelters surround is filled with body parts from women Uday brought
to this resort, raped, then fed to his lions. All of the negotiations in
the world could never bring the Husseins and their terrorist allies to justice.
United States Marines don't negotiate.
The liberal media and their sympathetic bystanders would have a much harder
time if we had a perfect record. The simple truth is that in an environment
where you can't tell the enemy from a businessman or roadside debris from
a bomb, collateral damage is unavoidable. For some, this is reason enough
to say we don't belong here. Right, and maybe we should take more cops off
the streets so there would be less traffic.
To anyone opposed to the
war on terror, or America's policing role in the Middle East,
I challenge you to go on a patrol with any platoon in 1st Bn,
6th Marines. Walk down the streets of Fallujah and see the look
in an Iraqi child's eyes as he waves and cheers you by. Shake
the hand of an Iraqi man thanking you for his family's freedom.
I know I belong here because I see what they don't show on CNN.
What they don't print in the newspapers. I see what President
Bush is trying to tell the world, if they would only be quiet
long enough to listen.
Take a walk in our boots,
but make sure you give them back. We're not finished here yet.
Letter posted on http://www.anysoldier.com/
The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.
now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
The soldier squared his shoulders
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."
There was a silence all around
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."
If you're wondering why we're fighting in Iraq, here is
a little insight.
[Click On Button To View]
NEEDS TO WAKE UP!
By Captain Ouimette USN, XO Naval Air Station
That's what we think we heard
on the 11th of September 2001 (When more than 3,000 Americans were
killed) and maybe it was, but I think it should have been "Get Out of Bed!" In
fact, I think the alarm clock has been buzzing since 1979 and we
have continued to hit the snooze button and roll over for a few
more minutes of peaceful sleep since then.
It was a cool fall day in November 1979 in a country going through a religious
and political upheaval when a group of Iranian students attacked and seized
the American Embassy in Tehran . This seizure was an outright attack on American
soil; it was an attack that held the world's most powerful country hostage
and paralyzed a Presidency. The attack on this sovereign U. S. embassy set
the stage for events to follow for the next 25 years.
America was still reeling from the aftermath of the Vietnam experience and
had a serious threat from the Soviet Union when then, President Carter, had
to do something. He chose to conduct a clandestine raid in the desert. The
ill-fated mission ended in ruin, but stood as a symbol of America 's inability
to deal with terrorism.
America 's military had been decimated and down sized/right sized since the
end of the Vietnam War. A poorly trained, poorly equipped and poorly organized
military was called on to execute a complex mission that was doomed from
Shortly after the Tehran experience, Americans began to be kidnapped and
killed throughout the Middle East . America could do little to protect her
citizens living and working abroad. The attacks against US soil continued.
In April of 1983 a large vehicle packed with high explosives was driven into
the US Embassy compound in Beirut When it explodes, it kills 63 people. The
alarm went off again and America hit the Snooze Button once more.
Then just six short months later in 1983 a large truck heavily laden down
with over 2500 pounds of TNT smashed through the main gate of the US Marine
Corps headquarters in Beirut and 241 US servicemen are killed. America mourns
her dead and hit the Snooze Button once more.
Two months later in December 1983 , another truck loaded with explosives
is driven into the US Embassy in Kuwait , and America continues her slumber.
The following year, in September 1984 , another van was driven into the gate
of the US Embassy in Beirut and America slept.
Soon the terrorism spreads to Europe . In April 1985 a bomb explodes in a
restaurant frequented by US soldiers in Madrid .
Then in August 1985 a Volkswagen loaded with explosives is driven into the
main gate of the US Air Force Base at Rhein-Main, 22 are killed and the snooze
alarm is buzzing louder and louder as US interests are continually attacked.
Fifty-nine days later in 1985 a cruise ship, the Achille Lauro is hijacked
and we watched as an American in a wheelchair is singled out of the passenger
list and executed.
The terrorists then shift their tactics to bombing civilian airliners when
they bomb TWA Flight 840 in April of
1986 that killed 4 and the most tragic bombing, Pan Am Flight
103 over Lockerbie , Scotland in 1988, killing 259.
Clinton treated these terrorist acts as crimes; in fact
we are still trying to bring these people to trial. These are
acts of war.
The wake up alarm is getting louder and louder.
The terrorists decide to bring the fight to America . In January
1993 , two CIA agents are shot and killed as they enter CIA headquarters
in Langley , Virginia .
The following month, February 1993 , a group of terrorists are arrested after
a rented van packed with explosives is driven into the underground parking
garage of the World Trade Center in New York City . Six people are killed
and over 1000 are injured. Still this is a crime and not an act of war? The
Snooze alarm is depressed again.
Then in November 1995 a car bomb explodes at a US military complex in Riyadh
, Saudi Arabia killing seven service men and women.
A few months later in June of 1996 , another truck bomb explodes only 35
yards from the US military compound in Dhahran , Saudi Arabia . It destroys
the Khobar Towers , a US Air Force barracks, killing 19 and injuring over
500. The terrorists are getting braver and smarter as they see that America
does not respond decisively.
They move to coordinate their attacks in a simultaneous attack on two US
embassies in Kenya and Tanzania .. These attacks were planned with precision.
They kill 224. America responds with cruise missile attacks and goes back
The USS Cole was docked in the port of Aden, Yemen for refueling on 12 October
2000 , when a small craft pulled along side the ship and exploded killing
17 US Navy Sailors. Attacking a US War Ship is an act of war, but we sent
the FBI to investigate the crime and went back to sleep.
And of course you know the events of 11 September 2001 . Most Americans think
this was the first attack against US soil or in America . How wrong they
are. America has been under a constant attack since 1979 and we chose to
hit the snooze alarm and roll over and go back to sleep.
In the news lately we have seen lots of finger pointing from every high official
in government over what they knew and what they didn't know. But if you've
read the papers and paid a little attention I think you can see exactly what
they knew. You don't have to be in the FBI or CIA or on the National Security
Council to see the pattern that has been developing since 1979 .
The President is right on when he says we are engaged in a war. I think
we have been in a war for the past 25 years and it will continue until
we as a people decide enough is enough. America needs to "Get out of Bed" and
act decisively now. America has been changed forever. We have to be
ready to pay the price and make the sacrifice to ensure our way of
life continues. We cannot afford to keep hitting the snooze button
again and again and roll over and go back to sleep.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor , Admiral Yamamoto said "... it seems all
we have done is awakened a sleeping giant." This is the message we need
to disseminate to terrorists around the world.
Support Our Troops and support President Bush for having the courage, political
or militarily, to address what so many who preceded him didn't have the backbone
to do, both Democrat and Republican. This is not a political thing to be
hashed over in an election year this is an AMERICAN thing. This is about
our Freedom and the Freedom of our children in years to come.
If you believe in this please forward it to as many people as you can especially
to the young people and all those who dozed off in history class and who
seem so quick to protest such a necessary military action. If you don't believe
it, just delete it and go back to sleep.
You Know This ?
you know that 47 countries have reestablished their embassies
Did you know that the Iraqi government employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?
Did you know that 3100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under
rehabilitation, 263 schools are now under construction and 38 new schools
have been built in Iraq?
Did you know that Iraq's higher educational structure consists of 20 Universities,
46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers?
Did you know that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January
2004 for the reestablished Fulbright program?
Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational? They have 5- 100-foot
patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a navel infantry regiment.
Did you know that Iraq's Air Force consists of three operation squadrons,
9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft which operate day and
night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 bell jet rangers?
Did you know that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion?
Did you know that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained
and equipped police officers?
Did you know that there are 5 Police Academies in Iraq that produce over
3500 new officers each 8 weeks?
Did you know there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq?
They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad
stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities.
Did you know that 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 have received
the first 2 series of polio vaccinations?
Did you know that 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in primary school
by mid October?
Did you know that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq and
phone use has gone up 158%?
Did you know that Iraq has an independent media that consist of 75 radio
stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?
Did you know that the Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of 2004?
Did you know that 2 candidates in the Iraqi presidential election had a
recent televised debate in their country recently?
OF COURSE WE DIDN'T KNOW!
DIDN'T WE KNOW? OUR
MEDIA WOULDN'T TELL US!
a Bush- hating media and Democratic Party would rather
see the world blow up than lose their power.
is verifiable on the Department of Defense website.
NEW BRONZE STATUE IN IRAQ
statue currently stands outside the Iraqi palace, now
home to the 4th Infantry division. It will eventually
be shipped home and put in the memorial museum in Fort
statue was created by an Iraqi artist named Kalat,
who for years was forced by Saddam Hussein to make
the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam that dotted
was so grateful for the Americans liberation of his
country; he melted 3 of the heads of the fallen Saddam
and made the statue as a memorial to the American soldiers
and their fallen warriors. Kalat worked on this memorial
night and day for several months.
the left of the kneeling soldier is a small Iraqi girl
giving the soldier comfort as he mourns the loss of
his comrade in arms.
An observant viewer called me on this and according
to Snopes.com this story has been distorted some. Below is what
Snopes.com reports . . . .WebMaster
Origins: The sculpture
pictured above is real, and it was indeed crafted by an Iraqi sculptor
from bronze recovered by melting down statues of former Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein, but the explanatory text accompanying the photo
is quite misleading: The Iraqi sculptor was not "forced by Saddam
Hussein to make the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam," he
did not produce the memorial shown because he was "so grateful
that the Americans liberated his country," and the monument
was not his idea. Members of the U.S. Army paid the sculptor,
who had previously worked on a few other Saddam statues, to
create the work pictured according to a design of their choosing.
As part of the U.S. Army's Task
Force Iron Horse ,
Infantry Division was deployed in Iraq for most of 2003, participated
in the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003, and
saw many of their comrades killed and wounded in the violence
that followed the end of major combat operations. In mid-2003,
while the 4th Infantry Division was headquartered in Tikrit,
Saddam Hussein's hometown, Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Fuss,
the division's top noncommissioned officer, headed up a project
to commemorate the unit's dead and conceived of a memorial
featuring the figure of a forlorn soldier kneeling to mourn
before empty helmet, boots, and rifle — an array
of objects that traditionally represents a fallen compatriot.
Needing a sculptor to carry out his vision, Sgt. Maj. Fuss and
other Americans asked around for local talent, and an Iraqi contractor
recommended a 27-year-old artist named Khalid Alussy to them.
As it turned out, Mr. Alussy was one of several artisans who
had worked on a pair of 50-foot bronze statues of Saddam Hussein
on horseback that flanked the gateway on the main road into the
presidential palace compound in Tikrit, the site of the 4th Infantry
Division's temporary headquarters. Commissioned by 4th Infantry
Division officers to fashion the memorial conceptualized by Sgt.
Maj. Fuss, Khalid Alussy (whose first name is also rendered in
English as 'Kalat') took the assignment not out love for Americans,
but because he needed the money.
The officers didn't question Mr. Alussy further about his
political views. Had they pressed him, they might have learned
that he's harshly critical of the U.S. and bitter over an American
rocket attack during the war that killed his uncle. In an interview,
he says he thinks the war was fought for oil and holds the U.S.
responsible for the violence and unemployment that have plagued
"I made the statues of Saddam — even though I didn't want
to — because I needed money for my family and to finish
my education," he says, reclining in a room decorated with several
of his paintings. "And I decided to make statues for the Americans
for the exact same reasons."
Mr. Alussy's initial asking price was far higher than the officers
had expected. He blamed the steep price of bronze. So the Americans
decided to recycle the bronze Hussein-on-horseback twins. "We
figured we were going to blow them up anyway, so why not take
the bronze and use it for our own statues?" recalls Sgt. Fuss. "That
way we could take something that honored Saddam and use it
to remember all of those we lost getting rid of him."
Without having to supply the metal, Mr. Alussy agreed to do
the job for $8,000. By comparison, the former regime paid him
the equivalent of several hundred dollars for his work on the
Hussein statues. To finance the project, Sgt. Fuss publicized
it in the task force's internal newspaper and asked officers
to get soldiers to contribute $1 each. Within weeks, he raised
In July 2003, Army engineers blew up the two Saddam statues,
cut them into pieces, melted them down, and delivered them
to Mr. Alussy's house. (The delivery was done furtively in
case Mr. Alussy's neighbors proved to be less than thrilled
about his being in the employ of the American military.) Using
a photograph of 1st Sgt. Glen Simpson as a model for the depiction
of the kneeling soldier, Mr. Alussy began his work on the monument;
near the end, another segment was added to his task.
As the work neared completion, Sgt.
Fuss and the division's commander, Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno,
decided it needed a clearer connection to Iraq. The general
suggested adding a small child to symbolize Iraq's new future,
Sgt. Fuss says. When they told the artist they wanted another
statue, Mr. Alussy demanded $10,000 more. "He learned capitalism
real fast," Sgt. Fuss says.
After four months' worth of night and weekend labor, Mr. Alussy
completed his assignment, and the statues were installed in
an entranceway inside the 4th Infantry Division's headquarters
in Tikrit. In February 2004 the statues were flown to the 4th
Infantry Division Museum at
the unit's home base of Fort
Somewhere along the line, this coda has been added to the original
Do you know why we don't hear about
this in the news? Because it is heart warming and praise
worthy. The media avoids it because it does not have the
shock effect that a flashed breast or controversy of politics
does. But we can do something about it. We can pass this
along to as many people as we can in honor of all our brave
military who are making a difference.
As Steve Blow of the Dallas Morning News points out,
the story and photo ran in that paper on 27 March 2004 and
was afterwards picked up and run by newspapers all over the
Have we forgotten about 9/11?
Miller said it best, during his RNC 2004 convention speech .
. . .
gotta love them and their humor!!
FYI, The flags are France, Germany, & Russia