A Soldier's Commitment

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.

So, Beretta 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 fastball.


Romanian Newspaper Article
About The USA

The article was written by
Mr. Cornel Nistorescu and published under the title "C"ntarea Americii,
meaning "Ode To America") in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentulzilei

"The Daily Event" or "News of the Day".

~An Ode toAmerica~

Why 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.

Nobody 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 about.

The 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!"

I 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.

Cornel Nistorescu



Europe, 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.

A 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 time".

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 justifiably criticizes.


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.



Pearl 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.

The Story
Behind The Picture


America Raised Them, America Sent Them, America Wants Them Back

Please Sign The Petition

Petition Online


A Letter To Grandpa

Hi Grandpa,

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.

Story 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 were”.

Link to article: NationalReview.com



We Have The Wrong Army, Navy, Marines & Air Force

Retired Navy 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 for you.

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 procurement process.&

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 bungled things.

To hear the naysayers tell it, we could take lessons in organization and leadership from the Keystone Cops.

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
By Jeff Edwards, STGC(SW), USN (Ret.)


Viet Nam 1966

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.

A 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.

When 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.

Richard 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.

He 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."

She 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.'"

With 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.

Later 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.

That 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.

I 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.

If 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.

Author - unknown



Now, Some Insight Into This Guantanamo Bay Hullabaloo . . . .

The  Straight 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 truth.

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 done that.

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Ask 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 in Afghanistan.

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 negligence. )

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 care.

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!



To Kill An American

You probably 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.

Author unknown



Why Am I Here


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 Saddam Hussein.

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 Final Inspection

The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward 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 and said,
"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, Lord,
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 the throne,
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."

~Author Unknown~



If you're wondering why we're fighting in Iraq, here is a little insight.
[Click On Button To View]



By Captain Ouimette USN, XO Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL

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 the start.

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 to sleep.

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.

Concerning IRAQ
Did You Know This ?

Did you know that 47 countries have reestablished their embassies in Iraq?

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?



Because a Bush- hating media and Democratic Party would rather see the world blow up than lose their power.

This is verifiable on the Department of Defense website.



This 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 Hood,Texas.

The 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 Baghdad.

Kalat 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.

To 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 , the 4th 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 Iraq since.

"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 $30,000. 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 Hood, Texas.

Somewhere along the line, this coda has been added to the original e-mail:

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 U.S.


Have we forgotten about 9/11?


Zell Miller said it best, during his RNC 2004 convention speech . . . .


The Real Deal

You gotta love them and their humor!!
FYI, The flags are France, Germany, & Russia