Major Dad 1984

Cursed By A Classical Education

Let's just say that I intend to use this blog to blow off some steam that I might be feeling with the International/National media, my work situation, or maybe even to tee off on the family in a humorous way of course!


Out of Town, But Not Out of Touch

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Thank You For the Support

To all who have responded to "Be Thou At Peace" I want you all to know that you've been a comfort to me...and your thoughts and prayers are no doubt comforting a family in Hawaii that doesn't even know you.

With the recent loss of seven 4th Infantry Division (the guys that plucked Saddam) soldiers and then news of Mike close on its heels, it's been a difficult few days for me. Being able to feel the outpouring of support from those that have commented or written me personal email is helping me through a tough time.

No, I don't want any comments to this one. I just want to know that I appreciate each and every one of you out there in the blogosphere whether you're a reader or a fellow blogger. many thanks.

See all of you on the high ground.


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Be Thou At Peace....

Last night I posted that I had a friend whose husband was missing in Iraq......a typo. It was Afghanistan...I knew that, just typed Iraq instead.

This morning I found news of the missing aircraft on At that point, the reports were acknowledging that an aircraft was missing, but that an emergency locator beacon had been picked up, still leaving hope. Unfortunately by this afternoon, the beacon had been found at a crash site in the Hindu Kush mountains. The report was not optimistic, the word survivors wasn't used.

Later this afternoon I got the terrible news that my friend's husband had in fact been on that plane and was confirmed as one of the passengers lost.

The reference to "Be thou as peace" comes from West Point's Alma Mater. This Saturday, following the annual Army-Navy football game, stay tuned as both teams will stand at rigid attention for each school's Alma Mater. As a matter of fact, watch closely and you'll see big, hefty burly football players singing matter how good or bad the voice. Here's my "title" in context from the final stanza of the West Point Alma Mater:

And when our work is done,
Our course on earth is run,
May it be said, 'Well Done;
Be Thou At Peace.'
E'er may that line of gray
Increase from day to day,
Live, serve, and die, we pray,
West Point, for thee.

Well done, Mike. Be thou at peace. Jeanette and the kids...try to be at peace. Your brave husband and father died for the most noble of causes, trying to set other humans free.

Sadly from the high ground...


There's more....

Today the war hit very close to home...but it doesn't shake my belief that what we're trying to accomplish in both Afghanistan and Iraq is the right thing to do. While the liberation of Afghanistan from the grip of the Taliban and Al Qaeda seems a little more accepted when compared to the campaigns in Iraq, the work in both countries is setting men and women free.

I know that some will argue with me that we're causing carnage and mayhem at every step, but I just can't believe that's true. We have wrestled two countries away from despotism and given millions the chance to live in a world where execution, torture, and abject poverty don't need to be the order of the day. I hope that we don't try to FORCE our way of life on these people, but I do have to believe that many of the people just coming out from under the yoke of oppression have to appreciate the fact that we continue to try to make their lives better.

When it comes to the use of force, I honestly believe that for the most part, the coalition forces in both countries are using overwhelming force...but only when the risk of collateral casualties is as limited as possible. Thugs and warlords are not tolerated in our societies, why should this be any different in Iraq and Afghanistan? If you lived in a neighborhood that was being overrun with gangs and drug dealers, wouldn't you call the police? And if the police failed to respond, wouldn't you hope that someone did?

I believe that in my heart of hearts, that's what the American and British led coalition have done. The calls had gone out to the nations of the world...and a brave few answered the call after the UN sat fat and complacent in New York City. Someone has to clean house when human beings place others into the situations such as pre-9/11 Afghanistan and pre-invasion Iraq.

The folks fighting hardest in Iraq are those that have lost the most by the deposing of Saddam Hussein. Being a Sunni and a member of the Baath Party was a pretty sweet deal as long as Saddam was in power. Now that he's is up to the Sunni population to take their place in Iraqi society...members of the population and not the ruling class.

Things get even more complicated when you consider that the Sunni moslems are in the minority, with the Kurds to the north and the Shia to the east. I am not going to try and lecture or pretend that I know much about the different sects, but I do know that there are radicals in all the camps. The key to a peace in Iraq is for the multiple factions to learn to get along and share in the future of Iraq...more or less to learn to play nice. For neighboring Arab countries, with their own religious factions (Iran - Shia and Saudi Arabia - Sunni) to meddle in the fortunes of Iraq wouldn't be right either.

America has been pretty fair with the handling of post-war situations...we've helped to rebuild Europe twice, we've stood by in Korea, we did in fact help rebuild Vietnam (albeit a little while after the fact) and I think we'll do the same here. There are those that do not want to support the fledgling interim government...and I think that's a shame. After hundreds of years of monarchy and despotism, you would think that they would consider trying something new.

I know that they don't want to be expsed to the decadence of the West...and honestly, that's their choice, but for people to live in fear of their lives for the religious beliefs or their political opinions just doesn't sit right with me. As people that are enjoying their right of free speech, free travel, and other freedoms we take for granted, I would think that you'd have to at least semi-agree that I have a point. Those rough men and women stand guard around the globe tonight to protect those freedoms.

See y'all on the high ground. I'll be the one with tears in my eyes.


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Rough Men and Women Standing Ready...

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. George Orwell

Well, at least I think George Orwell said it...seems to be some controversy on the Internet...but like it or not, it's true.

Tonight, we have men and women...Americans, Brits, Poles, Koreans, Iraqis and more standing ready to do violence on our behalf....and on the half of the Iraqi and Afghan people among others. We're doing what we can to ensure than men and women can get to work safely, kids to schools without incident, and the day to day things that we as free people seem to take for granted. There are those that would like to wrestle those and other freedoms away from the Iraqi and Afghan people in the name of a religious fervor that would seem to be somewhat out of date...wouldn't you think?

Go "Google" a search on "Islam sects" and do a little reading. I took a brief few minutes to do this today and found a wealth of information about the faith that I have been neglectful in not investigating further. There are far more sects than I thought....Shia and Sunni are just two of many. Read a little bit about the beliefs...and see what you think.

The bottom line of this post came to me this evening as I stood retreat as the colors came down from the pole at Fort Hood, Texas. As the bugle call played...I began to think about what to write tonight and here it is....

As members of the blogosphere, traveling at will on the Internet, we have the freedom of speech and we're exercising it. That freedom comes at a cost....and the forces of freedom are out there protecting it tonight, tomorrow and for the foreseeable future. Keep in mind that it is not the politician in Washington or London or wherever that gave you this freedom....nor is it the media we seem to hold in such high regard and wonderment. It has been the soldier, no matter what flag is flown on the soldier that is the guarantor of such rights....enjoy them.

Tonight I have two pieces of bad news....first, we've lost seven soldiers here at Fort Hood today when their Blackhawk helicopter crashed due to a TV tower guide wire. From what I understand, we've lost some very senior folks...keep an eye out on the news for more details.

The second, and one much closer to home comes from Afghanistan. The husband of a friend and acquaintance from West Point is missing. I don't have many details, but I'm piecing together what I think will probably be the story....another helicopter missing in the mountains of Iraq. Let's hope they just had to put down because of weather...and are simply waiting for some clearing before returning to base or that they'll be found by search and rescue. If you're the praying type...say a couple for this family and the families of the crew and passengers.

See you all on the high ground tomorrow....


And here is the rest of it.

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