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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

leave it to the frogs...

Sigh. So as you probably know I did a joint master's degree program which involved studying in France and many wonderful French classmates. I loved my time in France and I love my French friends and their families and all the wonderful French people I met. I found that the stereotype of snobby French people was ridiculous and that French people who can speak English LOVE to practice their English.

Which is why I find it particularly distressing that this is coming from French minister in charge of humanitarian relief in Haiti:

Aid organisations and the UN are struggling to get the flood of aid to those who needed it. A French Government minister accused the US of ''occupying'' Haiti after thousands of American troops entered the country to take charge of security and the distribution of aid.

I mean really? Really??? Do you, French dude, really want to go there? With Haiti of all places?

This tragedy has once again become a shining example of American compassion and exceptionalism. Once again America is the biggest presence, donating the most money, volunteers, medicine, food, water...pretty much everything. And that asshat as the gall to accuse us of wanting to "occupy" Haiti? Funny, the Haitian people don't seem to mind our presence there. In fact, they seem to be quite welcoming of the US soldiers and marines who are there, maybe because unlike this douchebag they are smart enough to know that the Americans are there to help.

Ugh. In case you can't tell, I'm pissed.

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wingless was still breathing at 5:37 PM - 0 comments

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day!

Thank you for all you've done and all you continue to do.

(Oh and I don't mean to sound petty or anything, but also, thank you for the day off in your honor because dang did I need a day off. Seriously though, I continue to be amazed at the sacrifice of our military with every passing day. And I know I have to stop whining about my job because obviously the conditions could be a lot worse. Like being in the middle of a desert, thousands of miles from home with angry terrorists trying to blow me up).


wingless was still breathing at 1:48 PM - 0 comments

Tuesday, July 01, 2008



via Michelle Malkin

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wingless was still breathing at 4:14 PM - 0 comments

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Cell Phones For Soldiers

I found a pre-paid envelope from this organization under my couch just now. I have an old cell phone I was planning to donate at Verizon for women in domestic abuse shelters...but I'm sure in SF there are more people donating to a cause like that than to our troops so I decided to take advantage of their handy dandy plastic envelope.

The organization was started by a 13 year old girl and her 12 year old brother and I gotta say what these kids have started is pretty ingenious! They make it so easy to donate. If you have an old cell phone go to this website and print out one of their pre-paid shipping labels. I have no idea how this envelope got under my couch but I'm glad it did!


wingless was still breathing at 9:22 AM - 0 comments

Monday, February 19, 2007

Why he joined....

The other day I had a conversation with a dear friend - a friend who also happens to be an Operation Iraqi Freedom vet. The conversation wandered through many issues with respect to the current war, some things we agreed on, some things we partially agreed on and some things we did not agree on.

I told him that my reason for supporting the troops is because I believe they are the very best and bravest that America has to offer. I know my opinion may be a bit starry-eyed and that when it comes to the troops I do wear rose-colored glasses, so I couldn't argue with him when he told me that yes some know exactly what they're getting into but that many others do not. Certainly I couldn't disagree that some of our troops over there joined not out of any deep patriotic fire burning inside them but simply because they weren't sure what else to do with their lives. I can't argue with the fact that he probably knows them better than I do.

However, I still believe that the record-breaking numbers of veterans re-enlisting should prove that at least a significant number of our brave troops know exactly what they're getting into and why. And this is one of my main reasons for continuing to support the war - the very people who risk their lives still support it so who am I to say otherwise?

The other day, after the conversation, I was perusing DW's blog and I found a link to this (which Michelle Malkin has also discussed several times now).

Why I Joined: This question has been asked of me so many times in so many different contexts that I thought it would be best if I wrote my reasons for joining the Army on my page for all to see. First, the more accurate question is why I volunteered to go to Iraq. After all, I joined the Army a week after we declared war on Saddam's government with the intention of going to Iraq. Now, after years of training and preparation, I am finally here. Much has changed in the last three years. The criminal Ba'ath regime has been replaced by an insurgency fueled by Iraq's neighbors who hope to partition Iraq for their own ends. This is coupled with the ever present transnational militant Islamist movement which has seized upon Iraq as the greatest way to kill Americans, along with anyone else they happen to be standing near. What was once a paralyzed state of fear is now the staging ground for one of the largest transformations of power and ideology the Middle East has experienced since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Thanks to Iran, Syria, and other enlightened local actors, this transformation will be plagued by interregional hatred and genocide. And I am now in the center of this. Is this why I joined? Yes. Much has been said about America's intentions in overthrowing Saddam Hussein and seeking to establish a new state based upon political representation and individual rights. Many have framed the paradigm through which they view the conflict around one-word explanations such as "oil" or "terrorism," favoring the one which best serves their political persuasion. I did the same thing, and anyone who knew me before I joined knows that I am quite aware and at times sympathetic to the arguments against the war in Iraq. If you think the only way a person could bring themselves to volunteer for this war is through sheer desperation or blind obedience then consider me the exception (though there are countless like me). I joined the fight because it occurred to me that many modern day "humanists" who claim to possess a genuine concern for human beings throughout the world are in fact quite content to allow their fellow "global citizens" to suffer under the most hideous state apparatuses and conditions. Their excuses used to be my excuses. When asked why we shouldn't confront the Ba'ath party, the Taliban or the various other tyrannies throughout this world, my answers would allude to vague notions of cultural tolerance (forcing women to wear a veil and stay indoors is such a quaint cultural tradition), the sanctity of national sovereignty (how eager we internationalists are to throw up borders to defend dictatorships!) or even a creeping suspicion of America's intentions. When all else failed, I would retreat to my fragile moral ecosystem that years of living in peace and liberty had provided me. I would write off war because civilian casualties were guaranteed, or temporary alliances with illiberal forces would be made, or tank fuel was toxic for the environment. My fellow "humanists" and I would relish contently in our self righteous declaration of opposition against all military campaigns against dictatorships, congratulating one another for refusing to taint that aforementioned fragile moral ecosystem that many still cradle with all the revolutionary tenacity of the members of Rage Against the Machine and Greenday. Others would point to America's historical support of Saddam Hussein, sighting it as hypocritical that we would now vilify him as a thug and a tyrant. Upon explaining that we did so to ward off the fiercely Islamist Iran, which was correctly identified as the greater threat at the time, eyes are rolled and hypocrisy is declared. Forgetting that America sided with Stalin to defeat Hitler, who was promptly confronted once the Nazis were destroyed, America's initial engagement with Saddam and other regional actors is identified as the ultimate argument against America's moral crusade. And maybe it is. Maybe the reality of politics makes all political action inherently crude and immoral. Or maybe it is these adventures in philosophical masturbation that prevent people from ever taking any kind of effective action against men like Saddam Hussein. One thing is for certain, as disagreeable or as confusing as my decision to enter the fray may be, consider what peace vigils against genocide have accomplished lately. Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics. Often times it is less about how clean your actions are and more about how pure your intentions are. So that is why I joined. In the time it took for you to read this explanation, innocent people your age have suffered under the crushing misery of tyranny. Every tool of philosophical advancement and communication that we use to develop our opinions about this war are denied to countless human beings on this planet, many of whom live under the regimes that have, in my opinion, been legitimately targeted for destruction. Some have allowed their resentment of the President to stir silent applause for setbacks in Iraq. Others have ironically decried the war because it has tied up our forces and prevented them from confronting criminal regimes in Sudan, Uganda, and elsewhere. I simply decided that the time for candid discussions of the oppressed was over, and I joined. In digesting this posting, please remember that America's commitment to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his sons existed before the current administration and would exist into our future children's lives had we not acted. Please remember that the problems that plague Iraq today were set in motion centuries ago and were up until now held back by the most cruel of cages. Don't forget that human beings have a responsibility to one another and that Americans will always have a responsibility to the oppressed. Don't overlook the obvious reasons to disagree with the war but don't cheapen the moral aspects either. Assisting a formerly oppressed population in converting their torn society into a plural, democratic one is dangerous and difficult business, especially when being attacked and sabotaged from literally every direction. So if you have anything to say to me at the end of this reading, let it at least include "Good Luck" Mark Daily

He was 23. He was a Political Science major at UCLA. When I read that I knew that we had sat in the very same lecture halls, listening to the same professors and in fact, we'd probably even sat in the very same lecture halls at the same time seeing as he graduated only one year after me. Maybe myspace isn't so bad, it gives our troops the chance to become real to all of us, to have voices even from beyond the grave. And I hope the page stays available forever, a testament to the fact this courageous young man was not only a warrior, but a genuinely good man with a heart of gold and a true desire to make the world a better place. If Democrats like Obama consider his life wasted...well I can't help them...because clearly 2LT Mark Daily did not feel the same.

To me, Mark Daily embodies all of our troops, and he always will.

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wingless was still breathing at 4:35 AM - 1 comments

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cavuto's doing a segment on troop morale in Iraq

Does anyone else find it incredibly pathetic (on our part) that our troops are sitting over there in a war zone probably more worried about our morale than we are about theirs?

Via Reformed Chicks Blabbing I found these two articles written by an army reservist who just recently returned from Iraq.

Not that I agreed with much of the Iraq Study Group's "findings" to begin with, but a perspective from one of those "boots on the ground" definitely cleared away any reservations I had about completely writing off their recommendations.

From the first article:

We cannot appease our enemies and we cannot continue to cut and run when the going gets tough. As it stands in the world right now our enemies view America as a country full of queasy people who are inclined to cut and run when things take a turn for the worse. Just as the Tet Offensive was the victory that led to our failure in Vietnam our victories in Iraq now are leading to our failure in the Middle East. How many more times must we fight to fail? I feel like all of my efforts (30 months of deployment time) and the efforts of all my brothers in arms are all for naught. I thought old people were supposed to be more patient than a 24 year old but apparently I have more patience for our victory to unfold in Iraq than 99.9 percent of Americans. Iraq isn’t fast food-you can’t have what you want and have it now. To completely change a country for the first time in it’s entire history takes time, and when I say time I don’t mean 4 years.

Talking doesn’t solve anything with a crazed people, bullets do and we need to be given a chance to work our military magic. Like I told a reporter buddy of mine: War sucks but a world run by Islamofacists sucks more.

And the second:

I am not against changing our course in Iraq but I am against cutting and running. With a realistic plan for victory composed by the very men and women who are doing the fighting combined with a media who was behind our efforts I believe a victory would not be long behind. If our military was simply allowed to do their job and not be hamstrung by politicians 5000 miles and a world away Iraq would be a much different place.

If we're not careful, we're going to lose this war our troops have been fighting so hard to win.


wingless was still breathing at 1:42 PM - 3 comments

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Supporting the troops in a time of madness

UPDATE: Welcome Villainous Company readers! Thank you all for the kind words and an especially big thank you to Cassandra =)

I can actually pinpoint several, specific experiences in my life that made me feel the way I do about the military today.

The first is when I was in elementary school during Operation Desert Storm. My parents would watch the news coverage at night after dinner and I was just getting to an age where I was interested in watching things other than cartoons. That was probably the first time I had an inkling of war and what it was. In school, the third grade teachers taught us to sing "The Wind Beneath My Wings" and made a videotape of us singing it to send to the troops. They told us about the sacrifice of the men and women fighting overseas to protect our freedom and those of the Kuwaitis. They had us write letters to the troops because the soldiers and marines were far from home, away from their families and it was important for us to show them that we supported them. As a conservative I tend to bash public school teachers a lot for being hippy liberals, but I loved all of my elementary school teachers (junior high and high school, not so much) and thinking back on this makes me appreciate those third-grade teachers ten times more. Because I think they instilled in me the seeds of a deep respect for our military men and women. A respect that they certainly deserve.

(I have to admit here that I did go through a period of "America sucks and our military perpetrates evil acts" but I place the blame for that squarely on my 8th grade social studies teacher who fed my innocent young mind some total bullsh*t about our military using experimental weapons on innocent people in Panama - yes he actually told us that. Once I realized my teacher was a biased hippy I moved out of that phase pretty quickly.)

The next "moment" was when I took an ethics course at the local community college during the summer before my junior year in high school. I had an awesome professor who covered everything from abortion, to the death penalty, to foreign policy in an extremely even-handed way. To this day I still have no idea where he stood on any of those issues. In one of our discussions about war he posed this question to us: Do we owe something to the men and women who have fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy every day? Do we, in fact, owe them our lives? The question stuck with me and coincidentally Saving Private Ryan came out a few days after this lecture and I went to go see it. I kid you not, I started bawling about five minutes into the movie as they panned across those rows and rows of graves because it just hit me so hard...the realization that all those brave men had died unimaginable deaths, thousands of miles away from home, for me. For my right to be free. For my right to live in the greatest country in the world. And yes, like Private Ryan, I too owed them my life. Needless to say I spent the rest of the (very long) movie sobbing.

When I was a sophomore in college I met my ex-boyfriend E, the marine, who is still a good friend. On one of our first kinda-sorta-dates we saw Black Hawk Down and I think that was another big moment for me. Watching that incredible bond of brotherhood. The loyalty. The amazing courage. Amidst all that carnage. It left me in total awe. It left me with no doubt in my mind that our military? Is the best America has to offer. And America has a whole heckuva lot to offer so that is saying something.

It goes without saying that the experience of loving someone in the military, who was sent overseas to fight in a war, also gave me a whole new dimension in my respect for the military...I learned enough about the difficulty of just being in the military (even during peacetime) and how much of a sacrifice even that can be. It also gave me a new level of respect for their families - wives in particular - because they sacrifice so much too.

Anyway, why did I write all of that? Because I was reading MaxedOutMama's latest post and it made me really think about the fact that as much as this election may effect our lives here in the States (Supreme Court, immigration, etc.), the repercussions will be nothing like what they will be for our brave servicemen and women fighting overseas. Their very lives are at stake. And that worries me to no end. Because they deserve better than to be hung out to dry by a bunch of politicians pretending to "fight" for the American way while living their comfortable little lives in DC.

And as much as I hate the idea of pulling out of Iraq, I agree completely with M-o-M and the sentiments of the military bloggers which she posted on her page: If the politicians decide to pull out (and this is looking like a definite possibility - Colonel Hunt was on O'Reilly tonight saying Rumsfeld's resignation and Gates' appointment indicates that withdrawal is very much so on the table) then they have to do it right. They cannot leave some troops behind to be sitting ducks just to make themselves (the politicians) feel better and to make the whole thing easier to justify to the American people.

Our pullout from Somalia was an "Aha!" moment for Osama bin Laden and any hint of weakness in Iraq will certainly give al-Qaeada the motivation to redouble their efforts to kill our troops. The paper tiger is crumbling, they will say to themselves.

One of the posts M-o-M quotes from is written by Oak Leaf, a serviceman currently serving in Afghanistan. His post at Polipundit brings up a whole new dimension to a pullout from Iraq, one that hadn't occurred to me at all - the consequences for Afghanistan:

The first point that they [community leaders in a typical Afghanistan village] made was this election was "between President Bush's party and those that want to abandon Iraq." That caught me off guard and I had to verify with my translator that "abandon" was the correct translation.

They next expressed that the Taliban would be emboldened by an Iraq pullout and that co-operation between the Afghani People and American/NATO forces would come to a halt. You have to realize that the Afghani People have little choice here. The moment they sense the mere possibility/suggestion of American Forces leaving, they will realign themselves with the Taliban. Further, the Taliban will effectively exploit American "redeployment from" Iraq. I left that exchange shaken, something that I have never felt before.

This is just beyond depressing to me, but it makes perfect sense. If we pullout of Iraq the whole world will be watching. And the whole world will understand that Osama was right and we don't have the stomach for war. The whole world will know how to beat America. And why should the people of Afghanistan believe in us when it will appear as though we have lost faith in ourselves?

I hope Nancy Pelosi means it when she says she supports the troops. I hope she means it when she says she wants to send more troops there, not bring them home. For their sake, I pray to God she means it.

But I just don't know. I guess we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, if you pray, please pray for our troops and for wisdom for the politicians who hold their lives in their hands.

In the meantime, go read all of Maxed-Out-Mama's post, as well as Oak Leaf's. They're both full of good stuff that needs to be said and heard, written, read, whatever.

What is Project Valour IT?


wingless was still breathing at 1:14 AM - 4 comments

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