Thursday, December 01, 2005

199 Reasons NOT to Vote Liberal

Here are 100 reasons I cannot vote Liberal this coming election.

1. Cancelling the Sea King replacement
2. Sponsorship scandal
3. Gun Registry
4. HRDC boondoggle
5. Problems with Transition Job Funds program
6. Tainted blood
7. Radwanski Spending Affair
8. Pearson Airport
9. GST Flip Flop
10. Airbus Investigation
11. Voting against Red Book promise of independent Ethics Commissioner
12. Irving fishing lodge stays/travel on Irving jets for cabinet ministers
13. Martin traveling on private corporate jets as Finance Minister
14. Don Boudria’s stay at Boulay owned chalet
15. Denis Coderre staying with Boulay
16. Alfonso Gagliano being appointed Ambassador to Denmark
17. Shawinigate
18. Claude Gauthier (PM’s friend)’s Transelec getting CIDA grant that was
questioned by the Auditor General and even CIDA.
19. Liberal fundraiser Pierre Corbeil charged with fraud by RCMP after he
approached several Quebec companies seeking federal job training grants and
asking for payments to Liberal Party, having gotten the names from senior
Quebec Liberal Minister, Marcel Massé.
20. Michel Dupuy, Heritage Minister, lobbying the CRTC.
21. Tom Wappel refusing to help blind veteran
22. Gagliano’s son benefiting from contracts from his father’s department
23. Gagliano’s former speechwriter, Michèle Tremblay was on a $5,000 a month
retainer with the Canada Lands Company to provide speeches for the Minister.
Former President John Grant let her go saying "we got nothing in return."
Grant claimed that all Crown Corporations reporting to Mr. Gagliano were
told to put Ms. Tremblay on a monthly retainer.
24. Iltis replacement
25. Purchase of new Challenger jets for the Prime Minister and cabinet
26. NATO Flying Training program contract
27. Liberal friends appointed as IRB judges being investigated by RCMP
28. Hedy Fry’s imaginary burning crosses
29. Maria Minna’s improper municipal vote
30. Minna giving contracts to two former campaign staffers for public
relations work for a conference that had already been held
31. Lawrence MacAulay and contracts directed to Holland College
32. Lawrence MacAulay and Tim Banks
33. Lawrence MacAulay hired his official agent, Everett Roche, for $70K, but
Roche never did any work for it. (Oct 2002)
34. Art Eggleton and contracts to his ex-girlfriend
35. Copps’ aide Boyer’s spending habits
36. Collenette resigns for breach of ethical guidelines involving a letter
he wrote to the Immigration and Refugee Board
37. APEC Inquiry
38. Andy Scott's 1998 resignation that came eight weeks too late, after a
media circus wore him down for indiscreetly shooting his mouth off on an
39. Anti-American comments by Liberal MPs, officials, and the former
Minister of Natural Resources.
40. Rock and the Apotex/Cipro affair
41. Rock giving Health Canada contract to car cleaning company.
42. Manley lobbying CIBC on behalf of Rod Bryden
43. Manley’s fundraiser suggesting donors to his leadership write it off as
a business expense.
44. Manley using his pre-budget consultations as Minister of Finance to
solicit support for his leadership bid.
45. Coderre’s relationship with Group Everest
46. Martin’s fundraiser/employee of Finance Jim Palmer
47. Martin’s "blind trust" and his relationship with CSL.
48. Gerry Byrne requesting fundraising money be sent to his home address,
with no records kept.
49. Gerry Byrne pouring bulk of ACOA money into his own riding.
50. Virginia Fontaine Addictions Foundation
51. Prime Minister’s former assistant, Denise Tremblay’s huge travel
expenses on Veterans Review and Appeal Board as Minister pleaded poverty to
veterans’ widows.
52. Chrétien appointing Hon. Roger Simmons (former Trudeau minister
convicted of income tax evasion) as Consul-General in Seattle
53. Chrétien trying to bring hit-and-run driver Carignan back into caucus.
54. The RCMP is investigating possible fraud and bribery within Industry
Canada, involving possible "overpayments" to recipients of federal business
grants. The probe centres on the National Research Council, which hands out
federal grants to small- and medium-sized businesses.
55. More than half a dozen bureaucrats have been "removed" from their jobs
at a Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) in Toronto following a police
investigation into projects funded under one of the department's grants and
contributions programs
56. Revenue Minister Elinor Caplan called in the RCMP and ordered a sweeping
security review after four tax department computers were stolen containing
confidential personal information on more than 120,000 Canadians.
57. More than $7 billion stashed in Foundations by Finance Minister Paul
Martin with little or no accountability
58. Dhaliwal overseing Richmond-airport-Vancouver transit line while being
owner of the airport limousine service
59. Tom Rosser, former Dhaliwal advisor lobbying Natural Resources
department and minister on environmental issues only months after leaving
60. $5.3 million GG northern travel
61. GG budget doubles in 5 years
62. Robert Thibault giving a grant as ACOA minister to a wharf and boatyard
where his brother-in-law has a monopoly.
63. Royal LePage contract, which the government was forced to cancel in the
wake of serious concerns being raised.
64. Shutting down the Somalia Inquiry
65. Home heating rebate, which was sent to prisoners and deceased.
66. Martin firing Bernard Dussault, Chief Actuary of CPP
67. Ethel Blondin-Andrew buys fur coat on government credit card
68. Chrétien’s imaginary homeless friend.
69. Liberal MP Rick Laliberte’s extensive travel budget
70. Liberal Senator Thompson living in Mexico
71. Vendetta against former BDC President François Beaudoin
72. The flag give-away – which estimates suggest might now have cost $45
million instead of the promised $6 million, and reportedly involved fake
73. Gagliano’s two week trip, at taxpayers’ expense, for a two day event
with the head of the Royal Canadian Mint and Maurizio Caruso.
74. Secretary of State for multiculturalism and status of women Sheila
Finestone using government car (which junior ministers are only allowed to
use for government business) to drive home to Montreal, which even Sheila
Copps criticized. (Ottawa Citizen, May 22, 1994)
75. Liberal MP Jag Bhaduria’s hate mail to his former employers, wishing
that they had been shot by killer Marc Lepine
76. Liberal MP Jag Bhaduria making false claims about his academic
77. Paul Martin and Maria Minna attending fundraising dinner for group
linked to Tamil Tigers in May 2000 (National Post, Sept. 8th, 2001).
78. David Anderson, as National Revenue Minister, suing the government for
lost wages after being removed as IRB appointee by Conservative government
seeking $454,000 from a deficit-ravaged federal treasury. (Vancouver Sun,
July 24, 2004). Anderson eventually agreed to drop the suit.
79. David Anderson suggesting that the BC doesn’t need extra House of
Commons seats, because they wouldn't be worth much given the poor quality of
most West Coast MPs. (Vancouver Sun, July 24, 2004)
80. A consultant on an executive interchange program persuaded Natural
Resources to undertake a $700-million reorganization of its research
facilities for which no business case had been made. The program was
fast-tracked because he had developed a social relationship with the deputy
minister. He was eventually charged with diverting $525,000 to a numbered
company he controlled. (Globe and Mail, May 30, 2005)

And the list continues under Prime Minister Martin:

81. Raid on reporter Juliet O’Neill’s home by RCMP
82. Permanent Resident Cards
83. Judy Sgro going on vacation as cards became mandatory and landed
immigrants were left stranded
84. Minister Frulla’s renovations
85. Pay raises for chiefs-of-staff in ministers offices, while spending is
frozen for public service.
86. The government’s changing numbers on how much money has gone to CSL
87. Lobbyists in Paul Martin’s transition team being allowed to return to
lobbying immediately, after being involved in process of picking new cabinet
and senior staff.
88. Minister Comuzzi’s anti-Quebec comments
89. Martin government using closure after only six days in the House of
Commons, followed by using time allocation in the Senate.
90. Problems with DND’s contracts with Compaq Computers that may have cost
taxpayers up to $159 million for work not performed.
91. Martin using government jets to tour the country campaigning before
election, spending up to $1 million for air travel alone.
92. Martin’s relationship with Earnscliffe
93. Questionable contracts to Earnscliffe
94. The appointment of former Liberal MLA Howard Sapers as the Correctional
Investigator of Canada
95. Pierre Pettigrew’s flip flopping on health care
96. David Dingwall’s expenses as head of Royal Canadian Mint
97. Liberals planning to give David Dingwall a severance package after he
98. The secret National Unity Fund reserve
99. Calling an early election after earlier promising first to get to the
bottom of the sponsorship scandal
100. Martin suggesting changes to legislation and introducing bill that
benefited CSL, despite concerns from his own Deputy Minister that he was in
a conflict-of-interest (Ottawa Citizen, May 26, 2004)

And here are 99 more

101. $99 million Public Works contract that went to company overseen by
Liberal fundraiser and future Senator Paul Massicotte (Montreal Gazette,
June 26, 2004)
102. Parliamentary Secretary Dan McTeague’s 3-person, $224 trip to a
103. Immigration Minister Judy Sgro’s staff being allowed to stay on
"extended travel" benefits, letting them bill taxpayers’ for thousands of
dollars in hotel rooms and meals, because they didn’t want to move from
Toronto to Ottawa until after the election.
104. Correctional Service of Canada Commissioner Lucie McClung’s travel
105. Contracting irregularities on more than two dozen projects at DND worth
tens of millions of dollars, showing over-billing, profit excesses,
unauthorized additional work, lack of accounting records, spiralling cost
overruns, etc. (Globe and Mail, July 14, 2004).
106. ACOA Minister Joe McGuire canceling ACOA loan and grant to ABL
Industries Inc. because it would compete with company in his riding.
(Fredericton Daily Gleaner, July 17, 2004).
107. Andy Mitchell’s chief of staff’s $22,000 in expenses to commute to
Ottawa (Toronto Star, August 2, 2004).
108. André Ouellet’s travel and hospitality expenses at Canada Post.
109. Government delaying release of audit on Ouellet until after the
election (Globe and Mail, July 31, 2004).
110. Martin’s principle secretary Francis Fox’s sister getting untendered
contracts (The Province, July 27, 2004).
111. Continuing problems in advertising files at Public Works (Ottawa Sun,
July 26, 2004).
112. A Liberal Party of Canada fundraising letter signed by Paul Martin,
asking potential contributors to offer $7,000, $7,100 or $7,200 in
contributions – far in excess of donation limits passed by the very same
Liberal government
113. Liberal Senator Raymond Lavigne violating municipal bylaws.
Municipality pursuing legal action against him. (Ottawa Citizen, August 19,
114. Spa Days for inmates approved by the Correctional Service of Canada,
which on Aug. 21 invited inmates at the Grand Valley Institution for Women
in Kitchener, Ont., to dabble with manicures, pedicures and aromatherapy,
not to mention cups of tea served in fine china, all accompanied by a harp
serenade. (National Post, September 9, 2004).
115. Five employees in the ''overwhelmed'' immigration section of Canada's
embassy in Iran have been fired over the past year after they each were
caught breaching federal ethics rules (National Post, September 13, 2004).
116. Questionable contracts and spending from the Canada Investment and
Savings group set up by Martin in 1996 (Globe and Mail, September 13, 2004)
117. Questionable contracting practices at Canada Information Office (The
Hill Times, September 13, 2004).
118. A top Canadian diplomat based in China has resigned amid reports he is
being investigated for allegedly taking bribes to help Chinese nationals
enter Canada illegally. (Vancouver Sun, September 22, 2004).
119. Abuse of government credit cards by staff at Fisheries Department (CP
Wire, September 24, 2004).
120. Canada’s questionable hiring of the niece of Syria's foreign affairs
minister to work at the embassy in Damascus (Globe and Mail, October 5,
121. Hélène Scherrer using Challenger to fly to Banff during election to
give partisan speech
122. Abuse of Challengers by Paul Martin and various ministers (eg. Andy
Mitchell, Claudette Bradshaw)
123. Abuse of Challenger jets for political business instead of government
business (Le Devoir, October 4, 2005)
124. Paul Martin taking Challenger jets to Liberal fundraisers
125. Challenger food bill of $508 per flight
126. Expenses during election filed by aide to Ralph Goodale
127. Questionable expenses during election filed by aides to Judy Sgro
128. Ongoing problems and safety concerns with the submarine program
129. Various federal departments reported in excess of $1.1 million in theft
of computers in 2003, but the information is potentially more valuable than
the hardware (Vancouver Sun, October 14, 2004).
130. According to the latest public-accounts-of-Canada reports for the
period March 2004 and March 2005, over 700 laptops, desktops and central
processing units went missing from 35 federal government agencies -- worth
$6 million. (The Province, October 19, 2005)
131. Federal government has lost track of $587 million a year in EI
overpayments and underpayments at the Department of Human Resources. (Ottawa
Citizen, October 12, 2004). However, the government defends itself by
stating that in fact it has only lost track of $25 million a year and
collects the other overpayments. (Ottawa Citizen, October 13, 2004)
132. $133,000 grant to a Toronto film company that used classified ads to
search for the "perfect" thingy. (National Post, October 14, 2004).
133. Man convicted of fraud against government hired to teach ethics course
to public servants (National Post, October 20, 2004).
134. Public Works selling confiscated grow-op equipment to drug traffickers.
(National Post, October 21, 2004).
135. Pressure by Liberal MPs and ministers on ACOA to make funding decisions
based on politics (New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, October 25, 2004).
136. Paul Martin’s Director of Communications Scott Reid insulting Premier
of Newfoundland and Labrador (Toronto Star, October 28, 2004)
137. The Martin government spent $127,223 on a poll last February testing
ways to diffuse negative reaction to the bombshell auditor-general's
report -- which included the finding the Liberals ignored their own rules
prohibiting the use of tax dollars on partisan polls (Vancouver Sun,
November 8, 2004).
138. Judy Sgro’s campaign volunteer (a stripper) getting ministerial permit
139. Sgro’s senior policy advisor going to strip club to meet with owner to
discuss bringing more strippers into Canada. (National Post, November 25,
2004). Subsequent revelations indicate that he went to at least one other
strip club to conduct similar meetings (Toronto Sun, December 7, 2004)
140. Sgro giving out details of private immigration files, violating Privacy
141. Allegations that Sgro broke the elections law in failing to properly
identify the source of a campaign contribution. (Toronto Star, December 8,
142. Revelations that the program to bring in foreign exotic dancers was
created under pressure from organized crime (National Post, December 18,
143. Irwin Cotler appointing his former chief-of-staff to federal court
(National Post, November 23, 2004).
144. Heritage Minister Liza Frulla giving grant to magazine that put her on
the cover and made her honourary president (Ottawa Citizen, November 25,
145. Despite promising an end to cronyism and patronage, Martin appointing
Liberal MP John Harvard as Lt-Governor of Manitoba, in order to get him to
step aside for "star" candidate Glen Murray.
146. Despite promising an end to cronyism and patronage, Martin appointing
Liberal MP Yvon Charbonneau to UNESCO, in order to get him to step aside for
Martin crony Pablo Rodriguez.
147. Despite promising an end to cronyism and patronage, Martin appointing
former Liberal MP Karen Kraft-Sloan as Ambassador for the Environment.
(Department of Foreign Affairs Press Release, February 16, 2005).
148. Despite promising an end to cronyism and patronage, Martin appointing
defeated Liberal candidate Dave Haggard as the chair of a newly created
Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship. (OIC 2005-0001)
149. Despite promising an end to cronyism and patronage, Martin appointed
his friend Dennis Dawson to the Senate
150. Despite promising an end to cronyism and patronage, Martin appointed
his former Principal Secretary Francis Fox to the Senate
151. Despite promising an end to cronyism and patronage, Martin appointed
disgraced former cabinet minister Art Eggleton to the Senate
152. Martin and his wife complaining about having to live in 24 Sussex
(Edmonton Journal, November 17, 2004)
153. Millennium Bureau spending done with same lack of controls and
oversight of sponsorship program
154. The RCMP has charged a senior Immigration Canada manager and four
accomplices in an alleged bribes-for-status scheme in which Arab immigrants
paid up to $25,000 to have their claims fast-tracked and approved (National
Post, December 17, 2004)
155. Making widows of RCMP officers killed in the line of duty pay for their
husbands’ funerals (Under pressure from the Conservative Party, the
government reversed this policy)
156. Martin patronage-appointee Jim Walsh breaking ethics guidelines and
attending Liberal Christmas Party (St. John’s Telegram, January 20, 2005).
157. Port authority losing more than $60,000 in public funds on the stock
market. When Central Cape Breton Community Ventures took over the port in
Iona in 2000, the private agency deposited only $5,000 of the $245,000 it
received from Transport Canada into a designated bank account. The federal
funding was meant to cover the port's maintenance, insurance and
professional services costs (Chronicle-Herald, January 31, 2005).
158. Canadian flag lapel pins being made in China. Only under pressure,
Scott Brison flip flops and agrees to have them made in Canada again.
159. Questionable dealings around the privatization of the Digby Wharf,
which even Liberal MP Robert Thibault wants the RCMP to investigate
(Chronicle-Herald, February 10, 2005).
160. Adrienne Clarkson spending $17,500 to evaluate cleaning at Rideau Hall
(Ottawa Sun, February 19, 2005)
161. Martin patronage appointee Glen Murray breaking ethics guidelines and
attending Liberal Convention as delegate
162. Martin ignoring parliamentary committee and appointing Glen Murray as
chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy
163. Marlene Jennings, the Parliamentary Secretary for Canada-U.S.
relations, making anti-American remarks
164. Government knowing about details of torture and murder of Zahra Kazemi
back in November and still sending ambassador back to Iran
165. Government knowing about details of torture and murder of Zahra Kazemi
back in November but doing nothing
166. Tens of thousands of dollars were spent on questionable acquisitions at
CFB Borden (Ottawa Sun, April 18, 2005).
167. Joe Volpe keeping stripper visa program operating, despite having
promised to shut it down (, March 5, 2005)
168. Jean Lapierre acting as lobbyist without registering
169. Joe Volpe trying to intimidating Sikh community
170. In the spring of 2003, the RCMP investigated allegations that Liberal
MP Gurbax Malhi had requested favours and financial support for Paul
Martin's 2003 leadership campaign in exchange for helping Indian nationals
get these temporary resident permits (Globe and Mail, March 10, 2005).
171. Liberals spending $443,237 to change the name Passport Office to
Passport Canada (Montreal Gazette, April 21, 2005).
172. Ken Dryden’s chief of staff charged with careless driving (Ottawa
Citizen, March 22, 2005)
173. Liberals trying to buy off Conservative MPs with offers of patronage
174. Liberals handling of the submarine program
175. Public Service Integrity Officer’s travel expenses (Ottawa Sun, May 4,
176. Liberal Senator Michel Biron going to hearing to support killer Karla
Homolka (CTV News, June 9, 2005)
177. Public Works contract watchdog Consulting and Audit Canada violating
contracting rules (Toronto Star, July 4, 2005)
178. Technology Partnerships Canada rules being violated to pay lobbyists
(Globe and Mail, June 24, 2005)
179. Former Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Robert Nault is working as
a paid lobbyist for Nelson House First Nation in what some allege is an
apparent violation of a federal code of conduct. Among the federal
departments Nault is lobbying is the Indian and Northern Affairs department
he headed until December 2003, according to a lobbying report Nault filed
with the federal government. Nault registered as a lobbyist for Nelson
House, now known as Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, on July 18, 2005 -- one
year and seven months after leaving his cabinet post. Under the Conflict of
Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders, Nault is barred
from working for any entity with which his department had "direct and
significant official dealings" for two years after leaving office. He is
also barred for two years from lobbying his former department or any of his
former cabinet colleagues (Winnipeg Free Press, September 14, 2005)
180. According to documents obtained by the Globe and Mail, Pierre Pettigrew
billed Canadian taxpayers for $10,000 for trips for his driver in 2001 and
2002. Pettigrew took his driver to South America and Europe, even though the
driver didn’t do any driving on the trips. (Globe and Mail, September 14,
181. Joe Volpe’s questionable hospitality expenses (Globe and Mail,
September 21, 2005)
182. According to media reports, Industry Canada has frozen federal
financing for research projects by an Ontario biotechnology firm pending the
outcome of an investigation into the company's agreement to pay $350,000 in
lobbying "success" fees to former Liberal cabinet minister David Dingwall.
Such contingency fee payments violate Technology Partnership Canada rules.
(Globe and Mail, September 23, 2005)
183. Expenses of chairman of the Royal Canadian Mint Emmanuel Triassi, who
also approved David Dingwall’s expenses (Globe and Mail, October 4, 2005)
184. Last week, Public Works was also silent on details of another case
involving forensic accounting. Government accounts published on Thursday
showed a department employee had embezzled $3.45 million from Public Works
office in Koblenz, Germany. Even though the employee was convicted and
jailed in Germany, Public Works will not name him or give any details of the
crime (Ottawa Citizen, October 4, 2005)
185. The federal government inadvertently revealed yesterday that it is
conducting a large-scale forensic accounting probe into "possibly criminal
matters" when it published details of a contract intended for a Quebec
accounting firm. The notice awarding a $2-million contract for forensic
accounting services was published on the government's tendering website,
MERX. It gave notice that Consulting and Audit Canada was planning to award
the sole-source contract to Leclerc Juricomptable, a Quebec City firm
specializing in forensic work and litigation support. The contract award
notice said the work had to be sole-sourced to Leclerc because it is "not in
the public interest to jeopardize the current investment in the
investigation or to significantly increase the risk to a successful
completion of the investigation into possibly criminal matters." A spokesman
for the Department of PublicWorks and Government Services said yesterday
that the notice was published "prematurely" and would be withdrawn last
night. He could not say, however, what is under investigation, but said the
contract was not tied to another scandal that has kept Quebec forensic
accountants busy over the past years. "It's not related to sponsorship or
Gomery, that I can tell you," said spokesman Pierre Teotonio (Ottawa
Citizen, October 4, 2005). It was subsequently revealed that the department
involved was CIDA (CP Wire, October 4, 2005)
186. Questions about campaign funds from Raymond Chan’s campaign going to
his companies (Vancouver Sun, October 7, 2005)
187. Questions about a possible conflict-of-interest between Chan’s
activities as minister on behalf of possible business associates (Vancouver
Sun, October 7, 2005)
188. Questions about the report that Chan filed with the Ethics Commissioner
(Vancouver Sun, October 7, 2005)
189. Government giving out contract that specifies no paper trail to be left
in government offices (Vancouver Province, October 11, 2005)
190. Questionable travel expenses at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans
(CP, October 16, 2005)
191. Two employees at DFO fired for making fraudulent travel claims (CP, The
Province, October 18, 2005).
192. Lobbyist registrar Michael Nelson has launched investigations of four
people for eight possible breaches of the ethics guidelines for lobbyists,
the first such investigations ever launched under the code. (Globe and Mail,
October 18, 2005)
193. According to media reports, the federal government has terminated two
contracts with a consulting firm that used to be run by Liberal MP David
Smith and now run by his wife, following a forensic audit of the contracting
practices at a federal agency (Globe and Mail, October 19, 2005)
194. ATI requests by prisoners for information on prison system and guards,
when information is actually disclosed
195. Liberal candidate Richard Mahoney lobbying for satellite radio company
for a month before registering (Ottawa Citizen, October 19, 2005)
196. Delays and ballooning costs mean a giant software project at National
Defence will eclipse its original budget and won't meet its goals until
2011 -- if at all. An internal audit obtained by Canadian Press raises red
flags about a new system designed to streamline computer tracking of
military inventory and purchases. MASIS -- or Materiel Acquisition Support
Information System -- started in 1997 as a $147-million undertaking. What
began as a focused effort to cover a single equipment category in each of
the navy, army and air force soon mushroomed. By 2003, Defence officials
estimated MASIS would be in place by 2006 at a cost of $325 million, more
than twice its forecast budget. A full introduction of the complex software
has now been extended to 2011. The heavily censored May 2005 internal audit,
released under the Access to Information Act, catalogues a litany of
"revised planned milestones.'' "The prime contract has been amended six
times, each time increasing amounts for professional service fees,'' it
says. (CP, The Record, October 24, 2005)
197. Hospitality and travel expenses of executives at CMHC (Journal de
Montréal, October 24, 2005)
198. Questions about Squamish land deal lease (The Province, October 26,
199. Liberals handling of tainted water at Kashechewan First Nation

P.S. I got this off of a fishing site, and I don't know who the author is, but I sure have to congratulate him.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Ma Deuce Gunner Sounds Off Against the Anti-War Crowd

I became a fan of MDG late during his posting to Iraq. To me he typifies all that is right about the modern American Soldier. He's back home with his family now and what follows is something he had to get of his chest. If you haven't been reading MDG but you do support the troops, you should get aquainted with him. Here's his post:

Monday, November 14, 2005

An Open Letter to the Anti-War Crowd
To my loyal and supportive readers...this is not directed towards you. I know that you all support, encourage, and agree with me, the leadership of this country, and this war.

To all you anti-war folks, I have to get something off my chest.

You all are a disgrace to the country you call home. You abuse the freedoms that I, and many others, have sweated and bled to protect with your vitriolic rants and seditious acts and statements.

You hide behind the First Amendment, claiming the bile you spew forth is protected under the right to free speech. Some of you claim that you "Support the Troops, but not the war". I submit to you that this is a preposterous assertation. In order to truly and honestly support the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who have sworn to "Uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America", you must also support the endeavor that they are currently undertaking. Our job is to safeguard you, to kill, disable, or catch the human scum who have made it their mission in life to blow you into chunks of human gore, sever your head from your torso, incinerate you, collapse your office building, gas you on the subway, or murder your children with television cameras rolling live.

Their aim is to scare you into submission. Scare you so much, inject so much fear into your mind that you willfully throw your freedoms out of the window in the name of 'security'. If we can kill them, disable them, or catch them before they are able to inflict the horrors of their idiom on you, then you should be grateful.

I am not attempting to heap praise upon myself. The words you are reading are not for my glory, nor are they intended to glorify anyone, but to show the fallacy of your words and actions. True, you are free to believe what you wish and to voice your opinion as such, but I am also free to do the same.

The words on your screen that you are reading now are intended to cause you to think about the ideology to which you cling. To make you see that folks like 'Code Pink', Fred Phelps, Cindy Sheehan and their ilk are morally bereft individuals. Dark, vile people who do not want others to have their freedoms, but abuse the same to do the shouting.

Your inability to understand the gravity of the situation in which we, as a nation, are embroiled is appalling. In my eyes, you do not understand what dangers this country faces from these terrorists, nor do you understand what it takes to protect you from this peril.

I think back to the Jews who were led out of Egypt whined that they were tired of eating manna, trekking through the desert, facing the danger of wild animals, desert heat, and uncertainty as to what the next mile in the sand might bring. They longed to be back in bondage, slaves to the Egyptians, with full stomachs, roofs over their heads, and a place to call home. They would have rather been forced to perform manual labor by Draconian task-masters rather have their freedom. They knew that they would be fed, have a permanent house, regardless of the way they were treated, as slaves doing forced HARD labor.They were not willing to travel the hard road, to fight for their freedoms. It was easier to go back and be oppressed by the Egyptians rather than press forward and fight for their own nation, for their own freedom. I use the word fight. I mean the term both militarily and in simple reference to the struggle to maintain resilience of spirit.

Some of you will immediately discount the previous reference for the simple fact it is Biblical. Regardless of what you believe spiritually, the parallel draws the conclusion. People who are willing to trade freedom for security are sorry individuals. Freedom is costly to maintain, financially, but also costly of life, resolve and dedication.

Some of you will argue that Iraq has nothing to do with 9-11. It has everything to do with that terrible fall day. The terrorist action on that day was not simply an attack against four airliners, two high profile structures and the people in the planes and buildings, but on the sovriegnty and safety of the USA. In the Declaration of Independence, we all know the clause, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness". The terrorists want nothing more than to take those rights from you, and they did, from almost 3000 people on that day. A great majority of the terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. That is one of the anti-war crowd's talking points. The concept which I believe you fail to grasp is that they were part of a larger network, a community of evil people who despiseus. Let us use illegal drugs as an example.

For instance, if a person is arrested for selling drugs, do the law enforcement agencies stop there?? Do the stop with the person who carries out the crime at the lowest level?? No, they attempt to take down the whole network, and go as high as they can to try and eradicate the problem at the top. They go to the mid-level suppliers, then the clearinghouses of the nation, the couriers, the financiers, and the kingpins and cartel bosses. An investigation that starts somewhere say, Cleveland, could lead to Chicago, thenMiami, then Cuba, and then to Bogota. The trail could branch anywhere in the chain, and in our instance, the trail led to Iraq.

Another parallel can be drawn from the example of narcotics. A proactive stance is essential in taking care of the problem. We can sit back inside our borders, hoping to catch the drug runners at the borders, or we can go on the offensive, find the problem at its source and deal with it at its origination. Similarly, do we set up treatment centers and simply hope that addicts will happen to decide to come in for help with their problems, or do we seek them out, advertise, reach into the community and try to bring aid to them??

Our expedition into Iraq and Afghanistan is the exact same concept. We are attempting to stop the terrorists where they breed, where they are steeped in their radicalism, where they do not harm OUR citizens, my family and yours. It may seem callous, but I mean no insult towards anyone of different nationality. Another hypothetical example...a ship is sinking. A seaplane lands to rescue the people on board.The seaplane is owned by a ficticious nation...let's use Atlantis. The seaplane is capable of carrying 30 people other than the aircraft crew. There are 34 people in need of rescue. Thirty of the passengers on the ship are Atlantean. Who are the crew of the plane going to take with them?? The Atlantean's, of course. They will rescue their countrymen first, and if possible, they will come back for the others, if possible. You take care of your own. You protect your countrymen, protect your homeland and its people. Not to say that others are worth any less as human beings, but you take care of your own.

We are taking care of our national interests. Making sure that OUR borders are safe, fighting the enemy in their homeland, not ours. I would rather fight the enemy where they do not put American civilians at risk. It is my job to fight the enemy and remove his ability to attack Americans. Would you rather wait and have us fight in the streets of St. Louis or New York or L.A. or Smalltown, USA, or would you rather we kill them before they can even pose any danger to you in your hometown??

We removed a regime that supported terrorism. He supported an ENEMY of the United States of America, and was an evil person. Saddam Hussein was a terrorist in his own right, against his own people. A friend of my enemy is my enemy.

So, enough with your venomous, acrimonious rantings. If you don't like the fact that your government is making aCONCERTIED EFFORT to preserve your freedoms, go somewhere else. You are parasitic dregs, stealing from the people who secure yourfreedoms, abusing the freedoms to malign them, all the while being behind the shield of protection they so willingly provide.Let me define parasite for you :

"something that resembles a biological parasite in dependence on something else for existence or support without making a useful or adequate return"Now, ask yourself...does this in any way apply to you??

You are stealing my blood, and you should be ashamed of yourself. Go back to your dark holes and brood, for you and your logic isnot welcome, and many more people than you think feel the same way I do. You are evil, as evil as our enemies.

This is something I have wanted to get off my chest for a long time, but I did not think that while I was in Iraq I should post this. Now that I am home, and see and hear the anti-war crowd and their message through a different set of eyes, I believe my words are appropriate. Jen over at Jennifer's Musings emailed me a month ago and asked me for my opinionand what I would say to the Anti-War protestors. She posted it here. You will find many sentiments in this article were echoed in that one, as that post kind of became a rough draft for this one.



Friday, November 04, 2005

The Fallen

The price of freedom is a heavy one. I believe that what is happening today in Iraq will ultimately determine whether or not the Western World remains free. People are dying on a regular basis to preserve these freedoms. Every now and then we are given a gut wrenching glimpse of who the fallen are, up close and personal, and what they mean to there comrads in arms and to the cause of freedom. They must never be forgotten.

Here are but a few names, followed by links to their eulogies.

COL William W. Wood

CPT Michael MacKinnon

CPT Raymond Hill

SPC Shakere Guy

"High Flight"

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer, John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Time to Get Out The Wood Chipper

According to Reuters and Agence-France Presse, the Jihadi's best friends in the media next to Al-Jazeera, the announcement that Saddam's legal team has resigned due to security concerns, makes it "doubtful that Saddam can receive a fair trial". These of course are the concerns of Amnesty International and other loonie-left "human rights" groups. If these groups were so concerned about human rights they would be making a stink about the murderous acts of barbarism committed by terrorists in Iraq and Israel on a regular, bloody, basis.

It's a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation with Saddam. My own belief was that they should have shot him out of hand when they found the bastard. But I can understand the dilemma the American administration was facing at the time with respect to former allies in Old Europe and Democratic critics at home.

I don't know what current Iraqi law is, but here in Canada, a defense team would be assigned to the odorous piece of slime and the trial would proceed. Hopefully the same happens in Iraq.

Then, try him, find him guilty, and bring out the wood chipper. The only humanitarian question here is whether Saddam gets to go in the chipper head or feet first. I'm voting for feet first if there's a vote.

Time to end it.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

My Review of Colby Buzzell's "MY WAR"

This has been my first experience witnessing the birth of an author. The experience is all the more compelling, knowing I have witnessed the metamorphosis of a talent unleashed during the chaos of the war in Iraq.

I first stumbled on CB’s blog, “MY WAR”, in the last days of August 2004, I don’t recall how, when he had already published the infamous post “MEN IN BLACK”. This post was his account of the surreal, chilling, mind-numbing events he participated in, while being ambushed, by who else, as many as 100 foreign fighters, all dressed in black. This was in the city of Mosul on 04 August 04.

“MEN IN BLACK” recounts CB’s experience as a contradiction of the CNN version of events. His stream of consciousness style of writing is so powerful you can feel the adrenaline pumping through his veins, while he relives the insanity of being caught in the middle the of the first all out, coordinated attack, by foreign terrorists in Iraq to date.

“MEN IN BLACK” was the entry that started lighting up Colby’s blog like the Fourth of July and finally started ringing alarm bells all the way to the pentagon. He shut his blog down voluntarily not too much longer after that. And the rest is history.

Interesting blog posts do not necessarily translate into interesting books. Fortunately, in this case they do. CB has a wicked sense of humor that is infectious. I read the first two parts of the book with a big smile on my face, when I wasn’t laughing out loud. This is the work of a natural writer, and as I alluded to at the top, writers are born, not taught, at least not formally. Colby is very well read. Probably more so than most of his contemporaries are, which is why, at 26 he found himself drifting from one dead end job to another, not fitting in anywhere, and thinking there’s got to be more to life than this.

His telling of the events that led up to his joining the army, to literally “be all that I could be” are hilarious. Especially his dealings with the Army recruiter who lured him away from the Marine recruiting office next door with the magic words “signing bonus”, an episode which caused me to laugh out loud.

This is a very well written book. The book’s basis is the story of how Colby Buzzell talked himself into the war in Iraq, his adventures during army training, which he found to be the “best job I ever had”, through the reality of serving with Bravo Company 2nd Platoon (the Tomahawk Battalion), 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd (Arrowhead) Brigade, 2nd infantry Division, in boredom and in battle, in Iraq.

It’s also about how he managed to talk himself out of the army, amidst all the flak he was getting form nervous superiors, with an Army Commendation Medal after serving the full two years he signed on for and not getting in the deep shit for pissing off higher command so royally.

Incidentally, CB’s Stryker Brigade was the very first of it’s kind to be deployed in the field. One of my favorite parts in the book is when he first saw a Stryker retrofitted with the “birdcage” an ugly but very effective piece of additional armor. Here’s how he describes the way the “birdcage works:

“ The birdcage, in theory, works the same way as the chicken-wire fence in the Blues Brothers did. In case you have no appreciation for fine cinema and have never viewed this classic, or maybe you’ve just forgotten the scene I’m referring to, It’s the part where Jake and Elwood get the band back together, and they have that gig at that Okie redneck bar that plays both kinds of music, country and western, and they open up the set by playing the song “Give Me Some Lovin’,” and the stage that they’re playing on has a chicken-wire fence in front of it to shield the band form the incoming Budweiser bottles being thrown at them by the local rednecks. The bottles impact and explode on the chicken-wire fence first, rather than on Jake or Elwood as they try to play. The birdcage around the Stryker works the same way.”

If you are familiar with CBFTW and his blog, or if you are interested in what the reality in Northern Iraq was in 2004, or better yet if you just want to read a good book, buy “MY WAR: Killing Time in Iraq” by Colby Buzzell. You’ll be glad you did. Hell yeah.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Gods and Generals and The Killer Angels

Sometime last year I was chatting on-line with a military history buff and the conversation turned to the American Civil War ( sometimes referred to these days by some Southerners as The War of Northern Aggression.) This was a subject with which I was only vaguely familiar and I asked for the recommendation of some reading material. It was suggested that I would do no better in understanding the nature and the substance of the conflict than by reading the historical novel 'The Killer Angels' Michael Shaara's 1974 Pulitzer prize winning novel.

Circumstances delayed that until one day the week before last, when I was browsing in my favorite used book store and put my hand on a copy of Jeff Shaaara's 'Gods and Generals' purely by accident. For those who don't know, Jeff is Michael's son and his book is a prequel to his fathers book. The book deals with the issues leading up to the war, starting in 1855 and deals primarily with four main characters: Robert E. Lee, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, William Scott hancock and Joshua Chamberlain. All, except the latter, were graduates of West Point and decorated veterans of The Mexican Wars. The book is riveting and very hard to put down. It leads us through build up to and the first battles of the war, all victories for the South, up through the Battle of Chancellorville.

'Gods and Generals' is the perfect introduction to 'The Killer Angels', both of which provide an understanding of the times, the history, the morals and the character of those involved. Currently I am engrossed with 'The Killer Angels' which deals with the first three days of July 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg.

General Norman H. Shwarzkopf said of this book: "The best and most realistic historical novel about war I have ever read." You'll notice he doesn't qualify which war. High praise indeed.

This is a bit of a delicious dilemma for me as today's mail brought a copy of 'My War: Killing Time in Iraq' by Colby Buzzell, best known to the blogosphere as CBFTW.

I had written a post about Colby's book and was kindly offered an advanced copy by John Lawton of the book's publisher Putnam. I am really keen on roaring thorugh Colby Buzell's book, but I can't leave Longstreet and Lee as they are about to commit themselves at Gettysburg. So I'm going to have to finish it hopefully tonight and then turn my attention to 'My War'. It's a good day.

P.S. My writing 'style' such as it is, isn't normally this flowery, but I can't get my head out of the South of 1863.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Burden

I have been following Thunder6 for some time now. His writing is always eloquent; at times poignant and sometimes, as in his most recent post quite sad. Thunder6 bears many burdens: the rigors of doing his job amid a terrorist uprising, and all the attendant dangers thereof, in some of the harshest climate conditions in the world. He carries the burden of being away from wife, family and friends. As well he is charged with caring for the safety and well being of his men. And, finally as he wrote most recently, he bears the burden of loss. Here is his post:

September 19, 2005

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. - Albert Pike

As another day passed into memory the men of the Nightstalker Battalion gathered together to pay their final respects to SSG Alfredo B. Silva. In this world of growing shadows SSG Silva burned as bright as the morning star. Chamuco’s resplendent inner fire and fierce love for his men were beyond earthly measure – he was the stalwart lighthouse whose radiance ensured others could navigate these troubled waters.

I wish with all my heart I had the ability to properly memorialize SSG Silva, but any words I could weave would be but a hollow echo of our fallen hero. Instead I will include part of 1LT Irish’s final respects.

How do you summarize a life of an individual? That is what I have been asked to do here today. It is impossible for anyone to do justice to a lifetime in a few moments. Every individual is something to someone. To your mother you are always her baby, and to your child you are always a parent. Time will not and cannot change those things. I cannot be so presumptuous as to speak to what SGT Silva was like prior to the time I met him. Nor can I speak as to how he was viewed by his family, for unfortunately fate did not allow me the chance to meet them. Instead I will speak to you about the man that I knew and loved as a comrade in arms.

The last memory I will share with you is from about a week ago. I was in the S7 office and Chamuco walked in and shook my hand. I could tell by looking at him that something was the matter. He seemed a little bit sad. I asked him what was going on. He told me that he was worried because he felt his time was up. I told him that I understood how he felt. He smiled and said that he wasn’t worried about himself; he was worried for his guys. He said it’s all just a matter of time until we get it. That worried me, and I tried to assure him that everything was going to be alright. I guess he knew better than I.

I know that in my heart SGT Silva would have done anything to prevent his soldiers from getting hurt. These men were not just his soldiers they were his friends. Those of you who have been around FISTER’s know that it we are a tight knit community. Even by our standards, Delta was tighter than most. I dare say that SGT Silva viewed his soldiers as his own children. He wanted nothing but the best for them. He was willing to go out even after he felt that his own death was imminent. He was willing to lay down his own life for those men.

So what can I say further? There is nothing left. SGT Silva was a man who walked uprightly before all. He conducted himself bravely as a soldier and nobly as a Non-Commissioned Officer. He died as an NCO leading his men. He would have wished that things were different and that he would be going home to see his wife and family. But I believe that he also would be grateful that it was he who died rather than one of his boys. So SGT Silva until we fall in for that last roll call before the Gates of Heaven you will remain in our hearts and in our prayers.

SSG Silva was the living embodiment of an Army NCO, but he was more then just a collection of diamond hard skills. He was a good and honest man, and his heart burned with an unyielding love for his wife, his daughter, and for his soldiers. And he in turn was loved by all who had the good fortune of knowing him. God Speed SSG Silva, your light will ever burn in the hearts of the Nightstalkers. If you have any interest in reading about the calibre of the men and women who stand in harms way to save democracy and freedom for those of us in the Western World who are under the threat thatt is Islamo-Fascism, your should be reading Thunder6.

Friday, September 16, 2005

CBFTW: after His War

I started this blog a year ago because I came across the most amazing blog called 'My War' subtitled Fear and loathing in Iraq. The blog was written by CBFTW; the first two letters stand for his name and it doesn't take much imagination to figure out the other three.

The reason I started the blog is because that was the only way to post a comment at My War.

His writng was very much Gonzo style stream of conciousness; graphic and compelling. This remarkable man became famous in the media as a wartime ground breaker. He finally shut down the blog because it was interfering with his job as a machine gunner in the Stryker Brigade in Mousul. My favorite post was one he called Men in Black. I was actually sweating after reading it.

He also forced the Pentagon to look at this new military phenomenon and finally set some ground rules for Soldiers blogging from a war zone.

He's now back from Iraq and has a successful book to be published in October, called of course My War: Killing Time In Iraq. From what I have read at his blog it's sure to be an amazing no holds barred book about the War in Iraq. You can check out the archive for his very first post in June 2004 at: You can read a review of the book here:

Today I was amazed to get an e-mail from him. He's going back and reading all of his e-mails and answering every one of them. Ya gotta love it! Here's what he wrote:

You probably dont remember me, but i was a soldier in Iraq who did the
blog, you sent me an email while I was over there,
but since my time at the internet cafe was limited, and volume of
email I recieved while over there I was unable to respond back, and I
apoligize for that, I'm going thru all my emails and re reading them
and trying to respond back to everybody who sent me an email, I know
I'm a little late (like almost a year late) but hopefully later is
better than never, attatched is the email you sent me since you prob
forgot what you wrote, I just wanted to drop an email back to you and
say thanks for the email and words of support you sent me while I was
over there, it really did helped me alot when I was over there.
thank you
-colby Buzzell

The guy is a class act. Now to get the book.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Iraqi Soldiers Donate to Katrina Victims

I was made aware of this on the blog of SGT Steven Kiel, whose tour of duty is coming to an end in Iraq. SGT. Kiel and his wife have done a great deal of work to get relief supplies to Iraqis, especially Iraqi children, so I found this item to be quite touching. You can contact Sgt Kiel at: He's a remarkable young man.

Iraqi soldiers collected 1,000,000 Iraqi dinars for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

By Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq

TAJI, Iraq, Sept. 9, 2005 — Iraqi soldiers serving at Taji military base collected 1,000,000 Iraqi dinars for victims of Hurricane Katrina.Iraqi Col. Abbas Fadhil, Iraqi base commander, presented the money to U.S. Col. Paul D. Linkenhoker, Taji Coalition base commander, at a Sept. 5 staff meeting.

"We are all brothers. When one suffers tragedy, we all suffer their pain."
Iraqi Col. Abbas Fadhil“We are all brothers,” said Abbas. “When one suffers tragedy, we all suffer their pain.”

The amount of money is small in American dollars - roughly $680 - but it represents a huge act of compassion from Iraqi soldiers to their American counterparts, said U.S. Army Maj. Michael Goyne.

“I was overwhelmed by the amount of their generosity,” Goyne said. “I was proud and happy to know Col. Abbas, his officers, NCOs and fellow soldiers. That amount represents a month’s salary for most of those soldiers.”Abbas read a letter he wrote after giving the envelope to Linkenhoker.

"I am Colonel Abbas Fadhil; Tadji Military Base Commander,” Abbas wrote.

“On behalf of myself and all the People of Tadji Military Base; I would like to console the American People and Government for getting this horrible disaster. So we would like to donate 1.000.000 Iraqi Dinars to help the government and the People also I would like to console all the ASTs who helped us rebuilding our country and our Army. We appreciate the American's help and support. Thank you."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Canada's Viability as a Country is in Serious Doubt

Canada's Viability as a Country is in Serious Doubt
It almost seems as if the foolish dithering prime minister of Canada Paul Martin, has deliberately set up the cogs in motion for the dissolution of Canada. Certainly his appointment of a Haittian born CBC news reader, with dual French and Canadian citizenship, if is as researched as he contends then he has just dealt a strong hand to Quebec sepratists and former terrorist who are part of her social circle.

In western Canada more and more young people are considering the prospect of separation due to feelings of alienation by the government in Ottawa which is put in power by the politically challenged voters of Ontario.

Whereas once Pierre Trudeau a strong, charismatic ( but wrong headed) prime minister fought for a strong federal government, the current prime minister Mr. Dithers has a day dream of something he calls "asymetric federalism" which leaves little room for a strong country called Canada.

In liberal circles it is equated with racism to pronounce your pride in Canada's proud history during the wars. I'm sad to say that I can find little left to be proud of in the current Canadian political climate and I believe that the country is inevitably drifting apart.

It seems Peter Worthington has come to the same conclusion:

More and more I have come to the conclusion that we would be better off as part of the United States. Think of the economic juggernaut that would create!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

If you think it's hot here, you should try Iraq.......

...........with full body armour no less. It's so hot in Iraq right now that the average person from North America can't comprehend it. Around here in Toronto we are having are a record hot summer with temperatures consistently above 30 degrees Celcius and into the high 40's with the humidity off Lake Ontario. But Iraq is off the scale. I've read a number of posts in various Soldiers blogs but none so eloquently describe what American Soldiers are dealing with (besides the terrorists) than Thunder6. If you are following the War on Terror you should be reading Thunder6. Here's two of his posts on the topic of heat:

August 16, 2005

We are all in thrall to the fulgid patriarch that boils the summer sky. In Baghdad the sun claims dominion over all, there is no sector of the city that doesn’t bow before its scathing wrath. The sun is utterly pitiless; those foolish enough to shed tears in the blistering onslaught would find the drops evaporating before they hit the ground.

The heat is manageable, even with body armor. Miserable, but manageable. The sheer force of the sun is another matter entirely. The rays burn down with such force that the palm groves here rain down boiling sap. And manmade structures fare much, much worse.

Yesterday our patrol linked up with an armored task force and we fell in line behind some M1 Abrams tanks. As soon as we settled in behind the tank we noticed it was leaving soot black impressions on the roads as it rolled by. It seemed like some massive stamp pad was leaving a breadcrumb trail of hundreds of jet impressions in perfectly symmetrical lines.

It took us less then a minute to realize the superheated asphalt was literally melting the tanks rubber track pads. Boots suffer the same fate, if you stand in place too long you will often find the spongy roads have settled around your soles like so much boiling tar.

I’m really starting to miss the rainy season... even if it does mean ankle deep mud.

August 14, 2005

Range Day

The M4 carbine is a lethal tool, but in the end it is just that… a tool. The situation profoundly changes when that tool is placed in the hands of a trained infantryman. It is as if the two exist in some martial symbiosis; each taking, each giving. When an infantryman picks up a rifle those carefully machined components stop being callous collections of metal and become the fluid extension of his will. The catalyst for this hybridization isn’t some technological marvel – it’s the natural result of trigger time.

When I say trigger time I’m not referring to pressing a button on a video console. Comparing first person shooting games to combat marksmanship is like comparing a ride on the plastic pony in front of a supermarket with saddling up a thoroughbred. If you want to be deadly accurate there is no substitute for being on a range.

This of course means that even here in Baghdad we have to set up firing ranges to hone our marksmanship skills. Today I was tasked with serving as the OIC (Officer In Charge) of the firing range while Killer Company’s platoons confirmed their optics.

Under most circumstances I would jump at the chance to spend a day on the range; but today wasn't just hot, it was infernal. The sun flared like with star gone nova, the heat compunded by our thick layers of body armor. By time the range was ready to go I was well on my way to being parboiled. As the trapped pools of sweat started soaking through my uniform all I wanted was to get away from the crushing heat. Since that wasn’t a viable option I just focused on watching platoon after platoon fire their weapon. Out of sheer curiosity I pulled out a small backpacking thermometer to index the misery. The little thermometer made it to 122 degrees before the heat burned out the LCD.

When it gets this hot you have to drink water in great heaving swallows even when you don’t feel thirsty. If you are drinking too much, too fast you will know in less then a minute - the only thing more uncomfortable then wrapping yourself in an armored sauna is the bloated feeling that comes from having water slosh around your distended stomach. As the hours ticked by I emptied bottle after bottle and watched as a slow parade of troops confirmed their accuracy. Despite the sun’s bright tirade the day passed without incident and the range came to a successful conclusion. It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t fun, but in the end every troop on came away knowing that their weapons were once again dutiful agents of their will. And that knowledge is a very valuable thing indeed.

You can read his excellent posts here:

Friday, August 05, 2005

Boots in Baghdad

As I've mentioned before, I started my occasional blogging, when I was made aware of a Soldier's Blog hosted by Blogger and the only way to comment on their posts was to register at Blogger. That gave me an opportunity to start this blog, which is no great shakes I admit. Hell, I can't even figure out how to get my profile, which arbitrarily decided to relocate to the bottom of the page, back to the top of the page.

Which brings me to the subject of a remarkable young man, Spc. Miner, an infantry Soldier serving in Iraq. Baghdad to be exact. Which is why his blog is called 'Boots in Baghdad'.

Spc. Miner is what is in military parlance known as a Grunt. He's an Infantry Soldier at the pointy end of the stick, doing daily patrols in Baghdad. And he still finds the time to blog!!! And his optimism is infectious.

And it's not just an ordinary run of the mil (pun intended) blog. It's an ambitous, creative, well produced blog that has a component for pictures; another recently created for videos, and I see today he's posted a song written and performed by one of his mates.

Many people, too many, think that Soldiers who sign on to do grunt work are too stupid to do anything else. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Spc. Miner is a shining example of that. He is thoughtful, caring, courageous, and intelligent. He is man who is goin places. You only have to vist his blog to see that.

Previously I have written in praise of American Soldiers and I'm proud to do so again. I'm a Canadian who is proud to have served in the Armed Forces of my country and I have a soft spot in my heart for Soldiers both Canadian and American, it's just that I've not found a Canadian Soldier blog to discuss.

We are in a war whether you want to believe it or not, for our very civilization. Thank God for the likes of Spc. Miner who describes his bog thus:

"I am a twenty-two year old National Guard Infantryman serving in Baghdad. I've been in Iraq for nine months now. As hard and discouraging as it can be at times... there is no where else I would rather be at this stage in my life. I am sharing my experiences in an effort to portray to anyone interested what life is like here for American soldiers. Please keep in mind that the views and opinions I may share are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for my unit, the National Guard, the United States Army, the Department of Defense or any other governmental agency within or affiliated with the United States."

I encourage you to visit his blog:

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Finally!! A Canadian General who tells it like it is!!

For too many years the Chief of The Defence Staff of Canadian Forces have been little more than bureaucrats with no real soldiering ability. The Last Canadian fighting general we had was Lew MacKenzie, who commanded the UN forces in Bosnia in 1993. He was passed over for Chief of Defense Staff because he was a soldier's soldier. Now we have in General Rick Hillier a soldier's soldier. His words were music to my ears:


By DANIEL LEBLANC The Globe and MailFriday, July 15, 2005

OTTAWA -- Canada's elite JTF2 soldiers are heading to Afghanistan as part of a 2,000-troop deployment that will target the "detestable murderers and scumbags" behind the rise in international terrorism, General Rick Hillier said yesterday.In a blunt briefing that signalled a new aggressiveness at the top of the Canadian Forces, the Chief of the Defence Staff said the impending operations are risky but necessary in light of last week's bombings in the British public-transit system.

"The London attack actually tells us once more: We can't let up," Gen. Hillier told reporters.He said terrorists are ready to target Canada as much as any other Western country and that Canadians have to be aware that their soldiers are in for some "risky business" as they head out to Afghanistan.It was the first time Gen. Hillier has confirmed that members of the Joint Task Force 2 -- the country's secretive commando team -- will be involved in combat missions against the remnants of the former Taliban regime and supporters of al-Qaeda.

"These are detestable murderers and scumbags, I'll tell you that right up front. They detest our freedoms, they detest our society, they detest our liberties," Gen. Hillier said. He stressed the new face of the Canadian Forces, which he said are now focused on the first job at hand: protecting Canadian interests at home and abroad.

"We're not the public service of Canada, we're not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people."

Previous Canadian missions in Afghanistan have provided security in Kabul, the capital. But the next three missions, involving 2,000 troops, will be heavily centred in the southern mountains, where soldiers will be called upon to hunt down and fight the insurgents.Gen. Hillier said Canada is already in the crosshairs of the terrorists, and he does not believe it becomes a bigger target by participating in military operations that give hope to the Afghans.

"We're not going to let those radical murderers and killers rob from others and certainly we're not going to let them rob from Canada," he said.He pointed out that during the Second World War, Canadian soldiers did not shy away from fighting the Nazis."Did they say, 'No we might be attacked over here if we actually stand up against those despicable murderers and bastards?' No, they did not," Gen. Hillier said.

The native of Newfoundland has been the top soldier in Canada for five months. Bolstered by a growing budget, he is promising a "radical transformation" of the forces to make them more effective in their daily operations.With his straight-talking style, Gen. Hillier has already effected a major change at the top of the military hierarchy in comparison with his blander predecessor, General Ray Henault.

Gen. Hillier is a popular figure among the troops, and he has impressed his political bosses with his vision for the forces.His goal now is to rally Canadians behind the military and convince young talent to join the expanding forces.He would not speak about the number of potential casualties among Canadian troops in Afghanistan, while stating there is no such thing as a safe mission."You can't reduce the risk to zero," he said.

The recent Canadian rotations in Afghanistan have been centred at Camp Julien in Kabul. Gen. Hillier said that the coming missions will "shift the centre of gravity to Kandahar," the area of southern Afghanistan that saw the rise of the Taliban.The goal is to bring stability and democracy to the area, he said, adding that this is "the exact opposite of what people like Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and those others want.

"Later this month, 250 Edmonton-based soldiers will head out to southern Afghanistan to form what is known as a Provincial Reconstruction Team.The soldiers will be accompanied by officials from the RCMP and the Canadian International Development Agency, the federal aid agency, to develop ties with local officials and help with the reconstruction of the war-torn area.In addition, 700 soldiers from Petawawa, Ont., are heading to Kabul to help the Afghan authority conduct a general election, planned for September.

After the vote, a large portion of the forces will move down south to join the PRT and prepare for the arrival of the biggest deployment in Kandahar.In February of next year, about 1,100 soldiers will set up a new camp in the area, heading up a new multinational brigade that will eventually operate under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, alongside American troops already in the area.

Gen. Hillier also said the army is sending at least 100 armoured vehicles to Sudan. The Grizzlys are military surplus and several will be sent later this month, with the remainder to follow, he said.

Canada's role in AfghanistanThe Canadian Forces are entering a new stage in their operations as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in coming months, with a renewed focus on the more volatile southern region of the country.Three distinct deployments involving more than 2,000 soldiers are in the works, culminating with the presence early next year of a combat force in Kandahar, the birthplace of the terrorist-supporting Taliban regime.


Late July and early August:250 soldiers leave Edmonton to join a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Kandahar. The goal is to patrol the area in armoured G-Wagons and forge ties with local officials during the six-month mission.

Late July and early August:700 soldiers from Petawawa, Ont., head out for Kabul to provide security for the general election, scheduled for September.

Late 2005: After the vote, a number of them will join the PRT and prepare for the arrival of a Canadian-led multinational brigade in Kandahar.

January-February, 2006:1,100 soldiers from Edmonton head out to Kandahar, which will be the home-base for the Canadian-led multinational brigade. Canada will ensure leadership of the brigade for nine months, but the Canadian Forces will provide troops for a full year.

In addition to patrolling streets in G-Wagons, the Canadian Forces will use larger armoured vehicles to hunt terrorists and Taliban supporters.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Will the British Learn From This?

Some of the things I'm reading suggest that, while all the right words are being said; "They will Fail" "They will not destroy the British Way of Life" etc. ,seem to be empty rhetoric. I'm concerned that the British Way of Life has so morphed under multiculturalism and liberal political correctness that the definition of the British Way of Life has become mushy.

The situation is the same here in Canada even though, now Muslim clerics are starting to speak out against these attacks, the suspicion lingers that these are half hearted if not mere dissembling remarks. Where are the Muslim clerics who demand the capture and trial of these vermon.

England has nearly 2 million Muslims living there. A large percentage of them don't consider themselves British, but rather Muslims living in Britain who have nothing but contempt for the British Way of Life. I believe Britain is going to have to suffer more such tragic events before the Liberal blinkers come off. Currently these liberals prohibit racial profiling. When the IRA were bombing the British mainland it didn't take long to figure out where they were coming from. How much more will it take for Britain to wake up to the enemy in their midst?

What follows is a commentary by Cal Follows that spells out my concerns.
Horrific reminder . . . with prelude
By Cal ThomasJuly 11, 2005
PORTSTEWART, Northern Ireland.

The words heard most often by political leaders, commentators and citizens after the London terrorist bombings were "shocked, but not surprised."

No one should have been surprised because Britain, like the United States, has created a welcoming atmosphere for terrorists and allowed them the fertile soil they need to grow and carry out their murderous acts among us. Just as a lifelong smoker should not be surprised when diagnosed with lung cancer, neither should Britain and America be surprised when people who refuse to adopt Western notions of pluralism, tolerance and individual liberty kill and maim innocent people they and their religious masters label "Zionists and crusaders."

In Britain, proposed "hate crimes" laws have sought to forbid even the few clergy still worth hearing from saying homosexuality is a sin. No such laws have been proposed to stop radical Islamic Imams from preaching hatred of Jews, Christians and Western values.

Leftist lawyers eagerly defend the radicals. They are more concerned about the treatment of killers at Guantanamo Bay and the "atrocities" performed on Abu Ghraib prisoners, who would kill us if they had the chance, than the seething masses eager to strap a bomb to their bodies and end their worthless lives while killing "infidels."

The pattern should be familiar by now. A terrorist act is committed. Western leaders condemn it in the "strongest possible terms." Pledges are made that the killers will not achieve their goals and our way of life will continue. Muslim leaders issue statements condemning the killing of "innocents." To them, though, innocents are people who are not "Zionists and crusaders," so the condemnation's sincerity is suspect.

The Times interviewed two young Muslim men in East London, a neighborhood with a large Muslim population. Nineteen-year-old Kadar Duale said he doesn't believe the London bombings were carried out by al Qaeda, but "by someone more powerful, like the Israelis." Such thinking is not isolated among a few radicals.

Amir Taheri, an Iranian commentator on Middle Eastern Affairs, wrote a column for the Times of London on July 8, in which he demonstrated the kind of clear thinking that seems to have eluded muddleheaded politicians and other self-deluded people who yammer for the TV camera: "You are dealing with an enemy that does not want anything specific, and cannot be talked back into reason through anger management or roundtable discussions. Or, rather, this enemy does want something specific: to take full control of your lives, dictate every single move you make round the clock and, if you dare resist, he will feel it is his divine duty to kill you."

A Sunday Times survey taken just after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States found 4 in 10 British Muslims (there are as many as 2 million) believed Osama bin Laden justified in his war against America. A similar number said Britons who choose to fight with the Taliban are right to do so. Another opinion poll for the Asian radio station Sunrise found 98 percent of London Muslims under 45 said they would not fight for Britain; 48 percent said they would take up arms for bin Laden [ed note: Times of London, Nov. 4, 2001].

In view of these beliefs and repeated acts of terror, the incitements against all things Western, Jewish and Christian in who knows how many mosques in Britain and the U.S., the teaching of seditious ideas in radical Islamic schools funded by our "friends" the Saudis, and the refusal of most Muslim communities to assimilate and learn the language, history and practices of their host countries, why do Britain and the United States continue to allow such things within their borders?

Unless we are prepared to accept continued terrorist attacks as "normal" because of some sick understanding of tolerance and pluralism, we had better do whatever is necessary to root out these people and forbid any more from entering our countries.

Shortly after September 11, 2001, Mohammed Abdullah, a 22-year-old accountant from Luton was quoted in the Times: "We don't perceive ourselves as British Muslims. We are Muslims who live in Britain. All Muslims in Britain view supporting the jihad as a religious duty."

In the face of such comments and actions like the latest terrorist bombing, Britain and America should consider what Mark Steyn wrote in a Daily Telegraph column July 8 (and in his column in today's edition of this newspaper): "If the governing class goes about business as usual, that's not a stiff upper lip, but a death wish."

Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush's Speech on Iraq

Bush gave one hell of speech yesterday and the Dems are all over him. Unfortunately for them Bush means what he says and follows through. He will continue the mission in Iraq. Amercan Soldiers will prevail.

Bush said he was prepared to spend the political capital he earned during the last election. Even though some turncoat Republicans are coming out against the war in preparation for next year's elections Bush will prevail. He is the Commander in Chief of the the American Armed Forces and doesn't give a damn about the polls. He is concerened about doing the right thing and he will.

History will judge him well.

Friday, May 20, 2005

American Soldiers, Soccer and Iraqi Kids

An American Soldier in Iraq named Michael writes a very interesting blog called A Day In Iraq. He's a very fine writer and fine example of the modern American Soldier.

Michael puts himself in harms way voluntarily on a daily basis. In his off time, which is seldom, he concerns himself with how he can help to improve the life of Iraqi kids. Recently he came up with an idea of starting a drive to get soccer balls to as may Iraqi children as he can.

The idea is not a new one as many other American Soldiers have come up with the same thing. However what is so compelling about Michael's idea is the amount of heart and thought that went into it. You can read about it here:

Operation Soccer Ball

I was sitting on guard the other night, trying desperately to do something productive, or at least think of something productive to get me through the four hours of boredom. I started thinking about all the good things that are happening in Iraq, the things that you’ll never hear about on your nightly news or read about in your morning newspaper. Whether the terrorists, the media, or misinformed public know it or not, democracy in Iraq is on the move. Like a freight train, whose momentum can’t be slowed, so it is with freedom and democracy in Iraq. There is no stopping it. It’s no longer The Little Engine That Could, crying out “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”Iraq is now the Big Engine that Did, having already climbed the mountain of heartache and sorrow to reach the plateau of promise, the view of peace and prosperity in its sights, flourishing in the valley below. There is still work to be done though. That train is still on the plateau, but I have no doubt it will soon reach the downward slope, momentum taking over, propelling it downward, with nothing to impede its progress down the prosperous path in its future.

Maybe it’s naive of me to think I can do something to help it reach that slope, but I’ll be damned if I don’t try. Sure we’re out here fighting the good fight, pursuing the bad guys in every corner of Iraq. Sure we’re building schools, rebuilding infrastructure, helping restore pride in Iraqis for their country. Sure we’re helping to establish and nurture a government from its infancy to one that will soon be heard on the world stage. Sure we’re spreading good old fashion American Goodwill throughout Iraq, as only our great country can. Naysayer’s be damned, I’m proud of what we’re doing in Iraq, and I’m proud to be a small part of it. The critics can sit on the sidelines like cackling hyenas’, salivating over the misfortunes and casualties of this war, but we’re in the arena actually doing something. You’re doing something. The good old US of A is doing something to make Iraq and the world a better, safer, more prosperous place to live. But I want to do something more. I look forward to every time I go outside these gates, the opportunity to hunt down a terrorist driving me onward. It’s why I signed up, why I don’t mind being over here away from my family for a year. Sure I may voice my frustrations on this blog, but those frustrations aren’t meant to diminish the honor I feel in serving our country and helping the people of Iraq. This blog may be nothing more than the inane rambling of a wanta be writer, with no value to its author or readers, but maybe I can turn it into something of value, something good and worthwhile. So that’s when I came up with an idea.

What are the Iraqi people in general, and the Iraqi children in particular, passionate about? In a word, soccer. Actually it’s football to them, but we know it as soccer. They have more passion for the game of soccer than we ever thought of having for football or baseball. I’ve yet to meet a child, or an adult for that matter, who doesn’t have at least some interest in the game of soccer. Forget bowl season, the World Series, March Madness, and the Super Bowl, they don’t care. Their ‘Field of Dreams’ isn’t a baseball field in the middle of an Iowa cornfield. Their ‘Field of Dreams’ is a soccer field in any open area of Iraq. Streets, fields, farms, the dusty ground off the side of the road, or the lush green land of a farm. On sand or on pavement, no place is safe from the stampeding feet of Iraqis chasing a soccer ball. In every mission I’ve been on, I’ve never once failed to witness a game of soccer.

On one overcast evening, before the sun had fully set, I saw a group of men divided into teams, each wearing bright pastel jerseys. These jerseys contrasted beautifully against the tall green grass and the light gray color of the cloud filled sky. There was something electric about the whole scene, reminding me of Saturday night football games on a college campus in America during the fall. I’ve seen this same scene through the thermal sights of my Bradley, each player a bright red figure, indicating the heat radiating from their body as they chase the precious ball. More often the scene is of children in rags playing on the dry hard packed dirt of a schoolyard. They’re all passionately chasing that elusive soccer ball.

If they don’t have a soccer ball they’ll use anything as a substitute. I’ve seen kids kicking around a rock with as much passion and glee than if they were playing in the World Championship. They need soccer balls, and I want to give them one. What a better way to convey the goodwill of America and American soldiers than by giving them the soccer balls that they so desperately desire. You want to continue to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis, give them the tool that will enable them to do something they love. Besides guns and ammo, every humvee, tank, truck, Bradley, Stryker, and helicopter should come armed with soccer balls as well. How I would love to be standing out the top of my humvee, having the guys below feed soccer balls up to me, so I could then throw them to any children I pass. Why not airplanes too? I can picture C130's flying over cities and towns throughout Iraq, dropping soccer balls from its cargo hold with little parachutes attached to each one. It’s doable. Crazier things have happened. Or have helicopters hover over a school during recess and drop a bunch of soccer balls to the delight of the kids below. We can rain down hellfire on the heads of terrorists, turn around, and shower the good people of Iraq with peace in the form of a soccer ball. The love of sports, in this case soccer, can be an instrument of peace and a bond that is common to us all. It will transcend our cultural differences and our languages. It will also mitigate the feelings of some Iraqis that see our presence in their land as aggravating.

Imagine the anticipation, the childlike excitement, that would fill the hearts of thousands of children upon seeing a U.S. soldier, or vehicle, delivering the gift of soccer balls. Sure the children need school supplies, clothes, and shoes, but what would you rather have as a kid. I can’t begin to count how many times kids have asked me, “Mister football.”Those other items are important. I’m not discounting that, but there are plenty of other organizations that are doing good work supplying them. There’s something wrong when it’s easier for a kid to get their hands on an AK that it is a soccer ball. Terrorists are a dying breed. Who are these kids going to look up to more? People who bring chaos and terror into their lives, or Americans who bring peace and soccer balls?

So how can I do this. How can I get soccer balls into the hands of Iraqis? I’m open for suggestions. I thought about a website that would help facilitate getting soccer balls from Americans back home to the soldiers here in Iraq. I was thinking of some kind of forum or message board based site linking people with soldiers, but I don’t have the time or expertise to accomplish something like that. We would have to have some way of spreading the wealth around all of Iraq. I don’t want just one area of Iraq receiving soccer balls. I want every corner of Iraq covered. Maybe everyone living east of the Mississippi River could send balls to soldiers or units stationed east of the Tigris River and vice versa. Of course, not only would we need people willing to send soccer balls, but also soldiers willing to receive them and distribute them. I don’t think there would be a problem with soldiers distributing them once they received them, but the problem would be to get addresses of soldiers or units. Or maybe it wouldn’t. I don’t know.

Maybe we could get the Department of Defense involved in some way. That would be ideal. They could be a clearing house for the delivery of the balls into Iraq and spreading them throughout. Maybe the Honorable Secretary Rumsfeld would sign off on it. He may think it’s a good idea. The DOD could set up a place for everyone in the states to send their soccer balls. The DOD could even donate their own soccer balls. Forget the $160,000 new sight that our Bradley needs. We can use another Bradley in our platoon, which we’ve been doing anyway. Put the money toward soccer balls. How many can that buy? Close to 20,000. Buying soccer balls with that money would do more for the war effort than that one Bradley ever would. Who needs a Bradley? I’d rather go out in humvees anyway. Hell, I’d rather go out on a bicycle. Forget about the most wanted playing cards. Why not put the faces of the most wanted on those 20,000 soccer balls. Imagine thousands of Iraqi kids kicking around a ball with Zarqawi’s likeness on it. That would be a beautiful sight. This culture frowns upon showing someone the bottom of your feet or placing one’s foot on another person. It would help foster contempt for terrorists and manage to humiliate each person on the most wanted list.

Corporations could get involved as well. They could place their logo on each ball. Imagine the exposure and positive publicity they would receive after donating a few thousand balls. Nike would be a good one. Come on Phil, how about 5,000 balls with a big swoosh emblazoned on each one. Microsoft and Mr. Gates could buy a ball for every person in Iraq, but I’ll settle for another 5,000. They could mark each one with the name of their latest software. The possibilities are endless. What a great way for New York City to win its bid in hosting the 2012 Olympics than by sending 5,000 soccer balls with New York 2012 stamped on each one. I think Paris is in the running as well. France wanted nothing to do with the war, but they could send soccer balls to help with the peace. They might even manage to earn my respect again. Hollywood could get involved too. You know those movie stars, they’re always looking for some charity to attach their names to. High school and college soccer teams could donate used soccer balls. These kids don’t care if it’s used, anything is better than a rock. Web sites hoping for that elusive exposure could donate as well.

How about the blogging community. Glenn could send a bunch of instaballs. Drudge could spread the word throughout the world in one hour. The military blogging community in particular could help spread the word.

I bet Greyhawk and his wife wouldn’t mind spreading the word. We could get traditional media outlets involved as well. They could at least help spread the word. More than any of these, I need you. I need you to spread the word. I need you to contact any soldier that you know serving in Iraq. I need you to donate balls. I don’t care if we get 100 or one million balls into the hands of the Iraqi children. Each one will make a difference. We soldiers can only get so many packages filled with snacks, baby wipes, magazines, and other nonessential items. Don’t get me wrong, these packages are greatly appreciated, but I bet the majority of us wouldn’t mind sacrificing a few packages for a soccer ball that we can pass on to some kid.

Every kid should have a soccer ball, even the girls, especially the girls. They are the most precious segment of the Iraqi population. We could start an Iraqi women’s soccer movement. Why not? It could help liberate them from the background of obscurity that this society already places them in, even at a young age. I want to be able to give a soccer ball to that shy little girl standing behind the boys, watching her angelic face become a bright shining light as I reach over the boy’s head’s to place a ball into her hands. Of course there will be so many balls that the boys standing in front of her will have already received one. Maybe one day they can field an Iraqi women’s Olympic soccer team. They could make their entrance onto the world stage at the 2012 Summer Olympics in New York City.

You may think all of this is impossible, but I don’t. When I dream, I dream big. If you’re going to dream, might as well dream big. So I’d thought about all of this and wrote it down on paper when I decided to do a search on the internet for any similar plan out there. I went to google, typed in operation soccer ball and hit the search button. Guess what? Yep, three different pages appeared in the search results here, here, and here. I was amazed, and yet not surprised that someone would have thought of this before me. You can read the stories yourself, but one in particular really amazed me. Some Kiowa pilots from the 1st Cavalry Division had actually been dropping soccer balls from their helicopters after completing their mission’s. They even dubbed their little project Operation Soccer Ball. Are you kidding me? There are pilots out there that are actually willing to do it. One story in particular really stuck out.

“I remember this one time when we came down, ready to drop a few balls and we see this kid standing off in the distance. He had his arm cocked back to his ear, just ready to hurl a rock at us. I pulled one of the balls out and tossed it to him. The kid just stood there for a second, like he really wasn’t sure what to do, but then he dropped that rock, grabbed the ball and gave us the thumbs up. That was cool,” Chief Warrant Officer Sonny Hinchman, Kiowa pilot.

Man, that’s beautiful. At first I was a little frustrated to read that others had the same idea before me. I felt like I was arriving late to the party. Then I thought, well why not take it to the next level. I’ll be the guy that arrives fashionably late, kicking off the party in style. They say they’ve procured 1000 soccer balls. That’s wonderful but nowhere close to the number of balls that we can and should provide for these people. These men can claim all the credit for starting the project. I don’t care. I want no credit. Maybe we can make a difference together.

You can read more of Michael's excellent posts at

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Meet Major K

Major K is an intellgence officer with the American Infantry Brigade in which Coporal Glenn Watkins served and died. This is from Major K's blog:
April 17, 2005

Ladies & Gentlemen, We got 'em!

I am finally able to post this one because I now have reasonable certainty that we have all off the scumbags involved in the killing of CPL Watkins in custody. They all went down without a fight when we burst through their doors in the middle of the night. We got the first 2 about a week ago and have since rounded up the others. I hope that CPL Watkins is pleased with us as he looks down from above. These cowards are going for a nice long stay in Abu Ghurayb Prison. It took a while to drill down the details but the wait was so worth it. Most of the time, I hate being the Battalion Intelligence Officer, as I am an infantryman by training and most of my experience. Times like these, however, it is a great job, as not only do I head up the detective work that goes into catching these guys, but I get to go through the door with the assault team on the raid that bags them. The bigger fight is far from over, however, and after another 28 hour shift on the job, I conked out for about 3 hours to be awakened by fresh developments from informants. I woke, worked again for another 20 minutes to provide guidance to my staff and then conked back out. That was a few days ago. We are back to the grind looking for other scumbags, like the ones that killed a guy from our sister battalion here on the FOB. I hate RPG's. Back to Work!

Read more from Major K here: