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July 10, 2007

Dear Mary Jo

I read your very public letter today and I was deeply saddened by it, though not for the reasons one might expect. You see I have a son too.

Like your young man, my son straps on a gun every morning, and body armor. Like the young man you raised, my son made a decision to use his strength, though he is not a large man, to protect the weak against those who prey upon them. He did this because his father and I taught him there is a difference between right and wrong. We taught him that people of good will must always stand up for what they believe in, even when this becomes difficult.

Even when the cost is great.

He did this because his father and I taught him that the rule of law is important; that it is the only thing which stands between us and chaos and when evil men refuse to listen to reason unfortunately it sometimes becomes necessary to enforce the rules of law. Otherwise law quickly becomes meaningless and chaos takes over.

We saw that chaos last year in Anbar, but recently order has begun to be restored and there is peace in most of that region. We are seeing that chaos now in Baghdad, in some areas where we don't yet have enough security forces to enforce the rule of law. Men like your son - good men - are trying to solve that problem. They are trying to create order, trying to bring hope to people who have not known hope before. That is, truly, a heroic task; the best of tasks against which a man can pit his intellect, his strength, his cunning, his character.

And yet you call him a pawn?

Madam, your son may be young, but he is not a child. My son was only 22 when he decided to strap on a gun and become a police officer. If I had a dime for every person who said to me then, "You can't be too happy about that!", I'd be a wealthy woman now.

They were wrong. I could not be prouder of my son's choice. He is a man and he has chosen to serve his community in the best way; to give something back to the world instead of taking from it. What better example of my teachings could there be than to offer to the world a son who goes forth and protects the weak, who stands up for what is right, who will not allow tyrannical men to take over and substitute their will for the rule of law?

And yet you publicly name your son a pawn? Do you not think such a term demeans him? Madam, I am forced to wonder to what use you put your expensive Columbia education. You may certainly question the means to an end, or the political efficacy of the war. But now that your son has chosen to fight, do you not owe him some small measure of respect?

Surely you understand the concept of adulthood, of making one's own decisions, of cutting the umbilical cord? If your son chooses a bride of whom you do not approve, will you publish a public statement to the effect that he was somehow helpless to resist her, too?

You may never agree with this war.

You may never approve of what he has chosen to do with his life. But try to learn about it. Try to understand it. You may be surprised to find something you can respect:

The Iraqi military man has a reputation for being a wild shot, a "spray and pray" aimer who never learned the discipline of marksmanship. This comes into direct conflict with the USMC "locked and cocked" discipline under-fire mindset of the Marine rifleman. When rounds come down range, a Marine is trained to find cover, snap in, aim and shoot back. One shot for one kill is what recruits shout incessantly while marching on Marine Corps firing ranges. The art of shooting and "finding center mass," that sweet spot that will put an enemy to rest, permanently, is a Marine's goal.

Solid positioning, finger pointed off the trigger, exhaling and a steady squeeze are the key to finding center mass—to hitting a target that looks like a lying dogs, but could eventually become a dangerous man. Young Iraqi soldiers, some of whom have never been inside a classroom, watch Sergeant Ezel explain the basics with the aid of his interpreter. Some soldiers are distracted, doze off, but they should listen. With two tours in Iraq and one tour of Afghanistan this Michigan native has experienced foreign cultures far away from home, but Marine Corps firearm training is universal.

Back on the range, Sergeant Ezel told his pupils to hit the deck. He barked commands in Marine Corps Arabic, a clipped, barbed version of the semetic tongue that is effective for simple ideas: "Look", "stop", "fire". The soldiers dropped to the bare ground and snapped into the prone. The Marines observe breathing, positioning and confidence with the weapon. They taught a slow steady pull on the trigger, the slightest jolt is multiplied by inches, feet, yards as the shooter pulls farther from the target, farther from the kill. Like the sound of corn popping, when all the weapons are firing there's a steady stream of bullets hitting the dirt packed berm, some rounds finding their target, others hitting packed dirt.

Marines are good at what they do. There is no one better. Your son has joined an elite force - a force to be proud of. Miles away at Camp Fallujah, a Marine Dad, also an embedded reporter, meets up with an artillery battery from Camp Lejeune:

My presence here at camp Fallujah is becomming familiar lately, and many of the folks here are reading this blog and making positive comments. I was invited along to meet the marines of T-Battery, 3/10 Marines, from Camp Lejune, NC, today. It was once again, another example of a well oiled component of the big machine, that remains relatively unknown in the "big media", but everyone here surely hears them, and many on the ground depend on "Arty" being well on top of his game.

Just on the outter edges the main body of camp Fallujah, lays two big guns, of Tango Battery. Each gun is operated by a section of about 10-marines each.
I honed in on Section 4, and the marines under the direction of Sgt. Ryan Siler, 22-years-old, from Tallequah, Oklahoma. This part of Oklahoma is a place on the map I know well, for very near there, my oldest daughter and her husband, and their three childdren have a ranch about 20-miles or so from there. So, I was drawn to Sgt. Siler at first, based on a geographical connection, yet I soon came to find out that this young man, who stands over 6'-tall, has a leadership aura about him that is impressive.

What I learned from Sgt. Siler and his crew was that "making the loud booms" is actually a fine science and an intense amount of rapid communcation and coordination goes into each and every mission.
Siler's section, #4, has named their gun, "crazy Lou"
after a good friend of Mr. Siler's from Willmington, DE, who is 87-yrears-old, and in constant contact with Siler, during his deployment here at camp Fallujah.

In brief, what happens, is this. Something, somewhere, triggered by a blip on a radar, or communication from grunts down range about enemy movements, sends a signal to a command post, which inturns sends a signal to a room close by to where the big guns are, and at that time, a radio notification, on loud speaker alerts the marines of section 4, as well as section 3's gun, that a "mission is on". In a split second, 8-10 marines from each section's hooch, scramble immediately to their position on their respective "big gun", and as a fine tuned orchestra in play, all move together in unison and load their big gun while at the same time dial in exact coordinates to where their payload will be "delivered".

Three times today, while interviewing marines directly involved in this type of operation, we were interrupted by "alerts" and I was able to watch the "music" play. It was a fine sight to see. However, on this day, each of the three times I witnessed these men "do their thing", the mission was called off for various reasons. It was explained to me by Sgt.
Siler, that sometimes, in a fluid environment, things just change that fast, but, at any time thereafter, it could change right back. Siler tells me that sometimes they could have 1-missison a day, and at other times, they could have upwards of 40-missions a day. The main point is, they are "on call" 24/7, live in a location away from the center of camp Fallujah, and basically, eat, drink and breathe their mission, at ALL times, during their deployment here.

Sgt. Siler told me that he and his men like to think of "crazy Lou", as revele for Mother Earth. I laughed when he told me this. Everyone knows when Arty is working. I explained to Sgt. Siler, that my son Jesse, (deceased), had told me he was wanting to end up in the Artilary for his carreer in the Marines, after he received his commission. I remember Jesse always liking to "blow things up". I asked each of the marines I spoke with today if indeed they were kids that loved firecrackers and cherry bombs.? When I asked this, they all laughed and told me stories how each of them had gotten in trouble for such things like that and one even told me a story of a potatoe gun that he built and got in big trouble with as a kid. I remarked that I had similar experiences with both my sons and for the first time in a long time, I really smiled thinking about my boys playing with things that go boom, and not worrying about the consequences.

When Sgt. Siler heard about Jesse, he asked me the correct spelling of his name. I readily told him, "2nd Lt. Jesse James Spiri, USMC, (deceased)".
At that, he directed one of his marines to "autograph"
one high explosive round and one illumination round with Jesse's full name on it. I took my glasses off, and caught my breath.

Tonight, when sitting at this computer, trying to compose my thoughts for the day, there were several big BOOMS... The window rattled, the hooch shook, and I knew that this night, in Iraq, somewhere over the full moon clear sky, in the land where Abraham and Sarah wandered, some illumination round with my son Jesse's name on it, was lighting up the sky.

I've done a lot of things lately among the marines.
Tonight, when I heard the booms, compliments of Sgt.
Siler and his section 4, and the big gun named "Crazy Lou", I had a big smile on my face and once again learned that this journey is so much bigger than me.

I am glad to be here and meet such men who do such things.

Mary Jo, the world is a strange place.

For those of us who wait here at home, it's a safe bet that we didn't plan on having our loved ones in harm's way. But the thing is, it isn't given to any of us to make decisions for the ones we love. My husband is in Baghdad this year.

My son is a police officer every day.

I could spend my life wasting away in bitterness, glued to the television set, consumed by worry, dreading that midnight telephone call or that knock on the door. What a horrible, horrible waste.

I choose life. I choose to be proud of the two men I love, to be proud of their choices. And I understand that they are separate people, with separate lives from mine. They are free and independent beings, no matter how much I love them. I would not try to rein them in, nor criticize their choices. And I would never shame them by implying they were "pawns" when they made a free and willing choice.

Take pride, Mary Jo. You raised a man. And a man does what he thinks is right, even if his Mom doesn't agree.

CWCID: Lex, who also had a great take. See also Andi, who is (as always) far nicer than the Princess.

Posted by Cassandra at July 10, 2007 05:03 PM

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Posted by: caltechgirl at July 10, 2007 07:07 PM

I'm passing this along to my wife. I've been asked to volunteer for six months in Iraq training Iraqi forces in classified activities. She is adamantly opposed. I've been in the military for 26 years, long before I met her, and you have eloquently expressed what I have been unable to say.

God bless and keep you, your husband, and your son. You have every right to pride.

Posted by: Jay at July 10, 2007 07:20 PM

Heavens forbid that our children should grow up and decide to do something that we, as parents possessing infinite wisdom, should question. We are, after all, their guardians, their beacons, their safe harbor in all things challenging. They cannot do without us, surely, any more than we can do without them. They are children still.


Take yourself down from the pedestal, Mary. Your son probably knows better than you that the West is facing World War III, and that we'd better damned well win in Iraq (and Iran, which, seriously, this whole sh8t-fest is about anyway, RIGHT JIMMY?), or that HIS kids are going to be fighting in the streets of Detroit in another 10-15 years. You want a universal draft? Trust me, when the fanatical jihad finally establishes itself on these shores, we'll all be draftees.

Well, not ALL of us. Just your grandchildren.

Quit crying and sack up. It's war, dammit.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 10, 2007 07:34 PM

Sorry for the rant.
Sometimes we so-called "adults" just tick me off.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 10, 2007 07:44 PM

I could go on forever about this topic because as I've said many times my brother died over there and I was against it before he went and I was against it after he went. However, it's not a black and white situation. It is true that there are a lot of good things going on over there that you just don't hear about which I think stems from the medias guilt of their colossal screw up of the last several years. And their are people over there who do deserve to be carpet bombed back into the stone age. Like I said I am against but to say he is wasting his time...it's not that cut and dried.

Posted by: Roland at July 10, 2007 09:22 PM

By the way SPD RDR there is no way in hell this ends up on our shores. The whole point of things like 9/11 and the thousands of IEDs we've seen in this war is it's the weapon of the weak. AQ can't stand toe to toe with us you give them too much credit. if they did we would crush them in less than a week.

Posted by: Roland at July 10, 2007 09:28 PM

No way this ends up on our shores? With fifth column groups like CAIR, weakened immigration, the Fort Dix Six? The Flying Imams? None of that is on our shores? None of that is happening. That is all a massive propaganda stunt by the Bush Administration to keep people drinking the kool aid?

I disagree. Your mileage may vary.

Posted by: Cricket at July 10, 2007 11:09 PM

It's kinda funny, though I enlisted when I was 17, I was determined not to marry a soldier because of the whirlwind of emotions I've seen the ones left behind have to endure... I didnt want to be on that half of the relationship. Oops. Now we're getting ready to go on my husband's last leave before deployment.

Even though I love the man and hate the situation and have political opinions of my own... I would never, EVER call him a pawn. I would never EVER call what he does/we do as something senseless. He was in complete control of his senses when he enlisted, and is in complete control of them now. He's doing what he loves, and what he believes in.

She needs to take the emphasis from her (her letter just reaks of "ME ME ME ME ME!") and start thinking about her son and supporting his very adult decision to serve.

Posted by: Katana at July 10, 2007 11:17 PM

Katana, I grew up in a Navy family, and so I swore I would never marry a Navy man.

I watched my Mom do Vietnam and too many deployments, and moving every year growing up. "No thanks", I thought. All I ever wanted when I was a girl was my own home in the mountains with a garden, something permanent that I could build on over the years, and that is the one thing I have never had.

I understand what it is like to be disappointed, and what it's like to be afraid for the future. But nothing in life is guaranteed. All we have is today.

I guess what makes me so sad about her op-ed, about all the parents who do this stuff (people like Andrew Bacevich) is that their children can read, for God's sake. Do they really think their kids won't see what they have written, that it won't wound them? How awful, if something happened to your child, for them to die with the words "he was a pawn" ringing in his ears instead of "Son, I'm proud of you - I may not agree with you, but I'm proud of you for doing what you believe is right."

That is what you say to an adult. Which is what he is now.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 11, 2007 12:29 AM

Her son made HIS choice. Not hers...HIS.
What should anger her were the victims of terrorism who had no choice. But it is all
about the poor mothers who mourn their
children's decisions.


I will say this, not to blow my horn but to point something out that Cass touched on. While she is proud of her husband and son's decisions,
it IS her life and HER decision to live a good one in spite of it and to be proud of them.

Which is something I try to do every day. Some days are better than others, but there are more good days now than there used to be.

Posted by: Cricket at July 11, 2007 12:35 AM

Cricket, Are you talking a conventional war toe to toe?yeah ,like I said still no way. You know AQ is not that big a group that's why they use terrorism which having a war on terrorism is like having a war on jealousy and that's only one problem of many that we have over there. However, on the upside I was in at Max's Kansas City in the 70's and saw a double bill of both "The Fort Dix Six" and "The Flying Imams" I think I did some blow with Andy Whorhol.

Posted by: Roland at July 11, 2007 03:24 AM

- I may not agree with you...

Personally, I wouldn't even say that, or at least I'd try not to.

Hearing that from my parents would have cut me to the core. It's amazing the influence they still have on me, even after being out on my own for over 25 years. Even on things as trivial as my blog, I strive for proper grammmar, spelling, and punctuation simply because I know how important that stuff is to my Dad.

While they tried to mask it, my parents were visibly upset the day I came home and told them that I had enlisted, but they never, ever, said that they disagreed with my decision. The stakes were much lower back then, of course, as we were still in the Cold War.

Posted by: daveg at July 11, 2007 07:52 AM

I know no such thing about AQ. Maybe you have contacts we don't know of?

Do share.

Posted by: Cricket at July 11, 2007 07:57 AM

This isn't a conventional war. This is terrorism on a global scale and with one or two major targets like the Cole, the WTC, and so on.

And in a non conventional war, the tactics are as critical as the size and ideology of the opposition. Their ideology is either the destruction of western civilization via death of the infidels or conversion to Islam. That has always been Mohammed's duty for the Islamists; to either convert or kill the infidels.

But we would rather assimilate and assimilation is NOT AN OPTION to them. You are either with them or against them.

Global? Yep. The UK, France, Germany, Spain, Africa, Indonesia, India, etc.

Posted by: Cricket at July 11, 2007 08:42 AM

Yeah, Cricket, this is the point that every one on here seems to just about ignore. You have AQ then you have other factions that are fighting them and each other in civil war. and that is why AQ uses terrorism in the first place. Because if the fought us like we have fought in any other war we would smash them. Oh...gotta go to work

Posted by: Roland at July 11, 2007 08:43 AM

My son turns 21 today. He is now legally an adult.
He is also a Marine reservist not returning to college this fall because his unit is getting activated and deployed. I can certainly understand her feeling worried.
I really wish Ms. Cooney hadn't written this op/ed.
Her son, like my son, made an adult decision and whether we like it or not, it is his life.
It is an honorable decision. A decision worthy of respect and support...calling him a pawn in a newspaper op/ed is not doing either thing.
It's doing the opposite.

Everybody is writing letters to Ms. Cooney today.
I hope she reads them.

Posted by: Carrie at July 11, 2007 08:49 AM

My son enlisted when he was 17, turned 18 while at boot camp and turned 19 in Fallujah. He is still in Fallujah. Yes, I signed the papers willingly. No, I don't agree with his choice. But, it is his choice to make, not mine. He has always wanted to be a Marine. I have been a single parent since he was 1 1/2 years old and I am extremely proud of what he has become. My personal opinion about what he choses to do with his life is just that...a personal opinion. I would never, ever publicly announce that I consider my child to be someone's "pawn". If being a Marine is what he wants to do, you should applaud his choice. You should be proud that he choses to fight the ugliness called terrorism and "fight for those who can't fight for themselves". Like others have said, it seems to be all about you and how you feel. If you are going to stand up and let people know you feel, let people know how proud you are of your son and what he has chosen to do with his life. A Warrior, a Liberator, a Protector in a noble task. Instead, you call him a pawn. Thank you, Mary's son, for being willing to do what you are doing.

Posted by: Joanne at July 11, 2007 09:49 AM

Roland, you can't seriously think that I meant that Chinese-made tanks flying the al Qeda flag would be rumbling through the streets of the Motor City. The sh*tfest that I'm talking about is suicide bombers on metro buses and standing in line at Starbucks. That kind of war.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 11, 2007 10:15 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 07/11/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by: David M at July 11, 2007 11:10 AM

I won't even tell my husband that I dont agree.. he knows my political opinions better than anyone and we vehemenantly disagree... but I wouldnt let those differences cloud the phrase "I'm proud of you". That would be it. cut and dry for me... "I'm proud of you". I wouldnt qualify it because I think the fact that "I dont agree..." would just turn in his head over and over. I dont want him to think of that.

Posted by: Katana at July 11, 2007 12:31 PM

While they tried to mask it, my parents were visibly upset the day I came home and told them that I had enlisted, but they never, ever, said that they disagreed with my decision.

Heh. My mother literally threw herself on the floor and wept as if I'd already died.

Posted by: Grim at July 11, 2007 12:38 PM

(sigh)....My mother was almost, not quite, but almost holding on to my son's leg as we tried to leave for the recruiter's office.
She tried to go with us that day but I absolutely refused to let her.

Posted by: Carrie at July 11, 2007 12:42 PM

Well, I may be "nicer" than the princess, but the princess (as always) is much wiser...

Nice post. I'm sure your husband and son are very proud of you too...

Posted by: Andi at July 11, 2007 02:00 PM

SPD RDR really man your giving these people credit they don't in any way deserve and second we are some not all but some of our actios over there are making new terriorests for generations to come you think your going to stop them in a WAR. Here's an idea my friend kill all the kids and sterilize the entire middle east it's pretty much your only choice. Good luck.

Posted by: Roland at July 11, 2007 05:08 PM

Thanks, Roland. I'll watch your back, man.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 11, 2007 05:19 PM

You don't have to sterilize the middle east. Well, not in the manner you are referring to at least.

Terrorism breeds most heavily in tyrranies. Terrorist leaders focus the population's anger by scapegoating an external enemy by controlling the flow of information. The middle east largely believes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a real book and not a forgery. That's because the leaders don't allow that type information to become public and in fact do all they can to perpetuate it.

When you've been told over and over that Jews kill palestinians to collect their organs to sell on the black market it's easier to sympathize with the homicide bomber. I mean, which is worse: Slaughtering people for spare parts or slaughtering people to stop them from slaughtering your people for spare parts? If I'm the dictator it is in my interests to perpetuate this system. It keeps you from realizing that I'm the cause of your misery.

Liberty: Freedom of the Press, of Speech, of Religion, to vote and participate in Gov't and all the rest, things that come through Democracy however, tend to make the ground less fertile for terrorism (nothing works completely).

This is somewhat an extension of the Democratic Peace Theory. Democracies just don't go to war with other Democracies. There's too many people involved in the decision making for people to start shooting at someone who doesn't want to shoot you either.

Will we make more terrorist in the short run, maybe. But in the long run (10-15 years) it will pay off better than either letting it fester or creating a glass crater.

Posted by: Yu-ain Gonnano at July 11, 2007 05:54 PM

Yu-ain Gonnano, Ok I agree wiht most of what you said except that first paragraph. Terrorism breeds most heavily in tyrranies. This is sort of a coin flip because one persons osama bin ladin in another persons Che guvera. (Don't get me wrong I'm not comeparing those two but you get my point. It depends what side your standing on) These people fight for God, to them WE are the bad guys. Not everyone wants democrocy. I love it. But there don't seem to be enough people over there who can fight for it. You don't have to control the flow of information when you can see US soldiers killing your fellow country men. The Jews and Muslims have been fighting since biblical times..think about that for a second...I wish ther was some way to win the hearts and minds of the people. And actually I read this website that Carrie wanted me to read which makes you want to strap on some pistols and go over there to get AQ yourself.You know and this is kind of off the subject but as someone who started out and for the most part still is against the war. It seems the pro and con camps gravitat towards like maybe 3 to 5 theories each why we should stay or go. What I've learned is there is truth in all of them and I have a lot more respect for the president who has to make these decisions which are F---ing impossable. If you have it in your head that if they would just do XY and Z this whole thing would be solved and you wonder why the White House hasn't called to get your theory. The answer is all these pros and cons believe it or not like it or not all play a factor.

Posted by: Roland at July 11, 2007 07:00 PM

You know and this is kind of off the subject but as someone who started out and for the most part still is against the war. It seems the pro and con camps gravitat towards like maybe 3 to 5 theories each why we should stay or go. What I've learned is there is truth in all of them and I have a lot more respect for the president who has to make these decisions which are F---ing impossable. If you have it in your head that if they would just do XY and Z this whole thing would be solved and you wonder why the White House hasn't called to get your theory. The answer is all these pros and cons believe it or not like it or not all play a factor.

OMG! Why dinnit I think of that? ROTFLAMAO! ITZ SO SIMPUL!

Roland, thanks for playing. Maybe there is another league for you?

Posted by: spd rdr at July 11, 2007 07:48 PM

lol...Sorry man didn't mean to hit a nerve.....

Posted by: Roland at July 11, 2007 08:54 PM

You would actually be the first person to agree with what I said so..Welcome to my league.

Posted by: Roland at July 11, 2007 08:57 PM

Thanks, but no thanks.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 11, 2007 09:31 PM

Snappy come back

Posted by: Roland at July 11, 2007 10:11 PM

Well, Roland, there is always interleague play now.

Posted by: KJ at July 12, 2007 11:07 AM

This is sort of a coin flip because one persons osama bin ladin i[s] another person[']s Che guvera.

Well, they were both terrorists, so the equalency holds quite well for me.

Neither were fighting for the freedom of their people. They are/were both fighting to institute their own particular brand of tyranny.

Not everyone wants democrocy.

Yeah, those who like being tyrants, henchmen or their benefactors rarely do.

But there don't seem to be enough people over there who can fight for it.

If you mean pick up a rifle, then many don't know how and many are probably afraid that we'll cut and run and leave them to retribution by the new warlord (I wonder where that fear comes from?).

But there were massive amounts of people fighting for it, through peaceful demonstrations, voting, etc.

You don't have to control the flow of information when you can see US soldiers killing your fellow country men.

Yeah, but I see U.S. policeman killing my fellow countrymen too. But I realize most of them deserved it. Many of the Iraqis are realizing it too. It's the U.S. that's protecting the innocent from the terrorists.

The Jews and Muslims have been fighting since biblical times..think about that for a second...

You mean just like Europe has? Most of the world has been fighting since the dawn of time, what's your point?

Secondly, Mohammed didn't have his first revalation until the 600's AD. Islam didn't exist in Biblical times.

The answer is all these pros and cons believe it or not like it or not all play a factor.

Of course there are pros and cons. The difference is the pros for the withdraw camp are short term gains and long term losses and the pros for the finish the job camp are short term losses and long term gains.

I've seen the results from not finishing the job in North Korea and Vietnam and I don't like what I've seen: wholesale slaughter, enforced famine, total subjugation, not to mention a much worse problem 50 years down the road.

Posted by: Yu-ain Gonnano at July 12, 2007 11:09 AM

There were no Muslims in Bible times. What there were were descendants of Ishmael, Abraham's first born son by Sarah's handmaid Hagar, and descendants of Isaac, the birthright
child, Abraham's second son by his wife Sarah.

Read Genesis again, especially the promises to Hagar and Sarah.

I know, Roland, so much history to revise and so little time to do it in.

Posted by: Cricket at July 12, 2007 02:40 PM

.God said to Aberham, kill me a son Abe said man you must be putting me on. Of course I know the Bible . See?..Abrahams other son is the start of Islam I hate to break it to you but christanity didn't start with Jesus either.Allah is god and Mohammed is his prophet. Sound familler...Second.you proved my point for me about Osama and Che Do you remember the russians in Afganistan? Who do you think was fighting there , Osama. Who do you think built the famous bunkers? the CIA. Third Let me reword the Pro con comment since apparently you still arent understandingf me...think of a liberal side of this argument that you think is total crap I'll give you a moment....OK..Got one?.. Now understand that the theory that you think is liberal bullshit probably hold some small truth to it even though you totally dissagree. US police killing your countrymen..I didn't understand that.As far as what I said about not being enough people over there to fight. What you wrote doesn't even make sense. I can buy all the rope I want It doesn't make me a cowboy. You can train them all you want but if they wet their pants at the first sign of trouble and just keep dying and your pool of willing particpantes gets smaller meanwhile we keep killing off people who want us out of their country making them madder they train more terrorists pool of Iraq army gets smaller..terrorism bigger..did you see the news.. all this time AQ has been rebuilding...Do you even read the stuff you write? Oh and you mention Vietnam that was the most brilliant thing you said...yes we should have finished thejob..Another thing I hate to break to you...Vietnam was pointless commies pretty much fell on their own and our CIA cut em off at the knees. Tell you what, let me help you..tell me where you live and I will help you get a library card. Actually a little Xanax couldn't hurt either. You seem a little angry to me.

Posted by: Roland at July 12, 2007 11:08 PM

Cricket, Yes I know the bible. God said to Abraham give me a son,Abe said man you must be putting me on...See? Actually. It's not Revision. That is where Islam Starts. The Bible and the Koran are actually similar and even have some of the same stories. Allah is the same God you pray to it is just the Arabic name for God like Dio in Italian Yawhe(I know thats spelled wrong) in hebrew. You can call it what you want. Thanks for playing though. Better luck next time.

Posted by: Roland at July 12, 2007 11:29 PM

Oh my thing for Yu-ain posted or I wouldn't have used my God ...er Dylan joke twice.

Posted by: Roland at July 12, 2007 11:32 PM

Roland, Islam doesn't start in the OT. Only the separation of the lines. The sacrifice of Isaac
was a similitude of Christ's sacrifice and a ram was substituted. The God I pray to is NOT Allah.
Names are one thing, perception and understanding of God another. The God I know
doesn't demand human sacrifice just for not wanting to be a member of the religion of peace.

A liberal side of the argument that is total crap? Anything the NYT prints that is inaccurate, misleading or an outright fabrication and they don't redact.

Russians in Afghanistan? OBL was in Arabia at the time...and was exiled by the Saudi government in 1991 for his extremist views. He spent the next five years in the Sudan.

Posted by: Cricket at July 13, 2007 07:20 AM

Cricket, OBL spent most of the eighties fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. He earned his stripes as warrior there, training and financing ten of thousands of the mujahideen. In fact, the name "Al Qaeda" (the Base) refers to the training camps he established in Afghanistan. He returned to Saudi Arabia at the end of the Soviet conflict in '89.

Regrettably, I know more about OBL than I care to...

Posted by: Portia at July 13, 2007 08:21 AM

Damn. I hate it when I am wrong. I guess I should never trust the internets. Thanks, Portia for the correction.

Posted by: Cricket at July 13, 2007 03:06 PM

Cricket, I don't say that to be rude. But really, this is some thing that I think is worth looking at. I was rasied Catholic but I've got a cousin who converted to Islam. Allah is the same God. A lot of the same stories that are in the Bible are in the Koran. Noah and the Flood for instance. Here's what I usually tell people to do when they start saying that these wackjobs are the representatives of Islam. Go to YouTube. Do a Search for Fred Phelps Westboro Baptist Church. Watch some of those videos. Does Fred Phelps or some others of the religious right represent you as a christian. AQ doesn't represent Islam.

Posted by: Roland at July 13, 2007 03:31 PM

OBL was in the Sudan for many years, just not in the 1980's. The Sudanese government offered to extradite him to the US, as is recorded on that tape of Bill Clinton I have linked to so many times where he discusses the offer (you know, the one he and Sandy Berger keep saying doesn't exist?).

Yeah, that one.

As PBS's Frontline puts it:

Bin Laden and others "provided training camps and guesthouses in various areas, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Kenya for the use of Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups,"

* Bin Laden and others provided currency and weapons to members of Al Qaeda and associated terrorist groups in various countries throughout the world.

* Bin Laden established a headquarters for Al Qaeda in Khartoum, Sudan, in 1991, and established a series of businesses, including two investment companies, an agricultural company, a construction business and a transportation company, all of which were, "operated to provide income and support to Al Qaeda and to provide cover for the procurement of explosives, weapons and chemicals and for the travel of Al Qaeda operatives."

* Bin Laden issued a number of fatwahs (rulings on Islamic law) stating that US forces stationed in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa, including Somalia, should be attacked.

* Al Qaeda members "provided military training and assistance to Somali tribes opposed to the United Nations' intervention in Somalia. ... On October 3 and 4, 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, persons who had been trained by Al Qaeda (and trainers who had been trained by Al Qaeda) participated in an attack on United States military personnel serving in Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope, which attack resulted in the killing of 18 United States Army personnel.

Yet somehow al Qaeda has "spread" all over the world since 9/11.

Ummm.... yeah. Because George Bush provoked them. And if we'd just leave them alone, they'll go away.

Oh, and it's Bush's fault they're in Pakistan now.


Posted by: Cassandra at July 13, 2007 04:03 PM

Oh, and as I recall, Jack Murtha wanted us to pull out of Somalia too.

We all recall how well that turned out.

I do. Mike Hagee (former Commandant of the Marine Corps) was down there at the time. I'm sure he recalls.

History. Repeats itself, don't it?

Posted by: Cassandra at July 13, 2007 04:05 PM

Cassandra, I always feel like someone just beat me with a lead pipe after you write. I'll catch up with you one day missy. For now I'm gonna go google all your refrences. You can't see it but I'm flicking you the bird.Roland

Posted by: Roland at July 13, 2007 10:38 PM

No need to be rude, son. You don't need to flip the bird unless you are not with it.

In terms of belief, I never said AQ was representative of Islam. What I said was that
they are extreme and exploit their own people by distorting God.

Much like Torquemada.

Posted by: Cricket at July 13, 2007 10:54 PM

Just be careful Roland, or I'll sic my man eating badgers on you and then where will you be?

Posted by: Cassandra at July 13, 2007 11:01 PM

Here - save you some time on the PBS thing:


I specifically tried to use a liberal reference so I couldn't be accused of neoconnery.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 13, 2007 11:03 PM

Plus, it amuses me to confront PBS with the fact that they've been reporting that al Qaeda was world-wide for decades now... even though they seem to have "disappeared" that fact now that Bush is president.

Down the memory hole! The Shrub is making more terrorists!


This time last year the intel community was blathering that al Qaeda was weaker than ever. Now they're stronger than ever. These people are a fricking joke. The truth of the matter is, they really don't know for sure and the press picks up and bruits about whatever narrative suits the agenda du jour.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 13, 2007 11:06 PM

It's OK Cricket.

perhaps the bird Roland is flipping me is a chicken.

They're on "our side"... heh.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 13, 2007 11:08 PM

You have Badgers? You are a bad princess!!!!

Posted by: Roland at July 13, 2007 11:24 PM

Oh, and sorry about that cricket. I see your point.

Posted by: Roland at July 13, 2007 11:25 PM

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