Prev | List | Random | Next
Sunrise. Think it's pretty?
The dawn of a new day. Another day closer to coming home. Another day closer to mission accomplished. There will still be plenty to do, of course, and for someone else that day will mark the start of their task, mission begun.
That's what so many failed to comprehend about that whole mission accomplished thing. It wasn't your mission. That was someone else's mission. Sorry, those of you who didn't get it. I saw that banner and hoped there would be something left for me to do.
Some day my mission will be accomplished too. For now I carry on, do my duty, and mark the passage of time.
GIs through the years have adopted a lot of ways to do this. Crossing days off calendars, putting tick marks on the underside of the hat brim, you name it. In the computer age I've even seen a lot of automated versions of the short timer's calendar.
Don't misunderstand me, I don't keep time out of boredom or any overwhelming desire to get away from here. I've got plenty to do. Here, look:
Survive American elections Survive Ramadan (over halfway there!)
Survive Iraqi elections
There's more, of course, but why sweat the details?
Anyhow, since the Muslims use the moon for their calendar I've been doing the same, marking the passage of time by watching it change daily :
See? The last quarter of Ramadan begins.
Saw more than a few online pundits wondering how the troops in Iraq were responding to the election results. 'How are they celebrating in Iraq?'
Glad you asked.
Well, the muck left behind by the past few day's rains has turned to dust, and brooms are the weapon of choice today. How are we marking the occasion? We're sweeping the dust off the ages off the floor of the tent so we can get back to business.
I had to verbally counsel one guy to please stop taunting a Democrat. He wasn't being mean about it but its just not done, get it? Then I talked to the other guy and asked if the guys were bugging him too much. "No" he said "I can handle it. We're all okay with each other."
Good. Good. See, the brotherhood of arms trumps political persuasion.
That said, I echo this question from Jonah Goldberg: "NOW THAT HE'S NOT USING IT... Can John Kerry please tell us what his super-duper special terrific secret plan to fix Iraq was?"
Is that fair? Is that mean? Unless everyone knows (nudge nudge) that there was never a plan?
And what if it's not that badly broken?
Anyhow, how did the troops mark the election? According to the NY Times, in a story headlined (no kidding) "Most Of The Troops In Iraq Have Other Things Than The Election On Their Minds, Like War" most of the troops didn't even remember it was election day (bold emphasis added below).
The marines (sic) here are expected to lead an all-out attack on Falluja, the insurgent stronghold, in the coming days. Although the Iraqi prime minister, Ayad Allawi, has not yet given the final order, the troops are busy cleaning their weapons and doing combat drills for what could be the most decisive battle since major combat operations ended almost a year and a half ago.
Access to radios and the Internet is scarce here, and the uncertainty of the electoral outcome on Wednesday added to the confusion about what was actually happening back home. "We can't even get accurate football scores, so there's no way we can rely on getting the election," said Cpl. Aaron Gilbert, a marksman from Columbus, Ohio.
Some of the marines clearly had strong views about the presidential race and the way it would affect the military, though they have been instructed not to share those with reporters. Others seemed not to care much, saying the election seemed too far from their everyday lives to make much of an impression.
That reporter shore is a smart feller. He's rite. I'm hopin I can get me one of them innernets over here and start me a blog. Also he's rite about homo marridge, Thats the nummer one issue with troops, homo marridge.
One domestic issue resonates with many troops, he said, because it angers them: gay marriage. But on many other issues, troops tend to be too busy or too far from home to pay close attention
If I get me a innernet I'll stop that homo marridge.
The Washington Times sent a reporter to a different Iraq. Their headline? "Bush's Victory Comforts Troops, Most see win as support of war"
For U.S. troops serving in Iraq ? many of whom are preparing for a imminent confrontation with armed militants in rebel strongholds ? the presidential election back home passed by quickly, with most saying they were relieved that their commander in chief, President Bush, fended off a challenge from Sen. John Kerry.
Of a dozen service members interviewed, only one said he voted against Mr. Bush, and he asked that his name not be published.
Two dozen soldiers and Marines watched election results trickle in on television and scanned Web sites at a recreation center on the Habaniyah air base just west of Fallujah, where the military is preparing for a major strike to root out insurgents.
Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Frost, a 20-year-old Louisiana native, said he was cheered by the final results.
"It seems we still have some good-hearted Americans who still want the right thing to be done about terrorism," Cpl. Frost said.
By the way, while both stories have pictures, The Washington Times has a picture of smiling Marines.
Here in my world the Chaplain opened the commander's staff meeting with a prayer. After calling for hellfire to rain down on gay people everywhere he gave thanks for our Democracy, thanks for the freedom that Americans enjoy, and expressed his fervent hope for Iraqis to share that soon.
You see, registration began for the Iraqi elections this week - a story I haven't seen in too many places yet. I'm going to bet that the NY Times reporter has been instructed by his commanders not to tell that story.
Some day soon he might have freedom to tell the truth. Or some day soon people just won't listen.
Fine days ahead indeed. One would think a better sunrise then that pictured above would be called for.
That's better. Just needed a different perspective.
My husband is a pastor, I'm going to ask him if he can use your chaplains prayer during this weeks service. :)Posted by heidi at November 4, 2004 08:51 PM
You can find an actual moon phase calendar at here. I've had one in my blog for a while and it's always accurate
Didn't know you had such a sense of humor till I read this post of yours. God bless and all that
"The Paper of Record" sure has lost it.
"Internet is scarce here"
My sister was stationed at the 23rd CSH in Balad, and we talked daily over Yahoo IM for the 7 months she was there. She was well informed about what was happening in Iraq AND HOW IT WAS BEING REPORTED IN THE US BY THE MSM. She was not very happy with the media, especially the NYT. Maybe that's why the NYT could only find scowling marines and soldiers.Posted by mCrane at November 4, 2004 10:10 PM
Also from the NYT, their editorial Nov. 3:
"We have had enough of the rancor for a while, and our greatest hope now is that Mr. Bush will set out to earn the right to be seen as leader by all the nation."
Sooo... Winning the electoral vote by a clear margin, winning the popular vote with the most votes ever won in an American election, winning a popular majority for the first time since 1988, expanding his party's hold on both houses of Congress for the first time since McKinley--none of that is good enough in our system of democracy to earn the right to be seen as leader. It needs some certain je ne sais quois to get progressives to assent to lose the BUSHITLER!!!! signs.
Wotta bunch of soreheads; arrogant, cloistered soreheads...
Great post! You represent so well in your graphics the same message of your words.
We are with you in our thoughts and prayers.
The only ones who might be in disagreement with your thoughts are so confused at the present in their shock at their losses that they're making very little sense so it's unclear what their views are on any topic.Posted by SteveO at November 5, 2004 01:03 AM
Another wonderful post with wonderful pictures. My husband brought home lots of nice pictures from Balad but not the breathtaking one you have just put on. (i can only stand so many pictures of broken helo's ..shh dont tell him i said that)
Soon you'll be home. Until then stay safe. And know that there are so many people out there who are so very proud!
here's a note i sent off to the NY Post (probably the only place that would run it) and a few other places.
I'm getting so tired of intellectuals trying to rationalize the vote.
Here it is:
I find it interesting that many are overcomplicating an issue, that for most Americans is very basic. Everyone is analyzing how the vote turned out, why the vote turned out. They are analyzing why the security mother or, the Jew, the evangelical, the Hispanic, the African American or the white males, etc., voted the way they did. We don't need exit polls to tell us the reason for Bush's amazing win. The answer is very simple. On September 21, 2001, we all sat in front of our TV sets, and radios and listened to our president declare a war on terrorism, and anyone that harbored them. He asked us to support him in a war that would take us around the world, that would require sacrifice and steadfastness. We all agreed. We were going to battle terrorism, no matter what it took, no matter how long it took. We all swore we'd never forget. Most of us meant it.
Now the election is over.
To the 56 million that forgot, I ask, did you know you were lying when you swore you'd "never forget"?
To the 59 million that remembered, I say:
Well done my friends!
As usual, I loved your post. And, as usual, all I can say is a simple "thank you" for what you are doing. I'm so glad you guys know about the millions of Americans who appreciate you and honor what you're doing.
The elites don't get it, but us normal folks do!
Stay safe, friend that I've never met - you're in our thoughts and prayers.Posted by Karen at November 5, 2004 03:15 AM
I wonder ... were those Marines really instructed not to talk to reporters, or did they just blow the NYT reporter off when they found out what paper he's from, and the reporter wrote his "interpretation" of their response?
And another thing, if the NYT style book doesn't require "Marines" to be capitalized, then the paper as an institution is subtly, but purposely, insulting the Corps. What a bunch of bozos! (BTW, I'm not a Marine, but an "Army brat.")Posted by ExRat at November 5, 2004 03:33 AM
Thanks for being over there- must be tough. I hope you come home safe and smiling, thinking "mission accomplished". Kudos, respect, and admiration, twice over.Posted by Tagore Smith at November 5, 2004 10:52 AM
Thank you for doing what you do; thank you to your wife and children for supporting what you do.
May God bless and keep you and wrap his loving protection around you as you go about your day.
Greyhawk, check out my site, I have some pictures of the BIAP tower that I took from almost the same perspective.
Actually, I never posted those. But, I do have other BIAP pics.Posted by Sayersr at November 5, 2004 10:41 PM
Stay safe and God Bless you and your family. We are so proud of our soldiers, the best in all the world! We've done our best to vote for a country you can be proud of, and to support you. Come home soon...Posted by Kathy at November 6, 2004 02:04 AM
Stay safe and God Bless you and your family. We are so proud of our soldiers, the best in all the world! We've done our best to vote for a country you can be proud of, and to support you. There is no substitute for victory.
Come home soon with the honor you have earned!Posted by Steve Barton at November 6, 2004 05:07 PM
thank you for your service. we owe you more than we can possibly pay.Posted by Amreican civilian at November 6, 2004 05:16 PM
thank you for your noble service. you inspire us, and we pray for you daily.Posted by P. Perry at November 6, 2004 05:19 PM
thank you for your noble service. you inspire us, and we pray for you daily.Posted by P. Perry at November 6, 2004 05:20 PM
A free, friendly Iraq in the center of the middle east is a bastion for the civilized world.
In the hands of terrorists it would be the end of the civilized world as we know it.
The Arabic and English alphabets are not isomorphic, which means you're allowed to spell Arabic words any phonetically-similar way you like.
Fahlewja is as correct as Fallujah.
Sadamn Insane ... kind of a stretch, if gratifying to say ...Posted by Arabic Spellings at November 6, 2004 06:53 PM
You are the best thing about our nation. It pains me that we have to risk you in the coming battle. What you are about to achieve will echo through history.
With this election, the 59M did what we could do bury the reeking stench of the slanderers and spitters whose very faces dishonor our servicemen and women. Your victory in Fallujah will complete the act. Our prayers go with you.Posted by Jonathan at November 6, 2004 07:11 PM
I have the NYT style guide on my shelf (I'm an editor - occupational hazard), and here is what it says:
Capitalize "Marine(s)" as a synonym for the United States Marine Corps: "He enlisted in the Marines"; "a Marine landing." But: "three marines"; "a company of marines"; "the corps." If the world "soldier" or "soldiers" would fit logically in place of "marine" or "marines," lowercase the "m." If "Army" or "Air Force" can be substituted logically for "Marine" or "Marines," uppercase the "M."
So they use the uppercase "M" only in reference to the USMC itself, but not in reference to individual members of the USMC.
i.e. ... soldier : Army :: sailor : Navy :: marine : USMC
As you can tell, whoever came up with that rule did not have a clue about the mindset of Marines.
My Dad was one. So you can probably guess my view of this rule.Posted by Othello at November 6, 2004 07:15 PM
P.S. The Chicago Manual of Style is no better than the NYT ... lowercase "m" on individual "marines."
A pox upon them all.Posted by Othello at November 6, 2004 07:16 PM
VN-era vets are watching, and proud. Keep the parade going.Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at November 6, 2004 07:23 PM
Great post. Thanks for sharing it with us. The irony was especially good.
I'm going to add this blog to my must-read-every-day list.Posted by TallDave at November 6, 2004 08:43 PM
you guys stay safe over there and don't ever forget that there really are folks back home that fully support what you're doing.Posted by teri at November 6, 2004 10:22 PM
Thank you for your service and for your perspective.Posted by coonassinfidel at November 7, 2004 01:17 AM
Thank you for all you are doing to defend our freedom and the future of Iraq. The New York Times doesn't seem to understand the troops, or the majority of America either. I think they should send one of their journalists to live and report from the heartland of America. If they did maybe they would understand what every day Americans really think. I think they are clueless.
My prayers and thoughts are with you all there.
Hey, this site is teriffic, give me the feel of being right there w/you troops. BTDT, tho I am not a combat vet, did my time for 31y8m23d.. now ret'd MSgt, last asgnmt Cmd Trk Cmdr (ancient M-113a)..Ft Hood . You troops have earned the undying respect, honor -- and everlasting prayers from so many millions. I am posting your link on a veteran site, an ASA site, Comintel after 1983, more than 1300 members, all vets, most responsible, few liberals.. gotta have some ya know,
Semper fi (This from an ole brown shoe army Sgt), just keep on keeping on !!!Posted by jim w lynn at November 7, 2004 03:46 AM
I'm damned proud, and grateful, for all you and your brothers' in arms are doing for all us over here - please stay safe - and please get this nasty job done. You are all in our prayers. God speed.
Yeah, i needs one o' them innernet jobbies, too.
The election news is just about all I was able to get for about a week rrior, and I'm brobably no more than 10 clicks from where you are sitting now.
I read a lot about blogger parties back home. We ought to see if we can get one together here, should OPTEMPO allow.Posted by Mr. E. at November 7, 2004 07:49 AM
This is a terrific site. I really like the posters and books you have listed in the ads. Your words are good and so very very important. I like your pictures too!
I'll have to go thank Dean's World. He sure has been behind our soldiers and so am I.
God BlessPosted by Janelle at November 7, 2004 10:22 AM
Exrat & Othello--
AP Stylebook must have been edited by a Marine for it says:
"Capitalize Marine when referring to an individual in a Marine Corps unit: He is a Marine."Posted by Ol'Gringo at November 8, 2004 05:16 AM
I would have liked the "pollsters" to conduct a poll of the men and women serving in the military. My guess is that President Bush would have had an overwhelming lead! I pray for all of you over there and I Thank You all, for your dedicating service and keeping me and my family safe!!!!!!Posted by Robin at November 8, 2004 02:11 PM
99% of us wish we were there with you. We don't have your skills, training, intelligence, dedication, so we can't do it. You can. For all of mankind. Thanks are not enough. If your family needs anything while Dad is doing the work for the world, let us know.Posted by Joe Richardson at November 8, 2004 02:59 PM
AP Stylebook must have been edited by a Marine for it says:
"Capitalize Marine when referring to an individual in a Marine Corps unit: He is a Marine."
The AP stylebook still comes up a little short. It should have ended that sentence with "and damn proud of it."Posted by digitalbrownshirt at November 8, 2004 06:27 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(36) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)