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Da Goddess was a huge player in the San Diego rally, but you won't hear the whole story on her blog. For a more complete picture read Joe Gandelman's description at Dean's World, here discussing Smash's pledge to keep the message positive and not attack the opposition:
Did his group keep his word? Yes, they largely did, although there were some notable moments of friction covered here by conservative blogger Brendon Steinhauser. But there was someone there working hard all day to make sure they stayed on message.
Her name: Joanie, aka Da Goddess.
"This sign is out," she said, going through placards, and pointing to one saying "MORONS" (actually, I could use that sign to picket any event involving Congress or for either political party, but that's my personal bias...). Her 8-year-old boy "Little Guy" played in the background.
"We don't want any of these snarky signs. We want them to be POSITIVE," she told some people. Smash had planned on having 50 people but 60 showed up. "I'm going to go through these signs and make sure they're not swiping at anyone..."
And she did.
Kudos to Joanie.
Both she and Joe give even more credit to 21-year old Army specialist Christine Alkire of Fallbrook, home on leave from Iraq and standing with the counterdemonstrators. Here's her answer to the question why was she there?
"I like what I do," she said, standing directly across from a San Diego Police car that made sure there were no conflicts as some police on horseback formed across the street where the anti-war demonstrators were gathering. "I'm supporting all of my brothers and sisters who are over there right now."
She motioned to across the street to the costumed character of the Iraqi woman dramatically walking around, carrying a big limp doll that was supposed to be a dead baby.
"These people don't know what they are talking about. See that woman holding what's supposed to be a dead Iraqi child? That's a bunch of crap. I was on one of the biggest U.S. coalition bases. We were not in such a great area and we TOOK CARE OF Iraqi children, and grown ups alike. We have a section in the Army called G-5, civil affairs. They're the ones who go out there and deliver the school supplies, the started the water running, and make sure it's purified. We went out with them a couple of times and the children love us. The women love us and the people love us.
"So that's supposed to be an Iraqi woman? I don't like when they act like they're supporting us ? but they're not."
Suddenly she's interrupted. A grey haired woman who looks in her mid-60s asks when the peace demonstration will start. Alkire polite tells her it's across the street and that her group "supports the troops."
Here, last week: But now all the vets of Operation Iraqi Freedom II are coming home. Home to tell the truth about their war. Home to counter the garbage that's been trumpeted by those back here claiming to speak for them for all these months... it will be increasingly difficult not to tell America the full truth when their sons and daughters, husbands wives and neighbors come marching home.
Like Spc Alkire.
It's not surprising that the anti-Iraq demonstrators choose the iconic mother-with-baby to dramatize their odd view of the world. There's a well known quote from William F Buckley to the effect that we'd be outraged to see a young man shove an old lady, but that we might be understanding were he pushing her out from in front of an approaching bus.
What reporters and/or editors have been pedaling for at least the past year vis Iraq is the "man shoves old lady" story - with or without a mention of the bus in paragraph 19 - but invariably noting the number of incidences of old-lady-shoving that have occurred since President Bush declared an end to major conflict in Iraq.
Their defense seems to boil down to "well, without our watchdog function people would be shoving old ladies indiscriminately". Mudville readers can make up their own minds about that.
Or read this Army Times' reporter's blog:
There seem to have been many photos early in Operation Iraqi Freedom of soldiers surrounded by Iraqi children, handing out candy to them, shaking their hands or patting them on the head.
Lately there seem to be fewer, perhaps because the media covering the ongoing events in Iraq can only stray so far from the safe areas without fear of being abducted. Of course, it hasn?t been the safest environment for the soldiers, either.
With all the images of spectacular car bombs, transfer of authority ceremonies and political activity, there isn?t as much time or space for the smaller touches. In fact, I can?t even count how many times I?ve gotten an earful from soldiers of all ranks about the negative coverage of events in Iraq.
The past couple of days I went on dismounted patrols with the infantrymen and tankers of 1-64 Armor in the 3rd Infantry Division, who are back in Baghdad after 18 months at home.
Out on the streets in these impoverished areas east of the Tigris River, they are like Pied Pipers, leading a trail of dozens of children behind them within minutes of arriving in a neighborhood.
I don?t think it?s because they are special soldiers, even though their mothers would say they are. I think it?s just because they are soldiers. Period. The children go absolutely bananas over them and get so close to them in such large numbers that it almost gets scary.
It?s a mixed blessing for the soldiers. While they know the presence of the kids in such large numbers can lower the threat level, and the kids sometimes tell them where the bombs are planted, the little ones are relentlessly curious, exceedingly friendly and have no clue about personal space. It can try anyone?s patience.
I can tell you when the stories of children stopped appearing in the American press - the exact moment when the approaching bus vanished from the 'man shoves lady' stories from Iraq. It happened when contractors were killed in Fallujah.
But that's a discussion for another day. And it should be noted that not all media sources are created equal. Here's another one of many great stories I've linked in the Philadelphia Inquirer this past weekend:
On the second anniversary of the Iraq War, Wileczek, Vey, Collins and hundreds of their comrades across the region have returned to families and jobs - while still mentally processing life-and-death experiences thousands of miles away.
Many say they have learned to appreciate the commonplace: sleeping in their own beds, driving their own cars, shopping in stores, eating home-cooked meals, cutting the grass, even flushing toilets.
Others have expressed gratitude to spouses who held families together while they were away. And some said they had gained insights about themselves, the war, the news media and Arab culture.
Nearly a half-million U.S. troops have been deployed to Iraq the last two years. About 1,500 have been killed; more than 11,000 have been wounded, and 5,400 of them returned to duty.
Many of the vets recall having mixed feelings about the duty in the beginning.
"I watched it on TV when it started and wished I could have been there," said Wileczek, a Gloucester County husband with four sons, ages 1 to 6. "You train for many years and want to put your skills to the test, but I didn't want to leave my wife and kids."
He and other members of the New Jersey Guard's Third Battalion of the 112th Field Artillery left on a midnight plane from McGuire Air Force Base on Feb. 22, 2004. They had been pressed into service as provisional military police.
"There is one day I can never forget - Mother's Day," Wileczek, 27, said. "My team and another - six of us - were attacked by over 100 insurgents for more than two hours."
He said they had entered a "black hole for radio communications" in the dangerous Sadr City section of Baghdad and could not call for help.
"All the Iraqi police left, and the ones that didn't run hid in a back room," he said. "We had a half-hour of ammo, tops, when all of sudden the cavalry showed up. I said, 'Thank God.' Help had finally come. Once the helicopters and Bradleys [armored fighting vehicles] were there, the insurgents scattered like roaches."
Wileczek, who reenlisted for six years while in Iraq, said he appreciated "everything so much more now. My wife. My kids. The things I have in this country - just being able to flush a toilet."
"I'm not bothered by lines in the supermarket," he said. "I'm bothered by ungrateful people who don't realize what they have here and think the government owes them something.
"And I'm irritated when I see news media showing only the negative - not the times when Iraqi children were sitting on our laps or the times when the police stations were getting rebuilt."
These young and not so young American's will be coming home. Speaking at meetings, at schools, in the public squares.
Ending a monopoly.
Be prepared to listen.
Wrong. They will not be allowed to speak at all, other than at gatherings who already approve of the war. The Left has made their minds up and that is that. Their Bigotry is on display this AM on the Drudge report of the editor of Playgirl being fired when management found out she was a Republican. They don't want to hear so mush as a whisper.Posted by Howard Veit at March 21, 2005 05:27 PM
Wow Howard. I did hear about that story but I think the media won't be able to control it. It will filter out through the flyover states in America. The Elitist on the coasts may be typically uninformed but just as the last election went so shall the info on the soldiers stories. When I've got my parents who live in rural MN not believing the MSM then I know it's hitting others like them. Even tho it seems to be lost the story isn't lost. It's like a sleeper independent movie that becomes a winner...through word of mouth.Posted by Toni at March 21, 2005 07:19 PM
It's sad, but it's a fact, that the truth will be told by those who lived it, and it must be told. The caliber of our military personnel is astounding, impressive, and diserving of respect. They will be the ones to tell the truth, not the main stream med. that promotes personal or dictated agendas.