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A former NFL player who joined the Marines and was motivated by his college roommate, Pat Tillman, who died in Afghanistan, was heading for the war in Iraq on Tuesday night.
Lance Cpl. Jeremy Staat, a former defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers and St. Louis Rams who had been playing Arena Football, was one of 300 Marines in the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment being deployed from Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii. The unit is expected to be in Iraq for seven months.
"The way I look at it, we're spreading freedom, and you have to support the troops and you have to support the war," Staat, 29, told KITV in Honolulu on Tuesday as he prepared to leave from Hawaii. "You can't just tell some Marine who just lost his buddy that we supported you but not the war, because in that case you're basically saying that Marine, his buddy, just died for nothing. We're one team."
Staat said he felt compelled to join the military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but Tillman, who was his roommate at Arizona State, advised him to stay with pro football until he qualified for retirement benefits. "I felt there is more to life than just a game," Staat said, adding that Tillman's death helped motivate him to enlist.
Noted a while back that the NFL player had a bit of difficulty with the rigors of Marine training:
Since entering recruit training, Staat realized he wasn’t used to the strenuous environment.But he made it through.
“I’ve run three miles four times in my life, once at (Military Entrance Processing Station), and three times here,” said Staat.
Staat said he found it amusing that people pay for the training that Marines are paid to complete.
“They train you to keep in shape. They put you on a diet,” said Staat. “People pay to do that.”
Staat recalled a day during training when his company ran the obstacle course. There are a number of high walls, logs and bars to get over throughout the course including the rope, which is strung from a high beam of wood to the ground. Staat attempted to climb the rope but failed. He was trained on the proper techniques, he got a second chance.
Staat’s senior drill instructor told him to climb the rope again. One of the many things that are stressed during training is bearing, but when Staat climbed to the top of the rope, he broke his bearing and smiled.
“I asked him what happened the first time and he smiled and said, ‘This recruit didn’t have the technique down, sir,’” said Staff Sgt. Miguel R. Saenz, senior drill instructor, Platoon 1065.
“I was just happy,” said Staat. “I had never climbed a rope before.”
That was all it took.
Anti-war group CODEPINK is planning to take over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office at 4:00 pm, the group said.When I was a kid, I learned very quickly that falling to the ground and throwing a temper tantrum was a .5-past-lightspeed way to get my ass smacked.
Protesters plan to play “Pin the war on the Donkey” to show their frustration with the Democratic leadership’s inaction of ending the war in Iraq.
CODEPINK is expecting arrests.
Not that I think Nancy is going to be administering any corporal punishment, I just happen to think that the Code Pinkos are hilariously tragic in their attempts to force political change. They are simply magnificent at achieving the opposite of the desired effect.
Good work, Womyn!
Then there's this:
BAGHDAD — Police said today that children were used in a weekend car bombing in which the driver gained permission to park in a busy shopping area after he pointed out that he was leaving his children in the back seat.I'm with Roger Simon here - the media really needs to stop calling these people "insurgents".
The account appeared to confirm one given Tuesday by a U.S. general. He said children were used in a Sunday bombing in northern Baghdad and labeled it a brutal new tactic put to use by insurgents to battle a five-week-old security crackdown in the capital.
Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations on the Joint Staff, said the vehicle used in the attack was waved through a U.S. military checkpoint because two children were visible in the back seat. He said it was the first reported use of children in a car bombing in Baghdad.
"Children in the back seat lowered suspicion, (so) we let it move through, they parked the vehicle, the adults run out and detonate it with the children in the back," Barbero told reporters in Washington. "The brutality and ruthless nature of this enemy hasn't changed."
Insurgent tactics have evolved since the war started four years ago and youths often have been among their victims, but the use of children as decoys would signal a new level of ruthlessness in the fight for control of the capital.
In the deadliest cases, a suicide car bomber sped up to American soldiers distributing candy to children July 2005 and detonated his explosives, killing up to 27 people, including a dozen children and a U.S. soldier.
That occurred about nine months after 35 Iraqi children were killed in a string of bombs that exploded as American troops were handing out candy at a government-sponsored celebration to inaugurate a sewage plant in west Baghdad.
But they won't. There's an unspoken promise in the use of the term. Insurgents are acting against the invader, you see - and if the invader leaves, they'll stop. If they were simply ruthless killers, then to clamor for US withdrawal would be both immoral and obscene.
I believe I might have mentioned before that "the surge" was simply a shift in deployment dates for the units involved. That's true - but more importantly, the strategy is to use them differently than originally planned. Specifically, rather than patrolling long stretches of road looking for IEDs or waiting in base camps to respond to a suicide bombing they're going into small outposts in Baghdad neighborhoods. There they'll work with Iraqi troops, get to know the neighbors, and create the element of security needed to get other rebuilding efforts on the right track.
Here's a quote on that change in mission from one of the soldiers involved:
" We were happy. It was better than escorting trucks through the desert."More here, including video of coalition forces being mobbed in Sadr City.
When you have loved ones at war, there are certain events and phrases that will literally knock the breath out of you and cause involuntary curse words to escape from you. Last night I had such a moment.
A friend emailed me a "Velvet Hammer". That's what the 3rd Brigade of the 3ID calls a notification to their families that one of their own has been lost. They never give the name and they never send them out until the family has been notified. But just seeing the words "Velvet Hammer" in the Subject line literally takes my breath away and makes my heart skip a beat. And the dreaded "shit" word escaped from my lips. "How can this be?" I think. "It's too early." Then I reprimand myself with, "100 years from now would still be too early." I held my breath and am thinking, "damn! damn! damn!" as I opened the email and quickly scanned the text to find what unit.
The rest HERE
Sometimes there's a smile to be found in odd places, as in this tale of a proud mom reporting on her son moving from Chief Petty Officer to Warrant.
And a statement of the growth of a young man into a leader of men:
For me, it’s about opportunities,” Hale added. “The Navy has a myriad of programs and opportunities for those that choose to apply. I’ve loved working with sailors and being involved at the deck-plate level, but I also realize that I enjoy the planning, preparations and management that goes into making the electronic suite on a ship function. I enjoy the tactical and operational side of surface warfare as well as the technical. In short, I enjoy the sort of things I’ll be doing as an officer, and as a warrant officer I’ll get the best of both tactical and technical responsibilities.”
Welcome to the wardroom, indeed, Mr. Hale!
...because some things bear repeating:
Some families have long histories of tending to the tree of liberty, others have a long history of living in its shade.And according to google, you have coined a damned fine phrase.
Odd that so many of those who enjoy it most would have us believe that shade is a darkness that needs eliminating.
Newspeak: It's not violence, it's peace action!
Peace Action Wisconsin does not condone violence, said the group's project organizer Julie Enslow, but some anti-war protesters might feel the need to be violent to get their point across.While they won't "feel comfortable" with these "fringe actors", they won't find it in their hearts to condemn them either.
"We do not use those tactics ourselves, but the movement is very broad, and as this war continues, the anti-war movement is going to take many forms - not all of which everyone feels comfortable with," Enslow said.
An anti-war rally at O'Donnell Park on Saturday drew a large crowd that listened to several speakers, including U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee), before marching to the Reuss Federal Plaza, Enslow said. The peaceful gathering contrasted sharply with the arrests Monday night at the Army recruiting center near the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus, where protesters broke a window and threw smoke bombs, paint and human excrement, police said. There were no injuries reported.
Pat Grobschmidt, public affairs officer for Army recruiting in Milwaukee, said no one was in the office at the time.
"Soldiers defend the right of all Americans to peacefully express their point of their view. We're dismayed that their actions are anything but peaceful," Grobschmidt said.
(Title of this post explained here. )
Many residents here say they are impressed that the youngest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana is willing to serve in Iraq, especially given that 10 British troops have been killed and 60 injured over the last three months. They also expressed surprise that the British government agreed to his deployment.For the same reason it should be a lesson to people everywhere. But it won't.
Accustomed to seeing the children of their own leaders enjoying lives of privilege and comfort, they are surprised and pleased at the egalitarian approach of a British prince serving in the army like any ordinary citizen.
Nadhim al-Jabri, media manager for Basra regional council, said Prince Harry's deployment to Iraq should be "a lesson to the leaders of the Arab peoples."
Many in the British media are already adopting a sneering attitude towards the Prince - ridiculing his going away party and what he plans to do on leave. He'll get to be "the troop" that it's socially acceptable to attack, and a lot of folks have been waiting for just such a target.
Looks like Navy service skips generations.
George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and nephew of President Bush, has been selected as one of 15 prospective ensigns for the Navy Reserves intelligence unit.Welcome aboard.
Ok, it is the Iraqi Navy and the Iraqi Army - and yes, the scale is different - but this is something everyone should pause and say, "Well done."
The Iraqi Navy will soon add 21 vessels to its fleet, putting it another step closer to being operationally independent, officials said during a Baghdad news conference Sunday.Solid steps forward.
With a contract on the verge of completion, the Iraqi Navy is the first of the Iraq’s forces to use the Ministry of Defense’s procurement process with Iraqi money in purchasing major capital programs from foreign governments and commercial ventures.
To quote my youngest daughter
"Boys Drool, Girls Rule" would be an accurate description of what Noonan was doing?
If seems like an opportunity to post Ten rules for Dating my
I'm particularly fond of
Rule Two: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance
at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you
cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will
Part III of my series on Saturday's protest, "Marching with Moonbats," is up.
ANSWER's Castro connection... How protests are stage-managed... Behind the facade of IVAW...
Here’s a thought experiment.
Terrorists use children as cover to execute attacks, killing children in the process. They also try to employ improvised chemical weapons against civilian opponents who won't support their terror aims.
Two starkly different reactions:
1. We cannot judge them morally, for we are at fault. Our enemies must be so frustrated, so desperate, so aggrieved, they can find no other way to fight back. We should retreat and make reparations for the harm we have caused.
2. Our enemies are brutal, frustrated in their aims, and desperate. Oblivious to human rights (or human life) while with absolute power, they show the same hatred and thuggish lust for revenge without. Until we completely vanquish them, which we must, we can expect more of the same.
I know which way I respond. Expect to see these two reactions play out in the days ahead on the political stage.
Sorry, I was distracted.