Thursday, June 30, 2005

Support Our Troops: What Does That Really Mean?

In today's politically charged atmosphere I hear so many saying they support our troops and I notice that this means different things to different people. To some this professing support is nothing but a political manuever or an excuse to be for or against something that they have already decided to be for or against. To others it is a truly sincere feeling that is stated in a pure manner. But what does it all really mean to "we the people"?

It can mean proudly hanging yellow ribbons, supporting legislation that is helpful to those who are serving as well as those who have served, and fighting legislation that is not. But isn't there something more that we could be doing to support our troops? It seems to me that no price can ever be put on the gift that our service members give to each one of us (though the push for generous compensation packages & etc. should never cease!). And although yellow ribbons are certainly representative of our support, many service members will never see them or know how much we appreciate their sacrifice and love them for that. The thought of just one individual serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, being wounded, or giving their life without having ever been shown this love and appreciation by at least one of us breaks my heart and should yours too.

So that is what "support our troops" means to me. Showing as many of our service members that we love and appreciate them for what they so willingly do for us, our children, and America as we possibly can. Merely saying those words, however heartfelt, doesn't mean much in my opinion if they never see or hear this from us.

David D. Perlmutter weighs in, in a May, 2005 article that I stumbled upon over at The Christian Science Monitor -

"something more is needed: personal gratitude expressed in small, everyday acts of support"

As you've probably already guessed, I agree.

Mr. Perlmutter goes on to explain exactly how he supports our troops in a very personal way.

"Call it "treat the troops." And it should not become a big institutionalized social movement, just something all of us do once in while.
I started my campaign two months ago when I was in a local toy store. A young man in an Army uniform was shopping for some toy cars, presumably for his kids. As he stepped up to the counter, I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Let me take care of that."
He blinked. I asked the clerk to put his purchases on my bill. I shook the young man's hand and told him, "Thanks for serving your country."
We exchanged a few pleasantries and he left, Hot Wheels in hand. That was it. No big deal - or big cost. Just a token of thanks.
Later, at a restaurant near my campus, I saw a young man in NROTC uniform eating lunch with a young lady. I pointed them out to my waiter and said, "Put their ticket on my bill." Leaving, the young man stopped to thank me. I shrugged. "No problem. Thank you for volunteering to serve your country."
So far my "treat the troops" campaign has cost me about $40. I have no elaborate plans, nor any set budget; I want to be spur-of-the-moment. Frankly, it's more fun that way."

Mr. Perlmutter's method of showing his support is so familiar that after reading about his campaign I had to wonder if I'd personally seen him in action many years ago near Ft. Riley, Kansas treating a large military family to dinner without even giving them the chance to thank him. I doubt that it was the same man but the description of his campaign brought the same tear to my eye as did that perfect American stranger so long ago. Wherever the good samaritan is today, he's not been forgotten either.

I'd like to end my "support the troops" rant by submitting a small portion of a letter that I was honored to receive from a service member in Iraq after having sent an inexpensive package (via a request put forth by his loving wife, also serving in Iraq, to a rag-tag vet group who then contacted me) filled with candy and crayon scribbled cards of love written by children as proof that our troops do indeed need us, especially in the small ways, every bit as much as we need them in a big way. We'll just call him "Richard" as I am unable to contact him at this time to ask his permission to share his name (or even any small part of his letter) but I do feel that he would more than approve so it is with that thought that I risk a first name along with a single touching paragraph.

"Let me start by saying Thank You for the letter, and care package. While all of this is very new to me, I am amazed at the support and caring both my soldiers and I have received during our ongoing operation here in Iraq. I want you to know I personally take great pride in having the opportunity to receive personal thanks from great Americans such as you! It was truly heart warming and could not have come at a better time than it had, Thank You. While I have been in the Army for now 16 years and have been deployed on numerous occasions, I have unfortunately lost friends and soldiers in my journey while all of them hold a special place in my heart, recently however I lost a true and dear friend to both my family and I of almost 14 years while conducting combat patrols. He was a great leader, man, friend and teacher. While words alone could not describe this man in enough detail the enormous amount of soldiers and people he has helped throughout his life including me, is a small comparison to the remarkable gift he had to offer this world. While I doubted after his loss my own acceptance of a continued military career and our mission here as a result of mixed emotions the receipt of your letter helped me understand the greater meaning of our chores ahead and our light of hope however dimmed by his loss to the world. For this I thank you for reaching out to a total stranger to show your support. I want you to know that in 16 years of service this has never happened to me."

Richard's letter humbles me still (I have a huge ego so that's really saying something) and no matter how many times he and those like him are told how much they are to be admired, they will likely continue to think we are the greatest Americans for simply showing our gratitude as we should.

16 years is an awfully long time to wait to be shown that your fellow American supports you but better late than never. I can't imagine how many Richards there are out there putting their lives on the line for you and I who have never been shown our personal support but even one is one too many. So if you've no cold hard cash to spare (and even if you do) to send a package, go forth immediately (contact veterans groups if need be) and write letters 'til your fingers hurt! Also be willing to stand up and totally squash any hint of the degrading BS that our service members have had to endure in the past. Let there be no excuses!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Welcome to the White House (Ya'll!)

While web surfing I stumbled upon a humorous web site, a parody of the official White House web site, which includes a funny page of "executive fan mail" from a number of unsuspecting web surfers who have been "snookered" into believing that they are corresponding with the actual White House Administration. I thought I'd post some of the "Comments and Suggestions from the American Public" so ya'll can giggle with me.

Both the Internet and the use of information technology to distribute government information are evolving rapidly.

Here are some of your thoughts on this most serious matter.

Most frequently suggested Alternate Whitehouse color:
Pink (Red is a close second.)

Most common request made of the President:
Subject: Birthday Card for Grandmother

Hello! I hope this note finds you doing well.
I read in a magazine once that you send birthday cards to citizens over 75 years of age. My grandmother would love to receive one and I would like information on this. Thanks for your help.

The Clinton fan mail is also available.

Small sample of Clinton fan mail-

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998From: michael f.Subject: Mr. President
Sir my name is michael f. i live in clarence new york ...i have a our part plan to get you out of this mess .ill give you the first two ideas ...your going to have to change the perception of what men and women think about this you do this by first appealing to men by showing very sexy women in an off the cuff interview saying they see nothing wrong whit this .if you can think of what these men are thinking as they watch these women ..the same thing can be done with women sexy men ..once these people see there on weakness then they can empathize with this .please contact me for the other half of this plan it has to do with hillary and microsoft.

(LMAO...oh the memories!)

Current fan mail:
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001From: Hedy S.Subject: War Strategy from Ireland
Dear President Bush: My sister sent this to me, and oddly enough it doesn't seem like such a bad idea! I think that even the PETA people would be willing to sacrifice a few piggies to stop the evil scum! We could call it "farm warfare." What ever works, right?
Everyone in my family is behind you a hundred percent, Mr.Pres. That's saying something, we are all die hard Democrats. We are first and foremost Americans though, and are proud of the way you are leading our country through this nightmare.
Sincerely,Hedy S.
> A friend recently informed me that the UK fought the > Islamic terrorist attacks by burying the criminals with a pig. Apparently> The Islamic belief is that if ones' body is buried with a pig (because> they are considered unclean) their soul will go to hell. > > I did a little research into this subject matter and found it to be true.> This got me thinking. > > If we put a baby pig on every airline flight then all suicide > terrorists would abort their missions as they would not want their souls> to go to hell. >> Apparently Muslims dislike the very site of pigs A LOT! > > They are also adamantly opposed to alcohol, thus we spike their > water supply with a few thousand gallons of moonshine, get them> snookered, and turn the pigs loose.

Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001From: Robert[...]@[...].pentagon.milSubject: Spanish lessons
Lesson 1 goes to a Taco Bell home page without instruction in Spanish

Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 From: Margaret L.Subject: problem with Lesson 1
Lesson 1 is a link to a Taco Bell ad! Is this a joke or is President Bush getting paid by Taco Bell to advertise for them? We need seperation between government and big business. The two are becoming indistiguishable! What a pity.

Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 From: Margaret L.Subject: problem with Lesson 1
Okay, it is a joke. As fast as people skim through the internet it is likely that you will be spreading misinformation because it isn't SO obvious that it is a joke. True, I found it hard to believe Bush would want to make Spanish an official alternate language (I don't believe English was ever even made the first official language.) But with him stating that no other relationship the U.S. has is more important than the one we have with Mexico, paired with my new desire to try to not vomit when I hear his voice, see his smirky face, etc... you know, someone might give him the benefit of the doubt and start misinforming their friends about it. Or less informed people like high school students trying to learn about Politics. Yes it is a psuedo-humor to be fooled for a moment, but consider for a moment the simple idea of putting an goofy icon or statement on your cover page so as not to accidentally make Bush look good, and give him credit where credit is obviously not yet do.

Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 From: anonymous@yahoo.comSubject: ' RACIST '
So here I am reading your Lesson 1 link regrading spanish as the alternative language.
Then the link goes to Taco Bell...
Fine, have your free speech which everyone is entitled as long as you don't mind me spreading the news that you are racist bastards. And please dont print this one to the site because it will only make you even worse.
Yes, America is racist but do you have to join in too!
Tipico Norte Americano!

Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 From: Robert H.Subject: Porn at
You people should be ashamed to use this name for a porn site. It was brought to my attention by my 11 year old daughter. She was rudely forced to view your page while looking up information about the U.S. Government. I understand you probably have registered the site and are allowed to do with it what you will, but really! It's sites like this that blatantly attempt to lure innocents that have the Bible belt conservatives in a uproar. If you are opposed to censorship on the internet, then you should show a little responsibility in keeping children away from your site.
Robert H.

Just for the record, is not There is no pr0n at -Bill

Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 From: Judy M.Subject: Hackers on your site
To the Webmaster-
The first time I visited your site at there was red writing over the front page saying "Hackerz were here" and under the Whitehouse photo, in large letters, was rude comments about the President, Americans, etc. When I left the page and came back, the original page was gone, and there was the same page without all that text, but plain government information. I am a North Carolina Webmaster, and the students in this state visit your site as it is linked to LearnNC. I would be APPAULED if my child were to visit your site and see that "Hackerz" information. I think you need to make a sincere effort to fix this problem...who ever thought that it was funny, was WRONG!

Thank you-
The only page I found was which clearly states that this is a joke. Which word on the hackers page did you object to: suck, dope, or gay? BTW, I think you mean "appalled." -Bill

Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 From: Trina S.Subject: no
no I do not agree with her to paint the white house green it has been white for this long so leave the white house white whiite what is she nuts.
--- Trina S.

Date: Fri, 08 Jun 2001From: Ruth T.Subject: Check your page
I think you may want to check the page that says: "Hackers wuz here."It doesn't look appropriate for this site!Ruth T.

Date: Wed, 06 Jun 2001 From: Luis B.Subject: Spanish Lessons Offered in Your Site
Dear Mr. President,
First, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you and your VP on the election success. I feel GREAT again to be an American Citizen if for no other reason than the honor, integrity and moral stature that you have brought to the White House. THANK YOU!
In line with my perspective anf how I feel, I want to communicate my humble opinion about your site's "free Spanish Lessons".
LESSON 1 takes me directly to advertisnements from Taco Bell. I must tell you that my first instinct was to feel insulted. I felt that you and your administration may be thinking that learning Spanish is equivalent to learning how to place your order at Taco Bell. Therefore, I feel that this approach is inadequate and it invites critisism from those politicians who would love to affect your position negatively. Besides, if I may say so, Taco Bell's food may taste good and it may be attempting to represent Mexican food in goodwill, but it does not pay tribute to authentic Mexican food at all!
LESSON 2 translates word for word directly and is not adequate. It may be the only way a computer can translate, but it is far from effective. The service is ineffective and it can actually get somebody in trouble because of the way it translates. This too, is an invitation for critisism and sarcastic comments about how you play with words also. I hope that my comments make sense and that you will affect the changes. Sincerely, and with great respect, Luis B. (at your service).

Date: Tue, 29 May 2001From: Subject: Real
Are you for real? I got information with the #....Keiko

You mean to tell me that 202-555-1212 is not the White House switchboard? Well that's just disappointing. -Bill

Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 From: hnygahSubject: Wake up, American people!
Wake up, American people! DEAR AMERICAN PEOPLE, As people who love peace, we strongly sugguest American people try your best to stop US government from destroy the peace of the world.
????Few weeks ago, US goverment sent war plane to China and bumped our plane down to the sea. We lost one young people. When US invader came to our airfield, we didn't shoot it down. We cherish the peace of the world. But we are not afraid of war to protect our country. We know most people in the world cherish the peace of the world. But US goverment doesn't. PLS think about how many country it has invaded in recent years. How many lifes has been lost because of the invasions! Will this arbitrariness bring good to US people? No other country like it. It's just like relation between people. If a people is welcomed by others, his chance of success is much higher than those who are disrelished. Besides economic problems, it may lead you to war. It has bring wars to you. You don't feel the pain because you don't lose much. But wars between large countries will bring disaster to both country people. As people who love peace, we strongly sugguest US people try your best to stop US government from destroy the peace of the world.

Okay, in case it wasn't clear the site is not an official US government web site so you can stop the weak attempts to hack the server now. -Bill

Date: 30 Apr 2001 From: "????" Subject: I hate you!
I am only a Chinese.But I can't understand the thing recently hanppend.>From April 1st to now,thogh my English is poor,I can't say the impress,I can only say I HATE YOU!!!

Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 19:48:03 -0500From: Joyce K.Subject: "the other white house"
Sir,I just wanted to say that if someone types in just you will get a very nasty site in my opinion-porn!!! You might want to consider a change in the address for the site since it would be very easy for young children to get to a very sick adult site.

You don't say. -Bill

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Comment Party to End All Comment Parties!!!!!

Jeff of Oh-Dark-Thirty will be graduating Army Boot Camp this Friday. While one of the many fine goals of Jeff's comment party was to garner 1000 comments- this doesn't seem to be possible at this late stage. But since Harvey of Bad Example reports that the record for a comment party is 314 comments, Jeff is off training to serve this nation with the United States Army, and is only 9 comments shy of breaking the record, everyone should click on over to Oh-Dark-Thirty (all 2 or 3 of you) and leave a comment already!

Late Update- It's official, party's over!

Liberal Shame

Liberals ashamed of their weak position on terrorism.
Demand Rove either apologize to them or resign.

Karl Rove, in a speech Wednesday evening to the New York state Conservative Party just a few miles north of Ground Zero, said, "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. Conservatives, saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war." He also added that the Democratic Party made the mistake of calling for "moderation and restraint" after the terrorist attacks.

Democrats said Thursday that White House adviser Karl Rove should either apologize or resign for accusing liberals of wanting "therapy and understanding" for the September 11 attackers.

So what, exactly, is the problem with the statements made by Rove in a speech to Republican Party members?

I imagine that any who have not been in a deep and mysteriously long sleep have heard the numerous statements from liberals that show what Rove said is not only true, but that he was being a bit too kind in his description as well.

From the top to the bottom of the totem pole Democrats have been lining up to publically proclaim their positions on terrorism. Personally, I wouldn't have been as generous as Rove when describing the left's dangerous denial of a very real threat and petty harping every step of the way in the war on terror. The left has been in a fairly constant state of insane pacifism and obstructionism since 9/11.

Furthermore, the DNC has been caught spooning Rip Van Winkle as not only do they not take terrorism seriously enough, they appear to be hazily confused on the subject of where they stand on fighting terrorism. Since Rove's assessment is correct, I assume Democrats demanding an apology really just don't like Rove's reminding the American people that Democrats are soft (in the head) on terror.

Rove should not apologize because liberals are ashamed of what they stand for and against.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Pot Calling the Spatula a Black Kettle?

At a committee hearing, Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-MA) cited what he called "repeated gross errors and mistakes" in the U.S. military campaign in Iraq. Kennedy told witness Donald Rumsfeld: "In baseball, it's three strikes, you're out. What is it for the secretary of defense? Isn't it time for you to resign?" Kennedy asked.

I could spend much time defending the actions, or at the very least the reasoning behind the actions, of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. But I’ve decided that Senator Kennedy’s accusations are groundless and partisan enough that I’ve a few questions of my own for him instead.

(First- Put the bottle down just a moment, if at all possible, Senator Kennedy. Step away from that vinyahd and into reality.)

How many strikes does one get when their car plunges off a bridge (strike one), a woman is left to drown (strike two), and her death goes unreported by you (strike three)? Or was that suffocating a woman (strike one), locking her inside your car- pushing it off of a bridge (strike two), and her death goes unreported by you (strike three)?


In any case, what is it for an ultra-liberal Massachusetts Senator? Isn’t it high time for you to take responsibility and resign Senator Kennedy?

Of course, Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment from the parish cemetery on the side of Larksville Mountain.