1.30.2007

Tagged...

Heather tagged me. A while back. I've been slacking...what can I say?! Here we go...



THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don'’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

1. When I eat a meal, I eat one thing at a time. I.e. I eat all of the meat. Then I eat all of the veggies. Then I eat all of the rice. But I cannot eat a bite of this and a bite of that. I know it's all going to wind up in the same place but I prefer to savor the flavors of the individual items.

2. I have no wisdom teeth. I was born without them. Not only that, I still have 2 baby teeth (molars) still in my head. And I'm missing 3 other permanent teeth. I have 26 teeth in my mouth as opposed to the 32 that most people have.

3. I hate the word "GOT". There is never a need to use that word at any time in the English language. It makes you sound unintelligent. Find a more appropriate word.

4. I sleep better in full sunlight with the windows open and a breeze blowing than I do at night. Something about taking a nap during the daytime just helps me sleep better.

5. Grammar and spelling. Poor grammar and spelling are some of my biggest pet peeves. I am an administrator on a military spouse internet board and I have been known to go through the board and correct typos on the board. I've managed to restrain myself and only edit the titles and the sections of the board itself but it's a compulsion.

6. It is impossible for me to go to bed at night if the living room, the kitchen, or the kids' room is messy. They don't have to be spotless but they need to be tidy.


I'm sure there is more. I am anything but normal.


Normal is boring.




As for who I am tagging...Gail, Dianna, Jen (because her life isn't hectic enough!), AWTM, Andi, and Carren (We all know how weird Chuck is but I"m sure Carren has her moments as well!).




Pau.




- hfs

Stop the BS and "Let's Get It Done"

Matt over at Blackfive posts an incredible letter from and NCO who has some strong opinions on how this country is handling The War Against Terror:


Things that I am tired of in this war:

I am tired of Democrats saying they are patriotic and then insulting my commander in chief and the way he goes about his job.

I am tired of Democrats who tell me they support me, the soldier on the ground, and then tell me the best plan to win this war is with a “phased redeployment” (liberal-speak for retreat) out of the combat zone to someplace like Okinawa.

I am tired of the Democrats whining for months on T.V., in the New York Times, and in the House and Senate that we need more troops to win the war in Iraq, and then when my Commander in Chief plans to do just that, they say that is the wrong plan, it won’t work, and we need a “new direction.”

I am tired of every Battalion Sergeant Major and Command Sergeant Major I see over here being more concerned about whether or not I am wearing my uniform in the “spot on,” most garrison-like manner; instead of asking me whether or not I am getting the equipment I need to win the fight, the support I need from my chain of command, or if the chow tastes good.

I am tired of junior and senior officers continually doubting the technical expertise of junior enlisted soldiers who are trained far better to do the jobs they are trained for than these officers believe.

I am tired of senior officers and commanders who fight this war with more of an eye on the media than on the enemy, who desperately needs killing.

I am tired of the decisions of Sergeants and Privates made in the heat of battle being scrutinized by lawyers who were not there and will never really know the state of mind of the young soldiers who were there and what is asked of them in order to survive.

I am tired of CNN claiming that they are showing “news,” with videotape sent to them by terrorists, of my comrades being shot at by snipers, but refusing to show what happens when we build a school, pave a road, hand out food and water to children, or open a water treatment plant.

I am tired of following the enemy with drones that have cameras, and then dropping bombs that sometimes kill civilians; because we could do a better job of killing the right people by sending a man with a high powered rifle instead.

I am tired of the thousands of people in the rear who claim that they are working hard to support me when I see them with their mochas and their PX Bags walking down the street, in the middle of the day, nowhere near their workspaces.

I am tired of Code Pink, Daily Kos, Al-Jazzera, CNN, Reuters, the Associated Press, ABC, NBC, CBS, the ACLU, and CAIR thinking that they somehow get to have a vote in how we blast, shoot and kill these animals who would seek to subdue us and destroy us.

I am tired of people like Meredith Vieria from NBC asking oxygen thieves like Senator Chuck Hagel questions like “Senator, at this point, do you think we are fighting and dying for nothing?” Meredith might not get it, but soldiers do know the difference between fighting and dying for something and fighting and dying for nothing.

I am tired of hearing multiple stories from both combat theaters about snipers begging to do their jobs while commanders worry about how the media might portray the possible casualties and what might happen to their career.

I am tired of hearing that the Battalion Tactical Operations Center got a new plasma screen monitor for daily briefings, but rifle scope rings for sniper rifles, extra magazines, and necessary field gear were disapproved by the unit supply system.

I am tired of out of touch general officers, senators, congressmen and defense officials who think that giving me some more heavy body armor to wear is helping me stay alive. Speed is life in combat and wearing 55 to 90 pounds of gear for 12 to 20 hours a day puts me at a great tactical disadvantage to the idiot, mindless terrorist who is wearing no armor at all and carrying an AK-47 and a pistol.

I am tired of soldiers who are stationed in places like Kuwait and who are well away from any actual combat getting Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay and the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion when they live on a base that has a McDonald’s, a Pizza Hut, a Subway, a Baskin Robbins, an internet café, 2 coffee shops and street lights.

I am tired of senior officers and commanders who take it out and "measure" every time they want to have a piece of the action with their helicopters or their artillery; instead of putting their egos aside and using their equipment to support the grunt on the ground.

I am tired of senior officers and commanders who are too afraid for their careers to tell the truth about what they need to win this war to their bosses so that the soldiers can get on with kicking the ass of these animals.

I am tired of Rules of Engagement being made by JAG lawyers and not Combat Commanders. We are not playing Hopscotch over here. There is no 2nd place trophy either. I think that if the enemy knew some rough treatment and some deprivation was at hand for them, instead of prayer rugs, special diets and free Korans; this might help get their terrorist minds “right.”

I am tired of seeing Active Duty Army and Marine units being extended past their original redeployment dates, when there are National Guard Units that have yet to deploy to a combat zone in the last 40 years.

I am tired of hearing soldiers who are stationed in safe places talk about how hard their life is.

I am tired of seeing Infantry Soldiers conducting what amounts to “SWAT” raids and performing the US Army’s version of “CSI Iraq” and doing things like filling out forms for evidence when they could be better used to hunt and kill the enemy.

I am tired of senior officers and commanders who look first in their planning for how many casualties we might take, instead of how many enemy casualties we might inflict.

I am tired of begging to be turned loose so that this war can be over.

Those of us who fight this war want to win it and go home to their families. Prolonging it with attempts to do things like collect “evidence” or present whiz bang briefings on a new plasma screen TV is wasteful and ultimately, dulls the edge of our Infantry soldiers who are trained to kill people and break things, not necessarily in that order.

We are not in Iraq and Afghanistan to build nations. We are there to kill our enemies. We make the work of the State Department easier by the results we achieve.

It is only possible to defeat an enemy who kills indiscriminately by utterly destroying him. He cannot be made to yield or surrender. He will fight to the death by the hundreds to kill only one or two of us.

And so far, all of our “games” have been “away games,” and I don’t know about the ignorant, treasonous Democrats and the completely insane radical leftists and their thoughts on the matter, but I would like to keep our road game schedule.

So let’s get it done. Until the fight is won and there is no more fight left.

-D



Amen SGT. AMEN. I am copying and pasting this into a letter and sending it to my elected officials. And the papers. And anyone else I can think of. He's dead on.




Pau.




- hfs

1.28.2007

MacGyver is wicked!

He came up behind me and put his arms around me all lovey-dovey like and was SOOO sweet! But LOOK at that smile! What a wicked, wicked man.
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And a few more...


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Pau.




- hfs

1.26.2007

R&R update

Time has been C-R-A-W-L-I-N-G and it's divine. We literally have nothing planned and it's been glorious! Our days have been made up of the day to day things that MacGyver had been missing out on - school, Awana, church, hanging out with friends, running errands. We spend a lot of time just sitting near each other. It's wonderful. We still have several days left and my hope is that they crawl by as slowly as the first days have.

The kids have loved having Daddy home but the wonderful thing is that they seem to have picked up right where we left off and didn't miss a beat. Hopefully the goodbye will go as smoothly as R&R itself has.

Update on the Nissan's a/c compressor replacement: the job is done! Unfortunately, there is still a scream and now the a/c is not blowing cold air. We think there is a clog in one of the lines but we're not sure. Grr. Thankfully, I now have MacGyver here to help me figure it out. But she's up and running again which is nice! She's my beach car and I've missed her.

If you all get a chance, a good friend of mine could use some prayers. My friend Jen's 5 year old son became disoriented and unable to recognize family the other day, along with slurring his words. Looks like it was a seizure but there is no definitive diagnosis as of yet. EEGs have been run as have CT scans and now they are waiting for the pediatric neurologist to have a look at the results. Her husband is on his way home on Emergency Leave but it's a scary situation and they could definitely use your prayers.

And if anyone knows of cheap airfare to Washington, D.C., let me know. I'm starting to look into making a trip out for the MilBlogging conference in May but our finances are tight right now so I'm looking for ways to a.) minimize costs and b.) raise funds to avoid having an impact on our budget. I don't know if I can go a year without seeing these people!!! Last year was so much FUN!




Pau.




- hfs

1.23.2007

Out on a limb

Neal Boortz had this to say in his website column on January 11th:


There is this to consider. Almost anywhere in the world where you see violence .. where you see one identifiable group of people trying to kill another .. you will find that they are Muslims. I'm not sure just how many shooting wars or conflicts, large and small, there are around the world. I think that the number is somewhere between 120 and 130. In all but about four you will find Muslims involved. Everywhere you look .. Muslims killing people; and we're supposed to believe that this is a peaceful religion? Muslim organization beat their gums all they want about the wonderful, peaceful nature of the serene religion of Islam .. but just look around on your own a bit and you find all the evidence you need to see that this concept of loving, peaceful Islam is simply not true.




I have to agree. While I will concede that there ARE pockets of the Middle East and the rest of the world that harbor peaceful communities of Muslims, the way I see it is that wherever there is strife or unrest in the world, chances are that there are Muslims involved.

Is it because Islam is really not a religion of peace? Or is it because Islam has been hijacked by the Islamofascists and therefore perverted into the violent and genocidal thing that it is today? I don't know. Nor do I care. The reasons behind the current nature of Islam are of no concern to me. What IS of concern to me is how we - the West...those that the Islamofascists want to see wiped off the face of the Earth - choose to deal with it.

We are so wrapped around the axle when it comes to this one. We do not want to appear Hitleresque in our approach to the situation. But the reality is that we have 2 options:

1.) eliminate Islamofascists from the world and return Islam to it's supposed peaceful state (unlikely)

OR

2.) put the fear of God into them. Accept the fact that terrorists and terrorism (and Islamofascism) will never be fully eliminated and send a VERY CLEAR message that we will NOT be messed with. That anyone who does mess with us will be eliminated. Not punished. Not "dealt with". Not sanctioned against.

Eliminated. Reduced to rubble. Whichever euphemism you wish to use. But the message must be clear - you will not F&#k with us. Ever.


Until we do that, we will continue to be hounded by those who wish to see us wiped off the face of the planet. Politicking and appeasement will not work. We've spent the last 25 years proving that to ourselves and to the rest of the world. It is time to get up off our knees and truly start defending ourselves. If we fail to do this, my son and your son and possibly even my daughter will be fighting this war when they become adults.




Pau.




- hfs

1.20.2007

Helicopter Crash in Iraq

Details are sketchy and I have no additional information at this time. I do not know what unit nor do I know if it was a Blackhawk or a Chinook. But I am sure that the families, and all aviation families, would appreciate your prayers and good thoughts at this moment.


AT&T story


Yahoo story


CNN story


FOXNews story




Pau.




- hfs

1.18.2007

Mental Math

Me: You need to write your big "R" and your little "r" 5 more times each.

Princess Trouble (who is FIVE): But I've already written them 5 times.

Me: You need to write them 5 MORE times. You need to practice.

PT: Why do I have to write them 10 times?




Mind you, she's FIVE. And in Kindergarten.


Obviously math is a strongpoint for this child.


Wow.




Pau.




- hfs

1.17.2007

And...he's home.

Finally. See you all in about 2 weeks. Maybe sooner but I doubt it ;~)




Pau.




- hfs

1.15.2007

Game ON

All I have to say is...


LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!!!




Pau.




- hfs

1.12.2007

Temporary concession

UPDATE 1.13.2007: YES! It took 4 hands, 5 socket wrench extensions, a step ladder, a hammer, a mirror, and a flashlight but the bolts came loose and the new compressor has been installed. I managed to lose an O-ring and they needed to be replaced anyway so I need to pick those up and I'll be ready to reconnect the compressor lines and recharge the coolant (tomorrow) and she should be good to go! Hallelujah!

UPDATE 1.12.2007: A friend from church is coming over tomorrow afternoon to take a look at things and see if he can get at the bolts. Woohoo! I might get this done before MacGyver gets home after all!


All right. Dammit. I concede defeat. At least temporarily.


I cannot get a decent angle on either of the 2 bottom bolts holding the air conditioning compressor on to the engine. Therefore I cannot get it loose. I've tried everything I can think of and everything that everyone else has suggested:

- using a cheater bar
- crawling under the car to get at it
- laying on top of the engine to get a better angle


I just can't get enough muscle behind the wrench to get them loose from any of the angles. When I go to church on Sunday, there are a couple people I can talk to and see if maybe they can make it over that afternoon or early next week to help me out. If not, MacGyver can help me when he comes home.


But *I* want to be the one to actually DO this. I started it. I want to finish it. And then I need to change the oil. If I get really adventurous (and with the help of one of the guys at church who owns a local 4x4 shop) I may even try to tackle the seal on the rear differential at some point.


But for now, I concede defeat. Dammit.




Pau.




- hfs




p.s. Congratulations to CaliValleyGirl on becoming CaliValleyFiancee!. Woohoo!!! Another Hooker's Wife joins the club!

1.11.2007

Thoughts on the President's speech

I finally found time to sit and listen to the speech (while reading the transcript). First, my thoughts as the spouse of a soldier who is deployed...screw the extensions. Screw the surge. Screw Iraq. Bring my husband home.


*whew* Ok, now that that irrational train of thought is purged from my brain, let's look at this rationally.


Past Troop Surges in Iraq Produce Mixed Results

I was listening to Hugh Hewitt on the radio yesterday and he had Rowan Scarbrough on. Mr. Scarbrough had a lot to say that I agree with - most of which is summed up in the article above.

The President had a lot to say this evening that I agree with. Some that I was even saying "YES!" out loud to. The question is whether we will actually follow through on what needs to be done. Personally speaking, I don't think you can win a war with one hand tied behind your back. Which is where we sit right now. Hopefully, some of the bondage under which our military has been operating will be loosed and maybe THEN we can start kicking butt and taking names.

My concerns are that we are putting too much faith in the Iraqi Army and National Police; that we are relying too heavily on al Maliki's word that he will crack down on the death squads on BOTH sides of the ethnic equation (until now, the crackdown has been on the Suuni death squads but not on the Shi'a side of things); and that we have not addressed the support that the insurgency is receiving from both Iran and Syria. I understand that we do not want to expand the war into those two countries but I firmly believe that something needs to be done about the flow of support from those two countries from WITHIN Iraq. Then again, if we can't secure our border with Mexico, I don't see how we can expect Iraq to secure its borders with those two knuckleheads.

I don't believe in doing things half-assed. Either do it right or don't do it at all. Half-assed is what got us INTO this situation in the first place. Had we done this right back in '91, I don't think we'd BE in this mess right now. And yes, it is a mess.

My friend Heather gave me a recipe for yeast rolls. The first time I made it, I was not aggressive enough with my use of the flour or in kneading the dough. I wound up stuck in an icky, gooey mess that took me days to clean up. Had I done it right the first time, things would have worked out but I was timid and it nailed me. The same could be said for the Middle East.

The President said,
The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy, by advancing liberty across a troubled region. It is in the interests of the United States to stand with the brave men and women who are risking their lives to claim their freedom, and to help them as they work to raise up just and hopeful societies across the Middle East.


I'm not sure I agree with this approach. Just as I believe that the "raise their self-esteem and they will be well-behaved children" method is crap, I think this is crap too. You do not thwart violent ideologies that wish to see the destruction of your way of life with motivational videos and conferences. You treat it the same way you treat a defiant child - with a firm hand and uncompromising limits. Period. While I agree that spreading Democracy across the Middle East is in the best interest of the United States, her allies, and pretty much the rest of the world, I don't think it's going to do us any good if we can't get CONTROL of the situation in the short term in order to make the long term progress we seek. I cannot teach my 2 year old how to resove a conflict with his sister if he is trying to beat her up with one of his tractors. I first must get control of him before I try to teach the lesson. Otherwise it is a waste of my time and energy (and resources).



There was one line in the President's speech that I am sure will be overlooked in the face of all that was presented (and all that will be debated ad nauseum through the end of the month at least):

We can begin by working together to increase the size of the active Army and Marine Corps, so that America has the Armed Forces we need for the 21st century.



ThankyouverymuchSlickWillie. Yet another fine mess you've gotten us into (ala Haiti, Bosnia, Somalia, and not taking care of ObL when you had the chance as Sudan offered him up on a silver freaking platter...). Now we are left to rebuild what YOU tore down. Oh yeah, the economy did great under you. But at what expense? Look where it got us. Thanks a lot, asshole. We're left to clean up YOUR backyard mess in the face of the Category V hurricane that showed up on 9/11. Can't tell you how much I appreciate THAT ONE.


With regard to the "surge" and how it will affect the units already deployed and those that are facing deployment...everyone get your panties out of their wad. Put out the flame on your tampon string. From everything I've read so far, the "surge" will come from 5 main brigade-sized components (via Yahoo! article...I'll post the link when I find it):

According to the military official, who provided no dates,

_The 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard, will stay longer than planned in Iraq;

_The 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kansas, will deploy to Iraq earlier than planned;

_The 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based at Fort Lewis, Wash., will deploy early;

• The 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga., will deploy early;

• And the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Benning, Ga., will deploy early.




Like a friend of mine said earlier today, "if he (her husband...and mine) gets extended, he gets extended. I don't have to like it but I'll deal." That pretty much covers it. Boring and mundane military life ended on 9/11. At least in my opinion it did. These days, anything goes. As a military spouse, you have to be aware of that. Doesn't mean I won't throw myself on the floor and kick and scream. But I also realize that this is his duty. He signed up for this. He gave his word. And I cannot tell you how much I respect him for that.




Pau.




- hfs

1.10.2007

My little turd

So Little Man has some of the same issues that Princess Trouble had. Mainly, he likes to withhold his BMs. He's on Miralax like she is in order to help him avoid the encopresis issues that she had. Because of the meds, he soils 6-8 diapers per day. Doesn't necessarily FILL them, just makes enough of a mess to stink and need to be changed.


Gets just a little old after a while, especially when I'm the only one changing his diapers. But he's shown no interest in using the potty and, to be honest, I don't have the energy to deal with trying to potty train him at the moment. Figured I would get to it when MacGyver gets home for good.


So, for R&R, I told MacGyver that I did not want to have to change a SINGLE poopy diaper for the entire 14 days. I don't want anything else other than that out of R&R. So what does my little turd do today at day care???!!!


HE POOPS IN THE POTTY!!!!!!!!


I don't know whether to celebrate or cry. He's going to potty train himself in the next few days before MacGyver gets home for R&R and then MacGyver will NEVER have to change a poopy diaper! DAMMIT!




Seriously, I was thrilled! Made a HUGE deal out of it and immediately took the kids for ice cream. And he goes back to day care on Friday ;) We'll let THEM potty train him! heh.




Pau.




- hfs

1.09.2007

Update on the Pathfinder

Mother Nature is my biggest obstacle right now. We've had some pretty heavy rains which makes working on the car a bit impossible.

I've managed to get the lines disconnected from the compressor. The Pathfinder was switched over from freon to RA134 a while back so there's no worry about that issue. I'm having trouble getting at the 2 bolts on the bottom of the compressor that hold it to the engine. They are in a horribly awkward position to get at from the top (can't really get a cheater bar down there to help with the torque) and my arms aren't long enough to get at them with much force from the bottom (again, not enough room to get a cheater bar in there).

Once I get those 2 bolts off, I can take the compressor out and put the new one in. I'd really like to be able to get this done before MacGyver comes home for R&R. Thankfully (trying to look at the silver lining here...) his departure date has been pushed back so that gives me more time to try to wait out Mother Nature and the rainstorms she's been sending our way.

I must admit I am having fun. Growing up, I hung around while my dad tinkered on the old Celica. I loved the smell of engine oil and gasoline. I never really got a chance to get my hands dirty but I did learn how to change my own oil and tires (thanks Mom!). MacGyver has always been willing to let me watch, do, and learn but that's tough with 2 kids to keep track of. Now that they are older, it's easier for me to tinker.

Shannon mentions in the comments below busted knuckles (yep, got those), the aching back (yep...pulled a muscle in my right shoulder trying to get the bolts loose), and the dirty fingernails (got those too). I understand where she's coming from. You couldn't pay me to work on my Accord - too much of a hassle. That is why I have a full warranty and service contract with Honda. Thankfully, the Pathy is older and therefore not as overwhelmed with computers like newer cars. And thankfully I have the Accord to fall back on if I screw up the Pathy. If not, I'd be forking out the money happily to have a real mechanic work on it.


The rain should be letting up on Wednesday and hopefully that evening I can get back into the engine comparment and go after those 2 last bolts. Keep your fingers crossed and I'll keep you posted!




Pau.




- hfs

1.06.2007

Achievement Patches

I think, as military spouses, there should be some kind of recognition system. Something similar to what the Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts have. Merit badges, if you will.

For instance...a few months ago, I had a run in with my kitchen sink. I won that round. (Me: 1 Deployment Gremlins: 0)

Fast forward to the Christmas holiday. Some wayward pineapple rinds stopped the whole show up again. We got it running again but just a few days later, it stopped up again. So out came the pipe wrench, the buckets, the towels. Two hours, a trip to the hardware store, one raped sink in the garage, and several cuss words later...and the sink is running free again!


I think I deserve TWO merit badges for that one. Not only for my ability to handle the crisis (and not call the landlord at 7pm on a Friday night) but also my ingenuity when I realized that I had bought the wrong sized part for the sink and that the hardware store was closed (which necessitated the raping of the utility sink in the garage).


Me: 2 Deployment Gremlins: 0


Now I am working on my auto mechanic's merit badge. The air conditioning compressor on the Pathfinder is dead. To have the mechanic replace it would run me about $700-$800. I found the part on eBay for $150 and I'm now in the process of trying to get the old one out so I can put the new one in. My biggest problem (besides finding time between the persistent rain and the 2 ankle-biters that keep demanding my attention) is getting enough torque to loosen the bolts that hold the compressor to the car. THIS is why I need MacGyver! My hope is that I can get this done before he gets home.


I even have the a/c recharging kit - a guy from church was PCSing and couldn't take it with him. When he came over to borrow our mini fridge for a few days, he saw that I was working on the compressor and gave me his unused recharging kit. Woohoo! If I can do this myself, it will save us about $600. Works for me!




I wonder if there is a market out there for Military Spouse Merit Badges? What merit badges are you eligible for??




Pau.




- hfs

1.05.2007

Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

Conscientious Rejector?




Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know what I think about Lt. Ehren Watada and his refusal to deploy with his unit to Iraq. In case you need a refresher on my opinion, you can go HERE or HERE.


Yesterday, Yahoo! Hot Zone reporter Kevin Sites recently spoke with Lt. Watada as he hung out at home in Hawaii (mind you, this is while my husband and many other thousands of service men and women are currently deployed to the middle east, regardless of their views on the war in Iraq.)


KEVIN SITES: Now, you joined the Army right after the US was invading Iraq and now you're refusing to go. Some critics might look at this as somewhat disingenuous. You've taken an oath, received training but now you won't fight. Can you explain your rationale behind this?

EHREN WATADA: Sure. I think that in March of 2003 when I joined up, I, like many Americans, believed the administration when they said the threat from Iraq was imminent — that there were weapons of mass destruction all throughout Iraq; that there were stockpiles of it; and because of
Saddam Hussein's ties to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 terrorist acts, the threat was imminent and we needed to invade that country immediately in order to neutralize that threat.

Since then I think I, as many, many Americans are realizing, that those justifications were intentionally falsified in order to fit a policy established long before 9/11 of just toppling the Saddam Hussein regime and setting up an American presence in Iraq.


Bullshit. I've said it before and I'll say it again. There were WMDs in Iraq. Were they there after we waited around with our thumbs up our butts for months on end while the UN pondered its belly button? Hell no. They are now most likely in Syria (or, if Saddam was really the psycho nutjob that I think he was, they may even be over in Tehran...). But I firmly believe that Iraq had WMDs AFTER Desert Storm and before our 2003 invasion.

Were the reports falsified? No. Show me one instance in which falsification has been proven beyond a doubt. Was there a policy to topple Saddam prior to 9/11?? Good God, I hope so. We should have done it right the FIRST time around back in '91 but we couldn't find the spine to do it right back then.


SITES: Tell me how those views evolved. How did you come to that conclusion?

WATADA: I think the facts are out there, they're not difficult to find, they just take a little bit of willingness and interest on behalf of anyone who is willing to seek out the truth and find the facts. All of it is in the mainstream media. But it is quickly buried and it is quickly hidden by other events that come and go. And all it takes is a little bit of logical reasoning. The Iraq Survey Group came out and said there were no weapons of mass destruction after 1991 and during 2003. The 9/11 Commission came out and said there were no ties with Iraq to 9/11 or al-Qaeda. The president himself came out and said that nobody in his administration ever suggested that there was a link.

And yet those ties to al-Qaeda and the weapons of mass destruction were strongly suggested. They said there was no doubt there were weapons of mass destruction all throughout 2002, 2003 and even 2004. So, they came out and they say this, and yet they say it was bad intelligence, not manipulated intelligence, that was the problem. And then you have veteran members of the CIA that come out and say, "No. It was manipulated intelligence. We told them there was no WMD. We told them there were no ties to al-Qaeda. And they said that that's not what they wanted to hear."


It's all in the mainstream media?!? HA!! So was the report that they had found that missing jetliner in Indonesia and that 12 people had survived. Just because it exists in the MSM doesn't make it true.

The intelligence that we had at the time was the intelligence we went with. Of COURSE the CIA is going to try to cover its ass. The fact is that our intelligence abilities in the middle east have been weak, at best, since the 1970s.

Yes, it would have been great had we stumbled across a big warehouse full of mustard gas, anthrax, and Furbys all tied up with a big red bow on top. But we didn't. Does that mean that WMDs were not in the possession of Saddam Hussein at any time prior to 2003? Um, no. It just means the crazy (and very DEAD) SOB was good at hiding them.

Does that give Lt. Watada permission to refuse to deploy with his unit? Um, no. Sorry Ehren.


SITES: Do you think that you could have determined some of this information prior to joining the military — if a lot of it, as you say, was out there? There were questions going into the war whether WMD existed or not, and you seemingly accepted the administration's explanation for that. Why did you do that at that point?

WATADA: Certainly yeah, there was other information out there that I could have sought out. But I put my trust in our leaders in government.

SITES: Was there a turning point for you when you actually decided that this was definitely an illegal war?

WATADA: Certainly. I think that when we take an oath we, as soldiers and officers, swear to protect the constitution — with our lives as necessary — and those constitutional values and laws that make us free and make us a democracy. And when we have one branch of government that intentionally deceives another branch of government in order to authorize war, and intentionally deceives the people in order to gain that public support, that is a grave breach of our constitutional values, our laws, our checks and balances, and separation of power.

SITES: But Lieutenant, was there one specific incident that happened in Iraq or that the administration had said or done at a certain period that [made you say] "I have to examine this more closely"?

WATADA: No, I think that certainly as the war went on, and it was not going well, doubts came up in my mind, but at that point I still was willing to go. At one point I even volunteered to go to Iraq with any unit that was short of junior officers.

SITES: At what point was that?

WATADA: This was in September of 2005. But as soon as I found out, and as I began to read and research more and more that the administration had intentionally deceived the public and Congress over the reasons for going to Iraq, that's when I told myself "there's something wrong here."



Buyers' remorse. Lovely. He's refusing to deploy because he had second thoughts. You know, I'm actually glad he's NOT over there with my husband. What a lousy, worthless liability he would have been. Lily-livered. That's the best description I can come up with. Pathetic. And he didn't really start to doubt things until "it wasn't going well." Ah, a fair-weather soldier. Gotta love those.


SITES: You've said that you had a responsibility to your own conscience in this particular situation. Did you also have a responsibility to your unit as well? I just want to read you a quote from Veterans of Foreign Wars communications director Jerry Newbury. He said "[Lt. Watada] has an obligation to fulfill, and it's not up to the individual officer to decide when he's going to deploy or not deploy. Some other officer will have to go in his place. He needs to think about that." Can you react to that quote?

WATADA: You know, what I'm doing is for the soldiers. I'm trying to end something that is criminal, something that should not have been started in the first place and something that is making America less safe — and that is the Iraq war. By just going there and being willing to participate, and doing my job, or whatever I'm told to do — which actually exacerbates the situation and makes it worse — I would not be serving the best interest of this country, nor the soldiers that I'm serving with. What I'm trying to do is end something, as I said, that's illegal, and immoral, so that all the soldiers can come home and this tragedy can come to an end.

It seems like people and critics make this distinction between an order to deploy and any other order, as if the order to deploy is just something that's beyond any other order. Orders have to be determined on whether they're legal or not. And if the order to deploy to a war that is unlawful, if that is given, then that order itself is unlawful.


Refusing to do your JOB is not doing anything for the soldiers. It is self-serving and cowardly. Neither of which helps our soldiers or the war effort in any way, shape, or form. If the order itself was unlawful or illegal, there are channels through which the complaint must go. The MSM is not one of those channels.

SITES: Do you think that you made a mistake in joining the military? Your mother and father support you in this decision, and your father during the Vietnam War refused to go to Vietnam as well, but instead joined the Peace Corps. He went to his draft board and said, "let me join the Peace Corps and serve in Peru," which is what he did. Do you think in hindsight that that might have been a better decision for you as well?

WATADA: You know I think that John Murtha came out a few months ago in an interview and he was asked if, with all his experience, in Korea, and Vietnam, volunteering for those wars -- he was asked if he would join the military today. And he said absolutely not. And I think that with the knowledge that I have now, I agree. I would not join the military because I would be forced into a position where I would be ordered to do something that is wrong. It is illegal and immoral. And I would be put into a situation as a soldier to be abused and misused by those in power.

STIES: In your speech in front of the Veterans for Peace you said "the oath we take as soldiers swears allegiance not to one man but to a document of principles and laws designed to protect the people." Can you expand upon that a little bit — what did you mean when you said that?

WATADA: The constitution was established, and our laws are established, to protect human rights, to protect equal rights and constitutional civil liberties. And I think we have people in power who say that those laws, or those principles, do not apply to them — that they are above the law and can do whatever it takes to manipulate or create laws that enable them to do whatever they please. And that is a danger in our country, and I think the war in Iraq is just one symptom of this agenda. And I think as soldiers, as American people, we need to recognize this, and we need to put a stop to it before it's too late.


While the Constitution is designed to "insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity", there is nothing in that document that has been found to prove this war illegal. And Congress sure as hell isn't going to do that - the majority of them voted FOR the war in the first place (well, except Jawn Kary who voted for it before he voted against it...or something...). To actually believe that this war is illegal (which, in my uneducated opinion, it is most definitely NOT) would mean that every servicemember who has participated in any part of OIF would be a war criminal.


Hmm...I don't think so.


What this comes down to is the fact that Lt. Ehren Watada is a coward with an agenda. Just like his daddy before him. The lineage is steeped in cowardice.


Yes, this war is ugly. Yes men and women, American and Iraqi, are dying and being injured. Yes, it is a tough road to navigate and it can be murky at times. But deposing Saddam was the RIGHT thing to do. About 12 years too late but still the right thing to do. And I guarantee that, had we not and Saddam had gone on to cause problems, the people out on the streets of Honolulu today waving signs that urge support for Lt. Watada would be the ones wailing the LOUDEST that the United States should have done something to stop that madman before he had a chance to cause problems.


Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.




Pau.




- hfs

1.02.2007

Goals

I don't make resolutions. I just don't. They seem pointless and a little too lemming-like for me. I do, however, set goals. My goals for this deployment were (in no particular order):

- visit as many places on my "TO SEE/DO" list here on the island as possible
STATUS: getting there. I've been to Pearl Harbor (and once I get a chance to upload photos I will post about it), I've visited several botanical gardens, museums, beaches, and parks on the island that I had yet to go to. I've eaten at new restaurants and tried new foods. There is still much to cover but I'm making progress.

- learn to sew
STATUS: still working on it. It's a matter of eeking out the time to sit down with the machine and the manual and set to work. I also need to decide on a starter project and get supplies.

- get in shape
STATUS: in progress. I had a few setbacks the past few months but I'm working my way back to where I was and then I'll push on ahead. I'm joining a gym soon that has 3 things I long for: a pool, a rowing machine, and drop-in child care. Doesn't get much better than that!

- read the Bible all the way through
STATUS: just getting started. My friend M and I are going at this one together. January 1 seemed like a good place to start so here we are.

- send a card and/or gift to each person for whom I have a birthdate
STATUS: ready to go. I have the cards. The dates are written on the calendar. The first batch of cards is ready to be mailed out. Along with the Christmas cards...heh.


That's about it. My goals for 2007 are pretty much a continuation of the goals I set for this deployment. I'd love to be able to look back in 12 months and say that I've accomplished each and every goal I set.




What are YOUR goals?




Pau.




- hfs

1.01.2007

2007

Seriously. I think it's quieter where MacGyver is than it is here right now. BIL remarked that his last new year's...spent in Afghanistan...was not this loud. I hate firecrackers.

Don't get me wrong - I love a good fireWORKS display. But I see absolutely no sense in firecrackers. NONE. FIL brought home a Costco flyer the other day that had their "specials" listed - their "Mega Pack" was $130!


One-hundred and thirty DOLLARS.


Seriously? Are people THAT stupid? (yes, that is a rhetorical question...the smell of cordite and constant barrage of cracks and booms outside my window at 12:19AM is my answer). Why not just go get 130 fresh $1 bills, line them up in the street, and light them on fire? I fail to see any logic in firecrackers.


Not to mention the fact that it's keeping my kids up. Shut the hell up people and go to bed! Happy frickin new year.




Pau.




- hfs