Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Wonderful News - Iraq is Normal!

Well, almost! If you haven't yet read Omar of Iraq the Model's post for today, it is a must read: link at bottom.

First please let me share a kudo and point out what is sooooo exciting about this.

Thanks to all of you gentle readers who are running our numbers up here. As we know, numbers are important! You inspire me! Special thanks go out to those of you who have posted thought provoking (or otherwise) comments. You know who you are! We live in such a crucial time, and the chance to share what's happening is incomparable. Truly, truly, thanks to you all.

Why oh why do I say Iraq is "normal" now? (Or maybe I should say "getting" normal?) Because the media is frazzing them just like theyhave been frazzing the rest of us all these years!! Surely, surely if "the media" insists on:

"...showing the voices that oppose the elections that represent parties swimming against the majority's current and chose violence and terror as a way to deal with the people and this is a striking evidence for their failure because if they were representing the general will of the people we would've seen peaceful activities in which the sons of Iraq take part..."
Dontcha see?? Most of Iraq is now so normalized that the media has to seek out bombings and other terroristic events to file copy for the day. Just like the good ole U.S.A!

I tell you, I am excited about what is going on in Iraq! And I mean the good stuff. People are going to VOTE!

Okay, I won't bother you further with my views. Read today's post for yourself on Iraq the Model. Rejoice!
God Bless All the Lists
Thanks, readers! We are getting the word out. You make it all worthwhile.

By the way, one of my goals here is to post a good selection of pertinent links. If you have favorites to suggest, particularly:

a) informed websites that lay things out (without being too fanatical - no, not even if I agree), or

b) my personal favorite, good blogs by "just people" telling their stories. Good example:
A Star from Mosul
Please send them on by comment or email. Note, I've not yet listed the links I do have and won't ever try to list all, just looking for a good selection. I'm especially interested in Israeli and Congolese folk, and a few new soldier blogs.

As Omar said: God Bless all the lists.

Surely the Blogosphere is smiling today!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

And the Winner Is...

There are a lot of people I admire. Interestingly, none of them are whiners.

Top of my list this year and every year are:

People who do the right thing with no recognition. From old folks alone and single mothers who do what they can with what they have, to leaders at every level who serve and refuse to take advantage of their position, I salute you.

Aside from these every day heroes, this year I have a few new favorites.

3) The U.S.A. led by President George W. Bush. When has a nation been willing to send their soldiers off to free another country, at much loss to themselves? Not very often. I salute you. And to every other nation who is doing this also, I salute you as well. When war becomes about helping, we are on the right track.

2) The soldiers. Those who signed up for a job but didn’t know it would be a war, yet stick it out and serve not only as soldiers but as diplomats. The vast majority who are doing the best they can for those they serve and for those they are trying to help, I salute you. I thank you. You are doing it for all of us and you are "doing us proud."

1) The Iraqis. No, not the ones you see on TV trying to blow up every American or cooperating Iraqi, but those who are going about their lives, trying to give this a chance, helping the military when they can, risking their future and their families, struggling against all odds to forge a new free land. I salute you. You are the best. And the Afghans who came out to vote: I salute you, too. Good job! We see what you are doing and are hearts are with you.

Pray for them. The world needs good people.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Israel is Not About Land, Iraq Not about Oil

Let's get two things straight.

The battle in Israel is not over land.

And the war in Iraq is not about oil.

Yes, oil got us interested in Iraq, but is clearly not why we are there now.

First, we are spending more money than we would spend just to get oil. (We're losing money, ya know - a lot of it.)

Second, oil did not stimulate President Bush to go into Iraq; evil did. Evil, and the the world's worst tyrant since Hitler.

The battle in Israel is not about land but pushing Jews out, not about a people who lived there but about seeding "Palestinians" in, and swaying world opinion.
The war in Israel is about Jews vs. no Jews.

Odd, isn't it, that the war in Israel isn't about Palestinians?

And the war in Iraq isn't about Iraqis. If it were, the majority wouldn't be under attack by the minority. Iraq is about freedom vs. despotism, good vs. evil.

Now, isn't that simpler?

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Who Wants Whom Dead?

The main thing about the current conflicts in the Middle East (and elsewhere) is, who is in the wrong and who is in the right? How do we tell? Or is it okay to just agree there is no right and wrong, and, why can't we all just get along?

Nice thought, but it hasn't worked yet.

I think I've come up with a way to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

There was an Israeli officer called back into service a couple years ago, sitting with a fully set up encampment just across a wire fence from a Palestinian Village known for terrorists just inside the Gaza strip. He was sitting there watching the Palestinian children play while their mothers hung out laundry, etc. It occurred to him this would never work in reverse. Meaning, the Palestinians knew they were safe to go about their normal lives because they knew the Israeli soldiers would not ever shoot them for no reason. They felt completely safe.

In reverse, had it been the Palestinians lined up outside the Israeli neighborhood, the Israelis would have had to hide behind sandbags and build walls, stay inside and duck below window height to cross their own rooms, because they just as surely knew the Palestinians would take pot shots (at least) into their neighborhood and from experience they know they would suffer casualties if exposed.

Now this is interesting (and true), but what really put it into perspective was hearing the same kinds of thoughts coming out of Iraq.

You see, the Americans didn't come with blood lust. They came to do a job, and most of them very admittedly would far rather never even have to fire a gun. They will use their guns and they will kill people, but only when necessary. Their first motive is to stay alive, or self defense, and then help all they can.

While the insurgents are looking for opportunities to kill Americans, and bragging about it - want to kill Americans, glory in it - the Americans would rather not have to kill Iraqis. They would rather Iraq would be free so they can go home.

And the Israelis would rather not have to kill Palestinians (you may not believe it, but it is true), while the Palestinians are being educated to want to kill Jews and Americans, too.

So, who wants whom dead?

My conclusion is that you can tell the bad guys by who wants to kill and the good guys by who is willing to kill only when necessary.

This war is not likely to get less complicated, so now would be a good time to sort these things out.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Clichés and Assumptions

It amazes me how polarized most of the U.S. seems to be on major issues. What's worse, the assumptions often are that if you fit one part of the profile you are guilty of all the clichés attached to that belief system.

I tried being a democrat; I really did. I marched and demonstrated, joined groups and wrote flaming letters to the editor. If it sounded good, I was for it. But the longer I lived the less sense some items in the Democratic platform made to me, and other items, like fiscal responsibility, made more sense.

This left me in a quandary. I don't particularly like the Republicans (and the independents don't have any power). But I swung farther and farther to the right, and now I'm really having a problem with the assumptions that go with the tags.

For example, I'm really interested in conserving large tracts of natural settings - like big parks and forests, and not abusing the environment. Well, everyone "knows" that if I'm not a card-carrying Democrat I don't care about the environment. Wrong.

Lately, I'm having a problem with my more liberal friends who don't seem to care about the very people they to be seem "sworn" to protect. It seems we have all become so anti-war that we aren't willing to help people who are being slaughtered. Now I have a problem with that.

One web forum I hang out in has a pleasing variety of posters from various sides of the political spectrum and the English speaking nations. Things get a little HOT, but that's good, right? This idea about being so anti-war that you would NOT support a police action no matter what atrocities were being committed came up. I'm shocked.

Are people really so "liberal" that they wouldn't help the helpless? Isn't that a contradiction?

I hear that conservatives don't care about people, but now see them doing the helping while "liberals" don't want to get involved. What's wrong with this picture?

Student groups (historically liberal) are now trying to help in Sudan, helping Christians against the Muslims. I'm not sure they are aware of this. But that's good, right? I mean, I don't care if you call yourself Democrat or Republican. I really don't care if you call yourself liberal or conservative. And I certainly don't care the race, religion, or nationality of people who need help.

In fact, I've been around so many different groups (ethnic/race) all my life and still am, that I'm not particularly comfortable in a group limited to "my own kind." And yet, I hear only liberals have any global initiative or care about diversity. Yet my conservative friends are more likely to be at home in diverse cultures and groups than my liberal friends. Rhetoric isn't matching reality.

What I want to know is, what do you believe in? When will you take action? What will you DO? And why are conservatives suddenly the ones trying to help people while liberals are washing their hands?

Has anyone else noticed this? I've never been comfortable with the labels and assumptions that come with either group anyway. Maybe this is a good thing.

Friday, December 24, 2004

The Christmas Cow

For a change of pace and to get with the program on Christmas, is right on topic:

You will need RealPlayer for this but it is worth it. Happy Christmas, all!

Baghdad Burning

In honor of Christmas Eve, and in honor of what life is like in Iraq this year, please see the Christmas list posted by Riverbend in Iraq (blog on sidebar):

Thursday, December 23, 2004

War Happens

It breaks my heart to see the the things people are going through in Iraq, D.R. Congo, Gaza, other places where people are under attack. Yes, war happens.

So let's talk about Iraq.

Right now there are battles going on, but they are not between the defending Iraqis and the occupying soldiers. They are between those who don't want peace to come to the land and those who do.

Peace is a very powerful word. The Hebrew word for "peace" is "shalom" which I take to mean something akin to "wholeness: nothing missing, nothing broken." This is a much greater concept than our western idea of peace, which we see more as not bothered, undisturbed, left alone. In comparison, our western version is "wimp" and watered down. I like the Hebrew idea: whole, encompassing everything that makes one whole, nothing missing, nothing broken. That's the peace I want to see. All the parts in place and working.

I found a very illuminating entry by "Aunt Najma" the pseudonym for a 16-year-old girl writing from Mosul, Iraq (see sidebar: A star from Mosul), posted on the Words From Iraq forum (see sidebar). The post I'm referring to is here:

Najma broke the insurgents down into four categories. Roughly (these are my words, not hers):

1. The Jihadis, resisting a foreign occupation under the direction of a religious order, who will attack the occupation forces only but supposedly not Iraqi police, army or civilians.

2. The just plain criminals released in large numbers on a regular basis by Saddam Husein who have no reason for being or way to make a living other than rob, kill and kidnap. These sometimes form into gangs and will attack anyone who is an easy target.

3. The displaced old regime workers, the The Ba'athis, the Fedayeen and some of the soldiers of the old Iraqi army. These are sometimes formed into groups as Resistance, and will attack anything "new regime," including Iraqi police, army and civilians.

4. The mercenaries, funded by other nations, whose aim is to cultivate the climate of terror, distrust and chaos, to undermine any real progress by driving out the professionals, and to destroy the infrastructure. Anything, really, that will prevent real progress from happening.

Now the sum of all four of these groups is supposedly 5% or less of the total population of Iraq, meaning up to 95% are either in favor of or willing to cooperate with the establishment of a democratic government. But as you see, there are a lot of different groups working against Iraq and against setting up a democratic government. This makes it harded to win, when there are so many fighting, and from different motives.

This also puts a lot of people attacking the people of Iraq. According to Najma, all but the Jihadis might attack Iraqis. My guess is that the Jihadis sometimes attack Iraqis when they judge them "collaborating" with the occupying forces, and this is a HUGE problem because the occupying armies are working to build roads, hospitals, schools, etc. and need collaboration to be effective.

I disagree with Najma on several points (but admire her tremendously), the most notable point being that she sees the mercenaries (she calls them "vandals" and then later updates that to "sabateurs"), the paid disruptive forces funded from other nations, as primarily from America, Israel, Iran and Kuwait. My guess is they are primarily from Iran, Syria and Kuwait, then other nations who have a vested interest in holding Iraq back. America wants Iraq stable, and Israel needs their soldiers and money more at home (besides they would benefit more from a stable Iraq too).

All these are fighting for instability in Iraq, all these are fighting for democracy to fail, all these are willing to kill Iraqis, if that is what it takes, to keep peace from coming to the land.

My heart goes out to the Najmas, whether mother, father, child, brother, aunt, etc. Those who are open to a new regime are being bludgeoned away from it by the 5% or less who want anything but peace. The biggest threat I see is not the Jihadis but the mercanaries. This looks like a replay of what has happened in Israel, but that's another post.

In the meantime, say a prayer for Iraq.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Real War

It is hard for us to understand what's really going on in Iraq. We sometimes imagine we can, but it is more than the images we have seen or can conjure up.

It's 24/7, it's real, and it's deadly. It is often life or death, for the soldiers and the Iraqis. And there are no guarantees. This is going to take commitment, perserverance, and faith.

It's not summer camp.

If you're not convinced, spend a few weeks reading posts from the military and the locals. Try to keep it simple and ordinary in your mind. You can't.

There is an undeniable need for freedom which is under attack from a half dozen different directions at all times. Fortunately there is a nation with a generation prepared and willing to go.

Is it worth it? Is life worth it?

These soldiers/marines/sailors/airmen have surprised me. They are a new breed. Or maybe they are more like the "greatest generation," the one that won WWII. They expect to fight, to pay the price, and to win but have counted the cost.

They do not back away. They do not take it for granted. They put others' freedom and safety ahead of their own.

And they will win. But they won't get to quit fighting.

This is the generation that is going to take us through to the end.

Support your soldiers. They are in it for the long haul.

Check out for a start. A lot of sites give ways to help; these guys make it simple.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Too Important Not to Blog

The age of communication is changing how wars are fought and how they will turn out. We thought television was powerful.

Reading blogs gives you time to think.

For almost a hundred years media disciples practiced setting, rather than just influencing, public opinion. When Arab nations lost their third major attack on Israel (1973) they too switched to pulling the world over on their side. Up to now, it worked pretty well.

Today, men, women and children are blogging their way out of situations in which they formerly had no voice, and they are blogging the world in.

This is good. It's time to listen.

Can you sense it? We are living in a most important time.

It's time to wake up! And live.

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