December 2006


25 Dec 2006 06:08 pm

An email from Iraq…..

Hope is everywhere, even in Baghdad, check out this article Mom.

*****

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Umm Salam draws her curtains across her windows, then settles
into an armchair in a living room festooned with colored lights and a portrait
of Jesus on the cross. Her Christmas tree glitters in the corner.

One of Iraq’s estimated 800,000 Christians, the 56-year-old widow
celebrates the holiday quietly with her children and grandchildren, as violence
sweeps the country.

“It is very risky to go the church in our neighborhood, so we will have a party
at home and some of our relatives will come to celebrate,” she said. “They’ll
have to stay the night at our home due to the security situation and the
curfew.”

The evening service at the local church was canceled for security reasons.

The spirit of Christmas is still alive in Iraq, but it’s tucked away behind the
closed doors of Christian families, who represent about three percent of Iraq’s
26 million people.

Most of the fighting in Iraq involves Sunni and Shiite Muslims, but Christians
have also become targets. Church bombings and other sectarian attacks spiked
amid a wave of anti-Christian anger over comments by Pope Benedict XVI in
September that seemed to link the prophet Muhammad’s teachings to violence.

In October, a priest in the northern city of Mosul was kidnapped by a group
demanding that he retract the pope’s statements. He was eventually found
beheaded.

According to the United Nations, more than a million Iraqis have fled
since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, with about 3,000 people now leaving daily.
About 40 percent of those leaving are Christian, the U.N. says.

Umm Salam, who goes by her tribal name meaning “mother of Salam” out of fear she
will be targeted if she reveals her Christian name, said Sunday she has no
choice but to keep her religion a secret.

“We cannot show our happiness (about Christmas) to neighbors. But every single
Iraqi has his own wounds, and life must go on,” she said. “Happiness is for the
children when they will awake tomorrow and find their gifts near the tree.”

*****

Even though the AP writer attempts to cast a negative slant in the article, readers may draw other conclusions, including those who are in the middle of the whirlwind.

Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?'’

Michael Graham writes in the Boston Herald….

This Christmas, I am with Longfellow. My outlook is dark and angry. Why must our enemies love death as much as we love life? Why must they see our good will as weakness? Why are we so weak we cannot admit that their hatred and violence will not fade beneath our wishes of peace and understanding?

You must read on to understand that there is hope despite the pessimistic outlook.

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

More on Christmas in Iraq.

25 Dec 2006 09:01 am

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Santa pauses for a photo.

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Then away he goes!

24 Dec 2006 01:17 pm

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Charlie Company of the 875th Engineers making do with a blowup Snowman in Iraq.

Not only do the troops have to worry about incoming, they also have to watch out for the coyotes…..along with IEDs and John Kerry.

An email from Iraq……..

Well, anyways, early Merry Christmas. I did have something strange happen last night that made me jump. Hah, I was walking back from work, there were 2 others out in front of me in the big field/mud pit/parking lot that we walk across to get to the road leading back to the trailers and I heard something moving so I looked back and saw a coyote, saw some of those at NTC out in California, walking up and sniffing through my stuff.

Here though, at night I am always alert even though nothing happens, so I heard movement and I sort of just patted my holster just to feel the 9mm.

I looked back and saw a coyote, a white one, walking across the parking lot.

He just looked at me and kept walking….. sort of like “Hey, how’s it going, your parking lot is muddy, well nice talking to you, bye”.

When I saw him I thought, should I shoot him, then I thought nope that would be dumb right near the airfield, probably wouldn’t get in trouble and we aren’t supposed to let them just walk but the greater stupidity would be to fire a shot near the airfield so I just figured “Go get dry cause that’s what I’m going to do” so I turned around and started walking again towards my room.

It kind of made me laugh sort of….., that dog just came walking by out of the blue, actually he came from 10th Mountain’s area, funny they just let him walk on by, but I guess I did the same thing.

*****

John Carlson penned a touching article about the striking difference between our comfy American Christmas celebrations and that of our troops in Iraq.

We’ll go to church, sing “Silent Night” and look to the Christmas star.

They’ll sing “Silent Night,” see the flare in the sky and know their friends made contact with the enemy.

We’ll gather around the tree with family and open our presents.

They’ll sit on cots, share some cookies from home and hope their kids are having a happy day.

We’ll laugh and tell stories of Christmases past.

They’ll talk of Christmases to come when, God willing, they’ll be home.

We’ll hear a noise and tell the kids it’s the clatter from Santa’s sleigh.

They’ll hear an explosion and discuss whether it’s outgoing or incoming.

We dropped a few dollars in the Salvation Army kettle, hoping to make a difference.

They delivered backpacks, school supplies, candy and toys to Iraqi kids and are certain it mattered.

We’ll take five minutes and make our annual “Merry Christmas” call to Aunt Betty in California.

They’ll stand in line an hour for the chance to make a quick “I love you” call back to Iowa.

Read on…

23 Dec 2006 02:52 pm

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I love Christmas for all the fun it provides. I have fun decorating, creating, cooking and shopping. When I panic at the thought I won’t be able to accomplish all the things I want to do in time, I have to stop and remember that wonderful, mysterious phrase….the fullness of time, which in essence was God’s mathematics. He divided the time of the old world and the new… the old dispensation to the new with the Incarnation.

Christmas celebrates God’s announcement to the world in Bethlehem that He is with us.

The most important thing to me is the truth that Christmas is a testament of Divine Providence.

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Throughout my life, from a very little child, I’ve seen the protective (and corrective) wings of God in my life. Sometimes it was in the form of human actors: my parents, friends, brothers, sister, husband, grandmothers and children.

Many times, the promise and reality of His presence came through the reading of His Word.

When I was little I knew that Santa Claus came magically in the night because of the great gift given to the world. I was a believer very early and learned through experience that He never fails us. Even when an answer to prayer was not what I willed, I understood that God would provide a better way.

My prayer is that the Lord of all will shine on this disbelieving, violent world and that the star that rested on Bethlehem will one day illuminate many hard, and harried hearts and show them the way to true Peace. May all the troops in harms way know the very presence of Emmanuel, God with us.

May the Prince of Peace, who is always willing that the world know him, pierce through this craven, adultorous, self-seeking generation.

God provided a lamb to Abraham through his willingness to follow Him, even to the point of committing the ultimate heart-breaking act; that of sacrificing his own, long wished for son, Isaac. It was a picture of the Savior to come.

Many of us resist that charge, to give ourselves completely to the creator of us all, but it is here where we find peace, happiness, joy, forgiveness and love.

Merry Christmas to all who read this post.

It is my prayer that each of you know God and His son, Jesus Christ and the great comforter, the Holy Spirit. I believe that it is His heart’s desire that all the world celebrate the once pagan holiday of which the One, who makes all things new, transformed into a remembrance of His desire to come among us, be One of us, and die for all of us, so we can truly know Him.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (Jn.1:1-3, 14).
- For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him…and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church… For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him… making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Col.1:16-20).

Welcome bRight & Early Readers!

22 Dec 2006 11:42 am

An email from Iraq……

Well, now we know, if you are taking small arms fire and get attacked by an IED, better not defend yourself. Perhaps they used excessive force, but the only witnesses are the residents. Here the Marines take the word of them over the word of the soldiers and what does that tell soldiers in Iraq? That they better watch their butts, maintain, go home, get out.

They had people from the city call in, can’t believe that, that is really strange. No facts in there on how many times US forces have come under attack in that area. They ought to release more, explain some more because this article makes it look pretty clearly like insurgents just have to get someone to fire at soldiers, they return fire, then the insurgents report that they are murderers and the soldiers end up in prison. Worse part is what the families have to deal with back home. Weird stuff.

*****

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) - Eight Marines were charged Thursday in the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians last year during a bloody, door-to-door sweep in the town of Haditha that came after one of their comrades was killed by a roadside bomb.

In the biggest U.S. criminal case involving civilian deaths to come out of the Iraq war, four of the Marines - all enlisted men - were charged with unpremeditated murder.

The other four were officers who were not there during the killings but were accused of failures in investigating and reporting the deaths.

The most serious charges were brought against Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, a 26-year-old squad leader accused of murdering 12 civilians and ordering the murders of six more inside a house cleared by his squad. He was accused of telling his men to “shoot first and ask questions later,” according to court papers released by his attorney.

Read on….

Hot Air has more….

Here’s a Marine’s view of the killings in Iraq. Hat tip: Instapundit

Michelle Malkin’s take…… (scroll down)

22 Dec 2006 11:17 am

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Adam’s Blog is hosting the 2006 Carnival of Christmas. It’s everything about Christmas with loads of stories, memories, ideas and more.

It’s here.

In 1942 it was a different kind of Christmas. Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt

21 Dec 2006 07:41 pm

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Asta and Amos are awaiting the return of the law student. Final exams are over and she will come home to discover a little Christmas in her wing of the house.

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While waiting for Christmas to arrive, check out the Friday Ark #118 at the Modulator

21 Dec 2006 02:41 pm

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Member of the 1912 U.S. Olympic Team; commanding general of the 7th Army 1942-44, commander of the 3rd Army European Theater 1944-45.

Third Way Dave has an impressive remembrance of General George S. Patton, one of the greatest Generals in our nations’ history. Hat tip: Betsy’s Page

As a personal aside……

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When we were living in Heidelberg, Germany, one day I had to go the Army Hospital at Nachrichten Kaserne for an Xray. Outside the door was a plaque honoring Patton, for in that very room he died. It was a sobering experience for me.

Our son was inspired by the likes of Patton, MacArthur and Lee when he decided to go to West Point. The favorite expression at West Point is much-of the history we teach was made by people we taught.

Great leaders are still coming out of West Point. Some of them are generals Abizaid, Dempsey and Petraeus.

We remember you General Patton. We also need more leaders with your spirit in times like these.

And when our work is done,
Our course on earth is run,
May it be said,
“Well done; Be thou at peace.”

20 Dec 2006 11:45 pm

redroomwhitehouse

The Red Room at the White House…..all decked out in red….

It would be fun to dance in the Red Room, but, alas, I am no dancer. The only way I can dance is…..

Virtually.

Kim Priestap is having a whole lot of fun.

So I tried it myself.

(I did two versions because I couldn’t decide in which one my hair looks best.):)

Dang. My cat dances better than I.. So does Asta.

20 Dec 2006 06:47 pm

Bill Clinton did a great deal of damage to the meaning of words in the eight years he was President. The meaning of “is” took on a new context.

A new meaning to the phrase, distinguishing characteristics appeared.

After Monica Lewinsky oral sex entered the national vernacular.

All Clinton’s men went after Paula Jones, calling her trailer trash.

Now we know who really will turn up after dragging a hundred dollar bill through a trailer park.

Sandy Berger.

He put the stolen classified documents from the National Archives in his pants and hid them under a trailer.

Former national security adviser Sandy Berger removed classified documents from the National Archives in 2003 and hid them under a construction trailer, the Archives inspector general reported Wednesday.

The report was issued more than a year after Berger pleaded guilty and received a criminal sentence for removal of the documents.

Inspector General Paul Brachfeld reported that when Berger was confronted by Archives officials about the missing documents, he said it was possible he threw them in his office trash.

The report said that when Archives employees first suspected that Berger - who had been President Clinton’s national security adviser - was removing classified documents from the Archives in the fall of 2003, they failed to notify any law enforcement agency.

Berger, who pleaded guilty to unlawfully removing and retaining classified documents, was fined $50,000, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and was barred from access to classified material for three years.

The report said that when Berger was reviewing the classified documents in the Archives building a few blocks from the Capitol, employees saw him bending down and fiddling with something white, which could have been paper, around his ankle.

However, Archives employees did not feel at the time there was enough information to confront someone of Berger’s stature, the report said.

Brachfeld reported that on one visit, Berger took a break to go outside without an escort.

“In total, during this visit, he removed four documents … .

“Mr. Berger said he placed the documents under a trailer in an accessible construction area outside Archives 1 (the main Archives building).”

Berger acknowledged that he later retrieved the documents from the construction area and returned with them to his office.

Berger, with the authorization of former President Clinton, was reviewing National Security Council documents on Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, Sudan, and related presidential correspondence. The review was to facilitate Berger’s impending testimony before the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Berger had to be up to no good, unless he had an an irresistible impulse to hang out at trailers.

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