Sunday, September 30, 2007

Installment #1 - Great Iraq News You Won't See in MSM

Why isn't this story the lead story of every news channel and every newspaper. You have several major bad guys captured, innocent civilians rescued, Iranian rockets dismantled, weapons confiscated, money-chain disrupted...all very good things for the troops involved and the Iraqis...oh...just answered my own question.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Right Choice, The Only Choice

A baby in Germany was born premature by 15 weeks and only weighing 10oz! No one gave her a change to live, but she did and is now home with her family 6 months later. The bar of when life begins for the pro-abortion crowd keeps slipping further and further, maybe one day they will admit that it begins at the beginning.

Friday, September 28, 2007

How Do They Do It?

There are lots of married people here in Iraq. I understand the military peeps because they had no choice. However, I'm having a hard time understanding the contractors who are married and here for several years. I've only been here one month, I'm not married, but I am missing Mimi like crazy. There is NO way I could do this if I were married. No way I could be away from my spouse for such a long period voluntarily. Granted there are some situations that you can't avoid and have to deal with it, but I'm pretty sure, at least in my mind, that this would not be one of them. I'm always one to never say never, but I'm as close to saying it as I ever would that I would never voluntarily work in another country for an extended period of time without my spouse being there with me!

This is going to be a long year as I've just now passed the one month mark and it has felt like forever. Way harder than last time when I didn't have an absolutely amazing girl waiting at home for me!

Sorry if that was to touchy feely for some of you, but that's what is on my heart right now =)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Silencing the Ole Ball Coach

Last night's LSU win, 28-16, over South Carolina was the only second time in Spurrier's coaching and playing career that he has lost in Tiger Stadium (the other being in 1997 when #14 LSU upset then #1 Florida, 28-21, in which I was one of the thousands that rushed the field after the game!)

It was a sloppy game due to the rain and had it not been for that I believe we would have beat them by even more. Once again the defense dominated by allowing only 17 rushing yards and except for the slightly too conservative defense and not conservative enough offense in the final few minutes, very few total yards. My favorite stat so far of the season is that in 4 straight games LSU has chased the starting QB. That has to be a record!

Now I think comes one of our biggest challenges of the season next week against Tulane. In no way are they capable of beating us athletically, but if we get caught overlooking that game in anticipation of the big game against Florida the following week, anything can happen.

Columbia Digging Deeper Hole

Isn't there an old saying that says something to the effect of "if you are in a hole over your head, quit digging"? Apparently the dean of Columbia University hasn't heard of that saying. He is continuing to defend his decision to invite the Iranian leader to speak on campus. To make his point even more clear, he is now saying, were Hitler alive, he would certainly have a platform available for him at Columbia!

So, as I pointed out in the last post on this topic, the reason Columbia won't allow the ROTC on campus is due to the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy of the military. And what was the Nazi policy towards homosexuality?

By German law, homosexuality was a crime. After the prison sentences most homosexuals were automatically shipped to concentration camps. In 1935, a new law legalized the `compulsory sterilization (often in fact castration) of homosexuals.' A special section of the Gestapo dealt with them. Along with epileptics, schizophrenics and other `degenerates', they were being eliminated. Yet homosexuality was still so widespread that in 1942 the death penalty was imposed for it in the army and the SS. Vera Laska

Germany even executed homosexuals in the military! Once again the question is asked of Columbia, if the military executed homosexuals, as approved by both your speakers Ahmadinejad and Hitler, opposed to simply discharging them from the military, would the ROTC be invited back to campus?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

And the Winner Is...

Melissa has chosen a winner for the Name That Camel contest, Jolly. Read the post for the winner and a history lesson all in one shot =)

Can We Have Context Please!!!

The media world and lefty blogs are abuzz about President Bush's supposed verbal gaffe concerning Saddam killing Nelson Mandela. However, if you look AT THE WHOLE QUOTE IN CONTEXT, you will quickly see that he said nothing of the sort. He was explaining that the reason there are no Iraqi Nelson Mandelas rising up to help bring democracy to Iraq like Mandela did postapartheid in South Africa is that Saddam killed all the "Mandelas" of Iraq in order to maintain his tyrannical rule for all those years.

BOTW gives three possible explanations for the MSM and lefties misconstruing of the actual quote:

Stupidity: The reporter was so bone-headedly literal-minded that he simply did not understand the rhetorical device Bush was employing.

Laziness: The reporter wasn't actually at the press conference and didn't bother to check the context of the quote.

Dishonesty. The reporter knew full well that Bush was speaking metaphorically and deliberately twisted his meaning in order to fit the stereotype that Bush "has a reputation for verbal faux pas."

You decide! No matter the reason, I won't be holding my breath for any apologies.

BTW...if you haven't noticed with my back to back postings based on BOTW, I really enjoy their daily email, and I'd highly recommend it if you aren't already signed up.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Radical Fundamentalist, Yes; Military, No

Today's WSJ's Best of the Web has a very good comparison of Columbia University's priorities. Columbia has invited Iran's leader to speak, but has barred the ROTC from campus since 1969. At first it was to protest the Vietnam war, but now it is continuing that ban due to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of the military. And what exactly is Iran's policy in dealing with homosexuals?

"On Sunday, November 13, the semi-official Tehran daily Kayhan reported that the Iranian government publicly hung [sic] two men, Mokhtar N. (24 years old) and Ali A. (25 years old), in the Shahid Bahonar Square of the northern town of Gorgan.

The government reportedly executed the two men for the crime of "lavat." Iran's shari'a-based penal code defines lavat as penetrative and non-penetrative sexual acts between men. Iranian law punishes all penetrative sexual acts between adult men with the death penalty. Non-penetrative sexual acts between men are punished with lashes until the fourth offense, when they are punished with death. Sexual acts between women, which are defined differently, are punished with lashes until the fourth offense, when they are also punished with death." Human Rights Watch

BOTW closes the article with the question wondering if the military executed homosexuals as opposed to discharging them, maybe Columbia would invite the ROTC back to campus.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Under Construction

I'm in the process of adding some new features and upgrading my blog, so please bear with me. =)


So every single time the Dow Jones drops 200 or more points it is headlines on every major newspaper and discussed in the MSM as one of the lead stories of the night. Now that the Dow jumped 335 points yesterday, the biggest one day jump in 5 years, will it get the same headlines? I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Secret Believers

This book is a must read! However, be warned, it has the potential to radically change plans for "your" future as it is changing mine. While waiting for the book, you can go to their website. I highly encourage you to sign up for the 40 day study on the book of Jonah. As the sign up page says, it will NOT disappoint, but will challenge you big time! This book, website, and study all played major roles in my decision to do the Ramadan fast and another confirmation for what I'm starting to sense more and more for my future plans.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Risking It All for Freedom

I have said many times that if we pull out to quickly that any Iraqi who helped Coalition forces would be slaughtered. The Iraqis know this as well. Some take great risks to help. Here is just one personal example and there are many, many more.

Last year when I was here, one of the Iraqis we worked with, Ali (not his real name), was kidnapped. We all feared the worse. I left not knowing what happened to him but figuring he was probably murdered. Just a few days ago, I found out that he is back working with us again. He was kidnapped and tortured. Thankfully someone was able to get him released in time, or I'm sure he would have eventually been killed.

Now most people after an incident like that probably would decide that they had paid their dues to help and go about living their life in safety. Not Ali. As soon as he was able, he started working again for the freedom of his nation, which he knows is only possible with the help of America, until Iraq is able to help themselves. That is why I'm here doing whatever I can to make sure Ali's sacrifice and the sacrifices of many others aren't in vain.

Name That Camel

This post will remain on top until Friday, so please scroll down for new posts.

My co-worker Melissa found this very cool camel at the PX (Post center). We have decided it needs a name, so we are starting a Name That Camel contest. So between now and Friday, leave your name in the comment section. The winning prize will be your very own camel sent to you. Now the contest will be on at least my blog and Melissa's, so it may not be a CT regular who wins unless ya'll get very creative.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Will Not Fear

We had a very close call on Sept. 11th here on Camp Victory. As this report shows, a rocket (supplied by Iran) was fired at our base. I hadn't said anything about it before for OPSEC (Operational Security) reasons, but now that it is being reported, I'm free to post away.

It landed less than 200 yards from my office (for those in VA who know Berkley, it was less than 100 yards from his office). I heard it incoming as it flew directly over our trailers. I immediately hit the deck under my desk. Then a very loud BOOM and the whole trailer shook so much that the light on the ceiling fell off one screw. We immediately ran to the bunker as they usually come in twos or threes, but thankfully this one was a solo act. If you have no idea how big a 240mm rocket is, check out Nancy's post on the incident.

It was a wild couple of a minutes to say the least, but I had a complete peace through it all as the Psalm that I read every morning quickly came to mind, especially a specific verse in that Psalm. Psalm 91 is often referred to in the military as the Soldier's Psalm. In that Psalm, verse 5 reads, "You will not fear the terror by night, nor the arrow [rocket] that flies by day" People often ask me how can I come here and if I'm not scared to be here. How much more clear can God's word be than that verse. Read the rest of the chapter and you will see why I will not fear as He is my shelter and refuge and fortress.

Conflict of Feelings

Here is a quote from a NYTimes article that is exactly what I've been saying is the feelings of the Iraqis based on being here last year and again this time. Publicly and boldly they state the first sentiment for fear of death if they don't. However, privately they express the second. Hopefully this article is the beginning of a reverse of that trend in that they will start saying publicly what they believe privately.

A city worker in Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province, described his ambivalence in strong terms.

“The withdrawal of the occupation forces is a must because they have caused the destruction of Iraq, they committed massacres against the innocents, they have double-crossed the Iraqis with dreams,” said Ahmad Umar al-Esawi, a Sunni worker. “I want them to withdraw all their troops in one day.”

But, he added, dropping his voice: “There is something that I want to say although I hate to say it. The Americans forces, which are an ugly occupation force, have become something important to us, the Sunnis. We are a minority and we do not having a force to face the militias. If the Americans leave, it will mean a total elimination of the Sunnis in Iraq. “I know I said I want them to leave, but if we think about it, then I have to say I want them to stay for a while until we end all the suspicions we have of each other and have a strong national government.”

Fasting During Ramadan

Today marks the beginning of Ramadan. For the next 30 or so days, Muslims will fast all things pleasurable during the daylight hours. As soon as the sun sets, then all is permissible again until it rises the next day. The main items that the Muslims I work with here are talking about are food and cigarettes as access to "pleasurable" things are pretty limited here.

I've felt convicted to follow the 30 day fast as well for two reasons. First, I'm really starting to sense some major life changes after this time in Iraq. So, I'll be praying during my fasting time for direction and confirmation. I also look forward to taking another step closer in intimacy with God as this will not be easy and will produce more reliance on Him. Fasting is one very important spiritual discipline that Christians unfortunately have for a large part lost. I for one have definitely learned and experienced its many benefits to my Christian walk and look forward to looking back on this experience down the road to see where God takes me.

Second, I see it as a witnessing tool to be able to relate to Muslims. One that I work with was blown away that me and Mimi are waiting until marriage for sex. He said I was the first Christian he has met that is living what Christians say they believe. As sad as the truth of that statement is, it has opened the door of respect to allow me to have spiritual conversations with him. When I told him that I was planning on doing the Ramadan fast, he said I couldn't do it because I'm not Muslim, meaning that I would not have Allah's help so no way I could do it. I replied that Christ will give me the strength to do it being He is calling me to do it. I look forward to giving Christ glory throughout this time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Letting Others Do Dirty Work For Them

“No one wants to call [Petraeus] a liar on national TV,” noted one Democratic senator, who spoke on the condition on anonymity. “The expectation is that the outside groups will do this for us.” - Politico

And Moveon has dutifully taken up that call with an attack calling General Petraeus, "General Betray us" in a New York Times ad.

Hat Tip: WSJ's BOTW

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembrance Ceremony

Something very nice about that flag =)

Lieutenant General Odinero (3-star general)

Soldier playing a very decent rendition of Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten"

Firefighter sounding the 4-5s (whenever a firefighter dies, a bell is rung 4 sets of 5 rings) in honor of all who have died since 9-11 fighting the war

Very powerful and moving singing of "America the Beautiful" played by the band and sung by the crowd in attendance

Camp Victory Fire Truck

Today being the 6th anniversary of the attacks of 9-11, there was a remembrance ceremony at the palace. A couple of us on the team trekked on over and were glad we did. The Chaplain of the Army who is a Major General (2-stars) was the main speaker and gave a great speech based off of Jn 15:13, "Greater love has no one that this, that he lay down his life for his friends." His three points were that those here; Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Coalition partners, civilians, and contractors; show the essence of this verse every day through commitment, character, and cost.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

40 Days of Prayer

This post will be on top until Sept. 9. Please scroll down for new posts.

Time for the second 40 Days of Prayer for Children's Cup. Go to their site here for the daily prayer requests.

Payback Game

LSU took care of major business against VA Tech crushing the #9 team, 48-7!!! It's amazing the difference when one team doesn't have a warm up game and it's the other team's first game like in '02. It was totally worth waking up at 0430!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Sun or Moon?

Yesterday, we had a rather interesting dust up. It wasn't quite a sand storm, but still neat. The entire sky went from a bright blue to the dusty brown seen above in a couple of hours, nearly blocking out the sun (yes that is the sun photographed directly without any filter) at around 5:00 in the afternoon. Here is Melissa's take on the day.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Presidential Visit's enough to puff up anyone's ego...I'm only here for one week and the President already comes pay me a visit =)

Think of Me...Powerful Video!!!

For some reason YouTube is not letting me post straight to my blog like normal, so I'll have to just post the link to this extremely powerful and thought provoking video on how we spend our money.

Hat Tip: JoseNew

Monday, September 03, 2007

From Riches to Rags

Last time I was here, the office was one of Saddam's old palaces. Here is my view of that palace now from my new office area:

And here is the new office "complex" of trailers:

Outside the Office

Inside the Office

My desk

One of the benefits of working in the palace was very good AC. That is not the case in the new office. As you can see by the thermometer, it is 105 degrees INSIDE our "air-conditioned" office at 2:00 in the afternoon. You can read more about our situation and why it is this hot inside on Nancy's post about it here.

In an attempt to try to make it a little cooler at our desks, Nancy rigged this duct system made of water bottles. It does help a little, but by the afternoon, we are sweating pretty good nonetheless.

Another drawback of the new office setting is our restroom facilities have also been extremely downgraded from porcelain, marble and gold trim flushable potties:

If you think the 105 temperature in the office is bad, try getting in one of these bad boys at 3 in the afternoon when it is 120+ outside...not a fun experience I promise!

On a brighter note, thankfully I was able to move into a trailer right away and not have to spend 6 months in the tent again due to my company having an extra spot for me they held after a previous employee left. It is on a different base than the office is, but a very small price to pay for my own trailer room.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Iraq Blogs

I've added two new blogs to my sidebar of two of my co-workers, Nancy (yes, the same Nancy as last time only this time she is the married version...congrats to her =) and Melissa, here in Iraq if you are interested in more of what is going on over here.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


The CRC barracks at Ft Benning

My home for a week

My little piece of heaven =)

Formation Location

All packed and ready to go

Doggie doing his job

One thing you quickly learn when you work with the military is that everything is reduced to acronyms. When I was in GA for training before deploying, I was technically at CRC, which stands for CONUS (which stands for Continental United States) Replacement Center. They start to acclimate you to life with the Army. You have formations at 0500 (everything is in military time), you eat at the DFAC (Dining Facility), you are part of CRC Alpha Company, you do T-SIRT (Theater Specific Individual Readiness Training), you stay in the barracks, etc. Overall it is a pretty smooth process, but there is also LOTS of hurry and wait!