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May 2007

May 30, 2007

In Their Own Words

Ownwordslogo_2One of the goals when I planned this mission was to find out what was on the minds of those who are serving in Iraq.

I decided the best way to convey their message was to let you hear it "In Their Own Words".  In the coming days, weeks and months, you'll see audio files compile in the right column of this page under the title "In Their Own Words".

Continue reading "In Their Own Words" »

May 29, 2007

Riding the Rhino

Rhino The Rhino is a special shuttle service between the Baghdad Airport and the Green Zone.  The heavily armored vehicle usually runs sometime after nightfall, when it observes a strict light discipline.  The manifest for one of the seats starts early and passengers are given a window of time to be at the pick up point.  Bomb dogs sniff through the luggage while armed guards ask direct the passengers on how to proceed.  The Rhino is one of the most famous vehicles in Iraq, but unless you ride it, you'll never see it, photos are strictly prohibited.

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May 28, 2007

Fallujah's Roar

9780739323014 Marine Major Douglas A. Zembeic was killed on May 11th, 2007. He's one of the Marines who was prominently featured in "No True Glory", by Bing West.   

Zembeic told Los Angeles Times reporter Tony Perry that battling insurgents was “the greatest day of my life. I never felt so alive, so exhilarated, so purposeful. There is nothing equal to combat, and there is no greater honor than to lead men into combat. Once you’ve dealt with life and death like that, it gives you a whole new perspective.”

Semper Fi Marine

May 27, 2007

O'Reilly and Hannity Fans

SanchezwithcoulterwThis one's for Sergeant First Class Jacobs: O'Reilly is a great guy, very intense and Hannity is, of course, a great American, but no one comes close to Ann Coulter... except maybe Michelle Malkin. Malkin    

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Meet the Neighbors

Out_the_gate_2After a lot of delays, we arrived at Camp Cedar, in Southern Iraq early this morning.  It was warm, today was supposed to be spent resting, cleaning equipment and preparing for the push up north, to Baghdad. That was until I met Sgt. Glass, a former Marine and current member of the 116th National Guard, a.k.a. the Stonewall Brigade.


Download meet_neighbors.m4a

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May 24, 2007

Border Crossing

Iraq_mapThe border between Kuwait and Iraq is not just geographical, it's cultural, or at least that how the soldiers who run the convoys up and down deadliest highways in the world would describe it.

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Hometown Heroes

Hometownheroes We started the series to get the opinion that matters the most.  In the words of those currently serving, Hometown Heroes is an uncensored view of what's going on in Iraq.  We've gone international.  Australian stations have just agreed to run our programming, and I'm happy to report all is well.  Hometown Heroes is running all over the country.  If it's not in your area tell your local radio station manager, or e-mail me and we'll take care of it.

May 22, 2007

But I Egress...

Het "When you drop to the ground just remember to keep rolling."  Staff Sgt Lipp or "Sergeant" as his soldiers call him was describing the egress procedure.  Egress?  Leave it to the military to come up with a fancy word for getting the heck out of a flaming vehicle.  I listened carefully and watched the demonstration.  Lipp, an 11 year veteran who is on his fifth tour, was giving me tips that could both save my life, AND make for a great blog.  The military has always been keen on efficiency.

Continue reading "But I Egress..." »

Attention All Whiners

Come_back_safe_2 I'm doing two radio series, one called Hometown Heroes and another called "In their Own Words."  So, I've been interviewing people pretty much since the moment I landed in Kuwait.  What really stands out in my mind is how different the perception of the war here is. 

Continue reading "Attention All Whiners" »

May 20, 2007

On a Clear Day...?

Dust_storm Kuwait is no stranger to visitors.  The name Kuwait literally means "Fortress built near the water," and that should be a clue to the type of company Kuwait has usually received over the centuries.  This small country, slightly bigger than the state of Connecticut, was once the largest exporter of oil for the Persian Gulf. It's easy to imagine Kuwait as an Arabic version of Palm Springs, but this is what the country looked like when I arrived.   

Continue reading "On a Clear Day...?" »

Pick a Word, Any Word

Dictionary If you don't know the meaning of a word on this blog, just click on it twice, and the nice dictionary elf will pull the word up for you to enrich your vocabulary. 

May 19, 2007

Flughafen is German for Inconvenient

Flughafen A Tale of two Airports

Why is life in America always so much easier?  I know this is going to infuriate the philistines who want to believe the rest of the world is sophisticated and humane while we in the US are backward, but since only five percent of Americans hold passports you’re really going to have to take my word on this one. When it comes to the three c's comfort, convenience and cost America wins hands down. 

Continue reading "Flughafen is German for Inconvenient" »

May 16, 2007

What a Difference a Bit of Maturity Makes!

Falwell The first time I heard of Jerry Falwell, I believe the words sulfur and brimstone were used in the same sentence.  I was a kid back then, the Soviet Union was the greatest threat to national security and colors like purple were all the rage--it's amazing what time and maturity will do away with.  Jerry Falwell was supposed to be the anti-Christ and the people marching in Gay Pride Parades were presented as role-models for a liberated America.  Conventional wisdom held that once people like Falwell were dead, the world would be a much better place.  Of course, many of the people in those pride parades have marched on as has Falwell, but somehow I think the reverend left a stronger legacy.  If Falwell were a spiteful man, he would feel avenged in heaven.

Continue reading "What a Difference a Bit of Maturity Makes!" »

May 15, 2007

Scaling Terrorism

General_scalesLast month, I was invited to a Manhattan roundtable conference on terrorism.  The main speaker was retired General Scales, a frequent contributor to Fox News.  General Scales has spent most of his life in the military and has become a leading expert on terrorism.   

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May 14, 2007

End of the Year, and Saying Goodbye

Ega_2 The Platoon Leadership Class (PLC) is the Marine Corps version of ROTC.  There is, of course, no ROTC allowed at Columbia University.  That doesn't stop those who want to serve from overcoming great obstacles to try and do just that.   Marine PLC candidates get less support and structure than most ROTC students on other campuses, but I would dare to say that more is expected of them.  The physical standards to become an officer candidate of the United States Marine Corps are the highest in the entire military.  This year, I helped to train several of the officer candidates and I'm happy to say that they improved greatly over the course of the year.  Within weeks, they will be off to Officer Candidate School (OCS) and I have to say that I'm going to miss the motivation to getting to the gym every other night. 

Continue reading "End of the Year, and Saying Goodbye" »

May 11, 2007

Coulter on Political Culture

Ann2 Finally, someone ran the tally of the conservatives who are sweeping elections.  Catch Coulter's excellent article, C'est si Bon!

Hate to beat a dead cheval, but the mainstream media refuses to recognize the enormous change taking place on the international political stage.  If anti-Americanism were a religion, France was its Mecca.  You won't get this news in the New York Times which has declared Sarkozy "One of the most polarizing figures," since the post world war.  Polarizing!?  He won the presidential election by 7%, and French voter turnout was at a record high. Sounds like a uniter to me.

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May 08, 2007

'Kozy with America

Cozy_bush Who knew?  Nicholas Sarkozy became the president of the fifth Republic of France while running on a platform of "homeland" sécurité and  getting closer to the United States (meaning George W. Bush).  Despite these normally disabling handicaps for a European politician, Sarkozy, whose father is a Jewish immigrant from Hungary, STILL won the French election, with a sizable majority, over the first female candidate for the French presidency Segolène Royal--a European liberal's diversity dream!

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May 07, 2007

Master Sergeant

Marine_corp_msgt_2 For those who don't know, a Master Sergeant provides technical leadership at the occupational specialist E-8 level.  In plain English, by the time a Marine reaches the rank of Master Sergeant he knows his job very well, because he has probably been in the Corps for nearly 20 years.  A Master Sergeant has been tried, tested, re-tried and still is crazy enough to stick around the Corps.  These are the types of selfless men and women who don't exist in everyday life. They earn their rank, respect, and admiration of their fellow Marines.   A Master Sergeant is a leader.    

Master Sergeant Michael Wert  died this weekend. He was on vacation, but that did not mean he would turn his back on his duty.  The Msgt. did not hesitate to respond to two boys, two strangers, in distress.  He did, however, loose his life in a successful attempt to save them.  The men and women I have met in the Corps have never ceased to amaze, and for his fellow Marines, Master Sergeant Wert will always be front rank and center.

Don't take my word, this is what others have said about the man. "He lived by God, country, the family and the Corps," said brother Matt Wert, "which was obvious on that day. What he did was a selfless act."


Semper fi Master Sergeant


As a true leader, Master Sergeant Michael Wert bequeathed his conspicuous gallantry to his children.  It was his daughter Katrina who followed him into the ocean and brought the two boys ashore.

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Rosie and the Mouth

Rosie On The View, Rosie said young people join the military because they're poor, uneducated or felons.  At this point, whether you agree with Ms. O'Donnell or not is kind of irrelevant, each side has drawn a line in the sand, and no one wants to give any ground.  So, why should anyone care?

Critics will cite an increase in Army "waivers" for convicted felons. Unfortunately, those same critics will have little or no knowledge of just what those waivers mean or how to place them in a historical context.  Context is everything to Rosie who insists she "loves the troops", in the same, I suppose, way everyone loves the poor, ignorant, derelict masses yearning to breathe free.  Speaking of being admitted can anyone imagine what percentage of students would make it on to American campuses if the admissions office required a moral waiver?

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May 05, 2007

From Start to Finish

Lightened The Bible Marathon is an event sponsored by mostly one church and supported through volunteers from throughout the nation.  The idea is simple, readers start at the very beginning of the Bible and read all the way to the end.  From Genesis to the Apocalypse, it takes over ninety hours and literally hundreds of volunteers to read the Bible.  I was very honored to be one of them. 

With the Capitol in the background, the Washington Monument right in front, and  a sound system worthy of a rockstar, my selection of Hebrews and Titus at dawn was a humbling experience. 

Continue reading "From Start to Finish" »


Wikipedia I spoke with the people over at Wikipedia and to my surprise, the Internet's 9th most visited site (11th on the weekends) is based out of Northern Florida and is administrated by no more than a staff of six people working tirelessly. 

Continue reading "Wikipedia" »