Between Iraq and a hard spot

Or, is President Bush finally getting the advice that he needs? Melanie Phillips offers this to ponder:

Those who said, when the Democrats routed the Republicans in the US mid term elections, that the celebrations by the surrender brigade were premature and that President Bush was made of sterner stuff, may be in the course of being proved correct. There are now signs of a debate taking place in Washington, which might just move the US away from self-delusion and towards hard-edged sanity. The outcome of this debate could not be more critical.

September 19, 2001…

“The mindset of war must change,”… “It is a different type of battlefield. It is a different type of war.” The battles, “will be fought visibly sometimes, and sometimes we’ll never see what may be taking place”.

December 28, 2006

In January 2003, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld designated the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) as the lead military organization to prosecute the global war on terror but unfortunately that has not materialized.

patraeus.jpgThe war effort has been under the command of the traditional armed forces instead of the U.S. Special Operations Command. This changes with the assignment of David Patraeus.

There is significant movement afoot: Leadership changes at DNI, UN, CENTCOM, State, and a new SecDef. Unrest and political uncertainty in Iran, and the discovery of “smoking gun” intelligence of Iran’s complicity with both Shia militias AND Sunni alQaeda. Add to that, a majority party in Congress which is willing to give the President just enough support to be able to fully blame him if they are right, and share in the credit if they are wrong. And last but not least, just maybe, a CIA that can remember that the middle initial stands for “intelligence”.

Melanie Phillips, The War against the Free World,  Post, Eyeing Iran, To Win In Iraq,

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Arab or Western: same fundamental problems for women

It’s been close to 20 years since I had a job which required that I keep regular office hours, and have daily interraction with co-workers. I was very interested to see this article from a blogger that I read regularly dealing with office politics and relationships which cross gender lines, and cultural differences (as well as similarities) of Western and Arab workplaces.


Now, I know that we in the U.S. are not at anywhere near the level of discrimination that women suffer in the Arab world. I’m not trying to make any sort of equal comparison. For them, it’s socially crippling; for us, it’s just an irritation, or sometimes can go so far as to affect a promotion. And thankfully, I can say first hand that this destructive double standard still rippling through our society is not alive in every workplace. A particularly good example for me was with a technology company some years ago where I experienced zero gender-based discrimination at work. It simply wasn’t an issue. However, the entire staff of that company at that time was relatively young and progressive in many ways. The memory of that experience, where everyone was taken at face value and treated as an equal, gives me hope for women in the American workplace at large.


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Tags: Workplace | problems | fundamental | discrimination | capable | belief | alive | affect | Western | Culture | Arab

Democrats 4 Day Paaaarty, Yo!


Somalia: Sister Fislan Alive: but Ethiopian Christians in ‘Grave Danger’

Mogadishu Surrounded.

The first paragraph of the following e-mail has been edited to avoid making public anything that might endanger this “very brave  and very wise woman.”

Here is the e-mail from a Somali Christian which begins by saying that Sister Filsan, author of mothballed blog ’Somali’s for Jesus’ is alive and well but has been in “extreme danger from islamic fundamentalists” (more below).  In recent months the murders of the Catholic nun, three somali believers and a Swedish journalist have shown just how oppressive the Islamists can be. She is now out of Somalia.
The rest of this e-mail is reported unedited.   

Things have gotten worse for the Somali Christians living throughout Somalia and the surrounding countries since the islamists took power of the southern Somalia. There is wahabi political islam on the rise throughout Somalia and young people are being radicalized by wahabism and jihadi islam. we praise God that fundamentalists in south Somalia are defeated in the past two weeks.
Thanks to be to God and to the Ethiopian intervention. But all in all, Somali believers are living in constant fear and hope day after day and the Lord is sustaining us.
We feel great injustice as Somali Muslims in Great Britain and other Western countries enjoy practicing their faith 100% free… but they would shoot us if they see us reading the Bible inside Somalia. We wait for the day when the Lord will vindicate us…

The paper media (with a very few notable exceptions) have condemned the Ethiopian rout of the Islamists in Somalia. The Western world continues to fete Islam and ignore the plight of Christians who are being persecuted throughout the Muslim world.
This ‘peace dividend’ Eurocentric culture in which we live, coupled with an almost visceral hatred of anything resembling American support or intervention, is blinding many people to the realities of Islam and the fragility and cost of defending personal freedom.

Come With Me To Admissions.

That’s what the doctor, a USAF Captain, told the Sweaty Young Man after evaluating his lab work, revealing he had infectious hepatitis. He asked the doctor if he could run home and get a few things, with a resounding no being the answer, as he was now considered highly infectious to others.

Great, just great!

So many questions and the young doctor was very patient in answering them. The big question was, how long would he have to be here? The answer, as long as it takes for the lab results to show the various indicators are in the proper ranges, with bilirubin being one of the top indicators. Perhaps a month, maybe longer. The sweaty young man…he was not pleased. He went through the admissions process and was escorted to the fourth floor, to the end of the hall and into the Yellow Room, where he met his seven new roommates for the next month.

It all began the night before, while on duty as a Security Policeman. He was working the graveyard shift at Town Patrol, which was from 2a.m. until 10a.m., and he went on base to refuel his M-151 jeep-like vehicle and stop by the in-flight kitchen for some box-bennies. These were small, rectangular boxes which contained a sandwich, apple, milk carton and a few other little items that were available to all flight crews and those without access to a dining hall. While waiting for the boxed meals, the NCO working the counter in the brightly lit flourescent kitchen area looked at the sweaty young man and asked if he felt okay. He replied that he felt alright, but why would he ask? They didn’t know each other, this was the first time they had met. The NCO said, that the SYM looked kind of yellowish and he had seen this before with a friend that had hepatitis. The sweaty young man thanked him, but cast off the health alert, he felt alright, except for a few things. Then, later that morning, while on a domestic disturbance call, he was asked by his partner if he felt alright because he sure looked yellowish.

Okay, he thought, what’s going on here? What, he asked, do you mean? His partner said look in the mirror, now that the Sun is coming up, and you will see your skin is looking yellow and your eyes are kind of brownish. So he looked into the wall mirror and it was true. After they returned to the office, he informed everyone to stay away from him and that at the end of the shift he was going to the hospital to get checked out.

So there he was, lying in a hospital bed, in a room with a group of men of all ages, ranks, races and creeds. There was an older gentleman, he appeared to be nearly seventy years of age, but was informed he was actually in his forties and he had chronic hepatitis. He was a civilian contractor for the DoD and built highways and bridges in Vietnam, but he wouldn’t quit drinking and he had so many bouts with hepatitis that he clearly was on the path to an early end. He was a built-in case study as to why they should take better care of themselves, especially after watching them run a biopsy needle into his liver that appeared to be about six feet in length, but that might have been an embellishment on the part of the SYM.

He wanted to get home as soon as possible, so he asked advice and listened intently to anyone that could enlighten him on how to accomplish that goal. There was no medicine, they said, only time, as the liver needs to heal. Therefore, only two things would ameliorate his illness, plenty of good food and bed rest. The only problem was, nothing tasted right, which he had begun to notice a few days before he came to the hospital. Even his Kool cigarettes tasted nasty, now that he thought about it, which it didn’t matter anymore, as they couldn’t smoke in the hospital anyway. So he tried to eat, but he couldn’t eat much and the medics always made a note on his chart about how much he consumed and they drew blood each morning before 5a.m., which he thought very rude.

The first few days and he wasn’t doing very well, he felt worse, he couldn’t eat, his lab tests got worse and then he realized he hadn’t passed a stool in almost a week. No wonder he felt terrible! So he told a medic, who told the doctor, who told a nurse, who brought him a very cold tiny football and instructed him to insert this object into his exhaust pipe.

Really? Okay, then.

Not long after that, the tiny football had done it’s job and the sweaty young man felt much better, not the least being his state of mind, as he had never experienced anything like this. His appetite improved and soon he was making heavy, dark cirlces around the next days menu items, to indicate double portions. They brought he and his roomies three full meals each day and three high protein, high carbo snacks each day, and soon that wasn’t enough. He would request at least six large Baby Ruth candy bars each day and at night after the last snack had been delivered, he and his roomies would order buckets of chicken and pizza from the NCO club. He definitely had his appetite back, and then some. Everything tasted better, and yet…strangely, he still didn’t have a desire to smoke, even though he had only stopped because they tasted terrible and now his sense of taste had recovered, but he had no desire for them…how odd!

Now his days in the hospital were numbered, as his lab results showed steady improvement, but he had settled into a routine and he wasn’t ready to leave just yet. Besides the scheduled and unscheduled meals, they had their wheelchair balancing activities in the morning, where they would rock back on the big wheels and remain balanced there and roll that way, without using the little wheels in the front. If one did have to touch down with the front wheels, they were timed out for the day, as the others kept clocking time until there was one left standing. Sometimes these contests would have to be delayed by mutual agreement, as no one was going down and they all were waiting for the book mobile anyway.

Ah, the book mobile. The SYM was able to enjoy his desire to read without distraction now and he was reading, on average, three books of moderate size each day. In addition, his doctor was a huge sci-fi buff himself and brought him some of his personal collection to read. Once, he looked through a small stack of books his doctor had dropped off while he was asleep and one caught his eye. It was the classic “Stranger In A Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein and when he looked inside the front cover, it was a first edition. The sweaty young man felt a tear form at the corner of his eye and treated this book with the reverence it deserved, and out of respect for a man that would entrust him with it.

After about a month had passed he was informed he was cured and could return home, but would be on non-duty status for two weeks until he regained his strength. He had mixed feelings about leaving, as he had actually made the best of the situation and had gotten quite comfortable. He was looking forward to seeing his friends and colleagues, his apartment and motorcycle, and visiting some of his favorite restaurants and watering holes. As he packed up his few personal belongings, in the back of the bottom drawer, behind some candy bars and magazines, there was a nearly full pack of Kool cigarettes and his old Zippo. How strange to see them! He had actually forgotten all about them, but he popped them into his shirt pocket, as before. After catching the bus to the Main Gate he hopped into a jeepney, for the four mile ride to his compound and out of a reflexive motion, he lit up a stale Kool cigarette.

Why? He couldn’t give an answer, it was something he did….without thinking.

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