Sunday, April 22, 2007

ONE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE--what a great country!!!!

One of the wonderful realizations about being American is that we have these enormous freedoms to do all sorts of "off the wall" things, regardless of one's status in life. Here's a good example and very positive in light of so much negative stuff that happens, i.e., Virginia Tech. Here is this 60s (age 64)type from Berkeley, California--she travels to Iraq on her own; gets some small newspaper (Lonestar Iconoclast--Crawford, Texas no less) to issue her a press pass and blogs back and forth. We have to admire the sixty four year old. Gutsy for sure, she is a participant in life, not an observer. An interesting note had to do with her living in the Green Zone with the troops--she had never eaten so good: steak, lobster, and salmon steak choices every night. At least the troops are eating well. Don't think we saw any of that in the Nam.

Her reference to how great the food was highlighted her comments of subsiding on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a month. She lives in Section 8 housing which is government subsidized. Obviously, she has limited funds and came to Kuwait with her own money. See what I mean. God bless America.

Her comments about Iraq mirror thinking Americans--confusion. At first for her, it was pull out and then she said she spent time with the troops in a military transport plane from Kuwait to Baghdad, she grew quite fond of them and their idealism. (soldiers at war have to believe in their cause. It is part of their sense of sacrifice). She embraced their optimism, Maybe the military should stay to finish the job and help rebuild Iraq in a Marshal Plan sort of way. However, her position changed toward the end of her time in Iraq--the U. S. must withdraw all its troops. Not only is life in Baghdad unsafe for everybody, it's like the people of Iraq don't want the occupation. In her last blog from Iraq she wrote, "to hell with Iraq. Let God/Allah sort it out. It's high time for Americans to start watching out for America instead. (Sounds a little right wing). We can't afford to let a whole generation of fresh faced boys be forced to turn into gangsta wannabes in some foreign country just to benefit the Bush/Cheney deAmericanization fund. We need our troops at home. Here. Now." She calls Iraq an invasion/war/occupation/police action/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Bush blunder.


NATIONAL SERVICE--Mother's comments

I totally agree with National Service. It sounds fantastic. Tthis war is only costly to the men/women/families who serve and doesn't affect anyone else too much. So true. But then it's hard to get an entire country on board with a war that was based on such garbage and then heads off in 12 different directions when the head honchos try to justify it.

I really like the National Service versus Universal Service. Somehow it sounds more American, more patriotic. Does that make sense? National Service -- yep, that is a good change. I was telling my son about your ideas and he was all over it -- it's one of his big themes. Everyone should serve at least a year doing something with people from other backgrounds in this country, As he says, you'll meet some duds occasionally and some wackos, but by and large, you'll encounter lots of different, good people from all walks of life and from every socio-economic level. I remember him coming home from Basic Training at Fort Sill with a photo of his training class, and the guys had all signed it on the back (kind of like signing annuals in school), and one of the black recruits wrote: To the coolest white guy ever. He was pretty proud of that, and so was I. God bless the Army for all it taught him.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


When I think of the war in Iraq, my immediate thought is: what a mess. It goes really beyond a mess--a travesty. There are times I think that I'm the only one in America who gets it. I heard some general on TV the other day by the name of Lovelace--I remember the name as I had an archeology teacher in seminary by the same name. I thought "this guy's brain has been bottled in formaldehyde." This isn't personal rather, philosophical. It was as though he was talking about another country and a different war. He was saying things about our great soldiers which they are in Iraq, the wonderful volunteer army, what a privilege to fight such a glorious war. These were not his exact words but close. Unfortunately, he is more typical of the leadership than we like to believe.

The volunteer military is a good one, maybe the best in the world. However, it has one very real drawback: it is not representative of our great country. And, this is a moral as well as a practical dilemma. When only a very small fraction of our populace are making the major sacrifice in war, it is immoral. The practical implication is that as a country with a volunteer force we are denying young men and women in America the opportunity to serve. There's a bond of trust that comes from shared hardships, shared experience and a common set of values when sacrifices are made. Most Americans will never know this and the common ethos which comes with it.