Thursday, December 04, 2008

"Well, we'll just call those combat troops 'civil engineers' now"

Here's a news analysis piece from the New York Times that gives us a glimpse of how Obama will be able to claim that it is he who won the war while delivering the retreat that he promised to the anti-war wing of his party.

From the article:

There always was a tension, if not a bit of a contradiction, in the two parts of Mr. Obama’s campaign platform to “end the war” by withdrawing all combat troops by May 2010. To be sure, Mr. Obama was careful to say that the drawdowns he was promising included only combat troops. But supporters who keyed on the language of ending the war might be forgiven if they thought that would mean bringing home all of the troops.

Pentagon planners say that it is possible that Mr. Obama’s goal could be accomplished at least in part by relabeling some units, so that those currently counted as combat troops could be “re-missioned,” their efforts redefined as training and support for the Iraqis.

Read the whole article. It's actually pretty balanced and points out the revisionism that's going on in regard to Obama's promises on the campaign trail.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Victory in Iraq Day - November 22

Yes, it's true. The war is over and victory has been achieved.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

An American Dream

You GO girl!

This is all we need to see

If you look very closely at the ring finger of the young man's hand, you'll see the name "Bristol."

God bless the three of them.

Update: Ooops. Levi may need to alter that tattoo. Well, that's a shame, and best wishes are still sent for the three of them...together or apart.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Next time you see one of the troops, say "Thank You."

Have you ever seen a soldier, seaman, airman, or marine in uniform and wanted to say "Thank you"...but you couldn't because you were too far away, or you weren't able to stop and say the words? Here's a way to communicate "Thanks for your service!" without saying a word.

(Thanks to my sis, a proud Navy mom.)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

So close to being home

There is sad news from Army Battalion 2-16 this week. Two soldiers, so close to coming home, were killed: Spc. Durrell L. Bennett, 22, of Spanaway, Wash., and Pfc. Patrick J. Miller, 23, of New Port Richey, Fla.

Bennet and Miller would have returned to Kansas in April with the rest of the 2-16.

May both soldiers rest in peace in the loving arms of their creator. God grant solace to their families.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

General Odierno's Lessons from Iraq

Ralph Peters wrote another fine column this weekend titled: Lessons from the General. In it, General Odierno reflects on what he has learned about fighting an insurgency and the progress that is being made in Iraq.

As part of the interview Peters asked Odierno what he learned about our soldiers. The general replied: "They are compassionate. They genuinely care - not just about each other, but about Iraqis, too. I saw it again and again. They are compassionate young men and women."

Peters asked if there were any surprises about our soldiers. "They've surprised me with their resilience. . . They continue to re-enlist, continue to perform. . . Both leaders and soldiers have shown incredible resilience in the way they've adapted" to the changing situation in Iraq. "And I realized how much we can trust our soldiers."

If you're reading this blog, I'll bet you're not surprised at all with the compassion or resilience of our soldiers. God bless 'em all - from the grunts all the way up to the generals.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Glass breaking in the night

Seventy years in the future, will the danger of Islamic radicalism in Europe be seen as clearly as we now see the evil of Hitler's facism in the late 1930's?

Across Europe for a few years now, European "youths" have been burning cars as a form of protest. Oh-so-perceptive journalists never seem to be able to put their finger on the profile of the protestors or the reason for the protests. However, after years of review maybe, just maybe, they will be able to connect the dots between perceived slights against Islam and shattered glass on the streets of Europe.

This week in Denmark, "youths" torched more cars and now garbage trucks in the same week that Danish newspapers reprinted the infamous "Mohammed Cartoons."

Here's a clip from a story from one correspondent in Copenhagen:

"Five youths were arrested in the capital after 28 cars and 35 garbage trucks were burned, Copenhagen police duty officer Jakob Kristensen said.

Danish media said arrests in other towns brought to 29 the number of people police were holding.

Scores of cars and several schools have been vandalised or burned in the past week.

Police could give no reason, but said that unusually mild weather and the closure of schools for a winter break might have contributed."

Wait,'s GLOBAL WARMING that's causing the unusually mild weather in Europe that's led to the rioting. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

For Crying Out Loud

There she goes again.

"You know, for me, politics isn't a game. It's not about who's up or who's down."

She said it in Virginia yesterday.

She said it on Super Tuesday.

But when she's down...

Three, two, one... cue the tears...

Yesterday in Maine (above.)

In New Hampshire:

And in Connecticut:

Sheesh! The first time, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. The second time, I was becoming skeptical. But three times? Come on, Hillary, buck up.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Why I'll be caucusing for Mitt Romney

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth on the part of conservative elites at the prospect of John McCain being the GOP nominee for the presidential race this year. They cite things like McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, and the proposed McCain-Kennedy immigration and Lieberman-McCain anti-global warming bills. In a nutshell, he is accused of not being conservative enough for the Republican party.

It seems, however, that a plurality of the Republican party disagree with the the opinion shapers of talk radio, the blogosphere, and some print media.

Well, I won't be so presumptious as to say that the unwashed masses of the Republican party are wrong and that the deep thinkers at the top have got it right. However, I'll be caucusing for Mitt Romney on Tuesday. Here's why:

When I think of John McCain, I think of this video where he gleefully sings into a mic: "Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb Iran." A few months ago, I heard John McCain using Abu Ghraib as a campaign talking point. I wish I could find the quote, but it was in the context that such things would not happen under his administration. Finally, a Republican congressman from California was praising John McCain last week on Hugh Hewitt's radio show. He was talking about how although he disagreed with McCain on many things, McCain's credentials for the War on Terror overrode all else. This congressman talked about McCain's anger and that he wanted an angry president to sit across the table from our enemies.

Well, I do not.

I do not want an angry president making rash decisions about sending in troops. It seems to me that it is likely to get soldiers needlessly killed.

I do not want a president who uses a one night shift in a stressed out military prison as a talking point. There is no "integrity" in gaining favor with those who have used that scandal to try to bring down the administration's efforts in the War on Terror.

I do not want a president who has such a tin-ear that he does not find anything wrong with publicly joking about bombing a country.

My son is currently part-time Army National Guard. His enlistment is up in October. For a while, it seemed that he would not be reenlisting after ten-years in full-time and part-time service, including one year serving in Iraq. As the time gets closer, he's reassessing the benefits of being in the Guard, and even contemplating going back to full-time service.

I am very interested in who will be our Commander-in-Chief. Mitt Romney has a record of achievements. John McCain is seen as a hero because he spent five years in a prisoner of war camp. Well, I had an uncle who was a prisoner of war. He marched in one of the death marches in Nazi Germany. My uncle was an unsung hero. That did not make him qualified to be President.

I believe that it's going to take more to win the War on Terror than simply killing the enemy, somthing that John McCain seems all too eager to do. It's going to take strategy, a "can-do" attitude, and can I even say - a Godly spirit. That sounds more like Mitt Romney to me.

So, I will be caucusing for Mitt Romney on Tuesday night.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The problem with the left and the war

Many on the left see the war more as a stick to beat President Bush with than anything else. In this article at Mother Jones: Iraq: Dem's Dream Dashed? all of the focus is on "how to confront him on Iraq" or the failure of Congress to make him take a "new direction." Only is it briefly mentioned that the goal is to end the war. There is no thought on how ending the war will benefit the U.S. or Iraq. In their mind, the end goal is simply to humble President Bush by making him end the war, the consequences are not considered.

Well, I would like to see an end to the war, also...after the mission is accomplished. I'll leave it to the generals to decide when that has happened.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Duncan Crookston Funeral Information

The Patriot Guard Riders will be at Duncan Crookston's funeral and has posted information about the time that it will take place:

Saturday, 02 Feb 08 services are scheduled for 1100 (11 a.m.) at:

The Church of Latter Day Saints
2710 S. Monaco Pkwy
Denver, Colorado 80222

I will be there in spirit, as will hundreds of others who will not be able to make the journey. It is sure to be the celebration of the life of young man who made a difference and will not be forgotten.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Upon the death of a young soldier

Over at, PFC Duncan Crookston's squad leader describes the soldier who joined his squad in late 2006. Duncan would have been 18 years old at the time.

Duncan Crookston was a very smart young man who was the unofficial but very capable computer tech support guy for his fellow soldiers. He was funny, and caring, and always willing to help. The description of Duncan sounds just like my own son.

Duncan was injured on September 4, 2007 in an EFP attack that killed three other soldiers and severely wounded another. There is a video remembrance of them that can be viewed here.

On January 25th, 2008, after five months of a valiant fight, Duncan died with his mom, Lee, and wife, Meaghun, at his side. He would have been 20 years old on January 26th.

His death will surely go mostly unnoticed by the New York Times, or even the Washington Post who covered the deployment of the 2-16. However, those that matter will know our country has lost one of our finest.

Rest in peace, young man.

My deepest condolences go out to Meaghun, Lee, and all of Duncan's family and friends.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

PFC Duncan Crookston R.I.P.

A hero has died.

For a letter from Duncan's mom, go to


Will post more when I get back to my computer.

Update: For information about Duncan's funeral, go to this post.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Poor Martha Raddatz

ABC's Chief Whitehouse Correspondent is all fired up. In this video she shows her displeasure with Saudi Arabia. Here's what she had to say about it on ABC's blog:

Saudis Get Bombs---I Get Booted

January 14, 2008 6:09 PMAlessandra L.-->

By: Martha Raddatz

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The administration wants to sell 900 JDAMs ..those big, precise GPS controlled bombs, to a country that won't let me go to the hotel gym because I am a woman. And it is an American owned hotel--a Marriott. Yes, the announcement that the JDAMS would be added to the 20 billion dollar weapons package for the region came at almost the precise time I walked into the gym to inquire how late it would be open. "Sorry, ma'am---but ladies are not allowed in here." As you might imagine, this did not sit well with me. After eight brutal days on the road hopping from country, you grab a workout whenever you can. So I offered what I thought was a reasonable compromise---let the men work out for a few hours, then let "the ladies" work out. "Let me check," the man at reception offered. I knew it wouldn't happen, but I had to try. After a few minutes, the answer that I expected. "Sorry, ma'am, but that is not possible."

Don't get me wrong, I respect other cultures and am a seasoned traveler in the Mideast. I know in some places they separate women and men (which is what my solution addressed I thought!) But it is the first time in decades I was made to feel like a second class citizen---and it is not a pleasant feeling. I also wondered how President Bush, an exercise fanatic, would feel if he was turned away from a gym. He touts the positive changes that the US invasion of Afghanistan brought...and criticizes the human rights record in Saudi ( compared to that record the no gym action pales) but judging from the fact we are spending two days here (and only 4 hours in Egypt) Saudi is very high on the president's BFF list.

And I am sure all the men on the treadmill were pleased about the news that 123 million dollars worth of bombs might be coming this way. I don't know how the women feel--there weren't any around.

Poor Martha. Yes, I'm sure it was a tramatic thing for her not to be able to use a work out gym in Saudi Arabia. Athough I doubt it was nearly as tramatic as this story where two female domestic workers were beaten to death in Saudi Arabia. Or this story where fifteen girls were burned to death because they were prevented from escaping a blazing building - they were not wearing proper Islamic dress. Or this story where a gang-rape victim was sentenced to ninety lashes.

You, go, Martha! And when you get done feeling sorry for yourself then, maybe you can start reporting on real abuse of women in the Middle East.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


On January 11, 2008, Ezra Levant had to appear before Alberta's Human Rights Commissions. A complaint was filed against his magazine "The Western Standard" for publishing a cartoon that was critical of the prophet Mohammed.

Over at LGF, there are two videos from the hearing. Here is the written text of Mr. Levant's opening statement.

We feel safe in the U.S., thinking it cannot happen here.

As I'm writing this post, I'm listening to Hillary Clinton defending herself against comments in which members of the black community have basically called her a racist. Now, I am no fan of Hillary Clinton. However, what difference is it that Ezra Levant is charged with being a racist for publishing a cartoon critical of Mohammed and Hillary Clinton being charged with racism for criticizing her black opponent?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The trouble with polls

I am having major email problems right now and am again facing the prospect of losing easy access to a little more than three years of email exchanges starting at the time that my son was called up for duty in Iraq. They are backed up and we'll see if they can be restored.

In the meantime, I ran across this email which is reminiscent of what is happening with the polling data in the current primary races. How soon we forget how wrong the polls were in 2006, too:

Here's most of an email that I wrote in an exchange with a journalist on October 31, 2006:

"I do agree with you about not being able to read what is going on. In Minnesota, for instance, a University of Minnesota poll is now reporting that our incumbent governor, Tim Pawlenty (R), is behind 39 to 45 against the former attorney general, Mike Hatch (D). The last approval poll I saw for Pawlenty (about a month ago) had him at 54 percent approval among Minnesotans. The economy is very good here. Frankly, life does not get much better anywhere else. How can this incumbent be losing?

I do appreciate hearing, too, your inside thoughts. They make sense...the one I'd like to respond to, though, is your irritation with Iraq. Here's what jumped out:

You said: 'When they made the decision to go to war, Bush and the cabinet should have discussed and thought about the enormous nation-building exercise they were signing on for, and the American people's limited patience for it.'

My friend, *we* all made the decision to go to war through our elected representatives - not only Bush and his appointees, but also through my senator, Norm Coleman, and my representative, Mark Kennedy and all the other senators and representatives who overwhelmingly approved of our military action in Iraq.

*We* did it.

And it is our responsibility to finish what we started.

Trust me, ********, I have glimpsed the ravages of war... I've watched a pro-American Iraqi journalist (********* *******) turn into a hate-filled Bush-basher, I will never forget the tragedy of Steven Vincent's death at the hands of religious fanatics, and I very recently went through a weekend with a close friend who mistakenly thought her marine-reserve son was being called up for duty. None of this is pleasant.

But do you want to talk about irritation? It would be beyond irritation to watch 26 million people being slaughtered by each other as we pull out. It would be beyond irritation to think that my son spent a year in 120 degree heat and gave it his all for a mission for which now one eager-war-supporter after another wants to throw in the towel. And it would be beyond irritation to live in a country where, like in Europe, the population is too timid to face the evil of shari'a. Because if we lose in Iraq, there is no stopping Muslim radicalism anywhere else. Not in our lifetimes.

Sorry if I sound a little preachy. I am very worried, however, about a Speaker of the House Pelosi, and folks like Carl Levin and Charlie Rangel being in charge of important committees in the Senate and House. I do not want to live through the late sixties and early seventies again. Although I am barely old enough to remember much past a fairly idyllic childhood in rural Minnesota, I know that Dems running wild through the chambers of Congress cannot be a good thing. Last week Peggy Noonan said something about folks not wanting to associate with being part of a political base anymore, they see themselves as independent thinkers. Well, not this woman...I am voting for Mark Kennedy as senator simply because he is a Republican. I guess I'm now part of the Republican base."

By the way - the polls were very wrong in Minnesota in October 2006, too, and I'm happy to say that Tim Pawlenty is still our governor.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Duncan Crookston Update

If you've reached this page by searching for news about Duncan Crookston, here is a link to something that was posted today on a military forum page.

Duncan is making progress. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

Remember the trust fund: You can donate by stopping at any Chase Bank and directing your donation to: Duncan Crookston Trust, Chase Bank, Acct. # 1635716796, Routing #102001017. Also, you can make a check payable to Duncan Crookston Trust. Mail it to: Meaghun Crookston c/o Powless Guest House, 3298 George C. Beach Rd, Ft. Sam Houston, TX 78234.