Saturday, July 31, 2004

Long Day 

Sgt Hook - This We'll Defend

After dropping the last of the commo equipment packed in large, heavy, green, hard plastic shipping containers at forward operating base Calypso, and picking up three more big orange bags full of mail from the troops at the FOB, Redbeard77 and her crew, despite their exhaustion, made an approach into Camelot for their second time that day. They ended their approach at a hover about ten feet above the inverted ‘Y’ and then slid into hot gas pad one for refueling.

Two Soldiers wearing red helmets and dark goggles and heavy gloves ran out to the aircraft meeting Jaf at the helicopter’s refuel station just aft of the cabin door on the right side of the Chinook. The first Soldier grabbed a large refueling nozzle connected to a long black hose that ran to a pump that pumped fuel from a 40,000 gallon tank of JP-8. Before connecting the refueling nozzle to the receptacle at the refuel station, the first Soldier wearing the red helmet and dark goggles and heavy gloves, the taller of the two, plugged the business end of a grounding cable, the other end of which was connected to a brass grounding rod driven three-feet into the earth, into the aircraft to prevent static electricity from discharging during the refuel process. A spark from static electricity during the refuel process could be deadly. The taller Soldier then waited for a thumbs up from Jaf who after finishing a check of the aircraft’s refueling system gave the tall one a thumbs up. The tall one slammed a lever on the left side of the refueling nozzle forward and JP-8 started flowing through the long black hose into the helicopter’s fuel tanks. The shorter of the two Soldiers wearing the red helmet and dark goggles and heavy gloves stood nearby with a 50lb fire extinguisher at the ready just in case the grounding cable running from the aircraft and connected to the grounding rod failed to do its job. In all his nine years of refueling aircraft, the short one has never had to use the 50lb fire extinguisher. This day would prove to be no different.

The pilot-in-command asked each of the crewdogs if they were OK with continuing on with the mission that was going to take them past their allotted eight hours of flight. Each member of the crew, knowing that the Soldiers on guard at the OPs perched atop a ridgeline at some 9,000 feet AGL were depending on them, responded that they were good to go. The pilot-in-command informed Camelot control that they would proceed with their earlier request to sling load the two pallets of food and water up to the OPs, but then had to high tail it back to home base. Camelot thanked them profusely as there really was no other way to get the much needed supplies up to the guys at OP Arthur and OP Galahad.

When they taxied into their assigned parking spot back at steel beach an hour and forty-minutes later, Jaf felt tired, very tired. Kevin helped load the six big orange mail bags onto a humvee to be taken to the post office for mailing while Jaffy started conducting the required post-flight inspections. Just before the driver of the humvee got behind the wheel, Kevin asked him why it was that the post office never sent any mail out to the troops at the FOBs. The mail handler now sitting behind the wheel of his humvee full of big oragne bags of mail explained that the Soldiers frequently rotate in and out of the FOBs making it virtually impossible to get their mail to them, so all the letters and packages are held at the base camp until the troops rotate back through there. Kevin felt a little guilty at having mail and hot showers everyday. The mail clerk drove off and Jaf yelled at his crewchief to stop lollygagging and help “put her to bed.” They had logged 8.9 flight hours, arriving four hours prior to take-off to get her ready and needing another three-hours now to put her to bed, it had been a long day.

Keep those cards, letters and care packages going to the soldiers in "The Stan", they need them, as you can see. Visit Soldiers' Angels for more information.


Monday, July 26, 2004

Chow Hall by Sgt. Hook 

Sgt. Hook

Three long frame tents sit side by side by side of one another, joined by a couple of hallways to make our chow hall, affectionately known as the ‘Freedom Fighter Cafe’ by its clientele. Each long frame tent is actually a series of five individual frame tents, canvas tents set on a metal A-frame, pieced together head to toe to form one long tent. Inside the left most of the three is the kitchen where several cooks wearing white aprons over their desert camouflage uniforms spend hours preparing three square meals each day for the Soldiers. They feed over 600 Soldiers each meal. A long table with a wood cutting board top runs down the middle of the first third of the tent for cutting vegetables and performing other culinary tasks. A row of shelves line the wall filled with pots and pans and various other large cooking untensils. Adjacent to the shelves holding the tools of the trade, is a gray sheetmetal wallocker in which are housed row after row of spices and herbs. The next third of the kitchen has large gas stoves and ovens on either side of the tent where most of the cooking is done. It can get quite hot inside, especially when all the ovens and stoves are going at once, but the smells are mouth wateringly fabulous. A radio hangs from the frame of the tent near the ovens blaring music from the Armed Forces Network radio station. Two large, deep stainless steel sinks fill the outside wall of the last third of the kitchen tent where the pots and pans and various other cooking utensils are washed by a team of local nationals.

At the front end of the middle of the three long frame tents is the main entrance to the chow hall. Before entering, the Soldiers can wash their hands at one of six hand washing stations set up on the outside of the tent. Once inside, two serving lines are positioned along each wall where two cooks stand behind a glass divider and serve the wonderfully prepared meals cafeteria style. Next in line is a salad bar and a condiments bar where one can choose from a traditional green salad or maybe a macaroni or cucumber salad prepared earlier in the kitchen tent and get any condiments they might need for their meal. There is ketchup, steak sauce, a choice of several salad dressings, and a host of other extras. Lastly, on either side of the tent stand two large stainless steel beverage coolers with glass doors holding cold cans of assorted soft drinks, bottles of water, boxes of juice and milk, and sometimes on lucky days, bottles of Gatorade.

The right most tent houses a series of picnic style tables along each side of the dining tent, with a walkway down the middle to the exit, where Soldiers can sit and enjoy their meal and quiet conversation. In the middle of each table are holders filled with napkins, salt and pepper and bottles of Tobasco hot sauce. Soldiers love Tobasco hot sauce and can usually be found putting it on just about everything from eggs to rice to chicken. At either end of this tent sit two large flat screen televisions that normally show a sporting event, news, or whatever program is currently being aired on one of the six Armed Forces Network television stations.

It isn’t a home cooked meal served by a lovely and talented and downright sexy cook at a dining room table with the kids all talking at once and arguing over who got the longest french fry or the most fish sticks and the dog nosing a leg under the table begging for a piece of steak, but it’s a pretty damned good chow hall in the middle of the desert, feeding hungry Soldiers everyday providing them with the fuel they need to carry on with their missions.


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

BLACKFIVE: The Privilege Of Being An American Dad 


BLACKFIVE: The Privilege Of Being An American Dad

Tonight, I was giving my three year old monster, Little Blackfive, his bath. The routine is the same. He puts in the bubble bath (Cookie Monster Watermelon) and tests the temperature.

"Okay, Daddy."

Then, he hops in. Between bubble fights, ship wrecks, and ear washing, we talk about his day at pre-school. He went to Lincoln Park Zoo today and declared the Monkeys to be his favorite (Sorry Frank - last time it was the Lions, I swear).

When we're through, he stands up. I hold out my arms to pick him up. Instead of letting me pick him up out of the tub, he gets a glint in his eyes. He jumps up and puts his arms around my neck...completely soaking me.

We both laugh like crazy as I towel off his head. Then, I stop. Little Blackfive pats my arm to make sure everything is okay.

I couldn't stop thinking how lucky I was to have men and women fighting for this country all over the world so that I could be there getting soaked by my three year old comedian.

One soldier in particular was in my thoughts tonight...Thank you, Sgt. Hook. You and your family are in our prayers.


Adopt A Soldier Today 

From a Female Soldier in Iraq
"I've had people say they're sorry their letters are boring or something. That must be why I read them and get all misty-eyed for home. That's what we want.

We want to be bored. All that stuff---we've left it behind, the house payments, the bus stops, the car troubles. We can't imagine that stuff even existing any more. What's normal here is not boring. We'd like to be bored, and so we eagerly try and remember home, cocooning ourselves in our little cubicles, trying to squint and see home. It almost seems like it doesn't exist any more, this place is so different. We're so far from home that every little bit of it, especially the mundane parts, is what we want. Every little atom of boredom is a relief, because boredom is most definitely not something that comes with explosions.

So, guys? Bore away. Seriously. I've saved every letter, and when I'm conscious, I try to answer them. But I have to say, it's hard. How do you put this stuff into words? "Thank for taking me away from this place for a few minutes, even though it's really selfish that I asked. And possibly creepy and voyeuristic, but hey, let's not even go there, okay?" I remember thinking that cats and beds didn't exist during a battle that you think you've already lost, and even during the day, it's hard to imagine going home. It's hard to imagine home being there still. So when you talk about what you think are boring things, you're actually prodding rusty gears in our heads. Oh, yeah, cats and kids and gardens. I know they exist somewhere. The rest of the time they're fairytales.

You're helping us believe in fairytales.

Thank you."

NOW  -  Go to Soldiers' Angels, adopt a Soldier and help them remember the home they left behind.




Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Iraq War News 

Subject: Apology

sentiment shared.

For good and ill, the Iraqi prisoner abuse mess will
remain an issue -- on the one hand right thinking Americans will abhor the
stupidity of the actions while on the other hand political glee will take
control and fashion this minor event into some modern day My Lai massacre.

I heard some Arabs are asking for an apology. I humbly
offer mine here:

-- I am sorry that the last seven times the Americans took
up arms and sacrificed the blood of our youth it was in the defense of
Muslims (Bosnia, Kosovo, Gulf War 1, Kuwait, etc.)

-- I am sorry that no such call for an apology upon the
extremists came after 9/11. I am sorry that all of the murderers on 9/11
were Arabs.

-- I am sorry that Arabs have to live in squalor under
savage dictatorships. I am sorry that their leaders squander their wealth.
I am sorry that their governments breed hate for the US in their religious

-- I am sorry that Yasir Arafat was kicked out of every
Arab country and highjacked the Palestinian "cause." I am sorry that no
other Arab country will take in or offer more than a token amount of
financial help to those same Palestinians.

-- I am sorry that the USA has to step in and be the
biggest financial supporters of poverty stricken Arabs while the insanely
wealthy Arabs blame the USA.

-- I am sorry that our own left wing elite and our media
can't understand any of this.

-- I am sorry the United Nations scammed the poor people
of Iraq out of the"food for oil" money so they could get rich while the
common folk suffered.

-- I am sorry that some Arab governments pay the families
of homicide bombers upon their death. I am sorry that those same bombers are
seeking 72 virgins ? I can't seem to find one here on Earth.

-- I am sorry that the homicide bombers think babies are a
legitimate target.

-- I am sorry that our troops died to free more Arabs. I
am sorry they stopped the gang rape rooms and the filling of mass graves of

-- I am sorry they show so much restraint when their
brothers in arms are killed. I am sorry that Muslim extremists have killed
more Arabs than any other group.

--I am sorry that foreign trained terrorists are trying to
seize control of Iraq and return it to a terrorist state. I am sorry we
don't drop a few dozen DaisyCutters on Fallujah.

-- I am sorry every time terrorists hide they find a
convenient "Holy Site." I am sorry they didn't apologize for driving a jet
into the World Trade Center that collapsed and severely damaged St. Nicholas
Greek Orthodox Church - one of OUR Holy Sites.

-- I am sorry they didn't apologize for flight 93 and 175,
the USS Cole, the embassy bombings, etc.

-- I am sorry Michael Moore is American; he could feed a
medium sized village in Africa.

-- I am sorry the French are French. America will get
past this latest absurdity. We will punish those responsible because that's
what we do. We hang out our dirty laundry for all the world to see. We move
on. That's why we are hated so much. We don't hide this stuff like all
those Arab countries that are now demanding an apology.

Deep down inside when most Americans saw this reported in
the news we were like . so what? We lost hundreds and made fun at a few
prisoners. Sure it was wrong, sure it dramatically hurts our cause but
until captured we were trying to kill these same prisoners. Now we're
supposed to wring our hands because a few were humiliated? Our compassion is
tempered with the vivid memories of our own people killed, mutilated and
burnt amongst a joyous crowd of celebrating Fallujans.

If you want an apology from this American your gonna have
a long wait. You have a better chance of finding those 72 virgins

If you are 'sorry' also, pass it on!!

Iraq War News


Monday, July 19, 2004

Sgt. Hook Is Back On-Line 

Sgt Hook has moved to a new hosting company, has a great new look and is back on-line!
Give him a visit and say hey. 



Friday, July 16, 2004

Soldiers Angels


There are many ways to let American troops in the Middle East
know that their hard work does not go unnoticed, and that they
have our gratitude for doing their job so well.

U.S. soldiers wounded in combat are getting help making the
transition back home. Volunteers from a non-profit organization called
Soldiers? Angels are sending backpacks to combat support hospitals in
Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany.

The bags are filled with personal hygiene items, clothes and get well
cards to help soldiers wounded in combat.

Tears of happiness from injured soldiers are a sign these volunteers are
doing the job they set out to do.

?I've got some beautiful letters saying how much it meant to them to
know people care,? said volunteer Peggy Baker. ?Many tears have been
shed by soldiers when they see us and they talk about the fact these
were there and couldn't believe there was something waiting for them.?
That small token of appreciation goes a long way to brighten the day
of soldiers wounded in combat.

?For all of us, every single one of us, it's the best non-paying job
we've ever had,? volunteer Liz Fuentes said.

Volunteers stuff clothing, personal hygiene items and other non-
perishables into the combat backpacks. They say it's a labor of love.
?Because they need it, because they give me the freedoms to do what
I want to do and they need my support,? volunteer Vicky Carter said.
Volunteers know first hand their work is appreciated and desperately
needed by those who tend the wounded.

?We actually follow the soldiers from ...Click Here to continue



Thursday, July 15, 2004

Message to Heroes
Wonderful Video

Click The angel to begin



Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Messages to heroes video

Godspeed Heroes

Iraq War News
Marine heads home...Criticism of the Philippines...Bush in Wisconsin in Katu.com: Iraq & Terror

Hassoun due back in U-S in hours in Katu.com: Iraq & Terror

Baghdad Car Bomb Kills 11, Injures 40: "A suicide attacker detonated a massive car bomb Wednesday at a checkpoint near the British Embassy and the interim Iraqi government's headquarters in Baghdad, killing 11 people and wounding 40, including a U.S. soldier, authorities said. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Zarqawi Still Targetting Iraq PM: Web Site: "Suspected al Qaeda ally Abu Musabal-Zarqawi has warned Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi that hewill not escape death at the hands of the militant group. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Baghdad Blast Kills 11, Bulgarian Hostage Beheaded: "A suspected suicide car bombing killed11 people and wounded 30 Wednesday in the first big guerrillaattack in Baghdad since an interim Iraqi government took overfrom U.S.-led occupiers on June 28. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Marine Who Vanished in Iraq Heads Home: "A U.S. Marine who disappeared in Iraq and turned up in Lebanon nearly three weeks later said Wednesday that he was in good health and "excited to be going home" as he left a U.S. military hospital in Germany. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Egypt's Israel peacekeeper plan draws ire: "The first time an Egyptian president took the risk of reconciling with Israel, he was shunned by other Arabs and vilified by his own citizens."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq

Baghdad Car bomb kills 11, injures 40: "A suicide attacker detonated a massive car bomb Wednesday at a checkpoint near the British Embassy and the interim Iraqi government's headquarters in Baghdad, killing 11 people and wounding 40, including a U.S. soldier, authorities said."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq

Philippines pulls troops from Iraq early: "The Philippines said Wednesday it was withdrawing its small peacekeeping contingent from Iraq early to save the life of a kidnapped truck driver, a dramatic turnaround by one of Washington's biggest backers in the war on terrorism."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq

In race to train Iraq security force, GIs find trust is biggest obstacle: "But Lt. Joaquin Meno of the 1st Infantry Division had even higher hopes as he led the patrol recently into an area where U.S. soldiers have been hectored for weeks. The Iraqi troops bounded out of their trucks and set up a right flank, just as they have been trained. Minutes later Meno did a double take: Several of the Iraqis had tugged their bandanas and kaffiyehs up to their eyes. (Chicago Tribune)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Inquiry: U.K. Iraq Intelligence 'Flawed': "Iraq had no useable chemical or biological weapons before the war, and British intelligence relied in part on "seriously flawed" or "unreliable" sources, an official inquiry reported Wednesday. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Car bomb rocks Baghdad killing 11: "A suicide attacker detonated a massive car bomb Wednesday at a checkpoint near the British Embassy and the interim Iraqi government's headquarters in Baghdad, killing 11 people and wounding 40, including a U.S. soldier, authorities said."

In Kansas City Star: Iraq

Philippines withdraws troops from Iraq; Bulgarian hostage killed: "BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The Philippines said Wednesday it had withdrawn some of its peacekeepers from Iraq and was coordinating a pullout, apparent efforts to meet the demand of kidnappers threatening to kill a captive Filipino truck driver."

In Fresno Bee: Iraq

Germany US Marine in Katu.com: Iraq & Terror

NATO troops duped by U-S vigilantes in illegal explosives raids in Katu.com: Iraq & Terror

Iraq Explosion in Katu.com: Iraq & Terror


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Iraqis Save A Marine

Iraqi Soldiers Save U.S. Marine
Good stories are not uncommon, but rarely reported.

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

?I was walking beside the Marine, then we heard gunfire, and I saw that the American Marine was shot. Then I realized it was just me and him, so I quickly started shooting at the enemy." ? Private Imad Abid Zeid Jassim, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps

Portions of Iraqi Private Imad Abid Zeid Jassim's citation for bravery reads: "...[A]s the firefight ensued, under a hail of enemy fire that was accurately targeted on the wounded [U.S.] Marine, and without regard for his own safety, Private Imad Jassim moved forward into the enemy fire and came to the aid of the wounded Marine. He dragged the wounded Marine out of the line of fire to a covered and concealed position...reengaged the enemy...aggressively pushed forward...dislodged the enemy fighters.... His efforts clearly saved the life of the Marine...."

On the evening of May 30, 2004, Jassim and his fellow members of 4th Platoon, India Company, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) were jointly patrolling the streets of Al Karmah, near Fallujah, with leathernecks from 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. All at once, the patrol was ambushed from the rear by enemy insurgents. A U.S. Marine was instantly struck down with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Reacting as they had been trained to do by their U.S. counterparts, the Iraqis swung into action.

Jassim, who was standing closest to the Marine when the latter was hit, immediately returned fire.

Sergeant Abdullah Sadoon Isa, Corporal Eiub Muhamad Hussane, and Private Ahmad Lazim Garib raced toward-and-beyond the downed American. Constantly under fire and simultaneously returning fire, Sgt. Isa quickly positioned other members of his platoon between the wounded man and the enemy.

Jassim and another private, Kather Nazar Abbas, stopped shooting long enough to begin dragging the American to a position of relative safety. Bullets and at least one rocket-propelled grenade zinged past their heads as they managed to pull the Marine behind a wall. A U.S. Navy medical corpsman rushed forward to render first aid. The Iraqis and the Americans continued battling the enemy force.

The response to the ambush was textbook. "The ICDC ultimately assaulted through the enemy's position and pushed them out," said 2nd Lt. Charles Anklin III, of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines.

On Friday, Maj. Gen. James N. Mattis, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, and Col. John A. Toolan, commanding officer of Regimental Combat Team 1; decorated the five aforementioned Iraqi soldiers for their "heroic achievement" during an awards ceremony at Camp India in Nassar Wa Salaam. The awards included two Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medals and three Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medals. Each of the medals included combat "V"s for valor.

"You've witnessed the bravery of these soldiers from India Company, who were willing to shed blood with Marines to make sure we get a free Iraq," said Toolan, before a gathering that included Iraqi military leaders and local village sheiks. "The important aspect is that the Coalition and Iraqi forces have worked together, and the bond you see between the ICDC soldiers and Marines has become rock-tight."

Private Jassim added that the firefight created an even stronger bond between Iraqi (ICDC) soldiers and American Marines. Speaking through an interpreter, he said, "I feel very, very bad the Marine was shot because they are like my brothers now, but I'm ready to go out again. I'm always ready."

The ICDC soldiers not only saved the life of an American, but their actions served as an example of the ongoing coordination and positive developing-relations between the U.S. and Iraq. This was good news. It was not an isolated event. Unfortunately, so little of this kind of news ever gets any ink.

This is one of the many "positive" albeit rarely told stories coming out of Iraq, U.S. Congressman Joe Wilson (R., S.C.) told NRO from his Washington office on Saturday.

Wilson believes such stories must receive equal time with the negative ones if the U.S. military is to continue garnering needed support at home and abroad. He should know. A 31-year veteran officer of the U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard as well as a current member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, Wilson has recently traveled to both Iraq and Afghanistan as part of congressional delegations. And his keen interest in the futures of both countries is both professional and personal. Wilson has four sons. The oldest three are military officers: Two are serving in the Army. One is in the Navy. The oldest son is currently stationed in Iraq.

Last Thursday, Wilson was part of a group meeting with Iraqi president Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawar; al-Yawar said that there were more representatives of the various news media per capita in Iraq than anywhere else in the world. The Iraqi president added, that may well be the reason there seems to be only "bad news" coming out of Iraq.

"Of course, we want the media there," says Wilson. "But problems arise when there are too many reporters in one place, all in competition with one another, all trying to outdo each other." According to Wilson, there is a growing consensus on both sides of the political fence ? particularly among those who have toured Iraq ? as well as among members of the new Iraqi leadership, that competition for the "big story" is forcing reporters to concentrate on "the ten percent negative stories, while ignoring the 90 percent good, positive stories." That's not only unfair. It's strategically dangerous.

Recalling comments made during a meeting between U.S. Army Gen. John Abizaid and a congressional delegation in Afghanistan, Wilson said, the rejection of good stories by competing media is not just a belief shared by members of the Republican party. "I remember [Democrat] Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee making the comment that 'good news has no legs, and bad news has wings,'" he says. It's simply a reaffirmation of the newsman's clichéd adage, "If it doesn't bleed, it doesn't lead."

That's not to say there aren't important negative stories coming out of Iraq. But there are just as many ? if not more ? important positive stories that could be written about events taking place in that country. Unfortunately, stories about hospitals being renovated, little girls learning the basics of math and science for the first time, or five brave Iraqi men being decorated for saving the life of a wounded American, are not nearly as dramatic as a roadside bombing or an assassination.

? A former U.S. Marine infantry leader and paratrooper, W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in a variety of national and international publications. His third book, Alpha Bravo Delta Guide to American Airborne Forces, has just been published.

Iraq War News
Kurdish forces capture suspected militants: "Kurdish security forces have captured 15 militants, including one man believed to be a senior leader in a local group linked to al-Qaida, an official in a pro-American Kurdish party said Tuesday."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq


Blair to learn verdict of Iraq intelligence inquiry: "Prime Minister Tony Blair was to learn how much trouble he faces for relying on flawed intelligence to promote the Iraq war when the findings of a long-awaited inquiry are handed over to the government. (AFP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Iraqi police launch sweep of Baghdad town: "Iraqi police launched a massive sweep of a Baghdad neighborhood, killing one person and rounding up hundreds of suspected criminals, as the interim president promised to crack down on anyone threatening the country's security."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq

Iraq's leaders step up with tough talk: "In the span of roughly a week, Iraq's new interim leaders have passed sweeping emergency laws, promised to "crush" troublemakers and use a "very sharp sword" to combat unrepentant insurgents."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq

Gulf War vets 'felt like enemy': "Troops in the first Gulf War were inoculated with a cocktail of drugs which they believe left them with debilitating illnesses and may have contributed to fatal birth defects, an inquiry has heard."

In Ananova: War In Iraq

Pakistani Ambassador Top Envoy to Iraq: "Secretary-General Kofi Annan has selected Pakistan's ambassador to Washington for the job of U.N. envoy to Iraq, replacing a top diplomat who was killed in a Baghdad bombing last year. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Iran Leader Says U.S., Israel Behind Iraq Kidnaps: "Iran's Supreme Leader said on Tuesday hebelieved the United States and Israel, rather than Muslims,were behind the kidnapping and killing of foreign nationals inIraq. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Filipino Bid To Save Iraq Hostage: "In an appeal to save the life of a Filipino truck driver being held hostage in Iraq, the Philippine government says it is willing to withdraw its troops from Iraq "as soon as possible." Terrorists have demanded a withdrawal by July 20th."

In CBS News: Iraq Crisis

U.S. Civil Affairs soldiers rebuild Iraq: "Sgt. Abubakar Senge walks through the secondary school with his rifle slung across his chest, his helmet hanging off his arm and a notebook in his hand, inspecting the work he hired an Iraqi builder to perform."

In Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq

Bush hits back over weapons: "The US president defends the Iraq invasion, after scathing criticism of US intelligence in the run-up to war."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq

Saddam mocks accusers: "Saddam Hussein arrives in chains at a palace complex once used by his inner circle for relaxation and pleasure."

In BBC: Conflict with Iraq

Several Blasts Heard in Central Baghdad: "Several explosions were heard Tuesday in central Baghdad. There was no immediate word on what caused the blasts. (AP)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Manila Gives Conflicting Signs on Iraq Pullout: "Philippine officials, trying to savethe life of a Filipino hostage, sent confusing signals onTuesday about pulling troops out early from Iraq, whileAustralia said it would bolster its forces. (Reuters)"

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

US professors sending textbooks to Iraqi schools in IraqWar.info

Nations slow to contribute aid despite pledges in IraqWar.info


Sunday, July 04, 2004

The Delecaration of Independence 

Mudville Gazette

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.

We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntingtonv William Williams
Oliver Wolcott

Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton

John Hancock
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Matthew Thornton

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris

North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn

Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton


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