A Posthumous Christmas

It is especially at the holidays that the casualties of war, all wars, lean so heavily on our hearts. After my father died in Korea, I don’t think we ever had a genuinely happy Christmas again. Sure the tree was decorated, the gifts tumbled in heaps under it, cookies baked in the oven, the hustle and bustle of shopping and visiting, Christmas carols played on the old Victrola. But there was always that empty spot never to be filled again.

Days after bomb-squad sergeant died in husband’s arms in Iraq, her gifts to family arrive
CARLISLE, Pa., Dec. 20 — In the days since Staff Sgt. Kimberly A. Voelz died in the arms of her soldier husband in Iraq, mementoes from her life have been arriving almost daily at her parent’s home. First, an e-mail she wrote a day before she died reached her parents’ inbox. Then her green military uniform arrived, bearing the ribbons of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor medals. On Friday, her Christmas present to her brother and sister-in-law came in the mail. The set of six inscribed holiday ornaments bear comforting messages that now seem almost eerie: ”Throughout the storm you do not walk alone”……

Who’s Carol?

As blog readers may have noticed, there is a new blogger in the Antiwar.com ranks: Carol Watson. She has been an invaluable volunteer researcher for last six months. The Iraq Casualties page rarely misses an important story or statistic, and I give most of the credit for that to Carol. Here is her short autobiography:

I am a semi-retired researcher in the natural sciences who has now turned the focus of my research to aid the antiwar movement, a continuation of my involvement from during the Vietnam era. Having lived and worked for many years outside of the United States, I have acquired some insight into how the world sees us and our actions, and how we sometimes mistakenly view the rest of the world. A lifelong follower of libertarian principles, raised in New York City, I have spent my adult life in the deep South where I reside today.

We look forward to her keen insight and sharp eye for the web’s hard-to-find news stories.

John Sugg on Neal Boortz at the LP Convention

John Sugg, columnist for Atlanta’s Creative Loafing magazine, has a great column today attacking the idea of Neal Boortz speaking at the Libertarian Party National Convention.

Sugg has strong libertarian tendencies and a thorough understanding of libertarian principles (clearly, a much better understanding of those principles than Neal Boortz has).

This article needs to be read by all Libertarian Party leaders before the convention schedule is finalized.

In the latest issue of the Libertarian Party News, convention organizer Nancy Neal (wife of LP National Chair Geoffrey Neal) states that she “doesn’t need any more emails ‘informing’ me [Boortz] is a ‘warmonger.'”

I disagree. I think she needs a few more emails: convention@hq.LP.org.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

JUAN COLE, in his commentary today, Al-Hakim to ash-Sharq al-Awsat: Saddam must be Tried in Iraq included this veritable gem at the very end:

…Bremer is reportedly worried that the IGC is not moving toward those elections fast enough to meet the July 1 deadline for turn-over of sovereignty to a transitional government, and is requesting a doubling of CPA employees to 2,000. The State Department, however, does not have another 1,000 Middle East experts, and many of the ones it has are being vetoed by Undersecretary of Defense for Planning, Douglas Feith, on grounds of their lack of sympathy for Neoconservative philosophy.

Upon reading this paragraph, I visualized Doug Feith–playing the lead role of Mickey Mouse in Disney’s cartoon “The Sorceror’s Apprentice”– having to resort to exponentially increasing neocon Middle East experts like Daniel Pipes the same way: by repeatedly chopping the expert in half again and again until he has enough loyal bucket-carrying brooms to bail the Administration out. But what happens if the Sorcerer doesn’t arrive in time; do all the neocon mice drown in the floods they have created?


A Soldier’s Letter from Iraq

Spec-4 Marshall L. Edgerton was 27 years old. He was from Rocky Face, Georgia. He was assigned to [deleted], 82nd Airborne Division. We are based in Fort Bragg, N.C. Marshall was killed December 11th when he was escorting a delivery truck into the 82nd Headquarters in Ramadi, Iraq. The news told you that a furniture truck blew up outside the compound, and that our excellent defenses prevented a lot more people from being killed. That’s a load of sh*t. The truck blew up inside the compound, and the reason only 15 people were hurt and one American killed is plain luck. They make us get on every vehicle that enters the compound, and plenty of vehicles come. It’s like playing Russian roulette.

We understand water trucks and gasoline trucks. We need that stuff, even though there are still plenty of ways they could detonate one of those too. Let me tell you what was being delivered though, and what Marshall Edgerton died for. A general is decorating his office here. It’s a nice office, a luxury office you might say. And it needed a carpet to go with all the new furniture. Now while the grunts and we [deleted] can get along with field tables and folding chairs, of course the general has to trick out his office like he’s a Roman caesar or something. So these furniture trucks come onto our compound when we already know that a lot of people out there want to kill us. This truck was loaded with carpet.

Marshall came to Iraq to die for a general’s carpet. Marshall’s family will grieve so a general could have carpet. What we really need here are big trucks that can haul away all the bullshit. And a few to get our asses back to an airport.

Don’t give my name or email address. The truth can get you in a lot of trouble here.


Letter 12/14/2003