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Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 06:02 PM PDT

GBCW

by spread the word IRAQ NAM






...and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys.

                                                                                       

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THEY SERVED LONGER than any other unit in Iraq -- active or reserve. It was October 2005 when the more than 2,000 National Guardsmen left their Minnesota homes, returning only late this summer.

Some left their jobs, some left their farms, and some left their schools. They had answered the call to serve and so for for nearly two years they missed births and birthdays, anniversaries and school plays, Christmas mornings and Thanksgiving dinners.

In place of these everyday joys, they patrolled in 120-degree heat, ate meals ready-to-serve, went without showers for days at a time, and wondered if each day could be their last.

Along the way they saw comrades fall -- some quite young -- who would never again get an email from home, feel the warm embrace of a friend, or see the smile of a child.

And when they returned they asked for no special treatment, just what was due, only to find they had been purposely left one day short...

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I DON'T NEED this. I have to go out of town today, and time is short.

But then, I run into a story that says the VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES is going to be addressing 'a super-secret, conservative policy group in Utah' today.

AND NO PUBLIC OR PRESS ALLOWED.

And the the guy who founded it is the co-author of the LEFT BEHIND books.

AND NO PUBLIC OR PRESS ALLOWED.

In fact, after that the VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES will be appearing at 'fund raisers' in California, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming.

AND NO PUBLIC OR PRESS ALLOWED.

Have we really become so blase that the number two elected official in the most powerful country on earth can travel around giving secret speeches to a group hoping for Armageddon and no one cares? Can it really be that progressives can't fathom the implications, can't grasp the rape of democracy this unquestioned secrecy represents?

WHY isn't this a top diary? Where's the front page coverage?

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Such are the searching sorrows
This royal palace knows,
While through the streets of Argos
Grief yet more grievous grows

They sent forth men to battle
But no such men return,
And home, to claim their welcome,
Come ashes in an urn

--Aeschylus

AUGUST'S FINAL ROLL CALL:

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These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.

These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this, now ended.

-- Rupert Brooke



JULY'S FINAL ROLL CALL:

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Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 08:55 AM PDT

'This is what we wish'

by spread the word IRAQ NAM



IT MAY SEEM A SMALL THING to most. A soccer game played half way round the world. So unimportant, it can't be found on American T.V.

But to a country savaged by years of invaders and civil war, there in the ancient land between two rivers where now even the water is putrid with death... this game was the rarest of gifts: ninety minutes of peace.

Rarer still, it was ninety minutes of hope.

'This is a very modest thing we can give to our people,' said the captain before the game.

Added the coach: 'We have to play to be a champion and we hope no one dies. This is what we wish.'

And today the Iraqi people got that hope and that wish, when their team -- made up of Sunni, Shia and Kurd -- won the championship in the Asian Cup Finals... their first championship ever.

The Iraqis finally have their field of dreams... but one watered with a million anguished tears.

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This diary by Spread the Word: Iraq-Nam, a daily blog on Iraq.

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Sons of the thief, sons of the saint
Who is the child with no complaint
Sons of the great or sons unknown
All were children like your own
The same sweet smiles, the same sad tears
The cries at night, the nightmare fears
Sons of the great or sons unknown
All were children like your own...

-- Jaques Brel

JUNE'S FINAL ROLL CALL:

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ITEM: About 10,000 soldiers are involved in Arrowhead Ripper, making it one of the largest military operations since the war began more than four years ago. It is focused around the city of Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

The offensive began under cover of darkness "with a quickstrike nighttime air assault," a U.S. military statement said.

...but who speaks for the children of Baqubah, how not to be caught underneath?

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Breaking from the NY Times:

U.S. Arming Sunnis in Iraq to Battle Old Qaeda Allies

With the four-month-old increase in American troops showing only modest success in curbing insurgent attacks, American commanders are turning to another strategy that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past.

American commanders say they have successfully tested the strategy in Anbar Province west of Baghdad and have held talks with Sunni groups in at least four areas of central and north-central Iraq where the insurgency has been strong. In some cases, the American commanders say, the Sunni groups are suspected of involvement in past attacks on American troops or of having links to such groups. Some of these groups, they say, have been provided, usually through Iraqi military units allied with the Americans, with arms, ammunition, cash, fuel and supplies.


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Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
"To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods

-- Thomas Babington Macaulay

MAY'S FINAL ROLL CALL:

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Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
"To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods

-- Thomas Babington Macaulay

MAY'S FINAL ROLL CALL:

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JONATHAN MARKHAM KNEW the protocol for Army funerals. The 22 year-old corporal had received the honor of serving on a burial detail at the Dallas Fort-Worth National Cemetery. And so he knew not only how it was done, but had done it himself...

The flag drapes the casket to honor the memory of the fallen's service, placed so that the blue field with stars is at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased.

Taps is played, and then the flag carefully folded into the symbolic tri-cornered shape. The flag folds 13 times on the triangles, representing the original American colonies in its folds and the three-cornered hat worn by the Patriots in its final shape. When folded, only a blue field with stars is seen.

The flag is then presented to the grieving. In the Army the presenter says, "This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for your loved one's honorable and faithful service".

'On behalf of a grateful nation'. Perhaps those were the words that had Cpl Markham thinking, and telling his wife his wishes.

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