5-9-2004 Comrade Cronkite Re-Visited

War is a series of catastrophes that results in a victory.--Georges Clemenceau

Happy Mothers Day! Whoopee! This is the day when I look skyward each year and think 'Miss ya' Mom.' Despite the passing of sixteen years, both of my siblings sit in front of her headstone every year and ball much like Bostonians rerunning Bill Buckner's legendary fielding gaffe in their minds. I, myself, have never even seen my Mom's headstone. I can't explain why exactly, but I can't bring myself to visit it.

I'll admit to being a bit more than miffed that our former mayor didn't surprise me with a substantial gift this morning. I was a motha' to him every chance I got.

So, Mother's Day is the day where we lavish all sorts of trinkets upon wifey, which is a challenge of sorts. She doesn't do flowers. She doesn't wear makeup. She doesn't dig perfumes. She doesn't wear jewelry. She doesn't visit salons. And she doesn't give a hoot about the latest fashions for that matter. What the hell do you buy this chickie?

On a more selfish note, there's no way I'm putting on the body armor and engaging in some hand-to-hand combat just to get near Mark II's breakfast buffet on this fine morning. And I'm about as romantic as a flattened and dried-out rabbit on the side of route 84. So...we all chipped in some serious bucks and bought her a gift certificate from Sprawl-Mart. No matter how dolled-up they may, or may not get, all chicks shop. That's what they do. And if her past habits are any indicator at all of things to come, she'll probably drop at least half of that gift certificate on her grandkids.

My newest neighbors threw themselves a whopper of a party all day yesterday. Hey, I make my share of noise on occasion, so you'll never find me calling the cops when somebody else wants to kick back and let off a little steam. But...do they have to play that vocal quivering that somehow passes as music these days. They don't wail or sing or screech anymore. They just train their vocal chords to quiver.

Baby-eh-eh-ba-eh-by I-eh-eh lov-eh-eh-eh you-eh.

Give me the Immigrant Song with Robert Plant's sonic bursts that sounded as if someone had driven a nail through his foot as he approached the microphone anyday.

Putting that aside, I didn't appreciate having to clean-up their discarded beer cups spanning the entire length of our street this morning. And also this morning, another neighbor made me aware of the crew that hung out in front of the adobe last night smoking from a techni-colored bong. Great. Just what we needed on this tiny street. More freakin' reefer addicts. And to boot, the whole crew is right back at it this morning.

This all sounds to me like yet another time-consuming job waiting for Detective "Expresso."

Okay. Who is the hopeless boob that posted that complete "I hate my country" bilge written by Robert Fisk of The Independent on the forum? Please. Spare us the apologist nonsense. Those pictures of the Iraqi detainees being "tortured" are no more iconic than the Paris Hilton video. Actually, that piece is riddled more with anti-American wishful thinking than anything approaching facts.

Stop tossing throwing knives at Bush's picture on your imported dart board for one second and consider this: After this imbroglio is fully investigated, who will end up being worse for wear? The Iraqis that played a few games of naked Twister, or the moronic guards that forced them to play? Be honest. Get past your hate for a second and think about it. If you can rise above your clouded judgment for just a spell, you'd realize that the humiliated Iraqis will end up going free (Assuming they are not already) while their tormentors probably won't. I know I'm asking a lot of you during an election year and I'm probably crazy to do so.

Iconic pictures? Not! But the author, Robert Fisk, is certainly an iconoclast.

Ethel? Ethel? What the muck was that complete gibberish you offered up for public consumption? I really expected much better from you. I was wondering, when you were much younger, did you hang beads in doorways and spray glow-in-the-dark paint on the walls of your bedroom? Was the hefty price of black light bulbs constantly eating away at your allowance? Did you often lock your beads, lick a stamp and then picture yourself soaring among the clouds while Grace Slick spewed some of her nonsensical bullspit? Did "The Sins of Everlistdavjack" blow your mind, mannnnnnnnnnnnnn? How many black-and-white pictures of you contorting your hand into a peace sign still exist?

You're Either With Us or Against Us -- Ethel Hozniak, 08:40:26 05/08/04 Sat [1]

Boy, I may be an old granny, but in all my years I don't remember seeing democracy working so well. We went to liburrrate those camel jockeys and they don't even take our jokes very well. Haven't they ever heard of the one 'You can't build a pyramid without a dozen naked terrorists.' Or how about, 'Panties on the head brings good luck with the ladies.'

All the cool kids did these pranks in my gym class.

Have to run kids, just got my mail. I hope my new toy arrived. Donald Rumsfeld Action Figure

Ethel Dearest, when it finally arrives, you should take pictures of it raping a Barbie or two. CNN and al-Jazeera will cough up a pretty penny for them.

And be careful about how much vitriolic rigamarole you spew. I know you're obsessed with seeing to it that George Bush is burned alive, cut up into very tiny portions and fed to snails, but you seem to be taking too much delight in our country getting a well-deserved black eye. If the invasion of Iraq turns out to be the single biggest mistake ever made by one of those subhuman Republicans, in the long run, Bush will suffer far less than our country will. And every time an American is heard by our enemies mocking our president or questioning our efforts, they WILL be further emboldened. Make no mistake about that. How could they not be?

You weak in the knees types can do whatever you want with Bush come November, but while our troops are on the ground, is it too much to ask for a bit of feigned solidarity in the meantime? Americans first and protestors second?

United we stand, divided we fall? Remember that one?

Let's check a couple of news snippets:

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, in a news conference with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said the problems in Iraq are due to a "lack of planning" by Pentagon chiefs and "the direction has got be changed or it is unwinnable."

Unwinnable. Let's imagine that you are Muqtada al-Sadr, the Islamic fanatic who has led much of the recent insurgency against American troops. You read that powerful politicians in America are now saying that America just can't win the war the way things are going. Well, since you're a big part of the way things are going, how can you feel anything but smug, satisfied and encouraged?

Kerry Sneers at Rumsfeld's Apology, Blames Bush for Abuses

Sen. John Kerry today scoffed at Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's apology and blamed President Bush for the mistreatment of some prisoners in Iraq.

"The chain of command goes all the way to the Oval Office," Kerry said in Phoenix. "Harry Truman did not say, 'The buck stops at the Pentagon.'"

Speaking to the "moderate" Democratic Leadership Council, the Massachusetts pol said a strong foreign policy meant "taking responsibility for the bad and good."

"We need a president who understands the difference between strength and stubbornness," he said.

And will that needless election year diatribe convince Muqtada al-Sadr that further death and violence is counter-productive? Will it? What do you think, Ethel? Why don't you look up his e-mail address and encourage him further.

Dear Mr. Sadr,

As an American citizen, let me begin by saying that my president has a "666" on his skull and he is not deserving of being imprisoned in a can of Alpo. Not only does he...

F**k it! Do it. You don't have any relatives on the ground there, do you? What's another flag-draped coffin as long as it's not headed anywhere near you? Do it! Encourage the dummies some more. They'll end up dead. Some more American boys will end up dead. And you can blame it all on someone else.

Boy, I may be an old granny, but in all my years I don't remember seeing democracy working so well.

Democracy? It was their's for the taking a few months ago. We rolled in there promising democracy, we removed the murderous tyrant and we encouraged the Iraqis to rule themselves. But a funny thing happened on the way to self-rule for the first time in their mostly troubled history. They decided that continued bloodshed was more attractive. Imagine throwing a democracy and then having no one show up. That's all that Bush is guilty of. He gave those folks much more credit than they deserved.

It doesn't matter how much your words might damage Bush, but consider what they might mean for our country and our troops.

And as far as our chuckleheads in Congress being shocked and blind-sided by all of this goes, check this snippet from WorldNetDaily.com:

One irony of the way the story came to light: Lawson first tried to bring attention to the scandal by writing to 17 members of Congress, but, he told the New York Times, he got virtually no response. Now, members of the House and Senate are calling for Rumsfeld's resignation for not bringing the matter to their attention.

That's because they were too busy grilling Condalezza Rice in an attempt to secure her resignation.

The war is unwinnable? It depends on which war you're talking about.

Gage's Tractor

I'm gonna try to talk wifey into letting me blast the stereo on Mothers Day. God! I pray that she doesn't demand to hear some Rod Stewart as a trade-off. I can only take so much.

And I'm going to pay more attention to our newest reefer addicts who are currently raising hell. They are not long for Thompson Street if I've got anything to say about it at all.

Whatever. I'll leave you with this:

I was sitting alone in one of those loud, casual steak houses that you find all over the country. You know the type--a bucket of peanuts on every table, shells littering the floor, and a bunch of perky college kids racing around with longneck beers and sizzling platters.

Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd over the rim of my glass. My gaze lingered on a group enjoying their meal. They wore no uniform to identify their branch of service, but they were definitely "military:" clean shaven, cropped haircut, and that "squared away" look that comes with pride.

Smiling sadly, I glanced across my table to the empty seat where my husband usually sat. It had only been a few months since we sat in this very booth, talking about his upcoming deployment to the Middle East. That was when he made me promise to get a sitter for the kids, come back to this restaurant once a month and treat myself to a nice steak. In turn he would treasure the thought of me being here, thinking about him until he returned home to me.

I fingered the little flag pin I constantly wear and wondered where he was at this very moment. Was he safe and warm? Was his cold any better? Were my letters getting through to him? As I pondered these thoughts, high pitched female voices from the next booth broke into my thoughts.

"I don't know what Bush is thinking about. Invading Iraq. You'd think that man would learn from his old man's mistakes. Good lord. What an idiot! I can't believe he is even in office. You do know, he stole the election."

I cut into my steak and tried to ignore them, as they began an endless tirade running down our president. I thought about the last night I spent with my husband, as he prepared to deploy. He had just returned from getting his smallpox and anthrax shots. The image of him standing in our kitchen packing his gas mask still gives me chills.

Once again the women's voices invaded my thoughts. "It is all about oil, you know. Our soldiers will go in and rape and steal all the oil they can in the name of 'freedom'. Hmph! I wonder how many innocent people they'll kill without giving it a thought? It's pure greed, you know."

My chest tightened as I stared at my wedding ring. I could still see how handsome my husband looked in his "mess dress" the day he slipped it on my finger. I wondered what he was wearing now. Probably his desert uniform, affectionately dubbed "coffee stains" with a heavy bulletproof vest over it.

"You know, we should just leave Iraq alone. I don't think they are hiding any weapons. In fact, I bet it's all a big act just to increase the president's popularity. That's all it is, padding the military budget at the expense of our social security and education. And, you know what else? We're just asking for another 9-ll. I can't say when it happens again that we didn't deserve it."

Their words brought to mind the war protesters I had watched gathering outside our base. Did no one appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and women, who leave their homes and family to ensure our freedom? Do they even know what "freedom" is?

I glanced at the table where the young men were sitting, and saw their courageous faces change. They had stopped eating and looked at each other dejectedly, listening to the women talking.

"Well, I, for one, think it's just deplorable to invade Iraq, and I am certainly sick of our tax dollars going to train professional baby killers we call a military."

Professional baby killers? I thought about what a wonderful father my husband is, and of how long it would be before he would see our children again.

That's it! Indignation rose up inside me. Normally reserved, pride in my husband gave me a brassy boldness I never realized I had. Tonight one voice will answer on behalf of our military, and let her pride in our troops be known.

Sliding out of my booth, I walked around to the adjoining booth and placed my hands flat on their table. Lowering myself to eye level with them, I smilingly said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation.

You see, I'm sitting here trying to enjoy my dinner alone. And, do you know why? Because my husband, whom I love with all my heart, is halfway around the world defending your right to say rotten things about him."

"Yes, you have the right to your opinion, and what you think is none of my business. However, what you say in public is something else, and I will not sit by and listen to you ridicule MY country, MY president, MY husband, and all the other fine American men and women who put their lives on the line, just so you can have the "freedom" to complain. Freedom is an expensive commodity, ladies. Don't let your actions cheapen it."

I must have been louder that I meant to be, because the manager came over to inquire if everything was all right. "Yes, thank you," I replied. Then turning back to the women, I said, "Enjoy the rest of your meal."

As I returned to my booth applause broke out. I was embarrassed for making a scene, and went back to my half eaten steak. The women picked up their check and scurried away.

After finishing my meal, and while waiting for my check, the manager returned with a huge apple cobbler ala mode. "Compliments of those soldiers," he said. He also smiled and said the ladies tried to pay for my dinner, but that another couple had beaten them to it. When I asked who, the manager said they had already left, but that the gentleman was a veteran, and wanted to take care of the wife of "one of our boys."

With a lump in my throat, I gratefully turned to the soldiers and thanked them for the cobbler. Grinning from ear to ear, they came over and surrounded the booth. "We just wanted to thank you, ma'am. You know we can't get into confrontations with civilians, so we appreciate what you did."

As I drove home, for the first time since my husband's deployment, I didn't feel quite so alone. My heart was filled with the warmth of the other diners who stopped by my table, to relate how they, too, were proud of my husband, and would keep him in their prayers. I knew their flags would fly a little higher the next day.

Perhaps they would look for more tangible ways to show their pride in our country, and the military who protect her. And maybe, just maybe, the two women who were railing against our country, would pause for a minute to appreciate all the freedom America offers, and the price it pays to maintain it's freedom.

As for me, I have learned that one voice CAN make a difference. Maybe the next time protesters gather outside the gates of the base where I live, I will proudly stand on the opposite side with a sign of my own. It will simply say, "Thank You!"

Lori Kimble is a 31 year old teacher and proud military wife. A California native, Mrs. Kimble currently lives in Alabama