Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A Hero's sacrifice

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Dec. 2, 2004) "You're still here, don't forget that. Tell your kids, your grandkids, what Sgt. Peralta did for you and the other Marines today."

As a combat correspondent, I was attached to Company A, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment for Operation Al Fajr, to make sure the stories of heroic actions and the daily realities of battle were told.

On this day, I found myself without my camera. With the batteries dead, I decided to leave the camera behind and live up to the ethos "every Marine a rifleman," by volunteering to help clear the fateful buildings that lined streets.

After seven days of intense fighting in Fallujah, the Marines of 1/3 embraced a new day with a faceless enemy.

We awoke November 15, 2004, around day-break in the abandoned, battle-worn house we had made our home for the night. We shaved, ate breakfast from a Meal, Ready-to-Eat pouch and waited for the word to move.

The word came, and we started what we had done since the operation began - clear the city of insurgents, building by building.

As an attachment to the unit, I had been placed as the third man in a six-man group, or what Marines call a 'stack.' Two stacks of Marines were used to clear a house. Moving quickly from the third house to the fourth, our order in the stack changed. I found Sgt. Rafael Peralta in my spot, so I fell in behind him as we moved toward the house.

A Mexican-American who lived in San Diego, Peralta earned his citizenship after he joined the Marine Corps. He was a platoon scout, which meant he could have stayed back in safety while the squads of 1st Platoon went into the danger filled streets, but he was constantly asking to help out by giving them an extra Marine. I learned by speaking with him and other Marines the night before that he frequently put his safety, reputation and career on the line for the needs and morale of the junior Marines around him.

When we reached the fourth house, we breached the gate and swiftly approached the building. The first Marine in the stack kicked in the front door, revealing a locked door to their front and another at the right.

Kicking in the doors simultaneously, one stack filed swiftly into the room to the front as the other group of Marines darted off to the right.

"Clear!" screamed the Marines in one of the rooms followed only seconds later by another shout of "clear!" from the second room. One word told us all we wanted to know about the rooms: there was no one in there to shoot at us.

We found that the two rooms were adjoined and we had another closed door in front of us. We spread ourselves throughout the rooms to avoid a cluster going through the next door.

Two Marines stacked to the left of the door as Peralta, rifle in hand, tested the handle. I watched from the middle, slightly off to the right of the room as the handle turned with ease.

Ready to rush into the rear part of the house, Peralta threw open the door.

'POP! POP! POP!' Multiple bursts of cap-gun-like sounding AK-47 fire rang throughout the house.

Three insurgents with AK-47s were waiting for us behind the door.

Peralta was hit several times in his upper torso and face at point-blank range by the fully-automatic 7.62mm weapons employed by three terrorists.

Mortally wounded, he jumped into the already cleared, adjoining room, giving the rest of us a clear line of fire through the doorway to the rear of the house.

We opened fire, adding the bangs of M-16A2 service rifles, and the deafening, rolling cracks of a Squad Automatic Weapon, or "SAW," to the already nerve-racking sound of the AKs. One Marine was shot through the forearm and continued to fire at the enemy.

I fired until Marines closer to the door began to maneuver into better firing positions, blocking my line of fire. Not being an infantryman, I watched to see what those with more extensive training were doing.

I saw four Marines firing from the adjoining room when a yellow, foreign-made, oval-shaped grenade bounced into the room, rolling to a stop close to Peralta's nearly lifeless body.

In an act living up to the heroes of the Marine Corps' past, such as Medal of Honor recipients Pfc. James LaBelle and Lance Cpl. Richard Anderson, Peralta - in his last fleeting moments of consciousness- reached out and pulled the grenade into his body. LaBelle fought on Iwo Jima and Anderson in Vietnam, both died saving their fellow Marines by smothering the blast of enemy grenades.

Peralta did the same for all of us in those rooms.

I watched in fear and horror as the other four Marines scrambled to the corners of the room and the majority of the blast was absorbed by Peralta's now lifeless body. His selflessness left four other Marines with only minor injuries from smaller fragments of the grenade.

During the fight, a fire was sparked in the rear of the house. The flames were becoming visible through the door.

The decision was made by the Marine in charge of the squad to evacuate the injured Marines from the house, regroup and return to finish the fight and retrieve Peralta's body.

We quickly ran for shelter, three or four houses up the street, in a house that had already been cleared and was occupied by the squad’s platoon.

As Staff Sgt. Jacob M. Murdock took a count of the Marines coming back, he found it to be one man short, and demanded to know the whereabouts of the missing Marine.

"Sergeant Peralta! He's dead! He's f------ dead," screamed Lance Cpl. Adam Morrison, a machine gunner with the squad, as he came around a corner. "He's still in there. We have to go back."

The ingrained code Marines have of never leaving a man behind drove the next few moments. Within seconds, we headed back to the house unknown what we may encounter yet ready for another round.

I don't remember walking back down the street or through the gate in front of the house, but walking through the door the second time, I prayed that we wouldn't lose another brother.

We entered the house and met no resistance. We couldn't clear the rest of the house because the fire had grown immensely and the danger of the enemy's weapons cache exploding in the house was increasing by the second.

Most of us provided security while Peralta's body was removed from the house.

We carried him back to our rally point and upon returning were told that the other Marines who went to support us encountered and killed the three insurgents from inside the house.

Later that night, while I was thinking about the day's somber events, Cpl. Richard A. Mason, an infantryman with Headquarters Platoon, who, in the short time I was with the company became a good friend, told me, "You're still here, don't forget that. Tell your kids, your grandkids, what Sgt. Peralta did for you and the other Marines today."

As a combat correspondent, this is not only my job, but an honor.

Throughout Operation Al Fajr, we were constantly being told that we were making history, but if the books never mention this battle in the future, I’m sure that the day and the sacrifice that was made, will never be forgotten by the Marines who were there.

Click on the link to see the source. A Hero's sacrifice

Sunday, December 05, 2004

As you can tell it's a picture posting day.

Boy Scouts on the Trail. These guys are hams. Posted by Hello

A visit from Arnold to my humble little city. Posted by Hello

Now who is the Man? Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Update from Dave in Fallujah

Pay special attention to the story about Chuck Yeager's grandson.

Dear Dad -

Just came out of the city and I honestly do not know where to start. I am afraid that whatever I send you will not do sufficient honor to the men who fought and took Fallujah.

Shortly before the attack, Task Force Fallujah was built. It consisted of Regimental Combat Team 1 built around 1st Marine Regiment and Regimental Combat Team 7 built around 7th Marine Regiment. Each Regiment consisted of two Marine Rifle Battalions reinforced and one Army mechanized infantry battalion.

Regimental Combat Team 1 (RCT-1) consisted of 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (3rd LAR), 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines (3/5); 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1)and 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry (2/7). RCT-7 was slightly less weighted but still a formidable force. Cutting a swath around the city was an Army Brigade known as Blackjack. The Marine RCT's were to assault the city while Blackjack kept the enemy off of the backs of the assault force.

The night prior to the actual invasion, we all moved out into the desert just north of the city. It was something to see. You could just feel the intensity in the Marines and Soldiers. It was all business. As the day cleared, the Task Force began striking targets and moving into final attack positions. As the invasion force commenced its movement into attack positions, 3rd LAR led off RCT-1's offensive with an attack up a peninsula formed by the Euphrates River on the west side of the city. Their mission was to secure the Fallujah Hospital and the two bridges leading out of the city. They executed there tasks like clockwork and smashed the enemy resistance holding the bridges. Simultaneous to all of this, Blackjack sealed the escape routes to the south of the city. As invasion day dawned, the net was around the city and the Marines and Soldiers knew that the enemy that failed to escape was now sealed.

3/5 began the actual attack on the city by taking an apartment complex on the northwest corner of the city. It was key terrain as the elevated positions allowed the command to look down into the attack lanes. The Marines took the apartments quickly and moved to the rooftops and began engaging enemy that were trying to move into their fighting positions. The scene on the rooftop was surreal. Machine gun teams were running boxes of ammo up 8 flights of stairs in full body armor and carrying up machine guns while snipers engaged enemy shooters. The whole time the enemy was firing mortars and rockets at the apartments. Honest to God, I don't think I saw a single Marine even distracted by the enemy fire. Their squad leaders, and platoon commanders had them prepared and they were executing their assigned tasks.

As mentioned, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry joined the Regiment just prior to the fight. In fact, they started showing up for planning a couple of weeks in advance. There is always a professional rivalry between the Army and the Marine Corps but it was obvious from the outset that these guys were the real deal. They had fought in Najaf and were eager to fight with the Regiment in Fallujah. They are exceptionally well led and supremely confident.

2/7 became our wedge. In short, they worked with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. We were limited in the amount of prep fires that we were allowed to fire on the city prior to the invasion. This was a point of some consternation to the forces actually taking the city. Our compensation was to turn to 2/7 and ask them to slash into the city and create as much turbulence as possible for 3/1 to follow. Because of the political reality, the Marine Corps was also under pressure to "get it done quickly." For this reason, 2/7 and 3/1 became the penetration force into the city.

Immediately following 3/5's attack on the apartment buildings, 3/1 took the train station on the north end of the city. While the engineers blew a breach through the train trestle, the Cavalry soldiers poured through with their tanks and Bradley's and chewed an opening in the enemy defense. 3/1 followed them through until they reached a phase[line deep into the northern half of the city. The Marine infantry along with a few tanks then turned to the right and attacked the heart of the enemy defense. The fighting was tough as the enemy had the area dialed in with mortars. 3/5 then attacked into the northwest corner of the city. This fight continued as both Marine rifle battalions clawed their way into the city on different axis.

There is an image burned into my brain that I hope I never forget. We came up behind 3/5 one day as the lead squads were working down the Byzantine streets of the Jolan area. An assault team of two Marines ran out from behind cover and put a rocket into a wall of an enemy strongpoint. Before the smoke cleared the squad behind them was up and moving through the hole and clearing the house. Just down the block another squad was doing the same thing. The house was cleared quickly and the Marines were running down the street to the next contact. Even in the midst of that mayhem, it was an awesome site.

The fighting has been incredibly close inside the city. The enemy is willing to die and is literally waiting until they see the whites of the eyes of the Marines before they open up. Just two days ago, as a firefight raged in close quarters, one of the interpreters yelled for the enemy in the house to surrender. The enemy yelled back that it was better to die and go to heaven than to surrender to infidels. This exchange is a graphic window into the world that the Marines and Soldiers have been fighting in these last 10 days.

I could go on and on about how the city was taken but one of the most amazing aspects to the fighting was that we saw virtually no civilians during the battle. Only after the fighting had passed did a few come out of their homes. They were provided food and water and most were evacuated out of the city. At least 90-95% of the people were gone from the city when we attacked.

I will end with a couple of stories of individual heroism that you may not have heard yet. I was told about both of these incidents shortly after they occurred. No doubt some of the facts will change slightly but I am confident that the meat is correct.

The first is a Marine from 3/5. His name is Corporal Yeager (Chuck Yeager's grandson). As the Marines cleared and apartment building, they got to the top floor and the point man kicked in the door. As he did so, an enemy grenade and a burst of gunfire came out. The explosion and enemy fire took off the point man's leg. He was then immediately shot in the arm as he lay in the doorway. Corporal Yeager tossed a grenade in the room and ran into the doorway and into the enemy fire in order to pull his buddy back to cover. As he was dragging the wounded Marine to cover, his own grenade came back through the doorway. Without pausing, he reached down and threw the grenade back through the door while he heaved his buddy to safety. The grenade went off inside the room and Cpl Yeager threw another in. He immediately entered the room following the second explosion. He gunned down three enemy all within three feet of where he stood and then let fly a third grenade as he backed out of the room to complete the evacuation of the wounded Marine. You have to understand that a grenade goes off within 5 seconds of having the pin pulled. Marines usually let them "cook off" for a second or two before tossing them in. Therefore, this entire episode took place in less than 30 seconds.

The second example comes from 3/1. Cpl Mitchell is a squad leader. He was wounded as his squad was clearing a house when some enemy threw pineapple grenades down on top of them. As he was getting triaged, the doctor told him that he had been shot through the arm. Cpl Mitchell told the doctor that he had actually been shot "a couple of days ago" and had given himself self aide on the wound. When the doctor got on him about not coming off the line, he firmly told the doctor that he was a squad leader and did not have time to get treated as his men were still fighting. There are a number of Marines who have been wounded multiple times but refuse to leave their fellow Marines.

It is incredibly humbling to walk among such men. They fought as hard as any Marines in history and deserve to be remembered as such. The enemy they fought burrowed into houses and fired through mouse holes cut in walls, lured them into houses rigged with explosives and detonated the houses on pursuing Marines, and actually hid behind surrender flags only to engage the Marines with small arms fire once they perceived that the Marines had let their guard down. I know of several instances where near dead enemy rolled grenades out on Marines who were preparing to render them aid. It was a fight to the finish in every sense and the Marines delivered.

I have called the enemy cowards many times in the past because they have never really held their ground and fought but these guys in the city did. We can call them many things but they were not cowards.

My whole life I have read about the greatest generation and sat in wonder at their accomplishments. For the first time, as I watch these Marines and Soldiers, I am eager for the future as this is just the beginning for them. Perhaps the most amazing characteristic of all is that the morale of the men is sky high. They hurt for the wounded and the dead but they are eager to continue to attack. Further, not one of them would be comfortable with being called a hero even though they clearly are.

By now the Marines and Soldiers have killed well over a thousand enemy. These were not peasants or rabble. They were reasonably well trained and entirely fanatical. Most of the enemy we have seen have chest rigs full of ammunition and are well armed are willing to fight to the death. The Marines and Soldiers are eager to close with them and the fighting at the end is inevitably close.

I will write you more the next time I come in about what we have found inside the city. All I can say is that even with everything that I knew and expected from the last nine months, the brutality and fanaticism of the enemy surprised me. The beheadings were even more common place than we thought but so were torture and summary executions. Even though it is an exaggeration, it seems as though every block in the northern part of the city has a torture chamber or execution site. There are hundreds of tons of munitions and tens of thousands of weapons that our Regiment alone has recovered. The Marines and Soldiers of the Regiment have also found over 400 IEDs already wired and ready to detonate. No doubt these numbers will grow in the days ahead.

In closing, I want to share with you a vignette about when the Marines secured the Old Bridge (the one where the Americans were mutilated and hung on March 31) this week. After the Marines had done all the work and secured the bridge, we walked across to meet up with 3rd LAR on the other side. On the Fallujah side of the bridge where the Americans were hung there is some Arabic writing on the bridge. An interpreter translated it for me as we walked through. It read: "Long Live the Mujahadeen. Fallujah is the Graveyard for Americans and the end of the Marine Corps."

As I came back across the bridge there was a squad sitting in their Amtrac smoking and watching the show. The Marines had written their own message below the enemy's. It is not something that Mom would appreciate but it fit the moment to a T. Not far from the vehicle were two dead enemy laying where they died. The Marines were sick of watching the "Dog and Pony show" and wanted to get back to work.


Click on the link to see the source. The Green Side

Friday, November 19, 2004

A message from Baghdad

Here a great post from the guys at POWERLINE about the Marine doing his job in Faluja.

Our reader Haider Ajina phoned his father in Baghdad for an update on Iraqi sentiment concerning the Marine killing. Haider sends us the following message:

I just got of the phone with my father in Baghdad. I asked him what is the reaction of the Marine killing the injured Iraqi in the Mosque in Felujah. His first words were "Good riddance."

People are not giving it a second thought. Any terrorist who attacks soldiers from Mosques has no sanctuary. Any terrorists who fake death to kill in a mosque deserve no mercy. He says Iraqis (including Sunnis) are fed up with the terrorists and want them eliminated.

There was much uproar about the brutal kidnapping killing of Mrs. Margaret Hassan. Iraqis are upset outraged and disgusted with her brutal abduction & killing. She helped us, helped the poor & needy and this what the terrorist do to her and her family.

He says we must stay strong, united and relentless in the pursuit of the terrorist. Baghdad had relative calm over the last few days. People are even going out in the street till 9:30pm now.

Please spread the message, let America Know that the Iraqis are with us, grateful and want us to stay strong and get stronger so that we can all defeat terrorism.

Haider also writes:

The Iraqi Arabic newspaper "Azaman" reported the following in its Nov. 19th issue: "Israel & Six Arab countries join to fight terrorism." The English translation is as follows:
"NATO announced that it will perform anti terrorist Naval maneuvers in the Mediterranean. These maneuvers will be in partnership with the navies of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Tunis, Algiers & Mauritania. These forces will train together to better hone their skills in fighting terrorist, drug smugglers and illegal immigration in the Mediterranean basin."
This looks like a step in the right direction. It seems we all have a common enemy now. This a sad but best way to bring people together. We witnessed this in 9-11 right here at home.

UPDATE: To the message from Baghdad let us append this companion piece by Diana West: "Marine just doing his job." West writes:

What I'm getting at, in this land of free speech and home of brave Marines, is my unequivocal belief that Marine X committed no "war crimes" in that fortified Fallujah mosque last week where he shot and killed a prone and wounded terrorist. He was just doing his job - his hellishly dangerous job - and thank God for him...

Who, among the global millions who have watched NBC's videotaped-shooting, realize that a comrade of the Marine in question was killed by a booby-trapped corpse the day before? That same corpse-bomb wounded five others in the unit. And who, among those same millions, realize that even as Marine X, NBC's global anti-hero, was shooting the enemy he suspected was playing possum, just a block away, another explosive-rigged corpse was killing another young Marine?

In that split second of fear and indecision, our guy made the right call...

Condaleeza Rice and the Second Amendment

Condoleeza Rice has described herself as "a Second Amendment absolutist." An article in the Montgomery Advertiser explains why. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, where her father, a Presbyterian minister, was a strong advocate of civil rights:

Rice has said memories of Birmingham's racial turmoil shaped some of her core values.

During the bombings of the summer of 1963, her father and other neighborhood men guarded the streets at night to keep white vigilantes at bay. Rice said her staunch defense of gun rights comes from those days. She has argued that if the guns her father and neighbors carried had been registered, they could have been confiscated by the authorities, leaving the black community defenseless.

This is yet another example of why private gun ownership is an absolute must in order to abate the spready of tyranny.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

My long neglected blog

Life can get real nutty very quickly. I find the deeper I dive into my faith, the more obsticles are placed in my path. Now I'm not trying to be overly dramatic, but I'm getting beat down pretty darn good. The worst or best part about all of it is that no matter what happens I will not give up my faith that God has a plan for me and if I just humble myself in prayer he will get me through it. I have no other choice than to be this way because the only other thing I could do is give up, and that will never be an option for me.

That's enough of that. I am still stewing on an apropriate response to the death of Arafat but it will take awhile.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Democrats shellshocked by Bush win over Kerry

When I started to read this I almost thought it was a joke. But believe or not it's true.

Mental-health experts publicize 'post-election selection trauma'.

Some supporters of John Kerry shocked by President Bush's victory in last week's election continue to seek out psychological help, prompting at least one mental-health center to offer free counseling through the end of this year.

The Florida-based American Health Association has released symptoms of what it calls "post-election selection trauma," or PEST, which include: feelings of withdrawal, feelings of isolation, emotional anger and bitterness, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, nightmares, pervasive moodiness including endless sulking, and being excessively worried about the direction of the country.

"Post-election selection trauma affects many people and they have a right to be taken seriously and to seek counseling," psychotherapist Rob Gordon of the AHA told the Boca Raton News. "This is a real need and we're a charity. This is not a matter of Republicans and Democrats."

Some 30 people have reportedly contacted Gordon's group for counseling since Kerry conceded the race to Bush Nov. 3, and more than a dozen others in Palm Beach County have undergone intense hypnotherapy by trauma specialist Douglas Schooler.

"The problem is out there and it's not going to go away anytime soon," Schooler told the paper. "Conservatives are calling me to say these people are weak-kneed kooks, but they're not acknowledging that this is a normal psychological response to a severe and disillusioning situation. Any suggestion that this is not a serious problem arises from a political agenda. The Republicans don't want this talked about."

Other counselors, like Nancy Tabet of Delray Beach, Fla., are finding similar concerns among clients.

"It's interesting to me that people in Palm Beach County, because they vote for Kerry and thoroughly expected him to win, are in somewhat of a disbelief stage," she said. "We talk it out in our sessions and I help them realize there are people who share their viewpoint and who are there for them throughout this ordeal."

But there isn't unanimity among counselors about the existence of any actual trauma.

"I don't disagree with their diagnosis, but I wouldn't use the word trauma," Elizabeth Foxman, a cognitive therapist in Delray Beach told the News. "That's a loaded term. I would say there's more sadness and anxiety than trauma. My own patients have been stressed, but only one or two have mentioned the election as a topic in therapy."

Last weekend, a Georgia man fatally shot himself at Ground Zero in New York City. Friends of Andrew Veal, 25, stated they believed the suicide was a protest against Bush's re-election and the war in Iraq.

"When someone commits suicide in New York and Kerry's loss is even slightly connected, it's serious," Gordon said.

The issue is reminiscent of anxiety expressed earlier this year – especially among some Republicans and conservatives – when Bush announced he would seek legal status for millions of illegal aliens through what he called a temporary-worker program.

As WorldNetDaily reported, some Bush supporters felt it was a "slap in the face from the president," as they experienced nightmares, sweaty palms and knifing pains.

Radio talk-show giant Rush Limbaugh addressed the Kerry-counseling issue during his national broadcast Tuesday, noting that he would offer his own brand of conservative help to those who felt anxious.

"We lost in '92, we lost in '96. We didn't go out there and act like we had stress disorders and so forth," Limbaugh said. "But each time we have won, we won in '88, we won in 2000, and we won in 2004. That encompasses my 16 years. And each time after a victory, I have been magnanimous, and I myself have offered therapy and counseling to liberals who wanted to call and talk about it, and seriously so, and I have offered my compassion to those who seek it and I've also been open to accepting apologies from people on the left if that would make them feel better."

Click here to see the source of the story. WorldNetDaily: Democrats shellshocked
by Bush win over Kerry

Arafat the monster

Arafat the monster
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist November 11, 2004

YASSER ARAFAT died at age 75, lying in bed surrounded by familiar faces. He left this world peacefully, unlike the thousands of victims he sent to early graves.

In a better world, the PLO chief would have met his end on a gallows, hanged for mass murder much as the Nazi chiefs were hanged at Nuremberg. In a better world, the French president would not have paid a visit to the bedside of such a monster. In a better world, George Bush would not have said, on hearing the first reports that Arafat had died, "God bless his soul."

God bless his soul? What a grotesque idea! Bless the soul of the man who brought modern terrorism to the world? Who sent his agents to slaughter athletes at the Olympics, blow airliners out of the sky, bomb schools and pizzerias, machine-gun passengers in airline terminals? Who lied, cheated, and stole without compunction? Who inculcated the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich? Human beings might stoop to bless a creature so evil -- as indeed Arafat was blessed, with money, deference, even a Nobel Prize -- but God, I am quite sure, will damn him for eternity.

Arafat always inspired flights of nonsense from Western journalists, and his last two weeks were no exception.

Derek Brown wrote in The Guardian that Arafat's "undisputed courage as a guerrilla leader" was exceeded only "by his extraordinary courage" as a peace negotiator. But it is an odd kind of courage that expresses itself in shooting unarmed victims -- or in signing peace accords and then flagrantly violating their terms.

Another commentator, columnist Gwynne Dyer, asked, "So what did Arafat do right?" The answer: He drew worldwide attention to the Palestinian cause, "for the most part by successful acts of terror." In other words, butchering innocent human beings was "right," since it served an ulterior political motive. No doubt that thought brings daily comfort to all those who were forced to bury a child, parent, or spouse because of Arafat's "successful" terrorism.

Some journalists couldn't wait for Arafat's actual death to begin weeping for him. Take the BBC's Barbara Plett, who burst into tears on the day he was airlifted out of the West Bank. "When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound," Plett reported from Ramallah, "I started to cry." Normal people don't weep for brutal murderers, but Plett made it clear that her empathy for Arafat -- whom she praised as "a symbol of Palestinian unity, steadfastness, and resistance" -- was heartfelt:

"I remember well when the Israelis re-conquered the West Bank more than two years ago, how they drove their tanks and bulldozers into Mr. Arafat's headquarters, trapping him in a few rooms, and throwing a military curtain around Ramallah. I remember how Palestinians admired his refusal to flee under fire. They told me: `Our leader is sharing our pain, we are all under the same siege.' And so was I." Such is the state of journalism at the BBC, whose reporters do not seem to have any trouble reporting, dry-eyed, on the plight of Arafat's victims. (That is, when they mention them -- which Plett's teary bon voyage to Arafat did not.)

And what about those victims? Why were they scarcely remembered in this Arafat death watch?

How is it possible to reflect on Arafat's most enduring legacy -- the rise of modern terrorism -- without recalling the legions of men, women, and children whose lives he and his followers destroyed? If Osama bin Laden were on his deathbed, would we neglect to mention all those he murdered on 9/11?

It would take an encyclopedia to catalog all of the evil Arafat committed. But that is no excuse for not trying to recall at least some of it.

Perhaps his signal contribution to the practice of political terror was the introduction of warfare against children. On one black date in May 1974, three PLO terrorists slipped from Lebanon into the northern Israeli town of Ma'alot. They murdered two parents and a child whom they found at home, then seized a local school, taking more than 100 boys and girls hostage and threatening to kill them unless a number of imprisoned terrorists were released. When Israeli troops attempted a rescue, the terrorists exploded hand grenades and opened fire on the students. By the time the horror ended, 25 people were dead; 21 of them were children.

Thirty years later, no one speaks of Ma'alot anymore. The dead children have been forgotten. Everyone knows Arafat's name, but who ever recalls the names of his victims?

So let us recall them: Ilana Turgeman. Rachel Aputa. Yocheved Mazoz. Sarah Ben-Shim'on. Yona Sabag. Yafa Cohen. Shoshana Cohen. Michal Sitrok. Malka Amrosy. Aviva Saada. Yocheved Diyi. Yaakov Levi. Yaakov Kabla. Rina Cohen. Ilana Ne'eman. Sarah Madar. Tamar Dahan. Sarah Soper. Lili Morad. David Madar. Yehudit Madar. The 21 dead children of Ma'alot -- 21 of the thousands of who died at Arafat's command.

Click here to see the source of the article. / News / Boston Globe / Opinion / Op-ed / Arafat the monster

Friday, November 05, 2004

Email from a Marine in Fallujah to his dad.

Email from Dave - Nov 3, 04

Dear Dad -

As you have no doubt been watching, we have had our hands full around Fallujah. It would seem as if the final reckoning is coming. The city has been on a consistent down hill spiral since we were ordered out in April. It's siren call for extremists and criminals has only increased steadily and the instability and violence that radiates out of the town has expanded exponentially. If there is another city in the world that contains more terrorists, I would be surprised. From the last two years, I just don't see a way that we can succeed in Iraq without reducing this threat. The cost of continuing on without taking decisive action is too high to dwell on.

The enemy inside the town have come to fight and kill Americans. Nothing will sate their bloodlust and hatred other than to kill everyone of us or at least die trying. It is hard to fathom as a Westerner as rational thought would dictate that we will only be here for a relatively short blip in their history and while we are here, billions of dollars in investments will pour in and opportunity that is beyond comprehension will open up for anyone willing to work. This is not Kansas and this enemy does not think like that.

If we build a school or clinic, they destroy it. They would rather deny medical care or education for the children of the citizens who live nearby than to have any symbol of the West in general and America specifically among them. It is hard to comprehend. Frankly, we are done trying.

For eight months, we have been on our chain. The enemy has fooled itself misinterpreting our humanity and restraint for lack of will and courage. For eight months, we have watched Marines, Soldiers and Sailors maimed and killed by invisible cowards hiding behind some wall or in a canal as he detonates another IED. For eight months, we have been witness to suicidal sociopaths driving vehicles laden with explosives into crowds of Iraqis and into our own convoys.

Just last week, we lost another nine Marines killed and an equal number of wounded as the result of some ignorant extremists who was able to convince himself that killing himself and as many Americans as possible would send him to paradise where he could finally get his virgins.

Now, their own ignorance and arrogance will be their undoing. They believe that they can hold Fallujah. In fact, they have come from all over to be part of its glorious defense. I cannot describe the atmosphere that exists in the Regiment right now. Of course the men are nervous but I think they are more nervous that we will not be allowed to clean the rats nest out and instead will be forced to continue operating as is.

Its as if a window of opportunity has opened and everyone just wants to get on with it before it closes. The Marines know the enemy has massed and has temporarily decided to stay and fight. For the first time, the men feel as though we may be allowed to do what needs to be done. If the enemy wants to sit in his citadel and try to defend it against the Marine Corps and some very hard Soldiers... then the men want to execute before the enemy sobers up and flees.

It may come off as an exceptionally bellicose perspective but where the Marines live and operate is a war zone in the starkest reality. When the Marines leave the front gate on an operation or patrol, someone within direct line of sight of that gate is trying to kill them. All have lost friends and watched as the enemy hides within his sanctuary that has been allowed out of what one must assume is political necessity. The enemy has been given every advantage by our sense of morality and restraint and by a set of operational rules that we are constrained to operate under. The Marines feel like their time has come and we will finally be ordered to do what must be done and be given the latitude to do it. Even though the price will be high, there is not a man here that would chose status quo over paying the price.

Every day, the enemy takes more hostages, assassinates developing Iraqi leaders and savagely beats suspected collaborators. I will give you just one recent example that happened last week. One of our patrols was moving down a street when they saw what looked like a fight. The Marines closed with the scene. It was a family that had come to Iraq on religious pilgrimage that was taken hostage and was being taken into Fallujah. The muj stopped for some reason and the father began fighting. The Marines interdicted and captured two of the kidnappers. Two more ran and the Marines could not get a shot without fear of killing/wounding others.

Every day, insurgents from inside Fallujah drive out and wait for Iraqis that work on our bases. Once the Iraqis leave they are stopped. The lucky ones are savagely beaten. The unfortunate ones are killed. A family that had fled Fallujah in order to get away from the fighting recently tried to return. When they got to their home, they found it taken over by terrorists (very common). When the patriarch showed the muj his deed in order to prove that the house was his, they took the old man out into the street and beat him senseless in front of his family.

Summary executions are common. Think about that. Summary executions inside Fallujah happen with sobering frequency. We have been witness to the scene on a number of occasions. Three men are taken from the trunk of a car and are made to walk to a ditch where they are shot. Bodies are found in the Euphrates without heads washed downstream from Fallujah. To date we have been allowed to do nothing.

I have no idea the numbers of beheadings that have occurred in Fallujah since I have been here. I have no idea the number of hostages that have ended up in Fallujah since we have been here. I just don't know that Americans would be able to comprehend the number anyway. Unfortunately, the situation has only gotten worse. There is no hope for any type of reasoned solution with an enemy like this.

Once again, we are being asked by citizens who have fled the city to go in and take the city back. They are willing for us to literally rubble the place in order to kill the terrorists within. Don't get me wrong, there are still many inside the town that support the terrorists and we cannot expect to be thanked publicly if we do take the city. There is a sense of de ja vu with the refugees telling us where their houses are and asking us to bomb them because the muj have taken them over. We heard the same thing in April only to end up letting the people down. Some no doubt have paid with their lives. The "good" people who may ultimately buy into a peaceful and prosperous Iraq are again asking us to do what we know must be done.

The Marines understand and are eager to get on with it. The only lingering fear in them is that we will be ordered to stop again. I don't know if this is going to happen but if it happens soon, I will write you when its over,



Click on the link to see the source. The Green Side

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Kerry Concedes!

Rather than gloating let me say thank you to Senator Kerry for doing the stand up thing and conceding. It takes real strength and honor to know when your are defeated. I feel now the Senator can finish his long career on a good note. I will close this by saying congratulations to both cantidates.

Stick a fork in it

It's done. My life can finally go back to normal.

Kerry Campaign Party Turns to Tears and Bitterness

As President George Bush edged closer to the 270 electoral votes necessary to secure re-election, supporters of Democratic nominee John Kerry openly wept and consoled each other at the Election Night celebration in Boston's Copley Square.

Some Kerry supporters called Bush's platform "all lies" and heckled a group of College Republicans who were passing through the crowd.

A distraught woman confronted Democratic U.S. Rep. Harold Ford in the lobby of the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel and screamed, "Can you tell me why everybody made a mistake?" Ford responded, "Let me talk to the candidate before I make a comment. It's been a long day."

Another woman standing near Ford began to openly weep at the prospect of a Kerry loss.

Former California Democratic governor Gray Davis spoke briefly with Ford and then essentially conceded the election to Bush and looked ahead to 2008.

"We owe it to the people that we represent to reassess and try and fix what went wrong and come back with a winning coalition and strategy four years from now and try to figure out a way to win the country back," Davis said.

When asked why he had confidently predicted a Kerry victory just a few hours earlier, Davis responded, "I, like many people saw the exit polls, which saw Kerry ahead in every battleground state."

"We believed they were a precursor of a great evening," a somber Davis explained.

While Davis said he was "very proud of the campaign Kerry ran," he did criticize the party's efforts in southern states.

"Part of [winning the White House] is certainly not writing off the South. It's too big a part of America just to concede to the other party and expect to win," Davis said.

Davis praised Bush's re-election campaign.

"The president has worked hard for his re-election since the moment he got to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," Davis said. "He is surrounded by very smart people, they are very good practitioners of the art of politics," he added.

'It's all lies'

Meanwhile, outside Kerry's Copley Square rally, a contingent of College Republicans from Northeastern University marched through the sea of Kerry supporters and got heckled.

"You vote for Bush, you get what you deserve," shouted Kerry supporter Bob Bryant to the GOP contingent.

"Bush has put forward a platform that people tend to believe even though it's all lies. Bush is dishonest; he is not being honest with the American people," Bryant said.

Another man shouted to the Republicans "This is why the rest of the world calls us ignorant Americans. You obviously don't read the newspapers or you would not believe as you do."

A woman, unhappy the Republicans were there, screamed, "someone shut up those idiots.'

Brian Henchey, one of the College Republicans marching through the crowd told that he had "never seen more sad and depressed faces in my life than what I have seen here in Copley Square tonight."

"I think our president is a strong man, he is a strong leader. He is what this country needs," said Megan, one of the GOP marchers.

Kerry supporters from Ireland weighed in on why they believe Bush will likely be re-elected.

"It clarifies the fact that American people aren't so smart. If I could, I would have voted for Kerry," said the woman.

Click on the link to see the source. Kerry Campaign Party Turns to Tears and Bitterness -- 11/03/2004

Friday, October 29, 2004

U.S. Team Took 250 Tons of Iraqi Munitions

WASHINGTON - A U.S. Army officer came forward Friday to say a team from his 3rd Infantry Division took about 250 tons of munitions and other material from the Al-Qaqaa arms-storage facility soon after Saddam Hussein's regime fell in April 2003.

Explosives were part of the load taken by the team, but Major Austin Pearson was unable to say what percentage they accounted for.

The Pentagon believes the disclosure helps explain what happened to 377 tons of high explosives that the International Atomic Energy Agency said disappeared after the U.S.-led invasion.

Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita acknowledged the Defense Department did not have all the answers and could not yet account for all of the missing explosives, but stressed that the major's disclosure was a significant development in unraveling the mystery.

"We've described what we know, and as we know more we'll describe that," said DiRita.

Pearson, accompanied by DiRita, appeared at a Pentagon news conference and said his team's mission in April 2003 was to clear material from the Al-Qaqaa facility in order to secure it for U.S. forces. He admitted he was not an explosives expert.

The IAEA reported the disappearance of the explosives to the United Nations on Monday, suggesting they had fallen into the hands of looters after American troops had swept through the area.

U.S. military officials have retorted that they suspect the munitions were removed by Iraqis before Saddam was ousted from power on April 9, 2003.

The officer's story came the morning after new videotape surfaced supporting the contention that the explosives were still at the base following Saddam's fall.

Videotape shot by a Minnesota television crew traveling with U.S. troops in Iraq on April 18, 2003 shows what appeared to be high explosives still in barrels bearing IAEA seals.

The video was taken by a reporter and cameraman employed by KSTP, an ABC affiliate in St. Paul. It was broadcast nationally Thursday on the ABC national network.

"The photographs are consistent with what I know of Al-Qaqaa," David A. Kay, the former American official who directed the hunt in Iraq for unconventional weapons and visited the site, told The New York Times. "The damning thing is the seals. The Iraqis didn't use seals on anything. So I'm absolutely sure that's an IAEA seal."

The Pentagon late Thursday released a satellite photograph of Al-Qaqaa taken on March 17, 2003, just before the war. It showed showing several bunkers, one with two tractor-trailers next to it.

Senior Defense officials said their photo shows that the Al-Qaqaa facility "was not hermetically sealed" after international weapons inspectors had paid their last visits to the facility earlier in the month.

Officials were analyzing the image and others for clues into when the nearly 380 tons of explosives were taken. The munitions included HMX and RDX, key components in plastic explosives, which insurgents in Iraq have used in bomb attacks.

The Pentagon insisted that the image shows the Iraqis were moving something at the site before the first U.S.-launched bombs fell.

Meanwhile, an IAEA report obtained by FOX News said the inspectors noted that despite the fact that the Al-Qaqaa bunkers were locked, ventilation shafts remained open and provided easy access to the explosives.

The IAEA can definitively say only that the documented ammunition was at the facility in January; in March, an agency spokesman conceded, inspectors only checked the locked bunker doors.

The question of what happened to the explosives has become a major issue in the closing days of the 2004 presidential campaign.

Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry says the missing explosives - powerful enough to demolish a building, bring down a jetliner or even trigger a nuclear weapon - are another example of the Bush administration's poor planning and incompetence in handling the war in Iraq.

President Bush says the explosives were possibly removed by Saddam's forces before the invasion.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld entered the debate Thursday, suggesting the 377 tons of explosives were taken away before U.S. forces arrived, saying any large effort to loot the material afterward would have been detected.

"We would have seen anything like that," he said in one of two radio interviews he gave at the Pentagon. "The idea it was suddenly looted and moved out, all of these tons of equipment, I think is at least debatable."

The bunker with the trucks parked next to it in the Pentagon's satellite image is not one known to have contained any of the missing explosives, and Defense spokesman DiRita said Thursday the image only shows that there was some Iraqi activity at the base on March 17.

DiRita acknowledged that the image says nothing about what happened to the explosives.

Rumsfeld, in one radio interview, also cast doubt on the suggestion by one of his subordinates that Russian soldiers assisted Iraqis in removing the munitions.

The Washington Times on Thursday quoted John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, who said he believed Russian special-forces personnel, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material from Al-Qaqaa.

Shaw said he believed the munitions were moved to Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 invasion.

Senior Defense officials urged caution over the Washington Times article because they could not verify its allegations as true.

"I have no information on that at all, and cannot validate that even slightly," Rumsfeld said.

The article prompted an angry denial from Moscow.

At the core of the issue is whether the explosives were moved before or after U.S. forces reached that part of the country in early April.

No one has been able to provide conclusive evidence either way, although Iraqi officials blamed the munitions' disappearance on poor U.S. security after Baghdad fell.

The Pentagon has said it is looking into the matter, and officials note that 400,000 tons of recovered Iraqi munitions have either been destroyed or are slated to be destroyed.

Click on the link to see the source of the report. - U.S. Team Took 250 Tons of Iraqi Munitions

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


THE cliche goes: "Just business, nothing personal."
The hell it is.

John Kerry makes me weak in the ankles - and now it's personal, not business.
In the next few days, there will be a person reporting for duty in Iraq. His name is Army Capt. Peter J. Dunleavy.
Capt. Peter J. Dunleavy is not one ounce more special than the guys and gals he will go to Iraq with - no more special than the thousands of the brave boys and girls who have gone before him, and those who will certainly go after him.
He is, of course, special to his wife, Debbie, his mother, Gloria, his brother, Sean, Sean's girlfriend, Laura - and his friends in the sports bars who cheer for the Giants.
He is special to me, as are all the thousands of boys and girls who serve this country, because he looks at fear as a headache and duty as the ultimate.
And yet, John Kerry makes it look like those guys and gals are just victims - wrong war, wrong time, wrong place.
How dare he say that to our brave boys and girls? How dare he whisper it - let alone shout it to the whole world?
Now I am somewhere in Oklahoma to see off Capt. Pete, 37, my eldest boy. I ask him what he makes of Kerry's talk.
"Dad, we don't listen to politicians. We listen to our commanding officers," he says, growing bored already with the conversation.
I ask him where he is going in Iraq, what he will be doing, as all the worried parents of so many thousands of brave boys and girls surely do.
"Don't know. I'll just go where I am needed," he says matter-of-factly.
Sunday he left for another base, where he will be re-equipped, before taking off to Iraq in a few days.
On Saturday night, Pete and wife Debbie, a reservist in the Navy, had their last night out for a long time - at the Navy Ball.
It was there that Pete was given the official honor of re-enlisting his wife for another two years.
Capt. Pete is not worried about Kerry's outrageous statement - wrong war, wrong time, wrong place - because he's stronger and braver than that.
But I sure am worried.
In my book, Kerry is giving comfort and succor to the enemy. And don't forget that Tokyo Rose got jail time for it after World War II, and Jane Fonda, Kerry's soul mate, should have during Vietnam.
"Look, don't worry. I have been in the Reserves for more than 10 years - we are all well-trained, well-equipped," said Capt. Pete.
"To be honest, apart from having to leave Debbie back here, I'm psyched," he told me. "It's a privilege to serve and be given a new chapter of experience.
"I'll just knock this tour over and get on with it. No biggie."
I was in Baghdad last year, and it was very easy for me. Death was everywhere, but no one was shooting at me.
But that won't be the case for Pete and the men and women with him.
"Dude, don't worry about it," Capt. Pete says again.
And that's the attitude of the thousands below him and above him, the brave men and women doing the fighting.
But this father does worry - and worries even more about John Kerry.
When John Kerry says wrong war, wrong time, wrong place he undermines not my boy, but our boys. He embarrasses the United States abroad and he saps morale.
And that demands the severest reprimand. It is duplicity and cowardice and political opportunism of the worst kind. It's enough to make you cry.
I don't care what's on your watch, Sen. Kerry, this one's on my watch.
And then we come to the final "see ya later" at the airport. We hugged - and I couldn't talk.
Then I felt something strange - for the first time, after a lifetime of feeling like an adolescent, I felt old. Sending a kid off to war does that, I guess.
So Capt. Peter J. Dunleavy - and all the guys and gals that are going with you, and all that are there, and all that will come after you - go for the sake of our freedom. For the sake of your wife Debbie's freedom, your mother Gloria's freedom, your brother Sean's freedom, his girlfriend Laura's freedom - and the freedom of the boys in the sports bars cheering for the Giants.
Heck, for the sake of your dog's freedom. His name is Salty Dog. He loves you so much.
To you and all your comrades: Go with God.

Click the link to see the source. New York Post Online Edition: commentary

Friday, October 22, 2004

America's largest Jewish newspaper, endorses George W. Bush for President.

It was George W. Bush's lot to have been elected president at a time when two defining developments were at work, fundamentally changing the world landscape. The European Union's burgeoning determination to fill the international political void created by the collapse of the Soviet Union was one. And the unprecedented challenges presented by an international terror crusade on the move - underscored eight months into Mr. Bush's presidency by 9/11 - was the other.

Both these developments required - and will continue to require - leadership not rooted in outdated geopolitical thinking; leadership cognizant of the reality that our ostensible friends do not necessarily share our interest in a strong United States and that our enemies do not risk as much as we do from confrontations gone seriously bad.

With this in mind, the choice Americans must make on November 2 should be an easy one. One can prattle about the significance of this or that difference between President Bush and Senator Kerry on the environment, Social Security, jobs, taxes and a whole slew of other domestic issues. But that avenue ineluctably ends up as a clash of partisan talking points about inherently insoluble problems. When it comes, however, to the war on terror - the overarching issue of our time - the choice of Mr. Bush over Mr. Kerry is a clear one from everything available in the public record. And for those with a special interest in Israel, the choice is even clearer.

Click on the link to read the entire endorsement.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I love Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby Gives Parenting Speech in Wis.

MILWAUKEE - Bill Cosby won cheers as he carried a serious message to the city's black community, urging parents to take up the responsibility of educating and raising their children.

"It is not all right for your 15-year-old daughter to have a child," the comedian said Wednesday night. "I'm 67 years old. I'm not talking to you any different from a grandfather who would say, 'I wouldn't do that if I were you.'"

Cosby was warmly received by a crowd of about 2,400 people at North Division High School in Milwaukee's inner city.

He asked parents to talk with their children, spend time with them and encourage them to study hard and prevent teen pregnancy. He said parents shouldn't leave the responsibility of raising their children to television and CDs.

"These are your children," Cosby said. "You're supposed to raise them."

Cosby said he decided to come after speaking with Eugene Kane, columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and learning about the city's high rate of high school dropouts, its high teen pregnancy rate and its murder rate.

Cosby has become known for talking tough about problems of blacks and challenging parents to be more accountable for their children.

Kane had been critical of the comedian's comments before he attended a community rally Cosby held in Newark, N.J. Kane praised the event in a later column.

Click on the link to see the source. Yahoo! News - Bill Cosby Gives Parenting Speech in Wis.

School kids pick Bush, TV kids choose Kerry

School kids pick Bush,
TV kids choose Kerry

Competing polls of U.S. children reveal strikingly different results

Two national polls of American children have markedly different results this year, one showing President Bush a clear winner, and the other predicting an even bigger win for Sen. John Kerry.

Interestingly, both unscientific surveys proclaim historical accuracy in presidential prognostications.

In the first poll, conducted by Scholastic, the global children's publishing and media company, more than half a million students in first through eighth grades from across the U.S. participated. They voted online and through mail-in paper ballots found in many of Scholastic's classroom magazines.

"George W. Bush won the kids' election poll with 52 percent of the vote," announced Scholastic student reporter David Rush.

Kerry collected 47 percent, with one percent going for other candidates. A few reportedly wrote in "mom" as their choice for president.

Scholastic has been conducting similar polls since 1940, with predictions only wrong in two close elections: 1948 when students chose Thomas Dewey over Harry Truman, and 1960, predicting Richard Nixon would beat John Kennedy.

Meanwhile, the second poll with a large sampling shows Kerry the victor, defeating Bush by a margin of 57 to 43 percent.

Nickelodeon TV's "Kids' Vote" had nearly 400,000 children participate in online voting.

The Viacom-owned network says children in its poll have correctly predicted the winner of the general elections for the last four U.S. presidential campaigns. Its first poll was in 1988. Four years ago, Bush was predicted the winner over Vice President Al Gore with 55 percent of the vote.

Former NBC newscaster Linda Ellerbee hosted a Nick News program last night announcing Kerry as this year's winner.

"Kids aren't dumb, they're just younger and shorter," she said, according to the Associated Press. "In fact, last election, a boy came up to me and said, 'We picked George Bush to win, and he didn't really win. Al Gore won the popular vote, so we were kinda wrong.' Quite an observation."

In addition to the national polls, local schools across America have been holding their own mini-elections, with students evoking strong stances for both candidates.

Fourth-graders in Kosciusko and Attala County, Miss., classrooms were recently asked their opinions.

Abortion was the key factor for Bush supporter Autumn Lewis, who told the Star-Herald, "I don't want a president who would kill children. That would end the world."

Dylan Pope told the paper he picked Kerry because "he'll make peace and let us do anything we want."

What a profound commentary on today's society. It does effectively point out the differences between conservatives and Liberals. Conservatives want to learn and lead, while Liberals are happy with hand outs and following the crowd.

Click on this link to see the source.WorldNetDaily: School kids pick Bush,
TV kids choose Kerry

Monday, October 18, 2004

George W. Bush vs John F. Kerry

To start off this little blurb let me give you some background on my political upbringing. I was born in to a family with a strong pro union and Democrat foundation. My Grandfather was the boss for the Machinist Union and my father followed in his foot steps. I was brought up to believe that Democrats were for the small guy and that Republicans were out to get us. This being said as I got older, got married, and started a family I realized that all I had heard when I was young was not true. Fast forward to today I look at the candidates in real, simple, and honest terms. At the end of the day when Kerry loses the election I believe in his eyes life is over. This has been his life long dream and every move he has made was in preparation for this White House run. Contrast this to our President. His life was not lived with the Presidency as the goal. In fact if you look at his background it appears all his action were that of a man just living a real life. He's had alot of ups and a whole lot of downs. I Believe judging from everything I have read about the man, it makes no difference whether he leaves the White House this year or at the end of his 2nd term. He will be happy just to go back to his ranch in Crawford with his wife, and sip a tall glass of lemonade on a rocking chair on the front porch with thoughts of grandchildren playing in front of him in the yard. It's that calm, humble, and devout demeanor that wins my vote. GW truly is the epitome of a president who is looking out for the little guy.

Tour of the USS Ronald Reagan in pictures

Approaching The Entrance Posted by Hello

The Tower Posted by Hello

A friendly greeting Posted by Hello

Flags Posted by Hello

View from the deck Posted by Hello

The Island Posted by Hello

It's a long ship Posted by Hello

The flag he loved Posted by Hello

Captains chair Posted by Hello

Modern ship and an old fashion wheel Posted by Hello

Cool Door Posted by Hello

Stair well mural 1 Posted by Hello

Captains Quarters Posted by Hello

Captains Quarters his desk Posted by Hello

Captains Quarters 4 Posted by Hello

Captains Quarters 5 Posted by Hello

Captains Quarters his desk 2 Posted by Hello

Officers mess 1 Posted by Hello

Officers mess 2 Posted by Hello

Officers mess 3 Posted by Hello

Officers mess 4 Posted by Hello

Officers mess 5 Posted by Hello

Ship emblem Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 1 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 2 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 3 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 4 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 5 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 6 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum 7 Posted by Hello

Onboard museum Final parting words Posted by Hello

This was truly a moving experiance. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to one of our greatest Presidents.