I’ll be posting over at my newly renovated original blog from now on. So come on over and visit!
My Baby Girl Soldier rolled into the driveway this Saturday to surprise us for the weekend.
Hell, I didn’t even have her bed made, not expecting her until Thanksgiving.
So, I’ve been baking, cooking and we’ve been talking and shucking the buckeyes.
The dogs almost peed on themselves when they saw her. Wagging tails and furry purrs abounded around here.
Now I have to catch up on some stuff but will be back later.
Robert Kaplan has written an exceptional (of course) piece of so much of what has been on my mind about the dumbing down and victimization of our military by the media and sooo many politicians, sadly, from both sides of the aisle.
The best quote from the article:
“Has anyone noticed that we now have a volunteer Army? I’m a warrior. It’s my job to fight.”
And this jsut makes my blood boil:
“The first Medal of Honor in the global war on terror was awarded posthumously to Army Sgt. First Class Paul Ray Smith of Tampa, Fla., who was killed under withering gunfire protecting his wounded comrades outside Baghdad airport in April 2003. According to LexisNexis, by June 2005, two months after his posthumous award, his stirring story had drawn only 90 media mentions, compared with 4,677 for the supposed Quran abuse at Guantanamo Bay, and 5,159 for the court-martialed Abu Ghraib guard Lynndie England. While the exposure of wrongdoing by American troops is of the highest importance, it can become a tyranny of its own when taken to an extreme.” (emphsis mine)
Go here to read the rest.
(h/t to Jules Crittenden)
I’ve been sending packages for most of this war to young men and women I don’t know who are far from home. Some I get to know through letters or emails, some I’ve had the honor of meeting personally. Some I’ve never heard from at all.
It doesn’t matter. Once I’ve sent a package to “that name”, I become attached and very concerned about the person who owns that name. I check in with the DOD and MNFI to see how things are in the area where they are based, if I know. I watch the list of the Fallen, checking for “that name”. Fortunately, I have only seen one of my guys on the list.
But it hit me like a ton of bricks. And as I packed up the boxes for my next mailing, I sat down and wept ~ his name wasn’t going to go on one of my packages again.
Well, one of my Tanker Brothers sisters, Leta, has just experienced this with one of her adopted soldiers. Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Blaskowski was a helluva soldier and someone you should know.
SFC Matthew Blaskowski
March 5, 1980 – September 23, 2007
KIA in Kunar Province, Afghanistan
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers from Task Force Rock gathered to remember the life and service of Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Blaskowski (Battle Company 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne) at a memorial ceremony conducted Sept. 28 at Camp Blessing in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. SFC Blaskowski died 23 September 2007 from gunshot wounds when his platoon’s FOB was attacked by insurgents in the Korengal Valley near the Pakistan border.
Matt was known as Sergeant Ski by those who served with him. He was a true American Hero – a Soldier’s Soldier. More so he was a husband, son, brother, uncle and friend to many. Matt gave his life doing what he loved and what he believed in. He had a reputation as a born leader.
In 2003 SFC Blaskowski, according to an article in the Stars and Stripes, was the rear detachment Non Commissioned Officer in Charge after the 173rd parachuted in to northern Iraq in 2003. The article continues by stating that Matt was known as the “get it done” guy while in that position.
Stars and Stripes Article Here
This was not Matt’s first deployment to Afghanistan. He was deployed there in 2005 – 2006 with Chosen Company 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne). During that deployment Matt was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.
U.S. Army Gen. John Abizaid, U.S. Central Command commander, congratulates Staff Sgt. Matthew Blaskowski, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne) on receiving the Silver Star for gallantry in combat during a fire fight May 3, 2005, in Zabul Province, Afghanistan. The ceremony was held Nov. 30, 2005, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
He was shot in the leg while pulling another wounded Soldier to safety in a six hour long firefight. On 3 May 2005 the battalion’s scout element came into contact with enemy forces in the Arghandab River Valley. An air assault was then launched by other elements of the battalion, and at least 37 enemy combatants were reported killed in the engagement. Blaskowski directed two machine-gun teams into position under heavy fire by enemy forces, where they maintained the tenuous position, effectively pinning down dozens of enemy combatants, while under heavy fire, according to his award citation. Blaskowski suffered a leg wound while coming to the aid of one his soldiers. See entire stories here and here.
Matt was airlifted to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for treatment of his wounds. He then spent time recovering with his family in Michigan before he returned to Afghanistan within three months of his wound to continue the fight against the insurgents with the men of Chosen Company. In this article his grandmother Shirley Blaskowski is quoted “…but once his wounds were healed he packed his bags and headed back to serve his country. “He said nana, it’s my job, and I like doing it.”.
Matt was known for being a mentor, for his leadership, loyalty, commitment and humor by all those who served with him and knew him in civilian life. He was a 1998 graduate of Cheboygan, Michigan High School where he played football and basketball and was a member of the track team. Matt loved outdoor sports including hunting and fishing. His family as well as his military “family” all concur that Matt had the innate ability to make those around him laugh and feel comfortable. He was always available to give a helping hand and to listen.
Matt enlisted in the Army as an infantryman on 17 November, 1998. His military career initially took him to Ft. Drum, NY where he was assigned to the 10th Mtn Division as a rifleman and a scout with the 2nd Battalion 87th Infantry then later with the 4th Battalion 31st Infantry. In 2002 Matt completed Airborne School and was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion 503rd Infantry (Airborne) where he held a myriad of leadership positions. He had earned a college degree in Wildlife Forestry Management and aspired to teach at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Late Sunday night 23 September 2007 Matt’s parents, Terry and Cheryl Blaskowski, received the visit that every military parent dreads. Officials came to tell them that their oldest son had fallen victim to an insurgent sniper and had given the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of this nation. In an email to the Stars and Stripes last week Matt’s mother Cheryl said, “All his family called him their hero. He told his Dad: ‘Dad, I am not a hero. Those who have died are heroes.’”
His grandmother was quoted in The Traverse City Record Eagle as saying, “We’re mad and we’re sad and we’re tired.” She continued, “He was very proud of what he was doing, but we didn’t want to lose him. He was very brave and very strong — maybe too brave.” Sadly SFC Matthew Blaskowski is now among the greatest of all American heroes.
Matt will be laid to rest today, 4 October 2007 in his home state of Michigan where Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has ordered all flags throughout the state of Michigan and on Michigan waters be lowered to half staff in remembrance and honor of Matt.
I have never met SFC Matthew Blaskowski but I had the true honor and privilege of supporting Matt and his platoon this year. In an email he wrote to me on 8 August 2007 Matt said, “Sorry I have not been able to send you a thank you. I came to a base with internet for a few days and then back out to the firebase I will go. Thank you so much for all of the packages. The soldiers and I appreciate everything greatly. Everything you send is perfect nothing goes to waste. I will try and write once a month and give you an update on our conditions here. We recently got a generator out there so we have power for a few hours everyday. We get mail about twice a month by air. It’s like Christmas every time and most of the packages by far are from you. The name of my platoon’s base is called Firebase XXXXX. We are slowly but surely making it better. I have a lot of pictures of the Soldiers that I will try and send to you next time I get to the internet. Thank you again for all of your packages. Also thank the people that are in contact with you who also send us things. The Soldiers and I appreciate everything you do for us and we try to write a letter at least every time we get mail, but we only get to send out mail when someone carries all the letters out to mail them and that does not happen very often. Thanks again for all of your support.”
I emailed a response to Matt that it was our honor to provide support to him and his men. I told him that we believe it is our job (an easy one) to provide support because they are doing the difficult job by fighting those who would rather see this nation in chaos and ruin. I told him we knew they were making great progress and to keep up the good fight but to stay safe. Then I told him more boxes were on the way and reminded him of how grateful we were for him and his men. That was my last correspondence with Matt. It has been a long time since I have been as sad as I was when I received the email from the HHC at Camp Blessing telling me of Matt’s death. Even though I had never met him I knew from the correspondence I had with members of the 173rd as well as from reading accounts of his service on the internet that he was a special human being.
Our prayers along with our deepest and most sincere condolences go out to Matt’s wife, parents, brother, extended family and friends and to his comrades left behind. There is no way to adequately express our thoughts at this time. If one takes the time to read about SFC Blaskowski on the internet one finds story after story about the man he was. He lived his 27 years as a shining example of what humanity should be. It is apparent that Matt touched the lives of anyone who met and knew him in any capacity. He was the best of the best. He lived a selfless life in many ways – one of which was his choice to serve this nation as a member of the United States Army – to defend our freedom and continue to ensure our safety and security. Matt gave his all for us. This nation owes more to SFC Matthew Blaskowski than we could ever give. May his family know that we grieve with them in this time of sadness and loss and that we are thankful for the man he was. May they find comfort in remembering all that Matt was, all that he did and all that he gave throughout his life.
Rest in peace Matt. Our prayers are with you. I know the gates of heaven were standing wide open when you passed through and the angels were there to meet you.
Post written by Leta
Matthew’s family knows that Leta has put up a post in honor of him and will be reading it. So please go over to Tanker Brothers and leave a message for them in the comments, if you’d be so kind.
Ask Me if I Care About ‘Mishandling’ of Koran
By Doug Patton
June 6, 2005
First, Newsweek pulled a Dan Rather on us, running a fabricated story just because they wanted it to be true. They told the world that an American guard at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center had ripped pages from a prisoner’s Koran and flushed it down a toilet. As a result, innocent people died when practitioners of Islam rioted in protest in Afghanistan.
Oops, said Newsweek, it seems we can’t back up our story. Oh well, it’s probably true; we just can’t prove it. (Isn’t it convenient for Newsweek that the media now have “Deep Throat” to talk about so they can revel in their glory days and divert our attention from their criminal negligence.)
The lie heard round the world about the flushed Koran has caused convulsions in the Bush Administration and forced the Pentagon to launch an investigation of unfounded allegations contained in an unsubstantiated story. The results of said investigation are now in, and it seems there are at least five incidents of “mishandling” of the Koran at Gitmo.
Well, guess what? I don’t care!
Are we fighting a war on terror or aren’t we? Was it or was it not started by Islamic people who brought it to our shores on September 11, 2001? Were people from all over the world, mostly Americans, not brutally murdered that day, in downtown Manhattan, across the Potomac from our nation’s capitol and in a field in Pennsylvania? Did nearly three thousand men, women and children die a horrible, burning death that day, or didn’t they?
And I’m supposed to care that a copy of the Koran was “desecrated” when an overworked American soldier kicked it or got it wet? Well, I don’t. I don’t care at all.
I’ll start caring when Osama bin Laden turns himself in and repents for incinerating all those innocent people on 9/11.
I’ll care about the Koran when the fanatics in the Middle East start caring about the Holy Bible, the mere possession of which is a crime in Saudi Arabia.
I’ll care when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi tells the world he is sorry for hacking off Nick Berg’s head while Berg screamed through his gurgling, slashed throat.
I’ll care when the cowardly so-called “insurgents” in Iraq come out and fight like men instead of disrespecting their own religion by hiding in mosques.
I’ll care when the mindless zealots who blow themselves up in search of nirvana care about the innocent children within range of their suicide bombs.
I’ll care when the American media stops pretending that their First Amendment liberties are somehow derived from international law instead of the United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
I’ll care when Clinton-appointed judges stop ordering my government to release photos of the abuses at Abu Ghraib, which are sure to set off the Islamic extremists just as Newsweek’s lies did a few weeks ago.
In the meantime, when I hear a story about a brave marine roughing up an Iraqi terrorist to obtain information, know this: I don’t care.
When I see a fuzzy photo of a pile of naked Iraqi prisoners who have been humiliated in what amounts to a college hazing incident, rest assured that I don’t care.
When I see a wounded terrorist get shot in the head when he is told not to move because he might be booby-trapped, you can take it to the bank that I don’t care.
When I hear that a prisoner, who was issued a Koran paid for by my tax dollars, is complaining that his holy book is being “mishandled,” you can absolutely believe in your heart of hearts that I don’t care.
And oh, by the way, I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s spelled “Koran” and other times “Quran.” Well, Jimmy Crack Corn and — you guessed it — I don’t care!
I echo Mr. Patton’s sentiments whole heartily.
This has been around the email circuit the past couple of years and was mistakenly attributed to Pam Foster but is really the work of Doug Patton. You can read about all of this on Snopes here.
I was going to do another post on all the good that our military is doing recently, but the guy is going to be delivering our wood here pretty soon (of course it’s going to be close to 90 today with a zillion degree humidity ~ ah well, it will give me time to stack it) and my kitchen is upside down as I emptied the last of the boxes last night and the rugs came so I need to get those put down.
So, I’m just going to direct you to:
Hope Rides Eternal over at Tanker Brothers
Just click and start reading. Lots of Good Stuff!
If only our frickin’ politicians would read more milblogs.
I’m going to go and take some ibuprofen now.
I will start my posts about this past weekend with the statement that the folks that showed up at Walter Reed on Friday night and at the Mall in DC on Saturday are some of the truest RED, WHITE & BLUE folks you’d ever want to meet!! It was an honor and a privilege standing with all of them.
I have photos to download and thoughts to get together so I will be posting more in a bit.
I came home Sunday and slept for 5 hours. Lordy, I’m not near as young as I used to be.
So check back ~ I’ll be holed up here in my office working on it all. The chimney guys are coming this morning to clean out and line our chimneys so they can install our woodstoves.
My desk and file cabinets arrived last week and the entertainment center should arrive this week. Two of my braided rugs arrived Saturday. So we’re beginning to look more like a home and less like a storage unit.
Let the renovations begin!!
Well, even though the Senators and Congressmen are on break, their tongues have not been idle. I really don’t understand how the Libs believe that bringing America to its knees will benefit the country. I’m glad that I don’t ~ then I’d be one of them….*shiver*
“With the President continuing to stay the course in Iraq, Republicans will have to decide whether they will continue to vote with him or join Democrats and the vast majority of Americans who are demanding a new direction in Iraq and refocusing America’s efforts on fighting the real threats of terrorism around the world.”
(She sure is good at telling others what they should do, isn’t she?)
“The hearings will examine the ongoing situation in Iraq and the effectiveness of the President’s war policy. Congress voted in May to require reports from the GAO, General Jones, and the White House to look at the political and military situation in Iraq. The American people expect an honest and open debate and for Congress to be given the facts.” (HA! Open and Honest, my tookus!)
“In short, the President’s strategy is costing America dearly – and leading America exactly in the wrong direction. A change of course in Iraq is long overdue. In the coming weeks, Democrats will once again press Republicans to join the fight to make that change – a change that is essential for America’s national security.”
(What frickin’ change? Oh! That’s right ~ DEFEAT!)
(Can we say broken record?)
“I am also concerned about indications that the Administration may be working hard to provide the Congress with spin rather than an objective analysis in its own assessments. The press has reported that the recent Iraq National Intelligence Estimate’s security judgments may have been softened under pressure and that that a government whistleblower may have provided a draft of the GAO report to the press out of concern that its judgments would be softened in the final version. The American people expect an honest and open debate and for Congress to be given the facts.”
(I love the faith they have in the press – heh! Again with the Honest and Open thingie…Congress gets “the facts ” and puts their hands over their ears, all the while going “LaLaLaLa” and then make up their own facts. And they wonder why their Poll numbers are the lowest in this country’s history.)
Then there’s my Virgina senators – god help us:
“There is nothing happening in Iraq that was not only predictable but also predicted. The United States must move aggressively toward a regional diplomatic solution that will stabilize the region. This will free up our forces to fight the war against terrorism and deal with long-neglected strategic challenges in other parts of the world,” said Webb.”
(Now and here I’ve been thinking all this time that our troops were fighting the war on terror….I wonder if our troops know this?)
Warner said the president and other leading Bush administration officials have repeatedly said the American commitment to Iraq was not open-ended.
“The time has come to put some meaningful teeth into those comments — to back them up with some clear, decisive action,” the senator said. Have to say I’m glad he’s retiring.
And you have to give Levin points for opening mouth, inserting foot:
I”raqi leaders have not met their own political benchmarks to share power and resources, to modify the de-Baathification laws, to schedule provincial elections, and to amend their constitution.
That’s why I hope that the Iraqi Assembly, when it reconvenes in a few weeks, will vote the Maliki government out of office and will have the wisdom to replace it with a less sectarian and a more unifying prime minister and government.”
Good going, Senator! Your non-vote of confidence is noted!
Of course, they really don’t give a poop about “the people” except to keep them down and control them with their Nanny State agenda. If the people who vote democrat suddenly rose up and believed that they could take care of themselves, the Democratic Party would mostly be out of a job. Kind of like the priests way back in the day when they kept people from learning to read and had all the church services in Latin. Nothing like being able to spoon feed your agenda (power and control) to the masses.
Maybe it was just the way I was raised – pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and if you don’t, you have no one to blame but yourself. Doesn’t mean we don’t help people. But a hand up instead of a handout goes so much farther.
“San Francisco City Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval,
who has introduced a resolution condemning
Michael Savage, is indicative of the felonious
public officials who will go to any length to silence
those who disagree with them. The public,
communities, and country they were elected to
serve be damned. Stick it to the legal citizenry
is their credo. The elected on both sides of the
aisle are guilty, especially those in the White
House and Congress.”
WorldNetDaily Commentary (excerpt)
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
That about sums it up, doesn’t it?
You can read his whole column “When Silence Isn’t Golden” here.
Another column that speaks of the hypocrisy of the Democrats and Republicans is a must read:
I also watched some of the panels that were aired this past week on the war and terrorism. Oh my! So many so-called experts stuck on stupid.
The one that made my blood boil was this one:
They kept talking about the “Fear” factor by the Administration in going after Terrorism. How Civil Rights are being trampled and/or disappearing. How we, the citizens of these United States, are going to be *gasp* spied on with this new FISA arrangement. Who’s talking fear here?
And did you know that there are “Phantom Americans”? Apparently, I’m one of them…Yes, they’re the Americans (who don’t really exist,) who, (so say the elected officials, mostly Republicans, of course) buy into this Fear Mongering and believe that the security of this country is necessary and in peril, unlike the Real Americans (who do exist) who believe as this panel does.
Of course, the panel was very well picked for furthering the belief of the coming of the “facsist state” and that we’re not really in danger here, except by the fascist administration.
They’re not too happy with the Dems either. But then these people never seem happy about anything except the downfall of the US.
ACLU Blasts Congress over FISA Change
And what the Hell is this?!!
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Moderator: Parvez Ahmed
10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Session 4B: Ending U.S. Sponsored Torture: A Concern for All People of Faith
The threat and reality of U.S. sponsored torture is still an issue today. The extensive news coverage by the U.S. and international media sources makes it all too clear that the grim abuses in Abu Gharib, Guantanamo Bay, and the sending of detainees to secret prisons around the world that are known to torture during interrogations, are not isolated incidents, but rather constitute policy of the U.S. government. ISNA, Christian (including evangelical), Jewish and Sikh organizations have created the National Religious Campaign Against Torture to lead the faith-based efforts to end U.S. sponsored torture. This session will describe the nature of U.S. sponsored torture, the effects of torture on its victims, the efforts of the U.S. religious community, and what you can do to help end U.S. sponsored torture [Ed — pdf reader required].
Speakers: Ingrid Mattson, Jeanne Herrick-Stare, Rev. Richard Killmer, Tom Whittle
Moderator: Mohamed Elsanousi
Well, isn’t that just duckie?! But then we’re not really fighting the real war on terror…this is all just a Bumper Sticker War.
Posted by a Phantom American.
I want to apologize to all my bloggers that I like to visit on a regular basis for not visiting lately. I just haven’t had time to sit at my computer and read you all.
I feel like I’m missing so much! lol
Moving into an old house takes a lot of time…
Plus, I’ve been working on the stuff for the remodeling of my blog too.
So, keep me in mind – I’m still here and will be over at your places as often as I can.
We now have a phone that works and internet and TV (which makes Ned very happy).
The 2 pods that held all our stuff are now empty and ready to be picked up. I’ve started ordering furniture and have the kitchen pretty well usable. Every room has boxes and boxes. That’s ok, the furniture isn’t going to be here for a bit. Besides, we mostly sit out on the porch and catch a breeze.
Ned arrived and it was 90+ degrees and he immediately went out and bought 2 air conditioners. Bit of a change from Santa Cruz!
I love it! We have the nicest neighbors. People have been dropping by to say hey. In fact, I’ve met more people in the past couple of weeks than I did in the 3 years we lived at our old house. And what’s really wonderful is that no one holds being from CA against us. They’re just glad for us that we got out. It would surprise the folks back in CA to know that most people around here don’t give a hoot about what Californians think. Heh!
The dogs are having so much fun exploring all the new smells and sounds and the cats survived their cross country journey ~ they were even happy to see the dogs by the time they arrived.
Well, I certainly have a lot of catching up to do in the blogsphere. I’m hoping to get to visiting ya’ll before too long. In the mean time, here’s the link to my photos of the cross country adventure:
I’ll be back soon – time to go do something with those boxes and look at more furniture.
Going to be another hot one today.