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"America won't let you down"

Mark Mardell | 18:27 UK time, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

"America will not let you down, we will take care of our own." President Obama's words are perhaps exactly what you would expect any commander in chief to say.

But he not only makes these remarks ahead of a vital meeting about sending troops to an unpopular war, but against the background of two unpopular wars.

Obama_Arlington.jpg

He did not refer to Iraq directly, but to the war that scarred America's soul and divided its people like no other.

He said that in honouring the obligations to those who have fought "we are keeping faith with the ideals of service and sacrifice upon which this republic was founded".

"And if we're honest with ourselves, we will admit there have been times where we, as a nation, have betrayed that sacred trust. Our Vietnam veterans served with great honour, and they often came home greeted not with gratitude or support but with condemnation and neglect. That's something that will never happen again."

The comparison is interesting not just because you can hardly move in this town for articles comparing Afghanistan to Vietnam.

It is interesting because of Iraq. Such is the reverence for the military in America that even at the height of opposition, there was no suggestion that those who fought there should be regarded as anything less than heroes.

President Obama did not support the Iraq war and campaigned on a promise to bring troops home. But his language could be taken as reassurance to veterans of that war, that they will be honoured whatever the verdict on the politicians who sent them to fight.

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  • 1. At 7:56pm on 11 Nov 2009, faeyth wrote:

    Of course there is reverence for our military personnel.Who doesn't respect a Hero who puts himself physically and sometime mentally,and sometimes spiritually at risk for his country and people.

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  • 2. At 8:22pm on 11 Nov 2009, Rory Andrews wrote:

    Just to be contrary, they actively chose to serve in the Military they were not picked. If you honor their service to country you also have to acknowledge the abuses like Abu Ghraib. Were the guards at Auschwitz heros simply because they were in the Military?

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  • 3. At 8:45pm on 11 Nov 2009, HabitualHero wrote:


    Are there popular wars?

    And why have I never heard a single mention from an American regarding the massive civilian casualties in Iraq and Afganistan. Not once, not ever. The only figure they ever mention is the far smaller number of American casualties. The message is simple - if you're not American, you're no-one. And they wonder why they're unpopular

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  • 4. At 8:52pm on 11 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Of course there is reverence for our military personnel.Who doesn't respect a Hero who puts himself physically and sometime mentally,and sometimes spiritually at risk for his country and people.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Its part of their job description.

    "America will not let you down, we will take care of our own."

    And in his heart. "thats why we train the local people to kill their own, and we hire other countries to fight the real battle, In vietnam we failed to train the local people, but we will not make afghanistan our vietnam, we will train locals. Yes. we can.

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  • 5. At 9:00pm on 11 Nov 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To#3 Habitualhero

    You must be new here. I am an American and I have mentioned this here more than once. "War is not healthy for children and other living things." Unfortunately we do not have accurate body counts for all the men, women and children killed there but the numbers are massive. I consider them more than "no-one" They were all someone, with families and people who loved them.

    All I wish to do this day is grieve and remember the dead. It is not a day for politics or dispute. Peace be with you and with yours.

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  • 6. At 9:01pm on 11 Nov 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    The comparison is interesting not just because you can hardly move in this town for articles comparing Afghanistan to Vietnam.

    Perhaps it would be more to the point is other towns were considered as well - the people of Britain reportedly want to withdraw from Afghanistan, what about the people of the United States? I'd be more interested in reading here what those in the Mid-West think or the Southern states to get a sense of what Americans want.

    [The President's] language could be taken as reassurance to veterans of that war, that they will be honoured whatever the verdict on the politicians who sent them to fight.

    What is so wrong with that? The honours he speaks of are not only medals or parades, but physical and mental health care for the broken bodies which are returned alive. The GI Bill is in force and can provide additional education for those rehabilitated as well as no-down-payment mortgages, which (as an aside) permitted the housing boom in post World War II America. While Britain doggedly sticks to subsidised, rentable accommodation, the United States makes - and made - it possible for Veterans to own a house on favourable terms. I'd say that too was honouring their work even if many do not agree with the reason for it.

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  • 7. At 9:03pm on 11 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    And why have I never heard a single mention from an American regarding the massive civilian casualties in Iraq and Afganistan. Not once, not ever.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Its because of dont ask , dont tell policy..Another lesson learnt from the vietnam war..

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  • 8. At 9:13pm on 11 Nov 2009, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    HabitualHero: Indeed, the media seems to rarely mention the high civilian casualties but, for myself, concern over the societal disruption and innocent deaths was one of the major reasons I opposed the war in Iraq (from before it began, not simply when it became tiresome).

    As to your comment about our popularity (or lack thereof), I'm sure someone like you could think of myriad reasons to dislike americans.

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  • 9. At 9:16pm on 11 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    , HabitualHero wrote:

    Are there popular wars?

    And why have I never heard a single mention from an American regarding the massive civilian casualties in Iraq and Afganistan. Not once, not ever.
    ___________________--

    It has been acknowledged; why has Al Jazeera or the BBC pointed out that most of the civilian deaths were the result of the Tailban, Al Quada and other islamic terrorists

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  • 10. At 9:19pm on 11 Nov 2009, Dan wrote:

    It isn't unusual that one feels the loss of a family member greater than that of a non-family member, or the loss of a neighbor more than some one on the other side of town, or the loss of one in one's own city than in another city, or in one's own country than in another country. Indeed, if one felt the death of a distant stranger more than a close friend, I think it would be rather odd. This is not to diminish the deaths of Iraqi or Afghan nationals, just to put a little perspective on why Americans might mourn the loss of their own more than others. I honestly imagine it is little different in Britain or any where else.

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  • 11. At 9:21pm on 11 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    first of all to call whats happening in afghanistan, a war is the biggest lie..To worship americans soldiers heros who a bunch of pathetically armed men is something which is extremely stupid..Its a pure luxury to fight such an enemy, no wear of air attacks, no wear of tanks coming towards you, you know their bullets from ak47 wont reach you where you stand, while your missiles will...Its not a war, but a luxury against terrorism.

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  • 12. At 9:25pm on 11 Nov 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    5. Aqua.

    Thinking about you today. Hope you are well.

    Yours,

    IF

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  • 13. At 9:29pm on 11 Nov 2009, misspearl wrote:

    "All I wish to do this day is grieve and remember the dead. It is not a day for politics or dispute."
    (from #5)

    There is something odd about that. Why even read a blog mostly devoted to politics and always rife with dispute if this is not a day for it? It is not quite appropriate to imply that others are somehow dishonoring veterans (whose day this is; the dead are remembered officially on Memorial Day if anyone can be bothered) because they choose to dispute political issues today on a blog that exists for that purpose among others.

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  • 14. At 9:32pm on 11 Nov 2009, 2shedjackson wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 15. At 9:41pm on 11 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    It has been acknowledged; why has Al Jazeera or the BBC pointed out that most of the civilian deaths were the result of the Tailban, Al Quada and other islamic terrorists
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Looks like you are happy with your third place. You deserve a bronze medal in this game of who kills most afghans.

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  • 16. At 9:52pm on 11 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    All I wish to do this day is grieve and remember the dead. It is not a day for politics or dispute."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Which dead will you remember? Yassar arafat?

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  • 17. At 10:01pm on 11 Nov 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Mark:

    "But his language could be taken as reassurance to veterans of that war, that they will be honored whatever the verdict on the politicians who sent them to fight."

    That is the way the language was intended, yes, and I fully support the President on this.

    Of course, LBJ and Nixon might have used the same language. It wouldn't have made any difference.

    It's up to the People, and I don't see them behaving that badly again.

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  • 18. At 10:04pm on 11 Nov 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref 14, 2shedjackson:

    "Oh -- you Americans have forgotten?"

    No.

    Why did you leave out the Japanese and Germans? We killed all sorts of them, too. Or are you making a the same kind of value judgement that you accuse us of making?

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  • 19. At 10:36pm on 11 Nov 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    10. Dan:

    (And others.)

    Words from nearly 400 years ago:

    "any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde."

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  • 20. At 10:46pm on 11 Nov 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #15
    colonelartist wrote:
    It has been acknowledged; why has Al Jazeera or the BBC pointed out that most of the civilian deaths were the result of the Tailban, Al Quada and other islamic terrorists
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Looks like you are happy with your third place. You deserve a bronze medal in this game of who kills most afghans.

    _______________-

    Another one of your biased statments.

    Most of the people killed like 95% are the result of the terrorists.

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  • 21. At 10:49pm on 11 Nov 2009, EBL wrote:

    At 8:22pm on 11 Nov 2009, rory3shoes wrote:
    Just to be contrary, they actively chose to serve in the Military they were not picked. If you honor their service to country you also have to acknowledge the abuses like Abu Ghraib. Were the guards at Auschwitz heros simply because they were in the Military?

    Gee Rory... I don't recall the Germans prosecuting those guards, or the French prosecuting their Algerian War criminals, or the Russians prosecuting for Chechnya warcrimes, or... don't recall any British trials either, actually. Considering the scale of our soldiers' involvement in Iraq, and the conditions, I think they've done an honorable job over all. The worst of the delinquents get prosecuted here... if not elsewhere.

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  • 22. At 10:53pm on 11 Nov 2009, ann arbor wrote:

    Uh, colonel, it is because of these veterans you speak English today.

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  • 23. At 10:57pm on 11 Nov 2009, wolfvorkian wrote:

    Mardell said:

    It is interesting because of Iraq. Such is the reverence for the military in America that even at the height of opposition, there was no suggestion that those who fought there should be regarded as anything less than heroes.

    Another interesting phenomenon that is a recent arrival to the US mentality which always hasn't been the case. Military=Heroes?

    What is going on here? Why has the American Exceptionalism crowd been able to redefine the term hero so easily? What is causing this dumbing down of the US population? Or have we always been this dense and I wasn't aware of it? I don't think so but...

    In the previous thread squirrellist gave a cite for one opinion. I thought it was a decent explanation on the folly of nation building but it added little to my understanding of the dumbing down process that seems to have gripped this nation.

    I enjoy the outsider Mardell's blog because he is an outsider and with his different perspective is able to bring attention to things that I may have missed because the US press doesn't emphasize them like he does.

    Obama sounds more and more like a neocon-lite to me. I'm beginning to resent him.

    For those who believe nation building can work, I suspect you have never lived in in a 3rd world nation. Am I correct? Without this background, it is understandable why you would believe it could.

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  • 24. At 11:00pm on 11 Nov 2009, cjwd wrote:

    #6 Perhaps it would be more to the point is other towns were considered as well - the people of Britain reportedly want to withdraw from Afghanistan, what about the people of the United States? I'd be more interested in reading here what those in the Mid-West think or the Southern states to get a sense of what Americans want.

    I'll try to oblige, being from NC, though this is a very meaty subject. There are obviously many opinions here in the States; overall I think that the majority of us are tired of war on many levels.

    When GWBJr was first elected, most of us cared little for politics; either party candidate, never impressive, same old same old, the elite run the political parties, most of the rest of us are struggling too hard to get by to pay it much attention as long as life went on and we had a job. I was not against GWBJr initially, I didn't even know what a Neocon was. I did lots of chatting on yahoo news which at the time had a comment forum and I learned alot from others and did alot of research for myself.

    I remember the shock of 9/11 as it was televised; none of us knew what was going on, we thought we were being attacked, but not why. Not much information was given to the public. Initially we heard that it was an al Queda action and Ben Laden behind it and we were going into Afghanistan. I and others were completely confused when we changed course into Iraq. The explanations we were getting sounded like bs; many of us assumed there was more we didn't know but we still trusted that our administration knew what it was doing.

    And you know the rest of the story. They lost the trust of many of us. I personally came to despise Cheney and Rumsfield and understood the Neocon philosophy and understood that it is much too like a Nazi philosophy for me. Narcissistic, obsessive, hubris. I believed and still believe that that combination is the most paranoid that we've ever had in office and had it not been for them...hindsight is 20/20, though, isn't it? Bush? delegated everything. I haven't much feeling for him other than the fact that he's an expert on delegation and delegated the wrong things to the wrong people.

    The degree of antipathy in our country for those that disagree with us; these wingnuts as some have called them spewing hate and racism and seeking to divide this country; this largely uneducated portion of the people (and by and large they are, and anti-intellectual to boot, and many associate with Fundamentalism although I'm sure there are many that haven't darkened a church door in many a year...though there are exceptions to every rule, yes...you read the comments just like I have, some spots are difficult to hide) that went absolutely rabid when Obama won the Presidency...the political climate post Karl Rove and the Gunboat is incredibly vile and has served to stir up anger amongst us all. (the bailout and the recession hasn't helped any, either).

    But our sons, and our fathers, and our husbands and other family members that have taken the oath of military service to our country...you must understand, that the things that seem to be clear to some of us are quite murky to others. We largely do not trust our government; we don't trust the press; we only trust what we KNOW...or THINK that we know. People do what they feel they should do at any given time, and then those that sign up are committed to a course. Also, the economy and job prospects have been so bad here in the US, and education so expensive; that the possibility of having a job and bonus from the military has been a large draw. Either way, often the right hand does not know what the left does, they don't know much of what the politicians are saying and the people are saying or even what the press is covering when they are down on the ground. They are doing the best that they can with what they have.

    THIS is why we honor our soldiers. THEY took the call to arms while the rest of us sat on our arses and watched it all unfold. The politicians declared war, the people initially had little choice but to trust them. Isn't this always how it works? It is the common man that pays, in every war, in every nation.

    The sins of a few do not dam all, otherwise the entire species would surely be damed by now. There ARE good people in the world, and there are good military people, there are good Americans. Many, many, many of our young soldiers thought that they really WERE in Iraq to save the Iraqis from Hussein. Nobody expected the civil war type activity with Shites rising up to kill Sunnis by the thousands. The mistakes that were made were made by the politicians trying to run an army from an armchair in a culture which obviously they did not understand.

    People like me, I've been a registered Republican since Reagan, the first year I was old enough to vote...and didn't vote again until I voted for Kerry...and more recently for Obama...and regardless of what the loudest trolls say; it was people like ME in these Southern states, sick of this last administration's policies, Southern, white, and female...that shifted the vote to Obama...and NO, I am not disappointed. Some of us actually have more SENSE than to think any President can change a nation overnight.

    As to what to do with Afghanistan...I am HAPPY, I am RELIEVED...to have an intelligent President that will actually listen to REAL military people on the ground as well as the people of other nations before he decides on the best course of action. I do not KNOW myself what is best. I would like us out; but I am not sure what the ground situation is there, the common people seem to appreciate us, except that the government seems to be duplicitous; and the situation is exacerbated by the opium poppy trade which this President says, do not spray. It wouldn't surprise me to find that drug dealers are who is really controlling this nation and that THEY are the ones with the real power.

    There's a reason I shouldn't be President, because my first course of action would be to spray every dang poppy field in Afghanistan and THEN see what happens.

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  • 25. At 11:20pm on 11 Nov 2009, aquarizonagal wrote:

    To#13 Misspearl and #16 Colonelartist

    Now I am reminded of why I stopped posting here for months.

    Miss pearl:

    I was not speaking in general but only to Habitualhero regarding dispute. Perhaps you had some difficulty reading the first part of my post.


    Colonelartist:

    I grieve for my child lost in Iraq, my brother lost long ago in Korea, my brother wounded in Vietnam and for every other person lost, wounded and damaged in violence and stupid wars. I need no special days for remembrance. The grief and loss live in me and mine.

    Peace to you and yours.

    I despise war, killing, torture, corruption of the human spirit and all those who espouse such evil for power or political gain.

    Continue to beat each other and me with words. Perhaps that is better than rocks but remember that you really should eat what you kill.

    I am finished here.

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  • 26. At 11:30pm on 11 Nov 2009, EBL wrote:

    14. At 9:32pm on 11 Nov 2009, 2shedjackson wrote:
    Never forget! 600,000 innnocent Cambodian citizens killed by secret US bombing of their country from 1964 to 1975. With 2,756,941 tonnes of bombs dropped on it Cambodia took on the proud title of the most bombed country on earth. An impressive achievement for a neutral country.

    Oh -- you Americans have forgotten? Totally, completely and utterly. An absolute mind wipe. Uh, OK then.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Wow... I see anger management classes in your future Mr. Jackson. My father was the senior American general, serving in Vietnam, who first revealed to the public that the N. Vietnamese Army had divisions based in Cambodia. Those bases were the target of any bombing. N. Vietnam brought war to Cambodia, and their allies (at the time), the Khmer Rouge, came to power as a result. That worked out well, didn't it. I keep thinking... if only the old colonial powers had left their former dominions with intelligent borders and proper institutions, we might not have had conflicts in Vietnam, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, the Congo, South Aftica, Zimbabwee, Sudan, Somalia, India/Pakistan... zzzz.

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  • 27. At 11:33pm on 11 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Uh, colonel, it is because of these veterans you speak English today.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I dont speak english.

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  • 28. At 11:34pm on 11 Nov 2009, robert a stephenson wrote:

    It is certain that there is more than one reason why a man or woman joins the armed servicea. Some for idealism, some because the were unemployed, some to make use of the postservice educational grants. Whatever the reason, they deserve our respect for choosing a potentially life threatening occupation.
    The war in Iraq was a contrived war, initiated by the previous president and seconded by the then British prime minister.
    The lives of servicemen must be a major factor to be weighed when contemplating starting such a war. No president or prime minister should be allowed use these servicemen, to resolve a problem, without the consent of the majority of the people, by referendum. In order to win their consent politicians would have to present the facts and be held responsible for them. If the facts were later found to be false, the politicians should be charged with treason against the nation and dealt with accordingly. With deadly authority comes deadly responibility!
    To speak of dead servicemen, as has been pointed out in several comments, is only a part of the story. Thousands of men are wounded in these conflicts and have to live out the rest of their lives greatly attenuated, if not in misery. Thousands of civilians are innocent victims and are scarcely ever mentioned.

    i

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  • 29. At 11:39pm on 11 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Wow... I see anger management classes in your future Mr. Jackson. My father was the senior American general, serving in Vietnam, who first revealed to the public that the N. Vietnamese Army had divisions based in Cambodia. Those bases were the target of any bombing. N. Vietnam brought war to Cambodia, and their allies (at the time), the Khmer Rouge, came to power as a result. That worked out well, didn't it. I keep thinking... if only the old colonial powers had left their former dominions with intelligent borders and proper institutions, we might not have had conflicts in Vietnam, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, the Congo, South Aftica, Zimbabwee, Sudan, Somalia, India/Pakistan... zzzz.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And you want us, to believe that your father, the general was telling the truth? 30 yrs laters, the next generation of the generals are saying taliban and alqaeda has their men in pakistan..Looks like afghanistan is the vietnam and pakistan cambodia..And the americans still insist on that its not a remake of vietnam and cambodia..

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  • 30. At 11:47pm on 11 Nov 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    13. At 9:29pm on 11 Nov 2009, misspearl wrote:

    "There is something odd about that. Why even read a blog mostly devoted to politics and always rife with dispute if this is not a day for it?"


    Dear Misspearl:

    Because she lost her child. That is why I, and probably others here, were thinking of her today.

    I'm sorry you weren't aware of that.

    Yours,

    I.F.

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  • 31. At 11:47pm on 11 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    What is going on here? Why has the American Exceptionalism crowd been able to redefine the term hero so easily? What is causing this dumbing down of the US population? Or have we always been this dense and I wasn't aware of it? I don't think so but...

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think you you have always been this dense and you werent aware of it..Ever since, Jesus the saviour is sidelined, the military has filled this gap..the same kind of worshiping, a day set aside...if someone says anything (G-d forbid) against the brave boys and girls, (who are paid to do their jobs, and this worship like attitude is giving them extra perks) its considered to be blasphamy..

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  • 32. At 11:52pm on 11 Nov 2009, Tino wrote:

    #6

    "Perhaps it would be more to the point is other towns were considered as well - the people of Britain reportedly want to withdraw from Afghanistan, what about the people of the United States? I'd be more interested in reading here what those in the Mid-West think or the Southern states to get a sense of what Americans want."

    From Florida originally, residing in ATL atm. I am not sure what to think sometimes. The fact of the matter is that Afghanistan would have harbored those responsible and fostered and environment to promote more attacks. I support that decision overall. To expect us to sit around and wait for another 9/11 is ridiculous.

    On Iraq, the issue is much less concrete. I do not like the events leading up to the war, etc. Nonetheless, I am happy that the people do not have to deal with Saddam's reign anymore. For better or worse, the they have more control over their lives.

    #24

    I think you single out the right too much for criticism. As an independent, I get so ridiculously frustrated with both sides. The only time I feel happy with the political situation in the US is when the President is one party and the majority of congress is the other. Otherwise both sides get so out of control. It is better when they have to hammer compromises out (real ones).

    The party system in general sucks, though. If I remember my US Gov't class enough, I think its over 25% of both parties will always vote that party - irrelevant of the candidates policies. That is scary.

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  • 33. At 00:07am on 12 Nov 2009, arclightt wrote:

    All: On this day we honor those men and women.

    They weren't policymakers, or leftist / rightist "visionaries" (may they collectively choke on their "visions" for the future), or "the beautiful people", or captains of industry, or rock stars, or sports figures, or any of the others that we spend so much time paying so much attention to.

    All they had was the depth of commitment to the United States to enter into loneliness, suffering, pain, and in many cases eternity, on its behalf.

    Want to complain about the United States? About the war? About policy? About the left, the right, the center? Economy? Laws? Something else???

    Fine.

    Just see if maybe, just maybe, you can somewhere in your heart find just a bit of thankfulness for their sacrifice.

    @25 (ag) "Continue to beat each other and me with words. Perhaps that is better than rocks but remember that you really should eat what you kill."

    Nicely put. Too bad folks can't see what they kill with their tongues and keyboards.

    Regards to all.

    Arclight

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  • 34. At 00:17am on 12 Nov 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    He said that in honouring the obligations to those who have fought "we are keeping faith with the ideals of service and sacrifice upon which this republic was founded".


    In honouring the (obligations)?

    we are keeping (faith_ with the (ideals).

    upon which (this)republic was founded.


    The obligations or choices not their service or even sacrifices.

    Keeping faith with ideals and not because they are just nut because that is how we are doing things like it or not.(it's not my fault)

    Hey, this republic was founded by trouble makers and now you want me to do any different? If I have my way I will try to change it but it looks like polliticide right now.
    Lets change the founding meaning.

    Yep, that is what that means in a nutshell.
    Unless someone sees it different?

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  • 35. At 00:18am on 12 Nov 2009, mary gravitt wrote:

    Afghanistan should not be compared with Vietnam, even if the same mistakes are being made to prolong the war. Vietnam was leftover business where the US sought tho maintain French Hegemony. Now we are trying to establish our won

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  • 36. At 00:31am on 12 Nov 2009, EBL wrote:

    And you want us, to believe that your father, the general was telling the truth? 30 yrs laters, the next generation of the generals are saying taliban and alqaeda has their men in pakistan..Looks like afghanistan is the vietnam and pakistan cambodia..And the americans still insist on that its not a remake of vietnam and cambodia..
    ---------------------------------------------------
    I'm not sure who the aggregate "us" is, whom you're posturing to represent. I've read some of your earlier posts, so I'm sure you won't believe anything an American would say. There are some similarities between the Vietnam and Afghanistan conflicts, but they're not huge. I have no idea how this conflict will be resolved... and I suspect that you're no more prescient than I am... but I certainly hope that the Taliban and Quaeda folks are eventually rejected by the local populations. I can't imagine any society thriving with these thugs in control.

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  • 37. At 00:32am on 12 Nov 2009, misspearl wrote:

    30, Interestedforeigner

    I am aware of more than you know. And the comment I referred to struck me as being rather odd. Still more so after your reminder. But then I do not assume that people who post on blogs are always who and what they claim to be. I do not say this to be disagreeable, but realistic.

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  • 38. At 00:47am on 12 Nov 2009, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    7. At 9:03pm on 11 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Its because of dont ask , dont tell policy..Another lesson learnt from the vietnam war..

    This applies only to gays in the military and came into existence in 1993, under then President Clinton, almost 20 years after Vietnam ended. Your facts are as imaginative as your alternative histories.

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  • 39. At 01:22am on 12 Nov 2009, cjwd wrote:

    38. At 00:47am on 12 Nov 2009, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    7. At 9:03pm on 11 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Its because of dont ask , dont tell policy..Another lesson learnt from the vietnam war..

    This applies only to gays in the military and came into existence in 1993, under then President Clinton, almost 20 years after Vietnam ended. Your facts are as imaginative as your alternative histories.

    (I think, maybe, that was actually an attempt at humor)

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  • 40. At 03:30am on 12 Nov 2009, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    President Obama is good at making speeches and VERY BAD at keeping promises. He has to say "something nice" before he sends 30,000 more troops into this meatgrinder.

    President Obama has consistently withheld the truth about Afghanistan and Iraq from the American people. That is why there are comparisons to Vietnam...if people only knew, they would realize there IS no comparison. This war is hopeless. The corruption is not only in Afghanistan, but also in Pakistan! This is an administration that understands CORRUPTION because it is itself deeply corrupt.

    Since the Afghan Army will NEVER be an effective force the US military is going to make ever-increasing use of drones. Will Obama honor those who sit at the consoles in Langley for their contributions to freedom?

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  • 41. At 03:48am on 12 Nov 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #40. shiveringofforgottenenemies: "President Obama has consistently withheld the truth about Afghanistan and Iraq from the American people."

    Are you sure you have the right President? It seems to me that you should be referring to Mr Obama's predecessor.

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  • 42. At 03:54am on 12 Nov 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    37. At 00:32am on 12 Nov 2009, misspearl wrote:
    30, Interestedforeigner

    I am aware of more than you know. And the comment I referred to struck me as being rather odd. Still more so after your reminder. But then I do not assume that people who post on blogs are always who and what they claim to be. I do not say this to be disagreeable, but realistic.

    __________


    ????

    Not sure what to make of your comment, but ok.
    Maybe in the fullness of time.

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  • 43. At 04:12am on 12 Nov 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #27. colonelartist: "I dont speak english."

    And you don't write it well, either.

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  • 44. At 04:40am on 12 Nov 2009, Dan wrote:

    19. At 10:36pm on 11 Nov 2009, squirrellist wrote:
    to 10. (Dan)

    Words from nearly 400 years ago:
    "any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde."

    Nothing in my post suggests I would disagree with this. However, I believe the death of my best friend will "diminish me" more than the death of someone I do not know thousands of miles away. I would doubt either the sanity or the honesty of anyone who claims to feel all deaths equally.

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  • 45. At 08:12am on 12 Nov 2009, rodidog wrote:

    "President Obama did not support the Iraq war and campaigned on a promise to bring troops home. But his language could be taken as reassurance to veterans of that war, that they will be honoured whatever the verdict on the politicians who sent them to fight."

    In June of 2008 the U.S.- Iraqi Status of Forces Agreement, signed by Bush, already promised to bring the troops home by 2011 and possibly as early as 2010. As President, Obama is pulling the troops out by Dec, 2010 while leaving 50,000 troops in Iraq per SOFA. By mostly keeping with SOFA, rather than cutting and running, Obama has already honored Iraqi veterans as he did all veterans today.

    When Obama campaigned for President, Afghanistan had popular support and flew under the radar in partial victory while Iraq was maligned and declared lost by certain politicians. Now Afghanistan is unpopular and being compared to Vietnam as Iraq fades from the headlines. IMO, Afghanistan is nothing like Vietnam and Mr. Snows contention that Obama can use the 1963 comparison as an exit option is, politically speaking, poor advice.

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  • 46. At 3:15pm on 12 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    #27. colonelartist: "I dont speak english."

    And you don't write it well, either.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think that was very obiviuos, pointing to the obvious things is another american traditions..which i find very funny..And to make it more funny, they think when they point to the facts which are so obvious, they actually do something which no one has ever done before..I used to watch the press breifings of rumsfeld when you attacked afghanistan, where he used to point to facts, "here is a target, and there is our missile hiting it" and your reporters then used to ask, all sorts of questions about the detail of the missile...Those press conferances used to be the very entertaining half an hour of the day...

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  • 47. At 3:20pm on 12 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    40. shiveringofforgottenenemies: "President Obama has consistently withheld the truth about Afghanistan and Iraq from the American people."

    Are you sure you have the right President? It seems to me that you should be referring to Mr Obama's predecessor.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    When bush started the war, he started it with the backing of his people and the second one with the backing of the people's representatives, out in the open for every one to see, ofcourse he then used the unknown methods, (rumsfeld, known known and unknown known methods of war) Obama on the other hand has directly gone to the unknown methods, the secret wars, in pakistan..If Bush was a liar, he lied openly, Obama on the other hand is a hides things. His justifications and that of his supporters would be, that since he didnt tell, so he didnt lie..

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  • 48. At 4:17pm on 12 Nov 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 47, colonelartist:

    "If Bush was a liar, he lied openly..."

    And that's ok?!

    You're getting desperate, there.

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  • 49. At 4:33pm on 12 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    " I would doubt either the sanity or the honesty of anyone who claims to feel all deaths equally."

    I hope that includes all the americans in Oregon that felt so hurt by 9/11.

    those that needed counselling etc.

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  • 50. At 5:07pm on 12 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    "If Bush was a liar, he lied openly..."

    And that's ok?!

    You're getting desperate, there.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Not at all. when a person who openly lies, you can catch him in his lies..atleast we can, I dont think i can say the same thing about americans anymore, after watching and listening to them since 2001, I doubt americans can see a lie from the truth, Obama simply hides the truth from you, not telling you anything...so that when his term is discussed, no one would be able to say he lied...they will simply say they were told...And to me, an outright liar and the one who hides the truth is the same, as the result of both these men is the same..You want to believe that he is different than bush, he is not, he would hold town hall meetings about health care, but the thought of holding such meetings with regard to troops sending will not even enter his mind, because that would mean someone , somewhere will ask him about the hidden war he has started in pakistan...or someone else would ask him about the objectives of the war in afghanistan and he be forced to answer..

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  • 51. At 5:25pm on 12 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    "If Bush was a liar, he lied openly..."

    And that's ok?!

    You're getting desperate, there.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I dont approve of the people who talk with two tongues, on one hand he threatens karzai with non sending of more troops, and on the other hands he thinks pakistani army is just targetting the taliban which is threat to pakistan, and do not target those which he believes are threat to his soldiers in afghanistan..Like i said earlier, pakistan or pakistani army or its people, the thousands and thousands who now live in tents as refugees, were not created to serve america or its military or its people..Obama should be told that pakistan isnt some sugar plantation neither its army or people the black slaves who have to make americans rich or take care of their lives..

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  • 52. At 5:30pm on 12 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Miss pearl..

    Aquaarizonagal has stood by peace at all opportunity.
    She has never defended racism, she has always been polite to those that deserved it and to a few that didn't.
    She has stood for tolerance understanding.
    And yesterday she stood for peace.

    There are few that have been near this site that have shown such constant compassion for all humans of every race and creed.

    Not once Have I seen her rude .

    Not once did she defend injustice or war.

    On this Blog there has been a lot of history that didn't leave the blog.
    It is that history and those debates I believe Aqua wanted shelved for the day.
    That is reasonable.
    There has been little if any change in peoples attitudes over a year .

    All sides suffer. that is war.

    Best to end them wars.

    I will remember today that this dear lady is much missed.
    ; (



    37. misspearl


    "I am aware of more than you know......

    ..... But then I do not assume that people who post on blogs are always who and what they claim to be. I do not say this to be disagreeable, but realistic."

    Unfortunately for you we are more aware than YOU know.

    Of all the posters on this blog Aqua is one of the most genuine people that exists. Some have encountered her of blog.
    we do know Aqua to be real.
    But as to you? I have little faith that you are the genuine article.
    WQe have seen many short time posters that do the same as you.
    "oh I'm liberal."look at my credential"
    then they quickly move to Obama should be out.


    If you want to accuse others of being fakes you should make a better attempt to not look so fake yourself.

    Go for whine but leave off the water.

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  • 53. At 5:53pm on 12 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    "America will not let you down, we will take care of our own."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Even if they let america down? maybe when america let them down in the past, was because they had let america down...Its kind of funny obama encourging the soldiers to do what they did in vietnam with the promise this time that they would not be held responsible...

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  • 54. At 5:55pm on 12 Nov 2009, Brad wrote:

    Ref #11
    "first of all to call whats happening in afghanistan, a war is the biggest lie..To worship americans soldiers heros who a bunch of pathetically armed men is something which is extremely stupid..Its a pure luxury to fight such an enemy, no wear of air attacks, no wear of tanks coming towards you, you know their bullets from ak47 wont reach you where you stand, while your missiles will...Its not a war, but a luxury against terrorism."

    Colonel,
    Yes, there is no worry of aircraft or tanks, but not every Allied soldier sits on a base where the AK-47 can not reach. Warfighters on patrol deal with the very real dangers of small arms fire, not to mention IEDs, EFPs, mines, and mortars. Even those on bases occasionally have to worry about mortars.

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  • 55. At 6:30pm on 12 Nov 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Yes, there is no worry of aircraft or tanks, but not every Allied soldier sits on a base where the AK-47 can not reach. Warfighters on patrol deal with the very real dangers of small arms fire, not to mention IEDs, EFPs, mines, and mortars. Even those on bases occasionally have to worry about mortars.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    If ussr had this advantage, this luxury, it would have occupied and had the job completed in the first few years, which they were actually about to do, until usa supplied their enemies with stinger missiles..and other privliges, including safe havens in pakistan, where mujahedin had their families and could come for rest, espcially in the winters..drinking green tea and eating lamb and afghani naan bread..and after than eat peanuts and other nuts, and dried fruit..And come spring, they would march back to fight..After the warm winter gear provided to them courtesy refugee aid package, they didnt have to stop fighting in winters..they just took small breaks when they needed some..or when they started to miss their families, or when their wives sent them messages of "enough is enough, either you take a break or" I will not complete the sentence...because I am afraid of the wives..

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  • 56. At 10:28pm on 12 Nov 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    I think that President Obama's speech was well done and appropriate for the occasion given the memorial day holiday and the Ft. Hood massacre.
    As for members of the military being the heroes of Americans, why is anybody surprised at this? And why should they be our heroes?
    Those people are our fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters, and they have enlisted to defend us and our way of life.
    I don't believe this to be a new phenomenon either because Americans have always loved our military heroes. Think about how many through history have been elected governors, senators, and presidents dating all the way back to Washington the military hero of the Revolution. And just because Memorial Day is relatively new, though it's decades old now, doesn't mean that we didn't honor the defenders of the Republic.

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  • 57. At 01:30am on 13 Nov 2009, Brad wrote:

    Ref#55

    Colonel,

    In your comment from #11, you implied that individuals of the Allied forces in Afghanistan have nothing to fear from the enemy because they do not have tanks, aircraft, and missiles. This is untrue.

    Ref#56

    Bienvenue,

    11 November is Veteran's day in the US, memorial day is in the Springtime. Personally, I think that they should be switched - what with 11 November also being Armistice day.

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  • 58. At 05:18am on 13 Nov 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    You're right, I switch them by mistake.
    Sorry for the mix up. I guess I had both holidays on my mind today.

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  • 59. At 1:10pm on 13 Nov 2009, joe bo wrote:

    no comments regarding the "complete and total withdrawal" promised to the believers?
    Isnt that what American liberals and 51% were buying with this "president" instead we have a fiscal disaster perpetuated by horrendous idiotic unsustainable borrowing accompanied by a side order of rising unemployment and our military remains in service to other countries...where are the Obama demonstrators and legions of fans know that its time to fulfill the campaign promise? Oh right at the trough feeding on the tax payers expense!

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  • 60. At 1:51pm on 13 Nov 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #59 Joe Bo

    What's with the "President" in speech marks? Are you talking about Bush II?

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  • 61. At 3:46pm on 13 Nov 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    [Sorry for the long post, folks. Text Happens.]

    Dearest ArizonaGal (25.),

    'Peace I give to you - not as the world gives, give I to you, but God's Peace I give to you.*'

    My son just celebrated a birthday.
    I cannot imagine what it'd be like to lose him.

    In my family, my sister and I are the only two who have not worked for the government &/or carried weapons 'to serve and protect'. (Even my mom served overseas for a time.) I admire and respect that my beloved, and so many others, sacrifice their personal safety for the safety of others, suffer so that others don't have to, and have buried close friends and peers.

    In fact, remember that VA Sniper that was executed this week? Well my dad's a retired Arlington Cop. So, when that sniper was out there and everyone was afraid of random-senseless-death, he (and many others) donned a local PD uniform and stood watch over public schools. He literally stood outside - in the open - without cover - next to a squad car hoping that a sniper would shoot an old cop instead of kids going to school.

    -- most folks just don't realize that wearing a uniform makes you a target, and that people know this when they put that uniform on. Why do they do this? Because someone has to stand in between violence and the innocent.

    In a perfect world, there would be no war.
    This is not a perfect world.

    Personally, I walk in that awkward place in which I am an anti-war pacifist, but I truly and deeply respect the sacrifices made by all of our brave souls who wear uniforms and work tirelessly for our safety. (It's a strange socio-political & philosophical place to live, but I rather like my particular flavor of chosen insanity.)

    And, I hear your frustration with blog dialog. People tend to blog in order to present their own opinions, to preach rather than to learn. It's easy for people to become angry and critical at faceless words, rather than share respectful thoughts with other humans. That's why I tend to dance on the perimeter of blog dialogue. I've gone toe-to-toe with angry bloggers before, and I find it useless. I have more important things to do right now... like earn a buck and raise my sons.

    Which reminds me again of your loss. You realize far more than most of us that the losses of war are great. I have to work to wrap my brain around the horrors of war - the sons lost, the children in central Africa turned into warrior-slaves, people raped in SEAsia and Africa in order to humiliate and control them, the families starving in North Korea, the Janitors Secretaries and Cops who died in NY and the children, mothers, brothers and sons who are afraid for their lives in Afghanistan.

    When we consider the globe our village, all these people are our cousins. I believe in Justice and Equality, but I also believe in Peace.

    So - may you find Peace, even when our world seems to be in short supply of it. My brother lived in AZ for some years. I could only visit him a few short times, but your mountains and desserts are truly beautiful and I still treasure my trinkets from Phoenix and Prescott. It's hard to think about war and suffering when I remember the big sky and majestic horizons of Arizona. I think that's why I love it so much in the great south west. It's peaceful.

    With much love and deepest respect for you and yours,
    Philly-Mom

    __________
    *it's paraphrased and I can't remember the reference. sry.

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  • 62. At 4:20pm on 13 Nov 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    BTW et al

    You know, I find it sad when intelligent non-Americans seem to think that everyone in the USA lives like John Wayne. I actually happen to like his movies, but they are totally unrealistic fiction.

    Meanwhile, I'm on a philly-local mail-serv and get emails every day about the uncounted dead among our troops and among civilians. See - only US Solders who die in combat make it to the public death tolls. What about those two US soldiers who recently went MIA after trying to fish a supply drop out of flooded Afghani water? They don't make popular news.

    I hear about weekly prayer meetings for peace.
    I hear from angry pacifists who feel under-represented in government.
    I hear about peace rallies and peace marches.
    I hear about non-violent crisis intervention workshops for local folks working for peace in our cities.

    Not everyone in the USA shoots first and asks questions later.

    Heck, the only people I know with guns are cops, feds, and rural dwellers who hunt deer and turkey.

    We have many honorable heroes, but I know of none who wear studded holsters and pearl-handled six shooters. so sry.

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  • 63. At 5:49pm on 13 Nov 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    62:
    I understand your frustration, however, the story 'bout soldiers who went missing is not a good example for your argument.
    It was all over the news precisely because they vanished in remote western Afghanistan and were thought to have drowned. I don't know if the story made it to the evening broadcasts on the traditional big 3, but it certainly made it to the headlines on CNN and Fox-I watched both channels cover the story at 2 different times during the day.

    Few people in the US ever want or seek war, but war fell in our lap back in 2001 and we had to act. That is why I still think of the Afghan war as the one that really matters; Iraq was and is a sideshow that is thankfully now going our way as we prepare to leave.

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  • 64. At 7:07pm on 13 Nov 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Phillymom. Nice posts.
    thank you.

    As to guns. probablynot in philly but last night I went to meet a group of blacksmiths 9in orgon) and I could have been forgiven thinking I had arrived in a battlezone. Ar 15 sniper scopes, AK 47 "pistol" hand guns etc.

    Compared to the UK that is a lot of weapons to be seeing at a smack the metal meet.
    But boys and toys, ( half are Vets just back. the pacifist teaching the warriors to make tools. But they want to make blades.
    So we do.

    Those that accuse me of disrespecting the troops better not say it o those lads.I'll be able to sit back and watch.

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  • 65. At 00:37am on 14 Nov 2009, DixieNana wrote:

    Most of you guys wouldn't know the truth if it smacked you in the face. I've tried to be understanding. After all, my long ago roots are from England. But you seem to be just a bunch of America resenters and haters (and that includes our US apologizers). You can't conceive of the freedom we have here and why we fight so hard to keep it that way. As a young girl many years ago, I knew in my heart that if I wanted it enough, and had the gumption to go after it with all my heart, it would be possible to be elected president of the country. I discussed it with my director (a black man) at a university where I worked and he, too, had felt, and still felt that same way. We were both in our sixties and we had learned a little American history before it was rewritten by people like you. I am proud of our veterans. I am proud of the American Way. We don't like to see people oppressed; we'd like everyone to be as blessed as we are. That's why so much American blood has soaked the soil of battlefields far from home. And what do these brave guys get from you? Lots of abuse and very little thanks. God Bless America's Vets.

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  • 66. At 02:49am on 14 Nov 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    For the record, Mr.Obama is doing only what is forced on him to do, No, More No Less. All of his speeches infer that it is the will of the American people, not his. If it goes wrong, hey, it was your idea. I have been keeping track of his language closely and that is what I understand. What I didn't understand was, his lack of regard for the many voices that were and still are in opposition to some of the health care issues. When we are spending,no less than 500 million dollars a month for the 60 thousand soldiers(Americans) over in Afghanistan. That is about 60 billion a year, for those troops. I don't know how much for the drones and other bombs and whatever. It is either thrown away in this region or subtracted from home affairs. I don't think it matters much since if it wasn't war it would be the politicians and feds etc, helping themselves to some of that funding anyway. Yet we holler and scream at a few illegal aliens from Mexico or somewhere else that have been here all along and have never blew up amything except for the price of some health care. We didn't want the jocs they were doing before, but now that Washington has stolen all the money from its citizens we blame other things. Sure we want that job or no we don't want it, just as long as they don't get it. Because god forbid they should advance themselves and be able to subsist, they may buy themselves some actually good clothes or houses like the ones true Americans have. The government and the politicians want to continue to drain your blood and want to dom it in a way you find agreeable, gently and with good manners. So don't argue with Barney frank because you would be a kitchen table. China now has taken a moderate amount of our national debt which just about makes them owners so to speak of a piece of the US. They did this to help out with this economy. They know how to invest and do so all over the world. They help when the US tells others no. Also if anyone id responsible for the Guantanamo detainees being water boarding, it is not Obama, it is Bush. That is why now they will face the justice system for their participation in crimes against the US. Aren't we in a world of crap? I write to the white house at times and always get that crappy response where there are grateful and will personally respond and it is all bologna. The lights are on and no one is home. The patriotic act doesn't work anymore. Not when the people know better than to do the wrong things in the name of patriotism.

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