Maybe it's the rain we've been having in California, it is relentless. I know we Californians are usually so chirpy about our weather, and we admit we are spoiled and we pay good money to live here. My favorite game in the winter is to call friends and relatives back east and ask, oh so sweetly, "so how cold did you say it is? And snow, too? nooooo, you can't be serious...." But we're just downright grumpy about the state of our skies today. When will this rain end?
Maybe it's the stories from the White House that are downright scary. I can't decide if they are laughing their asses off at us or if they really just don't care. Maybe both, probably both. If you don't hear the deafening sounds of the drum beat of war in Iran, you're just not listening. PAY ATTENTION! Bush said the idea that Iran would be the next U.S. military target as "pure speculation" Listen folks, that's what he told us even as they were drawing up war plans for Iraq. Thankfully,
54% said they did not trust him to "make the right decision about whether we should go to war with Iran
Retired Generals & Colonels are finally crawling out from under their rocks and are speaking up about how how badly it is to going in Iraq and calling for Rumsfeld's resignation. Retired Major General John Baptiste, who commanded the Big Red One, the Army's 1st Infantry Division in Iraq until November,said:
"You know, it speaks volumes that guys like me are peaking out from retirement about the leadership climate in the Department of Defense," Batiste told CNN. "I believe we need a fresh start in the Pentagon. We need a leader who understands teamwork, a leader who knows how to
build teams, a leader that does it without intimidation," said Batiste, a West Point graduate who also served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
"When decisions are made without taking into account sound military recommendations, sound military decision-making, sound planning - then we're bound to make mistakes," he said.
Rumsfeld has offered to resign more than once, but Bush won't think of it. Bush is telling us Rummy's doing a heckuva job and we know what that means! When Bush spoke to the country back in December,2005 he said We will continue to listen to honest criticism, and make every change that will help us complete the mission. Yet there is a difference between honest critics who recognize what is wrong, and defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right about He's not listening, he never listens. I don't mean to be disrespectful to these Generals but where were they 4 years ago? Why didn't they fall on their swords then? How many lives would have been saved if they cared more about their soldiers instead of their retirement?
The news out of Iraq isn't getting any better. Baghdad is not safe for anyone these days and murder,assassination and kidnapping are the words of the day. There have been 3 times as many American casualties half way through April than ALL of March. Bush tells his audiences, the handpicked ones, he's optimistic about Iraq, we've also seen signs of a hopeful future. The sad thing is he's lying again or he really believes what he's saying and that means he's terribly out of touch with reality.
Maybe it's the voices on the tapes from the cockpit recorder from Flight 93 to SFO on 9/11 that are so gutwrenching, more in hindsight than what we knew then. But if these guys are repeating "Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest" as they prepare to take down an airliner with 44 people aboard, including the 4 hijackers, do they really think that Allah will greet them with open arms? Not any religion I know about. Love thy neighbor works for me, even if you don't like someone very much. There's a bumper sticker going around that says "When Jesus said, "Love your enemies", I think he probably meant don't kill them.
Maybe it was 2 years ago that my only child, Lt Ken Ballard was ready to come home from his hellish year in Iraq. He had done his job, and just when we were putting on those final touches to the Welcome home party, 1st Armor Division was extended for 120 days more of hell. Except, I didn't know at the time the meaning of hell. Everyday from now until May 30, I can tell you this was the day Ken was in battle here or there, this was the day when he sent this photo, this was the day we talked about his 1 month of block leave, this was the day I got that letter. So all these milestone days are coming up on me, more like a tsunami than a flood. Your mind can't control it and your heart doesn't want to. Because as painful as those memories are, Ken is not forgotten. On Memorial Day this year I will be at Arlington National Cemetery again with family & friends to celebrate Ken's life and the 26 years that we had him in our lives. Ken will not be forgotten.
I spent a few hours last night looking at Ken's website, www.ltkenballard.com, looking at photos and reading comments people have left from all over the world. Ken's website is my project to insure that people will know who he was. Some nights the tears won't stop.
Maybe it's that I just read that one of the soldiers from Ken's unit was killed last week. I have been in fear of that since I heard they were back in Iraq back in January.
Pvt. Jody W. Missildine, 19, of Plant City, Fla., died in Tal Afar, Iraq, on April 8, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during convoy operations. Missildine was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Friedberg, Germany.Jody's family doesn't know what has hit them yet. Jody's body will be getting home to Florida this week, but they won't see a photo of his flag covered casket arriving at Dover AFB, because the Department of Defense has regulations that prevent those photos from being taken. It's for the privacy of the families they say. Another lie that they keep repeating hoping that we will believe it.
Yeah, I'm in a testy mood today, but I've earned it. We all have!