Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Another exciting day in the desert for me. I got my second anthrax shot today. I have to get another in 2 weeks. They do hurt a bit, but I can't see what all the fuss is about. It's hard to believe that some people threw away their military careers over that.

I see that the White House has relented and Dr. Rice will be testifying before the 9/11 commission. It's a shame that they were bullied into breaking precedent, but I have a feeling that the administration's critics won't have much to celebrate when all is said and done. If any of those folks try to play hardball with Dr. Rice, I have a feeling that she'll make them wish they never laced up their cleats.

Monday, March 29, 2004

I'm finally starting to get into a routine here. So far it's not too bad. I do miss my wife and kids, though. Thank God for email and phone cards. The only hard part about calling home is the eight hour time difference. Fortunately, I often work late into the night here, so I can call home when I get off shift. Tomorrow I have to make it a point to get up early so I can get my next anthrax shot. I have to say that it's one of the more painful vaccinations I've had.

I've been reading about the 9/11 hearings going on back home. There are some serious issues that have to be examined. Unfortunately, I think that they will all wind up with people trying to gain political advantage with the results. Had President Bush taken preemptive action against AQ and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the left would have gone ballistic, like they have over the war in Iraq. Those folks won't allow us to move until the other side has moved first, but they scream for someone's head if the other guy's move wasn't prevented. You just can't win with some people.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

I checked out the MWR center on base today. It isn't too bad, all things considered. They have a ton of workout equipment, a game room, and items that can be borrowed ranging from books and videos to exercise equipment and board games. They try to take pretty good care of us here. The food in the dining facility isn't bad (as military dining facilities go) and there is an abundance of it. If anything, I'll have to be careful not to gain weight while I'm here. I'm still on track with my exercise program, so hopefully that won't be a problem. I'm anxious to get off base and see what the rest of the country looks like. Hopefully, I'll be able to make that happen in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Well, I finally made it. I'm here in the sandbox. Qatar, to be more specific. I've been here for about a week. It took about 19 hours to get here from the U.S. (including layovers). My trip started with a snag. The flight from my home airport to Washington was delayed due to a sudden snowstorm. Consequently, I missed my connection. This lead to a 4 hour layover at Dulles. I caught another flight and caught the rotator flight overseas on time. I started inprocessing the day after I arrived. Then I had to learn the specifics of my job here. I'm hoping to establish a routine soon. I'm trying to exercise every day. That seemed to help beat the jet lag. Many of the people here have been here awhile. Some have even been extended well beyond their original tours. In spite of this, everyone still seems enthusiastic and highly motivated.

I plan to post here most days, time permitting. Hopefully, I'll have something interesting to say.

Monday, March 15, 2004

It's been awhile since I've posted. Departure time is drawing near. I've been buying the things I think I'm going to need while I'm in the desert. My unit has begun issuing me the required gear. Most importantly, I'm taking care of all those personal things that need doing before I deploy. A couple of days ago, I reviewed my workload with my supervisor at my civilian job. On my way home, it really began to set in; I'm going away to war. I probably won't be near the combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, but I hope to play an important (if small) role in winning the war on terrorism. Then again, we all play small roles. We are, after all, just cogs in the giant military machine. Hopefully, I'll only be gone for a few months. Then again, there are no guarantees. Either way, this will be a kind of adventure for me; something different from the routine.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

It was only a matter of time. It apears that I am "sandbox" bound in the near future. In other words, it looks as if I am going to the Middle East soon. When you are a reservist, this type of thing is always in the back of your mind. Surprisingly, I managed to make it through Desert Storm without being called up. Having been recently discharged from active duty at the time, I was mentally prepared to go. My old unit went. By then, someone else had taken my place there. For years, I regretted not going. It was like I had practiced with the team for several seasons, but quit just before they finally scheduled a game. They won the game ( a blowout, actually). I was happy for them, to be sure, but was sorry that I had to see it on TV rather than being there to take part. War, of course, is no game. I am no would-be hero. I am in no hurry to get killed, or to kill anyone else. I do, however, feel the need to do my part. I have believed from the beginning that ousting Saddam was the right thing to do. Now it is time to put my money where my mouth is.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Some words of advice for President Bush from some experts in political campaign ads.

Dear President Bush,

We have been following the controversy surrounding one of your television ads. We feel it would be in the best interest of your campaign and the country to avoid such controversies in the future. To assist you in this matter, we have drawn up the following guidelines for campaign ads:
-Avoid ads that discuss 9/11, terrorism, or national security (these tend to scare people).
-Avoid ads that criticize your opponent's legislative record as this tends to promote partisanship.
-Avoid ads that criticize your opponent's conduct after returning from Vietnam (it was such a long time ago, after all).
-Avoid ads that question your opponent's decisiveness. Some issues are just too complicated to take only one side.
-If your opponent criticizes you for taking too many vacations, fight the temptation to point out that he has missed almost every vote in the Senate this year. Doing so would make you look vindicative.
-Don't air ads that imply that your opponent would make a less than wonderful president. Too judgmental.
-Don't air ads that state or imply that you are better qualified for the job. Too arrogant.
-Don't air ads that outline your economic policies. Your opponent may not have any, and ads like this would make it look like you are gloating.
-Don't reply to anything you may perceive as negative that your opponent may say about you. Just smile and appear gracious.

If you follow the above guidelines, this year's election will be a positive experience for everyone. Remember, it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. Good luck.

Your friends at the DNC.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

According to a story linked at the Drudge Report US Spec Op forces are closing in on bin Laden. This is good news, to be sure. The question that remains, however, is what happens after bin Laden is captured or killed? Modern American culture tends to fixate on personalities. We choose our leaders based as much on their charisma as on their qualifications (just ask Joe Leiberman). We spend millions of dollars on tabloids that tell us what our favorite celebrities are up to. Once bin Laden is out of the picture, will many Americans see the war on terror as being over? Was our endgame "getting" bin Laden from the beginning? Will many of us view this war as if it were a game of Stratego where the game is over when we have catured the enemy's flag? Sadly, I fear that there are those who will fall into this trap. Unfortunately, bin Laden's capture or demise will not signal the end of the war. We are not at war with one man, or even one organization. The extremists who follow bin Laden will soldier on without him. New leaders will emerge and new terrorist organizations will form. We will have to continue to take the war to the terrorists. There is no quick end to a war of attrition. The exit strategy for such a war is simple: outlive your enemy.

Friday, March 05, 2004

It comes as no surprise that the Pres got battered over his first campaign ad since Kerry wrapped up the nomination. It seems that the families (at least a couple of them) of victims of the WTC attack on 9/11 are upset about the use of footage of the aftermath of the attack in an ad. Two women who lost loved ones in the attack made the rounds of the cable news shows last night attacking the president over this ad. On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh played sound bites from their appearances. There were some striking similarities to their phrasing. Go to his site and check it out.

Personally, I don't think it was inappropriate to use the images, as long as it was tastefully done. The war on terrorism is the most important issue facing the country. It seems that too many people have forgotten 9/11. It has somehow been relegated to the "ancient history" pile. After I thought about the issue of the campaign ad for awhile, I searched out some video on the web of the second plane hitting the tower and of the towers collapsing. At first it didn't seem real, like I was watching the latest Hollywood action movie. Once I reminded myself that there were really people on those planes, and in those buildings, it brought back some emotions that I hadn't experienced in a long time. I think the whole country needs to be reminded of 9/11 periodically. It can keep us focused on what we're facing. Losing that focus is the surest way to lose this war.I

Welcome to the Noble Eagle blog, a place where I can rant, rave, and opine. If I can't have my own talk radio show, at least I can have a place on the web to vent.

A little about me: I am a veteran of the US military and a current member of the reserves. I live with my wife and children (and my annoying dog) in the northeastern US. My politics lean toward the right, my musical tastes toward rock and roll (especially alternative and hard rock), and I can never find enough time to see all of the movies I want to.

Why "Noble Eagle"? I spent the better part of 2002 on active duty for Operation Noble Eagle (ONE). ONE is the homeland defense component of the war on terrorism. I'll probably spend a fair amount of time discussing the war on terrorism in this blog. It is, in my opinion, the most important challenge facing our country today.

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