My concerns with the current state and use of the Guard and Reserves
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
As I look back over the past 34 years that I have proudly served my country in the National Guard I have seen the purpose, function, mission, and use of what used to be called the colonial militia change drastically. From president to president, from era to era, our role has evolved to where we are today, heavily dependant on those soldiers who choose to live dual lives; one as a civilian and another as a soldier.
Last year in December the National Guard celebrated its 367th birthday as one of the oldest fighting forces in the United States.
In the early years the colonial militia protected their fellow citizens from Indian attacks, foreign invaders, and later helped to win the Revolutionary War. Throughout the 19th century the size of the Regular Army was small and the militia provided the bulk of the troops during the Mexican War, the early months of the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War. Even during World War I the National Guard made up 40% of the U.S. combat divisions in France.
But over time as our full time soldiers grew in number the regular military took on more of the responsibility for fighting our fights. In the early seventies when the Vietnam War was still ragging, it was relatively uncommon for a guard unit to be activated; with only about 23,000 National Guardsmen activated, and only about 8,700 actually being deployed to Vietnam.
During most of my years in the Guard, as a Korean Linguist, units in Korea or Japan have been my unit’s capstone. Over the years I have been on over 30 or 40 military exercises in South Korea on my annual two week summer camp. I have participated in just about every kind of joint operation that has been conducted on the Korean peninsula, including the debriefing of numerous North Korean defectors.
During the 8 years of the Clinton administration I watched the systematic dismantling of the military, placing more and more of the responsibility on the National Guard and Reserves to fill in for our regular full time soldiers. I have watched as the regular military forces have been depleted, with more frequent call ups of the National Guard to places like Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Iraq, and Cuba.
I am concerned with this trend to rely more heavily on reserve forces to fill the ranks during times of national crisis or conflict. With the current state of our military, I am worried that in time of dire need we will not be able to muster the numbers needed to fight our countries battles; especially with the number of conflicts around the world increasing and our enemy’s numbers on the rise.
One of the problems over the years has been that the National Guard has not been equipped with the latest and greatest of our country’s weapons and equipment; the guard usually being issued seconds, leftovers, or hand-me-downs from the regular military. This is not a good position to be in if these items are vehicles or any other large equipment items.
This fact was made ever so clear to me as our National Guard unit arrived in Iraq without the same issue of equipment that the regular army had. Even after having to be issued many new pieces of personal gear, we still lacked in some key items (I never was issued the newer body armor and additional steel plates).
It was actually better off for our unit to arrive in country without any equipment (as we did), forcing the regular army units to provide for our needs.
Due to the lack of understanding of our role in the world as the last remaining super power, due to the perpetual flow anti-military propaganda disseminated by the left, and due to all those who voted with President Clinton to cut the military’s budget by 50%, the regular full time military does not now have adequate forces to fulfill the demands of the ever changing world we live in.
I believe we have yet to see the full scope of our enemy’s power against us.
The forces of evil are massing as we speak within their secret organizations to wreak havoc amongst anything of the western world. I believe it will be proven over the course of the next few years that taking the battle to them, in their own backyard, was a stroke of genius.
As those of us that have recently returned from Iraq try to put our civilian lives back together, attempting to resume our careers if we still have one, there is still the possibility we will be activated again in the near future. As long as we remain in the Guard, there is now the ever increasing possibility that another deployment is just around the corner, perhaps every 2 to 3 years. How can we be uprooted every few years and still expect everything in our civilian life to just remain the same as if we had never left?
We are now paying the price for years of cut backs and loss of focus on what is transpiring in the world around us. Our enemies have been planning and conniving against us while we slept in our drunken abundance. We have lost our focus as we foolishly endeavor to do what is politically correct instead of doing what is morally right.
We have to be willing to pay the price to be the bastion of freedom and the defender of the rights of the oppressed of the world. Someone must stand up and man the post, to insure we remain secure to enjoy our freedoms.
At times it appears that many of us have become complacent, overindulging in our own freedoms, as we sit wondering now what has happened to the world as we mistakenly knew it. We have forgotten the price that was paid by so many that came before us and the close connection between freedom, the laws of man and the laws of God, and the responsibility we have to insure that others enjoy the same freedoms.
I am saddened by the loss of life during this conflict, but know it was for a just cause, hoping that we will stay the course until we have completed our mission, so that their loss may not be in vain.
Think about it.
Posted by Chief Wiggles Wednesday, 28 July 2004 | Comments (4)
Political Discussion or Professional Wrestling?
Friday, July 23, 2004
Is it a discussion or just entertainment?
While in an airport in between flights during a recent business trip, a nationally syndicated political program on the airport TV caught my attention. I paused just long enough to catch what seemed to be an all out in your face political argument. With its four hosts all nicely dressed in suites, two obviously on each side of the bipartisan debate, appearing to be professional, the program I am sure was initially designed to have these four men engage each other in some form of political discussion.
But, what I saw was far from a form of discussion, being more like professional wrestling with words; loud, obnoxious, rude, intrusive, and just noisy. The four commentators were each speaking ever louder and louder to be heard over the noise of the others, speaking almost simultaneously each with as much force and fervor as they could muster. This wasn’t even any type of high school tag team debate, but more a free for all, as if it was amateur wrestling night on the network.
The worst of it was that part of their meaningless discussion was over whether or not Al Gore would have made a better president than George Bush. Could you have picked a more senseless point? Get over the loss already.
I have noticed, whether it be on the news channels or the sports channels, that this type of argumentative debating, where each person continues to speak over the other, each trying to simultaneously get their opinion across, has become the more prevalent form of interaction. Have we regressed into thinking that loud simultaneous arguing has become the American people’s desired form of discussion.
Did I miss something along the way while I was in Iraq? What can we possible glean from this form of discussion? What is going on?
Has this now become the latest in reality TV programming; combat of the dueling words? Are we really not supposed to be learning anything from the discussions we are hearing, with the contentious debate being the actual entertainment of the evening? I would expect pretty soon we will have commentators of the commentators perhaps holding up score cards evaluating the performance of the combatants.
Personally as one that is trying to minimize contention and strife in my life, I find this type of forum repulsive and counterproductive. I enjoy a good debate where facts are discussed in an orderly fashion, each respectfully offering the other the chance to voice their own opinions. As long as the discussion is fair, honest, and balanced.
I have had it with our superficial meaningless one-sided programming, each with their bi-partisan twisted views, with their ulterior motives and personal agendas all in the name of news reporting. I have had enough of reality TV to see if people really can eat horse scrotums, of in your face arguing over differences of opinion, of negative bashing of our men and women in uniform, and of what I consider to be irresponsible reporting as they continue to take every opportunity to perpetuate any and all negative feelings that people in the world might have against Americans and our glorious country.
As I picked up the USA Today outside my hotel room, I casually compared the number of references made about Senator Kerry, about a dozen positive ones, to the references made about President Bush, one negative one. I was appalled at how obviously unbalanced it was and how apparently bi-partisan it had become.
I am disturbed at the level to which the media has stooped to discredit, slander, and basically lambaste President Bush, with what appears to be a consorted effort by the left to insure the success of Kerry in the upcoming election. Where are the facts about who these men are, what their voting records have been, what they really believe in, what they really have as their agenda, and where they really stand on the important issues at hand? Somebody please put aside all the political rhetoric and just lay out the facts on the table.
I know for a fact that while I have been in the Army National Guard for the past 34 years, I have personally witnessed the systematic dismantling of the US military during the Clinton years, where programs were scrapped, pay increases were voted against, and the military was in the worst possible condition, as he cut the defense budget in half. We are now paying the price for this neglect and budget cutting.
I also believe it to be factual that Senator Kerry has voted against almost every weapon or aircraft that we currently have in our arsenal that we used effectively in Operation Iraqi freedom. He has the most anti-military voting record in the Senate and has also historically voted against our intelligence community by voting to cut the intelligence budget three times. Where would we be today if he had gotten his wish?
All of this was recently outlined in the book “Reckless Disregard”, by Lt. Col. Robert Patterson. I would highly recommend reading this book.
Having direct knowledge from those at the prison, of what was going on at Abu Ghraib, yes, while I find the soldiers acts disgusting, I am even more appalled at the picture the news media attempts to paint regarding these acts, trying to imply that this was not an isolated incident, somehow indicative of how most military guards and interrogators behave. Where is the real story helping the American people and the rest of the world keep things in proper perspective?
At times I get the feeling that the media really is like the newspaper manager in “Spiderman”, who continually puts a negative twist on everything just to sell more papers, but in this case it is to get someone elected.
While not condoning the actions of a few of our soldiers who committed these atrocities, they pale in comparison to the way the rest of the world handles and interrogates prisoners. All you would have to do is watch the interrogation techniques of Danzel Washington in the movie “Man on fire”, to get an idea of how the rest of the world conducts interrogations. Talk to the Vietnamese about what they thought of the South Koreans during the Vietnam War, who they feared because of their ruthlessness. Talk to any Iraqi about what Saddam used to do in Abu Ghraib, the gruesome torturing, murder, raping, beheading, etc. Talk to the thousands of families of the Kurdish men killed in torture prisons in northern Iraq about how their loved ones were tortured and killed.
How is it that the news can focus more attention on the humiliations of the Abu Ghraib prison incident, than on the ruthless beheading of one of our own American citizens? (As they demanded for Rumsfield’s resignation with no demands or outrage for the perpetrators of the beheading).
I for one demand fair, honest, and balanced reporting of just the facts, nothing more and nothing less. I expect to have a full unlimited reporting of the actual findings, allowing me to form my own opinions and conclusions. I don’t need to be told what to think and what to believe. We should all ban together to form our own “no spin zone”, where the facts are displayed and the truth be known.
Annoyed and Upset
Posted by Chief Wiggles Friday, 23 July 2004 | Comments (5)
Our expanded mission at Operation Give
Monday, July 19, 2004
Our expanded mission at Operation Give.
As I attempted to visualize the direction of Operation Give I was reminded of an experience I had while delivering toys to children in the oncology ward of a children’s hospital in downtown Baghdad. It was as if a light went on as the picture became clear, as I reflected on the details of that event. It came to me how the mission of Operation Give needed to evolve, enlarging our scope and broadening our reach. My desires were the same and hadn’t changed, just the method by which we could make things happen following the wise counsel of the old adage, “it is better to teach a man how to fish, then to give him a fish”.
While I was busily engaged in handing out toys to children in the hospital a man came running up to me, obviously upset about something. He was loudly yelling something at me in Arabic in a discernibly emotional tone, which caused me to stop what I was doing long enough to question my interpreter about his remarks.
He was claiming that they don’t need toys; toys aren’t the solution we should be bringing them he said. Toys aren’t going to do anything to heal, cure, or treat these children obviously suffering greatly from lack of medical assistance. He has a son dieing from leukemia in the hospital; desperately in need of treatment.
I felt his pain and agreed with his emotionally packed words; concurring with his demand for help. I went closer to him so that I might put a comforting arm around his shoulders, hoping to console him to some degree. I apologized for only bringing toys, but promised him that someone would be along to provide the necessary treatment in the near future.
As I reflected back on this incident it came to me what needed to happen. We need to offer long term solutions for happiness to the children of this nation. We also needed to offer solutions on a much larger scale involving more people to reach an ever increasing number of more children. The toys are great and will continue to serve a purpose, but the happiness experienced from them is fleeting, only momentary. I realized we needed to offer happiness with longevity, perhaps happiness for a life time.
Along with this realization came, the other day, a world renowned neurosurgeon volunteering to help fulfill this dream of mine. He is willing to travel to Baghdad to perform a number of surgeries on children in desperate need of assistance, putting himself in harms way to do so. Not only could he then help provide long-term aid for these children, but he could work with and train Iraqi surgeons to do the same after he has returned back home.
I then realized that it was possible to make this happen. We could, with our team of doctors in Iraq, and with a team of doctors from America put together a program of long term medical care and treatment for children in Iraq, which would include treatment, surgery, training, educating, and providing the necessary equipment for many patients and many doctors. We could arrange for American doctors to go back and forth and Iraqi doctors to travel back and forth as they learned the procedures and became proficient enough to then treat hundreds of children themselves. We could also facilitate the movement, where necessary, of children who could either be treated in Iraq when possible or in America if necessary.
This program would allow us to offer solutions with long term results; bringing happiness to a child or a generation of children for a life time. This is the mission of Operation Give, to give happiness and hope to a whole generation of children, in dire need of help.
Years of war have been terribly damaging to the children of Iraq and other war torn countries; with no shortage of children injured by the bullets, bombs, and explosions. With our team of people in Iraq, with our contacts in the military hospitals, and with numerous volunteers of doctors in the states, we can make this a reality. We can do it.
This is our vision and our direction.
Posted by Chief Wiggles Monday, 19 July, 2004 | Comments (1)
Mountain Rain, Why we went to Iraq, Operation Give
Saturday, July 17, 2004
Once again I have escaped from the constant pull of my normal distraction filled life, to find solace in the quiet surroundings of the Jordanelle Reservoir, hoping to gather my thoughts and feelings of this past week. As lightening sporadically lights up the evening sky followed by the subsequent sounds of thunder reverberating throughout the Rocky Mountains, the soothing sound of falling rain accompanied with the cool mountain breezes, calms every part of my being. I settle into the pillow like cushioning of this reclining chair, feeling the smooth leather against the bare skin of my legs. All of this seemingly contributing to the overall sense of at one-ment with my environment; allowing my mind to focus on what seems to me to be inspired ideas and thoughts. (As lightening flashed atop a not too distant mountain, the crackling sound of thunder shook the condo windows). The readers of my words might not agree with what I consider to be inspiration, but my written words teach me more about myself thus enabling me to benefit significantly more than anyone else. This process of formulating ideas and concepts helps to solidify and internalize these into principles, as they become a part of my inner belief system.
At a recent weekend military gathering of my fellow weekend warriors and returned Iraqi comrades, I had the opportunity to chat in semi-private surroundings with certain individuals I respect and admire. One person in particular in passing touched on a few ideas that caused me to wonder what perhaps might be the rest of the story. Having sparked my interest, when the opportunity arose, I pulled him aside to ask him what he meant by his comments from the day before.
I was somewhat surprised to hear that he had been pulled over to, what I consider to be, the dark side presented by the media, that of negativity and the overall meaninglessness of our military action in Iraq. I was somewhat taken back by his remarks, but not surprised given the fact that he never was in a situation where he was able to interact with a real Iraqi person, to hear their inner most true feelings about our presence in their country. He spent his year for the most part inside the secure confides of one or more of our bases, set up to provide a totally controlled environment for our soldiers, not unlike any other base in the world. For all he knew he might have been in Kansas, or Cuba, or Kosovo, having no first hand knowledge of the vary people he had come to save. I say this not to belittle his participation, but only to understand the nature of his experience, so totally opposite from mine and to understand his perspective.
He voiced his concerns over having not found any weapons of mass destruction, or smoking gun (obviously unaware of all the signs and indicators leading us to believe that for sure Saddam had the know-how, the technology, the equipment, the motive, and the experience to create them). He was also concerned about the findings of the senate hearings that did not establish any direct connection between Saddam and the terrorist attacks of 9-11, thus ignoring all the indicators and signs that established Saddam’s connection and relationship to terrorism in general.
After listening intently to his seemingly superficial comments, I began what I consider to be a higher level response to those allegations. I say this humbly with all due respect to his right to his opinion, but none the less these words begged to be spoken. If only more people could grasp the true essence of these words, allowing their minds to be enlightened by those of us who witnessed and experienced the true purpose of our involvement first hand. I hope that each of you will, if you haven’t already, try to understand what this conflict is really all about and once you begin to grasp even the slightest degree of vision of this, you can share that vision with others.
I know for a fact that the majority of the military personnel, including myself, did not base our belief in this conflict around whether or not we uncovered the WMD, or the smoking gun as it was referred to. It wasn’t the pivotal point determining our success or our failure in Operation Iraqi freedom, appropriately named for what we were really fighting for. From the very beginning our purpose was clear, our mission identified, and our overall abiding reasons for engagement were not lost in misguided bi-partisan political rhetoric. The military was not bogged down in a dark cloud of uncertainty surrounding the proverbial discussion of connections and ties, or smoking guns and WMD’s.
I had a firm conviction that this was about the Iraqi people and a chance for them to be free from the ever controlling torturous hands of Saddam Hussein. We had given them high hopes in times past, as we made advances appearing to come to their rescue only to pull away when popular international opinion forced us to abandon our plans. We stood idly by while we watched Saddam murder thousands of Iraqis and Kurdish people who in good faith had risen up showing their defiance only to be squished by their murderous leader.
Ye,s perhaps this was about securing the life blood of the world economy, namely oil, to prevent it from being held hostage by a self serving ruthless dictator who continued to squander the nation’s riches to suit his evil desires of murder, rape, and all manner of wrong doings. This was about stability for all, for the betterment of the world, to insure that our system continued to provide jobs, income, and opportunities to the masses of the world family.
But even these reasons do not convey the overriding belief system that propelled me into the life experiences I encountered around each and every corner, changing me forever. I was driven by a higher force, continually manifesting its influence to me each step of the way; enlightening my mind, enhancing my abilities, and broadening my horizons. I was fortunate to have witnessed the divine intervention of a superior power that guided my every step, bringing about a sequence of interconnected events that could not have happened by chance.
I saw things happen in a variety of miraculous ways, ruling out any possibility of intervention by any other power or force. Hurdles were overcome, obstacles removed, paths were cleared, and more than anything else people were changed by the ever present power of the being in charge. Hearts were touched by the pure love of Christ, with every generous offer of kindness and with every concerned act. Military people from all walks of life and from all parts of our country repeatedly stepped out of themselves to display pure love, real empathy, and sincere concern for the people of Iraq.
Many of us took our so called mission to heart, that of winning the hearts and minds of these people. We knew that we could free them from the chains of bondage they lived in, but we could also assist them in knowing what to do with this freedom as responsible citizens. We could show them the way to putting others first, the way to sharing the freedoms we enjoy, so that everyone benefits, not just a few. Through our random acts of kindness we started to show the people of Iraq what Americans are really all about.
I was able to experience the pure appreciation of these people, as they shared their homes, their food, and their possessions with me. I felt of their love, tasted of their hospitality, and saw through their eyes into their inner soul to see their fears, their concerns, their weaknesses, and more importantly their inner desires for their children’s future. I heard them openly express their love for us as fellow brothers and sisters to them, with hope for a brighter future now that Saddam is gone.
I was always aware of how my path was prepared before me, noticing the intertwined sequence of events that preceded my arrival at any given station. I saw the hand of the almighty as it touched individual’s hearts, softening their countenance and opening their eyes, to the end that many things moved smoothly along to fruition, totally unexpectedly. I first hand witnessed miracle after miracle occur as I traveled around that country.
I knew that the success of this operation was not in any of our hands; for we were only tools in the master’s hands to bring about his desired results, with some bigger picture in mind. It was not our vision but his we were pursuing. There was much outside of our sight as we moved forward into unknown areas, hoping that as imperfect beings our successes would out weigh our mistakes. Hoping that as common men we could in some way be uncommon men, with special abilities, to bring about the long term development of these people.
Another Operation Give opportunity
A small city north of Salt Lake City, Utah, named Ogden, in celebration of Pioneer Days, is having a parade next Saturday on the 24th of July. In conjunction with this they have decided to promote the cause of Operation Give by asking people to bring donations to the parade so they can be placed inside a FedEx truck parked strategically at the front of the parade route.
I would like to ask each and every person attending the parade please bring a donation of school supplies, toys, shoes, or whatever else you have to add to our pile of donated items. We would really appreciate it.
This is a great cause which each of you can participate. You too can as common people can do uncommon things. As Ryan Shepherd recently stated “People sell themselves short and don’t think they’re capable of achieving their wildest dreams. If we’re children of God and he is infinite, then our potential is limitless.”
Lets all take the step to make our dreams possible.
Have a great day
Doing it the wiggles way.
Posted by Chief Wiggles Saturday, 17 July, 2004 | Comments (3)
Operation Give Drive in Utah!
Friday, July 16, 2004
The next Operation Give drive will be set into motion this coming Monday. It will end the last of August.
During this drive, we will be collecting items for hygiene kits, things like shampoo, combs, brushes, bars of soap, hand towels and the like. Of course, we will continue to collect toys for the children!
We wish to thank Andrea Ivie, owner of Aspen Salons, for offering her salons as drop-off places for the drive. Beyond that, she has organized groups to sort all of the items and get them ready to ship.
Items from this drive will be earmarked for the children and adults of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Click here to see the details. (.pdf file)
Posted by Plunge Friday, 16 July 2004 | Comments (0)
Another Soldier Blogging
Thursday, July 15, 2004
This one is just now waiting to head over to the sand box.
We wish him well.
You can read about his adventure here.
Operation Give problem resolved
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
It looks as if the Operation Give problem with Atlas Lines has been resolved.
You may stop calling and emailing them.
The power of Blogs is AWESOME!
Posted by Plunge Wednesday, 14 July 2004 | Comments (5)
The Chief to be on NBC
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
The Chief will be on NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw either Wednesday or Thursday night. They aren’t certain at this time. A 3-4 minute segment, don’t miss it!
UPDATE: NBC has informed us that the segment will air on Thurday evening.
UPDATE II: It has been delayed again. We are now waiting to find out when it will air.
Winds of Change (as seen on our blogroll) has been a HUGE supporter of the Chief and Operation Give. Because of this, we wish to support them in a worthy cause that they have started.
Click here to read more.
Posted by Plunge Tuesday, 13 July 2004 | Comments (1)
New Addition to Blogroll
Saturday, July 10, 2004
It has been a while since we’ve added someone to the blogroll. This addition should have happened long ago.
Welcome to Michelle Malkin. Michelle is a wonderful writer. I hope you enjoy her as much as we have!
I am horrified
Friday, July 09, 2004
I never, never thought this would happen again. I thought we were beyond this, I thought we respected our soldiers, no matter if we supported the war or not.
I was wrong.
That’s when Jason Gilson, a 23-year-old military veteran who served in Iraq, marched in the local event. He wore his medals with pride and carried a sign that said “Veterans for Bush.”
Walking the parade route with his mom, younger siblings and politically conservative friends, Jason heard words from the crowd that felt like a thousand daggers to the heart.
To understand why the reaction of strangers hurt so much, you must read what the young man had written in a letter from Iraq before he was disabled in an ambush:
“I really miss being in the states. Some of the American public have no idea how much freedom costs and who the people are that pay that awful price. I think sometimes people just see us as nameless and faceless and not really as humans. … A good portion of us are actually scared that when we come home, for those of us who make it back, that there will be protesters waiting for us and that is scary.”
My heart and soul goes out to this young man, this hero.
God bless you, may he ease the pain in your heart.
Posted by Plunge Friday, 09, July 2004 | Comments (8)
Appalled, Operation Give Team in Iraq
Friday, July 09, 2004
I am appalled
I cannot believe how low Kerry and his supporters will stoop to smear President Bush’s name, for their own gain. Today’s report of Kerry’s celebrity mud-slinging- fest is just one more indication that they will stop at nothing to get Kerry into the Whitehouse. I am appalled that they find it necessary to use slander as a campaign strategy; resorting to falsely accusing the president of murdering those soldiers that have died in this conflict.
Why don’t those that question the president’s motives ask the soldiers that proudly went to Iraq to do our duty, to complete our mission; in the end that one of our most viable foes might be eliminated, that the Iraqi people might be freed, that we might take the fight against terrorism to their backyard away from our own soil, and that we might stabilize that region of the world which holds the key to the life blood of the world economy.
Why is it that we, the soldiers of this country, who have put our lives on the line, proudly support the president in his decision to take preemptive action against Saddam Hussein? Why is it that we have not come forward to speak out in mass against our commander and chief, who has sent us to be in harms way?
I believe we understand the bigger picture and the overall importance of this action for the Iraqi people, the Middle East, and for the world. We believe in the cause, knowing that this is just part of a master plan, orchestrated by a superior power that sees the end from the beginning. We understand our role as the world’s last remaining super power to be the bastion of freedom, the stronghold of equality, and the defender of human rights, desiring that all share in the pursuit of individual happiness. Who else is going to insure that the evil forces of bondage and hatred do not spread like wildfire throughout the world, impacting those that cannot fend for themselves?
Have we become so callus that we no longer see the suffering of those around us in the world; only to focus on our own political aspirations, turning everything into a political issue relating to our own selfish desires?
I am proud to have gone, to have served, and to be part of the American military, under the command of our president, who I believe does have the interests of our people and the world at heart.
What would our life be like without the freedoms many of us take for granted?
Would we not hope and pray that someone would come to our rescue, to help free us from such a fate? Would we not expect a stronger force to come to our aid, in order to regain such freedoms, if we could not do so on our own, with our own might?
Early this morning the phone rang, it was from Baghdad, the captain of our team of Iraqi volunteers was calling me as he customarily does a couple times a week. I am in constant contact with our team members, either via the Internet or the telephone. Fortunately most of the team has access to the internet so we can be in touch to deal with the daily issues of Operation Give. We haven’t skipped a beat since I left Iraq; now with even more and more donated items showing up at our door step.
Our team has grown as more people step forward to volunteer; desiring to be a part of this effort in hope that in the end the Iraqi children will have a stronger hope for their future. We don’t offer any long term solutions for their life style, but we are answering a request to bring school supplies, toys, shoes, and hygiene items for these deprived children.
The management of our team is made up of mainly 4 people. We have two pilots on our team, Captain Emad and Captain Qies, who are both experienced licensed commercial pilots. They have been extremely instrumental in organizing and managing our efforts in Iraq. They found a warehouse space for us to use, big enough to hold all the containers of donated merchandise and still have enough space left over for an office, and perhaps a children’s center. They have lovely families, with beautiful children, who I grew to love as my own.
They have great ideas for our future with a big heart and a continuous desire to help their people.
We also have on our team two doctors, one male and one female, one in Baghdad and one who lives up north in the Kurdish territories. Doctor Eman, who works in the Ministry of Health in Baghdad, is responsible for all the hospitals in Iraq. She has great initiative and a driving desire to do what is right for the betterment of her people. She never takes no for an answer and never allows the men to push her around in what is definitely a man’s world in Iraq.
We have the lease on an office building which was used by Saddam’s government, which we are in the middle of remodeling, in hopes that we might be able to create a women’s and children’s center; offering special training, education, protection, and recreation. We hope to incorporate this building into our overall plan to offer more long term solutions to the Iraqi children.
We have numerous soldiers throughout the country who have made contact with the local populace in an effort to determine their needs, who are now looking for assistance from our organization. We have identified several schools, orphanages, children’s hospitals, etc., that are in need of the items you have so graciously donated for this cause.
Please help us take this project to the next level; allowing us to expand our operation to more cities, more schools, and even more countries, as we begin to send more and more things to Afghanistan. We have big hopes for what we might accomplish with your help. We will make sure they know where everything is coming from and how we are able to make this possible.
Only you can make this dream a reality. Only you can help take hope and a piece of joy to these children who are surrounded by all the evils that only man can create, preventing them from living the normal life a child desires. Please do not allow politics to interfere with your inner desires to help these people realize their dreams.
Regardless of your political affiliation surely all of you would agree that the people of Iraq were in dire need of a rescuer to free them from their life of bondage. These people had endured the travesties of a life without choice, without equality, and without the God given right of freedom to be in charge of their own destiny.
Have a great day
Doing it the wiggles way.
Posted by Chief Wiggles Friday, 09 July 2004 | Comments (9)
You Guys are the Greatest
Thursday, July 08, 2004
You guys are the greatest
Two days ago, after finishing the daily tasks of a normal hectic day, I had the good fortune of speaking in front of a group of women from a local church group. It had been a day like so many others, full of demands, requirements, and a steady stream of everyday problems needing to be solved. But, as I began my presentation I felt the spirit speak to my inner self, reminding me of the great importance of the work that had been started over in Iraq and the great task that still lies ahead. I felt an inner yearning to continue the pursuit of the mission I knew was mine; for I had found my path leading to a purposeful and satisfying life. At that moment my own words strengthened my testimony and resolve for what I knew to be the right course of action, hoping that many of you could somehow feel the same.
In the darkness of the evening, in the dimmed lights of the church building, I proceeded to convey to the group of around 50 women my sincere conviction and desire to help the children of that country. With every slide, and colorful description, I felt the essence of my own words, as if someone was telling me to stay the course, to not give up the fight, to go forth with determination to complete my mission for the sake of those people.
I spoke of my experiences with the generals at Camp Bucca and several of the opportunities in Baghdad at Saddam’s palace; the reunion with the generals, the numerous toy drops, the success stories and the disappointments. More than anything I spoke of the gracious Iraqi people, who had such an impact on my life, showing me the way to my own Emerald city of OZ. I had found the missing pieces of what was a less than fulfilling prior existence, now changed for ever; for I have tasted the sweet joy that comes from a life of service.
Their questions indicated a sincere interest in my words and made me aware that my message has value for those Americans who want to know the truth. The message is clear; there is a force for good that is moving in a positive direction regardless of those that would attempt to stand in its way. The people of Iraq do appreciate our efforts to free them and they desire our presence to insure their future security of their homelands.
Operation Give will drive on. Operation Give will continue to provide hope to the people of that country through kindness and small gestures of toys, school supplies, clothes, hygiene items, shoes, etc.. We cannot depart from this course, for our vary future and the future of the children of this country is at stake.
Last night while still in my suit after a full day of appointments, I found time to meet a group of about 60 volunteers over at the warehouse for a sorting/repacking party. There were 22 pallets to be inspected and readied for an ocean voyage which might take a month or so. These volunteers were people from a local church group who just wanted to help out. With their spirits high and a strong desire to just make a difference in their small way, we went through each and every item sent in.
I was thrilled by your continual generosity and your obvious hope that each toy or item would bring a smile to an Iraqi child’s face, as we share Joy with Toys. There were letters from numerous American children, many carefully packed new and slightly used items destined for some needy child or deprived family, and an array of school supplies, clothes, and of course several handmade custom made guitars.
I am so elated to be a part of this great effort; with so many volunteers continually coming to our rescue. This work must go forward, for the alternative is not an option. We will not give up and we hope and pray that you won’t either, for our soldiers and the people of Iraq are depending on you. We need your toys, school supplies, shoes, clothes, etc., and most importantly we need your kind donations to help pay for the expenses of shipping all of this to Iraq.
I am always available to speak to any of your organizations and groups, any time and place, in hopes that I might perpetuate the cause of Operation Give in bringing about our mission of giving hope to an otherwise very hopeless situation. We need your help. Please spread the word.
Big thanks go out to those who have come out to the warehouse to help get everything ready for shipping. You guys are the greatest.
Also, don’t hesitate to ask me to speak to any of your groups or organization’s functions. I will try to fit any opportunity into my schedule.
We love you all
Doing it the wiggles way.
Posted by Chief Wiggles Thursday, 08 July 2004 | Comments (2)
SMASH defending our freedom
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Take a moment to read about SMASH’s recent counter protest.
His anger is shared by many.
My wife is home, the surgery went wonderfully. They took out all of the screws (ever seen $4800 worth of titanium screws?!?) and taped her back up. In all, she spent less than 24 hours in the hospital and went on a 2 mile walk with me this morning. She is truly amazing. She says she can already feel the difference having taken all the hardware out. The surgeon was also very pleased saying her fusion looked perfect and seeing the inflamation of the muscles around the hardware, he felt that its removal would greatly speed her recovery.
I took a camera to the hospital and took a lot of pictures for which my wife thinks I’m a complete freak. Who takes a camera to a surgery? Well, folks like me! Anyway, I was threatened within an inch of my life if I posted any of those pictures here that had her in it in any way, shape or form.
So, for your viewing pleasure in the extended part of the entry…
A picture of the face that I drew on what was our volleyball that began life as a rubber glove during our 5 hour wait in the preop area…
Next is a lovely photo of the items removed from her back.
That’s about it for pics unless I want my wife to be a wee bit upset.
Canadians help in Afghanistan
I want to share the following email sent to both the Chief and me. Wonderful things are happening all over the middle east!
I also want to thank Natalie for sharing this with us! Way to go guys!
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2004 11:16 AM
Subject: You were an inspiration for pushing on with a similar project.
Dear Chief Wiggles,
I thought you might to tickled to hear your work was an inspiration for a bunch of medical students to ship a complete medical library to Kabul Afghanistan to replace the library destroyed by the Taliban. The books were successfully shipped and arrived just a few weeks ago via the Canadian Army. You can see pictures and details at the following website.
Scroll down a bit and you can see a picture of the Chancellor of the University. The boxes had just been opened and it has just sunk in what had been finally delivered to his university. Okay, he’s nowhere near as cute as some of the kids you have pictures of, but it is still a great shot.
The Medical Library project kind of ground down to halt until your project came to my attention via Little Green Footballs and I forwarded the link to my husband. It then took off again with the help of the medical students here. A rallying cry was “If those Americans can ship tons of toys for Iraqi kids, then Canadians should be able to find a way to ship tons of books for the Afghanistan medical library.” Lots of volunteers got to work, problems got solved and things happened.
The best part is this success has also served as a model for several other groups who are working to rebuild other libraries throughout Afghanistan, including one project now well underway to rebuild the engineering library there. There is also talk of expanding this to begin pulling Afghan medicine up to our standards. That would be nice. We had to go shopping for and special order books for treatment of land mines injuries, gunshots and shrapnel injuries and suicide bombing injuries. No one here had any copies of that kind of material to donate because we just don’t use it much in Canada. May the Master of the Universe make those book obsolete for Afghanistan very soon.
The people involved in the project are observant Jewish, Muslim and Christian. They all worked together, and it worked.
Posted by Plunge Wednesday, 07 July, 2004 | Comments (0)
Good Stuff, Surgery
Friday, July 02, 2004
(Hat tip to Global Affairs)
Next, PlungeWife will be entering the hospital on Monday. As some of you might recall, almost one year ago, she went in to have her back fused, the L3 L4 and L5s1.
Since then, she has done amazingly well, being the model patient and doing whatever her doctor told her to do. Her recovery has gone well with only a few minor problems.
Now, the doctor plans to go in and remove the screws from her back. These screws have become an irritant to her, she having little to no fat and therefore nothing to cushion the screws. With their removal, she should have an easier time sitting and doing some other things.
Compared to the first surgery, this is very minor and should only include an overnight stay, going home the day following surgery.
As for my hip surgery, it is again delayed. One of these days, the doctor will figure I have lost enough weight and then the surgery can go forward. With all the weight I have lost (over 100 lbs), I feel MUCH better than I have in a very long time. Atkins works! I don’t know if it is for everyone, but under a doctors care like I have been, it has done wonders.
Anyway, the surgery, as said, will be on Monday. I’ll let you know if there are any other developments.
Posted by Plunge Friday, 02 July 2004 | Comments (1)