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White House Spamming! Good or Bad? August 26, 2009

So we're all in a froth because the White House sent us some spam!

Have we got nothing more important to spend our time on? I would venture to opine that we should be more concerned about improving our knowledge and understanding of the health-care issue than debating the merits of whether we opted-in to an informative email or not.

My biggest fear is that if we allow "spam" to encompass every email that we didn't ask for, we'll become even less enlightened and less knowledgeable than we already are. Surely the fact that something is spam, does not in itself make it bad? Regardless of whether the email was sent in bulk or not, or whether I opted in or didn't, the bottom line is that if I am informed and educated by that email, then it has value to me. And can I not only make that decision once I have seen the email and evaluated its content in terms of what I want or need? Anything less and I run the risk of being an ostrich with my head in the sand.

And here's the ultimate paradox : If I didn't ask for the (emailed) information, then it's spam. New information is something I don't know about. Thus I cannot ask for new information (since I don't know about it and thus cannot ask for it). Therefore new information is spam.

To paraphrase Forest Gump ... "Spam Happens! Deal with It!"

My Men Are My Heroes - The Brad Kasal Story August 26, 2009

The story of Sgt Major Brad Kasal who received the Navy Cross for heroic actions performed during the 2004 battle for Fallujah, Iraq, is one of the most moving and riveting books I've read in a long time.

While I have nothing but the utmost admiration for our military personnel who unstintingly and unquestioningly put themselves in harm's way, often suffering hideous injuries or making the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of implementing the dictates of Washington, I'm confused.

The book refers to the fight between the US troops in Iraq and the enemy - the "insurgents", the "jihadists" and the "muhajidin". How come they are the enemy? I don't recall the US or any of the coalition forces ever declaring war on Iraq. Indeed, I clearly recall President Bush emphatically stating that our invasion of Iraq was NOT a declaration of war on the Iraqi people, but a mission solely to remove Saddam Hussein from power. If this is so, then are the so-called insurgents, jihadists and muhajidin not simply Iraqi people defending their country against a(n unlawful?) foreign invader, just like the so-called insurgents, jihadists and muhajidin (lawfully?) defended Afghanistan against the (unlawful?) invasion of their country by the Russians? 

That there is no REAL enemy but that which we elect to refer to as the enemy, seems to be highlighted by the Rules of Engagement that hamstrings our troops. Specifically that they may not fire unless fired upon. In short, our troops may only act in self-defense (to save themselves) or out of necessity (to save another person). And this is not much fun when the "enemy" is shooting at you from one house (entitling you to shoot back), but can then throw away his gun and unarmed and with total impunity, walk right past you to a house across the street in order to pick up another gun and start shooting at you again. And until he has that gun in his hands, he's not the enemy.

Quo vadis?