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Re: [ujeni] Whoops!!!

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  • Paul DEVER
    John, Why does CNN angry up your blood????? _________________________________________________________________ FREE pop-up blocking with the new MSN Toolbar –
    Message 1 of 8 , May 23, 2004
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      John, Why does CNN angry up your blood?????

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    • Luz Huntington
      Hey John, I read your message to Don and Cathy just now. I just wanted to comment that its nice to know that the Peace Corps hospitality continues to live on.
      Message 2 of 8 , May 24, 2004
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        Hey John,
        I read your message to Don and Cathy just now. I just wanted to comment that
        its nice to know that the Peace Corps hospitality continues to live on.

        Hopefully when Rob and I have completed the renovating of our house I will
        let the ujeni know and share the same hospitality.

        Have Fun at Kruger!!!

        Luz


        >From: John Patten <jppatten98@...>
        >Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
        >To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: Re: [ujeni] Whoops!!!
        >Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 05:56:51 -0700 (PDT)
        >
        >Hey Don and Kathy,
        >
        >Nice to hear you will be back here. I'm taking Eriko's
        >parents who are on holiday to Kruger this coming week,
        >but if you need anything or are passing through
        >Pretoria/Joburg, my cell number is 072-729-6756
        >locally. We have extra rooms, a car, and Castle in the
        >fridge. It would be great to see you guys.
        >
        >Also, Christine, still love the news postings with
        >stuff you cannot get elsewhere. My wife will not let
        >me watch CNN anymore because it "angries up the
        >blood."
        >
        >JP
        >
        >--- Weber <weber@...> wrote:
        > > You have received a double dose of Christine
        > > Chumbler news today courtesy of me. It's a long
        > > story (not really but it sounds better). By the way,
        > > Cathy & I take off in 3 weeks with our 2 grandsons
        > > and will be in South Africa (Kruger Park) and then
        > > Blantyre where we will stay with our host family and
        > > show the kids the sights of the city and then some.
        > > We'll let you know some impressions when we return.
        >Don
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >__________________________________
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        >

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      • John Patten
        Hi folks, I have been receiving more unsolicited papers, letters, snippets from various friends of friends of cousin’s workmates, regarding how we should be
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 2, 2004
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          Hi folks,

          I have been receiving more unsolicited papers,
          letters, snippets from various friends of friends of
          cousin�s workmates, regarding how we should be
          cheerleading Bush and his decisions in Iraq. I guess
          we�re all on email lists and addressbooks in one form
          or another. So of course I had to respond and write to
          many sitting on the fence. If I don�t, the pressure in
          my head gets above 40 p.s.i and may explode, and I
          just had the tan carpets cleaned. So please delete if
          your tired of it, I get tired of myself, but I�m back
          down to a normal 28 p.s.i., so that�s something.

          It�s no secret I�m not a big fan of Bush, I really
          think he needs to go, but also know a lot of good work
          goes on by talented people within the current
          government, armed forces, embassies and consulates,
          etc. I do think he has compromised that though and was
          the point of my letter and response. While German
          protestor marches comparing Bush to Hitler are a bit
          disingenuous, My Uncle wrote back with a quote from
          said madman, �What luck for rulers that men do not
          think.� It may be preaching to the choir here, but
          there was no �sitting on the fence lobby� with their
          own web-blog to write to, so I had to send it
          somewhere due to previous said p.s.i. issue. Feel free
          to circulate it if you also get adverts from the
          rah-rah lobby.

          These missives should die off soon, as I just got a
          good job back in Afghanistan and should be leaving in
          a couple of months as soon as (or if) security
          clearances go through. I will try not to get shot in
          the spleen or appear on CBS as an underfed hostage,
          but I can�t promise anything as I will probably be in
          Kandahar.

          Cathy and Don, just back from Kruger, will give
          details soon. Additionally, I saw a monkey.

          Cheers,
          JP

          �The difference between me and the Surrealists is that
          I am a Surrealist.� Salvatore Dali

          �Don�t call me, I�ll call you.� Nelson Mandela,
          announcing his retirement from public life, June 1,
          2004.

          31/5/04

          Dear Friends,

          As I was forwarded the unsolicited email below
          regarding the Iraq situation I feel compelled and
          within my right to respond to it. Especially since it
          tries to influence your political thought. For me it
          illustrates part of the problem with our involvement
          in Iraq and the disturbing American tendency to rally
          around cheerleading for our country and leaders
          without critical thought or having a grasp of the real
          context of such situations, ironically lobbied for by
          the writer of the letter. While I do applaud her
          commitment to service, and friends would probably say
          she is a special person, I have to argue on the
          points. If we want to talk about facts, then let�s do
          it and be thoughtful about it.

          I am an American and have lived, worked or traveled in
          25 countries now, so I feel I can speak to the poor
          perception of us around the world, and the poor
          decisions which put us there. If it does not concern
          you, it should, because it is affecting you now
          already. I also spent a year and a half in
          post-Taliban Afghanistan. I will be returning shortly
          with the U.S. Govt. to advise on appropriate actions
          needed to be taken there on the humanitarian side. I
          was going to Iraq until the security situation became
          untenable for humanitarian agencies, especially for
          Americans. My former American housemates from
          Afghanistan have been in Basra and Baghdad for the
          past year (since evacuated), so while I would respect
          the writer for pointing out that she is living in the
          situation, I am privy to information and have been in
          contact with numerous individuals in the field there,
          who have a much different take on the situation. A
          civilian stationed on a military air base and working
          for the Department of Defense is by definition living
          in an insular security environment. Access to host
          country nationals in these situations is also mostly
          contact with the elites and educated of the
          population, with a financial stake in dealing with the
          foreigners. That is hardly a big picture view of the
          overall context.

          I commiserate with the writer on news reporting and
          that was certainly my experience and that of my
          colleagues in Afghanistan. Journalists love to stand
          in front of burning tanks and screaming mothers, but
          never seem to get out into the villages to access the
          real situation, as my experience was they were more
          concerned with their own standing within their
          organizations, and where they could smell awards (a
          cold dawn rises over the war-torn city!). As I live in
          South Africa now I mostly have access to other world
          news agencies that do a better job or reporting world
          issues. When I do see American news stations on the
          satellite I am appalled at their sheer simplistic
          approach and the absence of other vital stories that
          have context broadcast on the non-American stations.
          Your news there is formulaic to the point of �6:30-
          one minute sound-bite treatments of major world
          issues, 6:40- local domestic American stories, human
          interest story scheduled for 6:50 pm, usually about
          healthcare, drug prices or obesity, use anecdotal one
          man on the street interview, wrap up with brief,
          non-contextual inflammatory story to get your anger
          up, or cute animal story for the closing. Intersperse
          with commercials longer than the actual stories
          regarding every over-the-counter stomach gas or
          allergy remedy.� How is any American supposed to have
          an informed opinion anymore? The ability of American
          voter opinion and polls to be manipulated by short
          news clips, a speech, USA Today, or nods to patriotism
          is extremely disturbing to me.

          That is where I diverge from the writer. I felt in no
          sense does her letter �set the record straight.� These
          are complex political issues that can be diverted over
          talk of how many structures are built or increasing
          numbers of children in school, especially when it is
          solely from a perspective of what our military are
          doing, and the camaraderie created in such
          environments. While I am sure that good work is being
          done, including that which the writer stated,
          statistics do not really tell much of the story.

          THERE ARE NO TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS TO WHAT ARE
          ESSENTIALLY POLITICAL PROBLEMS!

          I challenge the figure of �95%� of Iraqis wanting us
          there. Based on what measure? Maybe they would have
          had the situation been handled correctly from the
          start. But it wasn�t, and that is not the experience
          of my friends working there or by any reasonable means
          of polling the Iraqis themselves. They did not ask for
          this nor want the present situation, as they are more
          insecure now. All the talk now is of future
          �potential,� years down the road, something you were
          not sold. The administration had different rhetoric
          before the war if anyone even remembers that now.
          There has been massive impact on humanitarian agencies
          there, which were doing good work and have since had
          to evacuate their staffs from the country. That means
          that many meaningful and necessary projects cannot go
          forward, by agencies that were more involved with and
          had better understanding of the local context than the
          military actors, in addition to helping more people.
          Simple donations often do more harm than good, for
          complex reasons beyond the scope of this letter,
          which, brace yourself, I can see is already going to
          be way too long. But I�m rolling now. Previously
          peaceful areas like Basra, which are no longer, saw a
          cleric largely discredited by the local people, but
          who is now gaining supporters through U.S. actions.
          Many of the decisions taken by us have been tailor
          made for recruitment of people sitting on the fence.

          Long before the war in Iraq started last year, many of
          us in the humanitarian community in Afghanistan
          discussed and already knew there was no way they were
          not going in with military force. We could have
          written the calendar exactly as it has transpired to
          this point. With six months to go you see what
          milestones will need to be taken care of to reach your
          objective and push forward your agenda at all costs,
          i.e. how will you position yourself and manipulate
          information to insure you can overcome the UN, world
          opinion, domestic pressure, and sort out Congress. See
          how to amplify your points and minimize, divert, or
          outright ignore weak points. I�m surprised anybody
          found it surprising or thought there would be a last
          minute reprieve. We do not mobilize hundreds of
          thousands of troops and military hardware without
          using them. The pressure, financial, and political
          stake is too great. We knew the war would be over
          quickly. We also knew however why a year later we are
          faced with the current problems. The fact that it
          caught the Bush administration by surprise is
          dumbfounding. It means that he did not understand the
          context of the situation or the people there, which
          seemed to be apparent to many others in that context
          and around the world, or have a coherent plan to win
          the peace. It is patently obvious this was for a
          political agenda. Iraqi �freedom� is a secondary
          smokescreen. As long as it fit into our larger
          objectives, then fine. When they got caught out, they
          arrogantly derided dissenting opinion, thinking all
          the while that �now that we�re into it, people should
          come on board.� That I�m sure was actually said. There
          never was any real discourse on the issue, just
          manipulation. They think we�re stupid. Many are, or
          just do not care enough to challenge anything.

          I think the two most important jobs of a President are
          to keep your country out of war and address and follow
          sound economic policy. Bush has failed on both counts,
          and unnecessarily so. We are now more than 500 billion
          dollars in debt, with that debt rising rapidly. That
          will effect you in one form or another. The same
          manipulation occurred with the funding issue. First
          you say there will be sacrifice necessary, but we
          should be able to complete the task with 82 billion of
          YOUR tax dollars. When congress approves, wait a bit,
          then state, �Circumstances have changed, we need to
          approve additional funding.� The fact that this is so
          transparent is almost less of an issue than how
          Americans repeatedly buy it. As an aside, if you think
          your gas bill, double what it was before Bush, is not
          a result of the climate of fear and distrust he has
          created, then you really are not in tune with the
          issues. The industry is able to play on this,
          justified or not, and it is currently threatening the
          larger world economy.

          Words mean something. Every action by our country has
          a consequence, and almost universally, unintended
          consequences will occur. In this case they have more
          often been negative, with the possibilities not fully
          evaluated by our current administration beforehand.
          George Bush said he doesn�t do �nuance.� IT�S ALL
          NUANCE! Real leaders know this. His position means he
          can�t be bothered with trivial things like thinking.
          There is good reason more than 50 high level U.S.
          diplomats (i.e. Ambassadors and career diplomats that
          understand implications of foreign policy) have sent
          an open letter to Bush critical of his misguided and
          ad hoc policies. It has the feeling of making it up as
          they go to react to crises, not implement long-term
          strategic plans (he has also used the ad hoc approach
          to domestic economics such as the steel tariffs which
          had to be quickly repealed. It illustrates his
          inability to make appropriate decisions, which are
          more often based on political expediency. Did you know
          the dollar has lost 40% to most world currencies in
          the past year? Does that not disturb you? It should.
          By the way, are we still going to Mars?). There is
          also discord between agencies and Bush�s own staff. I
          have had discussions with a friend and colleague
          formerly in the Reagan administration regarding the
          approach taken by high level officials currently,
          people he is also highly critical of. Especially
          Rumsfeld, a big mistake on many levels. Please do not
          confuse necessary decisive leadership with making
          reactionary decisions in the absence of real and
          critical evaluation, with no regard for consequences.
          Bush has demonstrated that he was not prepared for
          decisions that arose due to his original policy.

          What prompted me to really write this letter is the
          disturbing final passage below, along with the
          previous necessary American emotive line thrown in
          about the tear-filled man shaking her hand. I�m sure
          he does not cry for the same reasons of the other 42
          million people:

          �I've met some wonderful soldiers serving in Iraq. As
          a nation, we should all be proud and supportive of the
          mission Operation Iraqi Freedom. I believe President
          Bush is doing a fantastic job because I know he's
          acting on information briefed him. If this is
          sometimes incorrect or omissions are committed, that
          is not his fault. I believe in my job, my country, and
          I want my grandchildren to always be able to enjoy
          their freedoms. That's why I'm going back.�

          This briefly sums up everything wrong with our foreign
          policy, and the ease to which American public opinion
          can be manipulated. I will address the points:

          1. Yes there are some very good soldiers doing a good
          job with the context and orders presented them. I have
          often defended them to the European NGOs and people
          that do not see as well what our embassies and
          diplomatic efforts do in a positive sense for people
          around the world. But soldiers are not the issue and
          we have to make a distinction between supporting
          people just trying to do their best given the
          situation, within the context and political leadership
          (there are also many vocal soldiers there that do not
          think they should be there, something overlooked by
          the writer). They are not the decision makers and
          should stay in the role of soldiering, and only when
          absolutely necessary. They do a lot that unfortunately
          is overshadowed by the stupid way this arrogant
          administration has squandered political capital and
          goodwill from other countries around the world,
          actually INCREASED our insecurity, cultivated more
          terrorism, encouraged hostility towards Americans that
          I deal with every day overseas, encouraged a lack of
          diplomacy, decreased adherence to and respect for the
          law on the part of other nations, harmed the economy,
          decreased our travel, security, investment and work
          options, and decreased our long-term economic and
          political aspirations, something that will take years
          to rectify, and ironically, have decreased our ability
          to enjoy our freedom. The issue IS the political
          context and our leadership. We spent two years on
          Clinton for lying, for what? That he didn�t want his
          wife to find out he was getting some on the side. And
          we impeached him for that, despite the fact we had a
          surplus since long gone, economic prosperity, and
          goodwill and standing in the world, even if I could
          argue with some of his decisions. Yet you were lied to
          about why we are at a major war, our guys are dying,
          our economy has gone down, the world hates us, it has
          effected our options, and there is less questioning on
          this? Are you serious? Are you not concerned the world
          hates us or even question why? Where are the
          priorities? A South African diplomat was recently
          kidnapped in Malaysia because they �thought he was
          American.� Other world travelers have been stopped in
          places by militants �looking for Americans.� That
          should concern you. Fighting terrorism cannot be done
          by emotional rhetoric and force alone.
          What the writer also does not realize is that use of
          military for humanitarian interventions can be very
          destructive to the climate of alleviating human
          suffering, the primary goal of any such intervention.
          It should be done in a neutral way, without political
          consideration, to those who are most needy. However,
          it has become politicized, and local people on the
          ground in any context are now confusing humanitarian
          and military agencies, a dangerous development that
          has led to increased targeting of humanitarians and
          less people receiving aid as a result of evacuations.
          It has become a very big issue, the protecting of
          humanitarian space. Soldiers doing a specific military
          duty, with limited knowledge of larger context due to
          the nature of their positions, should not be passing
          out books at elementary schools! When militants see
          this it is not a far stretch to start throwing
          grenades over the wall at the ICRC compound, which
          does happen. To illustrate my point, in emergency
          contexts the military often drops yellow food packages
          (that previously looked the same as cluster bombs)
          that are a useless untargeted aid strategy that is
          strictly for PR. Aid like this does not go to the most
          needy, or last past one day. That was not a strategy
          at all and it should be left to agencies that have the
          knowledge and experience. Also, another incident
          occurred today in Afghanistan with the targeting and
          killing of MSF workers. "We did it," said Haji Latif
          Hakimi, who claims to represent the Taliban. "We
          killed them because they worked for the Americans
          against us using the cover of aid work. We will kill
          more foreign aid workers," he told Reuters in Herat,
          the western city located some 75 miles west of Qadis.
          Military can contribute a lot to the security
          situation and logistically, but have taken over
          primary roles in aid, an enterprise that they are not
          really suited. There is currently no room in Iraq for
          the appropriate humanitarian agencies to operate.
          I am an American, and my opinion is just as valid as
          any of you and any military personnel. Like half of
          the U.S. population I do not have to support the
          administration, its actions, or the ongoing state of
          affairs simply because we were manipulated enough to
          the point where they are there now, we should support
          them. The administration counted on you to do that. I
          state categorically I did not support the Iraq action.
          It was wrong, based on lies, manipulative, illegal,
          diminished our world standing, and has absolutely ZERO
          to do with our freedom. It is shameful it has been
          manipulated as such. This is not similar to WWII. And
          don�t talk to me about the removal of Saddam Hussein.
          I would have put a bullet in his head myself. Iraq had
          no bearing whatsoever on our security previously, but
          it unfortunately does now. This elective action may
          endanger us from going into a situation where it
          genuinely is in the interest of our national security.

          If the standard simplistic American response is for
          someone to write to me and say well move to another
          country if you don�t like it, as often happens with
          someone that has a differing opinion, I can say I have
          little patience or tolerance for that. I�ve done a lot
          of work for my country, hopefully for the original and
          true values of what it used to stand for, not the
          lies, and do not tolerate anyone questioning my love
          of my country, or that I unquestioningly support our
          govt. because they know best, right? We are the
          government. Or at least are supposed to be in this
          democracy, er, I mean republic. I love it enough to
          say we are going down the wrong road. I have been held
          against my will at gunpoint in the mountains of
          northern Afghanistan. I actually supported our
          intervention there. However, the �my country right or
          wrong� argument and blind faith in misguided leaders
          is dangerous and has denigrated what our country
          stands for. This kind of disingenuous, unquestioning
          and misguided nationalism needs to die this century
          (the world over really) if we are to regain our place
          in a genuine leadership role in the eyes of other
          countries. We got strong through many appropriate
          decisions and values to get us there, but run the risk
          of moving backward now. Argue with me on the facts,
          but be assured I do not scare easily living in
          Johannesburg. I am here to chew bubblegum and kick
          ass. And I�m all out of bubblegum! 

          Other countries cannot fight us militarily. But what
          they can do is have a policy of non-cooperation. Many
          are currently looking for better economic prospects
          elsewhere, especially in regards to currency and stock
          markets, and are starting to employ emotional
          avoidance. i.e. �we can�t stand your arrogance and
          lack of diplomacy, so we will deal with someone else
          now.� The Roman Empire died out, as did the Ottomans,
          the British, and many others. We do not live in a
          vacuum and do not have carte blanche to do whatever we
          want in the world simply because we are currently
          strong. The arrogance and short-sightedness of this
          kind of thinking seemed the cycle of other empires,
          even if ours does not fit the definition, or has more
          an economic base. Can you imagine where we will be in
          2050? It�s not so far away. There are well over
          three-hundred other countries in the world that also
          influence our place in the world, but most Americans
          pay passing lip service to that or really just do not
          care, we�re just trained to say we�re the best without
          thinking very much about it. What other countries are
          actually starting to say now is that they cannot
          believe much of what we say, even when it is benign or
          actually true. We cannot talk of human rights without
          following our own standards. Nobody is going to
          believe us or take us seriously. There cannot be
          different standards for different people in the world.
          We have lost our credibility. That is dangerous for
          us.

          I do not agree with the liberal doomsayers either, but
          I think what can happen over time if we let people
          like these run our country is a gradual erosion of our
          influence in the world, our economic prospects, our
          opportunities, our civility, our quality of life, and
          our real values. If I lived in Europe I probably
          wouldn�t want to deal with us either. We will even
          reap blame that really was not even our fault, as it
          will be more convenient to scapegoat the U.S. It may
          be so gradual that you do not even see the tangible
          change. Then the people always screaming �We�re number
          one!� will be talking to themselves. Our grandchildren
          may not enjoy the same freedoms we currently enjoy, as
          there will be increased pressure (as is happening now)
          for more security measures and restrictions, caused by
          current policy, to further �protect� our freedom.
          Pretty warped. We have a great country, but we need to
          take our country back.

          2. President Bush is not doing a �fantastic job�. I
          believe he will go down in history as doing more
          overall harm to our country politically and
          economically than any president in the past half
          century. He is certainly the most polarizing and
          short-sighted, but my own belief is that he is the
          worst President we have had in my lifetime, on many
          levels. Even conservatives in his own party are
          concerned about his conduct. The confusion and climate
          of fear and manipulation he has created along with his
          cronies can be illustrated by a crowd of protesting
          Iraqis, who were entirely within their right, being
          pushed back by a young, confused, American soldier who
          was towing the party line he is told to, screaming at
          them, �We�re here for your fucking freedom!� which
          kind of sums up the whole fiasco and our
          misunderstanding of the people there. Of course it�s a
          long road for that country to get a grip in the next
          decade on its direction. But don�t allow that to be
          the pat response from this administration as to why
          they never really had a coherent long-term policy or
          strategy. It was not our decision to make in the first
          place.

          Less than half of Americans support Bush and his
          decisions, but he may be able to just manipulate
          enough emotion and public opinion to get re-elected,
          helped by an ineffectual Democratic party. We get what
          we deserve. I strongly challenge the statement that it
          is not his fault if he makes decisions on faulty
          information. That�s incredibly naive on behalf of
          people that are supposedly representing us. It�s his
          job to know! I guess the buck stops somewhere short of
          D.C. He was the one that put the structures and
          actions in place that created the climate for the
          present situation, yet he so easily and conveniently
          scapegoats and passes blame onto the security agencies
          that have a very tough job. He himself used only the
          intelligence that suited his needs, often inflating
          its importance, ignoring information that did not
          support his position, according to those that provided
          it. Then he blames them for his decisions! That is the
          kind of mickey-mouse leader some are defending. He
          only appears decisive because he has the minuteman
          approach to major policy decisions. He starts with the
          endgame in mind, and his inflated egocentric view,
          hoping to fit the puzzle pieces together against
          expert advice, eyeing his benign place in history as
          the savior of the Middle East. That is not real
          leadership and it is not going to happen that way. I
          implore you to give your vote to someone other than
          Bush. And please do not vote on single issues. It�s a
          big world of issues to address and we need some
          balance for the larger good. If you want me to
          cheerlead, I will do it for my America. Not for those
          determined to bring us all down with them, because
          they and their ilk cannot last.

          Solutions? Well, this is what they expected now isn�t
          it? We�re supposed to say we have to finish now what
          we started, it�s a long road, what else can we do?,
          etc. Perfectly played. I like many others could write
          thoughtfully on this topic, but it was clear the
          writer had little time for outside opinions of this
          nature or nuance. I�m at the point where I even think
          the bloated and ineffectual UN organizations need to
          be involved primarily. What we should not be doing at
          this point is handover on June 30th. Even the generals
          have voiced concern. You have to develop along
          measured milestones along the way, not pick an
          arbitrary date that people there see as having no
          legitimacy, along with the government we will impose
          there. The council and people are already grumbling.
          It is na�ve to think we will not have a heavy hand in
          the �newly sovereign� Iraq. Please. Mark my words from
          the speechwriters. Listen to the news and see how long
          it will take or how many times for Bush to be saying
          �We need to do better.� Pretty standard, along with
          �redoubling our efforts.� I�m sorry, but this way of
          conducting ourselves, along with a patchy coverage of
          projects, is just not good enough anymore.

          Wake up people. You are asleep and your TV is lying to
          you. Or stay asleep and go back to watching Buffy.
          Your grandchildren will not thank you.

          And yes, feel free to write to me. I will argue on the
          factual points, not emotional ones, with anyone.

          Cheers,

          John P. Patten

          ps- If you would like more context on the Afghan
          situation my website is at:
          http://mysite.mweb.co.za/residents/ekawasa/JohnPattenGraphics/index.html


          -----Original Message-----
          From: JandKPatten@... [mailto:JandKPatten@...]

          Sent: Saturday, May 29, 2004 2:58 AM
          To: bandmmayer@...; jbarley@...;
          timcasey5@...; 2caseys@...;
          Deborahark@...; kaycox62@...;
          C0rd0n@...; SHAWDOW2@...; EmmePal@...;
          redclay@...; LLakesSaca@...;
          fannynsparky@...; floah@...;
          jpatten@...; MLegg34184@...;
          puccianom@...; Misskathy617@...;
          emtilton@...; Zicks1@...
          Subject: Thought this interesting

          We have friend stationed in Iraq in the same camp as
          this person. Our friend's wife forwarded it to me,
          enjoy.
          Ann Schneider
          ----------------------------------------
          So many people, so many opinions, so few facts!

          I am a Dept. of Defense civilian, home on leave in FL
          for my daughters
          graduation from BCC. My job as an environmentalist is
          primarily the
          protection of the environment and the disposal of DoD
          generated
          hazardous wastes. I volunteered to go to Iraq and
          last Dec. I was
          selected to set up the first disposal operations in
          the forward deployed
          area. I have been stationed at Balad Air Base, LSA
          Anaconda since 28 Dec
          03. On several occasions, my work has taken me to
          Baghdad. I extended
          by initial tour from 120 days to 155
          days, and on June 7th I'll go back
          to Baghdad for six more months.

          Being home in FL has been wonderful and sad at the
          same time. I'm
          appalled at the "news" as it's reported from Iraq. And
          just as
          disturbing is the lack of knowledge a lot of people
          have about what's
          really going on, why we're there and what it's really
          like. I'd like to
          set the record
          straight.

          Ninety five percent of the Iraqi people want us there,
          and it's only a
          handful of insurgents with weapons, who are attacking
          our bases,
          convoys, and troops. The older generations say that
          although they may
          never see the freedoms we're trying to bring to their
          country, they know
          their children will enjoy the rights that we take for
          granted in this
          country. I've had the
          opportunity to meet and speak with day laborers
          coming on Anaconda, who are grateful for the work and
          pay they receive.
          Men have taken my hand w/tearfilled eyes and thanked
          me because they can
          now provide for their families which they couldn't do
          when Saddam was in
          power. I've met engineers, pilots and well educated
          men who, for the
          first time since Saddam took office, are returning
          from self imposed
          exile to their homeland and are able to find work on
          our many US
          bases.

          Before I left Balad, I was able to donate $3500 worth
          of hospital
          disinfectant and dental amalgam to the local hospital.
          Our Balad team of
          doctors and medics make regular scheduled visits to
          the surrounding
          communities to provide medical care and assistance to
          the people, and
          teach new technologies to Iraqi medical personnel.
          People are being
          taught field sanitation and
          hand washing techniques to prevent the spread
          of germs.
          400,000 children have now received up to date
          immunizations.
          100% of the existing hospitals are now open and
          staffed, compared to 35%
          before the war.

          On behalf of my organization, the Defense Logistics
          Agency and
          partnering with Army Materiel Command, we're
          sponsoring a local
          secondary school. We've received $65,500.00 dollars of
          Saddam's money to
          completely rebuild the school. Our school is only one
          of eleven schools
          being sponsored by different units on LSA Anaconda.
          School attendance is
          up 80% and for the first times girls are allowed to
          attend classes.

          Our facility engineers and Seabees are rebuilding
          outdated sewer lines
          and constructing a new water treatment plant which
          will serve not
          only
          our area, but this is being done in every major city.
          Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for
          the first time.

          We're updating and constructing new power plants
          throughout the country
          and now the entire populace receives 2 times the
          electric power it did
          before the war. Over 400,000 people have telephone
          service for the first
          time.

          The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be
          off-loaded from
          ships faster. Farmers are being educated on better
          methods and new
          technologies are being introduced.
          Local contractors working on our bases are for the
          first time able to
          receive lube oils, hydraulic and brake fluids for
          their equipment.

          The newly formed
          Iraqi Civil Defense Force trains on LSA Anaconda. The
          teams work and learn side by side with our soldiers
          and they are proud
          to be learning from us and eager to help in the battle
          against the
          handful of insurgents making life miserable in Iraq.
          Every day our
          troops are finding buried weapons and chemicals which
          must be disposed
          of. The dangerous chemicals pose a threat to the
          environment, health and
          safety of not only the Iraqi people but the world if
          they were to
          come
          into the wrong hands.

          I've met some wonderful soldiers serving in Iraq. As a
          nation, we should
          all be proud and supportive of the mission Operation
          Iraqi Freedom. I
          believe President Bush is doing a fantastic job
          because I know he's
          acting on information briefed him. If this is
          sometimes incorrect or
          omissions are committed, that is not his
          fault.

          I believe in my job, my country, and I want my
          grandchildren to always
          be able to enjoy their freedoms. That's why I'm going
          back.

          Bonnie Murphy
          DRMS Staff Officer
          Disposal Operations Iraq, Baghdad
          Thank you to Denise Caraballo for sharing this with
          all of us.








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        • Paul DEVER
          John... Name the 300 countries in the world...Last count there were about 187, depending on who was winning various insurgencies... Nice plug for your
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 2, 2004
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            John...

            Name the 300 countries in the world...Last count there were about 187,
            depending on who was winning various insurgencies...

            Nice plug for your website....Can I order pictures off that website?

            Where can I send money for your Congressional seat? What district are you
            running for?

            GOod points....

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          • John Patten
            Dude, I may be mistaken, but I thought the 187 was those part of the UN system? I thought it was about 330 countries if you count Brunei and such. Anyone got a
            Message 5 of 8 , Jun 3, 2004
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              Dude,

              I may be mistaken, but I thought the 187 was those
              part of the UN system? I thought it was about 330
              countries if you count Brunei and such. Anyone got a
              Farmer's almanac?

              Yes you can order pictures.

              No, can't run for congress. Too many skeletons and the
              tabloids would have a field day and I don't sound
              truthful when I say, "I categorically deny these
              wicked allegations."

              I shouldn't be so hard on Bush for those that like
              him. It's not like he's the anti-Christ or anything
              like that purple Barney, he's just misguided in
              decisions I think, even if he does passionately
              believe his view. I bet he would be fun to have a beer
              and game of pool with.

              Oddly enough, I've gotten responses from family
              members both conservative and liberal (even though
              those designations are narrow) and both said the same
              things regarding the media- "Bush has the media in his
              pocket," and conversely, "the liberal bias means they
              just write their opinions almost universally against
              Bush." Kind of funny thing perspective. None of us is
              standing high enough to see the whole picture.

              --- Paul DEVER <pcpaul@...> wrote:
              > John...
              >
              > Name the 300 countries in the world...Last count
              > there were about 187,
              > depending on who was winning various insurgencies...
              >
              > Nice plug for your website....Can I order pictures
              > off that website?
              >
              > Where can I send money for your Congressional seat?
              > What district are you
              > running for?
              >
              > GOod points....
              >
              >
              _________________________________________________________________
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            • John Patten
              Hi y all, Sorry to bug ya. I was wondering, as I am deep in forms to fill out for that US Govt job, if anyone might help. I have to go through rigorous
              Message 6 of 8 , Jun 13, 2004
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                Hi y'all,

                Sorry to bug ya. I was wondering, as I am deep in
                forms to fill out for that US Govt job, if anyone
                might help. I have to go through rigorous
                investigation for security clearances and such, and
                they need a lot of names of people who knew me that
                they might be able to contact to ask about my time in
                Malawi, etc. The people have to be currently in the
                States though and a lot of colleagues simply live
                overseas with sporadic email contact. The Foreign
                Residence Form is really weird and confusing.

                Anyhoo, if you knew me fairly well or if we bonded at
                the beach party, please drop me your address and phone
                # so they could call you. I don't think the men in
                black will show up at your doorstep.

                I don't know if they ask, but for the record I never
                did drugs, and think I remember having one or two
                tokes back when Kajagoogoo was in fashion. And I did
                inhale. Although Rumsfeld never exhaled. At least I
                haven't done it in the past ten years of the
                investigation period. :)

                If you do not mind helping, send to my personal email
                instead of the whole group. It's jppatten98yahoo.com

                Thanks you guys,

                JP






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