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Re: [ujeni] Whoops!!!

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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 1 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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      >Yahoo! Domains � Claim yours for only $14.70/year
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      >
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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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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