Livin in my own private Idaho
- Hey folks,
I'm in Kandahar at my new job. Thought I would pass
along the update I sent to my family if you are
interested. Too bad I missed that reunion! JP
Greetings from Kandahar, spiritual home of the
Taliban. Everything is here, hope you are beautiful.
I�ve already gained five pounds, but just from dust in
my lungs. I�m a Field Officer at the Kandahar
Provincial Reconstruction Team with USAID. It�s kind
of like Peace Corps with lots and lots of heavy
We finally got here after waiting a day for Force
Protection to pick us up from KAF (Kandahar Air Field)
where we stayed with CTF Bronco, the Taliban hunters.
We had no gear or blankets and stayed in an icy tent
awake most of the night. I used to complain about the
dogs in South Africa keeping me awake, but because
you�re given back karma in small doses sometimes, my
tent was right next to the massive helicopter gunship
and Chinook field. All night long it was like the
airlift out of Saigon in the last days there. My
dreams were like a Pink Floyd movie.
I have a secret clearance now and am routinely in
classified discussions and see classified documents.
Since all communications are monitored on both sides,
it seems odd I have to say there are many things I
can�t tell you, it sounds pretentious. But in lieu of
that, I put together a small list to answer some
FAQ�s. Please ask any question and one of the six
should cover it.
1. Sometimes, but only when absolutely necessary.
2. If I knew that we wouldn�t have to be here.
3. I ask what would Jesus do?
4. I ask what would Jackie Gleason do?
6. It�s certainly not one of my favorites.
The PRT itself is actually an old factory. I don�t
have a bed or a desk yet until the old guy leaves
Sunday, but I think my room used to be storage judging
by the bare concrete walls. Mostly military live here,
with lots of towers and barbed wire and bunkers, but
also a few of us civilians from various big donor
agencies. There�s a lot to tell there for future
correspondence. There is even a roving minister that
showed up for mass in armoured vehicles. I thought
Robo-Pope was going to get out (�You are violation of
John 3:16�). But all in all it�s home for awhile. It�s
just hard to breath through the dust.
We�re starting to get outside the wire more, but are
waiting again until after the Oct 9th election as
there is a big final push by the opposite side to bomb
stuff and wreak general havoc, which is happening
everyday, but we�re ok and well protected. They�re
trying hard to disrupt the election, so be warned that
coordinated attacks are most likely to happen. If
people vote normally and support the government, then
the Taliban will become irrelevant in the eyes of the
population, which is what they are trying to prevent.
The Taliban are a bit wussy actually when it comes to
direct confrontation, so we have to look out more for
IEDs and such. We went on a mission deep into
Arghistan the other day with five vehicles and were
fine, although some of the guys could �smell the
Taliban,� judging by where the elders said we should
quit. Actually, a lot of conflict is tribal, but will
often be attributed in the news to Taliban instead.
Figuring out the players and who is manipulating who
is a big issue for program implementation. But we�re
going where other people do not because that�s where
the change in the political situation will occur if
people come on board and improve these districts. It
was the anniversary of the Taliban taking over
Afghanistan and I had strept throat, but there was no
way I was not getting on that convoy. Good, but
different photos this time. It was very
testosternoney. But a lot of the guys are pretty
switched on and we�re trying to view this PRT as a
team. I can handle it.
Please write when you can. I have slightly better
email access than last time, but remember, send NO
attachments of any kind due to the very slow
downloads. No baby photos, no joke of the day, no
forwards to seven friends in order that you might
receive a miracle when in reality they are just trying
to put your friends on spam lists, no political links,
and especially no cute human interest photos of a
farmer in Des Moines who grew a rutabaga that looks
like the latest offering from Volkswagen, or his dog
that displays human traits.
My lovely wife is now going into her 2nd trimester and
doing very well. With all the other things to deal
with she decided morning sickness was something she
decided not to do, so all is going smoothly. I should
see her in December and then again for the birth in
If you want to write to me directly, the best way is :
APO AE 09355
Hope all is well where you are, and don�t worry much.
I fully expect to walk through the door at home a year
�The less people know, the more stubbornly they know
it. The intelligent person hesitates, ponders, wavers.
The unintelligent person never wavers, never
hesitates. Where the wise will whisper, the fool
simply declares from the rooftops.�
From Buddhist book I saw in South Africa.
So why is there so much talk of waffling on all sides?
Do you Yahoo!?
New and Improved Yahoo! Mail - 100MB free storage!
- Wow!....stay low and make sure you sight your M-16 before you go out in the
Don�t just search. Find. Check out the new MSN Search!
- actually, they are going to teach me on the range
here. Riding around in the humvee the driver said he
had to drive and had his 9mm, so if anything happened
pick up the M-16 resting on my knee and go for it. I
can't wait to shoot. I said shoot heh heh
--- Paul DEVER <pcpaul@...> wrote:
> Wow!....stay low and make sure you sight your M-16
> before you go out in the
> Don�t just search. Find. Check out the new MSNhttp://search.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200636ave/direct/01/
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- please disregard that last transmission. as Paul is
too much clever, he secretly disguised the email
address and I thought I was writing back to him and
the not the group. We sometimes speak in beavis and
butthead language. I apologize unreservedly.
Incidentally, please refer to him in future
correspondence as "Andrea" now. He'll explain.
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Declare Yourself - Register online to vote today!
- 13 October 2004
The below article crossed my email today. I found it to be a bit
disturbing as well as informative. I will let the author and the
article speak for themselves.
The link is: Sojourners [sojourners@...]
Look for the SojoMail 10.13.04
Y'all be good,
Pro-life? Look at the fruits
by Dr. Glen Harold Stassen
I am a Christian ethicist, and trained in statistical analysis. I am
consistently pro-life. My son David is one witness. For my family,
"pro-life" is personal. My wife caught rubella in the eighth week of her
pregnancy. We decided not to terminate, to love and raise our baby.
David is legally blind and severely handicapped; he also is a blessing
to us and to the world.
I look at the fruits of political policies more than words. I analyzed
the data on abortion during the George W. Bush presidency. There is no
single source for this information - federal reports go only to 2000,
and many states do not report - but I found enough data to identify
trends. My findings are counterintuitive and disturbing.
Abortion was decreasing. When President Bush took office, the nation's
abortion rates were at a 24-year low, after a 17.4% decline during the
1990s. This was an average decrease of 1.7% per year, mostly during the
latter part of the decade. (This data comes from Minnesota Citizens
Concerned for Life using the Guttmacher Institute's studies).
Enter George W. Bush in 2001. One would expect the abortion rate to
continue its consistent course downward, if not plunge. Instead, the
I found three states that have posted multi-year statistics through
2003, and abortion rates have risen in all three: Kentucky's increased
by 3.2% from 2000 to 2003. Michigan's increased by 11.3% from 2000 to
2003. Pennsylvania's increased by 1.9% from 1999 to 2002. I found 13
additional states that reported statistics for 2001 and 2002. Eight
states saw an increase in abortion rates (14.6% average increase), and
five saw a decrease (4.3% average decrease).
Under President Bush, the decade-long trend of declining abortion rates
appears to have reversed. Given the trends of the 1990s, 52,000 more
abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than would have been
expected before this change of direction.
How could this be? I see three contributing factors:
First, two thirds of women who abort say they cannot afford a child
(Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Web site). In the past three
years, unemployment rates increased half again. Not since Hoover had
there been a net loss of jobs during a presidency until the current
administration. Average real incomes decreased, and for seven years the
minimum wage has not been raised to match inflation. With less income,
many prospective mothers fear another mouth to feed.
Second, half of all women who abort say they do not have a reliable mate
(Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life). Men who are jobless usually do
not marry. Only three of the 16 states had more marriages in 2002 than
in 2001, and in those states abortion rates decreased. In the 16 states
overall, there were 16,392 fewer marriages than the year before, and
7,869 more abortions. As male unemployment increases, marriages fall and
Third, women worry about health care for themselves and their children.
Since 5.2 million more people have no health insurance now than before
this presidency - with women of childbearing age overrepresented in
those 5.2 million - abortion increases.
The U.S. Catholic Bishops warned of this likely outcome if support for
families with children was cut back. My wife and I know - as does my son
David - that doctors, nurses, hospitals, medical insurance, special
schooling, and parental employment are crucial for a special child.
David attended the Kentucky School for the Blind, as well as several
schools for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. He was
mainstreamed in public schools as well. We have two other sons and five
grandchildren, and we know that every mother, father, and child needs
public and family support.
What does this tell us? Economic policy and abortion are not separate
issues; they form one moral imperative. Rhetoric is hollow, mere
tinkling brass, without health care, health insurance, jobs, child care,
and a living wage. Pro-life in deed, not merely in word, means we need
policies that provide jobs and health insurance and support for
Glen Stassen is the Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at
Fuller Theological Seminary, and the co-author of Kingdom Ethics:
Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, Christianity Today's Book of
the Year in theology or ethics.
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