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Livin in my own private Idaho

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  • John Patten
    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 Hi
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 1, 2004
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      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

      Hi everyone,

      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
      weaponry.

      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?
      5. 42.
      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
      late March.

      If you want to write to me directly, the best way is :

      John Patten
      CHLK-KH
      Kandahar PRT
      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
      from now.

      JP

      �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?





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    • Paul DEVER
      Wow!....stay low and make sure you sight your M-16 before you go out in the field... _________________________________________________________________ Don’t
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 2, 2004
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        Wow!....stay low and make sure you sight your M-16 before you go out in the
        field...

        _________________________________________________________________
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        http://search.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200636ave/direct/01/
      • John Patten
        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
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 2, 2004
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          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
          > field...
          >
          >
          _________________________________________________________________
          > Don�t just search. Find. Check out the new MSN
          > Search!
          >
          http://search.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200636ave/direct/01/
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          > $9.95 domain names from Yahoo!. Register anything.
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          http://us.click.yahoo.com/J8kdrA/y20IAA/yQLSAA/o20olB/TM
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        • John Patten
          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
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 3, 2004
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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.

            JP



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          • Vyrle Owens
            13 October 2004 Dear all, 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
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 13, 2004
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              13 October 2004

              Dear all,

              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,

              Vyrle


              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
              opposite happened.

              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
              abortion rises.

              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
              prospective mothers.


              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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            • Paul DEVER
              Quite interesting...someone should send it to the RNC....
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 15, 2004
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                Quite interesting...someone should send it to the RNC....
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