July 04, 2005

Paul Wynn Goes to Iraq

I don't know Paul Wynn, but the Post-Dispatch actually put together a very nice story about the pastor who lives in neighboring St. Peters.

If the Rev. Paul Wynn never returns from the war in Iraq, he wants his wife and children to know he served God and his country.

Wynn's church sermon Sunday was the last he'll deliver for a while. The pastor at the New Covenant Church of St. Peters and the father of five children leaves Tuesday to begin 12 to 18 months of military service in Iraq.

"It's a big, big if," Wynn, 36, of O'Fallon, Mo., told his children recently, "But if something does happen to me, I want you to always remember your dad did the right thing."

The 1990 West Point graduate and former Army football punt returner will spend the summer months in Farmington. Mo., where he'll begin training to lead a unit of 120 soldiers. This fall, he'll go to Fort Sill, Okla., before being deployed to Iraq. Wynn, a major, will lead a crew that supplies food, fuel, water and equipment to soldiers fighting on the ground in Iraq.

After returning from active duty in the Persian Gulf War, Wynn lived with his wife, Sandra, in England while attending Bible college. After finishing school, Wynn returned to Missouri and has served various positions in the church, including youth pastor, Bible training coordinator and full-time pastor for the past 18 months.

He said he felt compelled to rejoin the Army Reserve after the terrorist attacks on the United States.
That's the meat of it. I need to go look to see where that was found within the paper itself. I caught the online version.


Posted by hln at 06:44 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 25, 2004

Home Depot

Brian and I just finished turning our rather large bedroom/library purple. We took many trips to Ace Hardware (right around the corner) and one big one to Home Depot, where we procured our purple paint and most of the things that help it adhere to the wall.

I was quite pleased this morning when I read that Home Depot is donating $1 million worth of tools to the US military in Iraq. Go Home Depot!

Whoever does the overseas shipping for these guys is doing a happy dance right now, too. For sure.
The company said it is sending eight truck trailers to the military, filled with 100,000 tools and materials, including shovels, table saws, concrete mixers, safety scaffolding, power generators, light bulbs and jackhammers. The donated goods left San Diego on Thursday.

Earlier this year, the company also donated $1 million, as well as a million volunteer hours by its employees, to help military families repair and maintain their homes while a family member is deployed. The company said it has more than 1,800 employees currently serving in the military effort. It has about 300,000 employees nationwide.

Having recently returned from serving in Iraq, I know firsthand that our troops appreciate the fact that our communities and our country continue to show their support," said a statement from Tom Wagner, assistant store manager for The Home Depot in San Diego and a captain in the Marine Corps Reserve.

Posted by hln at 08:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 19, 2004

Paul Johnson

I have spent the last hour and a half thinking about Paul Johnson. It's 4:53 a.m.

I knew Mr. Johnson would die. I knew how he would die. As Kevin Alyward posted, "As noted here earlier in the week Johnson's fate was sealed from the beginning and he may have even been dead for days. The demands of the kidnappers were a ruse."

Normally, I don't touch the weighty topics. Too emotional to form an argument. But with an hour and a half of thought organization, I think I can eke out a few points.

We - citizens of the Western world, Americans especially, are individuals. We see each other as such, which is why the kidnap/beheading tactic is so horrible and therefore "effective." The victim is a person, and then, at the hands of al Qaeda, he suddenly is not.

This isn't about any war. This is about crimes of opportunity - al Qaeda's aims are met in any event. If a Western nation caves to the demands of terrorism, surely more terrorism will ensue. We all know the flip side to that also resolves the same.

Paul Johnson is an American. He is also a husband, an employee, and many other things we will maybe never know. He may or may not have been a good person. He is dead. He is dead at the hands of those who would seek to do the same to you and me if given the chance. How long before one of us is plucked from American soil and subjected to the same fate? And how will America react to the beheading of the first female victim? These are real possibilities.

There is pure evil in the world, and in this instance, it hides itself in the name of its god. That sickens me.

But America, in all of the projection of its vapid culture, is still a nation of individuals - people who matter, not a citizenry that's expendable, disposable, and ignored. And when we band together in support - in churches, in families, as a nation, we are one mighty and powerful force. And that force is not malevolent.

As a civilized people, we try to find compassion and understand those who seek our destruction. Give it up already. There's nothing available within your psyche to understand. Ask yourself what it would take for you to group with people to snatch a person, depersonalize that person in the sake of "political gain," and then brutally murder that person - a human being. Can't go there? Nothing comes to mind?



Posted by hln at 05:13 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 22, 2004

Clear Something Up For My Simple Mind

CNN. Front page right now (10:11 a.m. CST)
Thousands of Palestinians jammed the streets of Gaza City for the funeral procession today of Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, killed earlier in the day in an Israeli missile strike. As Palestinian militant groups vowed revenge, Israeli officials said Yassin was a "terrorist" who deserved death.
CNN: Linking to itself in: Key facts: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
1987: Yassin founds Hamas from ranks of Muslim Brotherhood religious organization. Hamas soon emerges as strongest political rival to mainstream Fatah movement of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Hamas opposes peace talks with Israel and carries out scores of suicide bombings, killing hundreds of Israelis, to thwart peace agreements negotiated by Arafat and his supporters.
Someone please explain why "terrorist" appears on CNN's main page. Yes, I'm disputing the quotes. CNN itself calls this a fact, no? I'm certain Isreal's not making an assertion here; Israel believed the man was a terrorist.

"...carries out scores of suicide bombings, killing hundreds of Israelis..."


Posted by hln at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)

March 17, 2004

Operation Terrorism defines terrorism as such:
The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.
It misses two keys words. These words are "illegitimate" (which is different than unlawful) and "immoral."

I was in Florida on March 11th without bloggable access to an Internet-connected computer. So no commentary from me until I read this - something so illustrative of every point I would make that I'll first let it speak for itself.
PARIS, France (CNN) -- French police have opened an investigation after a Paris newspaper received a letter from a Muslim group threatening spectacular attacks that would make "blood run to (its) borders."

The letter, from a previously unknown group calling itself the "Servants of Allah the Mighty and the Wise," said it planned to take action after Muslim girls were banned from wearing headscarves in schools.

Servants of Allah the Mighty and the Wise, an expansion team.

Before news of the letter was released, French President Jacques Chirac said France was not under direct threat of attack "but, as are all the democracies, it is not safe from terrorist attacks."
Democracy. Yes, there it is, the root of the problem. I'll state it simply and concisely. The problem is not us. So, those of you over in the State of Wyoming, if you were blaming yourself, PLEASE STOP.

The cause of terrorism is not the United States. It is not Israel, not Spain, not France. It is freedom, the ability to live one's life as an individual with free will. And there is no logical "why." And it's not as simple as have and have not. Rather, it's a credo of hate held by bands of individuals who are willing to die to achieve, no, wait - willing not only to die but to kill innocent civilians (and consider themselves ever the more successful by doing so) to take aim at democracy - at "Westerners" especially.

While this particular decision (the headscarves) seems extreme, it certainly does not warrant "attacks that would make "blood run to (its) borders"." I would hope we have consensus here.

From the dawn of humanity (Cain killed Abel, no?) until far beyond our days here on earth there will be senseless killing of innocent human beings. And the reason, should you feel the need to search for one, is mere evil. This is a time unique only in its technology - the ability to coordinate attack strategy much like September 11th and March 11th. And it's bone chilling. If you find this acceptable behavior - a viable political vehicle - I'm certain there's a group that'd love your help for the small cost of your soul.

Terrorism is not another form of disagreement. It's an ideologically bully where those bullied are disposable "examples" so the rest of us who remain will act as though we were the victims. Shocked beyond action or into inaction. That is the aim.

If you live in a free society, you are a target. There is no answer to this problem, no surefire means of eradication. Only attempts at containment, define that as you will. Certainly I'd not advocate that we abandon democracy. So, those of you who would argue that Spain was attacked because of its affiliation with the Coalition, I reply that perhaps the time and place was so chosen, but Spain "had it coming" merely because it's free. <sarcasm>If it's not oppressed, than surely it's an oppressor, for that is the way of things.</sarcasm>
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

For nation shall rise agains nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places.

All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

Matthew 24:6 - 10.

Posted by hln at 09:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 14, 2003

A Difference of Opinion

By now, of course, everyone is aware of the capture of Saddam Hussein. Brian and I were at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis this morning, having stayed there last evening after his company's Christmas party.

I was washing my face, and I heard him explain, "Oh, my God." A few moments later I emerged, and the television lower caption told the story before the reporter, who was explaining a tangent of the operation.

I felt immediate relief.

I'm not sure why that was my first reaction, but I've given it a bit of thought, and I think that's because Hussein's capture is tangible. It is a very good thing that we have the man alive and not dead. Alive, perhaps he can save lives. Alive but defeated, and perhaps those who were fearful can move on. Alive but defeated, and perhaps his allies will slowly, one by one, concede defeat.

Unrelated but still today, I went to do my duty for voting for the New Blog Showcase, and I found this post by N.Z. Bear. This week, sponsorship goes to the Liberal Coalition. Having never visited, I did exactly that, and I found some postulating about how democratic contenders might spin Hussein's capture to their advantage. Each point taken alone seems weak. I said as much, and then I ventured to the source of the post.

The weblog is DOHIYI MIR, and this is the first time I've seen it. So I read along a bit. This post seems accurate. And this heartfelt. But here's where my mental brakes screeched. The post is entitled Truth With a Side of Lies. Not the lies thing again, but, alas, yes.

    The bad guys attacking our soldiers are not terrorists--they are guerrillas, engaged in an insurgency. Nor are they a direct threat to the American people--or is this an admission that the neo-con's beloved "flypaper strategy" is a failure? I'll further note that we created the current violent environment in Iraq through an illegal invasion and inept occupation.

    Regardless, these statements are proof positive that Bush offers only fear to the American people.
And I have this to say. I started to comment on the site, but I believe I lost the top part of the comment, so this is a safer haven for my words. I don't address the "created the current violent environment in Iraq though illegal invasion and inept occupation." I just let that slide. But the post brought out my own thoughts, and they are not in accord with the author's. Seldom do you see me wax political - mostly because there are others who do so much more eloquently and effectively - from both sides of issues. But today - here we are. My response:

Of course it does. The continuation of violence in Iraq going on, that is. How do you stop a suicide bomber? You don't. He or she could be any person in a crowd (or car), willing to sacrifice his or her life to destroy and take the lives of others. We face cowards who are willing to die, kill those whom they do not know and may not begrudge, and give no warning.

I don't think there's any way to "win" against one. Or many.

The violence in Iraq will continue. It will continue long after we are gone, too, likely.

Is all of it senseless? Of course it is. I heard something on the radio today from a former army so and so - tuned in too late to catch who he was. But he made pretty much this same point and that it was highly unlikely that Saddam Hussein was coordinating the attacks himself.

Just a few thoughts. In an earlier post, you say "Truth With a Side of Lies." I hate this approach because everything else I'd read on this blog seemed to include balanced argument. Because person X and person Y disagree, and person Y is in power, person X labels his words as lies.

Take your classification of guerillas. I disagree, and I'll take to the dictionary.

Guerilla - A member of an irregular, usually indigenous military or paramilitary unit operating in small bands in occupied territory to harass and undermine the enemy, as by surprise raids. (from

Okay - suicide bombings - yeah, it fits either way - terrorist or guerilla. You believe one way, and I believe the opposite? Is one of us lying? No, I don't believe so. It's merely semantics.

You are correct that the people who are attacking our soldiers are not a direct threat to "the American people." Why? Because right now they're in Iraq! We have no way of knowing the outcome and occurrences of the last 8 months had we not engaged in war. Have we done any good in Afghanistan though we have not found bin Laden? Some would say that we have not. My measure is that there have been no follow-up attacks on American soil since September 11, 2001.

Would there have been further terrorist attacks had we quivered in a diplomatic corner - had we tried to merely move on with our lives as if nothing had occurred?

I have no idea. I cannot postulate because these things did not occur. And if I cannot postulate about an alternative reality, then, truly, neither can anyone else.

Pray for peace and stability. As I do.


Posted by hln at 01:51 PM | Comments (10)

October 26, 2003

War and, Well, War

I'd like to note a couple of war-themed posts this evening. First, there's this post from Shark Blog that I found via Free Will. The author traces the words "imminent threat" through the media over time.

I link to Robert Prather a lot. There's a reason for this. He spends a lot of time putting together thought-provoking posts about economics and foreign policy. This particular post addresses thoughts and questions from a commentor from a previous post regarding Iraq, timing, justification, and the future.


Posted by hln at 09:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

New Blog Showcase

Another week, more blogs. This week, I'd like to vote for Demosophia's long Totalitarianism post. Also, Sebastian Holsclaw talks abortion.


Posted by hln at 11:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 06, 2003

Reviewing the War

Jon of QandO does an amazing job of enumerating the justifications for the war in Iraq.

    With the end of the Iraq war, comes the question...was the war justified?

    Of course, one must define the justification for war first. Was it human rights? Was it terrorism? Was it WMDs all along, with the others only claimed after the fact?

    Well, there's only one definitive answer, and it always suprises me that this is still debated. The justification for war has long been codified and official. It is described in the October 10th, 2002 "House Joint Resolution Authorizing Use of Force Against Iraq", and it is quite clear.

    So, in light of the recent progress report from David Kay, let's examine the justification for war, and see what we get. We'll list the justifications and see if they have been confirmed, or found wanting.
This is a very, very long post with lots of links. Prepare to spend some time. I'm certain Jon did.


Posted by hln at 09:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 01, 2003

Hoping and Praying

..that we have some objective evidence for the whiners and the wary (I fit in the second category).

As seen in the news earlier and on Electric Venom. I'm certain this will be widely discussed for the rest of the week.


Posted by hln at 09:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Front Line Voices

Front Line Voices is live.

If you haven't yet stopped by, it's worth your time. If you know a service member with a story, please pass on the information about the site.


Posted by hln at 08:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 27, 2003

Front Line Voices

The project is taking shape. The URL is in place with a blog atop it, skinning to commence soon. The group of us who have volunteered have been sharing ideas about how this should and will take place. The whole thing is fascinating; the effect should be as well.

If you have as few as two free hours per week and have an interest in the project, please visit the discussion blog and find a fitting way to donate some of your time.


Posted by hln at 05:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 24, 2003

Visit Here

Visit Here

And volunteer.


Posted by hln at 06:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The War - Choose Your Battles

I don't write much about the Iraq war, the events leading up to it, and the events that have occurred in the rebuilding stage. There's a reason - mostly because I become emotional and have trouble becoming, much less remaining, objective on this issue. But, here are a few months' worth of thoughts conglomerated.

On March 21, 2003 at about 9:00 in the evening, news of the war came on the radio. It was a Wednesday evening, and I was at my community volleyball session, just as I will be tonight. Volleyball was scheduled to last until 9:30. At 9:15, I left, very distracted, essentially unable to function in a "fun" and recreational enviornment. I arrived home to Brian watching Fox.

The media's night vision live action footage and term coinage, as if this were somehow trendy, this "Shock and Awe" etc. was and is disgusting. At work in the reception area, TVs are tuned to CNN all day. Every time I'd leave my cubicle to get more water, I'd walk by more bombing. Bombing, bombing, and more bombing. Bombing as an Olympic event. On Friday, I was at lunch at Ruby Tuesday's when Hans remarked while looking up at a perched television screen covering - you guessed it, more bombing - "What's the score?"

And that about sums it up. I support the government's choice to go to war; I hope I understand it. I essentially believe we declared war because we had to - we had said we would if certain final conditions were not met (we did all but ask Saddam pretty please with sugar on top to leave); the conditions were not satisfied, of course, and, well, you know the rest. Had we backed down with an "oh, sorry," I believe there would've been graver consequence than these we face today because the image of the United States would be weakened (thus leading to more attacks and a lessened ability to negotiate by staunch deterrence and subtle threat). There is no glaring evidence of WMDs (yet another term) - the SOLE reason we went to war, according to many of those opposed. This is disheartening, yes.

The simple fact remains, though. We. are. in. Iraq. We are not leaving until we have done our job. Many tragedies will occur between now and then - some preventable, some not. As a nation, though, we have made a commitment - a commitment I am comfortable assuming that was undertaken based on knowledge far greater than any normal citizen you and I can obtain.

Do I support the war and America's efforts against terrorism? Wholeheartedly and unquestionably, yes. Does this come without a price? No. The war makes me question what I'm about - I have become callous and have stopped reading past the headlines when soldiers die. I do not learn their names or about their childhoods and families left behind as I did early in the war. I do not connect.

I also believe that this nation has done two things with the war - one good, and one very, very bad.

The good is that with a limited amount of power, we deposed the Saddam Hussein regime very quickly. This stands as an example to other nations who would dare challenge our military and technological supremacy. It also paints us in a benevolent light, to those who stop to notice, because of our restraint.

The bad is that this is one nation, one link to terrorism. We are merely beginning, and I believe we are entering something that has no conceivable end. It has been said before and I merely reiterate that we will forever be criticized for every skirmish and issue and possible link to terrorism that we do NOT eradicate because we chose the war with Iraq.

This post comes from what Frank J. wrote last night on the Alliance blog and my frustration with knowing NO ONE involved in the Iraq war. I stopped to think about that - I don't know a soul serving in Iraq in this phase, either. That lends itself to a nice disconnect, no.

Sadly, and in complete honesty, yes.


Posted by hln at 06:55 AM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2003

Lileks on 9/11/2001

Lileks on 9/11/2001

If you read Lileks, then you expect nothing less than what he delivers today. If you haven't or don't read him, today is a good day to begin.


Posted by hln at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)


If you've not visited Michele's Voices project, please do.

I'm borrowing the text of Meryl's (Meryl Yourish) to show you how powerful these stories are.

    My how-I-heard-it story is of no matter. It's not very interesting. I left work early, stopped and pick up some extra groceries, talked with neighbors until after dark. What I found far more visceral was the first time I realized what exactly was a strange odor that sometimes permeated Montclair, where I lived at the time.

    A few days after the eleventh, maybe the thirteenth or the fourteenth, I was driving across town for lunch. It was another beautiful September day. My car windows were open, and I thought to myself, "Someone has used far too much fertilizer on their lawn."

    But it wasn't fertilizer. The wind was coming from the east, and it brought the smell of the remains of the twin towers burning. And though that was the first time, it was far from the last.

    My birthday is November 15th. On November 15th, 2001, I went to dinner with friends. We had dinner at a favorite place of mine, Charlie Brown's, in Upper Montclair. As we left the restaurant, Brenda sniffed the air and asked, "What's that awful smell?"

    It was the World Trade Center fires, still burning, two months later. Montclair is twelve miles west of New York City. Every time the wind was in the east during the months following September 11th, you could smell the towers burning.

    This is what I wrote that night:

    We may be getting closer to normal, but we will never forget. We will never be the same. Twelve miles west of Manhattan, and I can smell the Towers burning. Ten o'clock at night, and I can step outside onto my patio and smell Ground Zero.

    Twelve miles west. There's a theater troupe in Montclair named Twelve Miles West. I can no longer think of them, or that phrase, without thinking of the wind coming from the east, bearing the odor of death.


Posted by hln at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)