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Ponder Points

A Ponder Point is a significant, outstanding, or effective idea, argument or suggestion that needs to be weighed in the mind with thoroughness and care.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Half A Dozen Ponder Points From Poor Richard

These Ponder Points came from Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac written in 1734. Seems to me that they are as true today as then.

Where there's Marriage without Love, there will be Love without Marriage.

Lawyers, Preachers, and Tomtits Eggs, there are more of them hatch'd than come to perfection.

Don't value a man for the Quality he is of, but for the Qualities he possesses.

He that cannot obey, cannot command.

He that is rich need not live sparingly, and he that can live sparingly need not be rich.

Would you live with ease, Do what you ought, and not what you please.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving Letter From Iraq

This post is quite a bit longer than usual but I thought Lt. Col. Elzie's letter needed to be posted for consideration without editing. This email was sent out to the parents of the Marines serving in the Eighth Engineer Support Battalion and a copy was sent to me by one of the parents. We are indeed lucky to have leaders like Dan Elzie in Iraq.

Family and friends,

Happy Thanksgiving!Contrary to what you may be hearing back there, our work out here is going well. In spite of our losses in the last month, your Marines and Sailors remain motivated and committed to the mission at hand.Today, while you have turkey, this battalion is spread throughout Western Iraq providing critical support to the nation. The greatest generation, made up of all volunteers, is out there exporting freedom and liberty to Iraq. Say what you will about why we are here…this Battalion knows that the gift of freedom and liberty requires defense and must be exported to prosper. We are not occupiers…we are continuing to support the liberation of this country; a mission given to us by the President and approved by our elected representatives. Seeing this through is critical for the security of our nation.

Much political discussion is occurring in the states. I can positively tell you it is having a negative impact on the morale of the families back home; that will eventually migrate to the morale of the warriors out here, if it is allowed to continue unabated by reason. I assure you that we are winning and succeeding. The Iraqis are taking back their country. The referendum was a success; and the general elections will be another large step towards self governance on 15 December. I get briefed every day on what is happening throughout Iraq…and it is working. While there is no big scoreboard to gauge our progress, I can tell you that if this were a football game the scoreboard would read we are up 63-3, and it is mid-way through the 3rd quarter. The only way to lose is to walk of the field and forfeit.

Fortunately, my grandfather did no such thing in WWII. Faced with much steeper odds, his generation did the right thing and stuck it out. The list of countries that have prospered since is a long one… wherever you see freedom and prosperity on the globe, they are benefactors, either directly or indirectly. You, too are benefactors from the sacrifices made from the start of American history.

My only hope is that you, the American public, get the true story of what is happening here in Iraq. Having been home for two weeks, I was very dismayed at what I saw being reported. Although I left right after a successful constitution referendum, the daily news was filled with the news of 2,000 American deaths in Iraq, with little reported in the way of success. Some perspective on those numbers:

-First and foremost, every death in Iraq is a tragedy. But, even more tragic, would be to cut and run; exactly what al Qaeda is praying for…then those deaths would be meaningless. As much as I hate to hold memorials and write letters home to the families of fallen warriors, I know for a fact that more Americans would die in the future if we leave here prematurely. Remember that on 9/11, nearly 3,000 innocent Americans died because of the radical islamofascist's view of the world and win at all costs tactics.

-On D-Day, fighting an enemy with world domination as a goal, 1,465 Americans lost their lives…in a 24 hour period.

-In the battle for Iwo Jima, the Marines trademark fight, 6,503 Marines and sailors paid the ultimate price over a 6 week struggle.

-During the same 2.5 year period, roughly 40,000 Americans were murdered…in the states.

- During the same 2.5 year period, roughly 45,000 Americans were killed by drunk driving…in the states.

-During one year alone, 2004, more Americans were murdered in Chicago, L.A. and New York combined than have been killed in action against the enemy here in Iraq since the start of our operation here.

You all have much to be thankful for today. Not the least of which are the all volunteer defenders of liberty and freedom forward deployed in harm's way that I have the distinct privilege to lead and serve with. Prosperity for all is only available with freedom and liberty. The gift of freedom and liberty comes with a price, and your Marines and sailors are out here selflessly and willingly paying it. They understand the risks and costs. They understand and believe in the mission. They extend to stay out here. They reenlist to continue the fight. They sacrifice for you, and future generations, just as our previous generations have. They are the greatest generation.

Say a prayer for them today. The freedom you enjoy is paid for with their blood and sacrifice. Pray for their families, too, for they bear freedom's heavy load. While the families don't sacrifice their blood, their tears sting and their hearts ache for their loved ones.

Thank God for the freedom you enjoy, and for providing us with this generation.

We remain Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful),

LtCol Dan ElzieCO,
8th Engineer Support Bn
"Whatever It Takes"

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Half A Dozen Ponder Points About Time

Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them.-Dion Boucicault

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Now is the only time there is. Make your now wow, your minutes miracles, and your days pay. Your life will have been magnificently lived and invested, and when you die you will have made a difference. -Mark Victor Hansen

You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.-Charles Buxton

Minutes are worth more than money. Spend them wisely. -Thomas P. Murphy

If you want to make good use of your time, you've got to know what's most important and then give it all you've got. -Lee Iacocca

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

France-Who Ya Going To Call?

" . . . you know frankly, going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. You just leave a lot of useless noisy baggage behind."- Jed Babbin, a former deputy undersecretary of defense

A survey in France demonstrated that one in three French citizens desire the defeat of the United States in Iraq no matter what the ultimate cost to the free world. France pretends to be a country with great power status but hasn't had it in over 50 years. Lest anyone forget, France was a country that surrendered and collaborated with the Nazi regime. If not for the brave American and British troops that fought and died to liberate that country, they would now be speaking German. So why is this country, that owes it's very freedom to us, so anti-American? Well according to writer Joseph Farrah its both personal and business. Chirac and Hussein have been in bed together for quite a while. France was Iraq's number two trading partner and sold them $20 billion worth of weapons not to mention their 23 percent stake in Iraqi oil. The complete story can be read athttp://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=31552. I wonder who they are going to call the next time they are invaded?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

Franklin once created a list of 13 virtues to live by. Did Franklin himself take his own advice? Sometimes. Sometimes not. "Be temperate in wine, in eating, girls, and cloth, or the Gout will seize you and plague you both," Franklin wrote. Franklin definitely enjoyed his food, loved the company of women, and at times put on the dog to influence the way people perceived him. And Franklin did suffer from gout for much of his life. Like most of us, Franklin aspired to perfection but due to being human often fell short. Here for your pondering pleasure are the thirteen virtues that Franklin strove to live by:

Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation

Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversations

Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time

Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve

Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; that is, waste nothing

Industry: Lose not time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions

Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; speak accordingly

Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty

Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think you deserve

Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes or habitation

Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles or accidents common or unavoidable

Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation

Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

San Francisco - Because They Are Special!

Voters in ultra-liberal San Francisco overwhelmingly approved measures encouraging schools to keep military recruiters off campus. Makes one wonder what is going on in these peoples so called minds. Do they actually believe that denying graduating high school students and those attending college access to information about joining the military is going to put a stop to terrorism? Is it their belief that there is nothing worth fighting for? Are they saying that they have no use for the military? What do you think they would be saying if terrorists attacked their city and killed San Francisco residents? You can bet they would be crying for help from the same military that they are disrespecting.

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight – nothing he cares about more than his own personal safety – is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”— John Stuart Mill

Maybe the people of San Francisco are convinced that they are an enlightened people living in a Camelot like place where unicorns roam free and terrorists would not attack them because they realize how special they really are. Those of us that live in the real world know otherwise.

“We do not differentiate between those dressed in military uniforms and civilians; they are all targets in this fatwa.”— Osama bin Laden

Of course the people of San Francisco, as well as other leftist groups, will tell you that their actions are meant to help the young men and women currently serving in the military. They will tell you that they support the people in the military but not the military establishment. Right!
Check out the quotes below that are a blast from the past:

“(The American antiwar movement) was essential to our strategy… Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement… America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.” Col. Bui Tin, North Vietnamese Army

“We praise the American peace champions. The movement of the American people to protest against the war of aggression has really become the second front against the U.S. imperialists.” Vietnam News Agency, 1966

Don't misunderstand me! I have no problem with the honest debating of any topic, including the war in Iraq. But there is a big difference in having an honest belief, for or against, and taking actions that can actually cause harm to the very people you are professing to protect. Each of us is accountable for our actions and the result of those actions, both negative and positive.
Maybe the people of San Francisco should Ponder on that for a while.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Liberal Alzheimer's Disease

Liberals like to repeat over and over again that George Bush lied to the American people about Saddam Husein having weapons of mass distruction in order to take the nation to war. To hear the liberals tell it now, Mr. Bush woke up one day and decided to fabricate this tale of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in order to give him a reason to attack Saddam Hussein in Iraq. As usua, theirl tactic is to repeat something over and over again, no matter how false it may be, and hope that the masses will follow along like sheep. It is interesting to note how short and selective the liberal memory is. It appears to me that Mr. Bush was not the only one who believed that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the free world. Maybe the facts just slipped their little liberal minds. Check out the quotes below:

"Urges the President to take all necessary and appropriate actions to respond to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."— Text of Senate Concurrent Resolution 71, Jan. 28, 1998, co-sponsored by Democrats Tom Daschle, Patrick Leahy, Max Cleland, John Kerry and Robert Byrd, among others.

"(Iraq) admitted, among other things, an offensive biological warfare capability — notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs. And might I say, UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq has actually greatly understated its production."— Text of President Clinton's address to Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon staff, Feb. 17, 1998

"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."Press release from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Dec. 16, 1998

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."From an address by Al Gore to the Commonwealth Club of California, Sept. 23, 2002

"The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last four years ... he has continued to build those weapons."— Sen. John Kerry, Congressional Record, Oct. 9, 2002

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years."— Floor statement of Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Oct. 10, 2002

"Under Saddam's rule, Iraq has engaged in far-reaching human rights abuses, been a state sponsor of terrorism and has long sought to obtain and develop weapons of mass destruction."— Statement from the Web site of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, dated 2002

"I consider the prospect of a nuclear-armed Saddam Hussein who can threaten not only his neighbors, but the stability of the region and the world, a very serious threat to the United States."— Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York at a Jan. 22, 2003, press conference.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Numbers That Add Up To 9/11

2,823: Number of people killed in the attack on the World Trade Center

2,390: Number of Americans killed in the bombing of Pearl Harbor

157: Number killed aboard the airplanes that felled the towers

291: Number of bodies found intact

69: Number of days subterranean fires burned in Manhattan after the attack

45: Number of people killed aboard Flight 93 when its passengers mounted a heroic effort to wrest control of the doomed plane

125: Number killed in the Pentagon

64: Number killed aboard Flight 77 when it slammed into the Pentagon

1,300: Number of children left orphaned after the attacks

100,000: Approximate number of jobs lost in Manhattan in the year following the attacks

1,800,000: Approximate number of jobs lost nationwide in the first year after 9/11

$500,000,000,000: Estimated losses in gross domestic product between Sept. 11, 2001, and
the end of 2003.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Strands In The Web Of Life

"Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."

Chief Seattle

The full text of Chief Noah Seattle can be read here:

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Ponder Point From A Man At The Front

“I wish there was not a war, and I wish our young people did not have to fight and die. But I cannot wish away evil men like bin Laden and al-Zarqawi. These men are not wayward children who have gone astray; they are not great men who are simply misunderstood. They are cold-blooded killers, and they will kill you, me and everyone we love and hold dear if we do not kill them first. You cannot reason with these people. You cannot negotiate with them. And this war will not be over until they are dead. That is the ugly, awful and brutal truth … The last thing we need here in Iraq is an exit strategy or some damn time table for withdrawal. Thank God there was notime table for withdrawal after the Battle of the Bulge or Iwo Jima. Thank God there was no exit strategy at Valley Forge. Freedom is not easy, and it comes with a terrible price.”
Col. Brett Wyrick, surgeon deployed in Iraq

Monday, November 07, 2005

The War On Terrorism Started Before 9/11


1979: Iranian students seize the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and hold captive approximately 70 Americans. Some are released, but 52 remain for 444 days.

1983: Sixty-three are killed when a bomb-laden truck crashes into the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

1983: A 12,000-pound truck bomb destroys a Marine barracks in Beirut,killing 241 American servicemen.

1984: A suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy in East Beirut kills 23.

1985: A TWA fl ight is hijacked en route to Rome from Athens. Eight crew members and 145 passengers are held 17 days. A U.S. Navy diver is murdered.

1985: Palestinian Liberation Front terrorists seize Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. American passenger Leon Klinghoffer, confi ned to a wheelchair, is killed and his body is thrown overboard. Terrorists escape days later. Ringleader Abu Abbas is captured in 2003 by U.S. forces in Iraq.

1986: Two U.S soldiers are killed and 79 servicemembers are injured in a Libyan bomb attack of a nightclub frequented by U.S. military members in West Berlin, West Germany.

1988: Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins is kidnapped and hanged by Hezbollah terrorists, while serving with the United Nations in Lebanon.

1988: A Pan Am Boeing 747 is blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland. A bomb is believed to have been placed on the plane by two Libyans at Frankfurt Airport in Germany. All 259 people on the aircraft, including 189 Americans, are killed.

1993: A massive truck bomb explodes in a World Trade Center garage in New York, killing six and injuring more than 1,000. Six Islamic extremists are later convicted of the crime.

1993: Iraqi intelligence service attempts to assassinate President George H.W. Bush during a visit to Kuwait.

1996: Terrorists detonate a truck bomb near a U.S. Air Force housing area in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 servicemembers and injuring 385.

1997: Four U.S. auditors from Union Texas Petroleum Corp. and their Paki Guide to Building Public Awareness 7 stani driver are shot to death in Karachi, Pakistan. Radical group Aimal Khufi a Action Committee claims responsibility.

1998: U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar-es-Salem, Tanzania, are heavily damaged in bomb attacks. Intelligence officials link Osama bin Laden to the attacks.

1998: Yemeni militants kidnap a group of Western tourists, including 12 Britons, two Americans and two Australians. Four victims are killed during the rescue attempt.

2000: A dinghy packed with explosives rams the USS Cole, killing 17 U.S. sailors in a Yemeni port. Supporters of Osama bin Laden are suspected.

2000: A bomb explodes at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, injuring nine. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is believed responsible.

2001: Two hijacked airliners crash into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Shortly after, a third crashes into the Pentagon and a fourth in a field in Pennsylvania. Approximately 3,000 Americans and other nationals are killed, a death toll higher by nearly 600 than the attack on Pearl Harbor that sent the United States into World War II. Al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, is widely believed to be responsible and later claims responsibility.

2001: Richard Reid, a member of a radical mosque, is overpowered by passengers on an American Airlines flight to Miami for attempting to detonate a “shoe-bomb” that would have killed hundreds.

2002: Al Qaeda member José Padilla is arrested in Chicago, where authorities believe he was planning to detonate a nuclear “dirty” bomb.

Dozens of Americans have been taken hostage and some murdered, in separate kidnappings by Islamic radicals throughout the 1980s until the present day.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Saddam Hussein/Terrorism Connection

Liberals like to chant that there is no connection between Saddam Hussein and international terrorism. Therefore we have no reason to be in Iraq waging a war against terrorism. These people don't bother to check out the facts and are only blindly parroting the current phrases that are considered cool among their liberal friends. Here are just a few of Saddam's actions which illustrate that his regime has had a long standing connection with international terrorism.

  • Made cash payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
  • Provided terror scholarships that led to 223 murders, including 12 American deaths.
  • Provided safe haven to the Palestinian Liberation Front, Arab Liberation Front, Mujahedin-e-Khalq, and Abu Nidal Organization, which supplied Libyan terrorists with bomb-making materials that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, killing 189 Americans.
  • Provided a safe house for Abdul Rahman, co-conspirator of Ramzi Yousef, who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 and came to the United States on an Iraqi passport; Rahman constructed the bomb used during the attack.
  • Sent an ambassador, as far back as 1994, to Turkey to meet with al-Qaeda operatives.
  • Reached an understanding, according to a 1998 indictment by the Clinton Administration, that al Qaeda and Iraq would work cooperatively on weapons development.
  • Had an Iraqi emissary escort two of the Sept. 11 hijackers in early 2000 to a meeting with al-Qaeda planners in Malaysia
  • Provided medical treatment in Iraq after the Taliban fell, for al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi.
  • Withdrew huge sums of money just before the Coalition’s attack on Baghdad in March 2003 to fund terrorist attacks inside Iraq.