Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Where I draw the line

Despite my long dry spell in posting here, I actually have several entries in the works. I'll get them into adequate shape for posting bit by bit.

But first priority is to get out of the way something I really kind of don't want to say, but feel I have to.

It's difficult to argue with this man, after what he's given for this country. Nobody has earned the right to his opinion of the Iraq war more than this guy has, both by the sacrifice he's made and just by being there in person, which I certainly can't claim. Some of the people I admire most differ with me about it, and I do admire this young veteran. History will pronounce the final verdict on this war.

I support his, or anyone's right to think it's a necessary war.

But when he says that if you call the war a mistake, THEN you disrespect the soldiers, it crosses the line into something not even he has the right to say. Why? Because he's not disagreeing with me, he's telling me what I think -- and disagreeing with it -- and nobody gets to do that.

I will not Make Nice about this. I have high tolerance for being disagreed with, but a very low tolerance for being told what I think. I have an even lower tolerance for the venerable tactic of false correlation: If you believe X, then you are required to believe Y.

I think I can see where it comes from. There's this completely bogus idea floating around, that to oppose the war means that one holds the soldiers to be stupid. Or -- and this is outwardly "nicer" but more condescending -- that they're valiant and admirable, but naïve.

No. Nobody close to a veteran sees it that way, and that's a lot of us. You can't really be close to a combat veteran without coming to some level of understanding about the sacred trust they keep. Those soldiers, sailors and Marines are holding up their end of a trust on which the defense of a nation depends.

I happen to believe that the leaders, whose own sacred duty, as the other end of that trust, is to send people to war only in a just and necessary cause, have violated it. I happen to think that intentionally costing people their lives for dishonorable motives is despicable beyond words.

Again, history will tell whether this is such a case, but even those who think the war may be a mistake can have tremendous respect for these soldiers, for their sacrificial support of that sacred trust, a self-sacrifice that transcends the particulars of this or any war.

I think the young veteran in the video is a hero and that he personifies the best things about this country.

I believe that keeping a sacred trust is never a mistake. I believe the war is a mistake. He has every right to disagree with me, but not to tell me that I can't hold those beliefs simultaneously.

Larry (in the foxhole) in training before shipping out to Vietnam. 1968.

Used by permission.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


An email from a friend wondering how we fared during the storm awoke me to the fact that not everyone knows we're OK! Thoughtless of me to leave anyone hanging. We're fine. The damage was north, around the state border and up, and we got just a hard rain. My heart goes out to those from the Caribbean to Galveston.

The first storm prep of the season is the hardest. Now some of that work is done and won't need to be done again. The timing of that batch of storms was deeply lousy, and getting through others would be a little less difficult. If nothing else, our inland friend Leila says we can bring our 3 cats to her place if need be. Whew.

So while storm season is still with us for a couple more months, we're relaxing a little for the moment. Scooter finds all storms to be an extreme inconvenience, and to be evidence of Poor Management on the part of his slacker Hoomans. Now that we've had a few sunny days, his daily rounds are less interfered-with, so he has decided we're doing an acceptable job.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


The chores.

The stores.

We have to be ready both for going and for staying. A bad direct hit means finding shelter for us and 3 cats -- and maybe for a long time if there's damage or destruction. An indirect hit or a category 2 or 1 means .... ain't goin' nowhere. We rode out a cat 1 in 2004 and it was pretty mild.

Either way, and it took Larry to think of this, the trees around the house needed major cutbacks. It's a toss-up. They can provide cushioning from flying obejcts, but the limbs themselves, without breaking loose, can simply whip the windows hard and break them.

Plenty of water,

food that doesn't need cooking,

batteries. Stored in the pantry along with all the other junk that's in there. It's a nice little interior windowless space and we can nail it shut.

Plastic tubs for valuables. It's not enough to just stash things in them. We'll seal them.

Cat supplies.

Fresh air.
The yard as we hope it will still be when all this is done.

Town Square.

Our favorite coffee shop, Appalachian Java, just off the town square of Burnsville, NC. Up in the mountains. Where I wish we lived right now.

In a couple months we'll look back at all this and ....