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November 23, 2004

Doing Good Things for Deployed Warriors.


Native American Indians came from all over Iraq to play a game of Native American Indian Stick Ball during the Native American Inter-Tribal Pow Wow that was held on Al Taqaddum near Fallujah on the 17-18th of September 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Pow Was planned from start to finish in less than five weeks, and all the items from the tomahawks to the drum was hand-made by the Native Americans in Iraq. The Pow Wow was held to honor all past, present, and future Native American Veterans, this was the first time that a Pow Wow was held in a Combat Zone by Native Americans. Photo by SFC Johancharles Van Boers (Apache/Cherokee), 55th Signal Company, Combat Camera, Fort Meade, Maryland. "Released for Public Use"

I was going to build a post about all the opportunities that are out there for helping soldiers this holiday season (and beyond!), but Venomous Kate already did that, so I'll just send you there.

Which is almost the same thing as being here - now that the Venomous Family has returned to the Center of the Universe (the Fort Leavenworth/Leavenworth/Lansing, Kansas region). She's currently living about 2.5 miles away. We're becoming blog-central here! Pfui, I don't wanna hear about your 20-blog clusters elsewhere...

Anyway, Congress appropriates money and grants the authority to raise the Armies and send them to war, but they don't provide appropriated funds for Morale, Welfare, and Recreation activities. Those funds are raised either through the profits of the Military Exchange systems (the military's retail stores), established MWR activities (like the stable where we keep our horses - not only does it have to make money (not a huge amount, but it does have to make money) we also pay a 10% 'tax' to fund MWR activities for deployed forces. We choose to raise that money with Horse Shows, so as to not have to pay an additional assessment - which is a good, entrepreneurial approach, I think). The same is true for the bowling alleys, movie theaters, etc. The key point is - most of the money raised to support the troops overseas is raised from within the military community itself. Now you know why the PXs got left behind in some places with large retiree/Guard/Reserve presences even as bases were closed as a part of the draw-down. Not only did it benefit the people left behind, but it kept the money flowing for MWR.

Then there are the service organizations like the USO and the Red Cross, which work with MWR and bring in outside help via cash and in-kind services (like the performers who entertain the troops for a hell of a lot less than they usually can command, etc).

Anyway, Kate has put together a list of things you can contribute to/help with, if you've got some spare cash or time this year. There is a particularly acute need for things at Landstuhl, the big military hospital in Germany, which is the first stop on the way home for combat wounded in Iraq. Nor should we forget Operation Care Package.

C'mon, give up a single beer a week between now and Christmas, and that money can make a difference. If you support the war, well, hell, you almost don't have a choice. Of course, the fact that you *do* have a choice is instructive, is it not?

If you think the war was the greatest evil perpetrated on Earth by the Great Satan Chimp Still-Not-Legitimately-Elected Bible-Thumper First Amendment Slayer Bush, but purport to support the troops - prove it.

If ya don't fall within the band defined by those two endpoints? Screw ya. But then, ya also ain't likely to be reading this blog, so I don't think I'm going to be offending anyone...

Update: Like this guy:

I am sick and tired of the "we support our troops" mantra. Ever since Vietnam, it has been heresy to say anything other than "we stand behind the troops 100%."

It's now time for that mindless, absurd bromide to end. You want to participate in the invasion of a foreign nation on false pretenses then, after the entire planet has realized you're there on a resource grab, you are still killing unarmed civilians in mosques? You want to murder entire families at checkpoints because they don't slow down enough for you? You want to shut down religious newspapers and imprison clerics? You want to torture, murder, and sexually abuse prisoners in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention, destroying centuries of moral high ground our ancestors spent their lives building?

You're on your own, soldier. We do NOT sanction that, you don't represent us, and we do NOT support you in any way.

Are the soldiers "just doing their job"? Are they "just following orders"? Yes, they ARE following orders--just as German soldiers did at the concentration camps in World War II. When you willingly obey the immoral, illegal orders of others, you become inextricably linked to their immorality and their evil. Following orders is a rationalization; it is NEVER an excuse. You are no different than those issuing the orders simply because you're just being a "good German" and doing your job.

Blow me, a$$hole.

Originally in a since removed post from a website that was pointed out by Jonah Goldberg, on NRO.