When A Soldier Cries

When A Soldier Cries

 

A soldier does not cry in the day

A soldier does not cry during a fight.

While the battle rages

The soldier carries on.

Hand maneuvering his hot weapon.

Comrades falling before and behind

The blood of his friends

 – his brothers –

Sweat on his face

Mud takes away his identity.

Just a man in green

Fighting for his country’s ideal.

 

A soldier does not cry in the dark

Or even in the quiet

Between rounds of mortar and fire.

He does not think about politics

Or the bureaucrats back home.

There’s one things a soldier fights for

His own life and the man on his side.

 

Than comes a day

The battling is done

Loss of the life tallied up

Bodies counted

Letters sent

In the silence

In privacy unbroken

By the outside world.

That is the time

When a soldier cries.

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Comfort Me In Pain


It took me a while, but I found you,
And no one else holds my heart in their hand like you do.
Friends might think I am lost and out of my mind.
But with you in my heart I am everything but lost.
Is it too late for me, now that you hold her in your arms?
It seems like you would not had chosen her if I would had found you earlier.
I know you are not the same for me like you are for others.
I see you in another light.
Can you forgive me the doubts still running through my mind?
I lay open my heart for you.
Because I know you take care of her, you will be gentle.
That is all I want and need to know.
Knowing you will do so fills my heart with love and gives me the strength to keep my head up.
I just wish you could lay your arms around, when I’m lying weak on the floor.
So far your spiritual presence doesn’t seem enough, physical comfort is well needed.
I know you have something up for me and for now it seems I cannot be patient.
Why you let me wait here for the one who will give me love and comfort, for the one who will be there for me and strong enough to carry my burdens for a while, when I am too weak to walk around with them.
Is it because it took me so long?
Did you know that I will find my way to you?
My love for you is different,
I know you are around and somehow I have the feeling that I knew it all the time, just did not want to see it.
But it is clear for me now.
Things start to make sense to me.
Even if your ways are strange in some way.
You bring pain and heartache to me, let me go through betrayals and frustrations and even that you bring joy and luck into my life, it seems that my life is harder than the lives of others.
Why had to go through this tragedy?
Why you still let me suffer from this day?
When will be my time to find peace inside?
When will I be able to let go, completely?
When will this hate die away?
Hate I stored deep inside my heart. It does not feel like my hate is a dying breed, it is more like a rising breed.
When will you send me that special angel, I once thought I found, who will take care of me?
Don’t let me standing here alone.
The strength in me is breakable, I am vulnerable.
I am just a woman in need.
I cannot give you more than my heart and that love I feel for you.
Come and complete me while I am here on my knees mourning for the ones I lost.
Dry my tears, hold my shaking body, clear my confused mind.

Clinton’s Collateral Damage

The Fighter

An Arkansas state legislator once said of Bill Clinton that he would pat you on the back while he urinated down your leg. The corollary for Clinton’s wife Hillary could be that she will tell the world how honored she is to share a stage with Barack Obama even as she’s gearing up to smash him. When it comes to politics, the Clinton philosophy is simple: It’s war, and wars are for winning. Bill put it this way, back in 1981: “When someone is beating you over the head with a hammer, don’t sit there and take it. Take out a meat cleaver and cut off their hand.”

With her presidential hopes at stake in Texas and Ohio, Hillary Clinton reached for the cleaver. Her campaign made good on its promise to throw “the kitchen sink” at Obama, and that paid off with clear popular-vote victories in both states. What’s more, she said, “I’m just getting warmed up.”

Even for some of her supporters, those are ominous words. Democrats now face a reality they were hoping they might avoid: a knock-down, drag-out struggle between two strong candidates lasting at least seven more weeks and possibly all the way to the convention. For the party that was assumed to have the advantage in November against a G.O.P. that was unpopular and riven by infighting, this turnabout is both depressing and distressing.

While the Democratic channel changed from Happy Days to The Ultimate Fighter, Republicans settled on their standard-bearer. John McCain’s final challenger, Mike Huckabee, bowed out with a smile. The G.O.P. can begin regrouping and mobilizing for the general election this fall while the Democrats pitch headlong into an intramural scrum that could leave their nominee — whoever wins — scarred and limping. Donna Brazile, an at-large member of the Democratic National Committee, urged party chairman Howard Dean to intervene before matters get out of hand. (Dean remains largely out of the fight, saying in a statement only that “as we head toward November, our nominee must have the united support of a strong Democratic Party.”) “I’m really worried,” Brazile says. “Who opened up the gates of hell?”

Exaggeration? You can be sure that the Democratic race will be rough from here on out. Clinton’s victories in Texas and Ohio — states where her campaign estimates Obama and his allies outspent her by more than 2 to 1 on advertising alone — came only after she ramped up her assault on Obama. Her previous sweetness was getting her nothing but declining poll numbers. Clinton questioned her opponent’s honesty after it was reported that an adviser had assured Canadian government officials that Obama didn’t really mean his anti-free-trade rhetoric. “The old wink-wink,” Clinton said scornfully. Four days before the Tuesday primaries, she went up with a chilling and provocative advertisement juxtaposing images of slumbering children with the urgent ringing of the national-security hotline in the White House. “It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep,” the announcer says. “Who do you want answering the phone?”

For months, the Democratic candidates, including Clinton, devoutly observed that any of them would be a better President than another Republican. But in leveling her charge that the first-term Illinois Senator would be unprepared in a national-security crisis, Clinton went so far as to compare him unfavorably with McCain. “I have a lifetime of experience I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House,” she told reporters the morning before the contests. “And Senator Obama has a speech he made in 2002” — a reference to Obama’s declaration against the Iraq invasion that she and McCain had voted to authorize. Obama has repeatedly referred to that speech as proof that his judgment is superior, even if his résumé is shorter.

At the same time, the Clinton campaign stepped up its attacks on the media, insisting that Obama has been receiving kid-glove treatment. The theme sank into the broad public consciousness when Saturday Night Live returned from the writers’ strike to make a recurring theme of the fawning press. Perhaps eager to prove that they can be equally tough on Obama, journalists filled that week with stories about Obama’s Canada problem and his ties to an indicted Chicago real estate developer, Tony Rezko.

The numbers tell the story: it worked. And so, Howard Dean or no Howard Dean, there is going to be more of it. Indeed, the Clinton campaign has been trying to go on the attack since Obama’s win in Iowa kicked off their epic struggle. Early attempts by Bill Clinton to scrape off some of Obama’s smooth persona backfired, and later barrages — like the charge that Obama plagiarized parts of his speeches — failed only (a Clinton campaign official maintains) because the hectic calendar of primaries and caucuses allowed no time for them to “seep in.” You could fill an aquifer in the long stretch between now and the April 22 Pennsylvania contest.

And Obama has no intention of taking it without hitting back. “If she starts asserting that somehow I’m not ready and that one of the reasons that the Democrats or superdelegates should not vote for me is because ‘we don’t know enough about him’ or ‘there may be things in his past or his character that make him vulnerable to Republican attack,’ then I think it’s certainly fair to compare our track records to see whether or not I am more vulnerable to these kinds of attacks.”

After years of battling the scandal machine that Hillary Clinton once called the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” she and her inner circle feel well prepared for this sort of fight. Students of the Clintons’ long career have noted that they do better in a scrape. Combat brings them to the balls of their feet; by contrast, they tend to spring leaks on calm seas. Clinton’s successful attacks broke Obama’s 12-win streak that had buoyed him through a month of victories, and her advisers now feel they have put a stick in the spokes of his momentum. “They thought they could kill us,” a Clinton campaign official crowed as the Ohio and Texas results were coming in. “They know time is their enemy; time is our friend.”

That’s bold talk and could be true, though even inhabitants of the Amazonian jungle have probably concluded by now that the only certain thing in this race is uncertainty. If you look at a four-month graph of the campaign, you will see that up to now, time has been very, very good to Obama. He has turned a 20-plus-point deficit in the national polls into a dead heat, spoiled Clinton’s plans to wrap things up by Feb. 5 and ground his way through 43 primaries and caucuses to build a lead in pledged convention delegates that appears virtually impossible to close. As impressive as her wins in Ohio and Texas were, Clinton made up scant ground in the delegate count, where she now trails 1,186 to 1,321, according to CNN.

It is hard to come up with a scenario in which either candidate can amass the 2,025 delegates needed to win without relying upon so-called superdelegates. These are the roughly 800 party leaders and elected officials who are automatically delegates to the party convention this summer in Denver, and they are free to support whichever candidate they wish. In a sense, the Pennsylvania primary will be aimed directly at impressing them. Obama will get another chance to beat Clinton when all the chips are in the pot. For Clinton, it is another chance to demonstrate her appeal among core Democratic constituencies: women, older voters, Hispanics and households earning under $50,000.

Her strategists argue that the general election will be a close-fought contest that may come down to Florida and Ohio, two states where the Clinton coalition has been strong — or, alternatively, to a cluster of smaller states that includes Arkansas, New Mexico and Nevada. In most of those states, they say, Clinton’s supporters will matter more than Obama’s appeal among upscale voters and African Americans. They are, in other words, willing to admit that her hard-fought primary campaign could cost the party African-American votes in November.

Clinton officials note that the political terrain in Pennsylvania is, like Ohio’s, abundant with downscale voters who are feeling an economic pinch. And as in Ohio, she has the support of the Democratic governor and can draw on his ground organization, which can help to fill what has been a weakness in comparison to Obama’s operation. If these factors once again add up to a big-state win, Clinton’s team is sure to argue to the superdelegates that only she has the toughness necessary to survive the fall campaign and that Obama can’t land the knockout punch. For a party still ruing the glass-jawed vulnerability of its 2004 nominee, John Kerry, this argument will likely pack some selling power.

Neither campaign releases its internal tallies of superdelegates, but since Super Tuesday, Obama has been cutting into Clinton’s once formidable lead. The latest estimate by CNN suggests her edge is now only 238 to 199. “When you look at the numbers, this is a fistfight,” says a Clinton strategist. “It is going to be a much more rugged fight, because her lifeline is these uncommitted delegates, and they can be shaky sometimes.” Obama’s team continues to push the case that the supers ought to follow the lead of the pledged delegates for the sake of party unity.

The morning after the four-state primary, Clinton adviser Harold Ickes, who is shepherding superdelegates for her campaign, lost no time in visiting the ones on Capitol Hill who have already voiced support for her. His message: Hold firm. To the estimated 330 supers who have yet to commit, he says, Don’t do anything rash. “What we are saying to the superdelegates is, ‘Hold your fire, keep your powder dry, don’t make a commitment,'” Ickes says. “We’re going to do our level best to show [Obama] is not the strongest candidate in a general election.”

Democrats know well how hard a Clinton will fight when everything is on the line and have learned from experience that they have reason to fear the consequences. In 1993 Bill Clinton’s economic plan passed the House by a single vote, with Republicans waving their hankies at the Democrats whose votes put it over the top. Sure enough, the following year, most of the party’s more vulnerable members were gone — and with them, the Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate, which had also fallen victim to the resounding rejection of Hillary’s health-care plan. And while Bill Clinton’s tenacity got him through the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998, one of the consequences was Al Gore’s defeat two years later.

This time, say some Obama supporters, the Clintons’ win-at-all-costs mind-set could cost the party the November election. “The Clinton campaign strategy is simply going to be to try to run a scorched-earth campaign,” says Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. “Which would be catastrophic for the party.”

It all comes down to one thing, as Hillary Clinton made clear in her last press conference before the Tuesday primaries: “Winning. Winning. Winning. Winning. That’s my measurement of success,” she said. “Winning.”

R.I.P. SPC Koch, SGT Rapp

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 0182-08
March 05, 2008


DoD Identifies Army Casualties
            The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died Mar. 3 in the Sabari District of Afghanistan, of wounds suffered during combat operations. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N. C.
            Killed were:
            Spc. Steven R. Koch, 23, of Milltown, N. J.

            Sgt. Robert T. Rapp, 22, of Sonora, Calif.

R.I.P. SSG Christopher S. Frost

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 0181-08
March 05, 2008


DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty
            The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
            Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Frost, 24, of Waukesha, Wis., died March 3 near Bayji, Iraq in a crash of an Iraqi Army Mi-17 helicopter. He was assigned to the 377th Air Base Wing, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
            The circumstances surrounding the crash are under investigation.

You’re Gone

You’re Gone

As a single,
Solemn teardrop falls,
I silently think,
Of the angel that calls.

Because you are gone now,
Once again I’m broken,
And I can’t talk about this,
My heart won’t open.

I can’t believe,
That you actually let go,
I go over in my head,
On what you taught me, everything I know.

I try to picture your smile,
But it fades away,
And how much I miss you,
Words could not say.

I try to remember the good times,
But I’m overwhelmed with grief,
And you can’t come back,
You are in a forever-eternal sleep.

I say your name,
And my voice just breaks,
I wish I was in your place,
And that you were still awake.

I really miss you,
Love you from the bottom of my heart,
And already here with out you,
I am falling apart.

I hope you are happy now,
That you are pain free,
And I will always remember like you said to me,
That you are watching over me.

R.I.P. Jennifer Crow

Losing

We are now wholly, yea! more than wholly devastated.

The band of presumptuous nations, they raving trumpets,

The sword oily with blood, the thundering cannon-royal

Have consumed the fruits of all our sweat and travail.

The towers stand in flames, the church is overturned,

The town hall lies in ruins, the stalwart are hacked to bits,

The maidens are deflowered, and everywhere we look

Fire, plague and death oppress the heart and soul.

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