December Already

Yikes! Only a month left until my grad school applications start being due! I’m pretty much done except that two letters of recommendation are making me nervous because they’re still in progress. Also, I need to write a scholarship essay which I will post here. I think it’ll be really good — I’ve almost nailed down in my mind how it will turn out.

Over the weekend, a Chinook apparently malfunctioned over the Qadisiyya lakes near Haditha Dam. It had to make an emergency landing, as “the helicopter began to lose power after lifting off from the dam. He said all but the pilot and co-pilot evacuated from the back of the helicopter and it glided across the water and used a boat ramp to get on shore. He said no fighting was going on in the area at the time.” Four people died, presumably by drowning with all their body armor and kit on. Heavy ceramic plates, at least 7 mags full of 5.56 ammo, a kevlar helmet, and various other things that warriors carry.

haditha_dam.jpg

A soldier from my unit was one of those who died. Dustin Adkins, 22, was a dental assistant from our support house in the SF unit. Apparently he was helping out by responding to a boat that had taken fire. He was performing general medical duties while in Iraq since dentistry isn’t that busy a profession over there.

I knew him because he gave me some shots in Iraq and we would bullshit whenever we ran into each other. Most recently he was one of the students in a class I helped to instruct for basic combat maneuvers. He had a really good attitude and was squared away.

One of the new soldiers from my shop will be doing the rifle detail at his funeral, and I assume the memorial will be here soon. It must be very hard on his young wife and two children.

The media pretty much ignored Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s letter to the American people. Read the full text. Interestingly he appeals strongly to the divine, as he is well aware that the US is one of the most religious countries on the planet.

Ahmadinejad makes plenty of conspicuous comments but he’s been blackballed the same way Muqtada Al-Sadr has been. Do you EVER hear Al-Sadr’s name without “firebrand” or “radical Shi’ite cleric” preceding it? What’s funny is that these are the types of people we will ultimately have to negotiate with, but they’ve all but been written off here.

I just finished watching American Blackout, a documentary that follows Cynthia McKinney’s political escapades with voting disenfranchisement and media warfare. What I find interesting about this documentary is that it shows just how powerful the black community’s skills at oratory can be.

I think Barack Obama could be huge if he ran for president and Hillary stepped aside.

This documentary combined with Hacking Democracy both show legitimate complaints about the voting process and how those complaints were laughed off.

I see “FREEDOM ISN’T FREE” bumper stickers all too often on trucks around post here, and it connotates a very militaristic mindset. But the phrase itself has been contorted — America has become complacent and reliant upon the image of American freedom. America gets lazy and won’t scrutinize itself. It gets fatter, lazier, prouder, dumber. What especially pisses me off is when you hear about how America is the free-est (?) country on Earth and how American voting provides a good example for everyone else. And as if freedom of speech existed solely in the US (which censors quite a lot).

I have about two months or so left in the Army. I intend to write a post about what I loved about being in the Army, and how much the Army gave to me. Remind me to write this if I forget. =)

Christmas is coming soon and I won’t be able to get into the spirit too much this month because I’ll be working. Hopefully I will get to see my family, my darling Julie, and get some cool presents. I hope that these bad accidents that have befallen friends of mine overseas do not happen to any of my closest buddies or anyone in general. I hope that their Christmas meals will be decent by deployment standards. I hope that you will go out and do lots of Christmassy things with your friends and families, as silly as it might be to go play in the snow or build a Christmas tree or roast chestnuts or make homemade eggnog.

2006 was sort of a lame year for me as I got sidelined from my job and put up with a lot of shit. But it has ended on a good note as the Democrats returned some oversight to DC and I got to have Thanksgiving at home. Plus, I got to see Julie a few times!

And finally, Bear Grylls of Man vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel is the fucking man. That is all.

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