“This site is dedicated to preying on peoples vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In war, soldiers die. But they shouldn’t die for bullshit.

March 21, 2012
Soldiers Murder Afghans, Generals Murder Soldiers
By Ralph Peters


Last Sunday, just before dawn, an American staff sergeant walked away from his post in the badlands of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, went into a nearby village, and methodically murdered sixteen civilians, including women and children. This didn’t happen in the confusion of a firefight amidst the “fog of war.” It was the brutal act of a veteran who cracked. The deed cannot be excused. But I believe it can be explained.


For a final analysis we’ll have to wait until all of the facts come in, but it appears that a soldier who had served honorably during multiple tours in Iraq broke down and went mad in Afghanistan. We should not be surprised that this happened. We should be surprised that it hasn’t happened sooner and more often: The shock of this incident after a decade of hopeless, meandering efforts that have thrown away the lives and limbs of our troops while ambitious generals lie about progress, seek promotion, and engage in military masturbation is actually a tribute to our men and women in uniform out on the front lines (to the extent that “front lines” exist).


That staff sergeant—who turned himself in after the killings—is guilty of murder in a degree yet to be determined, but the amazing thing is how disciplined, patient and tenacious our troops have been. Given the outrageous stresses of serving repeated tours in an environment a brand-new private could recognize as hopeless (while his generals fly back and forth congratulating themselves), it’s remarkable that we have not seen more and even uglier incidents. The problem in Afghanistan isn’t our troops—although craven generals routinely insist that everything is the fault of “disrespectful” soldiers—it’s a leadership in and out of uniform that is bankrupt of ideas, bankrupt of ethics, bankrupt of moral courage—and rich only in self-interest and ambition.


If there’s a “battle cry” in Afghanistan, it’s “Blame the troops!” Generals out of touch with the ugly, brute reality on the ground down in the Taliban-sympathizing villages respond to every seeming crisis in Afghan-American relations by telling our troops to “respect Afghan culture.”


But generals don’t have a clue about Afghan “culture.” They interact with well-educated, privileged, English-speaking Afghans who know exactly which American buttons to press to keep the tens of billions of dollars in annual aid flowing. The troops, on the other hand, daily encounter villagers who will not warn them about Taliban-planted booby traps or roadside bombs, who obviously want them to leave, who relish the abject squalor in which they live and who appear to value the lives of their animals above those of their women. When our Soldiers and Marines hear, yet again, that they need to “respect Afghan culture,” they must want to puke up their rations.


When I was a young officer in training, we mocked the European “chateaux generals” of the First World War who gave their orders from elegant headquarters without ever experiencing the reality faced by the troops in the trenches. We never thought that we’d have chateaux generals of our own, but now we do. Flying down to visit an outpost and staying just long enough to pin on a medal or two, get a dog-and-pony-show briefing and have a well-scripted tea session with a carefully selected “good” tribal elder, then winging straight back to a well-protected headquarters where the electronics are more real than the troops is not the way to develop a “fingertips feel” for on-the-ground reality.


Add in the human capacity for self-delusion, and you have a surefire prescription for failure.


Right now, our troops are being used as props in a campaign year, as pawns by dull-witted generals who just don’t know what else to do, and as cash cows by corrupt Afghan politicians, generals and warlords (all of whom agree that it’s virtuous to rob the Americans blind).


What are our goals? What is our strategy? We’re told, endlessly, that things are improving in Afghanistan, yet, ten years ago, a U.S. Army general, unarmed, could walk the streets of Kabul without risk. Today, there is no city in Afghanistan where a U.S. general could stroll the streets. We may not have a genius for war, but we sure do have a genius for kidding ourselves.


Now we’re told that we have to stay to build the Afghan military and police. Jesus, Mary and Joseph! And Allah’s knickers, too! We’ve been training and equipping the Afghan army and the Afghan cops (and robbers) for ten years. In World War II, we turned out a mass military of our own in a year or so. The problem in Afghanistan isn’t that we haven’t tried, but that the Afghans are not interested in fighting for the exuberantly corrupt Karzai regime. Right now, our troops are dying to preserve a filthy Kabul government whose president blatantly stole the last election and which has no hope of gaining the support of its own people. Meanwhile, despite repeated claims that the Taliban is on its last legs, the religious fanatics remain the home team backed by Afghanistan’s Pashtun majority. (If the people didn’t back them, the Taliban would, indeed, have been long gone—we need to face reality.)


Recently, another friend, who clings to (now-retired) General Petraeus’s counterinsurgency notion that, if we just hang on and give the Afghans enough free stuff, they’ll come around to the American way of life, told me, yet again, “You should hear the intercepts we get from the low-level Taliban fighters…they’re in a panic…”


That’s the old Vietnam line: “We win every firefight!” Sure, we whip the Taliban every time we catch them with their weapons (if they’re not holding weapons, we can’t engage, even if they just killed Americans). But we dare not attack the Taliban leadership in Pakistan, where it’s protected by our “allies.” And no matter how many Taliban we kill, they still attract volunteers willing to die for their cause. The Afghans we train turn their guns on us.


It appears that the staff sergeant who murdered those Afghan villagers had cracked under the stresses of a war we won’t allow our troops to fight. But the real madness is at the top, in the White House, where President Obama can’t see past the November election; in Congress, where Republicans cling to whatever war they’ve got; and in uniform, where our generals have run out of ideas and moral courage.


That staff sergeant murdered sixteen Afghans. Our own leaders have murdered thousands and maimed tens of thousands of our own troops out of vanity, ambition and inertia. Who deserves our sympathy?


In war, soldiers die. But they shouldn’t die for bullshit.


Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Ralph Peters is the author of the just-released historical novel Cain at Gettysburg. A retired Army officer and former enlisted man, he is Fox News’ Strategic Analyst and a regular contributor to familysecuritymatters.org.

79 comments:

  1. A week for mass murder and the mindless slaughter of defenseless innocents in France and Afghanistan.

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  2. Innocents should not die for bullshit either.

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  3. Just make the appropriate changes to the proper nouns, and he just described Vietnam.

    There's not a Private in Afghanistan that doesn't know this whole deal is fucked.

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  4. I agree. When Obama ran for office, he and his buddy, John Kerry said, "we should not be in Iraq, we should be in Afghanistan.

    Here we are.

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  5. In one 2006 case, four soldiers were given substantial prison sentences for raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing her and her family. Steven Dale Green, a former 101st Airborne soldier, is serving five life terms after jurors couldn't agree on whether to impose the death penalty.

    Stephen Carter, a Yale law professor who writes frequently about the ethics of war, notes that many of the cases that are prosecuted are aided by other service members tipping off authorities.

    "Nearly all of our military forces serve with enormous honor and courage. It bears mention that at Abu Ghraib, just as at My Lai, it was fellow soldiers who blew the whistle on the perpetrators," Carter wrote in a Newsweek Magazine editorial.

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  6. On this day in 1963 Alcatraz - a federal prison on an island in the San Francisco Bay was closed. It is now a national historic landmark and is utilized for tours.

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  7. Supreme Court Backs Idaho Couple Over EPA

    Good for Scalia. Been reading about this case for months.

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  8. Three Blasts Heard During Standoff Between French Police and Terror Suspect

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  9. Deuce said...
    Innocents should not die for bullshit either.


    Thanks for the well wishes I shall remember that after Israel loses 660,000 to an Iranian nuke.

    Maybe we can get a full minute of silence too!

    Cool...

    or maybe we can pull our collective head out of our asses and see that the issue aint jews, israel, christians, settlement, churches.

    the issue is islam and how it effects thousand, strike that, millions of followers to hack off heads, execute babies and slaughter and rape the innocents.

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  10. What happened to Desert Rat?

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  11. Logos said...
    What happened to Desert Rat?


    Why? Not enough Israel bashing for ya?

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  12. We already lost 4,000 soldiers getting Iraq off the back of our special friend, they should be content with that.

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  13. Wasp said...
    We already lost 4,000 soldiers getting Iraq off the back of our special friend, they should be content with that.


    spoken like the nazi you are....

    iraq was not israel's war, it was America's

    Now just how do you make a living?

    Oh that's right you suck off the tit of the USA taxpayer supposedly working for the military...

    I guess if we had peace and no wars you'd return to prostitution?

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  14. So Ms T, Teresita, Zena and WASP think that the 4000 american lives were all israel.

    Wow...

    demented, deluded, disgusting.

    Next she will be telling us that WW2 was to save the jews from the nazis...

    or better yet, she really is a lesbian that lied that claimed to be straight but is actually still queer for chicks...

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  15. Ms T, how do you look at your self in the mirror without puking?

    Really inquiring minds want to know.

    Your heart is as ugly as Mrs Assad!

    One evil black-hearted "human" and I do use that loosely.

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  16. WiO: or better yet, she really is a lesbian that lied that claimed to be straight but is actually still queer for chicks...

    Pick a story and stick with it. Every one of your replies is an ad hom, you just need a good steady one.

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  17. All I can say about DR is that he does not live on Wild Horse Pass Blvd.

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  18. Desert Rat said I posted as one of the other people here, when I never did. That makes him an asshole in my book.

    Quirk believed him, so dittos.

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  19. WASHINGTON -- After a full day of debate in which senators agreed that gas was too expensive and almost nothing else, a Democratic proposal to strip $2 billion in annual tax subsidies from five major oil companies failed Tuesday.

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  20. If you are at the Wild Horse Casino bet red and even at the roulette.

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  21. A wild ass of a man.....where did that come from....?

    Sounds almost Biblical....

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  22. The two leading candidates—both of whom have been publicly approved by Beijing—have seesawed in the polls in a race that had the look and feel of a democratic election. This week, though, signs emerged that Leung Chun-ying, a former cabinet member with close ties to China's Communist Party, is being given Beijing's tacit blessing.

    By anointing Mr. Leung—whose popular support is higher than his rival's, former financial secretary Henry Tang—Beijing is hoping to avoid inflaming the large street protests that have already taken place in Hong Kong ahead of the vote, analysts say.

    ...

    No matter who wins, analysts expect both Messrs. Tang and Leung to toe Beijing's line. But in the past Beijing has allowed Hong Kong's population to bend its will, most notably in 2003, when public dissatisfaction over the government's handling of severe acute respiratory syndrome, the economy and louder calls for more democracy sent more than 500,000 people to the streets.

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  23. I also realized, after arriving in Flagstaff Monday night during a major snowstorm, and the only thing to do was drink at the sports bar across the street,just because that was our luck all week, that reading this blog the past four years has not been a waste of my time.

    Cause I kicked some serious ass in a trivia game the waitress gave us to play, just to shut us the fuck up.

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  24. Parley P Pratt, deceasedWed Mar 21, 10:29:00 PM EDT

    Both Phoenix and Tucson are shit holes.

    I know.

    I have been to them both.

    Go to Vegas.

    It is a shit hole too.

    It is the best time in history to buy property in Vegas.

    Then go north through the mountains. Go past the Mount of Nebo,go past the Heights of Pisgah. Go towards Twin. You will see some good stuff. You can see Yellowstone that way too.

    Do not go off the main road unless you have provisions.

    Do not pick up hitchhikes, especially around the prison.

    Take a weapon.

    Or you might end up like me.

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  25. Parley P Pratt, deceasedWed Mar 21, 10:30:00 PM EDT

    Flagstaff is a cold shit hole too. But not as much of a shit hole as the others are shit holes.

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  26. We also got kicked out of Walmart at 1:00 am.

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  27. Parley P Pratt, deceasedWed Mar 21, 10:32:00 PM EDT

    If you are looking for good fly fishing you are about two states away.

    If you are looking for cheap hookers you are pretty much in paradise, particularly Asian ones.

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  28. There’s no point in vilifying the Kochs. We can leave that to the vilifier in chief.

    Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, said of the Koch brothers that their “business model is to make millions by jacking up prices at the pump” and that they “bankrolled Tea Party extremism and committed $200 million to try to destroy President Obama before Election Day.” As there’s some truth in the latter part of this statement, bully for Charles and David.

    And I don’t mind the lie. Five dollars a gallon is a small price to pay to make Obama a one-term president.

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  29. p.s.

    I'm still in AZ Quirk.

    Thanks for asking.

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  30. Parley P Pratt, deceasedWed Mar 21, 10:34:00 PM EDT

    If you got kicked out of Wal-Mart, you must suck.

    :)

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  31. People in AZ are rude and are worse drivers than NJ.

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  32. The lady was rude and said she didn't have time for this...whatever this was.

    There were two other people in the store, it wasn't like she was busy.

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  33. wasp: Pick a story and stick with it. Every one of your replies is an ad hom, you just need a good steady one.

    Why? Aside from your steady Jew hatred your story changes like a weather vane...

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  34. Parley P Pratt, deceasedWed Mar 21, 10:44:00 PM EDT

    You can buy the Asian ones for really cheap. Cheaper than black, much cheaper than white. You'd think they'd finally be free where I'm at but they are not. Here it is a lot like Salt Lake City, which really sucks, though I am not supposed to say that. The choirs are good though.

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  35. MeLoDy said...
    All I can say about DR is that he does not live on Wild Horse Pass Blvd.




    lol

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  36. Does DR really exist?

    did he ever?

    was he a creation?

    inquiring minds really dont give a hoot..

    some of us really enjoy the absence.

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  37. Parley P Pratt, deceasedWed Mar 21, 10:46:00 PM EDT

    Unbelievably, there are Wal-Marts here too, but if you get kicked out, watch out. You may get kicked all the way out.

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  38. Parley P Pratt, deceasedWed Mar 21, 10:49:00 PM EDT

    Never play the one arm bandits.

    If you rob in the parking lots, keep your engine warm for get - a - way.

    Look for anything free, like drinks, or toilet paper, anything to shift the odds a bit.

    Hire Sam as adviser.

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  39. I'm enjoying the absence no end, but am worried he may be in my state hunting.

    By the way, the paper today said F and G is throwing in the towel, you can kill anything that moves wolf wise as many as possible as long as possible.

    The helicopter gunships didn't work out, just like I said.

    Free fire zone isn't going to work out either.

    P
    O
    I
    S
    O
    N

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  40. That could be a tad spendy for said hire-er.

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  41. There is a big white stuffed polar bear inside this dive in Elko, Nevada.

    Big Stuffed White Polar Bear Inside Dive In Elko, Nevada

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  42. Oh, this one man was nice when he pulled me over and said he'd rather me pop a squat than do 95 to get to the next bathroom. So nice he gave me a speeding ticket.

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  43. this one is for deuce..

    NYPD says Iran has conducted surveillance in NYC

    By EILEEN SULLIVAN
    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Authorities have interviewed at least 13 people since 2005 with ties to Iran's government who were seen taking pictures of New York City landmarks, a senior New York Police Department official said Wednesday.


    Well fair is fair I guess.

    After all we have scoped out all the Iranian landmarks...

    And according to our dear host Iran is just being provoked by us and doing what we do to it.

    Interesting....

    Now I am the 1st to say that the USA aint always right, but I still think of an America that is about freedom and liberty.

    Last I checked Iran stands for savage sharia.

    Now it is also true that there are millions of decent Iranians shackled by their government. i do feel bad for them and any attack on their nation by either the USA, Israel or Europe would not target their civilians. Now Iran? All they target are civilians, with the exception of the ied's and shaped charges they provide their brothern in iraq and afpak...

    "just leave the alone" is the buzzword from the blog... we folks, if we leave iran alone? they will continue to murder, rape, and create chaos in the world.

    Ignore Iran at your own peril.

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  44. MeLoDy said...
    Oh, this one man was nice when he pulled me over and said he'd rather me pop a squat than do 95 to get to the next bathroom. So nice he gave me a speeding ticket.



    what is the speed limit out there in the desert?

    85?

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  45. 75

    He told me that anything over 85 he could arrest me.

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  46. MeLoDy said...
    75

    He told me that anything over 85 he could arrest me.



    lol

    lead foot...

    pays to be a pretty gal...

    he'd would have locked my fat ass up....

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  47. He told me I had to call the court to find out how much my ticket would be, because they have a new judge that is changing laws.

    When I called today the lady said because my ticket was criminal traffic and not civil that it would be advised that I attend the court hearing.

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  48. good news from chi-town...

    south side of chicago, obama's stomping ground..

    49 shot and 10 dead over the weekend...

    too fuckin funny.

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  49. let's amend the previous post...

    a 6 year old was killed...

    that aint funny..

    that is sick.

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  50. He probably would have given me a warning but I just got one that afternoon in the Grand Canyon. I don't know if he knew that or not.

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  51. .

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Authorities have interviewed at least 13 people since 2005 with ties to Iran's government who were seen taking pictures of New York City landmarks, a senior New York Police Department official said Wednesday.


    Were those the guys on that Manhattan tour bus that broke down?

    .

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  52. I wouldn't have been going so fast if I knew it was okay to pull over anywhere.

    Ya ain't allowed to do that shit back in Philly.

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  53. I am telling you don't go off roading without knowing what you are doing.

    Last year a man and wife in a new car came down from Twin Falls on the road I oftenb take and went let's go see what is over that hill and a month and half later the cowboys found the woman about three days from death in the car and the husband still not been found he is scattered bones by now went looking for 'help'.

    Stay in the car, send Sam out to do the scouting, he is used to big deserts.

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  54. .

    You were driving in the Grand Canyon?

    No wonder you got a warning.


    .

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  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  56. Goddamn blogger to hell it ate my post I worked hard on about going 120 in dad's caddy only time I ever did that there was no speed limit then.

    I am telling you don't go off roading without knowing what you are doing.

    Last year a man and wife in a new car came down from Twin Falls on the road I oftenb take and went let's go see what is over that hill and a month and half later the cowboys found the woman about three days from death in the car and the husband still not been found he is scattered bones by now went looking for 'help'.

    Stay in the car, send Sam out to do the scouting, he is used to big deserts.

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  57. MeLoDy said...

    I wouldn't have been going so fast if I knew it was okay to pull over anywhere.

    Ya ain't allowed to do that shit back in Philly.


    Now, that is really funny.

    Next time, just go with your 'best guess'. :)

    What the hell you think, it's only 100 miles to the next rest area. Or more.

    Goddamn blogger to hell it ate my post I worked hard on about going 120 in dad's caddy only time I ever did that there was no speed limit then.

    I am telling you don't go off roading without knowing what you are doing.

    Last year a man and wife in a new car came down from Twin Falls on the road I oftenb take and went let's go see what is over that hill and a month and half later the cowboys found the woman about three days from death in the car and the husband still not been found he is scattered bones by now went looking for 'help'.

    Stay in the car, send Sam out to do the scouting, he is used to big dese

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  58. HEADLINE NEWS -

    Woman Drives Herself To Death

    Eastern nitwit did not realize she could "pull over".

    Details at 11:00.

    MeLoDy said...

    I wouldn't have been going so fast if I knew it was okay to pull over anywhere.

    Ya ain't allowed to do that shit back in Philly.


    Now, that is really funny.

    Next time, just go with your 'best guess'. :)

    What the hell you think, it's only 100 miles to the next rest area. Or more.

    Goddamn blogger to hell it ate my post I worked hard on about going 120 in dad's caddy only time I ever did that there was no speed limit then.

    I am telling you don't go off roading without knowing what you are doing.

    Last year a man and wife in a new car came down from Twin Falls on the road I oftenb take and went let's go see what is over that hill and a month and half later the cowboys found the woman about three days from death in the car and the husband still not been found he is scattered bones by now went looking for 'help'.

    Stay in the car, send Sam out to do the scouting, he is used to big desert.

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  59. That's one expensive trip to AZ.

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  60. Thanks Sam. You just made my last night here feel real special.

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  61. Dad had a similar story. His mom sent him and his older brother in the '53 Ford flathead V8 down to pick up his dad at Headquarters and haul him back up to Spokane for Christmas. He was down there loggin'.

    On the way back to Spokane, grandpa napping in the back, my uncle driving, nighttime, doin' 120, pavement turns to washboard gravel without warning. No signs. Uncle trying to gently slow 'er down while skipping sideways down the road.

    Grandpa wakes up and leans over the front seat and calmly says, 'Hang on to the wheel, boys'.

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  62. Sorry, Mel.

    Slow down. Don't give away your hard earned money to the state for no reason.

    Learn from this.

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  63. Don't worry I already asked the cop what would happen if I didn't pay. He said he didn't think AZ was on the National registry, so I wouldn't have any trouble renewing my Pa license.

    He said something along the lines that Michigan wasn't either cause they're in their own little world up there. They think their all special or something like that.

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  64. .

    Desert Rat said I posted as one of the other people here, when I never did. That makes him an asshole in my book.

    Quirk believed him, so dittos.





    A bit ironic, no?

    W (T, Z, L, et al) gets upset that someone would think she might have posed as someone she wasn't.

    Too funny.


    .

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  65. .


    He said something along the lines that Michigan wasn't either cause they're in their own little world up there. They think their all special or something like that.



    Are you implying we're not, Mel?

    .

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  66. You're very special, Quirk.

    And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

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  67. Parley P Pratt, deceasedThu Mar 22, 12:38:00 AM EDT

    Anyone goin' out of Headquarters at 120 purr is bound for hell.....

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  68. If you have a smart phone I recommend the 'Star Walk' app. Pretty cool.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Locals, shocked that France's most wanted man had been in their midst, gathered to gape with the world's press behind barriers. "They should just have shot him," said one woman.

    ...

    Another local woman added: "No, that's just macho nonsense. Of course they must arrest him.

    That is the democratic way. That's what we stand for."

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  70. VERY SOBERING ARTICLE PRINTED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

    Rather than initiate a well-planned and internationally backed American surgical strike on Iran’s nuclear project, America will become captive of an Israeli-Iranian war spiraling out of control.

    Article pretty much sums up what I feel better than I could myself.

    xxxx

    If you are a ripping courageous girl on vacation in the west, with the wind in your hair, sans fear of police, unconcerned about public opinion, you can Squat Here with your feet in Utah and Colorado, and wet Arizona and New Mexico, and brag about your exploits when you get back home in the east.

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  71. And if you're a piss-drunk Swedish farmer you can stand in Utah and write your name across Colorado, Arizona, and New Mex.

    ReplyDelete