Thursday, July 31, 2008

...first time Martian water has been touched and tasted

How fantastic is this?

Nasa's lander samples Mars water

Panorama of Mars landing site (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University Arizona/Texas A&M University)
Nasa has completed a full panorama of the landing site

Nasa's Phoenix lander spacecraft has for the first time identified water in a sample of soil collected from the planet's surface.

Scientists will now be able to begin studying the sample to see whether the planet was ever, or is, habitable.

The craft previously had problems transferring samples from its robotic arm to the onboard lab for analysis.

The success and the good condition of the craft mean the mission will be extended until the end of September....

Think about that.. I find that incredible. Read the rest here.

Back to regularly scheduled programming ;)

Another FIRE - Another call for help

Yes, another fire has taken EVERYTHING some of our troops have. This time it is an army unit in Iraq. Excerpts from the calls for help I got:
It is ... Army and they are at FOB ****** which is somewhere in Baghdad and a pit hole to begin with....

40 guys lost EVERYTHING - I MEAN EVERYTHING - so anything is good as they have nothing. More than that lost some things due to water and smoke and all the other things that come with a fire...

It can be as small as snacks or coffee or towels or socks or t-shirts or underwear - I mean they lost everything..

...ARMY unit who had a fire in their building and they lost EVERYTHING!! I mean these kids lost their uniforms, ipods, computer, cd's, DVD's, shoes, towels, Literally everything! ...

...but it was like close to 100 soldiers who are without anything....They are all male soldiers....

I combined a few different emails to put this together - but the main point is that these guys lost EVERYTHING. If you can help with any of this - or donate money to help cover costs of the stuff that has also ready gone out via Soldiers' Angels - please email me at:

or my personal email addy if you know me well enough to have that.;) If I know you, I can give you a direct POC. If I don't know you, I'll give you the gmail addy of the person within SA who is co-ordinating this one.

Let's get THIS one done. Thank you!


Looking for Airmen, Sailors Soldiers and Marines

Could this be you, or someone you know? From an email I got:

Currently we are looking for Airmen, Sailors Soldiers and Marines who have been
injured in OIF/OEF to be part of a team.

The mission: to promote a positive and healthy lifestyle for our nation’s heroes through multi sports. There are no sign fee’s, there are no try outs. We have three major events coming up.

The dates are August 30/31st, Sept 14th and Sept 28th.

For those interested please contact me directly for more information:

I have also provided the links for the events.

Sounds like a GREAT idea to me. Please pass this on to anyone else you think might be interested. Thank you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Someone made time for our wounded troops

Found the following over at Mudville Gazette (via As I comment on Mudville, I won't be holding my breath waiting for this to be on the front pages of any msm, but as I have said before, who needs the old media anyway? Read on:

Someone made time for our wounded troops

Mrs Greyhawk

Why isn't this in the news?...

Iraq’s Interior Minister Thanks U.S. Troops for Liberating Iraq -- [CNS News]

A top Iraqi official visited wounded American troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to thank them for their part in ending Saddam Hussein’s rule in his country.

“We have come … to express our gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made by these great warriors, soldiers, in freeing the Iraqi people and in helping us in Iraq recover from tyranny and dictatorship,” Jawad Karim al-Bolani, Iraq’s minister of the interior, said through a translator to a handful of journalists in the lobby of the medical center.
...probably because all the major networks are following some other guy

Go read the rest here. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone gave this to Obama to read? Maybe he would get a clue? Naaaaaaaaah, never mind.

For my friend Donna :)

This song has been a Brat family favourite for years. I send it to you now, with love.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Donna. Keeping the faith with you.

And...when you are done here, be sure to go over to my pal Poison Pen here. Another special video, just for you :)

Verbatim: From the sandbox

This week, I received an email addressed to me, from a source I trust totally. On the heels of last week's posting all over the internet of a soldier's comments about Obama's "fact finding" (aka trip around the world, many opinions about what really happened to the soldier who shared his views. I won't rehash that all here.

However, I AM going to give verbatim excerpts of the email I got. NO, I am not ever going to identify who wrote the following, so nobody need bother asking.;) I WILL stand by the integrity of the writer, and I WILL promise you it is legit - straight from them, to me. And yes, I do have their permission to share this with you. Read on:

Subject: "Barack Obama "blew off U.S. Soldiers during a July 2008 Trip to Afghanistan."

The forced recanting was done to a career man and is
not unusual. Snopes does not always get the truth. Most people are subject
to this kind of pressure...

I have confirmed this as true from reliable sources. This was a total
publicity stunt and the level of public ignorance to the fact that this man
is even a viable presidential candidate scares the hell out of me. He has
never served a full term in an elected position in his entire "public"
career. He is the 16th most liberal Senator according to his voting record,
and as a state senator for Illinois, he sponsored a partial birth abortion
bill allowing babies to be terminated after they exit the womb. This is all
a matter of public record. If you don't believe me, check it out for

He avoids servicemen and women... and hates America.
... Barack Hussein Obama is pulling off the worlds
greatest trick. It scares the hell out of me.

So there you have it. You decide. I know who I would rather believe. How about you?

Wednesday Hero

1st. Lt. Thomas M. Martin
1st. Lt. Thomas M. Marti
27 years old from Ward, Arkansas
C Troop, 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division
October 14, 2007
U.S. Army

An Eagle Scout, Thomas M. Martin took on cleaning up an old red train caboose as a service project. “He remodeled it to make it where people could go inside. If you saw it before and looked in it after he was through - it was daylight and dark”, said his former principal, Robert Martin, who is no relation. “Tom was involved in Key Club, German Club and band, making All-Region Band his sophomore year”, said Robert Martin. “He was a wonderful young man. Those that knew him knew he was funny and outgoing.”

Lt. Martin died in Al Busayifi, Iraq of wounds sustained from small-arms fire when insurgents attacked his unit during combat operations. He enlisted in the Army in 1998 after graduating high school and served in Korea before accepting an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 2005.

“He was very polite and respectful. I can’t think of him ever overreacting; he had a wonderful, good-natured personality”, said Pat Hagge, a family friend. “It’s a terrible tragedy; he was a great young man.”

Lt. Thomas Martin is survived by his parents, Edmund and Candis.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Squirm on, Obama!

By now, everybody has heard about the 'on again, off again' non trip of Senator Obama to Landstuhl to visit our wounded. The internet has been full of differing opinions on what really happened, and Obama and his sycophants have flip flopped in their usual fashion. (He may need to see a doctor for injuries sustained from all the flip flopping before November 4th...just

However, all that aside ;) the truth WILL out. Senator Obama hasn't yet figured out that every time he tries to pull the wool over our eyes, along comes a a real expert who easily debunks his nonsense.

Via Blackfive here comes a link to this statement from an expert:

Former Landstuhl CSM on Non-Visiting Presidential Candidate

Posted By Blackfive

Over at the Tank, the former Command Sergeant Major of Landstuhl Regional Medical Facility has some words about a certain Presidential candidate...

And what does this expert have to say? Follow the link to here, and this is what you have:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Former CSM of Landstuhl on Obama [Gregory S. McNeal]

The former Command Sergeant Major of Landstuhl from 2003 to 2005 released this statement today regarding Senator Obama's decision to not visit wounded soldiers in Landstuhl:

Having spent two years as the Command Sergeant Major at Landstuhl Hospital, I am always grateful for the attention that facility receives from members of Congress. There is no more important work done by the United States Army than to care for those who have been wounded in the service [of] our country. While Americans troops remain engaged in two hot wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a steady stream of casualties to the hospital, and a steady stream of visitors who wish to meet with those troops and thank them for their service.

Senator Obama has explained his decision to cancel a scheduled visit there by blaming the military, which would not allow one of his political advisers to join him in a tour of the facility. Why Senator Obama felt he needed an adviser with him to visit U.S. troops is unclear, but if Senator Obama isn't comfortable meeting wounded American troops without his entourage, perhaps he does not have the experience necessary to serve as commander in chief.

Liberal Washington Post Columnist, Richard Cohen, Asks 'What Has Barack Obama Done' That Is Admirable?

Richard Cohen, never known as a conservative or conservative leaning writer is taking some harsh criticisms for asking the question that many of us has asked time and time again.

What has Barack Obama actually done?

"Just tell me one thing Barack Obama has done that you admire," I asked a prominent Democrat. He paused and then said that he admired Obama's speech to the Democratic convention in 2004. I agreed. It was a hell of a speech, but it was just a speech.

On the other hand, I continued, I could cite four or five actions -- not speeches -- that John McCain has taken that elicit my admiration, even my awe. First, of course, is his decision as a Vietnam prisoner of war to refuse freedom out of concern that he would be exploited for propaganda purposes. To paraphrase what Kipling said about Gunga Din, John McCain is a better man than most....

And there is more on this question, over at Wake Up America. Go read the rest here.

Iraq Fact Check: Responding To Key Myths

MYTH: The security gains seen in Anbar Province and Iraq as a whole are not because of the surge.

  • FACT: The increased number of troops enabled U.S. Commanders on the ground to implement a more comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy based on local population security.
  • FACT: The surge provided a security umbrella and thereby demonstrated American commitment to Iraqis already standing up to terrorists – encouraging expansion of the Anbar Awakening and Sons of Iraq.
  • FACT: The surge allowed Iraqi Security Forces to grow in skill and number. More than 540,000 individuals serve in Iraqi Security Forces–an increase of more than 133,000 soldiers and police over the past 16 months.
  • FACT: Recent operations against Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City and al Qaeda in Mosul highlight improvements in the ability of the Iraqi Security Forces to clear and hold cities.
  • FACT: The Iraqi military recently stated that the number of "terrorist attacks" in June declined 85 percent from the same period one year ago.
  • FACT: Insurgent weapons caches are being found and cleared with increasing frequency as more civilians reassured by the new level of security become emboldened to come forward with information and tips. U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces found 3,146 weapons caches in Anbar last year versus 1,213 in 2006.

MYTH: The Sons of Iraq (SoI) existed prior to the surge.

  • FACT: While there had been some local demonstrations of commitment in places like Ramadi prior to the surge, it was the surge that emboldened Iraqis to stand up nationwide through organizations like the Sons of Iraq.

MYTH: President Bush has changed his position in recent weeks on supporting a timetable for withdrawal:

  • FACT: President Bush has consistently stated U.S. forces will return home based on when Iraq is capable of defending its new democracy based on conditions on the ground.

  • FACT: On July 17, 2008, President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki agreed that improving security conditions should allow for a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals and that the goals would be based on continued improving conditions on the ground, not an arbitrary date for withdrawal.
And THEM'S the facts, folks. Sent to me by my pal CJ - of A Soldier's Perspective here - who knows what he 's talking about... because is an active duty soldier AND blogger. Thank YOU, CJ! :)

"...what's a heaven for?"

I am a lunar lady. I have always been fascinated by the moon and space travel since I first saw man land on the moon. Today, as NASA celebrates 50 years, I am reminded of the Robert Browning's quote:

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?

THAT is one of my signature tunes. You may have heard me singing it! In 1961 when President John F Kennedy made his pledge to land a man on the moon, I was unaware of America - yes, really! But, by a few simple words, President Kennedy dedicated the best of America's brains to landing a man on the moon and bringing him home safely..In his inaugural speech he promised that within the next decade man would reach for the stars. I still respond to those few words, which set the course of lunar history. You can watch that clip here.

Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Yuri Gagarin; all names etched on the forefront of human history. But even before man was hurled into space, dogs led the way. (Go

Laika - the first dog in space

What happened to Laika is public record (you can read much more here,) and since that initial "race" for the moon between America and Russia there have been many glorious triumphs and a few disasters.

In the back row from left to right: Ellison Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Pilot Mike Smith, Commander, Dick Scobee, and Ron McNair.(source)

To this day, I doubt many can watch any 1986 video of the Challenger without chills down the spine. I know I can't. Within that capsule of time was embodied all the aspirations of man's reach for the stars. To read the many sources of man's exploration beyond the earth's orbit is to marvel. From those early days of 'competition', today we have many nations co-operating, working together in a common goal. For a timeline of the space adventures, start here.

And now? Mars is on our horizon, within our grasp. Amazing pictures have been sent via Phoenix Lander.

Echus Chasma on Mars

Spectacular: A view of Echus Chasma, one of the largest water source regions on Mars, showing a network of valleys (source)

All of this proves that there are no limits to human endeavour. And yes, as we celebrate 50 years of NASA, I read that Richard Branson has just announced his plans to launch tourists into space - for a cool $200,000 per. I don't know about you, but if I had that amount of money, I would be signing on for this incredible 'out of this world' adventure. (You can read more on this here.)

There is much work still to be done on our own planet earth, but I believe that within the continued exploration of our universe - of which earth, and we, are but small specks - lie many of the answers to our own place in the universe.


'To infinity and beyond.'

Video - Muslims: The New Protected Species - Calling Bloggers

Cross-posted by Maggie at Maggie's Notebook

Battle Cry for Britain

Quotes from the video:
More polygamy, domestic violence, forced marriages, and honor killings.

A time when silence becomes a guilt, a sin
Whole sections of Britain are now considered dangerous "no-go" zones for non-muslims
A government haunted by political correctness.
A hornets nest of extremism in Britain
Hardcore Islamisits have not been assimilated into society
Many Muslims do not want Shari'a law, yet it might be foisted on them by political leaders

Note from Maggie:
Assimilating hardcore Islamists into society"
It is essential to understand that "hardcore" Islamists will NEVER be assimilated into society. Britain's leadership has been courting Muslims for a very, very long time.
That relationship enabled the theft of Israel's mandated land at the time of their statehood.
The world cannot show one capitulation to Islam that has been for the good of society

Calling All Bloggers: "Capitulation to Islam is Inevitable
Cross-posted by Loyal Eagle fromDaily Insults

I'm hoping other bloggers -- no, I pray other bloggers will pick-up this story and drum the hell out of it; bloggers better suited than I to prepare the rest of us for the battle on the horizon. Let our cry be: "We Will Not Let Freedom Die Without Us At Her Side."

This story is about one blogger in particular, Paul Ray, and what's happening to him and to our brothers and sisters across the pond. The politically-correct, multiculturalism, British thought-police arrested Ray for blogging about radical Muslims who were promoting jihadism. They arrested Ray for allegedly inciting racial hatred - not the radical imams. His specific crime? Well, he called the radicals who advocated the beheading of infidels - meaning us -- 'savages.' For the life of me, I wouldn't know what else to call them either.

Capitulation to Islam is becoming a reality, and it's also closer to home than you think. From what I now understand, there are other similar instances that occurred here in the United States, which I hope bloggers across the Internet will investigate.

First, take a look at what's going on in England. See anything familiar?

The [British] government has made so-called "hate speech," illegal, but it also depends on who is doing the hating. When one group of British citizens protested the Mohammed cartoons at the Danish embassy in London in 2006, they expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, and called for beheadings and nuclear attacks against Denmark Britain and America. Yet British police arrested no one, until there was a public uproar.

Compare that to when Britain's Channel 4 Dispatches program exposed violent rhetoric in local mosques. British police initially decided to charge - not the radical imams who were promoting violence and bigotry - but the news program that did the report, for allegedly stirring up racial hatred.

For now, it suffices to scream a new battle cry in unison, "We will not let Freedom die without us at her side." Those are fighting words, my friends, and perhaps I could even be arrested for writing and promoting them. But, I was born in New Hampshire and my "Live Free or Die" spirit came with me.

End Loyal Eagle's post.

Lionheart: The End
No More Mosques - The Need for Radical Thinking
Read more written by Lionheart, Paul Ray, in the archives of RADARSITE

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mea Culpa

The s*** is hitting the fan about an email posted all over the blogosphere about the veracity of a GI who gave a 'first person' account of part of Barak Obama's "fact finding" tour last week. I chose to post the GI's words here after I came across it on another milblog. My first inkling that all was not as it appeared - gasp! - came in the form of a comment to me from a Vietnam veteran friend.

I went back to my original source, and find that, in fact, the GI is recanting some of his words. Curiouser and curiouser, even though some of the information in the original email was retracted, there appears to some interesting choice of photo images. From Blackfive:

The Army Times and AP Use False Photo to Denounce "Obama Blew off the troops" email

Posted By Blackfive

RE: Obama's visit to Bagram

First, I must say thank you to commenter FreedomWarrior. Without his cynical posts, I would not be able to point this out.

The Army Times decided to weigh in on the email from Afghanistan about the Obama visit. Please go read their account.

Yes, for the thousandth time, we have established that Senator Obama did not play basketball at Bagram airfield or visit a specific tent.

I apologize, sincerely and contritely, for posting an email from a soldier in Afghanistan suggesting that Senator Obama played basketball.

However, that is not very important in establishing whether he did indeed blow off the troops (like Landstuhl). I posted photos of the Senator meeting with troops at Camp Eggers and other places. He did meet with troops and did not blow them off at other bases. This is a fact (one that we here at Blackfive helped establish). I commend Senator Obama for visiting the troops and making his first trip to Iraq.

I have been asking for photos and searched for hours for photos of the Senator talking to troops at Bagram. That would debunk this whole notion that he didn't talk to the troops at Bagram, wouldn't it?

At that Army Times post, part of their evidence is a photo of Senator Obama talking to troops at Bagram - the caption states "Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama speaks to troops at Bagram Air Field on July 19.".

Here's the AP photo on the Army Times site:

AP Photo

Just one minor problem here - that's not Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.


There is more - of course - and you really should read that here.

And yes, the Army Times DID weigh in, and go directly to the source in the sandbox.

Officer: Part of anti-Obama e-mail was wrong

By Matthew Cox and Rick Maze - Staff writers
Posted : Sunday Jul 27, 2008 10:04:27 EDT

An Army officer’s negative e-mail account of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s visit with the troops in Afghanistan that set the blogosphere ablaze prompted Army officials to correct aspects of the e-mail and resulted in a statement from the message’s author that “some of the information that was put out in my e-mail was wrong.” (source)

In that interview, the original writer of the email says:

“I am writing this to ask that you delete my e-mail and not forward it, after checking my sources some of the information that was put out in my e-mail was wrong. This e-mail was meant only for my family. Please respect my wishes and delete the e-mail and if there are any blogs you have my e-mail portrayed on I would ask if you would take it down too.”

I have removed this original post as per this soldier's request. Yes, of course, this whole incident does raise questions about the integrity of us bloggers who rushed to print. In this instance, I am as guilty as much of the msm who I have always been quick to accuse of apparent bias. BUT - as anyone who knows me will tell - if the main player in this whole trip had been McCain, or anyone else, with the same email sent out, I would have printed it. I like to think that my political opinions do not get in the way of even-handed presentation of the facts. In this case, I did print something that the source later retracted. And yes, unlike the msm, I am printing MY apology on the "front page," not page G36.

I am guessing that this GI has now learned what many of us have been aware of for a loooooong time. Once anything goes out on the internet, the original author loses control of it.

It is often said that in times of war, truth is the first victim. This episode has reminded me of the need for vigilance in the pursuit of that truth.

No excuses from me though - mea maximus culpa.

Some gave all - Marine Josh 'Biscuit' Howell

News Article

Tributes paid to Marine Josh Howell

25 Jul 08

Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to Marine Josh Howell, of 40 Cdo Royal Marines, who sadly died suddenly as he was going about camp duties at his base in Taunton, UK on 21 July 2008.

Marine Josh 'Biscuit' Howell

Josh Howell was born on 30 January 1987 and was from Coventry. He joined the Royal Marines in January 2005 and successfully completed 30 weeks of arduous training at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines.

During this process he excelled and was quickly marked out as being both incredibly physically fit and mentally agile displaying huge potential even from this early point. He was passed for duty in July 2005 upon being awarded both the coveted Green Beret and the Commando Medal. Notably, he received this prestigious Medal having been nominated by his peers as their fellow Recruit displaying the greatest Commando qualities of them all; courage, determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness in the face of adversity...

A tremendous eater, Josh was known to all, since his very first day in the Royal Marines, as 'Biscuit' - the only thing that everyone else left from the rations were the biscuits. Biscuit was an inspiration to all; incredibly funny, compassionate and generous he was one of the most popular men in Bravo Company. His faultless impressions of friends, celebrities, a growing list of animals and a particularly impressive dinosaur were a joy to behold.

Certainly one of the brightest stars for the future, Josh's tragic passing has left a tremendous hole amongst all who knew him and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, particularly his mother Kim, his sister Laura and his girlfriend Zoe...

There is so much more on this incredible man - and Marine - at the MoD site. Take a few minutes and go here to read what his brothers in arms say about "Biscuit."

"...let us be glad that such men lived..."

DoD Lab Helps to Resolve Century-Old Russian Mystery

Over the years our military expertise has contributed much to civilian society.

Since the massacre in 1918 of Nicholas II and his family in Russia, many mysteries has continued as to who - exactly - was murdered then. Courtesy of the Defence Dept DNA identification lab, comes the following:

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2008 – A Defense Department DNA identification lab has helped bring to a close a near-century-old mystery, laying to rest a search for the remains of two children executed alongside the rest of the family of Russia’s last czar.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
This male leg bone sample found in a small grave in Russia positively identified the remains there as the only son of the last czar of Russia, eliminating rumors that some escaped the family’s execution in 1918. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

In the midst of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1918, the imprisoned Nicholas II, his wife and five children were shot and killed along with four loyal servants in the basement of a merchant’s house. The ruling Bolshevik party eventually would become the communist party of the Soviet Union.

What happened to the bodies remained somewhat of a mystery for years. Rumors circulated of survivors of the execution. Hundreds came forward over time claiming to be a surviving member of the royal family. The most prominent was Anna Anderson in 1920, who claimed to be the czar's youngest daughter, Anastasia.

More than a decade ago, the Russian government asked the Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab in Rockville, Md., to use its cutting-edge technology in DNA testing to help confirm the identify the royal family’s remains after a mass grave was discovered. The lab positively identified the remains of the czar, his wife and three daughters, and later disproved Anderson’s claims of royal heritage....

I found this a fascinating insight, not only into the Russian mysteries, but also the inner workings of the DoD. Go read the rest of this here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Every Day Heroes

Meet Sergeant Ezequiel Mora:

Sergeant Ezequiel R. Mora

One of the Baghdad neighborhoods covered by Sergeant Ezequiel Mora’s patrol in May of 2007 was Hurriyah, a hotbed of militia activity. While passing through Hurriyah, Mora’s four Humvee convoy was attacked. An explosively formed penetrator, the most lethal type of roadside bomb, went off just as insurgents fired on the convoy with small arms.

The EFP had caused catastrophic damage to the vehicle in the rear of the column, which had the platoon medic and convoy commander in it. He directed his vehicle to be turned around to the disabled and burning Humvee. Ignoring the heavy volume of hostile fire, he leapt out to assist the trapped soldiers. He bravely attempted to rescue the gunner of the Humvee, though temporarily overcome by smoke inhalation he recovered and joined another soldier in continuing the rescue. While doing so, he noticed the platoon’s medic on the ground, badly wounded and Mora immediately began administering first aid. Once another soldier relieved him, Mora moved to the other side of the Humvee to cover his fellow soldiers.

It was then that he noticed that the gunner from the Humvee was finally free, but was bleeding heavily from his left leg. Mora swiftly applied a tourniquet to the leg to stop the bleeding. Realizing that they were in an exposed position, Mora and another sergeant took turns carrying the wounded gunner to safety, all while under fire from the insurgents. When reinforcements arrived, Mora helped to successfully evacuate the gunner to the Green Zone for medical care.

Because of his courageous actions and steadfast determination, Sergeant Ezequiel Mora helped save the lives of several of his fellow soldiers and as a result, was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor.

[Go here to find a link to a recent ABC interview with the Sgt.]

Thank you for your service, Sergeant Mora.

Music and Me

For Claire!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A mother's heart

One week ago I shared with you the news of Cpl. James Hayward Arnal who is the latest Canadian hero to pay the ultimate price in service to our country. You can read that post here.

Today, Cpl Arnal's mother spoke to the media about her precious son. We have often marvelled about where we find such brave men and women who step up to serve. Listening to this mother, I get an inkling.

Wendy Hayward-Miskiewicz:

Wendy Hayward-Miskiewicz breaks down after leaving a rose on the casket of her son during his repatriation ceremony at CFB Trenton on Tuesday.
Wendy Hayward-Miskiewicz breaks
down after leaving a rose on the casket
of her son during his repatriation ceremony
at CFB Trenton on Tuesday.

(Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)

"We were like best friends. We talked about everything. He was an ambassador for life. He embraced life with every breath," said Wendy Hayward-Miskiewicz.

"Soldiering was so befitting to him, to protect the very freedom to live life to its fullest."...

"I will be honest. I had reservations about his second tour and I actually asked him to reconsider. But James's reply was, 'Mom, it's the right thing to do,' and I couldn't argue with that," Hayward-Miskiewicz said.

"He was raised to care about the things that mattered and to make a difference. He certainly didn't have to die to make us proud."

Arnal's mother expressed gratitude to the military, to friends, family and neighbours and even to strangers who have shown their support after her son's death.

"I would like to give our condolences to families and friends of fallen heroes. My heart goes out to you all and it gives me some comfort to know that James is with your heroes," she said.

The family will continue sending care packages to soldiers overseas, she said...(courtesy CBC here)

Let us always remember the mothers, with gratitude and honour

For the record: Reid - shoe bomber sentencing

I received the following in my inbox, and I feel it needs sharing:

I have never seen it before. It's 100% legitimate. (Brat note: it was checked through

Remember the guy who got on a plane with a bomb built into his shoe and tried to light it?

Did you see/hear any of the judge's comments on TV or Radio? Didn't think so.

Everyone should hear what the judge had to say.

Ruling by Judge William Young, US District Court.

Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say. His response: After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid also admitted his "allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah," defiantly stating, "I think I will not apologize for my actions," and told the court "I am at war with your country."

Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below:

January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid. Judge Young:

"Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you.

On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutively. (That's 80 years.)

On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years again, to be served consecutively to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you for each of the eight
counts a fine of $250,000 that's an aggregate fine of $2 million;The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines.

The Court imposes upon you an $800 special assessment.

The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further.

This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence.

Now, let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether the officers of government do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier. You are not----- you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists.
We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've known warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and the TV crews were, and he said: "You're no big deal."

You are no big deal.

What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today?

I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing? And, I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know.

It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf, have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges.

We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we treat yo u, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. The day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure.

Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America , the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America . That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. And it always will.

Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down.

So, how much of this Judge's comments did we hear on our TV sets? We need more judges like Judge Young, but that's another subject. Pass this around. Everyone should and needs to hear what this fine judge had to say. Powerful words that strike home. God bless America

'Nuff said.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"He ventured forth..."

It seems not everyone is taking Obama seriously. From the timesonline (link courtesy of a comment on WUA) comes this gem:

He ventured forth to bring light to the world

The anointed one's pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a miracle in action - and a blessing to all his faithful followers

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.

And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth - for the first time - to bring the light unto all the world.

He travelled fleet of foot and light of camel, with a small retinue that consisted only of his loyal disciples from the tribe of the Media. He ventured first to the land of the Hindu Kush, where the

Taleban had harboured the viper of al-Qaeda in their bosom, raining terror on all the world...

It may be something to do with my warped Brit humour, but I love this. lol Well worth the read. You can find the rest here.

URGENT help needed!

Via Soldiers' Angels forum ANGEL ALERT! With permission to spread this call for help far and wide:

One of our heroes from Rogers, Arkansas, (PFC Rebecca B.), had a tragedy occur when she got home for R & R. She arrived home around noon on Wednesday, and around 11:00 PM that night, her family's home burned to the ground. She's due to go back on Aug 11 but if family doesn't have a place to stay by the Aug 4 she can stay longer.

PLEASE can you help them?? Walmart & Target cards would be greatly appreciated.

I have their address and she will be getting sizes for clothes for the family. Rebecca doesn't ask for anything for herself...she told me "Ma'am, I'm good, I'm going back to Iraq, please help my family".

To get this address, either email me, or the SA who is co-ordinating this effort.:

Let's get this one taken care of ASAP! Thank you.....


GREAT news this week. History in the making:

Dunwoody confirmed as first female four-star

The appointment of Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody to her
current rank was confirmed July 23 by the U.S. Senate.
Dunwoody is the first female to serve as a four-star general
in the United States military. She has also been confirmed
for assignment as commanding general,
U S Army Materiel Command, Fort Belvoir, Va.
Photo by C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 24, 2008) -- The U.S. Senate confirmed Wednesday the appointment of Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody to the grade of four-star general.

Dunwoody, who will be the first woman to serve as a four-star general in the U.S. military, was also confirmed for assignment as commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command, headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va.

Prior to her recent appointment as deputy commanding general and chief of staff of AMC, the general served as deputy chief of staff, G-4, United States Army, Washington, D.C.

Dunwoody entered the Army in 1975, and served first as a platoon leader with the 226th Maintenance Company, 100th Supply and Services Battalion, Fort Sill, Okla....

Go check out the rest of this great article here and follow a link for more pictures of an amazing soldier's career.

This surely qualifies as B*N*S*N!


Army commemorates 60th anniversary of Armed Forces Integration

Jul 24, 2008
BY Col. Jonathan Dahm

Fighting with the 2nd Infantry Division
north of the Chongchon River,
Sgt. 1st Class Major Cleveland, weapons
squad leader, points out a North Korean
position to his integrated machine-gun crew
Nov. 20, 1950. Photo by James Cox
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 24, 2008) -- On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, establishing the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services. It was accompanied by Executive Order 9980, which created a Fair Employment Board to eliminate racial discrimination in federal employment.

Segregation in the military services did not officially end until the Secretary of Defense announced on Sept. 30, 1954 that the last all-black unit had been abolished. However, the president's directive put the armed forces at the forefront of the growing movement to win an equal social role and equal treatment for the nation's African-American citizens.

The Army began integrating units during the Korean War. Eighth Army commanders in Korea began filling losses in their white units with individuals from a surplus of black replacements arriving in Japan in late 1950. By early 1951, 9.4 percent of all African-Americans arriving in theater were serving in some 41 newly and unofficially integrated units, according to retired Army historian Morris J. MacGregor Jr. in his book, Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 . ...

There are some really GREAT articles, and the rest of this one, here.

There is also the text of President Bush's Proclamation related to this important anniversary, (and more great articles) here.


Click photo for screen-resolution image

Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Margaret Swanberg, of Montgomery Village,
Md., checks the pupils of Army Spc. Michael Woywood,
of San Antonio, for dilation during a military acute concussion
evaluation demonstration at Forward Operating Base Hammer,
Iraq, July 18, 2008.
U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Michael Schuch,
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Margaret Swanberg is the only Army neurologist deployed to Iraq. Roadside-bomb explosions have been a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries that can vary from compression and bruising of the brain to damage to the nerves that send signals from the brain to the rest of the body.

“The fact that [the 1st Armored Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team] ended up with a neurologist was really just a matter of luck,” Swanberg said, “but it has given me the chance to evaluate soldiers in person and give the other medics and doctors guidance and training.”

Swanberg serves as the officer in charge of the Sgt. Robertson Aid Station here. Her dedication to the job benefits soldiers throughout Iraq, as she trains medics throughout the country on military acute concussion evaluation, or MACE.

For six years before her deployment, Swanberg worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington, D.C., as a behavioral neurologist with patients who have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The decision to deploy her came when Walter Reed leaders received a request for a doctor and reviewed their list of soldiers on deployable status. The professional filler system, which holds the names of all primary care military doctors, chose to send Swanberg because of her experience in a field that would help soldiers in Iraq.

Another incredible woman. Go read the rest here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

From Lionheart: THE END

In January of this year, I wrote a piece on Tanker Bros called: Freedom of Speech? Not so much!"

In that column I highlighted three countries where freedom of speech, an accepted right for most of us - or so you would think - was under attack. For background, go read that here.

I told you about Lionheart, a blogger in England whose life work - speaking the truth about the threat of Islamic terrorism in England - was under scrutiny by the authorities. Not only that, but Lionheart has been receiving much attention by factions who object to the beacon of truth which he shone on FACTS that threaten the fabric of the English society that I know and love.

Today, an update from, and about, Lionheart. In his usual style, Lionheart speaks loudly and eloquently, and needs no extra commentary from me. I URGE you to read all of this piece if you read nothing else this week. HE has seen - and recognises - the enemy within. How about you?


Cross posted from Radarsite

From Lionheart
23 July 2008

I was due to attend Greyfriars Police station today to answer bail regarding my arrest on ‘suspicion of stirring up racial hatred’ through written material on this blog.
I was advised by my solicitor/lawyer yesterday that he had spoken to DC Holden regarding my attendance at the police station today and he told him that a decision still had not been made concerning me and my case so they are going to be bailing me for a further few months.
So the leash is still around my neck, but it’s more of an extendable leash now, like the one you put your dog on so they can run a little further, rather than a chock chain.

I lost everything because of the drug dealing gangs of Pakistani Moslems from Luton, my home, by business, my way of life and over 18 months of my life.And I thank God daily for it because my blog now stands as a testimony for others to read about what is going on in Luton & Dunstable, which is Al Qaeda’s frontline within Great Britain, and the Islamic community that has set up camp there.There are many cowards out there who disrespect me but just remember you’re the one who ran away not me, I’m just taking a rest now.
Let’s not forget that Luton played a central role on 7/7 and during ‘operation crevice’ the biggest anti-terror operation in British history which saw the bomb maker of the plot who was a taxi driver from Dunstable wanting to buy a dirty bomb from the Russian mafia in Belgium, and the Emir of the plot who was also said to be the recruiter of the lead bomber on 7/7 Mohamed Siddique Khan also another Pakistani Moslem known as Q from Bury Park Luton.All these known factual links to International Islamic Terrorism and Al Qaeda’s War against Great Britain from this one locality of Luton.

My blog is an on the ground assessment of what is happening on the streets of Luton & Dunstable with regards to the paramilitary force of British born Pakistani Moslems, and then beyond what is happening on the streets, out of sight and mind.Blended into the Bury Park community of Luton, living in the shadows is Al Qaeda in Britain, trained courtesy of Osama Bin Laden and the terror camps of Afghanistan/Pakistan who are now recruiting and commanding their Moslem brothers on our British streets.Jihad (Holy War) against us and our way of life for Islam is their message.
By the time the British State have decided what they want to do with me I will have lost another year of my life to them, having the stress of these legal proceedings hanging over my head, and then I could lose another year if they finally decide to charge me and all for writing and telling people what I see with regards to Islam’s War within Great Britain and against our Western Civilisation, and calling Moslems savages.As an uneducated man and not politically correct I think savages fits them quite well after watching beheadings, suicide bombings on buses and trains, flying planes into towers, chopping off peoples limbs for the most trivial of offences, the hatred that is aimed at those outside of the religion, and the hatred towards women and homosexuals and all because of the teachings of the religion. The list could go on and on, these are just a few examples that spring to mind of why I call Moslems savages.The politically correct term for those who have jobs and careers to protect is - Terrorist

Ok not all Moslems act in that way but if they class themselves as Moslems by carrying the label and embracing the religion then they condone what is at the core of the religion which is the teachings of a 7th Century barbarian who was a bloodthirsty warmongering child molesting paedophile false prophet rapist
.Many who claim the label ‘Moslem’ only do so because it has been passed down from the generations, they don’t know the true heart and soul of the religion because they have never delved into the deepest depths of the pit of the religion. Those who do know the heart and soul are the religious Moslems who are committed to furthering the agenda of the Islamic religion in Great Britain and are the driving force.Those who profess moderation and peace are a different side of the same coin they just have a different way of achieving the end time goal which is Islamic Rule upon the British Isles. This is the mandate of the Islamic Religion that all Moslems if they are true Moslems must adhere to and carry out, those who profess moderation and peace are taking the long term approach and those conducting Holy War are taking the faster approach, but both have the same end result in mind and they both work in tandem together.So don’t believe the lies.
If a Moslem doesn’t want to live under Sharia Law then he/she is not a Moslem, it is like me as a Christian saying I don’t believe in Jesus, its that simple, and we have 3+ million Moslems in our Country.Those who carry the label ‘Moslem’ but know nothing about the heart and soul of the religion know in the back of their minds that if they reject the label then they face a death sentence from religious Moslems as an act of apostasy which is one of the most abhorrent things imaginable and has no place within our civilized society but as with many other things it is an integral part of the Islamic religion.If a Moslem leaves the religion he/she must be murdered for this offence, and there are many willing Moslem murderers out there willing to please Allah by shedding Apostate blood.Those who leave Islam should find a place of safety and sanctuary within our land, and the Church is the place where you will find it, then you can break off the shackles that bind you and receive the Love of Jesus Christ from His servants, those like Bishop Nazir Ali who knows all to well about Apostasy among many other things within Great Britain.He himself is now a target of the military wing of Islam because he dared speak out on behalf of the British people about the Islamification of Great Britain; does this not tell you something that everyone who speaks negatively about Islam has to live under fear of death?

And this is supposed to be a civilized 21st Century democracy in which we live.No wonder there are so many cowards out there, but what does the future hold for our children and grandchildren with so many cowards in society who are doing nothing about those who are seeking to destroy all of our futures?We cannot escape the facts in today’s British society...

There is more, MUCH more over at Wake Up America. Go read here; inform yourself TODAY! NOW! And then ask yourself: what are YOU willing to do to protect your country from the enemy within? Well?

*Cross-posted at Tanker Bros*

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Man Who Could Topple Jack Murtha

I am sure you all remember my most recent column on Murtha. You know, the one I titled

I am a M**tha F*****!

If you read that (and I know at least eight of you did! you may remember I introduced you to William Russell, as a real alternative to Murtha. Today, Michelle Malkin has a column up on Family Security Matters, which addresses this contender.:

A jaw-dropping political miracle may be on the horizon. No, I'm not talking about the second coming of the Obamessiah. I'm talking about the long-deserved comeuppance of troop-smearing, pork-feasting, scandal-tainted Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania.

The 18-term congressman's challenger, staunch conservative Republican newcomer William Russell, raised nearly $670,000 in the second fundraising quarter. Earmark king Murtha scraped together a measly $119,000. Russell's underdog campaign bested Murtha without the perks of incumbency, national name recognition, big PAC donations or mainstream media support.
Even more amazing: The 45-year-old Russell, a Desert Storm veteran, former Army lieutenant colonel and Army reservist who survived the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, was not even publicly campaigning during the quarter. He is on active duty with the Army until after Aug. 1 and is barred from actively campaigning until then.
If all that didn't make this enough of an inspiring David and Goliath story: In February, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that Russell had failed to collect enough signatures to make the primary ballot. But Russell refused to give up on his goal of permanently redeploying Murtha from his entrenched seat of power in Washington. The GOP neophyte persevered on a shoestring budget and won more than 4,000 write-in votes in the spring to earn a spot on the general election ballot. According to Russell's campaign manager and veteran GOP activist Peg Luksik, the bulk of contributions from about 16,000 donors in the second quarter were less than $50...

Go here and read it all! Mooooooooooove on out, Murtha! You are so OVER!

*Cross posting in all the usual places!

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Hero Was Suggested By Toni

1st LT. Frank B. Walkup, IV
1st LT. Frank B. Walkup, IV
23 years old from Woodbury, Tennessee
2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division
June 16, 2007
U.S. Army

Toni already has a great post up on her site, so I’ll just link to it.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bat 'er Up!: A special request

As a Soldiers' Angel, I often get special requests sent to me. Today, I have one that I have been given permission to share here, in the hopes that we can get help for some of our troops. Read on:

Please read the below post. If you can help Cheryl find donated used equipment for this group before they arrive back at camp from this mission?

I appreciate anything you can do-

Looking for used baseball gloves, bats and baseballs to send to a group in Iraq.
They just left for a month long mission, and were told to expect it to be rough and nasty.

I am so hoping to have a few things there when they get back.
If you have some used, gloves, baseball, bats (bases are the cherry on top) and are willing to part with them, please email me

Thank you..

Monday, July 21, 2008

It doesn't mean I'm going to hate, but I'm not going to forgive."

Serbia captures fugitive Karadzic

Many years ago, when Yugoslavia was still a country, I fell in love with the country and the people. My first time out of England, and I explored the Brioni islands, and dreamed of retiring to Susak, in a far off unseen future. Yugoslav families living in the hills above the port of Pula opened their hearts and their homes to me. Tito was still in power then. Many people, place and memories have remained on my heart from the time I lived there, and I have met and grown to love more families from the region as they emigrated to the safety of Canada.

I have followed the news from there over the years and I have listened to my friends tell of their journeys away from their homeland. And my heart ached for them and the land I loved, which no longer exists. With horror I also watched the events unfold in 1995, and had no solace to offer the refugee children I worked with here.

Today - today, finally, Radovan Karadzic has been arrested. While I listen to the world reaction to the news, I am thinking of a particular family still living in Belgrade. As I often have over the years, I wonder about the people I met when I was there. Yes, it is a great day in many ways, BUT for the families of the more than 8,000 massacred, I am not convinced that this day of reckoning for Karadzic will soothe their souls. Today, I came across a first person narrative by a young man who lived through those days. I am printing it in its entirety here, but urge you to go and read the rest of the articles on this page at the BBC. We need to know, we need to understand WHY humanity inflicts such scars on each other. Today my heart is with all who I love in - and from - what was once Yugoslavia. Read on:

Emir Suljagic, picture courtesy of the Bosnian Institute
Emir Suljagic lost almost all the male members
of his family in the Balkan war

1995: Srebrenica - a survivor's story
Emir Suljagic can remember the precise moment when war in the Balkans overtook his life.

It was 12 May 1992 and he was standing with his father on a wooded hill above Bratunac, the small town on the Bosnia-Serbia border where the 17 year old lived with his family.

The pair watched as columns of trucks from the Serbian bank of the Drina river crossed into Bosnia to pick up Muslims expelled from their villages in the valley.

"The women and children were mostly taken straight to the Bosnian government-controlled territory, whereas the men were held in Bratunac for no longer than a couple of weeks," Suljagic says.

"But in those couple of weeks, of some 700 people at least half were killed in what the survivors later related to us were really brutal murders."

It was also a brutal awakening for the young Suljagic, who knew that family and friends were among the captured.

Before the war he was just a regular teenager, says Suljagic, now a 30-year-old journalist living in Sarajevo.

"I was interested in computers, I was interested in heavy metal music, I was a Metallica fan, I watched basketball. I did what everybody else my age did."

But the only thing on his mind watching the Serbian operation that afternoon was escape.

"The first reaction was to run for our lives. And that's what my dad and I did.

"We ran into the woods and we travelled the whole day to get to a village which was still not under Serb control."

Execution squad

Suljagic and his father ended up in Srebrenica - among the first of many Muslims who sought refuge there during the war.

They were joined by his mother and sister the following day. They told how many of their extended family in Bratunac had surrendered to Serb neighbours, who had guaranteed them safe passage to Tuzla.

"My dad's mother was actually looking for my father and me in an attempt to convince us to surrender to the Serbs."

But the decision to run probably saved their lives.

Two months later, Suljagic says a 17-year-old cousin who had surrendered joined them at Srebrenica.

"He told us that he had survived the execution squad in which everyone else was killed - all other male members of my family.


"My relative said that the guy who was behind the machine gun on an armoured personnel carrier was the bus conductor on a bus we took to school every day," he adds.

Suljagic's father was killed by a Serb shell in December 1992 as he made his way back to the frontline near Bratunac. His mother and sister left for Tuzla in April 1993.

Suljagic stayed in Srebrenica for the next three years with his maternal grandparents.

Conditions in the town were terrible. The number of refugees in Srebrenica swelled to over 40,000 in early 1993. Many were forced to live on the streets in freezing temperatures.

Mass grave

When the United Nations arrived, the teenager secured a job as an interpreter working for UN military observers roving around the enclave.

Although suspicious of the rapport the Dutch officers developed with their Serb counterparts, Suljagic says he firmly believed the besieged Srebrenica would remain in UN hands - even after Serbian commander General Ratko Mladic attacked on 6 July 1995.

But the UN's "safe area" fell to the Bosnian Serb army on 11 July.

"I first knew what would be happening the moment they started separating men from women and children," Suljagic says.

"I knew that whenever they separated men from women, they most of the time kill the men."

Over the next three days, at least 8,000 Muslim males were killed, including Suljagic's 70-year-old grandfather, whose remains were identified in a mass grave near Zvornik in 2003.

Suljagic believes he was lucky to escape, despite running into General Mladic himself on 12 July while accompanying UN observers to nearby Potocari.

No forgiveness

The general questioned him on whether he had served in the army before dismissing him.

"I got really scared. I was pretty sure he was going to have me shot - there or somewhere else.

"I asked for my ID card back. The only thing that went through my mind was that if I'm shot on the way back to the camp, I don't want to be a nameless body."

Suljagic eventually made it safely to Tuzla. He says he will never come to terms with what happened at Srebrenica.

He wants the perpetrators to be tried, but is not sure justice has an "adequate answer" to a crime of this magnitude and nature.

"Of course it would be very good to see them in prison. I'm just not quite sure if it will mean anything 10 years later."

And he says he finds no solace in concepts of truth or reconciliation.

"I'm not going to forgive. It doesn't mean I'm going to hate, but I'm not going to forgive."

If you don't know much about what WAS before, and what happened there, go to the BBC here.