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OH. I have about 1.5 billion things to say on the subject. I have home net access again. I'm spending several hours a day/night reading CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews, ABCNews, NewsMax, Cato, Middle East Review of International Affairs, Opinion Journal,, etc. I've got a collection of newspapers. I've been doing extra-curricular research on the Middle East/Central Asia, Islam and other religions, the Jihad, various countries, the history of the past 10 years, NATO, the UN, the US military, US Special Operations Forces, military aircraft and weaponry of the US and the Middle East, US intelligence agencies, etc. This thing is huge.

But I'll keep it short and sweet (yah right) this week. First, since my navigation bar isn't working too well, please click here to read my last entry, as it still represents much of what I'm thinking. It might as well be my first, as everything to come before is irrelevant.

My sister and her fiance live very near to where the Winter Olympics will be held in 5 months. We have VERY REAL concerns about them staying there. Now, some want to cancel or postpone the games (oddly, relocation hasn't been mentioned much). Some want to lift the restriction that says military troops cannot be used for security. But look at the facts: you have hundreds of thousands of people from ALL over the world, gathered in dense spots each day and night (but particularly during the opening and closing ceremonies), with 20,000 journalists and the cameras of the world focused on an area what, 50 miles in diameter?. Any terrorist organization wanting to make a big splash is going to look at the Olympics as THE big party not to be missed. The result could be the most horrifying terrorist devestation in history ("I fear we will one day look on the World Trade Center attacks as a relatively minor incursion").

I was reading up on the various forms of terrorism strikes: biological weapons, chemical weapons, 'dirty' nuclear material, actual nuclear weapons, cyber-warfare, as well as the more conventional types such as bombs, guns, incendiary devices, etc. Smallpox and Anthrax are the ones that REALLY scare me--the death toll if an attack is launched during the Olympics could dwarf not only the WTC attacks, but the bombing of Hiroshima. Horrible way to die, too. Things have changed, and worry about my dear sister being near ground zero of some kind of terrorist atrocity is not an unfounded fear. I firmly believe there will be some type of terrorist strike if the Olympics go ahead, and I want my loved ones far away.

Folks, we have to talk about these things. This isn't going away. There is a group of people in this world who are committed to killing Americans and destroying America. These people hate us. They have been trained to hate us from birth. They have a religious base that provides them a justifiable hate of us... together with a belief in the after-life that gives them rewards for hating and killing us. They will not stop until we are gone or they are dead. Their grievance with us is that we exist. Simple. They HATE us! They hate the fact that people here can decide the course of their lives. They hate the fact that we vote for our leaders. They hate the fact that our free enterprise system enables individuals to achieve and improve and own private property. They hate our religion and our freedom of religion. They hate our open society. They hate the fact that we recognize that women have the same civil rights as men. And they want to kill us because of it. This is NOT going to stop, unless WE STOP IT.

And yet... there are people in Europe, groups in this country, and even one member of Congress (the disgusting Barbara Lee, D-California) who want to simply hide their heads in the sand and hope it goes away. All signs point to an enormous escalation of terrorist strikes against this country. Things are ramping up and have been for a year or two. And now those seeds are beginning to bear terrible fruit. But there are people right here in this country who continue to beat the drum for ""Peace"". Many but not all of them are much revered ""students"" on college campuses (as if students possess some sort of great wisdom or second sight). At Berkeley yesterday, for example, all the Peaceniks (read as: future slaves, exiles, homeless people, or victims of terrorist violence) got together to sing 'all we are saying is give peace a chance'. I'm amazed. How blind are they? It reminds me of the movie Mars Attacks, where they were repeatedly stung by their own naivet�.

Have we distanced ourselves so much from our own history that some of us don't understand what sacrifice for freedom means? The price of liberty? The men and women who have given their lives so that we can have a free and open society and self-determination and free speech? Have we become so complacent that we'll just lie down and ignore insurgent attacks against our own people and our own cities? Are some of us willing to hand over every single ounce of freedom in order to gain this pretend security while the problem looms ever larger? Is this generation fundamentally different than those that have come before it--concerned only with its leisure and hedonistic pleasure, grown so lazy, cowardly and unpatriotic that it no longer feels that there comes a time when we must fight to defend what we believe in and protect our land and our way of life? Is it going to take a second or even third tragedy?

Some people just want to live in a fantasy world. There are even people here whose sympathies I question. If you're here and you hate America, hate capitalism, hate "American Arrogance", hate the fact that some people have what others don't and that there are rewards for hard work, hate our achievement-oriented society which punishes lazines, indolence and incompetence, hate individuality and the right of self-determination over central planning, then as much as you might decry the killing of 6500 people and the destruction of over 300 stories of office buildings, do you in many ways *agree* with these terrorists? Is it a protest against our responsibility to defend ourselves and prevent massacres in the future (their "peace", though it really makes me wonder who's *really* after peace), or is it a desire to see the same end as the terrorist organizations want--the end of capitalism, the end of a free and open society, the end of the individual, the end of working hard and making sacrifices in order to accomplish goals? I'm worried. And I have news. Al Qaeda, Al-Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah, these guys don't care about your peace demonstrations. They want you DEAD.

The markets are being hammered hard this week. We're in trouble. I've talked to my broker already to make sure things are okay, something I'm sure has been repeated millions of times around the country this week. The airline industry is bleeding hundreds of millions of dollars every day (and the enormous lawsuits haven't even been filed yet). When it's all done with, over 200,000 airline and aircraft industry workers may have lost their jobs. The insurance industry is going to be next. The hit will be gigantic. Tons of other industries will be adversely affected. We are in a recession. Consumer confidence and spending, which has been keeping the economy from drowning, is obviously tanking. The problem of the Canadian border with the US is going to have a devestating effect on things. Gas prices could climb, further affecting the economy as a whole. This is not the economy of '99 and 2000. And this was after only one set of attacks, which killed only about 6000 people.

My brother is going on a mission in two days. He was scheduled to go on reserve in two months... and actually, 40,000 reservists have been called ahead of the standing army, but his unit has been assigned also.

The domestic war on civil rights has begun as well. How many of the first 10 amendments will they throw out before it's over? I believe that much of the lost freedom will be RELEVANT. A national ID card is in the works (has been for 20 years, but now it's an easy sell). The question is not IF it will happen but rather when, how much data will it contain (digital fingerprints, our DNA code, employment info?), and when and where will it be required (just at airports or for every single cash transaction, upon entering any building, etc.).

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
--Benjamin Franklin

I am buying a gun soon. I'm currently doing preliminary research into different types of handguns. I'm going to learn to shoot one of these days at the range Charley uses. My decision is based on my desire to exercise the natural right secured by the 2nd amendment (while it's still secured), a belief that it is my responsibility to defend the Constitution, and a realization that nobody is responsible for, nor capable of securing my own immediate personal safety but ME. Note that I do not intend to rob a store with my gun, nor shoot a cop, nor exorcise my road rage, nor pull my gun on anyone except for the immediate defense of myself, my country, my loved ones, my property, my domicile, or anyone in immediate peril, nor threaten anyone I don't intend to shoot and kill.

"The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the Constitutional rights secure."
--Albert Einstein

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest."
--Mahatma Gandhi

"No man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny in government."
--Thomas Jefferson

I have also considered what my thoughts are concerning enlistment. Depending upon the scope of the war and how things arrange themselves (it's an understatement to say that it's a big unknown right now), we could very well be facing conscription (possibly including women as well). The possibility looks quite remote right now, but 5 to 10 years is a long time. All these spoiled rotten kids and 'young adults' who are just a little bit nonchalant and unconcerned and complacent might be shocked to find that sometimes there is a price to be paid, that sometimes we MUST get our hands bloody to defend and secure our lives and our beliefs. I talked about this with my mother. My thought is that we have a strong volunteer army, albeit one that has faced drastic cuts courtesy of Clinton, but there is not an immediate need. However, I will enlist well before it is necessary to draft me. And I AM willing to die for what I believe.

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
--John Stuart Mills

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just gave a speech to Congress and the EU. Magnificent. What an excellent speaker and statesmen. Very inspiring.

I don't know about you, but I'm glad Colin Powell is around. Let's review the Powell Doctrine.

1. We must have a defined mission--clear target(s), strategy, and objectives.
The overall objective is to make sure that nothing like this happens again here or anywhere in the free world.

2. We must use "overwhelming force".
The campaign will require political, intelligence, diplomatic, law enforcement, financial and military effort -- all working together at once. Sending 100 in at once works more effectively than sending in 10 at a time 10 times.

3. We must have a clear exit strategy.
The exit strategy comes when you know that the American people are living in safety, without this kind of a threat.

Short and sweet.

**edit** : WOW. The President just gave an amazing, touching, incredibly strong speech. I'm all over this one. Lots to analyze and study and research. But some other time. For now let me just feel the realization that this country finally has a strong leader again.