In 2003, George W. Bush hornswoggled this nation into an “illegal, immoral, ill-conceived war against Iraq.” A few years into the occupation when public opinion was turning against the war, the Bush administration argued that a bloodbath would ensue if we pulled our troops out before the Iraqi government and its armed forces were prepared to stand on their own. At that time I wrote: “If the warring factions in Iraq are intent on more sectarian violence and ethnic cleansing, keeping our troops there only forestalls the inevitable,” a prediction that has proven chillingly accurate.

Now, once again, some of our so-called leaders in Washington are absurdly calling for intervention in Iraq’s current internecine savagery. One definition of insanity: “Continuing to do the same thing over and over, each time expecting a different result.”

For a review of the lessons learned from our most recent  military misadventures, check out “When will they ever Learn? America on Brink of another Military Engagement.”

In light of current events in Iraq, I’m reposting a piece I wrote in 2007.

George W. Bush’s ill-fated decision to frighten this nation into an illegal, immoral, ill-conceived war against Iraq, a country that posed no real threat to us, will haunt him throughout history. Now most Americans believe the U.S. should never have undertaken this calamitous military misadventure and support bringing our troops home.

Let’s look at the current reality in Iraq. Thus far in April, an average of 25 American soldiers have died each week, a rate that could bring the total to more than 4,000 by year’s end. The unrelenting violence currently claims approximately 50 Iraqi lives daily, with total civilian deaths estimated at more than 60,000. Our allies in this conflict are drawing down their forces. The various factions in the Iraqi government continue to squabble rather than deal with pressing issues. (more…)

In honor of our 15 years of married life together, an encore post of the story of how Shonnie and I met and fell in love.

I first laid eyes on Shonnie Lavender in 1995 when we both joined the Austin Fit Green Training Group for the Austin Motorola Marathon. It was August, and as usual, hot as Hades in the capitol city of Texas—highs in the upper 90s to lower 100s. Of course, Austin runners (about ten percent of the city’s population) are accustomed to being thoroughly sweat-soaked through and through by the time they hit the quarter-mile mark.

Between 20 to 30 intermediate-level runners in our group met early each Saturday morning at Town Lake. With the support of our coaches, we ran increasingly long distances on the trails around the lake (ultimately up to 20+ miles) in preparation for the marathon that would take place on February 18, 1996. For the record, there were also beginning and elite runners groups that trained on Saturday mornings as well.

Austin Fit Green Group

Austin Fit Green Group

After running together week after week for longer and longer distances, the size of our group dwindled to seven runners. Shonnie was the only remaining woman. My first recollection of the single feminine member of our group was of a very attractive, assertive woman of indeterminate age who looked pretty damned good in running tights. Our group’s theory was if we were running too fast to chat, we were running too fast. So after many hours on the trails around Town Lake, we got to know a bit about one another, and I soon learned Shonnie was in a relationship as I was at the time. (more…)

Gracelyn & her new kitten Pearl

Gracelyn & her new kitten Pearl

Everyone’s heard the old saying “You don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground.” Well, when we were kids, one of the ringleaders of our gang would say to one of our young initiates, “I don’t think you don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground.” “Do too,” was the likely response from the youngster.

Then the leader would take a stick and draw a hole in the dirt saying, “This is your ass” and then draw another hole beside it saying, “This is a hole in the ground.” Next he’d ask the kid, “OK, so which one’s your ass?” Inevitably youngster point to the hole in the ground that had been designated as his/her ass. And we’d all laugh raucously, “Ha, ha, don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground!”

Pretty funny, huh? Well, I tried it with my 3.5 year old daughter Gracelyn tonight (using “butt” instead of “ass”), and when I got to the part about asking her “Which one’s your butt?” she immediately pointed to her actual bottom. :-)

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