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Tuesday, October 19, 2004 New page by 10 a.m. Monday-Friday
Election 14 days away Where to vote Bexar + 24-hour line 335-VOTE
Early voters set Bexar record


Bill Miller heirs WILL develop Toyota-area land despite mayor's empty promise to create buffer zone around factory

This is another disappointing aspect of Ed Garza's terms as mayor-- good intentions not backed by careful planning and execution

Bexar working to redistribute flu vaccine

San Antonios supply of flu shots dwindling


U.S. quietly worked up plan to draft medical workers The chief Pentagon spokesman, Lawrence T. Di Rita, said Monday: "It is the policy of this administration to oppose a military draft for any purpose whatsoever. A return to the draft is unthinkable. There will be no draft."


Associated Press
Kin of soldiers in Iraq unit proud but worried

Los Angeles Times
In defense of their soldiers
Relatives of reservists who refused to deliver fuel in Iraq last week are hitting airwaves, presenting a challenge for the U.S. military.

New York Times
Iraq unit members had tried to convince superiors Members of the Army Reserve platoon in Iraq that disobeyed orders to deliver fuel to another base last week had tried to persuade their superiors for hours to cancel the mission, relatives of the soldiers said Monday.

A Marine Officer In Iraq Sounds Off

Tactical AO MAPS

There is an extreme shortage of maps of the local area where we have been patrolling. Despite the billions of dollars being spent here, our infantry boys are still without some absolute essentials. Our platoon has one good map which a Lance Corporal from the old unit gave me.

Advanced Combat Optical Gunsites (ACOG)

One young Marine from our Company spent $1045.00 to purchase his own scope (ACOG) for his M-16, because the Corps did not provide him with one. He is a Lance Corporal and that is probably as much money as he makes in a month. What inspired and inspiring boys. About half our men have been issued these ACOG scopes, but they are old models; my Lance Corporal, hopefully, will have a world class scope that will truly protect life.

Radios, Translators and Men on-the-ground (following based on phoncon):

There are not enough infantry RADIOS for the foot-patrolling Marines to ensure good comms and coord; There are not enough Arab speakers and translators to do the job right, and there are not enough Marinesócertainly not enough to effectively try and accomplish the counter-insurgency missions being assigned.

Body Armor

The patrol left the front gate at about midnight, and we walked the first 3 hours without stopping. The collective weight of the flack-jacket, water, ammunition, helmet, and rifle is easily 60 pounds, so after 210 minutes of hiking, most of us were staggering like drunks. My quadriceps were so fatigued that the slightest change in the footing (small hills or small depressions) would send me reeling. I was literally tripping over pebbles and the ache in my shoulders (the trapezius muscles especially) did little to improve my coordination and concentration. Though I found much comic relief through the duration of the mission (like every mission), I definitely led the column in the statistic, Obscenities Whispered Per Kilometer. I am untouchable in that department at times.

Mission Accomplishment and Troop Welfare

Regarding my two conflicting, platoon leader duties: (1) succeeding in the combat mission, and (2) ensuring the safety of my Marines, I have run into a concept that is probably new to the Marine Corps. In our Officer Schools, it was emphatically taught that the mission takes priority over the welfare of the Marines ñ you could not win on the battlefield if the priorities were reversed. Yet now there is a perception (or understanding) within the intelligence community that the political fallout (at the national level) is so severe, when anyone is killed, that losing Marines is tantamount to failing at the mission or undermining the war effort. Consequently, we are habitually sending 20 Marines out on tasks that only require 4, in the name of being careful, and we are wearing so much armor that we can hardly walk. This approach, I believe, is not helping to win the war (we are moving too slow and cautious) but the decision-makers are certainly trying to keep the men alive (which will please you all, I know).




Texas' monarch migration smallest in 14 years
herbicides, changing farming practices and weather are apparent culprits in reducing the numbers
Univ of Kansas Monarch Watch

Sinclair fires Washington bureau chief

A pill to erase some memories a promising but controversial field of research seeking to alter, or possibly erase, the impact of painful memories -- a concept dubbed "therapeutic forgetting" by some and taken to science fiction extremes in films such as this summer's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." I really, really enjoyed that movie. I think most people probably won't.


AMERICAN OFFENSIVE: An Iraqi man looks out from his damaged house after it was hit during a recent US air raid over the embattled Iraqi city of Fallujah.

Fallujans flee from US vs. Zarqawi fight
As talks collapsed and US forces launched intensive airstrikes, residents packed their bags.

Philadelphia Inquirer series
U.S. faces tough options in quest for a stable Iraq
Last of three parts. After nearly 19 months of combat, more than 1,000 American soldiers dead and $119 billion spent, the central question about Iraq isn't whether it will become a beacon of democracy in the Middle East but whether the United States can prevent it from becoming a black hole of instability.
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