Sunday, May 16, 2004

Here is an article from the Boston Herald about some of the Super Bowl Champs, New England Patriots, who went down to Walter Reed Hospital to talk to troops who are recovering from wounds.

``They couldn't believe how positive all the guys were,'' said team spokes guy Stacey James who joined in on the tour. ``There was a guy who lost both hands, one who lost a leg, and they were still talking about rejoining their platoon. The players couldn't believe it.''

Of course they couldn't. Because in the NFL, a broken leg can be considered a career killer!

Stacey said the Pats, who earlier met with the Commander-in-Chief at the White House, were told they were the first Super Bowl champs to accept the hospital's invitation to come over and say hey to America's real heroes.

They earned a few extra points in the admiration department from me, for being respectful to soldiers who are real team players. Not your stupid, dumb jocks, but considerate gentlemen. Go Pats!

I will be flying back home in a few hours and I will be organizing some ideas to post on the flight. This upcoming month will be busy with two trips to London, going to Boston and LA for a wedding and possibly back to Germany. At least I will earn some frequent flier miles for a future trip to Disneyworld!

I am new at the father and parenting aspect of life, but this makes some sense to me. My daughter slept with us for the first year in her bassinet in our room or sometimes in be between my wife and me. Sometime she crawled in bed with us in the morning, but now she is becoming Miss Independent and it shows from reports from her nursery and Sunday school teachers. She even practices PLFs off her bed now.

Here is an article on chopping off heads as a way to show who has won a battle.

Berg is, of course, not the first to be murdered in such a gruesome manner. Nor, alas, is he likely to be the last. For the cutting of heads (in Arabic, qata al-raas) has been the favorite form of Islamist execution for more than 14 centuries.
In the famous battles of early Islam, with the Prophet personally in command of the army of believers, the heads of enemy generals and soldiers were often cut off and put on sticks to be shown around villages and towns as a warning to potential adversaries.
In 680, the Prophet's favorite grandson, Hussein bin Ali, had his head chopped off in Karbala, central Iraq, by the soldiers of the Caliph Yazid. The severed head was put on a silver platter and sent to Damascus, Yazid's capital, before being sent further to Cairo for inspection by the Governor of Egypt. The Caliph's soldiers also cut off the heads of all of Hussein's 71 male companions, including the one-year-old baby boy Ali-Asghar.
Islamic history is full of chopped heads being sent around by special delivery to reassure rulers, to terrorize foes and to impress the common folk. In 1821, the Qajar king of Persia ordered a week of celebrations when he received the severed head of a Russian general who had been captured in a battle near Baku. In 1842, the Afghans massacred the British garrison in Kabul, a total of 2,000 men and their wives and children, chopping off their heads and putting them on sticks to decorate the city. (They allowed one man to leave to report to the British.)

Pretty interesting reading, I dare say.

Here is an Iraqi view of beheadings (second post form May 12th):

But I would like to inform the American friends that beheading was known to be one of the techniques of the Fedayeen Saddam. The late Uday, the son of Saddam commanded that particular outfit. I think it was the summer of 1999 when we woke up some morning to be shocked by some horrible news. Before we tell you about that it is necessary to recount something that has some bearing on the subject. You might have heard that an assassination attempt against Uday had taken place in 1996, which left him with injuries that caused impotency. This made him even more cruel and sadistic than his usual self. It has been revealed after the fall of the regime that he shot the doctor who broke the news to him (c.f. interview with one of the close bodyguards of Uday at Al Arabia last year). This added one more complex to his extensive repertoire of psychological problems. He started to hate anything to do with other people having any kind of sexual pleasure.

Well, that horrible day we learnt that the night before the Fedayeen had attacked scores of houses and dragged women and young girls to streets and beheaded many with swords leaving the heads at the doorsteps of the victims houses. Some of these heads were left in place for more than twenty-four hours. The atrocities lasted for several weeks. The pretext for this behavior was a campaign against prostitution. The women who were beheaded were alleged to be prostitution madams and some of their young girls. I remember that my young boys came home suffering from shock as one of these houses was in our area and they knew the occupants quite well. The victims were taken by surprised and there was nothing to arouse their fears before that night. This was typical of the Baathists when they planned some atrocity to attack suddenly at some predetermined moment without any previous warning. Throughout the reign of the Baath party and particularly the Saddam era, it was customary to suffer periodic atrocities carefully planned and imaginatively variable to keep the people terrified all the time. It was considered necessary not to leave the people too long without some thing awful to keep them intimidated properly. The Baathists were masters of the “Terreur”, and it was the essential means of their hold on power. In fact what we see now is something rather similar. It is a similar technique; they are trying to intimidate both the Iraqi people first but mainly the western people. They will stop at nothing. You must understand that this is their only expertise; their sole training and method and way of thinking. They think they can inspire fear and terror into the Coalition forces and their people and leadership exactly in the same way that they did with the Iraqis. They think that they can intimidate the whole world exactly in the same way that they did with us.

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