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On state sovereignty vs. human rights

An essay from John Lloyd, from Harry Hatchet, via Matt Welch. Well worth reading the whole thing. And scroll up and down; Harry's weblog is superb. (You know, Matt, if you're going to bitch about Kaus not using permalinks, the least you could do is use Harry's permalink to the entry instead of making me scroll down.)

The tensions in such a world were bound to be focussed on the use of that military hyperpower, and the reasons for its use. And the tension has burst out over Iraq. For its example - much more than any other intervention taken or baulked – faces all states, especially the second tier military powers, with an urgent question. Do we support this gross breach of national sovereignty (which the invasion of Iraq certainly was)? Or do we oppose it, ultimately in the same of just such a national sovereignty? Do we, in other words, allow the sovereignty to trump human rights, yet again?

Only Tony Blair has decided the former route, of support. I write Blair rather then Britain, for it must be doubtful if another British leader would have done so. For all that the UK is the closest of European powers to the US, that it has more to lose from a chill over the Atlantic than any other large state, it was still Blair’s call and he could have called it differently. He could have refrained from persuading the US to seek the approval of the Security Council, allowed it to procede directly to war with Iraq, and stood aside, while regretting – in the nicest possible way – the haste and crudity of the US invasion.

But he chose more war rather than more jaw. At a certain point – it was probably late last year – he took the big and solitary decision to throw himself behind George Bush. In doing so, in articulating the rationale for a humanitarian intervention against the settled opinion of much of the rest of the developed world and the often militant opposition of the electorates of Europe and of the other substantial military powers, he may have changed the nature of politics forever.

First, he has thrown down the gauntlet to the international system. He has said – stop your endless debates about sovereignty and human rights. Human rights trump sovereignty. Realism would have to add – he sometimes adds himself – that this will not be so everywhere at every time. He would also add – this would only be so if it can also be aligned with British interests. For many, these reservations are proof of hypocrisy. In fact they are evidence only of inevitable restraints. Morality, in world as in human affairs, is rarely pure: it never is when acted upon. Blair has acted for as much of a moral cause as he can square with realism.

The Woodpecker War: Solutions

The gentlemen at Silent Running have been kind enough to suggest several solutions for my woodpecker problem (which apparently may be a flicker problem after all, according to two correspondents). [I wonder, should I—oh, of course I should. How often is it that a woman has a pecker problem? Oh, be quiet, you've been reading this blog long enough to know I was going to say it.]

I think I'm going to go to bed (it's 1 a.m.) and not think about it, because I'm 375 miles away from W.E.W., and don't care what he does at 6:30 this a.m.

It's not your parents' Easter Bunny

I drove about 100 miles yesterday, or today, depending on how obsessive you are about 12:03 a.m. being Friday or Saturday, considering I just got back to my mother's apartment ten minutes ago. Caught up with friends I hadn't seen in three years, and friends I hadn't seen since last summer. The ones I hadn't seen in three years have had two children since I last saw them. The ones I haven't seen since last summer have gained a guinea pig. The two-week-old baby was more sociable than the guinea pig, in spite of insisting on eating three times and crying many more. But he was a cutie. He smiled at me once.

Catching up with old friends is always nice. You've actually seen some of these friends, or at least, you've seen Kim's feet, if you're a longtime reader. There was no NJ Turnpike trip today, though. It was packed with holiday drivers, so I took the back roads and saw how incredibly built up Middlesex County has become along Route 1. So glad I moved.

Rabbit humps the worldKim has had a rabbit for some years now, and the rabbit is, well, rather odd, with odd habits. It likes to eat chocolate. They used to give it its own chocolate bunny for Easter, which I found hilarious. It thumped at me when I was watching TV, and not paying enough attention to the rabbit. It marks your shoes the instant you stand still long enough for it to do so. And it likes to hump a ball that has a map of the world on it. So one might say the rabbit is screwing the world.

And I have pictures.

Yep. That rabbit is doing exactly what you think it's doing. And you're quite welcome for the image. No, no need to thank me. Just doing my part to add a little bit of joy to the world. And so is the bunny. Happy Easter, kiddies.



Mail call

From Mike Z., who would have had to stand behind me on line in grammar school, and for which I would have been best pals with him:

I read your blog and noticed you said you have no idea what that plant does-I'm just the man to help you!

It's a power plant, the tanks hold fuel oil and the ponds you refer to are for cooling the condensers (the water takes waste heat out- I'll spare you the thermodynamics lesson!) Look for the big mounds of coal next time.

I know 'cause I'm a mechanical engineer and my company has offices in Richmond and Baltimore, so I often drive over that frightening bridge (I KNOW it wont fall down, but that really doest make me feel any better when I'm stopped and I can feel the bounce and see my coffee ripple) and look to see what's going on at the plant.

From Walter P., a holocaust survivor:

Yeah, black humor amusing! Similar to some 50s born-again sloganeers' "Kill a commie for Christ!". Let’s notify PETA that most, if not all, vaccines are created in animal cultures and therefore when they get sick (hopefully SARS) they must refuse to have their life saved!

From Jack S., who thought that Woody E. Woodpecker might be an imposter:

The good news is that the lifespan of the wild woodpecker isn't that great. Just hope that it doesn't become the family gathering ground that is passed from generation to generation of woodpeckers.

Perhaps you need a consulting bird psychologist to start aversion therapy.

As far as the specific bird variety goes, I suppose it's possible that it isn't strictly a woodpecker but rather a standard run of the mill non-woodpecker that has a confused identity.

From Kev M., in response to my plaint about taking responsibility:

Early July 2002 his ship, the British destroyer HMS Nottingham, hit Wolf Rock in the waters surrounding Lord Howe Island. Capt Richard Farrington was that he took full responsibility for the incident. Without any hesitation. "I´ll be court-martialled, and will probably lose my job", he said after having told the press that he accepted responsibility for the incident. There wer extenuating circumstances. The ship ran aground after the captain had just come back aboard, after having been to the island. Who commanded the ship when the captain was away? Not the captain, And yes, officially the captain is responsible for everything that happens on the ship, especially as long as he is on board, even if he has only just come aboard. In view of the latter fact, one would suspect that the second in command, or whoever he had given the command while he was away, would have been the one who made the fatal error.

Captain Farrington does not even hint in that direction. He accepts full responsibility.

Thanks, Kev.

Last, but not least:

Diana Moon announces that due to problems at work, she must not only stop blogging but take down her blog altogether. She will return to blogging as soon as possible.

Letter from Gotham is no more. You know, employers are going to have to get with the program. What you say outside the office is your First Amendment right. I truly am tired of work agreements that force you to watch what you say and do outside the nine-to-five environment when you're not working in any kind of sensitive government job. That's part of why I refuse to take another nine-to-five job. It's pure self-employment for me from now on. Well, except for teaching religious school. And both my boss and the rabbi have read this weblog and have no problems with allowing me to have my say.

As far as I'm concerned, as long as you're not talking about your workplace, they have nothing to complain about. Idiots.



Passover stories

This year my family held our smallest ever Passover Seder. For a variety of reasons, we had only five people the first night, and six tonight. And strangely enough, we had the best participation both nights than we've had in what seems like decades. Okay, it hasn't really been that long, but it's been a long time since everyone at the table was interested and involved. And not a single family fight. I guess it's harder to do when there are so few of us. Overall, the Seders were a delight.

We discussed the similarities between historical Passover and current events in Iraq. We read the passages that refer to the liberation of the Hebrew slaves, and I thought about these poor souls who were freed from prison and torture by United States Marines. The parallels are especially striking when you consider that Iraq was under the heels of a vicious tyrant, who was overthrown, as Diana Moon predicted, between Purim (the liberation of the Persian Jews from a death sentence by Haman) and Passover.

I wonder if the Iraqis would find the parallels as interesting as we do. There are small signs of hope: Some Iraqis helped the few Jews left in Baghdad protect the Jewish cultural center from looters. Ahmed Chalabi has said he is interested in establishing ties with Israel. And he's certain to be pro-American, at least in the beginning.

The tyrant has been overthrown. For that alone, we should celebrate.

The latest from Captain Steve

Coffee, Machine Guns, Paper Mache

Our pilot did something funny the other night after he'd given control of the jet to the copilot. As is his habit, he headed toward the back of the jet to see if any of us wanted something to drink. On his way back he made a quick stop in the galley.

On this particular sortie we were lucky enough to get corn dogs with our meals. The pilot took a couple from the fridge and put them in the oven so that by the time he delivered everyone's drinks the dogs would be nice and warm. As an afterthought, he squeezed a couple packages of mustard into a Styrofoam cup. The cup would make a good place to set the dogs, and he could dip them in the mustard as he ate.

Then he filled his arms with bottled water and cans of coke and made his way to the back of the jet, stopping to deliver drinks and chat a minute or two at every work station. During their chat, one member asked the pilot to bring her a cup of coffee. He was happy to get her one, and when he'd distributed drinks to the rest of the crew he headed back to the galley.

By now the heated corndogs were filling the cabin with an appetizing aroma. Maybe that distracted him. It's hard to say. All we know for sure is that he took the nearest Styrofoam cup, held it under the spigot, and began filling it with coffee. When the cup was about halfway full he looked inside and was surprised to see that apparently cream had already been added to the coffee. Strange, but given some of the coffee we'd seen recently, not outside the realm of possibility. He added a couple packets of sugar, tossed in a stirrer, and delivered the coffee. By now things at the back of the jet were beginning to get a little busy. The war was going on below us and crew members were all business, talking on radios, adjusting equipment, staring at computer screens. The crew member accepted the coffee cup without an upward glance and the pilot returned to the galley and his corndogs.

When he took them from the oven though, he was annoyed to find that his cup of mustard was missing. He looked all over the counter, in the cabinets, and even in the fridge. No mustard. It just didn't seem right that while he was getting people drinks someone would swipe his mustard.

While he was wondering who would do such a thing, it dawned on him. He ran to the back of the jet, but didn't get there on time. The crew member was already lowering the cup from her lips, a dismayed expression on her face.

Needless to say, that's one crewmember who'll think twice before asking the pilot to get her another cup of coffee.


I walked by the armory during guard mount last night. The kids who man our watch towers and patrol our fence lines were coming in from the field, C-bags slung over their shoulders, weapons in their hands. The next shift was heading out. I walked behind a young airman who toted a package from home, an ammo can, her C-bag, and an M-60 machine gun. The M-60 was almost as long as she was tall, and with it slung over her shoulder she had to lean against its weight to keep the muzzle from striking the ground. (It never did.) She joined her shift on the curb where they waited for the trucks that would carry them to their posts. Feeling like a tourist, I asked if I could take their picture.

At first there were only half a dozen of them, but before I'd finished there were twice, and then three times as many, and they all wanted to be in the picture, first standing with their weapons in their hands, and then eating cookies from the airman's care package. And then they traded me weapons for my camera and took pictures of me holding the M-60, an M-16 with a grenade launcher, and then both at once. They had to stop taking pictures for a minute until I could stop grinning.


We're still flying nights, and that's just fine with me. I sleep through the hottest part of the day. In the wee hours, if I'm not in the air, I enjoy the illusion of a deserted compound. The light's no good for painting outdoors of course, but I've found I can work from memory in the library. Our library is one shelf-lined room of apparently randomly-arranged books with some desks and couches scattered around.

I would paint in my room if I could, but my roommates and I are all on different shifts. At any given moment one of us is bound to be trying to sleep in there. I don't know how long it's been since we had the light on. It's inconvenient to have to creep around, dressing in the dark, easing drawers open and closing them silently. In the dark though, the room never seems to need cleaning.

I've been running my daily 5 miles late at night or just before dawn. It's pleasantly cool, and the track is nearly deserted. I cruise along without having to talk to anyone or think about anything in particular. It's the most peaceful time I have here. This morning I was out as the sun began to rise. The sky brightened, silhouetting three distant mosques, their white domes still in shadow, the tops of their minarets just beginning to catch the first rays of light.

When the light is sufficient to distinguish a white thread from a black one, it is officially dawn, and the Imams issue the day's first call to prayer. The loudspeakers on the minarets impart a tinny quality to the already exotic sound, making it almost other-worldly. No matter how many times I've heard it, in no matter how many countries, that sound still speaks to me of intrigue and mystery.

When we got here we left our familiar squadron behind, and became part of an expeditionary squadron. This gave us a new mascot. I'm not sure how it came to be, or what it means exactly, but our symbol here is a bulldog.

I've never been a fan of bulldogs. They strike me as ill-proportioned and sort of comical. To my mind, the face is entirely too foreshortened, and certain features on the other end are ridiculously large, as if to compensate.

In spite of that, Doby, Sideshow, and I decided to build ourselves a bulldog to place in front of our operations building. We drew a series of sketches of a seated bulldog from different angles, and then we set out to scrounge for materials. We collected a large bag of finely shredded documents, (We were a little worried that someone would think we were trying to reconstruct classified documents, so we took the bag from a French dumpster. The only secrets they have probably belong to us anyway.) some flour from the chow hall, lots of newspapers, and several large cardboard boxes. We drew the profile of the dog onto cardboard and cut it out. Then we cut cross sections and glued them to the profile. We mixed flour and water and used it as a glue to hold strips of newspaper draped from one cross section to the next. When the newspaper skin had hardened we mixed the shredded paper with the flour and water and daubed it on a few square inches at a time. It dried hard as a rock, and with a rough, furry texture. We sewed a strip of black cloth and pushed nails through it to make a studded collar, and came up with a way to spray paint black markings on him. We ended up with a passable bulldog a little over four feet tall sitting down. It took us weeks to finish, but it was either that or bait the French for entertainment, and to tell the truth, we're getting a little tired of that.

When he was finished, our mutt occupied a place of honor on the front porch of the operations building. Last night though, we decided he needed to get some operational experience. While most of the crew was preparing to board the jet a couple of us borrowed a pickup truck and loaded the dog onto the back. Then after long pauses for explanations at every checkpoint, we delivered him to the jet, installing him in the cargo space between the cockpit and the galley. There was a moment of near panic when it seemed he might not fit through the door of the aircraft, but after some deep breaths (ours, not his) and some careful maneuvering we managed to fit him in. He looked like he was born to fly. We took plenty of pictures of him with all the crewmembers and when we landed, returned him to his porch. I wish you could have seen him riding down the ramp past all those warplanes, a big white dog with a black ring around one eye, his head cocked quizzically to one side. Everyone we passed put down what they were doing and stared as we drove by. We were a one-car parade.

As far as we know, he is the only dog with combat time over Iraq.




The capture of Abu Abbas

I actually hurt my throat yesterday when I first heard the news. I screamed "Yes!" so loudly I think I scared the kids in the next car over on I-95. But Marduk has captured succinctly my reaction to the Palestinian Authority demanding that we release Abu Abbas, the mastermind behind the hijacking of the Achille Lauro and the murder of Leon Klinghoffer (though some people ascribe the death order to Nobel Peace Prize Winner Yasser Arafat). Marduk says:

"Palestinian Cabinet member Saeb Erakat said Wednesday that the United States violated the Oslo peace accords when it apprehended Abbas."(CNN)

That would be Section 8, Part 4, Subsection 34d of the Oslo Peace Accords:

"The throwing of 70 year old Jews confined to wheelchairs into the ocean shall be limited to the months of September and October."

Lucky for Abu Abbas, he just squeaked in. Klinghoffer was flung off the ship in October 1985.

Marduk, you probably saved me an hour's work. My tired bones thank you.

The Passover bridge tour

I passed over a lot of water yesterday on my way from Richmond to Montclair. And snapped a few pictures while doing so. Quality is iffy; survival was more important to me than getting a good picture while driving 65 mph on the highway. My big regret of the trip: That I did not comprehend what those colorful, bendy metal things on the flatbed were until I passed it, and then could not get behind it again as it was in the right lane. It was a truck carrying a load of fire hydrants. That would have been some picture—how often do you see a truckload of fire hydrants?

Anyway, the pictures. First, stuck on the Nice Bridge, which crosses the Potomac and gives me vertigo every time I take it. They're doing some kind of work, and so we took turns crossing the bridge with the traffic in the other lane, leaving me near the apex and trying not to think of earthquakes or sudden meteor strikes destroying the bridge below me. (Have I mentioned lately that I'm afraid of heights?) I have no idea what that plant in the distance does, but it has large tanks on its property and some kind of ponds taken from the Bay.

Next, the Tydings Bridge over the Susquehanna River, in Maryland. I can never cross that bridge without thinking of the old Abbott & Costello skit about the Susquehanna Hat Company, where Lou Costello tries to sell the hats to passerby on the street, and each one has a horrible tale of woe relating to the word "Susquehanna," and subsequently smashes the hat offered for sale.

Lastly, the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Delaware isn't really dead, but everyone who doesn't live there wishes it was. It charges more tolls per square mile than any other state, and rips off everyone who doesn't live there via their incorporation schemes, stealing business from decent states like Virginia and New Jersey. The bridge costs four bucks to cross. The Tydings Bridge is free. The Nice Bridge is four or five dollars, I've forgotten. Not so nice, but I take it to avoid the D.C.-Fredericksburg traffic. That's definitely worth five bucks.

And now, off to run some errands and then do the Passover Seder.



A taxing morning or, "Of course you realize, dis means war."

The scene: The Yourish home. The time: 0630.

[Sound of woodpecker on metal; picture jackhammer on your roof]

Meryl: Where are my slippers? Goddammit, where are my slippers? The ground's still wet outside

Tigger: You're letting me out? Good. I want to go out. Are you going to let me out?

Gracie: What's that noise? Is it a monster? Is something going to attack me? Why are you getting out of bed now when you never get out of bed this early? Excuse me, but I'm going to disappear for a while if you don't mind. [Runs into spare room, hides.]

[Move to downstairs, getting bag of ice cubes from freezer, open door, shut it in Tig's face. Cut to: Woodpecker on roof.]

Woodpecker: [singing] I'm a woodpecker and I'm all right, I peck all day and I sleep all night! No, wait, let me see, I heard this one the other day: Oh, wood-n't it be loverly! Hey. HEY! That crazy human is out there again. What's she doing? What's she got in her hand this time? Shit. I better fly. Later, babe!

The result:

Woody Effing Woodpecker in action

The Woodpecker War: part I, part II, part III, part IV, part V.



The nation of victims

No one takes responsiblity for their own words anymore. Not nobody, not nohow. It's so sad. Nicholas DeGenova, who uttered that he would like to see "a million Mogadishus" befall American troops in Iraq:

Had I known that there was a devious yellow journalist from a tabloid newspaper among the audience, I certainly would have selected my words somewhat more carefully. But I would not have changed the message. Unfortunately, that message has been largely lost on people who were not at the event.

Interestingly, De Genova does not mention that he was not scheduled to speak that day, nor how that yellow journalist knew to be there precisely to catch him in a so-called out-of-context moment.

"He and the press have hijacked this teach-in, and I'm very, very angry about it," said Jean Cohen, Professor of Political Science, who first had the idea for the event. "It was an utterly irresponsible thing to do. And it's not innocent. ... This was a planned undermining of this teach-in."

Cohen emphasized that De Genova had not originally been invited to speak. He was replacing Kimberle Crenshaw, a law professor who dropped out because of a medical emergency.

"At the last minute someone couldn't speak, and he just kind of appeared," Cohen said. "... He ended up on that platform by accident, almost by manipulation."

Cohen said that as soon as it was clear that there was an opening in the program, De Genova was "right there, all ready with his speech--which makes me suspicious."

"It's bad luck that there was an opening, but he was all too ready," she said.

I don't think he ever did explain that context bit, and can't find his letter to the Spectator, only an article referring to it. But once again, we see the unwillingness to bear responsibility for one's actions becoming a trademark of the cult of victimology in America. From Bill Clinton to Oliver North (a convicted felon who got his sentence reversed on a technicality, remember, and who played the just-following-orders line to new heights, and has since been rewarded with a successful media career), to DeGenova, to various celebrities, to our very own Sean-Paul Kelley, the refusal to shoulder responsibility continues.

Just once—just once, I'd like to see someone take responsibility for his own words and actions, instead of blaming someone else, including a but- statement, or watering down an apology by listing the various reasons why the error was committed. But then, I'd like to win the lottery, too, and live in a mansion on the edge of the James River. I expect the latter is more likely.

The Woodpecker Wars: The battle rages

Woody Effing Woodpecker has adapted to Eastern Standard Time. He woke me at 6:30 on Friday. I missed with the ice cube, but scared him off. He woke me at 6:23 on Sunday. I missed with the ice cube, but scared him off. He woke me at 6:30 this morning. I missed with the ice cube, but scared him off.

He's singing, now. Effing singing. I walk past the hot water heater and the furnace, and I hear the little creature chirping merrily away, probably something like, "Hey, baby, c'mon over here. I'm the man! What's your sign, chickie?" You just know this woodpecker has to be the lout of the neighborhood, what with it being so late in the season and him still unable to get laid.

I'm about to call maintenance to see if they're willing to do anything for me. Failing that, let's hope Woody E. W. finds himself a mate before I get back from my trip to NJ. Or I swear to God, I'm going to leave one of my cats on the roof for a nasty surprise.



New from Captain Steve

Pizza, Poetry, Love in Wartime

Life keeps getting better here. For two sorties in a row now, we've had frozen pizzas to eat on the jet, instead of just sandwiches or MREs. We heat them in our galley, aft of the cockpit. It occurred to me how incongruous it was that while men were exchanging fire below us I was worried about burning the roof of my mouth on hot cheese.

To make things even stranger, crewmembers passed the time on the way to our orbit by writing haiku.

Republican Guard
Accustomed to all power
Now just a pink mist

Ah, Peter Arnett
Finally they realize
What a fool you are

Chemical Ali
The millions you killed slowly
Welcome you to hell

Silly Dixie Chicks
Caught up in Hollywood hype
You forgot your home

I was given permission to show you these on the condition that I never reveal the names of their authors.


Doby and I retired to the Royal Air Force's little cafe after dinner this evening. We sat on the patio in a corner formed by two wings of a building. There were about a dozen red, green, and blue balloons on the ground, remnants of a birthday or promotion celebration, I guess. A gentle breeze swept them back and forth across the patio. We picked a few up and batted them in the air and were delighted to discover an updraft over where we sat. We found that if we set them up just right, the balloons would rise in slow circles sometimes as high as the buildings around us. One or two particularly ambitious balloons rose straight up and disappeared over a rooftop. For some reason we found that very entertaining. In between balloon flights we smoked cigars and drank apple flavored Barbican. When I first heard of Barbican I thought was the blue liquid barbers keep their combs in, but it turns out it's a malt beverage. Alcohol-free, of course. We can't offend our hosts.

Speaking of which, we received an email today reminding us to not wear clothing that is too revealing or bears vulgar slogans. Good advice all around. As military professionals, we have standards to maintain. What caught my attention though, was the reasoning behind the reminder. We're to refrain from such things not because we are professionals, but because it might "offend our hosts." In the spirit of multiculturalism, I wrote up a quick list of other things that our hosts find offensive.

Women who drive
Women who reveal their faces, arms, legs, or personalities
Our flag
Free speech
Religious freedom
Public entertainment (aside from men's sports) Abolition (slavery was legal here until 1962, and is still practiced although not officially recognized.)

I figure I'm leaving out a couple important ones, but you get the general idea. We should be encouraging our people to uphold high standards because that's what we do, not in order to please someone who will probably despise us regardless.


I finally got to make a phone call home. 15 minutes to catch up on everything that's happened since the beginning of the war. Sometime during these last few months my son's one and two-word responses to my questions have progressed to sentences and paragraphs. He has lists of things he wants to tell me. While we have this conversation I am both happier and sadder than at any time since coming here. So pleased to hear his descriptions of how he spends his days, so happy to hear his joy at getting to talk to me - a tiny mirror of the joy I feel. He tells me how the pets are doing, how he plays every day with my old dog, who now answers to his commands and springs to the gate every time my son goes outside. He talks of digging worms. He feeds them to the fish he keeps in an aquarium, the one he caught when I he and I went fishing last summer. He tells me his little sister is walking now, and that they chase each other through the house.

They each had birthdays not long after I left. She turned one and he turned five. He reminds me that he's a "big boy" now. That's where some of the sadness lies. I know that time flies quickly, that children grow while you're not looking. And if there is any time I allow myself the luxury of self-doubt, it is these moments, when I distress myself with the notion that I am failing in a father's primary responsibility; to help raise his children.

When my son was three weeks old I was sent to Korea for a year. Sooner or later just about everyone in this line of work is called to a remote assignment and has to leave their family behind. We take the assignments we are given and we go where we are needed, but I was glad that if I had to go, it was at a time in our son's life that he would not notice my absence. Now though, being away is harder. My son tells me that he misses me. I ask myself how I can justify a career that demands such sacrifice from my children and my wife.

It's like that inner voice we have that loves to frighten us, this doubt that sometimes surfaces. You carry it everywhere, and guard against it. But when I forget and find myself wondering why I'm here, it's not hard to find the answer. I'm here because love involves sacrifice, and because protecting my children might be my greatest contribution to their upbringing. I'm here because maybe by my being here now, I can prevent my son and daughter from someday having to fight. And that's what fathers are supposed to do, isn't it? Provide a better life for their children?

Doubt and worry come and go, but at the bottom of it all I know I am meant to be here. I feel as if every one of life's lessons has brought me to this place, prepared me for this task. In fact, were it not for what I've learned being a father and a husband, I doubt I would be any good at what I do.

So it's not a question of whether this is unfair to my family. My family is the reason I'm here.



Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary and The Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.