Welcome to The WatchCat
Wednesday, September 19 2018 @ 11:53 am PDT

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Not the Time You Were Looking For

General NewsCaitlyn Jenner and gay marriage didn’t upset me.
Clinton, Trump, Walker, Bush, etc. etc . etcetera…
Immigration…racism... Labels.
The Cascadia Faultline.
“Planned Parenthood.”
Domestic terrorism.

I don’t think I’m the only one who feels strapped to a powder keg tonight. Divisiveness has marked the past decade, and in this time of comprehensive turmoil we are on a dangerous trajectory. We have too many options for banner issues. Emotions dictate too much of our public discourse, and we are vulnerable to anyone who shows any promise of leadership.

Why do I write this now, in the wake of the Chattanooga shooting? I’ve been listening to loyal Americans, including military families, talk about their disappointment with our country. Our Sheepdogs are frustrated as they gear up yet again. All political sides within the nation seem to despise the others. Add the Planned Parenthood scandal and the attack on our dis-armed Marines, and we are ripe for a groundswell of “we’ve had it.”

Our society has devalued human life, undermined the police and military who protect us, and divided ourselves not so much by class or race as by our opinions. We are ruled by blame, whether for ourselves or for others, and we use the blame and labeling as an excuse to avoid getting our hands dirty in the quest for real solutions.

We are drifting due to lack of leadership, and we are justifiably afraid that new leaders may lead us astray.

There’s an old church joke: parishes get the priests they deserve, not the priests they want. I think it may be true for nations too. Therefore the solution is not to ask for a better leader, but to build a better nation from the ground up. I’ve been studying one of my heroes, and in recent weeks I haven’t been able to shake one recurring comment: He wasn’t the most talented one. But he was the hardest worker. Meditate on that concept. Where can you challenge yourself? What opinions have not undergone the test of fire? Do your loved ones get your best or your worst? What do strangers get from you?

What can you do for your country? It’s time to answer that question.
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Memorial Day 2015

General NewsDay of unseeing eyes
Empty hands
Sales and beers
No time for tears
Words too sharp to speak
So we hoist a leaden glass
Or dance alone on grass
Reaching through the memories.
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Truth of Lies

9/11The key points of the recent Seymour Hersh article on Pakistan’s government and the Bin Laden raid have the ring of truth. While I have no inside information, the best of my recollection says initial unconfirmed reports of the raid gave credit to the Pakistanis for support of the mission. The Hersh story is consistent with my knowledge of international politics, operational security and politically motivated cover stories. Jack Murphy at SOFREP agrees.

Read the full Hersh report if you are able. Also, if anyone remembers more specifics on those initial reports four years ago, please get in touch.

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CCT News

PJ StuffAirmen to Receive Valor Awards
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Climbing the Walls

General NewsThe blog has been quiet but life has been anything but. The medical sagas continue both for myself and my family. Mr. WatchCat has transitioned to a leadership role. Friends have drawn near, pulled away, and in some circumstances, both. My writing career is taxiing for takeoff but still hasn’t gotten clearance from the tower. I feel old and young at once, with a long list of lessons learned yet still feeling like I might make all the same mistakes again.

Is it wiser to fight out an issue with someone you love, or should you just let it go?
When does the quest for perfection become self-defeating?
When is it better to just fix someone’s problem for them?
When do you just cast it all upon the waters and see what comes?
(And when do you send a second email and risk sounding desperate?)

April had some tremendous moments but May feels shaky. Death is all around, a mentor’s divorce caught me by surprise, and there’s a shortage of adult conversation in my life right now. A new book, Ashley’s War, rocked my world and raised a few new regrets, but also inspired me to take ownership of my life. I have mid-year resolutions to write in the coming days.

Forgive me for not making a clean break with the blog. I don’t know who still reads but I need this place to think via my keyboard. Is someone out there walking this crazy road too?

Oh, one more thing: I did my first climbing wall a week and a half ago. I loved it, want to do it again. And I messed up my back further in the process. It’s pretty typical of how life goes these days.

Keep climbing anyway.

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Policy Amok

General NewsFort Hood Shooting Victim Denied Benefits Despite Purple Heart Decision

I read this 24 hrs ago and I still can't wrap my head around it. I can only hope that it's a case of policy-in-progress and not a final decision. What possible logic could support this?

The most recent document cited in the article states, "Nowhere in the act, however, does it offer combat benefits for service members permanently disabled in attacks inspired or motivated by foreign terrorist organizations. Although subsequent legislation and guidance may change, currently, the Board has no authority to award V1/V3 (service related) designation to soldiers disabled during the Fort Hood attack."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we provide full benefits to those injured at the Pentagon on 9/11?

Also from the article: It [2012 statement] went on to state Manning’s injuries were not caused by an “instrumentality of war” because Hasan’s “weapon was a private semi-automatic pistol. The army did not issue this weapons to the soldier.”

757s aren't Army-issued either.

I never thought I'd miss 2002 this much. Can somebody please find a presidential candidate who can fix this mess of a government?

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Friday Scramble

Scrambles3 Foot World

22 Things I Learned About Myself After Leaving the Marines Then Living in Kenya

My Address to a Middle School Class on Veterans Day 2014

Younger Women Hesitate to Say They're Having a Heart Attack

The Atlas Generation

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Friday Scramble

ScramblesThe World War Inside Islam

The West Doesn't Understand Russians

When I Questioned the History of Muhammad

Woman Orders Pizza from 911 to Save Her from Domestic Abuse

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The problem of the victim-hero

General Newshttp://www.jpost.com/International/IS...lot-390949

A discussion of the reactions to Kayla Mueller's death by the Jerusalem Post recently gave me a bad few hours. Amidst the feel-good commentary we all know, there were also statements amounting to "she got what she deserved" because of her Palestinian sympathies, "cultural marxism" and past activities with a nonviolent group that "interfered with Israeli soldiers." Let's break that down. The blogger in question cites 1) Beliefs 2) Feelings of guilt over blessings, and 3) participation in noviolent protests.

The devaluation of human life due to an individual's beliefs Must. Stop. Now.

The story and the criticisms of Kyla Mueller hit hard, because it so easily could have been me years ago. I saw injustice in the Middle East and I considered working for a similar organization. I said and wrote things which I regret. My peers did the same, and some did go on to do the same kind of things Kayla Mueller did. Their intentions were and are good. Yet the push for cultural understanding often overrode critical thinking. How does one prepare for hearing a mother scream that it's American money that paid for the bombs that leveled her home and left her children as refugees? Where is the balance between compassion and critical thinking when blood spills? It took me years to unpack the realization that guest speakers had lied to us.

I remember hearing that one of our government agencies didn't like it when people learned the language in country, because it often created sympathies for the host country. I thought it was moronic at the time, but now I'm not so sure. My experience with international programs says that counter-American opinions are always rewarded, while opinions which are in line with American politics are punished as narrow and unenlightened. It reminds me of Stockholm Syndrome; one assimilates to avoid a psychological crisis. But foreign affairs ARE a psychological crisis of hard choices for the welfare of a specific group. It is to our shame that we produce so few people who can wisely operate at that level.

Kayla Mueller will remain controversial, as any person who dies for a cause is controversial. I don't ask you to like her. I don't even know if I would have liked her. I don't think I like the person I was in the Middle East years ago. But she could have been your sister or neighbor or classmate. She was a victim of terrorism and of human frailty.

We preserve our humanity with our recognition of others', regardless of their fate.

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Allons Enfants de la Liberte

“This was the work of insecure cowards who apparently fear their religion is so weak that it can’t withstand criticism, and who must fear the God they purport to worship isn’t big enough, strong enough, or wise enough to take a joke.” –National Cartoonist Society

First we thought it was a workplace shooting. A gunman in an office building. To such news, awful though it was, I permitted myself a small smirk at the European country with a gun incident. I shouldn’t have, I know, but I've listened to too many Europeans telling me why America should change our gun laws. The destruction of life always unmasks our reality, no matter how common. We live in a world of inevitable tragedy and there’s an ugly temptation to score whatever points we may.

Then the details of the Charlie Hebdo massacre trickled down like the bloody ebb of life. Twelve victims tried, convicted and executed for their free expression by the egotistical, fearful followers of an easily insulted prophet. The twelve. A motley crew of wavering faith persecuted for truth. Who are the martyrs here?

As the story of the world unfolds it seems to me that Islam has good individuals but no saints. For it is the saints who are God’s hands to turn us from paths of destruction. The ever-growing company of saints build the momentum for faith, freedom and victory in the face of overwhelming evil. Tell me, where is the good that Islam built? Oh, they will say that Mohammed stopped the murder of female infants, but they conveniently omit the subsequent life of subjugation. They omit Islam’s degradation and deprivation of humanity and its ultimate denial of our identity as BELOVED children of God.

Je suis Charlie, though my voice be small and my pen faltering. Vive la Resistance.