It all started in April, when the family heard about a Massachusetts soldier who ran up $7,600 in cell phone charges calling home from Iraq. T-Mobile forgave much of the bill. But Brittany and Robbie figured there must be other soldiers - including a cousin of theirs - who are stationed in Iraq and want to call home more often but cannot afford it.

You'll want to click and see what happened next.

Thought for Today

I had total tunnel vision. I kept seeing my wife and my baby's face in front of my eyes. That's what drove me.
--Sgt. Michael S. Posner, 34, Farmingville, N.Y., explaining how he got out of the mess hall after the attack at the U.S. army base in Mosul, Iraq

Oh, The Flood Is Threatening My Very Life Today

When I read the quote (above) from the soldier in Mosul, I thought immediately of a fireman Jimmy Breslin met at the World Trade Center, shortly after the towers fell. Breslin writes:

He lost several of his people and was left against a shaky wall, dazed at being alive. A thick coating of dust make him a gray mummy. He did not say hello or recognize me with any motion. He just said:

"I have a daughter in college in Baltimore. And I love her."

He said this with tears.
I thought of that equation--your family is your world--again this week, when I learned that my 24-year-old stepdaughter, who has been working in a Vietnmese orphanage for the last few months, was not, as I thought, safely on her way home. In fact, she was on a beach in Thailand when the water began rising. I'm told that she and her boyfriend outran the water; the last I heard, her sole possession was the bikini she was wearing. I haven't talked to her, but I won't be surprised if she tells me the images that passed through her mind as she ran were of her mother and father and brother.

It is the operating thesis of this blog and all religions with a claim to respectability that we are brothers and sisters here. If you feel that way--if the soldier clawing through the dust in Mosul and the firefighter at the World Trade Center and the young woman in the bikini and the wretched parent mourning a child in Sumatra are people you recognize as your own--you may want to help. Here are some reputable agencies.

What Was Donald Rumsfeld Saying?

Ok, he was in Iraq. He was tired. But what did what Rummy mean by this reference to Flight 93?

I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon, the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate, to frighten --- indeed the word 'terrorized' is just that. Its purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something other than that which they want to be.

Now he cannot be saying that some Muslim shot down Flight 93 on 9/11. But is he accidentally admitting what some people say they saw and many believe--that a US military plane shot Flight 93 out of the sky that morning in Pennsylvania? If you can figure it out, please share.

Andrew Greeley Also Thinks The War Is "Our" Fault

Father Greeley on our collective guilt:

Each extra day of the war makes it more unjust, more criminal. The guilty people are not only the Vulcans but those Americans who in the November election endorsed the war.

They are also responsible for the Iraqi deaths, especially the men who join the police or the army because they need the money to support their families--their jobs eaten up in the maw of the American "liberation." Iraqi deaths don't trouble many Americans. Their attitude is not unlike the email writer who said he rejoices every time a Muslim kills another Muslim. "Let Allah sort them out."

This time of the year we celebrate "peace on Earth to men of good will." Americans must face the fact that they can no longer claim to be men and women of good will, not as long as they support an unnecessary, foolish, ill-conceived, badly executed and, finally, unwinnable war. One Happy Story for the Season

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