Sunday, December 31, 2006

Value Truth

We should all value truth above all else. How do we know what is true? By being informed and going to the source, which is made possible via the world wide web. Seek truth and think about what it means to you and your fellow humans. My hope for 2007 is that more people seek truth and think.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Baghdad - City of Peace

During the reign of the Abbasid caliph, Abu Jafar al-Mansur (A.D. 754-775), the dynasty established itself by building a new capital city and separaating from radical groups that had helped in the revolution. On the site of a small town near the ancient Mesopotamian city of Babylon, al-Masur erected his new capital, the "City of Peace," Baghdad.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Iraq Study Group Report

Here is a link to the Iraq Study Group Report;
Go to the source for your news. Read the report and make up your own mind. Or listen to CNN or Al Jazerra and let them tell you what to think.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Maybe in 75 years

Maybe in 75 years you should come to Kuwait for a visit. Essentially Kuwait City is one large construction site. Buildings are going up everywhere you cast your eyes. Of course what your eyes will see mostly is the construction trash, heaps of junk, piles of sand and just general trash blowing in the wind. The building construction standards are from the early 1800's I'd say. No such thing as safety is practiced. The construction sites are places where I suspect many foriegn workers have died. But I do not think any Kuwait local would know or care about that. Infrastructure services like water, gas and electricity are very crude. Gas for apartments and homes is in portable canisters, like I use at home under the BBQ. Of course you would not want to have gas pipes run within the buildings, can you say death trap? So I was thinking that in 75 years you could come and visit since they may be done with most of the construction, but based on the way they drive I would say wait for a 100 years. In that time perhaps the younger generation will have learned how to drive, their parents sure can not drive safely. The freeways are death traps, but I'll save that for another post.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Rumsfeld's Memo - Iraq Options

December 3, 2006
Rumsfeld’s Memo of Options for Iraq War
Following is the text of a classified Nov. 6 memorandum that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld sent to the White House suggesting new options in Iraq. The memorandum was sent one day before the midterm Congressional elections and two days before Mr. Rumsfeld resigned.
Nov. 6, 2006
SUBJECT: Iraq — Illustrative New Courses of Action
The situation in Iraq has been evolving, and U.S. forces have adjusted, over time, from major combat operations to counterterrorism, to counterinsurgency, to dealing with death squads and sectarian violence. In my view it is time for a major adjustment. Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough. Following is a range of options:
Above the Line: (Many of these options could and, in a number of cases, should be done in combination with others)
Publicly announce a set of benchmarks agreed to by the Iraqi Government and the U.S. — political, economic and security goals — to chart a path ahead for the Iraqi government and Iraqi people (to get them moving) and for the U.S. public (to reassure them that progress can and is being made).
Significantly increase U.S. trainers and embeds, and transfer more U.S. equipment to Iraqi Security forces (ISF), to further accelerate their capabilities by refocusing the assignment of some significant portion of the U.S. troops currently in Iraq.
Initiate a reverse embeds program, like the Korean Katusas, by putting one or more Iraqi soldiers with every U.S. and possibly Coalition squad, to improve our units’ language capabilities and cultural awareness and to give the Iraqis experience and training with professional U.S. troops.
Aggressively beef up the Iraqi MOD and MOI, and other Iraqi ministries critical to the success of the ISF — the Iraqi Ministries of Finance, Planning, Health, Criminal Justice, Prisons, etc. — by reaching out to U.S. military retirees and Reserve/National Guard volunteers (i.e., give up on trying to get other USG Departments to do it.)
Conduct an accelerated draw-down of U.S. bases. We have already reduced from 110 to 55 bases. Plan to get down to 10 to 15 bases by April 2007, and to 5 bases by July 2007.
Retain high-end SOF capability and necessary support structure to target Al Qaeda, death squads, and Iranians in Iraq, while drawing down all other Coalition forces, except those necessary to provide certain key enablers for the ISF.
Initiate an approach where U.S. forces provide security only for those provinces or cities that openly request U.S. help and that actively cooperate, with the stipulation being that unless they cooperate fully, U.S. forces would leave their province.
Stop rewarding bad behavior, as was done in Fallujah when they pushed in reconstruction funds, and start rewarding good behavior. Put our reconstruction efforts in those parts of Iraq that are behaving, and invest and create havens of opportunity to reward them for their good behavior. As the old saying goes, “If you want more of something, reward it; if you want less of something, penalize it.” No more reconstruction assistance in areas where there is violence.
Position substantial U.S. forces near the Iranian and Syrian borders to reduce infiltration and, importantly, reduce Iranian influence on the Iraqi Government.
Withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions — cities, patrolling, etc. — and move U.S. forces to a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) status, operating from within Iraq and Kuwait, to be available when Iraqi security forces need assistance.
Begin modest withdrawals of U.S. and Coalition forces (start “taking our hand off the bicycle seat”), so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country.
Provide money to key political and religious leaders (as Saddam Hussein did), to get them to help us get through this difficult period.
Initiate a massive program for unemployed youth. It would have to be run by U.S. forces, since no other organization could do it.
Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis. This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not “lose.”
Recast the U.S. military mission and the U.S. goals (how we talk about them) — go minimalist.
Below the Line (less attractive options):
Continue on the current path.
Move a large fraction of all U.S. Forces into Baghdad to attempt to control it.
Increase Brigade Combat Teams and U.S. forces in Iraq substantially.
Set a firm withdrawal date to leave. Declare that with Saddam gone and Iraq a sovereign nation, the Iraqi people can govern themselves. Tell Iran and Syria to stay out.
Assist in accelerating an aggressive federalism plan, moving towards three separate states — Sunni, Shia, and Kurd.
Try a Dayton-like process.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


This post is just a check to see the blog site will post this. The last one I did not post to my blogsite but it is in the list of posts. Not sure I should have upgraded to the new version of blogger while it is still in a beta test mode.

Friday, December 01, 2006

God vs. Science

A very interesting article in Time magazine, and available on the web here;,9171,1555132,00.html about God vs. Science. Are these two world views mutually exclusive? Can a scientist believe in God and still have a consistent world view? I wonder.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


November 27, 2006
Panel to Weigh Overture by U.S. to Iran and Syria
WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 — A draft report on strategies for Iraq, which will be debated here by a bipartisan commission beginning Monday, urges an aggressive regional diplomatic initiative that includes direct talks with Iran and Syria but sets no timetables for a military withdrawal, according to officials who have seen all or parts of the document.

Of course the US should be talking with Iran and Syria directly. Why would we not want to discuss potential roads to peace with all parties? Sometimes I just don't understand polititians.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Brief History

I am reading "The Middle East" A brief history of the last 2,000 years by Bernard Lewis. Of particular interest is the section on the period of the Crusades. A discussion of a period about 1184 when Jerusalem was a city where Musims and Christians lived together is of interest to me since it is coverd by the movie by Ridely Scott called the "Kingdom of Heaven" Even during this period the Sunnis and Shites were fighting between themselves. It seems from what I have read so far in the book the Muslims have a long history of internal fighting within the Islam religion.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


I have been reading several books about the history of the Middle East and the Muslims. It is very interesting as I read these history books and then read the www news from CNN, Al Jazeera and other websites, to see that not much has changed here. Or anywhere else in the world really. Until humans evolve into the next phase of our existence I don't think much will change. After all what is the difference, at the human level, of a person living in Kuwait today from his ancestors of 2,000 or more years ago? Not much.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

VP visit

RIYADH, Nov 25 (KUNA) -- U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney arrived Saturday in Saudi Arabia on an official visit which would last for a day and include senior-level talks on regional affairs namely troubled Iraq.

So what do you think is on Dick's mind? With the deomcrats taking control of the US congress what is next in this troubled area? Maybe I'll get to go home!

Kuwait: Coalition Partner - Road to...

Brad Knickerbocker, a journalist, stated the following in the article "Iraq Violence Tests Coalition Unity", published in The Christian Science Monitor on April 12, 2004 :

"In an unofficial way, the coalition includes many of Iraq's neighbors.'Although their support is muted and often limited to allowing logistics operations to flow through their countries, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and even Syria plus the Gulf States are all providing significant support to the US-coalition operation in Iraq,' says retired Navy Capt. Larry Seaquist, a former pentagon strategist. 'Each of those governments must be feeling a chill up their spine right now,' says Captain Seaquist. 'None want their people - the Arab 'street' - out in the streets demonstrating sympathy with their Iraqi brethren. Loss of support by these governments could be equally as serious as the uprising in the country.'"

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera has a new English language TV news cast. I have been watching for the last couple of days and notice a distinct difference to what I normally see on news programs such as CNN, FOX, CBS, etc. They also have an English language web page, check it out to get another perspective on what's going on in the world:

Native name

The native name of Kuwait is Al Kuwayt. That's all, just wanted to note that. Its coordinates are latitude: 29 deg 20 min North, Longitude: 48 deg 00 min East. The distance from Kuwait to Kabul, Afghanistan is 1,291 miles (2078km) as the crow flys. The distance to Phoenix, AZ is 7,918 miles (12,742km).

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunni & Shiite Militias

Iraq has two major Muslim sects; Sunni and Shitte, it also has two major militas running the streets of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. In between these two militias, currently engaged in an undeclared civil war are US troops. How long will the US be there? How long will the Sunnis and Shittes kill each other? What is the road to an independent Iraq? How long will it take and what will be the continuing role of the US military and its coalition partners?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Human Rights

An interesting article in the Daily Star - Kuwait Edition talks about a Kuwait government commission in charge of refuting the US Department of State's Human Rights Annual Report. A report which says that Kuwait has serveral human right problems. The first thing I thought will reading the newspaper article is why they have a commission to refute the charges when the resources could be better used in correcting the human rights violations. One area of concern is the way the Kuwaitis treat foreign laborors. Of which thier are many. In fact I have heard that their are more expats and foreign labor than their are Kuwait nationals. I have seen first hand how hard and long these people work on cleaning the streets, building new buildings, and providing personal services in homes and resturants. I have also experienced how they treat anyone who is not a Kuwait. Focus on making things better not refuting a report, which is just paper about real people who need respect.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Training Exercise

The Army is holding a basewide training exercise today and as part of it the dinning facilities on base are serving MREs. Yes Meals Ready to Eat - Not! As you can guess every food vendor on base has long lines of people trying to get something to eat other than a MRE. I am in the base library reading the local newspaper and waiting for the long lines to go down. Don't feel much like standing around in a long line for a burger. Anyway it has been nice to read the newspaper, have not done that in while. Get most of my news on the web.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 How Rumsfeld's Resignation Is Playing in Iraq -- Page 1 How Rumsfeld's Resignation Is Playing in Iraq -- Page 1


The Bedouins are back. I see thier tents on the drive to work everyday. More and more tents sprouting from the desert everyday. The Bedouin is the original Arab. He lives by following the sparse patches of grass. He has camels, goats and sheep. As I drive down the highway everyday on my way to work and see the Bedouin tents in the desert I think about how this sight has been for thousands of years. Not everything is iPods and cellphones.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Kuwait History lesson

The emirate developed around the city of Kuwait, which was settled early in the 18th century. Kuwait was nominally under Ottoman Turkish rule until 1899, when the reigning emir asked for, and obtained, British protection. In 1914 Great Britain reaffirmed its protective role and formally recognized the independence of the state. Subsequently, Wahhabis from the Saudi Arabian province of Najd attacked Kuwait. The British aided the emirate, and peace was restored in 1921 by a treaty establishing the Kuwait-Najd boundary; a neutral zone was created in 1922. Petroleum was discovered in 1938. Under a concession, the Kuwait Oil Co., owned jointly by the Gulf Oil Corp. of the U.S. and the British Petroleum Co., began exploitation of the reserves in 1946. Under the provisions of a 1951 agreement, the emir shared equally in the company's profits.

Burnt Cars - Why?

Does anyone out there know why wrecked cars sitting along the side of the road end up burnt? As I have said before Kuwait is full of wrecked cars. After the car sits along the side of the road for a few days someone seems to come along and burn them. Do you know why?

Back in Kuwait

Well I am back in Kuwait and feeling a little travel worn. The plane from Bahrain was delayed last night so I did not get home (to the apartment in Kuwait City) until after midnight. A lazy day at work but I made it through. The drive home tonight was a challange, as usual. Any way it is good to be back since that means I am closer to going home for Christmas.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Worst Hotel Ever

I am staying at the Golden Tulip hotel in Bahrain, what a mistake this is. The Golden Tulip in Bahrain is the worst hotel I have ever stayed in. They charge for wireless internet access which you purchase by the hour and if you don't use it fast enough it expires! Today they put a memo under the guest doors which says that they have learned that people are bring food or having it delivered from outside and that is not allowed! They want you to use the hotel resturant which is really bad. Stay away from this place. The Sheraton is right accross the street, stay there. The rooms are not very clean and the linens are old and worn. The carpet in my room is worn and dirty. Stay away from the Golden Tulip!!!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We are all human

Why is it that a place like the Fertile Crescent can give rise to three major religions; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and we are still fighting about it? I don’t understand how when you look back into the history of the human race that we have so many convergence points and then we diverge out into warring fractions. We come from the same stalk and yet will continue to focus on our differences instead of our similarities.
See 10/9/2006 post.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Project Kuwait

Kuwait's $8.5bn northern oil fields project, known as Project Kuwait, is still under consideration, reported the Kuwait Times. The project aims to involve foreign oil firms in the stepping up of production at four oil fields from 550,000 bpd to 900,000 bpd. The scheme has been stalled by opposition MPs for 12 years due to fears the country's oil industry will fall into the hands of international firms.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Army is training advisors for Iraq

Laura sent me this article and it is a good read. We are in this for the long run and with our military training the Iraqi military the use of American civilians to work in theater will increase.

Army is training advisors for Iraq
The mission signals the U.S. vision of its long-term role there.
By Peter SpiegelTimes Staff WriterOctober 25, 2006Within the Army's tightly knit community of counterinsurgency experts, Lt. Col. John Nagl is something of a star.When the Army and Marine Corps decided to rewrite their field manual on how to fight insurgents last year, Nagl was chosen as one of its authors. His doctoral thesis on guerrilla wars was just republished in paperback with an approving foreword by the Army's chief of staff.But when Nagl's two-year stint in the Pentagon ended this month, he did not, like most accomplished soldiers of his rank, take command of an armored battalion headed back to Iraq. Instead, he shipped out to this sprawling base in rural Kansas where the Army is attempting what some consider its most ambitious structural change since the Vietnam War.Here, amid rolling fields dotted by scores of quickly built barracks, the Army is building a training base that by early next year will be turning as many as 2,000 of its most promising midlevel officers into military advisors every two months, most of them headed to Iraq.The mission reflects the U.S. military's vision of its long-range role in Iraq — as advisors for local forces that will be doing the actual fighting. But it represents something of a gamble as well: The effort is sucking thousands out of their normal combat deployments at a time when American forces are facing personnel shortages as violence in Iraq surges.It is also a signal that, as commanders in Iraq move to re-evaluate tactics in the wake of a faltering Baghdad offensive and rising U.S. casualties, the work of military advisors is likely to emerge as a pillar of any plan to withdraw American troops. In Baghdad on Tuesday, Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said it might take more U.S. troops to quell violence in Baghdad.There are 3,600 military advisors in Iraq training, organizing and accompanying Iraqi units into action. But as the effort at Ft. Riley ramps up, Army officials acknowledge that number could grow by thousands in the coming months — and perhaps tens of thousands once Afghanistan is added to the program."This is much bigger than … sending Special Forces teams down to El Salvador or Colombia to work in small groups," said Gen. Richard A. Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff, referring to past U.S. advisory efforts.The size and scope of the new effort, which began in June with the arrival at Ft. Riley of the first class of prospective advisors, is a sign of how seriously the Army is taking the mission."I feel like we'll be the last men standing at the end of the U.S. presence here," said Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard, the Army officer sent to Baghdad in July to take over the advisor program.The Army has begun pouring resources into the effort. Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, has assigned an entire division headquarters — the 1st Infantry, one of 10 Army divisions — to take over the training mission, and has ordered two of its combat brigades to rid themselves of all their tanks and infantrymen to devote their officers exclusively to training advisors."The fact he took one of his divisions, at a time he needs divisions, and two heavy brigades, at a time he needs heavy brigades, that by itself speaks volumes of how important this is," said Maj. Gen. Carter F. Ham, the 1st Infantry's new commander.In April, the Army added incentives to persuade its best officers to volunteer for the program. The most attractive is a guarantee that volunteers will get an assignment of their choice after a year as an advisor.The advisor program's effects are already visible. Kalev Sepp, an instructor at the Naval Postgraduate School, said he was taken aback when, before a recent lecture to Iraq combat veterans taking a course for captains at Ft. Knox, Ky., he was repeatedly told by officers that they were headed to Ft. Riley."I finally just said, 'How many people here are going back to Iraq as advisors?' and half the people in the room raised their hand," said Sepp, who was a military advisor as a Special Forces major in El Salvador 17 years ago. "That's extraordinary."But until the start of the year, the Army's attention to its military advisor program was haphazard at best.The concept started on an ad hoc basis. Early in the Iraq war, some commanders adapted quickly to fighting a counterinsurgency and set up embedded military advisor teams on the fly.Most prominently, Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli — who in early 2004 was the 1st Cavalry Division commander in Baghdad's Sadr City slums but now commands all ground forces in Iraq — took hundreds of his soldiers from their assigned units to create 70 small teams who "lived, ate and trained with the Iraqi army," Chiarelli wrote in a summary of his deployment.Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the 1st Infantry Division the same year, took similar steps in the Sunni Triangle north of Baghdad.But Chiarelli and Batiste were exceptions to the rule. Most commanders, when ordered to provide soldiers for military training teams — dubbed MiTTs — would turn over those not needed for essential operations."Some took it very seriously and picked very good people," Pittard said. "Some said, 'Well, who can we spare?' "The result was predictable. When Sepp, who has traveled to Iraq as a counterinsurgency advisor to U.S. commanders, met military trainers in Taji as recently as December, he was "unimpressed with the quality of people.""The lieutenant colonel that I met there, the first thing on his mind was how much longer he had before he left," Sepp recalled. "He had it down to hours. He was completely uninterested in what they were doing."Advisor teams were thrown together and, in many cases, did not meet one another until arriving in Iraq — a drastic change for combat units who normally spend a year together before deployment.While the huge shift underway at Ft. Riley will address many of the earlier problems, it also raises some new ones.The Army is scrounging for soldiers to send to Iraq in combat brigades. Two senior military planners said in interviews that the move to push thousands of officers into advisory roles has exacerbated readiness problems plaguing the Army.The advising mission is particularly debilitating because it is officer-heavy. The typical 11-person U.S. team sent to advise an Iraqi battalion consists of five enlisted officers above the rank of staff sergeant and six commissioned officers.Cody acknowledged the overhaul of the advisor mission will "put added strain on the force." He said the Army was compensating by filling some senior officer jobs with more junior officers, particularly in units that have recently returned from Iraq.Perhaps more troubling, however, is the time it has taken to make the advisor program a priority. Though Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and President Bush have mentioned military advisors as central to plans to hand security duties to Iraqis, it has taken three years to begin to fix the program.Counterinsurgency experts said the U.S. must make a long-term commitment to the program and support the Iraqi military with money and American airpower, or risk a catastrophic, Vietnam-like collapse of the Iraqi armed forces.But it is unclear how long the Army is willing to stay with the program. Ham, the 1st Infantry commander, said he viewed the training mission as a two- to three-year commitment. Cody said he was preparing for five years.But even that might not be long enough. Nagl, the Army guerrilla war expert, pointed out that the British counterinsurgency that began in 1948 in Malaya lasted 12 years."These are long wars," Nagl said. "These are long, hard wars."

Thursday, October 12, 2006

History of Islam

Islam is a major world religion, founded in Arabia and based on the teachings of Muhammad, who is called the Prophet. The Arabic word islam literally means "submission," but as a religious term in the Koran, it means "submission to the will or law of God." One who practices Islam is a Muslim. According to the Koran, Islam is the primordial and universal religion, and even nature itself is Muslim, because it automatically obeys the laws God has ingrained in it. For human beings, who possess free will, practicing Islam does not involve automatically obeying but rather freely accepting God’s commandments.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ramadan & the drive home

Well Ramadan continues here in Kuwait and one thing I have really noticed is the reduction in the morning traffic. It is really nice to have fewer cars to move out of the way of. The drive home (back to my apartment) is good also although the evening traffic is heavier than the morning traffic since the locals have been fasting all day and it is time to celebrate, worship and meet with fellow Muslims.

Narrative or Analysis

I am wondering if this blog is more narrative or analysis. It was started on 30 April 06 after my first trip to Kuwait and Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). I plan on reviewing my blog posts to see if they are more narrative or analysis or maybe reporting. I would like it to be more analysis and that is what happens between my ears but I don't think it is getting to the blog posts. What do you think?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Afghanistan now under NATO

Coalition in Afghanistan transfers command to NATO

KABUL NATO assumed command of foreign forces in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, taking over from a U.S.- led coalition that toppled the Taliban regime five years ago and completing its expansion across the country.
The transfer saw 12,000 troops, who had been operating in the east under the coalition, fall under the 37-nation International Security Assistance Force, increasing the force to about 31,000 soldiers nationwide.

excerpt from International Herald Tribune - Asia-Pacific published Oct 5, 2006, Agence France-Presse

IRAQ- the cost of war

Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post. Sunday, October 8, 2006 -- The number of U.S troops wounded in Iraq has surged to its highest level in nearly two years as Americans fight block-by-block in Baghdad to try to check a spiral of sectarian violence that U.S. commanders warn could lead to civil war.Last month, 776 U.S. troops were wounded in action in Iraq, the highest number since the military assault to retake the insurgent-held city of Fallujah in November 2004, according to Defense Department data. It was the fourth-highest monthly total since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.The sharp increase in American wounded -- with nearly 300 more in the first week of October -- is a grim measure of the degree to which the U.S. military has been thrust into the lead of the effort to stave off full-scale civil war in Iraq, military officials and experts say. Beyond Baghdad, Marines battling Sunni insurgents in Iraq's violent western province of Anbar last month also suffered their highest number of wounded in action since late 2004.More than 20,000 U.S. troops have been wounded in combat and 2,700 killed in the Iraq war. While much media reporting has focused on the number of dead, military experts say the number of wounded is a more accurate gauge of the fierceness of fighting because advances in armor and medical care allow many service members to survive who would have perished in past wars. The ratio of wounded to killed among U.S. forces in Iraq is about 8 to 1, compared with 3 to 1 in Vietnam."These days, wounded are a much better measure of the intensity of the operations than killed," said Anthony Cordesman, a military expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Ramadan has special customs in Oman

REL-OMAN-RAMADAN-TRADITIONS Ramadan has special customs in Oman
By Ahmad Al-Rubei'e MUSCAT, Oct 7 (KUNA) --

The holy month of Ramadan has special customs and traditions in Oman, and is well known for being the time of worship and charity.Muhammad Al-Badi, from Muscat, told KUNA that Omanis concentrate in this month on praying and doing good deeds, as Ramadan is the month of social unity, mercy, and love.Like all Muslims, the people of Oman prepare for the month before its approach, by getting ready to fast, he added.Meanwhile, Muhammad Al-Rawas, from Dhofar governorate, told KUNA that despite the differences between Ramadan in the past and today, it is still "a dear guest" that is welcomed by all Muslims.He pointed out that one of the main practices Omanis do in Ramadan is visiting their relatives and neighbors and holding special gatherings.On the time of Iftar, at sunset, people go to mosques close to their homes with their food to break their fast together and provide the needy with Iftar meals, and later would pray together, he said.Omanis give a lot of charity in Ramadan, seeking God's blessings, he stressed.Mosques all around Oman hold religious lectures for people from all ages, including children who are taught good deeds and how to read the holy Quran, he pointed out.Musallam Al-Ghailani, from Sour, said one of the special practices in this spiritual month is firing shots from cannons as a sign of Ramadan's approach.

Fertile Crescent Beginings

Peoples of the Fertile Crescent domesticated local plants much earlier. They domesticated far more species, domesticated far more productive or valuable species, domesticated a much wider range of types of crops, developed intessified food production and dense human popluations more rapidly, and as a result entered the modern world with more advanced technology, more complex political organization, and more epidemic diseases with which to infect other peoples.
From: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Fertile Crescent background info

The Fertile Crescent is a historical region in the Middle East incorporating Ancient Egypt, the Levant, and Mesopotamia. Watered by the Nile, Jordan, Euphrates and Tigris rivers and covering some 400-500,000 square kilometers, the region extends from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea around the north of the Syrian Desert and through the Jazirah and Mesopotamia to the Persian Gulf. These areas correspond to the present-day Egypt, Israel, West Bank, Gaza strip, and Lebanon and parts of Jordan, Syria, Iraq, south-eastern Turkey and south-western Iran.

The Fertile Crescent has an impressive record of past human activity. As well as possessing many sites with the skeletal and cultural remains of both pre-modern and early modern humans , later Pleistocene hunter-gatherers and Epipalaeolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers, this area is most famous for its sites related to the origins of agriculture. The western zone around the Jordan and upper Euphrates rivers gave rise to the first known Neolithic farming settlements, which date to around 9,000 BCE (and includes sites such as Jericho). This region, alongside Mesopotamia (which lies to the east of the Fertile Crescent, between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates), also saw the emergence of early complex societies during the succeeding Bronze Age. There is also early evidence from this region for writing, and the formation of state-level societies. This has earned the region the nickname "The Cradle of Civilization."
Since the Bronze Age, the region's natural fertility has been greatly extended by irrigation works, upon which much of its agricultural production continues to depend. The last two millennia have seen repeated cycles of decline and recovery as past works have fallen into disrepair through the replacement of states, to be replaced under their successors. Another ongoing problem has been salination -- the seepage of salt water into irrigated farmland.
As crucial as rivers were to the rise of civilization in the Fertile Crescent, they were not the only factor in the area's precocity. The Fertile Crescent had a climate which encouraged the evolution of many annual plants, which produce more edible seeds than perennials, and the region's dramatic variety of elevation gave rise to many species of edible plants for early experiments in cultivation. Most importantly, the Fertile Crescent possessed the wild progenitors of the eight Neolithic founder crops important in early agriculture (i.e. wild progenitors to emmer wheat, einkorn, barley, flax, chick pea, pea, lentil, bitter vetch), and four of the five most important species of domesticated animals - cows, goats, sheep, and pigs - and the fifth species, the horse, lived nearby.

Fertile Crescent: It is hedged in on all sides by natural borders: the sea on the west, arid wastelands in the centre and on the south, high mountains on the north and east. Its eastern and northern arm is known as Mesopotamia, the land of two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. The upper Euphrates is at the apex of the Fertile Crescent While the Tigris is on its eastern edge. The Fertile Crescent south- western arm reaches Palestine. It is the poorest and smallest of all its countries but it has a very important role as a passage way to Egypt. It is the corridor between Egypt and the lands of the Fertile Crescent
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fertile Crescent

I really like maps and charts. They show so many interesting things about a place, provide historical context and geogrpahic details. The Fertile Crescent is the place where we, the human race came from. Where we learned how to domesticate plants and animals.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Earliest date of domestication

Southwest Asia is the place in the world that domesticaed plants and animals first. From the evideance I have read wheat, pea and olive plants as well as sheep and goats where domesticated by 8,500BC.

Iraqi Cabinet Imposes Curfew on Baghdad

Iraqi cabinet imposes curfew on Baghdad Friday through Sunday
POL-IRAQ-CURFEW Iraqi cabinet imposes curfew on Baghdad Friday through Sunday
BAGHDAD, Sept 29 (KUNA) -- The Iraqi cabinet decided on Friday to impose an unexpected full curfew on vehicles and civilians in the capital.The cabinet did not specify the reason behind the curfew which would begin today and end on Sunday Morning.Meanwhile, the leader of the Iraqi Accord Front MP Adnan Al-Dulaimi said that his house was searched by US troops who charged that Al-Dulaimi was hiding weapons.On the other hand, Iraqi military spokesman Qasim Al-Mosawi told KUNA that Iraqi and US forces received information concerning Al-Dulaimi's illegal operations.


When you go shopping in a grocery store and you are looking for milk heed this warning! I was shopping at the Sultan Center last week and in the diary section saw the familar milk container from the states. On the label it read "Laban" and "Low Fat" had a picture of a cow and the rest was in Arabic. So I picked up a jug of "low fat milk" The next morning I poured a big glass, actually a plastic cup, and took a sip. Hug! as Charlie Brown would say. Seems that LABAN, MADZOUN, RAEB, are fermented milk in different countries. Fermented milk! Tastes as bad as it sounds. Who would drink fermented milk? Not me, I just poured it down the kitchen sink. So beware shoppes when you are in Kuwait or other Arab countries don't purchase the Laban.

Ramadan bomb kills 34 in Iraq (Reuters)

By Peter Graff and Alastair Macdonald
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A bomb killed 34 people in Baghdad's Sadr City Shi'ite slum on Saturday as Iraq's minority Sunnis began the fasting month of Ramadan, which U.S. commanders said might see a rise in sectarian bloodshed.
The bomb -- most likely a car bomb, according to police -- struck near a tanker distributing kerosene for stoves in Sadr City, whose poor residents are the power base of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mehdi Army militia.
In addition to the 34 people killed, 35 were injured, many badly burned.
Sunni militants claimed responsibility, declaring the attack revenge for killings by Shi'ite militia.
"This operation comes in reaction to the crimes of the Mehdi Army against our Sunni kin in Baghdad," the Jamaat Jund al-Sahaba -- Soldiers of the Prophet's Companions -- said in a claim posted on the Internet. "Our swords can reach the depth of your areas, so stop killing unarmed Sunnis."
U.S. commanders had warned for weeks that they expected a surge of violence to accompany the holy month, having observed similar patterns in previous years.
Shi'ites and Sunnis have separate systems for declaring Ramadan's start; Sunnis began observing it on Saturday and Shi'ites are expected to begin on Sunday or Monday.

The Fast of Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. The Month of Ramadan is also when it is believed the Holy Quran "was sent down from heaven, a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of Salvation"
It is during this month that Muslims fast. It is called the Fast of Ramadan and lasts the entire month. Ramadan is a time when Muslims concentrate on their faith and spend less time on the concerns of their everyday lives. It is a time of worship and contemplation
During the Fast of Ramadan strict restraints are placed on the daily lives of Muslims. They are not allowed to eat or drink during the daylight hours. Smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden during fasting. At the end of the day the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called the iftar. In the evening following the iftar it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting family and friends. The fast is resumed the next morning
According to the Holy Quran: One may eat and drink at any time during the night "until you can plainly distinguish a white thread from a black thread by the daylight: then keep the fast until night"
The good that is acquired through the fast can be destroyed by five things - the telling of a lie,
slander, denouncing someone behind his back, a false oath, greed or covetousness
These are considered offensive at all times, but are most offensive during the Fast of Ramadan
During Ramadan, it is common for Muslims to go to the Masjid (Mosque) and spend several hours praying and studying the Quran. In addition to the five daily prayers, during Ramadan Muslims recite a special prayer called the Taraweeh prayer (Night Prayer). The length of this prayer is usually 2-3 times as long as the daily prayers. Some Muslims spend the entire night in prayer.
On the evening of the 27th day of the month, Muslims celebrate the Laylat-al-Qadr (the Night of Power). It is believed that on this night Muhammad first received the revelation of the Holy Quran. And according to the Quran, this is when God determines the course of the world for the following year.
When the fast ends (the first day of the month of Shawwal) it is celebrated for three days in a holiday called Id-al-Fitr (the Feast of Fast Breaking). Gifts are exchanged. Friends and family gather to pray in congregation and for large meals. In some cities fairs are held to celebrate the end of the Fast of Ramadan.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ramadan Notice

See what the official notice about Ramadan says about driving in Kuwait? "Driving will be more challenging since people often stay awake socializing until dawn. Limit off-post travel to essential missions only." Here is hoping I survive the Kuwait highways this Ramadan which runs from 23 September to 23 October.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Crashed Cars of Kuwait 2006

Follow this URL to a flickr site called "Crashed Cars of Kuwait 2006" Their is also a link to Crashed Cars of 2005. Just to provide proof of my earlier post about the C R A Z Y drivers in Kuwait. And again I'll say that the local driver have no regard what so ever for other human beings.

This is what I see every day along Kuwait roads

US State Depatment warns of traffic safety

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Kuwait is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Driving in Kuwait is hazardous. Although Kuwait has an extensive and modern system of well-lit roads, excessive speeding on both primary and secondary roads, coupled with lax enforcement of traffic regulations and a high density of vehicles (one vehicle for every 2.8 residents), leads to frequent and often fatal accidents. In 2004, reported vehicular accidents rose by 20.9 percent over the previous year to 54,878. In 2004, there were 398 traffic-accident-related deaths—also an increase over the previous year. The average age of death was between 21 and 30 years. There are now over one million motor vehicles registered in Kuwait. Incidents of road rage, inattention and distraction on the part of drivers, poor driving skills, and highway brinkmanship are common in Kuwait, and can be unsettling to Western drivers in Kuwait who are accustomed to more rigid adherence to traffic law.

Kuwati's can NOT drive!!!!

The drivers on Kuwait streets are the worst drivers in the entire world. They are rude, inconsiderate and very unsafe drivers. They drive at night on the freeway with their lights off, they drive on your bumber and they flash their lights at you to get the hell out of the way. I have been driving in this country for far too long and know it is only a matter of time before some crazy Kuwaiti driver hits my car. I have seen more wrecked cars and dead bodies in the road here in Kuwait than I have experienced in my who life. They weave in and out of traffic, don't look the the left or right when making lane changes. That is when they make a lane change, most of the time they just drive where ever they want with no regard for the marked lanes. They have thier cell phones stuck in their ears and just plain do not know how to drive. They sure do not have any reguard for human life. They are rude and unsafe to say the least. I only hope I can survive a while longer. I have been working on my defensive driving since they sure do not care about anyone but themselves.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Islam For Today

This is a link to the "Islam For Today" website: It is for Westerners seeking a knowledge and understanding of Islam.

Southwest Asia

Southwest Asia or Southwestern Asia (often confused with the Middle East) is the southwestern portion of Asia. The term Western Asia is commonly used in writings about the archaeology and late prehistory of the region, and in the U.S. subregion geoschem.. Unlike the Middle East, which is a vaguely-defined region generally meant to include the African country of Egypt, Western Asia is a purely geographical term that includes the southwestern extreme of Asia.
Southwest Asia is partly coterminous with the traditional European names the Middle East and the Near East, both of which describe the regions' geographical position in relation to Europe rather than their location within Asia. The term Western Asia has become the preferred term of use for the Middle East by international organizations (most notably the United Nations) and also in African and Asian countries, such as India, because of the perceived Eurocentrism of the historical term Middle East. In terms of cultural and political geography, the Middle East sometimes includes North African countries, particularly Egypt. For similar reasons, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and western-Pakistan are also variously affiliated with the region.
Source: Wikipedia
SWA is how the US Military describes this area.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Kuwaiti Skyline

One thing I have noticed here in Kuwait City is the fantastic skyline of the city. The skyscrapers are not your typical retangular boxes but rather they have interesting curves and colors. Ornate fasades and futuristic shapes and colors march across the skyline. Above are a few photos of the local skyline. I'll have to go out one weekend and take some more photos and get some close ups.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Internet Access!!!

I am so excited. I've been back in Kuwait for some time now but not able to do much posting to my blog since I only had Internet access from the office. Well today I now have Internet access from my apartment in Kuwait City. I'm so excited I can't stand it. Finally I can post my photos, write personal emails, publish to my blog and surf the web for fun. Seems like I am connected to my friends and family now. I'll have to try a chat service and maybe a VoIP serivce to talk with friends back in the US.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sick in Kuwait

I've been sick for the last few days with a flu. Have not felt like doing much, in fact it is all I can do to get through a day a work and drive back to the apartment. Hoping I'll feel better this weekend. Need to go to the Sultan Center and pick up some food as I am very low and living on microwave stuff. I know not good for my health. It has been very humid the last few days and today it finally dried up some and is running about 110 or so. Well that's all for now. Hope you are all doing well.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Random thoughts

So I have been back in Kuwait for a couple of weeks now. Have settled into my apartment which is just off the Gulf Road and has a very good view of the ocean (Arabian/Persian Gulf). The weather is not as hot as it was when we left but the drivers are just a crazy. I am amazed at the number of accidents on the freeways here. So we have a 3 day weekend and its Saturday as I write this. I drove into the office so I could get on the internet and send some emial and update my blog. Still no access to the Internet from the apartment. Tomorrow I am going to the Sultan Center to pick up some fresh fruits and vegtables and do my weekly wash. I have a washer/drying in the aparmtment which makes it nice. They are built into the same frame so you put your wash in the wash tub, front loading, and it washes and drys your clothes in the same unit. No taking out your wash and putting it into the dryer, they are one and the same. Monday, the third day of the 3 day weekend I think I will read and just rest. Oh maybe go down to the gym and walk the trendmill for a while.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Back in Kuwait

Well I'm back in Kuwait. Moved into my apartment in the Shaab by the Sea area of Kuwait City. Still getting seattled into the apartment and into my new work digs. Just wanted to make a post so you all know I am still alive. Hi Laura!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Back Home

Well I am back home in southern Arizona for some R&R.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Hezbollah (meaing Party of God) is a Lebanese Islamist Shiite organization and political party with a military arm and a civilian arm. Founded in 1982 with the declared aim to fight the Israeli occupation of Suthern Lebanon that lasted until 2000. (Source Wikipedia)
And now Israel has invaded Lebanon again to protect itself from Hezbollah - 2006.

Map of Lebanon

A map (source: CIA Factbook) of Lebanon. For some background once again I recommend going to Wikipedia, try starting here:

Middle East-A killing zone

For weeks now the Israeli's have been fighting the Hizballah "nation" with many deaths on both sides. I read the Kuwiat Times and and the Arab Times newspapers and see photos of dead children on the front page of these newspapers almost daily. Something we don't see in American news papers - the true cost of all war - the destruction of our future. Many demonstrations are held in Kuwait and I have noticed how I am starred at now, much more than in the past few months. So the Shi'ite Muslim group called Hizballlah, supported by Iran, sends missles into Israel from its bases in Lebanon. Hizballah is functioning not just as a state within a state but almost as the state itself. Hizballah has filled a need of the people in Lebanon by buidling schools and hospitals while staging missles in Lebanon it gets from Iran. The Middle East is war zone from Lebanon to Iraq. While to the east in Afghanistan the talaban continue to fight and attach US forces in the south near Kabul and Bagram. While I still think about the fact that the birth of civiliazation took place in Sumer (modern Iraq) with the first organized religion, government, and written language, to the beginnings of monotheism, which conceived Judaism, Christanity, and Islam - many people can trace thier roots to this region. When will we focus on what is common to our species and not on the differences?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

movement to www

Have you noticed how many magazines, newspapers and TV shows point you towards the www? How they say for more information go to our web site? It seems that we are experiencing a movement from traditional media to this virtural world which exists in the form of html pages. Does this make information available to more people or to fewer? One thing I think that it does is allow for a two way converation to take place. To allow the writer to engage in a converation with the reader. A good thing I think. I hope anyway. For to share information and to debate the concepts is to help us all to gain knowledge.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Towers

The towers is where the photo of downtown Kuwait City was taken, see photo from July 12 post.

Crowne Plaza

Another photo of my hotel. Can you tell it is HOT!

Crowne Plaza Kuwait

This is the Crowne Plaza hotel in Kuwait, my "home" away from home.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Kuwait City from above

double click on the photo to see a larger version.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

1 hump or 2

I see lots of camels on the drive from the Crowne Plaza to the base everyday. All the camels I see have one hump. It seems their are two species of camels, Dromedary (1 hump) and Bactrain (2 humps). There are some photos of camels on this blogspot in earlier posts. The Bactrain camel was first domesticated some 5,000 years ago in Iran. They were used as pack anamimals, and domestication eventually spread along the Silk Road (see earlier blog post) to China and to southern Russia. The Dromedaries (1 hump) were first domesticated by Semitic cultures and later bacame popular in the Arab world. Dromedaries are found in arid regions from northwestern India to the Arabian Peninsula and Smalia and across the African deserts. Camels remain the desert nomad's primary source of transportation, milk, meat and wool. In Kuwait and Saudi Arabia they are also used as racing animals. Oh by the way the humps are filled with fat not water which allows the camel to go a week without food or water.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Farewell Address

After watching the documentary, Why We Fight, last night, I was motivated today to read the complete transcript of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address given on January 17, 1961. It should not amaze any of us that the advise given below is relavant and still of use today. I like his reference to “citizen” as apposed to “American” as a citizen has a responsibility to act and the term “American” is something we just are. Action on our part is what is required to make a better world. Can you image what the world would be like if half of what we spend on the military was spent on other social needs? Perhaps on science and basic research? A world worth creating is what we need to keep in mind, not business as usual.

Farewell Address

Farewell Radio and Television Address to the American People by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 17, 1961.

My fellow Americans:
Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.
This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.
Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.
Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the Nation.
My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.
In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the national good rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the Nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling, on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.
We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.
Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.
Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology-global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle-with liberty at stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.
Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research-these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.
But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs-balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage-balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between action of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.
The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.
Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peace time, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been over shadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system-ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.
Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we-you and I, and our government-must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.
Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.
Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war-as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years-I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.
Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.
So-in this my last good night to you as your President-I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and peace. I trust that in that service you find some things worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.
You and I-my fellow citizens-need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation's great goals.
To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing inspiration:
We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

Kuwait Times Est 1961

Kuwait Times (Est. 1961) – The Kuwait Times is one of two local newspapers that I read.  The banner states “The leading independent daily in the Arabian Gulf” Some headlines from the July 9th issue include; Seven escape from Saudi jail,  Guggenheim building largest museum on Abu Dhabi island, Discovery due on first spacewalk, and Islamist want Sharia as main source of law.  Sharia refers to the body of Islamic law.  In the Islamic state Sharia governs both public and private live of those living within the state. Sharia governs many aspects of day-to-day life: politics, economics, banking, business law, contract law, and social issues.  Mainstream Islam distinguishes between figh, which means 'understanding of details' and refers to the inferences drawn by scholars, and sharia, which refers to the principles that lie behind the fiqh. Scholars hope that fiqh and sharia are in harmony in any given case, but they cannot be sure.
Sharia has certain laws which are regarded as divinely ordained, concrete and timeless for all relevant situations (for example, the ban against drinking liquor as an intoxicant). It also has certain laws which are extracted based on principles established by Islamic lawyers and judges.
For traditional Sunni Muslims, the primary sources of Islamic law are the Qur'an, the Hadith, the unanimity of Muhammad's disciples on a certain issue, and Qiyas (drawing analogy from the essence of divine principles). Qiyas -various forms of reasoning, including by analogy — are used by the law scholars to deal with situations where the sources provided no concrete rules. The consensus of the community or people, public interest, and others were also accepted as secondary sources where the first four primary sources allow.  (check out Wikipedia for more information)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Why We Fight

Wow! I just watched a great movie titled "Why We Fight" directed by Eugene Jarecki. It is about the industrial-military complex and the need for an informed public. It starts with President Dwight Eisenhower's fare well speach in which he warned Americans about the dangers to our way of life from the industrial-military complex. The danger is from forces in our society which are moving us from a republic to an empire. After all the reason I am writing this blog from Kuwait is due to the global war on terrorism which brought so many of us to Iraq. We were lied to by our president when he used the invasion of Iraq as way to keep us safe from terrorism and in the end we now know that Iraq had nothing to due with the attacks on America of 9/11. You must go see the movie or get the DVD. Go to to see a clip of the movie.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday Just Another Day

Sunday is just another day in Kuwait, a work day for must although we take it off. Here Thursday and Friday are the official weekend, which we work.  So I don’t think July 4th is going to be like it is back home, it will just be another work day for us.  Today I went to Chili’s for lunch, it was good to have something that reminded me of home.  The Chili’s restaurant is right on the Persian Gulf, a beautiful view, we sat at a table next to the window and I could watch ships coast by on the horizon and people playing on the beach and swimming in the gulf waters.  The gulf is very blue clear water and of course it was a hot sunny day. I took lots of pictures on the drive over and on the drive back, will post some later if any turned out.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

National Election Results

Well the Kuwait National Assembly elections are over, women in Kuwait voted for the first time ever in a national election.  However not a single woman that ran for office won.  But this is progress for democracy in the region and progress for Kuwaiti women.  Big winners were Shiite, Conservative, Independents and Islamist, with a few liberals added to the mix.  All in all no big change for Kuwaiti politics, but some progress and forward movement.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Day of reckoning dawns

Day of reckoning dawns that was the banner headline in the Kuwait Times. Kuwaiti women set to make history in decisive polls. This is the first time Kuwaiti women cast their ballots in a legislative lection. 28 female candidates are running from 13 constituencies, 10 of them in five tribal districts. The total number of voters is 340,000 with women voters numbering 195,000, or 57. Female voters out number their male counterparts in 21 of the 25 constituencies.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The Kuwait National Assembly elections are scheduled for this coming Thursday. For the first time in their history women can vote and can run for office. The newspapers have been full of stories about the upcoming elections and the candidates; sunni, shi'ites and now women. A victory for women in the Arab world and a victory for democracy in the world.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Flow of People

The Flow of People is one of the topics discussed in the book I am currently reading, The Pentagon’s New Map.  One aspect in particular I have observed is the extremely distributed economy of the Philippines.  I have noticed many workers from the Philippines here in Kuwait and in Afghanistan.  During my time in the Navy I made many port calls to the Philippines, which is a very beautiful country with many people who speak English a truly international language.  These workers, under a official program which is supported by the Philippine government, work in construction, hotel management and nursing, just to name a few.  They send home lots of money and return to a much better life due to their efforts in countries such as Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.  In fact the majority of the population in Kuwait are expats who work hard every day.  

The NetCentric Life

The Net-Centric Life is a good life.  I don’t mean that the focus of your life is the network but that the network is a reflection of what you hold to be most important in your life.  The net can make your life easier and can help you to focus.  Consider when you can access all of your music, videos, photos, data files and applications from anywhere in the world that you can connect to the Internet.  I want to be able to listen to a music playlist that I created while looking at one of my photo albums of the people I love.  I have my music, in fact almost all of my music, on the iPod I carry with me. But I have purchased several CD’s since arriving in Kuwait and would like to be able to add these to my music collection which is on a file server in my closet at home so I can add them to some of my playlists, like the one I have for Jazz.  Even though I have my music on my iPod I don’t have all the functionality of iTunes that is on my laptop again at home in my library.  I want to have access via the internet to iTunes so I can add the new CDs I purchased here to my home master music library and I want to be able to update and build new playlists.  

Friday, June 23, 2006

Breakfast in Kuwait

Breakfast in Kuwait is a bit different for me.  From time to time I go down to have breakfast, really to get coffee.  Anyway I am still getting use to chicken sausage and beef bacon.  Just not the same as I am use to.  But that is one of the joys of traveling right? Trying new foods, seeing new places, meeting new people.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blogger for Word

This post is just a test of Blogger for Word.  Where I am creating a blog entry in Microsoft Word and then post to my blogsite: from within Word.  How cool is that!


Their are so many ideas in the world and so many are accessible via the Internet. I guess that is why there are so many blogs going on. My hope is that blogs provide a vehicle for me to exchange ideas with others on many other topics. One thing that travel affords is time alone to think, time on planes, in cars, in hotel rooms and at restaurants eating alone, this time I use to think. Time to think about astronomy, cosmology, computer science, system engineering, and IT architecture, to name a few. I am reading a good book titled "The Pentagons New Map" which I find interest, especially the part about planning and acting for a future worth having. The Gap between the functioning core and the lesser included states (one of which I am now in) is the result, according to the author, of connectedness and disconnectedness to the rest of the world and a countries participation level in the global economy - globalization. Several blog spots are on this site about globalization, another topic I find very interesting. So for now I will continue to exchange ideas with my blog. Please comment, I value your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


It is a wonderful thing that we can stay connected in todays world. From a personal communcations point of view I have the phone, email and this blog space to keep connected to the ones I love and care about. It is amazing that here I sit in Kuwait City and have the ability to communicate with a whole community of friends and family via this blog site. In addition sending and recieving email from family and friends helps me to get through the day. Next I want to add IM, web cam and VoIP to be able to communicate with the family.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tuesday Morning

So it is Tuesday morning, a fairly typtical day for me here in Kuwait. My wake up comes at 0500 and I lay in bed for a while watching the morning news shows; CNN, Fox, BBC; then I get up and shower, shave and take my meds, what a joy getting old it. Right now I am sitting in the Long Stayers Lounge having my cup of coffee and writing this on one of the three computers they have for us long stayers, have been in this hotel now for almost a month and in country for two months, well with a short trip to Afghanistan. So next I'll go down for breakfeast and read the news paper and then wait in the lobby for Jim for our drive into the base. More later....

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Globalization (Wikipedia)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The International Monetary Fund defines Globalization (or globalisation) as “the growing economic interdependence of countries worldwide through increasing volume and variety of cross-border transactions in goods and services, free international capital flows, and more rapid and widespread diffusion of technology”. Meanwhile, The International Forum on Globalization defines it as “the present worldwide drive toward a globalized economic system dominated by supranational corporate trade and banking institutions that are not accountable to democratic processes or national governments.” [1] While notable critical theorists, such as Immanuel Wallerstein, emphasize that globalization cannot be understood separately from the historical development of the capitalist world-system [2] the different definitions highlight the ensuing debate of the roles and relationships of government, corporations, and the individual in maximizing social welfare within the globalization paradigms. Nonetheless, it is clear that globalization has economic, political, cultural, and technological aspects that may be closely intertwined. Given that these aspects are key to an individual's quality of life, the social benefits and costs brought upon them by globalization generate strong debate.
The economic aspects stressed in globalization are trade, investment and migration. The globalization of trade entails that human beings have greater access to an array of goods and services never seen before in human history. From German cars, to Colombian coffee, from Chinese clothing, to Egyptian cotton, from American music, to Indian software, human beings may be able to purchase a wide range of goods and services. The globalization of investment takes place through Foreign Direct Investment, where multinational companies directly invest assets in a foreign country, or by indirect investment where individuals and institutions purchase and sell financial assets of other countries. Free migration allows individuals to find employment in jurisdictions where there are labor shortages.
Critics of free trade also contend that it may lead to the destruction of a country's native industry, environment and/or a loss of jobs. Critics of international investment contend that by accepting these financial schemes a country loses its economic sovereignty and may be forced to set policies that are contrary to its citizen's interests or desires. Moreover, multinational companies that invest in a country may also acquire too much political and economic power in relation to its citizens. Finally, migration may lead to the exploitation of workers from a migrant country and the displacement of workers from a host country. Critics of globalization also contend that different economic systems that either augment or supplant globalization may maximize social welfare more efficiently and equitably.
The political aspects of globalization are evidenced when governments create international rules and institutions to deal with issues such as trade, human rights, and the environment. Among the new institutions and rules that have come to fruition as a result of globalization are the World Trade Organization, the Euro currency, the North American Free Trade Agreement, to name a few. Whether a government is to consciously open itself to cross-border links, is the central question of this aspect.
Social activist and non-profit organizations such as Amnesty International and Greenpeace are also becoming more global in scope. Some of these organizations take issue with the economic and political aspects of globalization as they fear that economic interests either subvert the nation state in its ability to protect its citizens from economic exploitation, or support governments that violate the human rights of their citizens.
Cultural global ties also grow through globalization as news ideas and fashions through trade, travel and media move around the globe at lightning speed. Global brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike & Sony serve as common reference to consumers all over the World. An individual in China enjoys the same soft drink as an individual in Puerto Rico--at opposite ends of the globe. However, these ties may also cause strains: for example Western Ideas of freedom of expression may clash with Islamic views on Religious tolerance. And if not strains, critics contend this is really an imposition of cultural imperialism in order to preserve economic interests.
The other aspect of globalization is the revolutionary change in technology, particularly in transport and communication, which ostensibly creates a global village. In 1850 it took nearly a year to sail around the World. Now you can fly around the world in a day, send an email anywhere almost instantly, or be part of the 1.5 billion viewers watching the final match of the World Cup. Transportation costs have come down as result of technological advances that make foreign markets more accessible to trade. Tuna caught in the North Atlantic may be served the next day at a Sushi restaurant in Japan. Finally, billions of dollars in assets and currencies are exchanged daily around the globe by electronic means at virtually no cost. Globalization spreads everything.
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