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Bush To Announce Iraq Troop Cuts On Thursday

Just hitting the wires tonight…..

President Bush will tell the nation Thursday evening that he plans to reduce the American troop presence in Iraq by as many as 30,000 by next summer but will condition those and further cuts on continued progress, The Associated Press has learned.

In a 15-minute address from the White House at 9 p.m. EDT, Bush will endorse the recommendations of his top general and top diplomat in Iraq, following their appearance at two days of hearings in Congress, administration officials said. The White House plans to issue a written status report on the troop buildup on Friday, they said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Bush’s speech is not yet final. Bush was rehearsing and polishing his remarks even as the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker were presenting their arguments for a second day on Capitol Hill.

In the speech, the president will say he understands Americans’ deep concerns about U.S. involvement in Iraq and their desire to bring the troops home, they said. Bush will say that, after hearing from Petraeus and Crocker, he has decided on a way forward that will reduce the U.S. military presence but not abandon Iraq to chaos, according to the officials.

Nancy Pelosi has already denounced the plan, content on allowing Iraqis to be abandoned to chaos and wanting al-Qaeda to claim victory over the United States. 

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Remembering James Joe Ferguson

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 9:37 am - September 11, 2007.
Filed under: Joe Ferguson,Post 9-11 America

Today, six years after the terror attacks on America, I once again dedicate this space to my lost friend, James Joe Ferguson, who was killed aboard American Airlines Flight 77 when that plane was used as a weapon and crashed into the Pentagon. This posting goes up at the exact time that plane was flown into the Pentagon six years ago this morning.

We miss you, Joe.
-Bruce and John


The last time we had dinner, Joe told my partner John and I about how much he was looking forward to being a part of the bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Typically, I found myself jealous of him. In his role as Director of Geographic Education at the National Geographic Society, Joe had one of the most unique and rewarding jobs I can ever imagine having.

He traveled around the world, bringing American school children face-to-face with the natural wonders of our Earth. He was not only a teacher but also provided a critical turning point for these kids, many of whom had never before left their own neighborhoods. Joe provided the path for these students to experience things that many of us never will in our entire lives.

In addition, he got to travel to the four corners of the globe. How rewarding that must have been. How do I sign up for that job?

I got an email from Joe on Thursday, September 6, 2001. “Hi cutie” it started — typical opening line for Joe to any of his friends. He had just returned from Alaska and wanted to tell show me all the pictures, but the following week he said he was headed to California for another work trip. I printed out and kept that email for many months in my briefcase as a way to keep Joe alive.

As dawn broke on September 11, 2001, Joe called his Mom in Mississippi to give her a wake up call as he always did when he traveled. He said to her, “I’ll call you when I get to California. Have a good day.” He was that kind of person. The kind of person, who, no matter where he was and how busy he was, dropped a postcard to his friends so we could share a part of his experiences throughout the world.

At Dulles International Airport, Joe stood with his group traveling to California and took some last minute photos. He and another colleague were scheduled passengers on American Airlines Flight 77, accompanying three D.C. public school teachers and three students on a National Geographic-sponsored field trip to the Channel Islands off Santa Barbara, Calif. After the photos were taken, they bid farewell to the children’s parents and proceeded to their gate.

At 9:37AM, Joe lost his life at the young age of thirty-nine when terrorists slammed the plane into the side of the Pentagon at 500 mph. A teacher and positive role model to young Americans was taken from the world in an act of sheer violence and viciousness.

As I was dealing with the many emotions of the events of September 11, a thought crossed my mind the next day. Gosh, I thought, Joe had said he was traveling and now he’s stuck somewhere until the airlines are allowed to fly again. So I called his work number in DC and left a message. After I heard his voice for the last time, I said “Give me a call if you are checking messages.” “I hope you make it home soon,” I concluded. When I called that day, I had no idea.

It wasn’t until Friday, September 14 that I found out that one of my dearest friends had become a casualty of the attacks on America. Suddenly, this war was personal — it had hit home. I wasn’t expecting to have to go to two memorial services and walk around in a state of numbness for many weeks.

At Joe’s memorial service, there were lots of tears and lots of laughs as well. One of Joe’s friends told the gathering that Joe had this way of making you feel as if you were his best friend in the world. I knew exactly what he meant. I saw Joe every once in a while. We would have lunch, or more likely trade emails or phone calls. But every time we talked, I felt like Joe’s best friend. Joe still has a lot of best friends all around the world.

Perhaps Joe’s death hit me so hard because it was the first death of someone close to me that I had experienced as an adult. I am still surprised by the impact that his death has had, and in many ways continues to have, on my life. In fact, I did a lot of personal reflecting in the months following 9/11. I questioned how important my job and even my life were in a time of war where terrorists could invade your workplace or your school and slaughter you with no remorse. I questioned what value and worth my own career had in comparison with a man who had chosen to teach and change the lives of young people. I felt trapped in a good job that was giving me no personal satisfaction.

All I could remember was how happy Joe always was and how that cheer was infectious to all of his friends and colleagues. I would miss that cheerful influence on me. Joe had made the choice to live life to the fullest extent possible. He was the model of an optimistic American who knows no frontiers and no bounds. He was doing more than his fair share of contributing to a better society.

My partner John and I took a trip to the American West in the summer of 2003 and followed some of the Lewis & Clark Trail. I know Joe would have loved the scenery and spirit of America that lives and breathes in the land of Montana and Wyoming. The IMAX film about the “Corps of Discovery” produced by the National Geographic Society — Lewis & Clark: The Great Journey West — was dedicated to the memory of Joe Ferguson. It is available on DVD and I strongly recommend watching it.

One day in early 2002, I heard a song on the radio that I don’t remember hearing before 9/11/2001. I didn’t even know it was LeeAnn Womack voice, because the words are the soul and essence of Joe Ferguson. The words are an expression of his personal passion and love of life. And the words are also an inspiration for all of us to get through the many trying days of our post-9/11 world.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.
Get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger.
May you never take one single breath for granted.
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed.
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance.
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance.
Never settle for the path of least resistance.
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin.
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but its worth makin.
Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter.
When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider.
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance.
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance.

8:46 AM, September 11, 2001


This posting serves as a “moment of silence” commemorating the start of the September 11th attacks on America.  This is the time that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Never Forget.

Rendered Speechless by the Far Left’s Lack of Decency

There are times when words fail me. And times when I struggle with the right word. Or the right post. Sometimes, when I experience an unexpected kindness, I, who have often defined my gift as words, stammer and can’t respond. I can’t find the words to match the generosity. Would it that this post were about such silence.

Alas that this is about something which so totally stupefies me because it’s so outrageous, I feel I must write to express my incredulity. But, given that what has so outraged me has come from the angry anti-war left, incredulity is not quite the word. Because by now, we already seen the levels to which these extreme outfits would descend to attack President Bush or people who promote and/or execute his policies. We are accustomed to the mean-spirited and dishonest attacks they have long since produced.

I am referring of course to’s ad insinuating that General Petraeus is General “Betray Us.”

I have spent the better part of the day struggling to find the proper words to express my own outrage not only at this ad, but at the New York Times for agreeing to publish it, quite possibly at a discount (Via Instapundit).

The ad itself begins by accusing the general of being “constantly at war with the facts,” yet it is the ad itself that is at odd with the facts.

I’m sure the left-wing bloggers busy trying to sift through his testimony and label anything with which they happen to disagree as a “lie” or spin. I’ve already seen such tactics in a post linked in the comment section to my post on the Democrats’ preferring their version of the truth to the report of Petraeus on the facts on the ground in Iraq.

Too many on the left, including a number of Democratic elected officials, aren’t interested in the report of the top general of the ground in Iraq. They would rather attempt to discredit him by twisting his words than listening to his testimony.

Fortunately, while I can’t quite find the words to express my outrage, other bloggers have. Paul Mirengoff at Powerline said that MoveOn has hit the bottom.” Hugh Hewitt called the ad “repulsive and, as I noted before calls on Democrats who “fail to denounce the slander of this honorable and courageous American . . . complicit in that slander.

And Bob Krumm (also via Instapundit) calls this the “Far Left’s Joe McCarthy vs. the Army moment.” He concludes, “The Far Left has . . . no sense of decency.

I may have more to say about this in future posts, but at least I’ve had the chance to express my outrage at this excess. I encourage you to follow the links I provide to read posts where others have expressed their feelings on this topic much better than I have been able to express mine at this time.

UPDATE: Peter Hughes just e-mailed me, reminding me of Dean Barnett’s post on the topic which I had read yesterday. In his piece, The Party of No Decency, Dean comments on “the symbiotic relationship between the respectable political front men of the Democratic Party and the gutter dwelling sewer rats who do their dirty work.” Read the whole thing!!

UP-UPDATE: This morning, Hugh observes, “The general silence from Democrats tells you that their fear of trumps their respect for the general and the troops he leads.” That pretty much sums up the modus operandi of today’s Democrats.