succumbing to peer pressure

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Not only has CNN picked up Rebrook's story, but the army has agreed to reimburse him:

"Whether procedures weren't followed or the system failed him is currently under investigation," said a written statement issued by a spokesman at Fort Hood in Texas. "What is clear is that this command is going to do the right thing by Lieutenant Rebrook, who is one of our nation's proud veterans."

The statement also said, "There is no question that [Rebrook] should not have to pay for the body armor of his that was destroyed in Iraq."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

What he said:

The Republicans and their supporters clearly have a problem with reality. In their corporate mindset, reality is perception: they operate on the premise that, if enough people believe it, or if enough people have to believe it in order to keep their jobs, then it's true. Now maybe that can work in politics and in the business world: as the old saying goes, it's hard to get someone to believe in something if their livelihood depends on them not believing it.

But science doesn't give a damn what we think. The laws of physics and nature don't change because our opinions change. It's dangerous enough when you make war on a country based on lies, making war on reality, especially when so much of our society depends upon science and technology, and you're in control of enough destructive force to wipe out the entire planet, is dangerous on levels I can't even imagine. Maybe the Republicans think they can win such a war, but to paraphrase the song, you can fight reality, but reality always wins.

Also, in memory of Coretta Scott King, a reminder of the Six Principles:

Nonviolence is not passive, but requires courage;

Nonviolence seeks reconciliation, not defeat of an adversary;

Nonviolent action is directed at eliminating evil, not destroying an evil-doer;

A willingness to accept suffering for the cause, if necessary, but never to inflict it;

A rejection of hatred, animosity or violence of the spirit, as well as refusal to commit physical violence; and

Faith that justice will prevail.

Why is it that these days it's that last one that's hardest to believe?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Supporting our troops, the Bush administration way

Eddie Rebrook graduated the year after me from GW High School in WV. He was injured in Iraq just about one year ago. And recently the army decided that he owes them $700 for body armor that was removed from his body shortly before he was airlifted to a Baghdad hospital. And they held his honorable discharge paperwork ransom until he coughed up.

“I last saw the [body armor] when it was pulled off my bleeding body while I was being evacuated in a helicopter,” Rebrook said. “They took it off me and burned it.”

But no one documented that he lost his Kevlar body armor during battle, he said. No one wrote down that armor had apparently been incinerated as a biohazard.


Even with the injury, Rebrook said he didn’t want to leave the Army. He said the “medical separation” discharge was the Army’s decision, not his.

So after eight months at Fort Hood, he gathered up his gear and started the “long process” to leave the Army for good.


In the past, the Army allowed to soldiers to write memos, explaining the loss and destruction of gear, Rebrook said.

But a new policy required a “report of survey” from the field that documented the loss.

Rebrook said he knows other soldiers who also have been forced to pay for equipment destroyed in battle.

At least there's a bit of a happy ending to this particular story. Americablog picked it up, sent out the call for donations, and raised over $5,000. But how many soldier's stories remain out there, untold?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Hooray! What a good solution to the name game. I really hope combining partner names catches on. I used to think I'd keep my name, if/when I got married, if I was already 'established' in my field. It has only been in the past couple of years that it has really occurred to me that changing my name feels, well, frankly, insulting. And I don't mean to disparage the choices of individuals. I'm just saying, for me, it now feels wrong (in this totally hypothetical scenario). But the whole kid thing complicates just about any name choice - hyphenated names are inevitably a mouthful, potentially having a different name than my kids makes me sort of sad, giving up my name entirely makes me sad, copying a friend's parents and (in the case of multiple kids) alternating last names seems even more complicated. So why not meld?