Afghanistan Without a Clue (AWAC) was created in August 2006 to chronicle my adventures on a one-year tour in Afghanistan. In February 2007 fellow military members started contributing, and it became a massive job producing daily posts. Most of us returned home in May 07. I will keep AWAC running to provide information for folks deploying to Afghanistan, as well as for new readers who recently discovered the joys of the AWAC world. I’ll post every weekend so the old-timers can keep tabs on my adjustment to life in the states, as well as any news I receive from Kabul. If you are new to AWAC, the best thing is to start from the beginning. Just wander over to the archives (they are over there to the left) and enjoy. Be warned, there is a huge amount of stuff over there, and rumor has it that people have become addicted. I can only hope.
This puppy photo is completely unrelated to the following story
I’ve been hearing a lot from Afghanistan lately, but most of the news is bad. Today I learned that six American s were killed in an ambush, and earlier in the week a suicide bomber killed several government officials as well as many bystanders, including children. Allah be praised! Of course, even in America we have sickos who revel in hatred, all to the glory of their god. For example . . .
Here’s a story sent to me by Leta Carruth. It shows that even in the USA, we have people so incomprehensibly lacking in even the most basic rudiments of human decency, that it isn’t really that far-fetched to say we have our people with the mental capacity to become the equivalent of the Taliban. Some members of the Westboro Baptist Church (in Kansas) have found it spiritually uplifting to go to funerals of American servicemen and women, and rejoice that our warriors have died. Wearing their “God hates fags” shirts, they literally rejoice that our people are getting killed. Know why? Because the USA doesn’t hate homosexuals enough, and therefore God is killing our people as punishment.
Normally I try to refrain from name-calling, but these tiny-brained wipers of other peoples’ bottoms deserve all the ridicule and disdain possible. I won’t even waste time refuting the sorry excuse for logic these dolts use to justify their evil. I can’t imagine there is a single AWAC reader, or for that matter any American (outside of the cultish confines of Westboro Baptist) who think either . . .
A. God hates America, because we tolerate homosexuality, so he is killing our military members (hey, why not kill the politicians instead?)
B. It’s a great idea to go to funerals and cheer that soldiers are dead.
Yes, I know there are plenty who think God hates homosexuality. I’ve made it clear in the past that I don’t agree, but at least those who hold his view aren’t out acting like hate-infested idiots at funerals, mocking those who have died for our country, sneering at the grieving families. No, we are talking about a microscopically small number of people who are probably mentally ill. But there is good news, and I’ll let you read about it in the following article:
From the MSNBC News Service
BALTIMORE - A grieving father won a nearly $11 million verdict against a fundamentalist church that pickets military funerals out of a belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality.
Albert Snyder sued the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified damages after members demonstrated at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.
The federal jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress.
Snyder's attorney, Craig Trebilcock, had urged jurors to determine an amount "that says don't do this in Maryland again. Do not bring your circus of hate to Maryland again."
Church vows appeal
The defense said it planned to appeal, and one of the church's leaders, Shirley Phelps-Roper, said the members would continue to picket military funerals.
"Absolutely; don't you understand this was an act in futility?" Phelps-Roper said.
Church members routinely picket funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, carrying signs such as "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags."
Snyder claimed the protests intruded upon what should have been a private ceremony and sullied his memory of the event.
The church members testified they are following their religious beliefs by spreading the message that soldiers are dying because America is too tolerant of homosexuality.
“God promised dire outpourings of very painful wrath, and there’s nothing more painful than killing one of your children and that’s what’s going on in Iraq,” church founder Fred Phelps told msnbc.com in a 2006 interview. “That’s what we’re preaching and the forum of choice to deliver such a message, obviously, is the funeral of the kid that’s been blown to smithereens."
Attorneys for the church maintained in closing arguments Tuesday that the burial was a public event and that even abhorrent points of view are protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and religion.
Several states have passed laws regarding funeral protests, and Congress has passed a law prohibiting such protests at federal cemeteries. But the Maryland lawsuit is believed to be the first filed by the family of a fallen serviceman.
The church and three of its leaders — Phelps and his two daughters, Phelps-Roper and Rebekah Phelps-Davis, 46 — were found liable for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress.
The group is confident the award will be overturned on appeal, Phelps said.
"Oh, it will take about five minutes to get that thing reversed," he said.
Verdict ‘exceeds ... worth of the defendants’
Earlier, church members staged a demonstration outside the federal courthouse. Phelps held a sign reading "God is your enemy," while Phelps-Roper stood on an American flag and carried a sign that read "God hates fag enablers." Members of the group sang "God Hates America" to the tune of "God Bless America."
Snyder sobbed when he heard the verdict, while members of the church greeted the news with tightlipped smiles.
It was unclear whether the plaintiffs would be able to collect the damages awarded.
Before the jury began deliberating the size of punitive damages, U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett noted that the size of the compensatory award "far exceeds the net worth of the defendants," according to financial statements filed with the court.
Defense lawyer Jonathan Katz said the church has about 75 members and is funded by tithing. The defense attorney said that the assets of the church and the three defendants are less than a million dollars and that the compensatory award is about three times the defendants' net worth, mainly in homes, cars and retirement accounts.
One of Snyder's attorneys, Sean Summers, said he would tirelessly seek payment of the award.
"We will chase them forever if it takes that long," Summers said.
Tiny when he joined us in July
Tiny has been neutered, had his teeth cleaned (the few he has left) and gets his stitches out in a week. He is now listed for adoption, and you can see him at my Petfinder site. My fosters are listed under Tullahoma Small Breed Rescue at
The puppies keep getting bigger, and now eat and drink from bowls, so no more bottle feeding! They are as cute as you would expect puppies to be, and now charge around the back yard, chasing each other. They even go after the bigger dogs, and my dogs have had to teach them some manners. This is exactly what we wanted, since they have no mother to raise them, they must learn from my dogs instead. Puppies taken away from their mom and litter often have behavioral problems, so hopefully these will be well-adjusted.
I am constantly stalked by puppies
If any of you might be interested in fostering dogs, contact me. You will have a dog for anywhere from a month to six months before they are adopted, and we’ve fostered around 25 dogs over the last four years. We ended up adopting a couple of them ourselves, but the rest all found loving homes. The rescue groups I foster for take care of the adoption applications, home visits, vet bills, etc. You just take care of the dog until it is adopted. It’s lots of fun, and the dogs certainly appreciate it. And if that special one comes along that you can’t resist, you can always adopt it yourself.
I continue to be surprised, though certainly pleased, that other blogs are linking to mine. Here are three more, and I’ve added them to my list of links also.
Brotherhood in Arms
This Vet’s Life