Friday's Weekend Column
Winning Teams

by James Glaser
September 26, 2003

The Minnesota Vikings are starting out their season with three wins, while the Minnesota Twins have just cinched their division title for the second year in a row. However the real important team from this state is the Northome Mustangs nine man football team.

Our local team is off to its best start (4-0) since 1954. Local people tell me that the 1954 team was the last great Northome High School football team. Tomorrow night is Homecoming and everyone will turn out to see this years team go up against the Babbit/Embarrass team, which is also 4-0.

It could be cold, heck it could snow, but the kids will all be fired up and won't even notice the weather. The whole town will be out there cheering, drinking hot chocolate or coffee, and eating "brats" from the grill. I will hear stories about every team Northome has had in the last fifty years and how years ago the kids were tougher, the air was colder, and the cheer leaders wore more clothes.

Guys will try and tell me that their team was better than these guys or they might just tell me that this is the best team ever. Any way you look at it, it will be fun. A nice time to watch some young people give it their all and see some real pride in parents and siblings.

This week we froze about six gallons of tomatoes, I got the dock pulled up the hill, and I think we are ready for the cold weather to hit. You never know, October can be full of sunshine and warm or you can be digging your way out to the truck through a foot of snow. Our average first frost is September 10th and we still haven't seen that yet out here by the lake. We get a couple more weeks of growing season because of the lake, but we pay for that in the spring when we are living next to a 3,000 acre ice cube.

This week I will dig up the beets and Charmaine will pickle them. There are never enough, as everyone wants some. We are hoping Charmain's brother will bring us some hand parched wild rice, the kind that you bring the water to a boil, throw in the rice, cover, remove from the heat, and in fifteen minutes it is done.

This weekend I am going to "Goods From The Woods." It is a exhibit, marketplace, and workshop for craft people in Northern Minnesota. I am bringing some of my work and a couple of other local people's work. It should be fun and I plan to attend to cedar strip canoe building class.

The 12th of October we will be having our last fall fund raiser for our new Farmers Market. I told the guy building it we didn't have enough money yet, but he built it anyway. He said he would rather build it now and wait for the money, than build it when it was twenty below and snowing. I can see that, but it does put the pressure on to get the money for him.

I sent an E-mail to Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman about the war in Iraq and surprise, surprise, he E-mailed me back and here is some of what he wrote:

September 25, 2003

Mr. James Glaser
Northome, Minnesota 56661

Dear Mr. Glaser:

Thank you for contacting me regarding Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Each day, America's men and women in uniform in Iraq are selflessly serving their nation. By building schools, training Iraqi police forces, paving roads, and establishing law and order, American and coalition forces are bringing stability and democracy to the Iraqi people. Even as we pursue these noble goals, Ba'athist loyalists and foreign terrorists continue to attack our troops in cowardly and faceless ambushes. The terrorists recognize the importance of the new Iraqi battlefield in the war on terror and they believe that they can break the resolve and fortitude of the American soldier and citizen. They are Mistaken.

Well, Senator Coleman has the Administration line down and you can sure tell that he never heard his Nations Call to Arms. The Senator has no idea of what our troops are doing. He has no idea of how scared they are or how many hours they are putting in nor does he have any idea of how those guys stink. The temperature is still around a hundred and from all reports these guys are only getting a shower once a week. They are wearing body armor and have to be pretty ripe. They are not building schools or roads either, as we hire civilian contractors to do that with no-bid contracts. But even those companies haven't started that yet. We can't even protect the United Nations office from bombings. Do you think civilian contractors are going to start building in a war zone?

You would think an American Senator would be telling us the truth about what is going on over there. Minnesota Soldiers and Marines are getting killed and wounded. They are manning check points, guarding hospitals and American bases. They are searching for Saddam Hussein. They are hoping to get home soon. There is no way that they have brought "stability and democracy" to the Iraqi people. Soldiers don't do that. They are not trained to do that, they are trained to kill. That is their job and they are good at it.

I would hate to see a school built by our "men and women in uniform in Iraq" They don't have any idea how to build anything. We have a 130,000 troops over there and they are doing everything they can to stay alive. On average one gets killed every day and ten are wounded. Senator Coleman, like so many people in Congress, has no idea of what is going on with our troops or he likes to bullshit.

The United States of America won its independence using those "cowardly and faceless ambushes" the Senator claims the Iraqi people are using. Coleman fails to understand that we have the greatest military force the world has ever seen and these are the only tactics that the Iraqis can use. They have no choice. It takes incredible guts to attack the United States Marine Corps or the United States Army. To say that these people attacking our troops are cowards tells us just how little Senator Coleman knows about War. This is a man making life and death decisions for our country and that scares me.

From most reports I have read, our troops are not filled with "resolve and fortitude." These Soldiers and Marines just want to come home. Families of those that serve in Iraq are forming lobbying groups to bring our troops home. These young Americans giving their all, have been lied to enough. First they had to get to Baghdad and then they could come home and Washington said no they had to stay a while longer. Then troops and their families were told they had to stay till July and that changed. Now they are told it will be a year. Troops that did their time in Afghanistan got to come home for about six weeks and now they are in Iraq too. Our troops know what is going on and they don't like it.

President Bush and Senator Coleman think things are looking up over there, but the troops know what is going on. They know that Washington has no plan to get them home. George and the rest of the government are "winging it."

We don't have enough troops to stay there and rotate people back to the states, so the troops have to suck it up and stay. This I am afraid could be very bad for our country in just a few more months. You can only lie to the troops so many times. They won't quit, but they will suffer for a lifetime.

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