Mercenaries in Iraq

According to a report prepared for Congress, there are about 30,000 “private security contractors” currently in Iraq performing military functions… aka mercenaries. There are another 182,000 people under U.S. government contracts operating in Iraq (these are builders, suppliers, engineers, etc.)

Most of the mercenaries are former military men, now employed by security firms such as Blackwater. Blackwater is a shady mercenary outfit run by a man named Erik Prince, a former Navy Seal. Blackwater is the largest private security contractor in Iraq and has been coming under heavy criticism recently for super-aggressive, violent tactics; however, Blackwater also has never allowed anyone guarded by them to be killed or seriously injured. Like most private companies, Blackwater is highly efficient in its job (protecting convoys, individuals), but there are unintended side effects. The Iraqis hate Blackwater for their cavalier violence and several incidences of their soldiers going on killing sprees.

Machiavelli talked about mercenaries and their usage extensively in “The Prince”. He said that they were at best “useless and dangerous”. Mercenaries are only loyal to the dollar and do not fight well against organized, strong opponents. Throughout history they have been known to turn on their employers when they sense weakness or a potential gain for themselves. The Roman Empire collapsed after it began to rely on paid troops rather than loyal citizen-soldiers. The American government needs to fight it’s own battles and not throw away billions on mercenaries who hurt our chances of successfully withdrawing from Iraq.

Invite Writer-Buddy

Ladies and gentlemen, you are in for a special treat. My friend in California “J” wrote a guest post for my blog today about his experience with women in L.A.

A cute girl, I’d say a seven and half. Cynical and sarcastic as the whole city of LA is want. While we were waiting in line to a hyped restaurant stranded in the middle of warehouses in Hollywood/ Wilshire/ Miracle Mile proper, she told me she didn’t really like her family. Boring. Not much animosity directed at them per say. Just the rueful quality of not providing an inspiration to a young girl. Nothing to live up to. Her dad sells real estate, and her mom hasn’t worked for ten years. In the movie American Beauty the young girl protagonist bemoans that to be normal is the worst fate. I guess normal depends on where you are located at a particular place in time. Here in LA this normal girl was boring me a little, mostly from her lethargy. Not the dumb blond cheerleader disease- more like the too cool for school crowd. It just didn’t seem to differentiate her as she is sitting here in front of me now, complaining, or in her view, having a normal conversation.

At once I wonder if a place of ambition such as LA is doomed to be bored by itself. The poor souls cannot find anything that fulfills them, that is why they come here, live here and are always trying. To be somebody they are more excited about. The point is we are talking and she is boring me talking about what is boring her, which is her life. I don’t think she sees the irony in the situation. The fun side of her perpetual gloom is that she will pull out incisive, cutting remarks that shock and humor me. “Babies are disgusting to me because I look at the two parents, and pity their na¯¿½ve optimism. Like that is what is going to make their lives better. Do people expect that adopting a retarded person into their home will make their life better? No. Then somehow we’re supposed to be impressed by their irrational decision? Oh, I see that making yourself happy didn’t work. Good luck with the live in retard.”

I did enjoy the fashion shows. She worked for a company that produces big budget fashion shows. “It feels really weird to weed out girls that have better dimensions than I do. If they’re under 5’9″, or have more than a thirty inch waist, I throw out the cards. Oh, and we don’t do Asians or boobs. Most of these girls are really young, and can’t speak English well. Intelligence is not a requirement.”

Tantalizing- at face value what appeals to me and everyone with something brag worthy swinging, is not at all diminished in my opinion that these girls are awkward babies that don’t speak English. Maybe better this way, I’m not ready to challenge god’s design here.

Fashion show, as we shall call her, invites me to a fashion show. They look good, painted and trotting, a bit unstable on high heels, and in bathing suits. They look preoccupied posing for the long shot down at the end of the runway. Tall, full bone structures, spare filling. A little deflated, like a sinking rubber raft. I’m talking with an especially Anglo-perfect model after the show. She seemed flighty and hungry. I don’t think she saw me. At least she had a hard time looking directly. The dinosaur bone on her back showed when she walked across the room. Hott I thought.

Fashion show took her time to arrive. She wasn’t working this one, so her apathy sinks its teeth in deep. I’m looking to maximize my meet and greet model time before she shows and blocks my soft-core betrayal. Free alcohol second floor, DJ, wannabe model bartenders. In our rush to reach an alcoholic plateau, we (friend wolf and I) meet in line two ladies in the industry. Two creatives for Guess. “So my friend Levi here is devastatingly single and eligible. He is torn between his Jesus sworn chastity and asking for your number sultry Miss Guess number two.”

We dance, change positions and I reach for my cell phone. I have another text from Fashion Show, she is almost here. I have ten minutes to get a number from this girl who is excited to talk about her fashion school experience. FITA, or something like this general acronym is quite popular in LA. A finishing school for the trendy girl with a passion for dress. Young, red cheeked and doused in a light blue, tight fitting mod dress and matching big plastic earrings. About ten minutes into the conversation, she interrupts, so I want to ask, “Are you gay?” Damn. She’s earnest. How does this happen? I think maybe I’ll check out my posture in the mirror later. “So, I was until I started talking to you, and now I want to try being straight. Do me the pleasure?” And, I’m getting her number.

I notice Fashion Show at the bar, giving me furtive glances. A little aggressive. I’ve ignored a few texts. She’s jealously standing, sipping.

“It was nice to meet you lovely.” I’m moving toward Fashion Show. Smiles and a slightly inward leaning hug. “Hitting on my friend are you? I went to school with Angela at FITA.” “Yeah.” And, I’ve recovered, or there was nothing to recover in the first place.

Important Breaking News

-The Department of Homeland Security has been working hard to make sure YOU are safe! Yesterday, 3 Mexican minors who had been arrested near the border on suspicion of smuggling drugs stole the patrol vehicle… while handcuffed. Incompetence at its best.

Mouth to Mouth Assault… how romantic.

-Apparently I should be a swimmer or a rower and give up on cycling. I could’ve told you that.

Dating coach: the perfect job for Joel.

Eulogy of Joel

The only time that people get together and express their feelings about a person is after that person has passed away. When that happens, people always sob about how they should’ve told the person sooner about how much they cared about them. Therefore, before I die, I’m going to tell myself how much I love me and what a freakin’ great guy I am.

Joel, you were so important to me. We had so many wonderful times together and you used to get me in so much trouble. Your violent passion and crazy wiring led to many adventures and created many memories. There was the time in the 3rd grade you peed on your teacher after he got mad at you for playing around at the urinal and grabbed your shoulder and turned you around. Or when you glued the annoying kid to his chair. Or when you and your friends discovered the joy of magnifying glasses in class and burned holes in your desk. Or the time you threw a stick at the fat bully and let him charge you then kicked him in the belly and got in trouble. Ahh the memories…. and those are just from one randomly picked year. We don’t even need to get started on all the shit you’ve got into since then. Joel, you were a lovely man. I want to hug you. And kiss you. And make sweet love to you. Good thing we did this before you were dead, or there would be some serious moral violations going on.

Happy Birthday Jeremy!

Today is Jeremy’s birthday. He is turning 24.


Jeremy is the sweet fellow second from the left in the photo. And yes, he always dresses like that.

We attended Cascade together for high school, although he and I never really talked to each other much until immediately after we graduated. He also attended UW with me.

Jeremy introduced me to a great group of guys from his hometown; Fletcher, Jarek and Ian.


I hate arguing with people when I feel frustrated, because I just end up pushing issues farther than I should and going in circles. I know I’m doing it, but it’s hard to stop myself. I need to make more of a conscious effort to be accepting and try to understand others’ perspectives better.

Justin Gross starts class at UW tomorrow

Tonight I went to UW and after working out with Fletch, I went and visited my little brother Justin. Tomorrow will be his first day of classes at UW. I’m hoping Justin has a very successful college experience, but he actually called me earlier thinking about skipping the first day of class and going to Canada lol. Smart kid that he is, he decided to stay and get ready for his classes. Best of luck to you, Justin! I’m sorta jealous, you have a ton of potential and all the doors are wide open for you right now: charge through!